Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

In the spirit of the season, my favorite holiday, five grateful thoughts for today:

  1. I’m thankful for the sweet people in my life. From husband to sister, mother and mother-in-laws, precious friends, nieces, nephews, brothers, fathers and all, I’ve got good folks in my life and I’m so very grateful to have them!

  2. I’m thankful for my job. I have the best students in the world, a team of faculty and staff to lean on when needed and encourage whenever possible and days filled with dance. Sure, some days I might feel like my hair’s on fire, we all have stressful times, but most days, most days it’s just about pouring into students the passion for dance, teaching, and choreography.

  3. I’m thankful for my fur creatures! Yes, truly! Without my shadow, Penny Pup, I’d be a little lost. She gives me so much love and I can’t imagine a day without her by my heels. Those kitties, while they may be persnickety at times, they are without a doubt the best fuzzy motors anyone could ask for, especially my Honey.

  4. I’m thankful for all the great experiences I’ve had this year. Choreographing new works, meeting new performers in new venues, teaching, teaching and more teaching—it all fuels my life. It’s easy to forget in the trenches of work that all the time and efforts comes back ten fold to me, but I remember when those magic moments happen and I’m always grateful for those moments of pure bliss.

  5. I’m thankful for you, dear reader! Whether you’re a friend, family, someone just reading, each time you click on to my site, you help to build my little passion project up and I appreciate those clicks and those comments. Small though it may be, this blog has been a small dream I keep coming back to, way too stubborn to quit even when it feels indescribably frustrating at times. You’re engagement helps and I thank you for that!

Alright y’all, go dive into that turkey, enjoy the game, watch the parade, but most importantly, take a moment to say “thank you!” for the life you have, the blessings around you, and the people you’ve got your in life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Friday Five: Saving Graces

It's been a busy week--not that every week isn't busy in it's own way, this one was just really, really full. There was an influx of grading to do and a new piece to start and set. I'm a big fan of getting the work done by the end of the work week--I really like to have my weekends to do what I need for me. Or at the very least, I try really hard to make that happen! 

So I'm rounding up the five things that have totally gotten me through a full week like this one! 

Friday Five

5 Saving Graces

  1. Meal Prepping - Yeah, yeah, yeah. You hear about meal prepping all the time, but it seriously helps. I made a meal Sunday that I turned into leftover lunches this week. (I took a stab at Laura Lea Balanced  BBQ Chicken Quinoa Casserole from her book--not too bad!). I also made sure that dinners were thought out, made Monday night and lasted on our busier evenings of the week. 

  2. PB&Jelly Grain Free Banana Bread - OK. I've been watching Laura Lea's stories on her PB&J banana bread that she was testing and finally, FINALLY she posted the recipe last week here and I tried it out on Sunday! So. Dang. Good. I'm all for it. In fact, I will probably make this again and again. I have a half piece for breakfast (it's really filling) and the second half in the afternoon. This loaf has totally sweetened this week. 

  3. Water, water, water. And Tea - I've been downing the water like there's no tomorrow! First thing in the morning, I drink a glass--yep. That's before coffee. When I think I'm hungry around 3:00 pm, I tank up on water first before I eat anything or have that extra cup of coffee. I can feel I'm dried out and with everyone getting sick, I'm all about flushing whatever I can out and hydrate my body as much as possible. At the end of the evening I make myself a cup of tea, nothing too sweet, but something to help me relax. 

  4. Consistent Workouts - I'm on week three of a six week challenge and I'm feeling really good! I've been focusing on better choices regarding food and that has helped immensely (Well, with the exception of some indulgences this weekend when the Rents came up--yay for weekend fun!).  More than that though, the workouts are really helping out. I can feel my body getting stronger and each time I'm able to push a little more, go further. Plus, these workouts are a break a great break from work and a good way to work through the stress!

  5. Doing What I Love - OK, so what's ultimately making this week busy is actually what I really enjoy doing. I've got a really layered piece that I'm working on now and I'm pumped! Sure, it took me like four hours to choreograph 37 seconds and I'm totally sure things will change once its on its feet, but I still loved it. Creating something from nothing, building a story, using every part of the music--I love that process! 

Taking care of myself, preparing for the busy week, allowing room for healthy treats and enjoying what's making me busy is what's getting me through! 

If you need me, I'll be hanging out here this friday night!

If you need me, I'll be hanging out here this friday night!

What keeps you going on those super busy weeks? 

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Happy First Day of Spring

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!

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Show Week: Theater Musts!

We just wrapped up blocking weekend and it's time to really move into the theater! Every night this week I'll be sitting in the dark watching the whole show go up. Lights, costumes, haze, you name it, it's on! 

Show week can really be one of the more stressful times of the season but I think you just have to know what it is you need to make it a smoother process. First of all, I meal prep. I plan out every meal and set it up so it's a grab-and-go situation. Dinner is always simple, usually leftovers I can reheat in a jiffy. Simple, easy stuff that fuels me--that's it! 

Secondly, I pack the life essentials in my bag for show week. This is everything that makes me feel good and caters to every need I could have sitting in a auditorium for hours. Here they are: 

Ten Must-Have Show Week Items

1. Water bottle. Theaters can be really dry so I make sure to stay hydrated with a water bottle I can refill over and over again. This is a Pioneer Woman water bottle from Wal-Mart and I love it! It came with the cutest lunch bag that I use for my prepped lunches and dinners. 

2. Saline Spray. Like I said, theaters are dry and old and full of gosh only knows! I spray my nose and blow three times before I go in and I do it again at the end of the night when I leave.  I know, TMI, but I'm telling you it really does clear out your nasal passages of whatever dust and crud you've been breathing in. 

3. Eye drops. Dry air = dry eyes. Rinsing my peepers with some drops at the end of the night re-moisturizes them AND cleans out whatever got in. 

4. Essential Oils. Say what you want, but I believe 100% in a few smells: Peppermint to prevent headaches, lavender to stay calm, and lemon in my water for taste and to cleanse my system. Mix the three together and you get a sinus protection that yes, you got it, helps in a dry theater full of dust!  I mix these with coconut oil so they last and it tempers the strong scent for those flavors.

5. Lip balm and lotion. Man, that dry air, I'm telling you! It just gets me so I lather up my hands so they don't crack and I apply a quick swipe of lip balm to keep my lips from cracking, too. I also try to use a light or non-scented lotion so I don't bother my fellow choreographers and the management team. Some scents are just too much in a close space. 

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6. Book Light. Whether you're following a script for a musical or just reading through the tech sheet, this little guy will come in handy more than you can know! 

7. Scarf, wrap or sweatshirt. Theaters always tend to be on the cold side so your better to dress in layers. For some it's a big comfy sweatshirt, for others it's a giant scarf you can wrap yourself in--it's honestly whatever floats your boat! 

8. Hair ties. I tend to wear my hair down so I release tension from having it pulled back all day, but after a while it gets in the way. I made this cute hair ties I can wear on my wrist in case I need to whip my hair back. Some people opt for a hat, too. 

9. Snacks. Settle on in because it's going to be a long night!  Or week. Even if you ate dinner beforehand, you're bound to get a little hungry as the night wears on so pack something that will offer you protein or a bit of energy! Nuts are good, trail mix, a meat/cheese pack or even an apple with some PB. I like grabbing Almond M&M's because hey, nuts have protein, and the chocolate gives me a sweet little jolt. 

10. A good attitude! Yup, I went there and ended with a super cheesy line, but it's true! I try to get my mind relaxed and ready for anything. Right now it's about getting the show up and running and that's going to take as long as it needs. If I'm not mentally present or anxious about when we'll get done, I'm going to be more of a stressball than necessary. So, I relaxed, I mentally prepare and I enjoy the magic of bringing in another show. How many people get to do this for a living? This is a time to feel lucky and excited to see it all come together! 

Everyone has a different system that works for them and every theater set-up is different, too, but after years of performing and now choreographing, I stick closely to this list. Honestly, it's whatever you need to survive a busy, busy week! 

If you're ever in a show or needing to tweak your own list, these might be things to consider! Even if you're not performing, this list is great for traveling! 

What items do you keep handy for those busier times of the year? 

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