Tag Archives: Theater

2017 RECAP OF THIS…I…DO…FOR…ME ACTIVITIES — IT WAS A GOOD YEAR!!

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As I reflect over the 2017, I realize it was an extremely busy year.  It was a year of a lot of firsts for me, particularly as it relates to building my two year old business This…I…Do…For…Me (TIDFM).

It was a year that allowed me to see how I brought dreams to fruition for others and just how much satisfaction I derived from playing a role in that.  It was also a year where I faced some long-standing doubts and fears, and surprisingly I came out on the other side!  I like to do yearly recaps mainly so that I can not only see what I’ve accomplished, but examine the misses and areas where I still need to grow, as well.

So for all that it brought, here is TIDFM’s 2017 recapped:

TRAVEL

January — I, along with nine female relatives, took (what has become known as “The Cousins’ Trip”) a four day jaunt to Atlanta, Georgia. Our cousin and her husband treated us royally.  The trip was made especially memorable because we traveled there during the time Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s  birthday was being celebrated in his hometown.   It was also magical to spend that time with family members.  We took in the movie “Hidden Figures”, saw Roy Ayers perform at the City Winery, ate at some fabulous restaurants, laughed and talked, talked and laughed, and more importantly, we paid homage to Dr. King by visiting his grave site,  along with that of his dedicated wife and comrade Coretta Scott King.

 

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March — I was able to visit a close friend who lives in Berkeley, California.  This was the first time that I spent my entire time in Berkeley versus spending time in Oakland or San Francisco.  We saw an art exhibit at Berkeley Museum of Art, ate Bi Bim Bap at a  Korean restaurant (ate there twice because I can never get enough of Bi Bim Bap), watched a myriad of movies at her home and toured the campus of The University of California, Berkeley.  I have always wanted to see this campus, especially because of its history of protest, advocacy and of being a change agent.

A visit to the Bay area would not be complete without paying a visit to the outstanding restaurant Burma Superstar!  That place! That place!  They offer every imaginable way to please your palate; their coconut rice alone will have you begging for more, and the variety of Burmese food offered is amazing.

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September — I finally got to travel to a city that I have been longing to visit for quite some time.  This trip, like my excursion to Atlanta, allowed me to spend time with family — 3 cousins — who made my trip so special.  Not only is Seattle a most gorgeous city, its food scene is amazing and as diverse as its residents.  You want good ice cream?  There is Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream.  You want really good Sushi?  There is Trappers.

And I can’t  forget my visit to the famed Pike’s Market, The Northwest African American Museum and the city’s Space Needle!

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The University of Washington’s campus is picturesque, and situated on that campus are some of the most architecturally unique buildings I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, Seattle’s weather is my kind of weather.  Although it was overcast on several days, the breezes and fresh air made the trip all the more enjoyable.

Also, Seattle gave me a chance to be mesmerized by The Chihuly Exhibit held on The Seattle Space Museum Caampus — what magnificent work!

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October — Reykjavik, Iceland — Not a place I would have ever imagined myself visiting until I came across an incredible fare offered by Southwest Airlines, but AM I GLAD I DID!  Naturally, once I really began to research Aurora Borealis (aka The Northern Lights), I was determined to witness this phenomenon first hand.  On a cold Iceland evening, I got my chance.  How awe-inspiring it was!

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Who would have thought I would have paid to join an excursion to whale watch?  I maintained the attitude that “as long as I am here, I might as well immerse myself in Icelandic culture.”  It was cold and wet, but I felt like a trooper because I pushed myself to do something that I would never have done before.  I saw not only whales, but but I saw humpback dolphins, and other unrecognizable water bound animals.

I shivered my butt off, but I enjoyed every minute.

 

 

 

I was also able to partake in a two hour Icelandic Beer Class where you not only tasted a variety of beers (that was a lot of fun), but I learned about what was going on historically in Iceland at the time those beers were crafted.  Our class members were from Canada, Italy and Sweden.

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Of course we took the obligatory city tour — Reykjavik’s Cultural Building was hosting a run of Tosca, along with some lesser known productions and exhibits.

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We also saw the building (pictured below) where President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev held in 1986 made progress toward creating The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and The Soviet Union.

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The highlight of the city tour was seeing the Lutheran Church Hallgrimskir, which is one of Iceland’s hallmark tourist attractions. Running a close second was bathing in the iconic Blue Lagoon.

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November — The end of the year saw me revisit Sydney, Australia, but unlike my first visit in 2015 where I went Down Under solo, this time I escorted eight women aged 50+ to the land of Oz!  It was a monumental trip because it was the first official excursion for This…I…Do…For…Me and it was the first time some of the ladies had ever left the United States.  AUSTRALIA WAS EVERYTHING!

Our Sydney, Australia  Itinerary Included:  The Sydney Opera House Tour, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Cronulla Beach, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Seeing the Southern Cross at the Sydney Observatory, Sea Life Aquarium, Madam Tussaud, Watson’s Bay and Doyle’s Restaurant, Bondi Junction (for shopping) Day Trip to The Blue Mountains and numerous restaurants representing Thai, Greek, German, Italian and Mexican Cuisines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OTHER 2017 THIS…I…DO…FOR…ME GROUP OUTINGS AND EVENTS

  1.  We took a Greek Cooking Class at Sur La Table in Chicago;
  2.  I and 12 TIDFM patrons participated in a Wine Tasting and Food Pairing led by Sommelier Brian Duncan at Eddie Vs on The Gold Coast;
  3. We attended The City Winery’s Sunday Concert Series; classical, jazz and choral music was the fare;
  4. We attended a Salute to Katherine Dunham at The Harold Washington Library;
  5. We attended both The Annual African American Film Festival and viewed a film monthly at The Gene Siskel Film Center;
  6. TIDFM sponsored its First Annual Book Swap and Dinner at Eddie Vs;
  7.  We attended three theatrical productions — Hamilton, An American in Paris and The Bodyguard;
  8. TIDFM in conjunction with Chisiko offered a Women Warrior Masterpiece Art Class at Robust Coffee Shop;
  9. We attended The Chicago Cultural Center’s showing of the documentary “Still I Rise” featuring the life of phenomenal Activist, Writer and Renaissance Woman Maya Angelou;
  10. We attended a musical performance featuring drummer extraordinaire Terri Lyne Carrington and Liz Wright;
  11. We attended Dixon School’s Annual African American Cultural Festival;
  12. I attended “Black Girls Gather” in Chicago hosted by “For Harriett “Writer and Activist Kimberly Foster;
  13. I was invited to join The Shanghai Committee for The Chicago Sister Cities Program;
  14. I even learned how to play Mah Jong;
  15. Attended The Annual Good Food Conference;
  16. I threw my first Paella Party (see pics below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am excited about 2018, as TIDFM will be traveling to Greece in September!  We will continue to experience the wonderful cultural scene that Chicago offers.

I will keep you posted on our other exciting events scheduled for throughout the year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  MAY PROSPERITY ABOUND! #thisidoforme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A RECAP: ONE YEAR OF THIS…I…DO…FOR…ME!

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It was exactly one year on August 15, 2015 that I launched This…I…Do…For…Me (TIDFM)! It has been a year of tremendous growth, creativity, meeting fascinating people, traveling to places that I thought I’d never visit and stepping out with the belief that I could carry TIDFM off into the world for the benefit of women who are 50 years of age and older!

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I am most proud of the business’s website thisidoforme.com; this is the pipeline for posting information for our clients and readers in the areas of Art/Literature, Theater/Dance, Music/Concerts, Food/Restaurants, For the Soul, and Travel. I chose to focus on these areas for the website, as well as the blog thisidoforme.wordpress.com because activities, outings and excursions would serve as the focal point to encourage our target population to immerse and treat themselves, particularly since they have spent countless years caring for others.

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Here are some of the fun things that I, along with my adventurous clients explored this past year:

TRAVEL

In September 2015 – It was 11 cities in France – Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Avignon, Monaco, St. Paul de Vence, St. Balme Maxime, Nice, Lyon and St. Tropez! I left feeling like France was my home.

In November 2015 – It was magnificent Sydney, Australia! I have a trip planned for eight people planned in November 2017!

In January 2016 – It was the beautiful shores of Orange County and Los Angeles, California!  Shopping and sheer relaxation was the order of day for a solid week.

In June 2016 – I had the honor of traveling to Madrid, Salamanca and La Alberca, Spain! It was here that I fell in love with the culture, the magnificent food and the warm and loving people. I even had the chance to take a short side trip to Dublin, Ireland! I must go back there if for no other reason than I must spend more time in some of neighborhood pubs that are full of life, laughter and good food to accompany that fun environment.

ON THE TRAVEL RADAR FOR 2017:

It’s looking like Atlanta, Georgia in January, Cuba in February and back to Sydney, Australia in November 2017! Life is Good!

THEATER AND DANCE

Some of the theater outings that TIDFM clients participated in included Byhalia, Mississippi at The Steppenwolf Theater, Lorraine Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window at The Goodman Theater, the musical 42nd Street at The Cadillac Palace Theater, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at The Oriental Theater and Satchmo at the Waldorf at Hyde Park’s Court Theater.

ON THE THEATER AND DANCE RADAR FOR 2017:

The critically acclaimed Hamilton (hopefully my group’s name will move up the wait list)! If I see nothing else except Hamilton in 2017, it will have been a good year.

FOOD AND RESTAURANTS

Yes, I and my clients love to eat! I, along with food critic Eleni Murphy reviewed some interesting restaurants. Eleni even shared some of her London, England favs. Oftentimes, these restaurants were sampled following a theater performance. What a way to top off a great production!

Here are some of the restaurants visited and reviewed during TIDFM’s first year of operation:

1. Café Ba Ba Reeba (Chicago, Illinois)
2. Sobrino de Botin (Madrid, Spain)
3. NAC (London, England)
4. Kappacasein Dairy (London, England)
5. Granger and Co (London, England)
6. Berners Tavern (London, England)
7. Sweet Mandy B’s (Chicago, Illinois)
8. Del Seoul (Chicago, Illinois)
9. Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago, Illinois)
10. Dove’s Luncheonette (Chicago, Illinois)
11. Cemetia’s Puebla (Chicago, Illinois)
12. Nini’s Deli (Chicago, Illinois)
13. Podhalanka (Chicago, Illinois)
14. Mercado San Miguel (Madrid, Spain)

ON THE FOOD AND RESTAURANT RADAR IN 2017

1. Army Thai on Damen
2. La Palapa on 34th Street

ART AND LITERATURE

I and a client attended the “Portraits of Motherhood” Exhibit, which highlighted the artistic talent of Antonia Ruppert. I found a gem on the south side of Chicago – The Creative Room located in the heart of the Park Manor community. This design studio’s mission is to provide a space for people to create their own DIY (do it yourself) interior design projects.  Clemenstien Love is the mastermind behind this hidden treasure.

I provided overview of books that I’ve read over the past year – including a few children’s books. There were a mixture of travel, music, autobiography/memoirs, short stories and social justice commentaries.  They ranged from biographies of culinary icon Marcus Samuelsson to children’s classics like “Corduroy” by Don Freeman.  For reviews of the other selections, please check out the art and literature link on thisidoforme.com

ON THE ART AND LITERATURE RADAR IN 2017

I plan in conjunction with another entity to include my clients on a few Famous House Tours during the holidays. Please stay tuned.

FOR THE SOUL

One of my favorite things to do in conjunction with the business is learning about the myriad ways in which women care for themselves even in the midst of dealing with life’s stressors. This section of the website spotlights a diversity of women who share with TIDFM’s audience how they care for their souls, especially as they are taking care of other people, their jobs/businesses.  Please check it out as you might find some helpful hints on self-care and the exploration of new things.

My first year has been loaded with fun, doubt, new experiences and places, great people and a true excitement about TIDFM’s future growth.

The growth of TIDFM has manifested through the creation of a logo, connecting with Mighty Mongoose Tours to write a blog post of an upcoming helicopter excursion, participation in The Diverbo program in Spain, serving as a guest on the radio program “Living it Up After 50,” hired two freelance writers for the website, ran two TIDFM contests, announced TIDFM’s first international excursion to Sydney, Australia, and I was asked to review a self-empowerment book by a coaching expert.

I am grateful to our readers, those who traveled with me and those who joined us on a number of outings. In the coming year, I plan to broaden TIDFM’s reach, and I hope you will stick around for the ride.

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PHOTO ABOVE:  Me enjoying Indoor Skydiving!

 

2015: A RECAP OF A GOOD YEAR!

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The year 2015 was a good one! First, I am grateful for good health and a deepened spirituality. I am grateful for family and friends, and I’m grateful for new opportunities. This was a year of treading new territory — new vision, new habits, new friends and even a new business! I found myself in the midst of enjoying many new adventures. “New” was the operative word.  Below is a recap of my 2015.

High Speed TGV at Gare do Nord

The High Speed TGV at Gare du Nord, Paris, France!

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France!

The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France!

INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC TRAVELS

At the onset of 2015, I was only slated to take a trip to Northern California to hang out with my best friend for our birthdays in January, along with 11 cities in France. Normally, two trips, especially where one would be spent overseas, would leave me satisfied, but in making a commitment to remain open to what the universe delivered,   Here is what my 2015 travel itinerary looked like:

  1.    January — traveled to Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco;
  2.    March — traveled to New York City;
  3.    June — traveled to Montreal and Oka, Canada;
  4.    September — traveled to 11 cities in France*
  5.    October — traveled to Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio;
  6.    November — traveled to Sydney, Australia
Me, happy as can be, at The Eiffel Tower, Paris.

Me, happy as can be, at The Eiffel Tower, Paris!

Avignon, France!

Avignon, France!

A Youth Hostel Near My Hotel, Sydney, Australia!

A Youth Hostel Near My Hotel, Sydney, Australia!

In all of these destinations, I got to eat well (I had delectable macarons from Laderee), visit some of the most iconic tourist attractions (The Eiffel Tower, The Sydney Opera House), and I met incredible people everywhere I went!

In St. Tropez

In St. Tropez, France!

Street Cafe in Monaco!

Street Cafe in Monaco!

Iconic French Street Musician

Iconic French Street Musician, Arles, France!

SAMPLED NEW RESTAURANTS — You don’t have to have known me a long time to know that one of my favorite pastimes is to sample a new restaurant.

In 2015, the new restaurants that I visited were Greek Islands in Chicago’s Greek Town.  I am not normally a big fan of Greek food, but I must admit the The Lolipop Lamb Chops, along with a most delicious and uniquely seasoned skinless baked potato was out of this world!  It was also a  great place for an annual gathering of former co-workers.

I truly dined sufficiently at Mexique (French and Mexican Fusion) on the west side of Chicago!  As a matter of fact, this eatery was my favorite find in 2015.  I, along with a small group celebrated the birthday of a friend during the restaurant’s Sunday brunch.  Although all of the food was outstanding, I am still dreaming often of their crepes and their Tres Leche served with a scoop of peach ice cream.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

St. Tropez Market, Olive Stall

St. Tropez Market, Olive Stall

Batter and Berries was another major culinary surprise! Can you imagine lemon, strawberry, carmel or my favorite blueberry French Toast?  I couldn’t at first, but can’t imagine life without it now.  If you want to try out all of the favors, order The Flight of French Toast.  I promise you that you won’t regret it.  Owned by two fraternity brothers, Batter and Berries has expanded its reputation as a breakfast hot spot, so be prepared for a long, yet quickly moving fast line. I can’t forget my dining experience at Jaime Oliver’s restaurant in Sydney, Australia.  His polenta fries were outstanding!

Breakfast at QVB, Sydney, Australia

Breakfast at QVB, Sydney, Australia!

To round out my dining experience, I revisited some of my favorite restaurants — Salpicon! (Upscale Mexican) in Old Town, Chant (Asian Fusion) in Hyde Park, Francesca’s in Little Italy and Maggiano’s (Classic Italian) in River North.

THEATER OUTINGS — Chicago and New York

There is nothing like seeing a live theater performance.  I saw some awesome plays in 2015.

In Chicago, I saw Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s “Get on Your Feet.”  The music was great and brought back memories of their days with The Miami Sound Machine.  A Conga Line was even formed and traversed the entire theater.  I also saw a riveting production at The Court Theater of Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” a moving and riveting performance of August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean,” an absolutely fun production of “Gotta Dance” and “Kinky Boots.” Oh, I almost forgot the ever classic August Wilson play “Two Trains Running” staged at the Goodman Theater.

In New York City, I saw “Brothers at The Bottom” at The Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Broadway rendition of “Kinky Boots.”

DANCE PERFORMANCES — 2015 brought the annual appearance of the phenomenal Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  As in years past, the company debuted some new works, but no performance would be complete without seeing their iconic “Revelations.”  As many times as I’ve seen that piece, it’s always delivered in a fresh way.  I never tire of it.

2015 also brought The Dance Theater of Harlem back to Chicago after a 16 year absence. I had almost forgotten how superb they are!  Known for performing classical pieces, DTH introduced some contemporary numbers thus showcasing their versatility.

A Ballet Performance

A Ballet Performance


A Bouitique in Aix-En-Provence

A Bouitique in
Aix-En-Provence, France!

MUSICAL PERFORMANCES — January afforded me the opportunity to see the wonderful jazz guitarist Bill Frisell in Oakland at Yoshi’s.  April brought Ellis and Delfeayo Marsalis to the Reva and David Logan Center.  September delivered the well organized Hyde Park Jazz Festival in Chicago — I saw Regina Carter and Maggie Brown!  In October, phenom Cecile McLorin Salvant treated Chicago jazz lovers to a whimsical evening, also at the Logan Center.

From a Performance with Violinist Regina Carter

From a Performance with Violinist Regina Carter, Chicago!

LIVESTREAM PERFORMANCES — I have grown more and more amazed at how many live performances I have seen right in the comfort of my home on my iPad or my desktop.  Thanks to Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) under the leadership of the great Wynton Marsalis, I have been introduced to new artists (e.g. Alicia Olatunja, Briana Thomas and Denzal Sinclaire), reintroduced to well known artists (e.g. Dianne Reaves, Rubin Blades), and we are always graced by the sounds of The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JALCO).

CD, JALCO in CUBA!

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra! CD Released in 2015!

I even watched The Harlem Book Fair in July and Rick Steves Travel Conference in November via Livestream.  Wow, what we are able to do now given the wonders of technology — we can be there and yet not be there!

I am looking ahead to 2016 with a renewed mindset, an eagerness to try new things and to look at the old with a new set of eyes!

Shopping at The Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, Australia

Shopping at The Queen
Victoria Building,
Sydney, Australia

Iconic Provence Lavender

Iconic Provence Lavender

#thisidoforme

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*Paris, Avignon, Arles, Aix, St. Tropez, Lyon, Nice, Monaco, St. Paul de Vence, St. Balme Maxime and Cannes