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?  


First Day of (Show) School

First day of school! First day of school! 

Name that movie! 

So maybe it's not really the first day of school, but it is the first day of working my next show and I'm pumped for the day! We've technically started last May and now is the time we're really digging in and setting it all. I've got two solid weeks to get it all up and running which is both stressful and exhilarating--you work so hard to prep the show and it's numbers and then seeing it all come to life makes all the hours worth it. Seriously, sometimes I feel like I hold my breath waiting to see how it all pans out and then voila! We have a number! I get such a big thrill from this when I set work on our resident company. I can't wait to start the work on our Christmas show in September--eep! Coming up so soon...

Alright folks, time to caffeinate myself and focus in on the work coming up! 

Any big plans for you? Share them in the comments below! 


Life Lately - Episode 4 - Joy of Teaching

Hello hello there, y'all!  It's summertime in the city for sure and things are getting hot! Like it's lowest-temperature-on-full blast, I-could-cook-an-egg-on-my-car, kind of hot. Whoo-wee. I'm telling you. 

Other than that, we're rolling along just fine! Pyro Man is just a week away from being done with summer school and that puts us one step closer to finishing up this second degree. Half-way there, ya'll, we are half. way. there! 

All my summer camps are officially done and I leave for my teacher conference oh-so soon! This isn't quite vacation but one afternoon by the pool at a resort sounds pretty darn close to me. As soon as I get back, it's down to Texas I go for a couple of weeks to start setting A Chorus Line, one of my favorites. I'm so unbelievably honored to work on this project and with a director I adore. It's going to be a special show for sure. 

In all this preparation for the fall and wrapping up on summer break, I've been reflecting on teaching dance quite a bit lately. These last few years my job has shifted to more lecture based courses and in trying to balance that with more choreography opportunities, my actual time spent moving and teaching dance has dwindled some. Trust me when I saw I have enjoyed shifting gears, having bigger responsibilities, and getting to dive deeper into material I love! You want me to talk about choreography? Awesome! Let's go! On the other hand, more lecture means less movement in a sense. I've known for some time that I've missed that part of teaching, the technique classes that is, and so I made a conscious and strong effort to put myself back on the dance floor more often this summer. Oh my goodness, how full my heart feels again! 

There is nothing like helping a student understand a step or nail a movement for the first time. Just to see their excitement gave me a sense of accomplishment, a boost of confidence. The energy that came pouring out of these young dancers was incredible; there was truly a sense of euphoria at the end of the class when we're all left the room smiling, sweaty and full of joy.  I pushed myself to get back into styles I haven't had to do in a bit, working hard to dust off the rust. I felt challenged, sometimes frustrated, but at the end, when I had a whole room of dancers moving with me, dancing their hearts out, it felt so satisfying. 

Sometimes I think you have to go back and give yourself the chance to recharge in something that fills you up. It's so very easy to become stagnant or even numb, hunched over a computer reading essays, reviewing someone else's lesson plan, putting out fires, handling emails, and trying desperately to help students learn from mistakes without making too many of my own. Nobody ever said being a leader is easy. Sometimes I just miss having more opportunities crank up the music, let the blood start pumping, let go and just dance.

I got the gift to do just that this summer, to craft fun movement phrases, to search for music that screamed dance, to smile at students and invite them to have a good time, to focus without being too serious. I loved every second and even though I came home exhausted and sore--oh my aging body, y'all--it was worth every moment. 

Looking down the barrel of a full semester, anticipating the challenges and hurdles to come, I want to make sure that I keep in full view the joy that teaching brings me. Not to forget about the hard work or frustrations, those will always be there no matter what the work is, but to not let that take away the fact that at the end of the day, I get to teach about something wonderfully beautiful and unique and that I truly love it. I get to work with amazing artists, young performers, talented teachers, and brilliant managers on a daily basis. How lucky am I that I get to do what I do? 

The answer is very lucky and with a full dancer heart, I'm ready to get back into a new semester with that sunny and positive disposition reinvigorated! 


Life Lately - Episode 3

Hello out there, you beautiful readers! 

It's July and to me that always marks the downhill of summer vacation--let's be real. Summer weather doesn't end until about November so we're stuck with it for a while, but the vacation part is ending soon. 

 "I'm sorry. Vacation is coming to an end? What?!" 

"I'm sorry. Vacation is coming to an end? What?!" 

I've sent myself into warp speed prepping for my show in August and the fall semester that follows. All the to-do's never leave my brain. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was thinking about fall back in May, but now the clock is really on for me. 

All of June was spent teaching tons of camps, always a lot of fun to do with bright eyed and excited high schoolers. I even had a rambunctious and fun group of middle schoolers, too. Sometimes I forget how much energy there is packed into those little people at that age. It's astounding to see and it really is infectious and made for a couple of really fun classes. 

July Garden 2018 (1 of 11).jpg

We're happily growing our garden still and it's completely thriving. We've already pulled off about seven cucumbers and oh my, they are divine! My Romas are starting to turn, there are tons of Early Girls coming out, the cherry and yellow cherries are doing well and those jalapeno plants are filing in nicely. Can't wait until we can start canning! 

I follow a very, very small group of shows during the year so summer is when I feel like I can catch up and folks, I have definitely caught up. So far I've seen The Last Kingdom season 2--if you like Vikings and Game of Thrones this one is pretty good. I also caught up on Britannia which was oddly interesting. I kept going back to watch episodes even though I wasn't sure I was entirely sold on it. I've finally watched all of Will & Grace, the most current season. I'm a die hard W&G fan so I really enjoyed catching up on their new(ish) adventures. Most recently I finished Alias Grace. Oh. My. Gosh. I loved it! I'm hoping for season 2 because it was pretty riveting. With short clips in between dialogue, you had to keep watching so as not to miss anything. 

That's about it folks. My crafting projects have been slow, but I've enjoyed baking and cooking from my new Magnolia Table book. I've finished a couple books and working my way through some others. It's been work and little down time. That's what summer is for though, right? A little work and some relaxation--I can dig that. 

July Garden 2018 (11 of 11).jpg

Life Lately - Episode 2

Oh goodness, where does the time go! School wrapped up two weeks ago for me, which I can't even believe. I feel like it's taken me that long to actually unwind, but there's been plenty to do! 

So what's been up lately? I took some time in Texas for several days. I did a two day show intensive--I'm really excited to choreography A Chorus Line at a prominent performing arts school in Dallas this August! Pyro Man and I celebrated Mother's day several times over traveling around the metroplex visiting all of the mothers in our lives. We've got some pretty special moms, sisters and sister-in-laws included and it was lovely to spend time with them all! 

I had a birthday! Yay! Another year on this earth, I think that's a pretty big gift if you ask me! I got to spend the day with my handsome husband, got a massage (best. gift. ever.), shopped a bit, and ended the day with a glass of wine and home grilled steak. In short, it was a perfect day. 

Other than that I've been spending time with a friend plotting her next production number--that's been a lot of fun to dream up! We're going into the studio today and see what magic happens. Pyro Man and I have been spending a lot of time together, so needed and so good. Even under the same roof we seem to pass each other during the year so our trips to Home Depot, time in garden and outdoor excursions have been a soul recharge for us both. Life can get busy and conversations are all business but this down time, it's just laughing and genuine fun and that's important to get back to after a stressful semester. 

There have been books read (The Snowman was an excellent choice!), dinner dates, friend chats, Penny walks, and plenty of chores done. I made myself take these two weeks of rest because I know I needed it, but that familiar feeling of a niggling to-do is in the back of my brain, all the work that's coming up is starting to weigh on me. 

I've been plotting out my schedule from now to December which might seem gross, but is actually helping me a ton. I can feel and see the busy that's coming down the pike and I don't want to get caught in a cyclone of stress again. So today I'll go in and start working, breaking down all that needs to be done and making a timeline. A little at a time each day will actually make it easier to digest and allow me the time to do the fun things I want to do, need to do to feed my soul. 

So that's life lately--a whole bunch of trying to unwind my brain and body, getting more sleep, catching up on reading, and quality time with my husband. Pretty sure it's the best way to spend time after a long and full spring season! 

I also realized two very important things in trying to find photos from the last two weeks: 1) I don't document my adventures near enough and 2) I miss so many opportunities for pictures with the people I love. So, summer resolution? More photos of real life, not just my dinner plate! 

Happy Monday, y'all! 


Life Lately - Episode 1

Ya'll. We're just about to the half-way point of April which means we're that much closer to then end of a semester which means we're that much closer to my birthday. I mean, by that logic, my birthday is practically tomorrow! 

Well...maybe not, but it all feels like it's happening so soon! I always love this time of year. It's a time of change, a vibration that hums all around me. Quite literally I feel the change in the air, the cool breeze mixed with the warm sun and it stirs my soul into thinking there's something coming around the corner. I just absolutely love that! 

In the midst of this seasonal change, I have been busy (read: buried) with grading and projects for work per usual at this time of year. The slow down comes after grades are due and then I gear up for summer work and fall preparation. To help me focus on those important to-do's, I've stepped back from technology a little bit and that's actually been really easy and really hard at the same time. 

My hand just reaches for the phone or the mouse just clicks on a new tab for facebook and before I know it, there are precious minutes gone. But then I can get engrossed in something so completely I don't even feel the need to scroll. I'm working on finding a better balance with that. 

OK--so! In the midst of grading and avoiding social media binges, what the heck have I been doing? Well, there hasn't been much time for a whole heck of a lot lately, but I've been trying.

I started reading Cultivate What Matters and enjoying every word. I really like Lara Casey so much and find her really inspirational. Pyro Man and I have been watching our little garden grow in the garage, waiting for this crazy Oklahoma weather to calm down for a moment so we can plant everything outside. We're going to get hit with another freeze this weekend...Mother Nature. 

I finally picked my afghan project back up--I've got a ways to go on all my granny squares but I find the work easy to do and very calming at the end of the night. Making time, even a small amount, for the things that bring me joy has been just a practice lately. 

So, that's life lately--nothing spectacular, completely ordinary. Sometimes I wish I had a jet setting life, traveling all over and constantly busy with amazing fabulous projects. Who doesn't want some adventure in their life, right? That's not my season right now and it's perfectly okay. This season is about letting go of the phone, enjoying the now, and making time for all those things I want to do, but couldn't because I lost it to scrolling. 

Here's to more living and less scrolling! 

Happy Friday, ya'll! 


Spring Time Gift

Ah, spring time! My favorite time of year! I do love a good fall day and all that comes with it, but there's something about spring. It's a time to refresh and begin again! Flowers are everywhere and the weather warms up beautifully! That is, unless you've been living in the north east and then you're been enduring some serious winter snow lately. Sorry, y'all! 

Yep, spring time is definitely my favorite time of year. Then again, it's also one of the busier times, too. We just got out of our week long spring break and are back at it again and dear readers, it does not slow down one bit between now and May! Even though I know every spring is like this, I was still in a bit of slump this week feeling as though I'm not retaining anything. It's going so fast! 

While my to-do list is long and it's packed with many things that take time, there's something that keeps sneaking into my day to day and sucking away time. On top of that, it's teaching me to whizz through things that I normally savor like reading a good article and taking time to study and look at something. If you guessed social media, you would be correct!

Sometimes I can't believe how sucked I get into staring at a screen and how much I use it as an escape or reward myself with it as a break. It bothered me so much I decided to see how I do with a few changes this week: 

1. I deleted the Facebook app off my phone. I don't really use Facebook so much as scroll and honestly, I much prefer Instagram. If I'm mindlessly scrolling on something I don't use or care for, why do I still have it? Out goes the app and the temptation to waste away a good ten minutes multiple times a day. 

2. Phone stays stored when I'm busy. If I'm working, it can live in out of sight. I don't need to carry it with me to every room in the house and I definitely don't need it in my hand all the time. It just needs to be near by and ready to pick up a call or make a call, that's all I really need. 

3. I'm going to make a conscious effort for checking in. I don't think I'll give up social media 100% any time soon, I do enjoy using it when it's intentional, but I do think setting a timer would help me immensely. No more random check-in's, I'm going to set a specific amount of time to enjoy it and let that be it for the day! 

4. Slow the heck down! When I scroll I truly feel like sometimes my fingers just keep scrolling and my mind is not processing things that I'm seeing or reading. It's like unconsciously eating endless chips and salsa--consuming copious amounts of material without even realizing how much I inhaled just leaves me feeling way too full and in disbelief. "What do you mean I ate three baskets of chips?!" I have no clue what I saw or what it said, butI looked at it...I think. Nope. No more. I don't like that habit and I don't like that I can feel skimming creeping into other parts of my life. Nope, nope, nope. Time to start reading and slowing down--there's no rush or need to see it all! 

I'm giving myself a week to try these things and see how I do. Forming habits takes more time but I think baby steps is what I need right now because good grief, this habit has been practiced for way too long now. 

I love getting to read people posts and see everyone's life through pictures, but when I do it multiple times a day, it's too much. Then my subconcious is telling me checking in on other people's life is more important than living my own. I don't believe that's my intention but I find I'm losing time I would rather spend on doing things that bring me joy or working towards my goal or dreaming up my next step all because I'm constantly checking in. 

It's time to get my time back. Perhaps less little interruptions will add up to a whole lot more time spent savoring what's not on my to-do list! 

Does social media steal away your time, too? What are you tips and tricks? 



Spring Break Tunes!

It's officially Spring Break! It always seems like forever until this one week of heaven shows up and I am ALWAYS happy to see it come! 

We opened and closed our spring show last week--what a whirlwind and what a wonderful joy it was! I'm so lucky to work in a department that let's me explore my creative ideas on stage. Each year and each show I continue to grow and fine tune my process and every time I say a piece is my favorite only to find it trumped by the next one. But in all honesty, my absolute favorite most dreamy piece I've created to date was my spectacular "Fireflies" piece. It will always feel like magic to me and I hope to goodness I can reset it again someday! 

This Monday is a slow start for me. I slept in until 10:00--who am I?--had a late breakfast, took care of some adulting to-do's and now it's laundry and a little work. I know, working the first day of break but I've got to get a few things done to enjoy the rest of the week. 

Lately I've been turning off the podcasts and turning up the tunes. Thanks to my pal, Elizabeth from Loops & Belles, I've been living for her special playlist these days! I thought I'd whip up my own for all my driving and road tripping this break (And yes, Elizabeth, I stole some of my favorite songs off yours because they made me so happy!)! 

If you're hitting the road or coasting on a plane this week maybe these songs will bring you some vacation jams, too! 

Happy Spring Break, Y'all! 

What are some of your favorite songs to listen to in the car? Best album for a road trip? How about the song that makes you dance around the house? Share and comment below! 


Bloom & Grow

We plotted our garden this week, finally! I have to give my Pyro Man so much credit when it comes to our garden dreams. He's really good about making those things happen--I can dream them up and design them in my head, but actually making it happen seems like the hurdle I always miss. 

This year we ordered our seeds from an online store called Pinetree Garden Seeds. They sell heirloom seeds which is pretty awesome and we loved the variety they had in stock so we took a chance and ordered a bunch of different vegetables and flowers. All we had to do after that was plant them! 

Into their little dirt pod they went...


We're trying for roma tomatoes, golden yellow cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, and another round of cucumbers. I had gorgeous sunflowers and zinnias last year so we bought a different variety to try. Strawberry blonde sunflowers and cherry & ivory zinnias, cut & come again zinnias, and Pyro Man wanted to try Dahlias. I also picked up a packet of pink perfume lavender. 


Now all we do is water, wait, and watch for them to grow! I still want some herbs, but we're going to wait on those until April or May, pick some of the already grown bunches from Home Depot. I love having cilantro in the garden for homemade salsa and basil for homemade pizza. Even some rosemary is nice for a roast chicken dish or just to break up in your hands. 

 Our little grow station is out in the garage. Grow, babies, grow! 

Our little grow station is out in the garage. Grow, babies, grow! 

I always wanted a nice backyard with a garden I could go and pick things from, but it took me a while to enjoy and appreciate the actual planting process. My family spent many of weekends shopping for plants in the spring, cleaning up the flower beds, and laying out new pallets of grass. It honestly did not interest me then. I had rehearsals to get to, homework or projects to do. 

The end product was always stunning. A ring of color around our giant tree in the backyard. A gorgeous carpet of emerald green laid out from backdoor to fence. A decorative display of fresh blooms on the picnic table. Yes, the result from a Saturday's worth of hard work was incredibly beautiful to see and I loved it. The finished picture I loved. It was the work to make it happen I would skip... 


What a metaphor for life right? If you want something to grow, you have to put the work in and tend to it. Just dreaming about it won't make it happen and if you don't work and water your dream, well, then it won't grow to it's full potential. Time and care and hard work really do make a difference. 

When Pyro Man and I got married, he thought it would be great to decorate our apartment balcony with plants. Before long it was covered in flowers, herbs, and baby avocado trees he grew from seeds. He loved it and he helped bring me into by learning what to plant and how and then taught me. When we got our little rental house he pulled out a dog run and built a giant salsa garden and boy howdy, how it grew! We had some many plants that flourished and it was beautiful to see. 

I just love seeing the garden flourish and grow--it's my favorite thing to go out and see what's coming up next and what's sprouting or is ready to be picked. It's like magic, something new you didn't see before! 

It's one thing to dream about something and quite another to make it happen. I'm so glad I have a partner who dreams with me and helps me to get the ball rolling. I can't wait to see what our little garden will turn out like this summer, but you can bet I'll be enjoying the fruits of our labor to the fullest extent!  

 Gummy worms seemed like the appropriate garden plotting snack. 

Gummy worms seemed like the appropriate garden plotting snack. 

Who else does the garden thing? What do you like to grow?


Dream a Little Dream

It never fails that when things get busy I begin to day dream. I dream all about downtime, freedom, rest and what that looks like. 

Sometimes it's a cozy cabin tucked away in a forest, close to a river I can walk to and sit by with a town down the road that's cute and has great food. 

Sometimes it's a beach where I can walk the water line, shoes in hand, hat on my head and shades on my face. I can literally hear the waves and feel the sun and sand. For a minute, I feel like I can smell the salt from the water. 

Today, it's Paris. No, I've never been, but I want to sit in a beautiful park and just listen to people speak. I want to find a chair at a cafe window, enjoy a cup of coffee and look out at beautiful buildings. I want to walk up and down the riverside and enjoy some deliciously fresh bread. 

Whenever I do this, day dream a little, I can take myself anywhere I want and I put myself in a complete state of relaxation, satisfied in my imaginative world of all I can see, hear, taste, and touch. It slows me down. It makes me feel calm. It gives me a moment's peace to get back to the busy. 

I don't know about you, but I'm going to live in my little day dream here for a minute, give my little brain and heart a break before diving in all over again. If you care to join, by all means! I'll help you--here's a beach for you to runaway to! 

 Charleston, wishing I were visiting you again! 

Charleston, wishing I were visiting you again! 

What's your ideal destination for vacation?