What’d I Miss?!

Happy Sunday, friends! A full four month hiatus- after a three month hiatus- and I’m back. Really, truly back. (Famous last words…) Holy cow, 2017 has been quite the year! Let me catch you up to speed- let’s back up to March.

March 2017

March was a big month! I turned 30 (eek!), spent my birthday at the Wizarding World, and finished up work on “In the Heights” at Davenport North. My next post will be all about my birthday trip, so let me just say- it was an AWESOME month! ITH was one of the best shows I’ve ever worked on, and a truly life-changing experience.

 

April/May 2017

I had some vacation blues after getting back from Florida- which was cured when I took a long weekend trip to Cincinnati to see Danielle and Brad! It was a pretty lazy weekend, which was exactly what I needed. Oh, and there was cake, so that was a plus!

When I got back from my trip…I did a big thing. I gave my notice at the Family Museum. Yes- you read that correctly. After almost ten years, I decided to leave. There were many reasons for my leaving, but the biggest and most important was that I was ready to pursue my passion full time. I was finally brave enough to do it.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet…I gave notice without having anything lined up. That was/is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I really can’t explain it, other than I had the sense that everything was going to be ok. And it was.

During my last week with the Museum, I interviewed for and was offered the position of Theatre Coordinator at Davenport Junior Theatre, which is where I’ve spent the last four months. I’ve finally found my perfect fit of a job. Every day, I’m excited to go to work, love what I do, and feel like I’m not only making a huge difference, but am appreciated for doing so. I could gush for hours about all the things I like about my job, but instead, I’ll just say I’m happy. Super, crazy, stupid happy.

Yes, things aren’t always sunshine and roses. I’ve taken a bit of a pay cut, which was hard. Some weeks are tighter than others, but I still have my house, can still pay my bills, and still have money for my biggest indulgence, coffee! While I’m by no means an expert,  I thought I’d share three apps that have really helped, because, let’s face it: everyone likes saving money!

1- Ibotta- here’s how it works: click on the link and get yourself the app. Once you have, you can access and redeem rebates on your groceries, online shopping, and more! I will check out the rebates, match them up with my grocery list, and then redeem them when I get home. All you have to do is snap a picture of your receipt and scan the item’s barcode. EASY! Once you hit $20 (which honestly doesn’t take long), you can send the money to your PayPal or redeem for gift cards. Bam. Also, if you sign up via my referral link, you’ll get $10 after you redeem your first rebate, and I get $5! https://ibotta.com/r/wxeauvg

2-Receipt Hog- download the app, snap a picture of every receipt you accumulate, and let the points roll in! I will say, this one takes a little longer to accumulate, but for how little work it is, I honestly don’t mind.

3- Cartwheel- if you shop at Target as often as I do, you need this. Just trust me.

Summer 2017

So, other than a new job, how did I spend my summer? Well, I kicked it off by watching my ITH cast perform at the Des Moines Civic Center, followed by choreographing my first show at Quad City Music Guild. West Side Story was my most challenging choreography to date, and one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I had a mini vacation weekend with my family in Chicago, where I got to see Aladdin, and went back two weeks later to see Hamilton with my North kids. Oh, and I snuck in a garage sale, lots of kitty snuggles, and so much friendship time. All in all, a great summer!

So, there you have. The shortest possible recap of the last six months. Life is good and I am loving the path I’m on. What’s to come? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out. Here’s to new adventures, more list adventures, and a happy future.

Until next time,

xoxoxo

 

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22. Go to a new restaurant every 3 months: Main Street Bistro

Happy Wednesday, friends! It’s been awhile. As always, life has been busy. Busy, full, and oh so good. You have a well-timed thunderstorm/tornado warning to thank for this break in my crazy schedule- thanks nature! I have so many things that I cannot wait to share with you all, so many posts I’m behind on (seriously- SO MANY), but one thing at a time-this warning isn’t going to last forever! I do want to acknowledge, for those of you keeping track- my 30th birthday has come and gone. It was amazing, and I’ll tell you all about it soon, and where I’m at with the list. But before we get to that, I have some things to catch you up on…

Let’s back track to January. I started 2017 off with a much-needed and long awaited trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana to see my sister, Kaylee. Kaylee had moved to Fort Wayne the year before, but I was just now getting the chance to go see her. I’m not a huge fan of solo road trips, especially of that length, but I packed up my car on a Friday afternoon, swung by Atomic Coffee Bar to get my iced Nutty Professor for the road, and alternated between belting “Hamilton” and listening to an audiobook for my drive. I arrived at Kaylee’s just in time for dinner (homemade mini pizzas-yum!), some much needed tv watching, and half snuggles with her cat, Luna. Half snuggles are about as good as it gets with her.

We had a very full Saturday planned, mostly revolving around food and coffee. Would you expect anything less? Though it’s not the place I’m blogging about, I do need to give a shout-out to Dash-In, the place we had lunch. Rather than me telling you, let me show you. (And then tell you, because it’s me.)

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Mmmk, please look at this gorgeous food. A pesto artichoke grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. I don’t think I’d ever been so excited about a sandwich and soup in my life. Apologies to anyone who had to hear me say “this has ruined all other food for me” over and over.

Anywho, the main event of our day was me getting to meet Kaylee’s boyfriend, Brian. I’d heard a ton about Brian and had said hi on FaceTime before, but that was it. Kaylee planned for us to eat dinner together at one of her favorite spots, Main Street Bistro. We met Brian there, and settled in for a night of uncomfortable questions and silent judging. Just kidding- Brian and I hit it off, and spoiler alert, he passed the sister test. All good there. 🙂

The atmosphere at Main Street was super cute! It’s very trendy inside. The lights were dimmed, and although there were a lot of people there, it wasn’t overly loud.

Now, I typically don’t order a drink when I’m out, but I was on vacation, so I settled on this blue martini that tasted like a Sweet Tart. Or I think it did…this was five months ago.

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Our waiter was absolutely delightful, and gave us some recommendations. He brought us some fresh bread and-wait for it- butter with MAPLE SYRUP. I’m not kidding. I’m really not kidding. While we gracefully stuffed our faces, I perused the menu.

I narrowed down to a few things. Then, I remembered I was due for a new blogging restaurant and chose the prosciutto wrapped scallops. Now, I’m not a seafood fan. I’ve developed a fondness for shrimp, but that’s really it. The scallops didn’t sound particularly appetizing, but I was all about trying something new, and that blue martini reinforced that all my decisions were good ones, so clearly, scallops. Scallops and french onion soup.

We visited for a bit, continued to eat the best damn bread on the planet, and then our food arrived. Everyone was pretty pleased with their choices.

Ok, so we need to talk about these scallops. Well first, the french onion soup was delightful! Loved it, would definitely eat it again. But the scallops were…I’m not sure what I was expecting, but that wasn’t it. The texture was BAD and that was pretty much all there was to it. Scallops can join the ranks of tomatoes and bananas- things that make me gag. I did power through two of them, but I made Brian eat the last one. The pasta underneath was good, and I love prosciutto. But the scallops? NAH.

Overall, it was a great dinner- awesome company, mostly wonderful food, and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I would definitely go back…except Main Street closed shortly after my trip and is reopening as something else. Sad. But, I had a great time with Kaylee, enjoyed meeting Brian, and learned that butter with maple syrup is GENIUS.

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Well, the warning has expired, and I am falling asleep, so I better call it a night. More fun adventure stories to come soon…stay tuned!

Until next time,

xoxo

35. Make your own business cards- even if for fun!

I was seven years old the first time I remember choreographing something. I was sitting in our van, listening to “Always Something There to Remind Me” by Naked Eyes on the radio. (In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I have a freakishly good memory.) Halfway through the song, I started coming up with tap steps in my head to go along with the music. I remember I pictured a stool onstage, and an assortment of picture frames set up that little Steph was mentally tap dancing around. (Yes, award-winning stuff right there!) Anyway, that’s my first memory that showed me how my brain was different than everyone else’s, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

People ask me sometimes how it all works- how do I come up with dance after dance, combo after combo? How do I choreograph without a studio space? How do I choreograph a partner routine when I’m only one person? Well… I see it. I can actually, physically see my choreography in my brain when I’m listening to a piece of music. It’s almost like I’m discovering it, rather than creating it. And it happens all the time. Any time I’m listening to music. I’m never not seeing choreography. It’s always there. When I was younger, I just kind of assumed that everyone’s brain worked that way. Even as I got older, worked with other dance teachers- I thought maybe it was a dance teacher “thing.” But it’s not. It’s a gift, and one I feel so lucky to have.

As a dancer, I was never the best at anything, technique-wise. The extra bones in my feet prevented me from achieving a full point. I wasn’t as flexible as the rest of the girls in my class. I wasn’t the best turner, I wasn’t the best jumper, and I certainly wasn’t the best at tricks. But the things I was good at? Timing. Counting. Hearing patterns. Explaining things to the girls in my class when they had been absent. Stringing combinations together. Those were my strengths. That, coupled with my brain, my crazy creative brain, didn’t make me a stand-out dancer. But they did make me a pretty bad-ass choreographer.

I’ve been freelancing for 11 years now and finally decided it was time to make it “official.” So, a few months ago, I sat down with my friend, Elizabeth, and asked her to design me some business cards. We talked through what I liked, what I didn’t, and I turned her loose. A few weeks later, she sent me some options. We talked through them, and a few weeks after that, she sent me what I’m about to show you. Full disclosure: I’m getting a little teary about sharing this. These cards are something I’ve shared with very few people, but I’m ready now. So here they are- P.S. Elizabeth is a kick-ass designer. Please check out her freelance business “Eleven Creative” on Facebook.

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Here they are! I’m so proud of these, and so thankful that Elizabeth was able to turn my ideas into something beautiful. I’ve never been one to brag about what I do, but I am really, really good at this, so I thought it was time to share that with the world. If you’d like to share it too, let me know…I got a little excited and ordered 500 of these bad boys. Also exciting…I’m choreographing something for ME right now. I’ve only ever done that once (it turned out horribly) but I got inspired the other night, so I’m working on a little something. I don’t know that I’ll ever perform it, and the chances of anyone ever seeing it are slim, but I’m excited about it, and excited to see where this crazy choreography journey takes me.

Until next time,

xoxo

 

My 2016 Greatest Hits

Well hey friends! It’s 2017, and yes, I finally remembered that I have a blog. As has now become the norm, it’s been two months since I last posted (really…is ANYONE surprised?) so I decided to catch you up and recap my 2016 in the most fun way possible. Now, those of you who know me insanely well know how big of a LOST fan I am. One of my favorite episodes is from season 3 and is titled, “Greatest Hits.” I won’t ruin anything for you, because you absolutely should watch LOST if you haven’t, but the episode features highlights from a character’s life. So, I’m doing that…2016 style. Once I made my list, I tried to put it in order, but that was pretty much impossible, so these are my 10 greatest hits from this year, in no particular order…here we go!

  1. Creating my 5 Year Plan

So, the last two years, I’ve created a set of goals for myself for the year. Now, because I’m incapable of half-assing anything related to personal growth, I went a little crazy in 2016 and gave myself 12 goals for the year. Yes, you read that correctly. (And yes, I eventually winnowed that down because I like sleep, and rest, and not constantly doing things.) Anyway, while making my goal list, I realized I didn’t have a five year plan. So, on the list it went. I figured out pretty quickly what kind of things I wanted on the list, and spent the year shaping it and making it into exactly what I wanted it to be…which ironically, takes me into the next thing on my list…

2. Taking a leadership class

I was approached by my boss during the summer about taking a leadership class during Fall 2016. I eagerly accepted but was nervous as hell, because, why not worry about something silly? Anyway, this class has been a game-changer. Not only has it improved my leadership skills at work, I feel like it’s gotten me more in touch with who I am overall. We’ve done personality assessments, strength finders, and even did a 5 year plan visualization activity, which ended with us sketching out what our plan looked like. I ended up framing mine and it’s sitting on my dresser in my room, so I can look at it every day.

3. Dating

Yes. I, Stephanie DeLacy, notoriously single, hates first dates more than cilantro, cat lady extraordinaire…went on dates this year. Lots of them. There were good dates, there were bad dates, and boy, did I learn a lot about me and what I want. It’s truly been an experience and one that I am so glad that I was brave enough to embark on. I met some truly kind men this year, two in particular who were wonderful, and while I ended the year single, I didn’t give up hope. I’m hopeful that 2017 will be my year for love.

4. Getting a Handle on My Anxiety

I’ve never talked about this on here…exactly. But I guess there’s a first time for everything. I’ve always been a little anxious for as far back as I can remember, but this year, I hit a low. Charlee was sick, and my whole “norm” was shaken. I kept telling myself she’d be fine, but I didn’t actually know that. I found myself worrying more in general, and coping less and less well. Eventually, it got to a point where I knew I needed outside help to feel better, and so I got it. I started seeing a mental health counselor in July, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life. My counselor is AMAZING, and has helped me with so many things. It’s refreshing to have someone to talk to that is unbiased, and my overall anxiety level has dropped significantly. It was a scary thing for me to do, but I’m so proud of myself for being brave!

5. Seeing Hamilton

Yes. That. If you want to read more about it, continue to my next post!

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6. Paying off my student loans

Oh yes I did! What a weight off my shoulders! (Oh, and on Friday, I’ll be making my final car payment. HUZZAH!)

7. Choreographing three awesome musicals!

I was lucky enough to get to choreograph for three different places this year- more choreography than I’ve done since I finished teaching dance. Each show was such a great experience, and I am so lucky to have gotten to work with so many wonderful people!

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8. Peter Pan

I had my second directing experience this year, and it was one of my best theatre experiences to date. My cast was incredible, I had the best student director on the planet, and Leslie (the main drama director at North) brought my first-ever scenic design to life, and even better than I imagined! When a show is over, I’m generally sad but ready to be done, but with Peter Pan, I was just sad. What a great show to end 2016 on!

9. The Kids’ Table and Harry Potter Night

It was a big year for me at the Family Museum, but these two events really stood out among everything else. I was a key organizer in the Museum’s first “The Kids’ Table” fundraiser and also organized our “Harry Potter Night” this fall. Both events were hugely successful, and I was so proud to be a part of them.

10. Friendships

This year was huge in the friendship department. I grew friendships, started new ones, watched friends get married, watched them get pregnant (not actually…you know what I mean), watched them start the adoption process, and felt the love from all around. I say this all the time, but I truly do have the best friends in the world. The amount of love, support, and encouragement I get from them is unreal…and I can never thank them enough. I’ve been blessed with an extraordinary family, and an extraordinary “framily.” I’m one lucky girl.

Well…there you have it. My greatest hits of 2016. It was a truly life-changing year, and I cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store for me, and for all of you. Thank you for being a part of my life, and here’s to a Happy New Year!

Until next time,

xoxo

22. Go to a new restaurant every 3 months: Milltown Coffee

Hi beautiful people! It’s been awhile. Actually, it’s been two months and four days since I last blogged. A lot has happened in that time. Typically, I apologize for my absence, but today, I won’t. I’ve been busy with life, and I count that as a wonderful thing. Don’t worry, I’ve got lots to share, but in the interest of keeping this shorter than “Order of the Phoenix,” I’ll break up all the excitement. So for now, welcome back. Snuggle in. Here we go.

Two months and one week ago, I went out for dinner with Bryan, Seth,  Bryan’s brother and sister-in-law, Travis and Kristin, and their new baby Finley. We actually went out to dinner specifically for my blog that night (you’ll hear about that in another post!) and afterwards, went back to Travis and Kristin’s and made googly eyes at Finn for several hours. I’m not kidding- it was amazing.

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What a nugget.

Anywho, at some point in between snuggling this cutie and making faces at him from across the room, Bryan, Kristin, Travis and I formed a book club. Right? RIGHT?! Now, I’ve only been in one other book club. It was me and Elizabeth, and no one else showed up to our first meeting, so we drank coffee, didn’t talk about what we read, and giggled a whole bunch. Basically, a typical day for us. I digress.

So, “The Best Book Club There Ever Was!” was born. And guys…I suck at book club already! We had our first meeting yesterday and guess who was the procrastinator of all procrastinators? This kid. I’m not kidding; we met at 3:00 and I finished the book shortly after 10:00am. I read over 250 pages in less than 24 hours. I deserve a medal.  Had it not been for Bryan’s threats to kick me out of the club, or the promise of delicious coffee, I may not have made it.

I arrived at Milltown Coffee at 3:00 on the dot, which is an accomplishment for me, because I’m pretty reliably 5-7 minutes late for everything. I was really excited that we were meeting there, because I’d never been, and we all know how much I love/obsess over/can’t function without coffee. I walked in with Travis and Kristin, and I don’t know. I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting from Milltown, but this wasn’t it…this was much, much better.

It was so cute! And classy! And cozy! I didn’t get a picture of it, but we ended up sitting by the fireplace on a couch and two armchairs. COZY. Now, as a reminder, I had to order something I wouldn’t normally, so I went with a caramel latte (I usually don’t do hot drinks) and an apple cinnamon scone. I don’t usually order food with my coffee, but I wasn’t sure how long we’d be discussing our book, so I figured, why not? My total was around $8, which seemed fairly in-line with other local coffee shops. The service was prompt, the staff was friendly, and did I mention the shop was cozy? I actually suggested that Milltown needed a blanket rental service at one point- I totally would have partaken. Anyway, my scone and drink arrived, and they were pretty…

Pretty delicious! (Ok, ok…I might be running on fumes right now- still adjusting to Daylight Savings.) Overall, I was really impressed with Milltown! I really liked my drink and I would definitely order the scone again too. I will definitely be going back  soon. 🙂

Well, I better get to bed…thanks for checking back in with me and the list! Stay tuned for more adventures from the last two months.

Until next time,

xoxo