2016, blog, debbie, myblog, october, theatre

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite musicals. It was one of the first musicals I was exposed to as a kid and I just wore out the soundtrack, listening to it over and over. 
Now, I have most of the songs memorized and even the movie dialogue committed to memory. 
I’ve lived in Columbus for so long and never been to Shadowbox Live. So, when I saw Little Shop of Horrors was coming to Shadowbox Live, I was stoked. 
My positive experience with Shadowbox Live started before I even arrived. I needed to exchange tickets that I’d bought online for the 2pm show to the 7pm show. I went out of town Saturday and worried I wouldn’t be back in time on Sunday for the 2pm show. 
When I called Shadowbox, it was a painless process to get the tickets exchanged. I was worried this exchange wouldn’t even be possible but it was not big deal. What a relief.
When my mom and I arrived, the staff was very knowledgeable and professional in directing us to our seats. Our waiter was very friendly. It’s pretty unique how the waitstaff is part of the production. It was a bit weird to see them with all their stage makeup on and wait for our checks after the show was over. 
This Little Shop of Horrors was the best production I’ve ever seen! The actors and actresses were so engrossed in their characters. Their facial expressions and movements were hilarious. For example, Audrey would stand in the doorway of the flower shop and make a dramatic face after saying an important line. They made it into a fun musical and didn’t take it too seriously, which is perfect. 
You could tell they were having fun on stage and it just radiated off them. 
The live band was phenomenal. They have found some of Columbus’ most talented musicians and performers.
 I can totally see why The Dispatch gave the show such a favorable review. 
I can’t wait to go back to Shadowbox again and I’d strongly recommend seeing a show there.
Seymour, the dentist, and Audrey 
2016, debbie, debbie gillum, october

What’s on my Spotify

My current Spotify playlist is named Pumpkin Spice and Peppermint Lattes. Here’s my top tracks right now:

2 Heads by Coleman Hell 

I first heard this song on a Spotify Discover Weekly playlist and thought yea, that’s cool. But then I heard it on 105.7 The X and got it stuck in my head. That same day, I went for a drive down to Hillsboro, Ohio and proceeded to listen to that song, oh, 6 times during that car ride.

The lyrics resonate with me right now in my life and I love the banjo part after the verses. The lyrics seem to describe the singer’s desire to improve his relationship and to not let their fights consume them or make them into something they know they are not. Like he sings with such a raw desire. It’s beautiful how he realizes what they are turning into and begs that they don’t become that monster. Such simple but elegant lyrics.

“There must be something in the water/ And there must be something about your daughter/ She said our love ain’t nothing but a monster/ Our love ain’t nothing but a monster/ With 2 heads” 

“I hope to God I’ll love you longer/ If only I could live forever/ If only I could hold you longer” 

Sweater Weather by Taylor Phelan, originally by The Neighbourhood

I heard this song also on a “we think you’d like this” Spotify playlist and recognized the lyrics of course. I like this version a lot because it’s slower and he articulates the lyrics more than The Neighbourhood. I recommend signing along to this version in your car when stuck in traffic.  I don’t know who Taylor Phelan is because I don’t watch much of The Voice, but I can appreciate a good

Wonderful by Everclear

Remember this song? Yeah. I was listening to the radio and something reminded me of this song and I re-fell in love with it. It’s so 2004. What a perfect song when you just want to admit that you had a bad day and things aren’t always perfect.

Tinder by Motel Raphael

I’m not a hipster but liking this song helps me pretend I am. They don’t seem to be a well-known band yet but are still making cool music. I admit the title of this song caught my attention before the actual music did. But I do think it’s well produced. It has a young Taylor Swift vibe to it. I like when she sings “But I’m only lonely when I’m drunk.”

2016, blog, debbie, halloween, myblog, october

Halloween Costumes Over the Years

Halloween is coming up soon and I wanted to reminiscence about all of the fun Halloween costumes I’ve done in the past.
(Because I don’t know what I want to go as this year. I made a Pinterest board of ideas I like, but I still don’t know)
Cereal killers in 2007
For marching band during my sophomore year, we had a home football game that was close to Halloween so we all dressed up for the game. I had just met Emily last year and we were already best friends. 
We went to Wal-Mart and bought white sweatshirts, plastic silverware, red paint/ fake blood, puffy T-shirt paint and little cereal boxes.  We went back to her house and had a lot of fun making the sweatshirts. Everyone loved our costume. 
Leaf blowers

The next year, we went Trick-or-Treating (as juniors in high school) as Leaf Blowers.

We bought blue sweatshirts, brown hats, fake leaves from Michael’s, and hot glued the leaves onto our outfit. Most importantly is the hat and where the leaf is placed. 
Leaf Blowers 
Fun fact: I still wear those shoes. I looked closer at those pictures and thought, yup those are the shoes I wore this weekend. 
Leaf Blowers
Freshman year of college, I simply reused my Cereal Killer costume. 
Freshman year of college 
Cereal killer again in 2010
Carving a pumpkin in 2010
In 2012, I went as a hippie. It was part of a group costume with my roommates. We  all went as different decades and it was agreed upon that I should be the 60s. 
Junior year of college 
I think Liesje is the 20s, Monica is the 40s, I’m the 60s, and Miaja is the 50s. 
Decades group costume 
Halloween party junior year

Being a hippie 
Senior year I went as a horse for Halloween. Not my best costume. 
Going as a horse during senior year
In 2014, I went as a Ceiling Fan. I didn’t take pictures of myself in that costume, but here’s the inspiration I used from Pinterest. 
Ceiling Fan: Channel your high school days and grab some pom-poms for this easy peasy get-up. The only thing missing is a custom t-shirt that says ceiling. Go team!   Source: Instagram user kayleebay123:
Ceiling Fan (not me.)
I bought a T-shirt, some iron-on letters and made a shirt that said GO CEILING! I also had pom poms and wore pig tails and a skirt. At the Halloween party I went to, most people chuckled once I explained my costume to them. 
Ceiling Fan | 23 Halloween Costume Ideas For The Pun-Lover In You:
Not me. 
Another year, I was a Smarty Pants by taping Smarties candies onto my pants.

And one time I was a veterinarian.

Halloween candy receptacle 
2016, blog, debbie, debbie gillum, fall, october

Apple Pickin’

Becky showing us an apple

Apple orchard 

Reaching for the best apple. Never settle. 

Me: “I found an apple in this apple tree” 

How do you like them apples? 

Saturday, Becky and I went apple picking at Cherry Hawk Farm in Marysville.

I’d only been apple picking out in Granville and that was back in college so I was long overdue to pick apples and was excited to try a new apple orchard.

We chose Cherry Hawk because it wasn’t too far away, had good online reviews and was close to Dublin.

Cherry Hawk is pretty far out in the country but not a bad drive.
They have a gravel parking area and a little check-in tent where you can buy one large bag for $15, two medium bags for $15 or four small bags for $15. It’s $15 no matter what.

When we went, they had three different types of apples that were ready to be picked.

  • Yellow Delicious
  • Mutsu
  • Enterprise

They were also making homemade apple butter over a big copper kettle pot. We chatted with the folks making the apple butter and I got to stir the pot for a little bit. They said there was over 22 gallons of apple cider in the apple butter!

I brought my nice camera along and so we took some cute pictures of us enjoying the apple orchard. I forgot how much I enjoy taking pictures with my Nikon. I need to use it more and continue taking photographs.

Becky admiring an apple
America’s Next Top Apple Picker Model 

2016, blog, coffee, debbie, debbie gillum, myblog, october, restaurant

Fox in the snow

Ham and cheese croissant
Beautiful latte

One of the best coffee shops/ brunch spots in all of Columbus is Fox in the Snow. With 296 Yelp reviews and nearly 5 stars, clearly I’m not the only one who stands by this statement.

The staff is so friendly and just plain cool. They take such pride in their work. You can see the pastries being made in their kitchen which is behind glass and visible when you first walk in. 

The coffee and pastries they make are like pieces of art. All of it tastes as amazing as it looks. 

There’s a nice patio and indoor seating there too. 

Word has spread about how great this place is so it gets pretty crowded on the weekends. In the mornings, the crowd is more reasonable. 

Foxy Debbie 
To-go coffee in the morning
Dark roast coffee
Nom nom nom

2016, blog, columbus, debbie gillum, food, myblog, october, restaurant

Koble Grill


I went to Koble Grill for lunch today because I’m trying to work my way through Columbus Monthly’s Guide to Uptown Westerville. This morning I went to Java Central and got a Nitro coffee and fruit salad. I’d been to Java Central before and I’m glad I tried their Nitro coffee but it’s still not like my favorite coffee shop or anything. I always have mediocre experiences there. 

At Koble Grill, I ordered a gyro and spanakopita. I think I’ve had a gyro from a street vendor before but that’s about it so I was looking forward to giving gyros another try. I’d also never has spanakopita either and thought it sounded yummy.

I sat at the bar because of what I’d read on Yelp about ordering being awkward. I wish they had a usual set up with servers taking your order at your table. You need to sit down at a table, then order near the back of the restaurant and they’ll bring your food to you. 

Columbus Monthly guide to Uptown Westerville 

My gyro was messy but delicious. I enjoyed the meat and sauce they used. The spanakopita was also messy but yummy. I made the mistake of taking a bite out of it right when it came out and it was extremely hot. I thought it was a bit unusual that my appetizer and meal came out at the same time, but I’ve read that’s happened to other people too.
It’s a beautiful atmosphere inside and a lot of Westerville locals like it. 
They play loud pop music which I didn’t mind but seemed strange for an Italian/ Greek restaurant.

2015, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Levy renewal could help keep district in black


According to the Westerville City School District’s updated five-year forecast for fiscal years 2016-2020, as long as a renewal levy is passed in 2016, the district will be in the black.
District Treasurer Bart Griffith presented the forecast at a Westerville Board of Education meeting Monday, Oct. 26.
In fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2020, there is a decrease in revenue because the district is not allowed to project revenue from a levy renewal.
The forecast shows Westerville’s emergency operating levy must be renewed before the end of calendar year 2017 or the district will lose about $16 million per year.
In the updated forecast, $3 million was transferred from the permanent improvement fund into the general fund for supplies, materials and technology.
The budget reserve fund still holds a 45-day amount of $19 million.
This year, the district received 7.5 percent of its funding from the state, but in future fiscal years, the district is expecting to receive just 3 percent.
“We’re trying to be conservative with these numbers in our five-year forecast,” Griffith said.
The school district treasurer’s office is required to biannually present the updated five-year forecast to the board.
The new five-year forecast has $370,000 appropriated for the current fiscal year, to be used on the purchase of four new buses and additional bus routes.
There’s also an additional $450,000 allocated for new staffing each fiscal year and 2 percent annual increases in salaries factored for fiscal 2019 and 2020.
Board President Tracy Davidson thanked Griffith for the presentation.
“I appreciate how you’re being proactive, not reactive, and thank you for being conservative,” she said.
The forecast did not reflect new pay-to-participate fees that were approved unanimously.
For high school, the first sport now costs $150; a second sport is $75; and the third is free. For middle schools, the first sport will be $75, the second sport $50 and the third sport free.
Also added was a family cap of $300 for high school and middle school co-curricular, extracurricular and club fees.
The following fees will be eliminated starting in the 2016-17 school year:
* Co-curricular fee of $50 for marching band in middle school.
* Extracurricular fee of $15 per club in middle school.
* Co-curricular fee of $50 for marching band, orchestra and choir in high school.
* Extracurricular one-time fee of $50 for high school theater
* Extracurricular fee of $15 per club in high school.
The board will review all student fees, fines and charges annually.
Other matters
The board recognized individuals as Fall A-plus Award-winners, including: Jim Cowman from Westerville South High School, Holly Hughes-Carroll from South, Vicki Jarrell from the district’s Early Learning Center, Rodney Johnson from Genoa Middle School and Diane Tisdale from Genoa Middle School.
2015, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Puritan witchcraft trial headed to Central stage


Westerville Central High School students are getting into the Halloween spirit of witchcraft with their fall play, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
More than 25 students star in the creepy drama, which will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 29-31, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.
Theater Director Megan Corbin said it is a privilege working with the group of students.
“They’ve done very well tackling very difficult language and a mature theme,” Corbin said. “We’ve had a lot of fun with the fact that we’re opening the show on Halloween weekend.”
The earthy set, with artificial trees, a prison cell and a courtroom, was designed by a tech crew of 30 students.
“It’s a set that’s creepy and dark, but still true to the story,” Corbin said.
The historical drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in Salem, Mass., was the winner of the 1953 Tony Award for Best Play.
A young farmer’s wife is accused of witchcraft by a young servant girl and when the farmer goes to court to save his wife, he also is accused of witchcraft.
Senior Patrick Petrilla, who plays Reverend Paris, said the language in the play was quite tough to master.
“It’s all old-timey and like Old English,” Petrilla said.
“It’s difficult because it’s English, but we don’t talk like that anymore so it’s tricky to wrap your head around,” he said.
Sophomore Noah Martin, who plays Danforth, noted this is one of the first dramas they’ve done at Central.
“I like doing dramas,” Martin said. “We can be more than just funny and it really challenges us.”
Senior Kaylee Showalter, who plays Elizabeth Proctor, said she and a lot of students already were familiar with the play.
“We knew who we wanted to audition for and had a better idea of how to act the role,” Showalter said.
Tickets cost $6 and the play is rated PG-13 with some elements not suitable for very young children.

2015, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Westerville South play lets small cast shine


Westerville South High School is bringing some southern flair to Ohio with its fall show, The Miss Firecracker Contest.
Performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30 and 31, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, in the auditorium of the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.
Tickets cost $6, but the performances have limited seating so advance reservations are suggested.
Theater Director Matt Wolfe said he selected The Miss Firecracker Contest because it features challenging female characters, exposes students to a lesser-known show and has an intimate six-person cast.
“(The playwright) Beth Henley writes challenging literature for high-schoolers and I wanted to introduce her to the students,” he said. “It’s a play where the comedy isn’t slapstick but rather comes from the relationship between the characters.”
Wolfe said unique for this show, there will be three rows of audience members on stage.
“It’s part of our pursuit to engage the audience and let them experience the show from three different angles,” Wolfe said.
Junior Julia Grant, who plays Elain, said this way, it’s easier to make the audience laugh as well as notice characters’ little eye rolls.
The show is about Carnelle Scott, who wants to be Miss Firecracker, just like her cousin Elain was. When Elain comes back to town, she brings her eccentric brother, Delmount, with her and Carnelle’s seamstress, Popeye, falls madly in love with him. Together they face their unhappy pasts and turn toward a better future.
Senior Elise Wesley, who plays Popeye, said she liked working with such a small cast.
“It’s better than being in, like, a huge musical because we’ve grown closer with each other. Sometimes in bigger productions, cliques form but in this small of a group, cliques can’t form,” she said.
Sophomore Caroline Warrick plays Carnelle, a role she learned to appreciate.
“On paper, she looks like such a two-dimensional character because she’s a girl and she wants to win a beauty contest. But when you dig deeper, you see she’s actually looking for acceptance and a place to belong,” she said.
The cast started working on the show in late September and Warrick said it took a lot of self-motivation to memorize the lines.
“We couldn’t just learn the lines during our two-hour rehearsals. We really had to learn them on our own time,” she said.
Students also had to master Southern accents, but they can reuse them later this year when South puts on To Kill a Mockingbird and Big Fish.
johnstown, johnstownvillage, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Valentinos perfecting recipe(s) for food truck success

Monday October 26, 2015 12:41 PM

Clara Valentino of Johnstown quit her corporate marketing career to pursue her culinary dream by teaming up with her father to open up a food truck called Buster Mac’s.

Working together is nothing new for this father and daughter duo.

Clara worked in his catering business for more than 10 years, sometimes standing on a milk crate just to reach the counter.

“We work good together,” said her father, Rocco Valentino. “I’m the creative brain behind the food and she talks to people and does the sales and marketing.”

Rocco Valentino, has been in the culinary industry for more than 40 years. He grew up in Reynoldsburg, studied at the culinary school in Hyde Park in New York City, worked at the Granville Inn and most recently was the chef at Pastaria at North Market in Columbus.

While Clara Valentino was at home with her newly born son, Leo, and 7-year-old daughter, Ellen, she called her father with the idea of operating a food truck.

“For about 10 years, we’d always talked about opening a restaurant, but the moment was never right,” Clara Valentino said.

“Now, things are oddly falling into place. Our business plan was approved, we got the loan with no problem and everyone has been so supportive of us.”

Within a week of that initial phone call, Rocco Valentino was on board and bringing her different menu ideas. Clara Valentino left her career in marketing at Thirty One Gifts to focus on the food truck.

“It was scary at first, but it’s one of those things where you don’t know until you try,” she said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll be OK. No other food truck is doing what we’re doing right now.”

The father and daughter duo invited 50 of their closest family and friends to a tasting survey where guests tried Buster Mac’s food and filled out a six-page survey, commenting on taste, presentation and value.

“Everyone loved the food and gave us really positive feedback,” Clara Valentino said.

“We didn’t have to make a lot of modifications to the menu,” she said. “It was fun to watch my dad be creative and make his own menu.”

The truck was bought in Indiana and actually used to be a restaurant supply truck.

A friend of Clara Valentino helped her with the exterior graphic design and a builder in Galloway, Ohio installed the kitchen equipment.

The truck was ready to go Oct. 5, just in time for their first event Oct. 9 at the Food Fort in downtown Columbus.

The name “Buster Mac’s” comes from a silly song Rocco Valentino used to sing to Clara when she was little.

“We were brainstorming names for the truck, like thinking of old streets we’d lived on, when I sang that little jingle and he was like ‘Shut up, that’s so perfect,’ ” Clara Valentino said.

The Valentinos are working hard to locally source all their ingredients. They get all their meats from A’mays’ing Meats in Johnstown. The meat has no hormones, no antibiotics and Rocco Valentino hand-patties all the burgers. Their cheeses come from Troyer Cheese in Millersburg, Ohio.

The Valentinos said the food truck community has welcomed them with open arms and they have even been asked to join the Central Ohio Food Truck Association.

“I was starstruck when they asked us,” Clara Valentino said. “I’m so amazed at how much input everyone has given us and how willing people are to help.”

When people visit Buster Mac’s, to beat the lines they can order their food online in advance and pick up their orders when they arrive at the truck.

So far, the Valentinos are booked through November and hope to participate in the Columbus Food Truck Festival next year and cater weddings in the future.

You can catch the Buster Mac’s food truck from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, at Thirty One Gifts, 3425 Morse Crossing, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, at Innovate New Albany, 8000 Walton Parkway.

To see Buster Mac’s full menu and where they will be, go to bustermacs.com; or call 614-585-3169.