Wednesday, December 19, 2012

And (Other Parts)

A letter the Librarians who hosted us last week received. I had no trouble guessing that the fatter elf with the big nose was me. (But I am the elf she mentions in the letter!)

Memorable Questions/Comments from The Audience

"What wuz y'all?"
"What wuz you?"
"How old are y'all?"
"How'd y'all change so fast?"
"I like your leggins!"
"Where'd you get your leggins?"
"Why is she so funny and childlike?"
"Can I have one of those presents?" (
"Is Santa real?"
"Can I see the mouse again?"
"I like the mouse.
"I wanna see the mouse mask again!!!"
"How do the elves feel? (um...what?)"
"Why do you keep touching that keyboard?"
"Y'all are such wonderful performers, how did y'all make this play so wonderful?"
(special place in heaven for you, kid.)
"Did y'all really kiss?"
"How do the elves wrap so many presents?"
(Um...Aleigha how do the elves at the north pole wrap so many presents?)
"How do reindeer fly?"
(Yeah...Aleigha, wanna take this one too?)
"What was the point of you going in the audience?"
"Why did y'all come out here and hit us?"

And one of my personal favorites is after Clem finishes she poem and Santa leaves up the chimney, all without Clem none the wiser:


Sometimes I can't believe that everyone doesn't get to do this for a living.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

And I'm Feeling Good

       In my last post I wrote about my concern for keeping a long-running show fresh and alive, and keeping myself present and not anticipating. The next morning after that post we had a performance and I don't know what clicked, but I felt like I accomplished all of my goals for the show. It made me realize how little credit I and actors in general give ourselves sometimes. And I've spent far too much of my life apologizing for my talent and not giving myself props for the things I do right. After that performance I took some time to think about what I had just done and what I reminded myself that day. I am an actor who is able to be present and inspired. I am aware of and know my audience, which helps inform improv choices in shows like this. I can think on my feet and respond organically to my castmates and whatever changes and choices they make in the show. I can PROJECT, which for some reason not all actors know how to do. And I have a genuine love for what I do. Even though I may be exhausted and disgruntled I can leave it at the door and just perform. I think it's perfectly healthy to recognize what you do well, and I encourage my other actor friends who often beat up on themselves to make a list once and a while of the things that they KNOW in their hearts they do well. If they could see themselves through my eyes, they would have no doubts, but its never that easy to see yourself that way.

Okay, enough of that rant. I am heading back to the East Coast in 6 DAYS! Is it wrong that besides the puppies, friends, and family I get to see I have been spending a great deal of time dwelling on all of the delicious foods I want to eat? I haven't had decent chinese food since I've been here, and I miss Bruno's tomato pie and vodka penne so badly. I could devote an entire post to all of the restaurants I want to visit when I'm home but I don't want to bother you all with my gluttonous daydreams. Here are some photos from this past week:


I made a friend.

Sweetest kitty going wild in this antique store.

& that's no Bull!!!

...that's a big rabbit.

Swanky Christmas Party.

Tour Kids!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Down The Chimney

So this past week or so has been the meatiest part of our touring schedule. We traveled to all different areas of the state, sometimes driving as long as 3 and a half hours to do one 45 minute performance.

Some highlights:

  • I can now say I (and my castmates) made someone laugh so hard that they peed their pants. Some little girl in the second row made a giant puddle. ON MY BIRTHDAY. Winning. 

  •  At the same performance, the kids were told it was my birthday. Some little boy in the front row who was SO into the show and was wearing rec specs shouted to me, "Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!!!" I almost cried. So cute.

  •  Some horses were right up against the fence of a parking lot we were in and I walked over and got to pet them! It was so cool!

  •  Whenever *SPOILER ALERT* Aleigha comes down the chimney as Santa, the kids freak out and it's always great to try to anticipate how they will react. Some crowds are louder and more animated than others. But this clip from our performance from the other day really takes the cake. Just listen for this girl's reaction after "down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound..." 

  •  We've had 1 show days so far this week. So easy it's almost too good to be true.

not so high-lights:

  • One of our longest drives yet had us going up some pretty windy and narrow roads. We may or may not have had to stop for some motion sickness on the way. Pretty not awesome.

  • Today our van wouldn't start so we had to wait for another van to come get to us, unload our entire set and re-load it into a much dirtier, smellier van. Boo.

  • I also feel like I've been anticipating so much in this show. I am trying so hard to be present and really react, but it has been SO difficult! I don't think I've ever rehearsed a show this much and performed it so many times. Other shows I've been in felt slightly under-rehearsed so I was always a tiny bit nervous and didn't know what to expect. This I could do in my sleep, which is both good and bad. I don't feel like I'm doing my job to my fullest potential. I know most people probably wouldn't notice it but it is important to me to be able to do a long run and still keep it fresh and present. Any tips and tricks on how to accomplish this, actor friends?

All in all it's been pretty fun playing a funny character for once. And the show has definitely grown since we've been out performing. Some of my favorite things in the show are the newer things we've discovered during the run, and even things I thought at first I was going to hate doing I thoroughly enjoy (rapping). I'm hoping to have it taped so I can show any interested parties what the heck kind of nonsense I've been up to down here. The south has been interesting so far. But I'm SO ready to get back to the East Coast and recharge my batteries.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Worth It

      Yesterday the crew and I traveled to Batesville, AR to do two performances. We were on the campus of The University Of Arkansas Community College at Batesville and performed in their theater, which was perfect because the audience for our first show was 770 kids! It was absolutely exhilarating to shake my giant butt and make so many of them laugh!! I thought that was going to be the best part of the day, but at the evening's public performance we had our first opportunity to really talk on one on with the audience and answer any questions they had. The kids were so sweet telling me, "You're funny!" and "I like your leggings!" But a few Arkansans also came up to me and asked how I got started doing theater. They wanted to know how to get involved and start doing that kind of thing themselves. That really made me feel accomplished. I remember being that kind of inquisitive young person, and how desperately I wanted to perform. I thought about how hard I have worked to get to this place where I am able to inspire someone else who maybe hasn't been as exposed to theater as I was growing up. It really just put things into perspective and reminded me how blessed I am to be working and how what I do matters even the tiniest bit.

We get so sweaty during this show. But we always smile afterwards.

So many of these kids hugged my big fat belly. PRECIOUS.

P.S. I will be home in 24 days! SO excited!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

25 before 25

    So my 24th birthday is rapidly approaching. (Less than two weeks to get something in the mail to me friends! :P) I realized that this is the first birthday I won't be spending with my parents at least in some capacity. I have had less than spectacular birthdays the past several years, but I always had a nice time with my parents even if I didn't have a great time with my friends. I really want to try to have a nice birthday here if possible.

    Turning 24 in Arkansas also got me thinking about was what goals I want to set for myself. It's a trend in the blogosphere to make a list of 25 goals before your 25th birthday. Generally the goals should be able to be more or less reasonably accomplished in a years time. I know I won't check off all the things on this list, but I think taking the time to reflect on some things I want and laying this map will help set me on the right course. These are in no particular order of importance.

1. Move to NYC and audition like a beast- I think the number one thing holding me back from moving to NYC was fear. I called it other names of course, saving money, getting more experience...blah blah blah. I'm (will be) 24 and I have to get busy trying or get busy doing something else with my life. And I'm not ready to give up without a good long fight.

2. Record with a band/musician - I have always wanted to record some songs with my brother, but so far that hasn't happened yet. I'd really like to see how my voice would sound singing something other than musical theater. Who knows, maybe I will write something with someone!

3. Make a Reel- I don't feel like I have enough good footage of myself singing. So I need to find some more opportunities to sing and tape myself! Then I gotta quit being so lazy and figure out how to edit it all together and put it on the youtubes!

4. Make a Website - This and making a reel are actor must haves and I really need to get on the ball asap!!

5. Ride A Horse - I have never done it and I want to so badly!!

6. Get a tattoo

7. Do another cabaret

8. Get another piercing

9. Land a role. - Like... a real role. I've pretty much been a career ensemble member up to this point. And I feel like I am really good at it and am so lucky to have worked as much as I have. I can support the lead characters and tell the story and I have a great time doing it. But I really want to stretch myself and land a lead in something. I don't feel like I've really had the chance to prove that I am an actress capable of playing some of the great roles since I have hardly played any characters with names at all. Just something I have never really had a chance to do and I know I can do it.

10. Try Moonshine - I mean, I'm in the south!

11. Write more - I really enjoy writing in this blog, however simple and unimportant it might be. It would be really great if I could write a play or a short story in the upcoming year.

12. Explore the West Coast - I have never been and some of my best friends are out there. I want an excuse to go there!!

13. Learn to play guitar and bass

14. Learn to not suck at piano

15. Teach someone something- I am afraid/intimidated to teach my own class here at work. But I really REALLY want to try and see if I can teach these kids something I know and love. I think it'd be super rewarding.

16. Apply to grad school - I think this is something I really want to do.

17. Touch a Great White Shark - Yes, I realize I might not accomplish this one this year but it has been on all my life lists so far so I gotta put it here for posterity. (I also lied about these being in no particular order of importance. This is always numero uno.)

18. Get new headshots

19. Learn a new hobby- something crafty! knitting? Something to put on my resume would be awesome.

20. Let go of some baggage I've been carrying along

21. Pay off lots of debt

22. Fall in love (again) - I think it's very hard to be an actor and able to maintain a committed, stable relationship. If you're working the regional circuit, you are out of town for months at a time, in my instance almost a year. I know people do it all the time, but I feel like I am pretty guarded when it comes to relationships nowadays. I'm not saying I need a boyfriend this year...far from it. I just want to be able to open up to the right person if they come along, and maybe I can take steps this year to do that.

23. Change my hair - So hard to do as an actor because it's kind of risky. But I have always wanted to drastically change my hair...maybe go red or brunette. I don't know if I will have the guts to do it but its something that I've been ruminating about for a looong time.

24. Get into a good exercise/warmup/yoga routine

25. Build up my dance skills- This means get back in the studio and work my butt off.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Child's Play

       So I've had about a week of touring under my belt and boy am I earning my money for this show! It is a lot of work but the kids seem to really enjoy it. Friday was a pretty intense day. I woke up around 4 am to get to the van by 4:45. Kiiiind of disgusting. There should never be a call time for actors before any Starbucks are open. It's just cruel. Anyway, we drove almost 3 hours to an elementary school. We unloaded the truck and did two shows back to back. These kids were the best audience we've had yet! When Santa came down the chimney, you would have thought Justin Bieber had just entered the room. They lost their minds! Poor Jeremy could hardly get through his lines these kids were screaming so hard. "It's SANTA!!! AAAAH SANTA!!!" The early wakeup time was worth it right at that moment. Afterwards we broke down the set and got some much needed lunch at a local barbeque joint. We decided then to drive to our next stop (the library in town) and park the van and attempt to nap for a few hours. I don't think I actually fell asleep for very long, but we all made valiant efforts, as captured below by Aleigha.

       The last show of the day at the library was interesting. It was pretty strange setting up a loud kids show with music in the middle of a quiet library. Plus, the audience consisted of about 15 people, 5 of which were children. Awkward. But those five kids were so involved it was definitely worth it. When we started doing the rap, (Yes, I rap in this show. It's BEYOND white and ridiculous. And about sugarplums...) this one little girl's eyes lit up so bright it was absolutely heartbreaking. Little moments like that keep you going during one of the hardest days I have had as an actor. By the time we finished the show at the library all of us were really feeling it. Physically exhausted I felt like vomiting several times and my vision got blurry and went to black a few times. Poor Aleigha had no voice by the end of the show and Jeremy was pretty beat too. We got some victory cheese dip at a mexcian restaurant, drove home, and I ended up going to the bar afterwards to see my friend's band play.
#longestdayever #iamachamp

On another note, I am excited to spend Thanksgiving with my arts center family. I will definitely miss my grandmother's stuffing (I have encountered no stuffing better in my 23 years of life), but I think it will be a lot of fun.

Here are some other snapshots from this week:

Life on the road.

Gettin cozy in the back seat. I keep adding things to this set up: several sweatshirts and jackets, pillows, and a fuzzy blanket. It's becoming a home.

This is what 4:45 am looks like. The things I do for theater...

New favorite place in Little Rock.

So much to look at. So pretty.

R. I. O. T. S. rawking out.

One of the happiest sights ever. The food at WWT is scrumptulescent.

Friday, November 9, 2012


        This weekend is going to be a pretty intense one. Things are coming together really quickly for our Christmas touring show. We head out on the road Monday morning and we have yet to rehearse in our costumes (which are going to be fairly large and hot) and figure out exactly how the music is going to work (since we have to press play inconspicuously in the middle of scenes on stage). I've really had a lot of fun getting to play so much in rehearsal, but I know the next two days are going to be long and stressful. Particularly because I have the strike of Bunnicula to look forward to after our final dress rehearsal Sunday! Eek! 

  • From the countdown app I recently downloaded. Can't wait to see my girl!
  • Pom Poms I made in the costume shop that are gonna be on my awesome costume!
  • Best. Thrifted. Sweater. Ever.
  • Sneak peek of Aleigha and I in 'Twas The Night Before Christmas.


 Anticipating...  1. Actually getting on the road and performing! I know it will be a lot of hard work, early morning calls, carrying heavy set pieces in and out of buildings and onto the truck, lots of time on the road... but I think I'm ready for a new experience. Also ready to see a little bit more of this state that I know so little about. I've been told not to expect much but I'm still anxious to see what's out there.

2. I can't WAIT to go home for Christmas. It will be the shortest ten days ever but I can't wait to see my puppies, family, and friends. Nothing is going to spoil those days for me. I EARNED THEM. 

Reading... I'm currently reading Michael Shurtleff's book Audition. I had never read it and so far it's pretty intelligent but hasn't said anything I haven't already heard before. But it's a really good idea to brush up on the basics and get yourself into the mindset of "Hey, I'm devoting this time to working on my craft as opposed to stalking boys on Facebook and looking at cute pictures of dogs." Yeah. It happens. But I'm getting better about it. Wanna kick some butt at UPTA!

 Relieved About... I'm relieved that I've been losing some weight. I'm not at my ideal weight yet, but I've been eating less and drinking less and I feel a little better when I look in the mirror. Two months ago I felt absolutely disgusted. I don't know what tour has in store but I want to try and incorporate more exercise into my schedule. Plus, this show has me doing a lot of cardio in a big fat suit, which is awesome. Also pretty relieved that I've met a few more awesome people here and have gotten to spend some time with them. :)

Watching... I've been watching a lot of random stuff on Netflix. I recently finished two series: Louie and Freaks and Geeks that I LOVED and am looking for something to get just as hooked on. So far I haven't found anything mind blowing. I watched Zack Galifanakis' stand up and that was pretty wonderful. But I'd like to get sucked into a series again soon! Working on... Exercising more, Research and Prep for UPTAS, Planning inexpensive but thoughtful Christmas presents for my family and maybe MAYBE keeping this apartment clean. Maybe.

 Craving... Sushi is a given at any moment in my life. But I'm kind of craving a new beanie and cardigan. I live in those and boots all winter and I feel most like myself when I'm rockin them. And some kick ass shades.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Insta Sandi

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Hey all! Just a little instagram update of my life this past week or so. I have off from rehearsal for several days so things are probably going to be a little boring around these parts, especially since I have gone WAY over budget for October. If any of you have any tips and tricks on how to save money, please share!

Sushi just makes me really happy.

Luke... I ate your pizza. Damgoode Pies! So yummy!

I met this cat and hung out with him for about a half hour. I wanted him SOOOO bad. And I don't even like cats!

He kept rolling over and wanting me to rub his belly. It took SO much restraint not to take him home.

Anyone who has ever teched a show will understand this photo. Sinovia is a goddess.

Sinovia and I dressed up the opening night reception table for Bunnicula!

Bunnicula! Made in approximately 30 minutes by yours truly!

Sunset during a bike ride down by the Arkansas River.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Hi there. I know I haven't updated in a while. My apologies. Life just got a little strange has been pretty strange. I'm going to attempt to do a massive catch up for whoever is nice enough to read this blog!

So I've been here almost two months and my life is moving very slowly. I'm alone with my thoughts a lot of the time and it makes me a little nuts and pretty lonely. I've never called my parents this much. I guess since I went to college 15 minutes away I never really "missed" them. That and my relationship with them has gotten much better after living at home last year. (Weird, right?) I miss my dogs terribly and want nothing more than to walk into my house and be love-attacked by three fluffy, smiling, wet-nosed babies.

On that note, I have some pretty awesome pups in my life to help ease the blow of dog-less living. Aleigha invited me to accompany her and Fozzie to the dog park and I was squealing the entire time we were there. I met so many awesome dogs. My favorite was Missy, a 9 year old Lab who had no interest in socializing with any other dogs. All she wanted was to play fetch, and I gladly obliged for about a half hour. Seriously my heart melted. How could it not? And listen, I know I might have come off as a creeper taking this many photos and videos of other peoples dogs, but I just couldn't help myself!

Am I the only person that treats meeting dogs like meeting people? They just all have distinct personalities and I really feel like I connect with dogs. Most animals, really. Except cats. Screw cats.

Also, I had the pleasure of having some Sandi-Action time this month. Seriously... this pup loves me.

I know I'm a dog person. But I also really love meeting new people! Especially fellow awesome, creative people. I went to the food truck festival recently. The festival is a new annual event in downtown Little Rock that included tons of gourmet food trucks. About thirty Etsy shops also were set up and I met Starr who blogs over at A Thought Is The Blossom . ( Which I've been following for a while!). Her shop was super cute. I ended up buying a dress and some granny glasses. I also met Heather, a kick ass photographer and fellow arts center employee! Who knew? The three of us ended up going to a concert downtown later that week. It was a fantastic and much needed night of drinks, laughs, and making new friends. Totally worth the ridiculously large bill for all that frivolity. The highlight for me was probably Heather saying, "A friend once said this to me, and now I'm going to say it to you. Sandi, we love you. We're adopting you." Sometimes you get in a rut of not putting yourself out there and not really exploring out of your set group of friends. It can be intimidating, especially being in your twenties and trying to make "girl friends." It was so refreshing and wonderful to feel so included by people who have known me for a matter of hours. I hope I can make someone who has felt as lost and lonely as I have these past few months feel as good as these ladies did the other night. :)

Other than those few adventures, I'm still in my apartment a lot, making friendship bracelets, cooking and napping. Rehearsals for the xmas tour have started and those are fun so far. I have a little more freedom with this character and script than in the previous show. I get to do more "work", if that makes any sense. 

P.S. If any kind souls want to send me presents like The Nightmare Before Christmas on DVD or Zyrtec D (Which I cannot purchase in Arkansas... wtf??!?) just message me for my address. I love getting mail! ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Insta-Week

Just a quick catch up with some instagrams from my week. I wish I had more to write about! We are in the middle of the run for Madeline and the morning wake ups are a little tough but for a 2 hour workday I can suffer through it.

Top left: Don't Stop Please, my new favorite local band jamming out downtown. Top right: I walk by this creepy ass thing every day on my way to work. Bottom left: A bench in midtown. There is a ton of public art on the streets. Super cool/weird stuff. Bottom right: Wine and two kinds of ice cream were just necessary!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Life is not a struggle. It's a wiggle.

It's the day of the show, Y'all!

Today we opened Madeline and The Gypsies. After a mad dash to the finish line it feels like we finally had a show. I didn't mind the early call time. I enjoyed my coffee and walked to work. I hit a little bit of traffic on my way:

I can handle this kind of traffic.

There was really great energy backstage -- some of the child actors had never been in a play before. It sent me back to my childhood performing at my local theater-- the nervousness and excitement and adrenaline that comes with doing a show. Admittedly I have grown a bit disillusioned and don't always get that feeling. I'm a bit jealous of them and it got me to thinking about a lot of things. This is actually the first fully staged musical I have performed on stage in about two years. That seems like a crazy amount of time and I think I forgot just how much I missed it. I think I almost resigned myself to not being cast in musicals again after college. What a Debbie Downer, right? Today I was reminded that even a children's show with a bad book can still be something worthwhile, and not to take for granted any amount of time being able to perform. It goes by so quickly.

This may not be the perfect show, the perfect cast or the perfect anything. But I am ultimately proud of what I have been able to bring to the table and what I have gotten to witness with some of my fellow company members. The jobs where you are playing the perfect part with the perfect cast and production team and everyone gets along great and is on the same wavelength is an extremely rare and beautiful thing. But that doesn't mean something of value can't be gleaned from any and every theatrical experience. If you're not playing your ideal part, explore every ounce of that character. You might surprise yourself once you get out of your own way. If others around you aren't being professional, don't let them drag you down to their level and don't let their unprofessional ways get you stressed out and flustered. You are in control of what you produce onstage and that's all you can attempt to control. Worrying about it or being lazy just because other people are is just going to hurt you. If no one is helping you, figure it out yourself. Keep pushing yourself to do great work. I truly believe that in any situation where I get to be in a show I am going to learn something from it. It might be something small, or it might change my entire life. But it is always worth it and I know I am blessed to be a part of this company here and now. Life is not a struggle. It's a wiggle. And I'm wigglin, baby!

A tiny glimpse of costumes and nonsense backstage of Madeline:

Oh and bt-dubs if I was ever afraid to call myself this before, (which is stupid, I have a freakin college degree...geez Sandi) now it's official because someone else put it in print. I'm a Professional Actor, Y'all! I saw it after the show in the program and I was one happy, sweaty, pincurly-headed girl.

After the show I had some victory sushi with our awesome SM Sinovia. This was my fortune:

Best fortune ever.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Everything Will Be Alright

So I haven't written a full post in a while, mostly because I've been kinda down on myself. We have a lot of down time right now and I've spent a lot of it recovering from hangovers, watching Parks and Rec from episode 1 season 1, and making friendship bracelets. Rehearsals have slowly become more fun and I feel like I'm actually doing something, but lately we've had shortened rehearsals and cancelled rehearsals so I've had no idea what to do with myself. It didn't help that I was absolutely broke. Now that I have one paycheck under my belt, I am trying to figure out how to budget my life and pay my bills and still live. This is a skill I have avoided acquiring up until now  and I admit I've been pretty ignorant of what things cost. I was living at home all of last year so I didn't have to worry about rent, which was helpful. Having an extra 600 dollars taken out of your income really puts things in perspective. And I am trying to be thrifty and responsible. But sometimes Sushi seems like a necessary expense...right? (See, I am terrible at being poor.) Jillian has helped me outline a rough budget so once I see how I really live maybe I can tweak it to be more realistic to my lifestyle while still managing to save some mulah. It's not going to be an easy learning process but I will get there.

So here's a recap of where I am mentally right now:

The Good:

  • I got paid so I don't have to pay for my drinks with quarters anymore! (for now)
  • I haven't seen a big bug in my apartment for over a week. (Really hoping I don't jinx myself for saying this. I'd rather pay for drinks with quarters than see another big roach in my bedroom. Ick!)
  • I have had such a great time getting to know the other company members. They really are as nice as they seemed the first day and I have been having a great time.
  • I also have had the benefit of getting to know THESE two lovely creatures. They fill my heart with joy. Especially when they pose for me on my couch.

Action and Fozzie Bear.
  • I went to my first piano bar. It was hilariously corny and wonderful.
  • I toured my first brewery!

The Bad:

  •   I feel like I've been gaining weight because of not having a treadmill readily available and that the only activity I can find to do here is drink. I'm attempting to cut back and hopefully my liver, my stomach, and my wallet will thank me.
  • I am not keeping the kitchen as clean as I would have liked. Although I've already vacuumed this apartment several times more than I ever vacuumed my apartment in Philly.
  • I'm homesick. I miss my friends, but mostly I really REALLY miss my dogs. I battle with some anxiety/depression and having the dogs around really grounds me and keeps me happy. I'm getting through it (A recent skype date with my Mom to see Daisy really helped) but its hard being alone so often here. The apartment is too quiet.
  • The other company actors all have significant others except me. This is fine except when they need their couple time (which is totally understandable) I'm the one who gets left alone in my apartment looking up free dogs on craigslist. (Which is an awful idea. I get myself so upset that I can't rescue all the puppies!!!)

Things to look forward to:
  • Prepping a kick ass audition for UPTAS this year, pending I get a slot.
  • Getting a gym membership and taking lots of classes with Jillian.
  • Madeline coming together and entertaining kids and their families.
  • Hopefully meeting some new friends to hang out with and discover things to do in the Rock.

P.S. Here Are some instagram shots of our time at Diamond Bear Brewery!