Monday, September 23, 2013

Michael Buble' and Naturally 7 concert at Verizon Center

This year has been incredible with meeting talented musicians! Last night continued my trend with meeting the band!  Each up close and personal experience is always amazing and last night was no exception!

My friend and I attended the Michael Buble' concert last night at the Verizon Center.  Our seats were in the first section but not close to the main stage. Before last night, I was not an especially huge fan of Michael Buble'.  I know he is a talented singer/songwriter but last night he really blew me away with his absolutely incredible voice, talented band and orchestra, and special effects.  And who knew what a funny guy he is! He was incredibly gracious with his fans, participating in taking selfies with swooning women and giving out free hugs!

At one point, he walked out into the sea of fans on the floor to transfer to an isolated stage closer to where we were sitting!  Members of his band joined him and the energy came alive in our section, as it was our turn to get a close up view of Michael perform!  He definitely knows how to "WoW" an audience! 
                                                 Here is a video of his performance:
video

I have to say the real surprise of the evening was the opening band, Naturally 7.  It is always hit or miss with the opening act and last night, the audience received a sneak peak from an extremely talented acapella group, Naturally 7.  Their version of Cold Play's "Fix Me" gave me goosebumps!  I posted on Facebook for all my friends to check these guys out and left a link. They are worthy of your attention!  After their performance they announced they would be signing CD's after the show.  My friend joked around and said "You're going, right?" And I quickly responded "Of course I am!"

So after the show, I maneuvered my way to section 115.  I didn't have cash so I had to stand in a long line to buy Naturally 7's CD with my credit card.  It took forever because only one credit card machine was working.  With my CD in hand, I made my way to the back of the line, excited that I didn't miss my chance to meet these guys!

When I went through the line, I was impressed with the graciousness that each band member extended.  All I kept thinking is how exhausted they must have been! After I collected signatures and made small talk, I mentioned to the tour manager I was a blogger and would love a picture.  He told me to stick around until they were done signing the CD's.


After the last CD was signed, they all got up from the table and came out to greet their friends and family.  They were so humble!  They asked if I could attend their gig tonight (Monday, 9/23) in DC at The Black Cat but unfortunately I had other plans for the evening!  If you are in the VA/DC/MD area and want to start your week off right, head on over to their show tonight at 8pm!  Here is the link for more show info!  Black Cat: Show Info


Make sure you buy their CD and be on the look-out for the new CD that will be released in February 2014!  I am a new fan of Naturally 7! This band is all about AWESOMENESS! 

     Naturally 7 and Me!  What a Fabulously Fun Night!


Friday, September 20, 2013

“The Watson’s Go To Birmingham” film on the Hallmark Channel on 9/20, 9/27 and 10/11


Set your DVR's for a special treat on the Hallmark Channel, as a part of the new Friday night “Walden Family Theatre” series.  The beloved book "The Watson's Go To Birmingham" comes to life on the screen, this Friday, 9/20, 8 PM (ET/PT) with a talented cast, starring Tony® Award winner and Grammy® Award nominee Anika Noni Rose (“The Good Wife,” “Dreamgirls,” “The Princess and the Frog”).  Also starring are three-time Tony® Award nominee and Grammy® Award nominee David Alan Grier ("Porgy and Bess," "PEEPLES," “In Living Color”), Skai Jackson (“Jessie”), Wood Harris (“The Wire,” “Remember The Titans”), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (“The Fighting Temptations”), Pauletta Washington (“Beloved”), Bryce Clyde Jenkins (“Easy A,” “Have A Little Faith”) and Harrison Knight (“We the Party”).

Tonik Productions is one of the many companies responsible for bringing this project to fruition.   Nikki Silver is an Emmy® Award- winning producer and chief creator of ToniK Productions. Tonya Lee Lewis has partnered with Nikki Silver to form this production company.  Nikki Silver has been persistent in her efforts to see the book, The Watson’s Go To Birmingham, written by Christopher Paul Curtis, published by Random House Children’s Books, come alive on the screen.

“The Watsons Go To Birmingham” is presented by ARC Entertainment, Walden Media, Walmart and Procter & Gamble and is a ToniK Production. Louis J. Grieci III, Ben Simon, Janet M. Morrison, Aaron Tucker, Jim Bechtold, Trevor Drinkwater, Brad Liebow and Brian Wells serve as executive producers and Philip Kleinbart, Nikki Silver and Tonya Lewis Lee serve as producers.  Tonya Lewis Lee, Stephen Glantz and Caliope Brattlestreet wrote the teleplay and Kenny Leon is the director. 

Photo Left to Right: Kenny Leon, Anika Noni Rose, Harrison Knight, Nikki Silver

According to director, Kenny Leon, “The Watson’s Go To Birmingham” is “a love story, a family story, that the whole family can sit down and watch and do that one thing together.  Laugh together, think together, even shed a tear together but this movie is all about family and all about love, just what the Hallmark channel represents.”


                                         Photo: Kenny Leon and Anika Noni Rose             




                                                    Photo: Tonya Lewis Lee          
                                      

On Tuesday evening, I attended the Red Carpet Washington DC premiere of this film at the Newseum, as part of the press for PWC Moms. Honorable William A. Bell, Sr., Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, where the majority of the movie takes place, also attended this amazing event.  The Mayor of Birmingham brought artifacts from this historic time in Birmingham to the event for a temporary display that evening.  The artifacts included: Pews from the16th St. Baptist Church; a segregated lunch counter; a segregated water fountain; mug shots of people arrested after the e Children’s Crusade march and shrapnel from the church bombing.  The artifacts brought you back to a time in history where there was a movement for equal rights and for humanity.
 
The film takes place in 1963, upon the anniversary of life changing events during the civil right movement.  As children, we are taught facts about this era of time but this movie brings in the human spirit through the eyes of an 12 year old African American child experiencing racism firsthand in Birmingham, Alabama.


Photo of Honorable William A. Bell, Sr., Mayor of Birmingham, AL


A photo of segregated water fountains

This is a movie that every family in America should watch as it portrays so accurately what it would be like to experience racism and bullying during the civil rights movement in the South.  Tonya Lee Lewis states “The Watson’s Go To Birmingham” is about a Northern family that travels to Birmingham and experiences racism, up close and personal, during the summer of 1963.”  During the film, the family comes closer together and overcomes fear and develops courage to stand up for what is right.

Through the eyes of a “tween” who attended the screening, Amada, 12 years old, believes that “kids should watch this film because they will take away the important message that it's important to understand our history so that it will not ever be repeated again." 

When I asked the director, Kenny Leon, what questions we should be asking our kids when we watch this movie together he stated these two crucial questions “Do you know what racism is?” Do you know what bullying is?” He said, as a parent, we must discuss with our kids the events that took place during 1963 and discuss the injustice at that time but also remind them of the good people in the world who influence positive changes.  He said that “Ultimately, Love Wins!”

The producer, Kenny Leon and me 

The performances of the cast are stellar and especially noteworthy is Bryce Clyde Jenkin’s performance of 12 year old Kenny Watson.  By the end of the movie, you will have laughed, cried and experience critical thinking about the civil rights movement.  This movie will speak meaningful conversations between families.

If you miss the world premiere of “The Watsons Go To Birmingham” on the Hallmark channel on Friday, 9/20/13, the movie will also encores on 9/27/13 and 10/11/13, at 8 PM (ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel.  The DVD will be released on September 24th and it will be sold at Wal-Mart.

For educators, Walden Media has partnered with the Hallmark Channel and Zaner-Bloser Educational Publishers to create turnkey lessons plans for grades 4-12 that coincide with the themes and messages explored in this movie. “The Watsons Go To Birmingham Teacher Guide,” which will be free of charge on a dedicated Hallmark Channel microsite and the Walden Media website www.walden.com, encourages active student participation, while integrating social-emotional learning, literacy, writing and character education designed to reinforce critical thinking and deep comprehension skills.

I highly recommend this movie and your children that are in grade school, junior high and high school.  After the movie, set aside a time to discuss any questions that your children may have and explore the civil rights themes presented during “The Watson’s Go To Birmingham.”  I hope your family enjoys watching this film as much as I did! 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meeting Ryan Seacrest for the 2nd time!

I'm visiting my favorite playground right now!  I'm in the place where dreams are made!  I'm in NYC!

I brought my kids here earlier in the year and we were in the guest audience for the TODAY Show with the March of Dimes!  We got pulled from the audience and went on the actual set with the TODAY Show correspondents!  I got to meet Al Roker, Matt Lauer, and Ryan Seacrest!  It was amazing!  Ryan was super awesome and snapped a photo with me!


I arrived in NYC yesterday, one day earlier than my husband.  We had made plans to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary in the city that never sleeps!  This was mostly because I had won a silent auction with VIP tickets to the Jimmy Fallon show. I had scheduled our guest audience appearance for 9/11.  Our anniversary is 9/13!  I know Friday the 13th - ACK!  But it's all good!

On Monday I found out that I had secured tickets to Ryan Seacrest's new show, The Million Seconds Quiz for Tuesday, 9/10. It is a live show that premiered on Monday, 9/9.  We were supposed to leave Wednesday and I knew my hubby couldn't leave earlier!  What is a girl to do?  I needed to make it happen! My younger sister lives in NYC and thought she might want to join me on this epic adventure! She was plan free for that evening so we made it happen!

I rode the Vamoose bus to NYC early on Tuesday morning.  After arriving in NYC, I spent my afternoon window shopping and took in some sight seeing. This was my favorite find.  A blogger bag from Lacoste!


I met up with my sis at her office, changed into my $29.99 Target Mossimo bargain find, an undeniably cute dress! And then we headed to the set on the West side.  Here we are waiting in line!


I had no expectations, other than to have fun!  But it was Ryan's show and his energy is incredible so I knew he wouldn't disappoint.  

We had read there was a standing room and a sitting area.  We thought we wanted to sit. But when you finally arrive at the set, with the NYC skyline as the backdrop, you quickly realize that you want to be in the mosh pit! 

They were two mosh pits, one that was closer to the stage.  That one was filled so I secured two front row, middle, spots in the second mosh pit.  Absolutely perfect seats. But at the time, I didn't realize HOW AWESOME these seats were!

We had to turn off our cell phones and the comedian guy warmed up the audience.  Then he announced Ryan would be in the first mosh pit for the beginning of the show and in the second mosh pit for 2nd opening of the show!  His marked spot in the mosh pit was very close to me!  I was so excited!!!  The comedian guy said we had a 5 minute cell phone reprieve to text all our friends and tell them we were going to be on live TV with Ryan for the Million Seconds Quiz show!  I've never texted so fast!

Well then, right before the show started, this producer lady announced that Ryan would not be going into the first mosh pit but staying on the stairs.  Then she came over to the second mosh pit and mulled, eyeing the scene, ignoring the marked spot on the floor, and picked the spot right next to me for Ryan to stand!!!!  I couldn't believe it!  

And then the show started and it was so much fun!  You can tell how appreciative Ryan is of his fans! He has worked hard for his fame and fortune and is just a super nice guy!

So then it is time for the 2nd opening act and ACK!  There he is, standing right next to me!  He says hi and makes small talk!  I wanted to ask if he remembered meeting me from the Today Show (ya, right, he meets thousands of people)! And then the show begins and there we are live on TV!!!


I am the blonde wearing the black and white dress (ya know, the Target bargain dress, if I'd only known I was going to be on National TV standing next to Ryan Seacrest)! My sister is standing next to me, peeking at Ryan and the camera. The joke between us is that her nose is famous!

It happened so quickly but it was an EPIC moment!  I woke up today pinching myself!!  I still can't believe I got to meet Ryan for the second time this year!  I am very, very thankful!

After the show, people were taking photo's and I was able to snap this one with Ryan in the distance!


Today my hubby arrives in NYC and we are going to the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show and will be VIP guests in the audience!  Look for us tonight (9/11) on TV!  

I LOVE NEW YORK CITY!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lyme Bites...Disecting the Lyme Disease diagnosis

I feel like a tidal wave has swept over me and I am gulping for air, desperately trying to reach the surface.  The more I learn about Lyme Disease, the more I become OVERWHELMED.

I thought I had this Lyme Disease thing all figured out.  I thought I knew what Lyme felt like.  After all, I had it four summers ago.  You have a bulls eye rash (which I never had), chronic fatigue and joint pain.  The End.  I'm learning that is not the end of the story.  Here is a comprehensive list of Lyme Symptoms and Lyme Coinfection Chart You may need to sit down and grab a cup of coffee before reading. 

Since finding out that I have Chronic Lyme Disease, almost two weeks ago, I've soaked up as much information as I can about what this all means??  After all, I don't feel as sick as the people in the Lyme Disease Support Group that I joined on-line.  What is my take away from my recent diagnosis?  Do I give up and go back to bed after getting the kids to school?  Or do I continue to fight?  Before the diagnosis, I just accepted this as a way of life, the annoying, nagging symptoms.  I have been fighting for over TWENTY YEARS...in one way or another.  My body has fought hard to become disabled but EVERYTIME I would fall down, I'd pull myself up and then, go forward.

I feel like I am not sure what to believe.  I think I am in denial.  I don't want to call myself a "Lymie." I have worked too hard to find the light again.  I have discovered my passion for living every second, of every day.  The thought of how much energy is going to be consumed to fight this disease simply exhausts me.  Can't I just go on living my life in a way that masks my symptoms through exercise and endorphins and medicine for chronic fatigue or do I want to try and get every ounce back of my life that I can?

I will never be a Vice President of some big whig company, much less the PTA President but there is still so much I want to accomplish!  With this revelation about the fact that I have Lyme and most likely, several co-infections, I need to continue practicing flexibility and accept my "bad days" as a product of the Lyme lurking inside of my body.  I know what I want to do and want to finish what I've started. I can write and want to publish my two novels.  Two novels that speak honestly about very painful moments in my life and how I came out of the darkness.  I aspire to give hope to those who believe there is nothing to look forward to. I want to share my passion for fitness with others.  I want to create a safe environment for people who want to work on their mind and body.  I want to create a holistic business model, combining my love for fitness and running, as well as, my counseling skills. 

photo credit: Lyme Disease Awareness

“We all at certain times in our lives find ourselves broken. True strength is found in picking up the pieces.”
 
We must all go through this journey together.  We all carry around soul stories of sadness, pain, and loneliness.  However, we must combine those stories with hope, courage, and kindness or else, we may never experience pure happiness again.

I have been living with a chronic illness for half of my life.  So being told I have chronic Lyme is not going to change the way I live my life but it does take my breathe away as I try to wrap my mind around what this diagnosis exactly means and what treatment option to pursue.  I steer clear of prescription medicine as much as possible and the thought of being on endless months of antibiotics does not excite me.  But if the medicine clears my brain fog to help me think more clearly, restores my energy so I don't have to take a magic pill, helps me gain back the joy of eating, relieves me of random pain, deep in the tissues of my body, then I need to acknowledge the diagnosis and go forward fearlessly.  Just like I do, when I run towards the finish line in my long distance races.

"Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting." ~ Napoleon Hill


photo credit: ounewsbureau.com


 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Girls on the Run of Northern VA Fundraiser TODAY (9/3) Sweetfrog in FRFX/Chantilly


I am the Team Captain for the sponsored Girls on the Run (GOTR) of Northern VA DC Ragnar Relay Team. I have committed to raise at least $500 for GOTR and need your help!
 
GOTR is a fantastic program for girls that builds self esteem and confidence!  GOTR is the official charity for the Ragnar Relay Team and I am proud to represent this awesome charity! The Ragnar Relay will cover 197 miles in two days on October 4th and 5th.  It will begin in Cumberland, MD and end at National Harbor, MD.  There are 12 people on our team and each member of the team will be running 3 legs of the race. 
 
Are you wondering how you can help?  There are two ways!  If you are local, you can come out to Sweetfrog in Fairfax TODAY (9/3).  The fundraiser will be held all day until 10 pm.  Girls on the Run of Northern VA will receive 15% of all sales today - no flyer is needed!  Please share this blog post with your friends and family who live locally!  
The second way to support Girls on the Run of Northern VA is to visit my GOTR NoVA fundraising page and make a donation, please visit: Amy Fitzgerald GOTR NoVA personal fundraising page
 
Thank You!  I really appreciate your support!