A date with Dracula

Shh...the ballet is about to start

Shh…the ballet is about to start

Imagine a live performance that has no words, no yelling, no singing, no dialogue, just amazing symphonic music and perfectly choreographed dance. A live performance where the audience has the choice to interpret how they want based on the dancing and music. An afternoon to get dressed up, enjoy some wine with a great friend, and get lost in a story. How had I never discovered the ballet?

This year I had the opportunity to attend The Colorado Ballet performance of Dracula. I had only ever seen The Nutcracker performed by The San Francisco Ballet when I was much younger. I do not remember it. As part of the 29 Things to do Before I’m 30 list, I decided that Dracula seemed the perfect story to enjoy.

Dracula itself is a hauntingly sad story. One that I had never read before, which may have made the ballet that much more enjoyable. I did not know what would happen next or how things would end. It gave me reason to use my imagination, which any good performance can do.

The Colorado Ballet performance of Dracula

The Colorado Ballet performance of Dracula

Ballet may be one of my favorite forms of art at this point. I enjoyed everything about it including the costume, the simple stage setup, the incredible music, and the emotions that emerge based on such music. The dancing was really what I got lost in. Each dance captivated me and left me waiting for the next choreographed move. The fluidity that the dancers showed, and the way the costumed flowed was such a beautiful sight. The fast tempo dances with multiple dancers allowed for feelings of happiness, celebration, or agitation. The slower more thoughtful dances between two individuals were ones of watching an intimate exchange that caused feelings of love, struggle, or deep sadness depending upon the music. Some of the most enjoyable dances during Dracula included those of struggle or fighting. Who would have thought that a fight choreographed into dance would be so breathtaking. Such a play on emotions. It was absolutely irresistible. To say the least, I will be attending the ballet much more frequently.

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29 Things to Do Before 30

00I just entered the last year of my twenties.  Do I feel any differently?  Not at all.  Will I in 12 months? Doubtful.  One thing that helps with aging is to have goals to look forward to instead of dwelling on the past.

The most exciting thing about my birthday is the fact that I get to start a new bucket list for the year.  I get to daydream of all of the adventures I am about to embark on and the obstacles I will undoubtedly overcome.  Reflecting on last years 28 Thing to Do Before 29 list, I was disappointed in the few things I was unable to get crossed off.  This year I took more time.  I spent about a week just planning.  Looking over my all time life bucket list and fantasizing about things that I have always wanted to do.  Then I narrow things down to a realistic list for the coming year based on my state of mind, how much vacation time I will have, what our financial state is, and what are the most important things to developing myself as an individual.

So here it is…

29 Things to Do Before I Turn 30

  1. Overcome a fear
  2. Live in a cabin for a week
  3. 100HappyDays
  4. Do something out of my comfort zone monthly
  5. Complete my own Happiness Project
  6. Enjoy a Hot Spring
  7. Hike often.  Bike often. Walk often.
  8. Send snail mail letters
  9. Transform into a yogi
  10. Watch the sunrise & sunset in the desert
  11. Attend a festival
  12. Maintain a drop-in ready home at all times
  13. Take a ride in a hot air balloon
  14. Make a quilt
  15. Attend the ballet
  16. Interview my grandparents
  17. Discover the South
  18. Watch a meteor shower
  19. Take a class
  20. Obtain 3 new stamps in my National Parks Passport
  21. Rediscover my banjo
  22. Snowshoe to a yurt for an overnight trip
  23. Type something on a typewriter
  24. “Live” in my neighborhood for a month
  25. Become a “regular” somewhere
  26. Cook more ethnic food
  27. Give blood
  28. Read 50 books – Half Way Point
  29. Tour a whiskey distillery
  30. Continue my journey of minimalism

#26: Attend the Denver Rockies’ Opening Day

IMG_0149Last March, I was fortunate enough to attend the Denver Rockies’ Opening Day as part of my 28 Things to Do Before 29.  Now that all the teams are attending Spring Training for this year’s baseball season, I feel like I have to post about last year’s Opening Day.  

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The entire city was full of Purple and Black, people and vendors filled the streets, and all of the street side bars were filled with overzealous fans ready for another year of promise and hope.  There were families decked out in their favorite player’s jersey, signs abundant with encouraging words for the team, men on stilts, animals, I even saw a purple mohawk with the Rockies logo painted on it.  Everything you could think of declaring the pride for the hometown team, it was there.  

You see, I learned something while attending Opening Day for the Rockies.  I learned what it must feel like to attend my own team’s, the Oakland Athletics, Opening Day.  IMG_0152That is how it feels to start off the season excited, believing that this year will be different, the hope that for one year your sports team will be good and make it all the way.  There is no bitterness, no discouragement that your team has lost half its games in the season, and nobody brings up the prior year’s failure.  For this is a new year.  This is The Year.  I think that only comes from rooting for a team that year after year struggles and disappoints.  

Well, I am ready.  I am ready for the new season and I am ready for this year to be The A’s Year.  I am hopeful.  

28 Things to do Before I’m 29…

28 Things to do Before 29

   I just celebrated my 28th birthday and honestly don’t feel any older.  That seems to be a common theme with each passing birthday.  I’m creeping towards 30, but before I get there I feel as though there is still SO much that I want to accomplish while in my twenties.  Looking back on this past year, I am nostalgic for all of the huge changes that came along and all of the adventures I sought out.  Although I only completed roughly half of my list of 27 Things to do Before I’m 28, there was so much more that I did that wasn’t on my list!

   Not only did I pack up and move across the country to a small town in Pennsylvania, I packed up and moved once again to Denver, Colorado in the same year!  I quickly obtained those 3 new stamps in my National Parks Passport camped with Ellie Mae in Acadia National Park.  Actually, not only did I visit Acadia National Park, but I also saw the sunrise before everyone else in America while getting engaged!  I visited out National Naval Academy in Annapolis.  I went on a cruise for the first time in my life where I overcame a fear and almost eloped. =)  I made Christmas dinner for my family AND cooked them a big, juicy pig (which obviously I ate none of).  We can’t forget my visiting NYC not once, but three times.  That is where I had the great fortune of seeing my first broadway musical, Once.  All in all, there was a lot that I did accomplish on my list, and even more that I didn’t imagine I would be doing!  And I did all of it happily, merrily, and as minimalistic as possible.

   So now looking forward to the upcoming year, I am excited and eager for all that will come.  My biggest goal for this new year is to focus on myself more.  I want to explore; myself, my thoughts and feelings, my goals in life, my spirituality, and face even more fears.  I want to live as positively as possible while remaining to stay in the moment.  Keep present.  After all, I’m only 28 once.  I better make it awesome!

I might not love the idea of getting another year older, but I do love the idea of having another year to fill with the 28 things on the list below.

  1. Get married
  2. Plant a garden
  3. See a big Broadway musical production
  4. Run a 5K
  5. Go winter camping
  6. Join a book club
  7. Volunteer
  8. Visit a new country
  9. Cook a new recipe every week (maybe not every week but quite frequently)
  10. Kiss on top of a 14er (after hiking it)
  11. Bake the perfect cheesecake
  12. Explore spirituality
  13. Can on my own
  14. Love on my yoga mat until it wears out
  15. Get 3 new stamps in National Parks Passport
  16. Do a coffee tour of Denver in a day
  17. Carve a pumpkin
  18. Attend a midnight premier of a cult movie
  19. Learn to crochet granny squares
  20. Have a picnic in all 4 seasons
  21. Take a class
  22. Dye. More than once.
  23. Write a children’s book
  24. Kayak in a new ocean
  25. Complete a photo challenge
  26. Attend an opening day
  27. Keep on loving the Future Mr. and critters
  28. Continue minimalism

So here goes…

#24: Visit New York City

Well folks, I did it.  I went to the Big Apple.  I saw the skyscrapers.  I witnessed china town, ground zero, central park and what authentic Italian food should taste like.  All in one quick weekend! For Mother’s Day (I sadly was across the country from my beloved mother), we took a weekend trip to New York City with Ty’s mother to visit his family.  One huge advantage to living in Hollidaysburg is that we are only a half days drive away from so many metropolis cities.  NYC being one of them.  It was the easiest five hour drive.  I kindly let Tyler drive.

Our very brief weekend in New York was a very tiny taste of the city.  Obviously.  Before you continue reading on about my first impressions, I should make the disclaimer that I am going to return to NYC for another weekend soon in order to experience the city on my own terms.  I want to give it the full chance it deserves before making my final decision on what I think of the The City That Never Sleeps.

We all have some idea of what New York City is in our minds.  Be it the cafe in When Harry Met Sally, or the glamour that surrounds Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire.  For myself, I was prepared to overwhelmed by the loudness and rudeness that is the East Coast.  I was excited for the fashion and eclecticism.  I was dreading the smell and disgusting feeling of smog in the air that seems to form grease and grim on your face within hours.  I eagerly wanted to feel a vibrant city that absorbed me with its livelihood.  I could not wait to be taken aback by the public art and architecture overcoming my senses.  My preconceptions came from reading books such as The Bell Jar, The Great Gatsby, and The Fountainhead.  Like most people, my imagination was off.  And not in all negative ways.

To be completely honest, I enjoyed the city.  I fell in love with the architecture, the food, and the bright neon signs everywhere.  Of course the city is huge, and feels even larger for the fact that I could see for blocks down each street every which way I looked.  That was something new to me.  That is so unlike San Francisco or even Chicago.  I did not have the opportunity to explore any museums, which was a letdown for my art nerd side.  The city was a lot more gray to me than any other city, which made the neon signs seem almost misplaced at times.  All of the buildings were gray cement, gray bricks, or other gray matter.  It felt cold and disconnected.  Maybe that is what some people love about the city.  For me, my favorite place was China Town.  The colors of the fresh produce, the smells of the fresh seafood, the sound of scurrying feet all around.  I was enthralled.

I came across one street of murals.  Murals is what I seek out and hunt down in all cities.  I was thrilled to find some in China Town and hope to spend some time observing them more in future visits.

Overall, I was neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed by anything.  Maybe that is what left me feeling like my first impression was a bit incomplete.  I’d like to keep the idea of what New York City was in the 40’s and 50’s in my mind, because to me that was when I would have fallen in love with it.  But for now I can cross off yet another thing on my list of 27 Things To Do Before I’m 28.  I finally have visited New York City.  And I plan to return soon.

27 Things To Do Before I’m 28

I recently just turned 27 at the beginning of March and feel as though this is a perfect time to share my list of 27 things I would like to accomplish in my 27th year of life.  I have been contemplating a lot lately on what it is I want to become in my life as well as how my priorities are shifting.  I feel as though this will be a grand year with many new adventures and triumphs including my biggest one yet:  beginning my life and my own family with my one love.

Anyways…here is my list!

1.Continue minimalism practices
2. Move to a new town
3. Knit something everyday
4. Maintain this blog to improve my writing skills
5. Go fishing
6. Teach a new class
7. Get 3 stamps in my National Parks Passport
8. Can something new each season
9. Continue yoga practices
10. Send a snail mail surprise every month
11. Go horseback riding
12. See an animal giving birth
13. Complete a “Challenge”
14. Skype!
15. Launch etsy shop for GoatsAndGrain
16. Volunteer
17. Make an ebook using instagram photos
18. Complete a home D.I.Y. project
19. Learn how to make good sushi
20. Take Ellie Mae for a long adventure
21. Tour a brewery
22. Make time for my artwork
23. Take a class
24. Visit New York City
25. Train for and complete a half marathon
26. Host a dinner party
27. Keep on loving and being happy