#TravelTuesdays – Hamilton AND Dear Evan Hansen in ONE WEEKEND? FOR FREE?!?!?

Yes, dear reader. You read that right. “But how did you manage to get into two of the hottest Broadway shows in a single weekend? And for free?” you ask? Sit tight, patience got me these experiences, and it shall get you the answer.

I read a daily newsletter that covers U.S. and world events in an engaging tone called TheSkimm, and I have referred enough people to it to become a Skimm’bassador. One of the perks of being an “SB” is being part of a Facebook group with over 12,000 other SBs, and it’s a group many of us are fond of due to the sharing nature of many of its members. In November of 2016, an SB posted on the group that a new wave of Hamilton Tickets for shows from May to October of 2017 had gone on sale in their regular Ticketmaster pricing. Normally, these tickets are gone within minutes thanks to bots and regular thirsty people like myself who really want to get their hands on tickets, but, this was November 9th, which was the day after the election in the U.S. and many people were too enthralled watching (or reeling from) the news to care about anything else. Because of this, I managed to go in and snatch myself 2 sets of tickets for shows in the weekend before my birthday in October. I figured, I’ll go to one and sell the other, and depending on how much I sell them for, I just might be able to cover the whole trip! That was wishful thinking at its best. At the time, ticket resales were going for much, much higher than now, since demand is not as crazy with shows opening up across the country and now even in London. So, that was that. I purchased my tickets, and waited patiently until it was time to put them up for sale.

Then, on March 6th of this year, I was on the phone with my brother, who had originally told me he wanted to come to the show with me, and I went on Ticketmaster to check my seats to see which of the two shows was better, when I saw a little message saying that a new wave of tickets was going on sale the next day at 10:00 am. OMG. Ticketmaster does not notify people when tickets go on sale, because they’d never be able to deal with the servers crashing from the volume of visitors, so it’s up to random humans to keep checking until they know when the sale day will be, and they spread the word. By chance, I found out just in time. I tell my brother the news, and he tells me he’s going to buy a set the next day, and I can’t resist the urge and end up buying a third set of tickets, in a very good section, this time for a show on November 10th. At this point I have in my hands 3 sets of tickets for shows on the 19th and 21st of October, and for November 10th. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to see Hamilton in 2017! All I had to do was pick a date and sell the other two sets.

Fast-forward to the Tony Awards, which took place on June 11th. By this point, I had already heard of Dear Evan Hansen and I was a fan of the few songs I’d heard, and of course I loved Ben Platt from Pitch Perfect… but I had looked at tickets recently and everything was pretty much gone except for the price-hiked “preferred seating” section… and I just didn’t want to drop that kind of money. Until I watched the Tonys and in the heat of the moment, I said eff it, and bought myself a pair of tickets to go see Dear Evan Hansen on the same weekend in October that I had two pairs of Hamilton tickets for.

At this point, I had spent $1,200 in all 3 sets of Hamilton Tickets, and $700 for 1 pair for Dear Evan Hansen. Someone needs to hide my wallet during award shows. JK, I know my credit card number by heart.

There was a lot of back and forth on who’d be my date for the plays, but I’ll save you the story and jump to the part where it was decided my dad would join me. Since his birthday is October 24th (TODAY! Happy birthday dad! <3) and mine is October 26th, this was shaping up to be the best pre-birthday weekend, ever. My dad found a great hotel deal and we were all set for the weekend. Now all I had to do was sell my extra tickets…

In mid-September my brother texts me and tells me he sold his Hamilton tickets for a good chunk of money and he was super happy with the extra cash. I was so relieved, because Hamilton was much more accessible by now than when we first got the tickets, so I was starting to get paranoid that we weren’t going to be able to resell them, and I thought he was going to be so mad at me for the idea. So the sigh of relief when he got rid of his was HUGE! A few days after, I checked back on Ticketmaster to see why my tickets weren’t selling, and turns out the section all around me had dropped prices. So I extra dropped mine to where I was still making a good amount but lower than everyone else, and within minutes – BAM. Sold my tickets. These were for one of the October sets (I kept the one with better seats for myself and sold the other one), I still had the November ones to sell, but I let those do the work themselves. Then, while I was in New York, ready to catch Hamilton in its full glory, I get another e-mail – BAM BAM. The November tickets sold too. And those were really good seats, and I was able to make a good chunk off of those. Basically, between the two sales, I made back exactly what I had spent on all four (3 Hamilton + 1 Dear Evan Hansen) sets of tickets and completely broke even. To the cent. I actually got to see Hamilton AND Dear Evan Hansen, in one weekend, for free. Not to mention, just a month later Ben Platt was ending his show run, so I felt even luckier and had even less regrets about having bought those highly priced tickets.

My dad and I went to both musicals and words can’t express what it felt like to be able to take him and gift him this experience. He’s always been so gracious and has gifted us with countless trips and concerts and plays in the past, and to be able to take him to the biggest shows of the year and in some pretty good seats = PRICELESS.

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Liana’s Fabulous #BubblyForBubsie NYC Bachelorette Props

What do you do when you’re going on a bachelorette with your group of closest friends? Lots of things, but if you’re me… You. Make. Props!

One of my really close friends, Liana, is tying the knot at the end of the month and so we’re going all out with the “last fling before the ring,” all the way to one of her favorite places: New York City. Her sister and Maid of Honor, Katrina, very kindly requested I made some props for the big weekend, and of course I was very excited to make this set, being for such an amazing friend and what was promising to be a super fun weekend. The color scheme of some of the bach items was pink and gold, so I knew I’d stick to that for the props. Without further ado, some pics of the set (I forgot to do my semi professional set-up before leaving, so the pictures aren’t that great. Also, we barely got to use the props because of the back-to-back schedule we committed to haha! #BachLife

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The props were a surprise for Liana, and when she saw them she said she may be biased, but this was her favorite set I’ve ever made! I’ll take that type of bias any day 😉 Happy wedding my dear friend!

A Small Personalized Gift for the Best Dad Ever!

My dad is the best dad ever. Don’t @ me.

He got my brother and me tickets to go to El Clasico friendly game between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in Miami. We were beyond ecstatic to go to the game and experience the energy of that match that NEVER gets old between two of the biggest franchises in the world, not to mention the opportunity to see players like Messi, Bale, Neymar, etc. live. It’s something not everyone gets to do, and we were so grateful to him for that awesome gift. The only problem? Our dad is a Real Madrid fan.

Just kidding. You’re free to love any team here on this blog, it’s a safe space for all ❤ Anywho, our dad was originally supposed to go to the game with us, but due to some unfortunate AF circumstances, he could no longer make it. We were heartbroken because of course, he got us this amazing gift and we wanted to enjoy it with him, and also, we got him a sick team jersey which I customized for him, and it would’ve been awesome for him to wear it at the match.

Some logistics info: all the teams change their clothing up every year. We were able to find a 2017-2018 season Real Madrid jersey for him, but we got it blank because he doesn’t really have a favorite player on the team, and he actually dislikes Cristiano Ronaldo (biggest fan contradiction ever, I know, but I LOVE it!). So, I decided that it would be cool to put our last name in the back of the jersey, that way he could sport it forever without worrying about players being traded or leaving (forever traumatized by LeBron James and Wade, what am I supposed to do with my Heat jerseys now?!)… Back to the team logistics – I couldn’t for the life of me find the 2017 font, so I had to settle for the 16-17 season one, but it still looked pretty good.

Once my dad was finally able to come see us, we gave him the jersey and he LOVED it!

Love you pa! Thanks again for the tickets to the game, and glad you loved your shirt ❤

My Adventures in Orlando – Making Over My Brother’s Room!

Due to the flexibility of my schedule, I spent the past few weeks in Orlando with my little brother, which was much needed together time as I miss him terribly and he is starting new responsibilities at his job. I was glad to be there and help out with his apartment/chores so that he had one less thing to worry about.

He’s been living in that apartment for about a year now, with one of his high school friends as his roommate. For the most part, guys have a reputation for not being great decorators or paying much attention to beautifying their surroundings. My brother’s roommate has lots of flags and posters in his room and around the apartment, so in that sense there’s definitely a good amount of visual stimuli in the common areas, but my brother is another story. He’s never been one for posters or any type of decor – and to be quite honest, he’s like 0.5% handy. I’m the one that puts the furniture together, and he’s a great cook. Role reversal to the face, so take that, stereotypes!

At the beginning of my stay, I realized his room was all white walls and grey/black furniture. That was it! For my colorful self, I really couldn’t fathom waking up in that color scheme for days without going a little crazy. I needed to add something to the space, keeping in mind 100% my brother’s taste because of course I’d only be there temporarily and he would be the one that had to stare at it extensively. Aside from the lack of art, the room also needed a little love in general. The toilet seat was broken/unhinged, the shoes took up all the space in the closet floor so it was not really a walk-in, the curtain didn’t reach all the way down the window so light would get through (and my brother decided to stack some boxes in that space to block the light haha!), etc. So, I’m going to stop talking (writing) and show you how over the course of a few weeks, I transformed my brother’s room!

Room Improvement 

 

The next part was a bit tough. It’s always a challenge to decorate for a guy, because adding art while keeping the guyish vibe is a very fine line to toe around. I think I managed pretty well, see for yourselves!

Artsy Remodel 

 

Other details

 

These changes were done slowly (even though it really could’ve been done in a day) but they really completely made a difference and my brother liked and appreciated them all. I had no budget for this, so I tried to spend as little as possible, so this is a testament to the fact that a little can go a long way if you get creative and get your hands dirty!

Buying vs. Making: Concert Shirts for J. Cole!

Let’s talk about concerts for a minute, shall we? It has gotten truly ridiculously expensive to go see your favorite musician lately. Ticket prices + venue fees + parking/Uber cost + refreshments/food at the venue + artist memorabilia = where do I file for bankruptcy?! It’s a lot. When I was little, of course I’d beg my parents for the shirt or hat or bandana or keychain or any memento I could keep as a souvenir, but now as an adult, I dare not even glance over at the merchandise section.

I usually wear normal clothes to concerts, but as the date for the J.Cole concert in Orlando was approaching, my brother suggested I should make some shirts for us. I was super surprised he had this idea because 1. Neither he nor I are the type to do this and 2. I really hadn’t thought about making myself any artist-related clothing item for a concert, ever. But this was a cool moment for me, since my brother never asks me to make anything and I was so touched he wanted me to do it that I was 100% in.

When it comes to these things, I try to be as frugal as possible. If it’s not something I can see myself wearing often, I will not splurge on it. Plus, if it’s a DIY, it should be cheaper, right? Right. So, when it came to the Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), I decided not to buy any, but make use of what I already had. No need to spend extra or go crazy with that. And for the shirts, since I had the experience with the ones I made for my Game of Thrones watch party, I knew I’d find something at Walmart. I found a black shirt for me for under $4, and even though my brother actually didn’t like any of the options there, he ended up finding a v-neck at TJ Maxx for $4 as well. With the amount of HTV I ended up using, each shirt basically came out to $6!

When it came time to design it, I wanted to have J.Cole’s face and hair silhouette which has become a big part of his brand, and also incorporate the crown from his Born Sinner album artwork. I ended up designing/cutting/putting it all together the same day of the concert because #ProcrastinationNation. And the crazy thing here was that since I was only using what I had, there was no room for error. Whatever I’d cut, it had to work. Because of the amount of each color I had, I decided that my brother would get Cole’s face silhouette, and I’d do my shirt with only the crown. I looooved how they turned out!

 

And here’s the best part of it all: during the concert, there was a lot of camera focus on the audience, and at some point my brother caught us on the jumbotron, BECAUSE he recognized the print on his shirt! It was so cool to see my shirts on the big screen, looking like official merch, but made by me :’)

 

Guess who’s never paying for merch ever again?!?

Winter Is Here – A Proper Game Of Thrones Watch Party (**Minor Spoilers!**)

Up until last year, I wasn’t interested in Game of Thrones or any of the events that came to be on the show (#RedWedding), but with all the social media ruckus about Mr. Jon Snow, it peaked my curiosity just enough to watch the first episode of season 6 to find out whether or not he’d make it through… Except that, as avid watchers know, we don’t get an answer until the last moments of episode 2. By this point, a few other interesting things had happened, and let’s just say I’d found a new favorite thing to do with my Sundays at 9pm. I watched the rest of season 6 without any prior knowledge, something that came in handy with the episode “The Door,” because while everyone was distraught mourning the death of one of their favorite characters, I wasn’t anywhere near the level of attachment everyone had built over the prior 56 episodes. #HoldTheDoor crisis averted.

Needless to say, I was hooked but also a little lost – as much as I picked up on things, there’s way too much ground covered in 5 seasons that cannot be deduced during 10 episodes, especially not on this show. But I also didn’t want to get hooked… So, I let months go by until I couldn’t wait any longer and I finally binged seasons one through five in a week, then re-watched season 6, feeling the proper things we’re all meant to feel (#RedWeddingVictim)… and this brings us to yesterday.

7.16. The date that has been tattooed on our brains for months as we anxiously awaited season 7 (not to mention it started at a later date and coming with less episodes than any prior season… see, it’s like I’ve been here from day 1!), and this time I was on time and part of the gang! I had been victimized by George R. R. Martin, David Benioff and Dan Weiss along with millions of others, and I was ready to continue being a masochist, but I wanted to do it in style. Thanking the old gods and the new for Pinterest, see below my Night’s Watch approved watch-party, which I must start by saying I was not willing to spend any money on. Everything you’re about to see was whipped up from items I already owned. I know, I’m a crafter and not everyone has these things handy, but I’m proud to say the only money I spent specifically on this party was a grand total of $6.40.

It all started with an Iron Throne

But then when I placed the throne against my TV station, it looked weird. It needed a better backdrop. So…

I wanted to make a banner with all the house banners, but once I was done with it, it was longer than just half of the TV station… more red fabric, to the rescue! (FYI this is where I spent my $6.40, printing the banners!)

And the whole shebang –

Some other details –

I had all of this planned out and then one of my friends who was coming to the party suggested we make shirts for ourselves. You know I don’t need to be asked twice…

And what I think was THE BEST decor item EVER, and will forever be grateful to Pinterest for providing this amazing idea –

That’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed seeing this watch party come to life 🙂 I’ll leave the decor up for the remainder of season 7. Have you done something like this for your own watch parties? Any ideas for upcoming episodes? Let me know in the comments below!

 

#MyBestFriendsWedding Chapter 4: She Said YES to The Dress!

Shortest “blog” post ever! Just had to celebrate the fact that after three stores and 16 dresses, my best friend found her wedding dress today! I was ecstatic to be a part of this day for her, and of course I had to make special props for it 🙂

 

Stay tuned to see the pictures of the dress and the process after her big day in late March of 2018!