Monthly Minute

Monthly Minute

Monthly Minute
February Round Up

February Round Up

Hellooooo!

The second month of 2021 is in the books! How are you doing, how are you feeling? Is 2021 just 2020 in a wig? Who’s to say. BUT if you’re reading this post, you’ve at least made it this far!

To be completely transparent, this month kicked my butt royally. Many tears were shed. Growing into “adulthood” is hard. Period. Particularly in the last few weeks, I’ve felt really out of sorts and like I’m just pulling myself through. I’m grateful to have such a strong support system though, which has made this tough month a lot more bearable.

I’m sure that many of you 20-something’s can totally relate to what I’m feeling- this impending sense of “now what do I do?” My theatre artist friends in particular. I’m happy to have any job(s) at all right now, but not being able to truly do what I love, or even something close, is difficult and disheartening. My feeling of frustration comes from a deep passion for the art that I love and not being willing to give up on that dream. Frustration and passions don’t seem like they fit together in the same sentence like that, but it’s hard when you want to pursue what you love, that industry is not really happening, and you’ve got bills and student loans hanging over your head (although, bless that extension). All this is to say: if you are reading this and this struggle continues to sting or hit you harder this month like it did me- I see you. I hear you. You are not alone, and we will find a way.

ANYWAY.

Let’s talk about February goals. Since I started writing monthly goals for myself back in June, I’ve noticed 2 things. 1.) my list of goals gets longer every month and 2.) even though my list has more goals on it, they are smaller, more tangible goals. I’m starting to get really specific about what I’d like to accomplish or implement in my life each month and the more specific I am, the more I can plan to take steps of action towards reaching those goals. I guess I’m also just learning more about myself, my routine, and what I can handle month to month! Going back and reviewing the goals I’ve set in past months has illuminated a lot about my growth process, and the goal setting/reviewing process is something I look forward to every month.

Some of my goals for February that I crushed were

  • Keep not looking at who views my Insta story
    • A little background. I will admit, I’m aware it’s REAL unhealthy, but I pay attention to my follower count and who is viewing my stories or not. I mostly pay attention to the follower count mainly because I am trying really hard to grow my brand online, gain exposure, and reach the goals I set on that front. But looking at who views my stories has been an additional struggle in my battle of “worrying what other people are doing or thinking.” I would find that I could still see when people I had muted (for my own mental sanity) had viewed my story, then I would look at their story if they had one…which defeated the purpose of having those people muted…a viscous cycle. SO, I’ve made it a goal to not view my story views and I’ve done really well!
  • Stay consistent with my Dance From Home Classes 🙂
  • Try not to spend on anything other than necessities (bill/birthdays)
    • Although I did spend a little on others things, I really did well with this this month
  • Read 1-2 books 🙂

Now, some things I didn’t quite crush…

  • Doing yoga 2-3x per week
    • I did do a decent amount of yoga this month, but not consistently like this every week
  • Actually stay off of my phone until my limits are up/once the limit starts 😦
  • Less junk food, more water
    • Nailed the water, not so much the food…

Here were my blog goals!

  • Gain 5-10 new blog followers 🙂
  • Reach 1,600 followers on Instagram (or close to that) 🙂
  • Reach out to 1-2 brands 🙂
  • Work on Pinterest :/
  • Get ahead on plans and content :/
  • Post more consistently 🙂

Let’s move on to my favorites from this month!

Books

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Y’all. This book. THIS BOOK! You must read it, it was so good- good doesn’t even describe how good it was. I thought it was exceptional. If you are a friend, daughter, mother, sister…you need to read it. I was so invested in the characters and their stories and I literally sobbed when I finished it. I can’t wait for all my friends to read it. Apparently, there is a sequel book and I NEED to get it pronto. Don’t walk, RUN to get this one.

Go Down Together: The Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn

I’m reading this one currently! I am lowkey obsessed with the story of Bonnie and Clyde, and I’ve had this book on my shelf for many, many years but never made it all the way through. Once I finished Firefly Land, I picked this one up and decided to give it another shot! The first time I tried to read it I think I was too young to fully grasp the writing and the story, so it’s much more interesting to me now!

TV

Firefly Lane: The Series

DO. NOT. WATCH. I feel very passionate about this. If you are going to watch, you need to read the book first. And I hate to tell you, if you do that, you will be extremely disappointed by the show. It is absolutely nothing like the book, it’s infuriating. I don’t know if anyone else gets this heated when tv/movies are entirely different from the book, but I do. I was so excited to watch the show right after finishing the book, since it just came out, and I was so disappointed. I watched the whole season because I was semi invested in this entirely new story they decided to tell, but I would 1,000% recommend just reading the book and leaving the show well enough alone.

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

I just started this! I can’t speak to the quality of the show too much just yet, but it’s freaky for sure!

Other

Tik Tok

So…I’m late. LOL. Seriously, I’m light years behind. But I finally took the plunge and made a Tik Tok and my mom and I have really enjoyed sitting and watching videos together and cracking up. I only have 4 videos so far, 3 of which are singing, so we’ll see where this goes! I’m excited to create new content, just have to find the right spark! You can follow me @angelalarose1026

Be on the lookout next month for some cool and exciting collaborations with some brands and products that I LOVE!

As we finish up February and head into March, I will be participating in Lent leading up to Easter in April! Every year I give something up, and usually it’s the same thing…C H I P S. I still gave up chips this year, but I also am giving up social media time before bed and always hitting ignore when my time limit comes up! I’m hoping this will help me sleep better and turn my mind off a bit more before heading to bed. Here’s hoping!

You made it through another month as we come up on the one-year mark of this “new” pandemic world. But what matters is that you made it through to see the other side of this month, and you will press on into a new one!

I hope your March is as lucky as ever!

Lots of Love

~Ang

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

Self-Love Edition

Hello, beauties!

A little change of pace today for our February Passion Piece Feature!!! Rather than featuring one individual this month, we’ve got a little group feature! Since self-love has been on my mind and in my heart this month, I took to social media and asked my friends and followers to share with me a little bit about self-love through their own eyes. I don’t think there is one way to define “self-love;” it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of idea. We are all so unique and outstanding in our own beautiful ways, which means that how we each practice and recognize self-love is entirely individual.

You’re probably thinking “tell me something I don’t know, Angela, of course we are all different!” YES. RIGHT. SO. Why am I highlighting this? Because I think it’s important to note, for individuals of all ages, that the practice of self-care and what that idea means for you does not have to be static. Every day, every month, every year- your self-care practices and the way you view what self-love is is bound to change. And it should! That only means you are growing and learning more about yourself and the crazy, weird, complex thing that love (in all its forms) is.

I asked my little hive to share with me a time when they practiced a radical act of self-love, something they love about themselves, or what self-love means to them. These nine individuals are some of my closest friends, and I am so grateful to be able to feature them this week- even just a little bit! The variety in their responses has been so incredible and has illuminated new ways in which I can look for and cultivate self-love in my own life. I hope they do the same for you. I’ll share my little blurb at the end, but for now, check out what these beautiful humans (we shall call them “The Self-Love Brothers and Sisters”) had to say on self-love!

The Self-Love Brothers and Sisters

Alexia, 23, Philadelphia, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Self-Love: Having a solo dance party and filming clips of it to see my pure happiness. Learning to do my makeup for ME and no one else. Dying my hair HOT pink because I wanted to. Cutting toxic people out of my life was the biggest act of self-love I have ever performed. I love my ambition and drive to be the best person I can be.”

Molly, 19, Lansdale, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“I honestly struggle to be compassionate & loving with myself and it’s constantly a work in progress for me personally, but I was really proud of myself for the way I committed myself to getting into better physical & mental shape over quarantine! I came out of freshman year feeling really crappy about myself given my own mental state & the people and energy I was investing so much of myself into, and I knew that I was capable of and wanted so much better for myself, so I went for it! & I still have some really shit days and mental health is up and down but that was a choice out of love for myself that I was really genuinely proud of.”

Lexi, 21, Hazleton, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“I love that I love helping other people. I love that, as a consumer, I make eco conscious choices whenever I can. I love my creativity and DIY spirit. I love how my hair dries in waves when I shower before bed.”

Arrianna, 22, Pottsville, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“My boyfriend at the time broke up with me about two months before I left to study abroad. I spent those three months overseas to discover who I am, what I love, where I needed to grow, and honestly just take in the world around me to appreciate the big picture rather than getting stuck on the small stuff that doesn’t matter.”

Cathy, 23, Macungie, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“To me, self-love is about putting your health and well-being before the trivial aspects of life!”

Bella, 21, Souderton, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“I’ve been on the self-love, single gal train for almost 5 years now…(wow) And I’ve definitely learned so much about myself! These past 5 years I’ve committed to listening to MY wants, needs, and passions. I’ve learned how I show love and how I like to receive love. I’ve learned what I deserve and not to settle even if lonely nights seem to find me more often than not. I know this all sounds so stereotypical but the day I decided to put myself first and start the journey to self-love, I’ve never looked back! That isn’t to say that I don’t still have to actively remind myself to be nice to my body and mind but it’s a battle I am willing to fight every day.”

Kailey, 22, Royersford, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Studying abroad, even when I was in a serious relationship. I decided to be selfish and it was the best decision I made. Now that I’m not with that person, I’m glad I did it and chose to put myself first. Best decision I ever made.”

Ryan, 21, Laredo, TX

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Self-love means doing things that make you happy.”

Chloe, 26, Minneapolis, MN

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

“Before the pandemic I would take myself on dates! Get my nails done, have a museum day, dress up and go to dinner. It was learning that being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely and instead focusing on how to fall in love with being by yourself because at the end of the day you are with you until the very end💛”


Angela, 23, Sugarloaf, PA

Passion Piece Feature: Self-Love Edition

To me, self-love is learning what you need and refusing to settle for anything less than that. It means cultivating a schedule and a routine that serves your needs on a daily basis and doing what you can to make the unpredictable moments a little less stressful. I’m still working on that. It means refusing to settle and always pushing yourself to try new things and being as open to change as you can be (REALLY still working on that). In my own life, spending serious time on my own and learning how to love myself in the last year and a half has been the ultimate act of self-love. Working on myself, for myself, and for the future individual(s) I will come to love is one of the greatest gifts I could ever give myself in the long run. Little random acts of self-love that I try to do often are manifesting, putting the phone down when I feel burnt out, eating foods I like because I can, and spending time in the quiet.

I hope that now, more than ever, you are finding new ways to practice self-love, and maybe dusting off ways in which you’ve practiced before if it’s been a while since you’ve taken time for YOU. You can start by writing down 3 things you love about yourself every day, or simply by listening to your body and honoring your own needs NO MATTER WHAT. You are so loved, and you deserve to feel that. What better way than to start from within?

I love you, friends!

~Ang

The Single Girl’s Guide to Self-Love

The Single Girl’s Guide to Self-Love

The Single Girl's Guide to Self-Love

Hi, my loves!

Welcome to February! We’ve got Groundhog Day, Black History Month, President’s Day…and Valentine’s Day.

*insert either a sigh of disdain or laughter and joy*

Personally, I love THE IDEA of Valentine’s Day. I love all the pinks and reds, the hearts, the candy. I love it. But as a single lady for the last two years, I can’t help but feel that tiny twinge of sadness on the day as I scroll through social media. Are my single ladies with me?

Last year on the day, three of my girlfriends and I all found ourselves single for the first time in four years of college, and this by itself was reason to celebrate. We all got together at my apartment, made tacos and chocolate covered strawberries, sipped wine and watched bad TV and had the best single Valentine’s Day.

If, like me, you find yourself separated from your best gals this year due to distance, the pandemic, or just life, you may be feeling unsure of how to make this Valentine’s Day feel special just for YOU. Here are some ideas to help you make the day special and to help you practice self-love, because you DO deserve it!

Buy Yourself the Flowers and Chocolates

Flowers and Chocolates: Valentine’s Day staples. Maybe you love it. Maybe it makes you want to barf. I respect that. HOWEVER, there’s no reason to wait until you have a prescribed Valentine to treat yourself to sweet little gifts! If you do enjoy flowers, head out to the store and buy yourself the prettiest bouquet you can find! They’ll bring some life back into your space and make you smile. Flowers not your thing? Get the chocolates (Hell, even if the flowers are your thing, get the chocolates)! Don’t like flowers OR chocolates? Buy a pizza, some chips, ice cream, a bottle of wine- literally, treat yourself to whatever is going to make you happy!

Prepare Little Valentine’s Day Goodies for Your Friends or Co-Workers

Just because you might not be able to celebrate with your galentine’s in person doesn’t mean you can’t send a little bit of love their way on V-Day! One way to do that could be to put together a little bag of goodies to either mail to your friends or drop on their doorsteps! I’m not really all about Valentine’s Day, but I will say, Valentine’s Day themed gifts are really pretty. You could get cute little gift bags and fill them with candies, mini wine bottles, lips gloss/smackers, other makeup, candles, little earrings packs….the list goes on and on! All things you can find between your local dollar store, Target, Marshall’s, Walmart- nothing that breaks the bank! You could also give little goodie bags to your co-workers (you know, if you work in that sort of environment)!

Keep in mind, you don’t even have to send or drop off little gifts, you could also mail your friends a card/letter or drop one in your mailbox. Simply writing a little note letting your friends know you love them is truly gift enough!

This leads me to…

Throw a Galentine’s Day Party on Zoom

I know, we are SO sick of Zoom parties and gatherings. We are ready to go out and actually BE with our friends, drinking fun little drinks and eating tacos in public in our cute little outfits. Trust me. I get it. BUT we must make the most of the situation we are in! The next best thing: A Zoom Galentine’s Day party! Everyone can bust out the cocktail and meal of their choice OR perhaps you can all coordinate and make the same menu individually, then come together and catch up on Zoom. Everyone can wear their best comfy pink/red/white outfit, and maybe you even choose a cute movie to watch all together while one person screen shares! If you haven’t seen your gals in a while, getting together on Zoom will just be a great excuse to catch up if nothing else!


All the ideas mentioned above are perfect things to do this Valentine’s Day to find SOME way to celebrate, but now let’s take a step back and get a little more personal. So, what are some ways that you can show up for yourself and practice self-love in a much more personal way- this Valentine’s Day and beyond? Here are some sweet little suggestions for you to fill your Valentine’s Day with self-love!

Move Your Body

One of the greatest and easiest (generally speaking) acts of self-love that you can perform is moving your body! If you are mentally and physically able, I encourage you to find time to move your body in ways that make you feel strong, confident, and beautiful! You’ll feel lighter and happier when you’re done, for sure. Do whatever YOU feel best doing, no matter what that is! Even if that just means finding some time to stretch, taking care of yourself in this way is the ultimate act of self-care and self-love!

Cultivate Your Self-Love Affirmations

Affirmations can truly set the tone for your day, week, month, year- they are SO powerful! Grab your sticky notes and get ready to plaster your bathroom/bedroom mirror with your self-love affirmations! Take a moment and think about need out of a daily affirmation. Do you need love? Encouragement? Positivity? Strength? What is something that you are always looking to others to affirm for you? Surprise, my friends, you are more than capable of providing yourself with the affirmation that you need in any aspect of your life! We are through depending on others to affirm our worth, or anything else in our lives for that matter! Once you think of what you’d like to affirm for yourself most at this point in time, write it on a sticky note, stick it to a mirror that you’re going to look at every day, and never stop forgetting your worth.

Write Down What You Love About Yourself

Self Love Journal

If you have never taken the time to write down things you love about yourself, now is the perfect time to start! Truthfully, this isn’t something I’ve regularly done for myself- so I am right there with you if you want to try to make more of a conscious effort to incorporate this practice into your daily life! When I did the 14 Day Get Up and Dance Challenge with Dance From Home, there were days where we didn’t do any physical movement, we only had to write down three things we loved about ourselves that weren’t physical traits. I loved doing this, and it inspired me to continue the practice of writing down things I love about myself. If you can find three things, little things, that you love about yourself to write down each day- that’s amazing. If you can only find one thing to write down- that’s an amazing place to start. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but I promise, it will be so worth it in the end.

Feel like you still need a little help on this one? I have just the thing for you! When you subscribe to Beyond the Footlights for the month of February, I’ll send you my February Self-Love Journal directly to your inbox! I’ve done the construction for you; you just have to fill in what you love about yourself (which is arguably the hardest part)!


No matter how you’re spending Valentine’s Day this year, I think it’s about time that you start showing yourself more love than anyone could ever show you. That’s the first step, right? They (whoever ‘they’ is) say you can’t love someone else until you unconditionally love yourself, and I find this to be absolutely true. Love yourself, cherish yourself, and set the precedent for how you deserve to be loved and treated by others!

Now, have some pizza, have some win, have some chocolate, and don’t text your ex.

I LOVE YA!

~ Ang

Monthly Minute

Monthly Minute

January Monthly Minute

January Round-Up

Hello, friends!

We’ve survived the first month of 2021! We have a new President, a new LADY Vice President. There is hope! While a new year and a new month cannot erase the scars left by the year-that-shall-not-be-named, I hope, nonetheless, that your year is off to a great start!

These monthly round posts are always some of my favorite to write because they help me take time to reflect on the smaller moments that make up the grand scheme of things. Going forward in this year, I encourage you to try to do this as well. I love to plan and look ahead, that’s part of who I am, but learning how to break my year down into months and my months down into weeks have infinitely helped me stay in the moment more while still allowing me to look ahead. Just not on such a grand, large scale!

January always feels like it lasts for an eternity, and this year the month was no different. At first, I felt like there was momentum but about right in the middle of the month I felt things slow down. That’s probably because I had started to better settle into the new routines I set out to establish in this new year. Let me tell you a bit about my January!

If I had to land on a word that would describe my January it would probably be ‘accountability,’ as I started a few new things that would require me to demand accountability from myself, for myself. First, I joined The Ensemble Membership with Dance From Home (check out my Passion Piece Feature with the owner of Dance From Home, Megan Bowen, HERE)! This meant that I would be taking 2 dance classes and 2 dance cardio/ strengthening classes a week. I was really excited and anxious to bring dance and activity back into my life in a more intentional way and being part of the membership has been completely worth it. This did, however, require discipline- because it’s been a minute since I had a regularly show up for myself like this.

I have always been one to start something like this and never finish it. I said it. But, for many reasons, I wanted to push myself in this first month of a new year and a new venture to stop making excuses. Every time I felt like not showing up to a class, I showed up. It was hard after a long day at work to bring myself to class sometimes, but I did it because I knew I would feel much better when it was finished. Some days, I struggled and had to really modify. Some days, my mind and body surprised me in how well they showed up for me. It was a move I didn’t know I needed to make, but I’m so glad I did.

I also took part in Yoga with Adriene’s 30-Day Yoga Journey that she curates every January. This year, the theme was Breath. It was my first year taking part in the journey as a new yoga teacher myself; the depth and growth I was able to cultivate in the daily practice was incredible. I love yoga so very much, but this, too, was still a challenge in dedication and discipline for me! Because I was also taking the classes with Dance From Home every night, I had to do the yoga videos in the morning before work- most days at around 6am (you can see why getting my a** to those dance classes was a little tough sometimes lol). As you’re reading this, I’m in the final week of the challenge!

Because I wanted to approach this 30-day journey in a new way, I decided to put together an accountability group for any friends of mine who were looking to take part in the challenge and wanted to feel the support of a closer community. I had about 9 girls join the group, and we communicated almost every day- keeping each other accountable and on track. I loved having a group to go to myself, because even though I was “leading” the group, I needed them for accountability just as much as they needed me. It was beautiful to see women from many different corners of my life all come together to practice yoga and support one another- whether they had met before or not!

I am SO proud of myself- I accomplished almost all the personal and blog goals I set for myself this month! None of them were huge goals, all little things for myself, but the fact that I stayed committed to them makes me very happy. I’m hoping to carry this momentum with me into February and the rest of 2021!

Now, onto some things I LOVED this month!

Books/TV

  • Didn’t See That Coming by Rachel Hollis
  • Bridgerton (Netflix)….DUH
  • Night Stalker (Netflix)…creepy AF but good
  • Yoga With Adriene 30-Day Yoga Journey: Breath
    • P.S. this content is free on YouTube and you can complete the videos any time you want! Give it a try and let me know if you do!!!

Products

  • Verb Energy Bars
    • Click HERE to try 4 of their top flavors for only $0.95!
  • OPI Gel Nail Polish
    • This is quickly becoming my favorite gel nail polish brand! So far, I’ve found the handful of colors I have at T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s! If you want to read up on how I do my own gel manicure at home for WAY less than the salon, click HERE!
  • Bliss- Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Serum
    • I had been searching for a vitamin C serum for a while, and I found this one at CVS! It’s affordable, smells SO yummy, and makes my skin look bright and beautiful!

Habits

  • Keeping my stainless-steel water bottle on my night stand- first thing I would do when I woke up was drink water to get things moving and grooving in my body! Still cold from the night before!
  • Setting time limits on my phone!!! Never before 8 and never after 11!…now I just have to…stick to it…

There you have it! JANUARY! Like I said before, the start of a new year and a new month can’t erase what our world is going through or what I’ve gone through personally since last March, but I do feel like having this little bit of a fresh start set me on a new and promising path! I feel a little bit lighter and I feel like I’m starting to cultivate better behaviors that will serve me physically, mentally, and spiritually in 2021. Here’s to carrying this energy through for the next 11 months! We can do hard things!

Next week is FEBRUARY! If you want to grab the blog’s February Freebie, The February Self-Love Journal, head to the homepage and subscribe with an email!

Lots of love!

~ Ang

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature
Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart

Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart

Feature #7

Hi, all! Happy Monday!

I am SO excited to share my first Passion Piece Feature of 2021 with you! To kick off the year we have dancer, entrepreneur, and all around badass woman, Megan Bowen!

Passion Piece Feature
Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart
Photo: @cesar.shoots

Here’s a little about Megan:

Megan Bowen is a performer, creator & entrepreneur in NYC. Alongside her professional performing career, Megan founded Dance From Home LLC, an online company that helps Broadway lovers reconnect with the joy of live performance through musical theatre-themed fitness, dance & industry workshops. Megan believes the dance space is for everyBODY and is excited to reenter the industry post-pandemic. Stay connected via Instagram @MeganBowen__ & @DanceFromHome_ 

Like many of the people I have featured in the Passion Piece series, I have only ever connected with Megan online, and she is just a powerhouse. I’m not even sure how I came across Megan’s profile or the Dance From Home account, but I am SO glad that I did. Back in November, I took part in Dance From Home’s 14 day Get Up and Dance Challenge and the rest is history. It was during this time, taking Megan’s classes, that I started to truly feel connected to theatre and dance again, and this can really only be attributed to Megan, her instruction, and her class structure. Through the computer screen, states away, I could feel her infectious energy, her support, and her desire for me to succeed. Yes, I got that all from a fitness class. But that’s how I knew that Megan was someone I wanted in my corner, leading and guiding me toward my fullest potential! I signed up to be part of Dance From Home’s Ensemble Membership in the New Year, and it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my personal and professional life.

Megan is such an incredible inspiration. On her personal social media, she openly speaks about the joys and struggles of being a business owner, body image in the theatre, her own journey back into the dance studio, and much, much more. She is real, she is raw, and it’s so refreshing to follow and invest your time and energy in people who are just real people with real lives. That’s something I admire and would like to aim to bring into my own online space in 2021.

It’s such an amazing feeling when you know you’ve got people on your side, holding space for you, and aiming to help you reach your fullest potential. Megan is one of those people in my life, and I cannot wait to connect with her in person! Check out our chat and get to know more about Megan below!

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?

My name is Megan Bowen and I am from Temecula, CA. I moved to NYC a little over 4 years ago and I currently reside in Brooklyn!

What are you currently doing for work, if anything? 

I am the Founder and CEO of Dance From Home LLC. We help Broadway lovers reconnect to the joy of live performance through musical theatre themed fitness, dance, and industry master workshops!

Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?

My parents put me in dance class when I was 3 years old. I was a very shy kid (I still identify as an ‘extroverted’ introvert) and stood in the back of my first dance class for 3 months until I decided to give the class a try and, well, here I am 23 years later still doing it!

I was a competitive dancer throughout my middle school and high school years. I also LOVED to sing so I started voice lessons when I was about 10 years old. My dance studio often let a local community theatre use the studios for rehearsals which was how I started to get involved with musical theatre. I did a few productions with them in middle school and absolutely loved it, but when it came time to high school, I had to make the choice between dedicating my time to theatre or the dance team, and I chose dance.

During my senior year of high school, I began auditioning for college dance programs (I thought I was going to end up being a classic modern or jazz dancer in a company) but I had a horrific experience during the college audition process. I was rejected from every single school I auditioned for, I was even told by the director of the NYU Dance Department that I did not have “the ideal body type that they were looking for” and felt very defeated. Luckily, I was very smart and had great grades/qualifications to get me into The University of California, Irvine as an Undeclared Major. During my first week at school, I reauditioned for their Dance Department and got accepted! It was the best feeling of my life. 

During my Junior year of university training, I started falling out of love with modern/contemporary dance. I also couldn’t find any companies or space for women with my body type in that portion of the industry and was confused on what I wanted to do. This is when musical theatre started coming back into my life…

I was in a sorority, (shoutout Delta Delta Delta) and each year the sororities would be paired with one fraternity to compete in a schoolwide musical competition called “Songfest”. The musical assigned to our cast was Pippin and during that creative and performance process (yes, we won the entire competition), I fell back in love with theatre. 

This is when I started getting involved in the drama department at UCI and got accepted into their New York Satellite Program, a “study abroad” program that had about a group of 25 of us come to NYC for one month and train nonstop. We took master classes, had mock auditions, went to a few real auditions, and got to fully experience what being a performer in NYC would be like. I was IN LOVE. I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had finally found my calling. 

So, I graduated college and moved to NYC 3 months later. I’ve been here doing the audition and performing grind until Covid hit and it all stopped. 

If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

1 – Performing

2 – Baking

3 – Creating Content/Being a Business Owner

4 – Lifting Weights

5 – Quality time with those I love

Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

Passion Piece Feature
Megan Bowen: Dance From the Heart

I would say the majority of my current work with Dance From Home aligns with my passion of dancing, performing, and teaching, but I believe passion and business have to fall into two very separate categories.

Dance From Home is my business in which I must be able to detach my ego or emotional connection from in order to make it thrive and better serve my community. My passion for dancing and teaching show through my classes, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that business is my passion. It is one of my proudest achievements and has brought me closer to an incredible community that I am so lucky to serve every single day.

But passions are allowed and often do change, so with that in mind I work on looking at my business strictly as a business. I guess what I’m saying is that owning a business is not the driving force of my life. Performing is. 🙂

What has inspired most you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world/our industry?

Oh gosh, honestly my friends and the upcoming community of leaders in the musical theatre industry inspire me. We are going to be the ones to evoke change.

What are some things you like to do in your down time to nurture your passions, so they can stay just as alive, consistent, and active as your work?

Honestly, as a first-year business owner much of my time has been consumed with my business and my passions have fallen to the side. That alongside living through a Pandemic. I have just now started to get realigned with my passion for taking dance class and going back to the gym to strength train. Those two things bring me endless joy and I haven’t really been doing them for the past 10 months, so I am excited to start again. 

This kinda ties into my answer above! My passions didn’t necessarily disappear in 2020 but they were put on the backburner and that is OKAY. I wasn’t ready for them or in a mental space to bring them back, but I am now 🙂

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

Oh that’s rough…I guess some that come to mind are.

#1 – Be in and choreograph a Broadway show

#2 – Have a 7 figure business

#3 – Start a conversation/Change the body standards of the dance industry

What does your self-care routine look like?

Haha. Another thing that I lost during the pandemic. Right now, my self-care looks like paying off my debt and credit cards and fixing my relationship with money. THAT is real self-care. Doing the things you don’t want to do but will ultimately help you be a better and happier person. 

I also ALWAYS eat breakfast.

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life? 

My advice would be to allow yourself to take a step back. You do not and should not feel like you have to force your passion. Knowing that passions can change and finding new things to light you up is exciting.

What are you hopeful for in our industry as we enter 2021? What prospects excite you, scare you, and make your heart flutter with anticipation?

I’m hopeful that the industry will start to come back by winter. I personally don’t think Broadway will come back until November 2021, but I lean towards the beginning of 2022.

Something I am looking forward to is taking dance class in person again and having the space to create with fellow dancers. 

I’d like to think about performing but I just don’t know what that will look like. I know my dreams and goals will come true; I’m just trying to not put a timeline on them 🙂

Amen to that my friends. Self-care is “doing the things you don’t want to do but will ultimately help you be a better and happier person.” Self-care takes on SO many different forms, and THIS is one form I couldn’t resonate with more!

A HUGE thank you to Megan for sharing her time and energy with me! All her social media information can be found in the bio at the top of the post- check her and her business out, give them a follow, and spread love today!

Lots of love

~ Ang

Winter Self-Care Ideas

Winter Self-Care Ideas

Winter Self-Care Ideas

Hello my friends, I hope you’re all doing well and finding joy in this New Year!

But we all know what month it is. January. *sigh*

January usually feels like the longest month in all of eternity. That one extra day in there really makes all the difference, right? Plenty of other months have 31 days, why don’t they seem to drag on as long as January always does? AND…it’s cold. I’m in Pennsylvania, and January/February (sometimes well into March or April) are the peak chilly months. By chilly I mean unbearably cold. Maybe I’m just a big baby, maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m already cold 24/7, maybe it’s because I love summer- who’s to say?

I don’t know about you, but for myself and many others, January brings the winter blues. Snow is beautiful, the changing seasons are always incredible to witness, but the frigid temps, the shorter days, and how early it gets dark can all bring on this wintery sadness. So how can we combat these feelings? With winter self-care, of course!

Honestly, winter self-care doesn’t have to be that different from your typically self-care routine that you have all year round! With some special attention, any self-care routine can be transformed into one that suits your wintery needs. Not sure where to start? I’ve put together some winter self-care ideas for you that cover a variety of different sectors of self-care, so hopefully there will be something you can take away from each and implement into your routine! Check it out!

Winter Self-Care: Personal Comfort

Personal comfort, to me, means feelings as comfortable as possible at all time. Full disclosure: I hate real pants. I think the idea of cute pants is great, but I like a comfy pant, a warm sweater, all the layers, etc. And, like I said, I am ALWAYS cold. I like to ensure my comfort when I’m trying to take care of myself and that also means keeping myself warm, warm, warm. Here are a few of my favorite must-haves you can get to make personal comfort part of your winter self-care routine:

Winter Self-Care Ideas
  • Fuzzy Jackets or Sherpas
    • I recently got the one in this picture for Christmas, it’s Koolaburra by Ugg, but you can literally find these babies ANYWHERE- T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Walmart, Amazon, and Target are going to be the best places to get them for an affordable price!
  • Fuzzy Slippers
    • The same ones I’m wearing in this picture are from The Loft and I am IN LOVE with them. I want them in every color. You can find these and many more cute pairs from places like The Loft, Aerie, or Target.
  • A Cozy Bath Robe
    • We’ll get to baths in a moment but having a bath robe to slip on in the winter has been a lifesaver! I love being able to lock in the heat from a nice hot bath and feel all wrapped up and held for the rest of my evening. Sometimes, I’ll even just throw my robe on as a warm kind of sweater to wear with my PJ’s or comfy clothes all day long! I got mine from a T.J. Maxx, I would highly recommend looking there or a Marshall’s for a variety of robes- again for the best deal!
  • Fuzzy Sock
    • Duh.

Winter Self-Care: Skin/Body Care

It’s winter. We’re cold. Our skin is dry. HELP.

  • A GOOD Face Moisturizer
    • Having a good moisturizer in the winter months is essential! I know, especially in college, my little cheeks would get so dry being outside and walking from place to place. Even now, the air is just so dry and chilly that it’s so necessary to give our skin that drink its craving! I use Tula 24/7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream in the mornings and at night. I would also recommend LXMI Creme Du Nil, if you’re looking for something a little more “high end.” The two best drug store moisturizers I would recommend for the winter months (or any time) would be Cetaphil and CeraVe!
  • A Hydrating Face Mask
    • I love using an overnight hydrating mask when my skin feels especially dry and thirsty! There are TONS of these on the market, so find what works for you (the same goes for literally any suggestion I make, always do what works for you first) BUT I use Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask! (you can get this online, but I found a 2-Pack at my T.J. Maxx for a great price…so keep an eye out, always!)
  • Body Scrub
    • So, our skin is dry and dead, and we must do something about it, right? Yes. Find an awesome body scrub and get scrubbing! Pick your preference, salt or sugar, and make sure it isn’t too harsh to use on your entire body. Right now, I’m using the Aromatherapy Sleep Lavender + Vanilla sugar scrub from Bath & Body Works! I like to shower/bathe at night, so I like that the lavender smell sticks with me until I go to bed AND usually my sheets and I still smell like lavender in the morning!
  • Body Lotion
    • Well, you’ve scrubbed all the dead stuff off, so now you must LOCK IN the moisture with your best body lotion. I’ll be honest, because I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I shave my legs WAY less in the winter. So, since my brain associates lotion with shaving and smooth legs, I often neglect to lotion my less-than-smooth legs in the winter months. I’m trying to be better about it, though! I either use the Water Hyaluronic Acid lotion from Bath & Body Works or Josie Maran body butters! LOVE a good body butter for the winter!
  • Take That Bath!
    • Fill up that tub with the hottest water you’ve got and RELAX! Use your favorite bubble bath, bath oils or bath salts, really set up the ambiance in your bathroom and just make yourself feel special for once! Don’t like baths? You can do the same things standing up in the shower! Very few things compare to a hot shower or bath in my mind. Relax and renew!

Winter Self-Care: In Your Space

The feeling of my personal space is an extremely important part of my own self-care routine. I’ve written before about how the space I’m living in becomes my little sacred place, so it’s really important to me that my space feels warm and welcoming. Here are a few things I make sure I incorporate into my space that make me feel good!

  • Candles
  • Essential oils & essential oil diffuser
  • Big blankets
  • Decorative and comfy pillows
  • Low lighting (I have twinkly lights hanging and usually only use those and my bedside lamp to light the space)
  • Warmth (you could always get a small space heater if you don’t have a thermostat in your space!)

Whatever conditions in which you feel the most comfortable and secure, find ways to create those in your space!

Winter Self-Care: Mind, Body, Spirit Care

Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit is such an important part of self-care (well 3 important parts, really). Whatever brings you peace in those 3 areas of your life: DO THOSE THINGS! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep moving your body
    • I know many people are ready to smash new year’s resolutions right now, but the winter and the cold often makes people less inclined to get physical. I encourage you to do something each day, or as often as you’d like, to get your blood flowing and body moving! You could do yoga, walk/run on the treadmill, go outside and walk/run, dance, stretch- literally anything that truly brings you joy and gets you moving. You’ll feel amazing after, I promise!
  • Drink lots of water
    • Pretty self-explanatory! Stay hydrated! I’m trying to get up and have a glass of water with lemon each morning!
  • Watch your favorite shows or movies
  • Listen to your favorite podcasts
  • Read books you love OR read new books
  • Journal/manifest
  • Hibernate aka rest when you need to!

That last one may be the most important thing to take from this whole post. Self-care also means listening to what your body is telling you, what it is asking you, listening, and taking necessary steps! At the start, self-care may simply be you starting to listen to your body and what it’s asking for before you even dive into doing all these things! If you are tired, REST. Taking care of yourself IS productive, because how else are you supposed to get anything else done if your mind/body/spirit is in tip-top condition? Whether you believe it or not, you deserve the best for yourself and you are capable of making that happen.

So, believe it!

Lots of love to you!

~ Ang

What’s Your ‘Word’ for 2021?

What’s Your ‘Word’ for 2021?

What's Your 'Word' for 2021?

F R I E N D S!!!

We made it! We are here in 2021! Feels a little surreal, doesn’t it? We’ve spent the last 9 or 10 months saying, “I can’t wait for next year” and we are finally here! I hope that you all rang in the New Year happily and safely. All we can do now is pray that we find ourselves, as a country and a community, on the up and up as the year goes forward.

Let’s talk about setting New Year’s goals for a moment, shall we? Let us reflect…

In case you missed it, I’m a big dreamer. Every year, my list of those hopes, dreams, and goals was always SO all over the place, and honestly, sort of superficial. It’s kind of sad, but I can highlight for you the top few things that my list generally centered around: hoping for success in relationships, hoping and dreaming that I would find success in my career as a theatre student (aka hoping to get work, essentially), and hoping to “work on myself,” which is very nonspecific.

I keep saying to my friends and loved ones, this is the first year that I’m excited just thinking about all the growing I can do. It’s my first year being an “adult” (using that term loosely), and I can really, truly focus on MYSELF. I’m not in a relationship, I’m not married to school anymore, so now, I am really excited to set goals for myself that are tangible and won’t be swallowed up by schoolwork or distraction. This is the first time that I am able to set real career goals, as an actor and now blogger/writer/whateveryouwanttocallthis and aim to accomplish them because I’ve got nothing but time and hope on my side. This is the first time, literally ever, that I am setting personal growth goals for myself that feel attainable. AND, again, it’s the first time that I have the TIME to devote to these goals. If I don’t accomplish them now, I guess I could blame it on work, but I don’t have the excuse of school or consistent rehearsals anymore (although having consistent rehearsals could also very well still count as a viable excuse if the universe hears my manifestations 😉 ).

It’s also the first time in four years that I feel like I’m able to set goals for myself on my own terms and go about crushing them in silence. I had actually considered writing my first post of the year all about my goals for 2021, and then I had a thought. My goals/hopes/dreams are just that. They’re MINE. I spent 4 years of college constantly comparing myself and my goals to those around me, and measuring my success based on whether I did it all. I’m realizing now that that no longer serves me. I no longer have to explain myself, my choices, or my actions to anyone (I never should’ve done so in the first place). So, no offense BTF community, but I will not be laying out my list of hopes/dreams/goals for all of you to see. We’re going to hustle in silence then crush the world with our good fortune and news on our own timeline!!!

But I digress. While I am not going to share with you my precious list of 2021 goals, I would like to share with you my ‘word’ for 2021. Leading up to the New Year, I started to see a lot of people I follow on social media talking about choosing their word for the year and reflecting on their word for 2020 and how it panned out. I have always gone into each new year with hopes, dreams, and goals made up in my head, but I honestly had never considered choosing just ONE word as the headline, if you will, for the new year ahead. I started thinking about all the things I was wishing for and manifesting for 2021 and I settled on the word ABUNDANCE.

Abundance.

“A very large quantity of something.”

I love that the definition is so simple, so malleable that I can kind of shape it any way I want to fit my life and circumstances. I can’t really provide you a step-by-step process on how to figure out you word for 2021; mine just kind of hit me in the face and I knew that was it. I can, however, kind of give you a framework for how I arrived at the revelation, and hope that you going on a similar journey sparks the same moment for you.

I simply started by sitting down and writing out my hopes, dreams, and goals for the New Year (take a shot for every time I’ve written that in this post lol). I typed mine all out in a OneNote document on my computer, so I’d be able to quickly access it. I didn’t hold back; I allowed myself certainly to dream big, but I did also try to make a list of things that truly felt attainable, that I knew I could successfully take action towards. Then I looked at every different sector of my life: family, friends, relationships, work, the blog/social media presence, etc…the list goes on and on. I tried to find similarities in what I was wishing for in each sector. Without divulging every goal and detail to you, let it be known that ABUNDANCE was the word I came up with to summarize what I was truly wishing for in my life in the New Year.

In each of those different areas of my life I wanted more. I wanted growth. I wanted success and I wanted happiness in copious amounts all the while. So I landed on abundance. I want the absolute most in every aspect of life and I am determined to make that happen.

Am I moving forward with my head down for a bit, since you never know WHAT could come out of this new chapter? Absolutely. I think I will forever be changed in the way I approach large life changes after 2020, we all will. But the fact that I am able to sit here and pinpoint a single word to sum up what I want out of this next year of life gives me hope and joy. Hope for the future and joy because I feel like I am going to be coming out of this fog with a much clearer headspace, making room to hold space for myself, my needs, those I love most and their needs, and anyone else who comes into my life along the way.

If you have a ‘word’ you are holding onto in this new year share it in the comments below, and feel free to share why you’ve chosen it as well!

I’m wishing you abundance + whatever else you are manifesting. It’s all yours, baby!

Lots of love

~ Ang

2020 Round Up

2020 Round Up

2020 Wrap Up

Well, friends, here we are. The final blog post of 2020! I feel like this is the day we have all been waiting for, to finally put 2020 to rest. Since this is usually the post where I recap every month, I thought what better way than to close out 2020 by recapping the year!

I started Beyond the Footlights in May, and while I’ve written pretty extensively about my life and experiences from about March on, there were some quote-on-quote normal times before Covid-19 erupted to share, as well as some more minute details from throughout the year that I’d love to reflect on and share with you, too. Honestly, I’ve kind of been putting off writing this post because it IS a lot to unpack. In our own ways, we have all been through some form of trauma this year. By no means do I use the word trauma lightly. I don’t think that you could meet a single individual at this very moment who hasn’t experienced any kind of loss due to this pandemic. I will admit, I’ve pushed down many thoughts and feelings that I’ve carried with me this year just to get through, so unpacking it all definitely scares me. But we can do hard things, and I want to take this time to reflect on all the growth I’ve experienced because of it all.

2020 scared me. Without even having any knowledge of how the year would play out, it scared me. It was the year I’d graduate college and take the “real world” by storm. I had no idea where I’d find myself after August, I was entering an industry that excited me and terrified me, and I had no idea if I would sink or swim. I knew I’d take on new financial burdens, and money scared me (money still kind of scares me, but that’s beside the point). I thought I would leave home and move somewhere I had never lived. I was entering the New Year as a single lady for the first time in a long time, and I was equally excited and scared to find myself in 2020. Last December, I wrote a little something for myself to look back on. Here is one little part of what I wrote:

“This needs to be the year of self-care, self-love, and self-security. It is time to stop depending on men to remind us of our worth. It is time to start remembering for ourselves what we bring to this Earth, because it is the reason we were put here. It is time to start having more confidence in ourselves and our abilities, because without that self-assurance and a better mindset, we will crumble. It is time to stop hiding how we feel from people and to start seeking help when and where we need it. It is time to stop worrying about what other people think of us, and time to stop comparing ourselves to others. It is really time to stop comparing ourselves to others. It is time to keep doing what we love, find new passions, and pursue our dreams. By me. For me. Full steam ahead.”

If only you knew, sister.

January

2020 Wrap Up
Kailey & I at a dance call last January

Oh, how young and naïve we were! It’s honestly crazy to me to think of how different my life is now than it was a year ago. I was still in school, at home for Christmas break, prepping, prepping, prepping for auditions. January was the busiest time of the year for auditions at school, and we always auditioned for the Shakespeare Festival the day before classes started back up for the second semester. I spent most of my time rehearsing my materials for that as well as The Sound of Music, which we would be auditioning for at the end of the month (I spent A LOT of time trying to learn how to play Do Re Mi on the guitar…). I was also cramming to learn lines for Tartuffe, which I would start rehearsals for as an understudy once we got back to school. Showcase prep was also in full swing, as we would start putting it all together once we got back. I spent lots of time putting together my reel and actor website, getting everything just right. Back at school, my class started putting together our own children’s show!

February

2020 Wrap Up
4 single galentines!

February 1st was actually the last time I went ~out~ out to a bar with friends (LOL). My friends and I were just having an absolute blast in our last semester. My class schedule was pretty light, I had a lot of theatre related work, but for the most part, the hard part of college was over. My class continued to work our butt’s off building our children’s show. It was also the first Valentine’s Day that all of my close girl friends and I were single all at the same time! We made tacos and chocolate covered strawberries, drank wine, and enjoyed each other’s company.

March

March was arguably the worst month of 2020, for obvious reasons. It didn’t start that way, though. At this point, I had found out that I would be playing Maria in The Sound of Music, which was obviously a dream way to end my college career. March was also when our senior showcase would be going to New York, so we were in the throes of finalizing every aspect of that. I went on spring break but had to come back from the break early to tech our children’s show which would open the following week.

Then the world stopped.

2020 Wrap Up
My senior class on our set for The Jungle Book

All of my senior class on campus had to quarantine, either in the campus housing or in off campus housing where many of us lived. That week brought so much disappointment and sadness. We were able to finish tech for our show and record a final run to be distributed, but all the hard work and dedication would never be experienced by a live audience. We all just sat together, prayed, talked, cried, and tried to enjoy the time we had. I sat in the lobby of the theatre building crying as we learned we would not be able to take our showcase to New York the following week. And a few days later, I sat in my bed and sobbed when I got the news that The Sound of Music had been cancelled too. It was a week of tremendous loss. On top of it all, we were faced with the uncertainty of the rest of our college careers. Classes moved online, and my mom came to start moving things out of my apartment little by little to head back home. It was just jarring. I was planning on living in my apartment until at least May, and now I was being ushered out, back home with my parents, two months early. The freedom and the college life that I had lived was suddenly stifled, and there was nothing I could do but roll with the punches. We continued classes online; fortunately, I only had two real classes that met weekly.

I attempted to learn how to ride a bike. That was short lived.

April

2020 Wrap Up
Momma & I with wine and snacks on what should have been opening night of The Sound of Music

I threw myself into other outlets as best I could, to keep my mind and body busy. I found out that I love dance cardio! I did a lot of bullet journaling, reading, and squirrel watching in our backyard. Of course, as time went on, the days that events and things were supposed to happen on came and went, which made dealing with the circumstances of the world a little harder. On what would’ve been opening night of The Sound of Music, I spent most of the day in tears, snacking and drinking wine with my mom. I was able to watch a workshop that my college held hosted by Laura Benanti, which was really special for everyone involved.

April was the month where I really started working on creating Beyond the Footlights. I had briefly thought about starting a blog before, but I could never realistically figure out how I would make it happen because my life was so busy with school and theatre. Well, having time was no longer an issue, since I would have as much time as I needed for the foreseeable future. I also had major doubts about my abilities and whether or not anyone would even care to follow along on that journey with me. But I went out on a limb, and started gathering ideas, figuring out logistics, and setting it all up. Aside from simply surviving this bitch of a year, I would consider starting the blog one of my biggest achievements of 2020.

May

At the beginning of the month, my family and I completely moved me out of my apartment. I had been back at home since March, but all of my furniture and some of my belongings were still at the apartment. It was a really bittersweet day; I loved that apartment, as much of a shit hole as it was. I was in a virtual reading of 12 Angry (Wo)Men (directed by Gabe Moses), which was so awesome.

2020 Wrap Up

On May 18th, I launched Beyond the Footlights and the rest is history! It was one of my happiest, proudest moments of the year. I didn’t just say I was going to do it, I did it, and it was really exciting.

2020 Wrap Up
How I graduated college…

I saw my best friend, Kailey, for the first time in person since we had left school in March to take our graduation photos at our college. It was also the first time I had set foot back on campus since we had left, which was very surreal. I handled it much better than I had anticipated, probably because I had her with my and our moms. May 16th, we graduated virtually, and I spent the day at home with my parents, my brother, and my grandparents. I won’t lie, I spent the day feeling really angry. I just kept saying it all wasn’t fair and it shouldn’t be like this. I FaceTimed Kailey throughout the entire ceremony; not being able to share this victory with my classmates and friends was incredibly hard.

June

2020 Wrap Up
Namaste, bitches

News of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement caused me to do some serious self-reflection, a journey and process that continues to this very moment in time. It was time I started listening, looking within, learning, and taking necessary steps to become a better ally. The work is NOWHERE near finished, and I strive to take each and every one of those steps into my daily life.

In June, I took another plunge and started my 200-hour yoga teacher training! I had been going back and forth for about a month after I found my studio online, and I’m really glad that I decided to begin my training. At the time, I wasn’t back to working yet and school was done, so I didn’t really have a lot of structure to my days. You’d think having free time to do whatever I wanted would be great, but I very much like having a schedule and deadlines. I loved that I was able to work on my training whenever I wanted, but I did my best to set a schedule for myself which helped me a). get the training done and b). feel like I had a purpose, something to work for again.

2020 Wrap Up
The cast of The Two Gentlemen of Verona (i love them)

July

I went back to working my retail job in July, which was definitely an adjustment, but it was also kind of nice to get out of the house again and have things to do. I got to take part in a virtual performance of The Two Gentlemen of Verona with the group of fellow actors and friends I would have worked with at the Shakespeare Festival. It was an absolute BLAST, and it was so nice to flex those actor muscles again.

August

2020 Wrap Up
The AMAZING 2020 Cohort for 24-Hour Plays: Nationals

August was a great month. August marked a year since I made the promise to myself to not get into a serious relationship, and that was a huge marker for me. I was fortunate enough to be part of the 2020 cohort for the 24-Hour Plays: Nationals! I spent a week participating in virtual workshops with my fellow cohort members, and at the end of the week we were all cast in one short play and had about 8 hours to rehearse and put it on its feet for a virtual audience! It was equal parts exhausting, nerve-wracking, and exhilarating. The shutdown set me into this spiral (that I honestly still struggle with sometimes) of thinking and feeling like I should have chosen another career path, but the whole 24-Hour experience kind of reaffirmed for me that I was meant to pursue theatre. I also landed a job working as a marketing assistant for a blogging business! I applied completely on a whim since I had no real experience aside from my own blogging efforts, but I figured what did I have to lose? Having another little stream of income and gaining experience has been really great!

2020 Wrap Up
My aunt’s dog, Zeke! We would take selfies every week I tutored 🙂

September

September was when work kind of started to really pick up. I was working my retail job, doing project work for the marketing position, and I started tutoring my cousin doing online school as well. I would stay with my aunt near where I went to school two days a week, which was really great because it was the perfect meeting place for my friends and I. Being able to see them for a dinner or a coffee here and there was especially awesome after many months of solitude (lol). After many months of study, I officially completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training!

October

2020 Wrap Up
Looking like a real person for the first time in forever

My birthday month! A big month. First and foremost, I went on a date for the first time (a ~real~ date, anyway) in over a year. Nothing ended up coming out of the experience, but it was definitely a step out of my comfort zone. I can now confirm that I still may not be ready for a serious relationship for a little while longer, but I’m grateful for the experience nonetheless! One of my best friends, Bella, also has a birthday in October, so a few of my friends and I got together to have a night in and celebrate our birthdays. Kailey, my mom and I also went to an outdoor winery (all wineries are outdoors, but obviously we spent the day outside because, you know, Covid) and we had a sleepover which was really fun and special!

November

2020 Wrap Up
Post-DFH workout- learning to love my body!

Nothing too exciting happened in November! I took up embroidery, a little late for a quarantine hobby, but I really enjoyed it! I worked a lot and continued to tutor. I also took part in a 14-day Get Up and Dance challenge that was hosted by Dance From Home, a fitness business that I found on Instagram! I’ve tried a lot of challenge type things like this before, but more often than not, I don’t follow through with them. I think the fact that this one was rather short AND dance/strength based was what really helped me through. I had the best time, and honestly really looked forward to taking the dance cardio classes and getting my body moving. I’ve kind of kept up with dancing during the pandemic, taking classes and teaching classes at my dance studio at home, but this really reignited my love for dance and moving my body.

2020 Wrap Up
My pie 🙂

I spent Thanksgiving at home with my immediate family, which was nothing out of the ordinary since that’s how we celebrate every year. I made a beautiful pie and felt very domestic. I also hosted my first giveaway on my Instagram featuring four female owned small businesses! I had a really great turnout with a lot more people than I had anticipated, so it was really exciting!

December

And here we are, December! I’m still working quite a lot, I’m done tutoring now, but I recently got hired to be a substitute teacher! I will admit, I’m having a hard time feeling the Christmas spirit right now. I love Christmas, but it all looks so different this year that it kind of makes me sad. In the last week or so, I’ve been feeling very anxious. Sometimes my feelings of anxiety come in waves. As the year is coming to a close, I’ve found myself measuring my worth by the work I am doing, or not doing, really. I’ve been so busy working the several jobs I have, none of which are what I went to school for or am exceptionally passionate about, but unfortunately my chosen industry isn’t where it once was. I’m still coping with the fact that I’m not finishing the year where I thought I would. I often get very anxious with the fear of getting “stuck” where I’m at right now, mentally and circumstantially, and get stuck comparing myself to others. No matter how “together” I or my life may seem, it is all VERY much a work in progress day to day. I guess I can’t really compare where I’ve ended up in 2020 to where I thought I would end up or the goals I HAD set for myself a year ago, because life really came in and just completely rocked my boat.

You might have rad this post and thought “well, Ang really didn’t do anything exciting enough to write a whole post about,” and you’d be right (lol). Nothing I shared here was extraordinary and a lot of it was pretty simple and perhaps unexciting. But the point is, I made it through the year. I made it through this dumpster fire of a year, and I’m proud to just share that with you.

This morning I was watching a talk show and a woman whose name I didn’t catch said something along the lines of that we have to stop claiming this year to be the worst one yet. Everyone’s story is different, and someone may have already had worse years than this one. Is this one of the worst years in history for our country? Absolutely. But I guess it was a wakeup call to me to be reminded that for some, this year was much worse than for others. It sounds harsh to say, but has this been the worst year of my life so far? Definitely. But in the grand scheme of things, will it be the worst year of my life as a whole? Absolutely not. It made me take a second to revel in appreciation for the life that I do have, and for how fortunate I am to be coming out of 2020 as unscathed as I am.

I have many, many things that I am manifesting and putting out into the universe for 2021, and I am going to hold those things close to my heart and tackle them with quiet grace. Quite the oxymoron there, tackling with grace, but I’m discovering that that’s the best way to ensure my own happiness and sanity. Looking back at what I wrote myself at the end of last year, I think I’ve accomplished some big things that do matter. I’ve learned how to better practice self-love and self-care. I’ve learned not to look to others to establish my worth and have become so much more secure in my sense of self; the independence I’ve gained is incredible. I didn’t hold back how I was feeling, and I asked for help when I needed it. And I most definitely embraced my passions, practiced what I loved, and I am still out here continuing to chase my dreams.

May you look back on 2020 and look for the good, no matter how big or how small. And may you keep chasing your dreams all the way into 2021. Thank you for being here. I love you. Let’s do this.

XOXOXO

~ Ang

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

Hi friends!

Back again with the FINAL Passion Piece Feature of the year! Before we dive in, I have to thank you all for embracing and reading these features every month! Some of these Passion Piece Features have been some of the most viewed posts from the blog since I got started in May and it makes my heart burst with joy knowing you enjoy reading about these amazing individuals as much as I love getting to share them with you!

I’m SO happy to finish out the year featuring a wonderful friend of mine and incredible artist, Mackenzie Moyer! Here’s a bit about Mackenzie in her own words:

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us
Mackenize as Elmire in Tartuffe

“My name is Mackenzie Moyer, and I am a recent grad of DeSales University (class of 2020 woohoo!), where I earned my B.A. in Theatre. When I am not acting, you can find me running my business (Some Wandearrings, LLC), playing Dungeons & Dragons, or writing. When I am acting, I am usually kicking butt in period dramas, dabbling in witchcraft, or annoying my stage husband in high comedy. My special skills include breathing in a corset, a reliable nose whistle, and being able to perform the famed dance move: The Worm.”

Yes, all of that is just as incredible as it sounds. This girl *full stop.* DOES. IT. ALL. She does it all, and she does it all WELL! She’s an incredibly talented actress, writer, model, and a freaking small business owner!!! I’ve known Mackenzie for 4+ years now, and I have always admired her for the hard work, dedication, and passion she pours into literally everything that she does. I have worked alongside her, watched her work from afar (is that creepy? let’s go with no), and the drive she possesses truly is just unreal. This girl gets shit done. On top of all that, the zest and excitement Mackenzie has for life, especially the little things in life, is so admirable and inspiring. She fights for what she believes in, she fights for others who may not be able to fight for themselves, and always leads with her good-natured heart. She has been there with me and for me in some of the best and worst moments of our college careers and for that, I am so grateful.

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

When the pandemic hit, Mackenzie took her creativity into another amazing venture: owning her own business, Some Wandearrings. She makes STUNNING hand-made and hand-painted earrings inspired by classical art and natural beauty (two things this woman literally embodies) and is committed to raising and donating money to various organizations helping the fight for racial justice. I’ve watched her and this business grow exponentially over the last few months, and the impact she has made and continues to make is astounding. This time has been extremely difficult for artists, but it has been so beautiful to watch my colleagues and friends, especially ones like Mackenzie, coming into their own and finding additional spaces in which their passions lie.

Here is our chat!

Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?

I’m Mackenzie! I’m from the Philly suburbs, and I’m currently living with my parents in PA to ride out this pandemic!

What are you currently doing for work, if anything?

HA. Well, I have been doing a lot of little things off and on, as the restrictions ebb and flow. I have a part-time retail job, I run a jewelry business (the biggie), and I have another part-time job at a local paint-and-sip place! My jewelry business (Some Wandearrings, LLC) was started in June as a way to raise money for the BLM movement, and has since become a small business, and an on-going way to monetarily donate to BIPOC organizations, while also keeping me busy and employed. I have always loved making things with my hands (I’m an avid crafter), and getting to share my jewelry with people and feel their support has been a great blessing. Plus, owning a small business has opened my eyes to a whole new section of the economy, cultivated a new skill set, and given me a whole new community! It has been equal parts exhausting and rewarding, and I am very thankful.

Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us
Mackenzie as Maid Marian in The Adventures of Robin Hood & Maid Marian

I grew up in an athletic household (read: my parents ran marathons for fun. Marathons. As in plural.), but from a very young age I was drawn to singing, writing, and performance. I both sang in church choir AND was on a travel soccer team for a lot of my childhood (#versatile), but late middle school into high school I transitioned into solely the arts. I was lucky enough to have always known what I wanted to do! I got my degree in theatre from DeSales University, and “graduated” this past May (we all know the reason for the quotes). While my degree is in Musical Theatre, I feel much more called to TV/Film work and straight plays, especially classical and period plays (or fresh adaptations of classical tropes)! As is the story with many performers, my career is kinda on hold right now, save for some online theatre (which has been quite rewarding, even though challenging and strange).

If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!

My first and foremost passion is performance and acting. It’s just something I can’t imagine not doing.
Writing – when I was a little girl, I also wanted to be a writer, and would write lots of poems and stories in my free time. I don’t do it as often now, but it’s still a hobby I very much enjoy.
Painting & crafting – I took up painting in high school as a hobby and picked it back up in the pandemic when I started my business! I’m also a sucker for a good collage.
Dungeons & Dragons – I started playing in college, and now I just want to play 24/7. It’s collaborative fantasy storytelling – it’s so fun and is so tied into what I do as a performer anyways. It’s just the best.
Period dramas. I said what I said. Catch me talking about Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Little Women, and the like any day of the week.

Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us

My jewelry business is alllll about the hand painted earrings! It’s been really fun to delve back into painting (especially such small and detailed work!) and get to share it with so many people in such a personal way. In terms of acting and performing, I have been lucky to get the chance to participate in several readings and online productions – I am currently playing Jo March in a four-person adaptation of Little Women (by the brilliant Heather Chrisler). So, I am still flexing those actor muscles as much as I can while lying in wait!

What has been inspiring you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world/our industry?

I have loved seeing my friends and fellow creatives create their own Youtube channels, podcasts, start their own businesses, mount their own virtual shows. It’s been a blessing to see people put themselves out there in a time where I think so many of us feel limited and stifled. It’s an act of bravery, and it brings so much joy.

What are some things you like to do in your down time to foster your passions, so they stay just as alive as your work?

Honestly? I’ve been watching a lot of TV (it keeps me company while I paint and craft) which is something I never used to have time for or want to do. It has kept me excited about the industry and helped me figure out the type of work I want to pursue post-pandemic (of note: Hulu’s The Great, Netflix’s Anne with an E, and, of course, Fleabag). In terms of non-performance related shtuff, I play D&D with pals, peruse Pinterest (for inspiration for future projects), and journal or write.

What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?

1. Be a truly decent person – which seems like an obvious goal, but I believe it takes genuine effort and intellectual/emotional investment to be good. It’s easy to be kind, it’s harder to be good. I wasn’t originally going to put this as one of my goals for this question, but I think it’s important to speak on the belief in human beings to grow and evolve and learn and acknowledge that it takes work.
2. Work steadily as a performer on material I care about, with people I care about. I have specific goals and ideals about what kind of work (i.e.: period film/tv pieces, Shakespeare, new adaptations of classical styles, etc.), and I have big, outlandish goals (star in a Broadway play, be in an Oscar-winning film), but if I can pay the bills and have a laugh off stage or on set with friends, then I think I trust that.
3. Write something really good and put it out into the world. I’m not sure yet what it will be – a book of poetry, a one-woman show, a novel. But one of my childhood dreams was to be an author, and I think I have it in me yet. 

What does your self-care routine look like?

Passion Piece Feature
Feature #6
Mackenzie Moyer: A Goddess Among Us
Mackenzie as Sir Eglamour in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Well, it used to look very different, and I am sure it will look very different again when the pandemic is over. Recently (it’s about to get real here), I’ve been struggling with lack of motivation, seasonal depression, and all that fun stuff that winter and darkness and isolation can bring us. So, anyone out there feeling this way – you aren’t alone! BUT despite those feelings, almost every day I go for a long walk around my neighborhood and listen to a D&D podcast. It’s my time to get out of the house, get some exercise, and get my mind off of whatever is troubling me. I also bake a lot, and I have been watching TV like crazy like I mentioned above. I also journal pretty frequently, which is not only helpful, but will be such a gift to be able look back on such a monumental time in my life and the world.

What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?

Right now, it’s a pandemic. So my advice now is different from what my pre-pandemic (or post-pandemic) advice would be. Right now? Do what you gotta do to get through it. For real.

That being said, even if you can’t actively pursue your passions right now, for whatever reason, what seeds can you sow that you can reap the benefits from post-pandemic? What skills can you learn, plans can you make, habits can you form, vision boards can you meditate on? (Listen, I love me a Pinterest board.)
I am usually ALL ABOUT the grind. I love being busy, I’m ambitious, I’m motivated. But in this season, at this moment, I’m moving slowly. I’m listening to my body, to my gut. I’m learning to swim in these feelings of uncertainty and fear and frustration instead of letting them drown me. I’m pushing myself when appropriate. But unprecedented times call for new tactics, new ways of living. Find your new tactics, invest in them, and then allow yourself to get excited for what’s to come when we emerge on the other side.

As I am writing this post and re-reading Mackenzie’s responses, I can assure you that I am in awe right along with you. What a beautiful way to end this post, and an even more beautiful and inspiring way to end this chapter of Passion Piece Features. I feel so lucky to get to read these responses, connect with new friends, and reconnect with old ones. Mackenzie is absolutely right, we are all learning, growing, and adapting to this brand-new way of life and we continue to do so within every new season the universe hands us. May you all do what you can to get through and know you’ve got people here to hold you up if/when you need it.

A huge thank you to Mackenzie for her time and energy! Check her and her business out on Instagram @mackenzie_moyer, @somewandearrings, and check out her actor website at http://www.mackenzie-moyer.com!

Stay tuned for the LAST BLOG POSTS OF 2020 coming your way soon!

Love you all!

~Ang

How To Create Your 2021 Vision Board

How To Create Your 2021 Vision Board

How To Create Your 2021 Vision Board

Happy Monday, Beauties!

We are officially halfway through December, which means only a few more weeks left of this crazy 2020! If you’re anything like me, while this year has taught me a lot and I am ultimately very grateful…I am also VERY ready to kiss the year goodbye! As my planner brain and I have started to look ahead a few weeks into the oncoming New Year, I have been brainstorming ways to set myself up for success in 2021. I will say, 2020 has given me the time and power to create better habits for myself such as manifesting, goal-setting, and creative planning, so I want to make sure that I carry those newly developed habits into 2021 and continue to cultivate them. Keeping this in mind, and also thinking of how I could tie this desire of my own into the blog and help my readers, I thought what better way to set ourselves up to achieve ALL of our damn goals and make those big dreams happen than creating VISION BOARDS!

I’ve created vision boards for myself in the past and while I totally get that visual art or art in general may not be everyone’s ~thing~, keep in mind that there are so many different ways to create a board that works for you! Personally, my past vision boards (one still hangs in my room today because I love it so much) have been comprised of a combination of photos and quotes I found online via Pinterest or Google and small, handwritten sentiments of my own. For example, after my first year of college (when I was manifesting being cast in shows at school and in summer work), I included little cut outs of my name from callback sheets and playbills from my first year as a reminder of what I was working towards! Any little thing like that, little things that will remind you of your goals and what you are working for are the perfect additions to what you compile!

Feeling stuck and not sure how to even begin compiling ideas for your vision board? Fear not! In my typical planner fashion, I’ve created a little step-by-step guide to help you gather your ideas and get started creating your board so you can create an amazing reminder of all you are, all you want to be, and all you deserve in 2021!

Part of my favorite vision board I’ve made that still hangs in my room!

Vision Board Planning

  • Sit down with your phone or a journal and write about what you want to let go of in the New Year
    • Writing down what you want to let go of will help you illuminate what you maybe DON’T want or need to include in your board and help you start to figure out what you want to welcome into your life in an attempt to avoid what is no longer serving you!
  • Now, write what you want to attract and welcome into your life in the New Year
    • Think about the type of energy you want to go into the year with and carry with you all 12 months! If it’s an energy you haven’t experienced personally yet, think about some events/people/things that have seemed to radiate that energy in your eyes. If it’s an energy that you HAVE experienced and want to sustain, sit with the thoughts and feelings that the event/experience brought you. Try to hold onto that.
  • Think about what you want to manifest, or put out into the universe that you’d like to have brought into your life, as well as your goals
    • What do you want? Nothing is too small! How can you realistically take steps forward to help you achieve what you want to achieve? What will you work in tandem with the universe to make happen in 2021?
  • Think about who or what inspires you (i.e. music, lyrics, poems, individuals, photographs, etc.)
    • This step is pretty self-explanatory. What inspires you? Who inspires you? Are there places you want to go, things you want to experience? This is also where you can start to figure out what artistic mediums you vibe with that you want to incorporate on your board.
  • Take to Pinterest! Create a Pinterest board for your vision board to help develop your board’s aesthetic
    • Make a board for your board! Having one place to compile all your ideas into will make the formation of your board much easier. Pin away! You obviously don’t have to include everything you add to your Pinterest board on the vision board you create but having lots of ideas is great! Pinterest will also show you similar pins to the ones you pin, so it makes finding what you might like a little easier! If you want to check out my Pinterest board for my vision boards, click here!
  • Gather inspo from other sources i.e., books, magazines, physical articles/supplies, etc.
    • Get together those other little nuggets of inspiration from any other resource that inspires you or holds deep meaning for you!
  • Get creative!
    • Now that you’ve got your pieces all togethers, you can start printing cutting out everything you’ve collected. And assembly is all up to you! You can assemble on a canvas, cork board, poster board, right on the wall, etc. I like to assemble it mine on the canvas or floor, take a picture of it, then start the REAL assembly of it on my chosen canvas!
  • Tip: Gather more resources than you think you will need, always better to have extra
  • Tip: Make sure you have the proper tools for assembly- if you’re going directly onto the wall, be sure whatever you’re hanging with won’t ruin or damage your walls

Now, all you have to do is bask in the beauty of your creation and hold onto your hopes, dreams, and inspiration no matter what the New Year brings your way. I know that’s SO much easier said than done, but once you’ve got your beautiful vision board reminder hanging where you can plainly see it, acknowledge it, and remember the intentions you set when you made it, you will hold all the power! Each month of the year will lead you to set new goals, will bring you joy, and may bring struggle to face- but it’s all part of life, baby! It’s how we carry ourselves through it that means the most. Gather your strength, gather your people, and hold on tight because 2021 is YOURS!

*insert pounding fist emoji*

I love you lots!

~Ang