Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tidying Up - The Great Clothing Purge

It's spring (even though it doesn't feel like it most days), and that means feeling the need to clean.  I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of clothing that I own lately.  It's not even that I like to shop.  I tend to keep clothes FOREVER and then between gifts, the occasional shopping splurge, and even my mom giving me hand-me-downs (yes, my mom has good taste, so I don't mind wearing her hand-me-downs), I have WAY more clothes than any one person needs.

My normal way to purge is by season.  At the end of winter, for example, I will go through all my long sleeved tops, sweaters, cardigans, blazers, and pants that are specifically winter season stuff and say, "Did I wear this at all this winter?"  If the answer is no, it goes.

That system generally works for me, but recently I've been seeing YouTube videos and book reviews about a book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up".  I haven't read this book, but the basic concept that I'm getting from the different videos I've seen is that the author, who is a Japanese organization guru, tells you to "tidy up" all at once.  She wouldn't approve of my seasonal purges.  Since she wants her clients to do this process all at once, she has an order to how you should purge these items: first clothes, then... books, maybe, and so on until your entire life is "tidied up".  I was most interested in the part about clothes, because that is the area of my life where I have been feeling the most overwhelmed by the volume.

The author encourages her clients to put every single bit of clothing out in a pile on the floor or bed in order to first fully understand the amount of stuff one owns.  I didn't want to do this at first, because I thought it would be a major pain, but then I thought, why not?  I decided to only do this with what was in my actual closet, because I recently organized my dresser drawers and didn't really feel the need to tidy that area.  This was the result... don't judge.

This is horrifying.  Now granted, I've seen videos of other people who have just as big of a pile as I did, and I had no illusions that my situation would be any different.  To actually see it, though... wow.  Now, to be fair, some of these things are many, many years old and I really do feel like I've gotten more than my money's worth out of probably 75% or more of this stuff, so I really can't say that any of the items have been a waste... but still, some of the bulk needed to go.  Obviously.

I left the stuff on hangers to make it easier on myself, and as the author of the book suggests, I picked up each item, decided on a whim if "it brought me joy" (aka... did I like this?  Do I see myself wearing it again?  How do I feel when I'm in it?) and if the answer after a couple of seconds was no, it went in another pile on the floor to be discarded (aka donated or yard sale).  There were a few items that I had to try on to really know, and a few items that I kept, even though the initial thought was "eh, I don't know," but I still think I made a good dent.

Look at all those empty hangers!  I started at 9am and by 12pm when I stopped to eat lunch, I had 5 stuffed garbage bags of clothes and one large tote of shoes.  I'm actually surprised that I didn't get rid of more, but considering that I do the whole seasonal purge thing, I'm not entirely shocked.  I do think that I am a pretty organized, tidy, and even to an extent minimalist-minded person.  You'll laugh at that last statement because of the amount of things on my bed, but hear me out.  It's not that I don't like my stuff.  I'm human, however, I try to keep in mind that stuff is not necessary for my happiness.  I only buy things that I know I really want or need, so when I went through the process of "does this bring me joy," the answer was often "yes".

I still have to go through coats and maybe my dresser drawers again to see if I want to get rid of any exercise gear... but I think I feel pretty good about my "tidying up" progress for a Sunday morning.

If there's one thing that I took away from this, it's that I feel good about my already established idea of how to tidy.  I don't really feel like this "all at once" method was really earth shattering for me.  I'm glad I did it.  It definitely needed to be done, but I don't feel like it was life changing.  I will more than likely do this purge again in about 6 months.  In fact, I think I will schedule a clothing purge in my calendar for 6 months from now.

The positive take-away from my purge:  I probably emptied about about a third of my long wall-to-wall closet.  I reorganized it so that I could easily see the spring/summer things.  There is more space to move the clothing around.  My shoes are more accessible and easily seen now.  Of course, less clutter!

Now that I am fulled by food, it's on to round two: coats and winter accessories, then bags.  Let's see how many more bags I can fill!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Busy Week in Review - Week 13

Hi everyone!  Well, withdrawal did kick in this week and I'm missing my "Steel Magnolia" girls like crazy, but I've also been keeping really busy, so it hasn't been THAT bad.  I started back at choir again this Wednesday.  I always had practices for the play on choir nights, so I had to take a hiatus, but I really like doing the special services, so I'm trying to learn the songs really fast for Easter Sunday services (3 services + about 7 songs = 1 sore throat by noon).  I also went to see my friends perform in the musical "Oliver."  I was slightly apprehensive because this winter has been so bad, they had a lot of their practices cancelled, but like always, they pulled it together and put on a fantastic show.  The two boys that played Oliver and Dodger did an amazing job and my dear friend Alisha was the best Nancy.  Love her!  It was so great to see so many people that I've missed terribly now that I don't perform with that group anymore.

This next week is going to be quite busy, as well.  I am helping out with the box office for another show and have to meet the director to go over my duties.  Then there is another rehearsal for Easter Sunday, then I'll be at the theatre from Thursday-Saturday for the box office, then Easter craziness on Sunday!  After that, things should calm down a little bit, although I do have friends visiting and I'm going to a retirement dinner/final performance for one of my favorite professors in college next weekend.  I'm really looking forward to reuniting with my college theatre friends and seeing one of my favorite Shakespearean plays, "The Tempest".

Anyway, enough blabbing.  You might be tired just reading about my post-show schedule... I know I am!  Here are my photos for the FMS photo challenge, Week 13:

March 23 - Too Much
My friends really are "too much".  Look at this ginormous bouquet my friend brought to closing night.  Also mixed in are some roses from a bouquet another friend brought to opening night!  I'm spoiled! 

March 24 - A Treasure
Like I said, I really am spoiled.  This amazing charm was created by the actress who played Truvy for each of us in the show.  It has our character name with a line that Truvy says to us in the show.  Mine says, "How did you make this coffee?"  LOL!  It was a funny moment.  I will definitely treasure this for the rest of my life.

March 25 - Half
I love chocolate, and for some reason I like to break my chocolate squares in half before I eat them.

March 26 - I love
I love waking up to a gorgeous sunrise.  I know that red sky in the morning is a warning of bad weather to come (which it was) but it's just so gosh darn beautiful!

March 27 - Something White
This little guy has been the subject of a couple other photo prompts over the years.  Plus, I think the idea of a creamer for this prompt is very fitting.

March 28 - Give
My mom gave me this bottle of Magnolia wine for opening night of my play.  I liked it so much, I went and bought 5 bottles to give to the rest of the cast on closing night.

March 29 - Zen
There's nothing really profound to say about this photo, except that flowers are one of things that say "zen" to me.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week in Review - Week 12 - Theatre Withdrawal

Well, I have made it through!  Another show has come to a close.  I'm happy to have some time to sleep and keep my house in order again, but I'm also sad and feeling the beginnings of withdrawal.  I loved the women I worked with in "Steel Magnolias" and playing Annelle was truly one of my favorite theatre experiences to date.  If you come to my house at some point over the next week or so, you might walk in on me sobbing because I miss my southern belles so much!

A funny thing happened the other day.  I got recognized in the parking lot of Dollar General as Annelle!  I was walking to my car, and a guy in a minivan yelled out, "Great job!"  I looked around and saw him waving at me, so I waved back and he said, "We had a great time at the show last night."  It was so fun getting recognized.  I don't crave the attention, but it's kind of cool when it happens, because let's be real here, I'm no celebrity (nor would I want to be).

Oh!  I also continued with the FMS PAD challenge!  I honestly cannot believe I took a new photo everyday through all this theatre craziness.  I haven't always been pleased with the pictures I took, but they can't all be winners.  I'm pretty pleased with this week, though.

Without further ado, here they are.

March 16: After 
Today was a gray day, but it was warm, so Mom and I decided to take a walk after work.

March 17: Hobby
One of my many hobbies is making cards.  Today, I made thank you cards for the women in the cast of "Steel Magnolias".  They've been so nice to me that I just wanted to give them something special.

March 18 - Text
One of the things I've been doing is keeping a gratitude journal.  Most recently, I've been writing about the encouragements I've been receiving during this show.  It's a great way to keep my spirits up whenever I'm feeling insecure.

March 19: Private
After quite a few late nights at the theatre, I woke up with a migraine on Thursday.  I called off of work and shut out the light for awhile.  I needed some privacy.

March 20: Hand-drawn
The most recent thing that I've drawn was a picture of a sea turtle for my good friend's nursery (she loves sea turtles).  I was pretty excited about how this turned out.  Youtube tutorials work wonders!

March 21: Sun-flare
I actually skipped this day and took this picture in the morning of the 22nd.  The 21st was gray, gray, gray... and cold... and rainy... Thank goodness for the sun the next day!

March 22: Leaves
My friends are so great.  One of my friends brought me roses on opening night of my show and another friend brought be a beautiful bunch of wildflowers on closing night.  I'm loved.

There you have it!  I might actually be able to write a few non-FMS themed posts in the near future, but we'll see.  Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Encouragement and Gratitude

In the midst of all the change that was going on in my life at the end of 2014, I decided that I needed to keep a gratitude journal.  I needed something I could look back on that would keep things in perspective when I felt down or insecure.  I have kept journals off and on for years, but if I feel that a lot of them were centered more on the cruddy stuff that went on, which I think is important to document, but is also not something that I want people to find after I'm dead and think, "Wow, she was really negative."  I want my journaling to reflect who I feel that I am inside, which is a very positive, grateful individual.

One thing I decided to do was write an entry on all the encouragements I've received during this season of being in "Steel Magnolias".  I can be a very insecure person, as I touched on in one of my last posts, and it's always good for me to hear encouraging words from people, especially when I don't feel like they are forced.

I do get pretty insecure about my acting ability.  I know I can do it, considering I keep being cast, but when everyone around me is just so incredible, I start to feel inadequate.  This is no one's fault but my own.  I just internalize things, and trust me, being onstage is like putting all your insecurities right out in front of people.

Just like having a boss, the director is the person I aim to please while working on a show.  If he's happy with my performance, than I am, too.  At intermission the other night, as we were walking upstairs to the dressing rooms to prepare for Act 2, my director called me over and gave me a big hug and said how fabulous he thought one of my scenes was that day.  I honestly was thrilled and touched.  When someone says something like that to me, it's not that I want to be praised and to be told how wonderful I am, but when it comes completely unsolicited it just holds so much more wait and makes me feel that God is speaking through that person to my insecurity.  It's kind of like a, "hey, you got this.  I know you've been driving yourself nuts wondering if you're doing it right.  You're doing just fine."

I realized that I really do need to write those things down, not only because I am grateful to those who give me the encouragement, but because they are wonderful little reminders that I am loved and supported and at least somewhat capable of doing what I love.

Life is good, and it's good to document the all those things and to refer back to them.  We can get really mired down in the muck of life, so it's wonderful to have a physical reminder that we really do have a lot of good in our everyday lives.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 11 in Review

Bam!  Another week in the books, all while spending my evenings at the theatre.  :-)  Our audiences have been spectacular!  I'm telling you, if you go to see a show, your response to the actors onstage definitely affects their energy and performance, as well.  I felt like my character really came to life on opening night, because our audience was just so responsive, I wanted to give them the best Annelle I knew how.

March 9 - Make
One of my goals this year is to get caught up on a lot of my scrapbooking, including using up most of my stash instead of buying a bunch of new things.  I just put in a Stampin' Up order for some fun new stamps... so obviously, I'm not doing too well in that area.

March 10 - Floral
Even though it's been getting warmer around here lately, there are still no flowers in the ground.  This prompt had to come from the basket of fabric flowers from the corner of my living room.

March 11 - Happy Place
By far, my happiest place is on the stage.  It can be incredibly nerve-racking, but it's so fun to entertain a crowd and make them laugh or cry.

March 12 - Details 
It's so wonderful to see the sun again. 

March 13 - Color
I love color!  It's all over my house, including almost exclusively red kitchen appliances.

March 14 - Favorite
My favorite thing to do over the last few weeks is to look down from the cats (i.e. catwalks) onto our awesome set for "Steel Magnolias".  It's just such an interesting perspective.

March 15 - Small
Just a small wine cork from my "Magnolia Gold" wine that my parents bought me for my opening night.

Well, I have a day and a half off from the show, as Mondays are "dark" in the theatre.  I'm not sure what to do with myself, but I'm sure I will find something.  Tonight, it's going to be watching Josh Groban on "Who Do You Think You Are".  Love that guy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Strong like Steel

Strength.  My word of the year.

When I picked this word, I really didn't know what to do with it.  I knew it was supposed to be a mantra of sorts, something to work towards this year.  Beyond that, though, I didn't know where else to go with it.  A lot of people use their word as a prompt for their art, their scrapbooks, their photography... but I was stuck.

Why did I pick the word "strength"?  Well, I want to get back to a place where I feel strong, both in mind and body.  Last year was rough.  I had a lot of fun times, but I had a lot of external sources pulling me down and making my internal self feel unsettled.  Then, around Thanksgiving, I got dealt a very low blow that has stuck with me almost 6 months later (although, I am happy to say that I think about it far less now than I did at the beginning.)

What does being strong in mind mean?  For me, it means coming out of the self-conscious place where I so often find myself.  I am not, by nature, very confident.  Depending on the situation, I can feel very inadequate, dumb, name it, I've felt it (as I'm sure every woman has). 

I am currently in a production of "Steel Magnolias" playing the part of Annelle, and the other day, my theme of strength really came rushing in on me when I thought about the meaning behind the title of this play.  This play centers around women, all in different walks of life, all with different struggles.  They appear delicate and often vulnerable, but when you get right down to it, they are strong as steel.  Every one of those women have to get up every day and face a life that they probably didn't expect to have.  Whether it be a disease, losing a loved one, being left by a cheating husband, or having to support a family... each woman in that show has had to make hard decisions and face fears just to survive and to ultimately be happy.

I find  myself in that same boat, and can definitely relate to these women.  I definitely have a life I didn't ever dream I'd have, and while some of it is very good, a lot of it has been very bad.  I still struggle with self-esteem because of some life circumstances I cannot change, but instead of wallowing in those feelings, I focus on the positives in my life.  To me, that is not being naive, that is being strong.  If I wallow in self-pity over the bad and let things people say about me bring me down, I'm being weakened and letting evil win.  This isn't to say I don't need to be humble.  I'm not always right.  I don't always say or do the right thing or make the right decision, but I need to have the strength to believe that I am a good person who deserves respect and love. 

I have been honored to be part of "Steel Magnolias."  While I still feel inadequate at times (the other actresses are so good!) I have also learned so much about inner strength through my time with this show.  Hopefully, I'll be able to carry it out throughout the year and beyond.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week in Review - Week 10

Much of this week involved loose interpretations of the prompts, but I'm okay with that.  I think it's more creative to do that, right?  RIGHT?

Today (Sunday) starts the tech week for "Steel Magnolias" and I'm not entirely sure I'm going to be able to keep up with the photo a day for the next two weeks... but I'm going to try.  I'd hate to give up now when I've been doing so well.

March 2: Part of Me
This Claddaugh ring has been on my finger ever since I bought it in Ireland last year.  Someday, when/if I meet the man I will marry, I'm going to flip it around so the heart faces in (which would mean I am taken).  I have no plans to ever stop wearing this ring, so I guess you can say it has become part of me.

March 3: Open
I have been doing a Project Life scrapbook for the last year.  It will encompass 2013-2014... maybe 2015 if I can fit it.  It's been open on my table for a few weeks, so that I can work on a page when I get time.

March 4: Geometric
I've been using one purse for a few weeks, even though I have a ton of purses.  This one has a fun geometric pattern on the inside.

March 5: Out the Window
The only thing I see out my windows at this time of year... snow.

March 6: Remedy
I have a slight thyroid condition, so I take a pill every day to remedy the situation.

March 7: Sweet
I just put out my one St. Patrick's Day decoration, which has an Irish blessing on it.  I think these blessings are so sweet.

March 8: Young
Today was Daylight Savings Time in these parts, so this photo was taken fairly early in the morning (even though the clock told a different tale).

So there you have it.  Spring is finally beginning around here, and I'm hoping for a warm-up just in time for the show to begin.  The theatre is a 100 year old carriage house, which isn't well insulated, so it will be nice to not be shivering while I'm trying to portray someone who lives in Louisiana in the summer time.

Have a happy week, everyone!  I hope I will be back next Sunday to bring you week 11... but I also might be delirious from sleep deprivation.  Only time will tell. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week in Review - Week 9

Hello everyone!  I have just had the most mindless, relaxing weekend that I've had in quite awhile, but it's time to get back to the grind and back to the theatre.  Only 2 weeks left until we open!  YIKES!

So without further discussion, here are my photos from this week.

Feb. 23 - Fix
Coffee or tea go a long way to fix a sniffly day.

Feb. 24 - 12 o'Clock
Apparently, I love coffee at any time of day.  I had a little lunch time coffee at the office this day.

Feb. 25 - Reflection
There are two photos for today, but they were both flops.  I was sooooo tired when I got home from the theatre that I just didn't know what to do for this. I took a couple and they were both a bit "eh", but I took them, so they're included here anyway.

Feb. 26 - Grow
I am only 5 ft tall and figure that's about as tall as I'm going to get.

Feb. 27 - Still Life
You'd think this prompt would have been easy, but I really struggled with it.  I like what I came up with, though.

Feb 28 - Thank You
Even though it is cold and snowy around here, there has been a bit of sun and beautiful twilight hours this winter.  I'll take it!

March 3 - Starts with R
Relaxation.  My kitty and I have really gotten the hang of this relaxation thing.

There you have it.  Another week in photos.  The next week's prompts look a little difficult, but I'm going to try my best.  Wish me luck!