i recommend

I recommend getting together with a group of like-minded women once a month for the sole purpose of supporting each other’s career goals.

Now you know.

I owe a sincere thank you to my friend, M, who came up with the idea to do just that and then asked me to be a part of it. Now we have a monthly brunch gathering with a small group of creative, hard-working New York ladies.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of this experience, since the goal was to gather women from all different fields and industries.

We have a photographer, a couple career and life coaches, a former actor, a birth instructor, someone who blogs about food, someone who wants to get her PhD in something fascinating, someone who owns a business with her husband, someone whose husband occasionally works for her, women with careers you’ve never heard of and careers you’ve envied and careers with impressive resumes. And I’m there too. 😉

In my free time, I mostly hang out with people in the entertainment industry. My best friends are comedians, actors, writers and filmmakers. My boyfriend is a talented director (and actor and editor and producer and and). My best friend is a Shakespeare director and teacher.

While these ladies, although some of them participate in my industry and understand it just as well as they understand their own, all come from very different career paths. But after only two brunches, I’ve gotten a ton of out of coming together with them. They each have their own struggles and challenges and their own unique perspectives to share about everybody else’s stuff.

Sounds pretty feminine, right? It is. We listen and share and have positive body language and drink mimosas and it’s about as girly as it gets. I’m grateful to be a part of it.

Who doesn’t need a dose of that once a month?

For me personally, I’m excited about what lies ahead in my career. Nothing’s perfect, but I’m learning to enjoy and make the most out of the process. I fully expect that optimism to take a nose-dive soon enough, as it always does for me, but that’s part of the fun, right?

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pretty dresses and dry mouths

We got some great news last week! Harvard Sailing Team’s “Boys Will Be Girls” video has been nominated for Best Viral Original in the The Comedy Awards. This is really exciting for us, especially because the other videos nominated are unbelievably funny and star some of our favorite comedians. I mean, Chris’ face in this collage from their website is next to Jim Carrey’s face?! WHAT!

This is the debut year for The Comedy Awards. They were created by MTV Networks and Comedy Central, and the board that chose the nominees is comprised of some amazing comedians and heavy hitters in the entertainment industry. Conan O’Brien, Billy Crystal, Stephen Colbert, Chris Rock, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg…just to name a few…oof, I just got a little nauseous. Just knowing that even one person from that list might have seen our video is humbling and makes my mouth dry.

The awards show will air on Comedy Central on Sunday, April 10, and according to the website, it will also be simulcast on a bunch of other networks like VH1 and Nick at Nite. Nick at Nite! Twelve year old me just lost consciousness.

The one catch is, we don’t get to GO to the actual awards show unless we WIN. Getting to go to the event, accept an award, and wear pretty dresses would be incredible exposure for us, and would probably also one be of the more exciting evenings of our young lives. But all that aside, it’s obviously an incredible honor for us just to be nominated.

The Comedy Awards says that the winner will be selected by a group of  “professionals from the comedy community-including producers, writers, performers, directors and stand-ups.”

BUT the online-only category winners will ALSO be decided by votes from their fans.

We’d love your vote!

And this is one of those where you can vote once a day (ugh) so…maybe if you’re my mom or my cousin, you’ll vote once a day! 🙂 I’m not holding my breath that we’ll win – the other videos in the category are brilliant – but maybe we’ll have a shot!

Thanks so much in advance for your vote and support.

addicted

Fruit.

Been eating a ton of it because it’s 0 points on the new Weight Watchers plan. And I’m enjoying it more than ever before.

I’ve been hearing that same sentiment from a lot of people who’ve tried the new WW plan. Being allowed to eat unlimited fruit without having to pay for it with your points bank, especially for those of us who followed the old Weight Watchers plan for years (where most fruits were 2 precious points per serving), is God’s gift to snacking.

I’ve actually never been a huge produce person. As a kid, it was a constant battle and as an adult, I know I’m supposed to eat produce, but ugh. I usually want a piece of bread or cheese instead. I also rarely cook, so unless someone else is preparing my veggies, I’m eating them raw. And fruit just never sounded quite as appealing to me as, say, a cookie.

But that’s all changed now that I can eat as many strawberries as my heart desires without worry. I’m obsessed. Now, at age 30, I’m finally getting nearly as many servings as one’s supposed to have in a day. And weight loss aside, I can totally tell. I feel healthier, I’m generally fuller longer and my skin even looks better. My therapist told me recently, “You’re glowing! I said, “It’s the bananas.”

I’m really into blueberries right now. Like, I’m inhaling almost a container’s worth a day. Can’t get enough.

 

mixed bag

"Another Psycho" shoot - image via P3 Entertainment

A mixed bag update on this sunny Thursday:

We’re screening the HST short film we shot over the summer “Another Psycho” (the one we made with the $10,000 grant from the Friar’s Club!) tomorrow night at The PIT in an evening hosted by the HST girls. Looking forward to it. The awesome production company that helped us make the film, P3 Entertainment, posted some behind the scenes shots on their Facebook Page recently and it reminded me what a great time we had shooting our little movie.

The warmer weather and sunshine we’re enjoying in New York City today has certainly improved my mood.

I’m also feeling pretty good physically. I’ve lost 10 pounds since the beginning of the year doing the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program. (As you may or may not know, I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties through Weight Watchers. I put 10 of it back on last year because of a lack of food mindfulness and a change in my daily routine.) I wasn’t desperate to lose these 10 pounds – I was actually okay with having gained them – but I did want to avoid having to buy bigger pants and to have more energy, so it’s nice to have lost them. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, this Points Plus thing they rolled out at the end of last year is pretty fantastic. I recommend it.

I haven’t been exercising a lick besides walking around the city and my occasional yoga practice, which is more than enough for me right now. I used to bang out 5-6 days a week at the gym – for years – and finally got to a point where that just wasn’t interesting to me any more. Maybe it will be again someday, but I’m not in the business of forcing myself to do things I really don’t want to do. So for now, this is fine. I am excited for the warmer weather to tempt me outside for an occasional jog or bike ride. Moral of that story: exercise to FEEL GOOD. Not to lose weight. And do active things you enjoy! No sense slogging through a workout feeling miserable. If you love the gym, go for it. If it’s not your thing, there are so many other options.

Career-wise, I’ve decided I need to be doing more. I do a lot right now as it is and I love it…and it’s also hectic and insane at times. But it makes me feel alive and happy when I have a lot of projects going at once. I’d rather err toward that than feeling bored or unmotivated. Gotta work hard while I’m young!

End transmission.

talent. luck. discipline.

The hardest part about the career game I’m playing right now – the one where I have this day job that doesn’t exactly do it for me so that I can support the dream career I’m working toward in the meantime – is the waiting.

Sometimes I feel like I’m over here treading water from 9-5 while I figure out the rest of it. And sometimes I wonder how long that’s gonna take.

I know it’s different every time I post – I like the day job, I hate the day job, I can live with it, it’s really healthy for me, I want to kill myself. And as inconsistent as that might be for you who are witnessing this journey, it feels just as inconsistent for me. I really do hate the job one day and feel grateful for it the next. It supports me financially and affords me the opportunity to keep pursuing my goals, but not without a serious drain on my mental and emotional state.

I guess that’s called a catch 22.

Lorne Michaels’ was recently on “Master Class” on the OWN Network (yes!) and he said something that has since been running through my mind. He said that the three things required to make it in this comedy world are talent, luck and discipline. And then he added that even when you have all three you’re not guaranteed to succeed, but you have to have all three to even have the option.

Heartwarming and terrifying all at once. Of course there are exceptions to his rule, but he’s right. Talent and luck are obvious, and anyone I know personally who has been successful as an actor, writer, comedian, etc. worked very hard to get there.

Lying in bed last night, a list of my own popped into my mind. Not necessarily a list of things one needs in order to be successful, but traits that I personally need to keep cultivating to stay sane.

Patience, trust, optimism and discipline.

Maybe not it’s not the humblest move to selectively edit wisdom from the guy who created Saturday Night Live, but you won’t tell him, right?

The thing is, sometimes I wonder WHAT THE EFF I’m doing. I’m 30 years old and I’m still playing dress up, playing make-it-up, putting on little performances, little skitties, writing stories and giggling with my friends. I never grew out of it. And I want to make a CAREER out of that? Because I am who, again? Someone special? Or just another one of the people in the sea that is this industry, fighting to earn a paycheck.

But on the flipside (and drawing from that necessary optimism), I remind myself that there are jobs to be had in this industry, I’ve watched so many of my peers move to the next level, I get to do what I love almost every night of the week, and most importantly, nothing is more exhilarating to me than performing and writing.

Last Friday night, we did an HST show with only half the team because the other half was out of town. We play each other’s parts all the time but I was nervous about one particular sketch. I’d never done it before and it’s kind of intense. But I did it. It went well, people laughed and enjoyed themselves, and felt like a million bucks afterward. It reminded me how capable I am, and that I need to trust myself more often. It also made me feel like I’d just run a mile or eaten a really incredible meal.

I felt filled up. What other information do I really need.

So, I’ll pray for patience, trust, optimism and discipline…and the wisdom to defer to Lorne Michaels’ list too.

my job and my career

Kevin snapped this as he was walking home from the subway late last night. I was already fast asleep when he arrived and woke up at 7am to an email from a partner at the law firm telling us all to stay home. Snow day!

I’ve come off the ledge since my last post. Turns out I was experiencing some PMS-inspired moodiness. No one died and I’ve felt a lot better over the last few days.

This is the second time I’ve had a real snow day off from work in the last month. What could be better??

I’ve realized something recently that I can’t deny. This job is exactly what I need right now. I’m hesitant to say that because I don’t want to have to work there for a long time. But the circumstances of my current career situation being what they are, I’m grateful for this setup.

I’m surprised and delighted every single time I get paid. I have relative flexibility in the sense that I haven’t had to miss anything yet – I’ve been able to take off for important HST shows and I’ll get to go on a family trip in April. My health insurance just kicked in last week and that’s a nice feeling, and I’ve been able to make a serious dent in some minor credit card debt I’ve been carrying around.

PLUS, Kevin’s able to work from home right now managing HST gigs, working on his own projects (He and some colleagues launched SiCKPUPPY.tv this week!), playing Mister Mom to our two babies cats and doing some important research on what we’ll do next with Fanny & Jane.

My boss has been out of the office this entire week. It means I have time to put toward my own career goals…saying nothing of today, of course, which I’ve spent at home in my pajamas doing laundry and writing. He travels a fair amount and it’s always a welcome break when he’s gone. When he’s in the office, I generally want to be instantly whisked away to another world. But it’s all still bearable. And in exchange for the support this job is providing my lifestyle? I’ll take it.

I had a great time on Sunday at brunch with a few incredible women I’d never met before. The get together was organized by our dear friend Michelle (the When I Grow Up Coach), who knows us each personally and thought we might make a good group of ambitious Brooklyn ladies who can support each other in our disparate career journeys. It was a relief to meet and connect with these women, who are all exploring and uncovering how to navigate their careers as entrepreneurs and creative people. Our conversation was reassuring and comforting.

After I told my story, who I am and how I ended up where I am today, I heard myself saying “The reality of my life is that I could have to quit my day job in three months to write a movie, or I may end up having to go to LA to make a TV show next year. Or anything else…or nothing else…And there’s the bakery, and my writing stuff, and teaching. And it’s all exciting but it can also be a real challenge to be patient and let it all unfold.” (That isn’t exactly what I said, but who can remember.)

So as hard as it is to be patient, I’m working on letting it unfold.

eff you, january!

I’m NOT a January person.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I usually hate January but this January was feeling easier. Well, I was WRONG. I hate this month. Still and always. And someday I will be wealthy and/or flexible enough to go away somewhere lovely for the entire month of January (and February and March?) and swim my troubles away in a wave pool.

For now, I live in a big, beautiful, insane city that challenges me every day, and there is nothing redeeming about living here in January. The bitter cold aside (we awoke to 6 degrees this morning – near torturous when one must walk everywhere one needs to go!), the constant darkness, the lack of sunshine, the fact that there are a completely unnecessary 31 full days up in this bitch all pushes me to my limit.

I mean, who put 31 days in January!? WHY.

I really did think I was getting by just fine. I figured I’d hunker down, snuggle in with my little family and hibernate until Spring. And I’ve tried to do that, despite a very busy schedule. But my January demons haven’t been tricked by my optimism. They’ve just been patient, waiting for me to let my guard fully down.

And now, for the past – oh – five days, I’ve been a total lunatic. I’ve been rageful, hateful, spiteful, quick to judge, quick to roll my eyes, irritated by every single anything that crosses my path, hopeless, unmotivated, disinterested and generally pissed. I hate everyone. Sorry, it’s not personal.

I hide it well, which probably makes it worse for my innards, but no one should have to deal with my ire. It’s not attractive or fair. I don’t feel this way for prolonged periods of time, just for a few miserable hours in a row. And then the fog starts to clear and I check the closets to make sure I haven’t hidden any bodies and go about my day. But holy hell is it exhausting.

What’s nice is that I’ve grown up chronologically and emotionally in the last several years and I’ve learned to see these depressing chunks of time as what they are – some kind of chemical reaction in my brain and body. They’re not evidence of my being a horrible person who is destined to fail at everything in life and probably end up in prison for accidentally (“accidentally”) committing homicide.

It could be the lack of sunlight and necessary nutrients, or the cold weather, or my hormones during this particular week, or the fact that I haven’t been running lately – I know all those things can play a part. So I’ll take a walk around a few city blocks, grab a cup of coffee, have a piece of chocolate, have a piece of fruit, or read a fun blog or website to shake myself out of it. That tends to work. But it doesn’t make the actual process any more fun. Feeling this way is like a migraine. It comes on, stays for a while, and goes away a little while later. But instead of a blinding, piercing headache, it’s venom toward All That Is.

Look, I’m not proud of it, I’m just sharing.

Today, after hiding all scissors in the office from myself, I realized I should probably just take a walk and get a damn cookie and a cappuccino. So I did. And it worked. The fresh air, the caffeine, the sugar – it all helped. I felt a dozen times better. And I’ll probably try to do a little yoga tonight to clear out more cobwebs.

Right now I’m going to go do an improv show (also very therapeutic) and then head home to my boyf and my cats, all of whom could not make me any happier if they tried.

the new theater

Our beloved comedy theater, the PIT, where I perform and teach, has moved to a beautiful, huge new space across town.

The old theater was a fantastic space and so much great stuff happened within those walls for me personally and for Harvard Sailing Team. But the new space just raises the stakes. To quote my friend and the artistic director of the PIT, Jeff, the new theater is a “game changer.” For sure.

HST has done two shows there since the space opened (we perform every Friday at 9:30) and they have been two of the most exhilarating, challenging and rewarding shows we’ve done in a while. There’s nothing in the world like the feeling of doing a good comedy show that makes a room full of people laugh hard. It’s a drug.

My improv team The Baldwins also does a show once a week on Saturday nights and those are a blast too. We perform with another critically acclaimed group called Big Black Car. Kev and I are about to head out the door to that show right now! (And then we’ll get some sushi for dinner…and I’m not saying I’m going to drag him shoe shopping too, but I’m not not saying it either.)

The point is, I’m so lucky – we all are – to get to perform in this awesome new theater, which lends some serious respect to the crafts we’re practicing up there. I’m a lucky duckling and this is a period in my life I will probably always remember fondly.

Also, if I may continue to brag about my comedy group, HST won a big-deal award earlier this week which really caught us off guard. It’s called the Nightlife award. The ceremony is in a couple weeks at a renowned venue called Town Hall and we get to perform in the ceremony in front of hundreds of people, many of whom are probably going to be stars, producers and directors, and many of whom we have all idolized for years. So excited! (You can read more about the Nightlife award, past winners and how we’re big theater dorks on the HST blog.)

day by day

First of all, look at these two. My loves.

Secondly, look at this gorgeous blog!! I haven’t been over to visit Michelle’s blog in a while – I read her posts on my blackberry because my job is a little insane sometimes and I seek respite in the bathroom stall with my phone. Yup.

Michelle is the When I Grow Up Coach! And she and her husband Luke have become good friends of Kevin and mine in the last year. I just ventured over to her site on a real computer for the first time in a while (on my brand new Macbook Pro, in fact) and it looks stunning. So proud of her. If you ever want to be inspired, encouraged, motivated or shaken out of your comfort zone, go check her out. She’s a quickly rising star.

It’s a cozy Wednesday night, I’m sick with a head cold and I’m sitting on my couch watching “Miracle Detectives” on the OWN network. I hate to be predictable but this new Oprah channel is definitely up my alley. Kevin’s back is out, the poor dear, and he’s been home dealing with it for the last three days. Otherwise I’ve been slogging away at work, buried in paper.

January. I historically hate this month, but I’m not minding it so far. Day by day, enjoying my darling boyfriend, my sweet cats, and my routine. Waking up earlier has been nice so far and peaceful. I think it will be good for me if I can stick to it. Getting out of bed is hard, but once I do, I’m much happier moving around at a peaceful pace.

I start teaching a new class tomorrow – Intermediate Sketch Writing – and I’m excited about it! Nervous too. And then things will rev up and I’ll be doing 3-4 shows a week, having 2 rehearsals, teaching a class and maybe having a couple meetings.

In essence, I work double shifts. I’d never give up the second job, and right now I’m choosing to do the first job so I can pay for the second. It can’t be this way forever, but it’s not so bad for now.

not rocket science

My only New Year’s resolution this year is to wake up earlier.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a notoriously late sleeper. If I didn’t feel obligated to participate in adult society I might sleep until noon every day. When I was working for myself from home last year and had a much more flexible schedule I would struggle to get out of bed before 10am after staying up until 4.

But now my day job starts at 9:30. And I exhaust myself when I try to grab a few extra minutes of sleep and inevitably wake up later than I intend to and stumble out of bed, hoping to make coffee and get dressed while I’m still unconscious.

I’ve always known, deep down, that waking up earlier would be a positive thing for my life. I could imagine the cool, quiet mornings alone in my living room, sipping coffee, stretching out on a yoga mat, maybe doing some writing. But sleep is a vixen and despite my best intentions, I always let her lure me back in. There are few feelings I adore more than falling back to sleep after my alarm goes off. It’s perfection…Until the alarm goes off again.

I’m optimistic but cautious about this resolution. I don’t have any huge plans for how to spend my new, improved mornings. I’m actually curious to find out what I end up filling them with. And truth be told, this could end in complete defeat. But I bought a new programmable coffee maker that miraculously makes me hot coffee while I’m still asleep. And spending that $24.99 on this resolution means I’m serious.

So this morning I successfully woke up much earlier than I did on weekdays in 2010, and even though I initially sat on the edge of my bed for a few minutes toying with the idea of scraping the whole plan until 2012, I eventually got up, poured myself some magical mystery coffee, did 20 minutes of gentle yoga and then ate my toast while I watched the news.

It’s not rocket science, but I felt a little more centered as I walked into the office this morning than I usually do.

Being back at work today is fine. I hate it. And it’s fine. There’s always a bit of culture shock when you return to a job you’re not thrilled about after a great vacation. But I’m grateful for the money this job provides me to, for instance, travel for the holidays, buy gifts, go to the movies, get new sweaters, stock our fridge full of NOT cookies and all the other relaxing, wonderful things I did over the holiday break. And I will keep that in mind today as I slog through hundreds of emails and dozens of files, bills, documents and agreements.

Hopefully gifting myself a more peaceful morning will help the first Monday of my 2011 unfold gently. If not, the Chipotle burrito I plan to have for lunch today will surely do the trick.