Julie Blue

- sharing my life's delights -

See Ya Later, Spring Semester!

Celebrations, Life & Time, SpringJulie StanleyComment

Y'all, it's FRIDAY!!

Whoop whoop! The students had finals all week and I've been grading like a mad woman, locked myself in my office and made a little nest for myself on the floor. I even have some ocean sounds playing in the background to keep me focused and sane. I wish I were kidding, but that stuff actually does work. Try it some time, let me know how it goes. 

It's the end of another term and even though there's still a half-page of to-do's to be done, I can step back enough to say this was a good year. Sure, there are always lessons to be learned, no year is ever the same and just when I think I have it figured out, there's something new around the corner. It will never stop, that's just life. Still, I got to teach some awesome kids, watched a lot of growth in them, stretched myself in fresh classes, and even choreographed more than I expected, including a dinosaur dance. For reals. 

Sometimes it's really easy to get caught up in thinking about next year. I've already got my summer list going of things to prep for August. I know. It's MAY and I'm already into fall. It's part of the job and it's hard to turn off the part of my brain that wants to improve everything, smooth out the kinks, try harder and fix what I knew I can do better. I really don't sit down and think about the good things that happened during the school year or even after. 

I think it's good to look back, otherwise you're rushing through everything and you've forgotten to soak up the important stuff. So, I think as a little treat to myself, as a way to stop and smell the roses before the craziness begins again, I'm taking a few minutes to jot down the good things from this school year. I already know what needs to be edited and fixed. No brainer on that. But I want to remember all the wonderful moments that made this year a good one. And it was a very good year. 

My little Passion Planner let's me keep track of everything including the memories from the year. 

My little Passion Planner let's me keep track of everything including the memories from the year. 

If you're ending your semester as a teacher or student, what's something wonderful that stands out as a beautiful memory? 

Two Weeks

Life & Time, Spring, HolidaysJulie StanleyComment

Y'all. I'm two weeks out from a pretty special day. My day, actually. My birthday and good grief, it's a big one 😳

PS--JUST figured out I can put emojis in this sucker. My world is forever changed. 🌎 Just kidding, but I'm seriously going to have to restrain myself.

Back to the story! I'm actually really looking forward to this next birthday. I have always looked forward to this one with hope that it's going to be a start to a new decade being that much more content with life. I remember being 18, 19 and reading InStyle articles about Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Garner just living in their thirties, embracing the lessons and feeling wiser, more in love with their life and their bodies and so forth. I mean, they made 30 sound AWESOME, am I right? 

You know, I loved my twenties, truly. They weren't a wild rumpus of running around a major city, living the life of a show gypsy like I thought I'd have, BUT I still had my own adventures. I actually got so much more out of them that I think really prepared me for this next decade. More on that later. 

So yes, I'm turning 30 (I just said it out loud and it's that much more real. Oof.) and I'm really excited for the next phase. I'm skipping all the articles about "Things to Do In Your Twenties" and moving on to "This is Thirty" stories which include gobs of information about holding on to youthful skin. Now I'm on a tear to protect my fair porcelain epidermis and I keep reading my twenties were supposed to be prep time to start the prevention in my thirties. What the heck, man? So now I'm LATE to the party when I just arrived?! Am I too late now? 

Hopefully not. I'm scouring posts and articles trying to find the best nighttime cream that I'm apparently supposed to have been using for years now. And what the heck is retinoid anyway? There's 50,000 types of eye cream--which one do you pick and why are they all a million dollars a piece? What happened to just plain ol' moisturizer, huh?! Seriously. Send help. I'm drowning in beauty articles. 

Basically, this is my introduction to a new decade. Embrace yourself but be sure to slather on the cream first. Lordy, Lordy, I am so about to be thirty. 🙆

Two week count down begins! Things are gettin' real up in here..

Two week count down begins! Things are gettin' real up in here..

Best birthday tradition for yourself: Go! 

It's Gonna Be May!

Favorite Things, Spring, Life & TimeJulie StanleyComment

Happy May Day, Y'all! 

Hope you're enjoying a beautiful day celebrating a new month! Actually, it's my favorite month, really.  So many wonderful things to come! There's final's week (almost there!), the start of summer break, Mother's day, and my favorite day of all, my birthday! And y'all, it's going to be a good one this year! Oh what a wonderful month to look forward to! 

Ramen Wasn't Build In a Day

Recipes, Life & TimeJulie StanleyComment

Ok, actually ramen can be made in a day especially if you use this super duper easy recipe! 

Ahhhhmazing! 

Ahhhhmazing! 

A few months back I met up with some girlfriends at this great restaurant for some ramen. Now, I've had ramen soup before but it was in a styrofoam cup and friends, if that's the only way you've had it, you need to venture out because dang! It's actually wonderful! 

Taking my leftovers home, I soon realized that it is best to consume said wonderful ramen while it's hot. Just trust me. In any case, I thought it was simple wonderful and I had to figure out how to make it. Listen, there are plenty of recipes out there. I did some digging and reading and more searching and more reading until I decided to. just. wing it. 

Yep. I went rogue, took what I knew from what I read and just let it happen. Last Friday after a torrential rain storm--I'm not even kidding, by the way, it was raining like crazy--I thought this concoction would be both fun and creative, which it was. And it was delicious and spicy and wonderfully warming and so good I ate all of it this weekend. Well, with the exception of the bowl I offered to my sweet Pyro Man husband who also agreed it was kick butt good.

I started off with the idea of ramen and basically it turned into a spicy asian chicken soup with ramen noodles. Do I care about the overuse of details in that description? Nope. All I care about is remembering what I did so I can do it again! So here we go, diving in:  

Throw Together Ramen

32 oz of Chicken Broth 

2 cups of water

4 chicken breasts

2 packages of ramen

1-2 tbsp of oil 

1/4 cup of yellow onion

1/4 cup of celery 

1/4 cup of carrots

1/4 cup of peas

green onion for garnish

Spices: Garlic, Red Pepper, Ginger, Salt & Pepper

Soy Sauce (I use a reduced sodium or Tamari is good!)

Sriracha 

Directions

1. Add the oil into a pot, heat and begin cooking cubed chicken. Halfway through, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Splash some  soy sauce for taste and season chicken with salt, pepper, a clove of garlic (or 1/4 tsp of pre-diced), and a couple dashes of ginger. Cook until chicken in tender. 

2. Add the broth and 2 cups of water. Season broth with soy sauce and Sriracha to tasting. Add in more garlic and red pepper flakes for flavoring and another dash of ginger--approximately 1/8 - 1/4 tsp each, more red pepper if you want some spice! Bring soup to gentle boil. 

3. Add in two packages of ramen, no additional seasoning from the packages--throw that away, please! Add in peas and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Taste broth and add extra spices as needed.

4. Serve up, add diced green onion on top. Any additional soy sauce  and Sriracha can be added to everyone's own preference. All you gotta do now is enjoy! 

It's great reheated the next day and best part is that is does not look like there's a layer of gelatinous fat sitting right on top. Nope, pretty clean eating. When reheating, splash a bit of extra water in the bowl as the ramen will soak up some of the broth. 

The only thing I can think I really missed is the egg. Man, that would have been the perfect topping! 

Yeah. It's that good. 

What's your favorite throw together meal?

Little Moments

Life & Time, Marriage, Penny PupJulie StanleyComment

Last week of classes! Holla!!!!

We are coming up on the end of this spring semester, "we" being my husband and I. It's hard to believe that we are already through this time, it's blown by so fast! His first semester is done and we've managed to be back under the same roof for four straight months. And we still like each other. It's just nuts, man. 

When I dreamt about him coming home, I knew I didn't want to take little moments for granted. I really wanted to savor all the times I had with him without making them heavy. It's just, I missed so much of the little things while we were a part that I didn't want to miss out on them when he came home.

The semester has been busy for both of us, no surprise there, honestly, and yet we've been able to make time for one another. Breakfast together on Sunday's, yard work for a Saturday afternoon, and date nights on Friday's even if it's home watching whatever series we're binging. Lately it's just been neighborhood walks. Sometimes it's a lot of conversation, something it's just about walking side by side. Well, side by Penny by side--you know, the dog's got to be right there between her people so, there ya go. In any case, we've made sure that there's a time for each other no matter how busy life gets. 

Just thinking in calendar time, we're a third of the way through 2017 now. A third! Four months can go by hurriedly and if we're not careful we can find a lot of wasted time or missed opportunities. I think we've been consciously making choices to slow down and take in those little moments and I think it's made this year pretty stellar so far. 

Here's to all those little moments and how big of an impact they actually make!

Oh, and here's to the start of summer because, duh, it's summer! Cheers! 

What's a little important moment for you?

Friday Five

Friday Five, Favorite Things, Life & Time, SpringJulie StanleyComment

It's Friday, yay! We made it through the week, tackled those projects, and got stuff done! I tell you what, after weeks like this, a Friday sure does feel like the first sip of a good cold cocktail. I certainly plan on toasting to the weekend! 

Alright, Friday Five! Back at it this week. I just read an article about hygge in Women's Health the other day. There's a great New Yorker article here from December, but BASICALLY it's about finding that feeling on being comfortable and cozy, really. It seems it's the little things that make you feel, well, happy and content, I suppose. So, in the spirit of hygge, I've got five things that have just brought me pure joy during these last few busy weeks. 

Friday Five

Little Bits of Happy

 

1.  Pen Mate Markers - I love putting pen to paper for lists and calendars, it just feels relaxing to me. I'm pretty picky about what pens I use to write in my Passion Planner specifically so I took a gamble on trying some a couple single Pen Mate Markers from Office Depot. Y'all. I'm in love and I've got a package sitting in my Amazon cart ready for purchase as an end-of-school treat! 

2. Gardening - We spent last weekend cleaning up our front and back yards as well as our little box garden. Two years ago we had a thriving vegetable garden that brought us so many tomatoes, cilantro, squash, and jalepenos. We loved it! But summer work got in the way and we put a pause button on it. BUT, after cleaning everything out, we've got cucumbers, cantaloupes, and watermelons planted! Hoping we're going to have another successful harvest this year! I've got flower seeds to plant, too, a total inspiration per Lara Casey's Instagram Stories. That women is so inspirational and her garden is stunning to say the least. I want a vase of flowers on the kitchen table every day or at least that's the dream! 

3. Bai Drinks - Oh my word, they're so good. I was in heaven with their coconut flavor and then I tried the mango and last weekend I had their watermelon one. So. darn. GOOD! Even the bubble versions are delicious! Try the pineapple, you won't regret it! 

4. Smokehouse Flavored Almonds - I love those salty smokey things. A handle with a pepper jack cheese stick and I'm one happy girl. In fact, I think that's going to be my snack today! 

5. Bella Grace Magazine - My mom sent me to look for this magazine at Barnes and Noble last fall and I thought it would cry. It's a work of art really and a journaling lover's dream come true. There are beautiful articles to read, take-your-breath-away pictures and exercises to do that tap into your creativity or just let your mind wander for a moment. In following them on Instagram, I answered one of their questions. When I picked up this season's edition of a whim, I opened up the article to find this...

See a familiar name?!

See a familiar name?!

Day = Made!

Look, Mom! I'm published! Just kidding. But really...

Alright y'all!  Here's to hoping you find your own little bits of happiness throughout your weekend! Happy Friday everybody! 

Coral Cold Shoulder

Fashion, SpringJulie StanleyComment

Sometimes you gotta give 'em the cold shoulder. 

And then a wicked happy smile because, hey, I'm really loving these style right now! The cut out shoulder just adds some fun for these gorgeous spring days. 

This dress is so comfy and breezy and pretty friendly on the budget. I'm definitely a Target shopper--I can't help by take a pass through their clothes and find something that I need! I especially adore their Knox Rose collection. 

Throw on some glamorous earrings and spruce it up with a sweet pom-pom duster like this one. I picked mine up at a cute boutique in Graham, Texas called The Tattered Pearl. I actually worse this dress for Easter with a my fringed cardigan over it and a different pair of tan wedges. Worked perfectly for a whimsical church dress and no fussing with it during mass! Win-win, people! 

This is one outfit that made me pleased as punch to wear and when an outfit does that, you can't help but strut it out! 

Got anything in your closet right now that does the same?

Good Morning, Monday!

Life & TimeJulie StanleyComment

Hello sweet readers! It's a new day, another start to the week and time to get cracking! I'm starting this week with a lot of coffee after a restful weekend! How 'bout you?

After what seemed like a whirlwind of four weeks, I finally had a weekend where I could do crazy things like vacuum my house, clean out the kitchen, grocery shop and unearth my kitchen table. I'm not going to lie, it felt so darn good to do that! I'm no neat freak, but I certainly like a tidy space and it just got ridiculous there for a hot minute. 

Sometimes you just have to take a moment to clear it out  and give yourself a clean work space--I truly believe that can help you set the tone for a fresh start. Monday's can be a great day to refresh, too, first day of the new week and all. They might not be everyone's favorite day of the week, certainly not mine, however, it's still possible to give it a positive beginning for you.

Take a quick five minutes today and clear off your work space, empty out the dishwasher or clear off the kitchen counter where you eat. Set a timer and just do it. See how you feel afterwards. It might just give your mind an open space to think through to-do lists or give you a moment to breathe. 

So happy Monday, y'all! I've got to finish up my coffee before I run out the door and on to the next thing for the day. At least I know I have a clear kitchen table to sit at when I come home for dinner. 

Cheers to a new day! 

Springing into Style

Fashion, SpringJulie StanleyComment

It's spring time for real people. The cold weather has left the building and it's been beautiful sunshine lately! In short, I'm in heaven! Break out the shorts and fun cardigans--good weather is here to stay!

This easy outfit makes me feel classy and comfy all at the same time. A touch of lace, a touch of boho fringe. What's not to love? 

There's nothing like a perfect spring day, am I right?

 

Bag: Vera Bradley

Sunglasses: Vera Bradley

Top, Shorts, and Necklace: Loft

Cardigan and Flats: Target 

Photos by Katy Michele Designs. 

Tied Up

Fashion, ProjectsJulie StanleyComment

Hair ties. Hairbands. They're an every day necessity, truly. 

I don't like my hair in my face when I teach dance and too often I get into intense work sessions where I need my hair pulled back. So when I say these little hair elastics are necessary, I mean it AND I'm sure most women would agree with me on that. 

I'm a purist at heart, too. Simple bands are all I need, but lately I've gotten bored of the standard athletic elastic headbands and my plain ol' black ponytail holders. Some of those packets can be expensive though and for what I'm paying, I want to LOVE those colors, not just kinda-sorta-stand them. What's a girl to do, right?

Well, I'll tell you what I did--I went out and made some. That's right, I made some and they turned out to be a really simple project, too! 

Your local Hobby Lobby or fabric store will have rolls of elastic ribbon you can pick up. It's a matter of measuring and stitching together or tying off. See? Simple! Five minutes, that's all you need, I swear! 

Simple Instructions

I found that 18.5 inches of ribbon worked well for my headbands according my head measurements. You can measure your own headbands out, double the length and try that if it works for you. I stitched the ends together, leaving a little tail, no more than a quarter of an inch, and made sure to back stitch for strength.

About 5 inches of ribbon was used for the hair ties and wrapped together at the ends to form the knot. Again, you can measure your favorite ponytail holders--just fold in half, measure, and double the length before knotting. Nothing to it. You can burn the ends, too, so the ribbon doesn't fray. 

I picked out several styles of ribbon; feminine, cute, wild, and sparkly. It's a couple bucks for a roll of ribbon which means I could make multiples if they broke, I lost one, wore it out, share with friends, or if my cat ate it (true story). 

There's nothing earth shattering about this project--it's just an easy and simple one that might add a little somethin'-somethin' to your spring outfits or workout wear. If you'll excuse me, I've got to make a new ponytail holder, since my cat just chewed up my favorite one. Gross. 

What's your favorite 5 minute project to make? 

New Birthday Cake Traditions

Holidays, Recipes, SpringJulie Stanley1 Comment

Janson's birthday was last week and I was totally flabbergasted when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted.  Usually a red velvet or strawberry boxed cake will do for my man, but this year he asked for a new cake: Boston Cream Pie Cake. 

Challenge accepted! 

I started doing my research and the more I talked with him about it the more I began to realize that he had a very specific idea of how he wanted it done, too. No, it couldn't be a sheet cake, it had to be round. Wouldn't it be cool if it was a poke cake so the pudding could fit all the way through each layer? Ladies and gents, this man knew exactly what he wanted. 

I took a crack at it, just like he wanted, boxed cake with icing and instant pudding, too. Truth be told, it turned out a lot easier than if I had done it all from scratch, but I'm thinking I'll try my hand at it again without the instant options just to see the difference. 

The only problem with trying out something for the first time is you run into little bumps in the road and the pictures doesn't turn out quite as pretty as you hoped. In fact, I took very few pictures because I was too busy figuring this sucker out and in the learning process, it didn't turn out too pretty...Who cares though! It's birthday cake! 

The anticipation of the first piece! 

The anticipation of the first piece! 

OK, so here it is, a quick and dirty recipe for what turned out to be a deliciously ugly cake: 

Boston Cream Pie Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix - make according to directions

1 box of instant vanilla pudding (two for extra thick layers and leftover pudding) - make according to directions

1 can of milk chocolate frosting

My mother is probably cringing with thought of all boxed items right now, no doctoring necessary. I actually wish I could see her face while she's reading this.  

We dove in before I got a shot, clearly too excited to try it! 

We dove in before I got a shot, clearly too excited to try it! 

Bake two round layer cakes, let them cool and pop them out onto a rack. After they're cooled, whip up your instant pudding. While it's still a little on the liquid state, place your bottom layer on your plate for serving. Poke holes in the cake with the round end of a large spoon and drizzle about half the pudding on top of the bottom layer of cake. Fill in the holes well and smooth the pudding of the top. 

Take the second layer of cake and place on top. Poke holes just like you did before and drizzle the rest of the pudding on top. This is where I made my mistake. Don't get to too much pudding up there. A light layer will do you just fine! 

We went a little too heavy on the pudding, people. Just a warning. Also, please excuse our fridge. 

We went a little too heavy on the pudding, people. Just a warning. Also, please excuse our fridge. 

Chill the cake as is for 1-2 hours. 

Pull the cake out and warm 1/4 to 1/2 the can of icing in the microwave BRIEFLY. It doesn't need to be melted, just soft enough to drizzle and spread. 30 seconds is too long so I aimed for 20--try 10-15 seconds and stir. Let it cool for a moment before drizzling on top, letting a little slide on the side. 

Now, if you made it too hot, it will immediately slide off to the side. No problem. The icing cools quickly, just use a spatula to scrap the sides and spread back on top carefully not to mix with the pudding.

Honestly, this is why my cake turned out a little on the messy side presentationally speaking. The pudding never melted or slide anywhere after being chilled, but that darn icing was a tad too warm and slide right off. If you can't tell, the presentation of this cake is supremely bothering me. 

Once the icing is in place, put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour and then voila! You have yourself a very quick Boston Cream Pie Cake! 

*Always store this in your fridge. We used a cake dome on top to keep instead of plastic otherwise the icing would have pulled out with cling-wrap.* 

It's super sweet so you don't need a massive piece or else you'll be on sugar overload. It's really tasty, that's for sure, but I'd edit a few things next time I do it. 

We actually ate a piece for breakfast the next morning. I mean, it's practically a donut anyway so I see no problems here...

Next time we try it from scratch with pictures and a beautiful finished product. Really though, who cares? We're not meant to look at cake--we're meant to eat it! Am I right? 

Hands down, what's your favorite birthday cake to have?

Cake 5.jpg

Happy Birthday, Janson!

Celebrations, Family, Marriage, SpringJulie StanleyComment

Happy Birthday to you, Pyro Man! 

You are one heck of a fella and I'm so happy to celebrate another of you!

I love all the things that make you YOU like your adventurous spirit, your love of the outdoors, and your brilliant brain. You're confident in who you are and you stand for what you believe. Your goofy side and easy nature pulls people in and your desire to help and give warms the heart. 

It figures my favorite pictures of you are outdoors--it's what lights you up!

It figures my favorite pictures of you are outdoors--it's what lights you up!

I couldn't be more proud of the things you've done and the path you've started blazing for yourself. You're a peach, my dear, and I'm so happy to be spending a birthday with you for the first time in a while! 

I love you like crazy, Handsome! 

Dressing Knit Up

Fashion, Projects, SpringJulie StanleyComment

Once you make something, you've got to take it for a spin. I knew I wanted yesterday's knit dress to be casual, something I could wear around the house, but something I could also throw a cardigan over, style with shoes and a necklace and a swipe of mascara. If you ask me, I got it all with this dress. 

Jean jackets work really well with dresses like these and paired with some in-season heels and a long necklace, I'm ready to roll anywhere in town! 

I'm even rocking those "beach waves" which is really just wet hair I slept on the night before. 

Little secrets revealed, but hey man, this is real life, baby! 

By the way, when your husband says your dress is wrinkly, you should probably listen. Whoops...

Keeping it little more casual, I just swapped out the jean jacket for a simple black cardigan. 

This is one of those outfits I deem "easy-peasy" and one I will probably use over and over again this spring and summer. Even Penny likes it!

Got a favorite dress you live in?

Is-Knit This Dress Great?

ProjectsJulie StanleyComment

Love a good t-shirt dress. Even better, I love this simple gray one. 

Why you ask? Because I made it! That's right folks, I concurred this easy-sew McCall's pattern and I lived to tell the tale and wear it proudly. Knits, you don't scare me any more. 

But really, I made this dress pattern my mission to start and finish over Spring Break and happily, I did! 

It was my first knit pattern and even with a few hiccups, I'm actually pretty pleased with how it turned out. I'm starting to get the hang of this sewing stuff! 

The fabric is just a lightweight t-shirt material--I wanted to start off with something less expensive because I knew there would be problems. In fact, the material was cut incorrectly so I spent quite a bit of time laying out the pattern trying to fix the issue so the dress wouldn't be twisted. 

Like my material weights? That's called "being resourceful," people. 

If I'd been paying attention earlier, I would have had it re-cut, but I washed the material before checking. Lesson #1 learned! 

I still think a serger would have made a huge difference in putting this sucker together, but Lesson #2, I learned a zig-zag stitch would have been an alternative choice. Good to know since I plan on tackling this option again! 

I'm just a novice with this stuff, but each time I attempt another project, I get better at it and that's really the only way I'm going to get better. My ideas for projects keep growing and I eventually want to get good enough that I can tackle those complicated ideas or at least can sit down and knock out a project in an afternoon. 

Still, I'm pretty proud of this little t-shirt dress here. Is-knit it just the greatest? 

What projects are you tackling lately?

Creamy Chicken Crock-Pot

Family, RecipesJulie Stanley2 Comments

It's Janson's birthday week! It's been a couple years since we've celebrated his birthday together in the same place so I really want to make it feel like a special day for him. This week I'm planning on whipping up a few of his favorite meals.  Just wait 'til you see what kind of cake he asked for! I'm really excited to test it out! 

My husband can be a picky eater and yet, sometimes he will go for the more exotic of dishes at restaurants. I can't explain it.  Salsa? He loves it? Tomatoes and onions in a dish? All picked out, but he loves the flavor they bring. It's always interesting so when I hit a meal he likes, and actually eats leftovers of, it becomes a staple on the menu. 

This one is no exception. In fact, it's his favorite meal we make. It takes a little bit of time setting up, but it's worth it, trust me! 

Southern Living's Creamy Slow-Cooker Chicken

It's seriously one of the best crock-pot recipes around. Don't even think about skipping the browning part at the beginning--you just can't. Without those dripping, the sauce just isn't the same. 

We tend to dump a huge pile of mushrooms on top for Janson. I like to saute up some green and yellow squash with onions, carrots, a little bell pepper. You just dish up some rice, throw some veggies on the side of the bowl and layer the chicken and sauce in there. It's just....sigh....wonderful. 

We're definitely whipping this up this week and I'm sure it won't take long for us to finish off the leftovers!

What's one of your favorite dishes to make in the crockpot?  

True Confessions from a Worry-Wart

Life & Time, Projects, BloggingJulie StanleyComment

Hello. My name is Julie and I'm a worry-wart.

It's true. I play an exceptional game of "what if" in my head constantly and I bet I could beat the pants off you if you ever wanted to play, too. In some cases this is a good skill to have, to think of all the possible challenges of what could go wrong and how to problem solve. That's a skill for people who need to be quick thinking like teachers, performers, stage managers, event planners and more. You notice I tend towards the entertainment route, it's what I know, folks. 

Or, you know, to think of all the things that could go right. Hello, Julie? The flip side of that negative thinking is positivity. Sometimes I forget to go down that positive road, I'm so concerned about the crash and burn part because that part hurts the most. What's funny about that is nine times out of ten, people comment on my positive nature, energy, spirit, whatever. I am a see-the-glass-half-full kind of gal, that's very true, so to admit I'm a worry-wart seems absurd. 

All worry stems from fear, I think. These days there are certain catch phrases and ideas that promote leading a fear free life, embracing the unknown and jumping off the cliff and trusting fate.

*Insert beautiful video of free spirit youngins running through a field of gosh-knows-what with happy gleeful smiles and waving arms as they fly through the unknown.* 

No ma'am sir. I am not that person. Trust me. I've tried and I've found that I like a plan. I like to know my options. I love security. It's awesome--what more could make you feel better than to have a safe cocoon around you so that when you jump off that cliff with your parachute, you know that your landing is on a cushioned position of securely built certainty? 

Nothing my friend. That's all I need, certainty. 

And yet, here I sit with nerves all balled up in my stomach, my heart fluttering and I'm desperately trying to push out all the negative thoughts from my head. I'm nervous. I'm a little scared--I even got teary the other night. The ridiculousness is that it really started over a stinkin' Facebook page for this blog. 

It's ridiculous because it's something simple, a basic way to funnel information to a group of folks who want to stay connected and up to date with the blog. Nothing more. This new Facebook page is supposed to help keep my personal page separate so it can be that, personal (Which is also private for a number of reasons, not completely helpful for this blog.).  But I'm supremely nervous about it anyway. 

Sending out invites to friends was an anxious process. For a long time I've linked my blog on posts but it felt like a safe way to share. Blogs have been my own corner of the world to share bits of my life, things I love, stories, mess-up's, whatever I wanted. Making it a more public site, something anyone can see, feels very revealing in a way I hadn't anticipated. 

Side note: Yes, I do realize my blog is a public place and that I've made it so. I never said this thinking was a rational pairing with this project. 

Let me paint you a picture here: I love New York City. I think it's a vibrant place to visit, but I hate riding the subway. I feel 100% more comfortable driving around anywhere new in a car I control. Why? Because in a car I'm (1) in control of the adventure and (2) safely confined in a bubble, able to allow people in if I want or not. Subways aren't like that at all. Everyone gets on and it's crowded sometimes and empty others. People are pushing and rushing past you and it's easy to get knocked all over and around the place. Plus, you're not in control of anything there. You can't even guarantee there's a seat for you or that the schedule will run on time. 

That's what it feels like right now, like I'm opening myself up to a ride where I'm feeling a little more exposed than in my safe little car. There are pros and cons to every little thought about it, too. Trust me, I've run through them all! 

Parts of me is excited to see how building this little page will go! Parts of me are supremely nervous at the thought of expanding--what if it doesn't go well? What if it never builds?  What if people really don't like it? What if it's not exciting enough? What if they think it's silly?  What if...what if...what if...

And on and on those thoughts can creep in. Well, more like bust through the door and invite themselves in. Shutting off that running faucet of crazy-scary "what if" questions is a struggle. 

But...

What if people do like it? What if my life does seem adventurous to someone else? What if I reach out and relate to a few people who enjoy my posts? What if it leads to a new idea to build something wonderful?! What if! What if! WHAT IF! 

Those are the questions that force me to keep going because what if it all turns out fine? 

Taking steps out of your comfort zone can feel uncomfortable. Majorly uncomfortable. Sometimes it feels like running back into the safe house would be easier and feel better than exploring what's outside. When you do that for so long though, it only grows those nerves, it doesn't help diffuse it at all. I'm really tired of being inside that safe house though. I think if this was just a passing phase it would have ended back when it started and I wouldn't still be trying eight years later. 

Now I'm determined to make it what I've always wanted happen and that's required stepping out of my safe hut and letting friends know, "Hey. I really want to do this and I'd like your support."

That's all. There's nothing really scary about asking for encouragement in something that's important to you. 

Sometimes opening up that possibility feels daunting and opening up about those honest feelings can be, too. How easy it can be to scoff off real feelings as being "silly" or "ridiculous" but how real those feelings are! 

Maybe you've been struggling with stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something new like beginning a new career path, traveling by yourself or even starting a side business.  Try giving up those worry-wart tendencies and just reach out for that help, and most importantly, ask yourself "what if it all turns out fine?"  Because it just might and oh, what a wonderful possibility that is! 

Happy Sunday, ya'll! 

If you liked the page, thank you, thank you, thank you! It's a boost of confidence and it's very much appreciated over here! If you haven't yet, there's a button at the bottom of the page and you can click it to send you through to the Facebook link. 

 

Toast to Friday

Life & Time, RecipesJulie StanleyComment

Taking a little time to enjoy the Friday morning with my favorite weird breakfast: toast bread with peanut butter, sliced banana, honey and chia seeds. 

Here's to the end of good week and the start to a new weekend! We can all clink coffee cups and head into this day feeling caffeinated and full of chia seeds. It's aces already! 

What's your favorite breakfast food?

Hot Shot

Life & Time, SpringJulie StanleyComment

Y'all. I have very talented friends. Very sweet, kind, and talented friends indeed. I love seeing what they do, but even more I love to support their exciting endeavors! 

I called up my one of my sweet friends, Katy, and asked her to shoot some pictures for me. You've probably heard me mention her here before, her shop is Katy Michele Designs and I'm in love with her products! Chic and trendy, she's a classy gal and so is her work. 

She's really got an eye for photography and her work is stunning. Katy's photographed for her products, of course, and dancers for a past position. Lately she's been doing more headshots and lifestyle shoots and I couldn't resist any longer. I've always told her I'd love to have her shoot some pics for me and we were able to get together this past week!

It was a total blast! Crazy quick changes in my car, running around downtown OKC trying to get the best light and background. It was a ball! And there's nothing like shooting with someone who knows you. Katy gave great direction and her peppy personality relaxed me and put me at ease. Plus, she's an honest friend who will help you look the best--thank you, m'am!

She sent me a couple of sneak peeks and I squealed when they came through! I'm excited to see the rest! Thank you, thank you, Katy for making me feel like a million bucks!  

Photo by Katy Michele Designs

Photo by Katy Michele Designs

Side Note: I made the blue skirt last summer and picked up my cute Texas necklace from Nan Lee Jewelry in McKinney, TX. 

Happy First Day of Spring

Spring, Favorite ThingsJulie StanleyComment

It's the first day of Spring! What a beautiful season!

All my tulips are in bloom and look how gorgeous! 

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This is one of my favorite seasons, a lovely time of change and growth. 

A time to bloom and oh, what a sight it is! 

It's simply beautiful. 

"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'
- Robin Williams

Really, I couldn't agree more! Happy Spring, everyone! Now get out there and go plant something!

Opening Night!

DanceJulie StanleyComment

It's Opening Night! I feel like this show has gone by considerably faster than most but here we are, ready to rock another Spring Show with some fabulous pieces! I've got a dino dance I can't wait to see with an audience--it's pure ridiculous entertainment and I'm in love with it!

I really can't tell you or even begin to explain how much fun it is to choreograph a piece revolving around an inflatable dinosaur or how elated I felt after every session I danced prepping for my "Boogie Shoes" number. Pure bliss. Music that makes you feel, makes you move and ideas that set your brain and heart on fire really do make a huge difference in the creative process. I'm honestly grateful for what has been a very fun and fulfilling spring show this year. 

Seriously. You can help but smile and giggle watching a dancing dino. 

inflatable t rex gif

I'll be so sad to see it end this weekend, but I'm pretty darn thankful I've got a director and company willing to take a risk with my crazy ideas and fully support it from conception to presentation.  

Alright y'all! Let's get this show on the road! Break legs, dancers!

Best opening night of your life: Go!