Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Theatre Camp

So this year I'm am teaching a summer theatre camp for a nearby city. I am the teacher, the director, the temporary parent, the judge, the... well, you name it, it's my job.

It has been one heck of a roller coaster.

I LOVE theatre, any aspect of it is exciting to me. Acting, working tech, stage manager, directing. Or even just an audience member.

I also love teaching, and I've worked with elementary aged kids on multiple occasions. I really enjoy it, they're great to work with. I try very hard to be a nice teacher, I'm strict when I need to be, but I'd much rather get the kids to recognize mistakes in positive ways, I tease (very light teasing). I never call a student out in front of the other kids, the only time I have EVER been extremely stern is when two of them paired up and started mocking the other students. All I said was "Hey. None of that. We are here to have fun, and we WILL have fun. So stay focused and show me that awesome positive attitude I saw at auditions. And it WORKED! They were great after that.

Not everything is all bright and shiny however. My students are aged 6-12. I have a few that are already in that annoying, stereotypical teenage stage. Before we begin rehearsal every day we do warm ups. Warm ups are designed to get performers up on their feet, using their voices, get them moving, energize and focus them so they are ready for rehearsal. I've been doing warm ups like these for half my life.

Last week my most difficult student simply folded his arms and stood there, refusing to participate and, even worse, making fun of the other kids. My other problem child took a que from him and stopped. She raised her hand (no idea why, she just talked anyway) and said "Hey you (she was referring to me. Never mind calling me Kimberly, or Miss Kimberly as they have been instructed to do) what does this whole... thing have to do with like, the whole, like theatre thing?" In other words, she things I'm stupid and don't know anything. She was eager to call me out. (Most likely due to her mother, but that's a whole different story. Ugh!)

Now. You'll all be proud of me. I did NOT say what I wanted to say, which was "Listen. I have been doing theatre longer than you've been ALIVE. I also spent lots of money and time and got a DEGREE in theatre. So shut up and participate because I know what I'm doing."

Instead I managed something teacherly and explained the same thing I said above, preparing them for rehearsal.

It's not all bad though. Except for sassy students, parents who like sending angry emails, kids/parents skipping rehearsals, and lack of focus from the other kids, it's been great.

I cast a six year old girl in the lead role. SIX. She was far above the other students, she talented, focused and has an irresistibly bright personality. Her older brother also has a significant role.  Their mom has been awesome, she so so incredibly supportive of her kids and work with them constantly. The little girl in the lead has about 70% of her extensive lines memorized. There are several students who have maybe 8 lines that can read, have a script, but still haven't even attempted to memorize. My younger students are really the ones who impress me.

They are dedicated, kind to each other, respectful and sweet towards me, and a delight to work with. They are so creative! So much of how they say their lines, or react to each other, is stuff they come up with.

It warms my heart every time we sit down, and half of them race to get the spot next to me. Or they come over just talk to me. They don't have anything to really say, they just want to talk to me. Or they'll thank me at the end of rehearsal.

This is why I enjoy teaching so much.

A couple more weeks to go! I'll keep you all updated with the crazy stories. I'll probably do an entire post dedicated to "Things Overheard At Theatre Camp". Trust me, it's hilarious.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish.

This year I decided that I was going to be more stingy with my five star ratings. Which I have been, however, looking at my goodreads list you wouldn't believe that. I managed to stumble across several amazing books this year! 

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: I was hooked from the very beginning. It was just so odd, and I liked it! The characters are fantastic, funny, sarcastic, real. The friendships are heartwarming and the romantic tension is alluring. 

2. Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor: Picture this. Me, 3 am, sitting my bed, book in hand, tears streaming. Okay. Maybe DON'T picture that. Ha. But this book. This was one of those that doesn't connect with everyone. No book does. But this book slammed into me. It pulled me in, broke my heart and warmed it all at once. 

3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: Loved the first book. This one was just as wonderful, maybe even better? I CANNOT wait for the next book! 

4. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein: This was a tough read, but like the first book, the writing is wonderful. Letters on a page transformed into fully realized people. The harsh landscape of their world was detailed and gritty. Their friendships were beautifully, and painfully, real. I was invested in all of them. 

5. Cress by Marissa Meyer: Okay, I really liked Cinder and Scarlett. But Cinder? My absolute favorite out of the three. Cress is positively adorable. The other characters remain amazing, and I loved their interactions with each other. As each character is discovered and added to the group, the more I love the story. 

6. New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd: Now, if you've read my blog or follow me on twitter, you know how much I love New York. I'm also a total history geek. I house-sat for a relative. What was I most excited about? They have the history channel. Anyway, this book tells the story of New York, from it's earliest days of Dutch settlers, all the way up to the events of 9/11. I grew to love the families I was introduced to. I learned SO MUCH from this about the history of the city. I was googling stuff every few pages. 

7. Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund: I love the Scarlet Pimpernel, I love retellings. This book was fantastic! I love the characters she created, and the world that she built! It was real, colorful to the point it felt tangible. Such a fantastic read. 

8. Pivot Point by Kasie West: I was so intrigued by the premise, and drawn in by the writing style. I swear, Kasie West has been eavesdropping in on conversations between me and my friends, because so much of what they say and do, remind me of my own friends. 

9. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini: Again with the history geek part of me, I also love mythology. I loved those elements in the story, along with characters that were fun and interesting. 

10. Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Friendship portrayed in a realistic way is always so refreshing. I loved this characters, and I loved their interactions. It was a fun, cute read that left me smiling.

SO! What made your list? I'd love to hear what YOU loved. The best way to get recommendations! :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Books About Friendship

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling:  Friendship+books= Harry Potter. It's as simple as that. It is the first book that comes to mind and it illustrates friendship perfectly. Your friends are your family, and I can't think of many other books that show that fact so clearly.

2. Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson: The main character, Vin, grew up knowing to never trust anyone. That lesson was pounded into her constantly by her brother, and she stuck to that rule. Until she met a group of unusual people. They teach her about friendship, the ups and downs and what it truly means to be a friend. 

3. Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Can a guy and a girl really be best friends? YES! This is a sadly neglected topic in so much of YA Fiction, or fiction at all. I've always had a blend of guys and girls as friends. This book shows both and is a refreshing change.

4. Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor: This book is beautiful. I was up way past any reasonable hour reading this. Zoe and Olivia have a friendship so similar to some of my own that I instantly connected with them. 

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: I know this book will be on many lists. The friendship between Maddie and Queenie is so wonderful! They maintain an incredible friendship through WWII, not exactly the easiest of times. 

6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Narnie, Jude, Tate, Fitz and Webb? I feel a bit teary just typing their names. They aren't just friends, together they form a family. They all know the ugliest sides of each other, but they also see the beautiful parts too. Taylor and her friendships are much different, but also fantastic representations of friendship.

7. Young Wizard Series by Diane Duane: Friendships in EVERY form. You want a book that shows just how many different kinds of friendships you can have? This is it. Kit and Nita meet and become best friends. A boy and a girl. Best friends. I can't say much more without spoiling it for you, but on their journey's they meet incredible "people" (some are actually people, some are... not quite people) and form friendships with them. Every walk of life, it doesn't matter, friendships are formed.

8. Study Series by Maria V. Snyder: Yelena emerges from the lowest of places possible at the beginning of the story. By the end she has formed relationships that will last lifetimes. Ari and Janco are some of my favorite characters ever. After an initial rocky start, they decide they like Yelena and form a fantastic friendship. But that's not all, the series is peppered with unlikely but delightful friendships.

9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Liesel forms an array of unlikely friendships, from Rudy to Max to.... well, if you haven't read it, I won't spoil some of the other friendships... To those who have read it, the woman with the books. ;) Liesel loses so much right at the beginning of the book, but gains so much. She even, unknowingly, forms a relationship with our... distinguished narrator.

10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Unusual friendships in very unusual times. There are many I could mention, but my personal favorite is the friendship that is formed between Minnie and Celia. 

What made your list? Comment below or leave a link!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Across a Star-Swept Sea

Book: Across a Star-Swept Sea
Author: Diana PeterFreund
Series?: Yes
Angst Level: 2.5
Rating: 5 Stars!

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.


Ever read the premise of a book and got so excited you couldn’t buy it fast enough? That’s what happened to me.

I have to tell you, The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my all-time favorite stories.  I’ve watched the movie with Jane Seymour multiple times. I’m even making the boyfriend watch it!  (He’ll love it.) The musical adaptation is phenomenal. I even got to meet Douglas Sills! He originated the role on Broadway.

So when I saw that this book was based on The Scarlet Pimpernel, I immediately bought it on my nook. I HAD to start reading it right there and then.  

The best part? It lived up to my expectations. The author has created a vibrant world filled with incredible characters that seem to be barely contained by the pages. I was completely absorbed into the story. I was so sad to finish it, I didn't want to leave that world.


Love Scarlet Pimpernel? Or a strong heroine? Dystopia or fantasy worlds? What about a fantastic cast of characters? Pick up this book.

Have you read Across a Star-Swept Sea? Or the other book in the series, For Darkness Shows the Stars? Or had a moment like I did, where you simply couldn't get your hands on a book fast enough? Leave a comment!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I'm back!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog. I’ve been away for far too long.

But let me tell you: Life after college? It is INSANE. How insane? Well let me give you an idea...

Since December 13th I have:
Job searched
Left my old job
Started my new job
Started training for new job
Found and put a down payment on an apartment
Started packing (and throwing away) a ridiculous amount of STUFF (Seriously where did all this stuff come from over the past 24 years?!)
Oh, I also have a boyfriend, friends and family that like seeing me that I also make time for.

 See? INSANE. And there is even more going on that I didn't list.

However, I have discovered one of the many joys I now have... I have time to read! Instead of pulling out a text book or my laptop every time I have a spare moment, I get to pull out a book. Adjusting to that took a while though. I actually had stress over NOT having homework, as odd as that sounds. I kept thinking that I had forgotten an assignment. It took a few weeks, but I’ve finally moved past that.

Things are still crazy busy, but I want to get back to the blog and sharing what I’ve read, shows I’ve seen (or directed, I’m directing a kid’s show this summer!)

So please, keep visiting my blog, there is plenty of fun stuff to come!

I leave you with a gif of the “drunk giraffe”. Because I dare you to watch this and NOT smile. Well, it makes ME smile. Also. Matt Smith. ;) 

I've been away for so long. Comment below and update me on what YOU have been up to! Let's catch up! Happy reading everyone!