Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

A college friend of mine posted this on her blog, Captain Optimist.  With the family taking a long afternoon nap on New Year's Eve, I thought it might be a good time to do my Year-in-Review!

1.  What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I am constantly doing new things every year. Some key things this year though were, entering crafts in the Oklahoma State Fair, being an extra in a movie, and meet Daniel Radcliffe.

2.  Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I made 29 goals last year.  Some were big and some were small.  I, of course, did not accomplish everything.  I will spare you the list of reading all 29 of them, but some key goals were:
*Lose 40 lbs - yeah, that didn't happen.
*Plan a surprise birthday party for Mom's 60th Birthday - CHECK!
*Run a 5K without stopping - not even close, but I am walking a 5K almost weekly with the local coffee shop.
*Read the Left Behind series and Twilight series - ok, so that was easy, but I did it!
*Audition for at least three shows - I went above and beyond three shows and was even cast in two!

I did make goals for 2012.  You can check them out here.

3.  Did anyone close to you give birth?
Our family welcomed two nieces this year!  One in May and one in November.

4.  Did anyone close to you die?
This year we did not lose anyone in our family.

5.  What countries did you visit?
We visited Canada, Morocco, Mexico, France, China, Japan...oh wait, Epcot doesn't count?  Well, then...no countries.

6.  What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Will power and a job that will help pay off our student loans!

7.  What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
While the dates themselves aren't etched, they include: Peter finishing his dissertation, Ezra having his first birthday party with friends, and the family trip to Disney World.

8.  What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I don't think there was an ultimate achievement, but I'm excited for winning ribbons at the state fair, for getting cast in an industrial film, and having my video picked for the How to Succeed...Ultimate Fan.

9.  What was your biggest failure?
Not getting a teaching job. 

10.  Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope, just a cold.  No major illness for anyone in the family.  Amen!

11.  What was the best thing you bought?
My cast iron skillet from Silver Dollar City.  I've only used it a few times so far, but I LOVE IT.

12.  Where did most of your money go?
Rent, utilities, student loans, and credit cards.

13.  What did you get really excited about?
We had some exciting trips this year.  Peter and I had a whirlwind trip to NYC and saw some amazing shows!  Mom and I had another whirlwind trip to NYC to meet the cast of How to Succeed.  Our family went to Disney World and enjoyed every minute of it (well, except for the minutes that we complained about our feet).  I was excited for Peter finishing his PhD.  He is officially a doctor!

14.  What song will always remind you of 2011?
I have no idea!  Most of the songs I listen to are children's songs or older stations.  I couldn't really tell you what songs came out in 2011 without cheating and looking on the internet.  (Which I am doing RIGHT NOW).  Hmmm...even after looking at the top 25 songs of 2011, the only two that I recognize, and could kind of sing, would be "Friday" by Rebecca Black and "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele. 

15.  Compared to this time last year, are you:
--happier or sadder?  About the same.
--thinner or fatter?  Fatter, Noooooooo.
--richer or poorer?  Currently the same, but until all the bills are paid it will still be the same.

16.  What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exercise and spend more time with the family doing outdoor activities while the weather was nice.  If I had known how hot the summer would be, I would have changed a few things.

17.  What do you wish you'd done less of?
Spending time on Facebook trying to sell all of my junk.

18.  How did you spend Christmas?
It was our first Christmas at our own home.  We woke up and opened presents, ate gooey cinnamon rolls (gooey for all of the wrong reasons) and then tried to correct it and wound up eating cinnamon rolls that were too hard, went to church.  My mom came down and we had Christmas dinner together.

19.  What was your favorite TV program?
We are now fans of How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory.

20.  What were your favorite books of the year?
I didn't read any new books this year, but I enjoyed reading the Little House on the Prairie series.

21.  What was your favorite music from this year?
Again, I don't know what was popular for 2011, but this year I loved listening to the Broadway shows we saw earlier this Fall and the Veggie Tales Christmas CD.

22.  What were your favorite films of the year?
We didn't see to many but the top ones for me were: Cars 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  Part 2, and Puss in Boots.

23.  What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Family dinner at home and I turned 29.

24.  What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'm not sure.  Life has been pretty good.  There are always things I wish I could change here and there, but overall it has been a good year.

25.  How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Try and get a bra on before lunch time :)  Okay, it isn't THAT bad, but this commercial springs to mind.


26.  What kept you sane?
Ezra giving me "lots of kisses," having lunch with Peter every day, and Tivo.

27.  Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Make sure your family knows how much you love them.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Goals for 2012

Well it is the end of the year and you know what that means...New Year's Resolutions that will be broken in less than a month!  Yay!  I recently read an article (and of course now I can't find it) that said in one week something like 20% of people will break their resolutions, in one month an additional 20%, in six months another 20% won't make it, but 40% of everyone else will get through the year with their resolutions.  So the numbers might not be exactly right BUT it definitely was on the high side. Maybe I'm just a bit pessimistic.

Anyway, here is my list of resolutions.  There are 30 of them.  I will be 30 this year and I thought it would be good to come up with 30.  I did 29 last year and actually accomplished 10 of them.  that is a 34% success rate.  Hmmm...well let's see if I can get at least 50% of these goals accomplished this year.

No judging and in no particular order:

30 Goals for 2012

1.  Read the Bible.    
     -I used to say I wanted to read through the whole Bible in a year and while I think that is a GREAT goal, I also want to make it realistic for me.  So, I just want to read my Bible.  That's it.  Just read it.

2.  Lose 10 pounds. 

3.  Lose 10 pounds.

4.  Lose 10 pounds.

5.  Lose 10 pounds.

6.  Lose 10 pounds.

7.  Lose 10 pounds.    
     -Okay so maybe it is cheating by dividing this up in to so many goals, but I see it as a way to make it easier to attain my goal, rather than just say "well, I guess I didn't lose those 60 pounds that I wanted."

8.  Pay off Peter's smaller student loan.

9.  Pay off all our credit cards.

10.  Maintain this blog with a minimum of one post per week.

11.  Get at least 10 followers on my blog.    
       -Come on people, this one is up to you!  Maybe I'll do some sort of give-a-way when I hit the 10 follower mark.  Hmmmm, I'll have to think about that.

12.  Complete my Alphabet Photography Project.

13.  Run a 5K without stopping. 
       -Yeah, I know a 5K isn't all that long, but for someone who hates running it is a good start.  We have been doing the Sips 5K most Mondays, so hopefully soon I can jog the whole thing.

14.  Complete my walk to NYC.

15.  Complete "Mom" book for Ezra. 
       -I got this great book that let's you fill in things about your childhood to give to your own child. I want to complete that for Ezra. I'm not expecting anything bad to happen, but I'm also not expecting anything bad to happen. I would love for Ezra to get to read some things about me that I have control over the wording. :)

16.  Photo book for 2011. 

17.  Photo book for 2010
       -I love having pictures on the computer, but there is just something about flipping pages of a photo album. Maybe it is cheating for making each year a different resolution, but I think it will help my odds!

18.  Organize computer documents.

19.  Make a new recipe each month. 

20.  Find a job. 
       -I am teaching Kindermusik one night a week, but Ezra is starting day care soon and would love to find a job to justify putting him in day care.  It is amazing though, how hard it is to find a job in my town.

21.  Submit three works to the state fair. 

22.  Submit my children's book.

23.  Save _______ in our savings account.
       -Okay, so you don't need to know all of our financial things!

24.  Audition, submit, audition. 
       -Last year I made a goal to audition for at least three shows or companies.  Well I exceeded that number AND I've also been submitting for work through a local casting agencies (which has gotten me a few paying jobs too).  So, I am going to add that to my list.  I want to audition or at least submit my headshot to 5 jobs, shows, companies, etc.  We'll see how it goes!

25.  Finish song #1.

26.  Finish song #2.

27.  Finish Ezra's One Year Collage. 
       -Yeah, I'm a bit behind on that one.

28.  Get rid of 300 pounds of clutter. 
       -Yes, 300 pounds.  Some of it may be recycled, donated, sold, trashed, or even freecycled, but I want to start with 300 pounds.  I originally wanted to do 500 pounds or 1,000 pounds, but I thought that might be a bit much to start with.  The family might not appreciate having that much stuff taken out of the home.

29.  Sew something! 
       -I just received a NEW sewing machine for Christmas and now I need to learn how to really use it.  I need to find something easy enough that I can sew but also something that can at least challenge me a little bit.

30.  Successfully play my autoharp.
       -Yep, I'm a nerd.  I would love to learn how to play the guitar or something like that, but I think I'll start with my autoharp and then go from there :)


Whew!  There are my 30 goals!  I'll keep you updated on them.  What are some of your goals for the new year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

imPRESS Press-on Manicure Product Review

Another product review.  Hizzah!  This next review is about the imPRESS Press-on Manicure from Broadway Nails.  Check out their site here and scroll to the bottom of the post to check out more information about the product.


Here is my video of testing out the product for the first time!


As I mentioned in the video, it was hard opening the bottle.  (I did find out that I wasn't the only one that had problems though!)  I thought the packaging was adorable and I love the idea of quick and affordable nails.  I wish they numbered the nails though by size.  I spent WAY too long figuring out the different size nails and then matching them to my nails.  I even noticed a few that didn't match up at all.  Also, the tips of the nails need to be filed down.  You can see a tiny tab where the nails were attached to press them out.  It definitely caused a few snags in the clothing.  The best thing about the nails is that the color is all the way through...no chipped nails for me!

Quick Take:
I love the idea, hated my color (Ecstatic Cling), but most of all...I wished the nails were numbered in size order!  I love that I don't have to worry about chipped nails though!

Usage Tips:
Take the time to line up the nails in order and put the tab side to the cuticle.

The Verdict:
I might try them again.  I really, REALLY wish they would number the nails.  That would probably be the reason why I wouldn't try them again.  They were cute but a bit fake looking...but I think that had to do with my color.

Ecstatic Cling = working girl.  It was a bit bright and I found myself hiding my nails when talking to people at the store.  Luckily they have 36 colors to choose from.


imPRESS Press-On Manicure

This changes everything!

Introducing imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails, the revolutionary way to apply polish! Featuring advanced nail technology, you can get a salon-perfect manicure in seconds – simply peel off, press on, and you're done. There's no drying, a killer shine and a manicure that lasts up to a week! And, imPress is so easy to remove, you can change it up to match your mood as often as you want. Check out all 36 colors and patterns, including trendy brights, classic darks and animal prints. With imPress, your nails will always be your best accessory.

imPress Manicure retails for $5.99 for colors and $7.99 for patterns, and is available at CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, KMart, Walgreens, Walmart and more. For a full list of online and in-store retailers, visit imPressManicure.com, where you can download an exclusive coupon and virtually try on all the colors and patterns!

*PS.  I received this item complimentary via Influenster and their VoxBox program.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Larabar Product Review

So, the next item I wanted to share with you was the Larabar.  I specifically tried the Apple Pie flavor.  Now, I really liked the idea that there were only a handful of ingredients in the bar.  It was nice knowing that it wasn't full of artificial sweeteners and other things that I couldn't pronounce.  I wasn't the biggest fan of Apple Pie (read below) but I can't wait to try some of the other flavors!


Quick Take:
Date taste is a bit over powering (at least in the apple pie flavor).

The Verdict:
I liked the taste enough to try other flavors.

This was my first time trying the Larabar. I love the idea of a snack food that has simple ingredients, or as the information states "made from only a handful of carefully chosen ingredients." My sample was the Apple Pie flavor. Ingredients: Dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. My initial thought with this flavor was that it tasted too much like dates (which makes sense, since it was the first ingredient listed). I don't think it tasted like apple pie. The flavor wasn't bad...just not like apple pie. I noticed that in several of the bars, dates are listed as the first ingredient, maybe because the work really well as a binding agent. I would be interested in trying a few other flavors to see how noticeable the "date taste" is in them. I love that they are gluten free, vegan friendly, etc...for when friends come over with different diets and will probably keep these on hand in the future.

Just a reminder, I received this item for free from Influenster.

Mentos Chewing Gum Product Review

So, I received the Mentos Chewing Gum from my Influenster Holiday Voxbox.  I posted this review on the Influenster site, but thought I would post it here too.  Check back over the next couple of days to read about the other items I received (imPress Nails, Softsoap, NYColor, Larabar, and Montagne Jeunesse).  I am still working on the whole writing a review and getting my point across, but I promise it will get better with practice.



Quick Take:
Burst of freshness, fresh mint tasted fresh, loved the container


The Verdict:
Worth the try!

My first piece, I felt this burst of freshness. The pieces are a bit big and not sure if the flavor really lasts that long (only because I feel like the flavor coated my mouth and the flavor I tasted, I wasn't sure if it was coming from the actual gum or still my initial taste). I love the container though. No more mashed up gum in the bottom of a bag.

Just a reminder that I received this item free from Influenster

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Influenster 2011 Holiday VoxBox

Alright folks.  I love free things.  I do.  So, when I was reading my mom's Woman's World magazine and saw an article on how to get even MORE free stuff...I said "sign me up."  Thus began my relationship with *Influenster.  You sign up, fill out a few surveys, earn some badges, and if you are lucky (or if they are trying to target you particular group) you get a VoxBox. 

What is a VoxBox?  I am sure you are asking yourself that question.  Well, a VoxBox is a little package of freebie goodness!  I just received my first one in the mail today.  Enjoy the lovely video and read below to get more details on the items I received.


**So my box included:

imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails in Ecstatic Cling
Softsoap Coconut Scrub Bar Soap
Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask in Passion Peel Off
New York Color Liquid Lip Shine in Nude York City color
Mentos Pure Fresh Gum
Larabar in Apple Pie

My first thoughts...well, I love free stuff.  I am interested in trying the manicure set but not too happy about the HOT PINK color, love the smell of the coconut soap, ready to try the face mask, love the color of the lip gloss, don't really like gum but will let my husband try it, and really excited to taste the Larabar product.

If you really want to know what I think, check back in a week after I have reviewed everything!



* I received these complimentary products featured above through the Influenster's VoxBox product testing program.  I am under no obligation review these products in a positive way.

**By clicking on the link, you will be directed to that companies website.

Where have I been?

I always feel like I have these great ideas to write about things...then life gets in the way and I don't post anything.  Well, come New Years, I hope that changes.  Perhaps I can make a goal of at least writing something one day a week.  That isn't all that difficult...right?  Anyway, where have I been?  Right here, letting life pass me by.  I hope to update this with some of the great acting gigs I have done in the past month or so, but until then...check out a brand new post about Influenster!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving is Next Week?

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  Somehow the last six weeks zoomed by and I don't even feel like I have accomplished all that much.  I was hoping to stay on top of writing, but that didn't happen.  I was hoping to have a holiday job, but that didn't happen.  I was hoping to get my laundry done this week, but that didn't happen.  (Do you see a pattern developing?)  I would like to think I am this organized person that is always on top of things but I it doesn't always happen. 

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving.  Last year I was really on top of it.  It was my time cooking a Thanksgiving meal.  We had invited six or seven international students over to our house and my mom was coming too!  I planned everything six weeks in advance (Check out the checklist I compiled from the "interweb" last year at the bottom of the page.)

A few days before Thanksgiving, last year, we try and reach the students that will be joining us.  We get one - definite yes.  We try again with the remaining students.  No answer.  We try again...and yep, you guessed it, no answer.  Hmmmm, my six weeks of planning for eleven people quickly dropped to dinner for five.  It was disappointing to say the least.  We had so much food and were so excited to have these students over and they couldn't even let us know they weren't coming. 

Well, we did have one student come and I was afraid he would feel a bit uncomfortable being the only student, but it worked out well.  He stayed for almost four hours!  He played with the family, ate, learned a bit about the piano, and overall we had a nice time.  It was his first time ever having turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie...and he LOVED it.  I guess he still talks about it to the international coordinator on campus, but I'm glad it was a positive experience for him.  (We enjoyed it too!)

So, now to this year.  We will not be having students over this year.  Maybe we will try again in a few years.  It will be another small Thanksgiving with just the three of us and my mom.  I'm not sure why I am not freaking out about not having things ready.  I haven't looked at my checklist until I found it this morning.  A quick trip to the grocery store today and I should be ready.  Thanksgiving shouldn't have to be stressful.  It is ONE meal.  I could go all out and make real mashed potatoes and stuffing OR I can let my friends -- "Mr. Schwan's" and "Stovetop" -- do their jobs and make my life even easier.  What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving dinner items?  My dinner would be okay with just turkey, potatoes, and gravy.  Hmmm...I just hope they still have turkeys left at the grocery store.  

   
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Checklist
6 Weeks Out
Create a guest list and send out invitations. (Create a list of side dishes that you would like to have. If someone offers to bring a dish, accept the offer. If they don’t offer, feel free to ask.)

4 Weeks Out
Plan the menu.
Order your turkey, roast, duck, ham, etc.
Measure your oven to make sure your turkey will fit.
If you are making fresh cranberry sauce purchase and freeze the berries before the store runs out.
Clean out the freezer.

3 Weeks Out
Assess tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, glassware, serving pieces, pots, pans, etc.
o Dishware: dinner plates, dessert plates, coffee cups and saucers.
o Silverware: polished forks, knives, and spoons
o Glassware: water glasses, wine glasses
o Linens: clean napkins, tablecloth
o Cooking and serving items: roasting pan, serving bowls, pots, platters, trivets, bread basket, sauce boat, gravy pitcher, sharp knives, coffeepot, sugar bowl, cream pitcher

2 Weeks Out
Confirm guest list.
Finalize shopping list. Break it down into what can be purchased ahead, such as canned goods, and what perishables should be picked up closer to the day.
Make the first shopping run.
Make foods that you can freeze: rolls, pie crusts, cornbread for stuffing, casseroles, soups, etc.
Do a test run on new recipes.
Monday
Clean out the refrigerator.
If roasting a frozen turkey, allow 24-hours for every five pounds of meat when you defrost. A 15-pound turkey will take approximately three days to thaw.
Review the menu and make a final shopping list.
Tidy up the house
Make place cards and a centerpiece. (A great activity for children!)
Polish the silver and press the linens.

Tuesday
Pick up fresh turkey, if ordered.
Make the final shopping trip to the store. (Pick up any fresh items at this time: produce, flowers, and any other extras.)
Create a Thanksgiving Day cooking schedule.
Lay out serving pieces and utensils.
Make pie crusts and refrigerate (if you haven’t gone the frozen route).

Wednesday
Wash and prep produce.
Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity and make turkey stock for gravy.
If brining your turkey, give it no more than a 24-hour soak.
Assemble stuffing but do not put it in the turkey until just before roasting.
Bake pies.
Make any side dishes that will refrigerate nicely.
Make sure your camera is charged and ready.
Set the table.
Clear out the coat closet for guests.
Clean the bathroom.
Take any items out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator to defrost.

Thursday
Stuff and roast turkey.
Mash potatoes.
Make gravy (if you haven’t done so already).
Warm or bake bread and rolls.
Reheat remaining dishes in the freezer and refrigerator.
Prepare remaining dishes for the meal.
Arrange appetizer platters.
Prepare drinks: heat cider, make coffee, chill wine

Monday, October 3, 2011

My film debut...well...sort of...maybe?

After winning and writing about a trip to NYC anything else I write about seems to pale in comparison. For the last couple of weeks I thought about what I could write next. I made a list (I love making lists) and the first one that came to mind happened this summer. I was cast in a movie! Well, I was cast as an EXTRA in a movie. Not quite the same but still exciting. Read on to hear about my experience.

On June 27, I made the short trek to OKC to film a scene from the movie "Yellow." Check out imdb.com to read more about the film. It was written and directed by Nick Cassavetes. He has directed several movies, but the one I knew him from was "The Notebook."

I was told to be there at 7:00a, so of course I get there at 6:30a. I have a habit of getting to places early and having no idea where I was going I thought the earlier the better. The last thing I wanted to do was get "fired" for not showing up on time. Well, I didn't have to worry about that. After getting there and claiming a spot in the extras corral I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally around 10:30a or so we were ready to move in to the sanctuary. Without going in to too much detail (#1 because I don't want to get in trouble for talking about the move before it actually is released AND #2 because I wasn't in the sanctuary the whole time so I really don't know what took place) I, along with about 200 others, sat in the church and filmed a scene for the movie.

We were broken in to two groups (right and left side of the aisle) and then ushered in to rows. It was crazy to see how long it took them to place everybody in just the right spot. They would check it out and then rearrange someone, and then check it out again, and rearrange again. I am sure a lot of it had to do with how people looked, what they were wearing, and also trying to make believable groupings of people. I will say, I have never been to a church that was that full. Perhaps the director should know that churches don't seem to be that full anymore on a normal Sunday...maybe it was Easter?

We were filmed a few different angles and then we had a break. It felt like only an hour had passed but in all actually three hours had passed. It helped having a nice group of people to talk to. They made the time go by. My side of congregants was excused for the next part of filming, but an hour later we were back in. This second time was a bit more exciting because we actually got to see a few of the "stars" film their lines while we were just sitting in the background. I saw Melanie Griffith, Gena Rowlands, and Heather Wahlquist. I am sitting about five rows back from Melanie Griffith and Gena Rowlands in that scene.

Oh, to be a lead actress. Those women came in, after we had been there for HOURS, said their two or three lines, and then were done for the day. FOR THE DAY. How crazy?! It didn't take all that long to film that section and then my side was excused again. Now, the time was around 3:30-4:00p and we were STARVING and had to pee. We were so happy to be out of there just so we could eat and go to the bathroom.

That was the end of my filming...not the end of the day, but the end of my filming. After our late lunch we had to stay around just in case they needed to use us again for a scene. We waited and waited and finally at 11:30p (seven hours of doing nothing) we were finally able to go home.

There was a TON of waiting to do for the film. Not ever having any experience in film (unless you count the film I did in undergrad) I never would have guessed how much work actually goes in to a few minutes of film. It made me appreciate films even more.   

So was it my film debut...well...sort of...maybe?  I'll have to watch the movie when it comes out and let you know if you can see my head. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Signing Off as Your Ultimate Fan Correspondent

My video is finally up on YouTube so you can check it out here.



At the end of the day I also had a chance to talk with some other fans of the show.  I wish they could have used some of that footage, but you never know what is actually usable.  I met some great girls and especially had a blast chatting up the Canadians. 


Well, as I said in the video, "I'm Julie Purin signing off as the Ultimate Fan Correspondent..."  (You can only drag out a free three day trip in to so many posts.)  I followed my brother's wishes and jumped on the blog bandwagon.  In just a few short weeks I have had almost 600 page views, which I find impressive, and have had readers from America, Germany, India, Austria, UK, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Russia, and Switzerland.  Pretty cool!  Who knows, maybe I'll keep on posting about things that are "Just Julie."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let's Add Another One Minute and 48 Seconds to That Fame

When I was in NYC for the Ultimate Fan Contest (are you getting tired of reading about that yet) they took a ton of video.  Well, two weeks later they have it edited it down to a sleek one minute and 48 second video montage of my day. Click here to check out the video on BroadwayWorld.com.  As soon as it is posted on YouTube I will upload it to the blog.  They took some great footage!  I only wish they could have taken a bit with Daniel Radcliffe and the other guys, or maybe they did and it just didn't turn out well.  Anyway, I'll always have my photo.

Just in case you forgot...here's the photo again!

Oh, and I forgot to mention the awesome poster I received for winning the contest.  I haven't compared the signatures to all of the cast members but I'm pretty sure everyone signed it.  You can distinctly see:  Daniel Radcliffe, John Larroquette (which seems so hard to write in cursive with all those "r's" and a "q" tossed in there), Rob Bartlett, Ellen Harvey, and Marty Lawson.  I did have to bring out the old Playbill and compare the names in there with the poster to get a few of the names.  I've never seen Tammy Blanchard or Rose Hemingway sign their name, but 'm pretty sure they are on Daniel's left shoulder.  If you can match any other's name on the poster let me know!

Autographed Poster

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

...The Rest of the Story

   Well, a week ago today I was in NYC living up the "Ultimate Fan" experience.  You can check out my prior post here to read more about it.  I did run out of time to finish the rest of the story...the rest of the trip. 
   After leaving the theater Wednesday afternoon (and returning to my not-so-famous self) my mother and I went to the High Line.  A few H2S fans on Facebook suggested it.  I've been to NYC several times.  I had never heard of the High Line before and didn't really want to go, but my mom was interested and we finally decided to make the trek there.  It is actually a walk way starting at 30th Street and going South until Gansevoort and running down 10th Avenue. The walk way is above the street and you get a great view of the Hudson River.  What a great place to see the sunset! 




   After a brief walk through the West Village we caught the subway back to Times Square and ate at TGI Fridays.  Now, I knew ahead of time that eating anywhere in Times Square is expensive but I would rather walk the five or six blocks to Papaya Dog (the best hot dogs in NYC) than eat in Times Square again.  Be prepared to spend at least $20.00 per person.  That may not be all that bad in the grand scheme of things, but I prefer eating as cheaply as possible and saving my money for a show or attraction.
   Thursday morning we greeted the day and took a quick trip to Central Park.  It was perfect weather for a walk and my mom had never been there. 
   We flew out of JFK to get back to OKC.  I have never flown out of JFK.  It may have been a bit inconvenient to actually get there but it was worth it.  It was so clean and relatively quiet.  The highlight of that day though was flying First Class back home.  Thanks mom for upgrading the tickets!  It was my first (and probably only) time flying First Class and it was a great way to end the trip.  Feeling like a celebrity again we were able to board the plane first and were served beyond my imagination.  Three seat trays to choose from, a seat that actually reclines, LEG ROOM, free checked bags, drinks, wine, warm snacks, glass cups, real silverware, a full meal, and a cookie and milk for dessert...SO COOL!  A great way to end a quick, but wonderful trip.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My 15 Minutes of Fame

Well, I was a celebrity on Wednesday (if only in my dreams).  After winning the Ultimate Fan Contest for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" they flew me out to New York City.  My mom was the lucky guest for this fabulous trip and we were so excited to stay at the Paramount Hotel.  You have to check out their site to see the gorgeous lobby.  We were just a short walk from Times Square and most of the theatres.  Our room was modern looking and actually had a view! 




Our first night in NYC we walked around Times Square and took in a few suggestions from the fans on the "How to Succeed..." Facebook page.  We went to Colony Music, the M&M Store, and Dylan's Candy that night, had dinner at the Roxy and dessert at Serendipity.  If you are a lover of ice cream or massive desserts, this is the place for you.  Just a quick trip on the subway and we ate ourselves silly. 

Yummy hot fudge sundae!

Wednesday was our busy day.  After a quick trip to the Disney Store and the Times Square visitors center we had to head back to the hotel and get ready for the show. 

Mark, Whitney, and Michael (from the company that ran the contest) came to the hotel and we filmed a few spots as the fan correspondent.  You'll have to check the Facebook page soon to see the completed video.  After filming in the room we came out of the hotel and walked to the theater.  The camera followed us (my mom and me) to the theater.  Crossing the streets of NYC, people kept whispering about the camera and wondering what was being filmed.  A few people even asked if I was someone famous they didn't know about...I wish!

We filmed in front of the theater and we picked up our tickets.  The front of house manager was extremely nice and gave us complimentary drinks...New York's finest bottled water :)  VIP treatment all the way! 

We saw the show from eight rows back in the center.  It was just as fabulous as the first time I saw it.  The stage and sets are massive, the lighting perfect with the time period and costumes used, the choreography spot on, and the individual acting and singing of the cast members was impeccable.  It truly made me cry in seeing how well the show was performed.  (The last time I cried because a show was so good was "Big River" when it was performed in conjunction with the Deaf West Theatre...absolutely beautiful.)  It wasn't just about one cast member but about the entire ensemble that really made this show spectacular.

After the show was over we were escorted backstage.  We picked up our passes and met with the stage manager for the show.  He showed us the sets and explained how they moved on stage and all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make the show appear flawless.  Next we met the girls of the show.  Every female cast member came up to say hi (except for one) and they all stayed and chatted with me for about 10 minutes.  It could have been a bit longer but the time just seemed to fly by.  They were all so nice and seemed to be sincerely interested in me and how I made it here.  They also joked about how long it took the men to get ready after the show was over.  You could definitely see the camaraderie that they have for each other.

After a few more minutes some of the male cast members came up to say hi.  I spoke with a few of the dancers and then Christopher J. Hanke came up (Bud Frump) and Daniel Radcliffe!!!  Now, they made no promises as to what actors I was to meet, so I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to say hi...but I did.  The guys were such a blast to talk to and we got our photo with them.
Yes, that is me with my arm around Daniel! 
As a thank you gift for the guys...I gave them each a bottle of hand sanitizer.  I said "from one Ultimate Fan, to protect you from the other fans out there."  They all got a kick out of it and Daniel was especially excited and showed his dresser that it fit perfectly in his pants pocket.  It would be too easy to gush over the interaction I had with these guys, but it was truly a great time.  (P.S. in regards to the girls giving them a hard time about taking so long to get ready, they mentioned that the girls have it easy because they do nothing the last 20 minutes of the show.  While they are dancing and sweating to "Brotherhood of Man" the girls get to relax in the back.  Fun times!)

After meeting the cast we came back out of the theater and talked with a few other fans of the show.  I spoke with several girls and a mom out there (from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Canada) about their experience with the show, what they liked about it (the choreography), their favorite songs (Brotherhood of Man, Company Way, and Old Ivy), to what character they wish they could be (Rosemary...because she gets to kiss Daniel). 

I had a blast talking with these fans and wish the day would never end.  As soon as the camera was off and we said goodbye to Mark, Whitney, and Michael...I was back to being "Just Julie."  No more 15 minutes of fame.  I'll have to live through my photos and memories to get me through until my next 15 minutes comes about. 




How to Succeed...the Ultimate Fan

Recently "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (currently starring Daniel Radcliffe) hosted a contest.  The "Ultimate Fan" contest.  In just 20 seconds you had to state your case, beg, plead, etc. why you thought you should be considered the ultimate fan.  I thought I would go for a it and created this video.


It is actually based off of the presentation that J. Pierrepont Finch (Daniel Radcliffe) gives to the board of World Wide Wickets Company.

You can see some of the other fan videos by going to the H2SBway Youtube Channel

Well, Mary Faber, announced the contest winner...



...and it was ME!!  I won a quick trip to NYC to see the show, meet the cast, and be the fan correspondent for the day.  It was amazing!

Just Julie

So everyone has a blog, and my brother told me I should jump on the bandwagon too.  This is me...Just Julie.  Some of my posts may interest you, while others probably won't.  I am a stay-at-home mom and I thought it would be great to post my thoughts, recipes, and opinions about many-a-thing.