Saturday, August 5, 2017

Summer Shenanigans 2017

Hey y'all. Currently jammin to some new music from Superfruit and I thought "I should write another blog post"! It's been about three months so I'm due for another one anyway.

So here we are. :D

Last time I checked, it was about a week or two before the summer workshop I did started up and lots has happened since then! So we'll just go through it.

Huzzah! This definitely took up a good portion of my brain space this summer. Twice a week for a few hours I went to a workshop held at the community college I used to go to and it was seriously so much fun! I strengthened some friendships I already had as well as made some new and valuable ones! I definitely came out of it a better performer than what I was when I went into it. It was also exciting to be coached by people you have never really been coached by before. I knew Jen and Jeff already because I had gone to CGCC but neither of them were my voice teachers and I don't think I ever sang in one of their masterclasses over my time there, so it was a new and educational experience for me!

I wasn't sure what to expect at first because there wasn't a definitive structure that was given to us beforehand so I went in a little nervous. I was certain there was going to be scene work because I knew there was going to be a performance at the end to show off what we had worked on, but beyond that I had no idea! We all started the class by taking turns singing a prepared aria (naturally) and then we got some coaching on a new aria of our choice. All the arias I had had already been coached with either Dale or Robert so I didn't want to do any of those, so the only one left was one I had been given ages ago and had been pretty difficult for me to do in the past. "Prendi, per me sei libero" from Donizetti's Elixir of Love. Greeeaaattt. It's exposed and way different than what I normally do EVER, but it is so beautiful which were all reasons exactly why I wanted to go for it. It still has a lot of work to do to make it truly perform-able as part of the whole role, but the improvement I made was satisfactory with all things considered. We were also put into scene groups and originally I had two scenes I was part of but one was dropped to my relief (they had me as Gilda in the Rigoletto quartet and I about passed out because that ish is like waayyyy out of my depth fo reals like call back in 5 years thaannnkss) so I was left with The Impresario Trio, which was much easier to swallow. BUT MAN that is a flippin marathon to get through! We had even cut out like a solid minute of it and it was still effin hard. It felt good in my voice which was a #blessing but figuring out how to pace myself was the real trick to singing it. Once we got the hang of it, it was my favorite thing to sing! I am all about the over the top crazy and kooky characters, and Madame Herz/Goldentrill was right up my alley. The performance went swimmingly and we all received wonderfully positive feedback about just about everything. I'm glad my voice teacher and her husband were able to come see what I had worked for.

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The Impresario Trio (Logan, Me, Stacy)! 

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Me:"A dog, Joe"
 Logan: "Enough about the dog, Susan" 
Stacy: "It's not a dog...hehe"

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Logan *might* cry

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The letter read "To whom it may concern, Nemorino is now in the army, k? lawlz, Belcore"

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"My ears are ringing"       "I know, just smile through it"

Lots of laughs were had for sure and I learned a bunch. I think this was the perfect way to spend my summer, especially since this is the first summer program I have ever done!

{Girls Camp 2017}
I'm grateful that my first girls camp as YW president was ward camp. It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved and I feel like I really connected with my girls. They are so special, intelligent, beautiful souls inside and out. I would do anything for them! We held it up at Camp Brentwood about 30 min outside of Alpine, AZ. It was about 5 hours away, but it was so worth it! The weather was gorgeous the entire time, and we even got some rain! My camp directors and cooks went above and beyond in their assignments and I couldn't have picked anyone better to execute the best girls camp I've ever been to! I also got to know my first counselor and secretary much better....what happens in the tent stays in the tent. ;)

We went on a beautiful hike and stopped at this small river/creek, we had a luau with a whole roasted pig(!!!), made adorable crafts, grew spiritually together and had the best time. That was just a portion of everything we did and I won't ever forget it. :)

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our little set up, the girls' tents were further down

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The Kakamora came and attacked us with water balloons. ;)

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Luau Time!

Aside from the workshop and girls camp, I have just been hanging out at home. I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to do whatever I want for once, instead of being restricted by summer camp and the madness and stress that came with it. Yikes. It is a double-edged sword though, with so much freedom comes much boredom majority of the time. That was the only draw back...I can only watch so many movies and clean my kitchen so many times. haha

I did have fun outings though, like Wet n Wild with Kelly and Brent. Guys. My life has changed. That's my new favorite place! It's way the heck away, but it's so worth it because it's so much fun!! Ian and I made the mistake of thinking we'd be alright without water shoes or waterproof flipflops but we ended up getting small blisters on our feet by the time we left. We even had to cut the day short because of it! The pavement is HOT! Sorry guys. Next year though, we'll invest in something to protect our feet. ;) 

Now I'm just waiting for school to start in about two weeks...Getting that chorus music learned isn't that difficult, it's fairly repetitive and we only sing for like two minutes at a time. I'll have it all memorized by next week. 

OH I got a new job! You're looking at Studio 3's newest voice teacher! I'm pretty excited to start. It's like part part time, only two nights a week! I have 3 students so far who want to do a trial lesson next week, so that's exciting. Teaching privately will give us an extra $200/month with just 3 students, so it's definitely a good thing. I feel sometimes I'm not qualified to do this, but then I remember I've been at this for 4 years now and some choral ed students start teaching well before they're graduated so it should work, right? RIGHT?! Gah. It'll give me experience regardless, so that's the up side. My students also won't be over the age of like 16 so it's not like I'm teaching people my age. LOL I got this....?

Anyway. That's been the summer shenanigans I've been up to over the last few months. Hope you all have had an enjoyable summer! Goodbye, my lovelies!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

End of Semester Catch Up

Hey guys! It's finally May, it's finally summer. That is so strange to me! The semester felt really long, yet it flew by. Basically up until spring break, time seemed to mosy on and take a relatively slow pace, but after spring break came and went, it's like I blinked and it was suddenly over! The latter half of the semester was filled to the brim with seemingly endless deadlines and performances, so naturally it whizzed by faster than its preceding half.

Surprise Party Shenanigans!
One of the first eventful things to happen post-break, was my incredibly successful secret scheme of throwing Ian a surprise birthday party! Ian isn't one to make a big deal of himself, let alone his birthday, and I felt that he should be made special on his special day. Considering how terrible I am at keeping something like this a secret, and Ian can read me so fast, it was a huge success! We had a good 20ish people show up, including friends from out of town. I lured him out by getting a birthday dinner at Serrano's (one of our favorite restaurants) and stopping at Walmart to get Moana to watch when we got home. My mom had picked up the groceries I had ordered for party refreshments and with the help of party goers, decorated our living room in time for when we arrived back at the house. Ian had no idea! I actually surprised him! And I think he felt very loved. #bestsneakywifeaward

School Shenanigans!
With Ian's party done, it became a mad dash of finishing assignments, memorizing music, and learning staging. My aesthetics (read: philosophy) was probably the hardest class I have ever taken in my education career and I somehow managed my time beautifully during the chaos of the last few weeks of the semester {which NEVER happens} and I think I did a bangup good job too. [I got an A, so I will definitely take it]. It was a split undergrad/grad class, and based on what my friend Tyler told me, if I was able to be successful in that class then I can definitely do grad school. *phew*

The rest of my classes were a breeze compared to that beastly aesthetics class, and I know I was able to keep up with everything. Music History was fine enough, though the TAs were tougher than the actual professor {my bet is that it's an ego thing but maybe that's just me /shrug}. My Jazz in America class was awesome, considering it's geared towards non-music majors, so I had zero problem acing that class. I did get to go to a really great jazz performance for my final report, and I actually came out of it really glad I took the class. I love it when that happens!

At The Nash in Phoenix 

Opera Scenes was downright the best class I had this semester. My scene consisted of all-star castmates and we had the most fun scene! We did the opening bit of Bernstein's Candide, and yours truly got to sing Cunegonde. Dream come true! Everyone was hysterical in their roles and as a whole sounded pretty darn good. Robert even said he really liked it, so you know we did a good job. Upon listening to someone's recording, I wish I had worked on my part with Anne in hindsight, just because I heard myself fall back into some bad habits that I had worked so hard to try and press out of my system and I think she could have cleaned up my high notes better than I did on my own. I wanted to surprise her, and though I did well, I am a little frustrated that I know I could have done better. C'est la vie! Now I know for the future. :) I wish I had taken some photos of us in costume because we all looked fabulous! The rest of the scenes were also so impressive, and there wasn't one weak scene in the whole program. It's seriously so incredible how many talented people are here, and we're not lying when we say we have the hottest MT program in the US. ;) I managed to end the semester with good grades, all As and one B. The B was in music history, and as mentioned before, the TAs were really hard so I will consider that a success.

Summer Shenanigans!
I have some good plans for this summer, which include not working. BLESS. As fun as the kids are most of the time at VIK, working for VIK is not for the faint of heart and I was tired of being treated poorly and then blamed for circumstances out of my control, as well as a lack of organization and respect from people above me. One of my bosses straight up through me under the bus on multiple occasions because of mistakes she made and that was the last straw for me. I got the email about working summer camp, and I just ignored it. I don't know if I'm brave enough to just email them and tell them to take me off payroll (there are people who "stay" on payroll so they don't have to reapply every summer) but I haven't gotten there yet. Maybe she'll just assume I'm done because I won't ever come back? Is that bad?

We also held a very successful Bollywood night (and ironically on Cinco de Mayo ha) with my dear friends Taryn and John, and their significant others Jared and Kylie. We made curry and naan, watched "Om Shanti Om" and had a jolly time. It's been decided we shall do this more often because too much fun was had. Also those people are some of my favorite people so that's always a plus. 

I had been asked/hired to sing the "Pie Jesu" in Faure's Requiem (If you've never heard it, please go take a listen. It's truly some really beautiful music! Nothing fancy, but very pretty nonetheless) with a full choir and orchestra in Chandler/Sun Lakes. I was super excited for it because it was my first paid gig, and it was going to be really good. I had gone to a rehearsal on a Friday (5/5) and it went really well and was looking forward to the performance the following Friday. WELL that weekend is when things went towards a different...direction. Sunday was fast Sunday, so naturally I didn't have anything to eat all day by the time I got to my in-law's house for dinner. They had saved me some food (we get out of church later than they do) and I went to town. My stomach kinda started to hurt when I finished eating and my tummy felt a little tight. It was a little uncomfortable, but I just thought maybe I had eaten too fast or something. I felt it for the rest of the evening but it wasn't bad enough to warrant leaving early. We get home and go to bed and I complained to Ian that my tummy really was feeling really weird, but I was hopeful I would sleep it off. I was very wrong. I got a very poor night's rest, tossing and turning! I would lay still because moving made my stomach hurt, but then I needed to change position again and it would make me super nauseous and it was just a never ending cycle of discomfort. We woke up the next morning, around 7 and my stomach was feeling super weird and not good! I was getting a little nervous because it was something I had never experienced before. It was like I had done a really intense ab workout and my stomach was super sore from it. There was the tiniest pinch on my lower right side, which made me think appendicitis, but upon texting my sisters I initially didn't "pass" the criteria like hopping on one foot, or hurting after releasing pressure, etc. I thought maybe my digestive system was backed up so I went downstairs and started sipping on some apple juice to get things flowing. To my surprise that kick started my colon I guess, and I did my business. But it made it worse! I was starting to really not feel good. I hollered up to Ian to call our primary doctor to schedule an appointment (we had just taken Ian to the ER for his gallbladder and I didn't want to make that expense if my problem ended up being digestive). The earliest we could get in was 3pm that afternoon. I made my way upstairs and my pain started to really increase. I was in tears by the time we were off the phone making the appointment and within 5 minutes of that phone call, we decided to just go to the ER. We waited in the ER waiting room for about 45 minutes {read: 2 million hours} before I was seen, and by the time they got to me, my pain was at a solid 8/10. I felt absolutely dreadful, extremely nauseous, and straight up miserable. My ER nurse gave me some morphine and something for the nausea and the staff were pretty quick on all the registration/housekeeping. My time gets foggy at this point, but I think within the hour they had a urine sample, blood samples, all that good stuff and I was taken to get a CT*

              *Tangent: Getting a CT was kind of a cool experience actually! Uneventful, but the fluid they put in to see all your junk made it feel like you whizzed your pants. haha

Came back from CT, and hung out for a little while longer and my drugs were starting to wear off. They were really quick with the results and I was informed I had acute appendicitis and would have to have emergency surgery! By that point I didn't really care how they got it out, nor was I nervous about having surgery (I've never have had one before this), it just needed to come out so I could stop feeling miserable so they brought me up to the OR floor, (upon arrival, I vomited because without the morphine and nausea drugs my pain/nausea was def a 9-9.5/10 so it's good to know I wasn't exaggerating any digestive pain I guess). They put one of those little caps on me, I met my surgeon and anesthesiologist (who was like the nicest person) and then he put something in my IV, and I was out. I vaguely remember opening my eyes and seeing the OR light and them putting on the gas mask and then the next thing I know, I'm in my hospital room! I stayed overnight, and was home around 2pm Tuesday. It was crazy and kind of a whirlwind, and I kind of have a hard time believing it actually happened. haha It was an adventure, that's for sure. I was in the ER by 9, seen by about 10, and in surgery by about 1. It kinda went 0-100 real quick haha

I was still pretty drugged up at this point haha 

Recovery has been interesting because I don't know what to expect from something like this, but it's been fairly straightforward. They did the procedure laparoscopically, so fortunately I haven't had to deal with any nasty draining/stitches/etc. Just some small incisions down my lower belly. If anything, it's been more annoying not to be able to use my core muscles! You forget how much you use them by just...existing. haha Oh and for laparoscopic surgeries they pump you full of carbon dioxide so the surgeon can see clearly, so I was bloated AND couldn't use my abs for like 5 days, so I now I have a pretty good idea of what I'll look like when I am like 5 months pregnant, whenever that will be. xD I started to feel like myself on Saturday, and I've been feeling much better every day. Ready for the steri-strips to come off, but I'm not allowed to touch them till they fall out on their own. Boo. And even though I feel almost perfectly fine now, I can't lift anything above 15 pounds for another 6 weeks, and I don't know how long till I can workout. I was planning on totally getting in shape this summer, but now I'm set back 6 weeks! rawr.

In other news, I was cast in this fall's LOT production of "The Bartered Bride"! I have a few featured chorus roles, like a waitress and a bride, and my personal favorite, Heidi the Yodeling girl!
I have no idea what that entails, if I get to yodel or not, or whatever but that is my character's name and basically means I get to have a lot of fun with it. Or I'll make it fun. Or both. Either way, it's a win. There shall be lots of stage time, and lots of folk dancing! Normally I'm nervous about choreo, but with my background in swing and country dance, I think I can actually offer something really nice this time around! Huzzah!

In the mean time, I have an opera workshop with Jeff Stevens and Jen Nagy to fill up my time, as well as some lessons with Anne to get a headstart on my recital. Because OHYEAH I'm delaying graduation till May just to make my life a little bit easier, and to have more fun.

I also have girls camp to do, but that is being planned by my camp directors for the most part, so not much for me to do yeah. That's been my life in a nutshell since March.

Till next time, my lovelies!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Break, Operas, and too many pictures

Howdy ya'll! What an exciting past 3 months it has been! Let's get right to it! Buckle your seatbelts cuz it's looooooooong.

Christmas 2016
 This Christmas was spent with Ian's family this year. Cookie decorating and our annual caroling was a hit, especially since this time it was held in concert form in the park! A solid 75 people showed up if I remember right. All in all a wonderful holiday.

LOT Magic Flute!
UGH I will never get tired of talking about Magic Flute. It was such an amazing experience and a super fun one to boot! I got to work with so many talented individuals on a regular basis [more than I already do] and I made so many new friends! We sold out all four showings (which is saying something considering our closing is a Sunday matinee!). I had so much of my family come and support me, including my grandma, my aunt Cindy, my dad and my brother Nathan; all of whom live out of state.

I was able to spend some quality time with my dad, which was really fun since we haven't spent that much time together in years. He stayed with us while he was in town and we hung out, went to the Renaissance Festival and out to dinner a few times. It was really nice to see him and have him visit. Now he can say he's been to the opera. ;)

This show is definitely my favorite to date and I feel so lucky to have been part of it!

 me and Taryn, my dear friend!

 Aren't we stunning

 This is the adorable little figurine Lauren (my Queen of the Night) gave me as I dive head first into this whole opera thing. We shared a dressing room and she is just the most thoughtful person. 

 The costuming was pretty amazing for everyone, but I think I got the best ones. ;) 

Nathan Haltiwanger as Papageno, and yours truly as Papagena. He was so amazing to work with!

 Ach, ich f├╝hl's (tech rehearsal!)

 Baldt Prangt (tech rehearsal!)

After Papageno rings his magic bells and Monostatos with his slaves dance their way off stage. It really is the best part of the entire opera. ;) 

The opera consumed my life for a solid 3 weeks! I feel bad because I'm just now getting life back to normal and I was called to be Young Women's President a little over a month ago and I have been trying to keep up and not feel like a total flake. :P Good news is that I {kind of} have a grip on things now. Ha. Just kind of. ;) 

SPRING BREAK {Disneyland}
Ian bought the tickets the Friday before Spring Break and off we went! We stayed with our friends Taylor and Jadyn, who were kind enough to let us crash as they were moving into the cutest little townhouse. It was such a good week! 3-day parkhoppers, good friends, and beautiful weather. I could not have asked for a better way to spend spring break. This was the first vacation we've taken together since our honeymoon 3 1/2 years ago! It was a much needed one. The 6 hour drive there and back definitely were not my favorite parts but it was definitely worth it. WARNING: LOTS AND LOTS OF PICTURES.

brb crying from withdrawals with the sight of this castle 

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It was so adorable how they were asking all the kids to use the Force to help defeat Kylo Ren. My ovaries exploded it's fine. 

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Disneyland does not mess with their portion sizes. Or their flavors. Drooling. 

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It's a McHardy tradition to pose like the to the statues. haha

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They do a flag ceremony on Main Street and they recognize the military attending. It was really cool. 

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The best ice cream cone and the best seat for World of Color. Which was prob the best part of our entire trip.

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I spotted Moana. Several times. I can die happy now. 

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Ian and his Indiana Jones hat. Stud.
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All of the cool pop up shows make Disneyland so special

ALL of the selfies were taken:

 my first set of Minnie ears!!

 the Autopia ride gives you little paper drivers licenses!

 SPACE MOUNTAIN {err, Hyperspace Mountain now}

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You can't not take a picture with the Chief when you go here.

Also, many a dumb Snaps were taken as well:

Star Tours. Duh.

Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. More intense than we anticipated. haha

At least I think I'm funny

These guys were so cool. Hanging out behind the River Belle Terrace in the little alley.

We were able to hangout with Taylor, Jadyn and Olivia quite a bit too. They are so much fun and I miss having them around! We strolled around Downtown Disney and had some fancy lunch. Olivia was my buddy our whole trip and simply put, has stolen my heart! I just love that little girl.

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I forgot what they named him but it was cute. I'll tell ya that much.

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Legit artwork, guys.

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The amazing food alone is a good enough reason to come to at least Downtown Disney

I got this little gem on Snapchat and it's my favorite

GUH what a fun week!! I miss Disneyland but I am also glad to be home and back in school. How nerdy am I?!

In other news, one of my dearest friends in high school got married over the weekend! He's been like my brother for so long and it was so exciting and special to be there for him on his special day! 

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Brayton and his new wifey Mackenzie

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Biggest congratulations to the happy couple! :)

Also in other news, my sister in law Allie finally had her baby boy!! He is the sweetest little nugget you ever did see. I can't believe he's actually here! He was born early in the afternoon of the same day we left for Disneyland so fortunately we were able to go see him and Allie in the hospital on our way out. :) 

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little Campbell Alan McHardy

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We love our newest nephew!

PHEW. Glad you stayed this long and kept up with my rambling. You should get an award, or something. That's basically been my life in a nutshell over the past few months, and it's been an amazing past few months. Let's hope this trend continues. 

Thanks for reading, my lovelies.