Summer Skincare Essentials for Your Travel Bag: My Recommendations
Looking to add some new summer skincare essentials for your travel bag? You’re in the right place!
Summer is in full swing, and if you’re anything like me, you are spending all the time you can in the sun! Enjoying the beautiful weather also means your beautiful skin is taking in the sun as well. Getting that vitamin D is very important, but so is protecting and caring for your skin!
I have a handful of skincare products that I use religiously in my daily summer skincare routine that are essential in my life- on staycations and vacations alike! Keep reading to check out my recommendations! XO
Summer Skincare Essentials for Your Travel Bag: The Products
Tula Glow & Get It Cooling and Brightening Eye Balm
I’ve written about this product in so many previous posts and highlighted it in my “Skincare is Self-Care” post, but I just can’t get enough of it! There are 3 different versions of this product, but they all work to de-puff and brighten your under eyes! You can swipe the balm on under or over your makeup- I’ve done both and it works perfectly both ways.
This is my go-to product all summer long! Most days, I’ll put on my moisturizer/sunscreen, swipe the balm on, curl my lashes, and go! You can also swipe it on your cheek bones and the tip of your nose for added highlight! This product is so easy to throw in your bag and is perfect for those long travel days/nights!
Check out my Tik Tok to see how I use this product! Want to try it for yourself? Shop here!
I call this sunscreen my “fancy sunscreen.” When Tula launched this product last year, I ordered it so quickly and I’m so glad I did! This sunscreen will give you the most gorgeous, natural glow while protecting your skin! Even if you’re going to be in front of your computer all day, it’s got you covered with blue light protection as well!
Made with pineapple, papaya, and ginger root, it also smells AMAZING! This product is also perfect for your beach travels because it’s reef safe! Your best deal on this product is from Amazon!
Sun Bum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Lip Balm
After years of spending time in the sun and wondering afterwards “why are my lips chapped?” I finally realized they weren’t chapped. They were sunburnt! I’m super picky about my choice of lip balm/chap stick, and I love Sun Bum products! I’m a longtime fan of the Sun Bum Mineral line, so I figured I’d give the lip balm a try.
I love it because it’s SPF 30, while many other lip products with sunscreen that I’ve seen are only SPF 15. Another perfect travel pick because it’s also reef friendly, chemical free, and vegan!
Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C & Tri-Peptide Collagen-Protecting & Brightening Serum
Sunscreen + a vitamin C serum = THE DREAM TEAM for your skin! I love the Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C & Tri-Peptide Collagen-Protecting & Brightening Serum! This serum just scream summer to me. It’s so light and goes on easily under moisturizer and makeup and smells like yummy citrus!
The collagen protecting formula boosts your skin’s elasticity and works to protect skin. It works to lighten dark spots and give you an amazing natural glow! This product is also vegan, paraben-free, and cruelty-free! Amazon is the place to find this product for the best price!
Mario Badescu Facial Spray
The Mario Badescu facial sprays are a summer staple! I’m linking a set of all 4 scents from Amazon, but my personal favorite is the orange blossom! These sprays are perfect for a little extra hydration on top of your moisturizer, or as a mid-day pick me up! I love to take mine with me on beach trips to cool my skin down on hot days! You will definitely feel refreshed after a quick spritz, no matter what scent/formula you choose!
BalmLabs Gentle Foam Cleanser
In the summer, I prefer to use a face wash that is light weight but still gets the job done! The BalmLabs Gentle Foam Cleanser is my new favorite wash that does just that! Not only is it fun because it’s a weightless foam, but it does a really great job of cleaning dirt, oil, and product off my skin and smoothing pesky breakouts!
I’ve got a special code that will grab you a discount on the BalmLabs ClearBalm 3-Step System! Check it all out here!
And those are my Summer Skincare Essentials for Your Travel Bag! See a product that you want to try? Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re excited for!
The ultimate summer 2021 female power reading list
Summer is here! There is nothing I love more in the summer than hitting the beach with a great book! I love to read a pretty wide variety of genres, but books about the stories of women always head to the top of my summer reading list. Unintentionally, my summer reading list has become my summer female power reading list!
Are you looking for a great read to inspire you, tug on your heart strings, or simply make you smile from ear to ear? Then I’ve got some perfect suggestions for you on my list!
These are all books I’ve read, loved, and shared with the amazing women in my life. Some are old, some are relatively new, but their stories are timeless!
Check out my suggestions below!
*While all books are linked below via Amazon, I want to encourage my readers to shop local/diverse-owned bookshops however they can! Check out this list of Diverse-Owned Book Stores to Support Right Now from We Need Diverse Books and see if you can find any of these books in any of the listed stores first! The list goes state-by-state, so you can shop anywhere! XO
Summer Female Power Reading List
The Books On My List
Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer
I picked up this book 2 summers ago, I think after seeing it on another “summer reading list” I happened to Google and ended up loving every second of it! So much so that I felt compelled to email the author and express how much I loved it- and she responded!
The title is really self-explanatory, as this book highlights the evolution of female friendship in mainstream media and our society as a whole. Schaefer interviews countless women from a variety of backgrounds on their experiences with the female friendships in their lives, including her own. She also goes into detail about her own experience in a world that tells us to rely on the men in our lives for support, rather than leaning on the shoulders of our female friends.
This is one I will be adding to my summer reading list again this year! Snag it from Amazon HERE!
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Despite being published in 2018, Becoming by Michelle Obama is my most recent read! Former first lady, Michelle Robinson Obama’s memoir is truly an incredible and inspiring read you will definitely want to add to your summer reading list!
I loved how Michelle made the world of politics so accessible to the average reader. As I read, I felt like I was listening to a personal conversation rather than reading a book. Her writing and storytelling are so grounded and honest; I loved how “normal” she made her family out to be, because the Obama’s are just people too, after all!
Ready for a tearjerker? Then Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah is the book for you! I’ve written about this book in my Monthly Minute posts before, but I love this book. I firmly believe if you are a friend, mother, daughter, etc. that you read this book!
Firefly Lane follows friendship Kate and Tully and the ins and outs of their entire lives together. You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel every feeling imaginable. And, if you’re anything like me, when it ends you will be a puddle of tears! Firefly Lane is also a Netflix series as of late, but spoiler alert: it’s absolutely nothing like the book. I would recommend picking up the book and leaving the show behind, just saying!
Get your copy HERE and share it with all the best people in your life!
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Untamed by Glennon Doyle is another book that I picked up a little later than most! My mom read it first, insisted I read it myself, and got me a copy. (I like to write/highlight in my books, and she wouldn’t let me write in her copy!)
Doyle’s memoir is all about taking your power back as a woman, and I think it is a great read for women of all ages. My mom rad it as a woman in her 50’s, I read it as a woman in my 20’s, and I’m excited to return to it in different phases of my life as I get older. Doyle’s own story is so empowering and inspiring, and you can’t help but feel like she is on your side, walking you through the trials and tribulations of life!
Grab a copy HERE and share it with your best babes!
Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima
Clearly my mom wants me to learn from amazing, inspiring women because she bought me this book too! In this book, founder of IT Cosmetics (a brand I LOVE by the way), Jamie Kern Lima, covers the highs and lows of a woman in business making her way to the top.
I have watched Lima on QVC for years but knew nothing about her history. Her writing is so personal, and she makes it a point to make the reader feel like her friend. She covers her life story, her journey to becoming the first female CEO in L’Oréal’s 100+ year history, and her life as a mother, wife, and friend.
If you are a woman in business or are thinking of starting a business of your own, this is the perfect inspiration! You can get it HERE!
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
I read this book last summer and I think I read it in 2 days THAT’S how great it is!
While a good handful of books on this list are nonfiction, In Five Years is a work of fiction that will move you! The story follows a young lawyer who spends an hour of her life exactly five years in the future only to be sent back to the present at midnight. It’s a beautiful, unlikely love story that will warm your heart and make you think!
City of Girls is a also a work of fiction that will transport you to another era!
As a theatre artist, I love a book that is centered on the people in the theatre without actually being about theatre (if that makes any sense). This book will transport you to NYC in the 1940’s. It’s told from the perspective of an aging woman looking back over her life and its pleasures. The themes deal with female promiscuity and sexuality in that era, and I thought the story was very complex and compelling!
I hope you’ve found the perfect summer female power read to add to your own list this summer! Have any other great female power reads you want us to know about? Leave a comment below and spread the word!
The day is finally here! Beyond the Footlights turns 1! *insert confetti cannons*
On May 18th, 2020, I took a leap of faith and published Beyond the Footlights for all to see! I can’t believe I’ve been working on this little slice of internet heaven for just over a year already! I’ve learned so much, about myself and the world of blogging, in the last year, and I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to a little reflection on the last 12 months at Beyond the Footlights!
My email subscribers (shameless plug to tell you to SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG on the homepage!) received a little love letter in their inboxes from me today highlighting my journey a bit, but I’d like to dive a little deeper into all my first year of blogging has given me and the growth I’ve experienced. So, in typical Sound of Music fashion, let’s start at the very beginning!
How It Started
If you were in my values seminar class first semester senior year of college, you heard the idea for this blog first. Shout out to all of you! Our professor asked us one day “what is something you’d do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I had toyed around with the idea of starting a blog before; I had a list of potential topics/ideas in one of my theatre notebooks. We went around the room to share, and when it got to me, I said I’d start a blog.
I said I wasn’t sure about starting a blog because I didn’t have any time as a theatre student. At the time, I was going to have work throughout the summer months as well, so the idea of having free time for other creative endeavors was nonexistent. I don’t know why I decided to be a little vulnerable in class that day in front of a group of students I wasn’t particularly close to, but I also shared that I feared that whatever I chose to do would have “already been done” and that no one would really care about what I had to write about.
Past Angela, that’s just not true. But we’ll get there.
And we know the age-old tale by now: the pandemic hit giving me too much time and not enough creative outlets. So, I took my lemons and made them into lemonade and decided to go all in creating the blog that had always been a fleeting thought. I learned a few things pretty quickly when I started creating the blog:
The internet is a savior
I knew absolutely nothing about how to start a blog and where to even start (look for a blog post all about starting a blog from scratch soon, wink wink). It took a LOT of researching and planning before I was even able to get to the fun stuff like writing and branding. I had built my actor website a few months prior on another platform, but using WordPress was foreign territory. Little did I know, a lot of the skills I learned while starting my blog would prove to be useful to me in the year to come.
Blogging can mean more than just your blog
At the same time I was launching the blog, I decided to also try to build up my social media presence as a tool to help the blog grow. I started small, trying to rebrand my Instagram in a way and by starting a Facebook page for the blog. I needed to try and streamline my social media/the blog’s for added success. Branding & Influencing on my social media is something that I’ve continued to learn more about now that my stand-alone blog is on its feet.
Investing in your blog will help in the long run
With my blog plan, I wanted to start small and simple in case I discovered after a year that this path wasn’t for me. While I was able to do quite a lot with the little resources I had, I quickly discovered that investing in the proper tools would help me much more in the long run. Investing in things like workshops and creator tools allowed me to keep learning and experimenting with growing my brand.
The reception I got when I officially launched the blog was incredible. I was very fortunate to have a best friend (Kailey Edwards Photography) who was simultaneously building and launching her photography business, and she provided me with creative and gorgeous photos for my site (she still takes the majority of my fabulous photos for blog/influencer purposes).
Each month, two posts have always been the same: my Passion Piece Features and Monthly Minutes. I’ve featured 9 amazing actors and creators in my Passion Piece Features, shout out to those amazing human beings for giving up a slice of their time and energy to help this little ‘ol blog. My Monthly Minute Posts, monthly recaps of my monthly goals & favorites, have now evolved into strictly monthly favorites posts.
Starting this blog and teaching myself the new skills that come with the territory has also opened doors for me that I never would’ve anticipated a year ago. I’ve gotten work doing some freelance writing, landed partnerships with some incredible brands, and have found work as a marketing assistant with my new toolbelt of skills! I’ve clearly found some new passions and some new things I’m good at and it’s exciting to think about how these opportunities will help carry me forward.
As I’ve been recapping the last year on the blog, I think the most amazing thing to note is the growth of the “brand.” It’s been really cool to look at all my blog covers, the graphics I started out with, and my social media posts because there’s a clear shift in the branding of it all. It represents me getting a better handle on this new world I found and finding myself in this new form of artistic expression.
I’ve certainly learned that plans don’t always work out. There have been plenty of weeks throughout the year where pumping out a blog post was just not possible due to conflicts, writers block, or mental exhaustion. In my first year, I felt like it was more important to just get the content on, both here and on my social media. But I’m a believer in quality over quantity. In my second year, I’m hoping to produce content that is helpful, fun, and inspiring and don’t want to sacrifice the quality of my writing to meet a deadline I made for myself.
I’ve learned to take breaks. From working, from creating content, and from scrolling the internet trying to build my brand. It’s all important work but it can be extremely time consuming and mentally exhausting. I’ve learned that I’m not for everyone, and that’s ok. Looking at some of the stats can definitely hurt sometimes. It stinks to see I’ve lost email subscribers or Instagram followers. But, at the end of the day, I don’t need the people who aren’t interested in supporting this journey hanging onto my coat tails.
I’ve learned that I DO have a wonderful little community of people who love and support me, and I’m very lucky for that. Most importantly, I’ve learned that what I have to say DOES matter. I’ve found a part of my voice that was missing and continue to fill my cup every day by working on my own little slice of internet heaven.
My tagline is “All Passions. All People.”
Thank you for supporting me and my newfound passion, you beautiful and amazing people!
I’m forever grateful! Here’s to another incredible year!
Now that we’re into the month of May, one thing is on everyone’s mind. SUMMER! After a year+ of staying home, abandoning the typical routine, it seems like summer 2021 may be our first summer since 2019 with potential! Gearing up for hot girl summer, but feeling a little lost on how to make your 2021 summer vision a reality? Easy fix! Make yourself a summer 2021 vision board!
Back in January, I wrote about “How To Create Your 2021 Vision Board” for the start of a new year! While that vision board may have been broader, looking at 2021 as a whole, creating a summer vision board will allow you to get really specific in your vision for the next 3 months!
Pinterest boards can be great for collecting ideas and inspiration but I’m going to show you a few ways to create a summer vision board that is aesthetically pleasing, inspiring, and is something you can easily look at on the daily! In this post, I’ll walk you through finding inspiration, displaying your board, and ways you can update your vision board according to the season!
Check out How To Create a Summer Vision Board!
How To Create a Summer Vision Board
Brainstorm Summer Aspirations
The first step in creating your summer 2021 vision board is gathering your inspiration! I like to think of this as brainstorming. Think about what you’d like to manifest for your summer months. Happiness, wealth, creative energy, etc. Now, think about what is on your summer 2021 bucket list! Places you want to go, things you want to see, things you want to do. Finally, think about some goals you’d like to accomplish this summer! Given that summer (in most places) is only 3 months, these goals don’t have to be crazy! Get all these ideas down on paper or in your notes!
Once your vision for summer 2021 feels a bit clearer and you’ve got your ideas together, it’s time to start gathering what you’d like to include on your board! This can come from just about anywhere- online, magazines, newspapers, scraps, photographs, etc. If you’d like to keep your vision board virtual, Pinterest is a great place to start! Create a Pinterest board called Summer 2021 Vision Board and get pinning! This way all your ideas, pictures, and quotes can be in one place. AND you can see how your ideas look all together aesthetically!
Choose How To Build Your Vision Board
There are so many different ways that you can build and display your summer vision board! The most standard form of display for vision boards or mood board is a physical collage/print. You can definitely take the time to gather your inspo, print it out, and cut & paste it all together on a canvas of your chosen size!
We live in a digital world and I want to talk about ways to digitally make and display your summer 2021 vision board!
Connect Pinterest and Widgets on Your iPhone
One of the most recent iPhone updates allows you to add widgets to your home screen! Widgets come in different sizes and different displays allow you to show pictures, clock, calendars, and more! You can also link Pinterest boards to your widgets and have the image change hourly! This is the perfect way to display your summer vision board that you might’ve already created on Pinterest!
Here’s how to add a Pinterest Widget:
Download the app ‘Widgetsmith”
Hold down an app until the apps on your home screen start to wiggle
Tap the plus sign in the upper right hand corner of your screen
Scroll down to find the widget that says Pinterest, then swipe left to the ‘boards’ option
Choose the size widget you’d like, then click Add Widget
Once it’s added to your home screen, click it again and tap Choose to add you “Summer 2021 Vision Board” board
Decide if you’d like the image to change hourly or daily
Adding multiple widgets with your 2021 summer vision board attached is the perfect way to have your vision board (literally) right at your fingertips!
Create Your Vision Board on Canva
Want to create a stunning summer vision board to print and hang or use as a screensaver on your phone or desktop? Use Canva! Canva offers design tools for all sorts of platforms and niches- it’s how I make most of my own graphics, bullet journal templates, and vision boards! You can use Canva for free or upgrade to Canva Pro to gain access to more templates! Give Canva Pro a try free for 30 days!
Once you’re on Canva type in ‘vision,’ ‘vision board,’ or ‘collage’ to get you your best vision board templates! There are lots of creative, free vision board template options for you to take advantage of! Here is my summer vision board I created using Canva!
Make a Photo Collage
Make your 2021 summer vision board into a picture collage! You could also do this on Canva, or in other apps like PicStitch! Again, you could make a collage specifically for your phone lock screen, your desktop screen saver, or to print and hang in your room or office!
Check out this article on various apps to use to make a digital vision board!
Still looking for some additional summer inspo? Check out my Pinterest page and while you’re there, feel free to give me a follow!
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!
A little change of pace today for our February Passion Piece Feature!!! Rather than featuring one individual this month, we’ve got a little group feature! Since self-love has been on my mind and in my heart this month, I took to social media and asked my friends and followers to share with me a little bit about self-love through their own eyes. I don’t think there is one way to define “self-love;” it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of idea. We are all so unique and outstanding in our own beautiful ways, which means that how we each practice and recognize self-love is entirely individual.
You’re probably thinking “tell me something I don’t know, Angela, of course we are all different!” YES. RIGHT. SO. Why am I highlighting this? Because I think it’s important to note, for individuals of all ages, that the practice of self-care and what that idea means for you does not have to be static. Every day, every month, every year- your self-care practices and the way you view what self-love is is bound to change. And it should! That only means you are growing and learning more about yourself and the crazy, weird, complex thing that love (in all its forms) is.
I asked my little hive to share with me a time when they practiced a radical act of self-love, something they love about themselves, or what self-love means to them. These nine individuals are some of my closest friends, and I am so grateful to be able to feature them this week- even just a little bit! The variety in their responses has been so incredible and has illuminated new ways in which I can look for and cultivate self-love in my own life. I hope they do the same for you. I’ll share my little blurb at the end, but for now, check out what these beautiful humans (we shall call them “The Self-Love Brothers and Sisters”) had to say on self-love!
The Self-Love Brothers and Sisters
Alexia, 23, Philadelphia, PA
“Self-Love: Having a solo dance party and filming clips of it to see my pure happiness. Learning to do my makeup for ME and no one else. Dying my hair HOT pink because I wanted to. Cutting toxic people out of my life was the biggest act of self-love I have ever performed. I love my ambition and drive to be the best person I can be.”
Molly, 19, Lansdale, PA
“I honestly struggle to be compassionate & loving with myself and it’s constantly a work in progress for me personally, but I was really proud of myself for the way I committed myself to getting into better physical & mental shape over quarantine! I came out of freshman year feeling really crappy about myself given my own mental state & the people and energy I was investing so much of myself into, and I knew that I was capable of and wanted so much better for myself, so I went for it! & I still have some really shit days and mental health is up and down but that was a choice out of love for myself that I was really genuinely proud of.”
Lexi, 21, Hazleton, PA
“I love that I love helping other people. I love that, as a consumer, I make eco conscious choices whenever I can. I love my creativity and DIY spirit. I love how my hair dries in waves when I shower before bed.”
Arrianna, 22, Pottsville, PA
“My boyfriend at the time broke up with me about two months before I left to study abroad. I spent those three months overseas to discover who I am, what I love, where I needed to grow, and honestly just take in the world around me to appreciate the big picture rather than getting stuck on the small stuff that doesn’t matter.”
Cathy, 23, Macungie, PA
“To me, self-love is about putting your health and well-being before the trivial aspects of life!”
Bella, 21, Souderton, PA
“I’ve been on the self-love, single gal train for almost 5 years now…(wow) And I’ve definitely learned so much about myself! These past 5 years I’ve committed to listening to MY wants, needs, and passions. I’ve learned how I show love and how I like to receive love. I’ve learned what I deserve and not to settle even if lonely nights seem to find me more often than not. I know this all sounds so stereotypical but the day I decided to put myself first and start the journey to self-love, I’ve never looked back! That isn’t to say that I don’t still have to actively remind myself to be nice to my body and mind but it’s a battle I am willing to fight every day.”
Kailey, 22, Royersford, PA
“Studying abroad, even when I was in a serious relationship. I decided to be selfish and it was the best decision I made. Now that I’m not with that person, I’m glad I did it and chose to put myself first. Best decision I ever made.”
Ryan, 21, Laredo, TX
“Self-love means doing things that make you happy.”
Chloe, 26, Minneapolis, MN
“Before the pandemic I would take myself on dates! Get my nails done, have a museum day, dress up and go to dinner. It was learning that being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely and instead focusing on how to fall in love with being by yourself because at the end of the day you are with you until the very end💛”
Angela, 23, Sugarloaf, PA
To me, self-love is learning what you need and refusing to settle for anything less than that. It means cultivating a schedule and a routine that serves your needs on a daily basis and doing what you can to make the unpredictable moments a little less stressful. I’m still working on that. It means refusing to settle and always pushing yourself to try new things and being as open to change as you can be (REALLY still working on that). In my own life, spending serious time on my own and learning how to love myself in the last year and a half has been the ultimate act of self-love. Working on myself, for myself, and for the future individual(s) I will come to love is one of the greatest gifts I could ever give myself in the long run. Little random acts of self-love that I try to do often are manifesting, putting the phone down when I feel burnt out, eating foods I like because I can, and spending time in the quiet.
I hope that now, more than ever, you are finding new ways to practice self-love, and maybe dusting off ways in which you’ve practiced before if it’s been a while since you’ve taken time for YOU. You can start by writing down 3 things you love about yourself every day, or simply by listening to your body and honoring your own needs NO MATTER WHAT. You are so loved, and you deserve to feel that. What better way than to start from within?
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!