A Reunion in Paris, 10 Years in the Making

Bonjour, my dear readers! Today I am feeling a bit under the weather, so I’m chilling out and looking through pics from last month’s Paris adventure, so I thought I’d share a favorite moment it with you.

I love the signs in Paris.

I love the signs in Paris.

I think I’ve already shared that I have a background as a professional actress (still do), and one of the best parts about acting is making many friends over the course of a production. About 10 years ago, I did a touring production of My Way, a Tribute to Frank Sinatra for The Springer Opera House in Columbus, Georgia. Working/living with the same dozen people for six months will either make you  great friends or sworn enemies, but happily I am still friends with all the cast to this day.

And who would’ve guessed that I would have a reunion with Jessie, my cast mate, in PARIS 10 years later?!!

Cue the song: “It’s a Small World After All….”

She and her husband moved to the City of Lights this past year, and with the magic of Facebook, we re-connected and had a wonderful double date night! Jessie and I traded touring tales with our hubbies, devoured delicious French cuisine, and made plans for our next get together.

They are a wonderful couple, and we can’t wait to hang out again.

Paris Jessica

The weather changes quickly in Paris, so I decided to keep it casual, comfortable, and chic!

Paris jacket 1

Paris jacket 2

NEWS!!! On another note, I just did my first GUEST BLOG! I want to thank Jasmine of FOR A REAL WOMAN for asking me to write, and I appreciate the opportunity so much. Check out my picks for affordable and stylish plus size wear here!

Until next time –

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

WHAT I WORE:

Moto jacket: FASHION TO FIGURE

Gold necklace: FASHION TO FIGURE

Cranberry T shirt: H &M

Black shorts: TJ MAXX

Gold flats: AK ANNE KLEIN

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The Show Must Go On!

Ralph Lauren BW

Does it get any better than having a great event to wear your foxiest dress and perform in front of hundreds of people? That’s what I did last night at the 19th annual TOPPER Awards.

Toppers 2014 trophies

What is TOPPERS? It is the yearly recognition of excellence in military community theatre, with awards that range from “Best Prop Design” to “Best Debut Performance” to the coveted “Best Actor/Actress” trophies, to “Best Play” and “Best Musical.”  Roughly a dozen theatres from around Italy, Germany, and Belgium compete and cheer each other on. It is one GREAT time!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

Best Actress in a Comedy, 2013!

I’ve had the honor to perform twice as a “Toppers Singer,” which involves learning six songs with choreography. Miraculously, we rehearse only about a handful of times before 11 of us get in front of our peers, either to be cheered or silently judged. Thankfully, we all passed the test and received enthusiastic applause. WHEW.

Remembering words/movements aside, I sprained my knee (yep, the one that’s been giving me trouble!) the day before performing!

So, what do I do? I tape it up, add a painkiller cream (courtesy of fellow singer Annie), and go out there and give it all I’ve got. YES, it hurt like hell to do some of the movements, but as every performer knows, THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Toppers 2014 medley

Toppers 2014 slow song

Toppers 2014 broadway

Toppers 2014 performing

Fashion wise, I couldn’t work any cute heels, however, I did get to wear this fierce Lauren by Ralph Lauren gown I got on sale from Nordstrom. LOVE the lace and sequin detail!!! (There is a sexy side slit, but my knee is wrapped, so I didn’t show that off)

Ralph Lauren gown

Ralph Lauren 2

After the last award was handed out, pictures taken, and cake consumed, the Hubby and I ended our evening at an “after awards” party, where MORE drinks and laughter followed. 🙂

I’m so grateful for this experience! Hopefully, if I do get to go to Toppers next year, I won’t be injured!

Love, laughter, and shoes:)

xx Melanie

WHAT I WORE (and where you can find it!):

Dress –  LAUREN BY RALPH LAUREN

Necklace – BIJOU BRIGITTE

Flower ring – CHARLOTTE RUSSE

Crystal studs – SWARVORSKI

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Oh Oscar! The Fab and the Drab

After spending a full day off of social media, the Hubby and I got to watch AFN’s (Armed Forces Network) replay of the 2014 Oscars. I’ve been watching the Oscars ever since mom and dad let me stay up when E.T. was nominated for Best Picture (ok, I am dating myself), but the point is, it’s an annual tradition. As an actor, I have a special appreciation for all the work it takes to put a production together, plus the training and focus needed to create a memorable character.

But who are we kidding? We also watch the Oscars for the fashion! So, here are the looks that caught my attention:

1. Meryl Streep. Her look is getting mixed reviews, but I love it. She knows who she is, and knows that she is not a mermaid gown/rhinestone/corset kind of gal. She likes to keep her look simple and refined, plus she dresses right for a woman who is in her 60s, yet she looks sexy. Meryl can do no wrong in my book!

Marvelous Meryl! 18  Oscar nominations.

Marvelous Meryl! 18 Oscar nominations.

2. Sandra Bullock. This is how 49 is done. She is in fantastic shape and looks gorgeous in this Alexander McQueen gown. She is another woman who looks completely comfortable in her skin, and her acting chops are so spot on (her moment in Gravity when she talks about the death of her daughter got to me). I want to be her when I grow up.

Fabulous Fortysomething Sandra!

Fabulous Fortysomething Sandra!

3. Cate Blanchett. She wowed me in this Giorgio Armani gown. Jokingly, she told Ryan Seacrest that it was “heavy, but I love it!” I haven’t seen Blue Jasmine yet, but I know she must be amazing. She is the heir apparent to Meryl Streep.

Best Actress, 2014!

Best Actress, 2014!

4. Angelina Jolie. I was happy to see her in a color besides black, which tends to be her signature. She looked amazing; glowing, even. This Elie Saab gown brought out a joyful and serene side that we don’t get to see from her very often. Congrats to her on her Humanitarian Oscar as well!

That amazing bead work!

That amazing bead work!

5. Jennifer Garner. A mom, actress, and wife to Ben Affleck has got it going on in her Oscar de la Renta fringe dress. I chose this pic to show off the great movement! I like how she kept the rest of her look simple and polished.

Work it, girl!

Work it, girl!

6. I also loved Lupita Nyong’o’s Prada dress. She broke my heart in 12 Years a Slave, and she definitely stole hearts with her beautiful Oscar acceptance speech! I just wish I could carry off a plunging neckline. However, this look is not for the busty girl!

Very well done, Ms. Nyong'o!

Very well done, Ms. Nyong’o!

Ok…so a few looks I was not nuts about. Basically, whenever an actor is trying too hard with fashion, it just looks wrong. I know this is typically a stylist’s fault, but the actor has the final say (I would think!).

This is not to bash the actors ( a la Fashion Police -I’ll leave that to Joan & Co.), just some things to consider when dressing.

Julia Roberts – there is something kind of cheap looking about this lace overlay. I’m sure it’s not, but it’s the applique in the center that’s throwing it off.

She's too gorgeous for this dress.

She’s too gorgeous for this dress.

Anna Kendrick. She’s very talented, but it seems that every time she is at an event, she’s wearing something that doesn’t bring her out. The dresses usually wear her, not the other way around.

Way too much going on here.

Way too much going on here.

Liza! She is a legend, and the ultimate entertainer. But for someone who still has celebrated legs in her late 60s, I have no idea what is going on here. Plus, her blue streaks are just saying “trying to be hip.”

Love her...but...

Love her…but…

Finally – I did not love Charlize Theron’s Dior gown. It looked heavy and too severe, plus the top of the bodice seems very uncomfortable with the points! She is a stunning woman, but not a fan of this dress.

A little too "costume-y."

A little too “costume-y.”

Overall, as someone who loves wearing black, many of the black dresses this year just did not work!

Here’s the closest I’ll get to an Oscar – my 2013 win for Best Actress in a Comedy at the TOPPERS (military community theatre awards)

"They like me! They really like me!"

“They like me! They really like me!”

 

What were YOUR favorites? Dresses that dulled you? Let me know!

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

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