What I Was Into – September 2014


I’m interrupting this month’s scheduled programming to share my favorite monthly linkup slightly late… {What else is new? Sigh…} –despite the linkup being closed.  September was a banner for month for me–check out my favorite reads, blog posts and more.

{Any  compensation from affiliate links in this post, {we’re talkin’ pennies} if used, go to support All Manner of Inspiration – thanks!}


September went blindingly fast, and was absolutely GLORIOUS!

I was in one of the most enjoyable and beautiful musical theatre productions I’ve been a part of in a long time, Fiddler On The Roof.   My sweet mother-in-law and aunt-in-law flew in to see the show and visit, which was a blast.  I had two weeks off from rehearsals and performances–my first down time since June, and my sweet husband and I took our first legit vacay since 2012, enjoying a gorgeous weekend in the mountains.  I ended the month with starting rehearsals for a musical opera of sorts, The Golden Apple.

Fall has still not arrived, at least in terms of the thermometer here in Texas, but pumpkin-everything arriving at Trader Joes, and cool mornings were at least a start.  And the cooler temperatures for a few days in Colorado was pure gift.


What I Read

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead 

Man on man, did this book ever astonish me!  I don’t usually like to describe my reads with such cheesy phrases, but I felt like this work of fiction snuck up behind and smacked me on the head with its brilliance, as I lost myself in the narrative of these characters in the professional ballet world.  The protagonist  Joan, a chorus member of the New York ballet company, has a brief fling with a famous Russian ballet star (seemingly modeled after dancers like Baryshnikov), and helps him defect to the US.  She eventually leaves the ballet life for a husband, a family and a house in the suburbs.

Those details are really just the bare bones, and the beginning really–of this beautiful novel.  I was impressed how accurately she described how dancers feel, and the pressures in the professional ballet world.  (I was not a ballerina, but got a window into that life as a young girl.  NOT for the faint of heart.)  At times, the plot twists in such a way that you might think you’re watching a soap opera, but the language and literary devices of this talented author had me invested and all in with her characters.

This was a perfect read for our vacation.   Its my favorite work of fiction I’ve read all year – highly recommended!

An Altar In The World by Barbara Brown Taylor

SO many bloggers and writers I respect have RAVED about this author and this book in particular for so long, this read felt overdue.    I actually asked for it for Christmas last year, and didn’t read it cover to cover until this summer.   The sheer beauty of the writing and the wisdom lived out by this author are absolutely exquisite.

We are discussing this incredible book at the Red Couch Book Club in October–head here for Leigh’s beautiful introductory post.  I’ll be helping facilitate more discussion on this read with a post at SheLoves later this month.

What I’m Reading

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski, Breathing Room by Leanna Tankersley,  Letters Backstage: The Adventures of a Touring Stage Actor by Michael Kostroff  and Tables In The Wilderness by Preston Yancey.


 Beauts In the Blogisphere

Tsh Oxenreider at The Art of Simple: 13 Books I’m Reading This Next Year 

Tsh is spending the next year traveling ’round the world with her family.  She outlines the books she wants to read, and the countries she plans to read them in.  So many of these are on my to-read list, and I added many more.  Book list posts are simply the BEST. 

Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy:  Let’s Make Autumn Reading A Thing

I realized as I read this post, that I’ve always kept an Autumn reading list for myself, but Anne making this a thing is a book nerd’s happy place! I’m for sure generating my own post in this vein–perhaps Anne will have a booklist linkup!

Shauna Niequist: Put Yourself On The Pride Board

How They Blog podcast with Anne Bogel: Decisive Blogging


Rocky Mountain High

colorado Collage

My sweet husband and I took our first getaway/vacay weekend we’ve had together {that didn’t involve visiting relatives} in over two years, when we jetted out to the mountains of Colorado for some R & R.

I unfortunately got a pretty strong allergic reaction to the blooms, and a breathing reaction to the altitude {a first for me}, but I thankfully had my inhaler and medications that made it bearable.  It was still worth every stuffed up nose and wheeze to wake up with Pikes Peak in our bedroom window, and eat breakfast on a terrace of a 100 year old bed & breakfast with a postcard view.

Pumpkin-Deliciousness at Trader Joes


People, the BEST SEASON FOR SHOPPING AT TRADER JOES IS HERE. {Cue happy claps and violins.}  I love the end of September and October, when Trader Joes begin selling their fall, or more specifically, PUMPKIN-themed-product goodness.

There’s usually some old favorites, and they always add a new product or two that your taste buds decide they can’t live without.  These are my current 3 favorites–subject to change on my next TJ’s shopping trip.

I confess to consuming WAY more of the cookie scones that would EVER be permissible on my diet.  I also have been prone to eating the granola cereal like trail mix.  Get thee to a TJ’s near you, and gobble up these fall beauties.  You’re welcome.


 Things I Love

*Shopping at the new Whole Foods 10 minutes from home.

*Eating heirloom and organic tomatoes bought from Whole Foods that taste homegrown.

*Reading books in the style of the one I hope to one day write.

*My hubby and I picking out a sectional–our first new couch together.

*Running a show, taking a few weeks break, then starting rehearsals for another show at the same theatre–all in the same month.  {Being a working actor is a gift, and no small feat, no matter your locale!}

*Finding a gorgeous bedding set unexpectedly when shopping at a department store–and seeing that it matches the throw pillows we already own beautifully.


*Decorating our house in general–hanging pictures, planning gallery walls and placing beautiful things and sentimental ‘knick -knacks’ alike on shelves.



*Painting my Grandmother’s old hand me down lamps a GORGEOUS shade of Annie Sloan duck egg blue.  With lampshades on clearance at Lowes, we’ve spruced up some BEEYOOTIFUL master bedroom lamps!


*Getting back into a routine of weekly women’s Bible Study with my church–I love our community of women–especially the worship team–who’ve become good friends and kindred hearts.

*Rooting through ‘South Beach Diet’ cookbooks for recipes, and finding a delicious recipe: Black bean, tomato and jicama salad.   {I spruced it up for my tastebuds by adding some extra cumin, ceyenne pepper, a dash more of lime juice and olive oil, and a teensy-TINY dash of honey.}  Delish.

*Putting a teaspoon of either pumpkin spice or cinnamon into my morning coffee. How have I not done this before now?  So yummy.


What I’m Looking Forward To In October

I’m writing a blog series,  31 Days In A Musical Theatre Life,  {Well,  at least, as many as I can during the thick of rehearsals} as part of Myquillyn Smith’s 31 Days  Writing Challenge.  She even has a fancy new website for all of the links this year – Write31Days.

I’m looking forward to the flurry of rehearsals and a few weekends of performances in an obscure, but musically exquisite operatic musical, The Golden Apple.  I’m also hoping to enjoy passing out candy to trick-or-treaters at our new house this year.  I’ll be dieting/eating well and exercising with gusto and making writing a part of my daily routine.

Most of all, I’ll be waiting with bated breath for Texas to give up the 90 degree days, and surrender to fall.

What were you into this past month?

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