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. 

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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. 

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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! 

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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! 

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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? 

 

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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! 

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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...

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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. 

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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... 

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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?

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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?

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40 Days of Swapping Out

Hey-o! If you missed the first part to this two part post, check it out over here. Otherwise, let's dive in! 

We know that what we do on a day to day basis has some effect on something somewhere. Whether that effect happens immediately in front of us or somewhere else in this world beyond what we can see. What I want to do is make a change here in my day to day that I think would help something I believe needs attention.

For a couple years I've been making tiny adjustments to be more eco-friendly (If you just eye-rolled, you may want to go ahead and click off now.). When I first started listening to podcasts a few years ago, I found myself tuning in to so many shows about the environment, recycling, nature and it's needs, chemicals in products, and bees. I heard so much about the bees. We've got to save those little guys! 

Little by little I started adjusting things in my day to day. I started reading shampoo and face wash ingredients. I found myself being more adamant about recycling in my house (I'm looking at you, Pyro Man, and your Dr. Pepper cans). Household cleaners started making me think a little more before I sprayed. And by the way, what does happen to the plastic makeup wipe bag when you throw them away? I'm pretty sure they don't disintegrate... 

It's not that I didn't grow up with Captain Planet or wasn't aware that littering was bad or knew that we needed to take care of planet, etc. I know all that! It's just that I didn't realize how much on an every day basis I was throwing away cardboard and plastic, adding up to landfills and oh yeah, probably impacting those buzzin' little bees in some way. What about what I'm doing to myself? Does my makeup really have that many chemicals in it? What exactly is happening when I heat my meal in a plastic container? Those are what chemicals used in this food I'm ingesting? 

And it bothers me. It really does. There's a lot of things I can do without getting too crunchy. I'm still shaving my armpits and wearing deodorant, y'all. I don't have to buy chickens, build a compost and starting living by candlelight to make a difference either. So here's idea:

For the next 40 days I'm going to try to swap out my daily use of plastic products. 

I'm making a few small changes around here to start and it's going to get uncomfortable in some ways and it's going to take some work. What I'm hoping is that what I do is make some habits at home that help in some small way to keep our world from being trashed. There are a few small things you can try if you want to tackle this challenge, too! 

1. Cut back on plasticware. That means no plastic utensils, no plastic plates and no straws. Something about watching that straw pulled out the nostrils of the sea turtle reeeaaallllyyyy disturbed me. 

I've ordered some stainless steel straws to use at the house and I can throw one in my purse for eat out meals if I need. I also picked up some utensils from Target to keep in my office for my lunches and I've already got plates up there, too. Problems solved on that front! 

2. No more plastic bags. On a scale of 1-10, this is probably a 5. I already use green bags for groceries and thanks to my friend, Meredith, I have these awesome produce bags, too. What I'm talking about is those small plastic baggies for lunches and chips. Ziploc and Glad--I love you, but it's time for a break. 

I like these reusable bags for sandwiches and chips for lunches. I'm going to try these instead, less expensive. We thaw out chicken in bags so that's going to be a habit to kick. We have plenty of tupperware and lunch boxes so we're not wasting there, but my tupperware is getting old and cracking. I'm wanting to replace with glassware like this at some point. If you really want to go green, I think the Bee's Wrap Paper is really cool but good grief, that stuff is pricey and not necessary right now! 

3. Grow a Garden. This one isn't really that difficult, just takes some time. We like having a garden in the backyard and last year we planted sunflowers and zinnias which brought about a ton of bees. I really liked that and I felt like it served two purposes: helped those buzzing bees  come around more which in turn helped our garden grow more and BONUS: it added a lot of beauty to the backyard! 

This year we want to start planting our flowers early by setting up a grow station in the house and I've got a lovely mix of flowers I'm planning to plant.  I'm hoping this will make it easier to plant then when the weather warms up and help bring about more bees this summer. 


Think about what you use on a daily basis and how much those plastics pile up for just one person. I tracked myself one day to see exactly how many products I touch that end up being thrown--Keurig pods, toilet paper rolls, sugar packets, wrapping around bottle tops, and more. There's a lot. What happens to all that when we dump it in the trash? How can we clean up after ourselves a little better? 

I think these beginning small changes will challenge me to be more conscious and that's ultimately what I want: to make conscious choices with what I buy and what I use and in how those decisions affect the world. What can I do to leave my place better than how I found it?

If you're wondering if these three points are all I'm doing, the answer is no. There's a lot to be done outside of the home, but this is just a starting point. Hopefully all of this will help me be more mindful in other ways, too, and with research, learn a bit more about how to be more environmentally conscious.

What do you say? Want to try and go plastic free with me? Got any advice to help me out? Go ahead and share it in the comments below! 

If I'm totally candid, I have to say this entire idea has sprouted from seeds planted by my friends, Meredith and Kathleen. You sisters certainly lead by example and I'll be picking your brain about so much more during this journey! 

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40 Days of Something Bigger

It's almost time for Lent! Two weeks away to be exact. I think most of us are pretty familiar with this season, but I wrote a little something about it here last year. Each year it's a time for me to reconnect spiritually and grow deeper in something bigger than me. We all find that in different ways and we honor that in different ways, too. 

I like that statement, "something bigger than me." A lot of times I think about how big this world actually is and I often ask how my little self on this planet really can effect everything else. How can one thing I do help or hinder this world? 

I know, a bit heavy for a Saturday morning, but it's something I find crosses my mind and can completely fascinate me and totally overwhelm me in a manner of seconds. As I start to entertain that thought I usually shut it down. It's too much. It's too big. I've got to focus on my little corner of the world. 

With Lent around the corner, it's a time I think I really should entertain those thoughts now. What if I made some changes sacrificing ease and comfort to make an impact somewhere else? 

40 days is all of I've got so trust me when I say I'm not planning on being Wonder Woman and saving the world in that time. What I am saying is I want to make a personal change that will impact something I know I want to help shift in this world. 

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Normally I find the lenten season to be very personal and I usually keep my focus to myself. This one, however, I think is important to share. It may be something you could try or at the very least make you think a little bit. 

Stop by the blog tomorrow and find out what exactly is I'm doing to get me started on this season! 

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Happy Birthday, Big Sister!

She's a lawyer by trade, but I still say she could have made it as a Mupeteer. She likes a good steak and good red wine, but I happen to know an Arnold Palmer and a Chik-fil-a sandwich will also do the trick. She's the one I know can offer unbiased opinion and see all sides of a story. She's also the one who will fiercely defend her baby sister at a moments notice. 

That's right folks, it's my Big Sister's birthday! So let's wish her a good one! 

Happy Birthday to my Big Sister who, like all good big sisters, is always there.

I love you, Sarah! 

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