Wandering Thespian

Broadway Babes: Patti LuPone

By August 9, 2017 Theatre

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Hey there! It’s me, Heidi.

Last weekend I went on an adventure that was a little risky.  It was risky because it had the potential to lead me to a job in a new city.  On top of that, it was a city that I never in a bazillion years thought that I would ever want to live in (more on that city later).  The job wound up not working out, but this post isn’t about that.  This post is inspired by a the audiobook Patti LuPone: A Memoir that I listened to on my way there and back.

My friends who know me best, and you who are about to read this post, are aware of my undying love for Patti LuPone.  Seriously.  I love her.  The woman is a genius.  She is talented.  She is hilarious.  She is opinionated.  She is strong.  She is powerful.  She is PATTI.  There is absolutely no one else on Earth like Patti Lupone.

I’m such a fan of hers that I actually wrote her a letter.  Yes, a crazy fan letter.  Actually, it wasn’t crazy, it was honest.  I think it’s important to encourage artists who you adore because there are lots of people out there who don’t appreciate the arts and, let’s get real, acting is hard WORK.  That’s right.  WORK.  It’s a beautiful and fun art form that way too many non-artsy folk out there don’t recognize as “legit” because “they’re just playing for a living.”  Sorry.  No.  They’re telling stories that educate, that inspire, that empower, that help audiences have a deeper understanding of what it means to be fully human.  And it’s not easy.  I thought she needed to know how much I appreciate her.  I was expecting absolutely nothing in return and, y’all… this is what I got in the mail from her!

Yep.  You’re seeing that correctly.  She sent me a personalized signed photo along with a WAR PAINT playbill (the show she is currently starring in on Broadway).  I damn near died when I opened the envelope and saw what was in there!  Amazing.

Fortunately/unfortunately, I’ve only ever seen her perform in concert.  I would absolutely love to see her in all her queen-like glory on a Broadway stage, but I am so grateful for the intimate experience that was her Broadway in New Orleans concert at NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts).

Remember that time I told you I write for BroadwayWorld.com?  Well, Mark Cortale in partnership with Seth Rudetsky put on a series of concerts with Broadway veterans each year, and Patti’s was the first that I ever attended.  I had the audacity to think I was going to “review” the show.  In reality, it wound up being an “oh my gosh, Patti, Patti, PATTI!” type of article.  You can read the train wreck here.

My experience that evening is something I will never in a million years forget.  One, because Patti.  Two, because I accidentally wound up sitting with the touring cast of JERSEY BOYS.  I sat there with my little notepad out prepared to write down the things I wanted to say in my article, when a truly loud and obnoxious group walks into the theatre.  Please don’t sit by me, please don’t sit by me, please don’t sit by me.  They sat by me.  I get to talking to the sweet girl next to me, Natalie Gallo, and she informs me that they’re the touring cast of JERSEY BOYS and that the guy I had interview over the phone for an article a few days prior is sitting right behind me.   Patti telling her life stories and singing things like “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “Meadowlark” for which she holds claim over, “I Dreamed a Dream” that she originated in London, and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” made the evening magical and inspirational.  Natalie and the rest of the JERSEY BOYS cast made it hilariously amusing.  (Sidenote: She’s infamous for calling audience members out for being on their phone while she is performing and I got to witness that.  Put your phones away for two hours, people!)

These weird things can only happen to me, I swear.

I don’t hate it.

All of these prior experiences with Patti made listening to her read her memoir over audiobook that much more enjoyable.  I can speak for myself when I say that I tend to idolize theatre actors, place them up on a pedestal, and think their life is so grand.  But, hearing their stories really reminds me, again, that THEATRE.  IS.  FREAKING.  HARD.  WORK.  Some people get lucky, and that’s just the way life goes.  But, Ms. LuPone’s story is anything but easy.  She struggled.  She studied.  She loved.  She lost.  She learned.  She fought.  She had good times.  She had bad times.  She had fun times.  She had weird times.  There were roles that came easy to her, and there were roles (I’m looking at you Evita) that caused her pain… physical and otherwise.  We can call her Queen Patti all we want, but she is in fact human.  She’s an incredible human.  But, she is human.

For all of you Broadway nerds out there who want to learn more about Patti’s journey or for those of you who know nothing about theatre but are in need of some inspiration in your life, pick up her book!  Share it with other people!  Or better yet, get the audio book.  She narrates it herself, so it’s as close to sitting down on the couch with her and shooting the breeze as it’s going to get!

That’s all she wrote about Patti for now, folks.

I do intend to continue “Broadway Babes” as a series and to bring to light some of my favorite women on the stage.  Stay tuned for the next one!

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

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In Omnia Paratus – Ready for Anything!

By July 27, 2017 Life

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

You jump, I jump, Jack.

Anyone else a Gilmore Girls fan out there? This is one of my absolute favorite shows, and if you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend you do so.  I’ve watched the series at least twice all the way from start to finish, and maybe even more.  It’s hilarious, it’s relatable, and it touches on aspects of family life and the pangs of growing from adolescence into adulthood that everyone experiences.  Plus Lauren Graham and Kelly Bishop… Need I say more?

In one of my favorite episodes that I just recently re-watched, Rory is in college and getting serious about her journalism career.  She comes across a secret society at Yale University haphazardly, and wants to expose them in a scandalous article for the Yale Daily News.  Her new pal of sorts, Logan, happens to be a part of this secret society that we later find out is named the Life and Death Brigade.  Their goal… to live life to the fullest.  Their motto… In Omnia Paratus, loosely translated as “ready for anything.”  Logan invited Rory along to a Life and Death Brigade event, where she is exposed to people and adventures that she never otherwise would have given a chance.  I don’t want to give away the details of the episode because I’d much prefer that you actually watch it (the whole series is on Netflix and it’s a great binge watch), but let’s just say the picture of Rory and Logan with the umbrellas holds particular significance to Rory’s new experience.  Their jump (What jump?  Just go watch the show!) signifies the start of a new life.

Although the members of the Life and Death Brigade may be a little more reckless than we should be, they make a good point:  There’s no use living if you haven’t lived.  

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to go on the most extreme adventures or live our lives on the edge of danger or reason.  It means that we are obligated to make the most of the time we have been given on this Earth, because it is short.  No one escapes the inevitable.

Making the most of the time we have is going to look different for everyone.  No two lives are exactly the same… and thank God for that!  For me, making the most of the time I have means working hard, but also taking time to do the things that matter the most to me with the people that matter the most to me.

At the present, making the most of my time looks like job interview after job interview after job interview.  And, let me tell you, it royally sucks.  Literally no one likes to go on job interviews, but I know that if I stick it out, do the best that I can, and trust in God’s plan for my life, I will soon be embarking on an adventure that I never could’ve dreamed up for myself.

Easier said than done… the trusting in God’s plan for my life part.  Never in a million years did I think I would be applying for jobs out of Louisiana, but here we are.  Surprise!  And throughout this whole job searching journey and not knowing what’s going to happen and being scared out of my mind but also super excited, all I keep thinking is:

IN OMNIA PARATUS!  READY FOR ANYTHING!

You jump, I jump, Jack.

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

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Beach Confidence: Nobody’s Looking

By July 24, 2017 Life, Travel

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

This week I went to the beach with two of the best ladies I know; and, as always, when I’m surrounded by inspiring people and an inspiring view, I tend to have some inspiring thoughts.  I’d like to share what came to mind this week on my trip.

There comes a time in every girl’s life when she will walk out onto the beach and think, “eff it, nobody’s looking.” She will take the swimsuit cover off, throw her towel down, and strut her lumpy butt down to the water and have the time of her life. She will splash, she will swim, she will smile, and she won’t care who sees her. But it takes a while to get to that point. Trust me… I’m 29 and I’ve just now gotten there.  When she does, she realizes that there’s no need to be self-conscious because nobody’s looking at her anyway. Those other people are having fun with their own friends and family. And heck, even if they are looking, what they’re thinking isn’t, “Wow, look at that loser.”  No.  They’re thinking, “Damn.  I wish I had her confidence.”

Guess what… you can!

But how?

Well, I’ll tell you.

1.  Buy a bathing suit you are COMFORTABLE in!

This is obviously easier said than done, I know.  But, seriously, the second you stop worrying about finding a bathing suit that is super fashionable or in style that season and instead find one that actually fits your body, it will make all the difference in the world.  What can be more uncomfortable and make you more self conscious than a bathing suit that doesn’t fit you well?  I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the water I don’t want to worry about a sick wave knocking my top off.  Amiright?

I’ve also found that, when it comes to swimsuit comfort, less isn’t always more.  I recently bought a one-piece romper style swimsuit from Target that actually has more fabric than any other swimsuit I’ve had, but it holds everything in place and I don’t have to worry about showing parts of my body that I don’t want to be seen.  I can move around freely, and it feels great!  If you feel good, you will look good.  Don’t worry about what “they” think.

2.  Stop comparing yourself to other people.

It’s so easy to look at everyone around you at the beach and to start comparing yourself to the two or three super skinny, super fit, super tan, super blonde, teeny bikini wearing women who everyone seems to be noticing.  DON’T DO IT.  DON’T PLAY THAT GAME.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Sure, go ahead and look around.  After all, there’s lots of beauty to behold at the beach.  But, instead of seeing all of the things you are not, focus on all of the things that you are.  You are an amazing person made in God’s image and likeness, and you are blessed to be spending a glorious day in the sun.  You may not look like a super model, but who does?  Even super models don’t look like super models in real life.  You are who  you are, and you are PERFECT.

“Take a break from worrying about what you can’t control.  Live a little.” -Passengers

You cannot control what you look like.  You cannot control what other people may or may not think of you.  So stop worrying about those things and LIVE.  Live boldly.

3.  Focus on what’s really important and RELAX.

Nothing gives you more confidence than beaching it with the right group of friends or family who are all about building you up.  Stay OFF of social media and be present with your loved ones surrounding you.  Bring a book, clear your head, listen to some music or let the sound of the waves soothe you.  Grab some coconut oil, a handful of sand, and give yourself a beach pedi.  Meditate, have a daiquiri, rent a kayak for a few hours and explore the deeper waters.  Bring a notebook and write down any inspiring thoughts that come to you as you observe your surroundings.  Get out of your head and LIVE IN THE MOMENT.  Focus on all of the good things you have going on in your life, and the worry and anxiety will fall away.

In summary, know that you are awesome!  Let loose, relax, take the cover up off, dive in, HAVE FUN!

There is no one on Earth as fabulous as you.

“You are enough.  You are so enough.  It’s unbelievable how enough you are.” -Sierra Boggess

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

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Airbnb in Asheville, NC – Adorable Cottage

By June 27, 2017 Travel

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

Last time we talked about my trip to Asheville, NC it was all about hiking.  This time, I want to talk to you about where to stay when (not if) you make the journey to the mountains, too.  Seriously though, make it a when you go, not an if you go.  So, part of the goal of my trip to Asheville was to have a relaxing and fun girls weekend with a great friend and awesome experiences without breaking the bank.  Which, let’s be honest, can be difficult to do.  I researched different hotels and even some bed and breakfast options, but ultimately we decided that we wanted to stay in a place where we could bring our own food and cook to save money insead of eating out for every meal.  That meant we needed a kitchen and a refrigerator.  Now, if you’re looking for a hotel with a kitchen and a refrigerator it can be quite expensive, which is completely opposite of what we were trying to accomplish.  Instead, we decided to check out Airbnb.

I had heard a lot about Airbnb, but I didn’t really know anyone who had used it, and to be honest I was pretty skeptical of staying in some stranger’s home.  I did a lot a lot a lot of reading up on Airbnb… both the good and the bad.  I found that more people than not had good experiences using Airbnb, and the ones who had not so great experiences really hadn’t done a whole lot of research on the precise location of their Airbnb and wound up in some pretty sketchy places.  If you’re going to use Airbnb that is the first thing that I would suggest… research the hell out of where you are going and where the nicer surrounding areas are.  We wanted a family-friendly environment, a quiet neighborhood, grocery stores and such nearby, easy access to the interstate, a less than 15 minute drive to downtown Asheville, and ultimately just a nice and clean place to stay for a few nights.

We wound up choosing a place called Adorable Cottage, and adorable it was (they have lots of pictures on their Airbnb listing that you should def check out)!  Robin and Corey are the owners, and were incredibly gracious hosts.  Adorable Cottage is a separate little unit on their property with incredibly private access.  It has it’s own driveway around the corner from the front of their home, and the entrance to the cottage faced away from their house with a nice little deck and outdoor bathtub (we didn’t use the outdoor bathtub as it was very cold there in November, but I can see where it would be very nice during warmer months).  There was a keypad instead of having to carry a key around, which was actually very nice.  Robin and Corey texted us the code just before our arrival, so we had it on our phones in case we had trouble remembering it.  Slippers and robes were provided as was a complimentary bottle of wine.  Such a sweet touch, and a great way to feel welcomed and “at home” away from our actual home.

Adorable Cottage was about a 10 minute drive to downtown Asheville, and was in a quiet neighborhood.  Actually, it was so quiet that when I would go sit out on the deck in the morning you could hear the wind, birds, and nature, and NOT cars.  It was quite lovely.  The inside of the cottage was great.  There was a master bedroom with a queen sized bed, a full kitchen, decent sized bathroom with stand up shower and access to outside tub, and a small living room/office that had a sleeper sofa.  My friend wound up sleeping in the bedroom and I slept on the sleeper sofa on opposite sides of the cottage, which wound up being a blessing.  We love being together, but she needs all of the heat in the winter, and I absolutely cannot stand having a heater on… BRING ON THE COLD!  Plus, we’re both introverts so even on a girls weekend vacation it was nice for both of us to get the alone time that we need.  My favorite part of the cottage was the room I was staying in, which you can see pictures of above… the sleeper couch was under a little book nook, which for any book lovers out there like me was the icing on the cake!  Just being around books makes me feel better and more relaxed.  To sleep underneath them was a dream!  Having the full kitchen was also awesome.  We were able to make breakfast, pack a lunch, and make dinner when we got home.  We only ate out a handful of times, but for the most part we were able to make our own food.  HUGE money saver.

The only thing I didn’t like about Adorable Cottage is that it’s “shotgun” style… sort of… and you have to walk through the bathroom to get to the little living room area.  So, for example, if I was getting ready in the morning and my friend needed to use the restroom or shower, I was stuck in that one room until she was finished and I could walk through the bathroom to get to the kitchen or bedroom.  Also, the rooms are separated by curtains, not doors, but that actually wasn’t a big deal for us.  I’ll say this… Adorable Cottage is a wonderful place to stay if you know your travel buddy very well.  If you don’t, you may want to either find somewhere else to stay or prepare to get to know him or her better than you did before!

As far as pricing goes, we paid approximately $480 for a 4 night stay.  Split between the two of us that would be $240 for each person.  I think we hit the jackpot.  $240 for our own places to sleep, a full kitchen, great location, wonderful hosts, complimentary wine, and the lady bugs that were all over the gardens outside (yes, there were so many)… WINNING.

Although there are a plethora of places to stay around Asheville, and I’m sure there are other Airbnb locations around, I would without hesitation book Adorable Cottage again, and I would encourage all of you to check it out.  I’m also much less hesitant about using Airbnb in general, and think it’s a great alternative to traditional hotel arrangements if you’re looking for a little more out of the place you’re staying than just a bed.  But, again, make sure you do SO.  MUCH.  RESEARCH.  Do not ever stay in an Airbnb without reading all of the reviews, being semi-familiar with the area, and choosing hosts that you trust.

Leave any questions you have about Asheville, Adorable Cottage, or my Airbnb experience in the comments and I’ll get back to you!  Also, check out this article by Caroline and Erin of Local Adventurer about some of their favorite places to stay in Asheville.  They have a great blog, and some great information!

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian.

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Frose, y’all! (and other reasons to eat at Willa Jean)

By June 18, 2017 Life, Travel

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

Back again today with another exhilarating blog post, only this time I’m writing from Florida!  That’s right, be jealous.  I’m at the beach!  For anyone looking for inspiration, the beach is a great location for writing.  The warm weather, the sound of the waves, a salty breeze, and maybe a rum punch in hand make for a nearly perfect writing location/scenario.  Anyway… while I’m here in Florida taking a break from every day life, I thought I would use the opportunity to write, write, write, write, write.  So, get ready for several posts a day for the next five days!

First up, I’m going to talk about the restaurant where that delicious loaf up in the feature photo came from!  If you love food as much as me, this post is dedicated to you – and Denise (bff/eating buddy).

I have been friends with Denise (or as I lovingly call her, Goose… or Bernice… or Heifer depending on the day) since 6th grade.  SIXTH GRADE.  That’s like… well, it’s a lot of years that add up to well over half of our lives.  I don’t have any friends who I have been friends with as long as Goose, and as long as we’ve known each other we’ve had three loves in common – shopping, travel, and FOOD.  Food, glorious food!  We have even travelled together several times, and the number one question we always ask every single days is, “Ok, where are we eating?”  It’s our thing.  So, naturally, on Friday night when we were both sitting around bored we decided we were going to find somewhere to eat.  Our only requirements?  That it is edible and delicious.

Since Denise lives in New Orleans proper, we decided we were going to make it a night out in the city, Uber and all.  We chose Willa Jean.  The bakery/cafe is part of the Besh Restaurant Group with Chef Kelly Fields at the helm.  It features southern style meals and baked goods, and all of the coffee and adorable alcoholic beverages you could ever want.  Before I get into how our experience and meal was, let’s talk money.

I’m actually surprised and how inexpensive Willa Jean can be.  Sure, you can go nuts like Denise and I did with alcohol, appetizer, main dish, AND dessert, but even so, we didn’t spend as much as we expected to.  Our drinks were $11 each, which is pretty typical.  Appetizers (or “snacks” as they’re labelled on the menu) run anywhere between $9 and $12.  Your main dish (could be a tartine, sandwich, salad + soup, or a hot plate) can go for between $12 and $25.  Hot plates are a bit more expensive than tartines, sandwiches, salad + soup, but still relatively reasonable.  And, all desserts are $9 – which you can totally split even though Denise and I are pigs and had to have our own… I’m not even sorry.

So, really, you can make it as expensive or inexpensive as you want.  We decided to go all out since we were considering this a night out on the town and weren’t going anywhere else.  Between our Uber to and from the restaurant, and alcohol, appetizer, main dishes, and two desserts, we spent about $120 total for the whole night.  $60 for each of us, which I thought was pretty good for all of that.  Not to mention it’s a really hip atmosphere in a good part of the city (look at me using the word hip… I’m not even hip enough to use the word hip much less pretend that I fit in at a hip restaurant).

And now for our food.  IT.  WAS.  SO.  GOOD.  We both got a glass of frose (frozen rose), which was adorable and pink and girly and made us feel like the hipster princesses that we’re totally not.  Then we ordered our appetizer… corn bread (the feature photo above).  But, oh no… this wasn’t normal corn bread.  It was an entire freaking loaf of the sweetest corn bread I’ve ever eaten, with a side of whipped butter and Poirier’s cane syrup.  DELISH.  We at the whole thing.  THE WHOLE THING.  For our main dishes, we went for completely opposite types of meals, but both were so amazing.  Goose got a hot plate – braised lamb over bowtie pasta with a mint pesto, tomatoes, english peas, and feta cheese.  I had a tartine – avocado toast topped with two poached eggs, olive oil, tomatoes, and sea salt.  There was also a lot of arugula on it.  Both of our meals had flower petals sprinkled over the top giving them a beautiful, summery, colorful appearance.  When our waitress came to pick up our plates (which again, we ate ALL of), she asked us how we were doing.  “Full.  We are SO FULL.”  Do you have room for dessert?  “Absolutely yes we do!”

Y’all… we each got our own dessert and shared because WE ARE PIGS, but it was so worth it.  Goose had the red velvet cake, which was more like chunks of cake in a bowl topped with a cherry sauce, chocolate squares, creole cream cheese ice cream, and some sort of crunchy delicious unidentifiable something.  I got milk and cookies – chocolate chip cookies with salt on them, sweet vanilla milk, and they bring you a chunk of raw cookie dough with it.

To say we were stuffed by the end of the night is a gross understatement.  It was so much food.  So much yum.  So much fun.  So much hell yes.  We vowed to keep going back until we’ve tried everything on the menu.  It really is that good.  Would I eat there on a normal every day basis?  Probably not.  But on a vacation, stay-cation, or just a good ole girls night out like we had it is an excellent choice.

I’m going to post pictures below because honestly, the food descriptions just don’t do it justice.  You’ve gotta see it for yourself.  And, hopefully, you’ll try it for yourself someday soon!

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

My gorgeous friend and date for the evening.

Frose, y’all!

Slice of cornbread = slice of heaven.

Braised lamb + bowtie pasta.

Avocado toast tartine.

Red velvet cake.

Milk and cookies.

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That time I went hiking… and LIKED it!

By June 10, 2017 Travel

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

So sorry to have kept you in the dark for the past several days.  I just started a new job (clarification – a new temporary job until I find a permanent job), and my week has been a bit nuts.  I know, I know.  It’s no excuse.  It’s a reason, but certainly not an excuse.  To make up for it, you get to read this amazing post about the time I did something outdoors.  It may never happen again, so relish in this glorious story!

Let’s get to it then, shall we?

If you know me, you know I’m a city gal.  I don’t do outdoors.  I don’t do camping.  I don’t do fishing.  I don’t do hunting.  I don’t do the sportsball.  I don’t do sunburn.  I most certainly don’t do sweating.  I am a museum going, shopping, theatre viewing, restaurant dining, wine and whiskey tasting, concrete jungle sight-seeing kind of person.  That being said… this past November, out of an act of desperation for some “off the grid” relaxation, I decided I was going to go to Asheville, North Carolina, because that’s as far “off the grid” as I was willing to go (don’t you laugh).  I text my friend and tell her what I had decided and that she was coming with me.  Luckily she was 100% in, and we booked the trip that day.

A couple of firsts happened on this trip: The first time I used Airbnb, the first time I took a 10+ hour road trip with a friend, the first time I went to North Carolina, the first time I went hiking.

I could honestly write ten different blog posts about this one trip – and I might just do that – but, for today I’m going to focus on the hiking part because it was such a big deal.  Being in nature was such a big deal.  It was a big deal for a few reasons.  One, because it’s just so out of the ordinary for me.  Two, because I was (and still am) at a point in my life where I constantly feel like I need to escape, to relax, to just be.  I’m always busy.  ALWAYS BUSY.  And, while being busy – for the most part – eases my anxious mind, it is so exhausting.  I needed to get away.  I needed to clear my mind.  I needed to be with a friend who brings reason and sanity into my life.  I needed to breathe.  I needed to be.  To exist in the present moment and nowhere else… in one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my entire life.

I knew I couldn’t do that in a big city.  I knew I needed to be in nature.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” -Albert Einstein

“Nature is the art of God.” -Dante Alghieri

“If a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” -George Washington Carver

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” -William Shakespeare

“God is the friend of silence.  Trees, flowers, grass grow in silence.  See the star, moon, and sun, how they move in silence.” -Saint Teresa of Calcutta

At the recommendation of a friend, we decided that we were going to drive about an hour south of Asheville to DuPont State Forest for our hike (yep, this is where The Hunger Games was filmed!).  Aside from being a bit nervous to drive through the mountains – ok “a bit nervous is a gross understatement… the last time I drove in the mountains I had a massive panic attack and cried – I was also nervous about the forest fires that were surrounding the area at the time, I was nervous about encountering wildlife big enough to eat me and/or just freak me out, and I was nervous that I wouldn’t physically be able to handle hiking for several hours.  Some of those anxieties were merited, most were not, and all were immediately thwarted when we arrived to DuPont.

IT.  IS.  GORGEOUS.

Like…. it’s absurdly gorgeous.  We went to the visitor center, got help mapping out our hike, and off we went!  Up mountains, down mountains, waterfall after waterfall after waterfall, perfectly cool weather, egg salad sandwiches, wind in the trees, whistling birds, incredible views, and best of all… SILENCE.

It was unlike any silence I’ve ever known.  Sure, we talked along the way and we even passed quite a number of other hikers, but the silence was blessed.  It was an internal silence.  I was calm.  The hike was easy at times, rough at times, exhausting at times, exhilarating at times.  But, no matter how the actual hike was going or how difficult it got, I was calm.  I was so calm, it was calming how calm I was.  I want to find that calm again.

On days where I am restless and can’t seem to find peace, I recall that sense of calm.  I go back to that place inside of me, and try to just be.  To just exist in the moment.  On days where I feel exhausted yet still so unaccomplished, I transport myself back to DuPont and remember that if this 4’9” ferociously un-athletic city-loving girly girl can finish a hike in the mountains with a smile on her face, then she can do just about freaking anything!

I think it goes without saying that there are two things I’m going to recommend: 1) Go hiking!  Nature can change your life, and 2) If you’re going hiking, check out DuPont State Forest and unleash your inner Katniss!

If you’ve got questions about this destination pop it in the comments section below and I’ll gladly answer!

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

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Wandering Thespian now on Redbubble and Bloglovin’

By June 5, 2017 Life

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

This is going to be a brief post – and totally and completely all about self-promotion.

I’ve decided that aside from the Twittersphere and Instaworld, I’m going to try and grow my presence online by adding Wandering Thespian to two different websites:

  1. Redbubble
  2. Bloglovin’

Redbubble is a site where artists can design different pieces and sell them for a profit.  I’m working on some t-shirt and tote bag designs at the moment that will be up on Redbubble for sale soon!  It won’t be immediate.  I need some time to get my creative juices flowing and whatnot.  You’ll see that I added a “shop now” button to the sidebar that directly links you to Wandering Thespian’s Redbubble page – the easier for you the better, right?

Bloglovin’ is a site that’s basically Pinterest, but for bloggers.  If you’re someone who likes to write you should 100% check it out!  You can follow different bloggers, “pin” your favorite posts, and even promote your very own blog!  Wandering Thespian will be on there interacting with other bloggers for ideas, fellowship, inspiration, and to hopefully recruit some more readers like you!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

That’s all I’ve got for you at the moment.  I tried to keep this short, because I know it’s not the most exhilarating content, but it’s definitely important for you cool cats to know while you follow me on this journey!

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

 

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The Musical That Started It All

By June 3, 2017 Theatre

Hi there!  It’s me, Heidi.

In my first blog, I talked a little about my love for musical theatre – really it’s rather an obsession, a lifestyle.  But, I don’t think we discussed how it is I started this long-term affair with the stage.  See, when I was little, my dad who is cooler than your dad worked for a candy company and every summer they sponsored a soccer tournament in Pensacola, FL.  We would all go and make a mini vacation out of it.  It was about a 3-4 hour drive and, when you’re a kid stuck in the back seat of a van with your younger siblings who are in car seats, 3 hours seems like a freaking lifetime.

To make the drive a little bit easier to digest, our first stop on the road was Blockbuster.  Remember Blockbuster?  VHS?  Well, dad was (is… he’s still alive… young… hilarious… still cooler than your dad) pretty brilliant and rigged up our teeny weeny TV/VCR combo on the top of a milk crate so we could watch movies on the road.

But, of course, because mom and dad are performing arts loving weirdos, we didn’t just watch Disney movies or whatever.  Nope… our stop at Blockbuster consisted of renting things like OKLAHOMA!, CAROUSEL, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, LIL ABNER… musicals.  OLD musicals.  And thus started my obsession.  How someone can not like a great story that includes song and dance numbers that everyone happens to bust out into simultaneously, over the top hair and costumes, way too many corny lines, and usually a happy ending is beyond me.  I just don’t understand those people.  To me, there are two types of people… people who love musical theatre, and people who are wrong.  Maybe that’s a little harsh, but I regret nothing of what I just said.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! was and still is one of my absolute favorite musicals.  It’s the first one that I could recite every line of dialogue, sing every lyric to every song… I even started to pick up on some of the choreography.  I just love it.  It’s such a fun story, the characters are hilarious (if you know me, it should come as no surprise that my two favorite characters are Aunt Eller and Ado Annie), the music is obviously brilliant (name one Rodgers and Hammerstein show that sucks… you can’t!), the dancing is mesmerizing, and oh those dresses!  I always loved the dresses the girls wore, and I wish we could still wear clothes like that!  One day maybe I’ll get to be in it, but for now I’ll keep watching it over and over and over and over like I have for the past 20-whatever years.

I’m not going tell you what it’s about if you don’t know.  I don’t want to spoil a thing!  Blockbuster isn’t around anymore, but I’m sure you can find it on the interwebs somewhere.  If you’re not a musical loving person (aka wrong), watch it with an open mind.  It’s an old movie.  1955 old.  If you can get past the fact that it’s old, enjoy the story, and let Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae sweep you off your feet with their delicious voices, you are going to fall in love with OKLAHOMA!, too.

So, thanks mom and dad for creating the theatre monster that you see before you.  Whenever you think I’m a little too obsessed, remember that this is all your fault!

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

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When writer’s block strikes… dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuun!

By June 3, 2017 Life

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

Well… I’ve already done it.  I’ve already skipped a day of blogging.  SOOOOOOO today you’re going to get a twofer.  That’s write… TWO for the price of one!  And, considering that reading my blog is completely free, I’d say you’re getting the sweetest deal around, wouldn’t you?

Ok, so since I’ve been having such trouble finding something to write about, I decided to write this blog about finding something to write about.  So meta of me, right?

There are a bunch of different ways that I find something to write about.  The way I like best is to come up with something organically.  To be inspired with a thought and to know I just have to write it down.  But, that’s not always how things work out.  You see, writing requires thinking.  THINKING.  As in… you know that huge brain you’ve got in that head of yours?  You have to actually use it.  And using your brain to write isn’t always easy.  Some days you just plain old can’t think of anything interesting to write about, and some days you just don’t want to.

I’ve got two different tools that I use when I have the urge to write, but I can’t think of something to write about:

  1.  The Happy Book: A Journal to Celebrate What Makes You Happy by Rachel Kempster and Meg Leder
  2. 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto

Whether you’re a poet, a novelist, a journalist, a screenwriter, or any of those other awesome writer types out there, these books are (in the words of Tony the Tiger) grrrrrrrrrrrreat!

The Happy Book allows a little more than just writing, which, for the multi-artistic person is so fun.  You can sketch, cut and paste, write, color.  This book includes it all.  In the gallery above you’ll see a few of my Happy Book entries as an example.  The first is a prompt that challenges you to write down all of your favorite childhood books, and the second prompted you to plan out your perfect dinner party – the meal and the guests.  I chose to cut out pictures of foods that I love and paste them into the journal instead of writing.  One the page next to it (not pictured) I pasted pictures of the people I would invited in a circle as if we were all sitting around a table.  Both were fun little exercises, and everything in the book is focused on turning a bad day into a good one.  To help you reflect on the simple things in life… things we often take for granted.  If you’re having a brain fart, you can always go to your Happy Book and use one of the prompts either just to answer the prompt itself, or to allow the prompt to launch you into a larger project.

642 Things To Write About is strictly for writing.  Each prompt has lines drawn underneath for you to write on.  Not much room to draw or cut and paste, but that’s not the point of this book.  I really like this one because I’m not writing about personal things necessarily.  You, of course, can use this as a journal if the particular prompt is very personal to you, but I much prefer writing about the sillier things.  For example, in the pictures above you will see some of the prompts I have responded to such as writing a haiku about a tomato and the beginnings of a story involving elderly spies.  In the third picture, you’ll see a prompt I responded to that had much more serious content – a girl looking through a sky light down on her ex-fiance’s wedding.  I, of course, have absolutely no experience involving this whatsoever, but you see how when you are forced to put yourself in someone else’s shoes a great story can come out of it?  I think that’s one reason I like theatre and books so much – you get the inside scoop on how the other half lives.

Both of these books are great resources, they’re fun to use, and they can help you come up with some excellent pieces of writing.  Know upfront that not everything you write about has to be perfect.  Sometimes the goofiest prompts and the worst things you’ve ever written can give you the best ideas!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you on this topic.  On to article #2 that I promised you!

If you have some other ways of coming up with writing topics that you like, please comment below!  I’d love to hear what you have to say, and I’d love to try out your strategies!

Until next time,

Wandering Thespian

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Dear Heidi, tomorrow’s going to be a good day, and here’s why.

By June 1, 2017 Life, Theatre

Hey there!  It’s me, Heidi.

Here we are in Day 4 of my 30 Day Blog Challenge.  Today’s challenge was to set up a subscription opt-in for my wonderful, beautiful, talented, amazing, unique, and perfect-as-you-are readers.  But, here’s the deal… there are a couple of tweaks and a bit more research on the matter that I have to do before subscription capability will become a reality for Wandering Thespian.  It’ll happen, I swear!  You all deserve to be updated on all of the new content and exciting things I have to share with you so that you don’t miss a single thing.  It’s just going to take some time.

The other part of today’s challenge was to… can you guess it?  I bet you can guess it.  Ready?  Here it comes………. WRITE!  And, as per usual, I spent all day thinking of what I could possibly write about (hence the reason you’re probably not going to see this post until you wake up on Day 5).  I’m going to be a bit transparent here, if you don’t mind.  I’m in the middle of an employment transition.  And by “employment transition,” I mean I have a temporary job while I’m looking for an exciting career.  For any of you who have also been in one of these transitions, you know how frustrating it can be.  Yes, you’re so incredibly grateful for that temporary job as it’s helping you pay the bills, but you also know you’re capable of and desiring so much more.  So.  For today’s post (that I’m now only just sitting down to write at 11:00pm… shhhhh don’t tell), I’m going to take some inspiration from an incredible Broadway production I saw in January this year.  DEAR EVAN HANSEN.

For my not-so-Broadway-savvy readers, DEAR EVAN HANSEN is the incredible story of a high school boy who is desperately trying to find his place in the world.  Throughout the show, we learn that Evan is suffering greatly – although from what, we never really find out – and his therapist has given him an assignment.  He’s is supposed to write a letter to himself every single day that starts with the phrase, “Dear Evan, today is going to be a good day, and here’s why.”  I’m going to attempt to do the same… to give myself (and hopefully you) some encouragement for right now, for tomorrow, for any time you feel like you’re alone in this ever-so-temporary life.  Here we go.

Dear Heidi,

Tomorrow’s going to be a good, day and here’s why.

You are a daughter of the King.  He who loves you most will never ever leave you.  Even when you’re in the pits of despair and things aren’t all sunshine and daisies, He is there in the trenches with you.  He is fighting for you.  You do not have to fight alone.

You are smart.  You have been given the gift of an education that no one can take away from you.  You will find a career that you love where your talents are used to their fullest.  Even if your current job is “temporary” in nature, you have so much joy and love to bring to the people you encounter at work every single day.  There are people in this world that do not have the opportunities that you have, whether you always like them or not.

It’s supposed to rain.  And you love the rain.  So, there.

There’s a chocolate bar in your fridge that is waiting to be eaten.  You’re going to eat the whole thing.  The.  Whole.  Thing.  And, that’s an order.  If that doesn’t make tomorrow the best day ever, I don’t know what will!

You have the coolest cat who gives you more cuddles than you could ever possibly need in this life.  Seriously.  His snuggle game is so strong.  His fart game is so strong, too, but we’ll just ignore that for a second.  The little gentleman has even kept his bowtie on for a solid three days.  Trust me when I say that cat does NOT want to be wearing a bowtie.  But he’s doing it for you.  Because you feed him.

Pretty much you’re #winning at life right now even though it may not feel like it.  You are the bomb dot com so grab the tequila and raise the roof because you are absolutely #nailingit.

Sincerely,

Me

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