Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Recap and most important takeaway from @DisneyMoms Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On-the-Road" event in New York City #DisneySMC #WordlessWednesday

Note: This is NOT a compensated post. Thank You Disney Parks for inviting me to your NYC On-the-Road event. This is event recap coverage.

Unlike most bloggers, I do not get all tingly from an invite from Disney.
There is a very specific reason I feel that way.

I attended a press screening and my guest was Mama Butterfly (MY MOM), when I take her to screenings, she needs to be on a specific side of the theater to be able to see the screen properly. I always arrange in advance before taking her to screenings, usually we only need to arrive early to make that happen.

I checked in for the screening and was told that press seating was fine and we were super early.

After the theater was practically all full we were asked to move in a very rude manner. I asked to speak to the rep that said we would be fine where we were. I was told they didn't know where the rep was or even 'who it was'.

Eventually this rep tried to reach out for Mama Butterfly (the rep was closer to her than she was to me). That is an absolute no-no. My mom has health problems and even if she didn't there was no need for that rep to touch anyone. I was already blogging professionally at that point, so at that moment I knew I was representing my brand, while I did sternly warn her to keep her hands to herself, I managed to suppress my knee jerk reaction to use my various years of martial arts training, block her hand and then proceed to break it. Needless to say I am quite proud of myself for reigning it in. It takes a lot to get me there, but once I am that heated it is difficult for me not to see red, especially when it comes to my mom. Especially from a brand that touts how family friendly they are. That was NOT friendly.

Needless to say that day I emailed Disney as far up the food chain at that time as I could.

After over a week, I got an email telling me to "get over it".

And that was the end of that.

In my book they owe her and me a proper apology. I had heard so much about their customer service, that the entire experience and the very poor follow up left a very bad taste in my mouth.

I had stopped dealing with them entirely for years, even asked to never be emailed again. But they are a large organization, and different PR teams often handle different event types.

I eventually attended a press event for Maleficent in New York City. I was nervous dealing with them again for another screening especially, but this was a PR firm I had already worked with for a very long time. I was a professional film critic many moons ago for a well known newspaper, so it is rare I take on screenings now, they still feel like 'busman's holiday'.  I am happy to report that the event and the movie were great! I even ran into several celebrities, including Kevin Hart who were coming out of other screenings in the theater that night.

I guess when I covered that movie it opened the floodgates again.

There had been a few invites after Maleficent (I hadn't attended) when in early May this year an invite for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On-the-Road" event in New York City hit my inbox, as I had attended this event once before years ago and this focuses more on the Parks I thought I would reluctantly give it a go. As you guys know I do not have kids, and have never considered myself a 'mom blogger'. As a former Special Ed teacher I have a solid expertise  in educational products and toys, so I get that even though I do not consider myself a mom focused writer, that I do still have a strong influence in that segment.

I have never been to any Disney Park, nor have I attended the conference in Orlando. Who knows, maybe this will open up a bridge that will take me to the parks sometime soon?

This was a one day event held at Kimpton 48Ink hotel in Manhattan. As you can see from the birthday decor (check out my Instagram photo taken the day of the event HERE) they were preparing us for something BIG - Walt Disney World Resort's upcoming 50th Anniversary in 2021! That is certainly quite a milestone!

The one day roaming conference, gave attendees a mix of blogging and influencer related do's-and-dont's and an overview of what's new and upcoming.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house after they shared a video on Cheri Srour, who was a typical teen living in Brooklyn, New York until she was hit with an autoimmune neurological disorder at the age of 18 leaving her paralyzed, on a ventilator and fighting for her life. Part of her recovery included participating in the four runDisney Disney Princess Half Marathons at Walt Disney World Resort.

As someone who has dealt with a health battle of my own, I was inspired by learning of her story. I have never run a marathon before, but her story made me motivated to add this to my bucket list!

Above: I love that Cheri opted to join us on the rooftop later that day for a Photo Opp with Mickey and Minnie!

Kristyn Merkley, Founder of blog held a panel that detailed the importance of SEO. It couldn't be more timely for me as Ascending Butterfly turns 10 years old this year in June (honestly it's 11 but for some weird reason my Google Analytics are not accounting for the fact that I started BEFORE I secured the domain) so it's actually 11 but Google says 10. I am toying with either re-designing this site completely or re-branding and doing something completely new.

Disney wasn't done with the special guests, Gio Benitez, ABC News Correspondent shared with us about how one simple moment launched his career in Media. An iPhone Video he took went viral while he was working at a news agency in Miami. His emphasis on being open to possibilities, and his advice to all influencers on being 'authentic' definitely resonated with me. I think Social Media gets so caught up on an idealized version of 'perfection' that what makes the internet truly great often gets lost. I love that the internet helps folks to find their tribe. More often than not what goes 'viral' and 'trends' are those random real life moments.


Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - On May 31st Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will open, the new attraction will debut on August 29, 2019 at Walt Disney World Resort.  It will include dining, shopping and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Disney Cruise Line is returning to Greece after five years, The Disney Magic will be sailing in the summer of 2020 with 9 and 12-night Greek Isle Voyages. (That is going to be a milestone year for me as well, and Greece is on my travel bucket list!)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Back by popular demand is Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea which will offer 5 and 7-night sails on the Disney Magic and Disney Fantasy, there will be character encounters, live shows and action-packed entertainment!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Coming in 2021 Adventures by Disney which offers guided group vacations around the world will soon offer a new 10-day Egypt Vacation tour. (Another Destination on my travel bucket list).

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Disney announced plans to build three new cruise ships, completing one ship every year for the years 2021, 2022, and 2023 (ships yet to be named).

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - The NBA Experience will open on August 12, 2019 at Disney Springs with 13 interactive elements and hands on activities across 44,000 square feet and two floors! (Channel your inner Kobe or LeBron!)

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - On October 01, 2019, prepare for a limited-time fireworks show called "Epcot Forever", taking you through the past, present and future of Epcot.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - In 2021 coming to Epcot for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort is a "Guardians of the Galaxy" themed indoor roller coaster in Epcot's Future World. It is slated to be one of the world's longest enclosed roller coasters.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Disney Parks Jewelry by Rebecca Hook! Attendees received a gift bag filled with goodies including a super cute pair of Minnie Mouse earrings from the Rebecca Hook Jewelry Collection, this collection was designed exclusively for Disney Parks. Fellow New Yorkers take note her collection will be coming to the Disney Store in Time Square Manhattan for a Trunk Show on June 7th and June 8th.

Above: Nothing better than a Mickey and Minnie Mouse Meet and Greet and Photo Opp on a rooftop! This is the rooftop view from Kimpton Ink48 Hotel in Manhattan, New York City! (If you are wondering the animal print dress is by Calvin Klein purchased at Macy's and the boots are from Earth Footwear!)


I have always felt it is better to be storyteller - whether it's words on a blog - or with photos that come alive by capturing a moment. It's the authenticity that turns someone into an 'influencer'. I haven't had much time to write in the past year for so many reasons, my numbers have taken a hit because of it, but my years of authentic community building have made it so that amazing event invites still flood my inbox - many more than I could even take on if I wanted to. 

It was refreshing to hear from team Disney that brands including their own are getting better at separating those who 'buy' their influence and following from those who don't. It still feels like brands say this but are not actually there yet. But as someone who has done Public Relations and Event Management I understand that it is challenging to find someone who has that great balance between numbers, engagement and organic following. I love that brands are starting to become more aware of this.

It may sound cliche, but our biggest takeaway was to continue to be true to YOURSELF, be authentic and the opportunities will follow.

There was also great SEO advice that I need to work on implementing.

Readers Sound Off Topic: Which is your favorite Disney Park and your favorite ride?

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FTC Disclosure: This is a NON -compensated post in conjunction with Disney Parks this is an event recap (a gift bag was received) and all my opinions are 100% MY OWN. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

You have seen the movie about a thousand times, but have you checked out @PrettyWoman The Musical yet? #PrettyWomanTheMusical

This post is made possible by support from Pretty Woman: The Musical. All opinions are my own

Pretty Woman: The Musical, Logo

Looking for a creative gift idea for Mother's Day?

How about a night on Broadway?

If your mom (or any special lady in your life that you are gifting for Mother's Day) loves the theater like mine does or loves the movie Pretty Woman, she will definitely love Pretty Woman: The Musical playing at Nederlander Theater, 208 West 41st Street in New York City!


Pretty Woman: The Musical combines the beloved romance movie you already know and love with an original score with music and lyrics by Grammy Award Winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, and choreography by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.

How did it come together?

Check out this neat video:

Based on the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere movie about a star crossed meeting between a sex worker (Vivian) and a disillusioned businessman (Edward), this contemporary stage adaptation of the popular romantic comedy stars Samantha Barks as Vivian, and Andy Karl as Edward.

Samantha Barks and Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman: The Musical
Above: Left to Right, Samantha Barks and Julia Roberts (this was for the Gary Marshall Tribute Performance,  the producers announced that a seat in the back row of the theater will include a plaque in his honor)

Did you know originally (for the movie version) Vivian was slated to die of a drug overdose? I had no idea, but I am glad that was changed!

Both the movie and broadway production are based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, and in the iconic Opera Scene - both the play and the movie - the couple watch the Opera 'La Traviata' by Verdi, which tells the story of a Parisian Courtesan who falls in love with an older, wealthy man.

True to the movie is the signature red dress, and presentation of a 'borrowed' Diamond Necklace complete with Edward snapping the box playfully and Vivian's Booming laugh! I give Samantha so much credit for making the role her own without it being an exact copy of the original.

The shopping scene is still there, and watching those snooty, bougie, department store assistants get theirs just never gets old.

The entire cast definitely deliver a high energy performance, but I will admit Orfeh who portrays Vivian's friend Kit (played by Laura San Giacomo in the movie) and Eric Anderson as concierge Mr. Thompson (played by Hector Elizondo in the film) are truly standouts! Eric plays multiple roles in the production and literally gives you *EVERYTHING* in each scene where he appears. Another scene stealer is Tommy Braco as the bellhop "Giulio" who brings a great deal of comic relief.

There are some changes, Vivian does not sing along to Prince's "Kiss" in the bath tub scene, Edward does not have a mane of sexy gray hair, and another more major change, 'Stuckey' is the one that gets slapped first! You guys have no idea how much I hated Jason Alexander after seeing the film, in the musical, Stuckey is portrayed by Jason Daniely. Edward and Stuckey are both noticeably younger in this stage version, but Stuckey is still as greedy and slimy as ever.

Above: This amazing blogger night on Broadway included a talk back and Q&A with the cast.

Center: Check out Orfeh's super cute furbaby curled up on her lap!


Want to save up to $40 on your tickets? of course you do! Use Code: MOM1

You can nab your discount tickets, easy as '1,2,3'

1. Online at using code MOM1
2. By phone at: 877.250.2929 and mention code: MOM1
3. In Person at the Box Office, Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st Street and reference code: MOM1

Note: This code is valid through 09/01/19 - TicketMaster includes an additional $2 Facility Fee per ticket. The Discount Code is NOT applicable to Facility Fee or TicketMaster Service Fees. Offer is not valid on tickets that have already been purchased, new tickets only. Blackout Dates May Apply. Limit of 8 tickets per order.

Above: The empowering posters in the lobby were a hit for post play photos - you know for the gram! Red Coat is from Wallis Fashion US, top is by Calvin Klein, Jeans: Silver Jeans, Handbag from DSW and the Boots: Earth Shoes Raleigh - these 100% waterproof tall boots with lacing details up the back (allowing you to widen them or tighten them so you have a custom fit calf) a full length side zipper, are sadly now out of stock! (I have them in the Bridle Brown which I love - I wish I had nabbed them in black as well)

My Take:

Age 13 and up is recommended for Pretty Woman: The Musical and with good reason, world's oldest profession, dead prostitute scene, and a sexy scene with Vivian and Edward, I would go a bit more conservative and restrict this to older teens and leave the younger teens and defintely the littles with a sitter!

I would have liked Edward to have the silver fox hair like Richard Gere and definitely for them to have left Prince's 'Kiss' as the song in the bubble bath scene, but understandably with Bryan Adams doing the original score for the production, the music is a bit different from the movie.

And while I love the creativity and how many stage productions are going more high tech to tell their stories, I appreciated that this production was not relying solely on tech to immerse you into the story. I found it pretty upbeat considering the subject matter, it pays homage to the film without being too much of a copycat of it, and the actors bring so much energy to their performances, you definitely want to be sure to catch this one before it leaves in 2020!

Online/Get Social:

Hashtag: #PrettyWomanThe Musical

Social media profiles:

READERS: Have you seen Pretty Woman - The Movie or The Musical? What did you think of it?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post, Show Tickets were Provided by Pivoting Media for Editorial Consideration, and all opinions are 100% my own!  The love however is genuine, Broadway Shows are among my favorite things to do in New York City! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Friday, May 3, 2019

@NYBG Celebrates Lilac Weekend and Plein-Air Invitational May 4-5 and this butterfly will definitely be there! #plantlove

New York Botanical Garden Celebrates Nature’s Love Letter to Spring with Lilac Weekend and Plein-Air Invitational

With its floral clusters, sweet fragrance, and heart-shaped leaves, the lilac is nature’s love letter to spring. The Burn Family Lilac Collection at New York Botanical Garden takes the spotlight as we celebrate this American garden favorite in all of its glorious forms, colors, and aromas (both spicy and sweet!) with plein-air painting, music, guided tours, and talks. 

Lilac Weekend and Plein-Air Invitational programming includes:

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Fourth Annual Plein-Air Invitational Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m.–4 p.m., various NYBG grounds locations Every year, to help mark the Garden’s rites of spring, distinguished plein-air artists from throughout the Northeast gather across the grounds in a public display of painterly talent and nature appreciation. Led by plein-air master James Gurney, participating artists work in various media while engaging with Garden visitors. Also joining will be artists affiliated with the NYC chapter of Urban Sketchers, an international nonprofit dedicated to fostering a global community of artists who practice on-location drawing. 

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Plein-Air Drop-In and Draw Saturday and Sunday, May 4 - 5, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., various NYBG grounds locations Draw inspiration from the Garden as a plein-air artist would. Drop in, grab a stool and materials and create an image of the Garden to take home. Instructors offer guided tips every half hour. 

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Lilac Garden Tours with Q&A Saturday and Sunday, May 4 -5 at 11 a.m., 12, 1, 2, & 3 p.m., at the Lilac Collection Deanna Curtis, NYBG’s Curator of Woody Plants, will be on hand to share her expertise on this historic collection. 

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ - Live Music among the Lilacs Sunday, May 5 at 1, 2, & 3 p.m., at the Lilac Collection String Quartet by so&so (symphony orchestra and select others) is a curating collective whose symphony-centric performances feature young professional, top-caliber musicians from all over the world. For its debut season, NY-based so&so has partnered with several organizations, including The New York Botanical Garden, to present a variety of projects such as symphony performances, opera and original ballet. 

For a complete schedule of events, visit

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, May 4 - 5, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. 

WHERE: The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York

My Take:

I am looking forward to visiting New York Botanical Garden for Lilac Weekend, this is definitely a wonderful idea as an early Mother's Day Gift for mom, make a day of it!

READERS: Are you finally seeing signs of Spring? What is your favorite flower?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post and all opinions are 100% my own!  The love however is genuine, NYBG is one of my favorite places in New York City! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.