I hope your March is off to a wonderful start! I love the spring but it dooooes come with one tiny little downfall…daylight savings. Losing that hour of sleep? Yikes. I don’t know if anyone else experiences this, but some years losing that hour absolutely rocks my world and other years I feel completely fine! I’ve felt better in my adult years, so maybe it was a thing of the past? Who knows, I’ll report back on that one LOL
If you are not like me and losing an hour during daylight savings time IS a major slap in the face to your routine and schedule, you might be wondering how you can prevent that from happening this year or even just lessen the blow a bit. Based on my own experiences and a little bit of research, here are some helpful hints for surviving the monster that is daylight savings time!
Don’t Change Your Routine
Even though we are about to experience a little shake up in our routines, it’s just a blip on the radar! You don’t need to let it alter your whole routine! In fact, I think maintaining your typical routine is essential in getting through this time. Are you an early riser? Don’t compromise your schedule by pushing back your daily start time. Don’t push back or put off the workout, try to keep your days going just like any other. Your body won’t notice such a sudden change if you just keep your routine going as usual!
If You Don’t Have a Routine…Get One!
On the flip side, don’t have a real routine? Get one! Particularly a morning routine. Establish a daily start time for yourself and stick to it! From there, planning out how you start your day to set yourself up for success is totally up to you! Try your best to establish the basis of your routine- what you do first, second, third, and so on. Maybe you get up, make the bed, complete your gratitude practice, chug a glass of water, do a yoga flow, shower/brush teeth/skincare, then get dressed, do makeup, and get to work! That’s just an example of how to set yourself up for greatness with your routine right off the bat. Set up your routine in a way that works for you and then stick to it!
Go to Bed Earlier & Start Earlier
Listen. I love sleep and I SO appreciate the days that I’m able to sleep in. But during the switch up of daylight savings time, I encourage you to get an early start! If you’re going to go to bed earlier, adjust the time you’re waking up accordingly as well. If your body is telling you to get up, get up! And going off of this note…
Listen to Your Body
Again, if you’re body clock is telling you it’s time to go, get goin’! But, at the same time, if your body is telling you to slow down, slow down. If your body is craving an extra hour of sleep and you can afford it, then absolutely take that. If you’re craving a little afternoon cat nap, do it up! While maintaining your routine IS important during this transition, it’s much more important to listen to what your body is telling you. Don’t run yourself down if you can help it!
Take in the Sun!
Yes, daylight savings time is about to take away an hour of our beauty sleep, but what we are about to lose in sleep we are going to gain back in SUNSHINE! WOOHOO! Very few things make me happier than sunnier, longer days. Going outside, or even just finding a sweet little pocket of sun in your home is going to make you forget about that lost hour of sleep so freaking fast! There’s nothing better than a little Vitamin D to brighten your spirit and warm your soul. And, of course, if you’re going to be out in the sun make sure your skincare routine involves sunscreen and make sure to stay hydrated!
Try to Stay Off Electronics Before Bed
Limiting your electronic screen time before bed is always a good thing, but it will do you even better during the daylight savings transition. This is something I’ve been generally trying to implement into my nightly routine to ensure better rest for myself. While it seems like a no brainer, I’ve truthfully found limiting my screen time at night to be a struggle! More of a struggle of willpower, really, so if you’ve got stronger willpower than me chances are good you’ll be just fine! In the settings on my phone, I’ve set time limits on my social media apps; they lock at 11pm. The tricky part is, you always have the option to ignore the limit…which I’m guilty of doing. Aside from that, I turn my phone on do not disturb around 10pm. Staying off those screens before bed has been proven to improve your quality of sleep which will be SUPER important for you during this transition!
Develop a Wind-Down Routine
Once you’ve got your phone silenced and your limits set, you’re going to want to develop a wind-down routine for yourself to help get ready for bed. For me, my wind down routine usually starts with showering, doing my evening skincare routine, brushing my teeth, getting into my warm pajamas and getting into bed. Then, I’ll fill in my daily gratitude journal, and sometimes I’ll write in my regular journal as well. One of the monthly goals I usually set for myself is to read 1-2 books, and the last thing in my wind down routine is to at least read a chapter or two of whatever book I’m reading! I’ve found that reading before bed relaxes me just enough to get me ready for a good night’s sleep. Include anything in your wind-down routine that will get you feeling the same way!
Hopefully this little handful of tips will help you survive Daylight Savings Time and come out on the other side with your routine still intact! Mother Nature is about to pull us out of the winter blues slump and launch us forward into a beautiful new season of spring! Soak up the sun and enjoy a little extra time in your day- make the most of it however you can!
I’m sure plenty of you are feeling exactly as I am: like the month of March holds a lot of weight to it. It’s been a year since we were thrust into this new, crazy world that we’ve been living in, and of course, the month of March brings up what/how we were feeling this time last year. I’m right there with you; I had a tough time processing that we were entering March. But, and I say this in practice right along with you, I hope that the start of this spring season brings you a brand-new sense of peace and growth.
Haaaaappy March! Spring is on the way (hopefully)!
To me, spring seems to mark a fresh start more than the New Year does. I mean, think about it: we are in winter from December-March, so January and February can sometimes just feel like an extension of the previous year (this year ESPECIALLY). So, when the days start getting longer, the weather starts to heat up just a tad (again, hopefully), and all this new life starts to pop up in nature, THAT’S when I can feel the start of something new coming about (excuse my HSM reference).
If you’re anything like me, this spring fresh start also means it’s time to clean house, literally and figuratively. We want to start these new, sunnier, days with our space, our minds, and our bodies in a new place as well, right?! We are all familiar with the idea of spring-cleaning aka cleaning up our homes and spaces for the new season to come, but how can we take this idea of spring cleaning and incorporate it into other areas of our lives?
Here are 10 ways to help you ‘Spring Clean’ your life!
Spring Clean Tip #1: Find Some New Spring Inspo
Back in January I wrote about How to Create Your 2021 Vision Board, but who knows, your visions may have changed by now! You might’ve already accomplished some of the goals you had set out to accomplish, or maybe you’ve completely changed your perspective and have gone back to the drawing board. Both are great! Either way, you may need to look for some new inspiration as the spring season starts! Finding new quotes of graphics that align with where you are at this season could be a great start. Or maybe you just want to fill your life with all things spring! If you work from home, or you aren’t able to get out into nature as much as you wish you could, maybe you plaster your screens and the area around you with new spring photos/decor! You can check out my Pinterest HERE for some spring-y, new ideas!
Spring Clean Tip #2: Refresh Your Spring Goals and Approach
Start a fresh new set of goals for the spring season! As you might already know, I like to set monthly goals for myself, so maybe you just start with a fresh, new set of goals for March! Or maybe you compile a new set of spring goals just to take you until the start of summer- a more seasonal way of goal planning! If you feel comfortable and confident in the goals you’ve already established for yourself, maybe use th spring season to refresh the steps you’re taking in order to help you achieve your goals! Perhaps some are working, and others are not, which may be holding you back!
Spring Clean Tip #3: Examine Your Relationships/Friendships
Now that the excitement of a new year and new goals may have settled down a little bit, use this spring season to look at how your relationships are serving you and how you are serving them. This is a great time to look at your relationships, what is working, and what isn’t working from both parties. If you and your significant other, a member of your family, or a close friend have maybe been a little off and communication hasn’t been great- now is a great time to reassess where you’re at. Having an open dialogue about what you both need/do not need or want is extremely important. Are there ways you know you can do better for your people? Tell them. Are there things you need from others that you aren’t receiving? Tell them. The only thing that won’t help is keeping it all in another season longer! And ultimately, if there are people in your life you feel you need to let go of, this is the perfect time for a fresh start.
Spring Clean Tip #4: ‘Clean Up’ Your Habits
Use this new spring season to spruce up the habits in your life! Want to be more active? Cut back on junk food? Drink more water? Get to bed earlier and wake up earlier? Want to start journaling or reading more? Now is the perfect time! Take stock of what comprises your routines and adjust accordingly!
Spring Clean Tip #5: Social Media Detox/Revamp
If a social media ~cleanse~ of sorts is something you need to clear your headspace as you enter the spring, DO IT UP! Even if you don’t want to give up all platforms entirely, you can set time limits on your apps or decide to seriously limit the time you spend on your phone each day! You could also use this time to de-clutter your social media by unfollowing accounts you don’t engage with anymore. Take a scroll through who you follow and have no mercy! If you’re feeling like you need to mute someone, DO IT! There is absolutely no shame in it, and no one will know but you. If it will save your sanity when you do spend time online, I encourage it! I think this is one of the easiest ways to ‘spring clean’ your mind!
If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and you’re looking to totally revamp or rebrand your social media platforms in the new spring season, this would be a great time to do that as well! Everything else is the world is blossoming into what it’s meant to be, why shouldn’t you?!
Spring Clean Tip #6: De-Clutter Your Space
This spring, if it doesn’t bring you ultimate joy, TOSS IT. Go through it all: the boxes of memorabilia everywhere, the top shelves of your closet, clothes, shoes, books, papers, files on your computer, makeup, bathroom cabinets, etc. Go through your winter wardrobe, assess what you didn’t wear, and take that stuff to Goodwill or sell it! Also spring clean the spaces where you spend most of your time…the car, your desk, or your home office! I did this when I came back home from living in my apartment and I’m SO ready to do it again! While you’re on a roll, after you’ve gotten rid of things, do your best to organize what is left in all of your spaces! Buy the cute organization boxes, you won’t regret it.
Need the help of a professional during your spring cleaning spree this season? Give Nash Everett a call! They’ve got services in PA via Morrisville mold removal if you’ve got any pesky mold to take care of or are looking to keep your air quality top notch! Their trained technicians will safely and efficiently help spruce up any area in your home from attics, crawl spaces, basements, and more! Through their eco-friendly dry ice blasting mold removal service, they will ensure that your space stays bacteria free! Hooray for clean, spring air!
Spring Clean Tip #7: Get Your Finances Straight
I know that I always feel 1,000% better when I have my finances straight! If you don’t already keep a spreadsheet or log of your spending/earnings/bills, now is the perfect time to start! For bills I pay, this helps me stay on top of what is coming up AND helps keep my extra spending in check. It’s as easy as making a Google spreadsheet! In my Bullet Journal Templates I also have sheets to help you track your spending/earning! This could also be a great time to start putting a little piece of your paycheck into your savings (if you don’t already)! This will help you out in the long run!
Spring Clean Tip #8: Find Quiet Time
Carve out time in your day or throughout the week to just find quiet. Put your phone on silent, close the laptop, and find time to simply be with yourself. I know for me personally, I love quiet time. I definitely suffer from constant running thoughts, so when I’m able to quiet my mind, even just for a little while, it’s always a treasure. Read a book, meditate, journal, just sit and reflect on your day, do your gratitude practice- do anything that allows you to be more present!
Spring Clean Tip #9: Find Time for Self-Care
This might not be all that different from finding quiet time, but find time in your life to practice self-care, whatever that means to you! Moving your body, enjoying a cup of coffee, taking a bath, paying your bills, planning out your week- anything! Just find time that is completely YOURS to be selfish with!
Spring Clean Tip #10: Try Something New
We’ve all gotten really good at adopting new skills since the pandemic made us all professional bakers, knitters, and crafters! But there is always room to try something new or find a new hobby! Or, if you’ve been wanting to do something you used to do a lot, but you’ve been putting off, now is the perfect time to get into it! We are extremely lucky to live in a world where we have the technology to take online classes and find so much information online. It’s all there at our fingertips, you just have to go for it!
I hope these ideas will help you ‘Spring Clean’ your life as we approach spring! Keep holding on, the sunshine and warmth is coming our way!
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!
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?
We’ve survived the first month of 2021! We have a new President, a new LADY Vice President. There is hope! While a new year and a new month cannot erase the scars left by the year-that-shall-not-be-named, I hope, nonetheless, that your year is off to a great start!
These monthly round posts are always some of my favorite to write because they help me take time to reflect on the smaller moments that make up the grand scheme of things. Going forward in this year, I encourage you to try to do this as well. I love to plan and look ahead, that’s part of who I am, but learning how to break my year down into months and my months down into weeks have infinitely helped me stay in the moment more while still allowing me to look ahead. Just not on such a grand, large scale!
January always feels like it lasts for an eternity, and this year the month was no different. At first, I felt like there was momentum but about right in the middle of the month I felt things slow down. That’s probably because I had started to better settle into the new routines I set out to establish in this new year. Let me tell you a bit about my January!
If I had to land on a word that would describe my January it would probably be ‘accountability,’ as I started a few new things that would require me to demand accountability from myself, for myself. First, I joined The Ensemble Membership with Dance From Home (check out my Passion Piece Feature with the owner of Dance From Home, Megan Bowen, HERE)! This meant that I would be taking 2 dance classes and 2 dance cardio/ strengthening classes a week. I was really excited and anxious to bring dance and activity back into my life in a more intentional way and being part of the membership has been completely worth it. This did, however, require discipline- because it’s been a minute since I had a regularly show up for myself like this.
I have always been one to start something like this and never finish it. I said it. But, for many reasons, I wanted to push myself in this first month of a new year and a new venture to stop making excuses. Every time I felt like not showing up to a class, I showed up. It was hard after a long day at work to bring myself to class sometimes, but I did it because I knew I would feel much better when it was finished. Some days, I struggled and had to really modify. Some days, my mind and body surprised me in how well they showed up for me. It was a move I didn’t know I needed to make, but I’m so glad I did.
I also took part in Yoga with Adriene’s 30-Day Yoga Journey that she curates every January. This year, the theme was Breath. It was my first year taking part in the journey as a new yoga teacher myself; the depth and growth I was able to cultivate in the daily practice was incredible. I love yoga so very much, but this, too, was still a challenge in dedication and discipline for me! Because I was also taking the classes with Dance From Home every night, I had to do the yoga videos in the morning before work- most days at around 6am (you can see why getting my a** to those dance classes was a little tough sometimes lol). As you’re reading this, I’m in the final week of the challenge!
Because I wanted to approach this 30-day journey in a new way, I decided to put together an accountability group for any friends of mine who were looking to take part in the challenge and wanted to feel the support of a closer community. I had about 9 girls join the group, and we communicated almost every day- keeping each other accountable and on track. I loved having a group to go to myself, because even though I was “leading” the group, I needed them for accountability just as much as they needed me. It was beautiful to see women from many different corners of my life all come together to practice yoga and support one another- whether they had met before or not!
I am SO proud of myself- I accomplished almost all the personal and blog goals I set for myself this month! None of them were huge goals, all little things for myself, but the fact that I stayed committed to them makes me very happy. I’m hoping to carry this momentum with me into February and the rest of 2021!
Now, onto some things I LOVED this month!
Didn’t See That Coming by Rachel Hollis
Night Stalker (Netflix)…creepy AF but good
Yoga With Adriene 30-Day Yoga Journey: Breath
P.S. this content is free on YouTube and you can complete the videos any time you want! Give it a try and let me know if you do!!!
Verb Energy Bars
Click HERE to try 4 of their top flavors for only $0.95!
OPI Gel Nail Polish
This is quickly becoming my favorite gel nail polish brand! So far, I’ve found the handful of colors I have at T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s! If you want to read up on how I do my own gel manicure at home for WAY less than the salon, click HERE!
Bliss- Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Serum
I had been searching for a vitamin C serum for a while, and I found this one at CVS! It’s affordable, smells SO yummy, and makes my skin look bright and beautiful!
Keeping my stainless-steel water bottle on my night stand- first thing I would do when I woke up was drink water to get things moving and grooving in my body! Still cold from the night before!
Setting time limits on my phone!!! Never before 8 and never after 11!…now I just have to…stick to it…
There you have it! JANUARY! Like I said before, the start of a new year and a new month can’t erase what our world is going through or what I’ve gone through personally since last March, but I do feel like having this little bit of a fresh start set me on a new and promising path! I feel a little bit lighter and I feel like I’m starting to cultivate better behaviors that will serve me physically, mentally, and spiritually in 2021. Here’s to carrying this energy through for the next 11 months! We can do hard things!
Next week is FEBRUARY! If you want to grab the blog’s February Freebie, The February Self-Love Journal, head to the homepage and subscribe with an email!
Hello my friends, I hope you’re all doing well and finding joy in this New Year!
But we all know what month it is. January. *sigh*
January usually feels like the longest month in all of eternity. That one extra day in there really makes all the difference, right? Plenty of other months have 31 days, why don’t they seem to drag on as long as January always does? AND…it’s cold. I’m in Pennsylvania, and January/February (sometimes well into March or April) are the peak chilly months. By chilly I mean unbearably cold. Maybe I’m just a big baby, maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m already cold 24/7, maybe it’s because I love summer- who’s to say?
I don’t know about you, but for myself and many others, January brings the winter blues. Snow is beautiful, the changing seasons are always incredible to witness, but the frigid temps, the shorter days, and how early it gets dark can all bring on this wintery sadness. So how can we combat these feelings? With winter self-care, of course!
Honestly, winter self-care doesn’t have to be that different from your typically self-care routine that you have all year round! With some special attention, any self-care routine can be transformed into one that suits your wintery needs. Not sure where to start? I’ve put together some winter self-care ideas for you that cover a variety of different sectors of self-care, so hopefully there will be something you can take away from each and implement into your routine! Check it out!
Winter Self-Care: Personal Comfort
Personal comfort, to me, means feelings as comfortable as possible at all time. Full disclosure: I hate real pants. I think the idea of cute pants is great, but I like a comfy pant, a warm sweater, all the layers, etc. And, like I said, I am ALWAYS cold. I like to ensure my comfort when I’m trying to take care of myself and that also means keeping myself warm, warm, warm. Here are a few of my favorite must-haves you can get to make personal comfort part of your winter self-care routine:
Fuzzy Jackets or Sherpas
I recently got the one in this picture for Christmas, it’s Koolaburra by Ugg, but you can literally find these babies ANYWHERE- T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Walmart, Amazon, and Target are going to be the best places to get them for an affordable price!
The same ones I’m wearing in this picture are from The Loft and I am IN LOVE with them. I want them in every color. You can find these and many more cute pairs from places like The Loft, Aerie, or Target.
A Cozy Bath Robe
We’ll get to baths in a moment but having a bath robe to slip on in the winter has been a lifesaver! I love being able to lock in the heat from a nice hot bath and feel all wrapped up and held for the rest of my evening. Sometimes, I’ll even just throw my robe on as a warm kind of sweater to wear with my PJ’s or comfy clothes all day long! I got mine from a T.J. Maxx, I would highly recommend looking there or a Marshall’s for a variety of robes- again for the best deal!
Winter Self-Care: Skin/Body Care
It’s winter. We’re cold. Our skin is dry. HELP.
A GOOD Face Moisturizer
Having a good moisturizer in the winter months is essential! I know, especially in college, my little cheeks would get so dry being outside and walking from place to place. Even now, the air is just so dry and chilly that it’s so necessary to give our skin that drink its craving! I use Tula 24/7 Moisture Hydrating Day & Night Cream in the mornings and at night. I would also recommend LXMI Creme Du Nil, if you’re looking for something a little more “high end.” The two best drug store moisturizers I would recommend for the winter months (or any time) would be Cetaphil and CeraVe!
A Hydrating Face Mask
I love using an overnight hydrating mask when my skin feels especially dry and thirsty! There are TONS of these on the market, so find what works for you (the same goes for literally any suggestion I make, always do what works for you first) BUT I use Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask! (you can get this online, but I found a 2-Pack at my T.J. Maxx for a great price…so keep an eye out, always!)
So, our skin is dry and dead, and we must do something about it, right? Yes. Find an awesome body scrub and get scrubbing! Pick your preference, salt or sugar, and make sure it isn’t too harsh to use on your entire body. Right now, I’m using the Aromatherapy Sleep Lavender + Vanilla sugar scrub from Bath & Body Works! I like to shower/bathe at night, so I like that the lavender smell sticks with me until I go to bed AND usually my sheets and I still smell like lavender in the morning!
Well, you’ve scrubbed all the dead stuff off, so now you must LOCK IN the moisture with your best body lotion. I’ll be honest, because I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I shave my legs WAY less in the winter. So, since my brain associates lotion with shaving and smooth legs, I often neglect to lotion my less-than-smooth legs in the winter months. I’m trying to be better about it, though! I either use the Water Hyaluronic Acid lotion from Bath & Body Works or Josie Maran body butters! LOVE a good body butter for the winter!
Take That Bath!
Fill up that tub with the hottest water you’ve got and RELAX! Use your favorite bubble bath, bath oils or bath salts, really set up the ambiance in your bathroom and just make yourself feel special for once! Don’t like baths? You can do the same things standing up in the shower! Very few things compare to a hot shower or bath in my mind. Relax and renew!
Winter Self-Care: In Your Space
The feeling of my personal space is an extremely important part of my own self-care routine. I’ve written before about how the space I’m living in becomes my little sacred place, so it’s really important to me that my space feels warm and welcoming. Here are a few things I make sure I incorporate into my space that make me feel good!
Essential oils & essential oil diffuser
Decorative and comfy pillows
Low lighting (I have twinkly lights hanging and usually only use those and my bedside lamp to light the space)
Warmth (you could always get a small space heater if you don’t have a thermostat in your space!)
Whatever conditions in which you feel the most comfortable and secure, find ways to create those in your space!
Winter Self-Care: Mind, Body, Spirit Care
Taking care of your mind, body, and spirit is such an important part of self-care (well 3 important parts, really). Whatever brings you peace in those 3 areas of your life: DO THOSE THINGS! Here are a few suggestions:
Keep moving your body
I know many people are ready to smash new year’s resolutions right now, but the winter and the cold often makes people less inclined to get physical. I encourage you to do something each day, or as often as you’d like, to get your blood flowing and body moving! You could do yoga, walk/run on the treadmill, go outside and walk/run, dance, stretch- literally anything that truly brings you joy and gets you moving. You’ll feel amazing after, I promise!
Drink lots of water
Pretty self-explanatory! Stay hydrated! I’m trying to get up and have a glass of water with lemon each morning!
Watch your favorite shows or movies
Listen to your favorite podcasts
Read books you love OR read new books
Hibernate aka rest when you need to!
That last one may be the most important thing to take from this whole post. Self-care also means listening to what your body is telling you, what it is asking you, listening, and taking necessary steps! At the start, self-care may simply be you starting to listen to your body and what it’s asking for before you even dive into doing all these things! If you are tired, REST. Taking care of yourself IS productive, because how else are you supposed to get anything else done if your mind/body/spirit is in tip-top condition? Whether you believe it or not, you deserve the best for yourself and you are capable of making that happen.
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.
Back again with the FINAL Passion Piece Feature of the year! Before we dive in, I have to thank you all for embracing and reading these features every month! Some of these Passion Piece Features have been some of the most viewed posts from the blog since I got started in May and it makes my heart burst with joy knowing you enjoy reading about these amazing individuals as much as I love getting to share them with you!
I’m SO happy to finish out the year featuring a wonderful friend of mine and incredible artist, Mackenzie Moyer! Here’s a bit about Mackenzie in her own words:
“My name is Mackenzie Moyer, and I am a recent grad of DeSales University (class of 2020 woohoo!), where I earned my B.A. in Theatre. When I am not acting, you can find me running my business (Some Wandearrings, LLC), playing Dungeons & Dragons, or writing. When I am acting, I am usually kicking butt in period dramas, dabbling in witchcraft, or annoying my stage husband in high comedy. My special skills include breathing in a corset, a reliable nose whistle, and being able to perform the famed dance move: The Worm.”
Yes, all of that is just as incredible as it sounds. This girl *full stop.* DOES. IT. ALL. She does it all, and she does it all WELL! She’s an incredibly talented actress, writer, model, and a freaking small business owner!!! I’ve known Mackenzie for 4+ years now, and I have always admired her for the hard work, dedication, and passion she pours into literally everything that she does. I have worked alongside her, watched her work from afar (is that creepy? let’s go with no), and the drive she possesses truly is just unreal. This girl gets shit done. On top of all that, the zest and excitement Mackenzie has for life, especially the little things in life, is so admirable and inspiring. She fights for what she believes in, she fights for others who may not be able to fight for themselves, and always leads with her good-natured heart. She has been there with me and for me in some of the best and worst moments of our college careers and for that, I am so grateful.
When the pandemic hit, Mackenzie took her creativity into another amazing venture: owning her own business, Some Wandearrings. She makes STUNNING hand-made and hand-painted earrings inspired by classical art and natural beauty (two things this woman literally embodies) and is committed to raising and donating money to various organizations helping the fight for racial justice. I’ve watched her and this business grow exponentially over the last few months, and the impact she has made and continues to make is astounding. This time has been extremely difficult for artists, but it has been so beautiful to watch my colleagues and friends, especially ones like Mackenzie, coming into their own and finding additional spaces in which their passions lie.
Here is our chat!
Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?
I’m Mackenzie! I’m from the Philly suburbs, and I’m currently living with my parents in PA to ride out this pandemic!
What are you currently doing for work, if anything?
HA. Well, I have been doing a lot of little things off and on, as the restrictions ebb and flow. I have a part-time retail job, I run a jewelry business (the biggie), and I have another part-time job at a local paint-and-sip place! My jewelry business (Some Wandearrings, LLC) was started in June as a way to raise money for the BLM movement, and has since become a small business, and an on-going way to monetarily donate to BIPOC organizations, while also keeping me busy and employed. I have always loved making things with my hands (I’m an avid crafter), and getting to share my jewelry with people and feel their support has been a great blessing. Plus, owning a small business has opened my eyes to a whole new section of the economy, cultivated a new skill set, and given me a whole new community! It has been equal parts exhausting and rewarding, and I am very thankful.
Tell me a little about your journey as a performer and how it has brought you to where you are today?
I grew up in an athletic household (read: my parents ran marathons for fun. Marathons. As in plural.), but from a very young age I was drawn to singing, writing, and performance. I both sang in church choir AND was on a travel soccer team for a lot of my childhood (#versatile), but late middle school into high school I transitioned into solely the arts. I was lucky enough to have always known what I wanted to do! I got my degree in theatre from DeSales University, and “graduated” this past May (we all know the reason for the quotes). While my degree is in Musical Theatre, I feel much more called to TV/Film work and straight plays, especially classical and period plays (or fresh adaptations of classical tropes)! As is the story with many performers, my career is kinda on hold right now, save for some online theatre (which has been quite rewarding, even though challenging and strange).
If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!
My first and foremost passion is performance and acting. It’s just something I can’t imagine not doing. Writing – when I was a little girl, I also wanted to be a writer, and would write lots of poems and stories in my free time. I don’t do it as often now, but it’s still a hobby I very much enjoy. Painting & crafting – I took up painting in high school as a hobby and picked it back up in the pandemic when I started my business! I’m also a sucker for a good collage. Dungeons & Dragons – I started playing in college, and now I just want to play 24/7. It’s collaborative fantasy storytelling – it’s so fun and is so tied into what I do as a performer anyways. It’s just the best. Period dramas. I said what I said. Catch me talking about Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Little Women, and the like any day of the week.
Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?
My jewelry business is alllll about the hand painted earrings! It’s been really fun to delve back into painting (especially such small and detailed work!) and get to share it with so many people in such a personal way. In terms of acting and performing, I have been lucky to get the chance to participate in several readings and online productions – I am currently playing Jo March in a four-person adaptation of Little Women (by the brilliant Heather Chrisler). So, I am still flexing those actor muscles as much as I can while lying in wait!
What has been inspiring you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world/our industry?
I have loved seeing my friends and fellow creatives create their own Youtube channels, podcasts, start their own businesses, mount their own virtual shows. It’s been a blessing to see people put themselves out there in a time where I think so many of us feel limited and stifled. It’s an act of bravery, and it brings so much joy.
What are some things you like to do in your down time to foster your passions, so they stay just as alive as your work?
Honestly? I’ve been watching a lot of TV (it keeps me company while I paint and craft) which is something I never used to have time for or want to do. It has kept me excited about the industry and helped me figure out the type of work I want to pursue post-pandemic (of note: Hulu’s The Great, Netflix’s Anne with an E, and, of course, Fleabag). In terms of non-performance related shtuff, I play D&D with pals, peruse Pinterest (for inspiration for future projects), and journal or write.
What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?
1. Be a truly decent person – which seems like an obvious goal, but I believe it takes genuine effort and intellectual/emotional investment to be good. It’s easy to be kind, it’s harder to be good. I wasn’t originally going to put this as one of my goals for this question, but I think it’s important to speak on the belief in human beings to grow and evolve and learn and acknowledge that it takes work. 2. Work steadily as a performer on material I care about, with people I care about. I have specific goals and ideals about what kind of work (i.e.: period film/tv pieces, Shakespeare, new adaptations of classical styles, etc.), and I have big, outlandish goals (star in a Broadway play, be in an Oscar-winning film), but if I can pay the bills and have a laugh off stage or on set with friends, then I think I trust that. 3. Write something really good and put it out into the world. I’m not sure yet what it will be – a book of poetry, a one-woman show, a novel. But one of my childhood dreams was to be an author, and I think I have it in me yet.
What does your self-care routine look like?
Well, it used to look very different, and I am sure it will look very different again when the pandemic is over. Recently (it’s about to get real here), I’ve been struggling with lack of motivation, seasonal depression, and all that fun stuff that winter and darkness and isolation can bring us. So, anyone out there feeling this way – you aren’t alone! BUT despite those feelings, almost every day I go for a long walk around my neighborhood and listen to a D&D podcast. It’s my time to get out of the house, get some exercise, and get my mind off of whatever is troubling me. I also bake a lot, and I have been watching TV like crazy like I mentioned above. I also journal pretty frequently, which is not only helpful, but will be such a gift to be able look back on such a monumental time in my life and the world.
What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?
Right now, it’s a pandemic. So my advice now is different from what my pre-pandemic (or post-pandemic) advice would be. Right now? Do what you gotta do to get through it. For real.
That being said, even if you can’t actively pursue your passions right now, for whatever reason, what seeds can you sow that you can reap the benefits from post-pandemic? What skills can you learn, plans can you make, habits can you form, vision boards can you meditate on? (Listen, I love me a Pinterest board.) I am usually ALL ABOUT the grind. I love being busy, I’m ambitious, I’m motivated. But in this season, at this moment, I’m moving slowly. I’m listening to my body, to my gut. I’m learning to swim in these feelings of uncertainty and fear and frustration instead of letting them drown me. I’m pushing myself when appropriate. But unprecedented times call for new tactics, new ways of living. Find your new tactics, invest in them, and then allow yourself to get excited for what’s to come when we emerge on the other side.
As I am writing this post and re-reading Mackenzie’s responses, I can assure you that I am in awe right along with you. What a beautiful way to end this post, and an even more beautiful and inspiring way to end this chapter of Passion Piece Features. I feel so lucky to get to read these responses, connect with new friends, and reconnect with old ones. Mackenzie is absolutely right, we are all learning, growing, and adapting to this brand-new way of life and we continue to do so within every new season the universe hands us. May you all do what you can to get through and know you’ve got people here to hold you up if/when you need it.
A huge thank you to Mackenzie for her time and energy! Check her and her business out on Instagram @mackenzie_moyer, @somewandearrings, and check out her actor website at http://www.mackenzie-moyer.com!
Stay tuned for the LAST BLOG POSTS OF 2020 coming your way soon!
Last month I highlighted a few ways to get your holiday gift list organized, so now we are ready for the next step. Shopping! You may have done some shopping during those Black Friday sales or you may just be getting started, to each their own! Regardless of when you start your shopping, you may have that someone on your list that you just…don’t know how to buy for! Whether it be a friend, a family member, a co-worker, some people just always seem to stump you! It may not even be that they are difficult to shop for, you just may not be able to come up with ideas off the top of your head which can leave you feeling lost when it comes to heading to the stores (or heading to your laptop in this year’s case).
I asked social media and did some thinking of my own, and I’ve come up with a list of some simple, easy-to-find and easy-to-give gifts for just about anyone in your life this holiday season!
Something that a few people said they would want to receive as a gift was a book, specifically a book they have been wanting! If you know a bookworm, this is definitely the perfect gift! I know, from personal experience, for some reason I don’t always jump to buy a book for myself over something else I want…and I’m an avid reader! It’s always really thoughtful to be gifted a book I’ve talked about over and over to a friend. It could also be really personal to purchase a book for someone on a topic you know they are really interested, or something you know they are interested in learning more about! Even if you don’t know what book to buy someone, a gift card to a bookstore could be great. Even better if the bookstore is a small business!! Two books I personally would give as a gift ANY time are Untamed by Glennon Doyle and Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer.
Another personal gift for any friend or family member would be framed photos! Photos always act as a beautiful memento of a friendship, relationship, or memory of a loved one! Places like T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, and Target have really affordable frames, and it only costs a few cents to print photos from places like Walmart or CVS! If you’re looking for prints that are a little fancier, try a place online like Parabo Press where you can get square prints, wall art, photo books, gallery displays, calendars, and more! Click here to shop and use the code HGZPAW for $10 off your order!
I love this idea, definitely because I’m a paper/notebook/stationary nerd! I have lots of friends who are small business owners and having personalized note cards is something so thoughtful and useful if they are sending out thank you cards or little personalized notes! Having personalized notepads and desk calendars is also something that can be useful for any college student or at-home worker! If you’re looking for some really gorgeous, personalized planners, notepads, notecards and more- Ivory Paper Co. is your spot! They’ve got it all and it is SO stunning and durable! Plus, they’re a small business! WooHoo! Click here to shop the Ivory Paper Co. Website!
Blue Light Glasses
Here we are, December 2020, and we are ALL sitting on our computers STILL. My blue light glasses have been such a saving grace ever since I started the blog, since I spend a decent amount of time on the computer these days! If you know someone who is taking classes online or working from home, chances are good they could use a pair of blue light glasses, too! I have two pair, one from Amazon and another from Francesca’s!
Pajamas may seem like a simple gift, but if you’ve got someone in your life who just likes to snuggle up and stay warm during the chilly winter months, cozy pajamas are essential! Old Navy has the cutest holiday pajama sets, and you could even spice them up with a robe, cute slippers, and socks from just about anywhere! To be honest, I have a lot of pajama sets from Walmart that I absolutely love- plus they are really affordable! Maybe you even do a cute little pajama exchange with your peeps and have a holiday movie and wine night over Zoom! It could be a great way to make the most out of the situation!
Just about any jewelry makes for a great gift, but earrings seem to be big this year! Personally, I have really gotten into the big earrings trend because of having to wear a mask! We can’t utilize lipstick as much as a form of self-expression when we are out, so earrings are the way to go! Polymer clay and resin earrings are big right now!! If you’re looking for some awesome small business accounts to check out, check out: @somewanderearrings and @earringsbyvic. Instagram is the perfect place to look for small businesses to support! You can definitely fall down the rabbit hole and search until you find what you’re looking for!
Additionally, one of my favorite jewelry brands to gift during the holidays is Sashka Co.! These bracelets are the perfect, affordable gift for the jewelry lover in your life! Each glass bead bracelet is handmade, and the company’s mission is to provide sustainable jobs for women in Nepal! Click HERE to check out these gorgeous bracelets!
A Self-Care Beauty Bundle
For the purpose of this gift idea, I’m referring to self-care in the form of baths, relaxations, and “treating oneself.” Lots of people on social media said they’d like to receive things like face masks, hair masks, chapsticks, etc. It could be super cute to gather up those items and maybe a few others like bath bombs, bath salts, a loofah, nail polishes, fuzzy socks, and anything else you can think of, gathering them up, and creating a self-care beauty bundle! You could include wine, candy, and other snacks to amp it up a bit, too!
Gel Mani Set Up
When you hear “gel manicure” you may automatically think of the $25-30 dollar service you get at a salon but buying the tools to start doing your own gel mani at home is actually rather affordable! I’m going to put a link HERE to one of my previous posts “How To Get Your Best At-Home Gel Mani.” In it, I highlight all the tools and products a person may need to get started, links and all! Even just getting someone the UV lamp and base/topcoats will help kickstart their at-home mani process immensely!
Reusable Coffee Cups/Water Bottles
I will admit, I also have a slight obsession with cups and water bottles LOL. I also love mugs, but since I tend to be going, going, going I am always seeking out new reusable travel cups and water bottles! If you have people in your life who love all things cold (even in the winter months) you could get them a nice stainless-steel water bottle or travel mug! Again, T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s always have affordable, versatile options! If your peeps are hot beverage people too, or they don’t really have a preference, reusable plastic cups are a perfect gift! Check out PeachesbyPaige and ShopAnnieandLulu on Etsy for adorable, affordable reusable cups (and more!).
Coffee Gift Cards (or any gift cards, really)
People may say that gift cards are impersonal, but I would argue that gift cards for just about anything make THE perfect gift. It’s giving the gift of choice! Let’s be real. We all love and appreciate receiving Dunkin’ and Starbucks cards. We just do! It’s really nice, especially around the holidays, to have the bill for our caffeine addictions paid for! It’s ALSO really nice to walk into Target or T.J. Maxx and know that part of all the unnecessary things we put into our cart will be covered, thanks to a friend or family member! If you’re feeling COMPLETELY stuck and just don’t know what to get a person: GET. THE. GIFT CARD. No offense to the candles out there, I love a good candle, but I would much rather pick out something I’ve had my eye on with a gift card than receive my 900th holiday candle (hence why candles were not on my list!).
I hope this helps you CRUSH your holiday shopping this season! Please stay safe if you’re going out shopping at all! Wear your mask and abide by any and all restrictions stores may have! Make smart choices and order online as much as you can. Just about all these gift suggestions can be purchased online, so please be smart! Your friends and family will thank you! HAPPY DECEMBER!