A Blythe Coach

Juicy June & Quarter Two Flew – 2024 Month 6 Review, Q2 & First-Half Wrap-Up

In addition to June bringing PRIDE Month and a handful of notable holidays, it is also my birthday month and I keep the celebration going as long as I can!

Naturally there were pre-, during-, and post-birthday festivities, much fabulous queerness, joyful mindful movement, and adventures.

Furthermore, June brings the Summer Solstice and the midpoint of the year, a wonderful time to reflect on the first six months, refresh, and recommit to our goals.

Jazzy June

On the heels of so much travel in May, for me June was packed with end-of-school year work, tasks, and also festivity, as well as a pre-birthday getaway to Amsterdam.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have had so much quality time with family in quarter 2 and the first half of 2024 and very much want to keep that going as well as exploring new places.

Blythe on a boat in Amsterdam, with Ela and cousins on a pre-birthday getaway

Bullet Journaling & Planning

Because of its role in my creative process, Bullet Journaling has become a part of my YouTube content, so I’m continuing to provide updates on life as recorded in my notebooks.

In June I continued to update my Monthly, Weekly, and Daily logs and Annual Collections and set up my July and August pages.

The below YouTube Video is a flip-through of June 2024 and the transition into July in my Seasonal Bullet Journal books, with some commentary and thoughts along the way.

Juicy June – Monthly BuJo Review + move into July + new seasonal book YouTube video

Teaching & Coaching

With June came the end of the school year in Cologne and classes at such locations, though studio and online courses continue in most cases into the summer, with varied breaks. In quarter two I taught and coached a bit less than in quarter one, which makes since given how much more travel I enjoyed. Mindful Movement classes in Balletlicious Ballet Barre+ and Yummy Gentle Yoga are especially enjoyable in summer.

Writing & Publishing Articles

Reflection and completion very much continuing to be major themes in my thinking and writing, in June I published three articles to the blog, for a total of 6 in Q2 and 12 in the first half of the year:

Filming & Sharing Videos

I published three videos to the A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel in June and have total numbers for the quarter and year so far below under “Twenty-Four 24s in 2024”:

EDC What’s in My Dance Bag as a Teaching Artist video on YouTube
April Reflection – Monthly BuJo Review video on YouTube
May Byways – Monthly BuJo Review video on YouTube

Connecting through Email & Social Media

I sent three weekly Email Newsletters in June, full of value-packed resources for fellow creatives. Also fairly active on Instagram and Facebook, and on TikTok in order to post my Alphabet Superset micro video choreos. It has been so cool to get to know like-minded folks on social media and to slowly grow community online through these avenues.

The best way to keep up-to-date on everything I’m coaching, teaching, creating and sharing about as well as my favorite work from other creators is to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter.

Would love to be connected to you there, here, on social media, online or in-person!

Creative Challenges

I was pleased during the first half of the year to participate in and host a few challenges and workshops including celebrating Eating Disorders Awareness Week, International Dance Day and Week, and Women’s History Month/International Women’s Day.

Alphabet Superset

Along with various challenges I’m hosting and participating in this year, this one has been longer-term and ongoing. I ALMOST completed the Alphabet Superset Challenge in Quarter 2 with just the letter “Z” remaining, which I published in early July.

Campbell Walker, aka Struthless, launched the creative challenge in 2023, and in order to cover one per week with 26 letters in the English Alphabet, it has continued well into 2024. For many of the participants of whom I am aware, including Walker himself, the challenge is still in progress.

Overall a valuable and interesting project, there are a number of lessons learned that I will also share in another blog article soon.

In all, I published 2 micro video choreos to TikTok and Instagram in June:

  • X” on TikTok back at Fort X to “Intro” by xx
  • Y” on TikTok practicing yoga yonder in Amsterdam
Freeze from my “X” Alphabet Superset micro video choreo at Fort X, Koeln

First Half Favorites

My most memorable experiences in the first six months of 2024 have included explorations near and far and creative challenges spearheaded by myself and others.

Family, Friends, Making Memories & Celebrations

Time with our stinking adorable nephew (including his first birthday party this spring), with family and friends who live in Cologne, on the Big Island and in San Diego, and folks passing through town on their travels brought so much joy. Art gallery openings, annual festivals such as Koeln Karneval, great food and drink all brought bubble to my life in the first half of the year.

Expanded Teaching & Coaching

New offerings, hours, locations, and clientele–while keeping my ideal schedule and activities in mind.

Finding my voice and speaking truth through teaching, coaching, writing. Practicing a commitment to transparency while sharing from a place of growth and healing. This is an ongoing area of growth that will carry forward into the remainder of the year and beyond.

Creating work about love and joy, beauty, yumminess and savoring, play and creativity, mindfulness, and self-care.

Tai Chi to Tango

Beyond my standard favorite practices of dance, yoga, meditation, reading, reflection and so forth, always trying out new things outside my comfort zone.

Have been studying Tango at Tanzschule Tanzraum (for whom I also teach ballet) since January and participated in Qigong and Tai Chi practices while at home. Learning to flow and to lead in different ways.

I was admitted to the Artist’s Guild/Kunstler Sozialkasse as a freelance dance teaching artist, also granting me access to insurance and other benefits.

Also my girlfriend Ela completed her second brown belt exam in karate, congratulations to her!

Travel & Adventures

Local and international, lucky to have lots of laughs, beloved memories and new experiences!

Q1 adventures included Dance and Art in Bonn (“Twelve Ton Rose” below under Media: Live Performances), and enjoying the outdoors and Castles over Easter in Bavaria.

Q2 Family & Touristing in California & Hawai’i, Family and Art in Amsterdam!

Writing & Publishing

Favorite articles I published so far this year:

Twenty-Four 24s in 2024 – 6 Month Update video on YouTube

Twenty-Four 24s in 2024: 6-Month Update

As introduced in the Twenty-Four 24s in 2024 article and with a First Half update in the video above. For each of the 24 chosen metrics I intend to make at least 24 contributions, in this way consistently supporting my major goals and most valued priorities.

So far I have met or exceeded 24 actions for Eleven out of my Twenty-Fours total. Wow, I’m actually impressed with myself that nearly half are already complete.

It’s not a 100% game, but I’d like to see further growth in almost every area before the end of the year. Which of my 24s will I accomplish next?

  1. Read 📚 It’s not really important to me to read as many books as possible, just to prioritize reading–fiction, nonfiction, scriptures, poetry–in my life. Been having a blast reading this year and will share a few favorites so far below!
    • Books Read: Q1-5, Q2-12, for 17 in the first half of the year and on track to exceed 24 this year.
  2. Write ✏️ Daily Logs: Q1-91, Q2-90, reached 24 in week 4 and will continue indefinitely as I benefit greatly from this practice.
  3. Morning Pages: Q1-50, Q2-30, I reached 24 in week 7, with 80 in the first six months putting me on track to meet or exceed my actual minimum for the year.
  4. Email Newsletters: Q1-12, Q2-8, for 20 in the first 6 months and will soon reach at least 24, though my expectation is that I will publish a newsletter as close to weekly as possible, as this is the best place to receive updates about my teaching and coaching schedules, latest articles and videos released, and tons of other resources that I find useful and believe you will enjoy as well.
  5. Blog Articles: Q1-6, Q2-6, for a total of 12 so far in 2024, on-track for a minimal goal of 24, though I’d like to be publishing on more of a weekly basis.
  6. Poems: Q1-2, Q2-2 for 4 in 6 months, not on-track for 24 this year, but you never know and just glad to keep writing in this way in this season of my life.
  7. Letters: Q1-0, Q2-11, keep going! Connecting with loved ones, whether it be live in-person, online, through calls, messages, letters and cards, it very important to me. I personally love snail mail and know that there are others in my circle who feel the same way, will continue to improve in this area.
  8. Create 🎨 Videos: Q1-9, Q2-6, makes 15 in the first half, on track for my minimum goal and continuing to be an important part of my free movement and creative offerings
  9. Choreography Q1-8, Q2-7 for 15 in 6 months, on-track to reach at least 24 this year, kind of a funny metric to count, since I’m always working on a variety of choreographic and dance production projects, but to count “completed” works or even works-in-progress is tricky bordering on absurd. Still it’s nice to acknowledge my creative work in this area in some way.
  10. BuJo Spreadsreached 24 by February with all my annual spreads, special challenges, monthlies, and weeklies and continue to set up new pages as needed as my projects develop.
  11. Podcasts – not yet this year, as my work has increased in other areas, this has been moved to a back burner.
  12. MusicPractice Instrument: not so much a priority currently though I’d like to return to it.
  13. Playlists: 2 each Q1 & 2 for a total of 4 in 6 months which is fine, I don’t have to create 24 but I’m glad I’m working on several at any given moment to support teaching, dancing, coaching, living
  14. Practice 🧘‍♀️ Yoga: Q1-88, Q2-79, as with other daily practices, exceeded 24 sessions in week 4 and will always be an important part of my daily rituals.
  15. Meditate: Q1-88, Q2-70, like with yoga and other daily rituals, had exceeded 24 sessions within the first month, but will keep going all year long.
  16. Gratitude & Abundance: Q1-91, Q2-90 is every single day and passed 24 in the first month!
  17. Deutsch: Q1-91, Q2-90 also every day for 6 months!
  18. Physical Therapy: I don’t track exactly how many sessions anymore, just make sure to do 2 most weeks, so somewhere in week 12-24 I reached the minimum goal, but I know I’ll keep going forever to maintain my well-being.
  19. Artist Dates: not really precisely counting these either. However I do indulge my artist child regularly, so I’m not going to obsess because it makes it less fun. At least weekly stamping, collaging, walks, birdwatching, bike rides, picnics, museums, adventures fill my creative cup.
  20. Serve 💫 TeachingClasses Taught: I’m not publishing all my class, student, client, session, or income numbers, but I do track these areas and can say that I’ve well exceeded 24 in this area. Indeed, I’ve expanded this school year and calendar year, increased outreach and income even with a good amount of travel in the mix.
  21. Coaching Sessions: as above, not sharing student, client, session, or income numbers at this time but they are on my list of 24 actions to playfully acknowledge my goals and progress in these areas personally.
  22. Connect 💕 Host & Participate in Workshops & Challenges: Q1-7, Q2-2 for 9 altogether in the first half of 2024, and I’m excited to continue to take on such artistic and learning opportunities and share my knowledge and passion.
  23. Social Media Posts (IG): Q1-50 , Q2-27, blowing past the goal in the first quarter to a total of 77 in 6 months, and I also track followers/subscribers on a quarterly basis.
  24. Sustain 🍀 Financial Fun (Balance Books, pull Profit, Pay Bills, manage Credit Cards, Income Projection and Tracking, Insurance, Savings, Student Loans, Investing, etc.): a weekly practice for which I completed the minimum number in week 24.
24+ in 2024 Bullet Journal Collection in my Annual Book, 6 months in

Media Musings

June and first-half-of-the year media inputs included reading, listening, and viewing entertainments:

Books & Reading

June Books Read

I love summer reading! Finished four novels in June as well as a work of nonfiction:

  • Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead: A Novel (The Finlay Donovan Series Book 2) by Elle Cosimano involves murder, attempted and otherwise but still managed to be a fun romp and apparently I’m reading this series now (honorable mention, didn’t include in 6-month blog but I keep reading). I am pretty annoyed by the main character’s ignorance and bumbling poor decision-making, but the other characters are growing on my and the silly improbability is entertaining
  • Divine Rivals: A Novel (Letters of Enchantment Book 1) by Rebecca Ross, which is sort of a dark/apocalyptic fantasy romance and not my usual jam but came well-recommended and was a good read: “It’s not a crime to feel joy, even when things seem hopeless.”
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand and The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren (what can I say? I’m addicted to these rom-com beach reads)
  • Better Living Through Birding by Christian Cooper, which is bound to be one of my top books of the year:
Best Reads so far in 2024
Nonfiction Books
Fiction Books
  • The Guest: A Novel by Emma Cline was a wild, off-the-rails, and well-written way to kick off the year in reading! Warning: very adult and potentially triggering content – Alex does drugs and has sex the whole time. Great slow-build suspense, observations on people, personalities, a slice of society.
  • Good Material: A novel by Dolly Alderton, which is about the humor and madness and The Madness of going through a breakup, well-written and bittersweet but not so light. Told from the perspective of a troubled comedian for most of the story, then an interesting perspective shift as well.
  • The Maid: A Novel (Molly the Maid Book 1) by Nita Prose was an excellent book recommendation for me, an unusual murder mystery, and I look forward to what is to come from this author
  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren is an outstanding wintry “Groundhog Day-“inspired Rom-Com which introduced me to this new writing duo whose works I went on to binge in the order they’ve become available as eBooks from my library through Libby. Another favorite of theirs that I’ve read this year is The True Love Experiment (though that one is technically the sequel to The Soulmate Equation).
Blogs & Email Newsletters
  • Be More With Less
  • Atomic Habits, 3-2-1
  • Apartment Therapy
  • The Dig List

Listening Highlights

Music: Songs & Albums

A few favorite songs I’ve been listening to on repeat so far in 2024, some old, some new:

  • Shimmer Shimmer” song by Moxxy, “your new glow up soundtrack!”
  • Vacation” song by Priya Ragu, who I saw live in Cologne last year and then heard on the radio in Hawai’i in May
  • Texas Hold ‘Em” by Beyonce
  • Rush” song by Troye Sivan
  • Lunch” song by Billie Eilish
  • Unstoppable“” song by Sia
  • The Fame” album by Lady Gaga
Playlists
Podcasts
  • Soul+Wit (unfortunately they’re taking an indefinite pause as of summer 2024)
  • Trauma-Informed Future
  • Unapologetic Entrepreneur
  • Good Life Project
  • Tarot for the Wild Soul
Program from West Hawai’i Dance Theatre’s production of the “Giselle” Ballet

Favorite Viewing so far in 2024

This section is about Films & Series seen, particularly outstanding YouTube videos watched and so forth.

Live Performances & Exhibitions
  • “Twelve Ton Rose” Dance Concert, Choreography by Trisha Brown, performed by Ballet de Lorraine at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn
  • “Giselle” Classical Ballet performed by West Hawai’i Dance Theatre at Kahilu Theatre on the Big Island of Hawai’i, where I enjoyed serving as Emcee
  • Multi-Artist Artverwandte Photo Exhibit at Atelier Zoozmann
  • Arthur’s art gallery showings
  • Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, special multimedia Marina Abramovic Exhibition
Sports Events
  • Haie Hockey
  • The Wave Soccer
  • Grand Sumo May Highlights
  • Women’s and UEFA Soccer Finals
Films

My favorite movies of the first half of the year were:

  • “Nimona” film
  • “The Menu” film
  • “Bros” film
Series

For series, my top faves from the first half of the year were:

  • “Girls5eva” series
  • “The Bear” series
  • “The Brothers Sun” series
  • “White Lotus” series
  • “Poker Face” series
YouTube Channels
  • Moon Medicine Yoga
  • RebEarth Yoga
  • Naomi Gottlieb-Miller
  • Body Illumination
  • Jenny Rawlings
  • Qigong Meditation
  • Ecofriend Lia
  • Minimal Mom
  • See Mindy Mom
  • JashiiCorrin
  • Rachelle in Theory
  • Mark Your Pages
  • Hay Studio
  • Erin Smith
  • Ballet Reign
  • Use Less
Program from Trisha Brown’s “Twelve Ton Rose,” a highlight of Q1 and 2024 so far!

Questions for Reflection

  • What quantum leaps have I taken this month and quarter?
  • Which possibilities are just taking shape?
  • What plans are coming together for the coming month, quarter, season?
  • How can I support you in taking flight this year?

Resources for Further Exploration

Happy new season and new quarter, may the energy of change move you in positive directions.

Special events for Camp NaNoWriMo, Summer Fun, Back-to-School and more coming up soon!

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach @ablythecoach
helping multi-passionate creatives dance through their difficulties,
taking leaps of faith into fulfillment through coaching, yoga & dance education

Memories of a May Made of Adventures in California, Home in Hawai’i, dancing through jetlag back to Germany – 2024 Month 5 Review

May for me was a marvelous mix of time with family in the US, touristy travel fun, and late school year mayhem back in Cologne.

Ela and I scamper on the beach in Coronado, San Diego, California

May Melody

Having prepared to fly in April and cruised to California for cousin, aunt, and uncle time at the end of the month, the first few days of May we spent showing Ela this lovely West Coast city, eating fish tacos and Mexican food, walking on beaches and piers, at the world famous zoo, through vintage and army surplus stores.

Next, we hopped to Hawai’i for my Dad’s birthday and then Mother’s Day, time at home in Kailua-Kona, practicing Tai Chi on the sea, a visit to the farmer’s market in Hilo, beach trips, helping out with house and yard work, and MC-ing West Hawai’i Dance Theatre’s lovely production of “Giselle.”

A great day at the San Diego Zoo includes a ride on the gondola

Bullet Journaling & Planning

The below YouTube Video is a flip-through of May 2024 “after the pen” in my Seasonal Bullet Journal. Having set up my May and June spreads in April, I got to slide through May and right into PRIDE Month/my birthday month, the end of the school year and wrapping up the first half of the year 2024.

As usual, I updated Monthly, Weekly, and Daily logs as I went along, and though there was less publishing and writing this month (fewer Morning Pages, no new articles), I did get some creative time to play with my watercolor pencils, I took my journal to the beach and took pictures, scribbled notes, and gathered ephemera to memory keep.

May Byways – Monthly BuJo Review video on YouTube

Teaching & Coaching

I’m grateful to the teachers who covered for my absence back in Cologne, and that I could continue with a reduced schedule of online Mindful Movement classes such as Balletlicious Ballet Barre+ and Yummy Gentle Yoga, while underway. My technical focus shifted for most of the month to physical therapy, Tai Chi and Qigong, and I benefited much from studying with my Dad’s teacher, Sifu Chee, on the water at the Kona Inn and Old Airport. They have such a great community, and we also celebrated my Dad’s birthday with Tai Chi friends for a fiesta at Pancho and Lefty’s during Cinco de Mayo in Kona.

It was an honor to once again Emcee/host a ballet production by my original dance studio, in a first-ever collaboration with Island Dance Academy, in order to have enough Willis to make a stunning “Giselle.” They were wonderful and what an authentic romantic ballet they brought to Hawai’i!

Then jumped right back into teaching and coaching full speed ahead when I returned to Cologne, sharing updates on my offerings and where there is

still room in these classes to bloom with me this spring into summer.

Tai Chi with Sifu Chee in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i (my Dad is the serious student)

Coaching Week

I have many free tools which I intended to share for this year’s celebration, but dropped the ball while I was traveling entirely! Consider this an “I owe you” for a digest of life-changing coaching tools…

Alphabet Superset

I published 1 micro video choreo to TikTok and Instagram for the Alphabet Superset challenge in May:

  • W” by the Water on TikTok, our beginner attempt at a Tango waltz in front of the historic Kona Inn where we also enjoyed practicing Tai Chi and watching the sunset.

Twenty-Four 24s in 2024: Projects & Practices

As I wrote about in my Twenty-Four 24s in 2024 article, this year I chose twenty-four metrics for which I intend to make at least 24 contributions, consistently supporting my major goals and most valued priorities.

Many of the projects I provide updates for here are one of the “24s,” such as Choreographies (Alphabet Superset, below, and other dance projects), Videos and Articles published and so forth, so I made progress this month, but I didn’t complete a particular area’s 24th action in May.

Film & Share Videos

In May, I took a break from you usual publishing schedule of weekly videos, blog articles, and also reduced social media sharing to focus on quality time and new memories in real life. Stay tuned for June, when a variety of new content emerged!

Write & Publish Articles

Although I took in many new inspirations and had a lot of ideas percolating, no new blog articles were published in May.

Connect on Email & Social Media

Along with my other content creation, I took a break from email newsletter publishing, but still sent one checking back in at the end of May and keeping everyone in the loop on events June and beyond into the summer.

The best way to keep up-to-date on everything I’m coaching, teaching, creating and sharing about as well as my favorite work from other creators is to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter. Would love to be connected to you there, here, on social media, online or in-person!

Idyllic view of a hammock on the downstairs lanai at home

Media Musings

Travel can be a great time to get a lot of reading and viewing in, and May provided some such opportunities:

Books & Reading

In addition to my regular nonfiction reading (about to finish a couple of my annual picks and will be offering my recommendation soon), I finished 3 novels:

  • The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren is actually the first novel with a spinoff called the True Love Experiment but I read them in reverse order which was okay but not recommended. I actually liked the sequel with the focus on the the romance-author best friend of the main character from the first book, but both are enjoyable love letters to romance.
  • The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren, which proved that I am truly hooked on their books, another cute and empowering rom-com
  • Good Material Book by Dolly Alderton, which is about the humor, the madness, and The Madness of going through a breakup, this one is super well-written and bittersweet but not so light, in the running for my favorite novel read so far this year…
Music & Listening

May saw me continue to work with and add to my Spring Sensations Dance playlist, in-progress Alphabet Superset music, ABC Choreo Music Ideas, and playlists for each of the classes that I teach.

Standout Songs included:

  • Water” by Tyla was the track for “W” and has been super popular this year in Germany, sure to be a summer jam
  • Vacation” by Priya Ragu played on the radio in Kona, taking us back to her awesome concert last year in Cologne!
  • Unstoppable” by Sia is a favorite of my little cousin Willow
  • Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” Album is not new, but was a major part of the soundtrack of our trip as it happens to be the CD in my Mom’s car as well as very present on the radio
Viewing

Long-distance travel afforded some opportunities to take in new media:

  • Grand Sumo May Tournament highlights on NHK, my parents got me into watching the highlights last year, and we enjoyed the first part of this month’s installment together on television in Hawai’i
  • Many long flights afforded time for reading and films, my favorite of which was the movie “Bros,” a sweet and challenging gay romantic comedy
  • “Anyone but You” was also a silly rom-com, perfect light plane watching
  • Flights are also responsible for us getting hooked on the “Sex and the City” spinoff series, “And Just Like That”
Soaking in the healing power of the Pacific Ocean in Kailua-Kona

Questions for Reflection

  • How will you savor summer?
  • Which adventures are calling?
  • What plans do you have for the coming month, quarter, season?
  • How can I support you in this moment?

Resources for Further Exploration

One more sunset in Kailua-Kona for me and Ela

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to prioritize travel, family, and fun in May! Truly a gift to be immersed in time with beloved family members, including two aunties, an uncle, and all three of my cousins, their spouses and kids! Such a treat too adventure with Ela on her first trip to San Diego/California/the West Coast, revisiting my favorite spots as well as new ones, taking in the wild west of Old Town and eating real diner food.

And it’s always magical to be back home with my parents, have the opportunity to feast with them and help out, get to my favorite beaches in the world, be with my mentor, and treated to a fantastic show! Time spent on the beach and in the garden, caves, waterfalls, farmer’s market, bright starry skies, rainbows, music and laughter… it is always hard for me to leave, but wonderful to be coming home in both directions!

Coming next will be a either my June reflection and a look at the last quarter and 6 months, or my compilation and thoughts on my Alphabet Superset, with much summer fun to follow.

See you again soon!

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
they/them or she/her
Creator of A Blythe Coach @ablythecoach
helping multi-passionate creatives dance through their difficulties,
taking leaps of faith into fulfillment through coaching, yoga & dance education

April was about Celebrating Spring, Dance Week, Travel Preparations & California Dreaming – 2024 Month 4 Review

In April spring truly spring here in Cologne, and the rising energy powered me through much activity and making exciting plans…

April Ambience

The first part of my month was focused on teaching, coaching, and creating. In the later part of April preparations intensified for a trip home to the US, California and Hawai’i specifically, entailing international travel, packing, and lots of work for both of us as self-employed/freelancers.

It all paid off, as I learned and connected through the work I did, and we had a magical time flying carryon-only to San Diego, visiting with family and touristing there. In this post I’ll share much of what I did and made, then in May’s reflection upcoming, more details of the trip to San Diego and Kailua-Kona.

My April Reflection – Monthly BuJo Review video on YouTube

Bullet Journaling & Planning

The above YouTube Video is a flip-through of April 2024 “after the pen” in my Seasonal Bullet Journal. During the month of April I also set up my May and June spreads in order to better plan the transition from spring to summer, the end of the school year into PRIDE, my birthday month and wrapping up the first half of the year.

As usual, I updated Monthly, Weekly, and Daily logs as I went along.

Like April, May tends to be a very action-packed month for myself, students and clients and their families, so I plan ahead wherever possible. This year is no different, for in April I was juggling a lot of things in the moment as well as planning future travel, professional development, teaching and other programs.

April Wisteria blooms climb a house in Cologne, Germany

Teaching & Coaching

Waltzed into the spring with a focus around triplets, balance, different waltzy steps and timings, energetic jumps and turns as well as grounding reclining, seated, and standing flows in Mindful Movement classes such as regular online Balletlicious Ballet Barre+ and Yummy Gentle Yoga, in-studio Ballet, Barre a Terre and more. Gearing up for a ballet exam with my students at Tanzshule Tanzraum so always focused on sound technique. Coaching around fear, failure, and artistic growth.

Dance Week & Day

National Dance Week, an annual celebration of dance, took place from April 19 to 28, with International Dance Day falling on April 29th. My contribution to the celebration was to spread awareness in all my class meetings and sessions that week, post dance-related resources daily to social media, and publish a digest article with all of the best ballet and dance-relevant articles, videos, and playlists that I have shared. It turned out to be a whole library of free tools, which continues to grow!

Alphabet Superset

I published 2 micro video choreos to TikTok and Instagram for the Alphabet Superset challenge in April:

  • U” with an umbrella on TikTok
  • V” on my vamps on TikTok (photo below in pointe shoes which I also shared to IG is from the making of this one)
Vamping it up on my old pointe shoes for Alphabet Superset “V” micro video choreo

Twenty-Four 24s in 2024: Projects & Practices

As I wrote about in my Twenty-Four 24s in 2024 article, this year I chose twenty-four metrics for which I intend to make at least 24 contributions, consistently supporting my major goals and most valued priorities.

Many of the projects I provide updates for here are one of the “24s,” such as Choreographies (Alphabet Superset, below, and other dance projects), Videos and Articles published and so forth, so I made progress this month, but I didn’t complete a particular area’s 24th action in April.

Write & Publish Articles

Inspiration, Connection, and Reflection being themes in my thinking and writing, in April I published three articles to the blog:

Film & Share Videos

I published 3 videos to the A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel in April:

Blythe’s Beloved Ballet Books video on YouTube
Quarter One Fun – March 2024 & Q1 Reflections video on YouTube
Triplet Trilogy – Ballet & Dance Waltzing Basics video on YouTube

Connect via Email & Social Media

I sent four goody-packed weekly Email Newsletters in April and was also fairly active on Instagram and Facebook, occasionally on TikTok in order to post my Alphabet Superset micro video choreos. It has been so cool to get to know like-minded folks on social media and to slowly grow community online through these avenues.

The best way to keep up-to-date on everything I’m coaching, teaching, creating and sharing about as well as my favorite work from other creators is to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter. Would love to be connected to you there, here, on social media, online or in-person!

Media Musings

April media inputs included reading, listening, and viewing features:

Books & Reading

I finished two novels:

  • When in Rome by Sarah Adams has been heavily promoted and I admit I was a bit turned-off by the stereotypically cis/hetero characters and romantic roles. And yet, something about the slow-building emotional connection and search for happiness (even for people who are outwardly successful) kept me reading this pretty standard rom-com about a pop star trying to find herself again, with a few gems like: “It’s tousled lightly with styling cream. A matte pomade—flex fiber. I know because we share a bathroom and I’m a dirty little snoop.”
  • The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren is actually comes sequentially after/second to The Soulmate Equation, but I accidentally read first, and is a sequel with the focus on a different character, this time the romance-author best friend of the main character in the first book. It’s clear I’m on a Christina Lauren spree now, and I liked both of these and their other books that I’ve read, but found part II especially compelling. “I am very skilled in the art of denial. For example, I am consistently surprised when it’s time to pay quarterly taxes.” 🙂
Music & Listening

In April I continued to work with and add to my Spring Sensations Dance playlist and my in-progress Alphabet Superset music, ABC Choreo Music Ideas, and playlists for each of the classes that I teach were also in heavy rotation.

Some songs that rang through the month were around “U:” “Umbrella” by Rihanna, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, “Unbelievable” by EMF; “V:” “Virtuoso” by Black Violin, “Volare” by the Gipsy Kings, “Victim of Love” by the Eagles. Others came from my students, for example “Lass mich gehen” by AYLIVA, and from our viewing, such as “4 Stars” from “Girls 5eva.”

Viewing

April was apparently very series-focused, with three in particular dominating my viewing time:

  • The “Naked and Afraid” season called “Last Man Standing” which was entertaining as always if a bit disappointing in how the competition went
  • The “Fallout” series which is a bit more Ela’s thing than mine due to the suspense and violence (it’s based on a post-apocalyptic video game), but still a really well done sci-fi
  • “What We Do in the Shadows” vampire comedy continued to make us chuckle

Questions for Reflection

  • How did you celebrate spring? (or fall in the Southern Hemisphere) How will you savor summer?
  • Which adventures are calling?
  • What plans do you have for the coming month, quarter, season?
  • How can I support you in this moment?
Some April days were warm enough to throw open the windows and leash the cat

Resources for Further Exploration

I look forward to checking in with you again soon about what went down in May (travel!), as well as many other topics, special events for PRIDE Month, summer celebrations and more coming up!

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach @ablythecoach
helping multi-passionate creatives dance through their difficulties,
taking leaps of faith into fulfillment through coaching, yoga & dance education

Happy PRIDE Month! Celebrating Diversity, Identity & Justice – Leaping Out of the Closet (again and again)

Happy PRIDE Month lovely LGBTQIA2S+ community and precious allies.

As much as I believe that our joy is it’s own protest, the fact is that in many places around the world it is illegal to be queer and for too many living authentically can be life-threatening.

So it always feels a bit risky to discuss, but is important to bring up anyway. I’ll include links to influencers and further resources below.

Being Visible

Voices from many sources have been nudging me over time, and increasingly this year, to keep striving to show up be visible as who I am, every bit.

Not that I’m secretive about who I am or who I love, but I’m not always outspoken about my history or principles.

Susanna Barkataki’s Yoga Visibility Challenge in January encouraged me to unearth my unspoken message. As I discussed in my January Reflection, I “made a first stab at responding to the prompts for each of the three days of the challenge here on Instagram, but I know there’s always further growth in articulating my voice and message.

Actually, I launched my Podcast, then the blog and YouTube Channel a few years ago specifically in order to practice exactly this sort of articulation, to share my knowledge and refine my message.”

International Women’s Day‘s theme of #inspireinclusion spoke to me directly as an educator and as I took part in events that day and over the course of Women’s History Month, I considered again the ways I can be more inclusive.

I seek every PRIDE Month to learn, reflect, and act. In my teaching and coaching practices this looks like practicing:

  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Mindful Inquiry
  • Conceptual, Universal Ideas
  • Creative Expression
My girlfriend Ela and I at Cologne Dyke March last year for CSD/PRIDE

Gender is a Journey

I’m privileged to have been able to live in relatively free, democratic countries, though that is still no guarantee of safety or fair treatment.

How fortunate for me that when I “came out” as queer to my parents and family they were wholeheartedly loving and supportive, and that I’ve been met with acceptance by colleagues, clients, students and their families. But even in my place of relative privilege and ease, who I love and who I am still involves coming out again and again, being addressed and asked odd questions by strangers, explaining that I have a girlfriend, not a husband in a heteronormative world.

Personally, I always felt uncomfortable with gender and sexual binaries, patriarchy and convention. I remember feeling relieved that my interests lined up ok with my assignment as girl, but I still never wanted to be a Mrs. or “Ma’am”, always a Ms., as a feminist learning from the first and second wave. Queer culture, representation in media and acceptance have in many ways matured along with me.

In college I read topics in gender studies, identified as queer or bisexual and felt so accepted in spaces such as the Queer Potlucks at Whitman, through I was in a straight-passing relationship and for years a happy marriage.

During my early professional life in Portland I got involved with the Queer and Trans community through participation in dance, poetry and the arts, made connections like my late friend Bryony, who themself had “boy days” and “girl days” and played fluidly across the spectrum of representation and shared at the Dirty Queer open mic, and inspiring others.

Personally as time went on I found myself happier outside of the constraints of masculinity and femininity, gender roles and traditional responsibilities and I felt embraced in the cities of Portland and Honolulu. Being with partners who read and identify as female, I am now typically interpreted to be lesbian, though my perception of my own orientation is more expansive.

Having moved to Cologne, Germany five years ago, I have struggled to find the right language within a new tongue, knowing instantly that I’m definitely not “Frau” anything but also not “Herr” or Mann, but finding it tricky to navigate conversational in-between. Things are developing fast here as well, socially and linguistically.

As progressive colleagues lead the way when we all moved online during pandemic, I added my pronouns to my name in Zoom, so that all who I meet in classes and sessions online will know that I accept both “she” and “they” pronouns. Truthfully, I prefer “they” or a non-binary address, but won’t freak out to hear either “she/her” or “he/him” though I’m rarely read as masculine. With certain trusted friends I have made this request and I feel fully seen by them.

These days I prefer being addressed simply by my first name (which I chose aware that it is a gender neutral family name), or as Coach Blythe when a respectful professional preface is desired.

The learning continues! In fact I just discovered last weekend (thanks to a reading at the Koelnchella queer music festival by @ijula.veedel) that there is indeed a German-language alternative to the nonbinary “they,” namely “dey/dem!” The adventure of self-discovery is never complete. I know I will continue to learn about my own gender, identity, and expression as I mature as well as better understand the incredible variety of humans around me, how about you?

What Difference Does it Make?

Why talk about all this personal stuff on what is otherwise largely a professional and educational blog, on a website that represents me as a teaching artist, dance educator, and coach?

Because seeing ourselves represented in others living their full truth empowers us to be more free, creating a positive ripple effect.

Fostering Acceptance

As my colleague, client, student, member of my community, you can count on me to accept your gender and sexual identity as well as any other ways you may feel marginalized.

You can also get in touch if I can support you in making your life and creative dreams come true.

Queer Influencers Making a Difference

Just a few individuals who are particularly inspiring me with their kind, diverse, and inclusive message on Instagram are:

@jvn

@mahealani.and.back

@justsaysk

@blairimani

@plantkween

@isaiah_esquire

Maybe you want to follow them too to inspire you at PRIDE or anytime.

Questions for Inquiry

  • How are you showing up in the world?
  • When do you feel seen and accepted?
  • What message(s) do you feel moved to express?
  • In what ways can you support yourself and others to live an authentic and meaningful life?

Resources for Further Exploration

Have a safe and happy PRIDE and summer!

Love, Blythe

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst they/them
A Blythe Coach: helping multi-passionate creatives take leaps of faith

Delicious Dancey Digest for International Dance Day & National Dance Week

This is a resource roundup to relish a couple of important annual celebrations of dance movement! National Dance Week, an annual celebration of dance that takes place from April 19 to 28 this year is specially set aside to spread the delight and joys of dancing, and to create awareness about its impact and benefits.

April 29th is International Dance Day, chosen in 1982 by the Dance Committee of ITI due to the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet. “The intention of the International Dance Day Message is to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language.”

May you feel inspired to move by these offerings and others being shared by dancers the world over!

Tasty Dance Treats

As a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist this art form brings joy and meaning to my life, which I endeavor to share with others through a variety of resources, a library of which are also free of charge!

My ballet, contemporary, creative movement, dance conditioning, yoga, and coaching creations include:

  • The A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel where since 2020 I’ve been sharing Ballet & Dance Videos and Playlists with warmups, exercises, techniques, tutorials, and creative experiences as well as tools and techniques for creative people
  • Here at ablythecoach.com I share Blog Articles about Ballet & Dance, technique, goal-setting, mindset, music, improv, choreography, and creativity
  • A Blythe Coach Podcast Episodes are available wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts and are linked in many of my articles as well
  • Creative Challenges which I host host and participate in to spark inspiration, motivation, accountability, and community
  • Special Workshops such as my upcoming Dance Criticism Master Class, past Transitions & Translations Choreography Workshop, Signature Coaching Program, and other high-value offerings to rock your world to come
  • Recent playful choreographic experimentation through posting Alphabet Superset TikTok micro video choreos
  • Living/Dynamic Balletlicious with Blythe Ballet Syllabus Google Hyper-Doc with Links to tutorials available by request to students and weekly email newsletter subscribers
  • My approximately-weekly Email Newsletter itself is a feast of dancey and creative living resources, featuring my latest creations and those of other awesome folks
  • Live Classes In-Studio & Online: Mindful Movement (Ballet, Barre a Terre, Dance, Yoga…) to move together at home or anywhere in the world
  • Passing along recommendations and reviews of live performances such as West Hawai’i Dance Theatre’s production of “Giselle” at Kahilu Theatre coming up on May 18th, which I am so excited to have to opportunity to be there to see! (and Emcee)
  • And I am always eager to connect you to other dancers, companies, teachers, creators & resources that are bringing a joyful, inclusive, and empowering energy to the field of dance!
Got up on my old pointe shoes recently for fun and the Alphabet Superset

Dance Workshops & Creative Challenges

Here are a few past creative challenges that I have shared, with future opportunities to be announced:

Get Down Daily was one of my most fun challenges yet, and is ongoing!

Dancey Blog Articles

Here are some of the many articles I’ve written on dance-related topics in recent years, with many planned and ideas for the future, with input from my audience:

Elements of Dance

One mini-series of articles is on the topic of the basic elements or ingredients of dance which choreographers use to express themselves:

7 Movements of Classical Dance

Another series centers on basic movements of ballet:

Dancing Techniques

Other beautiful topics:

Wonderful Dance Warmups Playlist, full of great ways to get the whole body moving

Ballet & Dance Stories

With young children and all ages of dancers it is a pleasure to explore classic fairytales as well as contemporary stories and more abstract works, including:

Cultivating States of Being in Dance & Life

Being an ontological coach as well as dance educator and teaching artist, one of my goals is to attend to the state of being of the student, client, dancer, and individual to bring out their highest potential. This includes fostering:

“Blue Green” at Kennedy Theatre

YouTube Videos & Playlists

Performance and Choreography

Past choreography and performances by myself and my dancers, such as “Blue Green,” above, performed by myself and Mareva Minerbi at the University of Hawai’i with Choreography by Carl Wolz and Music by Francis Poulenc and “Undertow,” below, performed by Jenny Hendry Mair, Camille Monson, and Corbett Stern with music by Taimane Gardner.

“Undertow” choreography by me

Pre- Post- and Dance Class Exercises

My library of Ballet & Dance video resources includes theoretical and historical lessons, movement tutorials, and practice sessions and is handily grouped into thematic playlists many of which as suitable to beginners, such as:

Targeted Training Zones Playlists

Hone in on specific body parts:

Creative Dance for All Ages

While most of my free online content is for teens and adults, I also have family-friendly and all-ages offerings, like:

Yummy Ballet Conditioning is a recording of a gentle floor-based class

Music Playlists for Movement

I curate a host of playlists around seasonal, technical, and historic themes for my live and online classes, improvisation, choreography, and so forth. Many of these I share with my audience in my weekly email newsletter, on social media, and in blog articles.

Other Sources & Creators

As much as I love sharing things with you that I have made myself, it delights me no end to also promote the work of the people who inspire me! Like that of:

Questions for Reflection

  • How will you get dancey for Dance Week & Day?
  • What kind of dance (or art) would you like to create?
  • How do you adapt movement to different dancers, places, and situations?
  • Who are your favorite dancers, companies, and creators to follow?
  • What creative challenges are you currently facing?

For those of you outside Hawai’i, stay tuned for my upcoming Ignite the Spark of Your Creativity Challenge for International Coaching Week…

Let’s keep in touch, keep dancing, and never hesitate to let me know if I can be of service!

Blythe Stephens, MFA, Bliss Catalyst
they/them or she/her
Creator of A Blythe Coach: dance through your difficulties
and take leaps of faith into a joyful, fulfilling life

DISCLAIMER: A Blythe Coach recommends that you consult your physician regarding the applicability of any recommendations and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself.

March was about Mindfulness, Women’s History, Moving Around- 2024 Month 3 Review, Quarter 1 Wrap-Up

I hope you had a very merry March and quarter one of 2024!

March Mood

So very springy! In Cologne, Germany where I am located, there were early-spring flowers all around, with changeable, moody weather. What can be very energetic and productive and also very challenging time of change for many.

Celebrating International Women’s Day with two festive events kicked off my month, which continued with planning upcoming travel adventures including a weekend getaway we reveled in at the end of the month and US visit this spring.

The Kunstler Sozialkasse or artist’s guild organization of Cologne accepted me as a member, a big milestone! Now my health insurance, retirement contributions and such will be paid through them, which was very timely since my expat insurance will come to an end this year as I reach 5 years in Germany! Just wild that in July Rufio the cat and I will celebrate such a momentous anniversary of moving abroad.

Working to restore damage from the war, this Nuernburg museum houses game history

Quarter 1 Highlights

Since the end of March also marks the end of the first quarter, I wanted to look back at some significant experiences from the past three months and reflect on what is important going forward.

Learning Tango, teaching and coaching, seeing the live performance of “Twelve Ton Rose,” my admission to the KSK/TK, participation in Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Women’s History Month/International Women’s Day (and other workshops and challenges), attendance at Haie Hockey, Koeln Karneval, new windows installed in our apartment, an Easter Weekend getaway to Bavaria, the photo exhibit at Atelier Zoozmann, Robot Cat sushi with friends, new rubber stamps, and planning travel for quarter two are a few of my outstanding memories from the first three months of the year.

Quarter One Fun Bullet Journal Video

Because of its role in my creative process, Bullet Journaling has become a part of my YouTube content, so here’s an update on what I’ve been up to in my notebooks and life as recorded in my notebooks:

Quarter One Fun – March 2024 Monthly and Q1 Review video on YouTube

Time Stamps:

01:06 Jan quick review flip

03:20 Feb quick review flip

04:10 March & New Quarterly/Seasonal Book flip

08:33 Twenty-four 24s in 2024/ Projects update in Annual Book

13:30 Depth/Low-Buy/Intentional spending year

Teaching & Coaching

Got “in the swing” of my spring schedule of classes and sessions in-studio, at school, and online, including Mindful Movement classes in Balletlicious Ballet Barre+ and Yummy Gentle Yoga Will keep you posted as further offerings become available and my schedule evolves.

Bullet Journaling & Planning

The above YouTube Video is a flip-through of March 2024 and Winter into Spring (January through March) in my Seasonal Bullet Journal books, with some commentary and thoughts along the way and links sprinkled throughout this article.

In March I continued to update my Monthly, Weekly, and Daily logs and Annual Collections and set up my April pages. April tends to always be a very action-packed month for myself as well as students and clients, so I wanted to be sure to plan ahead wherever possible.

In the first couple months of the year, I completed a few of my “Twenty-four 24s”

Twenty-Four 24s in 2024: Keeping Track of Projects & Practices

As I wrote about in my Twenty-Four 24s in 2024 article, and with an update in the video above at 08:33, for each of the 24 chosen metrics I intend to make at least 24 contributions, in this way consistently supporting my major goals and most valued priorities.

Some of the activities truly do fall about every two weeks, some being weekly or even daily (such as yoga practice, meditation, and reading), I will arrive at my goal at a different rate for each type of action, but each is something that I value and want to nurture.

Being daily rituals, I had completed twenty-four Daily Logs, Yoga, Meditation, Gratitude, & German Language practices by January 24th and I also surpassed that number of Movement Classes Taught in the first month of the year. With setting up for the year, quarter, and months ahead, I’ve also already made over 24 Bullet Journal Spreads. Social Media Posts (IG specifically) followed in week 6. Which of my 24s will I accomplish next?

Alphabet Superset

The Alphabet Superset challenge with Campbell Walker, aka Struthless, which began in 2023, continues into 2024. Everyone I know who is participating is behind schedule (Campbell himself is coming up on “K”), but we are hanging in there!

I published 2 micro video choreos to TikTok and Instagram in March, for a total of 8 in Q1:

  • S” on TikTok
  • T” on TikTok

Only U-Z still to go!

Freeze from my “R” Alphabet Superset micro video choreo by the Rhine

Writing & Publishing Articles

Reflection and completion very much continuing to be major themes in my thinking and writing, in March I published three articles to the blog, for a total of 6 in Q1:

Filming & Sharing Videos

I published four videos to the A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel in March (for a total of 9 in Q1), meeting my monthly posting goal sharing dance and creative journaling content for the month:

24 Bullet Journals in 2024 video on YouTube
Dynamic Drinking Bird dance cross-training video on YouTube
Reflecting on February video on YouTube
Inspiring Inputs of 2023 Media Favorites video on YouTube

Connecting through Email & Social Media

I sent four weekly Email Newsletters in March full of value-packed resources for fellow creatives. Also fairly active on Instagram and Facebook, and on TikTok in order to post my Alphabet Superset micro video choreos. It has been so cool to get to know like-minded folks on social media and to slowly grow community online through these avenues.

The best way to keep up-to-date on everything I’m coaching, teaching, creating and sharing about as well as my favorite work from other creators is to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter.

Would love to be connected to you there, here, on social media, online or in-person!

Media Musings

March media inputs included reading, listening, and viewing entertainments:

Books & Reading

I finished two novels in March for a total of 5 for Q1:

  • Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper: “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word…” 
  • In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren was an outstanding wintry “Groundhog Day-” inspired Rom-Com and I’m excited to explore other titles by this author duo

Along with In a Holidaze, I had two other favorite reads for Quarter One:

Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World by Christian Cooper, which is a Memoir/Nonfiction book which I bought as a supportive resource for my 2024 theme and have been savoring along the way. Interesting life story, entertaining style and format!

The Guest novel by Emma Cline was off-the-rails but also compellingly written.

Music & Listening

In March I transitioned from my balletic new year’s soundtrack, Quantum Leaping into 2024, into Spring Sensations Dance and I’ve also been actively working with playlists such as my in-progress

Alphabet Superset music, ABC Choreo Music Ideas, and playlists for each of the classes that I teach.

My favorite new song from March and quarter one is “​Shimmer Shimmer​” by Moxxy, “your new glow up soundtrack!”

Viewing

This section is about Films & Series seen, particularly outstanding YouTube videos watched and so forth. My favorite movies of quarter one were:

  • “Good Grief” film
  • “Nimona” film

For series, my top faves from Q1 were:

  • “Girls5eva” series
  • “Death and Other Details” series
  • “The Bear” series
  • “The Brothers Sun” series
  • “Blue Eye Samurai” series
  • “Homicide: New York” series
  • “Naked and Afraid” series
  • “What We Do in the Shadows” series
  • “Queer Eye” series and the
  • “Gender Agenda” comedy special on Netflix with Hannah Gadsby
Program and notes from Trisha Brown’s “Twelve Ton Rose” performed by Ballet de Lorraine

Questions for Reflection

  • What quantum leaps have I taken this month and quarter?
  • Which potentialities are still gestating?
  • What plans do you have for the coming month, quarter, season?
  • How can I support you in springing forward this season?
The first Daffodil bravely displaying that Spring is on it’s way!

Resources for Further Exploration

Happy new season and new quarter, may the energy of change move you in positive directions.

Special events for Dance Week, Coaching Week and more coming up soon!

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach @ablythecoach
helping multi-passionate creatives dance through their difficulties,
taking leaps of faith into fulfillment through coaching, yoga & dance education

Inspiring Inputs: 2023 Reading, Listening, Viewing & Media

Having already published a general reflection on 2023 to the blog, A Beautiful Year of Slow Creation and Growth, here I’m recording impressions from my year in books, films, series, songs, and a variety of media inputs. Of course not all were stellar, but it can be fun to look back at the influence my viewing, listening, and reading has in my creative and personal life!

It’s just incredible the access we have to endless information in this day and age, to endless information. I try not to get overwhelmed by all the options, but focus on a mix of what I enjoy and expanding my exposure and perspective.

As a teaching artist, media such as music and video are key to my practice, and I also appreciate how cultural knowledge connects us socially in society.

2023 Media Favorites

This video above is a flip-through of my Reading, Music, and the Media Memories portion of my Monthly Bullet Journal Spreads for 2023.

Along the way I provide some commentary on which books, songs, films, and series I would recommend or enjoy again.

2023 Media Favorites video on YouTube

Tastes vary! What floats your boat might very well vary from what tickles my fancy and not everything I saw or listened to last year became a classic or favorite. Hopefully this provides a fun reference for me in the future, jogs your memory of your own influential media inputs such as past works or future goals like “to read,” “to watch” and other life lists.

2023 Media Faves

Chapter Time Stamps to jump ahead to what interests you:

01:30 Books Read & TBR, Goodreads

03:00 All the books I read in 2023

05:35 Music Playlists

08:30 January Media

11:08 February Media

13:00 March Media

14:45 April Media

15:30 May Media

16:25 June Media

17:30 July Media

19:15 August Media

20:20 September Media

21:50 October Media

24:20 November Media

26:30 December Media

“Navy Blue” Dance Concert by Oona Doherty & OD Works at Schauspiel Koeln in October

Live Performances & Exhibits

Here are the highlights of the year for live special exhibitions, theatre, and dance:

  • “Susanna” at Museum Ludwig was a fascinating exploration of this historic figure in art and culture
  • “Reset: A Day Without Men” was a Theatre Piece with integration of audio and video at Studio Trafique, both conceptually and technically compelling
  • Finally we were able to see “The Nutcracker” ballet, originally scheduled for the year prior to be performed by a Russian traveling company (Russisches Stadtballett), who were replaced by a Ukrainian troupe. The small group of hardworking dancers themselves did a great job, but there was no set design, few props, and low-quality costumes (including some racist and out-of-date references) which failed to add magic to the story. At least our friends, for whom it was their first live ballet performance, were impressed but I was disappointed by the lack of love in the production values, having seen and participated in superior “Nutcracker” peformances over the years.
  • For example, Tanzschule Tanzraum’s “Alice in Wonderland” Ballet, produced by fellow educator Vivi Obadashian in November, was a far better, more magical and experience though an amateur performance. So proud of the work of our students and teachers!
  • “Navy Blue” by Oona Daugherty/OD Works was the standout dance performance of the year, which we were lucky to catch due to tickets from friends. Beautiful, well-polished, politically relevant, emotionally moving. Including an after-show talk which further revealed the diversity and depth of the dancers. I would love to do a full review of such inspiring works, but not in this format.

Sports & Games

These events I enjoyed in real-time but virtually, watching on television or online:

  • Sumo Championship – my parents turned me on to the wild world of Sumo highlights on NHL and now we’re hooked!
  • Eddie Aikau Big Surf Competition – so cool that it got to happen this year! Since the conditions have to be just right, it’s not a given, and wow is it exhilarating and terrifying to watch the competitors ride monster waves.
  • Women’s World Cup Final – very climactic
  • Stray – it is a video game about a cat in a world of robots and though I am not a gamer (watched over Ela’s shoulder as I did last year with Red Dead Redemption), it is a lovingly-rendered scene and adorable characters

Reading & Books

I find books to read all over, including special offers through Bookbub, podcasts like Soul+Wit, YouTube creators such as uncarley, Grace Nevitt, and more.

Nonfiction

  • Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling by Matthew Dicks and Dan Kennedy was especially valuable and full of excercises and tools as I prepared to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo/Memoir and continued the journey to compelling writing. Dicks asserts about storytelling, “This is a much more selfless act than conventional wisdom would have you believe. It’s a little like leaving a note in the logbook on the trail that others will be hiking after you, a note that might give the next hiker a clue: ‘Keep your eyes open for rattlesnakes by the bluff at the two-mile mark’ or ‘There’s fresh water at the fire lookout if you’re running low’…” Supplemental materials also available online, such as Dick’s YouTube video How to Tell a Compelling Story
  • The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield I avoided for so long due to the title, but it has a great message for creative people and quick listen as an audiobook. Will refer back to his advice about “going pro” again in the future as a professional teaching artist! A good nugget: “Rule of thumb: the more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
  • Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins is another inspiring business book for creative souls: “Creative people tend to live in the world of ideas and possibilities. Because of this, we might struggle with a lack of focus, but this is not always a bad thing. A wandering mind can be an asset, if you learn how to use it.”
  • The Go Giver and The Go Giver Leader by Bob Burg and John David, which I listened to as audiobooks have a good message of service, though a bit pedantic: “Your true worth is determined by how much more  you give in value than you take in payment.”
  • I also bought a few eBooks as birthday presents to myself, including The Creative Act by Rick Rubin which will continue to be a reference in the future and also has a lot of supplementary promotional materials on YouTube
  • Also purchased Yoga Through the Year by Jilly Shipway “Each of us can reinvent and reimagine yoga in a way that is inclusive and respectful to all genders and the earth.” and
  • Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi, both of which will help me continue to deepen my yoga practice in the future
My 2023 Books Read Bullet Journal Spread

Fiction

Novels

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo kicked off my year and was a fantastic start! I seem to be hooked by Taylor Jenkins-Reed’s novels, read a couple the year prior as well
  • Carrie Soto is Back also by Taylor Jenkins-Reed, about a tennis comeback and so much more
  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking was delightful, action-packed and adventurous, would be good for scary season though it is for a more youthful audience
  • The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton seemed like my kind of thing, not bad, but not quite up to my expectations
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy we re-read for my 42nd birthday (I know where my towel is!) and it was Ela’s first time in English
  • Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean is a touching Rom-Com that takes place in Portland, Oregon
  • The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna was a heartwarming and modern supernatural mystery tale
  • The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall is a stirring romantic adventure on the high seas
  • Small Town, Big Magic by Hazel Beck is a very dramatically magical witchy romantic comedy
  • Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn, who is also the author of the Veronica Speedwell series that I enjoy, will have to check out more of her writing
  • Thrice the Brind’d Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley was a book I put on hold during spooky season and tons of fun, but unfortunately not the first of the series about this young heroine (I’ve got the first book on hold now)
  • This Book Belongs To is a cute tale of adventure and love, got it for free through Bookbub!
  • Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan is an emotional Rom-Com
  • Yellowface by R.F. Kuang was a psychological thriller with an unsympathetic (to me) main character, which I found difficult to take as a reader but excellently delivered
  • The Mystery of Mistletoe Hall by Benedict Brown was a charming cozy with a youthful hero

Series

  • Veronica Speedwell Cozy Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn are a slow-burn Rom-Com series led by a female Lepidopterist and crime-fighting adventurist, fast moving and fun. In 2023 I finished A Perilous Undertaking, A Treacherous Curse, A Dangerous Collaboration, A Murderous Relation, An Impossible Impostor, and A Sinister Revenge.
  • Mahu Gay Police Crime / Murder Mystery series of five books, which takes place in Honolulu in the 90’s written by a Floridian. It’s not perfect, but it put me in that place in those days and introduced me to a genre I wasn’t familiar with before. Especially delightful to read before, during, and after a trip home!
  • American Royals third in the series by by Katharine McGee, lots of fun as a Rom-Com, well-written.
2023 Bullet Journal Spread of Books Read and T.B.R.

Listening & Music

Playlists

One of my personal accomplishments of the year in music was that I began transitioning from Spotify to YouTube (Unlimited) Music as my home base for managing music and playlists for teaching and personal use.

It’s been a pain, but is more compatible with the organizations and work I’m doing currently. Below are a mix of playlists old and new that were in heavy rotation last year.

My most-enjoyed playlists in 2023 were:

Songs & Pieces of Music

  • “Float” by Janelle Monae
  • “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus
  • “Bloody Mary” by Lady Gaga
  • “I Wanna Be Yours” by the Arctic Monkeys
  • “I Made You Look” by Megan Trainor
  • “Unholy” by Sam Smith
  • “Never Ending Song” by Conan Gray
  • “Rush” by Troye Sivan
  • “in my head” by mad tsai
  • “Paint the Town Red” by Dojacat
  • “Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue
  • “Chant of the Islands” by Fiji
  • “Catch a Tan” by Kimie
  • “Big Island Moonlight” by the Brown Boys
  • “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles
  • “Strawberry Bubblegum” by Justin Timberlake
  • “The Sea” by Morcheeba
  • “Swing” by Zero7
  • “Light My Fire” by The Doors
  • “Blue Moon” by Ella Fitzgerald
  • “Ghosts” by Florence + the Machine
  • “Autumn’s Waltz” by Shoshana Michel
  • “This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
  • “Season of the Witch” by Donovan
  • “How You Like That” by Blackpink
  • “In the Night” by the weeknd
  • “WAP” by Cardi B
  • “Jealousy” FKA Twiggs
  • “Kelly Watch the Stars” by AIR

Podcasts

Writing this article makes me realize that though a number of Podcasts and YouTube videos were influential for me over the course of the year, I don’t yet have a good system in place for tracking the most valuable works to pass along. Those subscribed to my weekly email newsletter are the first to learn of resources that light me on fire, but after that I tend to lose track.

For now, noting that the information is only as good as my ability to apply it to my life and share with others, so this will be a goal for the future. Noting in my Bullet Journal helps, but I imagine my monthly review blogs which I started in 2024 will also be a good home for such information.

Stay tuned!

Viewing

Here I have more of a log of what we watched without further commentary, but in the video I provide more context:

Films

  • “White Noise”
  • “Puss in Boots” (Gestiefelte Kater) in the theater
  • “You People”
  • “A Girl Called Birdie”
  • “Sea Beast”
  • “Your Place or Mine”
  • “Superstar” an oldie/cult classic that I saw for the first time in 2023
  • “Murder Mystery II”
  • “Empire of Light”
  • “They Cloned Tyrone”
  • New “Guardians of the Galaxy”
  • “Renfield” (new Dracula movie)
  • “Elemental” Disney Pixar
  • “Barbie” in the theatre
  • “Bruised” by Halle Berry
  • “We Have a Ghost”
  • “Love Hard”
  • “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight”
  • “Moonshot”
  • New “Indiana Jones”

Series

  • “White Lotus”
  • “Only Murders in the Building”
  • “Florida Man”
  • “Killing Eve”
  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
  • “Schitts Creek”
  • “Dragonfly Lane”
  • “Alaska Daily”
  • “What We Do in the Shadows”
  • “Oroville”
  • “Golden Girls”
  • “Naked and Afraid”
  • “Queer Eye” Season 7
  • “American Gladiators: Muscle & Mayhem”
  • “Godless”
  • “Sex Education”
  • “Forensic Files”
  • “Last Stop Larima” Netflix Series
  • “The Case of Jenna…
  • “Down for Love”
  • “Bodies”
  • “Download”
  • “Rick and Morty” Thanksgiving Episode
  • “Princess Charming” German Lesbian Reality Series
  • “The Ultimatum: Queer Love” Reality

YouTube

  • Never Too Small Channel is our favorite place for minimalist and space-saving design
  • Coffeehouse Crime Channel has a bevy of true crime
  • World Ballet Day streamed live on YouTube, and I wanted to write up observations about what I saw and possibly record video and publish an article. That hasn’t happened yet, but these folks did post their own World Ballet Day highlights and I look forward to next year!
  • “All My Homies Hate Skrillex” YouTube Documentary is a great one about the evolution of music and popular culture
  • JashiiCorrin Channel for Bullet Journaling
  • Mark Your Pages Channel (formerly Men Who Bullet) for Bullet Journaling
  • HAY! Studio Channel for Bullet Journaling
  • Erin Smith Channel for Bullet Journaling

Media Goals for 2024

My big-picture, long-term goals haven’t changed this year, but I will be continuing to pursue them in patient, persistent, and strategic ways. I’ve chosen Twenty-four 24’s for 2024 and some have to do with inspiring inputs as well as consistent output.

Having already declared a Word of the Year in this article, next up will be jumping into action and creating systems to support the journey of the coming year. Glad to be on this journey together!

A little birdy told me we are going to fly in 2024!

Questions for Reflection

  • Do you keep track of the books you read or want to, films and series to watch, music to listen to, games to watch or play?
  • What are you enjoying and looking forward to in terms of media, reading, listening, and viewing?
  • What outstanding books did you read last year or recently?
  • Which films, series, or pieces of music have most impacted you?
  • How do you reflect on the year past?

Resources for Further Exploration

I’ve got oodles more free resources for you here on the blog, on the A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel, on social media and live! The best way to keep up-to-date on everything I’m coaching, teaching, creating and sharing as well as my favorite work from other creators is to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter. Would love to be connected to you there, here, on social media, online or in-person!

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach @ablythecoach
helping multi-passionate creatives dance through their difficulties,
taking leaps of faith into fulfillment through coaching, yoga & dance education

February was for Love, Eating Disorder Awareness, Dancing Up a Storm – 2024 Month 2 Review

I hope you had a February full of your favorite things. For me, the month included celebrating Black History Month (02:25 in the video below) along with creators @plantkween @blairimani @isaiah_esquire @black.nutritionist @queeragenda), Leap Day, the first flowers of the year (07:20 in the video below), these birdsongs and the First Flower Full Moon, Valentine’s Day, Karneval (a huge deal in Cologne), and Eating Disorders Awareness Week as well as my ongoing work and projects and other special events.

Happy Lunar New Year as well to those who celebrated!

“Am I your Instagram boyfriend?” – Ela, cameraperson for “R,” best gf

Ela and I, Cologne skyline on the scene of my “R” Alphabet Superset video

February Mood & Timeline

In February things tend to get rolling for the year and 2024 was no different, as I taught and coached online, regular classes in schools and studios as well as additionally substitute teaching for colleagues on vacation.

Working on exercises and technique for a ballet exam coming up, as well as foundational work for centre, turns, and jumps with my adult students. Choreography sketches for Alphabet Superset continued to be a creative focus, and we took part in a lot of socializing for Karneval and other events.

Lots of friends, family, colleagues, and students also got sick this month, but I managed to stay well, which was a huge blessing as I worked to make progress with my first quarter goals.

With winter still in effect and spring flirting with us, I drank a lot of coffee and cocoa and curled up in flannel a lot in February, but also tried to get out and enjoy the moments of sun and witness the phenomenal early signs that spring is coming!

Teaching & Coaching

Started to get “in the swing” of my spring schedule of classes and sessions in February, though I anticipate shifts and changes through the season and year. Kept very active also substitute teaching for multiple colleagues and trialing classes in a new location.

Online Mindful Movement classes in Balletlicious Ballet Barre+ and Yummy Gentle Yoga have been ongoing, and I will continue to share as further offerings become available and my schedule evolves this spring and beyond.

Reflecting on February in my BuJo video on YouTube, links provided for major topics

Bullet Journaling & Planning

The above YouTube Video is a flip-through of February 2024 in my “Winter” Nov-Feb Seasonal Book Bullet Journal, with some commentary and thoughts along the way and links sprinkled throughout this article.

During the month I completed my March setup in a new “Spring” Seasonal/Quarterly Book (Moleskine Cahiers last me 3-4 months for this purpose), updated my Monthly, Weekly, and Daily logs and Annual Collections. One of the Annual Collections I had the opportunity to update is my “Twenty-four 24s in 2024,” for which I detail below under “Creative Chosen Challenges.”

Creative Chosen Challenges

Hosting and participating in challenges and workshops has already become an important part of 2024 as they were in 2023. Here are a few I hosted and participated in last month:

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This year I signed on to be an Eating Disorders Awareness Week collaborator again (04:35 in video), as this is an issue close to my heart and personal experiences along with many I know.

Personally, I continue to learn about anti-diet nutrition, Health At Every Size, developing a neutral relationship to body and food through inspirational leaders in these spaces.

Here’s a recap of what I shared each day of EDAW 2024:

Monday 26.2 Filmed an ​EDAW Greeting Video​ and shared it on IG

Tuesday 27.2 Re-shared “Dancing Body Acceptance with Dietician Fumi Somehara​” an article and podcast episode 074, Part 1 of my mini-series on Dancing Body Acceptance from 2021 and still relevant today!

Wednesday 28.2 Re-shared “​Dance Recovering from Eating Disorder with Dietician Mona ‘Kai’ Iguchi​,” an article and podcast episode 075, Part 2 of my mini-series on Dancing Body Acceptance. Kai is a Dietician working in eating disorder recovery, an adult ballet dancer, and nonbinary (they/them pronouns) who has connected me with a wealth of wonderful resources when it comes to dancing nutrition, eating disorder treatment, equity and access. They were also a ballet student of mine at the University of Hawai’i!

Thursday 29.2 Recommended a bunch of ​Body-Positive and Anti-Diet Creators who inspire me​, including yoga teachers, coaches, dancers, therapists, nutritionists and other creators who foster diversity and inclusion like:

@​ddd_centre_for_recovery​

@​trustyoufirst​

@​tothepointenutrition​

@​langernutrition​

@​healthywithkelsey​

@​diannebondyyogaofficial​

@​happyshapesnaomi​

@​raevynn_yoga​

@​scotteeisfat​

@​chronicallycozylife​

@​fringeish​

@​juldelbi​

@​colleenmwerner

Friday 1.3

IG that my EDAW might be complete as of today, but body bias, stigma, toxic diet culture and disordered eating must be addressed year-round. I commit to body-positivity in my classes and programs and continuing to grow in my relationship to food, eating, diversity, and inclusion.

A few more excellent resources to check out are:

In the first couple months of the year, I completed a few of my “Twenty-four 24s”

Twenty-Four 24s in 2024: Keeping Track of Projects & Practices

As I wrote about in my Twenty-Four 24s in 2024 article, for each of the 24 chosen metrics I mean to make at least 24 contributions, and in this way consistently support my major goals and most valued priorities.

Some of the activities truly do fall about every two weeks, some being weekly or even daily (such as yoga practice, meditation, and reading), I will arrive at my goal at a different rate for each type of action, but each is something that I value and want to nurture.

Being daily rituals, I had completed twenty-four Daily Logs, Yoga, Meditation, Gratitude, & German Language practices by January 24th (12:10 in the video above) and I also surpassed that number of Movement Classes Taught in the first month of the year. With setting up for the year, quarter, and months ahead, I’ve also already made over 24 Bullet Journal Spreads. Social Media Posts (IG specifically) followed in week 6. Which of my 24s will I accomplish next?

Daily language learning on Duolingo reached a 1,600 streak February 2nd!

Alphabet Superset

The Alphabet Superset (03:30 in the video) challenge with Campbell Walker, aka Struthless, which began in 2023, continues into 2024. Everyone I know who is participating is behind schedule, but we are hanging in there!

February I published 3 micro video choreos to TikTok and Instagram:

S-Z still to go as the year progresses!

Writing & Publishing Articles

Reflection and completion very much continuing to be major themes in my thinking and writing, in February I published two articles to the blog:

Filming & Sharing Videos

Having published four videos to the A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel in February, I met my monthly posting goal through sharing dance and creative journaling content:

2023 Annual Bullet Journal Collections flip-through video on YouTube
https://youtu.be/j0gZiPqpb5g
2023 Monthly & Weekly Bullet Journal Collections flip-through video on YouTube
Swans on the Lake Ballet Warm-up video on YouTube
A Dancey Day in My Journals vlog-style video on YouTube

Connecting through Email & Social Media

I sent four weekly Email Newsletters in February (11:00), was active on Instagram and Facebook, and am on TikTok in order to post my Alphabet Superset micro choreo videos. In 2024, I plan to review overall performance metrics and strategy on a quarterly basis, so I won’t analyze every single number every month. Let’s keep creating, sharing, and interacting and we’ll see where we are again soon at the end of March/Quarter 1.

The best way to keep up-to-date on everything I’m coaching, teaching, creating and sharing about as well as my favorite work from other creators is to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter. Would love to be connected to you there, here, on social media, online or in-person!

We went all “Everything Everywhere All At Once” for Koeln Karneval in February (after the 2023 film)

Arts & Culture

Highlights in the areas of culture, art, and sport for February:

Karneval (10:00) Weiberfastnacht Thursday we hosted a brunch with friends before going out dancing and Rosenmontag (Monday) we watched the big parade on TV with my girlfriend’s Dad and a delicious German meal. Not all of the political floats were to my taste, but it was delightful and unique as always. Some events we were planning on were cancelled due to illness, but overall a very festive time that helps us get through an otherwise fairly dreary time of year.

We (Ela & I) completed our Tango Argentino beginner class at Tanzraum (Basic, Ocho, Cortado) and are continuing in March! I’m learning to lead a pair or ballroom dance for the first time and Ela is following and it is every bit as challenging, technical, and exciting as we hoped and we’re having fun so far.

Media Musings

What did I enjoy reading, hearing, and seeing in February?

Happy to chat further about what I’m reading and enjoying as we mosey into the year, and to hear about what you recommend I read, listen to, see or otherwise experience next.

Books & Reading

I finished two novels in February (05:40 in video), comfort reads which I had put on hold as eBooks through my library on Libby for “Fall” reading and became available:

  • Finished Happy Place by Emily Henry, a sweet and well-written romance
  • Also completed The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling, originally recommended on Soul+Wit, and not necessarily a top read of the year, but an entertaining paranormal romance that would be perfect during spooky season (spicy). One gem that suits my 2024 Word/Stand of the Year: “Rhys might have been The Fool, but maybe she was, too, because she realized that the image, a person walking merrily off a cliff, wasn’t necessarily about being reckless. It was about taking a leap and trusting something—someone—would catch you.” 
  • Started Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper: “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word…”     
Music & Listening

In February I listened to and continued editing the playlist I created in January, Quantum Leaping into 2024, a balletic new year’s soundtrack.

Actively working with playlists such as my in-progress

Alphabet Superset music, ABC Choreo Music Ideas, and playlists for each of the classes that I teach, with more seasonal fun in the works.

Songs that particularly stuck with me in February, some newer and some older (which I mention in the video at 06:05):

  • “Never Ending Song”
  • “In my head”
  • “Rush” the track for “R”
  • “Escapism”
  • “W.I.T.C.H.”
  • “Everything is Everything” just a classic
  • “Padam Padam” the track for “P”
  • “Quick” the track for “Q”
  • “Get Him Back” a recent student fave

Viewing

This section is about Films & Series seen (06:40), particularly outstanding YouTube videos watched and so forth.

  • Nimona” Film on Netflix is a modern animated adventure
  • “Queer Eye” Series (complete season)
  • “Mer-people” Series (complete)
  • “Naked and Afraid” Series (regularly)
  • “The Germinator” Series (occasionally)
  • “The Brothers Sun” (complete)
  • “The Bear” (regularly)
New windows (Ela re-installed the cat shelf), a major February home event

Look forward to sharing how in March I took part in International Women’s Day and invite you to special events for Dance Week, Coaching Week and more coming up soon! Enjoy your Karneval and Easter candy and see you again soon (11:00).

Questions for Reflection

  • What did your last month look like?
  • Which annual intentions or resolutions are you carrying forward?
  • What plans do you have for the coming month, quarter, season?
  • What creative inputs and media should I check out next?
  • How can I support you in going after your dreams?
The first Daffodil bravely displaying that Spring is on it’s way!

Resources for Further Exploration

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach @ablythecoach
helping multi-passionate creatives dance through their difficulties,
taking leaps of faith into fulfillment through coaching, yoga & dance education

DISCLAIMER: A Blythe Coach recommends that you consult your physician regarding the applicability of any recommendations and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself.

Twenty-Four 24’s in 2024: Analog Project Planning & Action Tracking, Creative Bullet Journal Style

Having benefited from tracking “Twenty-three 23’s in 2023” actions in my Bullet Journal collections inspired by Jess, aka JashiiCorrin on YouTube, which I wrote about my in my 2023 Review blog, I decided to keep it going this year with twenty-four 24’s in 2024!

Arranged according to my 8 major focus areas–Read, Write, Create, Practice, Serve, Connect, Sustain, and Adventure–this way I get a somewhat holistic picture of my intentions and goals for the year. I focus on actions I can take, then see what results occur. Then I reflect, recommit or change direction, and carry on creating!

For each of the 24 chosen metrics I mean to make at least 24 contributions, consistently supporting my major goals and most valued priorities. Some of the activities truly do fall about every two weeks, some being weekly or even daily (such as yoga practice, meditation, and reading), I will arrive at my goal at a different rate for each type of action. Each is something that I value and want to nurture, but the precise frequency that supports me best depends on the action.

At this point a few of the 24 actions are already complete and I’ll be sharing updates in future monthly review blog articles!

24 Actions, 24+ Times

In December and January I set up the 24 collection spreads in my Annual Book (just a dot-grid Moleskine notebook as usual) and since then I’ve been continuously updating them as I take action. Some metrics I may not share in detail for personal or privacy reasons, and of course what measures are important to you will be different from my priorities, but I hope this sparks ideas for your own practice.

Here’s the spread with the beginning of my index for my Annual Book on the left and my “Twenty-four 24’s” list on the right, with a collection for each item to follow:

24+ in 2024 BuJo Spread in Annual Collections Book

Twenty-Four 24’s Flip-Through

The video below on YouTube is a flip-through of my Annual Collections Book for 2024 so far, including my Twenty-Four 24’s in 2024, creative challenges planned, notes and synchronicity along the way.

Just sharing my own process and preferences, what works for you might look very different! Brands and items I mention in the video are just what I currently use, based on personal experience and opinion. This video is not sponsored (none are so far) and I encourage you to use whatever supplies you have access to and enjoy.

If you enjoy this sort of content, check out my 2023 Annual Book and reflections, Word of the Year, and I’ll be back soon with more fun with ballet, mindful movement, creativity, and beyond.

My Twenty-Four 24’s

1. Read Books

Fiction Novels such as cozy mysteries and rom-coms, Nonfiction, Personal Growth, Scriptures, Poetry, anything goes! Enjoying reading every day and learning from new perspectives and diving into favorite topics are my main reading goals, so consistency and value is more important than volume.

Subscribers to my weekly email newsletter are privy to what I’m currently reading, top recommendations, and thoughts about current reads. Goodreads also tracks at least my eBook titles, most of which I borrow from the library using the Libby App.

For 2022 I shared intended study areas and favorite reads and content in a variety of media here on the blog and I’m also including selections in this year’s monthly review blogs. Here is January. Up next is a February Reflection and then March hot on my heels!

Books Read & TBR

2. Write Daily Logs

Having my pocket notebook on hand at all times allows me to keep ongoing notes throughout the day, based on the sort of rapid logging Ryder Carroll describes in the Bullet Journal Method.

Morning Pages, Weekly Spreads (24th class taught), Daily Logs

3. Write Morning Pages

Starting when I did Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, now I write my freewheeling freehand Pages most weekdays as part of my creative morning ritual.

4. Write & Publish Blog Articles

Like this one! I write about dance, mindful movement, creativity, lifelong learning, coaching, and joyful living. I started blogging in order to share my knowledge, provide references for students and clients, and find my voice.

I continue because it has done all of that and also connects me to a community of likeminded people!

Blog Articles Published and To-Be-Written

5. Write & Send Email Newsletters

The best way to keep in touch across the globe! I own my email list and website, so am less affected when social media goes down, and this also assures that you never miss out an anything I create or recommend.

Not yet a subscriber to my Email Newsletter? You can join here and let me know if you ever have questions.

Write Email Newsletters & Poems

6. Write Poems

My ongoing log (both analog and digital) of “acorns” or nuggets of poems and songs for possible eventual completion helps keep me in practice and creates a bank of material for future use. Short poems can also come through all at once, like the 365 Haiku I wrote in 2021.

7. Write & Send Letters

Tell loved ones how I feel, pen pal, keep in touch. An area for growth.

8. Create & Post Videos

This action I would like to complete weekly, but 24 is a good minimum to start with and supports me in consistently publishing videos to engage my students and audience. You can view and subscribe to the A Blythe Coach YouTube Channel here.

9. Create Choreography

Engaging in movement and artistic research is an ongoing feature of my practice. Like writing acorns or small segments of poems, the daily practice can be small, involving improvising, moving, and brainstorming. Then in addition to choreography for my classes and larger projects I am currently challenging myself to create weekly micro video choreography sketches for the #alphabetsuperset creative challenge. All of these could become of my working drafts – ideas and sequences that may find their way into (or ate least influence and inspire) a video, a class, workshop, collaboration, or other creation.

Choreography & Podcasting

10. Create BuJo (Bullet Journal) Spreads

Got a good start on this in December and January as I set up my Annual Book spreads including my Future Log, these Twenty-Four 24’s. Along with the Monthly and Weekly spreads I create in my Seasonal Books and other special collections, I will certainly meet this goal. Like journaling content? Some of my spreads can be found on Instagram, in videos (in relation to creativity), and in blog articles like this one that relate my personal process.

11. Create & Publish Podcasts

Not so much of a priority as it was in the past, but still would be nice to come back to as a complement to writing, dancing, and creating videos. It was pretty cool to publish my 100th podcast last year and I learn a lot through experimenting with that very free medium. The A Blythe Coach podcast started as a way to articulate and share ideas while I was going though my Yoga Teacher Training and integrating concepts from my western philosophy, dance, coaching, and pedagogical study.

12. Create Music – Practice Instrument(s)

Also a bit aspirational, but I do enjoy including singing, harmonica, percussion, and other musical creative practices that complement my choreography, dance, and movement education.

This is one way that I continually develop rhythm and musicality as I wrote about here.

Creating Music Playlists and Practicing an Instrument

13. Create Music Playlists

For dance classes, choreographic inspiration, yoga, setting the mood, and celebration.

As with books and reading, I sometimes share my favorite songs, pieces of music, and playlists including those I create myself in my videos, articles, and email newsletter.

14. Practice Yoga

Short or longer daily yoga practices have been one of my most consistent daily habits since 2019, so this year I completed my 24th practice of 2024 on January 24th. Here is an article where I wrote about Healthy Habit Building, and I also share about yoga on my YouTube Channel and in-person and online teaching.

Practicing Yoga, Meditation, Gratitude, German, Physical Therapy, Artist’s Dates

15. Meditate

As with Yoga, Meditation is a part of my daily ritual of healthy habits and so I reached 24 sessions on the 24th of January. There are so many benefits and I’ll absolutely continue to practice.

16. Practice Gratitude & Abundance

In my pocket notebook, digitally in the Gratitude App, as often as I can being present to the abundance and beauty I enjoy.

17. Practice German/Deutsch

Duolingo helps me continue to build my vocabulary and correct my grammar alongside practicing in teaching and everyday conversation. Being a daily activity, usually two short sessions mornings and evenings, I completed over 24 sessions by the end of January.

18. Physical Therapy

With a Thera Band, Balance Board, Foam Roller, Ball, Pull-Up Bar and more, I do a lot of cross-training in order to be able to continue actively dancing and teaching mindful movement.

19. Artist Dates & Creative Nourishment

Playfully fueling my creative fire, using my art & craft supplies, journaling, coffeeshops, bookstores, museums and galleries, performance and adventures, park time sketching, bird-watching…pretty much anything that inspires me can qualify as an Artist’s Date! Like that of Morning Pages, this concept comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

20. Serve – Teach Classes

Ongoing Mindful Movement classes in Ballet, Barre+, Barre a Terre, and Yoga as well as special workshops and master classes are all a part of my professional service as a teaching artist and educator.

Coaching & Teaching

21. Serve – Coaching Sessions

Coaching clients, offering sample sessions, and supporting people in taking leaps of faith to create the life of their dreams is also part of the professional service that I provide.

22. Connect – Host & Participate in Challenges

Participating in others’ creative challenges, such as Alphabet Superset, NaNoWriMo, Inktober, and others provide motivation, community, and structure in which my artist child can play. Hosting my own creative challenges in the areas of dance, yoga, and coaching, is a fun way to connect and support folks on those journeys.

Workshops, Challenges, & Social Media

23. Connect – Social Media Posts & Sharing

Sharing resources, behind-the-scenes experiences, connecting with my creative community on Instagram and Facebook several times a week as @ablythecoach

24. Sustain – Adulting & Financial Fun

Weekly check-ins with accounts, bills, budgeting, balancing books, profit, debt, insurance, investment and adulting also need to be regularly updated. Staying real and being on top of this area eases anxiety and helps me focus on what is important.

25. Bonus! Adventure & Celebration

Travel, Events, Dates & New Experiences are one of my favorite areas in which to set goals and broaden my horizons, connect with loved ones and meet new connections. Trips home to visit my family and on other getaways are in the works for 2024.

Adventure, Travel, To-See

What are Your 24?

If you’ve chosen intentions and objectives for the year, I’d love to hear about them and how it is going! You can start now, or at any time, just by choosing one action you’d like to complete 24 times in the coming period. Build a new habit and see the impact taking one small (repeatedly) can have!

Questions for Reflection

  • What goals and intentions do you have for 2024, the coming quarter and month?
  • What small actions or habits could you practice regularly in alignment with your intended outcomes?

Resources for Further Exploration

Blythe Stephens, MFA & Bliss Catalyst
she/her or they/them
Creator of A Blythe Coach @ablythecoach
helping multi-passionate creatives dance through their difficulties,
taking leaps of faith into fulfillment through coaching, yoga & dance education

International Women’s Day Beautiful Adaptive Adult Ballet Barre+ with A Blythe Coach

In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I’m offering a complimentary online Beautiful Ballet Barre+ class!

We will kick off a new season of mindful movement with a delicious, gentle, adaptive beginner and beyond level online ballet barre plus one or two optionally-freestanding exercises for adults.

Accompanied by lovely music, joyful and suitable to all levels and genders. Dancers will be encouraged to express themselves through classical dance movements, taking their own appropriate variations of standard ballet steps. Leave feeling inspired, empowered, and artistically stimulated.

Sign Up for IWD Beautiful Ballet Barre+ Class

Friday, March 8th at 8:00am CET/German time (9:00pm Thursday night in Hawai’i) on Zoom.

International Women’s Day Ballet Barre+ with Blythe online March 8th 8:00 CET

Workshop Structure

This year’s IWD theme is “Inspire Inclusion” and I intend to embody that commitment in this workshop and all of my offerings. It is an area of ongoing growth potential.

Once signed up for the Ballet Barre+ class, you will receive an email with a link to the Zoom Meeting prior to the session Friday morning German time.

We will dress comfortably in ballet slippers or socks and meet for one hour online with camera on or off depending on personal preference, microphone off unless you’ve got a question, which you may also pose in the chat.

Have water ready and/or beverage of your choice, as well as a mat and any props you may see suitable for floor work (options, not required).

Set up your device so that you can see and hear the Zoom video stream and move freely on a smooth surface while supported by a sturdy “barre” or counter, windowsill, chair or wall.

Exercises may be performed in standing, seated, or reclining positions with endless variations depending on dancers’ abilities and preferences. Blythe will be dancing on one side of their kitchen, with a counter and chair for support and ready to demonstrate various options.

I would additionally like to offer a sample of my other mindful movement offerings during Women’s History Month, including Yummy Gentle Yoga and considering offering an online version of my Barre a Terre/mat training course for those who would like to practice other techniques or can’t make it to the IWD class day/time.

The best way to keep up-to-date on everything I’m coaching, teaching, creating and sharing is to subscribe to my weekly email newsletter.

I look forward to dancing with you, grand plie as pictured here not required!

Ballet Barre+ Workshop Host

The class will be led by Blythe Stephens, they/she, MFA in Dance, Certified Coaching Graduate, YTT200, Bliss Catalyst & Creator of A Blythe Coach: helping multi passionate creatives dance through their difficulties & take leaps of faith into fulfillment.

Hawai’i-raised and Cologne, Germany-based, Blythe collaborates with students and clients in-studio and online and would love to connect on social media @ablythecoach

Resources for Further Exploration

Questions for Reflection

  • How do you enjoy ballet, dance, or other mindful movement techniques in your daily practices?
  • Where is the growing edge of your artistic learning currently?
  • How are you celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month?

Let’s keep in touch, keep dancing, and let me know if I can be of service!

Blythe Stephens, MFA, Bliss Catalyst
they/them or she/her
Creator of A Blythe Coach: dance through your difficulties
and take leaps of faith into a joyful, fulfilling life

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