Sunday, June 7, 2015

Quiet Little Projects

For the last week I've started working on a quiet little project and I'm pretty excited about it! Can't say when it will be ready to announce but it will be in the next couple of weeks--I think! I hope! Eeee!

I love new projects and I'm hoping that with the planning and preparing that's going on this will be worth it all! Just have to wait and see...

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Bit of Inspiration

I'm the type of person who is always trying to figure out how to do it before I do it. Then I'll get to the point where I'm just ready to do it and so I do...and it doesn't turn out as grand as I imagined. It's the waiting period that riles me up to leap before I'm really ready or really laid out the plan. But I also know I'll never be 100% ready so sometimes you do have to leap even if your plan isn't 100% foolproof.

That being said, I'm taking my time right now to really find some inspiration in various areas of life. So to help me find that I've landed on a podcast series that I really like. *Side note: I just discovered podcasts less than a month ago. I still don't know how I've lived without them until now.* 

If you have not heard of The Lively Show, go listen now. For thirty to sixty minutes, Jess Lively interviews various business folks and entrepreneurs about their successes, their failures, and how they live their lives with intention. That's what she's all about, living your life with intention. It's wonderful to hear their stories and I feel inspired listening to each and every one of them. After binge listening for the last two weeks, I've gone through about the first 25 episodes and she posts a new one every Thursday (so far there are 76!).  I can't stop listening to all the great information and stories I keep hearing from these people!

I hear over and over again about listening to your gut, follow you passion, but first figure it out--which is so familiar given my whole collegiate career was about "follow your bliss, but know what your bliss is" (Thanks, Jo!). Everyone has talked about being yourself in your endeavors, following that which is the essence of you and don't try to copy yourself like anyone else. There's constant reminders to be present in the moment, focusing on the now rather than the past--learn from it, but continue to move forward. Lastly, be brave.

That's my favorite piece of advice so far because I started this year with the intention to be brave in all things that I do this year. With the half-way mark of 2015 coming up, I've wondered how closely I've stuck to that resolution. Hearing the constant reminder has been good for me and I'm hoping I will continue to hear that whisper in my ear the rest of the year.

While I continue on my journey of finding inspiration and collecting information to help get me there, I'm absorbing positive vibes through this uplifting podcast. Maybe you will, too!

What inspires you? 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Tunes

Love her. Love this album already.

Excuse me while I rock out all week to this new jam!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

New Lens, New Sight

Sometimes its good to take a step back and refocus on the bigger picture. I've been spending a great deal of time  thinking, planning, writing, debating, and thinking even more. Yeah, we all do that, but the funny thing is lately I've been looking through a new lens.

Instead of focusing on problems and issues, I've been actively focusing on possibilities. In other words, I'm trying not to "wet blanket" ideas, but let them pour out before crossing them out. Sounds funny, but I think it's made the biggest difference in my attitude and outlook on life recently.

See, I'm a worrier.
"Hello, my name is Julie and I'm Worry Wart."
Hello, Julie.
Admitting there's a problem is the first step.

And in doing so, I've realized I've been wasting a great deal of time stuck in the middle of the road wondering what's going to happen because none of my plans are working out. First of all, what plans? When you're standing still, immobile due to fear or concern, you're not doing anything other than standing there in a full on state of internal panic. Let me tell you, not a lot gets done that way.

I used to be a dreamer, letting my mind soar through my imagination of possibility. Then I hit adulthood, real life work with bills constantly falling into my mailbox and my imagination shut down. That dread and concern coated all creative thought in a dank, dark gray, tainting just about everything I could possible think about. But lucky for me, my imagination, my desire to create, just wouldn't take this "foreclosure" lying down.

In changing my perspective, I feel like a fog is lifting, things are getting clear, and the colors more vivid--think Dorothy's first look at Munchkin Land. You get the picture.

Part of this change in perspective came from being inspired by others. It was time to stop seeing what someone else is creating or doing and thinking, "Aw, man...why couldn't I do that?" Or asking myself "how did they do that" and thinking it came so easy, their work effortless and stress free. Or worse, being jealous of their success saying, "if only I had this or that or more of...etc." All those thoughts had to stop. I needed to refocus, turn it on it's head and look it all from a different perspective. So I started branching out, looking at people's brands, reading up on interviews, craving to find out more while constantly reminding myself they started with one decision: to jump it.

We don't always see the stress or strain of a new project. We don't always see the hard work that goes into building new projects. We don't always see the mess up's, the whoops and oops moments, or even the scrapped ideas. Most of the time we see the final product or read the interviews over the success of something. All of that wouldn't be possible if that person hadn't just decided to start.

Long rambling aside, if you're stuck in a place of terror, paralyzed by the fear of failing, messing up, or making the wrong choice, remember the only wrong choice is choosing not to do anything at all. It finally hit me that not making a decision on anything left me planted without moving towards anything I really wanted.

I had forgotten that dreams take time to build and work towards. Write it down, say it out loud without any hesitation or question of if it will work. Lay it out, look at it closely, and then figure out what to do.  You can create when you have material to work with so it's time to get started, think it up! The best way to learn is to just do. What's the worst that could happen?

I'm using every moment I have right now to dream without limits, to plan and rewrite as needed, and use all my knowledge I have to start taking steps towards my new adventures. And you know what? I'll still be learning as I walk through the process.

 "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
- Maya Angelou

Your imagination is a muscle. Work it. Stretch it. Use it every day and see what happens.

If you want to be inspired, go to by Nikon. Watch the clips of seven very different stories and see how these people are living their lives following their passion. Let it fuel you, not discourage you. Take someone's work and use it to motivate yourself to let those creative juices fly. And drink coffee. That always helps me.

What's your inspiration to dream?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar

OK. That's it. I've got a little something to say. *Pulls out soapbox.*

I am a female and I'm all girl power. If men can do it, why can't the women? Growing up I used to proudly boast how I didn't need a man, I was going to make my own money. When I was asked how the heck I was going to have a family, my eight year old self said, "you don't need a man to make a baby!" Yes, I pretty well grew up knowing I wanted to be independent, take care of myself, and love someone more than I needed them--a concept stressed in my college years by a strong female mentor.

So yeah, I'm pro-women.  That's not to say I'm against men at all. I think they're great! And not all men think us females are little ladies who need taking care of. Ask my husband if he feels that way about me and I can promise you he'll tell you he loves how independent I am...and stubborn. And he respects that.

But I'm not afraid to call my hubby and ask him to help me carry something heavy or to please check the oil in my car. You'll find me in the kitchen making dinner and baking cookies and playing tea party with my niece. I do not have to go against the grain to prove I am strong and capable and equal to men in many ways.

Someday when Pyro Man and I have little ones, I can promise you no matter what the gender, that little love bug will be in dance classes and singing show tunes while fishing in their camo gear. There is no rule that states I have to do what women typically do or that my future little girl can't hunt with her daddy. These days women have more ability to choose freely in who they are and what they want to do.

Or at least I thought so.

Lately I've been seeing a few articles popping up regarding women's attire. I read an article earlier this week about a woman choosing not to wear yoga pants and leggings in public because it made men lust after her. OK. Fair enough. You want to be a class act. You want to be a good example to your daughter. I get that, completely. But what about tight jeans? What about skirts and tights? Is that making men lust for you? Where do you do draw the line? Why do you need to alter your dress attire for the sake of saving a random man from looking at you?

Today I read an article about a girl who had to wear a coat over her formal dress at a school dance. Why? Because they thought the shoulder straps were too revealing. They were two inches wide, the standard rule for her school's dress code. I've seen plenty of dresses on young ladies today that are short and tight, much more revealing than a two inch dress strap. PS--this girl's dress was tea length. Know what that means? The lovely lace dress reached her shin bone. Lord have mercy! She's showing ankle!! What year are we in? 1910?

It bothers me to read articles and see segments urging women to consider how they dress because of how a man will react. That's basically telling me I'm asking for anything to happen to me; that my choices are clearly to blame for potential actions of others. The young lady I referred to, she asked the question I had: why are you telling women how to dress when we should be teaching men how to look at women?

Why is it my responsibility to dress in a way that does not provoke men from thinking lustful thoughts? If that's the case, well I have something to ask the men folk. *Cue the sarcasm*  Please stop wearing tight t-shirts. Seeing your biceps could potentially send me squealing to my girlfriends in a fired up frenzy of sexual attraction!

....I don't think that would ever happen. There's never a discussion on the poor choices men make in their clothing selections. No one ever stops to think that maybe it bothers women to see men dressed a certain way. Put the shoe of the other foot for once.

Women know how to dress and women certainly know when they're putting on outfits with the intension of getting men to notice them. Some go classy, some go trashy, and some go in between. It's all personal preference then.  If I want to dress is something to wow my husband, I know exactly what to put on--that does not mean I'm going to stop dressing for him just because I realize someone else might see me. Most days, the outfits are for me with no intention of attracting attention.

I cannot control the way others, mainly men, think or feel about my attire. Whether I make the conscious effort to wear an attention grabbing garb or not, they are in control of their own feelings and thoughts. Women choose what they want to wear on a daily basis. Why do we have to be conscious about our choices for the sake of someone's sexual attraction? Covering up my body is not going to prevent men from noticing I'm a woman. If anything, the curiosity of wondering what's under it all is probably more alluring that letting out hang out.

There is not a doubt in my mind that how I present myself is a representation of who I am. For me, I like to put my best foot forward and occasionally my best foot includes a baseball cap and a t-shirt. Some days is a dress and heels. Most days, I'm in spandex. Why? It's my work attire. I can't help that and fortunately I'm in an environment where that's the norm.

Why are we making a big deal about the things that aren't a big deal? Let's focus on positive reinforcement of clothing choices--like a 15 year old choosing a classy tea length lace dress instead of short, tight, strapless dress with do-me heels. Let's focus on teaching our young men and women to respect each other, respect our own bodies, too. Maybe we'd have less (half)naked selfies on snapchat and Instagram. Young ladies wouldn't loose their self respect by showing it all away to a teenage boy who could care less about her as a person and passes the picture on to his buddies.

Let's focus on inspiring young people to have integrity and personal pride in who they present to the world every day, physically and electronically. Maybe there would be less hiding behind superficial status updates, hateful tweets and blasts of misplaced passionate incoherent rants.  Let's focus on showing understanding and compassion in hopes of setting a positive example. Maybe there would be less focus on themselves, and more focus on others.

Let's just focus for a moment.

Perhaps the focus shouldn't be on my clothing choice, rather how I am setting an example as a human being to those around me.

I am one person. I might not know how I affect others, but I know that I do by my actions, by my words, by my example. I cannot, however, control how people will react to them. This in no way means I'm not aware of others, how they feel, how they perceive. It just means that I'm going to wear my leggings, dammit. Not to entice men. Not to throw it in the face of a conservative blogger. But because I can, it is my right, and it is my choice.

To think that what I am responsible for the thoughts and views of men according to my clothing choice is absurd. Do not think for a minute that I would kindly put a coat over my classy dress because I know not one man would even think twice about putting a coat over anything he'd choose to wear.

*Gets off soap box.*

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Jam

A jam to get this Saturday morning work party started!

What's your favorite song to rock out to?

Monday, January 19, 2015

In the Saddle Again

Finally back in the swing of things again. I've been lucky to have lots to keep me busy, but every now and again I stop and really think about her, miss her. Every day there's something to remind me of her which is lovely, even if it makes me a little sad. It's all part of the process of life and I know she would want me to enjoy what's happening in my life. So I'm trying. I'm "being" or at least learning how to...

Be. Present.

I'm working on it.

Lots of exciting things for me this semester though! Started choreographing for our Spring Show this week, something I haven't had the chance to do before which makes this extra exciting. The dancers are fabulous and the music is energetically contagious! Seeing the steps on paper come to life through these dancers has always been my favorite part of choreography. Equally so is being able to rework in the moment, finding an accidental diamond in the attempts and redo's.

These kids are fearless and eager to do whatever I throw at them. They have no clue what's coming in the piece or what it even looks like and yet they're ready to jump in and move because it's what they love. Committed enthusiasm is a true luxury and I don't take it for granted.

Choreography itself is a creative structural process; I feel like an architect of movement, sketching and building the work at every turn. When the movement starts taking life and shape, that's when I begin to edit, adjust, and tweak. If I were 100% set in what was on paper, I'd never know what possibilities lie beneath it all. That's the part I really like. Discovering new material, movement, and pictures with the dancers there.

It's certainly a challenge. Taking what I see in my head, putting it down on paper, pulling it out to fit on the dancers, and tailoring it to fit the music, the stage, the mood. It's such an organic creative process and the process is as equally, if not more important than the performance.

In short, I'm loving every moment.

What's your creative outlet? 

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New Focus

Goodbye 2014, you were an interesting year. This year my Christmas letter talked about all about the changes 2014 brought to me and my husband.  I wrote about the addition of Penny Pup in the spring, the addition of classes, shows, and job responsibilities for me, a new job for Pyro Man and, of course, the renewal of our old challenge: long distance.

This was also the year that showed me real loss and taught me what it meant to miss. Right up to the very end, too. A few other personal journeys and revelations fit in there, too. I feel a little different in a lot of ways since last January. Yes, there were a lot of changes this year that pushed me and stretched me, further than I really liked or wanted, but now that the year is all wrapped up in a nice little bow, I can say it was for my betterment. That's life, right? Challenging us to help us grow. 

I'm sure everyone looks back at their year and sees what I see: a lot of lessons learned, a lot of good memories, and a lot of direction for the new year. I've got a good one for this year, an arrow I know is meant for me to follow. There's only one thing I can hear my heart say: Be. Brave. 

Be brave. This mantra has been on my mind for some time--I even wrote about it in this post two months back. Straight to the point, which I like. Powerful and yet, simple. This is something that can be done in little ways, not just monumental actions. More importantly, I think it can do me a world of good.

I can't say 2014 was a terrible year; it was definitely different. I can't say I'm glad to see it go; it left me with a sore heart and an thoughtful mind. I can't say I'm super pumped for this new year; it started with off on an odd foot.

What I can say is this; I feel content about this new year knowing I'm not setting out to change the world, but merely trying to take a small step outside of comfort zone every chance I get. I'm looking forward to growing in big and small ways every day. This year is not about moving mountains, changing lives, or taking on more than I can handle. It's about being strong, taking chances, trusting myself so that when looking back I know I did all that's moving me forward.

What's your New Year's Resolution?

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