Where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to, and what’s coming next…
Hello BTF Friends!!!
Long time, no talk! Holy moly, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve hopped on my computer to write like this. I’m excited, nervous, all the feelings as I sit here, hoping you’ll all find this an exciting (and interesting) post/update.
In case you missed it, I’ve been a liiiittle MIA- for lots of amazing reasons that I’ll get into later. I haven’t published a blog post since December of 2021, but even before that my blogging efforts were spotty. It’s probably been about 6 months since I’ve shared posts consistently BUT today is the blog’s 2nd birthday!! So, there’s no better time than the present to jump back in, give you a little life update, and give you an idea of what the future of the blog might look like!
Where I’ve Been & What I’ve Been Up To…
So she’s been MIA, but where has she been??
You all know (if you didn’t, now you will) that I studied musical theatre and my primary focus since theatre started opening back up has been to pursue THAT. Since November of 2021, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a National Tour!! Being in a tour was one of my biggest goals post-grad, and it’s been such a blessing. Not only have I been able to do what I love, but I’ve made so many new amazing friends that are now like my family AND I’ve had the opportunity to do some traveling! In about 3 weeks between the end of March and the beginning of April we traveled to six cities with the show, going between charter buses and a sleeper bus (what an experience).
Because the show is totally new, there are a lot of moving parts and there’s a lot that goes into getting it on its feet and in front of larger audiences. Our performances in November/December and March/April were part of two ‘mini-tours’ and it’s the hope that the full North American tour will be hitting the road again later this year!
So, as you can imagine, rehearsing, hitting the road, and being in a new city at least every other day leaves little room for much else. I spent most of my time exploring the new cities between performances and getting as much rest as I could. Honestly, my brain only had the capacity to think about our travel and performance schedules which left me without much creative inspiration outside of what I needed to be focusing on.
Since taking this break from the blog there have been tons of times when I’ve had the urge to sit down and write but had absolutely no inspiration. Very early on in this blogging journey, I often found myself under this self-imposed pressure to publish a new post once a week, follow a self-prescribed schedule I felt very rigid in, and do everything ‘right’ to try and make this platform grow. While it’s still my goal to grow this platform and reach as many people as I can with the content I’m creating, I’m slowly realizing that if I don’t do this blogging thing for myself first then what good is it?
In the digital age we are so wrapped up in where creating content is what gets people noticed, it’s easy to get caught up in this unspoken “pressure” to create great content and create it consistently. And while no one has made ME feel this way directly, I often get caught in the web of comparison that the internet easily creates. I see other bloggers working with brands, brands I’ve attempted to work with or not, and creating new blog, Instagram, and Tik Tok posts consistently while I’ve been busy and I can’t help but feel sometimes like I’m not a “real” blogger because I’m not keeping up.
Trust me: I know this is COMPLETELY false and I am no less of a creative because I’ve had to put one creative endeavor on the back burner while focusing on another, the one I’ve dreamt of always putting first.
All this to say- I love this blog, I love the content I have created, and it is going to continue to be part of my life. How it fits in though will be on MY terms and not any that may be imposed on me by the world of social media! It’s healthier that way and it’ll allow me to focus on what I love about all of my creative works. I started this blog for myself in a time that was so uncertain and it continues to grow and shift with me as I continue life in an amazing (but sometimes uncertain) career!
What’s Coming Next…
Now that I’ve explained my entire thought process to you, I think it’s clear to see that I may not have an exact direction of what comes next for Beyond the Footlights. And I don’t think I totally have to have a clearly defined answer just yet! As I have the time to create content that I think is relevant, I will! During busy times working in other creative fields, I may not create as much blog content and that’s that!
Even two years into this whole blogging thing, I still feel like I don’t totally have a clear direction of what type of content I’d like to focus on! My ideas have shifted and continue to do so, so I think that will be reflected in the content I’m hoping to create.
Beyond the Footlights has always been considered a ‘lifestyle’ blog and I think that’s what I am looking to lean into more going forward. As I mentioned before, it isn’t always easy to balance this creative outlet with others, mainly theatre. While theatre is my first love and what I love most at heart, I don’t feel like I can easily come up with theatre topics to blog about often enough. Keeping those two passions separated a bit more may be what’s best for me for now!
Over the last two years pursuing blogging and content creation, I’ve had several opportunities to work with some amazing brands and pursue partnerships which has been amazing. That’s definitely something I’m looking to keep up. I’m also very passionate about all things shopping- particularly shopping for great bargains (this may or may not be a bad habit, but we’re ignoring that). That along with self-care, beauty, organization, and all that jazz are topics I’m thinking of really honing in on!
So, Now What?
Now what? Well, I guess only time will tell! The best place to keep an eye on all things blog related is my Instagram! I’m always there sharing blog posts, products I love, and more! Until further notice, I’ve stopped my email list, so Instagram is going to the the place to be if you want to keep up with new things I’m creating! You can also subscribe to BTF on my homepage- that way you will always be the first to be notified when I share a new post. My Links & Codes page will stay up to date with any special links or discounts I have for my followers, and you can follow me on LTK to shop the products I share directly!
I’m looking forward to sharing more content with you coming soon, and I’m so grateful that you’re all still here showing your support- even after my little hiatus!
Another month in the books! I know for many, March 2021 brought up a lot of unresolved emotions and feelings about being in the pandemic for a year, but I hope you feel proud to say that you’ve made it this far, you made it through, and you are gracefully moving forward!
As usual, I’m back with my Monthly Minute- March Monthly Review! I’m so excited to share my monthly goals with you and some of my favorite’s in this monthly review!
I guess it’s the 31 days, but this month has really felt like it’s gone on for a lifetime! SO much has happened this month so let’s dive right in to my monthly review!
March was a packed month for me! In addition to work, I was actually able to get some time to be a real person in her 20’s this month, and that time was MUCH needed. I got to sing at a dear friend’s wedding this month with my best friend, Kailey! The wedding was held at our university, so it was really beautiful to get to go back there and be part of something so intimate and special. Since we were singing, we decided to make a weekend out of it! I spent the weekend at Kailey’s and we were later joined by one of my other best friends, Bella! Kailey is a photographer, so we spent time capturing some creative content for me, she took new headshots for Bella and I, and we got to do a really fun and gorgeous shoot! Then we just went to dinner, paraded around a Target, and lived like we were just a couple of college girls. It truly was a much needed escape from every day life!
I also got my vaccine this month! Yahoo! I got the single dose shot which rocked, and I only had a headache, body aches, and a low-grade fever for 24 hours. I feel really grateful to be vaccinated and I’m grateful that my immediate family members were also all able to get vaccinated. A year later, here we are!
And the fun isn’t over! Remember about a year ago when I wrote my post “The Show Must Go On” about not being able to perform in my senior showcase in New York last spring? Well IT’S HAPPENING! Just in a different way! This past weekend, my friends and I all gathered on campus again, got tested and all, and were able to film the showcase to be sent a year later! I’m going to write more about this experience in a post next month, but feel free to read last year’s post to get caught up on the saga!
No lie, I fell off the wagon in terms of my goals this month- IT HAPPENS! Unfortunately, I got sick right in the middle of the month for the first time in over a year and it really knocked me on my butt. I spent a lot of time just trying to keep myself healthy so I could get well fast because of all I had going on! A handful of my goals included singing more, keeping up with my Dance From Home Classes, staying off my phone…and honestly, I didn’t do so well with all of that.
At the start of the month, I had to miss 2 classes of DFH a week because I was teaching dance classes of my own- no biggie. Then I got sick which didn’t really allow me to sing or get my sick butt in class. I spent a period of a few days feeling down about it, but I was actually really proud of how I took care of myself when I wasn’t feeling well.
In college, my life and schedule were always go, go, go, and sometimes I had to sacrifice proper rest to get assignments done, get into rehearsals, or I just didn’t rest well because I felt like I was an indestructible college student. But this time around, I really took the time to baby myself. I went to work, came home, and RESTED. I took a whole day off later that week to get myself better, got an antibiotic, and rested every second I possibly could. It was a really nice change of pace. There was no way I could’ve predicted getting sick or could have predicted I wouldn’t get to be in classes as much this month, but it’s called rolling with the punches, people!
Looking at my blog goals for this monthly review, I am pleased to say that grow is slow and steady! I set 5 goals for myself for this month and was able to accomplish 4 of them! I’ve been setting what I think are rather attainable goals for my online presence and the blog every month and so far, I’ve met most of them each month! My follower count on here is growing, my follower count on Instagram is growing, I’m in contact with and reaching out to more brands, and I’m ahead of the game in my planning. It feels great to say that. I also upgraded my blog plan this month! I was waiting until I reached my 1 year mark in May, but there was a sale on plans and I had to take advantage of it while I could!
With my upgrade, I have more tools for things like SEO and I’m able to add more plugins that will help me make the site the best that it can be! I appreciate every single one of you who are on this journey with me! My 50th post is coming up next month and we are almost at the 1 year mark, so stay tuned for lots of amazing and exciting things!
Now, let’s dive into the favorites portion of my monthly review!
Amazing Grass Tablets
I’ve been using these Amazing Grass Energy Effervescent Tablets since the beginning of college and I LOVE them. Sometimes, I don’t feel like drinking coffee BUT I still need my caffeine! These tablets taste so yummy, I love the tropical flavor AND they have 1 full serving of greens & veggies, 85 mg Caffeine and 100% DV Vitamins B1 & B12. You can find them on Amazon or on their website!
Annie & Lulu Cup
And how do I drink my Effervescent Tablets? In my FAV Annie & Lulu reusable Starbucks cup! It’s perfect for on the go, easy to clean, and it’s customizable and cute! Check out their Etsy HERE!
My Ivory Paper Co. Planner
My Ivory Paper Co. Planner is seriously the best planner I’ve ever had! I have so much space to write down everything I need. There are monthly pages, weekly layout pages, and daily pages which allow me to see the bigger picture but still break it down with each day! I have lots of different stickers and markers I use to spice things up and make it as ‘me” as possible! If you’re looking for a new planner or some gorgeous stationery check out Ivory Paper Co.!
Check out this video ALL about My Keyper! I feel so lucky to have been able to partner with this amazing brand this month- these wristlets and the key ring bracelet are SO functional and fashionable! PLUS- I’ve got an Easter giveaway running through April 2nd! Head over to My Instagram to see how to enter!
My March Read
Sometimes, I have a really hard time working through books, and this month I DEF spent way more time on my phone than finishing up my book…womp womp. BUT! I’ve been reading Believe IT: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable by owner of It Cosmetics, Jamie Kern Lima! It’s so inspirational, informative, and heart warming- the perfect read for anyone who may need a little added boost in their personal and professional lives! I highly recommend checking it out!
That’s my March monthly review for you! I hope that your last week of March is beautiful, and that you all have a happy, happy Easter! Lots of love!
I’m back with the Beyond the Footlights Passion Piece Feature for March! This month I’m so thrilled to feature the incredible woman behind Plan With Laur, Lauren Ladouceur! I first came across Lauren’s profile a few months ago in a search of my own for individuals on Instagram that were part of the planning community. As you all know here, I’m obsessed with all things planning, stationary, planners, etc. While I have talked about planning on my own here on the blog as well as social media, I hadn’t really sought out other people/communities in that niche. When I found Lauren and Plan With Laur I immediately felt like I had found a little community I could be part of!
I recently attended Lauren’s Recommit to Your Goals workshop using her bundle and it was just what I needed at this point in the year. So often we set goals for ourselves at the start of the year, and we don’t stick to them- for many different and individual reasons. Lauren’s bundle and workshop helped me remember the WHY behind my big goals, establish attainable steps towards reaching my goal, and reframe my thinking as I decided to press on!
Here is a bit about Lauren in her own words:
“I’m the daughter of two military parents, so planning is rooted in my DNA: The frequent moves and trips of my childhood gave me great appreciation to detail and plans early on. These days, I work my 9 to 5 job and share my love for planning and goal-setting on the side. Though I haven’t always had a planner, I’ve always been planning. I thrive in structured environments that I can make sense of.
Helping others is foundational for me. I want to make people feel heard and loved. With planning, everyone has resources at their disposal but not everyone knows how to use them. Your planner can be a window into your life, and I try to help you find a frame through which you enjoy looking inside.”
Who are you, where are you from, and where are you spending your time these days?
My name is Lauren but the planning community knows me as Plan With Laur. I’m your go-to gal for all things planners, productivity, and how to use the resources at your disposal to plan today for a better tomorrow. Where I’m from is difficult to answer because both of my parents were in the military. I attended undergrad in the South but I call Boston home…for now!
What are you currently doing for work, if anything?
I’m a corporate talent professional in my day job. Most of my professional background is in event marketing, however, which is why I think planning is something I naturally gravitate towards in my personal life.
Tell me a little about your journey towards developing Plan with Laur and how it has brought you to where you are today?
My story with Plan With Laur starts by finding the planner community. When I tell people there’s a community of planners, they typically give me a blank stare. But when I moved to Boston I didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a community. I bought a planner literally to make plans to go places and meet new people. That probably sounds like the most Type A thing ever, but planning gives me a sense of purpose and direction.
While waiting for my planner to arrive I found a YouTube community and Facebook groups of like-minded people. Everyone in the community was talking so in depth about these complicated planning strategies and very niche products. There was a huge learning curve. There wasn’t a “if you’re new to planning start here” content creator, so I decided to contribute by teaching people how to plan.
I believe in simple, realistic, and functional planning. Sticker kits and washi tape is part of that, but I talk about the plans themselves. At the heart of my community is to help people feel seen and heard. We all make plans and have aspirational goals around planning or productivity, whether it’s for work or our personal life.
If you can, list for me your top 5 passions- no matter what they are!
In no particular order: Disney. running, Broadway, helping others and memory keeping.
Does the work you are currently doing fall into the same category as any of those passions?
I truly believe that I’m on this earth to help others. I seek this out in both my jobs, as a talent professional and as a content creator. Memory keeping is a subset of planning, so I get to work on memory keeping and share it with my community. I keep my Disney, Broadway, and running passions apart from my work because I preach balance.
What has inspired most you in a time where we are seeing so much change in the world?
As a Black person in the US, this year was emotionally exhausting. Racism and ignorance and prejudice didn’t start in 2020 obviously, but there’s been a sea change of public opinion. I think people are becoming more mindful of the privilege they carry. We still have a long way to go, but we’re taking collective steps that are so important for progress.
What are some things you like to do in your down time to nurture your passions, so they can stay just as alive, consistent, and active as your work?
This is a good opportunity to talk about passion-adjacent activities. These are things that relate to your passions. When I think of a painter, I typically imagine them nurturing their passion by creating art. But there’s a whole host of passion-adjacent things they could be doing– volunteering their talents to teach someone else, watching YouTube, reading about new techniques. This holistic approach means I’m doing something different each day! For me, this might look like creating Broadway musical playlists for my next run, or training for my next marathon at Disney.
What are your top 3 goals in your life/work?
My top goal is to create a community with Plan With Laur that teaches people how to plan better, set and achieve their goals, reclaim their time and live a life they love. After that, I want to cultivate a strong and resilient body and mind. And I always want to prioritize quality time with the people I love most.
What does your self-care routine look like?
Sipping hot tea, memory keeping and watching the Bachelor or Bachelorette.
What advice do you have for anyone struggling to make the time for their passions in their life?
Small is your best friend. Small goals, small blocks of time, and small action items give you momentum to chip away at the larger goal; in this case, making time for your passion. It’s a constant battle against the many distractions the world throws at us. But you can always make 5 minutes a day.
What are you hopeful for as we press on in 2021? What prospects excite you, scare you, and make your heart flutter with anticipation?
I can’t wait to travel again. When it’s safe to do so, you’ll catch me on a plane near you!
Thank you so much to Lauren for sharing her time with me, as well as sharing her story and planning journey with the Beyond the Footlights Community! You can follow Lauren on Instagram @planwithlaur, check out her her YouTube Channel, and her website at www.planwithlaur.com.
I can’t believe I’m already saying this, but we are halfway through March! I thought February went quickly, but this month is flying by! March has kind of a lot happening: International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, the start of daylight savings time, the first day of spring, aaaaaand St. Patrick’s Day!
I’ll be the first to say there is not an Irish bone in this little Italian girl’s body, so I never really felt connected to the spirit of St. Patty’s Day (but it WAS a great excuse to look cute and go out with friends, you know, when going out was a thing). Does anyone else feel funny about the prospect of wearing a shirt that says “Kiss me, I’m Irish” if you’re not…actually Irish? Just me?
Whether you celebrate your Irish roots on St. Patrick’s Day, choose to embrace the traditions of the holiday, or don’t really celebrate it, there is one thing associated with the holiday that I think we can all embrace: LUCK!
Since last March, I think many of us can identify with the fact that it’s been hard experience moments of luck. Obviously, those with good health, those who have made it through the last year, and have made it to March 2021 are all lucky in many, many ways. But I’m sure many people have also felt like a cloud of bad luck has washed over them in terms of work, personal feats, and other varying aspects of life. I encourage you to take a moment and a.) write down all the reasons you are currently lucky and b.) take some time to think back and reflect on some of your luckiest moments! I guarantee that you will find you are lucky and have been lucky in more ways than you could’ve guessed!
In the same spirit, here are 13 of my luckiest moments with some lucky charms of mine thrown in the mix! These luck moments span my entire 23 years- some of them from my childhood were just too good not to include! I hope you find them as enjoyable as I do!
So, my lucky number is 3. Why might you ask? Well, some of the details are a little bit blurry, but I decided this is the 2nd grade. I loved second grade, I had an amazing teacher, and she made the 2nd grade experience very enjoyable. I remember coming in on this day and I want to say maybe it was a birthday of a classmate or something? I don’t remember the first event, but maybe we got to have a treat to celebrate someone or something like that. Then, I for some reason received and Alice in Wonderland coloring book from my teacher. Cool! AND THEN, I don’t recall why, but I also got to pick a prize from the classroom prize chest. I remember feeling like it was my lucky day, getting to get 3 treats in one day! From that moment on, my favorite number has been 3!
Getting to meet the Jonas Brothers when I was 10 years old was another lucky moment of mine! Funny story- we have always had a radio in our bathroom. One night, I was in said bathroom and some channel was on and they were giving away tickets to their concert and meet and greet passes. I was in there listening as they chose the winner; it was this guy Bob and he was so excited because his daughter was going to be so excited and he was talking about how the dog was barking in the background. Now, these are all very general details BUT for some reason I was like “Hm. My godmother’s husband’s name is Bob. They have a dog. And he’d be talking about my cousin because she loved the Jonas Brothers…” Really it was a long shot it was them. But sure enough, that weekend we went to a family gathering and my godmother shared with me it had been Bob who won the passes and they wanted to take me as their fourth person! Another stroke of luck!
I started performing in community theatre when I was about 8 and the adults around me figured out pretty quickly that this was something I was proving to be really good at and loved doing. The first “big” role I had when I was younger was Susan in Miracle on 34th Street. It was my first taste of what it was going to be life to dedicate part of my life to this craft, even if I didn’t recognize it fully at the time. In Northeast PA there are these awards called the NEPTA’s that recognize and honor the community theatres of the area- and in the Northeast PA community theatre community…it’s kinda a big deal. To make a long story short, the year I did Miracle on 34th Street I was nominated for an award for my performance and I won! It might not have been luck so much as I earned it, but I think of it as a stroke of luck because it acted as validation from a very young age that this was something I was good at and could really work at! I might not be pursuing the career I am now if it hadn’t been for that lucky moment!
Going off of that, the theatre where I often performed had a little smoke shop next to it that had gas station-like snacks and things, and it became a lucky charm of mine to always go over and get Airheads to eat before performances! I have no idea why, and I don’t know what made it lucky, but there was a period of time where I wouldn’t do a show without them!
I felt really lucky being able to travel to Rome and Florence with classmates my sophomore year of college! Looking back, I feel even MORE lucky, because it was meant to be a biannual trip for students, but that never panned out. For whatever reason, the theatre department made it happen while I happened to be in school and I think that was a stroke of luck- especially now that travel isn’t as simple anymore.
Being able to perform with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival during my summer’s in college always made me feel very lucky, but my sophomore year made me feel super lucky in particular. I knew I had been cast in the ensemble for the show, but a little while after finding that out, the director (one of my professors at the time) had a few people also audition to cover one of the supporting roles, as the girl they had cast would have to miss 2 performances. Low and behold, I landed the part and got to go on for my first professional supporting role as a rising junior in college! It was one of the most exciting and joyous days of my career thus far!
Being able to perform as a member of the 24 Hour Plays 2020 Cohort…in the middle of a global pandemic! Being able to get professional experience from the comfort of my own home, right out of school was really rewarding and I felt extremely lucky to be part of such an incredibly talented bunch!
This is really random and also didn’t really materialize BUT around this time last year I actually one one of those little giveaways on Instagram! You know, the ones you always enter, and you never win? Yeah, well I won one! It was some little jewelry brand based out of Canada and it happened right before the shutdown. They let me know they’d be waiting to send my package because they weren’t going to the post office, which obviously wasn’t a problem, but then they just….never sent the package LOL I didn’t really care, plus we were in a freaking pandemic so I didn’t press it. But man, the one time I win…
Landing my marketing assistant job was a lucky break! I work on the side as a project-based marketing assistant for a blogger, and I really applied for the job on a whim. I had started following her last year when I first started blogging, and I attended one of her live workshops to just learn more about this whole world and now I work for her! I didn’t think I would get it because of my lack of experience, but it just goes to show that being yourself and your ability to be teachable are extremely important!
Another little good luck thing/superstition that I had in college was to wear the same jewelry to every audition in a year. Weird, I know. Whatever necklace/rings/bracelets/earrings I would wear to the first audition of the season would be what I had to wear to all of my other auditions for the rest of the year. I felt like they had some kind of lucky powers (especially if auditions went well and I landed the parts). For a period of time freshman year, I would also wear the same blue dress. My professors probably got so sick of seeing me in that dress. Fortunately, I grew out of that dress (thanks freshman 15) and I became a normal person with multiple outfits for different purposes.
Obviously, the pandemic brought a lot of sadness and loss into everyone’s lives in different and individual ways. With that being said, looking back a year later, I believe I was very lucky to be in the position I was in. I had a family and a home to come back to, we had enough supplies to last us, no one in my family got really sick with Covid, and I was able to reap the benefits of unemployment and actually get some money into my savings. It all could have been much, MUCH worse, and for that I feel very lucky.
Getting on a list for my vaccine! Because of my job, I was able to get one a vaccine list, and I should be able to receive my shot when the next batch of doses is available to employees! And I feel very lucky that many of my loved ones were able to get vaccinated!
Finally, I feel extremely lucky for having the courage to follow my heart, start this blog, and for all of the amazing things that are coming out of it! I am finally starting to feel like I have a community both on this page and on my Instagram, and I’m seeing slow and steady growth! I feel very lucky to have been in my humanities class the day that my teacher asked us “what is one thing you would do if it wasn’t for your fear of failure?” I told my whole class that I would want to start a blog but was afraid no one would follow along or care about what I had to say. I’m very lucky to say now that I’m glad I didn’t let fear stand in my way.
Count your blessings, reflect on all your moments of luck, and celebrate safely this St. Patrick’s Day! Stay tuned for the March Passion Piece Feature next week and be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram at this end of this month for a new partnership/giveaway!
The second month of 2021 is in the books! How are you doing, how are you feeling? Is 2021 just 2020 in a wig? Who’s to say. BUT if you’re reading this post, you’ve at least made it this far!
To be completely transparent, this month kicked my butt royally. Many tears were shed. Growing into “adulthood” is hard. Period. Particularly in the last few weeks, I’ve felt really out of sorts and like I’m just pulling myself through. I’m grateful to have such a strong support system though, which has made this tough month a lot more bearable.
I’m sure that many of you 20-something’s can totally relate to what I’m feeling- this impending sense of “now what do I do?” My theatre artist friends in particular. I’m happy to have any job(s) at all right now, but not being able to truly do what I love, or even something close, is difficult and disheartening. My feeling of frustration comes from a deep passion for the art that I love and not being willing to give up on that dream. Frustration and passions don’t seem like they fit together in the same sentence like that, but it’s hard when you want to pursue what you love, that industry is not really happening, and you’ve got bills and student loans hanging over your head (although, bless that extension). All this is to say: if you are reading this and this struggle continues to sting or hit you harder this month like it did me- I see you. I hear you. You are not alone, and we will find a way.
Let’s talk about February goals. Since I started writing monthly goals for myself back in June, I’ve noticed 2 things. 1.) my list of goals gets longer every month and 2.) even though my list has more goals on it, they are smaller, more tangible goals. I’m starting to get really specific about what I’d like to accomplish or implement in my life each month and the more specific I am, the more I can plan to take steps of action towards reaching those goals. I guess I’m also just learning more about myself, my routine, and what I can handle month to month! Going back and reviewing the goals I’ve set in past months has illuminated a lot about my growth process, and the goal setting/reviewing process is something I look forward to every month.
Some of my goals for February that I crushed were
Keep not looking at who views my Insta story
A little background. I will admit, I’m aware it’s REAL unhealthy, but I pay attention to my follower count and who is viewing my stories or not. I mostly pay attention to the follower count mainly because I am trying really hard to grow my brand online, gain exposure, and reach the goals I set on that front. But looking at who views my stories has been an additional struggle in my battle of “worrying what other people are doing or thinking.” I would find that I could still see when people I had muted (for my own mental sanity) had viewed my story, then I would look at their story if they had one…which defeated the purpose of having those people muted…a viscous cycle. SO, I’ve made it a goal to not view my story views and I’ve done really well!
Stay consistent with my Dance From Home Classes 🙂
Try not to spend on anything other than necessities (bill/birthdays)
Although I did spend a little on others things, I really did well with this this month
Read 1-2 books 🙂
Now, some things I didn’t quite crush…
Doing yoga 2-3x per week
I did do a decent amount of yoga this month, but not consistently like this every week
Actually stay off of my phone until my limits are up/once the limit starts 😦
Less junk food, more water
Nailed the water, not so much the food…
Here were my blog goals!
Gain 5-10 new blog followers 🙂
Reach 1,600 followers on Instagram (or close to that) 🙂
Reach out to 1-2 brands 🙂
Work on Pinterest
Get ahead on plans and content
Post more consistently 🙂
Let’s move on to my favorites from this month!
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Y’all. This book. THIS BOOK! You must read it, it was so good- good doesn’t even describe how good it was. I thought it was exceptional. If you are a friend, daughter, mother, sister…you need to read it. I was so invested in the characters and their stories and I literally sobbed when I finished it. I can’t wait for all my friends to read it. Apparently, there is a sequel book and I NEED to get it pronto. Don’t walk, RUN to get this one.
Go Down Together: The Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn
I’m reading this one currently! I am lowkey obsessed with the story of Bonnie and Clyde, and I’ve had this book on my shelf for many, many years but never made it all the way through. Once I finished Firefly Land, I picked this one up and decided to give it another shot! The first time I tried to read it I think I was too young to fully grasp the writing and the story, so it’s much more interesting to me now!
Firefly Lane: The Series
DO. NOT. WATCH. I feel very passionate about this. If you are going to watch, you need to read the book first. And I hate to tell you, if you do that, you will be extremely disappointed by the show. It is absolutely nothing like the book, it’s infuriating. I don’t know if anyone else gets this heated when tv/movies are entirely different from the book, but I do. I was so excited to watch the show right after finishing the book, since it just came out, and I was so disappointed. I watched the whole season because I was semi invested in this entirely new story they decided to tell, but I would 1,000% recommend just reading the book and leaving the show well enough alone.
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel
I just started this! I can’t speak to the quality of the show too much just yet, but it’s freaky for sure!
So…I’m late. LOL. Seriously, I’m light years behind. But I finally took the plunge and made a Tik Tok and my mom and I have really enjoyed sitting and watching videos together and cracking up. I only have 4 videos so far, 3 of which are singing, so we’ll see where this goes! I’m excited to create new content, just have to find the right spark! You can follow me @angelalarose1026
Be on the lookout next month for some cool and exciting collaborations with some brands and products that I LOVE!
As we finish up February and head into March, I will be participating in Lent leading up to Easter in April! Every year I give something up, and usually it’s the same thing…C H I P S. I still gave up chips this year, but I also am giving up social media time before bed and always hitting ignore when my time limit comes up! I’m hoping this will help me sleep better and turn my mind off a bit more before heading to bed. Here’s hoping!
You made it through another month as we come up on the one-year mark of this “new” pandemic world. But what matters is that you made it through to see the other side of this month, and you will press on into a new one!
We’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!
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!
Holy gumdrops, it’s almost DECEMBER! I hope you all had the most amazing and SAFE Thankgivings! It’s so hard for me to even grasp that we are on our way to CHRISTMAS. Honestly, even though 2020 has been an absolute dumpster fire, it really has flown by!
I don’t know about you, but now that the year is coming to a close, I find myself sitting with the thought of where I was this time last year. Like, holy crap, talk about change. I do try really hard not to get too caught up in thoughts of “pre-pandemic” times, but it’s wild to me that we all knew 2020 would be big, but never in a million years did anyone expect all the events that transpired.
I don’t want to get too deep or too invested in a recap of the year (that’s for December content, wink wink), but it is important that we take a moment to recognize the growth I know we have all made in one way or another in 2020. Hello, if this pandemic hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would have been sitting here writing this for you, and you wouldn’t be sitting here reading it! Starting the blog was one event this year for me that set me on a new path that ultimately led me down so many other avenues that I hope to continue to pursue.
Setting my monthly goals for myself was something I DID NOT DO prior to starting the blog. So, showing up for myself (and for you all with these recaps) is something I am really proud of! SO, on that note, let’s hop into my November Round Up!
First of all, HUGE step for me and the blog…we reached 100 followers this month!!! Grow with the blog has been slow and steady since I started it back in May but having 100 people who follow and subscribe wasn’t something I had anticipated achieving in my first year! So, if you’re reading this, a huge thank you to YOU for your support! I also wanted to create a new freebie for subscribers, get ahead on content, and land at least 1 partnership with a brand, all of which I accomplished!
In my personal life this month, I wanted to work on my physical health a bit! I’ve always been very active because of my involvement with theatre and dance, but I’ll be honest…working out has not always been my favorite thing to do. I love yoga, and because of my teacher training I’ve done a lot of yoga during this quarantine, but I really wanted to start doing more to get my body moving. I haven’t done a lot of dancing since the theatre industry shut down, for lack of space and lack of motivation. Recently, I started following Megan Bowen and her business Dance From Home and I just finished her 14 Day Get Up and Dance Challenge! It included dance cardio workouts, strengthening workouts, and self-love exercises, and I’m so proud of myself for finishing it! It felt amazing to get my body moving on a regular basis and begin to love my body and meet it where it’s at. Typically during the holiday season, I slack off on moving my body and I end up feeling terrible about myself after enjoying all the holiday food. But I can honestly say that right now, I feel the best I’ve felt during this season in a LONG time! I’m ready to jump into the holidays, stay active, eat whatever the heck I want because I can, and enjoy it ALL!
Some other goals of mine were:
Try not to spend unnecessarily– I did still spend money on myself and some things I probably could’ve done without, but I did spend less than I did in October! Even small wins are still wins!
Keep manifesting– 🙂
Fill out gratitude journal every night– I didn’t land EVERY night, but I only missed one or two!
Pick at least one day to social media cleanse– This, I didn’t do. BUT I did set limits on my social media at night/in the mornings! I love that the iPhone allows you to set time limits on apps that you choose. I set a limit for myself from 11pm-8am. Going forward, I would like to have the limit start earlier and end later!
Read 1-2 books– Nailed it! Unless I was feeling particularly exhausted, I would read at least 1 chapter of my book before bed (since I set the limits on my phone!).
Like I always say, every month is hit or miss in terms of reaching my goals! November was a pretty decent month for goal reaching, but there were still some marks I missed AND there were marks that I kind of hit! I’m learning to be gentle with myself, so I encourage you to practice being gentle with yourself too! Now, here are some things I’ve watched/read/loved this month!
I finally finished the series this month and I LOVED it! It took me a while to warm up to the show, but I got so invested in the characters as their stories developed. I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t watched but I TOTALLY cried watching the final episode!
Killing Eve (Season 3)
I watched the first two seasons of Killing Eve early on in the pandemic, so I was really excited to see season 3 on Hulu a few weeks ago! Honestly, it hasn’t thrilled me, I’m not going as crazy over it as I was in season 2. I had to Google the ending of season 2 because there was no kind of recap, and I kind of feel like a third season was a little bit of a stretch. It was still entertaining; I just wasn’t as sucked in as I had been with season 2!
Ok, listen. I am a devoted Grey’s fan, and while I do kind of think it’s been going on for too long, I am STILL watching. I got all caught up in the early Corona days, so I was ready when they announced they were coming back to TV. I commend the writers for their pivot into the current circumstances of 2020, it is interesting to see the medical field right now portrayed on TV. How true to the times it really is, I’m not sure. The first few episodes have really had me in my feels though. I’m excited to see where they take things.
And, of course, I’ve been watching Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelorette religiously! I love Kaitlyn Bristowe but…Nev should’ve won. There, I said it. For the Bachelorette, I’m predicting Ben, Ivan, Brendan, and Zach will make it far. Maybe Noah? They’re the top contenders in my opinion.
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
During the summer, I read The Wife Between Us by this writing duo and I LOVED the psychological thriller so much that when I saw this book on a rack at Barnes and Noble for $7 I just had to get it! They did not disappoint with this one either! I was hooked right from the beginning, always asking questions and wondering where the plot line was heading! If you love a psychological thriller, their books are for you. You will be flipping the pages so quickly searching for answers, you’ll be done reading in the blink of an eye. Then, you’ll have to pick up another one of their books like I did! I finished this book and the next day I ordered their book You Are Not Alone! Check them out!
Chatty Broads is hosted by Bekah Matrinez (Bachelor alum) and Jess Ambrose, and I LIVE for their recaps of The Bachelorette on Wednesdays. Seriously, if you’re looking for the most entertaining and information filled Bachelor/Bachelorette recap, look no further! I am going to get into listening to their other episodes because I just vibe with them so much!!
Verb Energy Bars
I love these little nuggets! Each bar is only 90 calories, has as much caffeine (from green tea) as a shot of espresso, and they are yummy! They’re just so easy to throw in my bag to take to work, and they’re the perfect mid-day pick me up when I hit that 3 o’clock slump! If you’re interested in trying out the bars for yourself risk-free (seriously, no strings attached) you can click HERE to get a trial 4-pack for only $0.95! Salted Peanut Butter is my absolute FAV!
Y’all know that Liquid I.V. is a CONSTANT favorite of mine! This month I tried the Strawberry and Apple Pie flavors, and they were to die for! I particularly enjoyed the Strawberry, it tastes like strawberry milk…only it’s water, not milk LOL if you want to try either of these flavors, the energy multiplier, the immune support blend, and more click HERE for 25% off your order + free shipping!!
Well friends, get ready for some more holiday content coming your way in the coming weeks! I hope you all jump into December with kindness, happiness, and love! Talk soon!