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RDP Saturday: Light

I love the idea of writing about light. Light has so many different meanings, whether sensory, visual, etc., but the very first thing that came to mind when I read the prompt was about my favorite holiday: Chanukah. Much like this past weekends celebration of Diwali, Chanukah is another festival of lights. To me, it represents both visual light and the lightness I believe burns bright within. To me, it is a very special time of the year. Just as the Maccabees celebrated the re-dedication of the Temple and the small amount of oil available lasted, miraculously, for 8 days, so we are reminded during our darkest season to hold light in our hearts in our hardest times. To me, it is important to remember that this lightness does not have to be felt just for those 8 days, but that I can carry a brightly shining candle within me whenever I choose to. It can be tough, but I feel that the message of Chanukah is that miracles can always happen. It is up to me to find the good in times where it doesn’t seem to be. RDP Saturday: Light

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Composing Beauty

Ingenuity, I love that word! It has such a nice ring to it, and such a deep meaning (at least to me). I view ingenuity as an essential skill in creativity, and creativity/ingenuity an essential skill of surviving in this new, digital age. I find it fascinating that one can create a job or a career for themselves where there was nothing before. In today’s day and age the opportunities for money making are endless. One of my inspirations for this exact thing is Lin-Manuel Miranda, internationally famous composer of Hamilton, In The Heights, and a member of Freestyle Love Supreme (who, I’m sure, has many more credits, both famous and not, to his name).

I’m absolutely enthralled by his tenacity, skill, perseverance, and his genius. He literally put himself on the map in the entertainment world. He created something brilliant using just his brains, skills, experience, and a pencil and paper. Not only that, but it’s given other artists the opportunity to be a part of the beautiful, caring community that he’s created throughout this process. He’s even changing the world and peoples’ lives by using his works to support causes that he cares deeply about. That, to me, is ingenuity. It”s creativity. I could write many, MANY more paragraphs about my admiration for him as an artist and person, but I’ll get to that in a later post because I could write a novel on it with my ability to go off on tangents and daydream (although that is not a bad thing).

With technology we have the tools to create new things every day. Heck, this article is new right now. It is not a masterpiece of an article, but it’s being created now, in the moment, and shared. Nowadays we have all kinds of opportunities for financial success, we just have to use our ingenuity to build on them. For example, in the past we couldn’t write something and automatically earn money  within a moments’ notice. Now we can. We couldn’t write a book and have it published on amazon without going through the proper book publishers outside of the company and then selling it…but now we can self-publish books and sell them online. We couldn’t automatically create a video of ourselves performing and broadcast it to the world, thereby gaining fame. Now, we have stars who got their start doing just that on youtube. The opportunities are endless. When you think about it, once you open up your mind and heart to creativity so many ideas can come pouring in, and you just have to work tirelessly at them, with all your passion and heart, to create something that you truly stand by. You don’t even have to create for others. Create for yourself, and your passion, care, tenacity, strength, and genius will shine through and you will find your own success by using inginuity.

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RDP Monday: Note!

Note, that’s an interesting one! I’m curious to see what others write about when they think about the word note. I’m a musician and vocalist, so naturally the first thing that I think of is a musical note. I’ve always had an interest in playing around with music writing software, and recently a buddy of mine from my day job (thanks Michael!) told me about Note Flight, a free software for just that. Usually these things cost a large amount of money, but not in this case! You can always upgrade your subscription, but the ten scores that you get for free are enough for me right now. I’m having fun messing around with the program and you never know what sort of fun work may come of it. Music writing has always been on the back burner for me…and I don’t think it will ever become a profession for me, but…you never know…for some reason I always seem to come back to it…now, on that…note…haha, the traditional form of music writing has always been hard for me. There are quite a lot of rules that you should follow in order to write correctly (at least in a traditional music theory sense). As my music theory teacher from college has put it (rather hilariously) you should go by “What would Beethoven do?” If Beethoven wouldn’t do that, then neither should you for your school projects. Now, there’s one composer I seriously admire who uses the rules…and bends them knowledgeably…and I’m entranced by his work as a performer and an intellectual. I’d like to write like him some day if I do become a composer/lyricist. That composer is Stephen Sondheim, the genius. He has inspired so many artists to create what they have…Jonathan Larson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, these greats are my inspiration; all 3 of them. You can see Sondheim’s inspiration in their work, especially in Jonathan Larson’s musical “Tick, Tick…Boom,” with the song “Sunday” directly inspired by Sondheim’s song of the same name in “Sunday in the Park With George.” I could go on and on and on about the large and small nods to Sondheim in Larson’s and Miranda’s work, but that would turn in to a novel of a blog post. Perhaps I will revisit this exact topic later and continue with my thoughts on these 3 and my admiration for them and their work, but for now I’ll leave you with this: check out this recent interview by Lin-Manual Miranda with Stephen Sondheim. It’s entrancing. I’m almost never so enthralled for an entire article (ADD is tough), but these guys…they have and will always have my attention.

I can’t believe the simple word “note” inspired this whole post, but I’m glad that it got me going down the road of inspiration in the subject I have loved my whole life. I hope it does the same for you. 🙂

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RDP Monday: Note!

Note, that’s an interesting one! I’m curious to see what others write about when they think about the word note. I’m a musician and vocalist, so naturally the first thing that I think of is a musical note. I’ve always had an interest in playing around with music writing software, and recently a buddy of mine from my day job (thanks Michael!) told me about Note Flight, a free software for just that. Usually these things cost a large amount of money, but not in this case! You can always upgrade your subscription, but the ten scores that you get for free are enough for me right now. I’m having fun messing around with the program and you never know what sort of fun work may come of it. Music writing has always been on the back burner for me…and I don’t think it will ever become a profession for me, but…you never know…for some reason I always seem to come back to it…now, on that…note…haha, the traditional form of music writing has always been hard for me. There are quite a lot of rules that you should follow in order to write correctly (at least in a traditional music theory sense). As my music theory teacher from college has put it (rather hilariously) you should go by “What would Beethoven do?” If Beethoven wouldn’t do that, then neither should you for your school projects. Now, there’s one composer I seriously admire who uses the rules…and bends them knowledgeably…and I’m entranced by his work as a performer and an intellectual. I’d like to write like him some day if I do become a composer/lyricist. That composer is Stephen Sondheim, the genius. He has inspired so many artists to create what they have…Jonathan Larson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, these greats are my inspiration; all 3 of them. You can see Sondheim’s inspiration in their work, especially in Jonathan Larson’s musical “Tick, Tick…Boom,” with the song “Sunday” directly inspired by Sondheim’s song of the same name in “Sunday in the Park With George.” I could go on and on and on about the large and small nods to Sondheim in Larson’s and Miranda’s work, but that would turn in to a novel of a blog post. Perhaps I will revisit this exact topic later and continue with my thoughts on these 3 and my admiration for them and their work, but for now I’ll leave you with this: check out this recent interview by Lin-Manual Miranda with Stephen Sondheim. It’s entrancing. I’m almost never so enthralled for an entire article (ADD is tough), but these guys…they have and will always have my attention.

I can’t believe the simple word “note” inspired this whole post, but I’m glad that it got me going down the road of inspiration in the subject I have loved my whole life. I hope it does the same for you. 🙂

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Designing Your Money

Piggybacking on my last blog entry about how you compartmentalize your money…how do you design your money to work FOR you? There are so many ways you can get the most out of your dollar. I don’t mean to sound like a penny pincher, but how you use your money and where you place it can have a big impact in the long-term on whether it makes money for you or whether it stays the same amount. Think about it: do you really want to continue to trade your time for money for your whole life? Or do you want to put your money to work while you work, or while you’re on vacation, or while you’re at your kids’ baseball game, etc.? I like making money while I sleep. Soooo….that begs the question…how do you do that? There are a multitude of ways!

Banks have designed a system that really works for them. They loan you money or give you credit to use, and you get the assistance you need to pay whatever bill it is that you owe with that money, whether it’s groceries, school loans, you name it. They also must fund their own business, so they make it work for them by giving you the money in return for extra money on top, aka interest. If you’re able to pay your bill back in a super timely manner, the interest you pay would be lower than if you take a long time to pay back the money. Now that’s a smart transaction for them. You get something from them, and they get something from you. They’re making money in their sleep. They’re not spending time working for the interest, but they’re making money regardless. You can use that model, too. You can, in a way, be your own bank! It’s called peer to peer lending.

I had no idea about peer to peer lending until about a year ago. There are many platforms that you can choose from, but the two most popular ones are Lending Club and Prosper. As an investor with peer to peer lending you can log on to the platform and search through the available loans. They are graded in slightly different fashions on each site, but mostly some form of A,B,C,D,E, and HR, with A being the lowest interest rates but the customers with the best concoction of information (credit score, income, percentage of credit used, rating, etc.) and HR being the highest interest, but considered the more risky loans to invest in. In my next blog I will go into more detail about how this process works and what strategy (so far) has worked for me.

This is what I consider designing your money. Instead of simply earning it, you’re creating a system in which your earnings make you more earnings without trading your time. It’s a gradual process, but it’s interesting. I highly encourage you to think about how YOU think about your money, and how you utilize it to its full value. Keep following my blog for more information weekly, and enjoy your day!

Ciao for now, and as always, please consult a certified financial professional for all of your big financial decisions. I’m simply here to enlighten and help, but I’m not a financial advisor.

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Let’s Talk About Love

Love is not a fairytale…it’s so much better than that! It is such a beautiful sentiment to be shared between beings. I used to envision exactly what my love life would be like…and boy was I wrong. I wanted the typical fairytale. I wanted the knight in shining armor. I didn’t envision how that knight in shining armor would show me his love when I’m crying on his shoulder; or how he’d smile when I said something kooky that only the two of us understand because of our shared language; or how he’d cuddle with me at the end of a long day in complete silence, our eyes closed, and I could feel home and safe with him. I never dreamed that my favorite thing to do on a Saturday night would be to curl up in my Broadway themed pj’s (that he gave me) with Chinese food, a movie, and my awesome guy. The small moments are the best; the cute smile shared from across a crowded room just at the exact same moment; the eyes filled with love that are only for you, and even the middle of the night when you’re sick and at your worst…there’s that love who sits up with you and ruins their sleep to make you feel cared for. It doesn’t get any better than that! So…I say that love is in the small moments that build a lifetime of togetherness. I hope I never forget this, because real love is so much more exciting than the fairytale.

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Can A Place Hold A Memory?

I found myself thinking this while sitting in the audience tonight at rehearsal. I love sitting in the empty theatre of whatever show I’m performing in and coming to a state of comfortable balance in the space; just observing, centering myself. It’s a space of exploration for me. I’m curious about the great actors who may have graced that stage before me. How cool is it that I get to be in the same space? I’m not sure if it’s just me projecting my assumptions or not, but either way it’s special to me.

I learned about centering myself in the space in a class in college called The Speaking Voice In Performance. For the first few classes we laid on the ground, eyes closed, focusing on being in the moment and the breath. It may not seem like work, but you’d be surprised at how much emotional work and mental effort goes into quieting your brain and allowing yourself to let go of your anxieties or thoughts. After a while, with the noise of the outside world drifting away outside the black box doors, for an hour each day my mind quieted long enough to hear things I’d never noticed before. The hissing of the pipes, the creaking of a door, the sounds of the building becoming increasingly louder, as I myself grew increasingly quieter. The energy of the room became more apparent than it had before. This room had its own life, its own energy, its own vitality. I became just a passerby in the big scheme of things. I liked that. It reminded me that my anxieties are not the totality of the truth of my existence. There were many bigger elements outside of myself. For some, realizing that they are a tiny particle in a much bigger universe is frightening and makes them feel unimportant. For me, it started to relax me and showed me that the universe is vast and wonderful if you stop long enough to listen to it. It is not frightening nor depressing to me, my small nature in the big scheme of things; it is a relief. I am only in control of what I do. I can’t control the world outside of me, much as I can try, but at the end of the day I am not responsible for the actions of everyone and everything else in my vicinity. It’s a huge weight lifted. This vast world and the infinite space beyond all have their own marvels that I get to be privy to, should I choose to wonder at them. So, can this microcosm of a space in the big expanse hold a memory?

It may be far-fetched to jump from the contents of the last paragraph back to the original question, but in my brain it makes quite a bit of sense, so I’ll try to span the bridge as best I can for you, dear reader. Quieting my brain enough to be rooted in the space I’m in with no outside distractions, no cars honking, no passersby cursing, no trains humming, and getting in tune with the energy of the space leads me to question how one effects the environments they’ve spent time in, energetically. Who came before me in this space? On this stage? In this audience? In this dressing room? What great work has been performed exactly where my two feet are planted? How many wonderful memories have been created in this theatre? How much laughter? What did that sound like? How many memorable performances? How many standing ovations? Am I standing on the same ground, the exact spot, of the great performers who have inspired so many? There are so many that I admire. Have they left their energetic mark on these walls? As I experience the room, thinking these things, my imagination goes deeper and deeper, until I can almost see and hear each of these instances happening. Am I walking in the literal steps of the greats who’ve gone before me? I like to think so, and hopefully someone will come along and wonder the same about me…

RDP Wednesday: Wanderlust

Wanderlust isn’t a word that I hear very often. In fact, I think I only started hearing it used after the movie “Wanderlust” with Alan Alda, Jennifer Aniston, and Paul Rudd (to name a few) came out in 2012. It’s a weird-sounding word to me. Wander and lust combined together. It makes sense, though. I guess you could say that I have wanderlust. I want to travel the world, with the exception of a few places. I want to eat new foods, observe new rituals/ceremonies, experience new beaches at sunset, swim in different oceans, and just generally be able to say “I’ve been there. I saw that in person.” Who wouldn’t want to say that? Who wouldn’t want to know what it feels like to be elsewhere instead of just the safe confines of home? Home is wonderful (in some cases), but I feel like it’s when you leave that you can truly appreciate what being home feels like. If you never leave home, I don’t think that you can ever entirely know exactly who you could be if you experienced things outside of your scope and culture in life. I think traveling the world would be life-changing. My bank account would agree. My bank account wouldn’t be changing for the better, though. My point of view might. Getting to know people in other countries takes away the level of fear that some experience while thinking about how big the world is out there. It becomes smaller and easier to handle when you know you’ve got friends, when you know that you can connect with those around you in other countries. Sometimes I think that in the US we forget that many countries live surrounded by neighboring countries, so they’re more knowledgeable on a firsthand basis about the people and cultures around them. Here in the US we are relatively isolated (other than to the South and North) from the other countries. Being able to communicate with others in their native tongue is something that I’ve found exciting and fun. You see, I’ve taken Spanish since I was a little kid, and I will continue to practice it every day. I love getting to speak to people that I would otherwise not be able to communicate with. There’s something so special about making a connection with people who come from an entirely different place than I do and sharing a laugh with them simply because language is not as much of a barrier. It’s liberating! I truly hope that someday more students in the US are required to take years of foreign language lessons. We could then be able to communicate more effectively and kindly with all parts of the world because so much of culture is represented by how the people of that culture formulate their communication with each other. If we can understand how to communicate, we can better understand how to work together. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composing Beauty

Ingenuity, I love that word! It has such a nice ring to it, and such a deep meaning (at least to me). I view ingenuity as an essential skill in creativity, and creativity/ingenuity an essential skill of surviving in this new, digital age. I find it fascinating that one can create a job or a career for themselves where there was nothing before. In today’s day and age the opportunities for money making are endless. One of my inspirations for this exact thing is Lin-Manuel Miranda, internationally famous composer of Hamilton, In The Heights, and a member of Freestyle Love Supreme (who, I’m sure, has many more credits, both famous and not, to his name).

I’m absolutely enthralled by his tenacity, skill, perseverance, and his genius. He literally put himself on the map in the entertainment world. He created something brilliant using just his brains, skills, experience, and a pencil and paper. Not only that, but it’s given other artists the opportunity to be a part of the beautiful, caring community that he’s created throughout this process. He’s even changing the world and peoples’ lives by using his works to support causes that he cares deeply about. That, to me, is ingenuity. It”s creativity. I could write many, MANY more paragraphs about my admiration for him as an artist and person, but I’ll get to that in a later post because I could write a novel on it with my ability to go off on tangents and daydream (although that is not a bad thing).

With technology we have the tools to create new things every day. Heck, this article is new right now. It is not a masterpiece of an article, but it’s being created now, in the moment, and shared. Nowadays we have all kinds of opportunities for financial success, we just have to use our ingenuity to build on them. For example, in the past we couldn’t write something and automatically earn money  within a moments’ notice. Now we can. We couldn’t write a book and have it published on amazon without going through the proper book publishers outside of the company and then selling it…but now we can self-publish books and sell them online. We couldn’t automatically create a video of ourselves performing and broadcast it to the world, thereby gaining fame. Now, we have stars who got their start doing just that on youtube. The opportunities are endless. When you think about it, once you open up your mind and heart to creativity so many ideas can come pouring in, and you just have to work tirelessly at them, with all your passion and heart, to create something that you truly stand by. You don’t even have to create for others. Create for yourself, and your passion, care, tenacity, strength, and genius will shine through and you will find your own success by using inginuity.

RDP Saturday: Air

I love summer. I love the ocean. I love island life. I love the breeziness of the ocean air. I love the relaxing feeling that comes over people during a perfect summer evening; where the sun is setting, you’re enjoying dinner by the beach, sharing a laugh with family and friends, etc. It’s tranquil. It’s fulfilling. The light summer breeze gently blowing, it’s perfect. The air is perfect. It’s got a small scent of the ocean and the sand wafting through the community. You can smell freedom in the air. You can smell salt, fish, and hear seagulls squawking, their voices carried on the light, summer air. I love the summer air. It’s peaceful. I can’t wait for this air; for the beach. I can’t wait to feel the relaxation that only a small, quiet, relaxing beach community can bring. Those summer nights are perfect. My ode to this experience was the first thing that popped into my mind when I thought of air!