Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wait, how is it April?

::clears cobwebs from blog::

Helloooo! And how is everyone on this fine April (?!?!?!) afternoon? I'm doing lovely and thought I
might write a blog post for a change.

The updates are, I have been doing all sorts of cool things and also boring things. Packing my weekends with too many activities, not getting enough sleep, getting too much sleep. Getting some bizarre flu/sinusitis hybrid and doing a competition anyway. Joining a gym beside the one I already don't go to and then nailing it at said gym.

And that's all I can remember off the top of my head. Trust - I have been thinking of all sort of entries day in and day out for this blog and taking pictures to support these entires. But after a while, I got too overwhelmed and just said to hell with it all, I won't write anything.

Now here we are months later with no content! Well this just can't stand. So I'll slowly be adding all the stuff that I should've been writing and post dating them. Don't be alarmed, but I'm going to be overwhelming your RSS feeds for a little while.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bettering the Brand: And why I'm talking about it

I made a few blog posts already about my triumphant return to the gym. I haven't gone in ages and have recently been motivated to go back. I've also been inspired to take steps toward an all inclusive healthy lifestyle. Including but not limited to organic & raw foods, natural & do-it-yourself detergents/skincare/health products etc.

At first I told myself that I wouldn't, I absolutely would NOT tell people on social media (and real life) that I was going back to the gym and "dieting". It's not really anyone's business and there's always that one "expert" (read: naysayer) that wants to debunk any and every method you're using for weight loss. I also don't want anyone to think that since I'm posting about working out that it's an invitation for them to attempt to educate me on what I should or shouldn't be doing. If there's something I just cannot stand, it's unsolicited advice. Trust me, if I want your help, I will ask you for it gleefully and, sometimes, ad nauseum. 

But the reason that I said to myself "you know what, to hell with all that, I'm going to tweet, FB, Instagram, and carrier pigeon my progress" is because I realize I have way more supporters and cheerleaders than naysayers. I mean really, so many people really DO want me to succeed so why not share this lifestyle change with them at the onset? 

And many if not all of the blogs/FB status updates I see are fitness divas posting AFTER they've gotten through the toughest part. The part where you step into the gym for the first time and everyone knows they have never seen you before. Or that they haven't seen you in a while and mentally take note of it. The part where you can't even do 5 push-ups anymore or run for more than a solid minute. When you walk over to a machine for the first time in a long time and you're moving a little slower than everyone else so you can accustom yourself to it. Or when you're one of the most out of shape people in the group fitness classes and you can't keep up, so you stand in the back. And when you really need to just have a seat in the locker room just for a second because DAMN that was so hard but at least you gave it your entire effort. 

Yes, going back to the gym isn't exactly party time, but it's a celebration because you've made that first step to change your life and take back control of your health. So please don't take my proclamations, instagram pictures, blog entries, and FB check-ins at/about the gym as some sort of bragging - I'm just hoping that someone (like me not too long ago) will be inspired to follow suit. Or, the easiest thing, that you'll just be happy for me! 

Thanks for reading :) 

With the love,
La Toya

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Best of...Jan 13 - 17

Best Day
This Wednesday, I went to the American Museum of Natural History with my friend Jessica. Wait but hold on, let me back up. The week before this I saw this picture when I randomly looked up from my phone. I then posted a pic on my IG feed and Jessica said she had a membership there and we'd be able to go for free. The power of social media!!! So beside getting to see the amazing museum, we went to see the incredible new feature Dark Universe in the Big Bang Theater. I was so into it, especially since he talked about Supernovas. Which I have deemed my favorite Outer Space phenomena beside Black Holes.

Best foodie moment
Also on Wednesday, as per tradition, we went to the local Uno just up the street from the museum and had their lunch special. While I was profoundly disappointed with the pizza and salad I ate, Uno redeemed itself with this absurdly delicious White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Sundae. It was a mini-dessert so I was like okay whatevs!

Favorite Look of the Week 
Hmm, well ALSO on Wednesday (probably my favorite day this week out of all the days), it was warm enough (at first) to break out that Houndstooth Jacket my mom bought me. Here I am pictured with an entire day time diva look...which, now that I think about it, was entirely put together by my mother haha!

One day, I'll get a close-up full length photo

Sunglasses: Steve Madden
Coat: Ashley Stewart
Jeans: Avenue [Denim]
Boots: Lane Bryant online
Purse: Marshall's (Steve Madden)

Monday, January 13, 2014

8th, 9th, and 10th Cities: Texas {Tour Life}

In October 2013, I went on my first National Tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. I sang the Abyssinian Mass written by Mr. Marsalis with Chorale Le Chateau led by Damien Sneed. 

Around this part of the tour, it REALLY was starting to feel like we were at work, which, we were...and nice work if you can get it. But Texas was legitamately a blur to me because it happened so quickly. Here are all three from what I remember.

So it was about an 8 hour ride from NOLA to Houston and it was all very much a blur. We left really early in the morning to get there in time for our concert which was the day of. Once we got to the lovely hotel, I think I took like a 40 second nap before getting ready for soundcheck. The show was awesome and we came directly back to the hotel. A few friends from NY perform with the Houston Grand Opera house so we got to see them that night!!
View of the lobby from the balcony outside my hotel room

I mean Big D, lil' a, double L-A-S! Who knew that when I sang that ridiculous song lyrics in Most Happy Fella 6 years ago, that I'd actually go to this place? All I remember really was the delicious BBQ. The other thing I remember were the little Halloween cookies we got from one of the choir members' Mom upon our arrival at the hotel. Cookies in Halloween bags?!?! More tour magic!!!


So around the time we got to Austin, all I knew was that I had no idea what day it was. It might've been Wednesday or Sunday, no one really knows. But what I do know is that I had an entire afternoon to rest before the next concert. My friend gave me a manicure (as I was starting to look like an actual Halloween witch) and I had the largest possible iced coffee from Starbucks (conveniently located in the lobby).

At our final stop in Texas, Austin was a great time and I was reunited with another one of my old friends I hadn't seen in years because she lives down there!! I'm excited to go visit Texas again some time since I didn't have much time to really get to see everything. And um, yeah the bbq down there is the best.

Weekend Round Up {Jan 10 - Jan 12}

So Friday was one of those completely unplanned awesome evenings. After I gave myself mad props for making it to the gym 3 times in one week, I ended up going to a jazz show around the corner from my house (literally) featuring some of my old friends from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: The Wynton Marsalis Quintet. I was like Throwback Thursday guys!

It was so ridiculously dope because I had only seen them play the music from the Mass while we were on tour and got like a small taste of what they were all capable of during their interludes. When I tell you these guys were ON FIRE. I mean woooooooow. I have to upload a bunch of video to YouTube so people can experience what I did.

I included a video here of this woman dancing. Apparently because the band was so large, they didn't have much room for a dance floor like they normally do there. So there was an announcement made that the audience had to remain seated. That did NOT stop this lady right here. I saw her out of the corner of my eye standing, and then moving her hips a little. And once the band started really hitting, she started dancing more fiercely saying "I GOTTA dance, shit!" and some people laughed around her and she added, "I'm 81 years old, hell, I might die tomorrow! Shit!" It was *such* an amazing moment.

I took it easy on Saturday and basically realized how tired I was and on Sunday, I sweated it out at Hot Yoga. YEEEAH BOYEEE.

How was your weekend??

Hot Yoga is here to stay {Bettering the Brand}

Back when I was in the gym a lot a few years ago, I took a "Virgin" Yoga class once a week for about 2 months before attempting a "Hot Yoga" class at Crunch. They can't really call it Bikram Yoga but that's what it is. I was super intrigued by the whole hot part of it but knew it would be a challenge. Even after all my Yoga 101 training, the first Hot Yoga class was tough. I wore all the wrong things and didn't drink enough water before, during, or after. Still somehow, I took about 5 more classes before I got severely dehydrated and just never went back.

This past Sunday was my first day back in Hot Yoga. I don't really know what I was thinking. I haven't taken a Yoga class in years, I don't stretch on a daily basis, and I've been super wound up ever since I started working out. It was a 90 minute class in this teeny tiny studio at Crunch but for some reason I was just over the moon about even being there. I mean, I know how to wash my hair now so I can't use sweating my hair out as a con to this class. I had on the right pants and shirt this time. I already had a ton of water and know know the benefits of Coconut Water. I am ACES at this time.

The class was pretty tough and I really had to pace myself but BY GAD, I'm on my way. The heat felt great, the sweating felt detoxifying, and the stretches were deep. I'm working my way up to making this class a few times a week before this is all said and done. Hot Yoga is here to stay! ::80s sitcom overly excited freeze frame!::

PS: Also, today is my half birthday.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

7th City: New Orleans - The Saenger Theater {Tour Life} Part II

In October 2013, I went on my first National Tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. I sang the Abyssinian Mass written by Mr. Marsalis with Chorale Le Chateau led by Damien Sneed. 

On my second day in New Orleans, I got to have an incredibly delicious lunch at Royal House Oyster Bar with a couple of tour mates. Ridiculously good.

We basically had a foodie excursion ending at Marie Levaux's House of Voodoo. Which was really serendipitous because that next month, I created the role in a new musical The Witching Hour.

We got back to the hotel with enough time to get ready for soundcheck. The theater was the most incredible theater we had seen. It looked like we were outside on a starry night. I was having so much trouble keeping my jaw off the floor that I barely paid attention to the soundcheck, ha!

I mean, seriously?

We sang our hearts out as always and were really excited to be in Wynton's hometown. I have to say this was my MOST favorite part of tour and it was when I finally realized how absolutely magical and enchanted my life has become. I knew from this point onward things would never be the same the most positive way!

Please enjoy a clip of us singing that evening below.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Revenge of the Zumba {Bettering the Brand}

For some strange reason, I went to Zumba classes three times this week. I guess it's not as strange as it is ironic. Ironic that my first legit week back at the gym, I managed to *flawlessly* go 3 times in one week. Ironic that each time was to take a class that is one of my least favorite classes to take at any gym anywhere. It's probably because it's supposed to be fun and I always get too caught up in the fact that these songs suck and these dance moves are foolish. And I almost always forget that I'm actually working out and HALLELUJAH, weight loss!

On Monday, my very first week back at the gym, I begrudgingly went back to the gym at Park Slope. I didn't know what the schedule was and tried to look at it online for hours. I thought my internet was just being slow but after I called the gym (determination!) they told me it was their system, and that the class that I was hoping to take was turned into a Zumba class. Great. So I went to the class and it was overcrowded as usual with people who aren't aware of the space around them and who don't do the moves well enough for me to at least decipher what's happening up at the front. The music was also unrecognizable and cheesy and I was so annoyed. But then we did that fun thing where whoever was on the side of the room is now in the front of the room and I got to see myself in the mirror killing the moves with all the others in the class (my backup dancers) behind me. I remembered that 1. I'm awesome 2. I like dancing and 3. HOLY CRAP IM DOING A WORK OUT RIGHT NOW

On Wednesday my friend Brittany invited me to her favorite Zumba class IN HARLEM. So that sentence alone should let you know that I wasn't in my right state of mind, going all the way to Harlem for Zumba no less. But that class ended up being a whole lot of fun with GREAT music and an awesome teacher. So I might be going back who knows. 

Friday was an interesting day. I planned to take the 2FLY class which is 90s hiphop dance music and moves and literally the most fun I've ever had at the gym, but somehow (read: laying in the bed for too long) I missed every train that would've gotten me there on time. And I was left guessed it, a Zumba class all the way up in Midtown East, which could not be more inconvenient to get to. But I did it and I'm feeling just fine. I'm looking forward to the gym next week and am already noticing that things are getting easier to do.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fashion Corner + DIY #2

Fashion Finds
So my mom got me this BOMB Houndstooth Black and White Coat. I wanted to wear that bad boy immediately but then we were hit with that inexplicable Polar Vortex and I had to dress like an eskimo for days and days. But oh you just wait, I'll be wearing that jacket soon enough...

Favorite OOTD

I'm going to go with the outfit I wore for my recital, which ended up being a simple 3/4 length sleeve Black Dress, Chrome Tights, and a simple nude heel. All those colors sound like they don't go together but oddly, they worked. Because I was wearing something I had already, I got a couple of costume pieces to go match my Rose Gold Metallic Heels (which I originally intended on wearing). I ran out of time running around the day of, so I did these rush job nails, both colors by ELF (which I RUINED before I even left the house, eeek!)

My favorite make-up look for the week was this one. I hadn't done my make-up all week and I was like, I don't care if I'm only going to Trader Joe's, I'm going to do an ENTIRE FACE OF MAKE-UP. I just played around with some purples, mixed my mattes and glosses for the lip, and used my cream pink blush. I'm actually liking the cream blushes a lot more than whatever else I was using. I went to the E.L.F store in NoHo and one of the girls there told me that I should've been using cream brushes ages ago. Who knew?!
Magnetic Make-Up Board Update
At least my bedroom is coming together!
So Brittany and I went to Michael's on Columbus Ave. today and after meandering the store for 2 hours (I'm not exaggerating), we both got black magnetic boards, magnetic strips (to attach to our make-up), and some decorations. Mine was a complete bust!!! But I hung up the blank board while I go look for stronger magnets and ended up making my bedroom look all cute. And Brittany's board looks perfect. I don't even understand how we both used the same materials and hers came out like that. Whatever, I'm a singer not a magician ::grumble grumble:: Her board looks bomb though, go Brit!! 

Photo Credit: Brittany Robinson

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekend Round Up {Jan. 3rd - Jan. 5th}

Hmm, let's see what did I do this weekend? OH RIGHT, I had an super amazing awesome fantastic recital, duh!

And it was just absolutely fantastic. I had a very, very good crowd filled with mostly new comers who hadn't heard me sing yet. I was so ridiculously excited for this concert. Which is to say that I'm not always incredibly excited for the concerts that I do, namely because I haven't been in good voice for a single solitary concert at any point since I started doing them. So I was constantly concerned that I would be falling flat on my face in previous concerts. But luckily, I sang the BEST I have ever sung. And I tried something new...speaking before each set! Okay that's not incredibly avant garde or anything BUT I did feel like I was turning over a new leaf. And I got some really good feedback about it afterward.

Here's a clip of me like, nailing the encore.

Then we weren't sure where to go for the after party so we had a really delicious burger from 67 Burger
Kalifa, Nandi, and I at Moe's
and drinks at Moes. Speaking of both places...I didn't know that 67 Burger has such delicious burgers. I think the first time I went there, I had a salad...yeah I know, laugh it up.

And at Moe's the big surprise was that my Uncle showed up there randomly! I gotta say though, I didn't like that spot, so I won't be going back.

On Sunday I just basked in the warm glow of my recent accomplishment. I read all my txts, emails, cards, and messages from friends and family. It was truly a great weekend and an incredible start to an even better year than last!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

7th City: New Orleans - The Saenger Theatre {Tour Life} Part I

In October 2013, I went on my first National Tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. I sang the Abyssinian Mass written by Mr. Marsalis with Chorale Le Chateau led by Damien Sneed. 

There are so many things to say about my visit to this incredible town, which is why this will be a two-parter. I don't want to leave anything out. It was around this time that I started to realize that my life had taken the most excellent upward swing. The magic of the tour was really showing itself and this particular leg was when it really started.

Firstly, the trip from Augusta to New Orleans was 12 hours long. Somehow, this was the most comfortable 12 hours I've ever experienced. We made some really good pit stops, including one with a HUGE Barnes and Noble & a Waffle House (duh, winning!) Not to mention that a mom of one of the mezzos in the choir (hey Amber!) made us all pie.

Maria, Jonathan, and Josh!
Even our rest stops were magic and fun. We needed to stretch our legs so naturally, NATURALLY everyone went outside and started dancing. What a blessing and treasure to know that there is a legion of musicians/performers who are on the same eccentric level as you.

Bobby and Martin!

I think we got to the Hyatt Regency, which was my most favorite hotel, around 8pm or 9pm. I'm pretty sure I was still sleeping so I was moving rather sluggishly to get off the bus. I noticed a small commotion outside of the bus but figured everyone was just excited to finally be in NOLA. Nope, turns out, Bobby Brown was outside the hotel, just minding his business smoking a cigarette. Maybe I dreamed that, I don't know, nothing seemed real anymore. But the fact of the matter is, Bobby Brown really WAS there and I was totally going to go do the running man with him. I wanted to say "Too hot to handle, too cold to hold, they called the Ghostbusters and they in control!". But I decided against that and just told him how big of a fan I am and that I did earnestly still listen to his greatest hits quite regularly. He asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was an opera singer on tour with WM and JALC and then, Bobby Brown imitated an opera singer and sang opera to me. Because, well, you know, of COURSE.

I was completely unprepared for the majesty that awaited me when I walked into the hotel. OH THE MAJESTY. It was like a cruise ship sailing to Narnia. And there were two Starbucks inside the hotel itself. I mean, sign me up! There were direct flight elevators and chandeliers and jazz clubs and restaurants. The tv even greeted me when I got to the room. Just, what? But I had to get ready for an event in town that one of the tour girls put together so I didn't fully take everything in. Next thing I knew, me and the girls were taking in the sights and the sounds of the French Quarter. It was there that I partook in my first mouthwatering, perfectly seasoned, crispy, exceptional, heavenly Shrimp Po' Boy from a local hole in the wall. If someone a year ago when I quit my day job told me that I'd be standing in New Orleans, in perfect weather, mid-October, eating a shrimp po' boy (that I still dream about to this day), after being sung to by Bobby Brown, while on tour with Wynton Marsalis, well I'd tell them they had a very active imagination.
Lauren, Belinda, Me, Anne!

6th City: Augusta, GA - Good Shepherd Baptist Church {Tour Life}

In October 2013, I went on my first National Tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. I sang the Abyssinian Mass written by Mr. Marsalis with Chorale Le Chateau led by Damien Sneed. 

This post is video heavy, which isn't so bad. So make sure you watch them all, they're very short, but you'll feel like you were there with us!

After Athens, we had a quick jaunt over to Augusta. This town is our conductor, Damien Sneed's hometown and you could feel the excitement among all of us. I personally was nervous because I didn't want to ruin the show, might've just been me thinking that though, because how would I have done that? Teehee!

The hotel as usual was very lovely and we got to spend a little time there before going to soundcheck. I caught some video of some of the guys throwing around a football with the composer.

As usual, the show was fantastic and emotional as we could feel the immensity of Maestro Sneed's presence in that church. How big of an event it was for him to bring Wynton Marsalis, who is also his mentor, to his home church. I loved hearing the shouts of praise for Damien and feeling the love for him as people gave him standing ovations. I was so incredibly inspired by the entire experience.

Here's a clip of us at soundcheck that day:

Post by Wynton Marsalis.

Last but not least, check out this awesome video that Jazz at Lincoln made of us in Augusta:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! {Resolutions}

Could've had a V8!
Look at how bold I am, making resolutions and putting them on the internet for everyone to hold me accountable for! I noticed a lot of people on my FB feed and on IG saying that they're not making resolutions this year. I'm wondering why? Is it because making a resolution means that we have resolved to stop doing this one not-so-good thing that we kept doing last year? Is it because it makes us feel like we need to improve and if don't we've failed? Well what's wrong with improving? I improve every year and even when I feel at my best, there's still way more I can do. So I say, I SURELY have some resolutions and I'm going to tell you all right now.

5 Things I'm vowing to do (more of) this year
At our first spot, pretending to have missed the train
1. More Gym Dates/Active Outings
A couple weeks ago, I went on a Scavenger Hunt throughout NYC. It was on a Sunday and it lasted 3 hours. Do you know what I normally do for 3 hours on Sundays? Bottomless Boozy Brunches. Which, don't get me wrong, are AMAZING and perfect.  If you enjoy Mimosas, Pancakes and/or Steak and Eggs at the same time, please go do this this year. But the amount of fun I had running around the city doing this Scavenger Hunt reminded me that I don't need to be lazy AND turn my brain off just because it's the weekend. I actually really love using the ole noggin. And I enjoy being active. I'm also part of a really great gym (Crunch Fitness) that offers really fun classes (Zumba, hip hop dance, etc) and there's no reason that I can't round up a few friends to take these classes with me. It translates better to me than "I'm going to be hitting the gym like crazy in 2014". Sure I will, but I'd prefer an active lifestyle to become something I do forever, not just because it's January 1st. 

2. Cooking at home
My first attempt at ribs = flavor explosion
After all my tour life excitement and social butterflying, I got into the habit of dining out and ordering take out PERHAPS too often. Some people started asking me when exactly do I cook. Beside how I'm eating being, really none of anyone's business, I did have to ask myself the same question. Along the years, I've become quite the chef and most of the time I can cook up something real nice for myself. And you, if you're lucky! 

3. More gratitude
Gratitude comes in all forms. I started practicing gratitude two years ago and it changed my life. Just being thankful for the smallest things, the train arriving minutes after I get into the station, a warm breeze on a Spring evening, picking a really sweet apple...I mean you NAME IT. And when you're grateful for the little things, oh the grand things you shall receive. That would explain why every single amazing thing that happened to me on tour was a brain explosion.

4. Saying YES
And being on faculty with Tony Danza is also awesome
I'm an introverted extrovert who doesn't like spontaneity. I'm also a product of a "well, are they paying?" mindset and I'm not entirely sure where I got that from. In 2013, I said yes to so many things that didn't necessarily pay me but left me feeling richer than I could imagine. Last year, I sang National Anthems at events that led to further networking opportunities. I volunteered to be the Social Media manager with a company and the work I've done with them will end up helping me move forward in my own career. I even said yes to singing in a musical that is being considered to head to Broadway (!!!!) The most rewarding of all these just-say-YES opportunities is my position at the All Stars Inc. in Manhattan. I got to teach inner city children how to sing and expose them to opera. Working with them helped me remember why I sing and how incredibly brave I am to do it as often as I do. 

5. Doing what I love more
Includes: Read more books, Travel and explore more places, Blog more (done and done!), See more Live Shows, and Sing more! MOAR.

Bonus: Being unapologetically myself
And this goes hand in hand with the previous point. I'm a nerd, I love to read, I'm SUPER GIRLY, I want to go to tea parties. I'm still a kid at heart, video games are awesome...I'm not afraid to stand in the Nintendo World store and play the newest video games out. And who cares if that's quirky, that's who I am. And when I'm unapologetically ME, that's when I'm truly the happiest.

I wish you all the most successful year yet. 
Happy New Year!

5th City: Athens, GA - University of Georgia Performing Arts Center {Tour Life}

In October 2013, I went on my first National Tour with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. I sang the Abyssinian Mass written by Mr. Marsalis with Chorale Le Chateau led by Damien Sneed. 

So I've never been to Georgia and I was so excited about EVERYTHING. I may or may not have asked what timezone we would be in when we got there...

It's a GEORGIA Peach!
Full disclosure, the only thing I was concerned about regarding this tour was whether or not I would implode from riding on a tour bus for hours at a time all through the South. The fact is, it was such a good time. Every single time we stopped, it didn't matter if we were at a sprawling outdoor mall or a tiny gas station - we made the absolute most of it. It was like one long field trip.
Darnell, John, and Josh

We got to Athens while the sun was still out. It was a proper day off so we got to catch up on laundry and sleep. Some of us went to explore the college town not too far away from us. This was the first city that I completely indulged in a day off. We layed by the pool and tanned and it was just luxurious and incredible. I was having trouble making any of this make sense. Like, this is supposed to be WORK? I'm having the time of my life, I'M SITTING BY A POOL ON A WEEKDAY.

I would say the coolest part of this particular leg of the trip was getting to know everyone better and relaxing. One super amazing is-this-real-life thing that happened was being invited to a dinner party at the last minute. There were some extra seats available to dine with Mr. Marsalis and a few band members at a close colleagues home. When I say they welcomed the 5 of us that came to the dinner party with open arms, I mean it! There was savory beef stew, hearty
The most Southern picture I've ever taken
potatoes, perfectly sweet Sweet Tea, and let's not even TALK about dessert. Okay, no, let's talk about it. Pecan Pie. And so much of it that they let us take a couple back to the hotel with us to share with the others.

Anyway, the next day we performed at the University of Georgia Performing Arts Center and for some reason, I only took a picture of the ceiling. This might've been because my hair was still a hot mess from Charlotte and I was waiting until after soundcheck to let someone who really know what they were doing (Hey Chenee!) to hook me up.

I might be mixing days up but after the show, a few of the band members and Mr. Marsalis were standing in the lobby eating some of the local cuisine (read: Ribs) and I asked a choral member if she'd come with me to take my picture with him. I still hadn't really figured out how to greet him but I figured it was now or never, or else people would think I was making this whole thing up. I probably said "Um, hello, uh sir? Can I er, takeapicturewithyousorryyoureating" and I'm certain he replied, "What? Of course!" And there you have it, my first picture with Mr. Wynton Marsalis. Is this real life?

My First Picture with the legend Wynton Marsalis!