What I Was Into – January 2015 & *What I’ve Learned – February 2015

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HEADS UP FRIENDS: This is an overdue post, and its pretty long!  However, its chalk full of fun and interesting links and info – enjoy!

 

January 1st has become one of my favorite days of the year.  I love a clean slate, a blank page, a spanse of time in front of me with no mistakes and unlimited possibility.  By association, the month of January looks white and pristinely pretty in my mind.  Its a month I revel in: its not usually insanely hot like many of the months in Texas;  my husband is usually home from work on New Year’s Day, and it just feels…good to have a fresh start.

January was no exception to that thought process for me.  It flew by in a flash, with a delightful 3 week contract job of a most lovely musical in concert at a local theatre (Annie Get Your Gun), wonderful books to read, movie dates with my man, and general everyday life wonderfulness.

THERE WAS ALSO STING!... {Insert giddy school girl laugh here.  See more later in this post.}

**{Because I also lurve Emily Freeman’s What I’ve Learned linkups, I’m sharing a tidbit I learned in every section of this post, and joining her linkup here.}**

**Any affiliate links in this post, if used, support this blog – thanks!** 

Blogisphere Beauts

**WIL {What I Learned}What can I say, I’m a creator of habit when it comes to my favorite posts and podcasts.  I’m learning that if Tsh posts a podcast, I’m gonna barrel through the whole thing, regardless of the subject.  The particular one down below is with one of my favorite writers on the internet. {And NOT because this post is a part of her linkup!}   I’m also apparently suckered in with a witty or funny blog post title.

The Art of Simple Podcast: Coffee In My Soul {with Emily Freeman}

The Art of Simple podcast is my favorite.  Bar none.  I’m working on putting together my own podcast, and I will unashamedly say here that this particular podcast is one of the biggest inspirations for my own.  In this episode, Tsh is talking to one of my favorite bloggers and writers.  Their conversations always feel like kindred spirit ones.

 

Tsh Oxenreider: The State of the Blog Address 2015 

 If my gut reaction is right, I see a trend with the blogsophere moving back to the good old days. I’m hearing it everywhere, how bloggers miss the simplicity of pure blogging from the 2000s…

As for me, I’m all over old-fashioned blogging.

 

Shauna Niequist: Stocking the Pond

I’m talking about taking responsibility for stocking the pond of your own mind and heart, so that when it’s time to tell a story, it’s rich with details and life and texture, and so that when you’re staring at a blank page, sure that you have nothing to say, all you have to do is walk out to the pond you’ve been stocking every day: fish upon fish upon fish.

The first step in writing happens way before the typing: it’s the stocking of the pond. Take notes on your phone, snap pictures, scribble on the back of receipts–notice everything. The first part of writing is noticing.

 

Playbill:   Super Bowl Prep!  Football Terms Explained For Theatre People The Expert Guide to Vocal Health: Broadway Professionals Share Their Secrets   

Oh.my.Gersh.  Playbill’s Super Bowl post was one of the BEST ever – fusing Broadway (yay!) and sports (ehh) together was perfection.  {Sidenote: I knew my husband was really in love with me when I asked him what a ‘down’ was, and he answered back lovingly without batting an eye.}

If you’re like me and just CANT understand the football hullabaloo, this article that defines various football terms is your answer.

Super Bowl XLIX is right around the corner, and you’ve been invited to a party, but you’re facing a dilemma: You’re only educated in theatre! In our below list, Playbill.com explains football terms for theatre people.

The New England Patriots: The Patriots make their eighth appearance at the Super Bowl (tying for the most Super Bowl visits of any team in the NFL) and have won three titles. They’re essentially the Audra McDonald of the Super Bowl.

Punt: In football, a punt is when a player is kicking the ball to the other team — it’s a switchover. In theatre, it’s like when we’re at a put-in. The stage manager is kickin’ it to us, and we’re just trying to catch up with the rest of the gang because… “OMG. I HAVE A SHOW TONIGHT!”

Melanie Dale: Oils Can Save Us From the Zombie Apocalypse     

I clicked on this post merely because of its title.  Melanie’s witty and funny, and even though I too have jumped on the oil bandwagon {see the end of this post}, I loved that she can make fun of the current craze, while still enjoying the benefits of a practice that’s been around thousands of years longer than the homeschooling soccer Moms who sing its praises.

Remember the internet before people discovered essential oils?  Me neither.  I like to pretend that I’m immune to all these excited friends talking about how oils cured their abscessed bellybutton warts – with pictures – but I can only take so much before my natural cynicism crumbles for the promise of a flu-less existence.  Oils can save us from paper cuts, bad trips to the hair stylist, excessive armpit hair, and the entire spectrum of herpes.  Sign me up…

One thing I’ve realized with my foray into this oily world is that oils are for grownups, and we don’t have any of those around here.  We cannot be cool about these little elixirs…

 Books

*WIL: At the start of a New Year, I almost am paralyzed by what to read first.  I start by reading a HUGE pile of books, and the one that immediately grabs my attention with its writing style is the one I don’t put down or abandon  wins.My first read this year was fantastic, and unlike any other memoir I’ve read before.

What I Read

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My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

This book takes us back to New York City in the 1990’s, when Rakoff was a new college graduate in the big city, and working for a large literary agency still stuck in its fancy-schmancy bookish past.  She comes to realize her boss is none other than J.D. Salinger’s agent.

Sometimes I was annoyed by her stand-by-her-man ways with her less than loving boyfriend, but then I thought back to all of the time I spent in bad relationships long ago.  I quickly changed my tune to  nothing but appreciation for her honest writing.  This book sucked me in immediately, and I couldn’t put it down.  If you’re a writer, love a good memoir or just want to revisit NYC in the 90’s, this read’s for you.

Kiss the Wave: A Memoir On the Attributes of God by Tara Leigh Cobble

I’ve read every one of indie musician Tara Leigh’s memoirs.  I was a Kickstarter donor for her latest book, and though it was a tad disappointing that her book was delivered over a year after the promised date, I once again remembered I’ve yet to write a book of my own, and checked my judgment at the door.

I don’t quite agree with every conclusion Tara comes to in her own spiritual life, but I really respect her transparency and honesty.  Each chapter “extols the aspect of God’s character that was revealed” to her through specific circumstances.   I read this one quickly, and gained wisdom from her story–a lovely read.

The Accident by Chris Pavone

I learned of this book from Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy, and was intrigued by the premise.  A mysterious and anonymous manuscript ends up in the hands of an agent with a past, and that’s about all I want to give away.  I liked how each chapter was usually narrated by a different character that was somehow interlinked into the story.  The end got a bit lengthy for me, with a rather abrupt ending, but I still thought it was a great read!

What I’m Reading

Dancing On the Head of A Pen: The Practice of A Writing Life by Robert Benson,  The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner, Scary Close by Donald Miller,  and Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler.

 Annie Get Your Gun in concert

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*WIL:  There are musical projects that try and test you, and musical projects that are just 3 weeks of plum fun!  Being a part of Annie Get Your Gun in concert was most certainly the latter!  I loved being a part of an ensemble, and took more pleasure in a tiny character role comprised of 3 lines than I have with some larger roles.  Everytime I work at Lyric Stage, I am honored,  overjoyed, learn more about my performing craft and enjoy the company of wonderful people.  For a musical theatre creative, it  just doesn’t get better than that!

 

Inspired Snippets On My Blog

*WIL: I’m unfortunately still a no-good-verrrrry-slow blogger these days, but hey, I’m working on it.  One of the ways I’m doing so is taking an online writing course designed to help hone your distinct writing voice.  One of my first assignments was to write a poem, which terrified me.  I learned this month that sometimes poetry writing can flow easily and be extremely therapeutic.  Posting it on my blog was a vulnerable step for me: find that post here.

I also shared a couple of booklist posts: What I Read in 2014 & The 2015 Releases I Can’t Wait To Read.

Movie & Telly Watching

*WIL: Confessional moment: I didn’t really learn this at this particular moment, but I’ve been reminded of a sad and dismal fact: I might be addicted to my DVR.  That is all. 

Many of my favorite T.V. shows came back this month: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder, for starters.  My hubby and I also love to watch The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family & Blackish.  My Sunday evenings are now happily filled with dinner and Downton Abbey – and I’ve even got my hubby watching this season!   I’m also watching Top Chef and (I can’t believe I’m admitting this on the internet) The Millionaire Matchmaker. And let’s not even go into the binge-watching I’ll be experiencing in February on Netflix.

Yes, I know I have a problem. {All hail the DVR.}

Things I Loved

Sting! Sting! Sting in Concert!

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The photo collage above is only a smattering of the photos I took with my husband’s phone of Sting and the concert we went to in January.  I thought it was an early Valentine’s present, but my darling man wouldn’t hear of it, and said if we couldn’t get to NYC to see Sting in his Broadway musical, it was the next best thing.

His show, The Last Ship received good reviews, but had dwindling ticket sales, and even though profits surged when he stepped into the show himself, it wasn’t enough for the show to stay open long term.  It closed the weekend I performed in Annie Get Your Gun, so I had to settle for the happy thought that Sting and I were treading the boards (ok, he was on Broadway, I was not) at the same time.

For one Sunday night in January, they closed the show of The Last Ship so Sting could come give a concert sponsored by AT&T as part of the college football playoffs here in Texas.    We had fantastic seats for less than $30.  I thought perhaps he would be exhausted from doing an eight show week on Broadway, but I was blown away by how fantastic he sounded! My crazed fandom aside, from a vocal standpoint, I’ve never heard him sound better!

I sang along with every lyric, danced in the aisles and wore a slap happy grin like a school girl.  My husband enjoyed it too and said he loved how goofily happy I was for those two hours.

Sting inspires me to be a better artist every time I listen to his music or see him sing live.  A January highlight for sure.

 

Stationary Products Galore {otherwise known as the Target Dollar Spot}

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*WIL: If any cute stationary product is priced at $1, I’m gonna get it.

Ok, so my Whitney English Day Designer shown above is slightly  way more than one dollar, and one of my favorite pens, the stainless steel fine point Sharpie is under $5, the cute pen pouch and the stickers were both found at the Target Dollar Spot–no doubt when I was stopping in for a quick grocery run.  I know I sound like a ridiculous suburbanite voicing my love for the DollarSpot, but I think you could also trace it back to my love of stationary products I first had as a child.

Getting on the Young Living Bandwagon

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*WIL: Yes, despite my love for snarky blog posts about the {current} essential oil craze, I have been doing my own research and trying out essential oils for myself.  Using a handful of oils in December and early January helped me decide to take the plunge, and order a starter kit from Young Living.

One of the actresses I worked with in  Annie Get Your Gun uses Young Living oils, and gave me a lot of helping information on using them.  I love diffusing Lavendar, Lemon & Peppermint when my allergies are bothering me.  I’ve also been using oils in various headache and muscle rubs for years, so this feels like a natural progression.  I’m working on filming some YouTube videos about my YL journey – I’ll share the links to those when I post them soon!

What were YOU into & what did you learn this month? 

Linking with Leigh this month, as per usual.

3 comments on “What I Was Into – January 2015 & *What I’ve Learned – February 2015

  1. Hey Sarah! It’s great to hear from you again and all that has inspired, challenged, and delighted you over the last couple of months. I would’ve harmonized along with you at the Sting concert. I’m envious — what a treat!

  2. I got sucked into your section on books!!!

    My Salinger Year has been on my to read list for a while..I’m glad to hear that it’s going to be good!!! I love NYC and writing and I finally read The Catcher In the Rye a few summers ago, so I was hoping it wouldn’t disappoint. 🙂

    You mentioned that you’re reading Dancing On the Head of a Pen! How are you enjoying that one so far? I read it when it came out and it’s one that I’ll just pick up every now and then. I thought it was really a great one!

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