Tag Archives: christmas

The Best Christmas Gift I’ve Ever Received

Since Christmas is only a few weeks away, I thought I would write about the best Christmas gift I have ever received: Hamilton tickets! Last year, my boyfriend surprised me with tickets to the amazing musical in Chicago. Here’s my recap/review with as few Hamilton inside references as possible.

Our love affair with Hamilton started when we saw Lin-Manuel Miranda perform the opening number at the 2016 Grammys. I was mostly watching for Kendrick Lamar. Keith hates award shows so he was tuned out. Then they cut to the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York and from the very first beat, we were captivated. Keith downloaded and listened to the album on Spotify the following week and tried to get me to listen as well, but I was being my usual stubborn self whenever he would recommend things. Finally, during a particularly boring subway ride, I relented and agreed to listen to “My Shot”, which was super impressive, but it wasn’t until “The Schuyler Sisters” that I fell head over heels.

There have been so many articles that have showered well-deserved praise over the lyrics, the music, the characters, the story, the set design, the choreography, the cast, so I don’t have to do all that here. I simply want to share my experience seeing Hamilton live in the CIBC Theatre formerly the PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago.

We live in Toronto, Canada, so New York and Chicago were the two obvious choices to see Hamilton. According to Keith, Hamilton NYC tickets were still even more impossible to get so he decided on trying his luck with Chicago. He scored tickets but then had to exchange them when I booked my trip to the Philippines for my maternal grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. We decided to make a trip out of it as well since I had never been to Chicago, plus I had family there. A week before we were supposed to go, my dad called from the Philippines with bad news. My paternal grandfather had just passed away. Luckily I was able to work it all out, make it home in time for the funeral and back in time for Chicago.

I remember feeling so hyped but also a bit nervous as we made our way to the room where it happens. I had listened to the cast recording so many times and I have stalked the original Broadway cast on social media and I built it up so much in my head that there was just no way it could ever deliver, right? I am happy to report that it met and even surpassed my highest expectations. Hamilton on stage is a masterpiece. Before I get into the specifics, I’ll start with general thoughts for those of you who know next to nothing about the musical.

I fully believe that Hamilton is a musical for everyone and how lucky are we to be alive right now. It’s for people who love musicals and those who can’t stand them. It’s for fans of hip-hop and history. It’s for the ones that can afford the hefty price tag and the ones that win the Hamilton lottery for two tickets at $10 each. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are clever and the story will suck you in and refuse to let go until the inevitable standing ovation. Most importantly, it’s a musical that reflects America’s diversity. Representation matters and by casting Hamilton with actors of colour, a powerful message is being sent. As I write this, the West End production just had its premiere and I am ecstatic that two out of the three Schuyler sisters are Filipino! Plus the fact that women play such a big part in the story is the cherry on top.

Going back to the Chicago production we saw, the cast was phenomenal. Every single one of them sang and acted their asses off. Miguel Cervantes was a great Hamilton, so sure of himself as the actual Hamilton most likely was. Our Burr was Gregory Treco and he absolutely slayed it. He commanded the stage every time he was on. King George was too funny. Since a few actors play two characters, it’s natural to compare their performances. Chris De’Sean Lee was a good Lafayette but a better Jefferson. The Sisters were awesome and my favourite was definitely Aubin Wise as Peggy/Maria.

As for the theatre, we found it super convenient to get to and it’s very pretty. We were sitting in the mezzanine – right circle, row J, seat 320 and 322. Even though we weren’t that close to the stage, we loved our seats because it allowed us to see the full genius of the choreography. I need to see it again because I’m sure I missed things.

For souvenirs, I had to get a Schuyler Sisters shirt and Keith got one with the Chicago flag on it, even though he’s from St. Louis and he hates the Cubs. That’s how much he enjoyed Hamilton Chicago.

Now I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend mortgaging your house to get tickets, but definitely if you have the chance to see any production of Hamilton, do not throw away your shot. I will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to see it live and we’re already on the waiting list for when Hamilton comes to Toronto.

For more about our Chicago trip and my recommendations, check out my post on the Windy City.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fandom

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Hope everyone had a great week. Since this is my first Friday Favorites post of the year, let me share some of the best holiday moments from my stay in Montreal:

Place des Arts
Amazing craft beer from the local dépanneur (Why can’t we have this in Ontario?!)
The beautiful tree at my sister and her boyfriend’s place
Something blue from the boyfriend
Bûche de Noël
Amazing raclette before

Hope your holidays were equally as wonderful and that your weekend will be as well!

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Friday Favorites, Travel

Friday Favorites

TGIF! Today is my last day of work in 2014. I get 2 weeks off and will be leaving for Montreal tomorrow. I can’t wait to see my family and friends. I’ll also be taking some time off from the blog and will be back and better than ever in 2015! In the meantime, here’s how I spent my week:

Fried chicken & waffles for brunch from The Rosedale Diner
A grown-up winter coat from SOIA & KYO that cost me a fortune but it’s an investment
The best ornament ever
Drinks with some of my girls
Annual visit to the Christmas Market

Happy Holidays to one and all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fandom, Fashion, Food, Friday Favorites

Christmas Dinner Recipe Round-Up

This year, I’m spending Christmas Eve at my sister and her boyfriend’s apartment in Montreal. We’re planning a wonderful dinner and then celebrating Christmas Day with my mom when she gets back from Quebec City. Here’s what’s on the menu:

1. Raclette
I’m surprised by how many people don’t know about the amazing meal experience that is raclette. It’s similar to fondue, but you should definitely see for yourself.

2. Smoked salmon pinwheels
Last year for Christmas, my family came over to our Toronto apartment. My sister was excited to make this recipe and it was so yummy that I want it to become a yearly tradition.

3. Yule log
Every year we order ours from different yet equally amazing patisseries but you can definitely make your own.

I can’t wait! Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! This week has definitely flown by and after the snowfall we had in Toronto yesterday, it feels like Christmas is coming. Tonight is my office holiday party. But before the festivities, here are three things I’m loving from this week:

Some latte art from the board game cafe beside our place:


The Kill Shakespeare Board Game launch where Keith had his first published comic book story as well. So proud!


Christmas lights while watching the mid-season finales of The Flash and Arrow then recording Shoot, Quick!


May your weekend be filled with holiday cheer!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fandom, Food, Friday Favorites

Tasty Tuesday: Holiday Party Recipe Round-Up

With holiday parties come obligations. Here are some easy recipes for the next time they need you to “volunteer” for something:

1. Sugar Cookies: My go-to recipe
2. Cheese Puffs: As soon as I saw these on C&C, I knew I had to try them
3. Artichoke Dip: Everyone loves a good dip
Cocktail book 2008
4. Lomo Ham and Fig Platter: Two ingredients, no cooking involved and it still looks so festive
5. Grapefruit White Wine Spritzer: Easy to mix when you get to the party

Happy Tuesday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Food

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Hope everyone had a great week. The holidays are almost upon us which means this weekend will be devoted to shopping and preparing for my trip to Montreal. But first, a few highlights from the week:

Last Friday, we celebrated our friends’ engagement with bubbly and board games:
The best co-worker ever brought me back these amazing chocolates from his last work trip:
Serial is back. This episode wasn’t as informative as the past ones, but I’m still hooked.
Our stockings are hung under ASOIAF snowflakes, and you can also see part of our new rug:

Have a fun weekend!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fandom, Food, Friday Favorites