A Night at the Theater Review

I recently went to An Evening of Song with Lesli Odom Jr. at Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts, and talk about incredible! For those who don’t know, Lesli Odom Jr. is a Tony Award and Grammy Award Winning actor and singer best known for his unforgettable performance as Aaron Burr in Broadway’s Hamilton.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in Hamilton a little over a year ago and man is he talented. Being out of the 8-show-week grind, he has focused on recording his own music and is now on tour performing music from his albums as well as Hamilton.

Lasting about an hour, An Evening of Song was a show that provided the audience with a taste of what he’s all about. He was accompanied by his three band members that are so insanely talented, my jaw was dropped probably the entire time. His jazz album is all around good for the soul. It’s the kind of music you feel throughout your whole body and makes you so thankful for this wonderful life. The bass, the drums, the piano…it was breathtaking. You could feel their energy and passion oozing from the stage and each song brought me deeper and deeper into his world of music.

In addition to his insanely talented band, his renditions of his own songs from Hamilton took the performance to a whole other level. Most people know him for that performance and seeing him perform in a completely different setting compared to New York’s Richard Rodgers Theater was a treat. The biggest difference was that the accompaniment consisted of three people rather than an entire orchestra, and yet he still created magic in a more intimate performance.

The only downfall of the evening was how short it was. However, the hour was filled to the brim with feel good music that left me in awe. I was already a huge fan and I left the Straz Center not only wanting more, but with an even deeper appreciation for his art. He has a glow about him that lights up the entire room and his talent is undeniable. I’m blessed to have attended his evening of song and look forward to seeing him perform once again.

I encourage anyone reading to listen to his music! You will not be disappointed. A personal favorite of mine is his version of “Winter Song” from his Simply Christmas album. Enjoy 🙂

Apple Music Preview: iTunes

His Single: iTune’s

Debut Album: iTunes

Christmas Album: iTunes

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

Advertisements

Mark Your Calendars!

The summer is full of things to do, places to go, and people to see. Here’s a few events coming up near me that make the summer months so great!

First Friday St. Pete – July 7th, 2017 

Free block party downtown St. Pete between 2nd and 3rd streets on Central Ave. The fun is from 5:30-10pm. Live music, dancing, and yummy food. What more do ya need!?

St. Pete Second Saturday Artwork – July 8th, 2017

St. Pete’s art scene is one you don’t want to miss. Galleries and studios stay open late as the event is held from 5-9pm. Not only is there cool art, but also free trolleys to bring people around the city to scope out the good stuff. More information can be found here.

Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival – Clearwater – Daily 

Clearwater Beach always has things happening and each night there are artisans, crafters, street performers, live music and entertainment 2 hours before sunset and 2 hours after. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s beautiful.

Safety Harbor Third Friday – July 21, 2017

Safety Harbor’s Main Street is a great place to be on the third Friday of the month. There’s shops, vendors, live music, and delicious food. From 6-10pm, this free event is perfect whether you’re with friends and wanting a fun, relaxing night or want a family friendly atmosphere.

Largo Cultural Center – A Chorus Line

Largo Cultural Center puts on some amazing shows and this month they are doing A Chorus Line! Shows will be July 14-16, 20-23, Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Ticket prices vary from $16-26 and it is reserved seating so don’t miss your chance! Trust me when I say it will be good!

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

My Promise Letter to Time

Dear Time,

I am writing to you today because you are worthy of praise. You are a very weird concept and sometimes it feels like you are slipping away, but having you by my side is a true blessing.

We aren’t told how much of you we will have or how little of you we will receive, but I’m learning day to day that we must fully appreciate you in your entirety. Sometimes you like to walk. Sometimes you like to run full speed ahead. I have found that the walking pace comes when I want you to run. When things aren’t necessary ideal, I’ve noticed you take a little longer to pass. On the contrary, the running seems to take place when things are at a high. All of a sudden, the days are passing and you are flying. I am writing you today to tell you that no matter what speed you choose, I’m learning that each is important and each is a gift.

No matter what stage of life someone is in, we are blessed to be in a stage period. Going forward, I promise to appreciate every ounce of you that I receive. I have a tendency to look at what’s coming rather than what is now and what is present. I also have a tendency to focus on things from the past. Both tendencies leave me looking at something that is out of reach and not presently with me. While you grant us the ability to remanence as well as the ability to look beyond, I promise to appreciate you in the moment just as much.

It’s funny. It seems as if when we’re kids we want to be the prestigious adult. And when we’re in the middle, in adulthood but not yet in the “old” category, we wish to go back to the days that are filled with play time and the unforgettable nap time. It’s that whole way of thinking that we want what we can’t necessarily have. But what we don’t realize, is that we have you each step of the way. You are what permits each step to happen.

You are the foundation for this lovely little thang. I promise to cherish you and do good with the amount I am allotted. I promise to soak in each moment, be in the present, and always recognize your lovely composition.

With immense gratitude,

Brittani

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

My Five Favorite (Chicago) Things

Chicago is my home away from home. Though I’m currently living in Florida, I do live in the city most of the year while going to school. I also grew up there so it’s definitely considered a home for me. Over the past two years, I’ve been lucky to live downtown and soak up all of the wonderful, zesty life the city has to offer. It’s one of those cities that makes anyone feel like they belong and has something for everyone. Below are some of my favorite things to do in good ol’ Chi-Town.

  1. Chillin’ by the lake DSCN1772There’s something magical about the lake. It’s the type of place where you can go and do literally nothing, but be completely content. The views, the atmosphere, the breeze… everything about it just puts your mind to rest. It comes in very handy around exam time when you’re stressed to the max and just need a moment away. Another thing that I love is that there’s always a mix of people. Whether they’re running, walking, biking, or just sitting breathing it all in, it reminds me that we’re all connected in this great big world in one way or another. It’s all around good for the soul.
  2. Soaking in the VIEWS!Processed with VSCO with c1 presetChicago is quite the picturesque city. Seriously, a picture of a trash can on a street corner can end up looking good. I’m constantly acting like a tourist and stopping every few seconds to take pictures. The fusion of the old architecture with the new gives the city even more character than it already has, and I just love it.  There’s so much history in Chicago and being surrounded by it is pretty remarkable. I encourage anyone reading to take a trip there. I promise you the city will not disappoint.
  3. Finding the deals and $teals IMG_3666Like pretty much all college students, this girl is on a budget. In the city, especially, things tends to be a lil more expensive than my liking. However, Chicago has plenty of places that can accommodate a cheap budget. When it comes to clothes, one of my favorites is Urban Outfitters Surplus. It’s pretty much an Urban Outfitters discount store with everything at sale prices. It’s the bomb. Another one, not unique to the city, is the good ol’ Salvation Army. When it comes to food, the delicious (and affordable) meal pictured above is found at the iconic Devil Dawgs. In a place where price tags can be a little steep, I love finding those places where my cherished dollar can go a long way and get me the good stuff.
  4. Finding the yummy ice cream shops! Processed with VSCO with c1 presetI’m an ice cream fanatic. It may be my favorite thing ever, and Chicago is full of the cutest little shops one can find. The ice cream above can be found at the lovely George’s on the Northside. Another favorite is the well-known Jeni’s in Wicker Park. I can go on and on about how delightful ice cream is, but that would possibly never end. So, moral of the story… Chicago knows what’s up when it comes to scrumptious sweets, and finding them is the best.
  5. Strolling down Michigan AvenueProcessed with VSCO with g3 preset

    Talk about a city oozing with life. Walking down Michigan Avenue is exhilarating in my book. There’s so much movement and it has a feeling about it that’s like no other. You’re surrounded by big buildings and you’d think that would make you feel so small, but it actually is a little reminder that you’re important; that you can do anything in this world, and do it with confidence. It’s also pretty great at night. The city is a little quieter and everything is lit up. It’s a sight to see and a feeling I hope to never forget.

    Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

Q&A: Judi Honiker Capturing Life’s Beautiful Moments Through Her Lens

Life is composed of so many creative elements that come together to create the colorful world we know and love. One of those elements that is near to my heart is photography. Recently I’ve been captivated by Chris de Bode’s work and the way he shares stories. It’s all about capturing a moment that holds immense beauty that you can then carry with you moving forward.

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Judi Honiker, a 64-year-old photographer located in Clearwater, Florida. While working as a Sales & Marketing Assistant, she absolutely loves taking photographs in her spare time that exemplify the beauty that surrounds each of us. Judi has a creative eye that transports you directly into her beautiful photographs, and I’m so happy I was able to chat with her about how she captures life’s lovely moments.

What inspired you to start taking photos? Tell me about your first introduction.

I actually never had a desire to take photos, but in 2001, I was laid off from an administrative assistant position.  After meeting with a career counselor at Worknet Pinellas, I was informed that they didn’t have any positions available in that field and suggested furthering my education doing something else.  I’m not sure why, but said, “I think I’d like to try Photography.”  So I enrolled in the Commercial Photography Program at PTEC (Pinellas Technical Education Center).

Was there a defining moment where you knew photography was going to be a major part of your life?

Probably when I was in my photography class. I was also in a writer’s group (PINAWOR: Pinellas Author’s & Writer’s Organization).  It was there where I discovered my love for poetry, primarily haiku.  I found merging the two together very satisfying.

What do you look for when trying to capture a moment?

I open myself up to all options of creativity; color, texture, lighting-all come into play during the process. Haiku Photography

What is your personal definition of photography?

It most definitely is capturing a moment that evokes emotion and many times creates a memory.  The image initially starts out with how it makes me feel, but when others have a reaction, well that’s just an added bonus.

Do you specialize in a certain type of photography or do you enjoy/practice all areas? (Landscape, portrait, fashion, etc.) 

Although, I have studied all genres of photography, I find landscape/nature photography most rewarding.

In your opinion, what makes a moment beautiful? Both on the camera and off the camera?

I would say for me what makes a beautiful moment is being fully present.  Sometimes as a photographer wanting to get that “best shot” one sacrifices spending time with others.  There has to be a fine line with being committed to the craft, but not being too involved as to ignore what is happening in the moment.  That being said, it may be a unique gift to share the special moments that you created.

Is there any simple thing/action that you always make sure to do in your everyday routine that makes you smile? Listen to music, draw, meditate, etc. 

Music is very important to me and a great part of my day.  Every morning before going to work, I walk for about 20 minutes & listen to Country Music.  Believe it or not, I never listened to Country Music until I started writing poetry and found it to be very poetic.  I like to use an example of a Wynnona Judd song, “Flies On The Butter (You Can’t Go Home Again”)  I just loved the imagery, “Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter A hole in the screen door big as your fist, and flies on the butter.” I also listen to Christian Music (Joy FM) at work and in the car, which I find very calming.  When I ride my bike I go back to Country Music and I sometimes even borrow a word or two when writing haiku.  It really does inspire me!  That for me is when and where I feel most creative, riding my bike, being out in nature, listening to Country Music.  It’s the best!  It makes me smile.

Photo Credit: Taken myself

…And We’re Off!

Hi, readers! Welcome to Lovely Little Thang! Based on the name of this blog, one may think I’m referring to myself as a lovely little thang and while that may be true, this blog is all about life A.K.A. a lovely little thang. This blog will focus on all of the simplistic beauty surrounding each and every one of us. Life is compiled of many ups and downs, twists and turns and a series of other moves we may not be prepared for. However, I’m here to remind everyone, including myself, that beauty exists in every one of those moves.

I was inspired to create this blog because I’m at the stage of my life where I’m learning more and more about myself, who I am, and who I want to be. One thing that has really been sticking out to me is the importance of the all of the little moments along the way. Whether that’s a sunset that takes my breath away, or a song that completely turns my day around. Yes, they are little things, but in the long run it is the little things that amount to the big things. It’s all about those building blocks and the moments that make us smile as we go throughout our day.

Therefore, I hope that through sharing my perspective and things that take place in my life, we can work simultaneously and remind ourselves of the beauty that is present even when it’s hard to see.