Autumn 2016
autumn.16.byamygrace

3:32pm | Water Bottle half empty | Quiet, but for the fan

Autumn wreath, blanket and candle out.  Wardrobe capsule set in drawers.  Lists made and dates written down.  

A new season with new work.

One doesn't sit down to work without the intention.  Conscious or unconscious.  Intentions follow us like shadows.  That is why at age twenty "Amy: With Intentions" was born: a little personal blog for the little intentions of a little spirit.   That blog has since been retired, but the meaning behind it remains tucked inside a pocket of my heart.

byamygrace is getting an 'intentions' overhaul.  Autumn is bringing a less is more concept to this little place on the world wide web.  I want you to love this corner, as if you were stepping into my creative room, sitting with me and having a chat.

So grab a chair, a mug full of something and enjoy the shift.

*Oh, & happy Autumn...I think it might change us.  

 

 

SeasonsAmy LaiComment
Good Morning Monday 9/19/16
GMM.packingawaysummer.byamygrace

11:29am | Toddler waking from morning nap | Coffee mug drained

Good Morning Monday...

A little segment in a tiny corner of this world.  Shall this be a short video? A quick morning sticky note?  An audio for a morning drive?  

Truth?  I am not sure how to package these.

For now?  A list.

  1. Enjoy the end of Summer sounds of rain.
  2. Think outside the box.
  3. Attend this weeks meetings & events with mindfulness
  4. Put the word 'mindful' in front of every activity.  
  5. Begin packing away Summer.  

Cheers to the last few days of Summer and a week that might surprise you.

The Creatives | Autumn '16
thecreatives.autumn.16

The Creatives is coming back to it's original monthly meet ups.  I am working on a new format that will allow for more sharing, growing and hopefully more inspiration. 

This September we may just set our Autumns on fire...

WHO WE ARE & WHAT WE DO

We are a collective group of women who identify as creative in various ways and seek to create a safe environment to share, enjoy and discover.

This Autumn we are going to focus on maintaining our fun atmosphere while adding some growth opportunities. 

Bring yourself, a drink & or food to share and join in on the fun!

NOTE: Colouring may or may not take place at these events in intense ways.

REMINDER: The red house next door used for guest parking is being demolished.   You can park across the street from our place or anywheres on the street that doesn't have a no parking sigh.
 

 

 

The CreativesAmy LaiComment
Wednesdays at the Desk 08/14/16
do anything.amy.grace.

12:30pm | Yesterdays Berry Smoothie | iTunes on Shuffle

Confidence.   

Thesaurus says : self-assurance, self-confidence, self-possession, assertiveness...courage, boldness, nerve.  

It says the opposites of confidence are : uncertainty , doubt.  

It's a toss up.  Dress the part, stand a bit taller.  Procrastinate on responding to messages, sink a little lower.  Either.  Or.

Choices are here at my door and the door labeled courage is as scary as the door labeled Doubt.

So why do I choose courage?

I would rather believe that I was brave enough, strong enough and plucky enough to do anything.  

So I do because the opposite is to not do. 

I do, for the doing.  The urge to do.  The call to do.

Amy LaiComment
Spotlight | Connie Snider
spotlight.connie.snider

Connie Snider | Swing Dancer addict, Blues Dance Lover

I met Connie during my first year of swing dance lessons in 2011/2012, she continues to inspire with her enthusiasm and outlook on life.  

1)  How would you describe yourself? 

I was once described as "plugged in"...so now this is how I see myself! 'Plugged into life!'

2) When did you start dancing and what made you stick with it?

I started dancing after being out to an event where DSDS (Dalhousie Swing Dance Society) showed up, after seeing those dancers on the floor and seeing the joy it brought to their faces I HAD to learn it! That was 5 years ago.

3)  What are the types of dancing you do and why do you enjoy those styles?

I do several dance styles but my love of blues dancing prevails all others right now, I think it is the music for this style that I love and the connection with my partners. I love Lindy Hop as well and do a lot of Jive with older partners.

4) I have a clear memory of first meeting you at a dance class and enjoying your enthusiasm for it.  How do you maintain that enthusiasm?

Maintaining enthusiasm is so easy for me as I LOVE to dance and share the love of it!  I stated above about taking time to nourish other things, it also helps me to maintain my enthusiasm for sure. If I am away from dance for even a week or more when I step back on the dance floor I can say to myself ahhhh this is why I love it!

5) You are a major advocate for the social dance communities in Halifax and have held leadership roles with the Dalhousie Swing Dance Society.  How has being involved grown your appreciation for dance?

I think my appreciation has grown mainly due to the fact I see the power dance has...the power to bring such joy to people that may need joy in their lives. From students struggling to make financial ends meet or dealing with studies and being away from home, to adults that have not been socially accepted into groups in the past. I have had more than one person tell me dance has saved their lives, I am not kidding. We sometimes forget the power it has.

6) The dancing scene continues to evolve and change each year.  What is it like right now?

Right now the dance scene in Halifax is exploding, we can dance different styles as many nights a week as we choose. I have seen this in other cities and when talking with the organizers there have been told to be careful of burnout. We all know there is only so much money to go around and life and other things effect how much we get to dance.  Time to nourish other things in life is important too, lets not forget that. Also important is to remember we are all dancers, be kind to each other and be respectful.

7) What are you learning/working on right now?

Right now I am working on selling my house and looking for my next home. A little secret (I am also planning on trying a bit of Salsa!! shhhh) 

8) Do you have any morning/night routines that centre you?

I do not really have routines that center me other than speaking with my amazing daughter daily, my morning coffee (a must), making time to read a really good book...the kind that you have to turn the pages. I am never far from one.  My daily strength training is also a must.

9)  At the end of the day, what drives you?

At the end of the day it is the feeling it gives me that drives me. It keeps me fit and happy!

10) If you were to pass on any advice/knowledge/wisdom to other dancers/creatives, what would you want to say?

Wisdom...hummm not sure I am qualified to voice an opinion here  but first and foremost my advise is to welcome and dance with new dancers. I have had so many dancers tell me that having me dance with them in the beginning or on the first few nights, and make them feel welcome has given them the courage to come back. So, seasoned dancers you just do not know how you can be effecting someones dance future by doing this. It is so easy to just dance with those you are comfortable with or love to dance with...but remember the amazing dancers we have had in our group, they all started as a new dancer trying it for the first time. Just set aside two dances each night...invite a newbie on the floor! 

 

SpotlightAmy LaiComment
5 Wellness Hacks | for the mamas
wellnesshacks.byamygrace

I didn't write a play about new motherhood and yoga for kicks and giggles.  I wrote it because  I want to see new mamas well, happy and thriving.

1. Mama comes first.

In order to be the 'mama' you deeply desire to be, you have to feed yourself first.  Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually etc. etc.  Fill your cup so that it can overflow first  to your child/children & then the others.  (If you have a spouse/partner, may your full cup overflow first, to create a healthy partnership, and then, into your child/children).

2. Hydrate with H2O & fill your plate with whole foods.

Give your body what it craves past the empty calories.  Bread looks great, but it doesn't give you full nutrient calories that will supply you with what you need to be strong, happy and healthy.  And water?  Water can only help your system.  What you give your body, it gives back.  

3. Unplug & write it out.

Take a break from the outside world.  Turn the phone etc. off and get real with who you deeply are.  It is easier to prioritize when there is silence.  Be it in the middle of the night, or stepping out to sit at a park and reflect.  Take that time.  No one but you will give it to you without strings attached.

4. Walk walk walk.  

When in doubt, walk.  Baby is fussy? Stroller & walk.  It's raining? Raincoats & walk.  Feeling anxious?  Walk.  Walking is your body's way of meditation, releasing stress, hormones and of course, nothing is better than a breath of fresh air.  Walk even when it feels like a chore.  No one ever feels fully tired from a walk.  It's a natural energy booster & is a great way to get out of the house.

5. Only wear clothes you love. 

Mamas havn't lost their womanhood.  So dress in however makes you feel like the most of you.  Get rid of EVERYTHING that doesn't feel thrilling to wear. (Donate clothing that is still in good condition.)  Curate your wardrobe to say exactly what you want to say to yourself.  For me?  "I am   alluring, I am a writer, I am athletic, I am relaxed, I am sophisticated, I am well-read."  For you?  You decide. 

LifestyleAmy LaiComment
Jot Notes | July '16

1.  For intention setting on the weekend : lighting this candle

2. To eat, to dine, to be inspired by the ambience...This place.

3. For learning and getting inspired on habit life: This book.

4. This movie ... because of the story and actors.

5. This little doll for her... it has a belly button too.

6. For soaking in truth words...This spontaneous song.

7. Our little promo vid...because it makes me laugh.

8. This beautiful book for the style inspiration in real terms. 

9. Her words on parenting & family...especially this. 

10. This wildlife moment.

Jot NotesAmy LaiComment
The Creatives Meet Up | Summer 2016

Our summer meet up happened on a beauitful humid night in downtown Halifax.  One by one each creative woman walked into the doors of 'Obladee', and the conversation flowed with ease.

Each woman present brought so much glow to the evening that I had to pause and sit in quiet awe.  The table was littered with note paper, wallets, wine glasses, charcuterie boards and dips.  The faces were bright, animated and entertaining.  Each voice so different yet, brought unity.  I thanked God, because this unity is so rarely found.  

The Creatives went from monthly to seasonally out of interest to see how that would change the groups dynamic, intentions and interactions.  What it has done is remind those who regularly attend how essential creative community amongst women can be.  It has also created a renewed  energy for the monthly meet ups.

Starting in September we will re-introduce monthly meet ups along with more topics, sharing and inspiring each other with our individual journeys and work.  Our focus this time around, will be to 'flow' with structure.  We want to grow together and leave each event inspired, encouraged and intrigued at how creativity meets with each of us individually.  

thecreatives.meetup.summer16

I love how when women unite to embrace creativity and flow, they create a hum of something inexplainable.  But I guess that's what unity is.  It is a harmony, that sounds more than just glorious.  It sounds like safe and adventurous.  Warm and crisp.  New and reflective... It captures everything worth capturing in one single moment.

A walk along the boardwalk to cool off by the water and some laughter in our hearts we parted ways with the Halifax Jazz Festival music in the background. 

I love my city.  I love my creative passions, and I love these women. 

 

 

Good Morning Monday | 07/18/16

It's hard to wake my eyes when I know a busy week is ahead with decisions to be made, emails to answer and ultimately, fear to be faced.

Facing fear seems so cinematically dramatic.  Yet, it's true.  It's not gangster rap rolled up into a fight scene.  What it is, is that simple circumstance that has itself wrapped up in a simple, yet complex knot.  

I look at the decision I am about to make and I know I am going to make it to better myself, my work and to truly challenge the safety net that I have created.

What separates the fearful from the brave is that knowledge that being 'Bilbo Baggins' isn't working anymore, and it's time to 'go on an adventure'.

goodmorning.byamygrace

I do the everyday dailys like a boss.  Truly, I've got this wellness thing down, but what I will never have down is that push. I always do it with my eyes closed and hands in front of me thinking

"WHAT THE **** AM I DOING?"  I am thinking this now, but it's for the best.  It's for the good.

It's for the growth.

*clinking coffee mugs*

Cheers

Thursdays Write Night 07/14/16
daretogrow.byamygrace

Show up.  Tea.  Cupcake.  Music.  Do the thing.  Tabs open.  Mind ready...

There comes a point in a womans life (anyones life really), when she knows that she is too comfortable. When she realizes she hasn't grown or changed much.  That somewhere, somehow, she has to find a reason to get up and do something that scares the life back into her.

(Here is my soap box.  Here is where I tell you the relentless truth)

Don't wait for the motivation. It won't be there. It's never there, because everything wants to keep you standing/sitting exactly where you are.

Still.

Quiet.

Unnoticed.

You are worthy of doing what it takes for yourself to feel scared into life again. To get to that point where you know if you don't move you will truly disintegrate.

Move.

Loud.

Noticed.

Observe what happens when you dare to grow.

Amy LaiComment
Capsule Wardrobe | Spring 2016
Clockwise: Second-hand White Dress found by Jasmine Alexander, Girlfriend jeans by H&M, Grey Shawl found at Winners, Blue & White Stripped Hoodie from Bluenotes, 'Honesty' Sweater from Korea found by Jasmine Alexander, White Crochet Flowy blue Top found at Winners, Lace sleeve pink/red shirt from Amazon.ca, Loose white long sleeve from Korea found by Jasmine Alexander, Giving Key Necklace 'Limitless' from The Giving Keys.com, Felt Hat from Indigo.

Clockwise: Second-hand White Dress found by Jasmine Alexander, Girlfriend jeans by H&M, Grey Shawl found at Winners, Blue & White Stripped Hoodie from Bluenotes, 'Honesty' Sweater from Korea found by Jasmine Alexander, White Crochet Flowy blue Top found at Winners, Lace sleeve pink/red shirt from Amazon.ca, Loose white long sleeve from Korea found by Jasmine Alexander, Giving Key Necklace 'Limitless' from The Giving Keys.com, Felt Hat from Indigo.

Spring issued more challenges this year.  I had less clothes of my own to choose from and I wasn't head over heels with this years fashion styles.  Crop tops and I ...(mama belly notwithstanding) are never going to be friends and I just couldn't fully buy into the higher wasted jeans.  

But I fell in love with my girlfriend jeans from H&M and the white sheer long-sleeve the bestie in Korea sent.  In all honesty, most of my greatest articles of clothing are from Jasmine Alexander.  She knows me the best.

On top of most of my outfits I added the symbolic key from The Giving Keys.  My word, Limitless, hangs from my neck reminding me to surge forth and shed any limitations that may be put on me by others or myself.

Springs wardrobe was a discouragement to start, yet as the season progressed I fell in love with these particular articles

* Not pictured here, the swim suit I purchased from La Vie Un Rose that has since stopped being sold. It is a Black halter top with a key hole in the front and matching bikini bottoms with an open space on each side. 

Amy Lai Comment
Jot Notes | June '16
byamygrace.jotnotes.june.16

In the least amount of words for you...

 

  1. For the listening needs: TGIT on Spotify
  2. To fall into an ocean of alluring narrative that maintains class and authenticity, this book.
  3. She does Wedding Photography & as a friend keeps my head shots updated.
  4. Beginning Gretchen Rubins "Better Than Before" as a Summer Study.
  5. We reconnected here...our place of family refuge.
  6. Work Wednesdays made possible by His month away & time in lieu.  
  7. Announcing The Mom Show (or the most boring show ever) debuting in the Atlantic Fringe Festival September 1 - 11th
  8. This fuzzy mat from Winners for my feet while I write.
  9. Wearing this halter romper from The Gap at discount.  
  10. This song 'Be Enthroned' sung by Hunter Thompson, for getting grounded in the Spirit 
Spotlight | Jasmine Alexander
SPOTLIGHT.jasminealexander

Jasmine is my nearest and dearest.  Over countries and time we continue to maintain the bestie thing.

1) How would you describe yourself?

 Hi! I am an artist, a mover, a lover, a teacher and a learner. 

2) Currently, what is your medium of choice?

Watercolor, gouache, ink have been my go-to since I started travelling 2 years ago. When the resources are available to me, I work in oil paint and dabble in clay. Oh, and dance and movement. 

3) I have watched your art develop over the years of our friendship, how do you see your art evolving in the future?

I have learned since graduating that attempting to define my work according to what I feel it should be only results in inauthenticity and ruts. I can have future goals that I apply myself to, but I think the work can only be what it is in that space and time. I want my work to reflect my surroundings and to evoke dialogue, internal or external. As a painter I’m always looking for something unexpected and raw and I can only hope that the future continues to bring out new ideas and new conversations. 

4) Right now you are in Korea, how has Korean culture influenced you?

I’m so infatuated by South Korea’s landscape, it is so rich and diverse. Korea is a communal culture, they are big on sharing here which I love. I feel like I won’t know how my current surroundings are influencing me until much later when it comes to my work. I think so often we prematurally claim how something affects us, but it is only in retrospect that we can see how we are influenced. 

5)  At the end of the day, what drives you?

I’m driven by incessant curiosity, but also by a desire to explore relationship through art and making. The relationships between us and nature, spirit realm, other people, the material world. I believe that people are creative beings by nature, and there is nothing more honest and powerful than agreeing to commit to that individual creativity and process. My partner once said to me “You want to set the world on fire, and you will.” and that has always stuck with me about the “why” in art. I think in some way or another, I want to create little sparks and see what will happen. 

6) What are you working on right now?

In the midst of a demanding day job, I’m currently doing a small challenge for myself to draw/paint everyday for the month of June.  I have an mini illustrative series called The Lifelines that has been on a hiatus since I moved to Korea, but it is ongoing. I have just started teaching an art program here in Korea called Hands On that I built from the ground up… which I’ll have to update you on once it unfolds! And there may be a project in the works with my radiant best friend, but more on that later. ;) 

7) Do you have any morning/night routines that centre you?

I’m a big breakfast and coffee person. I believe in the ritual of breakfast before your day takes off. I try to workout once a day, and I have to wash my face before bed. Besides that, I love when each day is slightly different than the last. I switch it up. 

8) If you were to pass on any advice/knowledge/wisdom to other creative seeking spirits, what would you want to say?

Stay compassionate, stay open, be curious. And remember, no matter what, there is always something more in you to make. Fitting in is overrated. 

9) You were and still are a member of 'The Creatives' group that meets here in Halifax, what kept you coming back every month? 

Besides the fact that those women rock the ground I stand on and keep me sane? I think we’d be so lost without other artists and creatives to do life with, especially as women. The art world, like the rest of the world, is largely still run by men and knowing there are strong, gutsy, intelligent women you can call on is imperative. I’m so excited for our reunion! 

10) You are doing a project this month (June) can you tell us more about it? 

Sure! I started doing a drawing-a-day type challenge this month to jumpstart my priorities and my creative headspace. Moving and working in Korea has been such a whirlwind, and my art process definitely suffered. And of course at the end of the day, no one is going to pick up the brush or pen for me. So I knew that I had to get back into making, no matter how big or small. Loose guidelines: post the drawing on social media, even if I hate it. Be open to sudden shifts in subject matter and unexpected directions. Don’t take yourself too seriously, there’s more making in you.

The Squad Thing

Of the many goals I set on January 2016, 'finding my squad' was at the top of the list.  You know, the #squadgoals that you see on instagram? I was drooling over 'young twenty-something-besties' rocking their 'free-life' with their bare legs in a hot tub, their wild hair flying behind them as they ran into nature.  I was scrolling and pumping breast-milk while falling in love with girls I hadn't met.  Scrolling and pumping.  Pumping and scrolling.  

I was not lacking in friends.  Truly, I had an abundance... but I was pumping and scrolling now.  It changes things.  Even just a bit...enough to notice.

Becoming pregnant, having besties move away, becoming the first mama of all my friends created an uncertainty within myself of these friendships.

Here is what I have learned:

1.  Becoming a 'mom' does not mean you need mom friends.

Make bonds with those that inspire, thrill and enlighten you.  Authentic friendships based on true connection will last a lifetime.  Mom friends will come when they come.

2. Your squad is closer than you think.

When you go through tough or life-changing times, your women will arise from the rubble.  They won't give you everything you need, but they won't criticize your journey and your current status.  They will challenge you, support you and not let you wallow too long.

3. Friendships are all about grace, and if grace isn't there...it's not a true friendship.

Being in committed friendships means we are given freedom to say it like it is and in the same breath also take the other as they are.  What has kept a lot of my squad friendships alive has been the 'come as you are' attitude that is also graced with a healthy 'say it like it is'. 

 

I am deeply in love with my women.  Each and every one has changed me, lifted me up and brought me into deeper connection with God, my spirit and the ground beneath me.

Know your squad, and if you don't... watch who comes into the rubble with you.  They are the golden ones.

 

In alphabetical order, because there is no real order | Beth | Christie | Gillian | Heidi | Jasmine | Nicole | Tasia

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Mom Show: Or The Most Boring Show Ever | Coming September 2016
themomshow.byamygrace

I am thrilled to announce I will be joining 'The Atlantic Fringe Festival' (September 1st - September 11th 2016) for the second time with a brand new show.  

The Mom Show: Or The Most Boring Show Ever, is the result of the last two years with all of the changes I have personally come to as a woman who desires to maintain individuality, work and authenticity while being a new mother.  With humour alongside raw honesty this show takes place on a single yoga mat and from 'Sukhasana' to 'Shavasana' uncovers the complexities of being a new mom of this generation of mothers. 

Following this post we will be in the process of creating a Facebook Page, Twitter & Instagram to spread the word and also bring you along in the process it takes to take a play from it's early stages to the literal stages.

Currently we are searching for 

1. A director.

2. Sponsers

3. Yoga Instructor Consultants

4. Ushers

Send an email on the contact page to apply/inquire

In creative joy to be working with you again,

Amy Grace | Playwright, Producer, Actor