April 20, 2015

5AM at Hartsfied!

Last week, Jules and I took a last minute trip to LA! I know. It was crazy! We flew out early Tuesday morning and came back Thursday evening. This post is a little picture heavy but I wanted to post about this amazing memory while it’s still fresh on my mind. Here’s how it went down.


My little brother, John is currently performing in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s national Broadway tour of Cinderella. They are famous for musicals like Oklahoma and The Sound of Music. I mean, you know the music is going to be fab!  This has always been my brother’s dream ever since he was young. He is gifted with a phenomenal voice and his acting and dancing ain’t bad either. Funny side story: When my sister, Yun Mi got married, he sang during the reception and a lot of people thought it was a CD. Anyways, he’s been touring for 6 months and he’s part of the ensemble cast as well as the understudy for the Prince and another lead male character named Jean-Michel.

We had a layover in Phoenix so we got breakfast AND ice cream b/c that’s how we roll.

He’s already played Jean-Michel but when we found out he was debuting for Prince Topher, we made a last minute decision to fly out and watch him. We were also going to surprise Jules b/c for the last 6 months, she had been asking to watch the show. We told her we were going to see our good friends, John and Dinah. πŸ™‚ The tickets were ridiculously expensive but my sweet brother paid for one of our tickets and for our amazing seats behind the orchestra. #uglycrypartone

This was our very first mother and daughter trip and I was so incredibly thankful to have spent such amazing quality time with my Jules. Being the oldest child myself, I understand the responsibilities and pressure you face tending to your younger siblings. I felt like this was a special time to really focus my attention and energy on Jules and for her to realize there are definite perks to being the oldest. I’m really thankful for Jimmy taking time off work and watching the younger two so we could go cheer on my brother. Thanks, yobs!

Animal Style Fries! YASSSSSSS

Thankfully, one of my closest girlfriends, Dinah and her family live close to where John is performing and so her hubby, John, picked us up from the airport and welcomed us CA style. John also happens to be one of Jimmy’s best friends. John and Dinah had actually seen the show already but made plans to come with us to watch it again that same evening. 

We got to spend some time with John and Dinah’s twins. They are so much bigger and cuter!
Jules loved them!

While we were having fun in CA, Jimmy and the kids looked like they were having a blast too! Do not ask me what’s going on with Emmy’s hair and clothes. LOL!!! #belookingrealstrange  


It was a crazy Tuesday. I had gotten up at 4AM to fly out that morning and the show was 8PM which was 11PM east coast time. Luckily, Jules took a 2 hour nap before we left, so she was good to go.

Jules borrowed a tiara from Dinah’s daughter, Livvy.

We told her that we were going to go watch the movie, Cinderella. She believed it up until…….

IMG_8264I had NO IDEA that there were signs everywhere in LA. Basically, they have great marketing and when Jules saw a sign with Cinderella in her costume, she said, “hey, that’s the same musical that uncle John is in! Look, it’s the same costume!” John, Dinah and I were all like…. uhhhhhh. I said some gibberish like maybe the costumes were the same in the movie. #insertawkwardsilence #smartgirl

Anyhow, we got into the theater and it took us a little while to get backstage before the show so that’s when we spilled the beans to Jules. She was shy shocked. When she gets surprised, she usually gets really silent. Jimmy calls it shy shocked haha. 


AHHHH!! Uncle John’s name is up there! Btw, my brother’s name is John Yi. After getting their citizenship, my parents changed their name to the Americanized version to Lee. That’s why their last names are different just in case you were wondering. 


Jules is shy shocked. See!? haha

20150414_191748So thankful to see my close friend, Dinah. We have been friends for almost 18 years and were in each other’s weddings! We were so excited to see John’s name up there.


We made it backstage!!!! Uncle JOHN!!


Don’t mind my crazy looking grin! I was just so very proud and excited!


I’m 10 years older than John but we have gotten really close in the last 6 years. I’m truly encouraged by his work ethic, ambition and desire to know God more and more. This guy puts 110% of himself into everything and strives for excellence. 


Afterwards, we went back and took some pictures in the photo booth. 


 Jules was sooo ready!


Right before the show, I took a picture of the set. I wanted to take pictures so badly during the show but I wasn’t about to get kicked out the show. How beautiful is the set though!? When my brother appeared in his first scene where he defeated a dragon, I literally started tearing up. He cracked up when I told him later because it’s not an emotional scene at all. I just felt this overwhelming sense of joy for him and I was so proud of him! When he sang his first song, I really started tearing up! I was telling myself to get it together for the rest of the program! #uglycry #alldayeveryday

20150414_200110Intermission!! We were having the best time! Jules and I were so proud! The gentleman next to Jules asked her if this was her first musical. He found out her uncle John was performing and he told us how impressed he was. He was tired and didn’t feel like coming after work with his wife but he was sharing with us how he was so glad he was there watching the show because it was so good. That made my heart so full! I thanked him and told him I would relay the message to John. 

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The wardrobe changes are amazing because they happen right before your eyes! It’s like magic. I have no idea how they do it. Jules is reenacting how Cinderella’s dress changed before our eyes. 


I was only allowed to take pictures at the end during curtain call! John is the first minority to play this role in this production. That is a huge deal in my book!


It was an amazing show! We loved it so much. At the end, the lady next to me must have picked up on my excitement because she asked, “Is that your husband?” Uh gross. haha. I told her it was my brother and then she and her mom kept telling us how amazing his performance was and how much they loved it. 


I’m still in shock that’s my little brother, next to Fran Drescher!! hahahaa


Immediately after the show, we met John backstage. There was much ugly crying from me. 


 I’m thankful for John’s friend for capturing such a special moment. 

IMG_8223We took some more pictures backstage. Ignore my puffy eyes.


Jules was excited to take pictures with some of the cast members. These guys are all so very talented. The costumes are gorgeous because they are designed by William Ivey Long. He is a major costume designer for stage and film. 


Thanks for watching it again, John and Dinah!

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IMG_8233Fran Drescher played the evil stepmother and she was really sweet. Yes, she actually laughs like that in real life. πŸ™‚


Paige Faure plays Cinderella and she was amazing. These guys do 8 shows a week!! 

IMG_8236One of John’s closest friends, Keisha plays the fairy godmother and she’s equally hilarious as she is talented. It’s cool to see how close John has become to all of his cast members and how they’ve become each others’ families since they are always on the road.

I love how this musical added different components to the story. It’s so much more than the original fairy tale. It teaches about the importance of boldness, courage, standing up for what’s right and speaking out against injustice. There is a message of speaking up for those who are voiceless and helping those who are taken advantage of. It also touched on the importance of how we can’t be oblivious to these social injustices around us. 


When we left out the backstage door, I had no idea people were waiting for John to take pictures and get his autograph for their playbill. This sweet grandma was just so smitten with John. She was really cute and couldn’t stop talking to him. 


Some more fans


Paparazzi!! Their next stop is in Las Vegas. They will be coming to the Fox in November. 


We stayed in my brother’s apt and Jules helped make breakfast the next morning. 

20150415_083119She made toast for us. πŸ™‚ #sweetgirl


And she cleaned up! 

Jules’ first time vintage shopping
My decor loving heart had to take a picture of these beautiful vintage plates hanging outside a store.

We got to spend most of the day with John on Wednesday so he took us out for lunch, shopping and ice cream. He wouldn’t let me pay for anything. #uglycryagain

IMG_8257 IMG_8258 IMG_8260 IMG_8265Thank you, John for the best time! 


John had to go to work for a show that evening so I had some time to meet up with some friends. My college roommate and bridesmaid, Sarah brought her oldest daughter, Ava and we hung out at Portos, a Cuban bakery before dinner. Thank you, Sarah for driving an hour and half to see us!!! These two hit it off quickly and became friends instantly. 

IMG_8269We went out for shabu and Dinah met us there with her 3 girls. Look how cute Livvy is! Jules and Ava helped with the girls. 



Ava was cold so they shared the cardigan. ha!


So funny. We decided to go back to Portos down the street. 

IMG_8276So thankful for these two girls. We can’t believe we are all moms of 3! How did that happen?!!?


IMG_8279Jules and Ava wrote a story together. Jimmy looked at this pic and said, “look, it’s a mini Yuni and Sarah!” haha


Jules and her Dinah eemo


The last time I saw Sarah was 7 years ago and the girls were too little to remember each other. I’m so glad they got to meet and now they’ve officially become pen pals. 

We went back to John’s apt and Jules clonked out in the car. We left the next morning so it was a packed 2 days. We arrived back at home on Thursday evening and on Friday, the kids were so happy to be reunited. #especiallyemmy

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If you guys read this far, you deserve a doughnut! haha Jules and I had the most cherished mother daughter trip and it’s something we will always remember. Thank you to all my Facebook friends for sharing in my excitement in such a special trip. You guys are the best. Thanks to friends who checked up on Jimmy, brought food over and invited my family to your places for dinner. My heart was so full of gratitude. I’m so thankful for community and how you demonstrate Jesus.

A most special thanks to my brother, John for providing the most amazing trip. We are so proud of you and continue to pray that you would use your God-given talents for his glory. You encourage me to strive for excellence in whatever I do however small or big that task. Love you, little brother!

As always, thanks for reading!


So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

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