so this one time i was lucky enough to be selected to go to the american alliance for theatre education (aate) national conference in lexington, kentucky with a handful of my favorite professors + two of my favorite fellow theatre education majors! the whole thing (like my trip to vancouver for the freedom + focus voice conference - for recaps just click the link: days one two three four and five) was totally 100% funded by the theatre department at byu. how i got so lucky to get to go to both of these amazing conferences in two of the most gorgeous places i've ever visited, i'll never know.
view from our hotel window of triangle park:
literally like a triangle! well, sort of, anyway. they had a million lawn chairs set up + a huge projection screen on friday night for anyone to come and watch a movie - how adorable is that?
our hotel was literally right around the corner from the conference, so we visited cute little triangle park (at lexington center) practically on the daily. just love those staggered fountain waterfalls!
i may or may not have broken my favorite pair of sunglasses while we were there...although my facial expression may tell you otherwise, it was a sad, sad day (i'm just a really really good actress).
i was mega excited to be at the conference with all of the theatre education faculty, but julia especially. she was my director for the hundred dresses - the BYU young company touring show from last fall semester (i posted about that probably a million times last year, but this is probably the most concise recap). imagine our joy when we found out that the little children's theatre we had a few meetings in during the week was preparing to put on the very same show later that year (ps sorry this is so dark...couldn't get the lighting quite right)!
one of the best things about being in lexington with a bunch of faculty/peers of mine who are all from the west? none of them had ever had graeter's ice cream before!! ah, the pride in my heart and the smile on my face as we went (i think twice during the one week!) and everyone absolutely adored it. gotta love all the perks of being from ohio (:
shawnda + julia:
caitlin (fellow theatre ed major, she actually had just graduated this past april!)
beau (fellow theatre ed major + was in the hundred dresses with me last fall, too! basically bffs) + caitlin.
naturally, i didn't take very many photos during the conference itself (a lot of workshops and lectures - that were AWESOME - just not very photograph-able :), but anyone on that trip with me would agree that i took plenty of photos when we were just about anywhere else!
like at this random hole-in-the-wall mexican restaurant (that i forget the name of) that had crazy amazing tacos + burritos (thank you, yelp!):
or this completely beYOND adorable place where we ate lunch one day: shakespeare & co. while the mexican place was a bit of a drive away (maybe 10 or so minutes from our hotel; graeter's was about an 8 minute drive), this place was right down the street from our hotel. and SO adorable! did i mention that already!? i mean, just look at the interior decor yourself and try telling me you don't completely love this:
cutest check holders i ever did see:
oh, and the food was pretty decent, also. probably not as great at the interior decorating, but still plenty yummy.
yes. i got pancakes. because i'm a child and eternally in love with breakfast foods. but just look at how pretty they were!
don't even get me started on these adorable little bottles of maple syrup...i just about died because they're so cute + my size!
doesn't look like much, but this was our lemon dessert crepe. and it was a little dry, but mostly fantastic. and literally the size of an entire plate. SO huge. just perfect for sharing. (:
one day we were even lucky enough to steal away amy jensen - the head chair of the TMA (theatre + media arts) department. she's theatre ed through-and-through, but she was so busy with meetings + workshops + lectures the entire week, that we only just barely got to steal her for a lunch mid-week.
the one photo we had taken of our entire group (clockwise from beau: caitlin, julia, shawnda, amy, me):
remember how i said we went to graeter's more than once? it's only too bad we couldn't steal amy away for this trip, too!
one additional perk to being there on a set per diem of money per day we were there? realizing we had extra money left over on the last night of the conference and ordering room service for beau + cait + i for the first time in my life...and it was delicious. aw yeah.
best. dessert. ever. three chocolate brownies with peanut butter/whipped cream/chopped nuts/chocolate syrup layered in between each one? don't mind if i do!
our set up:
of course, being in lexington, kentucky for my first time, ever, i had to get into the whole horse culture that they had there. did you know that lexington is known as both the "thoroughbred city" AND "the horse capital of the world"? wikipedia doesn't lie, ladies + gentlemen. there was horse paraphernalia ev.ery.where! it took all my self-control not to get this horse tp holder for my mom for christmas when we went souvenir shopping (sorry, mom!):
...but...that was okay. because since lexington is the horse capital of the WORLD (seriously, that's a pretty cool title to have), we got to like, thursday (the conference was monday-sunday) before we realized that we had yet to see a live horse. what!? so after the conference one night, we embarked on a journey to find some...and man, oh man, we were not disappointed. we found this scenic road (about 15-20 minutes from the hotel) that took you through all the back roads of all of these ridiculously gorgeous (+ ENORMOUS) acres of farmland - complete with so many beautiful horses! heaven knows we probably shouldn't have been getting so up-close-and-personal with some of these thoroughbreds, but we just couldn't help ourselves. enjoy the following montage of these beautiful creatures + the land they live in. no words are necessary beyond this point.
(one quick note: the horse below + many other horses were seen wearing these fly masks. they were pretty scary-looking (imagine seeing a whole field full of horses with those on...creepy!), but then we realized that it helps protect them + their gorgeous faces from flies...and they can still hear/see perfectly fine with them on. so no worries!)
man oh man oh man. loved those horses. we were probably at this one spot petting + taking photos with the horses for like, a half an hour. so wonderful. when we came back from our horse excursion, we found that the annual midsummer night's run was getting started at 8:30pm right outside our hotel (which blocked off our exit to leave to go to graeter's later...don't worry though, we ended up getting there before close to get our ice cream fix and everything was alright in the end)! this 5k run typically draws more than 5,000 participants - can you believe that!? if i had known this was going on at this time + place, i totally woulda signed up for it! note to self: always check in the future to see if there are any road races going on in the area you are visiting. i won't miss out on something as exciting as that ever again - although it was really fun to watch all those runners gathering + running (!!!) from so close up!
oh boy. lexington was just a dream. amazing conference, great food, incredible sights, + i had wonderful people to spend the week with.
favorite part of my drive home?
word. see you sometime real soon, lexington! you're wonderful.