Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What have you been doing?

Well, dear blog friend, you did happily welcome me back from my long absence, but you DO have a question: just what have I been doing the last few months that has kept me from writing??

I can certainly tell you I haven't been just lying around, smelling the roses and feeding the birds, that's for sure! No, you know if I have free time I'll fill it...there's always a closet that needs cleaning, an errand that needs running, or a party that needs attending.

No time for lying around when the summer months were sprinkled with projects and events that either filled any free time, or made me too tired to sit in front of a blank page and write: the painting of my living room, the wedding of my sister, the departing of six of my NYC friends, the reading of Twilight books, the taking of tap dance classes, the leading of my Bible study, the exploring of New York, the travelling to London.

Each has a story that I'll tell very soon...

LYING AROUND under the perfect blue sky and the majestic dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

SMELLING THE ROSES in the picturesque country town of Salisbury, England.

FEEDING THE BIRDS on a bench in Hyde Park, London.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hello, old friend

Hello, old friend:

It's been a long time. Too long! Boy, have I missed you! I'll bet you thought I would never visit again; never come around this way to sit and chat awhile. I've got so much to tell you about what I've seen and done, what's going on in New York City, what I've been thinking.

I cringe as I type in your address - realizing with shame just how long I've neglected this one-sided conversation of ours. Have you forgotten me? Will my secret password still work, or have you changed the rules to lock me out?

But just like a good dear old friend, we can pick up where we left off. I show up unexpectedly, and there you wait - that "Welcome, Rebecca" like a bear hug, accepting me back, no questions asked.

It's so good to see you! You haven't changed a bit: you're still a wonderfully inspiring open page...just waiting for me to fill it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tools and Gadgets

For the second time in the month of April, I went home to Alabama for a celebration in Julie and Gabe's honor: this time the occasion was a "Tool and Gadget Shower" to outfit the couple with all the knick-knacks and doo-dads surely essential to a happily functioning home. I admit my bewilderment at the assortment of gifts - if it doesn't fit in my compact tool box, I believe it to be only marginally neccessary for the occasional emergency...and rather useless for everyday life.  The mindset of New Yorkers: when something breaks, you call someone to fix it.

Gifts of drills and sweepers and thingamajigs emerged from beautifully wrapped packages to oohs and aahs from the guests. Julie and Gabe were quite pleased with the gadgets they received, but the only tool I wished to gain in my toolbox (my heart's toolbox) was the one that created the beautiful sunset that wrapped our party into the night sky. 

I don't think I will find "Sunset Maker" on the registry at Home Depot!

Gabe and Julie 

Daddy and Mama enjoying laughs and the evening sun.

Another valuable gadget for my "toolbox" - a "Sister Trio"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Digging out

Preoccupied, lazy, tired, busy, working, socializing...I have a million excuses for why I haven't posted anything in over a month.  It's certainly not because I'm uninspired - I have a "to write" list of over a dozen topics. I just can't seem to generate thoughtful words to flow from my fingers to the computer screen in the form of clever writing.  

It's 11:48 PM, and I have a closet full of winter clothes that need to be removed, sorted and stored away; there is a stack of papers a foot high by my bookshelf that need to be filed or thrown out; my suitcase sits unzipped by the foot of my bed, still not fully emptied since returning from Alabama a week ago.  I stare from one project to the next as I sit motionless on my bed, fingers resting on my laptop.  My eyes drift away from the computer screen to the (freshly) laundered sheets that sit folded on the right side of my bed - I washed them before I left for home, over a week ago.  (Yes, mama, I've been sleeping on the mattress pad and using my comforter as a blanket for a WEEK!)  I'm not depressed, I'm not becoming a pack rat - I just can't seem to get one project done for thinking about all the others...and I can't seem to write one post without my mind jumbling more stories into the mix.

In an effort to get my thoughts caught up to my actions, I'm foregoing my normal (ahem) well-written, thoughtful, insightful RazzleDazzle stories for the month of March.  Instead, helter skelter stream of consciousness prevails.  Scroll down and check back often - I'm slapping and slathering posts together this week...I'll get around to molding and crafting stories next week (while I'm, uh, cleaning my room).   

Thursday, April 9, 2009


If I hadn't seen her with my own two eyes, I wouldn't believe it. Standing there, in the flesh, mere feet across the street from me, the celebrity I have most wanted to see since moving to New York. Sarah Jessica Parker in all her movie star glory, and my camera battery not responding. I suppose I should be okay with the irony of not getting to capture this momentous occasion on film, because much like SJP getting splashed by a New York City bus in the opening sequence for Sex and the City, maybe New York just sometimes has a way of causing grief to the ones it loves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Your turn for tea

When I was a young girl, my mother's photo albums captivated my attention for what seemed like hours at a time. Being careful to keep the clear covers attached to the adhesive pages, I flipped through the images of her memories and created a storybook of my own descriptions. Splashing in a bikini in the ocean, sitting on her dorm room bed, playing basketball in uniform, laughing with a boy's arm around her shoulders - it all seemed like a grand time.

I was most intrigued by the page of wedding paraphernalia - a portrait of her in her wedding dress (I always looked at her slippered feet sticking out from the bottom of the large skirt), the wedding announcement clipped from the newspaper (I always loved seeing Mama and Daddy's names in print), and the picture from her tea (I always preferred the grainy black and white version from the paper over the in-color original). There stood my Mama beside the punch bowl and flower-festooned table with both of my grandma's, my aunt Sheree and another lady or two who looked familiar enough that I knew they must have been of some importance to be chosen for this picture.

This image of the tea became iconic to me - the bride next to the table with the most important people beside her. I daydreamed of the newspaperman wearing his newspaper cap coming to the party with his big flash-bulb camera, everyone gathering around the table, 1-2-3 snap! and the moment recorded for posterity.

And now it's Julie turn for her tea, and Mama again is gathered to her spot behind the table - this time her girls the ones to join for the special picture. Our smiles captured by the camera flash for a picture that I wonder whose wistful eyes will one day gaze upon.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Great to see ya!

I returned to Birmingham relatively unannounced to many of my friends, something completely out of character for me since past trips were preceded with a great deal of phone calls and emails resulting in a packed calendar coordinated to fit everyone's schedule, and leaving me not a minute to spare.

So this trip I decided to put Julie's engagement pictures and tea as tops on my to-do, and left the rest of my socializing in the hands of my about town girls Jackie and Katherine, who had me hot on the scene again with a compactly planned party schedule. They showed me that Birmingham offers similar after-work venues to those of New York: the rooftop of the Redmont Hotel provides breathtaking city views. They also showed me that an unannounced trip home is a great way to feel like a celebrity amongst friends: squeals erupted at every turn as friends who I hadn't seen in months did a double take to see my face in the crowd.

Great to see the Birmingham skyline aglow.

Always great to see Jackie.

Take Two

On a sweltering hot day in the summer of 2006, I accompanied Elizabeth and Chris to the Botanical Gardens to "assist" them as they were photographed for their engagement pictures. I lugged around a large bag filled with brushes, combs, hairspray, makeup, gloss, sunglasses - you name it - and scurried after them blotting sweat and taming humidity-induced frizzy hair.

The result: a happy couple looking so beautiful I was highly recommended for a second gig as engagement picture assistant.

My "take two" as handler for Julie and Gabe landed me in the same role at the same location but with a new starring couple. The scene was a little different this time around with an overcast sky and chilly temperatures, not to mention a few new props slipped into my bag - towels and a hand broom - that I *lovingly* used to prepare the backdrops for each shot.

But the story was still the same: me running after my pretty sister and making a big production of wilting under the weight of carrying her bag, reminding her to hold her shoulders back, smile like this, smooth her skirt - all while thinking I have the best role in the world. This attention hog will work behind the scenes for her sisters any day.

Prepping Julie in the parking lot pre-pictures.

Our star being scolded for hopping up on the railing not yet brushed off and toweled dry.

The co-stars recounting Gabe's proposal at the exact spot it happened.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A little change can do you good

My bed has been turned long ways in my room since November, its pillow-top padding extending two more feet into my precious floor space for the past five months. Moving it from its original position - that is, being stuffed sideways against the back wall, the head of the bed touched the right wall and the foot of the bed touched the left, with the radiator sandwiched snuggly in between - seemed like a necessity at the time. I was completely unfamiliar with the sputtering, hissing and clanking that was bringing the metal bars to life. To me it looked like a fire waiting to happen - my comforter would surely ignite on the metal bars that were soon be flaming hot.

Maybe normal radiators get flaming hot, but throughout the winter, mine never so much as warmed up. Just sputtered and spattered and shook a few times, but never warm, much less hot.

So now with April approaching, and me sadly giving up (on my radiator burning) and joyfully letting go (of the cold weather), I decided it was time to claim back my space, which is no small feat considering: 1) the mattress could squish me like a fly swatter and a bug, 2) the width of my room is so small, the mattress, box springs and bed frame each must be lifted practically on one corner in order to "swivel" into a new direction, 3) my bookshelf, dresser and wall hangings all must be moved out of the room, and 4) I keep thinking I can do this all by myself.

Two hours and a broken vase later, my bed was back flush against the radiator, hushing it like a finger in front of a ssshing mouth. I skipped a few victory laps around my broadened floor space (four small skips and you've lapped back to the starting point!) and marveled at how invigorating a few extra feet can be.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Steps of Met

The mild and sunny weather brought a hint of intrigue to the air; a magical vibe connecting paths and creating music. A smile hello, an unexpected coffee, the glare of the sun, a wandering walk, the bright blue sky, my regular scones, a flurry of pigeons, a quartet of voices, notes from a saxophone, people perched everywhere, an empty space, a spot near the steps, a friendly phone call, an impromptu brunch, exploring a neighborhood.

A Sunday afternoon in New York City can twist and turn and change in a matter of moments. I'll remember that curvy day by the brief moment I spent near the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the person I met. Both making me reconsider my whimsy wanderings as possibly perfectly planned steps.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Snowy Spring

In anticipation of the first day of spring, I went to sleep last night with visions of blue skies, chirping birds, and warming temperatures.  

This morning I flung back the curtain before my head had even risen from the pillow.  My bright eyes turned hazy - what is that whirling and swirling on the other side of my window?!  

White-hot disbelief and disappointment mixed with the swiftly blowing snow.  When will this winter trudge turn into a spring pirouette? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rat Race

Today being St. Patrick's Day, and me not really caring but feeling like I should, I headed out to a pub with some friends to celebrate. Green beer and questionable outfits aside, I don't know what was more surprising and ultimately quite troubling...the rats-of-guys who were trolling the bars, or the actual rats that ran toward us - squeaking and squawling (the rats and us) - as we stood on the subway platform (noses pinched from the urine smells) racing away from a less than envious evening of green.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Tulips

Like curling ribbon on a present or chocolate shavings on a dessert - what a treat of a tulip!!
~Keukenhof, Holland - April 2008

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The New Museum

So the saying get what you pay for.

Admission to The New Museum in Soho costs only $12 - "what a deal!" we thought. More like a steal, a rip-off, a fraud. The same friend who accompanied me to Guggenheim suggested this museum for our March exploration, and silly me accepted the plan without investigating it myself.

Let's see...I don't know which of the exhibits was worse - "Be(coming) Dutch at a Distance"...or "Conversations on Iraq". With dashed hopes of possibly gazing at fields of tulips, windmills and wooden shoes, I was stunned to see the exhibit was a makeshift tent community depicting refugees who escape to Holland in the year 2045. And the conversations on Iraq were just that - a man sat on a couch in the middle of a huge white room - the entire second floor of the museum, as a matter of fact - and...he would talk to you about Iraq for as long as you want.

There were only about seven exhibits in the whole museum, and I didn't see a single painting or sculpture all day - scratch that, all hour.

Before escaping to the refuge of shopping on the Soho streets, I made a NEW museum by escaping to the rooftop. The views of the city and the structure of the building were more visually interesting and inspiring than anything inside that crappy old museum. Enjoy.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rubin Museum

I blame February's deficit of days for the reason I didn't make my quota for visiting one museum that month. But marching on, I made up for lost time by visiting two museums during March (and this one counts as a show for the month too).

The Rubin Museum was at the suggestion of an out-of-town friend who wanted to see a live, un-plugged performance by emerging artist Keri Noble. Never heard of Keri Noble, never heard of Rubin Museum, and no idea there is a bar, restaurant and theater inside. The discovery of this interesting venue and program revealed something I already knew...I still have so much to learn and explore and do in this city!

Doing my part to fulfill the request the museum has of its visitors to tell 10 people of your experience there: - She will be famous one day, and I'll say I saw her when. - An untapped NYC source of entertainment and intellect.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Tulips

If only I were a little bunny, peeking out of my colorful blanket of tulips - oh, how happy I'd be!!  (Can't wait to get a comment from Gabe about that!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Now that's a view

I stayed at my old apartment last week to take care of Roxy while Jane was away on a trip.  Sitting on the couch watching TV (still remembering how to change the channels on the confusing remote) and clanging pots and pans around the kitchen (and knowing where to put them all back), I suddenly realized how at home I still feel there.  I walked over to my old bed - still there anytime I want to return, so Jane says! - and looked out at the view of the city, and I felt the familiar chills of excitement run up my spine.

I remembered the first time I saw that view - Jane and I had been emailing back and forth for about a week to make plans for me to see her (make that meet her) while I visited New York with Jackie and Ansley. In one of the emails Jane included a picture of a sunset view from her apartment window, and when I opened the message and comprehended the picture as the iconic buildings of midtown Manhattan, a lump swelled in my throat and tears welled in my eyes.  Sitting in front of my computer screen in my office in Birmingham, I choked back the emotions the picture stirred - it was my absolute dream!, yet the Birmingham life was my reality.  The desire to be in New York burned as deeply as the piercing oranges of the setting sun in the picture, and I knew then and there that I HAD to get to New York.  

That same lump of emotion appeared again in my throat today - two years later - as I thought about how that dream to live in New York...and have that view...became a reality.   And the lump grew sweeter with thoughts of how Jane opened her home and heart to me so I could experience New York.  What a lasting view of friendship that picture will always give me.  

I still have that email Jane sent me on February 1, 2007 - see the picture below, and my emotions-tempered-down reply: 

"WOW!!!  That picture made tears well up in my eyes!  That is my New York dream!  You are so lucky to live there." ~ Rebecca to Jane, February 2, 2007

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reality Ride

This morning I closed the cab door and told the driver my cross-town destination - Pier 94.  
"Where is that?" he asked. 
"On 55th and West Side Highway," I said, surprised to have to explain further.
As he gingerly drove over bumps in the intersection instead of peeling off like a bat out of hell the way most cab drivers do, I knew something was up.  And then when I had to repeat the destination twice and explain that the piers are all the way on the west side - "just drive west 'til we hit the water!" - I knew this guy had not a clue as to what he was doing.  

I didn't really care though if we inched along - or got lost for that matter - as long as he got me from east to west side in one piece.  An exhausting day of work busyness mixed with periods of boredom awaited at a trade show being held at the piers, and, admittedly, I was not feeling too excited about it.  I hunkered down in the seat and planned to enjoy a quiet ride across town, when again he asked me just where the piers are.  
"Are you kidding me?!" I wanted to scream.  "Everyone knows where the piers are!"  
As I drew a deep breath to tell him again, he apologized for asking and said that it was just his third day driving.  We began chatting, and he told me he was from Tennessee and had only been in New York for four months.  He came for a finance job, but he didn't get it, and he didn't want to move back home so soon, so...there he was, driving a cab until something better came along.  
I sat up a little prouder in my seat and said a quick prayer of apology for my bad attitude about my impending work day.  It beat driving around in a cab for 12 hours at a time, that's for sure.  In fact, my day sounded downright luxurious compared to his.  I launched into a pep talk of "I'm sure you'll find a job doing what you went to school for" and "You never know who might get in your cab who will offer you a finance job!"

We crossed over 6th Avenue - the heart of midtown Manhattan business with skyscrapers and bustling streets all around - and I noticed (impossible not to) a HUGE line of well-dressed business people - young, old, black, white - snaking and curling along the sidewalk.  As we drove, the line continued longer and longer.  "What in the world is going on?!" both the cabbie and I exclaimed.  Finally I saw the beginning of the line turn into the lobby of a hotel, and it hit me like a punch in the stomach - a job fair!  Oh good lord, a job fair.  

Seeing that many people standing in the freezing cold waiting for a chance to go inside to the job fair, while I was being chauffeured to my job by my college-educated cab driver, I suddenly couldn't wait for the work day at the trade show that awaited me.  I put a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart - the most essential part of any business suit these days.   

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Part of the show

Sometimes I find myself at an event or in a situation that suddenly - almost amusingly - makes me remember, "Oh yeah, I'm in New York City!"  Tonight, for example, I found myself in a very large loft studio in Soho, dressed head to toe in black, hobnobbing with drink in hand amongst a crowd of predominately Italian-speaking, short, dark-haired people.  Workers scurried around the gathering crowd to make final lighting and sound adjustments for the fashion show soon to take place, and I found I was being scurried around as the organizing photographer took it upon himself to introduce me from group to group.  As he ushered me to a seat on the empty front row saved for VIPs, I glanced back at the people sitting packed on the rows behind me.  I felt their eyes on me and knew they were thinking (just as much as I was, actually), "Just who does she think she is?"  The tallest person there by a few inches, with the lightest color skin and reddest color hair, I guess maybe I did look like I was somebody.  But I stifled a giggle to think if they only knew...little ol' Rebecca Mummert from Alabama is quite amazed to be here, sitting front row and feeling part of the 'New York City' show.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

Everywhere I Look a Celebrity!

Here a celeb, there a celeb, everywhere a celeb!!  The past week has been the most celebrity-filled of my New York tenure.  In true Gossip Girl form, read on to see who all I spotted around the city:

Friday - Spotted: Matthew Broderick - aka Ferris Bueller - on 62nd and Madison....on the phone and walking into Hermes.  Buying a Valentine's gift for Sarah Jessica, perhaps?  Or meeting Sarah Jessica inside??  Gossip Girl followed his brown coat tails...found no SJ, but predicts jewelry is in her future. 

Sunday - Spotted: Heidi Klum sneaking out of the Tents at Bryant Park. Our golden girl of the runway shying away from the spotlight? 

Tuesday - Spotted: Front row at Narcisco Rodriguez fashion show - Is that Kanye West and galpal Amber Rose behind those sunglasses?  Is Juliana Margueles making her comeback as ER makes its exit?  Has Claire Danes finally gotten a so-called life?

Wednesday - Spotted: Barely.  Carrie Fisher - aka Princess Leia - stumbles into Braccialini in Soho.  A few pounds and a few raindrops concealed her identity even after a few conversations.  Really Gossip Girl, you're losing your touch...

Thursday - Spotted: Kevin Bacon, Taylor Hicks and New Kids on the Block...street-side at the Regis and Kelly Show...Gossip Girl, you should be ashamed - up at 5:30 AM for them??

Friday - Spotted: Christian Siriano - aka Project Runway winner - dining at Lure in Soho with mom and boyfriend.  No smiles post-fashion week show?  Or is he just too fierce for smiles?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NYC Ballet

Similar to my quest this year to visit a museum a month is my quest to see a show a month. Like the museum, I've not set a schedule for what to do each month, or even planned it out further than just deciding 'today I feel like seeing a show', but I have set three viewing guidelines:
1) A Broadway show is preferred, but any type of theater, dance or music (comedy is pushing it) counts
2) It has to be a live show
3) If I can get in free, even better!
January's show started the year on a high note - not only was it Broadway, it was classic Broadway - The Phantom of the Opera - AND I sat in the best seats in the house for free!   

As luck would have it, today my boss gave me two tickets (free!) to the New York City Ballet (live!) in Lincoln Center (practically Broadway!)  

Cameron and I enjoyed an evening of three ballets - Ballo della Regina, Robert Schumann's 'Davidsbundlertanze', and Glass Pieces.  Our seats were stage right in the dress circle...a perfect spot to enjoy both the movement on stage and the audience in the theater.  Though the real show was playing out on the stage in front of me, I took advantage of my perch above orchestra and gazed at the rapt faces of the audience.  I dreamed of what thoughts the ballerinas on stage have as they spin and leap and await the clapping hands.  My eyes dazzled with the beautiful architecture of the interior - the chandeliers and lights cut like hundreds of beautiful diamond engagement rings.  

Unlike the current trend of lax dress code and demeanor at most Broadway shows, the atmosphere at the ballet is dignified and grand, just as a night at "the ballet" should be.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Barbie is celebrating her 50th birthday all around New York City - in the windows at Bloomingdale's, in displays at toy fairs, and even in the exclusive Tents at Bryant Park. And who would dare stop Barbie as she pranced by the security guards who barricade the entry to the inside of the Tents? Those intimidating guards blocking the entrance from the less-heeled crowd on the street definitely couldn't resist Barbie's charm, and neither could Fashion Week organizers. She was honored with The Barbie Fashion Show (watch here) - the hottest ticket this Fashion Week with girls young and old trying to finagle their way to the show.

I wanted to see the show so badly, I decided if having let my little sister play with my beloved Peaches 'n Cream Barbie all those years ago would have provided me enough good karma to get a ticket to the show, I would have gladly handed Peaches over to her "death". (Elizabeth was the culprit in the decapitation of just about every Barbie ever known to be in her care. She claims she's only guilty of having a heavy hand while hair brushing, but I always had suspicion there was more reckless motives behind the incidences...)

Knowing a head-crammed-on, short-necked Barbie wouldn't give me any more good karma now that it would have to play with back then, I figured unless I could come by a ticket the honest way (minimal finagling required), then I didn't really want a ticket to the show anyway. Why have Barbie come to life on the runway now, since she's always existed in my world of pretend?

So pretend is exactly what I did: though my credentials got me inside the Tents, they did not get me into the show. Instead, I wandered the decorations surrounding the fountain and pretended I was sitting live in the audience while I watched the show on the television screen.

After all, a game of pretend is always better than a huffy declaration of "I'm taking my Barbie's and I'm going home!"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just another girl in the park

With it being day 3 of NYC Fashion Week, and me not having been to a show in the Tents at Bryant Park yet, I decided the next best thing to models lined on a runway was a table lined with sushi. Eating at the restaurant Koi in the Bryant Park Hotel has become my fashion week tradition, so I made plans to meet there with my fashionista friend Amy who was in town from Alabama.

Excited about the sushi, drinks and conversation soon to be consumed, I energetically hopped off the bus at 42nd Street and walked the few bustling avenues to Bryant Park. My tall boots were click, click clicking as I cut through the back side of the park behind the Tents - the area dark, quiet and all but deserted - a far cry from the onlookers crowded at the front of the Tents on 6th Avenue.

I slowed my hurried pace a few beats so I could enjoy the refreshing sights (trees with a glowing backdrop of skyscrapers) and sounds (distant car horns) of nature. "Ah, to just be a girl relaxing in a park!" I thought, before picking up the pace again. But wait - I'm not alone in the park - who's that tall blonde walking up beside me? And why are there 10 cameramen walking backwards in front of her, and now me, too?!

With a quick glance - and an even quicker jaw drop - I realized it wasn't just any other girl in the park with was Heidi Klum. My first reaction was to flip my hair and rock my hips in a catwalk sashay duel beside her across the park, but I quickly saw that she was just walking, just like me, on her way toward Koi, just like me, her heels clicking, just like mine, her hair blowing into her face, just as mine did. She's just another girl in the park, just like me. But, oh!, how I wished I could be her as the flashbulbs lit up her face and the dark sky around us. As she ducked into her waiting car and I ducked around the back of it to cross the street, she glanced at me through the window, and I wondered if just maybe she wished she could be me even for a little while - just another girl in the park.

My Tulips

A crimson and white "pompom" more spirited than a stadium full of crimson and white shakers. Roll Tulips Roll!  

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Heart Hustle

When was the last time you saw a man running at top speed down a sidewalk with flowers in hand? Never, you say? Well, me either, until today. The influx of roses this week to the city's street corner markets beamed shades of red into the gray wintry streets - a blaring red siren, if you will, to alert one and all that Valentine's Day is here. Judging by the cellophane-wrapped bouquets cradled in many a man's arm as he walked home - New York City suitors had taken notice.

So with Valentine love abundantly in the air, the sight of this particular man with flowers in hand should not have been so startling. But his exuberance, his determination, his desire to get those flowers to his intended recipient was so strong, so obvious that he was running as fast as he could down the sidewalk.  I half expected to see him leap over a garbage can and clear the gate like a hurdle as he bound toward the front door of the apartment building.  Surely his motivation was the loving smile and happy eyes that awaited him.  If only all men could have such - breathless? - dedication. 

If only all men were the 1-800-flowers delivery guy...  

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Memory Handful

I love when an unexpected sight stops me in my tracks, the image depicting a fond memory brought to mind. This type of reminiscing does not include rummaging through a drawer and finding a photo or memento to remind you of an occasion. This is about seeing something completely unrelated to the memory, but it being so depictive of the event that your memory is sparked and brought vibrantly to life. One of the remarkable things about walking the streets of New York City is the sights and sounds here could not be further out of context from every memory I possess from life in Alabama, yet a simple image can spark a memory and bring the two worlds together.

The anticipation for the halftime show of the Alabama-Auburn football game my first year as a Crimsonette was tremendous. Our part in the 12-minute show consisted of a twirling feature, a high-spirited dance number, a two baton routine, and a graceful dance, not to mention three costume changes of only about 30 seconds each. Throw in the added stressors of traveling to Birmingham for the game, the thought of the whole state of Alabama in the stadium watching, not learning a three-minute dance routine until midnight on the Thursday before the performance, and never having practiced the costume changes until Saturday morning - it's needless to say we were 18 girls wrought with nerves.

We had a million details to remember and a million opportunities for things to go wrong - and go wrong they did: missed musical cues, wardrobe malfuncitons, dropped batons. During the dance routine we'd learned just 36 hours before, I didn't know whether I was jumping or leaping or spinning, and a look at the Crimsonette next to me showed she had no idea either. We escaped to the tiny makeshift sideline dressing room, a commotion of girls ripping off our peppy skirt and sweater costumes from the spirited dance and grabbing on the long sheer red skirts and gloves for the next number.

Trying to regain composure from the hysterics of the costume change, I waltzed into my position on the field while frantically yet discreetly struggling to get my right hand in its glove. My thumb must have gone into the pinky of the glove causing my fingers to miss half of the finger holes, because when the music began and I circled my arms above my head with ballerina-like charm, I saw the empty finger slots protruding in every direction from my unfortunately twisted glove. Feeling as though the eyes of the entire stadium were focused on the gnarled hand at the end of my graceful arm, I balled the sprouting fingers into my fist so I could continue to dance for the duration of the song with the least bit of humiliation.

The image of that gnarled red glove has always stuck in my mind, always reminding me of one of the more shameful performances of the Crimsonettes, but making me laugh nonetheless.

So you can see how this unexpected sight not only literally stopped me in my tracks but also brought about a wave of sweet Tuscaloosa memories while standing on the corner of the busy New York City street.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

So close, yet so far

My pleading with the weather must have worked - today the sky was blue and the sun was bright, and the temperature was milder than it has been in ages. I shrugged off the big puffy coat I've grown accustomed to wearing and slipped on a short, three-quarter sleeve jacket. A mixing up of my wardrobe deserved an equal changing up of my scenery, so I traded my well-trod Manhattan streets for an out-of-borough excursion to Brooklyn.

I hopped on the subway clutching the directions I had hastily scribbled on top of another note, and as the train lurched forward in the direction I hoped was toward my Brooklyn destination of Prospect Park, I realized the station where I was supposed to get off was not listed as a stop for this train. I panicked only slightly before picking a new stop by the park that I figured must be close to the outdoor flea market I intended to visit. After the 40 minute ride into Brooklyn, I exited the train and emerged in an area I discovered was so close, yet so far from my now unknown destination.

I decided to just explore the area I had happened upon - finding the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Library and Grand Army Plaza - and enjoyed the new scenery but grew weary for "the City" I had left behind for the afternoon.  I turned a corner and- there it was!  My Manhattan so majestic in the distance, it beckoning me home, and me realizing I was so close, yet so far to getting back there. 

With the sun beginning to set, the winds beginning to gust and the temperatures beginning to drop - I tucked my scarf a little tighter, wished for my heavier coat, and decided the lasting days of warmer temperatures that lead to today's adventure were so close, yet so far away. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stop, please

The freeze always begins with a tingling in my upper lip that moves immediately to my lower lip and then creeps into my cheeks - my face feeling paper thin with the frigid temperatures blasting against me. Realizing my nose is so frozen that I can no longer feel it, I start moving and twitching it side to side - not the quick Bewitched style, mind you, my twitches are slow-motioned and labored, my numbing face clumsy.

Snow is piled everywhere, and I've been living in my big puffy coat for what feels like weeks. Last year at this same time I was wishing for snow and bragging that this southern girl didn't think the New York winter was so bad. Sure it was cold, but it was a refreshing cold, and I didn't believe anyone who told me I was experiencing a mild first winter in the north.

But I believe them now, for there is nothing refreshing about walking outside and feeling your skin freeze on contact with the air. Nothing refreshing about having to cover every inch of your body in three layers. Nothing refreshing about tears streaming down your cheeks from the windy cold. Nothing refreshing about wishing you had a ski mask just so you can take a walk down 5th Avenue.

So, stop, please! to the frigid air and snow.  Let us icicles of New Yorkers remember what normal air feels like, the weightlessness of no coats, and the warmth of the sun on our faces.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chic at all costs

Pegu Club - Soho

My green knit dress clung to the rich brown velvet cushions as I fidgeted in my chair at the swanky Soho cocktail bar Pegu Club. The medium height and rounded shape of the chair made for an uncomfortable - albeit aesthetically pleasing - perching spot beside the low table. I took another sip of my drink - savoring it as my one and only for the night. Outside the window, West Houston Street was quiet and covered in snow. The glow from the street lights shown through the wood grilles decorating the window, and cast a funny plaid shadow on the trendy clothes and pretty faces of everyone around the bar.

Popping the last bite of the shrimp mini burger into my mouth - the double use of "tiny" descriptives should have forewarned me - I marveled how something so delicious could be so unsatisfying. No doubt unsatisfying because one drink plus one small appetizer at this place equals what I spend on lunch for an entire week.

"What we New Yorkers pay to be chic is ridiculous," I thought, but resigned myself to focus on the conversation and to enjoy the evening of sophisticated company. I sipped my drink again and smiled across the table.

"Oh my gosh," my friend said, half under her breath. "I could eat about five of these shrimp burgers, but I'd settle for four slices of cheap pizza right now!"

My thoughts exactly.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Tulips

Every time I look at these tulips, I'm transported to a late afternoon sky of frothy clouds edged with the hues of the setting sun, the wind gently blowing me from one blossom to the next.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Museum a Month - Guggenheim

I admit that before today, I had never been inside a New York City museum. On past trips here with friends, if they suggested a museum, I suggested we split up for the next few hours - "You go to the museum, I'm going tooo...go walk around." I reasoned with only a few days here, there was SO much more I'd rather see of New York than just the inside of a building. And my excuse for not going in the last 18 months of living here? "Oh, I live here. I can go anytime."

Maybe it was the Bush twins' letter urging me to "Go", or it was the start of a new year and new habits, or it was the question of how long will I live here that made me finally resolve to explore the inside of these museums I've paraded past for years. This year I will go to one museum a month - the "Museum a Month" club of which I'm currently the founder, president and only committed member.

Not having a museum whose works I most wanted to see, I picked the Guggenheim as my first stop because it has the most unusual architecture and layout (and I did check its website to discover a new exhibit began this weekend.)  

I invited a friend along to make the trip 50 or so blocks north to the museum. We hopped off the bus, walked a few blocks and arrived at the museum with faces flushed from the cold. We navigated through the tourists crowding the lobby, paid the entry fee, and picked up head phones for the audio tour. Meredith opted for no head phones - a decision she would later regret when she wanted to talk to pass the time but I was listening to the monotonous droll - I mean, informative descriptions of the pieces.

We began circling the floors of the Guggenheim - art displayed in rooms and nooks off the spiraling ramp that is the interior of the building - its layout a piece of art in its own rite. The bottom floors were interesting and just what I expect of a museum - Monet's, Renoir's, other artists who I didn't recognize but appreciated nonetheless. But the higher we circled, the crazier the art became. The dream room of buzzing noises and flashing lights? The guy who hypnotized himself to be his mom and wrote descriptions of family pictures as if he was her? The cut out slice of wall with debris piled neatly on the floor in front of it? Maybe I was weary from the climb, or maybe the air was thinner on the higher floors and thus adversely affecting my ability to process what I was seeing as "art", but the untraditional pieces definitely entertained, and we spent the last ramp laughing and calling to each other, "Oh my gosh - you will not believe this one!"

But at the end of the climb I realized that - in the end - not believing something is what art is - a creation designed to be viewed in beauty or wonder or confusion. One person's thought or vision given life for others to see and question or believe as they will.

One museum down - 11 to go!  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sun-Maid Message

Raisins are just a boring staple in my snack world, easy to stash away in my purse and carry around until I'm either desperate for something to eat or feel it's time for a healthy bite. In fact, the only thing that keeps me coming back for more is the desire to discover the message printed on the top flap of the little red box. I must say, flipping open that little cardboard flap creates a thrill of anticipation that I'm sure the marketing genious at Sun-Maid knew it would for millions of people, if not just for me. Messages so profound in their brevity, I've been known to rip the flap off and tuck it away somewhere so I'll see it again - jammed in my mirror frame, mixed in my change purse, crunched up in my coat pocket.

The taste of my box today can be described as inspiring, with a hint of motivation:

"Stay curious and you will travel to the ends of the earth."

So refreshing was that raisin box, that I was spurred to compose a message I hope Sun-Maid will consider for its next box printing:

"Words add flavor."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Even super villains shop for toilet paper

Domestic duties topped my social calendar tonight - a visit to Bed, Bath & Beyond for cleaning supplies followed by a few loads at the laundromat. Not glamorous or interesting tasks by New York standards, but essential chores nonetheless.

Arriving at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I grabbed a hand basket and weaved toward the back of the store through the humidifiers, microwaves and kitchen utensils until coming face to face with a shopping cart and having to step aside so it could pass. My eyes locked on the cart driver, who passed with a nod as I stared. "I know that face - that mouth and chin!" I thought with a mischievous thrill saved only for celebrity spotting.

Wanting to make sure the face belonged to who I thought it did (the rational side of my brain thinking "No way could it be him - he's too famous to be pushing a cart unnoticed through Bed, Bath & Beyond!"), I sidled up beside an employee who I thought shared my same "Is it or isn't it?" expression.

"Excuse me," I said, "where is the laundry detergent?" needing a buffer question so as not to appear so star struck. I didn't even let him answer before blurting, "and did you see that guy who just walked by? The one pushing the cart? He went that way. With the dark-haired girl? He's famous isn't he? What's his name? You know? That guy. The mean, scary guy in Batman? No - Spiderman! Yes - he's the mean guy in Spiderman! What's his name?"

Blank stare. "I didn't see him, miss."

"You had to have seen him! He just walked by right here - and he's famous!" I insisted, trying to keep my voice down since the actor in question was still within earshot.

"Didn't see him."

Another Bed, Bath & Beyond employee overheard our conversation and offered up the confirmation I was looking for, "The Green Goblin - he's in here all the time!"

"Ha! Yes - he's the Green Goblin!" I smugged to the blankly staring employee before turning and skipping on down the aisle, the basket of cleaners swinging in my hand, happy that my night of chores turned into a fun story, and strangely satisfied that even super villains have to shop for toilet paper.

Green Goblin - actor Willem Dafoe.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Tulips

With thousands of pictures saved to my iPhotos, it's always a surprise to see which one randomly appears as my background screen saver when the photos rotate each minute. Truth be told, I spend excessive amounts of time minimizing whatever it may be I'm reading or writing on the computer to get a full screen image of the picture.

The last few weeks my tulip pictures from Keukenhof have rotated onto my computer screen with such frequency that I can't decide whether it's the winter gods teasing me with spring or my subconscious dreams materializing before me. I find these pictures so delicately beautiful, so explosively colorful, so intensely inspiring that my breath catches each time a tulip photo appears. I stare dreamily at my computer screen for the next minute until it fades away, and I'm left hopeful it resurfaces again soon.

So, what can be deemed as one part selfish agenda and one part selfless giving, I'm compelled to not contain the photos to just my computer screen, but to share the beauty with you! I'll post a new flower each week for your viewing pleasure - this first tulip one of my absolute favorites. "Orange Burst" - as I have named it - because burst is exactly what my heart does everytime I look at it!

(I took all the pictures in Holland in April 2008 at Keukenhof gardens.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


When I read snippets of the letter Jenna and Barbara Bush wrote to the new daugthers of the White House, Sasha and Malia, I got a little choked up. Knowing the feelings that prompted the letter were surely even stronger than the words they wrote, I sympathized with the Bush twins as they realized a chapter of their lives was over.

The part of their letter that particularly struck me is the following:

"...go to anything and everything you possibly can: the Kennedy Center for theater, State Dinners, Christmas parties (the White House staff party is our favorite!), museum openings, arrival ceremonies, and walks around the monuments. Just go. Four years goes by so fast, so absorb it all, enjoy it all!"

"Just go...absorb it all, enjoy it all!" I like to think I have that mindset about living in New York - never wanting to just sit in my apartment watching TV when I can be out experiencing the life of the city. The Bush twins' advice spoke as much to me as to their intended recipients, and I've renewed my commitment to enjoy living in the city that not everyone who dreams of is blessed to experience.

Read the complete letter by Jenna and Barbara Bush:'s_Most_Popular

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Overnight Success

Working in fashion in New York City, I'm constantly reading fashion articles and magazines and thinking of ways to promote the brand. So, I'm accustomed to the chatter of the business, the endless droll it sometimes becomes. But it was surprising to see how much interest not only the fashion world but the whole country took in the fashion choices of the Obama's throughout the campaign and inauguration; now even regular Joe's know the names "Isabel Toledo" and "Jason Wu" - relative unknowns before January 20th.

So, it got me thinking - if only I could get MObama (as the fashion blogs call her) to wear a RazzleDazzleNewYork t-shirt...

The windows of Barney's New York - the exclusive retailer of Isabel Toledo - took advantage of the newfound celebrity with her designs featured in the window along with signs declaring, "We love that Mrs. Obama loves Isabel Toledo" and "Congratulations to Mrs. Obama and Isabel Toledo."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Perplexing Periwinkle

Spotted: A periwinkle stovepipe - oh my!

In a city of five million variations of black coats, I should have known someone would be THAT person. I've rationalized since last year when I bought my bohemoth winter coat - please note: in black - that the only person who would actually select the periwinkle color option would be someone living in Colorado who wears it for skiing or someone in Montana who wears it because she just doesn't know better. But my reasonings were dashed today when I spotted a Manhattanite loudly and proudly wearing a periwinkle stovepipe!

After stopping stunned in the middle of the sidewalk, I immediately turned an about face, scrambled a few steps to follow her and snapped a picture. I can only hope to assume she is a tourist, but judging from her tote bag (kind of looked like work), her upper east side location (Bernie Madoff's apartment is the closest tourist attraction), and her walking alone (tourists almost always travel in packs), I fear either she's lost from planet Barney or she's a very misguided one of us.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New York today...tomorrow the world!

Walking home this evening I overheard a young girl say to her friend, "New York today...tomorrow the world!" From what I gathered, the comment stemmed from the girls and their moms having come to the city for a shopping trip just for the day, and now the girl had dreams of shopping trips even bigger and better in the future.

Regardless of her reason for saying what she did, the line struck me. I can't keep from repeating it (and repeating it) myself - in my best super hero impersonation: hands on hips, fist rising to the sky, flaming red hair blowing behind me as I rise higher than the New York City skyscrapers, sights set on new lands near and far.

And the bubble caption above my head wonders, "Why not?"

Saturday, January 17, 2009


The high temperatures seven of the last nine days have been at or below 32 degrees. Today's high is 21, and the low is 6. Yesterday the high was 17. Snow has stayed piled on cars, gutters, fire escapes, shrubs, rooftops - everywhere - for the last week. The streets are quiet with most people staying indoors as much as possible.

New York City is frozen.

And with no city energy pumping through my veins, I am frozen. My normal fast walking pace has slowed to an even gait; my head stays tucked into a cap and hood and buried into a scarf. My line of sight is narrowed to just what is straight ahead - there is no looking all around me when I'm burrowed deep into my bulky coat.

So my eyes fixate on the images before me, images I see everyday, yet somehow now in my slowed down mind they look different - freezing, perhaps, into my vision. I stop in the middle of Park Avenue and notice the arch of the street lights repeating at every intersection, a graceful canopy decorating the length of the street. On Lexington I see a maze of zigzagged fire escapes on the sides of buildings, almost creating a contemporary piece of art. On the corner of 3rd Avenue, the line of yellow cabs turning one after another seems almost a well-timed parade, the rhythmic swoosh of the tires audible in the cold quiet air.

Everywhere I look I see something I've seen before, but not really. Never experiencing it with such crispness and stilled observance. Maybe the freezing temperatures slow the city down so only its bare necessities are functioning, bringing them sharply into focus.

As the frozen day drew to a close, the last image my mind recorded was the one of my best buddies Lauren and Jake as they turned to walk away after our dinner. Since they move from New York tomorrow, I had the sharp realization that this is probably the last time I will see them together in the city, the image of them walking hand in hand down the street is frozen in my mind.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jury Duty Changed My Life

I would like to say Jury Duty changed my life by giving me a newfound respect for our American legal system, or because I now see the power of a democratic society which understands the value of right versus wrong. I'd even like to say I felt a certain freedom in "taking my opportunity to cease my power and let my voice be heard," as Diane Sawyer circa 1993 urged us potential jurors to do via taped video in the Jury Assembly Room from 8:45 to 9:00 AM Monday morning.

Considering I grabbed my purse and coat and tripped over a few knees as I shoved down my row and out the Assembly Room door a little after 9:05 at the jury proctor's first mention of, "If anyone has cause to not serve today, speak now or forever-", it's needless to say, I did not hold my peace but found myself across the street, pleading my case for postponement.

No, Jury Duty changed me because I had to take the 6 subway downtown to New York City Hall, find my assigned juror building and get through security by 8:45 AM, and for a girl who doesn't have to be at work until 10:00 AM, waking up at 6:30 in the morning is a life-altering experience. Since Sunday I've gone to bed at night by 11:30 at the latest and woken up - unaided by my trusty alarm clock - by 6:00 or 6:30 every morning. I've always prided myself as being a night owl, boasting of how much I can get done in the hour or two before bed, but I never knew there was a whole world waiting for me in the morning! A world where I feel quiet and rested, and a few steps ahead of the game as I look out my window at the lightless sky and dark apartment buildings. Replying to emails, writing some RazzleDazzle, reading news sites, saying my prayers, eating a good breakfast, getting ready unrushed - never would I have guessed I'm an early bird who craves the worm!

And as for the jury postponement - mark my words, when July rolls around and my duty is unable to be postponed again, I'll find myself void of this newfound morning freedom and sequestered for the summer on a mob murder case.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Remnant reminders

Construction just up the street from my apartment has annoyed me for months. Not because I could hear banging and drilling in my apartment, but because "the project" dominated the sidewalk and my ability to walk it freely. Every time I left the apartment to go anywhere, I had to go underneath, around or through the mess of two by fours and machinery. And on top of that - literally - the scaffolding covering the sidewalk (a byproduct of all construction projects in the city) was an obtrusive eyesore for the street, a congregating area for random shady-looking people, and a constant source of fear for objects that could fall on my head.

I had no idea - and never stopped to consider - what the final product was planned to be; my only concern was to get through the area without stepping on a nail or being heckled by the workers. Even so, I did notice the building taking shape little by little each week - the foundation beams soon became walls that were soon painted and given necessary lights and fixtures. A few months into the project, I remember thinking as I scurried by, "This pile of nothing is becoming something!"

One day the protective scaffolding finally came down, revealing detailed work that had been hidden from my street view, and I was surprised at the refining and advancement that had taken place without me being aware. Still though, boards covered the facade and paper blocked the view through the windows, so it was impossible to guess the outward appearance, much less what finishing was going on inside the heart of the building.

When I returned to New York after my Christmas and New Years travels, and I made my way up the street for the first time in a few weeks, I stopped in my tracks beside the construction area. It was no longer a construction area at all - coverings had been removed to unveil a finished building. From the dirt and splintered wood had risen a sleek and strong building with a surprising purpose - it is the community facility for an Asian church called Remnant Presbyterian!

Now those who gather outside on the street have a Bible in hand rather than a beverage in a brown paper bag. What once was the black eye of the street now is its shining halo. The remnant now for me of those months of annoying construction is the reminder that I, too, am a work in progress, and that I should not be quick to judge those areas (and people) of my life that are messy, troublesome or need a little nailing into place...maybe something beautiful is under construction!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gossip Girl

I rarely watch Gossip Girl anymore - the CW television show set on the Upper East Side of Manhattan - but I'm still intrigued by the characters who portray the fictional lives of spoiled rich kids. How can I not take interest when its art imitating life is a depiction of my well-to-do New York City neighbors? But, like I said, I rarely if ever watch the show anymore, but I do always keep an eye out for the actors around the city - any one of them being a good celebrity spotting to brag about.

Walking to work this morning, several trailors and crew trucks lined Park Avenue, and I spotted a "No Parking" sign that revealed Gossip Girl was filming in the area all day. Yes! The timing couldn't have been more perfect, because as I walked up the relatively empty block between 62nd and 63rd Streets, resident bad boy Chuck Bass walked directly toward me, wearing a skinny three piece suit and a snooty leer across his face the way only Chuck Bass can. Our gazes locked for several paces as we approached each other, and I struggled with the internal battle I always do when making eye contact with a passing famous face - do I say something or do I just pass like it's no big deal? I decided to return his signature glare with one of my own but did throw in a, "Hey Chuck Bass!" as our shoulders passed.

"Hey East Siders - Spotted: C brooding at a redhead on Park. He's probably been drinking before noon again. Sad." You know you love me - XOXO - Gossip Girl

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chance Encounters

I'm debating whether I can stamp an "Only in New York" sticker on the following story, or if I should simply reason that New Yorkers have an inclination to find opportunity in every encounter, always ready to create an experience - just like the city in which we live.

The story begins the weekend before I moved to New York, when I went on a beach trip to Destin and randomly met a girl who had just moved back to Alabama after several years in New York. You can imagine our conversation - one girl about to move to the city of her dreams and one girl just back from her adventure. Meeting her was a sign that New York was destined for me - I would go and have my own discoveries and experience life there for myself. The beach trip ended, I went back to Birmingham and on to New York, and I didn't think much of her again.

Until my flight back to New York on the evening of December 26th. Waking from my nap in the dark and quiet plane when we landed in New York, I gathered my bags and looked across the aisle as I waited to exit. My eyes locked on the face of a blonde girl with shining eyes and an enthusiastic smile seated across from me, and I knew it was her - what's-her-name from the beach!

I reached my hand across the aisle and tapped her shoulder, "I think I met you-" I began, "on the beach!" she finished. We reintroduced - Emily is her name - and chatted all the way from the plane to the taxi line, there exchanging numbers and making plans to meet when I got back from Holland.

We met at John's Pizzeria, a restaurant in the heart of the theater district, normally bustling, but tonight relatively empty, making a seat at the bar and audible conversation easy to come by. An overly friendly policeman who "has worked tha area fa yeeahs, knows everybudy who's anybudy" at the nearby theaters saw opportunity in us girls and boasted, "if ya wanna go see Phantom tanight, I can get ya in." As perfectly unplanned opportunities go, the theater for Phantom of the Opera is located directly across the street from John's, and it's the only Broadway show with a Monday evening performance. Not ones to turn down an experience, we accepted immediately.

If waiting with the theater manager to be escorted to our free seats in the Producer's Box wasn't opportunistic enough of an experience, I had the surprise of encountering two friends from the South who were on a visit to New York. Shaking my head at the chance encounters leading to chance opportunity leading to more chance encounters, Emily and I laughed at this being the perfect randomly chanced upon show: it's one I had previously paid for and slept through, thus wanted to see again, and it's the first show she saw on Broadway - the one that made her fall in love with performing and prompted her to move to New York to pursue her Broadway dream.