Weekly Snippets 42

Weekly Snippets 42

Welcome to week 42, y’all. I hope 2016 is treating you well. (I always hope that, don’t ask why I decided on week 42 to tell you.) This past week has been the first week of a two-week vacation for me. It’s been both relaxing and constantly go-go-go. How does that happen? Well, you realize you have all the time in the world so you do your ordinary, daily tasks a little slower. It takes a little longer to get to breakfast, a little longer to pack your bags, you pull over at a few more viewpoints – and then by the time you finally get to where you were going it’s too late to actually relax. You just go to bed and start over. So each task has been very relaxing, but overall, I feel like we haven’t stood still yet. That said, I’ve taken some fun photos. It’s always fun to get to use the big camera. (Photo above was actually taken with my cell phone. Crazy, right?)

Here are 10 things that have happened in the past week:

  1. I got upgraded to first class on my flight to the west coast.
  2. We walked bunches of miles around all of Seattle.
  3. We drove to Bainbridge Island to see the coast and go to a winery.
  4. We had delicious breakfast burritos in Tacoma.
  5. We did a 5-hour hike at Mount Rainier National Park. It rained the whole time. I keep realizing that while I can do the nature thing, I prefer not to. Or at least I think you should be able to listen to podcasts while you do it. Anything to take your mind off of, alright, we’re alone in the woods, now what?
  6. We spent a lovely 20 hours in Astoria, OR which included a lovely hotel, a sunset from the highest point in town, Fort George brewery, a bar across the street from the hotel, and possibly the best breakfast I’ve ever had.
  7. We saw the Pacific Ocean!
  8. We visited Portland! I was happy to be back. I really like Portland.
  9. We went to Pip’s doughnuts, which is possibly my favorite place in all of Portland. You can get a flight of chai and delicious doughnuts. Best breakfast ever.
  10. We got to meet Andy from Plum Deluxe in person! And have tea with him!

Then we hauled butt back to Seattle, hopped on a plane, and flew to San Francisco. Can’t wait to see what the rest of this trip has in store.

My Corner of the Sky

Y’all. This post has been a long time coming. I’ve been working on perfecting it for months. I’ve been building playlists, singing karaoke (alone in my room at home), and belting out songs galore on long cross-country drives. So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my debut Broadway anthology album release titled, “My Corner of the Sky” (you know, if I were ever to actually have a debut Broadway anthology album release).

Also, if you’re looking for a list of alto Broadway songs (or maybe I should say alto who wishes more people would hand her baritone lines), these are my top recommendations – as well as my album cover:

Alto Broadway Songs: Chrystina's Firsts Faux Broadway Album DebutAlto Broadway Songs: Chrystina's Firsts Faux Broadway Album Debut

And as expected, here’s a little feedback about each song and why it made the list. Please stay tune for the liner notes for my first faux Broadway CD, My Corner of the Sky.

Track 01: Turn Back, O Man from Godspell

This is an excellent way to start an album. It’s low, it’s raunchy, it addresses the crowd, and it’s possibly my favorite song off of the Godspell album. I’d make this one a solo act and cut out all of the spots where Jesus talks in the middle.

Track 02: I Can’t Stand Still from Footloose

Footloose is my favorite musical of all-time. There’s not a character from this musical I wouldn’t be happy to be, but at the very top of the list is my good from Ren. (Ron is it? No Ren. Ren McCormack.) It’s just an upbeat piece about how he can’t stand still. And I can’t stand still. It’s almost autobiographical I tell you.

Track 03: Listen from Dreamgirls

Now this is the part where it gets a little bit far-fetched. Why? Because I’m telling you that I think I’m capable of being Beyonce. Mostly because I’m totally capable of being Beyonce. There are so many good songs on the Dreamgirls soundtrack. I could never pretend to be Jennifer Hudson, but this heartfelt song sung by Beyonce is where it’s at. You’ll see very quickly that there are a lot of power ballads on this CD, I hope you like them.

Track 04: Corner of the Sky from Pippin

This is the song the album is named after (clearly). This is one of my go-to elevator songs. What does that mean? It means when I get in an elevator I start singing it. It’s all about a man (boy?) who’s searching for something in life and isn’t sure where to find it. As for the rest of the musical, I don’t remember much of it, but it’s super high on my to-see again list. Apparently when you see a show that is moderately sexually charged when you’re 15 years old you don’t quite remember/understand all the details enough to piece them together later.

Track 05: Light My Candle, a duet from Rent featuring Kerry

A Rent classic! And in keeping with the “love is love is love” message of Rent (Or was that Hamilton? Or was that just Lin-Manuel?) we’re going to mix up the genders a little bit. My friend Kerry and I are going to be singing Light My Candle, she will perform the role of Mimi (clad only in bubble wrap to the sounds of iced tea being stirred) and I will perform the role of Rodger (who will attempt to write a bittersweet, evocative song that doesn’t remind us of Musetta’s Waltz). And I’ve got to tell you, when y’all come to the first faux cabaret night, this number’s going to be hott. With two t’s. (I should mention Kerry is the one who taught me how to dance in high school.)

Track 06: Dancing Through Life from Wicked

The Fiyero plot-line of Wicked is one of my favorites. And as a person who wasn’t the hugest fan of school any song that starts, “the trouble with schools is they always try to teach the wrong lessons” is okay in my book. Plus, then I get to find the prettiest girl and give her a whirl.

Track 07: Love Will Stand When All Else Falls from Memphis

Memphis is probably my second favorite musical. I’ve only seen it live once, but I’ve listened to it dozens of times since then. I even own the piano music and pretend that I’m Felicia when I’m home during the holidays. While a lot of the message of this musical is about race, “Love Will Stand When All Else Falls,” to which I feel like I could do justice. That said, part of me would love to channel my inner Huey-Calhoun. Maybe on volume two.

Track 08: Happiness from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

This was the song our fourth grade class performed in the Christmas show. I didn’t know at the time that it was Anthony Rapp singing, but I knew I liked the song. I like that happiness can be represented by something very simple: two kinds of ice cream, five different crayons, and sharing a sandwich. It’s always the little things that seem to make the days a little brighter.

Track 09: For Good, a duet from Wicked featuring Tina

The second duet on my album. Tina and I have been singing together for a long time. I’m the Phantom to her Opera Christine, I’m the Beast to her Belle, and I’m the Glinda to her Elphaba. Which might sound backwards, but the girl can belt and it would be a shame to not show it off. So I’ll be peppy and she’ll be political, and she’s gonna kill it.

Track 10: It Takes Two from Hairspray

I sang this song at a gay karaoke bar in Baton Rouge for a bachelor party and got complimented by the guy working the door when I was done. So this pretty much has to make the CD. Also, anything that has a 1950s rockin’ doo-wop vibe is 100% my jam. Plus, I get to pretend to be Aaron Tveit and Zac Efron, so there’s always that.

Track 11: My Favorite Things from Sound of Music

I love the simplicity of this song. I love Julie Andrews. And I love the song layout. A-A-A-B-A, and then repeat again with more gusto. I would also bring a bed into the recording studio so I could stand and jump on it while recording.

Track 12: Do I Believe You’re Beautiful, a duet from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella featuring Kristine

Kristine and I started singing this song together in 6th grade. Kristine was always the girl and I was always the boy. She’s the Jasmine to my Aladdin, the Beauty to my Beast (I had a lot of Belles apparently), and the Pumbaa to my Timon (I’m pretty sure I was just the less jolly one here…). It’s a lovely song, and while I haven’t seen the musical yet I did once watch this with a bunch of Catholic school girls while staying in a convent. We’ll pretend that counts for something.

Track 13: Honey, Honey from Mamma Mia

My friend Matt and I once said that if we failed miserably at our careers that we would be ABBA wedding singers. Apparently our careers are doing okay because neither one of us has called the other up yet. In the musical this song is used when Sophie is reading her mother’s diary. I love that the song is a story, and I love that I get to squeal my way through all of the dot-dot-dots.

Track 14: It Hurts Me from All Shook Up

This is another one of those 1950s rockin’ doo wop songs. I’ve never actually seen All Shook Up, but I must have sung every song from the musical over 100 times – in high school alone. Essentially I get to tell a lovely lady that it hurts me to see another boy treating her like crap when I know I could treat her so much better.

Track 15: Almost Paradise, a duet from Footloose featuring BJ

Footloose is the only musical to be repeated on this CD. While Almost Paradise never quite felt like it belonged on the album to me, it’s one of my favorite songs. So naturally, I will be singing it with one of my favorite dueting partners who stole my heart long ago, BJ. There are some great harmonies in there. Plus, we’ve failed miserably so many times at singing “A Whole New World” together that I think we deserve another chance.

Track 16: Someone to Fall Back On by Jason Robert Brown

Confession. I’m not 100% sure this is from a musical. But Jason Robert Brown is a musical theater composer, so he’s made the list. Also, it’s a transformative key-changing power ballad. And y’all know how I feel about power ballads.

Track 17: 21 Guns from American Idiot

My senior year of college we sang “21 Guns” in the University Chorus. I was selected as one of the three people that had solos during the song. When the show was over I asked for a recording and something had gone wrong with the audio and I never got a copy. And I really want to know what I sounded like. Because I worked really hard on it. So now’s the time to hear it. Who’s going to sing the chorus parts behind me? I hadn’t figured that out yet. Maybe I’ll Peter Hollens myself. But if you’d like to be in the chorus, please volunteer below in the comments and I’ll send a contract (with the same terms and conditions as mine) your way.

Track 18: There Are Worse Things I Could Do from Grease

This. I didn’t realize how wonderful a character from Grease Rizzo was until I got older. Her songs are sassy, they’re fun, and the amount of spunk you need to get through one is excellent. She also has a heck of a lot more fun during the musical than Sandy does. I really enjoy how reflective this song is. I think I could do it justice.

Track 19: What I Did For Love from A Chorus Line

I sang this song during a vocal jury in my senior year of college. It rises and rises and rises and all of a sudden there’s a magical key change in the middle! And guess who missed the key change in the middle! This girl. It’s really quite incredible how much of a hot mess I am some days. So. I need another shot at this one too. This is another power ballad. Gosh how I love those power ballads. And actually, this character reminds me a lot of Rizzo’s character from Grease. Strong-minded. On a mission. Doesn’t let crap get in her way.

Track 20: Broadway, Here I Come from Smash

Did any of y’all watch Smash? If you didn’t, you should have. The cast was phenomenally talented. Choosing just one song was nearly impossible. But I chose the one that seemed most fitting for this album, Broadway Here I Come. Another piano power ballad. Plus, then I get to pretend to be Jeremy Jordan, which sounds fun. So why not.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what the runner-up options were for the album cover, see below:


And that’s it. 20 alto Broadway songs. That was so hard. And during this process I actually came up with enough songs to consider making a volume 2, but we’ll see how the first album does first. Also, after reading through my list of reasons most of this song made the album, I’m realizing maybe it should have been called “My Second Chance,” but I made the graphic already and that sounds too hopeless for the excitement tied up in this first album. Also also, yes, I did actually text message all of the people that I plan on duet-ing with to confirm that they were okay being on my first faux album. Didn’t want to commit them to something they didn’t want to do after all.

What songs would be on your faux Broadway debut album thing-a-ma-jig? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you’re interested in listening to the songs on my playlist (sung by their original artists, not me, because well, “faux”) check out the Spotify playlist below.

A Simple Halloween Table Setting

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

After all of the Pinterest browsing I’ve been doing recently I’ve decided I want to get good at setting tables. I could spend all day looking at pretty tables and never get bored. I’ve decided to start my mission on the first holiday of the fall season: Halloween. My goal was to try to use as many things from around the house I could. This would (a) keep it cheap, (b) prove that other people can do this too, and (c) give me the chance to use a bunch of things around my house.

I went on a mission for things and here’s what I came back with:

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

  • Plates
  • Glasses
  • Utensils
  • Yellow paper napkins
  • White cloth napkins
  • Fall-colored ribbon
  • Small candle holders
  • Halloween salt and pepper shakers
  • Empty coconut water bottles that I made my co-workers give me when they were done with them so I could turn them into vases

And then I went to Trader Joe’s and bought:

  • 4 little pumpkins
  • 1 bouquet flowers

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel
A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

The first thing that I did was make use of my new “vases” and separated the flowers into three groups. My plan was originally to separate them into two, but I realized that they only gave me one of the one on the right in the photograph below, so I decided to stick it in a vase of its own.

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

The next thing I did was choose how to fold the napkins. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at cool ways to fold napkins and I knew I wanted them to add some dimension to the plates. I decided accordion-style would be fun, and it turned out to be pretty easy to fold. (Here’s the tutorial I used: How to Fold a Napkin into a Standing Fan by Howcast.)

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

I couldn’t decide how weird it was to put a pumpkin on the plates that people were going to eat off of, but I ended up going for it because putting it on the table made the runner feel too crowded. Maybe in the future it would be good to put some kind of coaster under the pumpkin. Also, while it might seem silly to use two types of napkins I liked the pop of color that the yellow added.

I also decided that I wanted to add some scrapbooking paper to the table to make it a little bit more festive since it didn’t seem like there was enough attention on the candles.

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

After I had set the table originally, Ben and I looked at it both thought it was a little too “bright” to be a table decorated for Halloween. We decided to darken things up by adding dark bottles of beer directly to the table.

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

And of course I had to use my Halloween salt and pepper shakers that I bought over 5 years ago and still haven’t had a chance to actually use. I like the fact that I was able to set a festive looking table without too much Halloween decor, which means that it should be easy to switch the basics in and out for each holiday. I hope to continue doing this with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthday, New Years, and Valentine’s Day as well.

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

I ended up tying the colorful ribbon around the top of my new vases to add a little pop of color!

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

My next “professional development” step that I’m going to take towards being better at this is trying to learn how to make simple flower arrangements. I feel like I could definitely add a little somethin’ somethin’ to the table by making the flower arrangements a little more elaborate. That said, I do like keeping them low so that you can see the other people across the table.

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

And here is the obligatory view from the top of the table. Would you believe I ironed that table runner? I swear I did. Maybe next time I’ll bring the steamer down.

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

A Simple Halloween Table Setting via Chrystina Noel

Overall, I had a lot of fun setting the table. It was fun to think through what was going to work and what wasn’t going to work. It was also fun to go through the house to see how many things I could use that I already owned. That said, I’m already starting to add a few things to my shopping list:

  • Fun gold charger plates that can be used for any holiday
  • Napkins that are any color other thank white

What do you think? Does it look like something you could do? Do you have any suggestions for next time? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Weekly Snippets 41

Weekly Snippets 41

Hi y’all. This was the week I became a caffeine overdoser. 2-3 chais a day is far too many for me. There’s been a lot of not sleeping and a heck of a lot of headaches. I used to think that people who said “I can’t function without my coffee” were being slightly dramatic. I get it now. They’re not being dramatic. Today’s the last day of my tasting though, so hopefully I’ll be getting back to normal soon. And by normal I mean two upcoming weeks of vacation. (Rough life, I know.)

Anyway, week 41! Here we are. Things are getting a little chillier and starting to feel more festive. I’ll be starting my Christmas Mix CD search when I get back from vacation. (Did anyone else see that PTX and Rascal Flatts are both releasing an album this year? It’s gonna be good.)

I’ve also got a lot of fun blog posts in the works for y’all. And I think I’ll even have some time to write them. Until then, 10 things that happened this week:

  1. Last weekend I got the chance to catch up with a friend from high school. She was in a pole dancing competition, which was pretty awesome. The amount of skill, strength, and creativity that comes with all of it is amazing. I saw routines performed to Circle of Life, Let it Go (from Frozen), and more. Oh, did I mention she won her division? Yeah, she’s pretty cool.
  2. I got my new planner for 2017 and already started writing in it. (It technically starts in August 2016.) I’m super excited.
  3. I cleaned my bathroom. That was very exciting.
  4. I wore a necklace Ben gave me and didn’t lose it. I would call that an accomplishment.
  5. My e-book, How to Stay in Touch: 27 Ways to Make it Happen is now available on Amazon. If staying in touch is something you struggle with, I highly recommend checking it out, it’s all of my best tips in one place.
  6. I went to lunch with a partner from our firm and a partner from a law firm on Tuesday. I guess being a manager really does mean I’m moving up in the world. We were talking about collaborating on future women’s initiatives. So much fun. I’m excited for more event planning. (I’m sure you’re surprised.)
  7. I tried 3 chais on Sunday, 2 chais on Tuesday, and 3 chais on Wednesday. Ridiculousness.
  8. I got the chance to chat with three really cool ladies this week. Sarah from Sarah Searches about hosting parties. Lisa from Lisli about hosting parties. Lauren about taking over the PHLbloggers Instagram account. And Eryn from Eagle + Mouse about awesome business stuff.
  9. Wednesday night I went to dinner with two friends from work at Tria. Our evening was filled with wine and cheese and chocolate deliciousness. And a heck of a lot of wonderful stories. And bubbly pink wine.
  10. Thursday night Melissa from Skinny Affair and I colored pretty pictures of rockets while sitting on the floor of Tattooed Moms. Here‘s the awesome coloring book our prints were from.

And that’s it. 10 things that happened this week. Sometime before I fly out tonight I need to pack, shower, get all of the cards I want to write next week ready to go, and work 8 hours. We’ll see how this turns out.

How was your week? Anything exciting going on?