Soul to Squeeze


Look, I’m a snob.  I know.  I’ve tried to fight it, but what’s the use?  Luckily, because the universe has a sense of humor, I am also a gigantic spaz and clutz so it all works out.

Anyhoo, I’m sitting on a crowded train yesterday and can’t help but eavesdrop on an awkward conversation between two coworkers, guys probably in their late 20’s, early 30’s.  In short, similar in age to me.  One of them is sort of a quiet mysterious type who looks like he could have been a military recruit at some point, the other is gregarious and just about exactly like every upper middle class white college boy down to the J Crew button down, North face vest, khakis and Jack spade bag.  (See my snobbery appear).

So Gregarious guy says, “You into Matchbox 20?”

And Mysterious guy looks at him like, “You can’t possibly be talking to me, even though it is clear you are talking to me.”  But instead he says, “…uhhhhhhh….not really man.”

I’m stifling giggles.

Gregarious guy says, “Well they just came out with a new album today, it’s pretty good.”

Mysterious guy doesn’t say anything.

Gregarious guy continues, “Yeah, I’m into music.  I like Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews.  Pretty eclectic actually.  I like those bands from 97-99.”

Eclectic…I think.  I do not think it means what you think it means…

Mysterious guy says, “Ehhhhhh I like bands from a little earlier in the 90’s. ”

“As well you should,” I think.

Gregarious guy says, “The only band I really got into from then was Pearl Jam.”

“Shit,” I think.  “Don’t bring me into this.  Don’t make me talk right now.”
You know because it’s always about me.

Mysterious guy says, “I don’t know man.  I’m getting more into electronic stuff.  Less guitar.”

Gregarious guy says, “Like…..house music?”

Mysterious guy says, “…No.”

Long pause.

Gregarious guy, “You know what really bugs me about so and so and that issue at work…”  And they quickly morph the convo into something about work that they both feel strongly about.

Long pause.

Gregarious Guy: I really love the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Mysterious Guy: They were my first concert, man!

“Saw them at Riverbend in 2001,” I’m thinking.  “STP opened for them.  What a great night.” Visions of my Anthony Keidis poster flash into my head.

And for this moment, the three of us (even though they didn’t know I was listening) had a moment of shared Chili Peppers.  My snobbery faded because 1. How can you possibly be a snob when you are professing love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers? 2.  Sometimes all you need is music to connect.

Or dance:

Or books:

Or theatre:

Helene Weigel-Brecht in her Silent Scream as Mother Courage

Or movies:

Or art:

Art, in any form, from the highest of high in conceptual painting to the lowest of the low fart joke, has the ability to connect us with these little invisible threads of art we love.  Words we love.  Songs that touched us.  Movie cracks that make us laugh.

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
Herman Melville

“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

I am consistently awed at art’s ability to connect us, and I am humbled and priveleged that I get to be an artist and work with other artists.

But most importantly, I had that little moment of enlightenment partially because of this guy:

Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers

But he agrees with me:

“What’s the difference between me and that guy with the grey suit on down there? NOTHING! What’s a difference between a mouse and Jupiter? …NOTHING!!!” – Flea

Maybe I’m not the snob I thought I was.

Be Confident. Be Yourself. Gee, thanks.


Family and non-theatre friends (“Civilians” as my friend Jay calls them) are essential supporters in our lives. We’re in a high sacrifice, low payout career. Having normal human beings around can be the key to maintaining sanity and perspective. Still, we occasionally have to translate our odd experiences to those, the fully functional, who have not chosen to be systematically rejected as a way of life. Bless them.

Off we trot to audition after audition. They shout, “Just be confident! Be yourself!” We try not say, “That’s not helpful! It doesn’t mean anything. But thank you for your support!”

Except, actually…

It isn’t meaningless.

In fact, it’s flawless. It’s perfect. They are so right on. It is ever so more helpful than my usual, “Tits up!” (Although at the very least, it can’t hurt, right?)

Let me translate.

“BE YOURSELF”

You’re on the phone with your Mom. You say, “Welp, guess I better go get ready for this audition.” And she says, “Well, you know what you do? You just get in there and be yourself. Break a leg!” (My Mom has stopped saying this due to the audible sighing on my end of the line. I don’t blame her. BUT she USED to. My Dad still does. Turns out they are geniuses. Read on.)

You think, How can I possibly be myself when I’m either terrified or have surrended to hopelessness or am feeling so competitive I don’t even recognize the person inhabiting my body (depending on the audition) and am speaking/singing someone else’s words under someone’s else’s circumstances. I am nothing if not NOT myself. Myself shows up belching in the car afterward, changing into flip flops and cracking something with caffeine I had denied myself until the audition was over, texting Will saying “I’m done. You want Chipotle?” THAT is me. Eager Beave in the audition room is somebody else. They say, “Can you do an Armenian accent?” And this person, whoever she is, says, “YES! Of course! I also clean bathrooms for free.”

You feel me. I know you do.

I once had an audition, I swear to God, that went like this.

DIRECTOR: Are you funny? You seem funny.
ME: (Completely not funny.) Yes. I’m funny.
DIRECTOR: Are you nervous?
ME: Yes.
DIRECTOR: Why?
ME: I’m always nervous.
DIRECTOR: That’s funny.
ME: …
DIRECTOR: Don’t be nervous.

Don’t think of purple dinosaurs, lady.

Actually, that ended up being a fairly successful audition. But my true self was sitting at the back of the house eating popcorn and saying, “OH just wait until I tell the other personalities about THIS one.”

So how do we access the humorous, joyous, intelligent and charming individuals we all are when we are also under positive stress. Here’s how:

1. Your material. This is a running theme with me. What you pick, what you are attracted to, the language of the pieces you use are all ways of showing who you are. What are those roles that just scream YOU to you? Do a piece from those shows!

Sidebar: Why not just write something for myself then? Well. I mean this with love. You probably aren’t a very good playwright. Most people aren’t. It’s cool. I’m not. This is very thin ice to tread. BUT if you think you are a good writer, and you think you can write a piece that will blow folks out of the water, then do it. Take a good risk. Make sure it’s active and not a story. I would also suggest saying the piece was written by “Anonymous” because if you say you wrote it, you will have just made a steep hill an even steeper one to climb. BUT, I’m all about authenticity and if you have genitals made of steel, more power to you. Preach!

2. Quit trying to imagine what the director or casting director is looking for. You will never know. Pick material you think is appropriate for the piece. Prepare it well. Audition. Go home and get Chipotle.

In a callback situation, read the play (READ THE PLAY), make strong choices. Let them direct you. Accept that they won’t always direct you. The important thing is how these words come out of YOUR mouth. What YOUR presence is in the role. Yes, YOU. Certainly we would all like to try our hand at playing an age 40 years different from ours cross-gendered with an Italian accent because we are ACTORS! We can play any role! But you know…that’s really more of an academic exercise OR sketch comedy. Being “right” for a role doesn’t mean it’s easy.

But don’t attempt to read minds. Trying to suss out what the director is looking for weakens your choices. They may not even know what they are looking for. OR you might change their mind.

3. Dress nicely but dress in your style. Wear shoes that feel good and make you feel like you look good. Don’t worry to much about “dressing for the part.” Just the other day I heard a director say, “Ugh I HATE that,” followed by a music director saying, “Mmmph I LOVE that.” See? You can’t win. Wear something awesome that feels good. Imagine if there was a movie about you, how would the costume designer costume the actor playing you? In something that made your body rock, that was a more cleaned and ironed version of your normal clothes. It’s like you popped up a notch so the back of the house can see. But then, I’ve been confused for a drag queen. So grain of salt. Grain of salt.

4. Your material. I’m saying it again. Find pieces you LOVE. YOU. LOVE. They are fun. They seem to be tailor made for your skillz. And they exist. For everybody. Find them. Love them. Prepare them well.

“BE CONFIDENT”

What does that even mean!? I actually thought that. For years. I’m not crying in the corner! That’s the best I can do, people. I showed up, didn’t I? Be confident. Hmph. Be electric. Be incandescent. Be stripey.

It reminds me of a song by Steve Martin:

“Be courteous, kind and forgiving
Be gentle and peaceful each day.
Be warm and human and grateful
and have a good thing to say.

Be thoughtful and trustful and childlike
Be witty and happy and wise
Be honest and love all your neighbors
Be obsequious, purple and clairvoyant.

Be pompous, obese and eat cactus
Be dull and boring and omnipresent
Criticize things you don’t know about
Be oblong and have your knees removed.

Be tasteless rude and offensive
Live in a swamp and be three dimensional
Put a live chicken in your underwear
Get all excited and go to a yawning festival.”

Even the most stoic among us is going to get nervous for certain auditions that hold a degree of importance to us. You don’t get nervous? Pin a rose on your nose, dude. Good for you. A director of mine just told me that she heard Uta Hagen say, “If you don’t nervous. Get out of the business because you don’t care.”

I kind of agree. But that’s neither here nor there because nervousness is not the opposite of confidence. Insecurity is. Confidence is knowing your path. Confidence is not comparing yourself to others. Confidence is standing in your own shoes and presenting who you are without judgement. That’s why confidence is attractive. If you don’t know if you are right for it, (say like RuPaul) how the hell they gonna know you are right for it? Confidence is knowing that whether they call you or not, you are going to go on L-I-V-I-N’ and enjoying the trail you are blazing. And that’s key. You have to blaze your own trail. You know why a lot of directors don’t want you to dress for the part? Because they don’t want a room full of the same person.

You can be nervous and confident at the same time.

“Be new, George. They tell you ’til they’re blue, George. You’re new or else you’re through, George. And even if it’s true, George. You do what you can do….” Sunday in the Park with George

Guess what. You’re new! You might not be young, but you’re new BECAUSE you’re you. Don’t blend in, for the love of god. This is Chicago. We don’t have to play by the rules.

Your material is new because you’ve prepared it with YOUR take on it. This is why I’m begging you to look at your material and ask yourself, “Do I like this piece?” If the answer is “no” or “meh”. Get rid of it. Find something you love. Picking a piece you are itching to share with people is a way to invigorate your auditions. Stand tall. Feel your nerves. Feel the weight of the audition. But know that you are showing them something they’ve never seen before because it’s you performing it from your perspective. THAT is confidence. That’s how you leave them wanting more. Don’t just try to get through. Live in it for that two minutes. That two minutes is a show and you are the lead.

So in conclusion, my Mom and Dad, and your Mom and Dad and your friends are GENIUSES. Be confident! Be yourself! with the addition of Be prepared, you’ve got a battle plan and a no-fail one at that. You’re not going to get every show. You just. Aren’t. You will get the shows that are right for you, the experiences that belong on your path, if you stand tall in who you really are. Being able to show up, do your thang, and walk away towards the next opportunity AS yourself IS confidence.

11 Things I Have to Tell Myself About Theatre…and Nachos


A castmate and I were musing about our respective moves to Chicago and how our 21 year old selves would view our current lives.  While I sort of wrote this blog post to my 21 year old self, I also know that I couldn’t have learned these things by reading a list.  I really had to learn these lessons authentically.  Still they are things I have to reiterate to myself and it’s nice to see them all lined up and spell- checked and in numerical order with a movie clip at the end. (Also note to 21 year old self, you are currently working on a project you LOVE.)

Sidebar: I hope my 41-year-old self writes something to my current self like, “Use that windfall of 14 million dollars to buy a villa NOT a yacht.  THAT was a hard-learned lesson, giggle giggle. Care for a bellini?  Let me just summon my faithful houseman Agador Spartacus.”

11 Things about Doing Theatre in Chicago

1.  Confidence means more when you aren’t onstage.  Talent, training, technique and rehearsal are the keys to a good performance or audition.  Confidence is deeper.  You have to know…you have to KNOW that the path you are on is your path and the one that is right for you.  Comparison to other actors is death.  It kills your spirit.  It kills your creativity.  And it kills your spark.  Judy is right, you have to “be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.”

2.  Have priorities.  Change them if you need to. And make sure they are actually yours, not someone else’s.  You can be a professional actor and not necessarily want to star in a tv series.  It’s your career.  If you want to do Cher covers while rollerskating, then the world will be a better place for it.  I am so serious.  The world needs HAPPY rollerskating Cher coverers not UNHAPPY commercial actors who wish they were rollerskating and covering “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”  In the same vein, if that sounds like it sucks?  Dude.  Don’t do it then.  Only an performer thinks, “Ugh that project sounds horrible.  I’ll do it.”  Why?  WHY?

3.  As in the beginning…so in the middle…so in the end.  If that company sucked to audition for….if they were running an hour behind….if they were rude or dismissive…I assure you the rehearsal process will be the same way.  On the other hand, if the audition process was smooth, the people friendly, and the paperwork informative, that’s a huge high sign that they have it together.

4.  Make sure you love every single audition piece you use.  If you are bored by something, the people behind the table will be too.

5.  If you are offered a project and you have an inexplicable sinking feeling or  panic….that’s your intuition telling you to say no. (Not to be confused with feelings of healthy fear that indicate you are challenging yourself.)

6.  It’s okay to say no.  If you say no upfront to a project in a polite way, you won’t burn a bridge ( If you bail halfway through with a shady excuse, that’s a different story).  The project that feels “not right” for you might be a dream job for someone else who will love it.  If you know you can’t throw yourself into the project wholly, what’s the point?

7.  It’s totally okay to take a break for as long as you want to.

8.  When you take a break, it can take a long time to get back into the swing of things.

7.  If a role scares you, it’s probably the right role and you will benefit from playing it.

8.  If you have to force something from the get go, it’s not worth it. (Not to be confused with healthy competition)

9.  You have to love doing this for your own sanity.  I call it the Nachos Philosophy.  Sure every once in a while, I get tired of nachos.  Or am occasionally disappointed with a plate of nachos (what is with the cheese and pickled jalapenos only bullshit?).  Might you occasionally resent this inexplicable need for nachos and that it occasionally causes you to sacrifice other amazing foods in your quest for more nachos? Of course.  But can I imagine my life without nachos?  No I cannot, Madame.   You’ve got to love it like nachos.

10.  You can stop loving it and start loving it again.

11.  This: 

Gone for a Soldier – My Spring 2012 Reading List


Image

I am an avid reader.  And now that I have a Kindle?  Oh my god.  I’m a reading machine WITH a reading machine. I sometimes get so overwhelmed by titles I have to read or watch that I come up with complicated spreadsheets to keep track.  True story.  And I’m fine with it.  I know who I am.  Lots of things inform what I read and when I read them.  I try to create seasonal To Read lists just to keep my thoughts together.  Two major elements that inform my “To Read” lists are the current season, and if I’m in a show.

In Spring, my reading usually takes on an outdoorsy feel.  (One of my favorite Spring reads is A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.)  I also read up on different religions in the spirit of Easter and Passover.  Since Chicago weather has been more early July in nature, than late March, I’ve also been tempted to read things with Summer on the brain.  I usually read some big blockbuster type book like a Michael Crichton that just begs to be read on a beach.

This Spring, I am also rehearsing a production called Opus 1861 which involves music from the Civil War era in a modern day wartime Afghanistan setting.  Since I have no personal experience with either conflict (although I have visited many a Civil war battlefield and museum, and am now in retrospect very grateful for the experience), I have been stocking my list with lots of research. (I also have a big list of documentaries I’ve been trying to plow through.)

My seasonal lists usually consist of around 20 books.  I try to make them a diverse mix of non fiction and fiction.  I try to learn about a subject I know little about.  I try to throw in a couple pulp fiction fun reads, and I also try to read some items that might help me in my personal goals.

Okay, so that said, here are the titles on my Spring 2012 booklist:

Part One:  Research

  • The March by EL Doctorow (I am exceedingly jealous of my husband who will be at the upcoming opening of Steppenwolf’s production of The March.)
  • War by Sebastien Junger
  • The Civil War by Shelby Foote
  • 1861: The Civil War Awakens by Adam Goodheart
  • Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq by Kirsten Holmstedt
  • What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes
  • The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of our Soldiers by Nancy Sherman
  • Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson
  • The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy and the Way Out of Afghanistan by Bing West
  • The Girls Come Marching Home: Stories of Women Warriors Returning from War in Iraq by Kirsten Holmstedt

Part Two: Personal Picks

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov – I try to attempt a classic on each list.  I figured a saucy one makes sense.  Lusty Month of May.  All that.  Whatever.
  • Game of Thrones Book 1 by George RR Martin.  After all this grit about the Civil War and Afghanistan, I think I will require something very escapist and fantastical.  I’m sure there are battles but there is no denying it’s pure fiction, right?  RIGHT????  *Twitch twitch*
  • Dune by Frank Herbert.  I promised Will I would read it.
  • Outbreak by Robin Cook.  THIS is my kind of science fiction.
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  I love a good new agey fable every once in awhile.
  • Dance of Death – Book 6 The Pendergast Series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  This is my favorite pulp fiction series.  It’s got elements of mystery, science fiction, occult stuff, and one of my favorite recurring characters: FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast.  If these books ever get made into movies, Paul Bettany just HAS to play this guy.  HE HAS TO.  I will accept NO ONE ELSE.
  • The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury.  More escapist conspiracy crap that I frankly love to read.
  • Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup.  A book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time.  Other than exercising my vote, the best way to maintain autonomy over our own bodies is to learn as much about them as possible.  And then maybe reread The Handmaid’s Tale again.  Cripes.
  • Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron.  Sometimes I need to be reminded.
  • The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte.  I preordered this one before I had the Kindle.  I bought this program when it was a pdf file.  I can’t wait to see the rehauled print version.  This woman is a genius.  An unmitigated fully feminine no compromises genius.  I think I will be glad I have the print version just so I can write “GENIUS!” in sharpie in the margins.

I won’t end up reading all of them.  That’s why there are so many titles.  Likely some of the books I’ve chosen as research won’t end up resonating for me.  Some of the ones I’ve chosen for personal reading will end up sucking.  That’s why I have the rule of 50.  If it ain’t working for me after 50 pages, I put it down.  I’m also sure I won’t make it through all 4 volumes of Shelby Foote’s comprehensive The Civil War before tech.  Or before I’m 40.

I also won’t read them in any particular order (although the research books will be heavily weighted towards the beginning since we open in mid-April.)

Hopefully, I can carve some time out in this gorgeous weather to sit back and dig into my list!

Fall!


I am a hustler.  Like the aptly named Ginger in Casino, I want my end.   So when the Christmas season takes a full 21 days off my beloved Autumn, I look out for me.  No it isn’t really Fall yet, but I snagged 16 days from Summer.  Post-Labor day is Betsy Autumn.  I am sipping a pumpkin spice latte as I write this.  My year goes something like this: Autumn is Post Labor Day through November 30.  Christmas is December 1 through December 29 or 30.  Winter is December 31 through April 1.  Spring is April 1 through May 31.  Summer is June 1 through Labor Day.  I used to try to adhere to the actual seasons.  But tell Chicago it’s spring on March 21.  When I lived in Oxford, Ohio perched so very close to the American South, it was quite easy to respect the seasons and their dates.  I now reside near a giant inland sea that makes it’s own weather decisions.   So I had to start interpreting them for myself.  If Chicago had it’s way the seasons would look something like this: October 10 through  June 25 = Winter.  June 26-30 = Spring.  July through September = Summer.  October 1-10 = Fall.  I cannot abide this.

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  We live in America.  There are five seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Christmas.  I begrudge none of them, save for their respective pollen counts and shoveling requirements.  Each have their own delights.  Still root vegetables, squashes, spices, sweaters, beautiful leaves, crispy air, cider and myriad other seasonal delights are more than a few of my favorite things.

I let fall take right over in every area of my life.  I change my wardrobe, my cooking, my reading, my movies, and even the way I approach my career.  In lieu of Back to School, since I no longer attend one, I sort of make my own.  I buckle down to the basics (new monologues, songs).  I try to pick up a class.  It gives me a back to school feeling without actually pursuing another degree.

Here are the ways in which I celebrate Fall:

Household:

  • I switch the bathroom and kitchen handsoaps to a fall scent.  This year, I picked up the Bath and Body works selections.  Last year, I grabbed a pretty one from Marshalls called “Autumn.”
  • I grab the seasonal shower gels from either Ulta, Bath and Body or something similar.
  • I pick up fall scented candles and pull out the fall decorations.  Usually I make a trip to Jo-Anns for more puttering.
  • I put away my summer aprons, and hang up my autumn ones.
  • I do a big seasonal scrub to clean up the sand and pollen of summer and make way for the coziness of the season.
  • I make lots of teas, chais, hot ciders, toddies, and autumn-themed cocktails.
  • I start out the season with a big batch of Three Sisters Soup and usually close it with my Fall Stew and/or some cassoulet.
  • I pick up the October/November issues of Cooking Light, and sometimes Martha Stewart.
  • I change the table linens to an autumn theme.
  • I put autumny throw pillows on the couch.

Fashion

Cue Nancy Sinatra.

  • See previous posts.  I put away my summer wardrobe and pull out the fall/winter wardrobe.
  • I search through the September issues of fashion magazines and make a big shopping list for trends and classics.
  • I wean myself off of flipflops.  But first I do a deeper colored pedicure.
  • I get a haircut, and often deepen the color a bit.

Crafts

  • Autumn is knitting season.  I usually pick out a pattern to trudge through.
  • I like to sew this time of year.  This year I have three aprons to make for various people.

My Fall Face. Not attractive. But so enthusiastic.

Activities

  • Having grown up in the country, picking apples just sounds like (and is) work to me.  Instead, I go to the library and pick up a bunch of cozy and spooky books.
  • I like to stock up my pantry for those cold rainy nights.
  • I try to go to Ohio because the leaves are so beautiful.
  • I stop by Starbucks for a pumpkin latte.
  • Usually I make my yearly pilgrimage to IKEA.  They have great candles and it’s this time of year I like to do a lot of home improvement.
  • While I am not a fan of picking produce for “fun,” I do like to grab a pumpkin or two.
  • I like to visit places in the area that are rumored to be haunted.
  • Pumpkin ales and spicy brews are so much fun this time of year.
  • I like to visit my favorite speak easy, The Violet Hour, for their seasonal selections.
  • Shopping for new clothes, and maybe even a school supply or two for old time’s sake.
  • I have a list of movies I watch every year.
  • Halloween planning!
  • I love a fall get together with warm appetizers and autumnal cocktails, and mulled cider.

I’m not big on missing my junior high and high school years.  And I CERTAINLY don’t miss church youth group.  But with youth group, you had a guaranteed hay ride every year.  Living in the third biggest metropolis in the United States, hayrides are few and far between.  Sure I live in the Prairie State, but I wouldn’t even know where to start.  At home, you have to narrow down the damn options.  I also wish someone would put Disney’s Halloween Treat on DVD so I didn’t have to pathetically huddle in front of  You Tube to watch it in 10 minute segments.  I absolutely still dress up for Halloween should the right party come along, but I miss that in-school-and-in-costume feeling.  I don’t work in a workplace that encourages any sort of holiday festivity.  And I’ve never been a dress up for an office job kind of person.  You see, my night job requires I dress in costume.  It just feels creepy in an office.  No, that elementary school costume joy is long past.  Something else I miss with a vengeance is the annual field trip to The Garden Patch.  The Garden Patch was a gardening center on State Route 66 in between Defiance and Archbold, Ohio.  Every year, my class would hop the school busses for a field trip.  We would pick pumpkins, go on hay rides, have apple cider and donuts, walk amidst gorgeous chrysanthemums and play in the leaves.  It was grand.  There was also the Apple Butter Festival at Sauder’s Village in Archbold.  You could watch them press cider, make apple butter, pet the Clydesdale horses, ride the miniature train, buy candy at the General Store and generally have a grand old time.  Nobody is stopping me from going to the Festival, per se, it’s just that “kid” feeling is a bit lost.  Still, that “kid” did not enjoy trips to places like Jo-Anns and Homegoods.  Now, she delights in it.  I try not to dwell on the past.  Especially since I turned 21.  Heh.  No childhood joy can beat the ability to legally buy liquor.

Pretty sure this is how I look from September to November.

So off I go into Autumn sprinkling cinnamon-scented fairy dust in my wake!

 

A View from the Homefront – Day 2 of the 30 for 30 Winter Challenge


There is a connection...just read on

It really does feel like we’ve been through some sort of battle and now it’s a weird white post-snowpacalytpo world out there.

Of course the real question is, “But what will I wear?!”

Before I get to that, it has been announced that tomorrow is ANOTHER office jeans day.  With the assumption they are doing this for our comfort level, I see no reason not to wear something slightly dressier if I want to.  My be-fri and I are going out for a joint birthday celebration tomorrow (she’s a New Year’s Baby and mine is coming up) so I have to at least try a little, you know?  What kind of a Chicagoan would I be if I let snow get me down?  I ask you. Plus I chose my 30 for 30 items based on the fact that 40 hours of my week are spent at my day job.  I’m running out of casual-wear already!

But, for Thursday, the day after the storm, I took refuge in jeans day and wore the now fashion-blogger ubiquitous gingham shirt.  And today, as opposed to yesterday, I really like my hair (you should also know…or maybe you shouldn’t…it’s filthy.  No way was I going to get my head wet in this weather).You see, I just closed up a production of Kiss Me Kate, a show that had been running since mid-November so the 40’s hairdos are here to stay for me.  I’ve always been a fan, but now it just feels natural.

Backstage at Kiss Me Kate - I played, appropriately, the Wardrobe Lady. The dress is real 40's vintage! (So are the shoes...but those kids aren't in the picture.)

Another 40's incarnation - this time more subtle. Ha! Except for the evil grin, that is. Gingham - tied at the waist with character shoes at a pickup rehearsal.

So with all that background mumbo jumbo, here is Day 2 of the 30 for 30 Winter Challenge:

Day 2 of the 30 for 30 Winter Challenge

Okay, so I know the photo is, um, lacking.  But here’s the thing, Will took as he was headed out to shovel our car out of a snow bank.  I had no room to be picky.  Also, you’ll notice I can’t take a picture without a cat in it.  I consider him an accessory because I certainly wouldn’t wear him alone.  I show you this photo only to document that indeed I am continuing on with the project.  Better photos coming when William isn’t rushed.  He’s a good photographer.  But not when he’s got shoveling on the brain.

That said:

Cardigan – Zara, Shirt – Old Navy, Tshirt – Hanes (Target), Jeans – H&M, Boots – JCPenney

Bear socks (not visible) gift shop in Cooke City, Montana.  Huz purchased them for me on our ‘moon. 🙂

In total, I have on 4 tops (1 cardigan, 1 gingham shirt, 1 tshirt, and 1 silk long john shirt), 3 bottoms (jeans, long johns and dance tights), plus a pair of bear socks, and boots.  -30 windchill my friends.  What’s funny is, I’ve worn less clothes and felt much bulkier.

Anyway, this outfit feels very “Betsy” to me.  I’m calling it my Winter Victory Garden look.  The hair and cardigan/button-down combo feel a bit 1944 Homefront to me.  Kind of like something my American Girl doll, Molly, would have worn after school.

 

Blizzaster Preparedness – Day 1 of the 30 for 30 Winter Challenge


I look sort of tired and constipated in the first photo.  I also didn’t do my hair or makeup.  Ah well.  That’s what a blizzard does to a person.

So, here is what I wore for Blizzaster 2011:

Day 1 of 30 for 30

Finn helps out.

I used a vintage feature while photo editing because it reminds me of my parents’ pics of the Blizzard of ’78 in Ohio.

K.  So.  The sweater is a gigantic dramatic one from Victoria’s Secret.  I love it.  I love the drama.  However it’s also completely cozy.

The cords are Old Navy in an olive green.  I love deep jewel tones with neutrals.

The clogs are Candies.  Um.  Okay.  So I actually wore snowboots most of today, but the Candies were part of the concept of the outfit.

In order to remain decent, I put on a black tshirt underneath the sweater.  Otherwise it would have Boob-saster 2011.

I suppose I could have bothered to accessorize, but I kind of forgot because I was so worried about getting to work!

What a start to this challenge!

Still, I think the 30 for 30 is about real life, and this was absolutely a nuts real life kind of day!!!  It’s funny because my day job has a pretty conservative business dress code…that is to say NOT business casual.  But this week of all weeks we have had three jeans days in a row because of the weather.  I chose cords instead because I felt like they would repel snow better than jeans.  I was right!  They dried really quickly, and the texture helped brush the snow off.  I mused on a friend’s blog that a cord skirt might have been ideal (she bravely donned a skirt today).

Tomorrow will present another fashion challenge.  The windchill is supposed to be 30 below zero!!!  I have no idea what I’m going to wear.  Sort of.  I know I’ve got 30 choices!