The Twelve Dates of Christmas: Date 2, A Winter Wonderland Drive

I love nothing more than looking at Christmas lights. Seriously, I wish those little sparklies could be up all year round. There is something so magical and beautiful about how they glow on the fresh snow, during the cold northern nights…see, they even make me more poetic than usual. Sigh. But I digress.

My second idea for a winter date night is inexpensive, memorable, and fun!

Date Night 2: Winter Wonderland Drive

Christmas lights always make everywhere look amd feel more special. They are deffinitely the ultimate Christmas decoration that you MUST have!!!

I would start the night with a yummy warm homemade dinner (crockpot soup? Grilled cheese and tomato basil bisque? It’s all good!) After dinner, it’s time to pile in the car and head to Starbucks, or another favorite local coffee shop, and indulge in a sweet and warm drink to ward off the chill inside the car. Even less expensive? Try one of these inexpensive hot cocoa recipes from Refinery29.

Peppermint hot chocolate is the perfect treat for a December morning.

Map out the best-lighted neighborhoods around (usually the ritzier, the better), put some Christmas classics on the radio, and drive around for a few hours. Here are a few must do’s:

  • Pick your favorite house. Special awards can be awarded to Highest Energy Bill, Most Creative, Dream Home, Most Blinding, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to get out of the car! Last year, my friend and I actually went on this “date,” and my favorite moment was jumping out of the car to swing at a park for a few chilly, exhilerating minutes.
  • Take the paths less traveled: it can be fun to get lost and all turned around
  • Bring a camera to document your favorite houses, and any special moments. There could be a great holiday photo for next year’s Christmas cards in there somewhere!

Christmas Tree Lights on our dogwood in the front yard ~ yes please!

 

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Simply Having a Wonderful Sunday!

I awoke this morning to snow blanketing the campus–a rather rare occurrence down south. Of course, as a Northern girl, I scoffed a little at first at all of the emails and texts detailing the closure of campus for a tiny dusting of snow and ice. But I am absolutely in love with the lazy, cosy atmosphere that has washed over my school in it’s wake. Everyone is sweet and warm and taking a day to relax, do homework, and love being together.

It’s a beautiful thing to experience in the last few days before we head home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I have to share this awesome infographic from Love Taza and her sponsor, Sweetgreen! It’s everything you ever wanted to know about Thanksgiving–which, I’m the first to admit, is my favorite holiday, second to only Christmas. Any day with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, green bean casserole, apple pie, and family time with Christmas carols in the background is a win in my book!

Eating locally isn’t a new trend - the first Thanksgiving featured seasonal ingredients grown in Plymouth Colony, and throughout the US, local produce is still incorporated into Thanksgiving meals today.  Since we are all about sourcing and eating local foods, we wanted to celebrate the regional cuisine that is consumed on this holiday. Check out our infographic to learn more about variations on the Thanksgiving meal across the US.

J. Crew Holiday Catalog…or, all I want for Christmas

My J. Crew holiday catalogue arrived today, and with it, a dismal study of my bank account and the realization of the fact that these beautiful sartorial pieces are a few years out of my reach at this point.

As much as I would love to drop all my paychecks on the glorious felted coats and patent leather ballet flat confections, I will, alas, be forced to waste my money on such discretionary spending as groceries and gas. Ah, this unfair mortal coil.

Here are a few of my favorite picks that will surely be at the top of my list…you know, as soon as my first best selling novel sells.

Fair Isle Leggings

Fair isle leggings

What’s prettier, comfier, or simpler than leggings in a cute pattern?

Double-cloth Metro Coat

Double-cloth metro coat with Thinsulate®

I adore the color, and the cut is to die for. Makes me think of beautiful chilled afternoons wandering the city!

Fair Isle Striped and Jeweled Sweater

Jeweled Fair Isle stripe sweater

A gorgeous mix of my favorite pattern and the most beautiful embellishment ever! In love.

Vintage Short Sleeve Pajama Set

Vintage short-sleeve pajama set

Absolutely comfy and cosy. Light enough for the summer, but with a sweater, this set makes the perfect winter loungewear.

Everly Cap Pump with Metallic Bow

Everly cap toe pumps with patent bow

Be still my heart. The most perfect pair of pumps I’ve ever seen.  I’m always game for a shoe that can transition between the audition room and the board room.

What’s on your Christmas dream wish list?

Dreaming of a Winter Wonderland

I’ll admit it: for me, we have officially reached the holiday season. I held out for as long as I could. I, too, scoffed at the sinfully arrival of Santas and snowmen to the store shelves. I denied myself the pleasure of Peppermint park and holiday cocoa.

But I simply cannot hold out any longer.

This morning, I decorated my room for the holidays, complete with garlands, snowglobes, and, of course, Christmas lights hung over the window. I listened to my Josh Groban holiday Pandora station as I drove cross town all morning.

And this evening, I will spend some time organizing my Holiday Bucket List.

Yes, the holiday season has officially arrived in Lauren’s heart, Are you all managing to hold out any longer?

Here’s a little piece of gorgeous inspiration for my decorating style. I can’t wait for snow and home!

 

Fall Back…

It’s most definitely November. The wind has grown chillier and more insistent; evening comes on sooner. I find myself reaching for an extra scarf or heavier jacket most mornings, because I can’t believe how quickly this month has arrived!

I absolutely love the fall. The period between my birthday and New Year’s is my absolute favorite: a whirlwind of coziness, family and friends, decorations, Christmas music, and (best of all?) delicious food!

In my quest for a happy mind and healthy body, I’ve wracked up quite a few dessert recipes I’d love to try. Here are the ones currently at the top of my wish list.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake by pastryaffair

White Chocolate Frosted Espresso Cake from Pastry Affair…all of my favorites in one beautiful, pastry package.

White Chocolate-Topped Cinnamon Chip Cinnamon Bars

White chocolate topped cinnamon chip bars from Averie Cooks…the only thing better than cinnamon? Cinnamon paired with chocolate.

Apple-Gingerbread Cobbler | MyRecipes.com

Apple gingerbread cobbler from My Recipes. Everything that is good and right about the holiday season.

I probably won’t have time to make any of these delicacies for a couple of weeks, since my show opens this coming weekend. Cue excitement. Cue panic. Cue growing to-do list. But just putting them up here motivates me to get back in the kitchen and enjoy delicious food! There is much truth to the saying that desserts like these are good for your soul.

What’s on a Theatre Major’s Wish List?

The blogs I follow have all been publishing multitudes of wishlists…for the techie, for the man in your life, for parents, siblings, best friends, dogs.  I have loved paging through them, but I also began to think about the very distinct needs that a college theatre major needs.  I, of course, wished for all kinds of fashionable, cozy, lovely presents that any college girl would love.  But I also need some items that you would be hard pressed to find on any other twenty something girl’s list, unless she is also spending 24 hours a day living and breathing theatre.  So without further ado, here is what my little actress heart is wishing for for the holidays.

1) A corset

And before your mind goes to the gutter, this is not your typical Victoria’s Secret purchase.  I need a full blown, steel-boned, shrink your waist by five inches corsetry for my Chekhov class next semester.  There are some gorgeous ones, so I’m excited to make a purchase.  The thought of getting all strapped into it and having the air forced out of me? Not so much.

2) A makeup kit

My makeup lab next semester requires a very particular kind of makeup kit from Ben Nye, stage makeup provider extraordinaire.  This kit contains everything I need to turn myself into a zombie, or a fairy, or whatever other strange creatures I might be morphing into on Tuesdays at 1:00 (pictures will ensue; I’m sure you’re dying of excitement). 

3) PLAYS!

The thing that makes acting majors worth their salt stand out is the ridiculous amount of plays constantly in their possession.  Whether we’re reading for fun (I’m always reading Sam Shepard, though there’s a solid three parts for me tucked into all of his plays) or for monologues.  I brought home about ten plays to read over break (I’ve read one…slacking…) and I’m always looking for more.

4) The Playbill Broadway Yearbook

This might just be an obsession of mine, but I love these things!  They contain a record of every play and musical running on Broadway during the year, which is cool.  But even better are the questionnaires that they give each cast to fill out.  This is how I’ve learned some of my most hilarious information about Broadway shows.  It’s so wonderful to hear about backstage antics from the performers themselves…if you don’t feel like part of the theatre community yet, you will after reading this book!

5) More black clothing…

Le sigh…I always try to stock up on black athletic wear when I’m home, because I actually know where they sell it, as opposed to scrounging around desperately back at school.  It is both the joy and the bane of a theatre major that we constantly notice black clothing.  On the one hand, I’ve managed to get some really adorable things!  On the other, I cannot stop myself from looking at every single pair of yoga pants I pass with adoration.

6) A travel pillow

Again, this might just be me…but my neck and back are constantly sore or in pain from stress, class, and general mistreatment (number one thing on my wish list? A massage).  I would love one of those fluffy neck pillows, the kind with little foam beads and a furry cover, so I can drive in comfort, safe in the knowledge that I look like a total goon.  I would also love something for my lower back, because I basically spend all of my trips in a constant state of adjusting it. 

7) Plane tickets

Y’all…I just want to travel.  Because of the demanding nature of our degree program, it’s difficult to take any breaks from school that aren’t already on the calendar.  I absolutely love my program with all my heart, but sometimes I yearn for the adventures and study abroad opportunities that other majors offer!  For example, one of my best friends will be spending the next semester taking a course which requires him to travel all across Europe.  Dream. Trip. 

The moral of this story is that if your BFA has any time to take a trip, don’t hesitate to give them something a little out of the ordinary break at home.  Last spring break I went to New York City by myself for the first time, and it was one of the most enriching experiences of my life so far.  There is nothing like navigating and discovering a new place on your own, especially somewhere that is known for its culture and theatre!

On my wish list this year? Another trip over spring break to visit The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy), or a vacation to somewhere completely out there with friends.  The Gulf, possibly?  Or someone could send me to Italy.  That would be alright, too, I suppose.

 

There you have it, some BFAbulous gifts to get your mind whirring for the season!

 

 

Break is Here!

Well, almost.  One voice jury (which is the final for my 2 credit hour voice lesson: basically you stand up in front of all the voice teachers, sing a song of your choice, and then they pick one–eek) and I’m on my way to…three hours of packing and cleaning. But still, yay!

I’m singing Deh vieni, non tardar from Le Nozze di Figaro today.  I love the aria, and I’m kind of excited to put it on its feet in front of people.  So that’s good.  What makes me nervous is the “we pick what you’re going to sing” part.  The first song is kind of a work horse, and the other ones in my book aren’t exactly easy to sing, so I’m going to be one tired mama when I get out of there.  But it is the only thing standing between me and break, so I’m going to rock it!

After that I will be going home and packing.  Which is going to take forever.  Does anybody have an easy time packing?  Because I am the absolute worst.  I overpack like nobody’s business, because I think I need every single sparkly sweater, I have to have three pairs of yoga pants, and obviously, I need that sequined glitter zebra tank top.  I have a huge suitcase and a fifty pound limit, I should be fine! But I can already foretell that I will be stuffing my carry-ons with all the detritus that won’t fit in my big purple suitcase.  Le sigh.

This break is making me feel a little weird. I am so excited to go home and see my family, my friends, and even The Boyfriend (aka Navy Boy) for a solid two week (joy to the world indeed).  But I am definitely going to miss my people here, especially the ones in Christmas Carol I’ve been hanging out with literally every day for two months.  And I think the main issue is that I have been going so hard, for so long, that the thought of resting and relaxing freaks me out.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a horrible relaxer.  I mean, it’s bad.  The thought of sitting around and just watching movies all day, while it sounds appealing at first, quickly leads to panicking because there HAS to be something I need to do which I am not doing.  This break, I am really going to try to let go and just chiiiiiill.  And read plays.  And do Christmas shopping (which I haven’t started yet).  And hang out with friends.  And bake.  And carol for charity.  Maybe I will be fine after all.

Godspeed, Christmas Carol

Well, and there you have it.  Our little show that could has finished.  As the Ghost of Christmas Present says, “My time…my time is done.”

Sigh.

I get very philosophical when shows end, apparently.  This Christmas Carol was a little different because we ended up taking apart the set at strike yesterday. The show has been kind of a holiday tradition at my school for the past six years, but next year we are moving on to other Christmas-y things.  On the one hand, yay! On the other…ah…change is scary. I am excited about a new Christmas option, obviously. But I will always harbor a little corner of my heart for CC, which I think is truly one of the most beautiful stories ever told.  Everything you could want is in there: a villain reformed, true love, cosy parties, creepy graveyards, funny characters, heart-warming characters, characters that look like death…and, of course, Christmas.  Being in Fred’s party was one of the highlights of my semester, and though the show has a long run, and we don’t always feel like we need to commit, I feel like I learned a very important lesson:

You do the show for the people in the audience who might never see another one. You do the show because there is a little girl out there who wants to do theatre someday.  You do the show because someone out there can’t be with their family this holiday season, and this is the only bit of Christmas they’ll get.  I do the show because I want to share my love for the holiday spirit to everyone who needs a little bit of it.

That is a damn good reason to do any show, and I will keep it in my heart.

Anyway, the last performance went very well.  My friend Val and I basically just chatter during the party scene, and we were living for every moment in it.  Strike only took about four hours, which is pretty good for something that housed a cast of about 50.  I spent a few minutes in the catwalk before remembering how deathly afraid of heights I am (hanging out to grab gels out of light fixtures takes me about 20 times as long…sorry, lighting tech crew), and I spent most of the night catching lights being lowered down.

I also got to sort hardware, help push a 600 lbs machine on a dolly around the building and over a catwalk, and other assorted funsies.  And after a quick Panda Express, fro yo date, bubble bath and homework session, I was all cosy and warm in bed!

Till I remembered that tomorrow (that is, this very morning) began finals week.

And sleep was no more.

ONLY THREE MORE DAYS!

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Fred’s Party at the final show.  James Bond slash Awkward Prom Photo.  True love right there.

Five Things

It’s been an insane weekend, as my family came to visit and see the show.  It was wonderful having them down here all the way from up North, and I feel so lucky I have people willing to come watch the shows I’m in.  After all, it’s not like I am playing the lead in Christmas Carol, and they are still willing to make a 15 hour drive to see it! Very special.

My five things is a little late this week, but I haven’t had time between all the matinees and family outings! So here it is, the five things I’m most excited for in the coming week.

1) My bed.  This is so un-college-student-y, I know, but I am so excited to catch up on my sleep a tiny bit! Possibly.  Maybe.  We’ve been rehearsing to 11, with another rehearsal after that for a directing scene I’m participating in, so the sleep level has been pretty much nil.  We shall see how this week goes, since the amount of homework I have is slightly insane…but I’m looking forward to it!

2) Three nights off! To do homework. Sigh.  Though we all attempt to get stuff done at Christmas Carol, the truth is is that it is very nearly impossible.  So I will be using this Monday through Wednesday to complete the two HUGE projects I have due, while catching up on a myriad of other little projects.  Sigh.  At least I will be getting it done!

3) 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family.  I will be spending today (Sunday) doing homework…with a matinee situated firmly in the middle of my day.  While I’m plugging away at my papers and projects (hey, I just finished a whole paper and it’s only 11 am! Go me!), I will be tuning into ABC Family’s marathon of Christmas shows and commercials, and getting my daily dose of holiday cheer.  I’m probably gonna be OD’d by the time Christmas Carol is over, but I was born to celebrate the holidays!

4) Getting together Christmas presents.  I absolutely LOVE giving gifts! I put a lot of time and thought into them, and watching people unwrap what I’ve thought up is one of my absolute favorite things in the world.  I am making a lot of my gifts this year, because Pinterest has been extra kind in the way of crafting and baking…and because I’m a poor college student.  My sorority family is going to be first on the list since I’ll be leaving next Thursday (!) to go home!

5) More Christmas Carol! We have shows on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I can’t wait.  I love wearing my beautiful costume, and performing in a very fun scene with some wonderful performers! I’ll be sad when it’s over…though then I’ll get to look forward to one month of blissful break.

Me and my lovely sorority family.  Such wonderful girls! So happy to have them at the show!

A Merry Christmas to All!

Ariel and I are so surprised and excited! Mostly because our hair is staying in place.

I know it’s a little early for most of you, but here at BFAbulous, we are in the Christmas spirit!  My annual dose of Christmas cheer started way early this year…like, in October, with the arrival of A Christmas Carol rehearsals.  I love doing this show.  Not only do I get to spread holiday cheer around the community; I get to work with some of the most talented people in the school!  And have I mentioned, my costume is freaking gorgeous?? Cause…it’s beautiful.  I’ll have to post a picture of it later, cause it’s one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever had the priviledge to wear.

Also, it’s really pretty.  Like, seriously.

We began our run with a matinee, which is always kind of an awkward start.  I am so used to rehearsing at night time that waking up to do my hair in pretty Victorian curls and getting cinched into my corset-style dress was a bit of a trip.  It’s kind of nice though; a bit like an invited dress!

Another interesting thing about this show–it runs for years.  Just kidding.  But it feels like it.  Literally 10 shows, two weekends of awesome Christmas-y fun!  Of course, this means that I will be getting about 0% of my homework done on the weekends, since I’ll be running around getting pretty for the show.  We have one week till finals, and the Christmas Carol cast is going to be hard pressed to find time for studying.

So what will I  be doing tonight, my first night off in forever? That would be homework.  And cleaning my room because my parents arrive tomorrow! Ah, live as a BFA.