lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Bit of a Binge April 1, 2017

In this crazy day and age when it seems like the only way to escape constant panic about the sad shape of the world is to either binge on kitten videos or boxed wine, downtime can seem depressing.

If you’re sitting down to enjoy yourself at the end of a long day, shouldn’t you be out fighting for equality and justice? Taking a long lunch with some yummy coffee? Shouldn’t you instead be educating yourself on the tragedies in Syria or I don’t even know what part of Africa is the worst right now so I’m not even going to try and name drop?

This blog took a dark turn, huh?

But it’s true! You could spend your lunch cleaning up trash in your neighborhood, planting a community garden to feed the hungry, or, if you hate being outside, knitting hats for premature babies. (more…)

 

Attack of the Pretty People March 27, 2017

I have a fear of makeup stores. Yes, I’ve worked in makeup before. Yes, I wear a pound-and-a-half of makeup for shows eight (or more) times a week. Yes, it’s just a store and I shouldn’t fear human interaction. But I can’t help it; I’m terrified of makeup stores.

There’s something about walking into the bright lights that show every flaw in your pores, and then the heads of the pretty people in black swivel toward you like they can scent easy prey. They descend like hyenas, telling you how they can fix the bags under your eyes, or the wrinkles you’ve never even noticed on your forehead, and you just want to scream, “All I need is eyeliner!”

I needed white shimmer eyeshadow for a show a few months ago, and I put off finding any for weeks. The concept of facing the black-clad pretty people was too much for me. Lucky for me I have a friend who is an awesome professional makeup artist. Really, she’s amazing, and you need to see her work. So I asked her to tell me what to ask the pretty people for. She laughed and said she could do me one better; all I had to do was go into the tiny Bare Minerals specialty store and ask for snowflake. So I did.

I walked right into that tiny store, and when a lady who looked like an elf asked me what I wanted, I said, “Snowflake!” a little too loudly to be considered socially acceptable. She asked if I wanted anything else and I said, “Just snowflake!”

And she put it in a bag, and I gave her money and got to leave. It was like a freakin’ miracle!

But then I broke my blush and my dark eyeshadow last week! (more…)

 

The Trouble with Trampolines March 22, 2017

Once upon a time when I was a bright-eyed youth, I worked for a summer stock theatre that performed all their shows in the round. For non-theatre folks, that means that the audience is on all four sides of the stage. We did somewhere around seven shows in twelve weeks or something crazy like that, and one of the shows was the musical Swing!

I love Swing! It’s a great show. Just a bunch of happy, dancing frivolity. I will say it’s an ambitious endeavor for a summer stock. That many dance numbers to put together in a two-week rehearsal process with the entire cast currently performing another show? Not really the ideal situation.

But it was fine. Nobody died. (A few close calls, but we all survived.) And in all this super intense work, they even decided to do a trampoline number.

It was a normal swing number, except we were bouncing off our trampolines and throwing ourselves at our dance partners. It was pretty terrifying. (more…)

 

The Snorkeling Sickness March 11, 2017

My husband and I aren’t usually seasick people. We’ve ridden on boats from canoes to cruise ships and neither of us has ever gotten ill. Until we went snorkeling a few weeks ago.

It was our first double day off since September, so we treated ourselves to a little trip to Key West. We rode the catamaran down. That was great! I read the whole way, my husband played his video game. We spent the evening exploring and woke up the next morning ready for a snorkeling adventure!

That’s where the problems began. We left to hotel too early for their breakfast and had to find food on the docks. My husband, feeling adventurous, chose a Cuban breakfast sandwich with pulled pork and chorizo. Then we got on the boat. Everything was still fine, but since it was a little choppy, they decided to take us to the soft coral instead of the actual barrier reef. Still super cool. I’d never snorkeled with soft coral before.

Then we got into the water, and I learned something very important: soft coral doesn’t hold down sand. It was like trying to swim through a sand storm. (more…)

 

Flying With Footwear February 27, 2017

I went to college halfway across the country, so I was always flying back and forth to school. As a dance major, I would always pack a carryon with all my dance shoes and leave less important things like clean underwear to fend for themselves in checked baggage.

It was always fine, and since my checked bags usually arrived three days late, a pretty great system. Until it wasn’t.

I was flying back to school after a summer of theatre and had my tap shoes in my little rolly bag. I popped it up on the conveyor belt and sent it through the X-ray. For the first time in my life, the guy at the end pulled my bag aside, saying there was something suspicious they needed to examine. Fine, whatever. I don’t mind being searched if it keeps people safe.

The man grabbed out my tap shoes and sent them back through the X-ray. They were super fancy tap shoes, so under the tap was a thin layer of metal to create better resonance. But this man didn’t know anything about tap tone quality; he just thought my beloved and expensive shoes were a threat.

He reached under his counter and pulled out a screwdriver to unscrew my taps and check beneath them! (more…)

 

A Working Blog (From Chris) February 21, 2017

Filed under: Marriage Mayhem — meganorussell @ 8:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I, Christopher Russell, work too hard. At least, that’s what my mom tells me whenever we talk. And the truth is, I do work a lot. If you really count the number of projects I have going on in any given week, you’ll most likely come up with four or five. I have my acting job, my online job, my serving job, my editing job, and my composing job. Three of these make me happy, and three of these make me money.

Megan and I could live only on our acting salary. We don’t pay rent at all; we paid off our student loans years ago; and we have no dependents. So, why work so much, you ask? Well, for a multitude of reasons.

First of all, Megan and I are both from families that began with very modest incomes. We saw the struggles facing our parents and wanted to work as hard as possible to not be in similar situations. I should explain that our families also worked very hard, but, as I mentioned previously, we’re different in that we have no home or dependents to take care of.

Second, Megan had instilled from her at a very early age that you take the money while you can. This is very similar to our current situation. The serving and online jobs are very temporary, so once they’re gone, we’ll be out a combined total of four sources of income. So we’re working hard now in order to save for when we won’t be able to. Makes sense, right?

Third, and this is probably the biggest reason… we’re addicts. Not drugs or alcohol or anything like that. (more…)

 

An Awkward Kiss February 13, 2017

When I was in college as a dance major, I had to take two semesters of acting. It didn’t bother me. I was totally comfortable with it. I had done plays and Shakespeare before, unlike a lot of the dance majors, so it was a fun class for me. Trying new techniques, doing great scene work, kissing random guys.

Okay, so the kissing bit was weird. And not because I was already dating my now husband at the time. We’re both performers, it sort of comes with the territory. Like taking your clothes off in front of other people, and running around in your underpants for money. The class kissing was weird because not all the kissers were good.

There was this one guy, who was very sweet, and I would feel bad writing about him except, well, who knows they’re a bad kisser? How would he ever figure out I was blogging about his inability to press his lips to another humans in an appealing fashion?

Anyway, he wasn’t like a no-lip, where you can feel the teeth through the skin. He wasn’t even a squelchy pecker who made awkward sounds while attacking chicken-style. He was a face swallower. (more…)