Rambling Reflections on 2018

On this day, this day just following one of the most reflective and challenging Yin yoga classes I’ve ever taken, and the last day of 2018, indulge me in a little bit of reflection. Let’s talk about how this year has gone by so quickly, as years seem to the older I get, but also how this single year feels like it has taken ten years to pass. Last January feels like eons ago.

Work – Paid and Unpaid

In January, I performed in a comedic murder mystery which was somehow incredibly hard for me but went over super well. I was nominated for a CAT award for my performance which is somehow still mindblowing. (It also snowed a lot and I spent a lot of time sitting in my office after work, watching Grey’s Anatomy on my tablet while I waited to go to the theatre because there was no time to go home.)

At my day job, I took on a new very challenging project and attacked it with everything I had. I was only mildly successful. It was humbling. I am trying to reframe my thoughts and feelings about this course and this year I will do better.

Against all odds, I spoke on two panels about playwrighting at two different conventions. It still blows my mind that I’m qualified to do this. (I also attended When Words Collide officially for the first time and it revitalized me creatively in a way that my show in January didn’t. I’m more than just an actress.)

Fitness

I started doing spin weekly with my childhood best friend. Shockingly, my cardiovascular health actually is better. Also, it is so nice to have a regular excuse to see her, even if we are mostly just sweating on bikes instead of talking.

Ugh, Fine, I obviously just want to talk about my personal life…

I had a really great short relationship that ended amiably. I also had a few dating experiences that left me really quite uncomfortable and shaken. While this did lead to a little dating break, it also led to a lot of introspection about what I’m really looking for and what I’m willing to compromise on. (Important note if you’re looking to date me: don’t try to tell me about myself, especially before you have had time to get to know me. Literally just get to know me, don’t make assumptions… I can guarantee you that I, like most people, contain multitudes.)

I have such wonderful friends and I’m pretty pumped about the creation of Winesday.

In June, I went to Vegas with my bbf and it was so much fun. Like, SO MUCH.

Anything Else?

I went from blond to redhead.

Uh huh…

I wrote my first YA novel, which at this first draft moment is not very good. To be fair, I banged out 50,000 words of it during Nanowrimo, how could you expect it to be good? Now comes the fun part of editing and rewriting and making it good.

So, what’s to come in 2019?

Digging deep and loving myself more. Being organized and doing things I probably don’t want to do when that is necessary and dialing back when that’s the better choice. And most immediately, I’m going to do Sober!January and the Fit Girls Guide challenge again. This time I’ll blog about the last two weeks, since I don’t have a novel writing November to distract me. 😉

And in the interim? You can hear me every week on Mystery, Outsiders and Abs: A Teen Drama Fan Cast?

Fit Girl’s Guide – Week Two Recap

In a shocking turn of events, I’m delayed writing up my Week Two Recap and it’s already Wed, Oct 31. Halloween! I’m a deer! (If I get a cute picture and not just a poorly lit picture in my office, I’ll post it on the A Flimsy Plan insta.) With this spoooooky season coming to a close, let’s hit up another recap of my Fit Girls journey! (Syntax? What’s syntax? I’m not fixing that sentence!)

Fit Girls Guide Week Two Recap

So, How’s It Going, Erin?

Honestly, Recap Readers? I’m feeling like I maybe cheated myself by not deciding to do the Fit Girl’s workout plan. I have a fairly good workout routine of my own established – I’ll give it it’s own post despite the fact that it’s pretty boring – but I’m wondering if it’s maybe not really much of a challenge if I’m not changing my habits a ton? Should I have thrown myself in whole hog, balls to the wall?

To be honest, I’m a very all or nothing type person. I stay busy all the time because I’m afraid that if I stop moving, I’ll never start moving again. I genuinely have to remind myself that working out three times a week is something to be celebrated – it doesn’t have to be “seven days or you’re a failure”. One of the repeated mantras I’ve come across in the Fit Girls Community is “Progress, Not Perfection” and one of my hopes is that by the end of these four weeks I’ll start to grant myself this grace.

And if my university theatre teachers are at all reading this – I know. You’ve been telling me that I don’t need to be perfect since I was 20. I’ll get there one day.

Keep It Positive! What Did You Like This Week?

This week, I took such joy in the dinners.

For my adult working life, I’ve always been reasonably good about prepping lunches and making breakfasts at home – I feel like nothing is a bigger waste of money than buying breakfast on the go. (Now, I’m less good about having prepped lunches and breakfasts on the weekends and this challenge has forced me to do that, but we’ll talk about that another time.) Dinner is a different story. Intellectually, I know that I have lots of food in the pantry and freezer so I don’t often buy ingredients for dinner… but the problem is, I’m not great at looking at my ingredients and coming up with a dinner idea. I often think “I’ll just pick this up on my way home” or making one of my go-to 5 minute meals.

This challenge has made me have to change that. The dinner recipes they have provided are real, grownup dinners and also super easy and quick. This week I made lasagna rolls (!!!) and polenta with shrimp (!!!). There are no words for how together it makes me feel.

And What About The Low Points?

Sticking to the meal plans has been pretty easy because the food is delicious, easy and leaves room for flexibility and treats with the snacks.

That said, I’ve definitely still been drinking a little bit too much wine. (Before you start worrying about me – the plan technically allows for 10 oz of wine a week. So “a little bit too much” is pretty easy to go over if you go out on the weekend and also get a glass of wine when you go to the theatre… suddenly that’s 15 oz over the week!)

And on Saturday, my roommate was inspired to do meal prep – yay! – and was in the kitchen for three hours – less yay! – right around dinner time. I finally gave up, ordered some Vietnamese on Skip the Dishes (only $12! so frugal!) and then headed out for my evening plans. I ended up throwing the lasagna rolls I was going to eat into the deep freeze so now I have a homemade healthy “frozen meal” for one of those lazy evenings once the challenge is over!

It’s a lose-win, really!

Is a lose-win a thing? Discuss in the comments section.

Fit Girl’s Guide – Week One Recap

If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I’m an actress. Oh no, wait, that’s not what this post is about… Let’s start over. If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I love challenges. Challenges are essentially the only way I actually achieve anything in life because I truly thrive on external validation. (Hashtag, maybe not the best quality? Hashtag love yourself?) Anyway, today is a not a deep dive into my psyche, today is a recap of the first week of my most recent challenge – Fit Girls Guide‘s 28 Day Jumpstart.

The Why

I’ve owned the Fit Girls 28 Day Jumpstart ebook since probably 2016 and dabble in it here and there. I usually do a pretty okay job of doing the first week (I love their roasted veggie power bowl and it is 100% my go to lunchtime meal prep) and then I don’t make any lunches for the weekend and then I go to Bottlescrew Bill’s on the Friday to work on my beer passport and then that is that. Sooo… that really shows some real stick-to-it moxie, right?

Yeah, I need to work on that whole accountability thing…

I’m also doing a little No Spend Month with some friends on Facebook and, though I’ve re-framed that into “mindful spend”, my biggest area of mindless spending is on dumb convenience food so following a proper meal plan definitely helps with that.

Plus, I just bought a smart scale. I haven’t had a scale in over 13 years and I am obsessed with watching my body water and muscle mass levels fluctuate. I haven’t become a crazy person with the scale yet but… uh… watch this space.

The Plan

Fit Girls Guide is focused on easy, meal preppable, delicious whole foods. They don’t exclude any food group (though they do offer suggestions of substitutions and modifications for almost every preference/requirement you could imagine) and they account for everything in moderation. Progress, not perfection is the goal! The ebook is also full of wisdom, inspiration and fun dog pictures – it genuinely feels like chatting health with your bbf (best best friend).

Specifically, 28 Day Jumpstart offer a 4 week meal plan – 1 breakfast recipe, 1 lunch and 2 dinners that rotate through the week for easy of prepping and finances. However, they also have a ton of alternative meals so if you aren’t a creature of routine and consistency like me (I could genuinely eat savoury oats every single morning), you can mix it up. Additionally, make sure you treat yourself to a 200 cal snack of your choice (tons of suggestions included!) and a square of dark chocolate every single day.

There’s also an exercise plan that I’m not actually following because I only workout well during fitness classes. And barre just also just low-impact, bodyweight movements… just like the Fit Girls exercise plan. I’m doing fine.

So… How’s It Going?

Mostly good! I mean, I already know that I love Week One (overnight oats, that veggie bowl I talked about and alternating pita pizzas and sweet potato tacos for dinner) so this should be no surprise.

That said, I did goof a bit on the weekend. I knew I would be going out on Friday for a Paint Nite with my fam to celebrate my mom’s birthday, so I accounted for that (a little extra wine, a delicious buffalo chicken wrap and doing spin for the second time in a week on Saturday morning) but then Saturday night got a little bit away from me. I wanted to work on my novel but was having trouble focusing at home, so I headed over to an old classic – Earls Shepard Flats for a glass of happy hour wine and a new location. But then this lady sat down next to me at the bar, instantly befriended me and… well, I had a little more wine, a little more Salmon Zen Bowl and a little more bites of pumpkin pie than I expected.

But hey, what can you do? Progress, not perfection. And not that the scale is the be-all and end-all of all things, but I always expect it to pop up a bit after the weekend due to water retention and sodium nonsense and today it didn’t. So I’m not going to beat myself up.

Goal for this week? Actually make all your meals at home and stick to that mindful spend challenge, Erin!

(Oh, and if you want to follow along, you can find me on insta as Fitgirlera.)

Two Gentlemen of Verona – Theatre Thursday


(“Two Gentlemen of Verona” Poster Image, as always, lovingly stolen from Theatre Calgary. Their site is always adding more incredible, informative material about their shows, please take the time to explore it.)

First off: I probably should have written about this show a month again. Actually, if I were really good at my job, I would have seen the show early in it’s run and written an actual review to actually encourage my readers to go see it. But long-time readers know that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here for ruminating on things for far too long and then vomiting my thoughts about important theatre onto this blog. And today? The #importanttheatre that I’m talking about is #ShakesBow‘s production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

What’s #ShakesBow?

Shakespeare by the Bow is our forever evolving summer outdoor Shakespeare theatre in Calgary, Alberta. It’s varied in format over the years – sometimes two shows running in currently, sometimes just one… sometimes allowing experienced actors to work with those of all levels, sometimes emerging artists being allowed to tackle amazing roles. They have partnered with different theatre organizations in town and recently rebranded from “Shakespeare in the Park” with their most recent partnership with Theatre Calgary. ShakesBow has even experienced variety in its performance spaces when flooding in 2005 and 2013 damaged their usual space at Prince’s Island Park. (Note: this is an incredibly vague and non-detailed history. Don’t come at me.)

However, one thing that has remained consistent over the years is that ShakesBow offers donation-based, accessible classical theatre. It is Shakespeare to help people who maybe only ever read Shakespeare in high school – if that – “get it”. It is equal parts fun and touching. Above all else, it is completely understandable. (Note: Again, don’t at me. Anyone can understand Shakespeare when it is done well and ShakesBow does it.)

So, what makes Two Gentlemen important?

Aha! Great question! After all, why am I writing about this show over a month after it closed?

I don’t love Two Gents. Part of it may be that I saw an insane musical adaptation of it almost a decade ago. (Seriously. It was over the top. I thought I had an old livejournal review of it somewhere, but I couldn’t find it and also I don’t want anyone reading my old livejournal from a decade ago.)

A bigger part of it is that I don’t love watching Julia, who is spunky and fun and takes action, chasing around Proteus who immediately falls in love with his best friend’s girl. I don’t love that Proteus and Valentine are big ol’ dummies and Valentine volunteers to “give” his girl to Proteus. I know, I know, it’s a different time and potentially Shakespeare’s first play but I’m still allowed to not love it.

Unless…?

Unless. (tm. McElroy brothers)

ShakesBow does the play. And doesn’t actually change the dialogue, but completely reclaimed the play for the women. With a look, blocking and a very specific song choice, our heroines realize the boys are bozos and truly become heroines.

You guys. It was so good.

I love Shakespeare.

Sometimes A Video Comes At The Right Time

introspective after video
I’m the worst at Youtube videos. I never like, I never comment, it takes forever before I remember to subscribe – even if I love every video you post. I’m working really hard at being an engaged viewer. I’m not there yet but, hey, what is life if we aren’t always striving towards something, right? One day I will totally remember to comment on a video.

I also go in waves in terms of what videos or channels I watch based on what I need in life. (Yes, I realize this is not unique to me. I’m building to something. Give me a break, imaginary reader that I have apparently decided is harassing me!)

I really love watching Carrie Dayton when I need a video with a few laughs, some body positivity or just some old fashioned reassurance that it’s okay to not be 100% a grownup all the time at 30. Also, can we talk about how jealous I am of her ability to rock a half bun?

My other fav, and I’m not alone in this at all, is Kalyn Nicholson. Kalyn is not someone to watch all the time. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for her spiritual early 20s discoveries and I just want to shout “Yes, we were all 24 and drove cars through the mountains once! Geez!” But sometimes… sometimes I let those videos pile up and I just disappear into two hours of beautifully edited, yoga-filled, inspiring content.

Sometimes a video just comes at exactly the right time.

(Or I watch that video two months after it came out and that is exactly the right time.)

This video is the one I’m talking about. As you may be able to guess from my radio silence recently, I’m grappling with the idea of regret and wondering about some choices that I made what seems like a very long time ago – or was somewhat manhandled into, what seems like a very long time ago. Nostalgia is a real bitch, my friends.

Anyway, I was finally in a Kalyn mood and the Toxic Things video popped up on my feed. It was exactly what I needed this month to get me out of dwelling in the past and force me to focus on the future. We let go of things for a reason and sometimes it is hard but it’s so worth it. And Kalyn says it better than I do so please head on over to Youtube and give this girl a little love.

(Just for fun, Here’s a throwback to the last time I felt real introspective about this exact thing and also used this exact picture, apparently. Two steps forward, one step back, my beautiful friends.)

~*~*~

I’m thinking that I want to make Tuesday posts (when I have Tuesday posts) about new discoveries/media that I like, etc. How do ya’ll feel about that? It’ll be like a mini-version of Wonderful, except not a podcast and not as clever as Rachel & Griffin and also not starring a 30 under 30 media luminary. So… not like Wonderful at all.

Hey! What’s your favourite recent discovery? Hit me up in the comments!