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!

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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 there....so 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 statues...next 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:


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Star Tours. Duh.

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

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At least I think I'm funny

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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


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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. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Decemburrrr

Hey y'all. It's been a while up in here so let's get to it!

Last time I checked, we had done the anniversary post...yes! That is correct. Well, let's do a month play-by-play!

Rest of September:

After our anniversary, was my birthday! Since I'm in school it's not like we can do anything super crazy, but we went to Serrano's for dinner, which was delicious. Did we do anything after that? Gosh I don't remember. I'm becoming a party pooper for my birthdays. I don't like spending that much time over it.

October:

Because I'm *that* exciting, it was a crazy blur. 17 credits worth of classes will do that to you. Well, the first of the month was general conference, which was obviously wonderful. I spent my time between sessions decorating, which was super cute.


The next weekend after that, my brother-in-law Max got married to his childhood sweetheart! It was the sweetest thing. They've known each other since they were like 7 or something like that. Bri is the sweetest and it was a beautiful day!




That led into fall break, which was a nice little break till the semester came down hard. I was mainly focusing on getting all my music learned for my recital, as well as working at rehearsals for the student lab production of Cendrillon {Cinderella} at school. Not to mention auditions for Mozart's The Magic Flute were coming up, and apparently it was custom to have the callback material learned before callbacks to show you're prepared and serious! Just add that to the list of music I had to have learned and memorized, sheesh! {By the way, I totaled up how many songs I had to have learned and memorized over the whole semester and it came out to 14. No wonder I couldn't retain anything by the last week of classes} Nevertheless, I did my best to learn the Papagena duet (since Papagena was my first, albeit very bold choice in a role that I preferred). Also, because I am not that wise of a person at times, I didn't take some advice that I had received to learn the 1st Spirit's callback material as well, and lo and behold, I got a call back for 1st Spirit in addition to Papagena. I had to learn 13 pages of music in one day! God Bless Hope Douglass, for she saved me that day. I mustered through the callback, though I definitely could have handled myself better. I take myself way too seriously at times. My Papagena callback went well, though I couldn't remember the words at some points and the music stand my audition partner and I were sharing was further away from me and I couldn't make out the words! Oops. I thought overall it wasn't bad, but I didn't think Papagena was realistic since I was competing against two grad students and another senior. A very long 3 days came and went, and Taryn texted me at like midnight telling me to check my email and LOOK WHAT I FOUND:

I could hardly believe it! I was half asleep and thought my eyes were playing tricks on me! Fortunately enough people auditioned where they could double cast the principals, so here I am on the docket! I am so excited to be part of this production, and to have a fun role! 

In the excitement of auditions and callbacks, which were held on 10/30 and 10/31, we did not celebrate Halloween this year. Which is cray, but honestly with these results, I didn't mind one bit. 

November:

The first weekend was the Marine Corps Ball. This time around was so much fun! Especially since I'm starting to remember people and we had an awesome group at our table. It was held at a Double Tree Hilton way up in North Scottsdale, and it was huge! Wayyy bigger than the last few years, which was awesome because we were so smooshed the last few times. The food, as always, was to die for. I even tried the salmon on my plate and it was actually really good! The dessert was so fancy.

This was like a chocolate mousse with a crunchy crust on the bottom. Noms.


This was a key lime cheesecake! So good!

THEN, literally the next day was the dress rehearsal for Cendrillon, and the following day the actual performance! Talk about a busy weekend! Cendrillon was a such a fun experience and was perfect as my first opera. I was La Fee (fairy grandmother) and I hammed it up, per usual. I made so many new friends and got to know people I met before way better. It makes me sad that I don't get more time here to hang out with these special people!

 These hooligans.

THEN my life went in to hyper-recital mode. All but one of my eleven songs were new this semester and I was working as I hard as I could to get it ready by November 23rd. GUH. But I made it to that evening with relatively no problems, except a minor meltdown about parking (I know, I'm such a loser haha). The recital started and I did it! It was actually super fun, and I was super relaxed, even when I had to make up a few words in my French songs. I DID IT! We had yummy sweetbreads courtesy of my in-laws and all in all it was a good night. And I couldn't have done it without my amazing accompanist Hope. She rocks my socks. And I REALLY could not have done it without my amazing voice teacher Anne Kopta:

 She is amazing and has helped me grow so much over the past year! I just love her.

 Also, I felt pretty that night sooooo shameless selfie time.

And my poster, that I designed myself with the help of Google.

My recital was the day before Thanksgiving, so I got a nice long break to relax after surviving the majority of the semester! We had Thanksgiving with my family and some extended family at my parents' new house and the community clubhouse. Yummy food and good company. The following week was the last week of classes, meaning wrapping up my finals (because my instructors were awesome like that and I only had to show up to one final during finals week!) and attending dress rehearsals for the Holiday Gala concert at ASU Gammage. I will never get used to singing on Gammage stage. It is so much fun. And the concert was a major success! Even after all the craziness, I managed to come out on top!


Straight A's, baby!


In other news, I bought this beautiful wooden table off of Facebook! It needs to have a major overhaul in sanding and repainting, but it will be nice to finally have a kitchen table again!


I have been majorly enjoying staying up late and sleeping in to an ungodly and unhealthy hour, all while systematically deep cleaning my house. Well, now I am because I have been helping my sister Ashley pack and clean her house in preparation of their move to Alabama. At first I wasn't too keen on her leaving, but I know that is where she and her family are needed right now. It was kinda hard to say goodbye, but I plan on visiting her this summer! 

Also, in another crazy turn of events, I joined Mary Kay! If you don't already have a consultant, come to me! There are reasons why I decided to join, which are valid and I feel like this will be good for me. And I'm excited to make extra money while I'm at it.

 Almost all my Christmas shopping is done, I just need to order Ian's gift and I'll be set. I'm also trying to muster the motivation to clean our room and bathroom but...I don't have any excuses. Thanks for reading, my lovelies!