What I’m Into – May 2016


April was so busy that it almost felt like a complete surprise to me when May rolled around, and subsequently flew by.  Because Texas had lovely temperatures and lots of rain this month, it finally felt like the tail-end of spring, ushering  summer in with subltle heat and a deluge of rain showers.  {Apparently, I’m turning into my parents in my advancing years and can only describe a season by its weather.  Sigh.}

I started rehearsing a production of “Anything Goes” and continued to grow my YouTube channel {I hit my first subscriber goal – yay!}.  I took pages and pages of notes watching various online summit interviews and e-courses and have been much more intentional about journaling.

I feel like I’m in a season of consuming – books, e-courses, music–any sort of wisdom or beauty.  I think its both to fill my creative well and relax into summer.



What I Read


Lessons In Belonging From A Church-Going Commitment Phobe by Erin S. Lane

Man oh man, did I need this book!

Erin’s debut memoir about her search for community in the church was a phenomenal read for me this month.  She voiced so much of what I feel I’m experiencing in my current search for faith community, and though much of her personal experience is not my own, I couldn’t stop underlining, making notes in the margins and carrying around her book like a new friend – this was one of my favorite spiritual memoir reads this year!

Fun author moment: I went to dinner with my friend Cara during the Festival of Faith & Writing last month, along with a few other gals I didn’t know.  I sat next to a lovely gal who I enjoyed chatting with whom I’d never met before.  Turned out, it was Erin Lane, the author of this book, and I didn’t realize/know that until the next day!  I would’ve LOVED to chat with her about this book, I will definitely be sending her an email of thanks for her words!


Writing Day In & Day Out by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Andi was also a speaker at the Festival of Faith & Writing.   Though I did not attend her sessions, I became familiar with her name hearing about her writing through friends.  {She was also on this episode of Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next podcast.}  This short and sweet e-book was on sale this month, and I’m so glad I snatched it up.  There’s nothing new here, but that doesn’t matter.  I love when writers share parts of their process with me, as well as what they’ve learned to be a better writer.  There’s also some lovely encouragment in these pages – its a short read and a fabulous pick for fellow writers!

What I’m Reading

The Passage by Justin Cronin, Brazen by Leeana Tankersley, Out of Sorts: Making Peace With An Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey, Coming Clean by Seth Haines & The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.

Perfect Podcasts

A Balancing Act:  My friend Analisa Leaming‘s podcast is one of my FAVORITES.  The season finale episode with life coach Beth Clayton was so good, I listened a 2nd time with a pen and paper to take notes.   Analisa interviews various creatives and friends who are actively working and engaged in the NYC performing scene.  She asks them all sorts of great questions about their process, their fears and triumphs and how they aspire to their own ‘balancing act’.

What Should I Read Next:  My favorite episode this month found Anne interviewing Mallory Rees, who was looking for books for her honeymoon reading.  I loved both her and Anne’s choices– Rees’ reading tastes and style preferences were most up my alley of all the podcasts this month.

On Being with Krista Tippett:  Spirituality of Imagination with Martin Sheen:  I absolutely loved Tippett’s conversation with the phenomenal actor Martin Sheen.  I had no idea of his intense Catholic faith, his many arrests for peaceful protest and so much more gleaned in this fascinating interview.

Blogisphere Beauts

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Summer Reading Guide

22 Things Every Woman Needs In Her Life at The Art of Simple

The Relationship Between Consuming & Producing  at The Art of Simple

How I Read 200 Books A Year by Claire Diaz-Ortiz {This is an older post I discovered this month.  I love learning new reading techniques from fellow voracious readers!


Southern Delight


We took a quick, lovely weekend trip to see my husband’s family.  We saw my nephew graduate from high school and celebrated my hubby’s birthday.  We also attended Sunday services  in the most charming country church, where God unexpectedly ministered deeply to my heart that as of late, is quite jaded by some relationships in my own church community.

What I Watched & Listened To

I enjoyed the season finales of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Blackish.  It was an odd and abrupt series finale end for Nashville, but I read online that multiple networks are vying for the show, so perhaps the show will continue on.  My husband and I went to see both the new Captain America movie (loved it) and The Angry Birds Movie.  (Meh, but funny.)

On Netflix, I continued my binge-watching-obsession of The West Wing.  I loved the first 2 seasons, and the 3rd one was decent, but not my favorite. {Except for C.J’s storyline with her secret service agent detail – Mark Harmon in his heartthrob days!}.  Music-wise,  I added a few songs per usual to my 2016 Spotify playlist, and started diving into the 1934 original score of Anything Goes in rehearsals.

 Work By Design Summit

It seems to me that hosting online e-courses, webinars and summits is the thing the online cool kids do these days.  I really LOVED taking part in Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s Work By Design Summit.  She released at least 3 videos per day for 2 weeks, which stayed live and free for 48 hours.  I took literally PAGES and PAGES of notes, and am still processing all the wisdom.   Favorite interviews included productivity guru Chris Bailey, paleo chef and entrepreneur Mary Shenouda, HopeWriter’s and online course genius Brian Dixon and of course, the delightful Emily Freeman – one of my favorite authors.  {I also loved that Claire resonated so deeply with Emily’s video, and plugged it heavily in her keynote.  I’ve been devouring Emily’s wisdom and words for awhile now – I love that others are now learning more from her.}  {If you’re interested, the entire slew of video content, along with an online e-course and bonus freebies are available for purchase here.  This series of interviews and content piqued my interest in Claire’s books,  The Better Life and Design Your Day.


If you are visiting this blog from my YouTube channel – WELCOME! I’m glad you’re here! I’m continuing to churn out content on my YouTube channel on essential oils, favorites and other fun lifestyle topics as much as I can this summer.  I shared on the average two videos a week – I’d like to share more in the coming months.   I also celebrated my first subscriber goal on my channel with my first giveaway!  Check out my May Favorites Video below.  {I do my best to share new favorite content in my videos that you won’t see on the blog – enjoy!}


What I Ate

As I scrolled through my photo feed this month, I realized it was a yummy month for good eats.


The first weekend of May, our wonderful friends Mark & Marlie,who happen to be fellow foodies, came over for Sunday dinner.   Marlie whipped up some homemade brushetta with fresh basil from her garden–it was SCRUMPTIOUS!


I experienced some tasty southern vittles with my husband and in-laws on a Sunday afternoon.  I had quite possibly my best taste of a fried green tomato.  Other delicious side dishes included creamy  mashed potatoes and gravy and deviled eggs that were worth the extra vacation calories!  I thought the menu and the slogan of the restaurant were fun.


I have been constantly making a particularly tasty salad dressing recipe in the Fixate Cookbook, by the 21 Day Fix Creator & Fitness Guru, Autumn Calabrese.  This tangy honey mustard dressing is so easy to make, doesn’t scimp on taste, and is quick and easy to make.  {The linked recipe is from the Beachbody website and is 99% accurate – sub in rice vinegar for apple cider vinegar for the specific Fixate recipe.}

What I’m Looking Forward to in June

Enjoying the rehearsal weeks and  performing of Anything Goes, reading all the summer books, hanging out more with my husband and friends and working on my writing and YouTube channel.

What were YOU into this May?

{As always, Leigh’s linkup is a favorite. Any affiliate links in this post benefit the production on ye olde blog – thank you kindly!}

2016 Book Releases I Can’t Wait To Read! {A Calendar Year of Great Books}

Having been a book nerd since childhood, book list posts are some of my favorite reads in the blogosphere.

I compiled this list at the beginning of the year, and have been adding to it as more and more amazing reads are announced for publication this year.

I decided to share these books by the calendar year – it makes me so excited each month to check out the latest releases I can’t wait to read.

I’ve already started reading a few of these titles and am anticipating the rest!

{*affiliate links in this post, if used, may provide pennies or credit to All Manner of Inspiration at no extra cost or effort to you.   Feel free to use them or not, but my sincerest  thanks for helping keep the lights on at ye olde blog!}



Out of the House of Bread: Satisfying Your Hunger for God with the Spiritual Disciplines by Preston Yancey



Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy

How To Be A Wildflower: A Field Guide by Katie Daisy



Night Driving: A Story of Faith In the Dark by Addie Zierman

Curious Faith: Rediscovering Hope in the God of Possibility  by Logan Wolfram



Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hiding by Leanna Tankersley 

Looking For Lovely: Collecting the Moments That Matter by Annie Downs

Thumbprint In the Clay: Divine Marks of Beauty, Order & Grace by Luci Shaw



Wild & Free: A Hope Filled Anthem for the Woman Who Feels She Is Both Too Much & Never Enough by Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan



Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, Parts I & II by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany



Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic For A Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist 

Love Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton



The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp

What will YOU be reading in 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

What I’m Into – March 2016


Every March blows through at lightning speed for me–this month roared in as per usual.  It was a bit of a ‘breather’ month, as I just finished a rush of musical theatre performing in February, with March being the start of a break from rehearsals and performances.

We’ve had no winter weather at all this year, and now that its spring–we’ve had billowing gusts of wind that are making it cold.  Texans in general don’t like that sort of thing down here, but being a transplant, I LOVE it.

{Soon enough, it will be summer and Texas will be 1000 degrees every.single.day.  So there’s that.}

But I digress with my weather report.  I am reading good books and working on writing and my YouTube channel in earnest.  We’re taking some really fun trips next month, so I enjoyed being a homebody in March.

{As usual, any pennies earned from the affiliate links below, if used, go towards keeping the lights on here at ye olde blog – thanks!}


What I Read

For the Love: Fighting For Grace In A World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

This was a fun read, but I must confess I had mixed feelings with this one.

Just enjoying the book as a lighthearted romp of essays {with a few serious, well thought out chapters peppered amongst the humor, no doubt to garner some depth} is probably the best way to read this book.   I laughed out loud like most people would at her ‘Thank You Notes’ essays, which included nuggets like  “Thank you, AutoCorrect, for making me appear simultaneously like an English professor and a perverted gangster.”.  I also applauded her wisdom and well-earned insight on her experience with the Church.

Sometimes though, I have to admit that I felt like I was reading a book of essays by ‘the cool Christian girl’.  I don’t say that lightly or smugly–Jen grew up in my hometown, knows people well that I know and love and no doubt is a hometown girl after my own heart.  Being that there’s way less than six degrees of separation between us, I would love to meet her one day.  But often when I turned these pages, there was an overarching tone in her writing voice that felt like the Christian head cheerleader or the woman at church that EVERYONE fauns over was being way more witty and fun than anyone else in the room.  That isn’t the best way to describe it, but its the closest way I know how.

Jen is fantastic writer, and I had a lovely time reading this book, but I think I honestly preferred her previous bestseller Seven, perhaps because it felt a touch more authentic.  For the Love would be a perfect & delightful summer/beach read if you enjoy Hatmaker’s books.

{Nothing but love to Jen here, I’m just being honest.  I think she would appreciate that.} 

Accidental Saints: Finding God In All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber

I first started reading Nadia’s follow-up to Pastrix {one of my favorite spiritual memoirs} last fall right when it was released.  Pastrix was more of her coming-to-faith memoir story, while this one felt like story vignettes from her current pastoral life–I loved it almost as much as her memoir.

As has been the case with a variety of my reads this year, I put this book down at the end of the 2015–NOT because it wasn’t stellar–but because of the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

I picked Accidental Saints back up this month, and read the end of the book during Holy Week.  Given the state of my spiritual journey these days, it was the PERFECT thing for me to read moving into Easter.   I particularly loved the chapter titled Judas Will Now Take Your Confession, where she considers Judas, his betrayal, and the state of grace around him–it was fascinating and wise and heartbreakingly beautiful.  This book is the exact type of nonfiction spiritual memoir I love–a must read.  {FYI: She doesn’t hold back on colorful language, beware if that’s a problem for you.}

Nadia is speaking at this year’s Festival of Faith and Writing next month, and I CAN’T WAIT to hear her in person!

What I’m Reading


{Just call me the memoir-reading-queen.}

Evolving In Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans, Brazen by Leanna Tankersley, Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy, The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, Healing Oils, Healing Hands by Linda Smith, Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey, Still Life by Louise Penny and Coming Clean by Seth Haines.


Blogisphere Beauts

When Its Frustration That Gets the Ball Rolling by Anne Bogel

Are you frustrated right now? That’s okay. That’s good, actually. It doesn’t mean you’re a grump or a grouch. It means you have a spark. It’s the beginning of a big idea, the beginning of change.


In Praise Of A Holy Imagination by Emily Freeman

We have the power to spin the invisible into something we can see through our choices and our words – it sounds mythical, but really it’s just living.


The Robcast interview with Glennon Doyle Melton I listened to this podcast in the car, and I honestly need to listen to it again with a pen and paper, because Glennon was dropping truth bombs in this interview from the get-go!

Favorite Moments

Virtual Voice Lessons


I’m back in the swing of weekly voice lessons with my vocal coach, Katti.  I never thought I would have such a great experience with working with a vocal coach online, as opposed to in person.  Katti is on the road with her husband, who is a professional sound designer on Broadway musical tours, so she ‘virtually’ connects with all of her students online.

She’s a phenomenal teacher, and a dear soul friend.  Professional, helpful, generous, honest and so helpful–one of my friends who is also her student has aptly dubbed her the Voice Whisperer!  Consider checking out her website if you’re interested in voice lessons–she’s fantastic!

Sunday in the Park


My sweet husband, pup and I had fun in a local park this month.  We all soaked up the sunshine and our sweet pup Daph enjoyed stalking the squirrels!


I loved finding this cute spring gnome in my local Target dollar spot–I even found a matching green one a few weeks later–and our flower garden now looks like an Easter dream land!


IMG_2090 IMG_2097

We absolutely adored celebrating Easter this year.  Usually we travel to see my husband’s family, but this year we stayed home where the sunny skies were luminous.  We enjoyed worshipping at our home church, had a non-traditional and delicious sushi lunch, then came home and planted flowers in our garden, which felt like the perfect activity for Resurrection Sunday.


The greenhouse/nursery near our house was the PERFECT place to visit on Easter Sunday–so many gorgeous flowers were in bloom, I couldn’t stop taking pictures and breathing deep all the floral scents.

 Quintessential Oil Favorites


Eucalyptus Globulus: This was a new-to-me-freebie oil in March’s Essential Rewards order that I LOVE.  I’m naturally drawn to Young Living’s blend, RC {which stands for Respiratory Care} that has 3 different types of Eucalyptus in it–this one included.  I apply it to my chest and under my nose and diffuse it for respiratory support. I also loved mixing it in the diffuser with Lavender. Divine.

Twelve Oils of Ancient Scripture Kit

I saved up free points for MONTHS to get this pricey kit free from Young Living –it arrived on Holy Week, which was the perfect time to enjoy it.  I filmed an unboxing for my YouTube channel {check it out below}–I’m looking forward to going through each oil in the kit in a video series that’s coming in May!


More March Favorites

I absolutely love making Favorites Videos for my YouTube channel – check out my additional favorites in the video below:

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month

Attending the Festival of Faith & Writing in Michigan {who else is going? Give me a shout out in the comments – would love to connect!}, working out and taking tap classes in earnest, hosting my best friend’s baby shower, celebrating my birthday and taking an anniversary trip with my husband to the Grand Canyon!

What were you into this month?

{Leigh’s linkup is a regular monthly favorite.}

What I’m Into – February 2016


If I thought January was a whirlwind, February quickly became a cyclone!  For me, most of the month was about performing in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie – from weekly rehearsals to the fastest tech week process I’ve EVER experienced, to the wonderful gift of a 3 week show run.  {A rarity at regional theatres in my neck of the woods}.

I also snuck in any available minute to spend time with my hubby.  We enjoyed a visit from my husband’s Mom, I read a few fantastic books and got excited about planning my best friends baby shower and starting to write again.

{As usual, any pennies earned from the affiliate links below, if used, go towards keeping the lights on here at ye olde blog – thanks!}


What I Read

After You by JoJo Moyes

I didn’t know what I was going to think about the sequel to one of my favorite fiction reads of 2015.  I very much appreciated that Moyes took the time to flesh out an interesting sequel story for Lou, the protaganist in Me Before You.

 I would gander a guess that many diehard fans of Moyes’ first book didn’t like this book as much as its predecessor, but I don’t think the intention was for this story to have that same kind of lustre.  I was sucked into the story quicker than I expected, and I felt the resolution was satisfying.   Was it my favorite fiction read ever? Not really, but if you were invested in the characters in Me Before You, I think you’ll enjoy this read.

Four Seasons In Rome: On Twins, Insomnia & the Biggest Funeral In the History of the World by Anthony Doerr 

Oh my word, I absolutely LOVED this book!  Written by the Pulitzer prize winning author of All The Light You Cannot See, this book checked out off many boxes of my favorite reading components–memoir writing about living in Italy {one of my favorite places on Earth} for a year, written in sumptuous prose.

There’s no plot twists, no huge developments–the main events of the book are described in a somewhat clunky subtitle {my ONLY non-rave about the book, and that’s a small point that didn’t matter}.

The simple narrative may have been another reason I loved it – Doerr managed to write about everyday discovery in a new country alongside his wife and their newborn twins with a seamless beauty and a distinct and stunning writing voice.  Its one of the first books I’ve read in a long while, where MULTIPLE passages of prose were underlined JUST because they were written so beautifully.   This is one of my favorite reads of the year and is one of the best travel memoirs I’ve ever read–DON’T MISS IT.

Searching For Sunday: Loving, Leaving & Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans

This is a case of a book coming back into my hands at the exact moment I needed it.  I first bought and started reading Held’s latest memoir last year right when it was released.  I enjoyed the writing and the story, but found it just wasn’t resonating with me and where I was in my life at that moment.  I put it down to read another time, and it sadly got buried in my ever-growing-to-read-stack.  {What can I say, I’ve got #booknerdproblems.}

I picked this book up this month when I was feeling much of the heaviness that Helds seems to feel about her faith, her ever evolving theology, and her journey with the church.  This is her story, to be clear, but I couldn’t stop underlining, resonating, ‘hmmm-mmmm-ing’ and cheering her on.

As of late I am having a lot of the same feels as she seemed to go through in this book, and having her story through her words felt like having a fellow spiritual traveller/companion with on my own journey.  I think this is some of Rachel’s strongest and most beautiful prose yet–I absolutely LOVED this book.

What I’m Reading

Roots & Sky by Christie Purifoy, Coming Clean by Seth Haines, Out of the House of Bread by Preston Yancey, The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, For The Love by Jen Hatmaker & Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram.

What I’m Watching

Tellyvision: Shondaland fans, rejoice–Thursday night TV came back with a vengeance this month.  I’m watching How To Get Away With Murder & Grey’s Anatomy–I’m in awe that the writers on Greys are still spinning mesmerizing storylines that suck me in.  I’m still watching Scandal, but am really only holding onto that show by a virtual thread–though they’ve got my attention with the upcoming election story angle–here’s hoping it’ll reel me back into the show.

I’m loving and simultaneously dreading the end of Downton Abbey. (GAH, that episode with Edith and Mary!).  Other faves are Top Chef, Younger, and Blackish–I’m pretty sure Ruby is my spirit animal.

Netflix: I’m loving Mozart in the Jungle, and look forward to some down time when I can continue binge watching The West Wing.  And like the rest of my blogisphere compadres, I’M COUNTING DOWN TO THE GILLY {GILMORE} GIRLS RE-BOOT!!

What I’m Listening to

I’ve been constantly adding songs to my 2016 playlist this month from the playlists that are curated by Tsh Oxenreider as part of her Upstream Field Guide e-course.  I think she and I are musical kindred spirits–she most definitely has the spiritual gift of the mixtape.

Through the UFG playlists, I’ve discovered the score to one of my favorite movies, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I already own the popular soundtrack, but the score by Theodore Shapiro, featuring the vocals of Jose Gonzalez has become another favorite this month.

Blogisphere Beauts

Michelle DeRusha: Why I Wear Lipstick and Shoes When I Write

…Maybe you’re an artist or a small business owner or a writer like me, wrestling with your definition of success.

…If this is the case, here’s my advice for you: do one small thing every day that reminds you that your work — whether it’s mothering, volunteering, entrepreneuring, freelancing, caretaking — is important. Do one small thing every day that reminds you that you are valuable. Do one small thing every day that reminds you that you and your contributions are legitimate and worthwhile, whether you get paid a little or a lot or nothing at all.

Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy: When You’re Living in the Wrong Movie

I said: Maybe you’re in the wrong movie.

He said: I think I am. But what’s the right one?

Believe it or not, this conversation made total sense to us.

Tsh Oxenreider at The Art of Simple: How I Use My Bullet Journal & How to Find Inspiration When You’re Uninspired

I’m unabashedly a writer-downer of things; in fact, the sheer act of writing helps me remember and process.


The past few years, I’ve learned that my immediate environment critically affects my mood, from the clutter on my desk to the natural light pouring through my window (or lack thereof), to the walkability of the streets outside my front door. I used to apologize for that, but I don’t now. It’s how I’m made. I’m deeply affected by my surroundings.

Interviews/Podcasts at Offcamera.com: I first discovered these interviews through Leigh Kramer and Anne Bogel’s blog posts.  I’ve specifically loved the episodes with Connie Britton, Matt Damon {see Anne’s post above for more on Damon’s interview} and Olivia Wilde.  I’m looking forward to listening to the interviews with Jon Hamm and Will Ferrell as well.

 Favorite Moments


I have to say I’m giddy and euphoric whenever my husband surprises me.  Our Valentines day was both celebratory and low key, surprising and perfect-to-me.  {I’m sorry for those readers who hate cheesy Valentines stories, but I waited a long while to find my Valentine, so I choose to celebrate our love as much as I can.}

My sweet husband and I enjoyed a delicious dinner at a new-to-us restaurant {he looked smashingly handsome in his new blazer}, then he surprised me with a date-night-excursion to Painting With A Twist.  {He even brought a bottle of my favorite ‘sweet wine for us to savor as we painted our picture together.}



Thoroughly Modern Millie & Making New Friends


One of the things I’ve loved about performing in Millie this month has been getting to know an entirely different community of actors than I’ve known locally in past years. {And yes, that’s really me in the picture above in a full blown black wig.}   Everyone in this cast is funny, compassionate, interesting, and a sheer delight to be around.  They have been light and joy to me, as I’ve struggled lately to find real community in my day to day life.


The difficult thing about doing regional theatre is the leaving of the show–the short bursts of creativity and excitement, then the letdown of getting back to the daily grind and not seeing people you saw for hours on end every single week.

I hope to have made genuine and true friends through this production.  I’m so grateful to know every person in this cast, and I hope to have imparted to them even half of the joy and energy they have given me.

 This Month’s Quintessential Essential Oils

valor spray

DIY Valor Spray: I made myself a bottle of Valor spray this month, and it quickly became my best friend at theatre rehearsals.  Performing a character role in a fast and furious rehearsal process sometimes left me insecure and unsure of myself.  I don’t care how woo-woo it sounds–dousing myself in the delicious musky scents of Valor helped my creative process immensely. It also helped my Valor essential oil bottles go the extra mile.  {Especially now that Valor is out of stock due to seasonal plant harvests–BOO.}

White Angelica and Northern Lights Black Spruce:


These essential oil beauts were my new-to-me oil purchases this month–they smell  AH-MAZ-ING! I think NL Black Spruce might be one of my favorite tree oil scents {next to Frankincense}, and I loved that my nose picked up the scent of Rose in White Angelica.

For more of my Young Living Favorites, check out this month’s Favorites video on my YouTube channel.

What I’m Looking Forward To In March

Having a short break from the hustle and bustle of a crazy-busy show rehearsal/performance schedule; working on creating lots of content for YouTube and pursuing writing projects; much more time with my hubby and friends and planning my bestie’s baby shower.

What were you into this month?  Let me know in the comments!

{As always, I love linking up with Leigh.}

What I’m Into – January 2016


If December was a sleepy, happily slow month with holiday savoring and personal reflection, then January hit the ground running like a kid pumped full of sugar, tearing across the playground during recess.

The first week of the month I started rehearsals for an operetta concert, and everything picked up steam from there.  I’m thrilled to be in a busy-for-me season of performing and creativity.

{As per usual, any affiliate links below, if used, help keep the lights on at ye olde-bloggy-blog, at no extra cost to you.  Thank ye kindly!}

Simultaneous Shows


In January, I rehearsed and performed in a concert performance of the operetta, The New Moon, and began rehearsals for a musical theatre production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. I’ve loved the music of Millie for years, and am so excited to tackle and savor the character role of Mrs. Meers.

All The Books


What I Read


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert:

So, technically, I included this book in my 2015 reads, because I read the bulk of the book last fall and Advent season.  I’m including it here because specifically, I finished the last page on January 4th.  {I’ve become randomly anal about when I finish a book and correctly documenting it.}

The truth of the matter is I loved this book so much, I purposely read it slowly so it would last longer.  I LOVE books on creativity, and besides Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways, this is probably my favorite book on the subject.  Its conversational, with elements of memoir, instruction, advice and maybe a dash of self-help (in the best, un-obnoxious way).   There are a few chapters and concepts that no doubt folks will think are woo-woo, but I still resonated with the entire message.  There are MANY concepts and ideas that Gilbert talked about in these pages that I am ruminating over, and suspect I will be for some time. {Many of them deserve their own blog post, I hope I can follow through and write them!}

If you are a creative, love a creative, or just love Gilbert’s writing, READ.THIS.BOOK.NOW.



Sounds Like Me: My Life (so far) in Song by Sara Bareilles:

I was all set to dislike this book.  Though I love Sara Bareilles’ music, I wondered why she was writing a memoir of her life at such a young age, unless a fat celebrity paycheck or personal vanity was behind it.  {I know, harsh.  Yes, I need to check the judgy-ness at the door.}

I’m glad I stuck this read out, as I was immediately drawn in by her very readable, slightly self depricating and conversational writing style.  She seems quite honest, and I particularly loved the chapters where she writes letters to her younger selves, and speaks about her journey thus far composing and creating the Broadway bound musical version of the movie, Waitress.

This was a light and fluffy read for me, with morsels of wisdom and self reflection to enjoy. I have a new found respect for Bareilles, and am eagarly awaiting her new musical’s debut this year on Broadway!


Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual {Illustrated edition} by Michael Pollan

This book has been on my unread shelf for way too long, so I decided the beginning of the year was as good a time as any to read this informative and short read.

I think this illustrated edition is a shortened version of Pollan’s original book, and I must say I preferred it.  Divided into 3 sections, Pollan espouses food wisdom that is important, practical and helpful—especially timely to me and my current goals and aspirations to clean eating, diet and exercise.   I highlighted and wrote out passages in my notebooks to keep in mind when shopping for and cooking my daily meals.

This read is also the first on my 2016 Reading Challenge list from Anne Bogel

What I’m Reading Now


Four Seasons In Rome by Anthony Doerr,  After You by JoJo Moyes,  Out of the House of Bread by Preston Yancey, Coming Clean by Seth Haines The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker and Savor by Shauna Niequist.


Link Love

Preston Yancey: Where I’ve Been

Edie Wadsworth: 3 Reasons You Should Still Build A Family Library {in a digital, konmari world}

What I’m Watching

My husband and I LOVED the New Year’s Day Sherlock special!  (I will forever be one of Benedict’s biggest fans–Cumberb*tches unite!).  I loved the time travel angle, and the always-intelligent writing.  I’m just bummed we’ll seemingly have to wait another 25 years for the next one….

Tellyvision:  My Shondaland shows aren’t premiering until February {boo}, so I’ve pretty much stuck to watching shows my husband and I DVR, including Big Bang Theory and  Blackish. {The episode where Ruby starts dating made me ROAR with laughter.  I’m obsessed with the comedy of Jenifer Lewis–I think she might be my spirit animal.}  My husband and I also enjoyed starting to watch the X-Files re-boot.  I missed it the first time around, but my hubs was a big fan.  I personally also can’t miss an episode of Downton Abbey‘s last season, and I’ve started watching this season’s Top Chef.

Netflix: I think I am one of the only people I know who never watched The West Wing.  I started Season 1 this month, and am loving it–all hail the King of cinematic dialogue, Aaron Sorkin.  I’m also obsessed with Alison Janney’s performance–so brilliant.

After watching the Golden Globes, I became intrigued by Mozart In the Jungle.  I’m at the beginning of the 2nd season, and LOVE it! {Though I can’t understand why the leading character–playing a world-class conductor–can’t pretend to be even an adequate conductor, FOR THE LOVE.  Sigh…can you tell I was a music major?}.  Here’s hoping they renew it for a 3rd season.


What I’m Listening To


Notable & New to me: What Should I Read Next? by Anne Bogel:

I absolutely LOVE this new podcast! Anne writes one of my favorite blogs, Modern Mrs. Darcy.   Each week Anne interviews her guest of choice and asks them about their book loves and hates, then ‘prescribes’ a few book suggestions–hopefully ones they haven’t heard of or read.  Its also a perfect length between 20 and 30 minutes.

Anne practiced this literary art with a blog series in past years, and she’s good at it–recommending books for every guest they’ve never heard of or considered. The conversation is great, and the book titles are worth checking out.  {Though for the record, I think most of her recommendations are books she’s already discussed on her blog.  Perhaps that will change, as she gets more episodes under her belt.}

I’ve devoured all 4 episodes (they are released every Tuesday, which is awesome!).  My favorite episodes thus far are with author Seth Haines and podcaster Jacey Verdicchio.

I also want to go on record publicly and say, I WANT TO BE AN UPCOMING GUEST!  PLEASE ANNE!  {Shameless and pitiful plea, I know.}


Tried & True Favorite Podcast: The Simple Show by Tsh Oxenreider

I’ve started another yearly playlist on my Spotify channel.  I’ve only added a few tracks so far, because I’m mostly listening to the original cast recording of Thoroughly Modern Millie in my car to learn my music for the show performance. I’m still loving Adele’s 25, and Sirius XM Radio’s Broadway & Coffeehouse channels are on constant rotation during my car commutes.

I’m also LOVING playlists by Tsh Oxenreider that are part of her Upstream Field Guide E-Course–I’ll share more about that next month!

Good Times/Favorite Things:


Dressing Room chats {& wacky selfies} with fellow castmates



My sweet hubs and I ended the month with a lovely date nite out at a new-to-us restaurant, where we discovered delicious Moscow mules made with blueberries.



{YEP, though you may not have seen it, I’m all too aware of the spot of lipstick on my teeth in this photo.  Unfortunately, I’m not well versed in photo shop.  Let’s just focus on the lovely Cloth & Paper box, shall we?}  🙂 

Penspiration Box by Cloth & Paper

The monthly Penspiration Box subscription might just be my new obsession.  

January was my first month to receive a subscription from Cloth and Paper – a fabulous stationary online store of sorts.  The Penspiration box is a monthly package of glorious-pen-goodness: anywhere from 4 to 6 pens and perhaps a stationary surprise or two delivered in a lovely navy box with gold lettering. {I’m a sucker for quality packaging, and Cloth & Paper does NOT disappoint.}  My first box had 6 different pens, and I love writing with every.single.one. of them! {They also included a small post-it-note pad in a beautiful marble design I never even knew I needed.}

I’ve filmed an unboxing for my YouTube Channel that would’ve been live already if I hadn’t destroyed my external hard drive {see sad story below}.  Look for that unboxing in the next few weeks – I’m  hoping to make it a monthly series.



SheLoves Red Couch Book Club:  Our first book this year is a slightly obscure title by my favorite author Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season.  I was honored to contribute the discussion post.  Join us in the Facebook group to discuss all the things about this book!



I discovered Nekter Fruit & Peanut Butter bowls with hemp granola and fruit this month–they are  SO DELICIOUS! They’re expensive, but with a pea protein add-in, they make a meal, and have become my favorite yummy treat!

Essential Oil Faves {Young Living}


—>Peace & Calming essential oil blend:  AS ALWAYS.  This is the EO blend I use every single day, whether its in a spray bottle in my purse during the day, or in my diffuser before I go to sleep.    {I’m also loving the combination of diffusing 3-4 drops of Peace & Calming with 1-2 drops of Ravintsara before I go to bed.  Magical…}

—>Deep Relief roll-on blend:  I used this before and after each performance of The New Moon, to ease my neck tension.  This blend is now a permanent fixture in my purse/rehearsal bag.  I love using this as part of my nightime routine–it feels cooling along my neck and shoulders.


—>Harmony, Highest Potential & Valor essential oil blends:  These were my staple blends to use before rehearsals.  Harmony smells to me like a fresh flower garden, and Valor smells like a light musk and a fresh floral perfume had a baby–scrumptious.

—>Current Home & Car Diffusing Combo: RC/Thieves for healthy respiratory & immune support.  Another favorite diffusing combo discovery this month was Valor II & Frankincense.

If you aren’t already a member of Young Living, I’d love to help you out and get you started!  Click here to order products at wholesale cost, and learn more about my team.

{I also share my monthly Young Living faves in every monthly Favorites video on my YouTube Channel–here’s my Favorites Playlist.}


First, the good news!

I shared a few fun videos on my channel this month.  My favorites included:  Essential oils I Use Before An Audition and My 2015 End-of-Year Favorites–check them out below:

And now for Technological Meltdown #2!  (I can still barely talk about the first one…)

{Gah, I’m so OVER having technological meltdowns in working on my video content for YouTube!}

After FINALLY cleaning up the hard drive of my MacBook Pro, and getting an external hard drive to use for work on my YouTube video footage, this morning I dropped said external hard drive on our tile floor, shattering it into 3 pieces, and despite putting it back together, I certifiably killed it. Never mind the fact that I had JUST finished editing 2 videos with its contents.  {Over an hour of footage, and 4 days/HOURS worth of work!)

My husband and I thankfully were able to purchase a better external hard drive on Amazon Prime, so now its back to the editing board and filming room to make MORE videos while I wait for the drive to arrive on my doorstep.  {I’ll be posting my January Favorites video to YouTube as soon as I can!}

What I’m Looking Forward to in February


Performing a dream character role {Mrs. Meers} in a musical production of Thoroughly Modern Millie for 3 weeks, celebrating Valentines Day with my hubby, creating new content on YouTube, unboxing my Essential Rewards from Young Living {a regular video series on my YouTube channel}, receiving another Penspiration box in the mail, reading good books, starting to plan my best friend’s baby shower and finding some free time to hang out with friends.

What were YOU into this month? Let me know in the comments!

{as always, Leigh’s linkups are a joy.}