The Ocean

Photo by David Billings on unsplash

As I walk to the water
through the soft warm sand,
I reach the shore
and the water laps at my feet,
burying my toes.
The sun warms my skin
and feels like a long and much needed hug.

My mind started playing tricks on me
as I looked out at the horizon.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Soft words in a deep voice envelope me,
with my own giggles as a little girl,
clinging to her Papi,
wearing swim trunks and a white undershirt.
He never cared for the water
but took pleasure watching me soak in the sun
and splash around in his arms.

As a woman, I watch the waves and miss my Papi.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Strolling the shore,
I see the billows of white when the waves crash,
and think of everything that has passed since that day.

As that afternoon came to an end,
we left the water,
my big family enjoying this rare gathering
that would not happen often enough.
Papi looked out and smiled at the water,
a bit of sadness and a bit of joy;
he loved that he spent time with me and my sister that day
but did not love that it was calling him back
to what he considered home as a child.

 

As a woman, I watch as the tide comes in
and wonder if I have never loved the water as an adult
because it reminds of a time that is long gone.

As I take a deep breath,
I smell the salt
and feel the thickness of the air through my nose
and into my lungs.
The sounds of the birds
and the ocean saying goodbye
as I turn away and leave,
never wanting to return.

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

The Revolutionists

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A brutal comedic quartet about four very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Playwright Olympe De Gouge, assassin Charlotte Corday, and former queen Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, lose their heads, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in revolutionary Paris.

In the Time of the Butterflies

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In the Time of the Butterflies

En El Tiempo de las Mariposas

Based on the novel by Julia Alvarez as adapted by Caridad Svich

Directed: Karla Hartley and Jorge Acosta

Synopsis: The beautiful and inspiring story of the life of the courageous, martyred Mirabal sisters who inspired resistance cells throughout the Dominican Republic under the tyrannical rule of Gen. Trujillo’s regime in 1960.

Select Performances will be in Spanish!

Basada en la novela de Julia Álvarez según adaptada por Caridad Svich.

Dirigida por: Karla Hartley y Jorge Acosta

Sinopsis: La obra cuenta la historia hermosa e inspiradora de la vida de las valientes y martirizadas hermanas Mirabal quienes inspiraron resistencia en la República Dominicana bajo el régimen del General Trujillo en 1960.

We are grateful for the support of our Show Sponsors:
Columbia Restaurant Group
Tucker/Hall, Inc.
Cigar Family Charitable Foundation
Paul and Rosa Beraquit

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Apps That Pay You Back In Cash

January is here and the credit card bills are starting to come in, rapid fire. All those Christmas gifts purchased, time spent with family sometimes involved gas money or an airline ticket, all of it is coming in and it can be daunting for several months after.

Well, if you are willing to take a little time before, during or after you shop in the new year, these apps will let you earn your rebate and get it back in cash. Most also have a gift card option of some sort, but if you’re like me, green is what you want so you can pay your bills and call it a day.

ibotta

Okay, so I am totally loving using ibotta to earn cash back on groceries and other restaurant and retail shops.

This app is super simple to use. You find the store you are shopping at and then you scroll through the products that have a rebate available. Tag the items that interest you and when you shop you scan the barcode with your phone to make sure you have chosen the right product. After you checkout, scan your receipt and all of the items you have chosen should be seen. If something didn’t tag, no worries, you are able to go back and select it and that is all you do. After you have $20 in rewards, you can have your money sent to your PayPal account. Presently, I have earned $252.45 in rebates through ibotta. During the holidays, I took advantage of using this app on top of other discounts at retail stores and even online only stores.

ibotta also offers you opportunities to earn individual and team bonuses. Your team consists of friends who also use ibotta. If you would like to be a part of my team use the referral code qcfxkog when you sign up and I will also earn a referral bonus that will help me earn cash for the new year. Once you sign up you can also earn referral bonuses by inviting friends to join your team.

Ebates

Ebates is super handy during the holidays and especially when you are purchasing a big ticket item online. Although they are known for online rebates, there are some brick and mortar stores that let you receive those rebates through Ebates if you link your credit card and  once you have done that it will automatically appear in your Ebates account after a few days.

The important thing to know about Ebates is that you must use the link they provide you to the store to earn the rebate. They payout every three months and you have to have a cash back balance of $5.00 or more. The money is also sent to your PayPal account.

I’ve earned $70.61 in cashbacks with Ebates. Remember, the key is to check your Ebates app for potential rebates on big ticket items, the savings can be substantial and most times combined with other offers.

Sometimes, your purchase through their link will not show up in your account. In those rare cases, you are able to ask ebates to track that purchase and they will follow up with the company and keep in touch with you via email about the progress. The wait can be long but if they are able to get the rebate, so worth it.

Ebates also offer a “Refer a Friend” bonus. If you would like help me earn a bonus just click on the hyperlink, which is contained on the highlighted Ebates.

Checkout 51

This app works a lot like ibotta but the platform is different. The products are not broken down by stores and sometimes when scrolling through you will notice that some products can only be purchased at a specific store that is mentioned next to the item,  to earn the rebate.

The savings can be substantial and unlike the other two apps I have discussed, Checkout 51 actually sends out a check with your rebate amount after you have earned $20.00 or more. I have earned $26.20 through Checkout 51. Checkout 51 also offers contests and bonuses on occasion to help you earn. Click the hyperlink to download the app for Checkout 51.

Hope these apps save you money. They have been very helpful to me and require very little of my time.

What are some of your favorite money-saving apps? Share in the comments below.

Now, let’s go save!

Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash

What Mid-Forties Feel Like

Last month was my birthday, I am officially in my mid-forties. Here are some of the things I’ve pondered:

Health

According to my last check-up all is good. I am at a healthy weight and all my lab results also got a thumbs up. With that said, I have noticed that keeping the weight off is not as easy as it was even a year ago. The other thing I noticed is that cardio just doesn’t cut it anymore. If I want to see a change, I have to definitely implement strength training and that is as fun as having my teeth pulled or a cavity filled, you choose.

Although I have maintained my weight, my clothes don’t fit like they used to, every thing is a little tighter.  Which of course leads me to even a bigger mystery, the mystery of the distribution of chubbiness.

Back fat, I mean really, why does that exist? Some people say you are wearing the wrong size bra but all I know is that it has magically appeared and taken permanent residence.

Not sure what to call it so I’m going to say side fat. It’s on your hip, you can pinch it. Something that was never there before is there now. Why does it exist? What is its purpose? Is there a higher meaning? Maybe it is there just so you have to buy wider pants; either way, UGH!

Deep down in my core, I know what I have to do to get rid of it: eliminate processed sugar and add strength training to my weekly workout routine. The latter is painful because I dislike strength but I can say with 100% certainty that I love processed sugar. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, all of it! Why is the universe taking away the answer to any surprise stress situations? I have started to buy fruit and dwindle the treats from my pantry. So hard when Halloween is around the corner and sets off the trifecta of holiday sugar: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Family

Nothing has taken over so much of my time and energy as caring for my Mother. My Mom has gone from being an independent individual to two hospital visits and rehabilitation. It has led to many moments of stress and fear. Helping her adjust to her limited mobility has been hard. Nothing prepares you for that moment when the woman that gave you life and took care of you is the one needing care now. The road has been rocky, and there have been many a days where I meditate and pray for her to be well, be happy and free from suffering. This transition has been scary but just like anything unknown in life, the path is here for a reason and the new dynamic of the relationship we forge will lead to more care and love.

Being a Mom of two middle school aged children has been very interesting. I love that my kids still talk to me, I mean really talk to me. There are days when feelings overwhelm them but the fact that they know I am there and still ask for my opinion has been great. Do they know it all, of course. Hopefully they just realize that a second pair of eyes will always be an asset.

Spirituality

I have taken a challenge this year that has been hard. I started 2017 with the intention of meditating and journaling to help out with my stress. It took me a bit of time to really find my groove with meditation. I tried everything and what seems to fit is two wonderful apps that let me meditate on the go.

Buddhify and Insight Timer – these two apps have been so wonderful for me.  A great feature of Insight Timer is that it allows you to see how many people meditated with you, so many people out there being mindful makes me happy. Buddhify categorizes the meditations into different groups so that you can listen to whatever you fancy at the time.

Self-help audiobooks – another great resource for me is OverDrive. This app has partnered with my local public library and lets me access audiobooks that I can listen to in the car. Some of my favorite books have been The Book of Joy, Exponential Living and Big Magic. I’ve had so many “A-HA” moments while driving, it really has become one of my favorite things to do.

Does this mean I’m a Zen master? Let’s just say I woke up before 6 am this morning because I couldn’t sleep, had a mini-breakdown using Word with my son last night and lost the document, and after taking the kids to school this morning I dropped an entire cup of hot coffee on me. All I can say is, there are more moments of mindfulness in my life now and I know it’s a work in progress.

Work

For the first time in a long time, the kids are in the same school which means I have an even amount of downtime. I was hoping to get a part time job or work on my photography. My Mother’s transition means I need to dedicate some of that time to her appointments. In between that, carpooling, and my household duties, my creative work has been put on the back burner.

Finding the balance of working on what I love is hard. Instead of acting in shows, I try to see a show. I carry my camera with me so I can take stock photography until I can start to work on my headshot photography again. As for blogging, I try to get it in when I can, that means using the WordPress app in my daughter’s orthodontic office and editing my blog pics on the go.

I try to dedicate all my focus and energy on the kids when they get home from school and I’m hoping to implement some time for outings with friends, I miss that aspect of my life soooo much.

Beauty

So it’s true, you are a little softer. Not in a bad way, just in a different way. I don’t mind my laugh lines or crow’s feet, it just means I have laughed a lot in my life. I find that I’m thankful for the little things even more now. The stuff that used to bother me or that I would worry about what other people thought of my appearance, don’t even concern me anymore. As they say, it’s amazing how little people really think about you and what you think they are thinking about you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one admiring the youthful glow of women who don’t seem to age, but it’s not something that I worry about so much. I moisturize and try to nourish my body with the food it needs. At the end of the day, that is all you can do. As an actress, aging can be difficult but you are also given the opportunity to embody characters with an amazing amount of layers and depth. There is nothing more interesting than who you are, so go find and be it.

Mid-forties has been interesting, can’t wait to see where it continues to move me down this journey called life.

What do you ponder about, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.

Keep on!

Acting Out Mama!

Love is the Only Thing that Matters

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Starring: Samantha Maguire, Roy Banks, Kimberly Banks, Will Montero, Selena Washington, Jacqueline Jones, Nick Massi, Gloria Live, Idris Thomas, and many more.

Rise of the Prickly Pear

American Stage is proud to launch our commitment to 21st Century Voices with a New Play Festival featuring live staged readings of four new plays from four exceptional up-and-coming playwrights from Tampa Bay and beyond.

A committee comprised of a diverse cross-section of community members worked with our producing artistic director to read, evaluate and discuss hundreds of new play submissions from all over the United States. The selected works will be featured in staged readings and workshops and will provide audiences the opportunity to contribute to the plays’ development through audience talk-backs following each play reading.

Individual Tickets: $10 per reading
All-Access Pass: $30 General Public | $20 American Stage Subscribers & Act 1 Club Members

Sponsored by Rebecca & Michael Alford and Susan & Pete Greenbaum

Rise of the Prickly Pear
By Radha S. Menon

Rise Of The Prickly Pear is about love and betrayal, set in 1958 Santiago De Cuba and 1980 Miami. Che Guevara and his ‘bearded ones’ are holed up in the Sierra Maestra fighting a bitter battle as revolution grips the nation in a dire struggle against American imperialism, while two local women battle each other and bust up over love.

Twenty years later these women reunite in Miami and must face each other and get to grips with the past.This play arose from curiosity and bloomed into an exploration of the illusive nature of beauty and a study into humanity’s ingenious knack of reinvention after betrayal has obliterated one’s status quo.

Director – Erica Sutherlin
Assistant Stage Manager/The General – Matt Acquard
Futuro – Nick Hoop
Marianna – Isabel Natera
Hermosita – Jessy Julianna Quinones
Pedro – Joe Parra
Ramon – David Valdez

Dog Act

TAMPA REPERTORY THEATRE & CREATIVE LOAFING PRESENT

CONVERSATION STARTERS

A post-apocalyptic vaudeville, Dog Act follows Zetta Stone, a traveling performer, and her companion Dog, a young man undergoing a voluntary species demotion, as they walk through the wilderness of the former Northeast U.S. with their little troupe. They are heading toward a gig in China, if they can find it—and if they can survive to reach it. A theatrical, darkly comic variation on the classic doomsday genre – the post-apocalyptic wilderness was never funnier!

Monday, February 13th, in the CL Space, 1911 N. 13th Street, Tampa.  7: 30pm Curtain. Tickets are $10.  Cash bar on site.  And stick around for the discussion afterwards.

The Vagina Monologues

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Carrollwood Players Theatre presents a CWP Black Box Production of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

A Staged Reading in the CWP Black Box Theatre

Directed by Beth Behner

Three Performances Only
Friday, February 3, 2017 at 8 pm
Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 8 pm
Sunday, February 5, 2017 at 3 pm

Tickets: $10
https://carrollwood-players-theatre.ticketleap.com/vagina-monologues/

The Vagina Monologues introduces a wildly divergent gathering of female voices, including a six-year-old girl, a septuagenarian New Yorker, a vagina workshop participant, a woman who witnesses the birth of her granddaughter, a Bosnian survivor of rape, and a feminist happy to have found a man who “liked to look at it.” Funny, outrageous, emotionally affecting, and occasionally angry, The Vagina Monologues confront words to demystify and disarm them – and the audience witnessing them.

Strong adult language and themes.

CAST

Tana Gundry
Patricia Coyle
Alexa Sheppard
Rebecca Ginsberg
Leanne Germann
Deb Kelley
Pamela Slagg
Jen Martin
Petra Sussman
Trish Farber
Gemma Davimes
Kym Welch
Val Sanford
Taylor Hendershot
Isabel Bertram
Samantha Janek

 

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Almost, Maine – Staged Reading

Come see me in a staged reading of this wonderful show.

Carrollwood Players Theatre presents a CWP Black Box Production of Almost, Maine by John Cariani
A Staged Reading in the CWP Black Box Theatre

Directed by Mike Cote

Two Performances Only
Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 7 pm
Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 7 pm

Tickets: $10
https://carrollwood-players-theatre.ticketleap.com/maine/

On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend—almost—in this delightful midwinter night’s dream.

“ALMOST, MAINE is a series of nine amiably absurdist vignettes about love, with a touch of good-natured magic realism…witty, romantic, unsentimental. A beautifully structured play, with nifty surprise endings (most but not all of them happy).” —The New York Times. “Sweet, poignant, and witty. Nearly perfect.

AMOST, MAINE’s charm is real. It packs wit, earns its laughs and, like love, surprises you.” —New York Daily News. “Mega-hit ALMOST, MAINE lands somewhere between Norman Rockwell and Our Town.

Unlike traditional play readings with a group of seated actors simply reading the script aloud, this staged reading features a set, costumes, action, lighting, music and sound effects.

Mild adult language and themes.

CAST

Isabel Bertram
Patricia Coyle
Samantha Janek
Robert Pelaia
Jim Moss
Brian McCreight

Tickets: $10
https://carrollwood-players-theatre.ticketleap.com/maine/

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