The ‘G’ word.

Growth. I’m looking at it from an entire life aspect right now. It’s way past midnight and I’m sipping on wine and there is no one to tell me that it’s time to go to bed because I’ve grown in years. I’ve aged on the calendar. But when do we stop growing in life aside from the physical? There is always a little bit of a childlike demeanour in our bones. I think it’s incredible that we don’t stop growing. With growth comes untouched opportunities and new territory. And most of the time it is fuel towards happier days. This makes me want to get out of bed in the morning.

I started crossfit and it has been about three weeks. I feel like I’m in recovery mode everyday. It feels like the muscles in my muscles are sore if that is even possible. I’ve been walking like a T Rex from sore legs all week but I’ve grown both in my physical capacity and in the ‘I can do this’ belief zone. Growth is addictive if you put effort into it because the result is matter-of-factly pretty awesome.

During one of the crossfit workouts this week where we had to run laps around the track, rotating between running forwards and backwards in the same direction, I started thinking about growth. (And the guy on my tail giving me some friendly competitive motivation.) As a self employed artist, where hustle comes with the territory and there is no 9-5 schedule to get you out of bed, you need to push a little harder. Those runners on your tail are good for you. I think this applies to taking the next step in any ‘job’. But I’ve had multiple conversations this week about the thought of going backwards before going forwards in career. It’s scary. Sometimes you need to risk that, trusting that a little slide in status, workload or paycheque will soon catapult you to bigger and better. And my run on the track that day was the perfect metaphor. It actually calmed the anxiety of some choices I need to make. Because even though I was running backwards which was so much harder, I was still running forwards around the track. Once I hit a certain point I was able to turn back around and run forwards and pick up speed.

Running has been in my life for a lot of reasons, both physical and mental, and now it’s teaching me life lessons too. Leap, soar, jump. Who would have thunk. -k

Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. -Chinese Proverb

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Shifting Point.

In an eclectic store with a coffee shop in the front and barbershop in the back, in my city, in the west end yesterday morning..
Somewhere between crossfit challenges and catching up with the good ol’ crew for Canada Day..
While people in my city were sleeping off hangovers..
While people in my city were planning afternoon bbq menus..
While the city was my favourite type of quiet due to the midweek holiday..

I sipped my post workout coffee and had a conversation about the slight shifts of priorities and life stuff with a couple of other people who have also hit the shifting point. Some may call it a ‘get your sh*t together’ point. I know the approximate time it happened in my life but I think life experiences influence the shifting point more than age does. It didn’t come in a box with a bow on top after I blew out my birthday candles.

Change is inevitable. Progression is a choice.

Some of the discussion in that store bled into my current practices:
– For years my friends have been going out on Saturday nights while I stay home to write scripts or learn lines and meet deadlines. I’m used to it. Now that my weekends are a little bit lighter I join friends but choose to see my pillow at a decent hour too. Going to bed early and getting up early makes me feel good. It’s good to have those ‘when your latest nights are your greatest nights’ moments too. I secretly like doing the opposite of what the world is doing.
– Working out used to be for vanity purposes years back. Yes, I chose a career where looks influence opportunity so this is still amid the mix, but now it’s more for piece of mind and lengthening life. I would be even crazier than I am now without the outlet of hot yoga and long distance runs. And it becomes incredibly addicting when a physical challenge seems unreachable and then your body conquers fear. Yesterday I carried a human on my back while running a mile for crossfit. Since my mindset has shifted from vanity to quality of life, I have never been this strong, both physically and mentally.
– I have always had to eat fairly ‘clean’ due to the way my body has chosen to befriend food. But it has been pretty cool watching the people around me be influenced by it. I also commend my European upbringing. If you wanted cookies you didn’t buy them you made them. I believe in balance. I believe in eating a good piece of pizza and a beer. I’m far from perfect but I strive for real food to trump processed food because there are so many positives. My fella would nod to it after spending some time with me and shifting his outlook as a foodie. Do people give me a hard time when I pass on a burger and fries? Absolutely. At first it was difficult understanding why I was judged for choices out of my control and what seemed like smart ones. It was a health choice I had to live by that in the end has led me down a good path. There are some pretty crazy additives out there. I prefer to keep that stuff in the soles of my shoes and not my burger bun.
– Sleep more. This is coming from an insomniac that gets her creative peak at 2am. Naps save lives.
Surround yourself with people that provide fuel to being your ultimate self. There’s healthy competitive and destructive competitive amoung friends. I’ve experienced both and it’s mind-blowing that the latter exists. Say yes to social time with new people. They can you bring you things that you’ve been missing or unconsciously looking for.
–  Read books and take notes that help make you a better human. There is guidance everywhere.
– Do things for others without the need for thank yous. Pretend there has been an apology where there wasn’t one to help close chapters.
– Figure out where you want to put your energy. It’s precious. So is time. Fill it well.

The less you give a damn about what others think, the happier you will be. 

These are just a few shifts that have helped open doors and bring a little more happy around me that I talked about with good people yesterday morning. It’s like when friends start getting married and having kids and you have crossed that line or you haven’t. And you meet people who are on the same side of the line as you.

The other day while I was swearing under my breath about the humidity during my hills workout my motivation showed up. A  man asked me what I was doing out there on such a hot day. I told him I like challenges but it’s hard today. He told me he’s 68 years old and loves a nice, hot day for running. He runs regular 5K and 10K races. Then he asked me if I want to race up the hill for a few rounds. He kept pace the entire time. I want to be like him when I grow up. But the only way that it’s going to happen is if I keep bringing more good things over the line onto this new side of my shifting point. -k

That’s the best revenge of all; happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good f’ing life. – Chuck Palahniuk

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Monday Mumblesauce.

Yesterday…

So, this following puzzle of words was pieced together in my head while on the treadmill this morning. I’m still missing a few pieces because sometimes my mind runs in fifty-two different directions and I’m always chasing the point so this is where I figure life out.

I was recently at a host workshop and one of the points that was stressed about being successful in the entertainment business as a talent is the ability to create your brand. It’s all up to you on how you appear to the everyday Joe who while drinking his morning Joe clicks on your twitter/facebook/blog profile. It’s all in your powerful hands to twist and turn the tapestry that holds together the words and images associated with your name. With the way we live our days in the digital and social realms, I believe that this applies to every person whether lawyer, server, cashier, mailman, taxi driver or construction worker. I dabbled in this conversation over dinner with friends this past weekend and everyone seemed to nod in agreement. A friend even admitted to googling a girl before the first date and also the girl that his friend started dating. First impressions from a google search. A sign of the times. What would you want to pop up first by googling your name? And what wouldn’t you want there?

Eight months of the year I’m completely engulfed in the basketball world. Four months of the year I still get excited when I hear a ball hit the hardwood and read the latest NBA headlines with my morning routine (LBJ, eh?). But the collective within my days shifts a bit. I’m so passionate about the basketball culture. I’m also so passionate about well written words, creating stories through dance and fashion, capturing those split seconds of ‘wow’ through photography, socializing until the sun comes up, fabulous food, sports and fitness, music, peoples stories and where the blacktop ends. These are the things I think about when I create my brand and decide what I share with you. It’s an interesting ‘figuring it out’ kind of journey. And while creating your brand some peoples hearts get funny when they wake up and they have five less followers on instagram or twitter. Do you? I’ve heard it from friends and acquaintances many a time. And why do you feel that way?

Being famous on instagram is basically the same as being rich in monopoly.

Back to my treadmill run. As I looked out onto the cityscape from the top floor gym there were a couple of construction workers on the roof across from my building. They put down their tools for a moment and took out their phones, snapping pictures of each other with the skyline in the background. It’s an impressive view. And I thought about what their instagram accounts could be like, what they share for their ‘brands’ and how cool the places they see are; feeling crazy winds above cities or dropping underground where the average Joe doesn’t go. I believe that everyone has a story that someone else is waiting or needing to hear whether they know it or not. Think about that as you build your brand. Don’t hesitate to be all of you. Because ‘brand’ is just another name for ‘you’ that you expose. Someone can’t wait to read about it or see it. I use the word ‘expose’ because I believe in keeping many things to oneself but that is a personal choice because I am a private person. The question that I struggle with is, ‘What do others want to read and/or see?’ And does it even matter? There are a billion-trillion-zillion of us sitting at our computers right now crossing digital paths. Why would someone want to read this? And does it even matter? Who is it benefitting? The author or the observer… Or both…

From my observations people are attracted to rawness. They’re attracted to a persons ability to show their true colours and the bravery that it takes to do so. They’re attracted to the confidence it takes to lay it on the line and sometimes, maybe even envious, and sometimes, maybe it’s their inspiration to wander the same way. They’re attracted to you admitting that you’re perfectly imperfect. I’m attracted to all of this. I’m attracted to someone being able to admit that they’re still growing. When do we stop growing?

Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?

And then the construction workers saw me. One threw his arms out like “you caught me” and waved. I waved back and then I came here to share it with you. And maybe I’ll gain a follower or lose five but I hope that someone needed to come across this today. Puzzle temporarily complete. -k

If you’re always trying to be ‘normal’, you’ll never know how amazing you can be.

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#UseYourLife

Sitting on my balcony, avoiding life for a wee bit.

One of the side effects of my work ways is that every week is a different story. And I am thankful for this. It makes the freebird in me happy. Making your own schedule is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for the obvious reasons. A curse on those days when life is hard and you don’t want to get out of bed. Or those days when life is busy and you want to hide in bed. Or those days when life is slow and you need to find a reason to get out of bed.

And then I saw this hashtag on a lovely souls instagram this morning. –> #UseYourLife

And that was my motivation. Cause she’s damn right.

Back to rehearsal for me. It’s been a few months but stage life is calling this week. This week life is busy. And Porcelain Headquarters is busy, aka AmberKat’s apartment. A little clip from post midnight rehearsal last night.

Time to face the music. -k

The Seasonal Shift in Scenery and How I Feel About It

The truth? I don’t have to write a Raptors script or blog anymore on a Monday night so I’m filling the time slot with some personal prose. Hi. It’s good to be back.

When the final buzzer echoed at the arena Sunday afternoon, the final buzzer of the season, I realized how invested I am in this team and all that comes with it. And that there were people around me that felt the same way. And that’s really cool. As game watchers trickled out of the arena sharing ‘have a good summer’ wishes and so long for nows, I wasn’t the only one who just silently stood there facing the court for a few moments too long. That buzzer wrapped up an incredible season for the Raptors that made the city and all involved glow. The city was full of remarkable pride and it was praised miles and cities and countries away by people who forgot that Canada had an NBA team. It was a victorious moment even though the game victory wasn’t the Raptors. And the arena stood up and applauded the magic that was. That buzzer also wrapped up my eighth year with the organization and in that moment I felt incredibly blessed. I dabble in a field where work isn’t necessarily stable and where us artists are known for our gypsy ways and I sometimes question whether it’s time to move camp. Then I realize that I’ve moved camp within and that I need to be more reflective of the journey. More confident in my growth. More impressed with myself and not just the escalations of those around me. I began as a dancer or cheerleader and even though that has changed, I’m still a cheerleader when it comes to pushing others to hit their highs. You need to cheer for yourself too sometimes. The only way you were able to advance is because you worked your freakin’ ass off. Dancer, choreographer, host, reporter, social personality and writer. And in this moment, I’ve erased and re-wrote the previous line four times because I hesitate expressing the moment where you yourself shines. I’m working on it. Someone who called me out on exactly that said to me, “You may be the only bible somebody else reads.” It’s a Mark Twain quote. And then they told me to tell my story because someone is listening and it’s exactly what they need to hear. I’ve been blessed to be able to share my passion for the game through more than one outlet that I’m passionate about. I’ve been blessed to be able to share my passion for the game with other people who share the same passion for the game. I’m blessed to have built sincere relationships with people that were once just a connection on a screen; a tweet or a timeline post. 

My sister sent me a beautiful message while I was sitting on set, anticipating ‘go time’ yesterday. She said, ‘Today through all of the stress, the pressure and the frustration, just take a moment, close your eyes and feel. Feel the energy around you and soak it in. Feel the love and support coming your way. Trust that you were meant for today. Have faith, enjoy and breathe.’ When someone sends me wonderful words I like to pass them along. Add it to your day just to see how it feels.

The end of the season is always bittersweet. I miss the passion, the play and the people. I am thankful for the people that have crossed my path and the opportunities that have both scared the shit out of me and changed my life. I also crave a few hours of extra sleep, sitting down with the family and my friends with a big glass of red and no cares and honestly, just a little more time for me. To cook and run and read and clean my unorganized room that has been seasoned by the NBA season. I also look forward to sharing the next few months of thoughts and tangos and thrills on this page. 

Hi. It’s nice to see you again. -kImage

It’s Not Just Physical.

As a professional dancer this article hit close to home. ——-> Cheerleader Called Too Chunky

To succeed in the industry requires physical strength. Your calves burn from hours on your toes, your core burns from yoga class in the attempt to perfect your lifts and you cringe through burning muscles and blisters for the love of it all. But your mind shouldn’t burn.

To succeed in the industry requires mental strength. This article is the unfortunate truth of the business. I speak from experience. Do I know people that have let go of their dream because the mind game was too painful? Yes. And it hurts my soul to accept that it will probably never change.

The dance scene knocks at your pride with a daily dose of judgement as you work towards perfection; not only in the steps and style but in the silhouette seen through the lens. The measurements and muscle. The inches fading up and out. Blunt? Absolutely. Reality? Like you wouldn’t believe. Here and there I get asked how I approach this glamour game. I first posted the following as the captain of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak on our blog three years ago but I’ve shared it many times since. And once again I feel it’s appropriate. -k

It’s all about the ABC’S…

February. The month of the groundhog and cupid. The cold nips at your heels and you hit snooze fourteen times before you run to the heat of the shower in the AM. You eat two out of three of your meals in the dark and they probably consist of comfort foods like Mom’s killer macaroni and cheese recipe from your childhood. It’s winter, folks! And the only ones smart enough to hide from the elements are the bears.

I won’t lie. I’ve been in hibernation mode for the past four days. I made it as far as loading new songs onto my iPod in hopes it would give me a motivational kick in the butt to boogie over to the gym. But the -25C windchill puffed out its chest and won. I drank my hot chocolate and marshmallows, ignored that tick of guilt and quietly hummed the winter blues.

Happily adding more marshmallows to my cup of cocoa, I clicked over to Facebook. Raptors lose unlucky 13, storm brews harder in the GTA and a message. Hey Katherine.

A blast from the past. A former student. Now taller than me, a fiercer dancer than me, pursuing that “I want to dance forever” dream she used to talk about in tap class. And getting hit hard by the reality of the business. After a certain point it’s the complete package that clears that next hurdle. It’s what they see when you walk into that audition room that counts.

“What’s your motivation? What’s your secret? What gets your body in the game when your mind says no and vice versa?”

My heart sinks a bit every time the ‘reality of the biz’ swims past me. But it is reality. An evil shark sized reality. And it’s something you need to accept when you decide to follow your dream. That was my first step. So I typed back ACCEPTANCE.

The night before two friends and I were having dinner and over our spinach dip and chips the same topic came up at the table. I’m not perfect. I drink too much coffee and don’t get my eight glasses of water everyday. I eat Doritos when I’m sad and ice cream when I’m happy. And I walk confidently onto that basketball court in a Raptors splashed half top because I now know the meaning of BALANCE. But it took me four years in the professional world, three years in theatre school and many ups and downs to figure it out. Listen to your body, don’t deprive yourself because life is too good for that and on those low days remember how great you feel in spirit when you take care of you.

I was cleaning out my closet and I found an old journal from my theatre school days and splashed across the first page was the saying “CONFIDENCE is beautiful”. It’s not something that is easy to find and hold on to tightly when you’re knocked down daily for your artistic imperfections. And it comes with growth. But when I started believing in myself (I’m at about 94.7% of the time) I started pursuing and conquering bigger hills.

Everybody does it differently. Acceptance, Balance and Confidence. I figured out my equation and I work on my ABC’S. The ‘S’ is for SUPPORT. I told her she has mine. -k

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Things may come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle.

I like these no track of time and no reason for it type of days. The world around you keeps dancing in circles but your world slows right down. Let’s you think. Pretty much makes you think. In my social media world I know alot of people through text and type and tweets but have never stood in their physical space. I ran into one of those people recently when I was leaning on the bar in my long weekend state of mind. Bartender passed me my vodka water and pointed down the bar saying that he’s got your drink. A facebook friend chance meeting. Ah, the way the world has changed. I admire your hustle is the saying that’s sticky in my mind from our conversation.

So what happens when someone or something knocks at your hustle? Makes you second guess your mapped out motives? You can call life a game with goals and penalities in matters of the mind, career, relationships, self identity and status. You can win or lose.

Failure is one of my biggest fears. Regret? I don’t believe that this word has a place in my life anymore. Because you have to take risks to find your forever. I’d rather try and fail then regret not trying at all.

I had a moment this week when ‘shit got hard’. When you need to let go but you can’t because in that hopeful corner of your heart you’re still waiting for the impossible to happen. When you’re between somewhere and nowhere but never standing still. When ‘it’ shows up, comes without a phone call, spins you in circles and then continues along. From highs to lows. When it’s all cupcakes and lollipops until someone pukes.

I’m a big 11:11 advocate as my social media amigos know. So when the clock struck those delicious digits and I was setting in on wishful thinking I realized that these wishes tell you where your heart is. And what you want. And what you should not let anyone knock at.

And then a person I know through text and type and tweets but have never stood in their physical space sent me this fortune cookie find from his lunch time escape.

“Things may come to those who wait but only things left by those who hustle.”
And the smart mind behind these words? Abraham Lincoln.

So with that tickling of motivation the game goes on. Cause if I didn’t face my fears I wouldn’t be where I’m at. Simple as that. -k


The only thing standing between greatness and me is… me. -Woody Allen

I honestly think it’s better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate. -George Burns

Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you’ll be criticized anyway. -Eleanor Roosevelt

If people don’t occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads,
you’re doing something wrong. -John Gierach