What I’m Into – February 2014

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I’m obsessed with the Waterlogue photo app–this was my favorite one of the month, taken on a Sunday afternoon hike.

 

All I can really say about my February is: where did it go so quickly??  

I feel like I blinked, and March blew in {literally} like a lion.  February was filled with book reading and creativity manifesting through voice lessons and free writing.  I also have been working on plugging into our local community and working on projects at home.  It was fun to take a quick road trip to Branson at the end of the month {with an unexpected, yet appreciated delay} to connect with some kindred spirits.  Bring on March and the beauty of spring!

 

Blogisphere Reads

Playbill:  Booking It: Broadway Film & Recording Industry Go-To Vocal Coach, Liz Caplan 

Michelle DeRusha: The Season of Slow

Emily Freeman: In Celebration of Slow

Blaine Hogan:  I Should Be Philip Seymour Hoffman

Tina Francis: Paris Grass Ain’t Greener 

Leanna Tankersley: 10 Things I’ve Learned From Anne Lamott  

Momastery: The Sacred Scared series – in particular for me, the words of Shauna Niequist & Sarah Bessey

Books

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I think in terms of numbers of books I’ve read in one month, February was a personal best! Taking part in Leigh’s February Reading Challenge, I read 6 books cover to cover, as well as spot-reading a handful of my own books for research.  I also read a few library books that I’d already picked up.   Every other book was one from my shelves that was a long overdue read.

What I Read:

Dear Mr. Knightley by Catherine Reay:  I don’t normally read light Christian fiction fare, but I really enjoyed this book.  Voiced by a strong-willed narrator, and told through letters, this story of a young girl writing letters to her anonymous grad school donor is sweet and engaging.  I have to admit, the twist at the end wasn’t my favorite, but I still liked the whole of the book, and loved the little quirks and inner thoughts of the story’s heroine.  This is a light fun read to add to your bedside table bookstack.

A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement – Written & Compiled by Barbara Abercrombie

I worked my way through this book in less than a year, and gleaned so much wisdom from the daily readings, famous author quotes and and solid writing advice from author and writing teach Barbara Abercrombie.  This is one of my favorite reads on writing, and can be worked through in a year, or read straight through.  A perfect read for newbie and well seasoned writers.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

I finally read this gem after hearing so many bloggers sing its praises.  For me, it started slow, but eventually I couldn’t put it down.  Like many other readers, it did make me think about my life choices and felt poignant for me, in that I read it at the exact same age of the main character Alice. (An important part of the plot).  Its a great read, and one that will warm your heart and consider your own life choices.

Still Writing: The Perils & Pleasures of A Creative Life by Dani Shapiro

I clearly understand that I am newbie/novice writer, and being such, I’ve read lots of books on writing as of late.  That being said, this was one of the most enjoyable reads on writing I’ve encountered.  Written in a conversational, memoir-like style, Shapiro’s premise that most everything she’s learned about life has come to her through writing drives the book.  There’s so much good advice and wisdom here – I gave my highlighter a workout in these pages.  Its also a slim little book, and an easy read.  For me, its up there with Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones–a writing must-read.  

Diamond In The Rough: A Memoir by Shawn Colvin

I am a HUGE fan of Shawn Colvin’s music.  It was pretty much my college soundtrack, and her lyrical writing always inspires me.  It may sound cliche, but for me,  her songs are like coming home  – they can take me back to so many memories of specific places and times in my life.  If you enjoy memoir, and you know Colvin’s work, this is a quick read, and a delight.  I loved her honesty and depth about her background, and she shares the stories and inspirations behind so many of her songs.  This read inspired me to make a special Shawn Colvin playlist – look for it on the blog soon.

What I’m Reading

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown,  It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig,  The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, Crowded Skies: Letter to Manhattan by Tara Leigh Cobble,  Torn by Justin Lee,  Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath & You’re Going To Be Okay by Holley Gerth.

 

Virtual Online Voice Lessons

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 This month I was welcomed into intersecting my worlds of creativity and technology with my first ever virtual voice lessons.  Desperate to find a good vocal teacher/coach in my local area, my friend Julie recommended her teacher.  I was MAJORLY skeptical of whether good, sound vocal coaching could happen virtually without being in person.  {There are so many things that can be missed technically and physically with technique, the sound delay creating problems, et cetera.}  I skeptically signed up for a month’s worth of lessons, and can I just say, I’m so glad I did!  Katti {pronounced Katie} Powell is warm, kind, intelligent and has a vast wealth of knowledge both with vocal repertoire for a musical theatre performer, and tips and tricks on how best to conduct yourself in the business of auditions and performing.  She’s based in Utah, and yet all of her students are virtual – around the US and the world.  She’s a kindred spirit for sure – I hope we meet one day in real life!  Until then, I’m going to enjoy our weekly voice lessons.  I’m so grateful to be getting back into ‘the vocal saddle’ if you will.  If you’re a professional performer, or just interested in good vocal lessons, Katti is wonderful teacher to consider.

Iphone App greatness: Waterlogue

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I seriously am a curmudgeon when it comes to paying for iPhone apps.  But if you love creative photos, this one is not to be missed.  After seeing some of my favorite bloggers light up their Instagram feed with painted pictures, I paid a few dollars for this one, and I’ve definitely got my money’s worth.  The Waterlogue app takes any picture, and transforms it into either a painting or drawing.  I’ve had so much fun creating art with my photos, and I think you will too. 

Travel

The last weekend of February was full of delight.  I travelled to Branson to spend time with Holley Gerth, and a few other members of her God-Sized Dream Team to celebrate the year anniversary of her book, and connect with Holley and new friends. I honestly didn’t know what to expect of the weekend.   I’ve connected briefly with Holley and Nasreen in larger conference settings, and this was {happily} much different than that.  We ate wonderful food, and talked about our lives and dreams.  I was so grateful for the genuine and authentic community, and felt I didn’t just connect with other bloggers, I found the beginnings of real friendships beyond the virtual realm.  And even though that’s usually the goal anyway, it doesn’t always seem to happen.  I’m definitely processing through all the goodness of that weekend,  it deserves–and will get–its own blog post.

The icing on the God-Sized Dream cake {and there was a literal cake with amazing frosting} was my flight home being cancelled on Sunday because of inclement weather.  I was able to bunk up with my dear friend Katherine, whom I haven’t connected with in ages, and spend some quality time.  She’s a crazy busy gal, and I know if the weather delay hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have had the time to talk, catch up, make delicious homemade caramel corn, and watch the Oscars.  As my Godmom would say, the entire weekend was “pure God-scidence”, indeed.

Other February Greatness
  • Hiking with my best friend Janie and her Dad at a nature reserve right by my house.  {I’m mortified I’ve lived here this long, and just found it.}  We hiked over 3 miles, and I had fun taking photos.

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  • I finished my first Paleo Whole30.  Of course, there were all ‘the feelings’, {and cheats} to process.  I’m long overdue for a post on this, but suffice it to say, I’m so glad I did it, and will be working delicious and nutritious Paleo food into my everyday life.
The beginnings of Paleo Salmon cakes - a delicious part of my Whole30.
The beginnings of Paleo Salmon cakes – a delicious part of my Whole30.

 

  • I started Jon Acuff’s Empty Bookshelf Challenge last month, but just got around this month to photographing my shelf and this year’s reads.   I’ve already been cataloging my yearly reads at Goodreads and through linkups like this one and Twitterature, but its always fun to find another way to do so.

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On My Blog

Along with my usual blogging fare of Sacro Speco, and What I’m Into, I blogged about my fabulous experience with the Virtual Book Exchange.  I also officially started a yearlong series I was tinkering around with in January,  A Year of Playlists.  After reading Tsh Oxenreider‘s fabulous book, Notes From A Blue Bike, I had fun writing a post inspired by the book about my travels.

What I’m Looking Forward To In March

More auditions, and rehearsals for a Sweeney Todd concert this spring!  I’m always reading, writing, singing and making time with friends, and perhaps a weekend getaway with my love will happen too.

What were you into last month?

{as always, Leigh’s linkups are my faves.  Any affiliate links used in this post help keep my blog light’s on – thank you!}

3 comments on “What I’m Into – February 2014

  1. I’m interested to hear more about your virtual vocal lessons as you move forward! It’s amazing what technology can do!

    I’m also interested to hear what you think of Torn. It’s on my reading list. And I added What Alice Forgot.

    A Sweeney Todd concert? Do tell?

    1. Thanks for reading! 🙂 (Big fan of your work, including your gorgeous photos! 🙂 Was surprised that people wanted to hear about my virtual voice lessons – how fun! (I’ll have to do a post on them.)

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