Did Love or Life Get in the Way?

Here I go again…seemingly lazy’ing it up on this blog thing again.

I’ve made progress on a lot of things. Reminding myself of that fact keeps the guilt away. I got a PO Box and set up my mailing lists and e-mails for both my sites (blog, pro). Not really sure what went wrong. Did discouragement sneak in somewhere? Did the mundane tasks of every day life get in the way? Racking my brain over it and there’s nothing there. Sitting at my desk in front of the computer and just…blank. Perhaps I’m suffering from a bit of writers’ block. It’s not for lack of trying. I did reach a lot of my goals for this month, so it’s good! The chores got done and meals were cooked and appointments were kept…but there were nights I had free where I could have spent more time on the design or more time writing. There were some afternoons I could have spent making jewelry or drawing, things I haven’t done in a long long time. But I didn’t do any of those things. I colored with my daughter, I watched a movie with my husband, we attempted potty training (oh boy), I gave my daughter her first voice lesson (singing vowels and she would copy me, OMG so cute and off key!)…these are really the sweetest days, and they must be loved and lived and experienced before they’re gone.

A few updates…

I interviewed my friend Lora Nicolas on the delicate balance of motherhood and working in the entertainment industry. I don’t know how she does it. She told me and I have proof and I still don’t know. Maybe as I continue to write her feature, it will come to me. Piece to follow.

Got some exciting news regarding a potential upcoming project, but as nothing is finalized as of yet, I don’t want to jinx it by spilling the beans too soon. Hopefully everything goes as planned!

What I’m thankful for…

A few years ago I used to write down what I was thankful for each day. Trying to get back in that habit and improve my outlook on things a bit. I’m not a negative person but it’s too easy to let the poison creep in if you don’t arm yourself with joy.

  1. Choosing to spend time with my daughter and husband instead of pouring all my spare time into extra projects. Everything else and this blog will survive a few days or weeks hiatus. My family is the center of my heart and nurturing them fills me.
  2. Reaching many of my goals for the month, doubling my views (albeit very small), created mailing lists, brainstormed posts and continued getting myself organized.
  3. Flexible employment and powerful female co-workers and supervisors.
  4. My daughter’s lilting laugh. Her laughter lifts my mood instantly.
  5. This little monster, always.

Count your blessings, even on your worst days, you have at least one.

In conclusion…

Love and life did NOT get in my way. My love and life ARE my way. Everything else will follow. I have to keep remembering that. Cherish everything and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for it.

Looking for a gift idea? What about a Superhero Kids Portrait!

© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

What if you could make your child into a superhero?

If you’re looking for a gift for a great kid in your life, look no further! What about a customized superhero kids portrait of your favorite kiddos? Every kid wants to be a superhero! I know I did. My superhero power would definitely include flight, super strength and the ability to talk to animals. That would make me Wonder Woman. (keep that in mind for the future).

This past holiday season, I wanted to get my in-laws and my parents an amazing and unique gift – I wanted to give them portraits of all the kids in our family but dressed as comic book superheroes! As an artist, ideally I wanted to draw it myself, but as the mother of a rambunctious toddler WHO WILL NOT SIT DOWN EVER WHILE AWAKE, I knew I wouldn’t have the time. I (technically) could draw it myself, but as the comic book style isn’t my strength, it would take a long time for me to get it right. The smart thing to do would be to commission an artist who specializes in that style. So I commissioned my super talented cousin, Sonya Henar to draw our kids portrait! By the way, not only is she a stellar artist, but she’s also a fantastic singer.

Check this out. Isn’t this the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?!

SUPERHERO KIDS PORTRAIT!

Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

She even drew the DOG!!! BFFS for life, right?

Here is an example of a group superhero kids portrait of my nephews. Sonya can even draw your whole family if you asked her to!

Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

Everyone loved them. Each superhero kid got their own personal picture to frame and put in their room, too! Check out more of Sonya’s work at www.sonyahenar.com and order a commission at her custom artwork site. I’m so proud of her. I like to pretend to think I taught her everything she knows, but I didn’t. That’s all her.

 

Mommy-Daughter Day at Dia:Beacon

Dia:Beacon
The little one making mischief at Dia:Beacon!

My daughter and I took advantage of this weekend’s FREE event at Dia:Beacon. This weekend was part of Dia’s Community Free Days which includes free admission for Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester County residents on quarterly basis. The last time I went there was before I got married, so I was hoping to see some new stuff.

Yeesh, I forget how BIG this place is. It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but believe me, it’s huge!

Kiddo loved it!

There was a lot of room for her to run around. I made sure she only ran free in areas where the artwork was out of her reach. She had her eye on one particular sculpture (made of discarded metal) and she was DETERMINED to climb it. Luckily, I got to her before she could touch it.

I will have to say, that I maintain my stance on blank canvases as “art.” Not sorry. Not art. Piles of glass? Not art. Garbage. Holy crap, I was cursing under my breath because I just cannot reconcile that as art. There are two or three rooms of blank canvases up next to galleries of giant metal sculptures and down the hall is a whole room of geometric pencil drawings drawn right on the wall!! Blank canvases (canvases painted white, whatever) are not the same. Watch me take a dump on the floor and call it art. Same amount of effort. I blame Duchamp and his love for toilet humor.

However, I did enjoy most of the work displayed!

There were some pieces I loved, like The Hanged Man by Bruce Nauman (NSFW). I thought it was hilarious! Maybe the not the message the artist was trying to put forth, but humor is what I got.

Dan Flavin’s untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection), 1973 was also one of my favorites. My daughter actually enjoyed his the best because they were all lit up!

Sol LeWitt remains my favorite artist displayed at Dia:Beacon because you know some WORK went into his pieces. My daughter pointed at one particular installation which was red, yellow and blue and started shouting, “Color! Color!” Even she appreciated it, and she’s only 18.5 months old!

Later, we finished up with lunch in the museum cafe, which is an extension of Homespun Foods, one of Beacon’s most popular cafes – SUPER delicious, and not your standard museum cafeteria food.

Anyway, even with my loathing towards conceptual art, Dia:Beacon is still a wonderful place to visit and get your culture on. The Dia Art Foundation has several locations and affiliates in the US and internationally. Check them out!

An Unplanned Hiatus and Announcement!

So the end of November threw me into an unplanned hiatus from blogging and personal social media. My online activities were restricted to the social media responsibilities for my job, as well as extra holiday hours at the store. Not that it wasn’t a welcome time to be busy, because as you can tell from the photo below…

Pregnancy Announcement

…the hubs and I are expecting our first child in July! We are very excited, terrified and so so happy! We aren’t particularly sentimental/cheesy/corny people, but we do love to laugh. So we included Donut in our announcement! Poor kid, haha! He’s been demoted to reindeer next Christmas. The first thing I bought for the baby was a Santa suit. Girl or boy, who cares.

Donut and his soon-to-be-baby

Other than that, I’ve been really busy working because of the holidays. Since it is the start of the slow season, I’m working on increasing my social media client base and adding more inventory to my shop. I want to work from home so that I can stay with the baby. My parents both worked full time so growing up I had nannies and babysitters around me the majority of the time. I lived for Thursdays because that was the day my mom would be off from work! Because of how both parents working out of the house affected me growing up, I would rather be the one at home taking care of the kids and return to the workforce once they are old enough to go to school.

I don’t plan on putting too many pictures of the kids online. I want them to be able to control their own level of privacy. That cute picture of them on the toilet when they’re  five could come back to haunt them when they’re fifteen.

Pregnancy has been fairly easy so far (knock on wood), aside from mild food aversions (still can’t eat chicken), and dairy has become my worst enemy (gas gas gas……..), but chocolate is still my friend and french fries have saved me from starving on more than one occasion.

I have a couple things planned for this blog. I will continue to feature my talented friends in my monthly round-ups (performances, industry, etc.), but I’ll be adding more DIY, recipes and some music. Stay tuned!

Presently…

Can you believe it’s almost the end of September? Where did all the glorious warm weather go? It’s been such a busy past few months. I’ve been working a lot, and next week I start rehearsals for a new project I’m working on. On the go as always, and even though I just returned from a week long vacation in Mississippi visiting family, I’m already in dire need for another one!

Watching: Married With Children. I never get tired of this show. Ever. I’ve been watching it since I was a kid, even though I shouldn’t have been, haha! The jokes went over my head back then, thankfully.

Preparing: I’m getting ready to do two giveaways! One with a sponsor and one with a friend of mine. Details to come!

Writing: Another article on the real lives of actors. This one is going to be focused on actors who have moved to the United States for their career.

Reminiscing: Miss Saigon celebrated her 25th Anniversary, and watching the trailer for the new production in London brings back so many memories. Like the time I threw up in the middle of a dance number, or the time I was dropped on my head, or the time I had to leave my pants onstage because they got caught on an immoveable set piece and I needed to exit…oh yes, all true! LOL, oh the stories I have to tell!!

Organizing: My office has been in a state of madness for a few months. I took everything out to sort, and I’m in the process of FINALLY setting up my sewing machine. Pajamas for all!

That’s it! What are YOU doing?

Happy 25th Birthday to Miss Saigon!

Twenty-five years ago today, the first production of Miss Saigon opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Lea Salonga. In 1994, I saw the show in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theatre starring Jennifer Paz (Melinda Chua alt.) as Kim. I remember thinking to myself “That’s what I want to do when I grow up.” My dreams came true full circle almost 10 years later when I was cast in the North American Tour with Jennifer. I lived that dream for a year and a half in the ensemble, covering the roles of Gigi and Kim.

It was such a wonderful time in my life. This show made me believe that there was room for me in the musical theatre world, and since then I’ve played many roles that both support and challenge my type. The friends I made because of this show are forever, and I have Miss Saigon to thank.

Here is a video of the musical farewell that my tour roommate Kyle Bruich and I recorded with the two kids who alternated the role of Tam (Jonathan Wade and Brianna Laxson). These kids are both taller than me now, and have been for awhile!

Please excuse the messy room in the video, haha!

Happy Birthday to Miss Saigon!

Throwback Thursday : The Secret Garden


A few days ago, an old friend and colleague of mine Gregory Cooke posted this video! I found it about a month or so ago while writing reflections on past blog entries. Being in rehearsals for The Secret Garden concert (a one-night performance this coming Saturday!) have brought back so many happy memories! These voices, this music…ahhh!! Glorious.

With The Secret Garden director Michael Osburn
With The Secret Garden director Michael Osburn. This was before I learned how to put on stage makeup, yikes!!

Coming down the home stretch with this show! I’m looking forward to a little bit of normalcy for awhile afterwards. My husband goes to bed before I get home and he’s gone to work before I wake up. It’s definitely hard, but he understands and supports me in my career.

In non-theatrical news, I’m writing a couple of articles, working on a giveaway with a friend of mine which should go up in a few weeks, new jewelry will be added to my shop, and this blog will get a facelift. My professional site got a revamp yesterday, so now it’s the blog’s turn!

One day, I will sleep again.

Friday Favorite – Lucille Ball

When I was a kid, I Love Lucy used to come on after the morning cartoons. I’d watch TV in the mornings until about 10am. Because the show was in black and white, I wasn’t intrigued by the opening song and never really gave the show a chance.

Then one day I was too lazy to change the channel or couldn’t find the remote or whatever (nothing much has changed, really), but who cares. I sat through the opening credits and my life was changed forever. All of a sudden I was making that face. You know the face.

I wanted to wear little hats with veils like her, and I even tried to sew a bunch of lace and flowers to an old sundress to make it into a ballgown just like the one she and Ethel wore while singing “Friendship.” This is the closest I’ve found to a real one, but no flowers or sashes. I love love LOVE her wardrobe on the show!!

Speaking of, I want this!!

When Lucy died, I was only just a little girl, and I was really sad about it. I had only been a fan for a few months, but she’s one of the few performers I wish I’d met while still alive.

I still can’t believe she kept a “one-take” policy on set. If you got in her way (literally), you got run over (literally!).

Here’s a video of Desi remembering his time with Lucy. Wonderful.

Throwback Thursday – The Motherland

Yvonne de Salle from Sing at Home Mom

This photo was from the last time I went to the Philippines, about 7.5 years ago, just a few days after I met my husband. I loved those pants I’m wearing! Perfect for the hot hot weather out there! ! While I was enjoying an 85 degree Christmas, my husband (who had no idea he had just met the love of his life!) was skiing in Colorado! I could only stay in The Philippines for about 5 or 6 days because I was in performances of Peter Pan at the time, and the other actress with whom I shared the role just found out she was pregnant. I don’t think the cast was privy to that information yet but when I found out I was all the more grateful that she was able to fly for me.

It was rough traveling so far for just a few days but it was worth it. I was able to attend the wedding of my Auntie Jasmine, reconnect with a lot of family, and delve deeper into my roots.

What a different world it is out there. It aches inside when I think of the terrible weather that the country has sustained recently. Ondoy was bad, Haiyan was worse…and who knows what is to come next?

The Philippines is such a beautiful country and her people are strong and resilient. I hope to bring my husband there one day. It is important to me that our future children know where they come from. They will not have as much “Filipino-ness” as I do, but they must never forget their heritage. And they must learn to eat balut. Don’t gag, it’s delicious!

I Got A Rocking Chair

As you get older, it's important to have good seating.
As you get older, it’s important to have good seating.

I bought myself a rocking chair a few days ago. For my porch.

Here’s to completing one more trip around the sun! Considering how close I was to not completing the first one, I am thankful for every year. It’s funny how the trip just gets faster and faster and faster and it seems like I’ll wake up one day surrounded by all of my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Oh yes, I plan on sticking around for that long. I want to be that crazy old lady that just says what she wants whenever she wants. I do that already but I keep my filter in check. It seems the older you are the crazier you’re allowed to be.

According to Facebook, I share my birthday with 5 other people and a cat! Coincidentally, my friend Jesica and I have the exact same birthday, and her brother and my brother share the same birthday. I never thought I’d meet anyone sharing my birthday, but to know someone with a sibling that shares the same birthday as mine does? Looney tunes, man.

A few nights ago, I started what is already proving to be a daunting task! I am consolidating all of my blogs from across cyberspace into this one. I have blogs that trace all the way back to 2003! Reading through some of those entries brought back so many memories! I’m going to try to keep them as true to the original as I can, but if you think my potty mouth is bad now, back then it was far far worse.

I considered leaving the entries as they are, and for the most part they will be. The curse words will be edited out (mostly), photos and links will be updated (for the sake of making them enjoyable and relevant), and I will be posting a commentary underneath each post. I’ll also be including the e-mail newsletters I sent out while on tour back in 2004-2005. This project is going to be an interesting way to relive the past 10+ years, and it’s a little scary! There was one attempt to bring these back a few years ago, but I scrapped the idea because I was embarrassed at how immature I was back then. Then I look around at some of the goons walking around the earth today and think “Screw it, I wasn’t THAT bad.”

Here’s to many many more trips around the sun!