Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Cabaret Act

Well, it is official. I just finished my application to the Capital Fringe Festival to enter my very own Cabaret act into the running for this year's festival. I have no idea what to expect, but the worst thing that can happen is that they don't accept my show and I try again next year. I do have three years to complete this task and be able to include it on my 40 by 40 blog.

I began to explore this idea after seeing the show "Next to Normal" on Broadway a few years ago. I had a rough idea of what the show was about, but I had no idea what I was really getting into. Needless to say, I felt like I had been hit by a truck after seeing it, but it started me on a journey that allowed me to explore my own bipolar disorder in new and fresh way. Here's a short clip to give you an idea of the show..

**Side note - If you haven't seen this show, do yourself a favor and see it whenever and wherever you can. It is the most honest, raw, authentic and accurate portrayals of mental health issues that I have ever seen. Check it out!

Seeing someone explore these issues so boldly and courageously encouraged me to start sharing my own story more openly. All this and the encouragement of many important people in my life right now finally led me to begin creating my own cabaret act that delves deeply into my own life with bipolar. I am currently taking a cabaret class at TheatreLab in DC and our first class affirmed for me that this is a style of communication that allows me to express myself freely about some important struggles and challenges I have faced in my life.

So, the bottom line is that I have submitted the application and come February we will all find out if they have accepted my act. I might be sitting on pins and needles until then!!

In the meantime - my cabaret class will be putting on a Cabaret Showcase on Sunday, October 21st at the TheatreLab in DC. It is going to be a great show and it will include a 10 minute set by yours truly that will hopefully serve as the seed for my Fringe Festival Cabaret Show. I would love to see you all there - it will be a free night of lovely entertainment! More details to come on this soon, but please...


Sunday Evening, October 21st at TheatreLab in Chinatown.

Hope to see you all there!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Confessions - First Installment!!

So, those of you who have already been following me know that I was inspired to blog by my sister, Caroline. You can check out her fabulous blog here! Every week she does what is called her "Friday Confessions." Apparently lots of different bloggers participate and it is all hosted by a fabulous blogger over at Dandelion Wishes. There's a whole process for posting this and it's my first time, so I really hope I get it right. We'll see!

But in the meantime, here's my first installment of my Friday Confessions...

I confess that I finished my 10 day challenge with great success! I lost 3.2 pounds and one whole inch off my waist! AWESOME! You can read my post about my results here. I was so pleased and motivated about it that I have decided to continue with a 90 day challenge.

I confess that I am absolutely TERRIFIED of the 90 day challenge. Can I commit to something like this for 90 whole days? Will I fail? Will I mess up along the way? Will I make a complete fool of myself? None of that matters, because I have committed and that means I AM going to DO IT! I will be doing the Turbo Fire workout along with my continued C25K running. This workout looks CRAZY INTENSE!

I confess that on the day after my challenge ended I had great intentions of sticking to the plan until my package arrived for my new 90 day challenge. However, I slipped up a little bit. On my way to Subway for my healthy lunch sandwich, I instead stumbled into Dunkin Donuts for my favorite turkey, bacon, cheddar sandwich. WOOPS!

I confess that I don't have big plans for this weekend and I am kind of excited about it!

And finally, I confess that I may be developing an addiction to the protein boxes at Starbuck's. They are a good breakfast and super convenient...but pricey. Maybe I need to find an alternative! :)

What are you confessing this week? Head over to Dandelion Wishes to join the confessing!


#2 - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Days 9,10, and results!!!

Here's a quick report on Days 9 and 10:

Day 9 -

Workout: Jillian's Ripped in 30
Recovery: 1% Chocolate milk
B: protein box from starbuck's
S1: 0% vanilla greek yogurt, blueberry special k cereal
L: shake with skim milk
S2: string cheese, blueberries
D: 0% strawberry greek yogurt, banana (at 10:30pm!!! this was the night I went to an audition expecting to be there for 30 minutes and was there for nearly 3 hours!)

Day 10 - 

Workout: C25K run
Recovery: 1% Chocolate milk
B: protein box from starbuck's (I might be addicted!)
S1: rice cake with natural PB, baby carrots
L: shake with skim milk
S2: 0% vanilla greek yogurt, blueberry special K cereal
D: turkey burger on whole wheat english muffin


I lost 3.2 pounds and one whole inch from my waist!!!! Very exciting!

Stay tuned to learn more about my 90-day challenge! I will be doing Turbo Fire for my workout and I'm kind of scared - it looks CRAZY, INTENSE! But I have a different attitude about what I can do, and THIS is definitely something that I can do. 

I will also be supplementing my workouts with running 3x a week as I prepare for my 5K in November with my sisters at the Color Run in Charlotte, NC.

And remember that this is all still a part of my 40 by 40 list - the 10 day challenge and the 90 day challenge are just part of JUST ONE of the tasks on my list of 40. There are a lot more adventures to come. The next one is scheduled for the first week in September. I won't give it all away yet but it involves fire and flying... :)

Until next time...

Monday, August 13, 2012

#2h - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Day 8!

Day 8

B: nonfat vanilla greek yogurt and a banana, wasn't very hungry this morning

S1: rice cake with natural PB, orange

L: butterfinger shake - chocolate shakeology, almond milk, water, butterscotch pudding mix, and ice blended to a yummy, frothy concoction! (I got my new ninja blender - awesome!)

S2: string cheese, orange

Workout: Jillian's Ripped in 30
Recovery - 1% chocolate milk

D: turkey burger on whole wheat english muffin with lettuce and mustard

Did my workout just a little before dinner so might have a yogurt or an apple to finish off the night!

AND it is a good thing I got my new blender because my sister Caroline (check out her blog here) and I committed to each other tonight to join, with our coach Lindsay Phillips, a 90 DAY CHALLENGE! I cannot believe I just committed to that much more time, but the word is out now and that means I have to do it.

So stay tuned and keep reading because there's a lot more blogging to come about my journey! Don't know what to expect, but maybe, just maybe, you will all be invited to a big celebration party after I finish my 90 DAY CHALLENGE! WHOA!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

#2g - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Day 7!

Day 7 -

B: shake with skim milk, orange

S1: rice cake with natural PB, blueberries

L: turkey burger on english muffin with lettuce and mustard, orange

Workout - Jillian's Ripped in 30
Recovery - Glass of 1% chocolate milk

S2: nonfat lemon yogurt, blueberry special k cereal

D: greens with grilled chicken breast, strawberries, blueberries and lowfat rasberry vinaigrette. It was a super yummy salad and only took a couple minutes to put together! 

Have to be up super early the next two mornings in a row which is going to be a challenging way to wrap up the challenge - looking forward to it though!

Not much to report today - in a bit of a funk today but I will not let that stop me from sticking to the challenge...although it may make my blog a bit shorter tonight. :)

Night all!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

#2f - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Day 6!

Day 6 - CANNOT believe we are over halfway through with this challenge! I feel like it has flown by and I don't want it to end. Can't wait for the next adventure!

Here's what happened today...

B: 2 eggs scrambled, nonfat strawberry banana yogurt, orange

C25K Run!

S1: rice cake with natural PB

L: shake with skim milk

S2: string cheese, orange

D: 6" turkey sub from Subway with lettuce, cukes, green peppers, spinach and mustard, 0% vanilla greek yogurt for "dessert"

Went grocery shopping tonight to stock for the last few days of the challenge... AND for continued healthy eating.

Part of the challenge has been to think about our "crazy, awesome" goals for the next year. Here are mine...

1) It will be crazy, awesome next year when I am back in my intermediate theater jazz dance class on a regular basis.
2) It will be crazy, awesome next year when I am ready for my first advanced yoga or pilates class.
3) It will be crazy, awesome next year when I am playing on a recreational volleyball team. (or another sport if I try that one on and it doesn't quite fit - but I really think I will enjoy volleyball!)

The last one is the biggest for me because I NEVER played sports growing up and would not in the slightest way ever consider myself athletic. In the past few years I have been able to overcome some big insecurities and do things I never thought I would do - but this is one I have not been able to conquer. UNTIL I did this challenge. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to be the next Michael Phelps, but I am gaining a lot more confidence in my ability to be and to be strong physically. And I am also giving myself a little more freedom to simply enjoy the physical activities and not always have to be really good at them. I can play volleyball just for the fun of it! I can run just for the fun of it... if it ever becomes fun! :)

Still loving what this challenge is doing for me and can't wait to see where it takes me next. Day 7 on the way tomorrow...

#2e - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Day 5!

Day 5 - HALFWAY THROUGH!!! I can't believe I have successfully made it through the first five days. That is so awesome. I was out last night for Shakespeare in the Park about an hour away from my house, so it was a L-A-T-E night. I have already had some big wins today for day 6, but I am going to save those for my post tonight and try to focus on Day 5.

Here goes...

I took the day off yesterday so I was worried about staying on track. I didn't have a set schedule and that was going make it difficult for me stick to the plan. I was going to start the day with a run, but it was POURING BUCKETS of rain from about 5:30am-9:30am so I decided to switch to an indoor workout. Well... that never happened. Normally that would derail me, but I just let it go and decided to do better next time. (spoiler alert - i already did my run for day 6!)

Food went like this:

B: nonfat strawberry yogurt, blueberry special k cereal, strawberries

S1: rice cake with natural PB, orange

L: shake with skim milk

S2: string cheese, blueberries, orange

D: teriyaki chicken with very light sauce and veggies, cantaloupe, side salad with no dressing
Did splurge with one cocktail at dinner - sweet tea vodka with spritzer

LOTS of water throughout the day!

Also spent some quality time with some great friends and got to support some other great friends at their production of Romeo and Juliet! I am loving how this challenge is helping me to focus on being the best version of myself - which naturally includes investing more in the relationships that make my life so rich and meaningful.

Day 6 report will be up later tonight! Thanks for all the continued support. And don't forget that I am doing this with my sister and she blogging about it too. Check out her blog here:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

#2d - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Day 4

Day 4 was a crazy hectic day. It was one of those days at work where you hardly breathe from the minute you walk in the door until about 4:00pm and then you wonder what happened to the day. I got off track with the time of some of my meals, but the victory for me was that I didn't throw in the towel, I just got back on track and finished the day strong by ripping it with Jillian for my workout!

Here's how the day went...

B: protein box from starbucks (if you haven't noticed yet, I am a creature of habit when it comes to food!)

S1: missed it completely because of CRAZY day at work

L: shake with skim milk and an orange

S2: 0% vanilla greek yogurt and blueberry special k cereal

D: chicken fajitas but only ate the chicken, veggies and a little cheese (I'm pretty sure I ate some veggies I haven't eaten before because I was thinking if I can't eat the sour cream and the tortillas I better eat everything I can... and they were good!) Also indulged with one margarita - this place has an amazing peach margarita! If you haven't been to Alero's you should definitely check it out. My favorite is the one on U St.
workout - Jillian's ripped in 30 - I HATE IT but i love it. :)
No snack after because I just wasn't hungry, but lots of water tonight after my workout. I did spend a decent amount of time after my workout sitting on two bags of frozen green beans - one for each butt cheek! I have been nursing some sciatica for quite some time now and while it is getting better, it definitely reared it's ugly head tonight while I was ripping it!
I'm a little nervous about tomorrow because I am taking the day off which is very exciting but it has been easy to stick to the plan when I am out and about and have a schedule. I am hoping that I will be able to maintain tomorrow without a whole lot going on in my day. I am planning to get up and run at 8am so that I can get my day started with a workout and a good breakfast and hopefully that will keep me going for the rest of the day.

Also have plans to join a couple of my fellow castmates from Ragtime to go see a couple of our other castmates in Romeo & Juliet tomorrow night. Should be a really fun day and I really looking forward to some QT with some good friends.

Another thing I am learning is that being healthy is just about making choices. Everything I do involves a choice and I can sit around and complain about having too much work, or not enough time, but all those things are a result of choices I make. So really what these 10 days boil down to is the beginning of making BETTER CHOICES FOR MYSELF. And it feels great!

#2c - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Day 3

Got home too late to post this last night - so here it is a day late! :)

Day 3 was not so bad. It was a super busy and long day but a good one. I can already begin to notice some changes - I just feel better overall.

Here's how the day went...

B - protein box from Starbuck's (one hard boiled egg, two slices of cheese, three slices of apples, a few grapes, and a mini pita with natural PB - delicious and so convenient!) Can't believe I made it out of the store without my normal venti soy chai!

S1 - string cheese and a handful of blueberries

L - shake with skim milk

S2 - string cheese and nonfat strawberry banana yogurt

D - salad with grilled chicken and veggies (thanks Lindsay for helping me pick out a great meal at the restaurant we went to - it was so yummy!)

Workout - C25K run at 6:15 AM!!! Can't believe I made it out of the bed so early. Thanks to Lindsay and my sisters, for calling and texting me to help me get up.

It's been a long day but focusing on the challenge has helped. Plus a dear friend took me out to dinner and a production of Sweeney Todd (oh how I love Sondheim!) with a great group of folks tonight. Late night but a fun one.

I am discovering that the greatest thing about this challenge, and I do mean the absolute greatest thing about it, is how it is bringing people together. I am connecting with important people in my life in a new way. I have never felt so supported by my two sisters before because we are engaging in this struggle together. And I am re-connecting with people who have not been in my life for a long time. AND I am newly connecting with complete strangers. Yesterday I literally got three text messages and a phone call - ALL BEFORE 6:15am - just to make sure that I got up and had my workout.

The absolute best part of life is the people we live it with! I am thankful for the people in my life!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#2b - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's - Day Two!

Well, day two was incredibly tough for me. I just wasn't in a good space today and I had a hard time staying on track, but here's what I got...

B - 2 eggs scrambled, nonfat strawberry yogurt with whole grain cereal

S1 - missed it and combined with lunch (did this before I read your post Lindsay about skipping it and having a bigger snack later)

L - shake with skim milk, string cheese, small handful of blueberries

S2 - string cheese, small handful of almonds

D - 6" turkey sub on wheat from subway with lettuce, cukes, green peppers and mustard (original, I know. I can eat the same thing over and over for days!) with a nonfat banana yogurt

Workout - Jillian Ripped in 30 (A GIGANTIC KUDOS to my sister Caroline for calling me and literally forcing me to do my workout tonight)

ps - Jillian kicked my ASS!!!

REALLY wish I had some 1% chocolate milk for a recovery drink (believe it or not, it is a great recovery drink and fills that sweet craving!), but I am going for a 0% greek yogurt instead.

I am hoping tomorrow brings a much better day. The hard thing for me is that I have to do my workout in the morning because I have plans in the evening tomorrow. Morning suck for me but I am going to stick with the plan no matter what though!

I am really hoping I am tougher than I think I am!

Monday, August 6, 2012

#3 - Be in a Flash Mob!

There's not much to say about this one except that I think flash mobs might just be one of the coolest things in the entire world. I have always wanted to be a part of one.

For two weeks this summer I was involved in facilitating a professional development for about 50 DC public school teachers. We held our training at a local high school and even though school was not in session, there were several students there for various summer activities along with a handful of support staff. I am not quite sure how it all evolved, but somehow we decided that on our last day we should have a flash mob during lunch in the cafeteria. FANTASTIC! Imagine a bunch of elementary, middle, and high school teachers dancing together to "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. Well, actually you don't have to imagine it because here it is...

Here's what I learned:

1) You can have fun without being perfect and even while looking stupid!

2) I don't have to be the best at things that I do in a group. In fact, the best thing about doing things in a group is often the simple fact that you are with other people in community.

3) Laughter truly is good medicine - you see us all laughing and smiling a lot in this video and the mood for the rest of the day for those who participated, and for those who watched, was so high.

4) Just as I learned when baking the cake - it is a wonderful thing to create!

Enjoy the video and if you need a choreographer for YOUR next flash mob - just let me know! ;)

#2 - Leave 30 pounds in my 30's!

One of my tasks for this list is to leave 30 pounds behind in my 30's. This is not about weighing less or getting skinnier (although those are nice perks!) It is all about becoming the best version of myself. I want to leave the unhealthy eating habits and serious lack of exercise and fitness all behind me.

Of course, I am not going to accomplish this task in one swift action, but I have signed up for a ten day challenge that I hope will serve to kickstart this movement. My sister, Caroline, is doing it with me and also blogging about it. Check it out:

Today was day one and I plan to blog about each day. I will post my food and my workout for each day, so feel free to follow along. Can't wait to report the results at the end of the challenge!

The challenge involves replace breakfast or lunch with a shake and then eating reasonable "clean" meals for the other two meals. Also we are encouraged to eat every three hours, so I have a morning snack and an afternoon snack and since my workouts are in the evening I also have a
"recovery" snack or drink afterwards.

Here's day one:

B - 2 scrambled eggs, nonfat strawberry yogurt, banana

S1 - string cheese and blueberries

L - Shake

S2 - nonfat strawberry/banana yogurt and orange

D - 6" turkey sub on wheat from subway with lettuce, green peppers, cukes and mustard

Recovery - 0% vanilla greek yogurt

Workout - Free weights for arms, shoulders, back and an ab workout

Feeling great today and don't have any of that "yucky" feeling I get after eating a bunch of junk all day. 

Here's to a great day two and the first step to leaving behind those 30 lbs!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#1 - Bake a Layer Cake from Scratch

That's right, friends! I have completed the first item on my list of 40 by 40! On Sunday, July 8th, I baked a Red Velvet THREE layer cake from scratch. This suggestion came from my sister, Caroline, and to help me accomplish the task she provided the recipe and lots of coaching along the way.

The day started with a trip to the grocery store to get supplies - if you aren't a baker, you probably don't keep cake flour in the pantry...or baking soda...or cake pans! Here are the ingredients all ready to go.

That is a box of cake FLOUR in the back, NOT a cake mix!

Once I had everything assembled it was time to get started baking! Luckily, a few years ago, my sister-in-law, Cindy, gave me her old KitchenAid mixer. It's a very fancy mixer for a non-baker like myself. But I was very glad I had it.

I got the cake batter all mixed up and it looked good to me, but since I had never baked a cake before I didn't really know any better. So I put the layers into the oven and waited. While I was waiting, I remembered that my sister told me it was very important when making the icing to be sure the butter and cream cheese were very soft before mixing them. I used my smarts and decided to set them on the stove top while the layers were baking. It worked perfectly and I was able to mix up the icing while the cake baked!

So smart!
Look at all that icing!!!
And the icing was AMAZING! If you ever need a cream cheese icing - use this recipe. It is the best I have ever tasted. My sister also recommended that I double the icing recipe because I was baking three layers instead of the typical two. I did and now I have a tupperware container full of icing left over! It is delicious - but dangerous. :)

I was so nervous waiting for the cake to bake. This was the part where things could go really wrong and it was pretty much out of my control. So you can imagine how excited I was when I took the layers out and they were just perfect!

Yes, there is a big hole in one of them. I'm an inexperienced cake tester! :)
Right on cue, I got a text from my sister after I took the layers out reminding me to let them cool completely before I tried to ice them. From here, the hard part was pretty much over. I sat down and took a bit of a snooze while I waited for the layers to cool off. When I woke up it was time to put all the pieces together. I struggled a bit with spreading the icing so the finished product wasn't perfect, but it was a big accomplishment as far as I was concerned. Take a look...


The best part was looking at the inside with all the layers...

Three layers!
Thanks to Raabia and Maria for being brave enough to taste my very first cake!
Brave souls!

Here's what I learned...
* Baking can be fun, especially if you have someone to bake with.
* Spending time with great friends is fun. Spending time with great friends while creating something is even more fun!
* Creating something like a cake gives you something to share with friends - something YOU created.
* I am not entirely sure I can explain it yet, but for some reason, I have a new found confidence since baking my first cake. I have something thoughts about this, but I want to see how they develop as I accomplish other tasks before I share more.
* Anyone can bake. You aren't born with special innate skills that make you a baker. Some people enjoy it more than others, but anyone can do it. I've just always said, "I'm not a baker."

I use that sentence, "I'm not..." a lot.

I'm not a runner.
I'm not a gardener.
I'm not an artist.
I'm not a baker.

But I discovered that I am a baker, just an inexperienced one. This means that I can try other things that I didn't think I could do like gardening, running, and even painting. This is an important discovery for me -  a challenging and scary discovery, but a good one. I wonder where it will take me...

Stay tuned for the next adventure!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Well, I was going to accomplish my first new task this weekend, but then something happened today...

a LEVERAGE marathon on ion television!

Yes, it is that easy friends. I have been derailed by a TV marathon. I have however selected my first task.


The Red Velvet Cake from scratch! Now before you get too excited - I did NOT bake this cake. This is the picture of the one my sister, Caroline, made. I am stealing her recipe and this is going to be my first layer cake made completely from scratch.

For those of you who don't know, I recently completed a run of Ragtime with the Laurel Mill Playhouse. A couple of my cast mates and I have discovered that we are all Leo's and there is talk of a party to celebrate our birthdays. I am going to make this cake for that event. This is scary and exciting for a few reasons...

1) I love Red Velvet cake!
2) I am not domestic and struggle to find my way around a kitchen.
3) I plan to do this without a trial run so if it flops, it flops BIG!

But I think that is the spirit of this blog - take risks, try new things, and just have fun with it.

So, stay tuned. The party may not be for awhile, but I will keep posting until then to collect new ideas, refine my list of 40 by 40, and generally keep you all updated on life.

Friday, June 29, 2012

New Ideas!

Well, I am super excited about all the comments and responses I have received about my new blog! The ideas are already coming in. Here are just a few suggestions so far...

1) Run a 5K with my sisters - maybe this one in Charlotte
2) Bake fresh bread or a layer cake from scratch (I'm thinking I will try my sister's red velvet)
3) Eat at each of the Ray's establishments
4) Go to the Congressional Baseball Game
5) Take a mission trip to Tanzania to support my dear friends Kellee and Patrick Cogdill as they move to the mission field
6) Make a list of 100 goals and share them with my friend Maria Barwegen
7) Give a million dollars to Maria Barwegen's new theater company - Explore Theater (if you haven't liked her page yet, click on the link and do it NOW!)
8) A trip to NYC with three days in a row of musicals, dinner at the Pink Tea Cup, and each night wrapped up with lots of revelry at Marie's Crisis

Keep the ideas coming - but the new rule is this:
If you offer an idea for a new item for me to accomplish before 40, it should be one that we can share together! This way I can try new things while spending good times and making special memories with dear friends and family.

Tomorrow (well, actually today because it is a very late night!) I will reveal which new experience I will be starting with this weekend. I have a few ideas in my head, but even I still don't know which one I am going to pick as my starting point!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Big Idea...

I have to admit from the start that I totally stole this idea from a former colleague, Amanda Freitag. Earlier this year I really enjoyed following her blog as she set out to try 30 new things by the time she turned 30. Since my birthday is fast approaching, I have decided it is time to light a fire for myself. It's year 37 for me this year and that feels dangerously close to 40. So my new blog is going to follow my adventures as I seek to accomplish 40 brand new things by the time I am 40. That gives me three years, so some of the items will probably be pretty big. 

I have a few ideas to start that I will share below. However, I also want to incorporate brilliant ideas from my friends and family. Think of things you have always wanted me to try, or things you have always wanted to try yourself and we can conquer them together. I am excited to get started and am looking for my first item so that I can get started this weekend. Think big or small, but also think exciting and creative. Can't wait to hear from you all and share some fun adventures!!!

So here are the ideas I have so far. I'm not saying they will all make the final list, but this is just a brain dump...

1) Hot Air Balloon ride
2) Skydiving
3) Take the train from Alexandria to somewhere
4) Go to the Masonic memorial in Old Town
5) Put on my own Cabaret show
6) Land a role in a show with an actual name that gets me my own curtain call
7) Go to Israel
8) Go on a mission trip
9) Learn to scuba dive
10) Go on a SECOND date - HA!

Well, that's enough to get started for now. Can't wait to hear your ideas and reveal the first activity that I will accomplish this weekend. Stay tuned...