Howdy! I’m sitting in my bed (my usual blogging spot), I’ve had two glasses of wine, and I’ve got a mud mask on… and it’s about time I just wrote something.
You may recall that last week, I finished up another semester of teaching Blogging for Beginners at UT – and while it’s a time-consuming additional to my full-time gig, it never fails to teach me SO much about the craft of writing (and blogging).
I have realized lately that my life is so full of words and content – perhaps more full than it has ever been. I’m creating content 40+ hours a week for my job. I have to fill Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and a blog, with fresh content all week – and sometimes every single day (I post around 12 tweets a day for work).
I also have this blog, plus I read, and watch TV, aaaand I’ve been doing freelance editing sometimes on the weekend. That = a TON of words! Which, is not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong, but I realized I haven’t had a chance to get away from the noise to actually think for myself.
One thing creatives can do to keep their juices flowing is to make time for activities that don’t involve words; such as listening to music (without words), taking nature walks, or simply relaxing in the tub without distractions. It’s times like these when our brain actually gets to wander to the places it wants to go – it’s why we often come up with great ideas in the shower or during the night.
But I’ve been a bad creative and haven’t made time for activities like these. Currently, I have no blog strategy, have barely Tweeted on my personal account in weeks, and well, my SnapChat game? It’s suffering.
Truth be told, I worry that I’m coming down with content-overload. Did I turn a fun hobby into something I can only see as WORK by taking a job in social media? It’s certainly possible.
It’s easy for me to say that 2017 has already just been full of surprises! I kicked off the year with a new career, but also with a newfound fatigue – actual physical exhaustion. While I am awaiting confirmation that it’s nothing physical, I have always been able to rely on my creative mind.
But now… now what? I am still trying to get my butt to bed at a decent hour so I’m not dragging the following day, and I’ve found myself without many ideas to jot into my little notebook – I feel… I feel boring!
Pair that with a picture of me in bed on a heating pad this weekend after three hours of dance, and it may start to click: maybe this is just 32? My birthday is in a month, after all.
I know, I know, this probably all sounds so dramatic. But the feeling is real.
And so, I’m not sure how many writers how there read this, but if so, I’d love to know what you do when you’ve reached true writer’s block? Is there an activity or routine that brings light into your mind? I’d love to hear about it!
I know this is a feeling that will pass – I probably just need to take a good walk, or throw myself into an experience that brings out my inner thoughts. It’ll come – but until then, stick with my posts about TV shows, books, and food.
Hey, it’s all part of the journey.
Another Monday is upon us and I’m still reeling from the “Love Hangover” – the showcase for the dance studio I’ve been taking classes at, Dance Austin Studio. It was the 10th showcase, and included some fantastic pieces, to say the least.
After I performed at the last showcase, “The Aftermath”, I had a lot of reflection about my life in dance and how it affects me daily (you can read all about it, here). And as my time at Dance Austin continues to grow, and the more showcases I get under my belt (last night was #3), the more dance means to me, and the more I feel like I’m becoming a part of “the group”.
I’ve met so many awesome people at the studio in this year and a half (time flies), people I look forward to seeing every day, and I hope they feel the same about me when we end up in class next to each other.
On Saturday, a day before the performance, we had a dress rehearsal. Although it went really well, I was exhausted afterward, and thinking back about previous performances, I definitely feel like this is the most advanced one I’ve tried.
Last showcase, I tested myself and performed an entire routine in stiletto heels. I did it and somehow didn’t fall and break my neck, so I did it again this time. The dance was fast, lively, and a little advanced for me with spins and jumps. But, it was very fun. I don’t know if it was technically more difficult than the ones I’ve done before, or perhaps I’m more emotionally invested, and really just want to help my “team” look the best we can.
If you don’t mind, I’ll go ahead and say my group kicked stiletto booty and I was happy to hear cheers and claps throughout our performance. We sure worked hard for it!
But by far, my favorite part about any showcase is simply seeing my classmates and our instructors truly shine. Last night, I saw a few ladies that I’ve danced beside in class totally kill it in ways I never expected. I don’t know what it’s like to have kids, but I would imagine the sense of pride I felt for these women was similar. I was happy for them, and also just in-awe of what we’re all capable of.
I said it after last showcase, and I’ll say it again today – we are all LIVING. Most of us are not dancers by trade. We work full-time jobs; have friends, families, and hobbies to tend to, but we’re in the studio day in and day out, and we put everything we have on that stage.
Sure, there’s a little fear. But it’s not enough to keep us from doing what we were somehow called to do. Frankly, I started getting a little emotional last night watching some of the pieces, because we are all in this awesome dance family, and we’re out there, in the public, expressing ourselves in a time when messaging is shut down.
Dance is a powerful thing.
I tried to tell all of my classmates how great they did last night, but if you’re reading this, and we’ve shared a dance class together, and you were on that stage last night, please know that you inspire me more than you could ever understand.
I came home last night on a dancer’s high after putting in 10 hours at the venue. My showtime was maybe 4 minutes, but my feet were blistering and I could feel the soreness in my muscles setting in. I had glitter in my hair and a pound of stage makeup, and I didn’t hop into bed until after midnight.
But that is what dreams are made of.
Whether you’re a dancer or not, it’s time you #LiveYourLife – in whatever way that means to you. No holding back, and no regrets.
Ready? 5, 6, 7, 8…
It’s the day after Christmas, meaning we’re officially in that between-holiday groove. I have the day off, hopefully you do as well, and although I’m heading back into the office tomorrow, I think it’ll be pretty quiet in there and I can coast on through to the weekend.
Since yesterday was Christmas, we were not blessed with the latest installment of “Mariah’s World”, but it’s probably for the best.
Instead, let’s talk about a new show I started watching last week: “Project Runway Junior”.
I’ll start by saying I never had any intentions of watching this show – it had its first season last year, and I was kind of feeling like it looked like a sweatshop, a la any of the “junior” cooking shows, where the kids cry when they’re clipped. I do have a heart, believe it or not, and I’m not into making kids cry.
But on Thursday night, I was watching the season finale of “Project Runway” – which ended up being a trainwreck (I won’t spoil it, but the ending was rage-worthy). However, during the commercial breaks of that show, they aired little snippets from the casting for the junior edition. And these kids – well, teens – were really talented!
I really like Molly (from Colorado), and Tieler (from New Orleans) so far – you can check out the entire cast here. Many of these lil designers don’t just sew in their parents’ basements, but they have entered contests and shown at fashion weeks all over the world. DAMN!
Makes me feel kind of lazy that I legit spent an entire day in bed over my Christmas break – and not because I was reading or with a guy – I was eating chocolate and watching the entire season of “Pitch”. Yuck.
Anyway, I decided to watch at least the first episode and see what this whole thing was about. In the first few minutes of the show, the contestants met each other, and they were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Tim Gunn and Hannah Jeter.
When they did arrive, the kids jumped for joy, and I realized it right then: these teens have no filter, no shame in who they are, and they act how we all want to act – meaning, when they see Tim Gunn, they scream and ask if they can hug him!
My theory continued on into the first challenge, which was to create a look that shows the judges who they are (as designers), and they came up with such creative things – one designer made an athletic coutour look by creating a two piece evening gown made from neoprine. Umm yes!
And of course, a majority of the pieces were really well-made, which was impressive on its own.
The judges are also pretty good on this version of the show – there’s Kelly Osborne, meh, but… there’s Christian Siriano!!!!! Yes!
Sooo, I definitely set my DVR to watch all of the episodes, and I’m pretty pumped about keeping my Thursday nights on-point. But I also set it to record the new season of “L.A. Hair” after seeing tons of hilarious, drama-filled previews on WE. Anyone?
How can I not watch this?
…I know. I really need a life. #2017Goals
Last Tuesday, I was taking my favorite dance class (per usual). I love it for two reasons: 1. The dances we learn are always fun and challenging; and 2. The instructor has this amazing, positive energy that’s contagious.
On this particular Tuesday, she was teaching us a dance very different from ones she’s taught us in the past; one that was less about exactness and perfection and more about being comfortable in our own bodies, feeling the music, and adding our own style.
In my years of dancing, this is probably something I have never done. I’ve always been instructed to do this; do that; fit in with a team, not necessarily stand out or be myself.
And that Tuesday night, our instructor told us to dance like no one was watching; in other words, LIVE LIFE; dance!
One of the reasons I got back into dance was to gain back some self-confidence I’ve lost over the years. Whether it be from manipulated men I’ve dated, family issues, friendships gone sour, or even career missteps, sometimes I don’t know who I am – even at 31.
I know I’m not the only one that sometimes struggles with body image, or speaking up at work, or feeling nervous about getting out there to make friends or date. It’s tough! And the more I research about it, having confidence can be a constant thing to work toward.
The good news is, many of the things I listed in “Simple Ways I’m Tackling Life” are also things we can all do to help ourselves regain confidence. These are things such as:
- Paying special attention to hygiene
- Dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself
- Eat a healthy diet & make meal times special
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Manage your stress levels
- Keep your living space neat & tidy
- Do something creative!
But I’ve also discovered some new things we can do to boost confidence and feel good about ourselves. One of those is to make three lists: 1 that lists your strengths, 1 that lists the things you’ve accomplished, and 1 that lists the things you admire about yourself. Keep the lists handy so you can refer to them often, and especially when you’re feeling down.
Think positive thoughts. This is a tough one for me, but I know it’s necessary. Tell yourself how great, unique and valuable you are. Affirmations on the mirror? YES.
Here’s a cool idea I found: set up a challenge you can realistically set for yourself – whether it’s learning a skill you’ve always wanted to learn or hosting a dinner party. This could also be doing something you’ve been putting off, such as cleaning out a room of your house or finally planting that garden. I’ve got to think of what my challenge will be, but this sounds like such a great idea!
The next thing is to do something nice for someone else (#LoveUp). I forget how great being a CASA volunteer for 3 years made me feel, and I definitely miss it. This could be something like volunteering, or even just saying something nice to someone or holding the door open for a stranger. The world needs love!
And finally, don’t be afraid to speak up about how you’re feeling. That’s exactly why I love this blog – many times, when I’m feeling low or have an issue, I write about it only to find that I’m not as alone as I originally thought in the way I feel. We are stronger in numbers and we can help each other.
So, what are you going to do today to help yourself, or someone else, feel a little bit better? I think even doing just a few of these things will help me, and whoever is reading this, feel way better – and I’m all about that!