Life Lately - Episode 8: And A Busy Month It Was

Whoa, just like that it’s almost Halloween! People, can you believe it?!

Well, to tell you the truth, I certainly can’t, but there you have it. The Great Pumpkin will rise here in a few days and trick-o-treaters will be knocking on the door and I need to think of some Halloween costume or something or other that I can wear to work come Wednesday. Much to do, folks, much to do!

What all can a gal accomplish in a month? Quite a bit, actually, so lets get right down to it and update you on all that’s been going on!


My best friend and college roomie, Karley, came to visit in September and we boogied a night away celebrating a sorority sister’s wedding (Congrats, Vicky!)! It was a perfect weekend full of reunions with beautiful friends!

Karley has this incredible talent for braiding hair and did an awesome braid crown for me and I was thus inspired to finally learn how to do double dutch braids. *See photo below.

I wrapped up three massive pieces for our Christmas show—whew! Now to clean and rehearse for December. Still some work to be done, but everything is on it’s feet for the most part.

We wrapped up and opened the student choreography show which turned out to be a huge knock outta the park this year! Always proud to work on that show and see our students grow so much in the process.

I took a quick trip to Colorado to see my dear, dear friend, Megan, her husband and their brand new sweet baby boy! I flew into a perfect fall day and woke up to a snowy covered world, a perfect first visit to Denver! By the way, the science museum there is way cool and has an awesome dinosaur exhibit!

The last couple weeks has been spent focusing jumping ahead into the midterm to-do’s at work. Pyro Man has been keeping his nose the grindstone studying, I can somewhat remember what his face looks like, but a date night tonight might refresh my memory.


Life feels sometimes like a runaway train and when I get a chance to hop off for a bit, I still feel like I should be spinning my wheels just a go-go-going to keep moving when what I really need to do is relax. I knew back at the very beginning of the year that from July on, life would be one long runaway train until...about Christmas time.

When I saw that, it was easy to get a little bummed knowing that free time would be a rare occurrence. On the flip side though, my schedule would be packed with things that light me up. So free time was light—at least my time would be spent doing things that I found to be fun and with people I really enjoyed being with. Best of all, I got lucky that my free weekends filled up with visits with friends I hadn’t seen in quite literally years.

Yeah, life’s busy, but it always is and that’s just life! In fact, I feel weird when there’s too much downtime and yet, that down time is so necessary to recharge your batteries. You can bet, though, that after a few days off, I’ll find a project of sorts to fill whatever time off I have! The question is whether I really get the chance to finish it or not.

Eh, c’est la vie!

Comment

Welcome, Autumn!

Happy first day of fall, y’all!

Here’s to a new season full of good changes, hot cups of cider, many spiced donuts and lots of great boots! Bring on the flannel, crisp morning air, and all the fall leaves we can stand. Welcome, fall! Stick around for a bit and be sure to bring those great fall temps!

 I spy with my little eye, a perfect pup…

I spy with my little eye, a perfect pup…

Comment

Meal Prep Help

I always feel really accomplished when I set myself up for a successful and less stressful week. Meal prepping has been all the rage for a while and there's tons of articles out there to help you, sometimes it gets overwhelming.

The past four weeks have been whirlwind crazy and I’m still four weeks away from having a “normal” week, i.e. nights where I’m home before 8:00 something at night. I’ve definitely been relying on my Sunday’s to prepare my food needs for work and for home, not unsurprisingly since a lot of people do it! While it can take a bit of time and elbow grease, I have to say, it’s been an absolute lifesaver!

Five Favorite All Week Meals

  1. Soup’s Up! I’m a huge fan of soup when I’m in the throws of a busy week like a show week. I’ll make a huge pot and fill up several containers for lunches and boom! I’ve got lunch for every day that week. Just a sleeve of crackers or some fresh french bread and I’m good. Throw a side salad with it or a half a sandwich and the meals seems fresh and new on day four.

    My personal favorite soup recipe is the Spicy Chicken Soup from Real Girl’s Kitchen and yes, that is Haylie Duff’s cookbook. No judgement, she’s got some pretty good ones!

  2. BBQ Pulled Pork Take 2. OK, so it’s easy to throw some pulled pork together, 1 can of soda and a bottle of BBQ sauce, large crockpot on low for 8 hours and ta-da! A great meal is ready for you! You can put it on a bun or on a baked potato or just eat on it’s own with a salad or delicious sautéed veggies.

    Here’s a new one though, slap some of that BBQ between to tortillas, add some cheese, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice and you’ve got yourself some delicious BBQ quesadillas.

  3. White Chicken Chili for days! I wish I could take credit for this, but good ol’ Pinterest to the rescue. Here is THE best white chicken chili and I promise you won’t get sick of this one! Add tortilla chips or pair with a light green salad to stretch it out and shake it up.

  4. Tray Bakes for the win! Roast up a few chicken breasts in the oven with a separate tray of your favorite veggies and that’s an easy full meal with tons of nutrition packed in. I like to use brussel sprouts, asparagus or zucchini with sweet potatoes or purple potatoes and a bit of chopped onion. A little olive oil and some sea salt and you’re good to go. Other spices are fine, but I like the simple flavor come out through the roasting.

  5. Muffins, man. I know, bad pun, but still funny. I whipped up a batch of Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Muffins since I was hankering something delicious warm and fall flavored. Definite success although this particular recipe calls for a pretty good amount of sugar. I’m wondering if I could pair that down or trade out with a different type of sugar. Either way, I’ve got delicious breakfast muffins to pair with scrambled eggs and some fresh fruit.

The trick is to make it all at once and divvy everything up, a plate or bowl for each day of the week. I cart all these bowls to work and leave them in my office fridge prepped and ready to heat up. I’m a leftovers fan so this type of eating isn’t too tricky for me and if you’re looking for something other than a frozen meal for lunch or another sandwich, these might perk up your meals for the week!

Happy meal prepping, y’all!

 The Real Girls Spicy Chicken Soup.

The Real Girls Spicy Chicken Soup.

Comment

Life Lately - Episode 7: Busy Times & Little Breaks

Oh man. I was feeling on top of the world, writing post after post, scheduling out everything and keeping this little day dream running while I worked the real job making magic happen through choreography and teaching dance. Then things just got busy.

That’s okay though! I’m trying to catch up, make things happen and not get too down on myself for this hiccup in progress. It’s all part of life, am I right?

A Chorus Line is off and running in Dallas at Booker T. Washington! The kids did exceptionally well and I was so pleased and extremely grateful for the opportunity! It’s crazy to think in January I was planning ahead for September and now that time has come and gone. Every time I set a show or start a project, it always feels like a giant mountain to surmount in a short amount of time. Like eating an elephant, you take it one bite at a time and before you know it, everything is done.

I am a little sad to close this chapter, but that always leaves room for something new. With one show on it’s feet, it’s now time to move on to the next. I’m four weeks away from a second opening for our departmental choreography show and then it’s 100% into Christmas show. Eep! I’ve got one number set and two more to go and granted that’s not an entire two hour show, it’s still a good amount of work. Just like with A Chorus Line, I’ll take those pieces win bite at a time as well .

Suffice it to say, my life has been 110% work lately which has left little time for anything else. That probably came at a good time, too. I have loved diving into this project with a fresh renewal of interest over the last couple months. In a lot of ways this corner of the net has helped me focus on work better by giving me an outlet, prioritizing to-do’s so there was always time to carve out for this. It’s allowed me to play with my closet more, sifting through clothes and coming up with fresh looks and reigniting a love of dressing up. It’s given my husband and I something fun to do, searching for new places in the city for taking pictures, laughing at the crazy things he says and learning to work as a team on a new project.

I got a little discouraged a couple weeks ago when I felt like I wasn’t making progress on anything. After the initial high of my restart, things slowed down and I started to see more of the follow-unfollow game on my Insta and I got frustrated. All those negative thoughts came rushing in and I realized I just needed to step back for a moment and truthfully, it helped to remind me of how much fun this thing is!

A few days away from social media and time off from writing and prepping new posts let my brain rest and quiet down. Stepping back only gave me the chance to focus on things that needed my attention and let my negativity cool its heels. Bottom line is that I enjoy posting! So, who cares if people follow-unfollow or if my progress is slow, it’ll get there so long as I’m having fun and loving what I’m doing!

I’m looking forward to carving out more time for my little blog in between all these work projects! Here’s to more posts and more fun because, why the heck not!

Sunflower Shot (10 of 10).jpg
Comment

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! 

Comment

I Spy

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

Yellow Top  (17 of 31).jpg

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? 

 

Comment

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! 

Comment

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?  

Comment

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! 

Comment

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! 

Comment