Things I love…back to school edition!

Slide1

1. Pineapple Jellies (and other school snacks) from Undressed Skeleton
Delicious and nutritious…and not super difficult to make! These would be great for afternoons where you just need something sweet, but don’t want to go overboard.

2. Toy Story Alien Bento Box lunch and other cute Disney ideas from Spoonful.com
 Necessary? No.  But adorable? yes.  Why can’t you get a dose of cuteness with your nutrition?

3. Easy slow cooker oatmeal from Shape Magazine
Only thing I love more than slow cooker cooking? Oatmeal.  My absolute jam.

4. Hot pink hunter boots
Every year, I tell myself that I need to buy rain boots. Usually as I’m trucking through the third or fourth monsoon of the season.  This year, I’m gonna try to be proactive.

5. Cosy tribal sweater
I am always freezing, so a sweater that I can throw on top of any outfit is always a plus.  I love all of these tribal styles that are in this fall! Super cute, and super comfy.

6. Classy carry-all
I love bags of all shapes and sizes, but I aspire to carry a classy tote like this one.  Pink and white chevrons? Sign me up!

7. Sparkly mason jar
Mason jars.  So many uses, so little time.  I love the idea of making one super glittery to adorn your bathroom sink! Better than shoving random brushes in a drawer, as I am wont to do.

8. Welcoming door wreath
So sweet and welcoming! I have been trying to decide what to do with my door all summer, but this mixture of burlap and polka dots is adorable!

9. Sweet tulle garland
I have decided that I do not have enough pink in my apartment at this point (why be a grown up till you have to, right?), so I am absolutely going to be making this easy tulle garland.  The directions are super simple, and the outcome looks absolutely perfect for hanging up over a window or a doorway!

What are you excited about this back to school season?

Date Night…from 924 Miles Away

We are obviously extremely serious people.

I love date nights, of all shapes and sizes.  There is something about making plans and having adventures that makes me giddy like no other.  One of the hardest things about being in a long distance relationship (and believe me, there are lots of hard things) is the lack of these fun little bonding moments.  The Boyfriend and I are very good about the every day little things that make relationships work–for example, I know he spends all day admiring and contemplating the obnoxious number of “cute fluffy animals in silly situations” Snapchats I send him. But sometimes, you really do need the little dose of something special to remind you what it is to truly be in love with your best friend. How’s that for romance?

After a rough week, all I wanted was to curl up on the couch with my guy after a lovely dinner out, maybe sip a glass of wine, and watch movies that made us laughed till we choked on our popcorn.  But that’s pretty hard to do when I’m down in the south at school and he’s still his enjoying his summer up north.  So we devised our game plan for a simple but fun date night that you can do cross country!

Step One: Pick your movie
This was the most involved step for us.  It takes some time to figure out what you can get at when one of you is at home with their entire movie collection and video rental places, and one of you basically has Netflix and chick flicks (guess which is which in our situation?) Pick in advance so you have time to get the goods! For our first pick, we did Silver Linings Playbook,one of my favorites. Next time Chris will pick one of his.  It’s fun to work down a list: maybe Favorite Childhood Movies, Movies with George Clooney, Movies About Italy…you get the idea.

Step Two: Pick your time
This one can also be hard if you’re working on different time zones.  The Boyfriend and I are both central, but we’re also both busy.  Be proactive in finding a time that works–and don’t cancel!

Step Three: Theme  it up with dinner/snacks/desserts galore
We didn’t get a chance to do this, but I think it would be super fun to have the same things to munch on as your partner.  For Silver Linings, we both could have had adventures making Homemades or something else featured in the movie (or just vodka). This is almost like a whole other date in itself; gotta add it to the list!

Step Four: Get cuddly
Build your ultimate comfy zone! It was a little sad to not be actually cuddling with my guy, so I made sure my space had all kinds of pillows and blankets to get super comfy.  I also got to send him pictures of me huddled up like an Eskimo in a snow storm, which obviously brings us closer together.
seeing stars through your fort

Step Five: Timing is everything!
Another difficult part of long distance movie watching?  Getting the freaking technology to cooperate.  The Boyfriend and I literally sat on the phone, controllers in hand, and counted down to the second we pressed play.  And it still was a little off.  But getting their reactions is the absolute best part, so I encourage you to go the little extra mile!

Step Six: Watch and Talk
Probably my favorite part. There are many possible ways to communicate how much you’re freaking out about the movie. The Boyfriend and I live texted the whole thing.  You could also talk on the phone, Skype, Google chrome, Snapchat…as many varieties as there are relationships, I’d imagine. Find what works and is fun for you! Anything that makes you feel connected is a positive choice in my book.

Reaction shot! Not really. But too cute to pass up.

Step Eight: Debrief…the ooey gooey stuff
I think this is probably an overlooked part of the long distance date: make sure you call and actually chat about what you just did! Or else it’s a bit of a, “Wellp, that was fun, I to my bed you to yours” kind of experience.  Talk about what was hilarious, how could this be your favorite movie, wasn’t George Clooney cute in the ’80s?  Well, maybe save that last one for your friends.  Sharing the experience is what makes it a date, so share it.  Also a great time for all of the typical relationship I miss you’s and I love you’s that I can never get enough of.

Get Up and Go

My audition outfit: dress provided by Target, shoes by Jessica Simpson, and earrings bought from a lovely sorority sister who knew of my obsession with all things sparkly and dangly.

One of the greatest life lessons that the acting world has given me is very simple: Show Up.  Basically, this means that stuff can only happen if you take the opportunities that you’re given.  You will never get cast in a show if you don’t show up to audition.  Likewise, you will never get the help you need at work if you don’t ask for it.  You won’t be able to reach the cereal at the back of the shelf of the grocery if you don’t ask the hunky shopper next to you for some help.

See? Multi-situational applicability.  That’s what I aim for.

I had a true test of this theory this morning. I stayed up too late last night, and when my alarm went of at 7 sharp, I cursed whatever minion that had possessed me to sign up for a 10 am opera audition slot.  The excuses started pouring in: it’s pointless because I won’t get cast, my voice doesn’t feel up to snuff, it’s been a long week, I’ve done enough…I could write a book with the things that actors come up with.  But after about ten minutes of wrestling with myself, I got up.  And I drank two sips of coffee (because caffeine is bad for your voice.  The world is a cruel, cruel place sometimes).  And showered, got dressed, prepped my music, walked out the door and auditioned my butt off.

I showed up! And got a nice little boost of confidence.  A good start to my Saturday.

Now excuse me while I go chug coffee like it’s my job.

The Worrier’s Guide to Relaxation

I came to a startling realization this summer: I have forgotten how to relax.  At some point in the last three years, I have gone from someone who could sit for hours enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee, to a girl who gets anxious if I sit down for more than half an hour.  I’m conflicted about this personality trait. On the one hand, worriers get stuff done.  Very rarely do I panic about something that’s due tomorrow, because I’ve been working like a crazy person to get it done, and done well, for the past week. But on the other hand, I tend to work myself to the bone for something, and after I’ve accomplished it, thought to myself: “now, why did I freak out about that? That wasn’t bad at all.” Nothing like awesome hindsight skills. This semester has begun in an interesting way, and I’m already feeling a little out of sorts.  My past two years at school, I feel like I’ve known where I’m going and what the next goal is. Now that I’m beginning to steer a little more towards the English minor side of my degree, I’m beginning to feel a little bit out-to-sea.  How important is getting cast/called back? How important is it to be writing at least an hour a day?  How important is it to remain calm, cool and collected during the craziness? And, possibly the most problematic of all, how do I keep myself from sinking under the weight of all these questions? So I am making a commitment to becoming a better relaxer (I think that sentence says a lot about my personality: I can’t just relax. I have to COMMIT to it. Oi vey, y’all).  I’ve been brainstorming some ways to get my mind and body into that comfort zone…but I would love some suggestions! This is going to be a bit of an uphill battle for my little worry-wart self…good thing I love a challenge.

ways to relax

On My Want List: Kate Spade Flats

ImageI am obsessed with the new Kate Spade New York styles that have been popping up on all my favorite fashion blogs.  The clothing and desk accessories are to die for, but what have been really catching my eye are the shoes.  My God, the shoes! I am the kind of girl who finds a style she loves and proceeds to wear it till the soles fall off, so non-committed applicants need not apply.  The Kate Spade flats are all gorgeous, but they also have a reputation of withstanding harsh New York city treatment by the young fashion trendsetters who wear them.  I’ve put some of those dreamy activities above, but for me, these flats would be perfect crossing-campus wear…now if only I can find the perfect pair to match my acting uniform of all black…

Note: I have a college student budget, so I will not be sporting any of these anytime soon.  Look forward to a more affordable flats post later! But hey, a girl can dream, right?

 

Good Is Good Enough

Image

This summer was all about taking time to take care of myself.  And that included learning what really makes me tick.   I don’t think very many people spend time thinking about how our brains work, or the ways in which we are comfortable functioning.  I know I certainly hadn’t given it much thought. But understanding your comfort spots, both good and bad, can help you get your life on track. I had a really rough semester last year, and didn’t quite know why.  After a summer of thinking it out, I discovered  a few personality traits that add to my stress, and am working on turning those into strengths this year.

One of these little bad habits? I have a very hard time letting “Good” be “Good Enough.” This is best illustrated in the acting world, for me.  In our profession, auditioning is the job, and getting cast is the fun part. So every time I get a callback at my incredibly competitive program, I should be praising the Lord and be thankful for the chance that I get to play. Which is usually the case. But callbacks do not always result in being cast. In fact, it would be fair to say that most of the time they don’t. 

I have a hard time letting the fact that I got called back be Good Enough.  I always want to take it one step further: yes, that was good, but it could have been perfect. In my mind, this has always just seemed like hard work and motivation. But this summer, I realized it’s affecting my quality of life.

It’s good to have high standards and set big goals…but it’s also good to remember that success can be measured on many scales, and in many ways. I had the good fortune to get called back for Yelena in Uncle Vanya yesterday, a lead role which I never in a million years thought I would read for.  I had an absolutely incredible callback. I am so proud of the work that I did, and feel so blessed to have created some very magical moments in that audition room. I got cut just before the end, so I will not be getting the part, but you know what?  A good (try AMAZING!) callback is good enough. Life is too beautiful to waste on “could have happeneds.”  It is going to be a struggle, but I am committed to bettering my life this year by keeping this healthy perspective in mind.

Hope this helps you to remember that you’re good enough, too 🙂

prep

prep

Thoughts on My 16th First Day of School

Image

Some beautiful sisters and I at Bid Day yesterday…you know it’s the start of semester when Rush week is over! Never started high school off with a bang like that.

I love the first day of school.  It calls up visions of 20 years of choosing the perfect outfit, waking up early so I can make sure that my hair looks just right, that I have time to perfect my “look”–which I probably picked out a week in advance.  It means planning what I’ll have for breakfast; something special, to get me off to the right start.  It means reunion with friends that I haven’t seen all summer. It means tragic school pictures.  It means hanging out by the lockers, gossiping about the hot new math tutor.

Basically, it signals a new start.

This summer has been beautiful in so many ways.  Instead of getting wrapped up in the craziness of the acting world, I took some time to really focus on myself as a person.  Falling in love with hot yoga, beginning marathon training, cooking delicious things, and writing up a storm…all of it was wonderful.  But I have to say that after a few months of working full time as an intern, I am so ready to get back into the swing of college.  

This morning, I took a little bit of time to sit quietly on the couch, coffee and peanut butter banana toast in hand (see? special first day breakfast plans), and thought about how many first days of school you get in your life.  It’s special.  It’s something that I’ll be sad to lose.  But it also helps you track the changes that you’ve gone through, all of the years that you have had, and the incredible memories you’ve made.  This year, I want to spend more time valuing some of the awesome things that college gives you…and not so much worrying about things that I cannot change.  Which covers  a lot of things in the acting world, let me tell you.  I’ve brainstormed some goals for this semester, and can’t wait to share them with you all. Well, I’m a little nervous–putting them out into the universe just gives me that much more need to work on them!

Happy back to school to all of you college kids! And for those of you in the real world, I hope this Monday is treating you well.

Running Through Soup

Running Humor: My mom told me I can be anything I want to if I put my mind to it....

I finally got my butt out of bed to go on my first run here a few days ago.  I took three days off to travel and move in, and by that morning I was finally to get myself out the door and back on the streets.  Or so I thought. Three miles, I thought, how hard can it be?

Ways in Which Running at College Are Different Than Running at Home: A List.

1. Location: At home, I ran through my neighborhood, which is a gorgeous subdivision of genteel single family homes that backs up into a nature preserve.  Safety plus gorgeous views? A win-win. At school, it’s a bit of a sketchy area, and the best view I can hope for is that of a building spire from the campus. Motivational? Not quite the same as a sunset.

2. Timing: My go-to workout time at home was right after work.  I had had  a full day of desk sitting to get me pumped for being outdoors.  Here, I’ve been waking up early and going so I can ensure that I actually get my workout in.  While I am a bit grumbly about running before breakfast, I think this might actually be a positive change: it’s so early that my mind barely processes that I’m running, and I also don’t have to worry if anything comes up later in the day: I’m done!

3. People: I didn’t really know anyone in the neighborhood at home, so I was free to huff and puff and look like a total goon without fear of being laughed at.  At least, to my face. I’m sure some of the kids I passed playing outside were doing some pretty harsh judgement behind my back (we can’t all play in the kiddi pool and eat popsicles, guys).  But on campus, I know pretty much everyone I pass. Which means some awkward eye contact as I try to ensure that I don’t get sweat in my eye. Needless to say, looking extremeluy attractive while running has never been a priority. Or, you know, a possibility.

4. Route: I got so used to running a similar route everyday, and didn’t realize how much comfort there is in that.  It’s so nice to just let your feet fall where they may and follow the route that you know.  I could shake it up and run farther or shorter, but I always knew my approximate distance.  Here, I’m constantly breaking cadence to check my Charity Miles.  Usually, I think, “What do you mean, it’s only been a mile? I’ve been jogging for hours!!”  I’ve added on all kinds of little loops to add onto my time, so plenty of people have gotten to watch me run down the street, only to come back on the other side a few seconds later.  Perplexing and entertaining, I am sure.

5. Weather: Ah, I saved the best for last. Y’all, it is HOT down here.  But I can deal with hot.  What is more difficult is the fact that humidity here makes the air into soup.  It is like running through liquid, so intense you can almost feel the water in the air. Another incentive to run in the mornings!

Do you have any tips for running in this kind of heat/humidity combo?