Summer to Fall Changes

Well, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are out in full force and so are the Halloween decorations so let's face it, it's practically fall already! Not that I'm complaining! It's just that now is all about trying to balance out that summer heat in the day with the chillier temps in the morning and evening. 

I have the answer to that problem: jean jackets! 

 Did someone say PSL? 

Did someone say PSL? 

I'm telling you, throw one of over a summer dress, a t-shirt, button down, whatever, and boom! It all works! I picked this one up several years ago at a Steinmart and I can guarantee you could find one at a T.J. Maxx, Marshalls or Ross if you do a little digging. If not, Gap has one as does Madewell, and Macy's. Search for brands like Old Navy jean jackets on Poshmark or ThreadUp and you might get lucky, too. 

 See? Just tickled by the quick fix! 

See? Just tickled by the quick fix! 

I am one of those many ladies that loves the fall season! Yes, I'll admit, I got a PSL the Tuesday they came out and honestly, there's no shame. I've been a pumpkin spice fan way longer than most and definitely before PS was cool. Yup, I love me some pumpkin...but I actually don't care for pumpkin pie. Go figure. 

I just love autumn. I do and probably for a million reasons. The cooler temps, the last whisper of summer as we start to shift over to flannel shirts and mugs of hot cider, not to mention the amount of apples to eat and whip into treats. These fall holidays are always a blast with Halloween jack-o-lanterns and a good spooky movie followed up by gratefulness and thankfulness around the family dinner table at Thanksgiving. 

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Oklahoma fall season lasts but a hot second so it's fun to paint the months with pops of color in our clothes. Oranges here, scarlets and plums, lot's greens and of course, that beautiful fall gold. Anytime I can match the fall foliage I'm all for it. And if my husband is reading this, he'll probably tell me he's got a camo for that. 

Yes, I do love fall and I could wax poetic about it all over this site. So before I break out the sweaters and such, I'm going to hang on just a bit longer to these warmer days and savor the last of summer!

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Happy Labor Day!

It's Labor Day! 

Let's rest, relax and take minute to prop up our feet and enjoy the day! 

After I finish up some choreography, of course. 

 Cheers to a three day weekend! 

Cheers to a three day weekend! 

Then I will enjoy my full glass wine and a bath bomb. Who's with me, ladies? 

Have a happy day, y'all! 

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Great Green Pants & A Good, Good Day

I love these britches. 

White top, mustard top, gray, black, doesn't matter, they all match with this great green. It's the kind of green that goes summer or fall and I'm eager to see what they look like with a pair of booties or a leather peep toe heels. 

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You know what else I'm looking forward to? More bright sunny days like this. Can't beat a day out by a beautiful lake and fortunately for us, there are several around the city. I know Pyro Man would want to drop a line and could tell me about every point to find the best fishing around. 

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Me? I just want to spend the day enjoying the view and taking a minute to soak it up. A little peace, a little quiet, maybe a good book or journal to write in. Yeah, that sounds like an awesome way to spend the day to me. 

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What's your idea of a good day? 

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Life Lately - Episode 6: Happy & Rollin' Along

Life is back in full swing with classes rolling, rehearsals carrying on and plenty of evening snuggles with Penny. I feel like I'm constantly moving and going, reading and grading, reviewing and creating, but it's the nature of the game and truly, I think I'm at a pace I can keep without burning out. 

My sweet Pyro Man husband has been super helpful even while he's getting settled into his new semester. After long distance love for so long, it's really nice to have someone to turn when I need an extra hand here and there. It's entirely possible to do so much on your own, it's just wonderful when you have a partner to hold out their hand when you really need it, too. 

September is next week and that always seems to be the month that starts that fall feeling, although if you look anywhere on the internet, those dreams of crunchy leaves and pumpkin spice started back at the start of August. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a cool down and some fall fashion shifts, I just know we've got a while before that change in the weather happens for us in OK. Come the first day of fall, I'll be regretting wearing that cute sweater when I'm dying of heatstroke! 

In any case, September holds some excitements of it's own! "A Chorus Line" opens this month and I can't wait to see it! These amazingly talented performing arts students have worked so hard and they keep growing every rehearsal. I'm in awe of their energy and focus and inspired by their passion. It's been such an honor to work with this group and the memories I will always cherish.  Each time I set a show, I feel stronger and more confident and I learn more about my own process. This particular one has been such a good run for me as a choreographer; I feel incredibly lucky to have had such a grand experience with the students as well as the fabulous artistic and management team.

My best friend and first college roommate is coming to town for a wedding and I cannot wait to spend some time with her! She lives in Florida and it's been since our weddings since we've seen each other--y'all. That's SIX years! We keep up with phones dates as best we can but to hug someone who means the world to me, I simply cannot wait! 

So that's life so far! We're busy and we're running and I'm still having a ball spending time on this lovely little blog. What a fun escape for me and how much I have enjoyed flexing my creative muscles with it these last two months. I can't believe it's taken me so long to really push through the fear, throw my weight into it and make it happen. As much as I wish I'd let go sooner, I think the struggled process helped me to finally let it all go and hit this thing without those niggling doubts. 

Here's to a new month coming, happy excitements, and fearless endeavors!

Happy Monday, Y'all! 

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Favorite Bath Bombs

I jumped on the bath bomb bandwagon a little late having only really discovered them a couple years ago. It all started off in this cute shop in downtown Rockwall, TX that sells their own and I really loved them--they smelled wonderful and it was a perfect treat when I wanted a night to sit, soak, and relax. But that's not the place that sells my favorite. 

Of course, if you've shopped at Lush, their bath bombs are equally divine and definitely designed with the body in mind using materials guaranteed not to cause infection or irritation to the skin. I love them, too, but I my favorite bath bomb doesn't come from this chain either. I actually found them totally by accident--isn't that how all great finds work though? 

On our trip to Charleston last year, we stopped through the Historic Charleston Market to shop and see all the local finds when I happened upon a booth with the most heavenly scent. This shop, Old Whaling Company had all sorts of scrubs, soaps and you guessed it, bath bombs. I immediately started picking up and inhaling each one, loving everything I touched. I ended up with about four or five to purchase and savored them over the next couple of months. 

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After the last one was gone, I couldn't help but pine for more. Fortunately they ship (Duh, Julie, it's 2018--everyone ships!) so I hopped on their Etsy site just recently to order more and I can't wait to dive into my stash! 

I was so pumped to receive my fragrant shipment! Seriously, the box smelled like a spa, clean and relaxing. I wish our screens were scratch and sniff so you could smell this, too! They send you samples of soap to try and I'm excited to see how I like these two; One is bergamot and grapefruit and then magnolia is the other. 

This company really does keep health in mind when they craft their products, try reading their story here of how the founder got into making their products. Finding a company that really is conscious of what goes into their products makes me feel like a cared for consumer and honestly, the last thing I want to do while I'm soaking is worry about what the heck is floating in my water. 

 Penny just about went crazy with all the different smells! 

Penny just about went crazy with all the different smells! 

If you're like me, a bath bomb enthusiast, you really should check out Old Whaling Company! You can mix and match the scents in a bundle or try a few at a time. Shipping is quick and you're sure to get a hand written note and samples included as well--how thoughtful! 

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The only real question now is which one do I start with first? 

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Alright, time to share!

Bath bombs or bath salts? Floral or clean? What's your favorite scent for a soak? 

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I Spy

I spy with my little eye something...yellow. 

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Would you believe this gorgeous oasis is right here in OKC? This little passion project of mine has really given me a reason to explore more parts of this city and I'm loving it!

What's your favorite spot in town? 

 

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Back to School Hopes

Dear Fall Semester, 

It's time we meet again. I can't believe it's already back to school, but you and I both know you seem to come around too soon. It's just your nature. 

This year I'm hoping you could take into account a few hopes I have for this semester. Just mere wishes or prayers, requests for a good start to the year, positive thoughts to put out for your consideration: 

Let this be a good start to a fulfilling year for everyone who walks into a classroom. 

Let the work be meaningful, the frustrations be small, the improvements be grand and the lessons be clear. 

Let there be more cookies and surprise treats in the break room. 

Let there be happiness in the time given, the earnest of efforts made, and the process of the projects exciting. 

Let there be a lot more laughing and less griping. 

Let there be a sweet friends with an open doors to walk through. 

Let there be plenty of concealor, hair ties, and red lipstick around for when the work gets tough.

Let confidence grow from those moments of doubt. 

Let the times of victory last as long as possible. 

Let the coffee pot always be hot and the brew always be strong. 

Let the joy of what we do shine out and spill over all. 

Let there be positivity in every word we say and actual effort to do better and try harder the next time. 

Let the favorite leggings never fade and computers never crash. 

Let the inspiration from the "aha!" moments fuel us to keep going. 

Let the tap shoes be loud, the buns be high and jazz hands be strong. 

Most importantly, let us not forget how lucky we are to do what we love. 

 

Amen

 Already starting the year with a laugh--can't beat that! 

Already starting the year with a laugh--can't beat that! 

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The Perfect Bag

Alright, let's talk for a minute about bags, specifically bags for adults like this dance professor. Listen, I love me a good tote, but I'm telling you that it's just killing my back to sling everything on one shoulder. I simply cannot do it any more thus began the great bag search of 2018. 

I needed something with lot's of room, space to put laptop, notebooks, clothes and shoes (as I often change into normal or dance clothes mid day), normal office supplies like pens, pencils, sticky notes, etc. and of course water, food, basically all the life essentials. To top it off, it needs to look like something an adult would carry, in other words, as professional as a backpack can be with all my room requirements. 

A leather bag is really out. They don't have an much room as I need, not to mention they are super expensive. A giant supped up hiking backpack wouldn't do--those are also expensive and way bigger than necessary. A good ol' standard Jansport just wasn't going to cut it and I for sure wasn't trekking down to Target for a cheapie, this bag has got to last. 

This wasn't going to be an easy task so I spent a lot of time researching especially when I discovered I was going to be spending some cash no matter what choice I made, but hopefully it would something that would last me a long time. 

1. The North Face Surge  - $129-159

It's chockfull of pockets including a laptop sleeve and almost every pocket is fleece lined. The straps are molded specifically for women and the arm sleeves are nice and padded as is the back. The look is sleek and sporty, waterproof, and don't forget the two water bottle holders on the side. I know. That was selling point for me, too. Just kidding. But really, an overall great bag. 

2. The Vera Bradley Iconic XL Campus - $158

I was planning on avoiding all things Vera Bradley, truly, but I happened to find they enlarged their Campus Backpack and it's made for hauling a ton of things. There's a laptop sleeve, as almost all backpacks have these days, tons of pockets for storing everything you could possible need. Online I wasn't entirely sold, but in the store with my hands on it, I loved it. It comes in sleek black and a pink and black print inside...not my favorite. 

3. The Jansport Agave - $70

Definitely the least expensive option out of everything I've found. It's very similar to the North Face Surge but I found that a few reviews that mentioned how this backpack didn't last as long as they had hoped. I keep it in the running as a lesser expensive option, but truth be told, I put my bags through their paces so I wasn't 100% sold on this one. 

4. Patagonia Women's Paxat Backpack 30L - $119

This was an interesting find! Pretty decent price and definitely made to hold some stuff. It's got side pockets, laptop case THAT FOLDS OUT, a good amount of room, water resistant fabric and padded back and sleeves made for women. Yes, there is a men's version and other size options available. There's a smaller style of a similar backpack but this particular one fit my needs a bit better. 

Now the the hard part is to decide which one would work best! 

What bags are you using to haul your work life around town?

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Sunny Disposition

Sunflowers have always been one of my favorite flowers. As I kid, I just thought they were the cheeriest flower that ever was and how big and beautiful! One year in a production number to "The Wiz", I got to be an actual sunflower dancer, yellow flowered hat and all. I tell you what, I really loved it! 

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Sunflowers just say summertime to me. The last two summer's we've planted a small row of them in the garden to bring in bees. Someday I'd like to plant a whole field. 

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We've enjoyed watching them blossom and grow. Picking up the dried heads, I'm hoping we can harvest the seeds for next year. So long as Penny doesn't keep eating them...

Sometimes it's the simplest thing, like a bright happy sunflower that can add a little cheer to a person's day, add a bit of positivity to your day. How can you have a bad day with a sight like this? It all reminds of a very appropriate and favorite quote: 

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do.     

Helen Keller

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Don't sweat the small stuff. Look to the good and always keep that sunny disposition! 

What flowers put you in the best of moods? 

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Life Lately - Episode 5: Gratitude Adjustment

Hey y'all! Just a quick check in to start another fully week! 

I'm a week into setting a show and we're doing great! It's also the last week before classes start so I'm pulling a little double duty in getting work done. By day I'm singing "One, singular  sensation..." and by night I'm working through emails, finalizing schedules and double checking course descriptions. It's a lot, I can't lie about that, but in truth, it's also wonderful! 

 Oh looky there! Another task coming down the track! Yahoo! 

Oh looky there! Another task coming down the track! Yahoo! 

When I was at the Dance Life Teacher Conference a couple weeks ago, I had an opportunity to focus on the joy of everyday--stick with me, I'm going somewhere important! One of the things this conference helped us to focus on is that we truly get to do what we love most, that at one point we couldn't wait to be paid to do what lights us up and that yes, you truly are living the dream even if there are some tough or full days. 

The third day at the conference, I took a class with Sandi Duncan that focused on waking up the brain and body. In Duncan's class she walked us through what she called a Gratitude Adjustment. We talked about what was the first thing we thought that morning when we woke up. Everyone laughed because we all felt sore or tired or ready for a nap already. She brought to mind the fact that we get a chance to wake up every day and start fresh, why not start off on the right foot? Duncan then had us partner up with someone we didn't know and listed off five things we were grateful for that day. This isn't new to me but it was an opportunity to vocally express what we were thankful for that day, big or little, just a moment to say "thank heavens for this!" 

 We've got a lot to smile about, don't you think? 

We've got a lot to smile about, don't you think? 

I have a little poem I used to recite to myself in college,

"In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed."

It's the same concept. Often times when things get busy or stressful, we forget! We forget that we asked for these wonderful opportunities that keep our calendars full and we forget that we dreamt of challenges to keep pushing us forward; We asked for this wonderful life and to wake up with a grouchy attitude about it does no good and starts the day off in a funk before our feet even hit the ground. To go through the day worrying and stressing about what to accomplish next takes away from our opportunity to enjoy this time and this moment. 

Raise your hand if you've been woken up by the pet or child that needs you or if the list of things to do is a mile long or if your husband's snoring is first thing you hear--turn those moments around and be grateful for the fur creature, sleepy child or happily snoring significant other! Because at one time or another, those were things you deeply wanted and you should enjoy them. 

Last Monday kicked off a really busy time for me. I'm talking, stacked with work from August to mid October with another wave right after that until Christmas. Knowing that can be overwhelming, to say the least. Here's the thing though, I don't want to miss a day or a class or an opportunity any more or holding out for vacation. This is my life! How cool is that?!

 I'm naturally a glass-half-full kind of gal! 

I'm naturally a glass-half-full kind of gal! 

I'm not glorifying busy or ignoring what's tough, I'm just readjusting my gratitude levels to focus on what's important and setting the day off on a good foot. I consciously make a choice to change my morning thought process. Instead of waking up concerned and consumed with what all I have to accomplish, I'm waking up and saying, "thank you, thank you, thank you for these opportunities!" and reminding myself that I actually get to do something that fires me up!  After all, I really am living the dream. Are you? 

Also, if you want, this was my other favorite saying in college, 

"When things are going from bad to worse, put a cookie in your purse."

No joke, it's 100% true and still a good rule of thumb I follow today! 

 Let's see, which cookies am I grateful for today? All of them. Er'day. 

Let's see, which cookies am I grateful for today? All of them. Er'day. 

Have you given yourself a gratitude adjustment yet? What's something your grateful for?  

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