Monthly Archives: February 2015

Don’t Take The Easy Route

Don’t Take The Easy Route

 

It’s probably one of the cheesiest things I could say, but it is so true: Don’t Take The Easy Route. Here’s why.

Both semesters that I have taken an art class at college level, I have strived to be better. After all, I’m competing with kids that have been at this longer than me. So I decided without really realizing it that I was going to really challenge myself with each project. I wanted to make something that I wouldn’t normally make, and improve with each project. And because of that, I’m a much better artist now.

I say this now because I am in the middle of a tough project. In Drawing 2, you have to do a piece based off of an emotion. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it conveys some sort of deep emotion. So I decided to do a self-portrait. I hate doing portraits, especially of myself. I don’t know why I don’t like drawing myself. Many artists like drawing themselves as apposed to other people because if they mess up they don’t offend the other person. I dunno what my deal is, but I don’t like drawing my face. I also decided that on top of doing a portrait, I was going to use a technique that involves covering the whole paper in charcoal and erasing to draw your lines. Very messy, very frustrating at times. It’s nowhere close to where I want it to be yet, but I’ve already learned a lot from this project.

Whatever you’re doing, don’t take the easy route. When you take the harder road, you learn more and grow more. Don’t give up. You got this. Prisoner WIP 1

            I will share my finished project with you when I get it done! I hope you will enjoy it!

Until Next Time,

Abby

A Letter To My Math Homework

Dear Math Homework:

I hate you.

Seriously, why do you exist? I feel sad inside every time I have to write out 50 problems that I could care less about in hopes that I will be able to make an “A” in this class. It’s kind of rude to make me solve all your problems. Take them to someone who actually cares about you. Like a math major.

I know that you just want me to be smart and all, but sometimes I get the feeling that you are just waiting for me to fail. Granted, you are a text book, but you know what I mean. I wish we could just be friends. Friends don’t want to see each other fail.

Now, I know I could have avoided the stress of it being almost midnight the night before a quiz by studying this weekend, but I am still a free spirited teenager. I feel the need to go have pancakes with my friends. I just had to see Fiddler on the Roof and watch Walking Dead right after. I mean, I had to WORK. I need a paycheck, Math! I have a life to live, but you want me to sit with you and work out everything on your pages. So here I sit, 11:32pm, with you staring at me, reminding me that I have class at 8am.

I am writing this to tell you that I am sad that we can’t be friends. I hope that we can tolerate each other for the next year and a half while I finish my AA. I promise I won’t burn your pages as long as you don’t melt my brain.

Signed,

A Procrastinating Art Major

Find An Amanda

You are never gonna be the best at what you do. Whether it’s sports, theater, academics, art, or apple pie making, there will always be someone that is better than you. And that’s awesome.

10982207_889529911068473_6655976454121931389_n As you grow older and develop skills in whatever you do, (let’s say art for an example) you will constantly be learning. To help in this process, it helps to find people to mentor and/or inspire you to be better. Even John Green (the author of The Fault in our Stars and co-VlogBrother) had a mentor: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBKKcxCuH-g) I have had many people like this in my life, but I would like to highlight one in particular: Amanda.

1939829_836947219660076_4886078506899368476_nLast spring was when I took my first college art course: Drawing 1. I was pretty nervous being the youngest in the class and working with people that had done art a lot longer than me. Amanda was in the class too, but then thing about her was that she was one of the only people in Drawing 3. And boy was she wicked good. We would do critiques every other week and we always had a hard time giving feedback on Amanda’s stuff because it was so great. Most of us didn’t really know how she could improve on her pieces, because she was way ahead of us.  The few critiques where she commented on my art are the ones I will never forget, because it felt so cool to have someone so talented complimenting my work. I ended up talking with her over the semester, and I was really excited to introduce her to my family at the art show at the end of the year. I was so bummed when I found out that she was moving to Virginia, where she’s at now furthering her study of art.

1450226_836940302994101_7281774416530864193_nWe still keep in touch over Facebook, commenting on each other’s art. I don’t know if she knows this, but I often creep on her art page to motivate me to work harder. It sucks that I don’t get to continue an in person friendship with her, but I am thankful for the time I got to observe her at school last spring. I have had other people in my life who have inspired me to be a better artist, actor, writer and over all human being, but Amanda is one that has stuck out to me over the past few years. She worked hard to get where she’s at, and is a great example of how hard work really does pay off. You can’t expect to wake up one day and be able to paint a masterpiece. It takes time, effort, and a lot of patience.

10014589_836938556327609_6333656827532512806_nEven if you’re amazing at what you do already, there is always room for improvement. It’s not a sign of weakness to have a teacher to guide you or a person to motivate you to be better. All great leaders have to know how to be led. So, find someone to push you to be the awesome human you were created to be.

Find an Amanda.10277329_762491297136814_8183378722769922818_n

Until next time,

Abby

*All art throughout this post belongs to Amanda Brooke*

Fantastic People to Check Out who inspire me to be awesome:

Amanda:https://www.facebook.com/amanda.brooke.gustin

Sylvia’s Art: 71488_10151626859416663_1142336742_n1456488_10152057976586663_1652354052_n

537019_10152057977371663_768614313_n

Matthew:https://www.facebook.com/haveanartattac

Justin:https://www.facebook.com/fullsailbyjf

My Momma 🙂http://awomanwitharmor.com

How to Treat PSD (Post-Show Depression

Ah, the Monday after a show weekend. It’s like you forget how to function without wearing dance shoes for hours, singing all day, and putting on gallons of make-up. But, all good things must come to an end. PSD, aka, Post-Show Depression, is an illness all actors face at one point or another, and becomes more severe depending on how the show turns out. After six years of doing musical theater, I have learned a few ways to help relieve the pain of PSD.

 1) CryaiZY29n

Yeah, it’s okay to sit and cry for a bit. It’s sad when you have to end a chapter of your life that was really fun. Plus, you’re exhausted, and sometimes it’s good to let out any frustrations and exhaustion through some tears. Watch Les Mis if you need help to get the water works going.


469480781cbcf128fad8d23fc1eb29b92) Sleep

There is no way that you go enough sleep this past week (or month, depending on the run of the show). So, sleep! Your body and brain will thank you after you catch some much earned zzz’s.

CinderellaScrubFloor44fLG

3) Distract yourself with the chores/homework that you blew off 

I’m in the middle of doing this myself. Just like sleep, you and I both know that you blew off something important stuff this week. While your mom might understand you blowing off doing the dishes for a few days, your teachers might not be that understanding. I spent some quality time in the studio today catching up on my art project for my drawing class, and tonight, I will be catching up on some math. Not the most fun, but it’s a good distraction.

tumblr_mzbdn3cKTD1r9ir65o2_5004) Stay in contact with your cast mates

Just because the show ended doesn’t mean that you have to stop talking to your friends! You just spent the last few months bonding with these people, so give them a call! Hang out! Share show memories, and repeat step one if needed.

5) Sign up for another show
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No two shows are alike. Each show holds new things to be discovered, and while the last show might have been wonderful, who knows what’s in store with the next one! Come on, you know you want to! You can’t keep the theater person off the stage for too long before they go a little bonkers.

To anyone going through PSD, it does get better. While sometimes I miss shows, even from a few years back, there’s always a new adventure to look forward to. So let PSD run it’s course, but don’t let it keep you down for too long! Something will be coming, and though you don’t know what it is, I bet it’s gonna be great.

West Side Story - Something's Coming

Until Next Time,

Abby

Things You Learn in the Ensemble

If you haven’t figured out by now, I love musical theater. While I write this, I am actually waiting for the “PLACES!” call to be made for my 21st musical through a wonderful theater group called CYT. Cinderella has been a blast. I adore the story, and the musical has been so much fun (even more fun than the first time :D)

This is the first show in a while that I’ve done with CYT that I have been in the ensemble. No lines to memorize, no big solos. I wish I could say that I was thrilled when the cast list for this show came out in December, but to be honest, I was a little disappointed. I had gotten used to getting a script. I like learning lines, and getting to have a bit bigger spotlight, and because of that, my pride took a hit when I learned that I was in the ensemble. But you know what? This has been one of the best shows I have ever been apart of.

There’s a lot of great things that you can learn when you aren’t a lead. Here are some things that I’ve learned after many times of being in the background.

 1. You learn a lot of different kinds of dances. 10349967_332820596902506_1802047354467327336_n

You never know what kind of dance you’re going to learn being in the ensemble. I did one show recently where I learned a tap dance, a ballet dance and two partner dances. Not being restricted to a lead role gave me the opportunity to expand my dance experience, and for that I am very grateful. It beats being in dance classes!

10906414_332817690236130_4270140695354982277_n2. You learn how to be funny without a script.

This might be a personal one, but let me know if you relate. I do improv a lot (in fact, I’m on a team that’s going to California this summer to compete), so I often try to find funny things to add to scenes. Sometimes, it’s easier to add bits to a scene when you have a script. Peter Pan, for an example, had a lot of improv. That might be because Captain Hook and I have a lot of experience acting together, but we often found little ways to make lines funnier. But in the ensemble, you are free from a script. You can develop a character all on your own and it adds to the show as a whole. I’m glad that I’m part of a cast whose ensemble does not look bored to death in the background.

3. You learn by watching and listening.10888801_10152923533677416_7976246887617228658_n

This is something that everyone can do, but it’s especially true to ensemble members. You are often watching the directors work with other cast members, and you can pick up techniques and tips from just listening to other actors being directed. You never know when something you’ve heard will help you in a future audition or role.

Ensemble Blog 24. You learn how to change costumes quickly.

In many shows, it’s the ensemble folks who have the most costumes. Now, in Cinderella, our sweet leading lady has an impressive wardrobe, and the other leads have multiple costumes. But often, many leads will only have one costume while ensemble members have 2, 4 or 6 different costume changes. In the show I did over Christmas break, my fastest change was about 30 seconds: I changed from a black evening gown and black shoes to a bright green dress with tan shoes. It can be stressful, but it becomes almost a science when you get all your changes down.

5.You learn how awesome the other ensemble people are.Ensemble Blog 1

My favorite thing that has come out of Cinderella is the friendships that have come from it. When you are a lead, you often don’t have time to interact with the other people in the cast. You only really hang out with your fellow leads, which isn’t horrible, but you don’t get to meet everyone. With this show, I have done my best to talk to as many people as possible, especially the kids that are younger than me. I have gotten very close with my fellow ballroom ladies and it’s been so wonderful to just chill out and talk and laugh with them. You never know when you are going to impact someone, or if little feet are following you.

In all honesty, if you asked me if I had the choice between a lead and an ensemble member, I would probably pick the lead. But, I feel after going through this show, I will not be extremely upset if I am part of the ensemble in the next show I’m in. I strongly believe that every role I get is hand picked by God, and whether it’s for something I need to learn or I need to be in a place to be there for a fellow cast member, I know that every part is perfect for my current situation. While it’s fun being a lead, it can also be a blast being in the ensemble. It all depends on your attitude 🙂

Until next time,

Abby

Prayer Requests for Cinderella

Today, I plead for prayer for my precious cast. This has been one of the most wonderful shows I’ve been in, and I am so thankful for this great group of people. Prayers would be greatly appreciated as we get ready to open Thursday morning: *One of our lead cast members is very sick. Please pray for healing, and that any sickness will be swept away from the cast now and stay away. *Costumes are hard. Pray for the costume ladies to have wisdom and bursts of inspiration the next few days as they problem solve. Seriously, these women are awesome. *Sets can be scary sometimes. Pray that they will all be safe for the cast and crew. *Pray for the parents: that they feel love from their kiddos and that they are lifted up after all the work that they’ve put in. They have seriously done so much amazing work for us. We CANNOT do shows without our parent VOLUNTEERS (as in, no money for countless hours of work). *Pray for the crew. These guys are volunteers too, and they make the magic really come to life. Pray that they get everything learned quickly so that they can do their job safely to make the show look Incredible. *Our directors are rock stars. Pray that they get lots of sleep, have clarity and are able to get joy from all the work they have poured into us. *Pray for the hearts of the cast. Keep them joyful and obedient, and ready to perform for the Lord. Pray for physical, emotional, and spiritual strength to carry them through the next six days. *Pray for the audience members who are coming to see the show: that they are blessed by the performance and see Christ on the stage. *Lastly, this is a a big one from our director: Pray that everything that can go wrong in the show will go wrong tomorrow or Wednesday night. We want to get all of the mistakes and problems fixed now so that we can have major-error-free shows. There is much work to be done, but Cinderella goes up Thursday morning! Tickets are still available online at http://www.cytkc.org/tickets! You don’t want to miss this beautiful, magical show! Until next time, Abby

What Else Is Good?

Today, I had a meeting with my activity board advisor Emily, in which she got up to speed on how classes and CAB events were going, and basically what was happening in my life. I love that she cares to learn about each of her students one-on-one 🙂

Anyway, in the meeting today, she kept asking the question, “What else is good?” I had to think about it every time she asked. I had to really think about what was going good in my life, which I didn’t like. My life is pretty good, and I feel happier than I have been in a while, but it still took some effort to be able to express what good was happening in my little world. So, I decided to really think about what is good in my life. I set a timer for 5 minutes, and this is what I came up with.

  • I haven’t gotten lost yet in my math class.
  • While my meteorology class is super boring, I have over 100% in the class because my teacher gives so much extra credit.
  • I am growing as an artist in my Drawing class this semester.
  • Cinderella opens next week and this show is gonna be awesome!
  • I made the Improv team again! This summer, I get to travel to San Diego with nine other super awesome, talented funny CYT students to compete in a comedy competition called Improvaton.
  • My car works in the snow, thank the Lord.
  • Walking Dead starts again on Sunday.
  • I got four new piano students!
  • My Mac doesn’t restart every ten minutes anymore.
  • Art Club at school is going great! It’s been so much fun so far, and I can’t wait to see what this awesome group of people do this spring.
  • One of my paintings sold at the Juice shop that I sell art at this week.
  • While I love doing shows, after next week, I’m doing to have a month and a half off from rehearsals. I’ll be able to catch up on school stuff and get a handle on my big research project.
  • I have a free drink to go get at Starbucks tomorrow.
  • I have a warm home, food in the fridge, running water, a toilet, wifi, and a wonderful family to come home to everyday.

If I spent more time, I could probably come up with a much longer list of what is good in my life. A lot of the time, we forget how good life can be with all the crap that pops up. 2014 was a pretty rough year, and it was often hard for me to see the brighter side of things. But everyday is a gift. God is always good, and I am thankful for everyday He has given me.

So, what good in your life? Ask you answer that question, answer this one: What else is good? There’s always something else that you can be thankful for 🙂

Until next time,

Abby

Books to Check Out-January 2015

Since I am doing a reading challenge for 2015 to get back into reading regularly, I thought I would start something new for this blog and share the books I read month to month. Under reach mini review, I’ve also posted my YouTube book talks. Feel free to check them out! Maybe you’ll find something that sparks your interest!

Can’t Look Away by Donna Coonercan't look away

I dunno how your library works, but my library has a section that has new releases on display. In December, I grabbed this book after reading the inside cover. If you are active on YouTube, you know about beauty gurus. I’ve watched videos made by girls who give beauty advice before, and though I personally don’t watch them often, the category on the website is huge. The book follows a girl who is one of these YouTubers after her sister is killed in a hit and run case. She moves with her family to try and start over, and the story follows what can happen when you put out so much of your personal life on the internet.

I personally had a very hard time liking the main character, but I enjoyed almost every other character in the story. It was a very quick read, and it gives a good perspective on why it’s important to be careful with what you say on the internet.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 Beauty Vlogs

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op55TVxGSiI 

Dragonsdale by Salamandra Drake2-Steves-157-208x300

I didn’t really have a horse phase as a kid, but I did have a dragon phase. From about 5th grade to 7th, I was constantly reading books about dragons, and this was my favorite one. This was a reread, and it was funny because I remembered almost all of the dialogue, since I had read this book at least eight times in grade school 😛 A big reason why I kept rereading it was because it was written by a 16 year old. If she could do it, why couldn’t I do it too?

The story follows a girl who works with her father in a dragon stable. She’s very good with the creatures, but she’s not allowed to ride them. It’s a good story about learning how to deal with bullies, working hard, and chasing your dreams. I highly recommend it to kids with active imaginations who enjoy magical stories.

Overall rating: 4/5 Dragon Scales

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y86v8ccl0mA 

Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star by Rachel Renée Russelldork

The Dork Diaries Series is a series that is almost embarrassing to talk about for me, because I LOVE it. Seriously, it’s kind of sad. It’s the Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls, and the art is so much better.

This one is the seventh book in the series, and to be honest, it was my least favorite. I still liked it, but it seemed the most superficial. I didn’t like how the main character was written, because I felt she was acting so out of character. But overall, it was still a nice read. I recommend this book to pre-teen/tween/middle school girls, or high school/college kids who want an easy, funny read.

Overall rating: 3/5 TV Stars

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql2aHpftC64 

Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After by Rachel Renée Russell51LjcPf6gsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Yes, this is another Dork Diaries book. This is the eighth book in the series, and this was actually one of my favorites. It’s basically a bunch of classic fairytales jumbled up together into one really funny journal. It’s best to read the other seven first, but I feel that this one could be read alone (though it will spoil some stuff :P). Just go start reading the series right now.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Fairytales

The link above talks about this book too!

UnDivided by Neal Shusterman17950614

            Oh boy this series. This is actually the final book in a four part series, the first being Unwind. I have been invested in this series since about 2011, and I highly recommend reading these books all at once. The story is amazing: very thought provoking and intelligently written. But they drag on, especially when you are waiting year to year to read the next part. The series was originally only two books, but it ended up being four (I can’t imagine being his editor).

It discusses the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice fight, and what would happen if a new option came around to get rid of abortion: unwinding. Children between the ages of 13 and 18 can be sent to unwound by their parents or the state, which means that every part of their body, including blood and all internal organs, apart to be used in hospitals or for cosmetics. The child is technically left alive, as in their conscious is still intact, but anti-unwind citizens view it as murder. It’s a good reminder of how we can become so callused to awful things in our society, and the measures that need to be taken to stop injustice. Definitely worth the read, even though it does drag in a few spots.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Rewrites

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTZGRdOwE4A 

This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl tumblr_myzmu3QbB81tp4avro1_400

The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite books, and this is a book about the girl who inspired John Green to write it. Esther Earl lost the fight to cancer at the age of 16, but not before living a wonderful life. The book is a collection of her journals, Caring Bridge posts, and stories from friends and family, including John Green.

This book a great reminder that you can live and extraordinary life just by loving the people around you. Esther was a follower of Christ, and she loved people to the best of her abilities while she was on Earth. It was a good reminder for me to love the people around me while I have the time, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Overall rating: 5/5 Tissues

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwX0hSAtqos

Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art by Rice Freeman-ZacharyCreative time and space

This is a great book for all types of artists. If you are trying to be an independent artist, give this book a read. It’s got some great tips for using your times wisely and making the best of the space you have. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend it to artists of all ages, mediums and talents!

Overall rating: 4/5 Paint Brushes

Link to Book Talk:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVRxxotjMK8 

I hope that one of these books sparked your interest! I hope to have more great books to share with you in March!

Until Next Time,

Abby