Category Archives: Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tips for Lovely Audiences

It’s Top 10 Tuesday and just a few weeks away from our first show of the season, so we’re here to offer you a few tips on getting the most out of your audience experience at our monthly cabaret!

1. Dressing up is half the fun! Our audiences love to dress with the theme of the show, whether full-blown cosplay or just a tiny suggestion of a character. We often will have an impromptu fashion show or costume contest with prizes, and you don’t want to miss out!

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Some of our Bright Young Things (our Secret Society Fan Club) dressed lavishly at the Rockabilly show in June. Photo: TM Grey Photography

2. Don’t sprawl into the aisle. If you see an aisle set up down the middle of the seats, we PROMISE we’re going to use it. Careful not to get hurt! Also, remember that sitting in the front row and the aisle means you’re willing to be a part of the fun — think of it as a glitterific splash zone of sorts.

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Lady Grey as Fairy G at our Twisted Fairytales cabaret, showing off her wings to a member of the back row. Photo: TM Grey Photography

3. Bring a bit of cash with you. We always have fabulous things for sale, from Lady Grey’s Lovelies shot glass to Live Outrageously tshirts. There’s no pressure, but that sequin bag might your name written all over it…

4. Pick your flavor. Our two show times have very different vibes, even though they usually feature the same basic numbers. The 8 pm show is always a little more relaxed, and the 10 pm show is always a little more rowdy.

5. Get a season pass if you think you’re going to make it to most of the shows. The season subscription includes awesome perks you can’t get otherwise, including reserved seats, meet and greets, and signed souvenirs. It also gets you one show for free and you save on ticketing fees, so consider the incredible value!!

6. Buy your tickets ahead of time. We actually will set up our “house” based on the number of ticket sales to make sure seating feels comfortable for everyone, so it is super helpful to us to know before the day of the show, even if you only buy them a few days in advance.

7. Put your phone away. We want you to enjoy the performance as a live experience, not through a camera or while texting all night. Take advantage of photo opportunities with our Lovelies during intermission and after the show — we even have a strolling Polaroid photographer taking pics if you want a souvenir!

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Nightflower & Brooklyn Noir in La Vie Parisienne. Photo: TM Grey Photography

8. Use social media. We love when people check in to our shows, post on our Facebook page, tag us on Instagram, and more. If you DO take pics, whether of you and your friends pre-show, during the finale, with Lovelies during intermission, or even partying afterward, please post them to social media using the hashtag #ladygreyscabaret. We’d love to see!

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9. Do not try and tip performers while they are performing. If you have a burning desire to give someone money, please see one of our stage kittens and they will make sure your gift is delivered to the right person. Also, we all accept flowers and chocolate, if you feel inspired.

10. Bring friends. This is a perfect date night, sure. But it also is hysterical fun for a big group of girlfriends (read: excuse to dress up) or a guys’ night out (aka wife-approved entertainment). Our cabarets are variety shows with a little something for everyone — from hilarious hosts and fantastic flappers to burlesque babies and sultry sopranos. Everyone is welcome!!!

 

So we’ll see you on September 23rd for our Speakeasy party on Opening Night! Come make our audience FANTASTIC!!!!

Love,
Lady Grey & the Lovelies
xoxo

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Top 10 Tuesday: Self-Care for Women

Ok, ladies. Here it is. The moment of truth when I ask you if you are really taking care of yourself. No, I don’t care about your eyebrows or your workout schedule. I just mean are you forgetting to take care of yourself because you spend every waking minute taking care of others? So often, women consider themselves selfish if they dedicate any time or energy to self-care, as if the world is judging them for taking a moment to apply a little lipstick.

What the world needs from you is the energized, happy you, not the self-depraved, exhausted you. Your children need a mommy who is affectionate and patient. Your significant other needs someone to rely on. Your friends need you to be a good listener and loyal gal. Your coworkers need to know you are alert and bringing your A game.

So here are 10 simple ways (not the only ways, but 10 I came up with) to care for yourself without making extreme changes to your day and without breaking the bank.

1. Sleep. All of us are guilty of burning the candle at both ends so we can pay bills or waking before the rest of the gang to make sure we have some time to ourselves. But in doing so, do we sacrifice our own health and make ourselves more stressed out? You are better served sleeping your 7 or 8 hours a night and being more efficient during your waking hours. Sleep has been shown to improve everything from memory to weight loss, so don’t skimp here. So grab yourself a comfy pair of your favorite pj’s (or none at all, if that’s how you roll), and start dreaming!

eatinghealthy2. Eating healthy. I’m guilty as charged. I grab and go. I cheat when I’m at work lunches. I make dinners that are way too processed and hardly enough “clean” food. In our fast-paced, break-neck society, there is hardly enough time to breath, let alone make good food choices.

But it’s important to care for yourself (and indirectly, your loved ones) by stocking your home with healthy snacks. Hummus, baby carrots, bananas, apples, almonds – these are all great snacks I can throw in my purse. I even found little snack-sized containers of hummus at the grocery store this month. Perfect for dipping vegetables and laden with protein!

As for meals, I try and stick to fruit or whole grain bars without preservatives in them, occasionally succumbing to the bagel and cream cheese temptation when I’m having a bad morning. I do my best to balance my work lunches – salads with protein, even if eating at a fast food joint. I love grabbing hard-boiled eggs, which most markets have in their quick lunch refrigerator section now, too. Dinner is always a challenge with the crazy dance studio schedule I keep, but I try to make sure I balance meals and don’t eat after I’m done teaching (around 9 pm at night).

No more soda. Is this even a question? Just don’t drink it. It’s like putting sugary formaldehyde in your body. Just say no.sallyhansenhardasnailssterngthener

3. Nails. As a little girl, I watched my mother paint her nails meticulously at least twice a week, once on Saturday evenings and once midweek when she had done most of her gardening. No excuses – you don’t need a professional manicure. You don’t. Take care of your SELF. At least buff your nails and push your cuticles back once a week, even if you have to do it in the shower. To protect your nails, use Sally Hansen Hard as Nails products. I have always used them to help my nails bounce back after gels, acrylics, splits, etc. Amazing products and even just the top coat will perk up your nails and keep them healthy and shiny.

remingtonrollers4. Hair. I’m a dance teacher and a mommy. I’ve spent the last 27 years in a ponytail, a bun, or a french twist. In the last few months, I bough myself new hot rollers and a few new hair products. Now, when I’m tempted to just throw my hair up wet, I’ll make myself blow dry and style it. Now, when I have a messy bedhead, I have a great straightener and can use it to clean up my tresses in just a few minutes. I have gotten countless compliments on how much younger and less “serious” (read: severe) I look with my hair down. I love feeling like I’m channeling my inner Rita Hayworth!

5. Skin care. This isn’t all that hard. Just get yourself a beautiful jar of coconut oil. Seriously. I’ve never fallen so madly in love with any skin care product EVER. Ditch all the chemicals and nonsense, and cut straight to the chase. I use it as eye makeup remover, moisturizer (all over my body), deep conditioner on my hair, and more. If you don’t believe me, check out this article.

6. Undergarments. A little story for you. I once had thousands and thousands of dollars of lingerie – corsets, garter belts, stockings, bras, panties, you name it. Then I got married and had kids. It’s a long story, but I literally got rid of all but one corset. Do you know how lovely it feels to buy yourself cute panties again?!? I’ve put a small allowance in my monthly budget to replace all the crappy undergarments that currently take up residence in my dresser. I’ve begun wearing stockings to work, matching (gasp) bras and panties, waist trainers, and more. Talk about reminding yourself how to feel feminine again! If you don’t belong to Victoria’s Secrets Angel Reward program, make sure you join so you get your coupon in the mail each month for a free panty. That’s what originally got me back in the store!

7. Time with friends. So often, we forget that there are friends who have our back. We often can pick up with them right where we left off, and they will understand every last success and struggle you’ve had. It need not be a coffee date; a phone call will suffice. I like to call my friends when I’m traveling to and from work. Work your way down through your contact list and then start back up at the top again when you finish. Bogged down by kids all day? Try texting a friend and having a shared “virtual” glass of wine while you chat for 20 minutes just after the kids go to bed!

8. Quiet time. Maybe I’m strange, but I can’t live without this. Some of us pray, some of us write, some of us meditate. But everyone needs time to just BE. No obligations, no distractions. So go somewhere alone, whether a walk in your neighborhood, a moment in the kitchen with a hot cup of coffee, a fragrant candle and a good book, or just quiet, silent space in your room. Recharge for 15 minutes. Five, if you can’t manage 15. Allow yourself to be filled up again with positive thoughts and happiness. Breath deeply and remember not to sweat the small stuff.

vintagelife9. Small luxuries. Speaking of small stuff, can you really afford to NOT grab a copy of Vintage Life? (By the way, I am now accepting subscription gifts if anyone is feeling generous today!) Mentally, is it going to make the world of difference if you get yourself a new travel mug or buy that dark chocolate in the checkout if everyone at home is grumpy tonight? It is, it will make the difference. And you will be a better woman for it this day, week, month. Work it into your budget so you can pamper yourself just a little – those little luxuries go a long way to making day-to-day life less daunting.

10. That one little thing (OLT). For you, this might be clean sheets. It might be cream in your coffee. It might be jamming out to your favorite song in the car. Whatever sets you right and makes you pause for even just a moment to be thankful… that’s your one little thing. My OLT today is my blog. Talking to all of you helps me remember that we’re real, we’re human, and we’re all in this together.

Part 2: Roaring 20's Dance Moves for Beginners

shorty georgeA couple of weeks ago, I introduced you to some roaring 20’s basic dance moves. As promised, here is the next phase for you. I hope you’ve been practicing!

Let’s have a roaring good time! These dance are so fun, I dare you to try them and keep the smile off your face. Bet you can’t do it!

Lady Grey’s Roaring 20’s Picks:

In the next month or so, I’m going to begin to put some of these together in combination for you. Watch for my new YouTube channel announcement soon!

6. Fishtail
7. Apple Jack
8. Suzy Q
9. Crazy Legs
10. Falling Off the Log

And as a refresher, here are the first five from my prior post:

1. Truckin’
2. Shorty George
3. Charleston
4. Boogie Back
5. Spank the Baby

Happy dancing to all of you! If you have ANY questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. You know how much I love teaching and sharing!

Love,
Lady Grey

Part 1: Roaring 20's Dance Moves for Beginners

shorty georgeYou too, can learn to dance and have a roaring good time, just like you’ve seen in so many Gatsby-esque dance scenes on film as of late! The moves take a little practice, but I’ve compiled some great video footage for you to learn from, hopefully making the task fun and not difficult at all!

Allow me to introduce myself — I’m Lady Grey, a dance educator for 27 years and an aspiring burlesque queen. My experience is in the tap and swing worlds, and where I was lucky to cut my teeth with some of the greatest hoofers and swing dancers in the world.

As I prepare to eventually launch into a full time performing career, I’m reminded of just how much fun the lovely dances of the 1920’s were. I hope you have a blast with these first few!

Lady Grey’s Roaring 20’s Picks:

1. Truckin’
2. Shorty George
3. Charleston
4. Boogie Back
5. Spank the Baby

Coming Next Week:
Even though it’s Top 10 Tuesday, I thought 10 was a little rough to begin with… so, let’s keep it to five today and I’ll give you these beautiful moves to look forward to next week!

6. Fishtail
7. Apple Jack
8. Suzy Q
9. Black Bottom
10. Falling Off the Log

Happy dancing to all of you! If you have ANY questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. You know how much I love teaching and sharing!

Love,
Lady Grey

Top 10 Tuesday: Misconceptions about LGBTQ

I am over the moon to introduce all of you to my first guest blogger today! This has been a long time coming, and I am proud that my dear lifelong friend Drew has agreed to join us as a contributor at String of Pearls! One of the bravest people I know, Drew inspires me to think outside the boxes we’ve made for ourselves as a society. Please be sure to visit Drew’s personal blog and connect on social media.

Love,
Lady Grey

____

Drew’s Top Ten Misconceptions about LGBTQ Communities

Heyo, Drew here. I realize that every person has a slightly different version of this list given their own perceptions and experiences. These are my ten, and while I could go on about each of these topics in detail, I’ve done my best to keep it brief:

10. “There is an LGBTQ Community.”

Let me rip that Band-Aid off for you: there is no LGBTQ community. There are absolutely individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer – yes. And sometimes those individuals come together within a larger social context to celebrate with each other, to advocate for each other, and to connect with people who had similar experiences. The LGBTQ identities are not synonymous, though, and no one voice can speak for all. To be an ally, recognize the key differences between each identity, and challenge yourself to support all of the LGBT communities.  

9. “Gender and sex are the same thing.”

Many forms and check lists you see make it seem like sex and gender are interchangeable – do not be fooled. “Sex” refers to a person’s biological and physiological characteristics, whereas “gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors and attributes that are attributed to one’s sex. The WorldHealth Organization does a pretty fantastic job explaining this. Once you understand that sex and gender are different, you can begin to delve into between sexual orientation (simply, who you’re attracted to) and gender identity (simply, the gender you know you are). That, friends, can be another post entirely.

8. “Labels are only limiting.”

While it’s true that labels can be limiting, and that identity is self-defined, labels can also be liberating. As a person who has struggled with my own gender identity, I struggled in not having a title to own. I felt invisible – a combination of things I wasn’t, rather than things I was. Almost everyone I spoke to did their best to encourage me, telling me it was okay to not have a label. Though I knew that to be true, I also felt lost – like less of a person. As allies, we should never, ever, define someone’s identity for them. We can, however, help individuals work through identities that might resonate.

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7. “Bisexuals just can’t make up their mind.”

Bisexuality is probably one of the most challenging identities to own, as these folks are subjected to discrimination everywhere; too gay to be straight, too straight to be gay. (Simplified, of course.) Bisexuality is an identity on its own – it’s not just a stop “on the way” or a “phase” that one goes through in college. So check your biphobia, and read The Advocate’s “13 Things Never to Say to Bisexual People.” 

6. “It’s just a phase. You’re just confused.”

Let’s admit something to ourselves: we are all confused – every single one of us. LGBTQ folks are no more or less confused about what and who they want than those who identify as non-LGBTQ. A person’s sexual orientation and sexual preference* may change over time, but that is not limited to those who come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or any other identity they so choose. Trust me when I say no one I’ve met who has come out as part of the LGBTQ communities has ever simply woken up one day to say, “I’ll give this a whirl.” Coming out is a process; it’s hard, it’s painful, and it can challenge everything a person’s ever known. As an ally, support that person through their process – however long or short that may be.

 *Sexual orientation and sexual preference are NOT interchangeable terms. Orientation refers to the attraction one feels towards another person. Preference, on the other hand, refers to the types of sex one prefers to engage/not engage in.

 5. “All transgender (trans) people transition medically.”

Simply put – no. Body modification is NOT a requirement of transgender identity. The trans identities are complex – I won’t lie. In the most simplistic of terms, people who identify as transgender tend to identify with a sex and/or gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. There are roughly a million factors for a person to sift through when considering a transition from one gender into another, or transitioning into no gender – yes, that exists. Whether a person chooses to alter their body physically makes them no more or less trans. Looking for a good place to learn about the transgender identities? Check out GLAAD’sReference Guide.

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4. “I’ve got great Gaydar.”

I don’t care how good you think you are at pointing out folks who identify as part of the LGBTQ communities – if a person hasn’t told you their sexual orientation, you do not know it. When you “turn on your Gaydar” you are relying solely on stereotypes, and that’s rude. Knock it off. Unless you’re trying to sleep with someone, their sexual orientation doesn’t matter. And if you are trying to sleep with someone, offer dinner first.

3. “It’s all about sex.”

There’s a nasty rumor that we queers (don’t worry – I’ll get to that) are obsessed with sex: all day, every day. My response? “No more than you, buddy.” Your sexual orientation dictates your sexual preferences to a certain degree, yes. However, your sex drive is completely unrelated.

2. “Queer is always a naughty word.”  

Queer as a word is highly debated. As an identity, it’s both liberating and frustrating as hell. To be brief – it’s got a bad history, but some folks (myself included) use it to describe their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. 

I can’t speak for all, though I’ll tell you that I identify as queer because it’s not tied to gender (like the terms lesbian and gay,) and it doesn’t feel as limiting, as constricting. It allows me to have a non-heterosexual, non-binary label, so I don’t feel boxed in.

While there’s no “general rule,” I’d recommend using it if someone uses it with you. If someone tells you that they’re queer, ask how they define it, and support them in their identity. For more reading, check out PFLAG’s fantastic post. Even Wikipedia has a pretty good article.

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1. “The Gay Agenda”

 There is no such thing as the “gay agenda.” Sure, there may be a few folks who identify within the LGBTQ communities who are out there to make “a statement,” but what that statement is depends on who that person is and how they identify… remember how we started this post? The bottom line is that people are looking to be treated equally, and with respect. If a person comes out to you as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer, it’s because they trust you – not because they’re trying to push politics, programs, or plans. 

Challenging your own misconceptions is part of being an ally. Have questions, comments, or stories to share? Let’s connect! Find me on twitter (@drewcl) and let’s keep the conversation going!