THE CLOSET ACTRESS:  Throwback To The Future

Welcome to the newest installment of The Closet Actress where my passion for acting and dressing up meet, kiss and have babies.

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THE BACKSTORY

I think it was my third year of grad school.  I decided to launch out and start auditioning, eager to use all that expensive technique I had gained in my three years of studying.   I auditioned to play a part of a diva Video Jockey/ TV host who was being followed as part of a faux reality show.  This was a short film written and directed by a beginner filmmaker.

I had a good audition.  In fact, the director called to tell me so. Only he did not offer me the part but asked if I would coach the actress that did get the part. Huh?!  Whaaat? She looked the part (model type) and I had the skill. Classic. It was such a mix of emotions. On the one hand, I was being acknowledged for my skill which sends me over the moon with unspeakable joy and on the other hand I was being rejected for my lack of long legs… which sucked. Feeling uneasy inside, I agreed to do it and rationalized my decision as noble, generous even godly.  But it sucked…

I know what I want. I’ve always known what I want. Somehow over the course of time I’ve second guessed and settled. It had become a part of the fabric of my decision making process.

Choose.

Second-guess.

Settle.

It happened with the sundry and big decisions–

Choose. Second guess. Settle.

I don’t know where this insane habit came from but I’d guess it’s probably from the depths of some childhood experience.

Anyhow, on that day I agreed to the filmmaker’s request to coach his choice actress when I really didn’t want to do it— I settled.

That’s why when something all too characteristic of that former time happened to me recently I responded with a big , fat, gracious…

NO THANK YOU.

It was a “throwback to the future” moment.  I had another good audition and was told so by the director.  Yet I get a call asking if I’d be willing to be “background”.  Whaaat?!  My mind raced to the time and space of that early compromise in grad school. The “sucky” feelings I had back then rushed into my “now”.  History was trying to repeat itself.  I had to stop it.

Thoughts of nobility and missed opportunity crossed my mind AGAIN.

However, unlike then, I know now I’m under no obligation to accept something just because it’s offered.  I’m also over believing the lie that I will be missing out on something if I don’t accept. These are nothing more than settling traps.

God has greater things for me than that.  He has greater things than that for all of us. I believe God has given everyone a customized vision for their lives. We see ourselves in a certain special way, doing a certain special thing by His design but often second guess those ideas, dismiss them and settle for something completely outside of that vision. It’s a subtle shift that much like that insane habit of mine becomes apart of how we wear life.   It takes courage to accept God’s personal vision for your life and even more to walk in that vision. That often means fighting for it. Everyday. Moment to moment. And when we don’t fight for it, we’re settling.

We are the guardians of God’s vision for our individual lives. 

Settling is a personal decision. Only you and God knows what that looks and feels like. Our battlefields will each look different. What was offered to me by the young filmmaker then and what was offered most recently were not awful things in themselves. It’s when I accept someone else’s idea of me against my “knowing” heart that it shifts to settle mode.

How could anyone successfully follow their dreams following someone else’s idea of them?

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I’ve never met a box I could fit in.

THE WARDROBE

If you remember, the last episode of The Closet Actress featured several forgotten pieces from my closet inspired by classic films or stage plays.

Well, the outfits featured in this new episode are a throwback to the 80’s and 90’s.  I chose these items solely because they perfectly complimented one thing:  My Shell Toe Adidas.  I have wanted these classic Shell Toes for years but never bought them.  They were too expensive. I didn’t really need them. Those were my 2 common excuses. But I finally got them for my birthday. (thanks hubby). Something I’ve always wanted!

Getting them was half the battle.  Although my husband bought the right size they were too big which meant I had to return them.  The store didn’t have the size I needed. So they suggested a boys’ size alternative but when I tried them on they just weren’t quite right. One sales guy told me something was wrong with me, not the shoes. Ha! That was my cue to go elsewhere which I did until I found a place that would order the woman’s size shoe I wanted.   I had to wait another week but I got the shoe I wanted. This is a minor event that serves as major reminder how the opportunity to settle presents itself anywhere, anytime, and with anything— you’ve decided you want. But alongside the opportunity to settle is the opportunity to fight for it. We get to choose.

I’m fighting. How about you?

How has God’s vision for your life been challenged?

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Feeling a bit nostalgic, click the links below to scratch that itch.

WARDROBE IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE:

Grey and black tunic sweatshirt dress, Paraphrase

Baja-inspired pullover hoodie, Paper Crane  

Black knit leggings, Poof

Superstar “Shell Toe” , Adidas

80’S AND 90’S INSPIRATIONS:

“Walk this Way” video 

“My Adidas” video

Lisa Bonet

Molly Ringwald

Thanks for stopping by.  

-altesa

 

 

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… to me.

As a child, my birthday happiness was dependent on the reaction and response of others.  I (was forced to) realize, as I got older, that dependence is unhealthy.

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It’s empowering to know your value and worth runs deeper than people’s memory, financial situation or Facebook alerts.

Your birthday’s special and valuable simply because YOU ARE HERE.  God saw it fit to grace you with the gift of life and all it’s treasures.  That’s enough.  Stop waiting and start celebrating… throw your own party even if you are the only one invited!  If folks show up, let that be the icing on the cake.

How do you take responsibility for your happiness on your birthday?

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Mommy Playdate

What started out as an idea for a cute Instagram picture turned into a full blown wedding photo shoot and what I am predicting a movement amongst mommies to relieve stress.  
Inspired by my friend’s Instagram post where she described a way cooler pretend play time with her boys after adding a doll that looks a lot like her to the mix of their testosterone-centric superheroes, I pulled my doll from the closet.  Bridal Barbie was given to me by my sister eight years ago as a wedding gift.  My husband owned a Tuskegee Airmen G.I. Joe that we picked up from a Goodwill nine years ago.   It was only natural for them to get married.  They have been living together for so long now, yeah, it was about time.

Boy did I have fun.

Along with my two boys, I pretended for a few hours while arranging these two love birds.  I hadn’t played like that in a very long time, not with dolls.  It was amazing how quickly my brain connected to the little girl.  Only now I was a little girl with a camera.  This simple act brought such joy to my heart.  This short lived moment will live for ever in my mind and in pictures. It not only lifted my spirits but reminded me of the power of images and play. When you place them together. Whoa Baby!  I foresee a lot more mommy play dates in my future.

There was a natural progression between set ups.  They became like real people with real personalities.  I was in full throttle play y’all.

I began to think of all the standard “wedding day” poses between bride and groom, like the “before” shots where couples each stand unseen on either side of a door holding hands to share an intimate prayer prior to the ceremony.  Or the “eavesdrop” shots where the couple’s private moments are captured.  Or the “reception” where bride and groom let their hair down in full celebration mode.  The ideas were endless.  If my boys had not begun complaining about food and something of the other, I would probably have a 1,000 pics instead of 250!  Don’t worry, I only shared a few on this post.

Check out the photo shoot. Do you think I can add wedding photographer to my list of skills?

The Before:

The After:

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The reception:


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The eavesdrop:

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and of course no event is complete pretend or real life without…

The selfie:

Hope you are smiling and inspired as I was to create these images and this post.

IG: @altesabaker

love,

altesa

What About Those Chairs?: Farmhouse Dreams On an Apartment Budget

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Bringing my farmhouse dreams on an apartment budget to life one DIY project at a time.

Next up: The chairs.

 

It all comes down to a vision.  When I lock into one, it’s on and the real fun begins.

Re-upholstering the kitchen chairs was one fun project to undertake especially since my vision included mismatched seating and building two new stools to complete the refinished table project.

Let’s begin with the inspiration:

This beautiful dining setup took my breath away. Besides the rush of natural light, the mix of bright and bold print along with the weathered table and chairs is a winning combo in my book.  I had to have it and since this particular print is way above my budget, I had to adjust.  Hey, I’m used to fiscally adjusting, so it’s no probs.

Next it was time to shop for prints:

I knew I wanted bright and bold floral types of print.  I always intended to use table cloths or shower curtains for my upholstery fabric since it is easy to wipe down.  I still have two young boys who have holes in their chins.   No luck with the laminate table cloths (absent of cute prints) or outdoor fabric (expensive) but found the mother lode in affordable, beautiful, water and stain resistant cotton table cloths at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross and Burlington Coat Factory.  In the end I used both table cloths and a shower curtain! (Yep. can you tell which one?) to upholster the stools and re-upholster the chairs.  Remember these aren’t your mama’s shower curtains.

Next it was time to purchase and cut wood for the 2 bar stools I was building:

The two bar stools were built using these plans from Rogueengineer.com.  Although I made my seating a bit wider than their plans called for, I loved their easy, simple, visual instructions.  As a newbie it worked perfectly.

IMG_7310.JPGFor the seats, I used left over plywood from the storage bed build project and had it cut to size at Lowes.  I also loaded up on a staple gun and staples.  Then off to buy batting and foam from the fabric store.  Since the two original chairs already had batting and foam, I only needed to cut off its old fabric, measure and staple the new.

Taking out the staples on my two kitchen chairs were probably the most challenging part of this upholstery project. Oh yeah, choosing which fabric would go where was a bit exhaustive not from intensive labor but from indecisiveness and fear of making a bad choice.  In the end, I am satisfied.  My farmhouse dreams on an apartment budget are shaping up.

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Thanks for reading,

altesa.

My DIY Epiphany: Trust your instincts.  Take the risks.  You have the advantage of changing something you don’t like anytime you choose.

 

 

 

appreciation day

I used to have long thick natural hair and I miss it.
today,
i imagined a photo where i would showcase my hair as it is today. in recovery from heat damage 2 years ago, it has taken on a new texture, look and style that is not necessarily by choice. in the meantime, while it grows back, i take it in.  i told my husband what i wanted and he was johnny on the spot snapping away just minutes before he was to leave for work.  I love the results of this spontaneous photo shoot.  
Hair Style: Afro Blow out
Camera: Canon 7d /50mm

5 Reasons Why I AM Digging This Homeschool Life and 5 Reasons Why I am NOT. (Part 2)

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This is my mid year assessment of homeschooling my 5 and 3-year-old sons, the first year.  If you stumbled upon this post without reading Part One, 5 Reasons Why I AM Digging this Homeschool Life.  Check it out here.

A 27 hour road trip, regardless of how much you prepare, will have it’s good and bad and even ugly moments.  Stretches of one road can have an amazing view while another stretch along that same road becomes isolated and uninteresting. Well, this is the stretch of homeschooling that turns a beautiful scenic road trip with a friend into a pain in the butt.

5 REASONS WHY HOMESCHOOLING IS  A TEST OF ENDURANCE.

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1.  THE FREEDOM: What freedom?!

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I can remember after having my second child and becoming a “stay at home”, sneaking away to a quiet empty bedroom just to hold onto a thought.  I remember thinking how unnatural it is to never have a moment to yourself. Well, welcome to homeschool. Non stop action and noise.  Once my son’s heads hit their beds, I tell them Mommy  is  off duty.  I will be available for cups of water and long-winded questions about birthdays in the morning.  Although they are amused by this declaration,  it’s my feeble attempt to carve out time to myself.

2.  FLEXIBILITY is necessary whether you want to be flexible or not.

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It’s home-school. My home now has a dual function and the lines are easily blurred.  Things do not always go according to well prepared, thought out, brilliant plans.  Besides being kids, they are MY kids.  Instead of a teacher, they see their mommy which means I get tested in ways a stranger may not.  They see their toys, their kitchen, their food.  And yes, all of those things are tools for everyday learning. Yet, distractions abound.  Because of the home dynamic, I have to make room for adjustments to take place moment by moment, lesson by lesson.  Let’s not mention the younger sibling, in my case, the preschooler, who subvert all lesson plans longer than 5 minutes.

3.  THE COMMUNITY of opinions, ideas and advice can be overwhelming.

I love to read other homeschooler’s experiences but I have had to narrow my daily or weekly intake to 2 to 3 bloggers that fit into my homeschool model.  I branch out to the others when I need to research something in particular. It’s easier on my brain that way.

4.  PERSONAL GROWTH: Education is in the eye of the beholder.

The word “school” has become a reason to “hem and haw” even from the comfort of one’s pajamas in one’s home.   I made the error of associating “school” with sitting down and being still to a child who can barely sit still in his sleep.  He is turned off by the “school” part as a result.  I set out to inspire a love for learning and may have done the opposite in my first 6 months. UGH!

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A friend asked my son during a park visit, what part of school he liked most.  My 5 year old’s response was a stunner.  He said, “The part when it’s over”.  Incredulous!  Yes I took it personal.  That’s the downside.  There is no one else to blame.  It’s all me. I am his teacher.  I am solely responsible for how he views school.  I wonder often how to engage my sons creatively while still personally trying to break free from the traditional school structure I’ve grown up with.

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I have yet to crack the code on what will make their home education more exciting and inciting.  I also grapple with the idea that every part of school will be fun and games.  Part of a full education is understanding some things are tedious but must be done.  Right?  Although I want my son to wake up each morning excited to practice piano and to take on reading lesson in the ways that I present it, I know I have some work to do in this area. My approach, experience, educational goals, my son’s personality and the circumstances surrounding his discontent is always under evaluation.

5.  SPIRITUAL GROWTH:   A battle zone.

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The burden of raising children can be daunting by itself.  Then to take on homeschooling too, in a land where traditional school is often hailed by the majority as the best and only option, is doubly intimidating. Yet, here I am.  Self doubt and all.  Fears come a’ knocking quite a bit trying to poke holes in my confidence.  Am I doing enough?

In spite of the onslaught of attack on me and my children and husband, I have to labor to rest in a God that I believe equipped my husband and I to pour into our son’s lives, teach and train them up in spite of our shortcomings.  They will be just fine– better than fine. Like most promising investment options, we will just have to wait until they mature before we can see the fruitful return God promises. In the meantime, I will trust.

I imagine most of this list is first year problems.  First year or twenty-first year, what has been a constant test of endurance on your homeschool journey?

Thanks for reading. Be sure to read Part one.  5 Reasons Why I am Digging this Homeschool Life.

Ordinary Glory

“Never believe that the so-called random events of life are anything less than God’s appointed order. Be ready to discover His divine designs anywhere and everywhere.”- Oswald. Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

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When I allow thanksgiving to invade my ambitious mind, I see strokes of beauty in the day to day part of life; the grocery store runs and Chipotle lines, the wet grass and playgrounds, audition slates, LA traffic (believe it or not), early morning piano for kiddos and last-minute trips to Target. It’s my life, in all its ordinary glory.