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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
“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!
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
Let’s start the month off with some beauty, shall we?! I’ll be completely honest: my beauty routine really is not very impressive or extensive. I have found that I have a good handful of staples in my routine that get the job done for me, as quick and easily as possible! Because I spent so many years of my life loading up on the makeup because of my involvement in theatre and dance, I found that I wanted my day-to-day routine to be simple! If you’re interested in checking out my FULL skincare routine, click here to check out my blog post, “Skin Care is Self Care.”
I also wanted to start the month off with this post because I figure the holidays are coming up, and if you’re interesting in trying out any of the products I share here, it might be a good time to ask Santa to add it to your list *wink wink.* I am not currently affiliated with any of the brands or products I’ve included here, I’m just sharing products that I genuinely use that I LOVE! Let’s dive in!
Tula Glow & Get It Cooling and Brightening Eye Balm
I literally just wrote about this product in my last post, I just can’t get enough of it. AND I’ve written about it before! Tula has a whole line of eye balms, so there are several to choose from based on your own needs! I have been using the original (blue) balm for about a year now and I recently got the Rose Glow & Get It balm (pink). The rose one has a warmer tone, so it blends in with my skin a little better! They do the same job, it’s really just a matter of preference. Either way, I highly recommend!
My #1 staple in my makeup routine is always mascara! Typically, my go to makeup only consists of concealer, maybe some eyeshadow, and mascara! This is mostly because I value my sleep too much to wake up any earlier to do my makeup (lol). I’ve tried SO many different mascaras in the past and recently I discovered that this one works best for me! I love that it’s waterproof and it really does plump up my lashes! I curl my lashes, slap this stuff on, and I’m set! You can find this at any drug store, too! Very affordable.
Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow
I’m obsessed with liquid eyeshadows. I’m a quick and easy makeup kind of gal, and they just go on so effortlessly! They also act as a perfect eyeshadow base when you’re creating a more intricate eyeshadow look! I use this one in the color “Kitten,” and I got it from my T.J. Maxx!
Burt’s Bees Chapstick
Obviously, you can grab these at any drug store or grocery store for that matter! My go-to flavors are vanilla bean and vanilla maple (that one is seasonal)!
Co. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm 8-Hour Overnight Recovery
This is my favorite nighttime lip balm! It’s from Bath & Body Works! It comes in a little blue tube and tastes amazing!
IT Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi Lip Balm
Even before masks became a thing and lipstick was a thing of the past, I was never much of a lipstick wearer. With that being said, you know, you DO need a little color on your lips sometimes, so you don’t look like a corpse! This lip balm is one of those that goes on clear and then blends with the shade of your lips! It also comes in different shades!
Pacifica Coconut & Charcoal Underarm Detox Scrub
Brief tangent: I have eczema under my armpits, have for years. Initially, I sought out this product because I had read that it would help with eczema. I still have the eczema, so there’s that, BUT I still really love this product! It’s a really nice gentle scrub, and I love it because it scrubs away all your leftover deodorant! Sometimes just washing your underarms just isn’t enough to get rid of it all, but this makes me feel super fresh and clean!
Lush Scrubee Body Butter
I looooove this little bee! Honestly, I don’t use this product in every shower or all year round; I save it for the colder months when my skin REALLY needs some good nourishment. It leaves my skin feeling SO soft and smooth, and it has little scrubee beads in it to get rid of the dead skin while it nourishes! Plus, it smells amazing!
TIGI Bed Head Masterpiece Shine Hairspray
This has been my go-to hairspray for YEARS. It’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t make my hair feel gross, but it makes my curls hold super well (and I have pin-straight hair that doesn’t like to stay curled). ALSO, it smells exactly like pineapple. And I love pineapple.
CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protecting Spray
Having a great heat protectant is essential if you put any heat on your hair AT ALL. I don’t usually blow dry my hair and I don’t usually straighten my hair either. Because I don’t put a ton of heat on my hair besides when I curl it, I try to be very careful when I do use heat, so I always make sure to protect my hair! This spray had amazing reviews, which is why I got it when I was curling my hair a lot for shows, and it has definitely lived up to the hype!
Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 Finishing Spray
So, like I said, I have pin-straight hair. And while I’ve started to notice some changes in my hair recently, my hair generally doesn’t have a lot of volume either. I got this 3-in-1 spray in a gift set last Christmas, and it has been one of my favorite products to use when I curl my hair. It “Textuizes. Amplifies. and Refreshes.” It helps add some really awesome volume to my hair and absorbs excess oils! This also smells AMAZING.
Drybar The Wrap Party Curling and Styling Wand
The main event of gift set I just mentioned was this curling wand! I had been using the same curling wand since high school before I got this one, and it really upped my hair game. The wand is tapered so that it’s thicker on the top and slimmer on the bottom (usually wands are the opposite way). It creates a much looser, beachier wave rather than those ringlet wand curls I know you were also rocking in high school!
If YOU use any of these products and love them, let me know by commenting on this post! And if there are any products here you want to try out, now is the perfect time to add them to your holiday gift list (I can’t believe we are already talking about the holidays)!
Also, you better have voted. If not, you better be voting tomorrow! Santa WILL NOT add these products to your stocking if he finds out you didn’t vote.
Have a happy Monday, and beautiful start to your November!
TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!!! 23! On my birthday last year if you would’ve told me that the year would play out in the way that it did…well, I probably would’ve cried while out at dinner for all my friends to see. While my 22nd year turned out much differently than I had planned, I learned a lot about myself and what I want in many different aspects of my life. For that, I am very grateful.
Starting a blog was something I had wanted to do for a very long time, and I never thought 22 would be the year I would do it! I’m so grateful for all of you that have been reading and following along as I figure out this adventure that has come to be one of my greatest loves! Since it’s my birthday, and since, despite the fact that I’ve been sharing lots of things with you all for the last five months, I wanted to take this opportunity share a little bit about myself! I’m spilling the tea, so please don’t use any of these things against me! Here are 10 fun facts you may not have known about me!
1. I Am Obsessed with Deer and Squirrels
This one requires some back story. So, do y’all remember when the deer filter was hot back on Snapchat? The original one, like four years ago? Well, I used to use that filter and make funny (well, I thought they were funny) videos talking as though I were “Bambi in the Forest,” aka Bambi from the Disney movie. Now, my friends and I frequently quote these videos, as they were completely relatable (duh). And I’ve loved deer ever since. Squirrels, I honestly can’t tell you where that came from. We see a lot of squirrels in my backyard at home and I just think they’re so cute! I always stop for the little guys when they go running through the streets. Save a squirrel life, people!
2. I Want to Write a Book One Day
I have no idea what I would like to write about, but I would like to write a book someday! I think I’d like to write something nonfiction or something personal, because I don’t think fiction is my thing. But hey, you never know! All I know at this point in time is that I love to write. I love the act of writing, I love thinking things up, and I love producing something of my own. That was a major reason why I wanted to start a blog! I wanted to be able to write about subjects I felt passionately about, simply because I loved it so much! I’d love to maybe write something for young girls one day. Hmmm…
3. If I Wasn’t A Theatre Maker, I’d Probably Be a Teacher
I always knew deep down that I would go to college for theatre, but to appease the more “traditional” thinkers around me, I thought about becoming a teacher. My mom is a teacher and I love kids, so it was something I thought I might really enjoy. For a while I thought I wanted to be a Spanish teacher, because I did well in Spanish in high school and had great teachers, but in the end I didn’t feel like my Spanish skills were strong enough to, you know, teach the language. Of course, I would like to try my hand at a career in the arts, but if that were to not work out, I think I’d go back to school for early childhood education!
4. I’ve Met The Jonas Brothers
Yes, ladies and gents, that is correct. Little 10-year-old me met the Jonas Brothers on their Burning Up Tour back in 2008! My godmother’s husband actually won the tickets and backstage passes on a radio contest! Funny enough, I had actually heard the call on the radio at the time that he won, and sure enough it was him! I’m a Nick girl, and when it was our time to meet them and get the picture I went straight for Nick, hugged him around the middle, and then I spontaneously combusted. I will put an embarrassing photo here for us all to enjoy together, but it was probably the best day of my 10-year-old life.
5. Chips Are My Weakness
Man, I love chips. I have a sticker on my water bottle that says I heart chips. How much more official can it get. I mean really, it is probably a problem how much I love chips. I could just sit and devour an entire bag myself. Pringles? Forget about it. I will eat that whole can myself. Will I feel shame? Only a little. Will I be happy? Hell yes. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite for you because I go through phases, but Doritos are a solid go-to any time.
6. I’m Afraid of Puppets, the Dark, and Heights
I’m really spilling all my secrets to all of you here. Yes. Puppets, heights, and the dark. I’ve talked through the puppet thing so much with so many friends and I just can’t nail down the reason I’m afraid of them. Some puppets are ok…like I won’t get TOO freaked out. Marionettes though? No. No no no no no. In the dark, I always just feel like there is someone or something lurking behind me, so I knock on every single light in my path. And heights just make my stomach drop into my butt. I’m so afraid of falling, it freaks me out! Congrats, now you know my fears.
7. I LOVE Billy Joel, and You Can’t Tell Me Otherwise
Shout out to all of my friends who have ever driven around with me in my car, because all I listen to is Billy Joel CDs (mostly because I don’t have an aux port in my old little car). Freshman year of college, I was studying in my dorm and I just needed some background music. I put on a Billy Joel playlist from YouTube and the rest is history! Billy Joel’s music always played in my life growing up, but once I got to college I developed a deeper understanding for his genius. Billy Joel songs really were the soundtrack of my college career. Every joyful moment, every heartbreak, every love was colored with some Billy Joel. For that reason, his music holds a special place in my heart. “She’s Always A Woman” is my #1 favorite Billy Joel song, I just relate to it so much!
8. I Can’t Ride a Bike…
Again, really just laying it all out here for all of you. I cannot ride a bike. When I was little, I tried to learn and I ran into the side of my dad’s truck, fell, and I decided I didn’t need to know how to ride a bike. And it’s true, I really don’t need to know how. I’ve made it 23 years and I’m doing just fine! Almost every boyfriend I’ve ever had has said “I’ll teach you!,” yet here I sit. Unable to ride a bike. For a stint in quarantine I did acquire a bike and did attempt to learn…but it didn’t work out. I’M AFRAID TO FALL, OK? I’ve accepted this is a skill I just don’t need to have in my toolbelt.
9. My Top 3 Enneagrams are 3, 1, and 6
At some point in college, I had taken the enneagram quiz and my top two were 6 and 4. Recently, as part of an interview, I had to take the quiz again and my top 3 were 3, 1, and 6! So, I’m The Achiever, The Perfectionist, and The Skeptic. 3’s want to be successful (true), 1’s place emphasis on doing things correctly (also true), and 6’s seek security, safety, and like to be prepared (very true).
10. I’m an Extroverted Introvert
Growing up, I was definitely more of just an extrovert, but now that I’m an adult I think of myself as an extroverted introvert. I recently looked up what the internet said were traits of extroverted introverts to see if I was crazy or if this was a thing, and I identify with A LOT of the traits. My energy level is closely tied to the environment I’m in, I find people intriguing and exhausting, I’m selectively social, some people/interactions charge me and others drain me, I can be charming (if I do say so myself) but deeply introspective, and it takes me less energy to say what’s on my mind than make small talk. I read this list and couldn’t believe how spot on it was. So, all my extroverted introverts out there, I’m sending you some love!
There you have it, 10 things you maybe didn’t know about me! Now when you see me in person, you’ll have plenty to tease me about! Anyway, I am so grateful for all that the last year has brought me and I can’t wait to see all of the wonderful milestones 23 holds! Thank you all for your constant love and support! This Scorpio sends you love!
SO, after much longer than I had anticipated, I am back sharing part 2 of my personal yoga journey with you! Upon writing this, I am so excited to share that I AM OFFICIALLY A CERTIFIED YOGA TEACHER! As of September 28th, I received my certificate, making it all ~official official~!
Obviously, I wrote part 1 of this little passion post series waaaaaay back in June, so this has been stretched out for just a bit longer than I had expected. That is part of the reason why I loved the program I was in so much, because it was all move at your own pace. The program is structured to be completed in an 8-week time frame. When I first started, I remember thinking “8 weeks is SUCH a long time, I will be finished in no time,” and…I was slightly mistaken! All in all, it took me about 3+ months to submit all my materials and receive my certificate.
In my part 1 post about my yoga journey, I highlighted how I got started doing yoga and what led me to want to start my teacher training, and I talked a little bit about what I was learning in the program. At the time, I was less than a month into my studies, so it was kind of easy to briefly mention all I was learning. I started out learning about the ancient philosophies of yoga and the Yoga Sutras, and went on to learn about anatomy and physiology, proper sequencing and class structure, and the business of yoga.
As part of my course requirements, I had to watch 48 hours’ worth of additional lecture topics from weekend zoom lectures. This was honestly one of my favorite parts of the training, despite the time commitment. I liked to view these lectures as “yoga elective” because there were a variety of different topics to choose from. There are many sister sciences to yoga and different courses of study within the study of yoga, so there truly is a branch for every person to enjoy and dive into. Before starting my training, I knew nothing about Ayurveda, or “The Science of Life,” and now, I am amazed at how ayurvedic principles really do impact my life! Some other topics that I really enjoyed learning about were prenatal yoga, the chakras, and yin yoga!
Like I mentioned, I also learned the proper way to sequence a yoga class. Now, before I started my training, I will admit, I did not think it was going to be as much of a mental and spiritual journey as it was; I thought the journey would largely be a physical one. The journey absolutely encompassed all of those things, and while the physical aspect of yoga teacher training is demanding there was so much more to it. Although it isn’t everything, proper sequencing one major part of yoga teacher training!
When you start sequencing a yoga class, having a theme to build the class around is really helpful. This usually helps in deciding what kind of poses to incorporate, if you want to do a flow class or a gentler class, and the intensity of the class. I knew the bare bones of a yoga class just from being a student for many years, but I had never thought about how to properly sequence poses to protect the muscles, joints, and bones in the body! It was all extremely fascinating to me. I had to create lots of different groups of poses for potential sequences, and honestly, I loved doing it. To me, it was like piecing together a puzzle and I loved the challenge. I also had to type out entire classes, both the sequence of poses and everything that I would say as though I were actually leading a class. It was incredible to see just how many pages one class could take up, since you’re leading and giving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual cues all in any given class!
I had to teach a few mini classes and one full-length class as part of my training practicum, and I was sooo nervous to teach. I remember thinking when I would take yoga classes “I don’t know how the instructors do the poses themselves, talks through even the toughest of poses, gives positive reinforcement, and looks completely amazing and fit while doing it.” I am by no means the perfect teacher, nor will I ever be, but after I taught my first class, I felt a rush of accomplishment a pride wash over me. I had done something I had questioned whether I could do or not and it had gone smoothly! I still get some butterflies before I teach, only because I get worried I’ll forget something, but for the most part teaching brings me such joy. My experience as a yoga student certainly helped inform me in my training, and now my experience as a teacher will continue to inform me as a student. Even though I am now a teacher, I will always be a student- learning from my students, learning from other teachers, and continuing to broaden my knowledge of the practice.
Right now, I am offering yoga classes via zoom here and there- wherever I can find the time in my schedule! I love having the opportunity to connect through our breath, even if it is on zoom! If you’re interested in taking class with me, feel free to reach out to me via social media/email so I can get your email added to my email list!
I cannot thank my close friends and family enough for encouraging me to take this leap, for their constant support while I completed the program, and for coming to my early classes (for real, you’re so appreciated). Had it not been for Miss. Rona, I never would have been able to slow down and take time to start a training program, let along see myself through to completion. Sometimes good really does come out of the darkest places. I can’t wait to keep practicing, teaching, and sharing my love for yoga with the world however I can!
Learning To Grow With Your Community Through Good Times and Bad
September is in full swing, which means the first semester of college is in full swing! While college students may be experiencing great change, many are doing anything they can to a) keep themselves safe and healthy and b) maintain whatever sense of normalcy they can. As fall rolls around in theatre departments, (the department that I am clearly the most familiar with), the season usually means Showcase audition season for senior theatre students.
For those reading who may not know what “showcase” is/means, generally, it is a group of students from an acting program that are chosen to perform at their school’s showcase for agents/casting directors in the spring of senior year. At my school, like many others I am sure, actor’s showcase was considered a big deal, and a lot of hard work and preparation went into both the auditions and the performance itself.
I want to speak a little on my experience with showcase, and hopefully offer up some encouragement and advice to those preparing to embark on their showcase journey…
I got into my senior showcase and, unfortunately, we didn’t get to take it to New York this past March as we had planned. Literally, about a week and a half before we were scheduled to head to the city, the world became a brand-new place and the showcase was postponed. If you experienced any sort of loss of work due to the pandemic, you could imagine how completely devastated we all were- myself, my classmates, and my professors. In school, the members of the showcase class met several times a week to rehearse and continue to learn about the industry. We continued to meet as a class over zoom once we were sent home but reaching the day our performance was supposed to take place and meeting on a zoom instead was extremely hard.
But let’s back track a bit and talk about the prep for this opportunity. At my school, the process begins at the end of junior year. The basic info is given out, and the summer before senior year, you begin the hunt for audition material. Mid-September you audition, that week you find out if you will be part of the showcase class, and if you are chosen from the auditions, you kind of immediately start searching for your materials that you’ll perform. There is a lot more to choosing material than you would think. We did scenes/songs, so pairs needed to be solidified and the order finely tuned. Even after we thought we had settled on material, it changed, and the process started all over. God bless my professor and her team because I am sure there was SO much more to it than I even know at this point, having been through it all. You rehearse. And rehearse. And rehearse. And then you’re supposed to take that work, do your thing, and celebrate when it’s all said and done. We got it all, but that last bit looked a little different for the class of 2020.
So, I swear I have a point here, and it is this: I’m sharing this experience and perspective because we went through it all only for it not to happen. If you would have told me a year ago (yikes, a year ago already) when I was preparing for auditions, “hey, maybe don’t stress so much because…what if the world enters a pandemic and showcase gets cancelled?,” I would’ve laughed right in your face and proceeded to stress anyway. I started going back over every aspect of the class and the preparation that I had worried myself sick over, and I just kept thinking, “wow, I was so upset in that moment and so worried in that moment, and so frustrated in that moment…and for what?” Now, I understand that when I was upset/frustrated/worrying in the moment, there was no way for me to see into the future. I felt as though every feeling I was feeling was valid and justified, and in those moment, they were, but it was a major lesson for me.
Not to get all Carrie Bradshaw on you here, but the whole experience got me thinking about the weight I place on moments in my life, the importance that I assign to things, and how I often allow little stressors to overtake my life in a much larger and unhealthy way. I spent many months in preparation for showcase allowing myself to feel anxiety, frustration, and pressure and allowing those feelings to really run me dry. There were lots of time I just couldn’t focus or sleep because I just couldn’t turn my mind off. It was like a hamster wheel of deadlines, scripts, notes, judgments- you name it. On the other side of it all, it made me take a deeper look at myself and the bad mental habits I had created and ask myself, “would I be this worried if I knew I wouldn’t have this to worry about in a month?,” and if the answer is no, then I shouldn’t assign so much weight to that task. If I had that mentality throughout the whole process, I can guarantee the work I was producing would’ve been even better, too.
Let me be perfectly clear: feelings of stress/anxiety/frustration are all normal, but allowing them to run your mental health is, well, not healthy. My feelings like that and the weight I assigned to them also did NOT solely stem from my showcase, but from a combination of life as a college student in her senior year, plus all other aspects of life.
My showcase class and I always had a blast when we were together. When we were staging the showcase, we were all seated onstage to watch each other’s scenes and songs. The supportive, loving, and electric energy that I felt in that room every time we would sit and watch each other was simply remarkable and untouchable. I constantly had the chills or tears in my eyes while marveling at some of my best friends and colleagues bringing their gifts to life. We were each other’s support systems in the crazy process, and I feel very lucky to have shared every last minute of the journey with them. Showcase or no showcase, we will always have each other.
For my friends preparing to embark on this journey yourselves, no matter how different the experience may be, here is my advice to you:
Choose material that you love that speaks to your heart. Fight for it and for yourself.
If you don’t end up being part of your showcase class, do not let it stop you for a single second. Promise me that. Your art and your voice matter, showcase or no showcase. It does not define your worth or your career path WHATSOEVER.
Be kind to one another. Be kind to your leaders. Everyone is adjusting to a whole new way of doing this, so be gentle with each other.
Do the work. That’s all on that. Try not to allow yourself to get too overwhelmed. I promise, every aspect will fall into place. It may take 50 tries and you may not end up where you started but take comfort in knowing it WILL work out for the best.
Hold on to your classmates. All of them. That is your support system, now and forever. Celebrate each other’s victories and comfort each other in moments of struggle. Enjoy being in a creative space with your best people and be grateful for one another.
This week, I wanted to talk about self-love and the journey toward self-love. I’ve used this quote before in a post, but I think it is just so perfect. I love Sex and the City, and one of Carrie’s famous quotes is “Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” I have always loved this quote and have always heard people say that you can’t truly love another person or give them everything until you learn to love yourself and give yourself everything first. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always lived by this mantra myself.
Around this time last year, I had just gotten out of a relationship, and I knew it was time for me to take some time to really learn how to be on my own. I didn’t truly know who I was independent of a relationship, so I made a promise to myself to be single and not enter a serious relationship for at least a year. It was about time that I started actively practicing self-love rather than seeking it out from someone else. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant in making this promise. At the time, I didn’t feel like I had enough faith in myself to believe I could honor that promise, no matter how sad or lonely I felt. A year later, I am proud to say that I did kept my promise, and this has been a year full of growth, self-reflection, and lessons learned.
So, what have I learned? Here are some of the most important lessons I have embraced, for better or for worse, in my first year of true self-love:
I learned…how independent I am.
Cultivating independence after spending a lot of time being dependent on other people is one of the toughest things for me in the last year. I spent a lot of time looking for approval and justification from other people, and I realized that not only did I not need that validation from someone else, but I was capable of giving myself all the validation that I would ever need. I’m a very poor decision maker, so I always looked to someone else to back me up in what I was saying, doing, or choosing and by doing that I wasn’t always allowing myself to listen to and trust my intuition. Cultivating my relationship with my intuition is something that I always shoved down, because I knew I could count on someone else to help me decide, rather than just listening to what MY heart and gut were telling me. At the end of the day, my intuition is never going to go away, so why shouldn’t I work on trusting it?
I also spent a lot of time not doing things myself because I knew someone else would help me or take care of it. While it always made my life a little bit easier, I realize now how unhealthy that constant dependency was! The one person that will remain constant in your life is YOU! I think it is important to become as independent as we possibly can so that as we move forward in life, we won’t constantly be seeking some kind of dependency in any aspect of our lives!
I learned…how important my friendships are.
I could write a whole separate post on this note, that’s how strongly I feel about it. I love my girlfriends more than anything, and this year really helped me be a better friend and strengthen my friendships. For the first time in four years, most of my close girl friends and I found ourselves all single all at the same time and we bonded even more than we ever had before. Being that it was my first-year single in a long time, I really leaned on my girls to get me through the moments of sadness and frustration I felt. When I needed someone to snuggle up and drink wine with, they were always there. Whenever I felt like giving up on my promise of self-love, they were right behind me to pick my back up and remind me what I was working towards. Next to myself, they are the other constant relationships I have in my life that I now know will last me a lifetime. I truly can’t imagine valuing my friendships any other way than how I value them now.
I learned…I am strong enough to get through tough times.
When I have been in relationships in the past, whenever something went wrong or I was upset and having a bad day, having that one individual to turn to always seemed like a security blanket. I knew I’d have someone to turn to who would unconditionally listen to me or bring me ice cream, or even just sit with me. Now, I am fortunate enough to have friends and family who would do all of that for me if I ever asked them to, but the relationship with friends/family in that way just never felt the same as it did with a significant other, if that makes sense? This year has been FULL of upsets, especially in the last six months, and sometimes, not having that one special person to turn to was hard and just different. But ultimately, NOT having that one person to turn to made me MUCH stronger. I have learned how to handle upsets and bad days on my own by developing my own healthy habits rather than dumping all my problems onto someone else. It’s a skill I think will serve me well in life, and I’m grateful for it.
I learned…how to value being on my own.
I’m an extrovert, but also an introvert. I think living with roommates in college (love you girls) did just make me value my alone time, and I cherish the times I can just sit in quiet and kind of do whatever I want. Obviously, when you’re in a relationship sometimes you have to sacrifice some of your alone time! I think at the place I was in last year I was looking to have some more time to focus on me and my personal growth. This year has given me just that! Were there lots of times I felt the exact opposite feeling and didn’t want to be by myself after having always spent my time with someone else? Sure. But being on my own helped me create more space for the things I needed/wanted to focus on in my education, my career, and my personal life.
This past year opened my eyes and shown me all I needed and wanted to work on within myself, and has also taught me a lot about my worth and what I expect from people that I allow into my life going forward. It also allowed me to be a little selfish with my time and my energy, as most 20-something’s should really have the freedom to do anyway! Life with a significant other was always special and beautiful in its own way, but life without one has also been special and beautiful too. I love myself more now than I think I have ever loved myself, and I have this year centered on self-love to thank for that. Simply, all in an effort to be better for myself, my friends, my family, and for people I haven’t even met yet.
In case you’ve missed this detail about me- I am a planner by nature. Planning things out makes me feel much more grounded and secure. So, before the start of every month, in an attempt to keep on track and keep up with my writing for the blog, I plan my posts (which is usually why I’m on my insta stories asking what content you’d like to see!).
Based on my latest poll, y’all wanted to see some more posts about organization and goal setting. And I had every intention of making this week’s post all about that.
But, my plans changed.
Now don’t click out just yet! Here’s why:
As content creators, we have to write what we know. And this week, organization and goal setting were not two things I felt I could even begin to remember how to do myself, let alone make a blog post on how to encourage others to do so.
Instead, we are going to talk a little bit about burnout.
Whether you have called it burn out or not, chances are good that most of us, if not all of us, have experienced some kind of burnout in our lives. You may have felt it in your job, in school, in relation to the people you have spent too much time with, or in relation to your social media usage. It is that feeling when you’ve allowed yourself to be run down almost to your core, so much so that these things feel toxic and just not good for your mental health.
Recently, I’ve really struggled being at home. I miss my friends, I miss doing the work I had set out and planned to do, and I just miss being busy. Past Angela is laughing at Present Angela making this statement, because whenever I’m busy I wish I had more free time. Well, I got my wish! I’ve thrown myself into my yoga studies and social media, but about a week ago I had a day that sent me spiraling.
It was one of those days where one bad thing happened right after another. The day started with continued disappointment due to Miss. Rona, and around every corner was something else to send me into a tizzy. The funny part about this is on that day, I shared a video about our self-talk on my IGTV that I had made a few days before, and it was meant to be uplifting and helpful. For me that day, it was anything but. I couldn’t seem to take a second to sit, listen, and practice what I was preaching. I continued to share things via social media and later, even shared how poorly my day had gone so far…
Later, I experienced an incident that sparked anger and anxiety in me I hadn’t experienced since being home and away from school. It was an incident in rooted in comparison, and it was really the icing on the crap cake of a day I had had. Not only did I begin to engage in negative self-talk because of it, but I completely and totally let the incident overtake me, my mind, and my rational thinking. I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel in that time, but I knew the way I was allowing myself to handle it, and how I was talking myself through it was not as healthy and calm as it could be.
Another thing that came up for me in my little ~moment~ was how my social media usage was playing a role in all of it. In the last few months, I have kind of turned to social media as an outlet. Before starting the blog and deciding to make an effort to create a better brand for myself online, I didn’t spend consistent time online. I never planned posts, I never was vocal with my followers and did my best not to get too personal or in depth on social media. I think putting myself out there in that way was what kept me from starting a blog and a brand for so long. I was scared. I was afraid of judgement from myself and potentially from others.
I have come to love Instagram and creating content so much more than I ever thought I would. But even on my best days, I would find myself regularly (almost constantly) checking my follower count, how many people had unfollowed me, and how many people were viewing my blog pages and Insta stories. I would express the results of these constant checks to close friends of mine and they would remind me to, you know, not do those things, but I kept on. I’d check out other bloggers and compare how many brand deals they were getting and their follower counts with mine, and I started putting so much pressure on myself to try and expand and achieve goals I wasn’t even sure were mine. This pressure of comparison coupled with the incident of comparison I experienced did me in.
What I am getting at is that I needed a moment away. I needed to take a step away from social media and go internally to better assess how I could handle moments of burnout in a more productive and healthy way. I realize that life stops for no one, and we are all bound to have those days where it feels like a freight train of nasty is speeding towards us and we have nowhere to run. But the important thing on days like that or in moments like that is how we deal with them. How we talk ourselves through them.
That crappy day made me realize just how few tactics I had for getting through moments like that based on the way I reacted. I did just that; I REACTED. I DID NOT RESPOND. And I think that made the day and all its events even harder to manage. So, I took a step away from social media for a few days. If I wasn’t posting, I wasn’t checking up on all those things I had listed, and I didn’t have to worry so much about putting pressure on myself in that way. But, at the same time, I knew that I would go back to posting. I knew I wasn’t going to give up on the brand I have begun creating. So how was I to deal with these feelings or scenarios when they arose again, because that would be inevitable?
The answer is, I don’t have an exact answer at the moment. I don’t know that I will ever have a cut and dry, straight forward answer to that question. I don’t know that anyone does. But what I do know is that this moment in my life has struck a chord in me, and has made my thinking mind go inward and consider the question at hand with tremendous compassion, not just for myself but for anyone else who may be going through these feelings at this moment as well.
I think we get very stuck in taking people for their face value; not their literal “face,” but for what they present us with on the outside. We don’t always consider what any given human being might be carrying with them behind the closed doors of their hearts. We can share and post and speak on social media and seem fine, but I think social media can sometimes allow us to put up a facade that doesn’t allow our followers to see the inner workings of our hearts and minds. This isn’t always the case, and also depends on the vulnerability of the individual and what they choose to share, but I think we all need to try and be gentle with one another in that regard, and respect the feelings we may not be explicitly seeing.
Going forward, some tactics to combat these feelings of burnout I would like to employ are:
Most importantly, taking time away when I am feeling extremely overwhelmed. No post or platform is really worth me losing a piece of my sanity over. If a person/brand doesn’t recognize that your sanity should come first, they may not be for you and that’s ok! We must put ourselves first so that we can come up even stronger!
Talk to the people you trust the most. On that particularly crappy day I had, the two moments where I felt a bit of relief were when I texted my best friend and didn’t hold back and when I called another friend later just to vent before bed. Getting it out, talking it through, and gaining a little bit of perspective from another mind that isn’t in the thick of your thoughts can make all the difference.
Tap into my breath in moments of stress and anxiety. Taking a moment to pause, take a few deep breaths, and reset is very important. This is something I am working on, I don’t always remember or think about it but I would like to make more of a conscious effort to work this into my life and work.
Use the 3, 2, 1 rule- name 3 things you can see, 2 things you can feel, and one thing you can smell. This puts you back into your body and reminds you of where you are in the present moment. There are lots of different variations of this rule that you could do, you could utilize all 5 senses if you choose in any order you choose too!
Journal, journal, journal. Journaling is something I am very passionate about that always leaves me feeling like a weight has been lifted. The benefits of journaling are just endless. If you aren’t comfortable free writing, start by identifying reasons why you are stressed and upset and how that made you feel. Ex: “I was upset when ____ because it made me feel ____.” This is a journaling technique I am learning in my yoga training, and it is helpful in identifying reasons why you may be experiencing dis-ease in other parts of your life.
A lot to take in, I know. But I think this is an extremely important discussion to have with ourselves. Developing your stress and anxiety toolkit is essential if we are going to continue to grow and, you know, I am all about growth. For myself, for you, and for our world.
Can you believe we are already at the end of June?! It seems like a second ago I was planning out my posts for the month, and this last post was a million years away!
I hope you all are starting to enjoy your summer a little bit! This summer may look a little different than summers in the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most out of what you’ve got!
So, to wrap up the month of June on the blog, I figured I’d take some time to highlight and share with you all some of the things I have been doing/reading/watching/etc. this month! I am hoping to continue to do this each month to share some new info and ideas with you guys to carry into your lives throughout the year!
I decided at the start of this month to sit down and evaluate my goals for the month. Big or small, I wanted to go into a new month with a clearer view on what I hoped to accomplish and a better sense of direction (personally and in terms of the blog). The list wasn’t long (and I’ll admit, not all of the goals were accomplished) but having this physical list did really help me stay more accountable than I have been in the past! Here are the goals I set out to accomplish this month:
Sing Every Day!- This is something that I incorporated into my habit trackers in my bullet journal this month! I wanted to set this goal for myself because as a performer, my voice is one of my instruments and tools that I need to be ready to call upon at any given moment. Admittedly, when I had to come home due to the pandemic, singing made me sad for the first time in my life. I wasn’t singing or vocalizing every day, and when I would sing it was clear to me that my instrument was not in tip-top shape. I’m happy to say that I only noted one day this month where I did not sing or vocalize at all!
Do Yoga Every Day!- Setting this goal came out of me hoping to start my Yoga Teacher Training this month, and wanting to make sure my body was in constant practice as I continued learning. I accomplished this goal!!
Be Up By 9AM Most Days- Most days, I was up by 9! As the month went on, I found it easier to get up earlier. There was one week where I really threw this goal out the window, but I was listening to my body asking for some more rest! That’s important to note: having goals is great, but when they are in relation to your physical and mental health LISTEN TO YOUR BODY/MIND!
Read 1-2 Books This Month (Ideally, 2)- This, I did! I love reading, so it wasn’t too hard. When I was finishing up school, I didn’t have a lot of time to read. Thankfully, I had more time this month!
Make and Keep A Spending Spreadsheet- I did this….did I like blatantly seeing the money I was spending vs. the money I was earning….not so much! BUT I felt like this was a good habit I needed to get into since I’m trying to be an “adult” now
Those were the big June goals! For the blog, I had hoped to partner up with at least one more brand as an ambassador…but you might have to wait a month to hear how that worked out!
Now, let’s talk about some of the things I read and watched this month that I really loved!
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid- So, I actually finished this book in May, but I loved it so much that I wanted to share. Reid is a Philly based author, and her debut novel was Reese’s Book Club February pick as well as a New York Time’s Bestseller! I only wish I had picked it up sooner. A little blurb: “With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such A Fun Age explores the stickiness of transnational relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” and the complicated reality of being a grown-up. It is a searing debut for our times.”
Year of the King: An Actor’s Diary and Sketchbook by Anthony Sher– I am WAY behind on this one, but this book is a MUST for my fellow actor/performer friends. It was extremely relatable and personal; I loved every second. The book chronicles Anthony Sher’s journey toward becoming Richard III with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1984. It was fascinating to have a glimpse into the mind of an incredible actor.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo- This is an extremely important read. The title itself is self-explanatory regarding the content of this book. This was a required reading for a course I took in the fall, but I decided to go back and re-read it this month in much more depth, and I am so glad I did. DiAngelo does an incredible job of laying out what exactly White Fragility is and providing readers with the tools to examine their own whiteness and facilitate further important discussion regarding racial attitudes. Do yourself a favor and get this one.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle- The perfect summer beach read. I got it on a Tuesday and finished it by Friday. I am excited to read more of Serle’s work in the coming months! A little blurb: “In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting. Expertly paced, finely observed, and utterly heartbreaking, this is a book readers will not be able to put down.” THAT IS TRUE!
Movies and TV
I will be the first to admit- I definitely do not watch enough movies OR TV, but I am working on it! I was pretty proud of the progress I made on that front this month, so here’s to that! I was fortunate enough to have many of the tools at my disposal to continue to educate myself on the BLM Movement as well, and I learned very much through watching many of these. Here’s to a continued education for the rest of forever! Here is my watch list and where you can watch them too:
Just Mercy (Amazon Prime)
The Goldfinch (Amazon Prime)
When They See Us (Netflix)
When They See Us Now (Netflix)
Ken Burns: The Central Park Five (Amazon Prime)
I will admit, I have never watched Dance Moms and I did also watch the first season of that this month, but I’m a little too behind to be sharing that with others as something to watch….
That’s my June Monthly Minute! If you’ve already checked out some of these books, movies/documentaries, or if you check them out in the future, I’d love to hear your thoughts! I hope that the month of June brought you the gifts of joy, education, and fulfillment! And you know what, if it didn’t, how beautiful is it that July is right around the corner and you have another chance to reach your highest potential? Pretty beautiful if you ask me!
Thank you for a wonderful first full month on the blog, I have had so much fun sharing content with you all! I can’t wait to see what July will bring!