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

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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

Question of the Day

What is something that brings you joy?

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of something that excites me and brings me joy is theater. Whether that’s going to a show or performing in a show, I am my best self while in a theatrical atmosphere.

Thinking way back, I remember always wanting to sing and perform (side-note: being a performer at Disney is my ultimate dream). Unlike Florida, when I lived in Chicago we had basements, and my basement was pretty much my own little stage. I would go on our dial-up computer for hours on end with my microphone in hand and YouTube karaoke blasting away. I did a little dance back in the day, some shows in middle school, choir performances and then was able to discover musical theater on a bigger scale in high school.

Now, I feel like majority of my heart belongs to theater and everything that it is comprised of. In simple terms, it’s an art form. It’s all about people coming together to create and share a story and communicate with each other and the audience. Music alone has a way of transporting you into a world that seems limitless, and theater is that on another level. Being on stage allows someone to jump outside of their comfort zone, create a character, be a different person, live in a new world, and explore everything the stage has to offer. There’s truly no limits and it’s a beautiful form of expression that I have fallen in love with.

One of my main focuses for this blog is that it acts as a reminder to not only notice the things that bring us joy, but appreciate them to the fullest. However big or small they may be. Whether I’m laying in bed listening to a cast recording or getting ready backstage, theater is one of those things in my life that reminds me how incredibly wonderful this life is. I sadly haven’t been in a show for about two and a half years now, but have taken several classes at school and it’s still a major part of me. It’s a very rare day when I don’t listen to my jams and belt a little too loud. With that said, I hope to get back on stage in the very near future (fingers crossed for Disney, ladies and gents).

No matter who you are, where you come from, where you want to be, we all have things in our lives that bring us joy, make us smile, make us laugh, make us cry (yes, ugly cry too), and make us feel like we belong. Those things that make you hold your hands to the sky and thank the universe for its existence. The things that make you take an extra deep breath to soak up all of its goodness.

I invite you, reader, to comment on this post and answer the same question. What is something that brings you joy? While we are all different, we are all very much alike and connected. We all have passions, and I’d love to read about the things that you love most.

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

 

A Talented Little Star

I’m sure many of you have seen this video. I couldn’t help but share it myself and all of its pure bliss. This little girl is singing for her LIFE, and I don’t think someone can watch this without smiling the entire time. She’s feelin’ it and makes you feel it too.

Finding these types of videos (which can be pretty easy thanks to Facebook) makes me so so happy. And a lot of the time, these videos pop up when ya need it most. A little laugh is always helpful, especially when it involves kids and their abundance of joy and energy.

I can seriously watch this on repeat and it continues to fill me up with goodness. She’s not holding anything back and if we want to get a little deep real quick; it’s a good reminder we should never hold anything back. We may be on a bigger stage (hello, life), but that’s the exact reason to go for it and give it our all. We only have one to live so let’s make it rock (hey, Hannah Montana). All in all, shoutout to this little girl for reminding me of that and hopefully you as well.

 

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.