Check out my top lifestyle blog posts, personal blog posts, and features in honor of my 50th post!
Today is a big day! THIS IS MY 50TH PUBLISHED BLOG POST! The idea of writing and sharing just one blog post scared the crap out of me a year ago, but here I am now with 50 whole lifestyle blog posts out there on the internet for anyone to read!
Let me just say, pretty much from now until the end of May it’s going to be one big celebration at Beyond the Footlights! The blog’s one year anniversary is quickly approaching, I’m almost at 2k followers on Instagram, and I’m working my little butt off to nail my branding! SO, with that being said, expect lots of new and exciting posts and things on the blog, a few giveaways, and much much more! Make sure you’re following me on Instagram and you’re on BTF’s subscriber list so you don’t miss a beat!
Beyond the Footlights started out as a more personal blog but has easily make the switch to a lifestyle blog, aligning with the same notion of fostering one’s passions and self-care while also encompassing organization, planning, beauty, and first-hand experiences into the niche. While this lifestyle blog niche may seem rather broad, I’m working really hard every day to nail down MY niche and MY audience!
I thought it would be really fun to use my 50th post as a sort of reflection and highlight for you a few of my top blog posts to date! These posts come from a variety of categories on the blog- lifestyle, personal, and features. These are some of the posts from the last year that have received the most views from my audience not just at the time they were published, but all year round!
When I started the blog and started planning out content, I knew I wanted to a.) take away a little bit of pressure on myself in writing something brand new every week of every month and b.) use this platform to share the voices of other artists I knew personally or through social media and share how they incorporated self-care into their busy lives.
I’m very grateful to know a multitude of artists and also have a friend group so close to me entirely made up of artists, but I also knew I wanted to scale this feature and reach out to people I maybe didn’t know or have a personal relationship with. I wanted to reach out to people who inspired me and share their work, their voice, and their process with our community here!
I was really nervous about reaching out to people I wasn’t connected to so personally, mostly because I was asking them to give their time to me free of charge, and I know how huge of an ask that is for artists any time, but especially in the last year. As of now, I’m a lifestyle blogger creating this platform from the ground up, and unfortunately I don’t have a large income (YET) from the blog to be able to offer compensation. All this to say, THANK YOU to all 12 individuals who have graciously shared their valuable time and energy with me. The success of this little lifestyle blog can be tied right back to these features, so thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Mackenzie’s post was an absolute hit from the moment I shared it! Not only do she and I know many of the same people, who I assume were excited to see a sort of collab in this way, but she also knows a TON of amazing other people from other large communities who were definitely excited to see a whole post dedicated to this fab lady!
Check out Mackenzie’s Feature and all of my other Passion Piece Features HERE! In the new year of the blog, I’ll be starting a new series, but I hope to keep PPF’s in my content whenever I can!
This post was published on my birthday and I did NOT expect it would be such a hit! Apparently y’all were really interested in knowing things about me that you might not have known before! At the time of it’s publish, this post got the blog it’s most views since launch day in May!
And, as always, I’m grateful to have the beautiful photography of my best friend, Kailey Edwards, dawning this post as well as most of my site and many other blog pages! Check out her Instagram (there’s a Passion Piece Feature on her, too!)
I loved writing this post and gathering ideas for my own 2021 vision board! This topic is obviously something that people are interested in all year round, not just at the start of a new year! Every now and again when I look at my daily blog stats, I see that this post was found by someone online and I love knowing it may be helping someone manifest their vision (or even helping them manifest their vision to start a lifestyle blog!)
This was I think my 2nd or 3rd post on the blog! Honestly, I have to go back and read it because it’s probably cute and will make me laugh while also having and air of sadness about it because, you know, pandemic LOL
But look at that baby graphic! It isn’t even a blog graphic or blog banner, it’s a photo collage! I love seeing these posts now because it is SO crazy how much I learned about lifestyle blogging and branding and all that jazz in just a year. Being able to see where I started from is really kind of sweet.
This post gave my early readers a little bit of background on who I was, what I was doing, why I had started the blog, and more! That girl has grown oh so much…
Another baby post! There were so many feeling and emotions in all of these early posts, it’s sweet but also makes me giggle! So much was changing when I wrote this post and so much had halted and had just been taken away. Most of what I wrote in this reflective, personal piece expelled all the feelings I had been holding onto about my college experience ending so abruptly. It was a love letter to my friends, my family, my teachers, you name it.
It was a time filled with so much reflection, and I can’t even fathom that I’m on the other end of it now. Graduating college felt daunting before the pandemic, then I was in this swirl of transition but also stagnancy, and now I’m sort of on the other side but also in a whole different whirlwind of “real life.” I’m glad this post reached as I had hoped it would!
I have to take a moment to thank all of you who read these posts, share them, and support me online as I grow my social media presence! I never would have even thought that I’d reach 50 post, let alone be able to pull out “top favorite” posts out of them all! Next month is the one year anniversary of this little ‘ol lifestyle blog, and I have so many new and exciting things to share with you as we get closer!
A little change is always good, and I’ve got some great little changes (in my personal life and for the blog) that I cannot wait to share!
Do you have a favorite blog post of mine from the last year? Comment below and let me know!
I’m particularly excited about this week’s post because it is centered around one of my greatest passions: THEATRE! For anyone new here who may not know, theatre is not only one of my passions, it’s what I hope to pursue professionally! I’ve been dancing and performing in theatre for as long as I can remember and last year, I received my B.A. in Musical Theatre from DeSales University! *whoop whoop*
Two months before I was set to graduate, perform in my senior showcase, start work with a professional theatre company, and hit the ground running in the theatre industry, the whole world shut down. Broadway shut down, and it has been shut down until, well, now. Fortunately, things for individuals in the performing arts industry are FINALLY starting to look up and some theatre is set to start happening slowly but surely all over the country.
You might be thinking “wow. a year is a long time to go without work in your field” or “wow. how do you even keep that passion alive?” All good questions, my friend. And the truthful answer? It’s been hard as hell. Beyond hard, really. I don’t even think there is a word in the dictionary yet to describe what artists have been through in the last year+. But armed with resilience and many, MANY years’ worth of armor built up to fight rejection, we persevered, and we continue to do so every. damn. day.
While it’s been hard and I’ve had many days where I contemplate changing career paths completely and the first note of my favorite cast album brings me to tears and I have to turn it off because it’s too much to bear, on the flip side, I have tried really hard to keep my love, craft, and skills alive and thriving! Now, if you’re a creative reading this and you’re like “Angela, I haven’t done a damn thing and I DID change career paths,” then I want you to know that what you have/have not done does not make you any less of a creative. Every creative individual has processed and gone through this journey in their own way; there is no right or wrong way to do it. I applaud you for simply making it to this point.
Today, I want to share with you some ways in which I’ve kept my craft alive and some tools/people/groups I’ve connected with to help me do so! Here are some ways I’ve kept theatre alive in my life!
Dance From Home
I’ve written about my experience with Dance From Home before, and if you’ve read any of my Monthly Minute posts since November, you know that I am a BIG fan of their programming and mission. I can’t even really recall how or when exactly I stumbled across the DFH or Megan Bowen’s (the owner and CEO) Instagram pages, but I started out doing a free 14-day challenge, and the rest is history!
When Megan’s programming switched from individual classes/small class packages to a monthly membership, I wasn’t sure if myself and my wallet would be ready to make the transition, but I am SO glad I took a leap of faith!
I’ve been a member of DFH’s Ensemble Membership since the beginning of 2021 and I can’t even begin to describe what I’ve gained from this program. A little breakdown of what a week in the membership looks like: Monday/Wednesday are choreography classes (with different instructors throughout the month) and Tuesday/Thursday are Broadway Dance Cardio classes to a playlist of Broadway tunes (yes, they are themed!). In choreography classes, half the combo is taught Monday and it is finished and elaborated on Wednesday. Megan also recently added back Dance Cardio classes on Saturday mornings as part of the new Dance Cardio Club Membership (these weekend classes are also included in the Ensemble Membership package).
Whether you are a dancer and want that choreo class or you’re simply looking for the cardio, DFH has a package for everyone. To be explicit like Megan would want me to be, these programs are not designed for weight loss. Sure, weight loss may be a wonderful added benefit to joining, but that isn’t the purpose. The main purpose is to get the community reconnecting with their bodies and their love for musical theatre through these means!
AND, in case you weren’t already sold, every month DFH hosts one Masterclass Workshop with a Broadway Professional! We’ve worked with people from Kiss Me, Kate, Six, Hamilton, and April is….WICKED! You can get more info and sign up for the workshop on April 20th HERE!
The DFH programming has helped me keep up with my dancing abilities, and it has also really helped me learn to embrace my body and my movement. It’s taught me to be less of a perfectionist as a dancer, and I feel so much more connected to my body which in turn makes me feel more confident as a dancer. The cardio classes have helped me build and maintain stamina and strength so I can feel ready to go when theatre comes back in full force!
Monologue Consults with Shaun Leisher
If you’re a theatre artist, I’m sure you can relate when I say monologues are a b*tch to find. I still can’t seem to understand why it’s so hard to find really great monologues but it’s hard, nonetheless. Sometimes, you just have to turn to the professionals! If you’re anything like me and you’ve spent the pandemic searching for great material to no avail, I highly recommend calling up Shaun Leisher! Shaun is a Philadelphia-based dramaturg, producer and arts education advocate. While I haven’t actually met Shaun in person yet (lol, the pandemic life), he and I have many, many mutual friends and by the grace of God and the internet, we connected via social media!
Shaun offers quite an incredible service: after a 30-minute phone call with him, he will hand select about 3 monologues that suit your abilities and the artistic attributes you want to highlight. Boom. That easy. Shaun and I had an enriching 30-minute phone call and in a super quick turnaround time, he presented me with a handful of incredibly specific new material to add to my book that I truly NEVER would have found on my own!
If you head to Shaun’s Instagram you can click the link in his bio and choose to schedule you monologue consult call! Trust him with your vision and your work, you will not regret it!
TWUAS.TV is something new that I’ve recently integrated into my at-home theatre artist life and it’s too cute not to share! Not only have I continued to work on my personal craft as a theatre artist during this time, but I have also taken this time to familiarize and educate myself in other areas of the theatre industry. Enter, TWUSA! I have always loved kids and I believe that access to enriching art is extremely vital for young children and their families. TWUAS does exactly that! Through their programming they help bring engaging, exciting, and inclusive theatre to a wider audience of young people whether it be through educational programs or their home life!
One way that they’ve continued to do this during this uncertain time is through TWUSA.TV! With this online streaming platform, children and their families can bring the magic of live performance right into their homes! Educators can also utilize the platform to bring enriching theatre directly into the classroom (both in person and online) and into their lesson plan!
One reason why I love being a performer so much is because you never know whose life you may impact through your performance, and I’ve especially thought about this in my experience doing children’s theatre. I believe it is important to foster one’s love of theatre and performance if it develops from a young age, and what better way to nurture that passion than by bringing theatre straight into the homes or classrooms of children who may not have access to it otherwise?
If you’re interested in TWUSA.TV for your little ones or the classroom you can check it out HERE!
After nearly a year without a voice lesson, I decided to find a new voice teacher! If you feel like, vocally, you’re ready to get back into training or like you have a new goal you’d like towards then I highly suggest getting yourself back into voice lessons! Obviously, it’s a financial commitment, but if you’re fortunate enough to find a teacher with sort of a “revolving door,” where you can choose how often you take lessons, then I absolutely think it’s worth it! I love, love, love my new teacher and I’ve experienced such growth in just a handful of lessons!
And finally, some good news! I mentioned in the beginning of this post that my senior class’s showcase got cancelled in March of last year as the pandemic was happening- a WEEK before we were supposed to go to NYC. You can read my reflection of those prior happenings in my post “The Show Must Go On.”
The good news is, a little over a year later, most of my fellow showcase members and I were able to safely come together a few weeks ago and FILM our showcase to send to agencies digitally!!! It’s times like these I’m grateful to live in a technological world. Nine out of the twelve of us were able to gather together at our college after proper testing took place, and we spent a weekend rehearsing, reconnecting, and having the opportunity to showcase the work that has been waiting in the shadows for a year.
Connecting with my classmates a year later was equal parts nerve wracking and exciting. Some of them I hadn’t seen since we left college last March so abruptly, so I was a little nervous, not gonna lie! But like the true friends these people are, we were able to pick right up where we left off and we had the best time working together again. We’ve all grown so much as individuals outside of the pressure of the college theatre environment, and I think we actually all connected so much better than we ever have before.
Seeing people perform in front of me was magical. Being granted the opportunity to go back to college for 3 days and perform alongside some of the most outrageously talented people I know was magical. And being reminded of what I was put on this earth to do was also magical.
For as many times as I’ve felt like giving up on my dream of a theatre career, these 3 days reminded me that I SHOULD NOT give up any time soon. Keep working to make your dreams happen, friends. They are coming to you, even though it may not be evident in every moment of every day. Your hard working will pay off, your dreams will become your reality, and the world will be a better place because of it!
I can’t believe I’m already saying this, but we are halfway through March! I thought February went quickly, but this month is flying by! March has kind of a lot happening: International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, the start of daylight savings time, the first day of spring, aaaaaand St. Patrick’s Day!
I’ll be the first to say there is not an Irish bone in this little Italian girl’s body, so I never really felt connected to the spirit of St. Patty’s Day (but it WAS a great excuse to look cute and go out with friends, you know, when going out was a thing). Does anyone else feel funny about the prospect of wearing a shirt that says “Kiss me, I’m Irish” if you’re not…actually Irish? Just me?
Whether you celebrate your Irish roots on St. Patrick’s Day, choose to embrace the traditions of the holiday, or don’t really celebrate it, there is one thing associated with the holiday that I think we can all embrace: LUCK!
Since last March, I think many of us can identify with the fact that it’s been hard experience moments of luck. Obviously, those with good health, those who have made it through the last year, and have made it to March 2021 are all lucky in many, many ways. But I’m sure many people have also felt like a cloud of bad luck has washed over them in terms of work, personal feats, and other varying aspects of life. I encourage you to take a moment and a.) write down all the reasons you are currently lucky and b.) take some time to think back and reflect on some of your luckiest moments! I guarantee that you will find you are lucky and have been lucky in more ways than you could’ve guessed!
In the same spirit, here are 13 of my luckiest moments with some lucky charms of mine thrown in the mix! These luck moments span my entire 23 years- some of them from my childhood were just too good not to include! I hope you find them as enjoyable as I do!
So, my lucky number is 3. Why might you ask? Well, some of the details are a little bit blurry, but I decided this is the 2nd grade. I loved second grade, I had an amazing teacher, and she made the 2nd grade experience very enjoyable. I remember coming in on this day and I want to say maybe it was a birthday of a classmate or something? I don’t remember the first event, but maybe we got to have a treat to celebrate someone or something like that. Then, I for some reason received and Alice in Wonderland coloring book from my teacher. Cool! AND THEN, I don’t recall why, but I also got to pick a prize from the classroom prize chest. I remember feeling like it was my lucky day, getting to get 3 treats in one day! From that moment on, my favorite number has been 3!
Getting to meet the Jonas Brothers when I was 10 years old was another lucky moment of mine! Funny story- we have always had a radio in our bathroom. One night, I was in said bathroom and some channel was on and they were giving away tickets to their concert and meet and greet passes. I was in there listening as they chose the winner; it was this guy Bob and he was so excited because his daughter was going to be so excited and he was talking about how the dog was barking in the background. Now, these are all very general details BUT for some reason I was like “Hm. My godmother’s husband’s name is Bob. They have a dog. And he’d be talking about my cousin because she loved the Jonas Brothers…” Really it was a long shot it was them. But sure enough, that weekend we went to a family gathering and my godmother shared with me it had been Bob who won the passes and they wanted to take me as their fourth person! Another stroke of luck!
I started performing in community theatre when I was about 8 and the adults around me figured out pretty quickly that this was something I was proving to be really good at and loved doing. The first “big” role I had when I was younger was Susan in Miracle on 34th Street. It was my first taste of what it was going to be life to dedicate part of my life to this craft, even if I didn’t recognize it fully at the time. In Northeast PA there are these awards called the NEPTA’s that recognize and honor the community theatres of the area- and in the Northeast PA community theatre community…it’s kinda a big deal. To make a long story short, the year I did Miracle on 34th Street I was nominated for an award for my performance and I won! It might not have been luck so much as I earned it, but I think of it as a stroke of luck because it acted as validation from a very young age that this was something I was good at and could really work at! I might not be pursuing the career I am now if it hadn’t been for that lucky moment!
Going off of that, the theatre where I often performed had a little smoke shop next to it that had gas station-like snacks and things, and it became a lucky charm of mine to always go over and get Airheads to eat before performances! I have no idea why, and I don’t know what made it lucky, but there was a period of time where I wouldn’t do a show without them!
I felt really lucky being able to travel to Rome and Florence with classmates my sophomore year of college! Looking back, I feel even MORE lucky, because it was meant to be a biannual trip for students, but that never panned out. For whatever reason, the theatre department made it happen while I happened to be in school and I think that was a stroke of luck- especially now that travel isn’t as simple anymore.
Being able to perform with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival during my summer’s in college always made me feel very lucky, but my sophomore year made me feel super lucky in particular. I knew I had been cast in the ensemble for the show, but a little while after finding that out, the director (one of my professors at the time) had a few people also audition to cover one of the supporting roles, as the girl they had cast would have to miss 2 performances. Low and behold, I landed the part and got to go on for my first professional supporting role as a rising junior in college! It was one of the most exciting and joyous days of my career thus far!
Being able to perform as a member of the 24 Hour Plays 2020 Cohort…in the middle of a global pandemic! Being able to get professional experience from the comfort of my own home, right out of school was really rewarding and I felt extremely lucky to be part of such an incredibly talented bunch!
This is really random and also didn’t really materialize BUT around this time last year I actually one one of those little giveaways on Instagram! You know, the ones you always enter, and you never win? Yeah, well I won one! It was some little jewelry brand based out of Canada and it happened right before the shutdown. They let me know they’d be waiting to send my package because they weren’t going to the post office, which obviously wasn’t a problem, but then they just….never sent the package LOL I didn’t really care, plus we were in a freaking pandemic so I didn’t press it. But man, the one time I win…
Landing my marketing assistant job was a lucky break! I work on the side as a project-based marketing assistant for a blogger, and I really applied for the job on a whim. I had started following her last year when I first started blogging, and I attended one of her live workshops to just learn more about this whole world and now I work for her! I didn’t think I would get it because of my lack of experience, but it just goes to show that being yourself and your ability to be teachable are extremely important!
Another little good luck thing/superstition that I had in college was to wear the same jewelry to every audition in a year. Weird, I know. Whatever necklace/rings/bracelets/earrings I would wear to the first audition of the season would be what I had to wear to all of my other auditions for the rest of the year. I felt like they had some kind of lucky powers (especially if auditions went well and I landed the parts). For a period of time freshman year, I would also wear the same blue dress. My professors probably got so sick of seeing me in that dress. Fortunately, I grew out of that dress (thanks freshman 15) and I became a normal person with multiple outfits for different purposes.
Obviously, the pandemic brought a lot of sadness and loss into everyone’s lives in different and individual ways. With that being said, looking back a year later, I believe I was very lucky to be in the position I was in. I had a family and a home to come back to, we had enough supplies to last us, no one in my family got really sick with Covid, and I was able to reap the benefits of unemployment and actually get some money into my savings. It all could have been much, MUCH worse, and for that I feel very lucky.
Getting on a list for my vaccine! Because of my job, I was able to get one a vaccine list, and I should be able to receive my shot when the next batch of doses is available to employees! And I feel very lucky that many of my loved ones were able to get vaccinated!
Finally, I feel extremely lucky for having the courage to follow my heart, start this blog, and for all of the amazing things that are coming out of it! I am finally starting to feel like I have a community both on this page and on my Instagram, and I’m seeing slow and steady growth! I feel very lucky to have been in my humanities class the day that my teacher asked us “what is one thing you would do if it wasn’t for your fear of failure?” I told my whole class that I would want to start a blog but was afraid no one would follow along or care about what I had to say. I’m very lucky to say now that I’m glad I didn’t let fear stand in my way.
Count your blessings, reflect on all your moments of luck, and celebrate safely this St. Patrick’s Day! Stay tuned for the March Passion Piece Feature next week and be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram at this end of this month for a new partnership/giveaway!
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.