July 26, 2011

Tuesday Tunes -- Mish Mash

You can call me lazy, it's okay...I just don't have the energy to choose an album and really tell you all about it today, but! In the spirit of Tuesday Tunes, I will share some YouTube videos of some songs I kind of can't get enough of right now.  It's definitely a mish-mash of styles and genres, but hey...that's me!  Enjoy!

Hawksley Workman -- "Autumn's Here"

The Civil Wars -- "I've Got this Friend"

Colin James -- "Into the Mystic"

The Trews -- "Man of Two Minds"

Adele -- "Turning Tables"

Catherine Wheel -- "Delicious"

What song(s) can you currently just not get enough of?

July 22, 2011

Fitness Friday -- Now with Live Tracking!

So on Monday of this week, I got my early birthday present:

That's right, folks!  I am now a VERY happy owner of an iPhone 4.  I splurged and got the Otterbox case for it, because I am one clumsy MoFo, and since I plan to take the thing running with me, I need something durable.  I didn't want the Otterbox at ALL at first, because they're a little bulky.  But I'm happy with my decision.  And the guy who sold it to me told me I'm "definitely a pink person," so I got one in pink and black.  Woo hoo!

One of the most exciting things about this new phone is that, with the iMapMyRun app, I can turn on a live tracker while I run!  GPS capabilities track my route for me and! if I so choose! I can turn on "live tracking" so that others with the app/with an account can follow me along my route!  How cool is that??

So, Wednesday morning, I got up super early and decided to run outside (rather than on the indoor track at the gym) so I could test out the app.  Not ONLY did I love the application, but I noticed that I took an entire MINUTE off of my per/mile time!  I'm still slow as molasses, but to me, this was a HUGE accomplishment!  

I used the app again this morning and was about 30 seconds slower, but I also stopped to take some photos with my fancy new HD iPhone camera, so maybe that had something to do with it.  

I also love that I can listen to my iPod WHILE I'm tracking.  Here's today's playlist:

I nearly died when "Kill the Lights" came on.  It's a tough one to keep your own pace to, if you're not used to running that fast. But it was a great motivator.  AND I couldn't have planned a more perfect cool down/stretch song than "On My Knees" by Seryn.  Awesomesauce.

So! Here's my weekly recap:

Saturday: Yoga in the morning
Sunday: SYTYCD "Cardio Funk" workout (nearly killed me)
Monday: Nothing.  Too sore to move.
Tuesday: Nothing, because I was lazy and used my book club meeting as an excuse.
Wednesday: 2.72 miles running
Thursday: Nothing (unless sex counts.  Shut up and don't look so shocked! I'm married!)
Friday: 2.69 miles running

Whew!  AND!!!! AND!  I lost weight!  I'm down about 2lbs since last Friday, so what a fun week, huh?  I'm excited to keep going!

July 20, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 9

Happy Wednesday!  Today marks 9 WEEKS of  "Life Well Lived" For NINE Wednesdays, I have blogged about the things in my life that I can recognize and celebrate and that make my life very well lived.  

(Don't forget to follow @MyLifeWellLived on Twitter!  Blog, or just tweet about what makes your #LifeWellLived (don't forget the hashtag) and join in the fun!)

Today is the Girlfriends Edition of LWL for me.  There are so many amazing women in my life, and this blog will show just a sampling of images of these fierce females (so please don't be upset if you don't see yourself on here.  Chances are high that if you read this blog and you're a female, you're very special to me) along with some quotes about friendship.

Ladies...sometimes I couldn't get through the day without you.  I love you all, and you're imperative to my high quality of life.

"Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them." — Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one." — C.S. Lewis

"It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter." — Marlene Dietrich

"Time doesn't take away from friendship, nor does separation." — Tennessee Williams

"You know what the secret is? It's so simple. We love one another. We're nice to one another. Do you know how rare that is? - Carmen" — Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

"Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend. The rest of us know that though we can have erotic love and friendship for the same person yet in some ways nothing is less like a Friendship than a love-affair. Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest. Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best. And the reason for this is important.

... In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets... Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, "Here comes one who will augment our loves." For in this love "to divide is not to take away." — C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

July 19, 2011

Tuesday Tunes -- The Civil Wars, "Barton Hollow"

I have been wanting to write a Tuesday Tunes about The Civil Wars for a couple of weeks now, but I was really hoping to be able to report back after going to their July 13th concert at the historic Texas Theatre (yes, the one where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended) here in Dallas, TX.  UNfortunately, the concert was sold out for weeks once I discovered this incredible duo of musicians.  FORtunately, they are awesome and, since they were sold out, they did a very short-notice, short set at Good Records in Dallas on the afternoon of the concert. 

Thank God for Twitter, or else I would've missed it!  I left work early on Wednesday of last week, drove down to Dallas, braving the traffic, the heat, and the lack of a/c in my car just to catch them singing a few songs.  Let me tell you...it was worth every second. 

They only played about 4 songs, but it was such an intimate setting and the chemistry between these two singers is so incredible, that it felt like a private concert, just for me. 

Their debut album, Barton Hollow, is one that I haven't been able to stop listening to since I got my grubby little paws on it. 

Check out the video for their single, "Poison and Wine," and just try to tell me that the chemistry between them isn't jumping off the screen and yanking out your heart:

They are so in tune with one another that you can almost feel them taking breaths at the same time.  And listen to how his harmony sneaks in to seamlessly lock in with her at around the 1:56 mark.  They even change dynamics together, swelling the sound when it's the absolutely perfect moment to, and then coming back off the sound in perfect harmony. 

You know what's amazing?  That's not all recording studio. They did that at the live show, too.  They seem to read each others' minds when they sing together, and that is something very special to watch.  Their performance makes their already beautiful music into something incredibly special.  Remember when I talked about performance making all the difference?  (Hint: It's right here.)

But they aren't all about the heart-wrenching lyrics found in "Poison and Wine," "Falling," and "Girl with the Red Balloon."  They also have some light-hearted, upbeat songs that make the heart smile.  My favorite is "I've Got this Friend," but "Forget Me Not" and "Barton Hollow" are equally amazing. 

One more incredible thing about these two: they perform in a lovely, pared down setting—John Paul White on guitar and Joy Williams standing beside him and singing.  That's it.  No big, loud band behind them. No flashy light shows.  There are some beautiful orchestrations and additional musicians on the album, but when they perform, there are NO distractions.  It's all about their music and the harmonies and the lyrics (which, with the exception of "Poison and Wine," were all written by JPW and JW.  P&W was written along with Chris Lindsey).

And to be able to take away all of the distractions and the decorations and just perform...and still take my breath away...proves to me that The Civil Wars are truly something special.  PLEASE do yourself a favor and go buy this album immediately. 

(oh and PS?  They're LOVELY people. I turned into a babbling fangirl when I asked them to autograph my CD, and they could not have been nicer.  I want to be best friends with them both.)

July 15, 2011

Fitness Friday -- All for the Best

I don't know why I feel the need for the obligatory self-portrait on my Fitness Friday posts...I guess I just think a blog post sans pictures is boring.  Plus, I'm having an unexpectedly good hair day...for now.  When I go to lunch later and it's 103 outside, it will be ruined...so I wanted evidence that it started out well! 

Speaking of starting out well...after last week's post where I was bemoaning my lack of motivation, I was determined to have a better, more productive week...despite things I already had planned...such as some auditions. 

The auditions, I thought, went very well.  I was happy with how I performed at each, and I was really trying to focus on what my friend Desiree brought to my attention recently, which is that, for just that small chunk of time, you are playing that role, whether or not you're actually cast in the production(s).  So I enjoyed myself.

However, I was not cast in either show.  I was disappointed, but only briefly.  The peace I felt about the rejections (hate to call them that, but at 9am and after only one cup of coffee I can't think of a better word) has mostly to do with the fact that when/if I start rehearsals for another show, my routine will change even more.  So I feel like it's important that I really get myself back into a fitness groove before I start rehearsing for another production.  Not getting cast?  All for the best.  (shout out John)

So what did I do this week?  Not a lot, granted...but I felt good about it:

Monday: Ran 2 miles and felt good.
Wednesday: Strength training while watching SYTYCD
Friday: Ran 2.5 miles and felt even better.

The plan is to do some yoga this weekend, because my post-run stretches are quickly becoming my favorite part about my workouts.  I think my body is trying to tell me something...

So!  Not a bad week, and I have much more of a feeling of accomplishment today than I did a week ago! 

Hope you all have a WONDERFUL weekend! 

July 13, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 8

Hello, friends, and welcome to the EIGHTH installment of "Life Well Lived" The idea is to, every Wednesday, blog about the things in life, small or huge or anywhere in between, that make you joyful, that make you thankful...anything that makes your life WELL LIVED. 

Don't forget to follow @MyLifeWellLived on Twitter!  Blog, or just tweet about what makes your #LifeWellLived (don't forget the hashtag) and join in the fun!

Today, I'm going to keep it very simple (though, I do have some things up my sleeve for next week!).  I'm currently reading a book called The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. 

Brief Synopsis (from the book jacket): A spare and haunting, wise and intelligent novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo is a testament to the endurance of the spirit and the subtle ways individuals reclaim the humanity in a city ravaged by war.

The subject of the book is quite serious and heavy...but there was a passage in the very early chapters that really spoke to me:

Ten years ago, when she was eighteen and was not called Arrow, she borrowed her father's car and drove to the countryside to visit friends. It was a bright, clear day, and the car felt alive to her, as though the way she and the car moved together was a sort of destiny, and everything was happening exactly as it ought to. As she rounded a corner one of her favorite songs came on the radio, and sunlight filtered through the trees the way it does with lace curtains, reminding her of her grandmother, and tears began to slide down her cheeks. Not for her grandmother, who was then still very much among the living, but because she felt an enveloping happiness to be alive, a joy made stronger by the certainty that someday it would all come to an end. It overwhelmed her, made her pull the car to the side of the road. Afterward she felt a little foolish, and never spoke to anyone about it.

Now, however, she knows she wasn't being foolish. She realizes that for no particular reason she stumbled into the core of what it is to be human. It's a rare gift to understand that your life is wondrous, and that it won't last forever.
Friends...I have had this moment.  Blessedly, I have had it more often recently than in years past.  It's incredible and overwhelming and leaves you feeling loved, vulnerable, afraid, and joyful.  I feel like this passage really explains the kind of joy that Kelsey, the mind behind Life Well Lived, feels on a regular basis for her life and her set of circumstances at any given time.

So today, I encourage you to really be open and available to what God, the world, the universe is trying to tell you and show you.  Let yourself be aware of just how wondrous your life really is. 

July 12, 2011

Tuesday Tunes - The Spring Standards "Would Things Be Different"

The band featured on today's Tuesday Tunes is one I discovered completely accidentally.  And before you ask, NO, this one does not come from the friendly northern neighbor Canada. 

A while ago...I'd say at least a month...Rachel and I planned to meet up at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton, TX to see The Andrew Tinker Band perform.  The band starting off the evening was The Spring Standards.  Normally I would just sit outside and hang out with friends while the band BEFORE the one I came to hear played, but this trio of incredible musicians hooked me in immediately.  I was BUMMED when their set was over, even though I knew the awesomeness of Andrew Tinker was next to come. 

Some things that are awesome about them, before I show you some clips:
  • Their female singer is a ginger
  • They have no drummer...they just divide up the drum kit between the band members. It's an awesome sight to see done live, I'm tellin' ya.
  • ....um....they're awesome??  Seriously, I love their sound.  Here's a couple of YouTube videos, but do yourself a favor and buy their album and TRY your hardest to go see them play live.

And then my favorite song...there are only live/concert versions, so I'm sorry...there's loud people and other annoying parts about trying to record a live performance of a badass song! (I didn't record this, btw).

July 8, 2011

Fitness Friday -- Y U No Here, Motivation?

This is the face of someone giving herself a very half-hearted thumbs up for an attempt at getting back into something resembling a "groove" today.  I ran for the first time since last Friday, and it was my first time at the gym since Tuesday of this week, when I did the elliptical machine for 35 minutes.

I've just...lost my motivation.  I will attribute some of it to the fact that my week's have been all wonky what with vacation days and holidays, and I really do thrive on a routine (M/W/F running, T/Th cross-training/weights).  And I'll give like a half percent of it to the existence of PMS and another half a percent to the EFFING TERRIBLE HEAT:

But I know those are just excuses. Since the shingles slowed me down, I've lost a lot of momentum.  I've been a little busier in the evenings with plans with family/friends the last couple of weeks, but again...that's no excuse. 

Time to get back ON THE WAGON, so to speak.  I'm ready to feel accomplished again by the end of a week...like I've earned those weekend rest days. 

So, here's a half-hearted thumbs up to me for getting back out there and doing SOMETHING today, rather than letting my weaksauce week of working out get to me, and rather than allowing myself to think "Well I have already sucked this week, may as well start fresh Monday."  Nope.

As Heather says, "Make one healthy decision.  Now make another."  So this week is in the past, and we can make today a start into getting the momentum back. 

July 7, 2011

Because I Have To

First, watch this (the dance itself occurs between 0:45 and 2:45):

Do you STILL have goosebumps? I have seen it probably 20 times now and I get goosebumps every time. Without fail.

This routine has re-lit a fire in my heart and I've been wanting to write/blog about this ever since I saw it live...but it's so hard to put into words how it made me feel and how it so captured precisely why I love performing.  No...why I have to perform.

There have been some absolutely incredible dance routines that I've seen on So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD from her on out...), even in the short time that I've been keeping up with the show.  I've also been bombarded (in the most awesome way) with YouTube clips of everyone's favorites from seasons I didn't watch.  But this one is going to be hard to top.

Do you want me to tell you why?  Because of the acting.  Is the choreography brilliant? Yes.  Is the execution damn near perfect?  YES.  But it's the acting that sells it. It's the performance of the piece and the commitment to storytelling done by the two performers.  As I said, I've watched this over and over and OVER and I can tell you that there's not one beat of this dance that Melanie and Marko aren't completely committed to the story and to the characters they are playing. 

It makes me want to be one of the characters

If you advance through some of the craziness of the judges' comments (which are pretty hilarious...), you'll hear Kristin Chenoweth say to them what I haven't been able to put into words when it comes to why this show speaks to me:

"We sing because we can't speak anymore. Dance is an extension of that. We can't speak anymore, so we move. You are the epitome of the kind of language I understand."
YES.  As a performer myself and as someone who, in my own opinion, was created to love and experience this kind of artistic expression...that is how I feel. 

When I watched this performance live from my own living room last Wednesday night, I couldn't stop crying.  Not because of the story of the piece (that was part of it) but because I felt my heart ache to be a part of something that special again.

I'v been talking to some friends recently about the phenomena I mentioned above...the idea that when something truly special is happening in a performance (dance, recital, play, movie, musical, etc.), there's a part of you that feels yearning...the need to experience that yourself. It's almost like envy...jealousy...but without the negative connotations associated with those words.  It doesn't even have to be a dramatic moment...it can even be the phrasing done by a singer of a certain song, or the impeccable timing of witty, comedic banter. 

But what you're really seeing? Is complete understanding of the piece and the character, commitment to decisions, and a willingness to abandon oneself to the scary (but awesome) vulnerability of complete immersion in a moment in that character's story.  And that's why it's so special to watch, to hear, to experience as an audience member or a listener or a viewer.  It's like an intimate party that only you are invited to...even if you're in an audience of thousands.

For all of you who ask me why I will commit two months of my life to a role, why I have to almost literally sit on my hands to keep myself from attending auditions every time they come up and why it means so much to me that I can't stop tears during performances sometimes (my own or others')...the answer is both complicated and beautifully simple:

Because I have to. 

July 6, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 7

Today is Lucky Number SEVEN of my  "Life Well Lived" series.  Life Well Lived was created by the one and only Kelsey, and the idea is to, every Wednesday, blog about the things in life, small or huge or anywhere in between, that make you joyful, that make you thankful...anything that makes your life WELL LIVED. 

Don't forget, you can also follow @MyLifeWellLived on Twitter!  Follow and post with the hashtag #LifeWellLived and share with us what makes your:

Today is apparently INTERNATIONAL KISSING DAY! Woo hoo, what a thing to celebrate! As you will see, I am a big fan of kissing. Being in theatre makes that habit even more fun! ;) So today, rather than explaining, I will just show you that I have in fact had a life well lived with LOTS of affection!

First and foremost, though....my FAVORITE kisser:

Love love LOVE kissing that husband of mine!  Now, for family, friends, and generaly kissy fun:

Lots of kisses in MY life, huh?  :) 

Now, it's your turn!  Post 3-5 things that you think make your life well lived, and shoot Kelsey an email and let her know! 

July 1, 2011

Guest Post -- An Act of KINDness

Good morning and Happy Friday!  Today, I am THRILLED to be featured as a guest poster over at Laura's blog while she is on vacation (lucky girl!).  Laura is a fellow Healthy Living blogger and is studying to be come a registered dietician.  I met her at the Blogger meet up we had while Heather was in town, and turns out she's great friends with someone I went to high school with.  It's a small world!  Anyway, here's a sample of my guest post on her blog...make sure you click on over to read the rest!

Hello readers of Becoming the Odd Duck!  I'm very excited that Laura is letting me guest post while she is out of town.  Guess what?  This is my FIRST time ever guest posting on another blog, so I'm very excited about it.

I'm also excited about what I'm posting about today.  Laura and I are, as you probably know if you're readers of either of us, part of an online community and network of Healthy Living bloggers. Now while I don't post recipes (ever) and I post about exercise only occasionally (read: when I have had a good week and not been as lazy as I'd like to be).  I like to think that my blog is more about Healthy LIVING...meaning, things about my life that help me enjoy every moment of it — finding new musical artists, simplifying my life, performing, spending time with friends, etc.  Exercise and eating well are very important to me because they will only help to extend my awesome life, right? RIGHT!

Earlier this week, I attended a meeting of the Denton Women's Collective, which is, quite simply, a group for women, dedicated to making a difference in our community and hopefully in the lives of other women.  This is a group started by Lindsay, and my friend Rachel has been trying to get me to attend for a few months now.  I finally was able to find time in my ridiculous schedule to attend and I am so very glad I did!

that's me in the green dress!

The subject of this month's meeting was the Kind Campaign, and the soon-to-be-released documentary Finding Kind. Here's the trailer for the documentary:

Started by Pepperdine University alumnae Lauren Parsekian and Molly Stroud, the campaigns mission is short but very clear and powerful: "A movement and documentary, based upon the powerful belief in KINDness, that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl "crime."

Click HERE to read the rest of this entry!