Friday Internet Finds

Hello everyone! Sorry I've been a bit silent lately. I wasn't able to do much posting while I was in California, but I promise there are lots of vlogs and posts on the way.

1. When I saw the "Can You Pass This Musical Theatre Test?" Buzzfeed quiz, I got very excited. (I never pass up an opportunity to prove my dominance in all things musical theatre knowledge related.) I only missed one...can you get a perfect score?

2. Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere recently wrote a post on how to balance being a mother and working. As someone who looks forward to having children one day, I truly appreciated it but her tips for balancing work and home are helpful whether or not you have children.

3. Want to know the #1 thing you need to make your blog successful? This article from The Haute Notes can teach you.

4. I couldn't be more excited about Carolyn Maitland temporarily re-joining the cast of Miss Saigon in the West End as principle Ellen. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about her Ellen and am very jealous of anyone who manages to see her between now and October 17, when she leaves.

5. George Blagden, who was in the Les Miserables movie and on the TV show Vikings, is training to bike from London to Paris to raise money for diabetes. His videos are well worth watching to learn more about diabetes (and see George vlogging while bike riding...he worries me) and if you are able to, it's a wonderful cause to donate to.

What I'm Bringing to California

Want to see what I packed for my trip to California? Here's your chance! Admittedly, this is not my best work as I was a bit rushed but I wanted to share what I was bringing with you. xx

Heading West

Hi lovely readers,
This week I'm headed out to the West Coast for the first time. (And yes, the title of this post is a Sheytoons reference.) My family is going to LA for a week to visit family, see the sites, and...attend the online video convention, Vidcon!
I'll be attempting to have regularly posted content while I'm away, but can't make you any promises because of being very busy and having hotel internet. However, I can say that there will be several special posts and videos once I'm back including daily vlogs, a haul of everything I bought, and a full review of Vidcon.
Hope you all have a fantastic week!
Nicole xx

Friday Internet Finds

Happy Friday everyone! This weekend, I will be packing for my upcoming trip to California and finishing up some things I need to do before I leave on Tuesday. What do you hope to accomplish this weekend?

1. I already had an idea what my result would be before I started taking this "What Country Best Matches Your Personality" quiz and I was right! I'm English to the core.

2. I'm so in love with short overalls, but I've yet to find a pair that suit me. This College Fashion article reminded me that I need to keep searching.

3. The new clothes line HERstory Apparel looks so incredible. #feministtshirtsaremyfave

4. Speaking of feminism, these new movie posters for the upcoming film Suffragette have made me so excited for October 23 to finally get here.

5. It made me incredibly sad to watch Andrew Kober and Ramin Karimloo's last vlog together....these two always made my day with their silly shenanigans. #Koberloo4ever

Falling in Love (with Madewell)

I think I believe in love at first sight. Because the very first time I walked through Madewell's doors, I fell madly, completely, utterly in love. With the quality of their sister-store J. Crew, but a much more chic and urban vibe, Madewell is absolutely to die for. And I get 15% off of everything just for showing my student ID? #myonetruelove

I recently went in there for a look around and came out with several lovely pieces for my upcoming trip to California. (I also picked out a few items for my birthday, but you'll see those later!)

These socks are absolutely the softest thing ever and I'm so excited about this metal dish. I've been looking for something to keep my keys in at my new apartment and this dish reminds me of Zoe, it was on sale!

This grey t-shirt is so soft and comfy. I love boxy cut tees.
linen bicoastal tee
This tank top doesn't look like much off, but it falls absolutely perfectly. I can't wait to wear it with my black and white printed shorts.

anthem crop tank
It's no secret that I'm in a love affair with Madewell's jeans. No one else does high rise so well. And these light wash ankle crop ones are absolute perfection.

high rise skinny skinny crop jeans in mazzy wash
It's this shirt that's really won my heart though. I can't wait to wear it with jean shorts this summer or leggings in the fall. It's almost impossibly comfy and as a large chested girl, I'm just so happy to find any button down that actually fits.

courier shirt in kerchief plaid
I also found a gorgeous pair of ripped light denim jeans shorts, but they didn't have them in my size. I ordered them, so they're on their way to me but unfortunately didn't make it in time for a photo!

Do you love Madewell too? What's your favorite thing there at the moment? xx

Review: Dreamgirls by Theatre Raleigh

This past Friday night, I saw Dreamgirls by the Theatre Raleigh group at Kennedy Theatre in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. I'm not crazy about the show itself (the character of Effie annoys me to no end), but this production absolutely blew me away! There were an incredible amount of lovely costumes for such a small theatre production and the choreography was fantastic. And with tickets costing only $28, I'm even considering going to see it again...

The Kennedy Theatre is a black box theatre in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. I was initially quite skeptical about how Dreamgirls could be pulled off in such a small space, but the stage itself is a decent size. I was lucky enough to get a seat in the fourth row, but any seat in the house would have a fantastic view. I used to love doing shows in our black box when I did theatre in high school because it's much more immersive for the audience (even if it is a bit scary for the actors to be able to see people's faces in the audience!).

Imagine my surprise when I opened the program (yes, I'm that person who has to read every single bio before the show starts) and found out that one of the leads goes to my university! Dorian McCorey, who plays Lorrell, is a rising senior at Elon University who I recognized from seeing in school productions. She was definitely one of the best actresses in the show and I'm so proud to see someone from Elon doing so well. See you on Broadway one day, Dorian?

The two other truly notable people in this fantastic cast were Brittany Walters, who plays Effie, and Christian Thompson, who plays Jimmy. The role of Effie is obviously a difficult one, only made more difficult by the fact that people are familiar with Jennifer Hudson playing her in the movie, but Brittany was incredible. Her vocals were stunning, but her acting was also perfect for the role. We were all very impressed by Christian who brought an incredible energy to the role of Jimmy, but also made him more sympathetic than I've seen in other productions.

Dreamgirls is running until July 26, so if you're in North Carolina I would definitely recommend going! (Don't forget to get there a bit early, as it's free seating.) xx

Friday Internet Finds

Happy Friday everyone! Who has fun weekend plans?

1. I absolutely adore the painting "The Arnolfi Wedding" and these outfits based on it are lovely.

2. The first sneak peek at the photo shoot for the new Broadway show, Allegiance, starring George Takei and Lea Salonga is online! Is anyone else hoping to make it to NYC to see it?

3. Ever wanted to know "Which Game of Thrones Actor You Should Date?" Of course you do. (Kit Harrington? Why, I accept!)

4. This article on Recent Romantics about why it's so important to take time for yourself and relax really hit hard this week. I've been so busy, I've had to take some time every night to just sit and do something for myself to help calm my headspace.

5. Who doesn't love a fantastic Favourites video? Especially one from Zoella!

Review: Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

When I was in Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago, I happened to see the book, Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes, which combines two of my favorite things: living abroad and food.

Elizabeth Bard's memoir is about learning to cook the Parisian way, her and her husband's love story, and her struggle to find an identity in a new country. She tells the story of how she moved to Paris to live with her boyfriend and how she worked to find a place for herself in a new city and way of life. At the end of every chapter, she includes the recipes for the food she talks about making.

I truly enjoyed reading this book and I thought it was the perfect summer read. Elizabeth Bard's style is easy to read, but well-crafted and as someone who would love to live in Paris, I enjoyed reading about her time there. After having just returned from spending five months living in a different country, I identified with her struggle to adapt to a new culture and the strange way that you feel like you're not a part of that culture yet you've lost your American identity.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook, loves France, or just enjoys a well-written memoir. xx

Review: Looking Up by Simon Bailey

Simon Bailey is a West End actor known for his roles in Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and Passion. He also has a solo album, called Looking Up, that came out in December 2012. So, yes, I'm incredibly late to the game on this one.

Last week, he mentioned his album on his Twitter which prompted me to finally buy it on iTunes. I listened to it on the way back from the beach and was appalled that I'd waited so long to check it out.

The album is made up of covers of ballads like "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton, musical theatre songs like "The Distance You Have Come" by Scott Alan, and four songs written by Simon himself. There are gorgeous duets with Katie Hall and Sabrina Aloueche. However, my personal favorite is "Murder in the City" by the Avett Brothers, sung by Simon and Ramin Karimloo. Seriously, whoever thought up the idea of them singing that song together is a genius.

Some musical theatre stars struggle to sing non-showtunes (and it's understandable; not everyone can be Jeremy Jordan or Ramin Karimloo), but Simon certainly has no issues. His voice lends itself very well to the songs he chose while still showing off the incredible vocals that have moved his theatre career along its path.

I highly recommend this album to anyone and everyone. It's perfect "in-the-car" music, so I'll definitely be listening to it again on my next road trip (and I'm sure lots of times before that as well). xx

You can buy the album on iTunes or Amazon or listen on Spotify

Friday Internet Finds

Happy Fourth of July weekend to all my American readers! I hope you have a great weekend eating great food and enjoying the fireworks. And to any European readers, I hope you're surviving the heat!

1. This "Which Famous Tom is Your Soulmate?" Buzzfeed quiz is so important. And not just because I got Tom Felton. #truelove

2. I absolutely adore Stephanie Perkins's novel, Anna and the French Kiss, and I equally love these outfits inspired by it.

3. One of my favorite musicals of all time is Bonnie and Clyde, so I was thrilled to see that brought this video out of the vault!

4. This sneak peak at H&M's new beauty range made me even more excited for it. Who else can't wait?

5. I love Will Darbyshire's "Snapshot" series and this video has convinced me that I need to go back to Paris.

Featuring: Bloggers

Last week, I talked about some of my favorite up-and-coming vloggers. So I thought that this week I should talk about my favorite blogs! If you have any recommendations for what I should discuss next week (musical theatre actors, bands, Twitter accounts, anything), please let me know!


I've been reading The Haute Notes for over a year now and it's definitely one of my favorite fashion and lifestyle blogs. Rachel's blog is absolutely lovely from its helpful and unique posts to its beautiful layout. I also particularly like The Haute Notes' email newsletters which give dedicated readers special content. If you're interested in fashion, blogging, or just ways to live a better life in general, you should definitely check it out.


My friend from university, Kim, runs From Narnia to Neverland and I always look forward to her posts. Alongside her book reviews, she also includes book hauls and sometimes guest reviews. If you're a bibliophile, this is one blog that you shouldn't miss out on.


West End actress Gina Beck and actress and author Natalie Blenford write this adorable and unique blog to help you "win at life." Their posts cover everything from how to enjoy nature to how to dress for the races. In addition to blog posts, they also occasionally make YouTube videos. As a fan of Gina Beck (I got to see her as Galinda in Wicked a few years back), I was so excited when she started this blog with her friend and it definitely hasn't disappointed.

Of course, if it's international life that you're interested in reading about, there are a plethora of blogs you can choose from. A friend of mine wrote a lovely blog about her summer abroad in Italy. My best friend Lucy has a blog about going to university in St Andrews and her travels to Italy and other fancy European places. And, not to self-promote, but...there's always my blog from my semester at the University of St Andrews to check out! ;)

What are your favorite blogs? Feel free to give me suggestions for what to read in the comments below or tweet them to me @nicoleackman16. xx
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