Monday, August 27, 2012

Final weekend of fun...part 2!

Saturday we decided to head back to St Georges and check out some more of the historical sites there.

The day started with the walk to the bus and an adorable Lola.

We started with St Peters church. As we walked in, I was instantly transported back to my childhood. When I was a kid, I grew up in upstate NY. My parents made a point of it to travel to historical sites. So I've been to a lot of the historical buildings from the past of my church, as well as places of US historical importance. Some of my fondest memories are of our trip to Boston where we saw the "One if by land, 2 if by sea" tower, historical churches and graveyards and the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides). I also remember going to a historical theme park of sorts - the name escapes me, but we went on an old ship and they had a colonial village.

Anyway, I just love old churches! And this one was amazing. The first part of the church was built in 1614. There's just something awe inspiring standing in a building that old!

The center of the church.
The Original section. The wood was so aged and beautiful and the pews are the traditional pews that families used to purchase...and apparently get locked into during service.
It is the oldest continually used protestant church outside of England. Outside was a cemetery, with really old gravestones and above ground crypts. Kinda freaky and humbling at the same time. There was one gravestone plaque that was quite worn that described the untimely death of a man's 17 year old wife...and their one and two year old children just 2 weeks later. Can you imagine?

From the mid 1600's on!

The baby crypts were heartbreaking...not just because they were babies, but because of the sheer number of them.

We then wandered to King's Square just in time for a historical re-enactment. The dunking of a woman labeled a nag and a gossip. There was some ever so witty banter followed by putting her in the wooden dunking chair and wheeling it to the ledge of the dock. What was crazy was that one would think they just lower her into the water up and down...but the men they got as volunteers held their end down with their feet until the 'town crier' told them to step off...and then she flew down into the water! It was CRAZY! Steve got a video but I'll have to upload it at home.
See how the guys back there have their feet on it? They just step off and...
Whoosh! I'm not gonna was hot and humid that day and we all wanted a turn!
Three of four watching the dunking!

We also stopped in at Town Hall, where the girls got to making some rulings!

After some lunch we jumped back on the bus to go to the lighthouse! Up the narrowest, windiest roads you ever saw. On a bus. Thank goodness it wasn't a long distance, both Piper and I were dealing with some motion sickness.

The lighthouse was beautiful...the view - even more!!

Really purty...and who knew that 85 steps seem like forever.
This is a view of the beach we spent the day at a few weeks ago - Clearwater Beach!

And Ryder...ready to fly away, even though he was terrified of the height.

While walking back to the bus stop, Lola made a new friend.

This is just before he head butted her in the stomach. She's ok.
Unfortunately, it was time to head back to get ready for the show that night. Fortunately, at the bus transfer stop...there was ICE CREAM!!

But not to worry! There's a Part 3! It's an extended weekend for the Huntsman's as school started at home today. So, might as well make the best of it! One more full day until we head home.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Final weekend of fun....Part One!

I know I haven't posted in a while, but the last 3 weeks have been really busy. The first two of those weeks, the kids and I were pretty much limited to the nearby beach because daddy was painting the set and finishing props during the day with rehearsals at night.

Dress rehearsals started this past Monday and that's when I got busy...we had a last minute change int he way the show was happening and I ended up being the playback operator, music editor and sound cue provider. So I had lots to do during the day and then rehearsals at night as well.

The show opened Thursday and closed Saturday. What a wonderful whirlwind of days! Opening night was a smashing success - we got to meet the Governer of Bermuda (assigned by England to oversee Bermuda, which is a territory of Great Brittain), which was pretty cool, and both he and the country's Opposition Leader (who is the leader of the party that did not win in elections. The Premier is like their president and she could not attend so she sent a deputy) got on stage after the show and were extremely praiseworthy of the production.

The cast onstage - "Forever Yours"

Friday nights show was rough technically...about a million things went wrong which was just really hard with everything going so well on Thursday. But last night, our closing, made up for was breathtaking! I will speak more in detail on our company blog, here!

On Friday and Saturday during the day, we decided to get out and do some fun stuff! Our friend Jay came in from Las Vegas to design the lights, so we invited him to join us! Here is our Friday adventure!!

Friday we decided to head to the town of St Georges to go to Tobacco Bay! It's a beautiful (though small) beach with some really great snorkeling! Saw the most amazing fish! It was a lot of walking, though...and our first family experience on a Bermuda Bus.

Tobacco Bay
On the way to/from the beach, there is an amazing old unfinished church!

Ryder...making a stand!
My kids literally cannot pose for a photo without....posing!

There was also an enormous wall with a gate...I don't know if it was part of the fort or what...I'm not very good at the tourist thing!

So bummed we couldn't lock them IN! Just kidding...mostly!

That's Jay in the red shirt! Bet he never thought he'd have so much  time with the Huntsman Family!
We wandered into St Georges a bit...they have a lot of historical buildings there. It's really cool to be in buildings that have been standing since the 1600's! Nothing like that in Las Vegas!!

We were only there for a bit, long enough for the kids to get into some...trouble!!

All too soon it was time to hop back on the bus and head home to get ready for the show that night! But it was nice to get out and see some more of the island!

Satruday was fun, too...we'll be back for more in part 2.

But in the meantime, enjoy a few random pics from "our beach"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Frugal Fashion Fridays!

Hello friends!

While I've been her in Bermuda, I've been fortunate to have a lot of time to contemplate my ambitions, plans and projects and figuring out how to make it all work for me. I have so many interests and ideas it's really difficult for me to edit, focus and prioritize my life! I do know that I need to buckle down and work really hard on some projects I feel very passionately about.

What I'm saying is that while I truly love blogging about my frugal fashion finds, I need to be sensible about it!

That said, I am going to streamline. I will continue sharing my steals and deals, but I'm going to limit it to once a week here on this blog. So, here's my first one!

Planning and packing for myself and 4 children for two months in Bermuda was quite the undertaking! I left the dad to his own devices. 
For the kids, we were pretty ok, but we had to hit up some thrift stores for a few more shorts, tank tops and t-shirts. 
The challenge was...swimwear! I anticipated that we'd be visiting the beach frequently so I made sure each of us had 2 bathing suits. I wish I had gotten 3-4 each! There has been only 1 outing in the last 6 weeks that didn't include the beach, so the kids' swimsuits are actually getting worn out! I had to stitch Lola's back together today. 
I'm not above purchasing a swimsuit at a thrift store, but I'm really, really picky - has to be in perfect condition! I got both of Ryders swimsuits at Savers and one for Piper - a speedo brand suit in flawless condition. Chloe and Piper each got one at Target and Chloe got another one at Old Navy. Lola also picked up a cute one at Old Navy and one from Walmart. How cute are they?

Now I personally hadn't purchased a bathing suit in years. Like, several years. I don't swim!

I knew I wanted a vintage styles suit for sure, and I actually found this one at Walmart!

It's a very slimming suit that thanks to my new eating habits, I was ably to buy in a size 8! Yay!

I have been disappointed with it a little because the bottom doesn't really fit like's not snug so it kinda droops. 

In my world, it wasn't a that great of a deal at $30, but in the swimwear world, that's pretty good!

I bought a tankini at Old Navy, but when I tried it on at home again, it wasn't working with my girls. I found it difficult to find swimsuits that would accommodate my bosom! So I returned it and found this one at Ross!

I like this one, it's ruched and very comfy. It goes great with my favorite hot honey!

My other favorite beach related purchase was my wide brimmed hat! Being in the sun so much, it's been a godsend! I found it at Target but thought I could find something cheaper...looked and looked and then drove to Target the night before we left and just bought it. It was like $14 so it wasn't super expensive, but I brought 3 other hats and I paid less than $5 each for them. 

I'm loving the black and white skirt (thrifted, $4) I brought - perfect to wear to the beach over my bathing suit. I also brought short sleeve drapey overshirts in black and white that have been perfect cover ups as well! (Rainbow, $8 ea) I feel vintage glam in it all! And while I brought 4 pairs of sunglasses, I've definitely found my favorites..and one pair broke and I think I left another pair at the beach. Good thing I brought all 4 pairs!

One thing that has been a surprise, I guess, is how much nicer it is to swim in saltwater than a chlorinated swimming pool! The saltwater is so great for my hair, easy on fabrics and if you have a scrape or wound, the saltwater cleans it! I have just never been swimming in saltwater before. I'm definitely a fan...ready to move closer to a beach!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kr-azy For You!

I know, I know. I'm here in Bermuda! But I never had the time to blog about the show I was IN this summer!

On a whim back in April, I decided to audition for Crazy For You! I have really wanted to work with Phil Shelburne, the director. I've been in 2 of his shows but I was hoping I'd have a chance to play a principal role for him. He is also the director of Drowsy Chaperone from last summer...I did the costumes and Steve was in that show. I talked a bit about it in this blog post!

Any who, there is one role in the show for a girl that didn't require tap dancing so I auditioned for that one! I knew it would be tough with the kids and Steve being out of town on a cruise gig for almost the entire rehearsal process, but I thought, what the heck? Besides, I had auditioned for Phil numerous times in the past without much success, so I figured it would at least be good audition experience.

It might have taken 3 weeks and 2 callbacks, but I was indeed offered the role! Let me explain that I haven't ever had a lot of confidence in my acting abilities so to even GET cast by someone as picky as Phil was, well, very exciting. And SCARY! Could I live up to his expectations? Did I have the ability to make him proud? Talk about PRESSURE!

Rehearsals were fun! It was the first time I've ever really had the opportunity to sit with my fellow actors and start talking through scenes, reading them, trying new things. It was really exciting and really cool! I feel like it really helped me establish my character and get past myself and my inhibitions.

See, I played Irene Roth, the wealthy socialite fiance of the lead character...who's not very nice. A little uptight, used to being in control, pretty much a diva princess witch who uses her womanly guile to get what she wants. Who then meets her match in another character...who she pretty much ends up seducing in a rather violent way. Up until now, I have pretty much played the ingenue. This was a whole new world for me...and it ended up being WAY fun!!

[This paragraph wins the award for "pretty much too much." Like, for sure!]

Some pictures that tell the story!

This is rehearsal for my first scene, where my fiance is trying to tell me he doesn't want to marry me but I won't have it.
That's Phil, the director's back...and then there's me and my other love interest Evan. 
And the finished product:

Evan Litt as Bobby, Me as Irene (LOVED that dress)

I actually played "opposite" Evan before. I was Mrs Pharoah to his Pharoah in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat back when I was pregnant with Lola. Evan is a dear friend and it was fun to get to work with him...even if he spent the whole show trying to get away from me!

I should mention I did the costumes, too. Another post!

And learned how to keep red lipstick on my face and not the men I was forcibly smooching...again, another post!

I also got to work with my friend, Shannon! We've worked on the same projects for several years now, but this was our first time onstage together. We only had one scene together...but it was quite the catfight! Which I totally won, by the way. Mostly.

Me as Irene, Evan Litt as Bobby and Shannon Winkel as Polly

This was the hardest working cast! They all worked SO hard to learn like a million incredible production numbers! The tap dancing was amazing - I would stand offstage in awe every night. It was really fun to get to be IN a production with so many friends, old and new. We had a LOT of fun every night.

Most of my scenes were tension filled insult contests with the quazi-villanious Lank, played by Glenn Heath. I had worked with him in Damn Yankees where he played Joe Boyd and I did costumes, but I didn't get to know him well then. While he favored method acting and spent most of the rehearsal process brutally teasing me, we bonded over Star Trek and bruises and somehow ended up forming a wonderful friendship! And I got to make up for it onstage where I  beat the crap out of him in my big number, so it all worked out.

In rehearsal:

In production:

Glenn Heath as Lank, Me as Irene - He's putting me down, as usual.

Then I show him who's boss!
And he never has a chance! HA!

Like stealing candy from a baby.

And done!

So...was it a success? Was Phil pleased with my performance? YES! That's the BEST part of all! He told me on several occasions how pleased he was with my performance and proud he was of me - and I have known Phil for over 14 years. He doesn't sugar coat anything nor does he give compliments he doesn't mean. He had to really push me and made me work for it.

Even better? My husband, who didn't get to see the show until the second week of the run gave me two thumbs up! You have to understand, that is HUGE coming from him. Don't get me wrong, he's very supportive of me and a huge fan of my singing, but he's also very honest and critical of me. He doesn't let his relationship with me get in the way of his opinion of me as a performer. In fact, the one time I auditioned for him...I didn't get cast. He's lets me know (in a kind way, mostly) when something I've done could use some improvement. Sometimes that's hard, but when I earn his approval, I know he means it and it's not just lovey dovey fluff.

And the very best? Just having a wonderful experience with a really wonderful cast - meeting new people, working with dear friends and closing the show on cloud 9...I still haven't come down!

I'm not saying I was amazing and I'm not saying I was the best Irene ever or anything like that. It was a personal victory for me! I set out on this project with a purpose - to deliver a good, believable and honest performance  and I learned A LOT and met that goal! That's always something to celebrate. :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

How did we get personal reflection!

I recently wrote this blog post on our new company blog. It's the story of how we arrived at this incredible opportunity.  Read about it here!

I would like to just expand on it a bit, in a more personal way.

I need to go back in time a bit. I'm not sharing this to seek sympathy - it's part of my path and I have accepted it and have come a long way in learning how to find experiences that will be fulfilling to me in the context of the life that I lead and the responsibilities that I own.

For years when my husbands theatrical experiences were outnumbering mine 5 to 1, I was depressed and unhappy. I felt like I was stuck at home, barefoot and pregnant and alone. In many ways, I was. Steve would work all day and rehearse all night, probably 9 months or more out of a year. We had one car so I literally was stuck at home most of the time. It was hard. Mostly I was just feeling like life was passing me by and while I love my children and chose to make the sacrifices to do what I needed to do as a mother and be there for them, there wasn't much out there filling my cup. I was drained. Even now as I remember and write about it, I'm at the verge of tears and I have a stomach ache!

 I don't want to make it sound like during that time (about a 10 year period...pretty much my 20's) that I didn't do anything and my husband did everything. In the first few years, I was fortunate to play several wonderful roles and I don't discredit those opportunities. It was really once my husband started directing shows - in 2006 that it got really hard for me to do anything. From 2005 to 2010 I only performed  in 3 productions while he directed 7 productions and performed in 7.  Because his schedule was already planned, I couldn't audition for his shows or any others that would overlap because someone needed to be home with the kids, my skills got a bit rusty and my confidence plummeted after several poor audition experiences. Literally, his success was in many ways limiting my opportunities. Not in any way his fault or intended to be that way, just the logistics and timing of it all...and the fact that he's a guy - more in demand....and lack of a live-in nanny.

While it was a constant source of contention between my husband and I, I never asked him to stop. I never asked him to quit. There were a few shows he passed up - he made sacrifices, too, but not on the level I had. I know now that at the time I didn't embrace the concept that my children wouldn't be tiny forever and there would be more opportunities sooner than I thought. I'm also the type of person who far too often chooses to wallow in self sorrow. I am in a much better place now, seeking out and finding more opportunities to perform and finding joy in offstage production as well as working with my husband.

As I look back, I am proud of myself  for continuing to be supportive of my husband. I'm not saying it was lollipops and roses - it definitely wasn't! Harsh words and solitary tears were shared on occasion and maybe  a little more than that. There was tension! But the excitements, the successes, the learning experiences far outweighed the difficulties. It was a time of refining and growing for both of us.

Through these difficult times and in reference to the a-typical lifestyle we need, we are often asked why do we do it? Why have we sacrificed thousands of hours over our 13 years of marriage (and 12 years of parenthood), usually at our own personal cost to do theatre? Why put so much into it? Many of our family members have questioned the same, and I can't blame them. It seems a bit extreme. My husband, however, is completely driven by his creativity and his pursuit of excellence. He is fully committed to whatever project he dives into. That's just how he operates and he has inspired me in that way. And I'm thrilled beyond words that he has the opportunity to live his dreams and that we, together, are in a place where we can embark on wonderful new adventures.

Everytime an actor grows on stage. A set comes together. That last costume piece is finished. To hear an audience laugh the first time. To watch a video of a production years later and be moved to tears by it's beauty. That's why we do it.

Bermuda - this is the icing! This is opportunity meeting preparation.

To be recognized for our hard work and talents by TROIKA Bermuda to the extent that they would hire Steve to come direct the show and design the set, rent our costumes and props and arrange for housing for our entire family is one of those rewards life occasionally tosses your way. It's for all those nights I sat at home alone with 2,3 and 4 small children for weeks and months on end. It's for going to opening night and being so proud of what my husband was able to accomplish but the tears I shed because I would have loved to have been onstage. I never imagined that such good would come. I had learned to be content knowing that my husband was living the life he was meant to lead and not going slowly insane doing work that didn't take advantage of his creative talents. This is icing! And I'm still incredibly, incredibly grateful.

We don't have expansive goals other than to keep supporting our family through the arts and producing and contributing to great theatre.* And these experiences are just the start. There will be more to come! I truly believe that because I also strongly believe we do this for the right reason. For the love of it - because it is what drives us. And if something is worth doing, it's worth doing well. So we'll continue to put our heart and soul and energy into production after production and whatever other opportunities come along.

That's how we got here. And that's how we'll keep going.

*I also really want to sing in a rock band, but somehow it didn't work in that sentence. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

5 (Not necessarily Bermudian) Things

For the last few days I have been pretty much stuck at home as we dealt with water pump issues again - meaning we had limited water in the house. Not fun! So I've spent a lot of time on the computer, doing stuff I rarely get around to doing. Fortunately the water is finally fixed and  here's 5 random, not necessarily Bermudian things!

1. Happy Birthday Lola!

Sorry you don't get your own post, darling, but your photos just didn't turn out. Lola is 5 years old. My baby! It kinda send me into an existential whirl the other day and I started this massive blog post about being a mom that started turning into an in depth therapeutic dissertation on my life so far, so I don't know if I'll ever share it with anyone. But hey, Happy Birthday, LOLA! We hit the beach, she opened her presents and had "donut" cake. What is donut cake? Well, for my birthday this year the girls enlisted their Grandma Huntsman's help to surprise me with a birthday cake and she brought a bundt cake. Which is shaped like a donut. I love the observations of children!

2. Random internet love - a year late!

Last night I was doing some research and gathering for some promo stuff and I found one simple line in a critics blog about a show I did last year. It said "...and Sandra Huntsman’s vocally luminous portrayal of the protagonist’s mother is far and away the best thing in the show." Um, HELLO! While I humbly disagree as I was surrounded by incredible talent and my performance was very much a reflection of my incredible on stage partner, it's nice to have such a positive review of myself. Random that I didn't see it until a whole year later!

3. Fond memories - not quite a year ago!

I have some great video performance footage from some work I did earlier in the year so I set out to create a new demo reel for myself. But then I started watching a concert I put together last year called You'll Be In My Heart - a celebration of music from your favorite animated musicals. It was the first time I've put together something like this and it turned out well. I had an incredible cast and it was one of the most fun things I've ever done. So here's an 18 minute highlight reel of some great music!

4. My favorite drink!

This creation was inspired by the new diet I adopted a few months ago and had to temporarily abandon here in $12 a gallon of milk Bermuda. It's pretty much a restricted carb diet and giving up soda was the best part of it. Which left me searching for alternative drinks. At home, I really like the fizz drinks from Fresh and Easy for a treat - they are carbonated fruit juice with only the natural juice sugars. But I can only get drinks like that at the stores too far to walk to here. I was able to get the stuff to create my favorite drink from home. My diet inspiration, Traci, told me that she drinks her coffee black with heavy whipping cream in it (fats aren't restricted unless you are trying to lose weight and even then they're still allowed). Well, I don't drink coffee but I started experimenting. First I made a cocoa drink with milk, unsweetened cocoa and whipping cream, which was good but lacked a punch. I used to like a drink called Postum, but they quit making it some time ago. I went in search of a good replacement and found one at home called Pero. It's made of malted barley, chicory and rye. It tastes a lot like Postum! What was nice with postum is it was good to mix different flavors with! Well, I eventually developed this mock iced coffee drink and I found Roma here that I like even better than Pero. I love the creaminess and richness of the heavy whipping cream. So for those of you non-coffee drinkers, this is a great, tasty alternative!!

1 rounded teaspoon Pero or Roma
1 rounded teaspoon unsweetened cocoa (I like Ghiradelli at home, but the Hershey's I have here works just as well)
sweetner (sugar or Stevia at home)
Heavy Whipping Cream

Mix the Pero/Roma, cocoa and sweetner with one cup of hot water (tap temp is fine)

Pour the mixture into a glass with plenty of ice cubes. Add a splash (I probably put in about 1 oz) of heavy whipping cream.

Stir and enjoy!

5. My kids teach me more...
I've noticed lately that Piper kept pointing out when she would make a mistake or when something was less than perfect. I was like - Piper! Don't do that! Most people won't notice so don't set yourself up. Then I was like - gee, wonder where she gets that from! I'm ALWAYS doing that. I'm so very critical of myself, you know? Here's an when I posted that video clip on my facebook page, I HAD to go and leave a comment saying that I screwed up the words and have no rhythm. It comes from wanting people to know that I know I'm not perfect because I expect them to be as critical of me as I am of myself. Now, that's not entirely a bad thing, but in a lot of cases I think I point out things that many may not notice. Once there was a show that I costumed that I was definitely not proud of. I knew it was not my best work. So if people complimented me on it, I was flippant - I had a hard time taking the compliment. And sometimes I'd even say "I wish I could have re-done this or that" or told them it wasn't my favorite, probably making them think more critically of something they saw and enjoyed. Or when things don't work out the way I want them to, I apologize before they even see it! For Piper and Lola's birthday gifts, I waited to buy most of the gifts here and then was limited to the Dollar ($2.50) store to get everything except for the iPod I had brought from home. It was my impulse to say to Piper - I'm sorry we had to get all your gifts at the dollar store, I'll make it up to you when you get home. With my new found awareness, I kept my mouth shut! Piper had NO IDEA - or if she did, it didn't matter! She was thrilled with all of her little gifts and had as good of a birthday as ever. If I had pulled her aside and explained, she would have let it affect her. I won't let go of being critical of my work - that's what pushes me to do better. But I will be more conscious of how I share that self criticism with others.