Sassy Actress, with a Side of Quirk

Life Musings by a Real Drama Queen

On The Road Again…January!

So despite my fierce commitment to this blog, I have continued to put off yet another post. Why, you might ask? Well, as much as I love sharing my whereabouts, I also have just been trying to enjoy each day for what it is, in the moment. I also have found that, again, touring is freaking exhausting! I will say though, that this go around, I have been feeling much better than I did on leg 1, despite the fact that our drives and traveling are much more extensive this time. My mom got a trial of The Daily Burn, and it has saved my life! Even if I only do a quickie 15 minute workout, I feel better, especially when we are sitting in the car all day. It still isn’t a “daily” burn for me, since sleep oftentimes trumps exercise, but it has definitely improved my mood and my body feels stronger.

As for where we have been….I am going to give a slightly truncated version, because we have been all over. So, our first stop was the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton Wisconsin. What a lovely and inviting venue. The stage was ginormous- It tends to host almost all of the big national tours like Book of Mormon and The Addams Family, as well as Theaterworks and ArtsPower productions. We even got to sign the wall, which was super amazing! It was freezing cold when we arrived and we actually left in a blizzard (I drove the box truck with finesse). Talk about a dramatic start to our tour.

After that we made our way to St.Louis, where we stayed for a week. We had 17 shows in one week. 17!!!!!! Granted, our shows are only about an hour, but if you figure Broadway does 8 shows a week at approxiametly 2 hours a piece, they are doing 16 hours of shows per week. We did 17 hours that week and this chick can’t call in her understudy when she is tired! So yeah. Just for comparison. As for the city of St.Louis, we didn’t really get to experience it much since our hotel was on the outskirts, but some of the highlights included a cool university area with trendy shops and really delicious sushi. We also went to the science museum which was cool despite the fact that science was definitely not one of my favorite school subjects. Also, fyi, in St Louis, all of the public museums are free, so I highly suggest checking them out. Lastly, we capped our trip off with a visit to the famous City Museum which is something I can’t quite explain. What I will say is that it is a child’s dream and will bring out the kid in you almost immediately. This place is an architectural masterpiece that includes hundred of tunnels, caves, and structures that allow you to climb, slide, play, and explore. There are slides hidden throughout the venue and they even have an art room and firepit if you get sick of running around like a maniac. I can’t explain what it was, but I can say, it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had on tour. I did have a few moments of panic since I am slightly claustrophobic, but once I just let loose and took on the adventure, I had an amazing time.

To summarize. St.Louis was meh, EXCEPT for City Museum. We did a ton of shows. And then we left.
Typical #tourlife

After that, we trekked to Decorah Iowa and stayed in this amazing, historic hotel for one night. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant and I had the most delicious Iowa pork chop. There is no picture because it was so good I couldn’t help myself from devouring it. We performed the next day at Luther College and the staff and crew there were so freaking sweet, I couldn’t take it! They gave us free coffee mugs and told us they wanted to “shower us with love”. I mean, I don’t long for religion in my life, but I seriously (i.e. not really) considered converting to go to this school. I am sure they have a grad program in human kindness or something that I could partake in. I mean, they do that so well! Haha, anywho, the venue itself was a bit of a problem as the stage hands were inexperienced and the floor was crazy slippery, but otherwise, we had a lovely time there.

Also, the town of Decorah is so cute. I definitely want to come back to this small town. Madeline and I stopped into the co-op (which if you don’t know, they are my FAVORITE) and found some awesome local snacks. Go visit Decorah. You won’t be disappointed.

Next, we went to Indianopolis, which honestly, I don’t quite remember. We had a crazy long drive from Decorah to Indianopolis with a time change and a 6am load in the next day, so we were all pretty sleep deprived. I just remember the venue was one of the biggest we have played, like 2200 seats or something? Quite nutty.

Then we took a few days and drove all the way to Bend Oregon. That drive. Wow. I have never seen such beautiful mountains in my life! That drive was absolutely delightful. And then when we got to Bend, our hotel was magnificent, with our balconies overlooking the Deschutes river that was right outside our rooms! We even took a mini nature hike and it was great. The town was also very quaint and again everyone was very kind (hopefully this is a reocurring thing this leg?). We had dinner at the Deschutes Brewing Company and I indulged in their very own gluten free beer (made from rice) and an elk burger on their homemade gluten free bun with thyme roasted shallots and gruyere cheese. I also got some amazing pork tacos as an app (which were HUGE). I was incredibly happy, especially since I had so many options. Also, their house brewed beers were $3….THREE FREAKING DOLLARS! Yeah, so Oregon is officially my new favorite.

After that, we went to Modesto California which was interesting. Our stage was fantastic and very large and the shows went very well. Some people went to get In N Out burgers, but a few of us went thrifting instead, and I got these amazing dusty blue cowboy boots and another cool leather jacket. And some wedges…okay, so I love to thrift! Afterwards, we found this super authentic taqueria and I got some of the best carnitas tacos ever. Other than that though, Modesto was kind of meh.

Yesterday we traveled from Modesto to Arizona. It was pretty easy and uneventful except for the fact that Regan and I (who were in the truck) stopped in this awesome little town call Tehachapi and had lunch at this divey 1950s burger joint called Spot Burger. We also got a sweet treat from this german bakery. I got a chocolate dipped macaroon that was so light and fluffy and he got a cinnamon-y bear claw. Very appropriate to our characters! Anyway, that evening, once we made it to Arizona, we went to this place called Redneck’s Southern Pit BBQ and it did not disappoint. I had really good pulled pork and the BEST coleslaw I have had on tour. If you know me, then you know I freaking live for coleslaw. If you didn’t know, now you do. The potato salad was also pretty tasty. And it was cheap. So all in all, a great dinner after a long day of travel.

And now we are on the road! We are on day 2 of travel to Forrest City Arkansas. Today we are going from that little town in Arizona to Albequerque. I can’t believe January is almost over! And yet, it feels like we have been touring forever. It is very weird. Time is spacey on tour. Thanks for reading! I’ll be posting once we settle in Arkansas. We are thinking about visiting Memphis on our day off since it is really close to Forrest City. Any suggestions of what to see/do and most importantly EAT?

xoxo
D

p.s. pictures to come!

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All About that Food…No Trouble!

I took some pics of my food that I mentioned in my last post!

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All the food I managed to cram into my luggage.

I also wanted to show how I managed to bring it and talk about a few “tools” I forgot to mention.

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Kind Bars...All Kinds! Bahaha

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My Secret Weapons!

Okay, so let’s talk about those cool looking pics. I brought ALL the Kind bars in my carry-on because they were the only item I was positive could go through the security checkpoint. By putting them in my carry-on, I lessened the weight of my checked bag which was weighed down with all my other food! I obviously love Kind Bars and I LOVE the savory protein ones. The Jalapeño flavor is stellar.

And the seasonings! So I mentioned my mini sriracha bottle, which I got from my lovely mother for Christmas. You could obviously bring a larger bottle, but this mini one makes it more portable and accessible! You can even put it in your carry-on. The powdery looking thing next to it? It’s actually a pill divider and I filled it with pink Himalayan salt, black pepper, garlic powder, etc. This makes spices portable! My mom found this little trick and now I never travel without it- even if it’s just a day trip!

Also, this is more information about those salmon meals I mentioned.

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I mean, they speak for themselves. I should be an ambassador for this brand. I just love them so much!

And now, the tools of the trade!

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To the left of both pics is my awesome Oster Smoothie blender. This is a cheaper version of a nutra-bullet but it works SPLENDIDLY! You blend and drink your smoothie in the same bottle. It has a blade that can handle oats, whole nuts, and even ice! It is pretty lightweight for a blender and it tucked nicely into a corner of my suitcase.
Below that are these awesome reusable plastic snack bags my mom found from TJ Max. They are easy to clean and allow me to buy full sized snacks, store them in my big suitcase, and portion them for the day in the baggies. They also are very cute and lightweight.

I also have pictured a Tupperware that has different sections and a little steamer hole so I can steam veggies in the microwave. I like to transfer my leftovers into this so I can microwave in this safe dish versus the Styrofoam they usually give out at restaurants. The little compartments also help me keep different dishes separate if I have multiple dishes. The compartments aren’t necessary but I really like them. I really prefer glass Pyrex for storage and microwaving, but for touring, plastic is the obvious choice, as it’s lightweight and easy to clean.

I also brought a spill proof coffee cup because coffee/tea/caffeine is life. That’s all I have to say about that.

If I haven’t bored you enough, let me explain how I tour and organize all this food! Okay, so I leave the majority of my food in my big suitcase, which I generally keep in our tour van. I put one or two days worth of snacks and food into a small tote bag and put it into whichever vehicle I’m in that day. I suggest double bagging your liquid items because they would be a biotch to clean if they opened in your bag!

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Yayyyy! Food!!! Today was our first day off on tour so we went to brunch and just relaxed. We are currently in St.Louis! We might even be going to a blues club tonight?

Next post- Our first venue (Wisconsin) and more on our week in Missouri! Also, I’m going to be doing a quick post on traveling light on the road. I learned from the first leg that less is definitely more on tour. Ha! I rhymed!

Xoxo
D

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Food, Glorious Food!

So I have been meaning to do a post on how I eat on tour since it isn’t as easy as it might seem, if you want to eat healthily. I am an avid home cook and call myself a foodie, so it can be difficult to hand over all control to restaurants and fast food joints. I really really enjoy eating out, but even the healthy choices can be ridden with bad oils, excess salt, and all kinds of nasty things. Last leg I felt like crap all the time, so I vowed to be more prepared this time around, so when I can control mmy food choices, I have the resources!

I have categorized this post into three different lists. I have the food I have packed, which is all non-perishable, I have the items I buy when I can visit a grocery store (mostly perishable), and I have what I buy on the road to supplement these items. When we are traveling, we don’t always have the luxury of going to a sit-down restaurant, so all the things on the “supplement” list are all from either fast food joints, gas stations, or the continental breakfast we find at the hotels. It’s a long list, but if you are trying to stay healthy on the road, it’s worth taking a look! Also, just for context, I eat mostly paleo/primal, but I also eat similarly to the Perfect Health Diet. To cut to the chase, I eat minimally processed, whole foods when possible, with limited grains and dairy. I don’t eliminate those completely because it is nearly impossible on the road and I love dairy too much to fully give it up.

Here we go!

What I Brought

Kind Bars- So these are AWESOME. Seriously, they save my life when I am hangry (which is often). I really enjoy them because they are high in protein and fiber and low in sugar. I usually eat the sweet ones with/in place of breakfast when the pickings are slim. I really love the dark chocolate mocha almond flavor and the madagascar vanilla, but I love them all. I also suggest their new savory protein bars. The jalapeno flavor is dynamite and has 10 grams of protein! It also hits all the sweet/spicy/salty notes which is awesome.

Kind re-Nola – Also from the Kind brand, I just tried this stuff today and it is awesome. No grains, gmo ingredients, and gluten? I am so in!

Mini Sriracha Bottle- In my humble opinion, sriracha makes everything taste better. If it isn’t your thing, think about bringing a little container of your favorite seasonings on the road for those bland meals!

Starkist Tuna Packets- If you don’t mind fish, you really need to have these with you. They save my life all the time. I eat them just by themselves, or on top of a salad. They have great flavors like thai chili and lemon pepper. I will say, some of the flavored ones have more ingredients than I would like, but I really can’t live without them. So much protein in one pack!

St. Dalfour Meals- I almost don’t want to tell you about these because they are THAT GOOD. I want to keep them a secret! Okay, so I found these at Big Lots once with my mom and sister and they are AWESOME. They have all different kinds and flavors, but the kind I buy in bulk are the “Wild Salmon and Vegetables”. They are in a little can and come with a fork and a little salt packet. They are made in France and have no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The salmon kind has a generous portion of salmon, potatoes, lima beans (which I usually hate but are great in this) and carrots, in some herbed olive oil. It is so tasty and is often times a full meal for me when we stop at fast food joints. They have some vegetarian flavors as well and can be found on Amazon or Vitacost.com.

PB2- So the first leg, I just toted around a jar of peanut butter, which is also a great thing to do, but I specifically got this one to put into smoothies (I brought a mini smoothie blender this leg) and oatmeal. So far I like it since it is really lightweight and isn’t messy.

Fruit cups- I buy the grapefruit ones in juice, but obviously they come in all different varieties. I like these because at hotel continental breakfasts they usually only have bananas, apples, and oranges, so these are great when I want to switch it up. I also like them because they don’t go bad like fresh fruit but they taste just as good. I also throw them into a smoothie when I am short on fresh fruit. Make sure to buy the kinds in 100% juice with minimal ingredients.

GoGo Squeeze Applesauce- Okay, so these are silly but awesome and super portable! They have nothing but apples and water in them and they are my go to for a quick energy jolt. Plus sometimes they are just easier to eat than a whole apple while on the road.

LaraBars- Similar to Kind Bars, but much easier to eat since I have a lot of jaw tension. They come in all kinds of flavors and have great non-gmo ingredients.

Blue Diamond Mini Non-Perishable Almond Milk- These are great and super portable. I make oatmeal with them, put it into smoothies, or pour it onto some re-nola.

What I Buy at Grocery Stores

So this I am going to explain in a paragraph rather than a list. So when I go to a grocery store, I usually try to buy some perishables that I will know will last a day or two in my hotel fridge or in the van. I try to buy limited quantities since I don’t always have a good place to store them.

The prepared food/salad bars are your friends. Now, with any prepared food options, you have to be smart about your choices because Wegman’s egg salad probably isn’t any better than egg salad at a diner. But if you can get to a good grocery store like a Wegman’s, a Whole Foods, or even a co-op, you are more likely to find better choices or even ingredient lists by the products. Some of my favorite prepared food picks are any type of slaw, like a broccoli slaw that is lightly dressed, roasted veggies, or lightly sauteed green beans. These foods are great because they can be eaten at almost any temperature. I also recommend buying a whole rotisserie chicken. Sounds nutty, but a rotisserie chicken is a great source of protein and it can be used for multiple meals, eaten plain, on greens, or with whatever leftovers you might have. They are usually pretty cheap and now they even have organic ones available at some supermarkets. And if the super market has a salad bar, that is always a good, easy option. I also like to pick up some marinated mozzerella balls and dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) as snacks for the road. I also tend to grab a yogurt or two and some dried fruit like prunes and pineapple for the road.

What I Buy To Supplement

I actually prefer to stop at gas stations and convenience stores versus fast food joints when we are on the road because I find the options are more plentiful and I can get more things for my money. I can usually find some jerky at a gas station. It might not be the best option (sodium, nitrates, etc) but in a pinch, it’s a good source of protein that fills me up. I can usually find string cheese at a gas station which I like to nibble on. Also, if the gas station has hard boiled eggs, grab them! I love hard boiled eggs and most gas stations have some they either get from a nearby restaurant or they sell the ones that are in a little plastic package (which aren’t the best, but are decent). I also will grab a package of baby carrots if available and discard the dip. It isn’t the healthies in the word, but I make it work!

At a fast food place, like Mcdonald’s or Wendy’s I stick to the basics. I will usually get a plain side salad and top it with my own stuff. I always can find options at Panera or Chipotle, but my favorite run of the mill fast food place is Wendy’s. Their chili is free of most allergens and is pretty tasty. I usually get that with a sour cream and chive baked potato and I am set.

Lastly, the free continental hotel breakfasts. These can be surprisingly hard because all of the protein sources are generally pretty nasty (bagged scrambled eggs?) and all the rest of it is sugar and carbs. I will usually try to find a plain oatmeal packet and I will jazz it up with some pb and banana, or if the hard boiled eggs are edible, I will eat some of those. I tend to stay away from the breakfast meats because they are highly processed, but occasionally I will eat them if there isn’t much else.

So yeah. It is hard to eat healthy on the road. And I definitely don’t have it down pat either, but this is how I manage while on the road. So far, so good!

xoxo
D

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Fly Into the Future!!!

Name that musical! It is a little obscure but very fun with some really catchy music. Any takers? Bueller? Bueller???

Vanities. It’s from a show called Vanities. Look it up!

So I am starting this draft while still in flight to Omaha. Can you believe it is barely noon central time and I have already flown to Atlanta and then Omaha? Air travel baffles me like that!

I had my obligatory Five Guys bunless little bacon burger in the Atlanta airport, which was nice. Nothing like starting your day with a burger! But it was delicious and pretty much paleo, so that’s pretty cool. My flights have gone pretty smoothly. The Avoca/Scranton airport was a MESS this morning, which is so strange for that tiny airport. Apparently a bunch of TSA agents weren’t ready for the holidays to end and didn’t show up to work. With that being said, I made my flight just fine and, of course, we were delayed on the tarmac for quite some time, so there was no need to rush in the first place!

When we landed in Atlanta, my terminal was right by the Five Guys but I was thinking “Oh, there will be something I want to eat closer to my gate, so I’ll just find that first,”. Well, I decided to huff it from concourse C to B, without taking the tram, to get some steps in and what not. Well, never have I ever wanted a pedometer so much! I must have walked two miles in that airport!  Regardless, I got my Five Guys and I am one happy girl.

Just an update- I am not finishing this post from the tour van! We are on our way to Appleton Wisconsin!

But to finish up about yesterday, my second flight from Atlanta to Omaha was fabulous. The plane was full EXCEPT for the one seat next to me. Score! I got in a nice little cat nap, I read some of my book (Olive Kitteridge for those who are interested) and even started this post mid flight! It was great. And then, voila! I was suddenly in Omaha, thrown into the crazy cold. I stopped at one of my favorite diners in Omaha, Harold’s Koffee House, for a quick bowl of chili* and some of their famous donuts before picking up another cast member from the airport. And then, the rest of the night was mostly a blur. I hadn’t slept the night before my flight really, and then I had to wake up at 4am to get to my 6:30am flight, so I was crazy tired. I went to bed at like 7:30 Central Time, which is still really early, and slept until this morning!

And here we are again! We loaded up the truck and are off!

Just an fyi, I will be writing a post on what I packed for tour and what I consider essential snacks for touring! So stop by and read my stuff!

Unless I’m boring the hell out of you. And to that I say, get lost!

xoxo
D

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It’s The Start Of Something New! Leg TWO!!!

Do you hate me for using a HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL song as my post title? I hate me a little…it just fits so perfectly.

HEY! Hey you!!!! So it has been a while since I’ve blogged about the tour…I kind of left you, internet friends (my mom and Calvin), in the lurch at the tail end of my first leg of tour. I’m not going to make any excuses, I am just going to be honest. Touring is super tiring and writing was the thing I wanted to do least on my time off. That being said, I hope to chronicle my touring adventures a bit better the second time around.

I also kind of want to play around with talking less about the actual tour and talking more about how to keep happy and healthy while touring. That may bore some people, but honestly, that’s what I struggled with the most during the first leg. The travel schedule can be brutal, and when you add performances with early load ins, it can be hard to stay on top of things like exercise and proper nutrition. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE TOURING, especially with this company, but it is challenging to keep yourself in tip top shape when you are in a different place every other day. So, this time around, I am making me a priority!

The thing I found most difficult was finding the energy to exercise while traveling. When you have a long 8 hour drive, the last thing you want to do when you get out of the van is exercise. Travel sucks the energy right out of you and when your call time in the morning is early, exercise can feel nearly impossible. Despite all of this, however, I am going to try my best to do some sort of workout at least five days a week, and I’ll keep you posted on how that fits into my crazy schedule. While we were on hiatus during the holidays, I got back into a routine and worked out about four times a week. Call me old-fashioned, but I really like working out to dvds, especially since I like classes, but can’t always afford them. Some of my favorites are Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, and the old Sharon Mann dvds from the early 2000s- Don’t count her out! She was way ahead of the curve when it comes to strength training!

As for nutrition, I am still trying to figure out what works best for me. I know I feel best when I cut out most grains/carbs/sugars but it is a big challenge keeping that up while on the road. However, this time I came prepared! My mom bought me this awesome portable smoothie blender for Christmas, so I will definitely try that out, especially in the mornings when the pickings at the continental breakfast are slim. Also, does anyone have any suggestion for green superfood powders? I am trying to find one that will help me get my greens while on the road. Leave a comment if you have one you like! I also have a tupperware container with me this time around that can steam things, so hopefully that will help me make some healthier food choices. Speaking of, another goal I have for this leg is to dine LESS at restaurants…which is probably the most difficult challenge of all since we go out to dinner every night. Towards the end of the first leg, I found that buying food at local grocery stores was just as delicious and usually healthier and cheaper than at the restaurants. I like picking up a few random things like a sweet potato, rotisserie chicken, and some pre-made salad mix and eating a dinner like that, a la carte. I hope to do that a few times a week to save some money and calories. I am going to be experimenting with hotel cooking, since most places have microwaves and refridgerators in the rooms too. It’s going to be one hell of an adventure!

And don’t worry, I am still going to post about tour stuff. I gotta keep my friends updated. I actually fly out to Omaha tomorrow (NUTTY!) and we hit the road on Tuesday, en route to Wisconsin, our first stop on Leg Two! I’ll let you know how it all goes after being off for a month from the show.

Oh! I almost forgot! We have a new stage manager this leg! Our first SM, David, got offered to be the Stage Manager for the National Tour of Memphis, so he won’t be with us for this leg of the tour (sad face). BUT we have the resident stage manager at The Rose, Angel, coming out on tour with us (yeahhhhh woman powerrrrr) so I know we will be in good hands. Well, that’s all I got for now…let’s hope I keep this resolution going!

xoxo
Garland…I mean Dionna
😛

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