Crazy Rich Asians

Fashion, Food, Fun and Romance

Crazy Rich Asians BookCrazy Rich Asians based on Kevin Kwan’s novel is the romantic comedy of 2018 that is winning the hearts of audiences worldwide and critics as well. Director John Chu takes us vicariously on a sumptuous tour of the beautiful sights, scents and lifestyle of the affluent in Malaysia and Singapore.  This richly created world helps set the contrast between Constance Wu’s character’s Rachel Chu’s life and Henry Golding as Nick Young’s upbringing.

Each member of the cast is brilliant in their role in serving up the laughs, heartwarming moments and drama.  I love how Constance show’s Rachel’s lovable vulnerability combined with fiery strength.

The film has all the elements of a romantic comedy we love including a satisfying Cinderella ending and characters we adore.

I am so proud and inspired by this movie’s representation and story that has resonated with so many people. It is exciting to know that due to the overwhelming positive box office response the second book in the series China Rich Girlfriend has been approved as the next film sequel.

Courtney Kato Crazy Rich Asians Fashion
This year fashion continues to be filled with many Asian influences that are staples in everyday life. I love wearing kimono styled sleeves and jackets.


 

Christopher Robin: Film and Walking in the Woods

The movie Christopher Robin is a heartwarming film that reminded me of the many reasons I love being a creative.  There is something so special about being in the moment, taking in people and environments with an open heart and slowing down to be grounded.  The film reminds a grown up Christopher Robin played by Ewan McGregor what it was like to be loved and give love. He is also reminded of the importance of playfulness in discovering new ideas with a fresh perspective.

Some of my favorite quotes from the stories on Winnie the Pooh:

“You’re braver than you believe and stronger and smarter than you think.” —Winnie-the-Pooh

Winnie The Pooh: What day is it?
Christopher Robin: It’s today.
Winnie The Pooh: My favorite day.

“There’s always time for a smackeral of wonder.” —Winnie-the-Pooh

I have been enjoying reading the book “A Walk in the Wood: Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh” by Joseph Parent.  The book brings up the point of being grounded and connected to the earth.  One of my favorite expeditions to take is to go grounding where your bare feet can touch the ground.  I have come away with a clearer mind, sense of calm and inspiration to do something new.  



 

“Finding Neverland” Imagine, Believe and Fly

“Finding Neverland” flew into Segerstrom Center for the Arts awakening the inner child of everyone.

The delightful musical draws on inspiration of how one family’s dynamic became the catalyst behind playwright’s J. M. Barrie’s beloved story of Peter Pan. The Davies children and their mother’s transformational arc strikes healing chords of hope and possibility despite dismal or limiting circumstances.

Music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and book by James Graham shape a turn of the century London narrative that makes everyone a believer of possibility again.

Mia Michael’s choreography shined with her visceral movement and a storytelling heartbeat. I always love watching how she can use the simple inhale of breath with a head movement to bring power to the scene. Her ingenious use of a table or bench broaden a dancer’s vocabulary and is a playground for athleticism. Her use of rhythm was amazing with sticks being used as time clock hands and the dancers hitting the floor in unison. This show uniquely has the cast create expansive shapes that result in engaging positive and negative space. From each arm reach to flex foot I was entertained.

National tour cast of “Finding Neverland” (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

The other positives for the show are numerous.

The children (Ben Krieger as Peter, Finn Faulconer as George, Mitchell West as Jack and Tyler Patrick Hennessy as Michael) were so endearing with pure vocals and genuine emotion. They carry a great portion of the show and gave amazing performances that equally matched the adult leads.

Billy Harrigan Tighe as J.M. Barrie and Christine Dwyer as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies showed the beauty of friendship and the importance of taking stock of reality while never losing the capability of wonder and play. It is Sylvia’s health state (you don’t discover until later) that grounds many moments making the search for optimism and glimmers of imagination to go on so relevant. J.M. Barrie’s discover of story within reality is heart-touching with the relationships with the children.

Billy Harrigan Tighe (left) as J.M. Barrie and Tom Hewitt as Captain Hook in the tour of “Finding Neverland.” (Photo: Jeremy Daniel)

Tom Hewitt as Charles Frohman/Captain James Hook serves as an excellent contrast coming in with daringly fun temptations of darkness whether in spirit of skepticism or physical alter-ego.

The special effects in the show are astounding leaving moments long to be cherished as happy thoughts.

Treat your family and yourself to some happy thoughts by taking them to see “Finding Neverland” on tour. Please check the website for dates.

Peter Pan Printable Quote for Sale at Shining Inspiration Etsy shop, “Finding Neverland” Fashion Inspiration

ABT’s World Premiere “Whipped Cream”: Delightful Ballet Treat

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream Photo by Gene Schiavone

Alexei Ratmansky’s masterfully choreographed “Whipped Cream” made its American Ballet Theatre’s World Premiere at Segerstrom Center For the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA this past week. I had the pleasure to see the closing performance cast.

The Pacific Symphony played Richard Strauss’s 1924 “Schlagobers” ballet score to perfection. The score takes you on the journey of a boy (Daniil Simkin) with a zealous penchant for sweets who indulges in the whipped cream sending him on an eye-opening trip to the doctor and a rescue to Princess Praline (Sarah Lane).

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream Photo by Gene Schiavone featuring Sarah Lane as Princess Praline and Daniil Simkin as the Boy

Sarah embodied poise and a welcoming lead to Daniil’s youthful exuberance. Daniil’s reactions to his surroundings offered a pleasant departure to your more stoic ballet stories. He portrayed humor while dancing through predicaments which made his rescue celebration of turns and leaps soar.

The boy’s journey to that celebration commences in act one scene 2 when his sweet imagination lands on the whipped cream and the sweets that come to life.

I loved how Stella Abrera as Princess Tea Flower and returning David Hallberg as Prince Coffee enter the stage through enlarged containers labeled tea and coffee.

Stella and David fulfill their roles with preternatural technique and dazzling movement. They each embody their character with richly textured movement. Stella oozes grace and charisma with joyous flirtation and David brings dynamic artistry.

It was so refreshing to see a ballet living up to the lightness and fluffiness of whipped cream itself. The show features confectionery treats such as marzipan, sugarplums, gingerbread brought to life by the dancers and the genius Mark Ryden’s costuming.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream – Princess Tea Flower – Sketches for Whipped Cream by Mark Ryden and Stella Abrera as Princess Tea Flower – Photo by Doug Gifford

Mark serves as both the scenic and costume designer whose cohesive vision received many murmurs of surprise and applause. The set’s delectable details that create a playful act one and intriguing set up to act two are not to be missed. Neither are the giant heads for the priest and doctor or the giant puppetry of stuffed animals.

“Whipped Cream” will ignite your inventive and imagining spirit as you indulge in a true ballet treat! Look for further ABT performances of “Whipped Cream” at the Metropolitan Opera House from May to July 2017 and be transported to sweet entertainment!

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – American Ballet Theatre’s Whipped Cream – Sketches for Whipped Cream by Mark Ryden

Act 1 Focus Grabbing Standout: Joseph Gorak as Prince Cocoa whose powerful leaps were accompanied by beautiful silent landings.

Act 2 Shimmering Highlight: Mademoiselle Marianne Chartreuse brought to life by Catherine (Cate) Hurlin capturing whimsy and delight while dancing alongside Roman Zhurbin and Duncan Lyle as liquor bottles. The three are able to aid the boy escaping the doctor who becomes intoxicated.

Printables Inspired by “Whipped Cream” on Sale at Shining Inspiration Etsy Shop and Tulle Skirt by Space 46

To purchase a printable quote and to see others inspired by the show please visit Shining Inspiration’s Etsy shop.

For a pre-show or post-show treat in the Costa Mesa area head on over to The Royal Tea and Treatery (a gluten and dairy free facility). Perhaps your sweet tooth can indulge in a mini desert with a cup of tea or a salad and sandwich for more filling fare.

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Timeless Theatre Weekend Part 2: Circus 1903

Craftsmanship, showmanship and ingenuity come together to create early 20th century circus entertainment with astounding 21st century puppetry mastery shared as a uniquely imaginative show.

Circus 1903 –The Golden Age of Circus is a must see sensational show transforming a theater space to the circus grounds of 1903 infused with the nostalgia of a time past where specialized human skill and a lifetime dedication to craft take the spotlight. Brilliant doesn’t even begin to describe it!

I enjoyed seeing the United States premiere run at the Pantages Theatre on Sunday. From the beginning the audience is invited into the world of circus by charismatic Ringmaster Willy Whipsnade (David Williamson).

The Elastic Dislocationist-Senayet Asefa Amare, Circus 1903 Sideshow Act 1

There is a charged electricity of oohs and ahhs connecting performer to audience with one astounding act after another. The producers of the show (Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and MagicSpace Entertainment) are expertly adept in lining the right amount of variety and length of acts to delight children and adults alike. The special effects are the people themselves which make the show all the more special.

The Lopez Family, Johan and Jonatan Lopez, Maria Jose Pontigo, Daredevils of the Highwire in Circus 1903 Act 2

The pace of the circus is driven masterfully by the dramatic music (composer: Evan Jolly) adding to the excitement. I marveled how each performer’s movements and trick timing matched the music’s rise and fall. The special touches of the music reflect some Latin flavor for Los Lopez’s death-defying highwire or the music’s playful excitement for Fratelli Rossi’s human body foot-juggling is superb.

Other special moments include Williamson’s interaction with children brought from the audience in act 2 that is both engaging and endearing.

One of the highlights of the show is when life-size puppets of a mother elephant named Queenie and a baby elephant named Peanut enter. Suspension of disbelief and a mind’s ability to believe is harnessed by designers Mervyn Millar and Tracy Waller for the company Significant Object. This reinvention of a classic circus act combines human like eyes with elephant’s graceful movement.

This circus is an inventive twist on an entertainment classic that has arrived just at the right time. Barnum and Bailey after over 100 years have decided to close their big top. The timing of this new show is just what audiences need to escape, to laugh again and to enjoy time with others.

Enjoy Circus 1903-The Golden Age of Circus with those you love when their circus caravan sets up in a theatre near you! The wonderment of human skill and laughs of merriment are timeless! Please check out their website for more information.

 

To buy this instand downloadable printable and to see more Circus inspired quotes please visit Shining Inspiration’s Etsy Shop page by clicking here.

To buy this Etsy printable please visit the Shining Inspiration shop here.
To buy this downloadable printable please visit Shining Inspiration’s Etsy shop

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Timeless Theatre Weekend Part 1: Sat. #NewsiesForever

The entire Newsies story taken from screen to stage back to screen is one of triumph and feel-good entertainment that certainly brings the magic of Disney.

Disney’s NEWSIES: The Broadway Musical made its worldwide cinema debut this past Feb. 15, 18 and 22 courtesy of Fathom events taking the sold-out Broadway musical to more than 700 movie theaters across the United States.

The musical was filmed onstage at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, CA bringing Alan Menken’s music, Jack Feldman’s lyrics, Harvey Fierstein’s book and Jeff Calhoun’s stage direction to audiences for the price of a movie ticket.

The show takes you to 1899 where newsboys took a stand against the giant publishers of the newspaper world in a strike that galvanized the ragtag youth of New York in a classic David and Goliath story.

The superstar cast included the leads and some memorable faces from the Broadway production combined with the national tour cast. It was thrilling to see all the actors link arms to form a new band of brothers who were “all for one!” The comradery of Broadway originals Jeremy Jordan (Jack Kelly), Kara Lindsay (Katherine Plumber), Ben Fankhauser (Davey), and Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Crutchie) shined on screen.

Some of my favorite moments unique to this film version included the varying shots depicting a closer look into a character’s inner thought life. The scenes that highlighted relationships were richly flushed out with details such as those on the rooftop. Kara Lindsay’s “Watch What Happens’ solo took on a whole new level of meaning where you saw and experienced the mental gymnastics her character goes through for each lyric.

Christopher Gattelli’s Tony award winning choreography with signature gymnastics and dance moves is elevated to a new level of appreciation as well. The movie version lets you see the intricacy of difficulty while never losing sight of the dynamic athleticism sweeping the entire stage. For instance, Michael Dameski’s turns on a newspaper ending “Seize the Day” is a standout moment shot from different angles. The tapping sounds are as clear and crisp as ever and the facial expressions tell a compelling story with each leap and head spot.

Other standout moments come from Jeremy Jordan who brings his stage, film and television star power to the newsboy leader Jack Kelly. He is able to find the perfect blend of charisma and chutzpah needed for Jack.   Audiences are swept up in emotion with Jeremy’s powerhouse vocals in “Santa Fe” and are endeared to Jack’s unique relationships to each of the newsboys.

Kara Lindsay as Katherine Plumber and Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly in Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical (Credit: Disney Theatrical Productions)

Movie theater audiences can cheer right along with the filmed audience when Tommy Bracco (Spot Colon) enters or when Andrew Keenan-Bolger’s Crutchie is released from the refuge. In addition, laughs can be had at jokes that hit right home by Ben Cook (Racetrack), Nico DeJesus (Romeo) and Ethan Steiner (Les). Steven Blanchard’s Pulitzer and Aisha De Haas as Medda Larkin are a joy to watch too!

I am so thankful that more people will see such strong male dancing and be inspired to stand united to make a difference! Both the dance moves and the courageous moves to stand up for one another are timeless visuals to serve this generation and the next! #NewsiesForever

And now “The World Will Know” too as this filmed live version will air once more on February 22 at 7 PM in the United States but also in movie theaters across the world. For more information please visit FathomEvents.com

On Saturday, I had the pleasure seeing Newsies at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre built in 1926.

Pre-show:  Audiences were treated to hearing Disney songs and Newsies signature songs from organist Rob Richards.

Post-show: The audience was invited into the adjacent Disney’s Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop and were given a sample of their famous chocolate. Sweet treats from the menu served as the ultimate grand finale.

Kate Spade Newspaper Print Canvas Tote, Newsies, Stories of the Unlikely Broadway Hit book

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Newsies Inspired Printables Available for purchase at Shining Inspiration’s Etsy shop & Newsboy cap from Village Hat Shop

For a different kind of captivating magic check out what I did on Sunday in my next post!
Let us jump from 1899 to 1903 in Timeless Theatre Weekend Part 2: Circus 1903 posted tomorrow!

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A Whale of a Tale, Moby Dick at South Coast Repertory

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production Moby Dick at South Coast Repertory creates “wow” moments, a visual feast and a theatre treat!

Moby Dick at South Coast Repertory
Raymond Fox, Micah Figueroa, Javen Ulambayer, Kareem Bandealy, Jamie Abelson and Anthony Fleming III in Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of Moby Dick adapted by David Catlin. Photo by Liz Lauren. © Lookingglass Theatre Company and Liz Lauren.

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of Moby Dick in association with Actors Gymnasium is a visceral immersive and visually stunning dive into Herman Melville’s classic novel adapted into a 2 hours and 15 min show by director David Catlin.

I had the pleasure of experiencing the show’s west coast premiere at South Coast Repertory’s Segerstrom Stage in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Your ears and eyes will be engaged with the actors who use astonishing acrobatic skills to create movement on a ship, drowning, extracting oil and hunting. The haunting musical call of the Fates/sirens (Kelley Abell, Cordelia Dewdney, Kasey Foster) and recreation of the sea make the musical elements and the sea dominant players themselves. The use of fabric and unique movement transitions give the water a mercurial temperament and paint the waves as a treacherous beauty.

The actors ride the range of emotion with Captain Ahab’s (Christopher Donahue) driving mad obsession in hunting the white whale that injured him. He plunges the ship Pequod and its crew including Ishmael (Jamie Abelson), Starbuck (Walter Owen Briggs) into inner and outer turmoil. The madness leads up to some of the best moments of the show where the captain and crew meet their so called fates. Watch out how the characters of the Fates create the White Whale, the mesmerizing lighting cues (Lighting Design by William C. Kirkham) and how the audience is swept under the water in the process.

Moby Dick, South Coast Repertory Theatre
Anthony Fleming III, Christopher Donahue, Emma Cadd, and Jamie Abelson in Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of Moby Dick adapted by David Catlin. Photo by Liz Lauren. © Lookingglass Theatre Company and Liz Lauren.

The stunning aerial staging and circus athleticism choreographed by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi and played on Courtney O Neill’s brilliant set design is not to be missed.  If you are in Southern California catch the remaining performances of the show Feb. 14 –Feb. 19 at South Coast Repertory. There are numerous “WOW” moments that you will surely talk about later.

Audiences can continue to be enthralled by this production when it returns June 7, 2017-Sept. 3, 2017 to the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago.

Make every day Valentine’s Day filled with love for your significant other or gal pal! Think about giving the gift of a shared memory with tickets to the theatre!

Plus, make it an entire night out with dinner at the Water Grill off Bristol Steet for an evening performance or at Wahoo’s Fish Taco (also off Bristol St. in Costa Mesa) for a matinee. Add some sea salt caramel chocolates, some roses, and an apple pie pop in a Kate Spade whale tote bag. Tie the entire presentation together with a framed printable or a card that says “I whale always love you.” Surprise your friend with the tickets and you will have a WHALE of a good time!

Moby Dick Whale Printable
Printable is available for purchase at Shining Inspiration Etsy shop

For tickets and more information please visit South Coast Repertory’s website. To buy this whale printable to frame yourself visit this Etsy shop’s page at https://www.etsy.com/shop/shininginspiration.

I hope you can make every day a Valentine’s Day! SEAS the day and create a shared memory with someone you love!

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Monday Moments: Walk With Kindness

walkwithkindness

Put purpose and kindness in your steps that leave footprints of love and joy. Set out on a path that will lead your eyes past good images that rejuvenate your soul.  Let your feet carry you swiftly to help others in need without thought to personal gain. 

Each step can move you to achieving a goal, changing a negative habit or into the arms of a loved one. 

Instead of dragging your feet in bitterness, pick up your feet with a willingness to walk and move forward in optimism.  

Perhaps you need to slow down your kindness walking pace to walk alongside someone in unity.  

Whatever pace you choose to walk, choose to walk in kindness and loving unity.

How many steps do you take a day? How much distance do your feet have you travel? Take those steps in kindness.  Travel that distance in love. 

Happy Monday! I am looking forward to a week of thanks and giving! Hope you are too!

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Connecting Generations: SYTYCD

robertroldan_jtchurch_sytycd

It was so refreshing to see J.T. Church and Robert Roldan’s jazz performance to “Stand In The Light” by Jordan Smith on last night So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation!

There was a depth of emotion and maturity emanating from the youngest contestant who stood on the shoulders of his dancer mentor Robert and jumped in tandem. It was touching to experience the strength behind mentoring the next generation in support and encouragement to share their gifts and be who they are.

Connecting with someone younger or older than you can grant you a unique perspective that inspires you to grow. The beautiful relationship between all-star and contestant was highlighted in the acceptance of doing life together with the exchange of power and blessings.

I am so thankful for my mentors who have given me wings to fly and are leaving me a legacy of wisdom to help grow my character. Who can you mentor or what generation do you need to reach out and connect with?

For more dancing and great partnerships tune in to Mondays on Fox at 8pm.

These are the opening lyrics to “Stand In the Light”
Didn’t I tell you I hear what you say
Never look back as you’re walking away
Carry the music the memories and keep them inside
You laugh everyday
Don’t stop those tears from falling down

This is who I am inside
This is who I am I’m not gonna hide
Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

With courage and kindness hold on to your faith
You get what you give and it’s never to late
To reach for the branch and climb up leaving sadness behind
You fight hard for love
We can never give enough

Have an awesome rest of the week where you can share and be yourself! Encourage someone to own who they are!

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