Day 1 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

Day 1 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

 

4:30a: Alarm for 7:00 flight. Ouch.

 
9:30a: Land and seek out the first coffee shop with organic eggs (duh) and avocado breakfast taco: Seventh Flag Coffee. Spent a little time getting some work done at. โ˜•๏ธ

 
10:30a-2:30p: S Congress Ave. So thankful to the my lovey new friend at CoStar boutique for keeping my travel backpack for 5 hours while I roamed. ๐Ÿ›


1:00p: Street Taco and Wholly Mole taco at The Taco Joint on E Riverside Dr. ๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ


2:30p: Check into THE MOST AMAZING Air B&B! A whole studio in a stand alone building that’s almost all windows and drapes. โค๏ธ Check it out here.


3:00p: Out cold to the world NAP! ๐Ÿ˜ด Followed by a little more work time. As a freelancer, business doesn’t stop. But it’s so hot here that I can’t complain about a little forced inside time. Plus, I feel like I’ve earned my sightseeing time if I’ve also booked gigs that day! #worklifebalance


5:00p: Jumped on the bus to hit up Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. Rented a bike to join a group ride tomorrow!! ๐Ÿšด๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ


7:00p: Ate my weight in BBQ at Terry Black’s. Thanks to the bike mechanic who said- it’s amazing and you need to eat there. ๐Ÿบ


8:00p: Rode my rented bike home and beat the storm that is making the most beautiful sound on the tin roof. ๐ŸŒง

My take on Austin so far: ๐Ÿ˜
My take on traveling solo: It sure doesn’t suck. But I’m also thankful for technology that allows me to chat with friends at home so easily too.

 

Been to Austin? Tell me your story!!

 

Thanks for reading.

Be a pretty powerful explorer.

 

In Good COMPANY

In Good COMPANY

It’s been 3 weeks since we sang our last Bobby chord in COMPANY and I still haven’t really been able to find the words to express my feelings towards this experience in my life. Sure, it’s a show. In a lot of ways, like any other. Some can argue- it’s Sondheim! Those diehards who obsess over every bazaar chord, time signature, or word written by the composer. Some can argue- it’s a show! Those performers who do one or two productions a year alongside their full time jobs and experience every moment associated with it akin to drinking nectar from the gods. Others say- it’s just a high you’ll come off of. Those non-theater people who no matter how sensitive or loving they are will never really understand what it’s like.

But, COMPANY was special. It was more special than I intended it to be, and let me tell you, it was intended to be special. I had auditioned for MAD Theatre 3 times now, and I was damned if I wasn’t going to be cast somewhere in a show that had 8 female characters in it. So, during intermission of Bridges of Madison County, I returned a phone call (that’s professional, right??) to find out that I had been cast as April- a dumb flight attendant who sings (and I still feel this way) a really boring song about going to Barcelona. Most recently described (and I do feel I need to give credit here) by Ricky, our brilliant Bobby, as “Bar’s- so-low- now”. I laughed out loud to that one. ย Anyhow, honestly, I didn’t ย know the show other than the basic plot and some of the songs, so I had a moment- ‘Jesus, is that how people see me?? The dumb girl??’ Followed quickly with, ‘Who gives a damn- you’re in.’ I’m so glad I got to play April, I just love her now. #PoorApril will be apart of my life forever. She’s just like the rest of us…trying to get by. Trying to connect. Trying to find her place in the world- albeit only shown only through the moments we all have of utter embarrassment; moments when you find your foot lodged squarely in your mouth. That’s #PoorApril.

But it wasn’t the brilliance of the composer. It wasn’t the simple fact it was a show. It wasn’t just a high. (However, it was one hell of a high.) It was the people. We could have been doing the dumbest of children’s shows to 10 audience members and I would still be walking away forever changed by it. Never once in my life have I been in a room with 14 people +/- crew/directors/board members that I have been so goddmaned head over heels for. I can start with their performing talents, sure, becasue, sheesh, there’s plenty of that. Songs I would just sit and listen to; scenes I would watch over and over again; lines that will forever be embedded in my mind; chords that made me giddy. But it was their spirits that made me feel at home. That dressing room became an oasis away from the world where I was not only allowed, but embraced and expected to be unabashedly present, and excited, and emerced as myself. I wonder how many people have ever felt this way- or more so, how many people have never felt this way.

And all of this happened despite the fact it took us almost the entire rehearsal process to actually get to know each other. Since Bobby is the only character on stage the whole time, we did a lot of individual scenes and really weren’t all in the same room until just a few weeks before opening when we really started to run the show. Not to mention, when you start running a show, you’re so absorbed with the “WTF happens next” feeling that you aren’t exactly making jokes and bonding. Therefore, it wasn’t until we loaded into the theater that we began to fall madly in love with each other. ย It happened fast and intensely and if I could have seen the future, I would have given us that bond on the very first day so we could have squeezed every last drop of it. This all might seem ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure each person would agree with it. Those 3 weeks in that dressing room will go down in my life history as some of the best times. And it has led me to set the bar at that level, dangling somewhere along the stars, really. Nonetheless, inspiring me to live every day with the goal to find the authenticity; be completely present; and make the truest of connections. Because now I know it exists.

Thank you is a word that is used when someone simply holds a door for you, so I don’t feel it expresses the extent of how I feel about the organization that brought me all this. I am so thankful to MAD Theatre for fitting me in their puzzle. I am so thankful for the humans who have entered my life, some of which have already risen far above the surface level of new friendships and have propped me up, gave me strength, and pushed me forward. I can only patiently wait for a chance to repay them. Sometimes The Universe plops people in your life who swiftly proceed to change your life. I’m not sure I changed any of other their lives, but they sure as hell changed mine.

“Lots of Company, Life is Company, Love is Company.”

Goodbye, COMPANY. Hello, life long friends.

Thanks for reading.

Live pretty powerfully in good company.

Show Promo:

April production photos:

Nightly Cast Photos:

Rehearsals:

Shenanigans:

Backstage:

Character Creation

Character Creation

The thing that catapulted me into being a makeup artist was my love of theater. More specifically, my utter fascination of people who can change themselves into someone completely different. I’d spend weeks working alongside people in rehearsal, only to have my jaw hit the ground when the character finally emerged from within them when they walked on stage in full costume, hair, and makeup.

I found that I loved creating those visuals and makeup became my medium.

One of my favorite examples is Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I was hired to do Hedwig’s makeup for a month run of the show with a professional theater in town. The man playing hedwig was not your typical emaciated, lanky, overly feminine, person. Spencer had a 2 o’clock shadow, and looked liked you could find him at an Irish bar throwing back Guinness with the owner on any given night. Instead, every night, I would watch as Hedwig emerged from within Spencer. We’d start with the ‘Uncle Fester’ look, blocking out the bushy eyebrows with wax and filling in the hair follicles with foundation. Then, as we added the iconic eyebrows, glitter blue eye shadows, sharp cheek line, and of course the perfectly drawn red glitter lip, ‘She’ would arrive. Small mannerisms, a change in the voice, even a change in the choice of words would begin and by the time I’d hand her the wig, I was standing in front of a wonderfully sassy, slightly vulnerable, undeniable Hedwig. It may have been one of the most ongoingly satisfying repetitive jobs I’ve ever done.

But while something like Hedwig is very obvious because the makeup and hair is so necessary to the character, I find that all characters are expressed though the makeup choices. And since I currently have the great pleasure to play April in COMPANY right now, I will use her (and by default, me) and an example.

Makeup Design: ‘April’, COMPANY

April is self-professed ‘very dumb.’ She’s a flight attendant, and she’s dating (casually or with the intent of more depending on what character in the show you ask) the leading man, Bobby. I’ve translated April as maybe not the sharpest tack in the box, but a pretty astute manipulator, especially when it comes to controlling men in the bedroom. You’ve got to give her credit to the fact that she has a legit job and lives in New York City, so, she’s no southern debutante waiting for a man to control her. On the other hand, she’s no future rocket scientist either.

I started where I normally do- the eyes. The eyes alway tell people’s life story. It’s the gateway to the soul and if you can trick someone you can send them to your character’s soul. In the case of April, I wanted her to have wide eyes and one of the physical ticks I give her is that I blink a lot- conveying a sense of cluelessness that also buys her time to control the situation. Therefore, I started with the lash- a #35 from MAC lash to be exact. This lash is longest directly in the center and if you put them through a lash curler, you can get a nice wide-eyed look. They’re very long, but the hairs are brown (despite the picture), so they aren’t dark enough to make it blatantly sexy.

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Then I moved to eyeshadow. I wanted her to have warmth. I truly believe that all she wants is to connect with Bobby- or anyone really. She wants a deep rooted relationship that she can be comfortable and confident in. For this, I wanted warm colors deeply blended and soft- only there to enhance how big I could get her (my) eyes. So I used a pastel matte pink lid color, a peach crease color that deepened into a mahogany outer contour color. I then added a creamy yellow shadow with a hint of shimmer to it in the inner corner of the eye to open it up just a tad more. I mixed black and brown liner as to not make her harsh in any way and added white eyeliner to the inner rim of the bottom lid as one last attempt to get all the good out of the wide-eyed look.

We perform in a blackbox theater, so while I don’t wear this much makeup on a daily basis, I would also not consider it true stage makeup. I used a matte full coverage long wearing foundation, as I see her as someone who would be very concerned with how she looked. To me, April hasn’t realized yet that people don’t fall in love with you because you look pretty, so it’s very important to her to be put together at all times. An attribute her employer no doubt supports. I contour with a warm terra-cotta bronzer that has a slight sheen to it to continue the theme of warm and soft. A pink shimmer highlighter is brushed on the cheek bones to enhance their height reinforcing her attempt at being ‘perfect.’ Then I finish off with a bright pink blush that gives her a lot of color to her face and makes her sexy from a healthy and excitable perspective.

Lastly, we have her lip. I contemplated this for a while, thinking I would again soften her with a berry color. But when I saw my navy blue suit with blue, white and red striped satin scarf to tie around my neck, I knew I needed a red lip. But I didn’t want it too gaudy or clashing in color scheme to the rest of her face. I chose a deep red stain. It’s not flashy- she wouldn’t be flashy, there’s not quite enough confidence in her for that. The stain is great because from a design perspective, it looks like her lips, not something sitting on top of her lips; and from a practical perspective, it doesn’t transfer all over poor Ricky during the bedroom scene. Bobby would be thrilled to have lipstick on his face I believe….Ricky, the actor, not so much. We spend a whole song liplocked and he has about 30 seconds to reset for the next scene, so I needed something that wouldn’t make a mess.

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While I’m not playing the most deeply studied character in theater, or one with an iconic look, I still believe in finding motivations, desires, and intentions in every character I’m given the opportunity to become. It’s not as obvious as Hedwig, and I’m quite comfortable in my costume and face to be just me- but I feel like I’ve made her someone to relate to, feel sorry for, and laugh along with. And I think that’s the point of theater. To watch pieces of ourselves find their way through the story. They teach us, they reinforce us, and they make us feel like we aren’t alone. It’s a beautiful thing.

Most people don’t even recognize that makeup can play an integral roll in how we connect with a person. It’s why I love my job- I get to help people put their best foot forward before they even say their lines, sing their songs, or dance their routines. And, as Shakespeare wrote, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

Act pretty powerful.

 

A Trip to the Drugstore

A Trip to the Drugstore

I don’t venture down the drug store cosmetics aisles often. Honestly, I pretty much know what I like to work with and do late night reorders online with my pro card discounts. (Yep, insert hair flick here)

But, one of my clients asked me to source out something comparable to a pro product because they were mid-travel and needed something to fill the gap. So, I went in and started hunting. You hear people blog about drugstore gems all the time, so I figured this wouldn’t be painful.

Well, I came out with a few winners, and a lot of opinions. Ha, I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone.

OPINIONS:

Let’s start with my gripe….because, well, the world just isn’t a bowl of roses, so let’s just not pretend CVS is a perfect place to buy makeup.

1. THERE ARE NO COLORS FOR DARKER SKIN TONES!

I mean, it’s insulting. Period. And every damn drugstore brand should be downright ashamed of themselves. No excuses, no bullshit. It’s terrible and I’m disgusted by it. The darkest powder foundation I could find is the equivalent of about an NC45 at MAC, or, let’s see, about the color of Alicia Keys. Uhhhh…. what?? You could shade up a few tones in liquid form, but nothing close to the variety of human colors out there.

Not Okay. Especially since these companies have full access to these pigments as they own or are owned by 3 major cosmetics companies. These monster conglomerates own other companies that carry (albeit more expensive) darker shades. And, no, the pigment is not what drives the price, just in case you were wondering. It’s a choice, not a roadblock. And it’s time they make more inclusive choices.

2. It’s not exactly cheap all the time.ย 

You always consider drugstore makeup as the inexpensive way to go. But I almost fell over when I was looking at a $21 eyeshadow! What??? I mean, shit, you can get an Urban Decay eyeshadow for less than that! And I didn’t buy said $21 CVS shadow, but I’d put some serious dough on the fact UD produces a superior or at very least comparable product. There is, of course, ELF- where you can score super cheap stuff, so it’s not all expensive. But, still, at on average $8-$15 per product, you can rack up a hefty bill at the cash register quickly.

GEMS:

On a more positive note, I did pick up 4 products that I actually really like. So, check out these picks!

L’Orรฉal Voluminous Original Mascara. $8.00

I won’t lie, I picked this up because about 20 years ago when I was just starting to put makeup on my face, I used this mascara. Now, I was in desperate need of a mascara, wasn’t ready to make a bulk order from Makeup Forever, and thought, ‘hmm..let’s see if this is still any good.’ ย Well, it’s still awesome. I have substantial lashes, but I like bushy thick lashes, and this is perfect for that. It’s wet enough to grab the hair easily and bulk up quickly. It not too wet that it ends up all over my face the first time I blink. It wears nicely as well. I was a long time ZoomLash from MAC devotee. But on my bone structure, it usually ends up as little dots on my cheek. Also, y’all know I’m a LimeLight by Alcone rep and lover, but I just can’t get on board with their fiber mascara. It’s great for big ole lashes, which I love, but it dries out so fast! And yes, you should switch out your mascara every 3 months….but it shouldn’t dry up before then. I’m about 100% sure I’ll be buying this product again.

NYX Wonder Pencil. $4.50

“Concealer, Eye Brightner, Reverse Lip Liner in One.” And yep, that’s exactly what it is. I like that it is a balance of soft product with a sharp tip to it. It’s solid wood pencil, and it’s got just the right touch of emollients to make the product smooth to apply and easy to blend. I like to outline my eyebrow with it…especially when I could go for a waxing. I’ve also enjoyed adding it around the tear duct of the eye and outline of my Cupid’s bow on my upper lip. It’s a bit dry for a concealer and found it just made my blemishes more texurized. But as a non-glitter, non-light reflecting, non-shimmery small highlighter, it’s really nice. I end with the caveat that I hate glittery highlighters (unless, you’re headed to a night club, or are a glamorous drag queen). So this matte, just a few tones off my skin, stick is easy and effective. And it’ll probably last me a lifetime, so there’s that.

ELF Lip Stain. $2.

I have to give credit where credit is due. A friend of mine performing on a broadway tour sent me hunting for this. “It’s the only thing we found didn’t come off or smear all over the place in the kissing scenes!” Ok, I’ll bite. *snicker…bad joke.* It’s in the form of a felt tip pen and it’s a really easy product to wear and apply. You can gloss over it, or just give yourself a little color and not think about it again, but it’s impossible to put too much on. Which, if you’ve never used a stain, I’m here to tell you that oftentimes, stains go on like fake blood, making it tough to gauge how much to use. Your hair won’t stick to it, and it won’t get on your teeth or bleed into your lipline. There’s 3 colors and for $2, I splurged on the red and the berry. Full disclosure, I wear it on stage to play April in Company. If you don’t know what that means, it means, I wear it to make out with the guy playing Bobby on stage every night. I’ll say this- it comes off, but I’m not sure exactly where it goes. Seriously, I have a red lip when I go on stage, and a much less red lip when I come off. BUT- here’s the mystery- it’s not all over his face, soooooo where does it go??? Questions for the universe, I suppose. Regardless, it’s better feeling than the longwearing lip paints, and a really nice color, so I’ll DEFINITELY keep this in my life ongoing.

NYX Super Fat Eye Marker. $10.00

I was less than impressed with the (gasp) $10 price tag. The audacity! Heh. But, there was something about it’s size and look that made me want to try it, and I’m so glad I did! I’ve been wearing a wingtip liner for a lot of my adult life. There was a long time when it was a flat out signature. But, I got old and lazy, so I don’t really do it any more. I have tried other products, and they’re nice, but it takes precision, and effort and control. All things I don’t often want to dish out these days. I’d rather beat other peoples faces, not spend time fussing over a perfect wingtip on myself! But this is fantastic. Firstly, it’s a thick tipped marker. It’s stiff but super pointy, and there’s lot of highly pigmented product in it. I’m telling you I do a wingtip liner standing straight (not leaned over into a mirror) in front of my bathroom sink in maybe 3 swipes/eye. It’s become easier than the brown shadow and angle liner brush I’ve been using for years! And if you’re still using a pencil eyeliner… well, we should talk. Here’s the thing about this liner- if you have an eye shape, or preference that requires a super thin line, this is not your product.

 

All in all, the trip to the drugstore was a nice change of pace from the ridiculously overpriced, over packaged, over sold, unnecessary products found in Nordstroms or Sephora. Let’s not get crazy, though. This is not the place to find a perfect match of foundation and/or concealer. But, a fun new lip color, or eyeliner is sometimes a perfect pick me up to your every day boring routine. And the fact you can give yourself a little jolt like that while you wait for a prescription is something to Enjoy.

Just, come see me for that foundation recommendation, k? Especially if you’re any darker than Alicia Keys…

 

Thanks for reading.

Be Pretty Powerful and not broke.

How fast does your wedding day go? And how can you enjoy it?

 

Let’s set the stage: hotel room, bride’s room at the venue, or MOB’s home. I’ve just walked in, kit in hand and I’m scoping the room out for the best place to set up. I’m looking for all my clients for the day- counting BM’s, and taking in the overall vibe. Then the bride pops in, usually in a robe or other white lounge-wear and happily says-

‘Set up where ever you’d like! We have all day! Take your time!’

I smile broadly, laugh and say- ‘Happy Wedding Day!!! There is never enough time today! Let’s get rolling!’ It’s also at this time when I inform them what time they need to be in my chair- with their hair done. Next, I turn to the hair stylist (if I’m lucky enough to be in the same room with them) and confirm that they are also OK with the time for the bride to be in their chair. If this works- the show goes off without a hitch. Trust me.

I’m a makeup artist. True fact. But- more importantly- I am a ringleader.

Few wedding planners are around during the ‘getting ready’ process. They have other things on their plate- where’s the linens? How come the chairs aren’t set up? The caterer isn’t answering their phones. Yeah, their hands are full. But when they or the photographer/videographer arrive, they want- no, they NEED- you to be running on time. That’s where I come in.

So, let me give you some insight from my perspective to ensure that you won’t be rushed, feel like you missed out, or turn into a stress ball during your wedding day prepping process. (This is supposed to be fun….friendly reminder.)

1. Book at least 45 min makeup and hair appointments for parties larger than 1.

I don’t really tell anyone I do this, because my goal is to run 10-15 min early by time I’m done with the 2nd person. Why? Because it takes me 30 minutes to do a face. But it may take 15 minutes to talk to the client about their desires/needs and make them feel like they have all the time in the world to work with me. This also allows for those moments when they get pulled away: a mimosa toast; a toddler who needs convincing by mom that they, in fact, won’t die if they get their hair done; the florist who arrives to unveil the bouquets; the cars that need moved from the hotel to the venue. Need I go on? And if I’m not running early, I have ensured that I am not running late. Key.

2. Choose vendors that have done this before.

Please hire someone who has experience in bridal hair/makeup. Someone who has spent time working on location with a party the size (or bigger) than yours. Why? Because there isn’t unlimited time, and we can get disastrously backed up if time isn’t being watched and respected by your vendors. It’s not your job- it’s ours.ย Your job is to have fun. And a seasoned hair stylist and MUA know how to manage their time properly without you having any idea what we are doing.ย  IE: When I know you should be sitting down for hair soon, I’ll say- ‘If you have any projects or things you’d like to accomplish today, now is the time to do it. Because as soon as you sit down to do hair, the train takes off! Hair, makeup, dress, photos, vows…tomorrow morning!’ Everyone laughs, but everything keeps moving too.

3. Delegate!

Everyone wants to help the bride- so let them! Ask your groomsmen to move/pack cars; ask a friend to bring in lunch. You will make them so happy. Who don’t you want ask to do anything that includes leaving the hotel/house/suite?: Your mom, your future mother in law and your bridesmaids. They aren’t the grunt-women of the day. They are here to experience the day with you, tell you how amazing you look, which bracelet looks the best, and toast with a mimosa. Those are all serious wedding business matters, you know! The men associated with your day are capable humans- they’ve survived to adulthood and as much as you might think you can do it better/faster/more efficiently, who cares as long as something edible actually arrives for you to eat? Trust them.

4. Communicate and plan ahead.

Especially if you don’t have a comprehensive wedding planner. Day of and venue coordinators are not wedding planners. They are very helpful, but communicating a timeline to all of your vendors is not in their job description. And I can’t stress how important it is that everyone knows what everyone else is doing. For example, I often ask for your photographer’s and hair stylist’s information so that I can touch base with them. And I urge you to send my contract to your wedding planner, photographer, videographer and hair stylist. If you and I agree that you need to be done at 2:00 and your photographer thinks you’ll be ready by 1:00, we have stress and missed opportunities instead of laughs and fun photos. It’s not the end of the world (you’ll still get married), but we want to give you the moon and the stars, so if you communicate with us, we can do more for you.

Want to see time disappear? Magic!!

Here’s a wedding that you might just resonate with…..

Scenario:

  • Ceremony at 5:00p.
  • 5 BM, 2 moms, and Bride to get hair and makeup done. (8 total)
  • First look scheduled with Photographer.
  • Getting ready location is different than ceremony location. 3 miles apart.

7:30a– Hair and makeup begin on 45 min increments. Yup. 730a…..call room service for the coffee and breakfast. Or ask Dad or brother to deliver it to you. Thought you were going to get a run in? Hahaha…even most of my serious athlete friends can’t even find a time to do that… Just get up and shower. You’ll burn enough calories today.

12:00- Lunch arrives. Remember that girlfriend who said- Just let me know how I can help!! Well, here you go. Order online and have her pick up and deliver. You will make her day. And it will make yours. Nothing sucks more than being hungry on your wedding day….or ever. And nothing you eat today will make you too fat for your dress. So, please for the love of food, eat!

12:30- Your photographer arrives. He/She’ll need the rings, other jewelry, the garter, the dress, the shoes, the bouquet, and any other small details that matter to you. She/he’ll whisk them away and create magical images- trust me. You want those and they want to do them. So- help them out by having all your details stashed away in the same place the night before.

12:45- You are the last to sit in my chair. Holy-this-wedding-doesn’t-start-for-another-4+-hours-and-everyone-is-already-done. Yes. I get it. And remember when I said the train is about to take off? Here it goes!

1:15- Photographer takes ‘getting makeup done’ images. Lash, lip and touch-up powder brush application.

1:30- Hair and makeup done, ready to put dress. If you have robes for you and your girls and want that iconic Pinterest image of you all, this is the time to do it. 1:30. Not 1:35. By 1:35 those gals need to be dressed and ready to assist you into that drop dead, super expensive, unbelievable, dress of your dreams.

1:30-2:00- Get dressed. Give yourself at least 30 minutes if you have a dress that laces up the back. The photographer will want to be there to take pics of your attendants and your mom helping you into your gown and putting the veil in place. Please note your mom and bridal party need to be dressed for those photos. That’s why I say dress asap after those robe shots.

2:00-2:30- Same location bridal portraits, while your the freshest, and haven’t gone outside yet…or touched anything….or breathed really.

2:30-3:30- First Look and other cute pics. This is where the photographer will take you and your groom to have a moment to see each other, exchange gifts, hugs or maybe just a small prayer together. Then take lots of great images of you together and apart. At least an hour. That way it isn’t rushed and you two can truly enjoy each other….oh yeah, that’s what this is all about, remember? ๐Ÿ˜‰

3:30-4:00- Pop in whoever else can get photos with you. BM’s, moms, parents, family. Your dog. Whoever….you will be thankful you did this while you are attending your own cocktail hour.ย ย ย  Trust. Me.

Exception: 3:00- the ABSOLUTE LATEST you should be done with hair and makeup and start putting the dress on. This is only if you have agreed to do ZERO photos before the ceremony outside of ‘getting ready pics’ and your photographer arrives at 2:30.

4:00- Leave getting ready location. 3 miles? Yeah, that’ll take 30 minutes. And if it doesn’t, you’ll be early. How nice- take a seat, take a breath, and take the time to hug your favorite attendant. Or say thank you to your parents for throwing such an amazing shindig for you. They’ll appreciate that even if you and your groom paid for a good chunk too. Running late becasue you just HAD to get that cool shot in the hotel lobby?? Totally cool- you’re now back on track.

4:30- Arrive at venue before any of your guest do because they will see you and they shouldn’t be seeing you. I hate it when the bride is arriving with her guests. The guests can’t help themselves- ‘OMG- YOU LOOK SO AMAZING!!’ they scream from the other side of the parking lot. Seriously, face palm. But it’s all meant in kindness, so you can’t even be annoyed. Just avoid it. There’s plenty of time for them to ogle over you.

5:00- Here comes the bride!! Whoa, how on Earth is is 5:00 already?? You will say this. I will laugh.

5:30ish: I’m off the clock at this point….please refer to your wedding planner. They haven’t been sipping cocktails all day and they will be right there to take over the remainder of the night with a swiftness.

And that, my friends, is how a 14.5 hour day (assuming your reception ends at 10) happens in a blink of an eye!

I know it sounds like a lot. And it can be. But there are people out there that do it for a living. This is not our first rodeo! Experienced wedding vendors don’t have to cost you a fortune, but they will be worth every penny. I tell my clients- we have learned lots of lessons along the way that we impart to our future clients. 13 years I’ve been doing this, and to some vendors, I’m the new kid! But my favorite quote is this: ‘You can’t be the star of the show and the crew’. Put us in, coach. We want to make this the best day of your life.

 

Thanks for reading.

Planning can be pretty powerful!

St. Anthony’s Triathlon From the Sidelines

St. Anthony’s Triathlon From the Sidelines

Triathlon is magical.

I am lucky to say, for me, being a triathlete is not defined by the races I toe the line at, or the times I throw down, but rather by the friendships I have developed over the sweat, laughs, and four letter words- and the years. Over the last week, my TimeHop has reminded me that I have been apart of this event for, now, 8 years. And the journey has really been incredible. Teaching me more about myself than any educational institution, and instilling life lessons that transcend into every aspect of my life. Plenty of my blog is about all that.

St. Anthony’s Triathlon is one of the most competitive and renown races in the country. I have seen Ironman World Champions (yes, plural) race this event. I have seen people come from all over the country to little ole’ St Pete to literally throw down their season opener race…many continuing to race, win and qualify for races throughout the summer and fall months. But it’s not all about the pros, or the age group elites.

Many people do this race as their first attempt at triathlon, and some do it every single year with a reverence akin to Christmas morning. What does that dynamic create? One hell of a buzz.

Thousands of people converge upon downtown St. Pete, which, if I do say so myself, is a pretty cool place. It’s chic hotels, fancy (yet flip flop, shorts and race tee tolerant- we are in Florida after all) restaurants, cool arts scene and funky bars, not to mention it’s beautiful harbor with stunning sunsets, makes for one hell of a vacation spot to race. And since this area has some festival or big event almost every weekend, it’s well equipped to handle the influx of people. The event is 34 years old now, so, let’s just say, the team knows what they’re doing. It’s straight up world class.

If you’ve never raced it, these are are few notable things about this race.

1.5k Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run

  1. The swim will suck. I can’t put it any more blunt and honest than this. I’m a weak swimmer and I’ve survived it every year, so it’s not impossible. The course has changed over the years (to some people’s disappointment) to make it safe and consistent, but even still it’s not uncommon to have the course shortened, as it was this year due to some sizable windy conditions that really churned up the bay. It’s also usually wet suit legal…this year was not…but every year this crappy swimmer (me) regrets her full sleeve wet suit. So, look into a sleeveless, and have the skinsuit on standby.
  2. The bike is technical. This means there are lots of opportunities to turn your bike, railroad tracks to cross twice and a few speed bumps. This is not your out and back hammer fest. Nothing is unmanageable, but if you are interested in being a contender, know how to take a corner. Wind is also usually a factor. It’s flat as a pancake…honestly, the only elevation you’ll see is in the speed bumps, so the wind becomes your only demon. The best day is when the wind is at your back coming in the last few miles- it’s fun to just fly- wind assisted- along the water into transition. Oh, and I forgot to mention the cobblestones. In and out of transition includes about, eh, 100m at best of cobblestone. So, make sure your bottles are secure, and don’t attempt a flying dismount for the first time. I like to watch the ‘bike in’ section to laugh at people trying to get off their bike. Though I can’t judge, I am one of those flailing people when I race.
  3. The run will be hot. I don’t care what time you go out, you will be hot on the run. It’s out and back, with plenty of support- the residents of the roads you run view St A’s as a national holiday, so they are out in full force, some drunk as skunks, others offering a spray from a hose, kids running around cheering and offering high fives. Plus, there’s lots of people racing to commiserate with! God forbid your swim wave is late..it takes a solid 90 mins to get everyone in the water, so that is a big difference by the time you’re running!
  4. The after party is worth it. There’s a beer truck, plenty of food, individual race result printouts, and lots of people to tell all your war stories to.
    • It’s the most indulgent time of being a triathlete- soaked, sticky, sunburnt, with a medal around your neck- and this race allows you to get lost in all of that glory.

  5. There’s plenty to do. The Meek and Mighty kids race is the day before, so if you have kiddos you’d like to see try a triathlon, this is probably the perfect place to do it. There’s coffee shops, restaurants, parks and a pool nearby for your family to wait for you to finish and to even catch a few glimpses, or photos along the way. All without being bored to tears or baking in the sun stewing about how much they hate triathlon. Trust me, I’m not going to drive 45 min just to stand on the side of a desolate road and wait to see someone I know zoom by on a bike.

This year, I watched. I watched dozens of people I know race. Seriously, I was shocked at how many people I’ve come to know over the years. Some I’ve known forever, some I’ve only met a few times, some I consider my best of friends. And some who, like me, are in a part of the journey that calls them to be on the sidelines, having a different experience.

I’m not ready to race because I’m not ready to train. And no matter how many people in your life race- competitively or just for fun- it’s just not something you can do without wanting it for yourself. So, I’ve found other things in my life to work on. But I’m so very thankful for everyone of these people I spent the morning with- the coaches I’ve paid, the teammates who’ve coached me, and the connection I have with every single person there.

Because that’s triathlon- a fraternity welcoming anyone who’s willing to play.

Sunday’s race was nothing but a wonderful celebration of my journey and a reminder that the journey only ends when I decide to not show up anymore. I don’t have to race to be a triathlete, because it isn’t about the race- it’s about the experience, the people, and the buzz.

This isn’t everyone I know who raced, honestly, I’ve lost track….but, here’s a sampling of the work that happened Sunday in my circle. And if these numbers look like Greek to you… just know, they’re pretty freaking amazing.

Jon Noland – 1st AG- 1:53:49
Joey Deluca- AG Winner (22nd overall) – 2:00:52
Nick Chase – 15th Male Pro
Sonja Olson – 9th AG (48th female) – 2:27:31
Pamella Baller – 5th AG (78th Female) – 02:32:33
Valencia Smith – 14th AG (133 Female) – 02:41::46
Rick Jansik – 4th AG Oly
Yelena Maloney- 2nd AG Oly
Beth Shaw – 3rd AG Sprint
Nick Zivolich – 1st AG Sprint
Michael Weisgerber – 6th AG Oly
Ted Westerheide – 6th AG Oly
Brittany Higgins – 9th Female Pro
Valerie King – Sprint Tri PR
Mike Galvin (Snell Isle Dads) – 3rd Relay -02:05:20
Kevin Murphy & Miles Frantz (North Shore Fools) – 5th Relay – 02:16:07
Rob Pulsifer – 1st sprint relay
Jessica Rutherford – 2nd Female Relay (Jenn Sandwhich) – 02:37:01

Not to mention in other places in the world….

Lynn Cooke – usatf 10K masters champs 8th AG 2nd team
Keara McGraw – 3:15:26 Marathon @ New Jersey Marathon
Jessica Bibza – 2nd OA Pensacola Oly
Marybeth – Women’s 13.1 in NYC. 12th OA female and big PR going sub 1:30 & AG Winner

If you’ve ever wondered why I have such a complex about racing….please re-read those accomplishments above. Somehow I found myself among some seriously talented (and insanely committed) people. But, if you’re going to do it, ya might as well fit yourself in with everyone who’s better than you, right?? Congrats, y’all!

 

Thanks for reading.

Showing up is pretty powerful.

 

 

Some of my fav moments from St. A’s…..

St Anthony's Triathlon 2010

The Beginning 2010

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Enter a COACH! 2012

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Crazy ideas….

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Just cuz I love my bike… 2015

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Friends! 2016!

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2016- Spectator!

 

Me, on Facebook Messenger: (Imagine this said in one long breath) “I would like to fine tune my image. So I’d like to take my interest in the gym and work towards physique more than performance. I hope that doesn’t sound vain and ‘fitness model-y’ but I would like to have a fit, strong image. Of course, I have deep roots in triathlon, so I would love to incorporate it, but instead of a Training Peaks account where FTP rules, I’d like to see the results on my body. Your name popped into my mind for a few reasons- 1. I like you. 2. You have a strong triathlon background. Duh. You’ll get me. 3. I believe you train people in fitness and nutrition as well. (Because I’m well aware a huge portion of this is what goes in my mouth) 4. You don’t know me very well..lol. So, I wanted to see what you thought about all that. And if you would be interested in taking it on and chatting/working further.”

 

Kenneth: “You have a few minutes to talk?”

 

Me: “Sure”…..shit, think of something reasonable to say, Lindsay. Don’t say ‘like’ too much, try to keep your pitch down and whatever you do, don’t finish every sentence like you’re asking a question. Your self respect is on the line here.

Jesus, that sounds like a 15 year old kid trying to ask a boy to prom. It’s so much more elitist to say- I want to race this triathlon, so make me fast. There’s something ‘bigger than yourself’ about that statement….even though let’s be honest, spending a bunch of time getting faster at triathlon is just as selfish as saying, ‘I want to look smokin’ hot in a bathing suit.’

Truth was, I didn’t know Kenneth Jones all that well. Interestingly enough though, I met him at my own dinner table. The hubs invited him to join us for dinner when he was at the grocery store earlier that day. Next thing I know, I’m leaning over in the kitchen saying to him- ‘So, who is this dude you brought home randomly?’ I was assured, of course, that he was very cool and a fellow triathlete. And apparently hungry just like everyone else at dinner time. (This is all very typical Matt) And no, we didn’t become training partners or BFFs, but I can say that every time we passed each other running, he would always say hi; sometimes stopping to chat for more than your typical breathy ‘nice work’ runner salutation. Plus, he’s no slouch of an athlete, having run the Boston Marathon in the lower part of 3 hours, and becoming sickeningly close to qualifying- not by roll down either- for Kona (the mack-daddy of all Ironmans, Mecca, THE World Championship) And, more importantly, I caught him buying a whole key lime pie at Publix once, insisting that he was going to eat the entire thing and not feel a damn bit sorry for it considering he was going to knock out 20 miles of running the next morning…or maybe he had done it that morning. Whatever the case, I can’t not like someone who says that.

So, I brushed off the embarrassment and swallowed hard when he said- Ok, I’ll train you as though you’re doing a fitness competition. ‘Triathlete!”, I wanted to scream. “I. am. a. TRIATHLETE!” Not a vain, selfie-obsessed, model wannabe, stereotype with hair extensions and an ongoing spray tan appointment! (No judgement if you are any of those things. Full judgement if you are all of them.) And I would like to clarify that, as of today, I have ZERO plans to do a fitness competition. Tiny bathing suits with heels, really scary spray tan colors, judges, and nothing to blame (rule #1 of triathlon: Always blame the equipment.) but BMI sounds like a trip through Hell. No thanks. I’ll pass.

So….full disclosure, while I’ve always maintained that triathlon was the ‘sport for the ADD.’, I can officially say I’m bored with it. I’ve met most of my goals. The ones remaining take more time and emotional/physical/mental dedication than I’m willing to give. But here’s me: I can’t just do theater. I can’t just do fitness. I can’t just do makeup. And I can’t just sit in front of the damn TV every night and zone out. I need them all to make me feel alive, engaged and present. (And I do need to continue to fit into the clothes I own, so having a fitness outlet is imperative.)

Anyhow, after surviving the whole awkward exchange with the internal monologue sounding something like: ‘You sound like an idiot’…in many different ways on a continual loop… we set up a time to meet, and get this rolling. Ok, so now I have a personal trainer.

I have always maintained the mantra- ‘Based on a typical American diet, I eat very healthy. Based on an elite athlete, I eat like a slob.’ That worked for me. But I’ve always wondered, What If? What if I actually ate ‘clean.’ What if I tried to change the way my body looked? What would it look like? How would I feel? Would my confidence change? Or would I still feel embarrassed to run the track in a sports bra? But, shit, if I’m going to pay a personal trainer to make me look good, I sure as hell am not going to sabotage it by not eating right. So, I downloaded My Fitness Pal (again), and started logging. Kenneth was kind enough to give me some ideas on how to eat more like a body builder (why is there no ‘eye-roll’ emoji on here??) and less like a carb obsessed triathlete. All prefaced by- ‘I’m not a nutritionist.’ Yeah, yeah, doubtful I’ll allow myself to become malnourished- I like food too much for that nonsense.

So here are my takeaways from my first month-ish eating clean, spending time lifting heavy shit, and without swim/bike/run.

1. Food is sacred.

This might sound a little ridiculous, but I eat deliberately- and because of that, I respect everything I eat. I measure. I chew. I taste. I prepare. I don’t mindlessly munch. I don’t ‘just have one.’ I don’t eat without thinking. I eat veggies and fruits that are in-season and taste good. I sip and relish my singular glass of wine…or bourbon. And food actually tastes better- every bite of something indulgent is, in fact, fan-freaking-tastic. Every bite of something healthy makes me feel nourished. I log my food. No, it’s not hard. I see my My Fitness Pal app as a game: How can I get that micro-nutrients pie chart broken down the way I want while still eating enough, not ignoring my social or work life, and sure as hell not giving up the things I love… Old Fashioned, anyone?

2. Prepare.

I’m not going to meal prep for the week. I’m not that organized or structured. But I do do things like: look up the restaurant and pick out (and log) what I’m going to eat before I walk in the door. You know what that allows? Less time staring at a menu, and more time enjoying my friends/family. And for anyone who knows me, I like to talk, so this is a total win-win! Or, if I’m going to be on set for a 10 hour day, I’ll bring (and log) everything I plan to eat that day. I pack it all in my Six Pack Bags and off I go. (Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I love that damn bag) This really comes in handy when the box of Panera cookies (glorious things they are) are on set making me question if I might be dying of starvation. Nope, just my sugar addiction talking.

3. I still swim/bike/run.

Turns out, swimming is not just the first leg to a triathlon one must suffer through- it’s actually a great full body workout, and I find I don’t hate it (as much) when I’m not obsessing over workouts that belong in a calculus lecture! (Who knew?) I will always love to be on my bike with my friends and that requires endurance and fitness just to keep up them. (Why are they so fast???)ย  And while I’m not running long, the short intervals on the treadmill have been- dare I say- fun. I guess now that I’m not training for a timed race, I not so overwhelmed by it all. And while, deep down, I look forward to being re inspired to race competitively again, I’m happy not doing so currently.

4. New Activities!

I like the stair stepper! Who’da thunk it? I love dripping with sweat all the while reading my libretto for my next show. The multitasking opportunity makes me feel less guilty about spending yet another hour working out. I also like the weight room. This I sorta already knew since I’ve been going to ‘triathlon strength’ sessions for like 3 years. It’s a different type of physical exertion than aerobic endurance, and it’s been fun getting fit without worrying if your heart is going to explode, if you’re going to pass out from heat stoke, or wondering if skin cancer is growing on your shoulder. It’s also been nice not to have to fuss with tons of gear, pool schedules, or that feeling of ‘geez, I’m a really far way from the car/home right now’.

5. Being Social Makes Me Tick.

Don’t get me wrong, my training sessions aren’t easy- but I’m much better with someone expecting me to meet them 3 days a week, than depending on myself to do it alone. Sometimes, I wonder if my legs are going to work in the morning, or if I’m going to be able to hold a brush steady to someones face. It’s all very satisfying. And fun as Kenneth and I chatter on about racing, injuries, and whatever else triathletes can fill hours talking about. (And we can fill endless hours about it, just in case you were wondering) Oh, and very expensive. Previously accustomed to a monthly bill for coaching, this per session cost is not for the less than dedicated…but for me, money is a huge motivator. I’m not going to throw it at something and not see any results! However, dear god, don’t increase your rates!!

6. I Truly Like To Be Fit.

Having spent the first 24 years of my life never doing anything remotely athletic, I have often wondered if I spent all this time racing and training simply because my boyfriend—>fiance—>husband and friends do. When I’ve rebelled against competitive triathlon in the past, I just found myself grumpy that my clothes didn’t fit and uninspired in other aspects of my life. So, it turns out, I am better when I have some focus on fitness, but not to the point where the rest of my life has to orbit it. I have energy to bounce around an outdoor shoot, I have a clear mind to think creatively about my business, and good focus to learn my lines. Plus, since most of this is done indoors, I’m not constantly sleep deprived from late night rehearsals leading into early morning training sessions just to beat the heat. Therefore, I feel as though this has been a good life lesson.

So, I’m in my 6th week. Sometimes that feels like an eternity, and sometimes it feels like a blink of an eye. But I’ve lost 5 lbs, just about 1.5″ all around- legs, waist, hips, etc., 1 point on both the BMI and Body Fat scales, there’s tons more definition in my upper body than I’ve ever seen, and- sometimes, usually first thing in the morning, I can actually see a little ab muscle definition…something I’ve never ever seen before. All in all, I’ve learned you can change yourself….and I find it rather fascinating honestly.

So, I ask you- What has a fitness routine brought to your life? Anyone relate?

 

Thanks for reading.

Take a Pretty Powerful Leap of Faith.

 

Disclosures:

  1. I know nothing about nutrition. I have no degrees, no right to give advice, and this is nothing but my story and my perspective. Have real questions? Go find someone who’s earned the right to answer them.
  2. Weight is not something to be solely considered. This isn’t about the scale. It’s one metric of many and in a constantly changing priority list.
  3. I don’t think I’m fat. I’m not fat. I have a completely normal BMI, I have no health problems.
  4. A lot of my friends are serious athletes- more serious than I’ll ever be- and they look it. I’d be crazy if I didn’t acknowledge their impact on me.
  5. I’m always looking to Just Say Yes.