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. šŸ˜‰

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?

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.

it’s time for a pot of coffee

I’ve been snuggled up in my house watching Dexter and Weeds for the last 20 hours. It’s been fantastic.

Tonight we’ll venture out to a New Year’s Eve party in Greenpoint with good friends. I’m thinking we’ll cab there and back and really enjoy ourselves.

My only plan for tomorrow is a yoga class. An indulgent, yummy, relaxing one.

Right now I’m off to make a pot of coffee.

I’m having a great holiday break.

 

on this almost new year’s eve

I’m having such a great vacation.

On December 23 after a goofy but delightful pot luck party at work, my 65 year old boss generously drove Kevin and I to the airport in his massive BMW (long story) and then we flew to O’Hare. Then we hopped in a car with my stepdad Tom and my Aunt Lisa and we all droveĀ  down to Quincy to meet with up with the rest of the family at my grandparents’ house.

It was a white Christmas. We shoveled, went sledding, wrapped and opened presents, sat by the fire, ate delicious meals and so many cookies and drank a lot of wine. We chatted and caught up and drove to see a huge holiday lights display and watched movies. I also got to see my dad and his wife and some family from my dad’s side. It was really nice.

Then we spent a few days back up in Crystal Lake, my home town, doing the standard shopping, eating, drinking, vegging out and sleeping. It was very restful.

We missed the NYC Snowmaggedon entirely. Kind of a bummer because I love to be snowed in, but I was glad we didn’t have to travel in it or dig out of it. We got back to Brooklyn late last night and our backyard and frontyard are both still piled high with a couple feet of snow, but temps are warm today. Most of it is supposed to be melted by Sunday.

Today is Kevin and my 4-year anniversary! He gave me a beautiful necklace and earrings which I adore. He outdid himself this holiday season with little gifts and treats for me. I’m a lucky girl.

We got massages this afternoon, which were absolutely heavenly, then went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant in Brooklyn. Now we’re home to veg out and watch some Showtime On Demand. (We spontaneously upgraded our cable package earlier today – a treat for our anniversary!)

I don’t know what to think about 2011. I’m glad it will be a new year. A fresh start.

I start teaching an Intermediate Sketch Class at The PIT next week – should be a fun, rewarding challenge. And I’ll be doing lots of performing during January and February, including some weekend travel to places like Virginia, Ohio and upstate New York to bring the HST live show to colleges. (Can’t wait!)

Aside from hoping to improve a few personal things like how often I practice yoga and how much spinach I eat, I’m mostly hoping 2011 will be the year I start to earn a livable wage for performing, writing and teaching. That would be such an upgrade.

In the meantime, I have a great job that’s more than supporting my lifestyle right now, I’m happy, healthy, have a wonderfully supportive relationship and am enjoying right where I am.

Happy New Year, you guys! May the upcoming year bring you exactly what you wish for.

december

We got our Christmas tree! Obviously, this means it was one of the best evenings of the year.

I’ve had such a lazy, relaxing weekend – I really needed it. My boss is going to China for the next five days, which means I’ll get some more down time coming up, and I’m so grateful. I have been going non-stop, working 12 hour days for weeks.

We went to the grocery store today, finished decorating the house, and made turkey tacos for dinner. I’m ready for a quiet Monday.

and a new week begins

First, some fabulous points:

  • I’m reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” the second in the series. Enjoyed the first book. Having something to read is the best.
  • I’m loving NYC right now. Mid-to-late summer temps, everybody’s happy and relaxed, it’s vacation month for most of the city.
  • I have a free gym membership for the month of August.
  • Harvard Sailing Team is making a movie in two weeks with the money we won for the Friar’s Club. Can’t wait.
  • Going to Vegas for my cousin’s wedding over Labor Day. Can’t wait.
  • Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Bread is my favorite bread. Related: I think the world needs some toast restaurants. Toastaraunts.
  • Summer rules.

Speaking of summer, I went to the beach this weekend for the first time this season. It was so nice. Kevin and I went to New Jersey to spend time with our friends and their adorable 5-month old baby. (Her name is Luna. Don’t you love that?! She’s a little angel.)

We had such a nice time eating homemade veggie pizza from the grill (yum), drinking wine and visiting a lovely place called Grounds for Sculpture.

This is Rat’s Restaurant, which is inside the sculpture park. The whole park is beautiful and fascinating as hell. And this restaurant is no exception – it’s a magical place that seems like it fell out of a fairy tale. We didn’t eat there, just got to tour through it, although I heard the food is really good.

Incidentally, the Executive Chef at Rat’s is on Top Chef Season 7 right now! He’s the guy named Kevin with the glasses. (I love Top Chef. Angelo’s gonna win, right?)

It was such a sweet little weekend trip. Our hosts, Scott and Mary Ellen, were so generous. And I’m plotting to eat their baby with whipped cream.

I’m excited for the new week to begin. Good things are happening in small bursts lately and I’m feeling energetic and eager to keep working. Hope you all have a good week too!

a working actor!

Guess who booked a NATIONAL COMMERCIAL!?! This guy!

I’m so happy for him. He’s had a lot of great signs-from-the-universe come into his life lately, telling him he’s on the right path. And what’s interesting is that he hasn’t even really been trying to get acting work, he just keeps getting called in for auditions, and he says yes to them when he can squeeze them in. Boom! National commercial.

They’ve asked him not to cut his hair for the role, so the poor guy has been driving himself crazy trying to stay cool with those thick locks all over his forehead.

The one small bummer related to this exciting news is that it means he can’t go to Montreal with us next week because that’s exactly when the commercial shoots in Baltimore. I’m sad he won’t be there because he’s a great travel companion.

p.s. The nice summery shirt he’s wearing in this photo is one of my very favorites that he owns. And it’s from – where else – the Kohl’s in Crystal Lake, Illinois. I love shopping Midwest.

the end of june

I have such a love/love relationship with summer. But I’m also always dismayed when it passes through my fingers too quickly.

May is my favorite favorite month. May is like a Thursday. Almost the weekend. Time to party.

I love June too. June is like a Friday – one of the good ones when you have exciting, festive plans later that evening that make you happy to be alive all day long.

July is a perfect Saturday – relaxed, playful, no responsibilities for miles.

August is like a Saturday night. A great ol’ time – maybe you stay home, maybe you go out, but you’re chillin’.

September is like a lazy, calming Sunday. Monday morning has almost arrived, but you’re gonna milk the rest of the weekend for all its worth.

We’re about to enter the Saturday day of summer. Hot, festive, exhausting – the dogs days. Heaven.

welcome new readers! + 21 things about me

If you’re new around here, welcome! I’ve been so lucky to have so many new readers over the last few months, so thanks for stopping by!

And thank you so much for your emails or comments letting me know that my story on “follow my bliss” is something that resonates with you. Love to hear from you guys.

In the interest of all the new (virtual) faces around these parts, I’m gonna do a crash course “about me” rundown so you’re all caught up!

21 Things About Me:

  1. I’m 29. I’ll be 30 in November. Yikes!
  2. My boyfriend Kevin and I live near Prospect Park in Brooklyn with our two cats, Chawser and Kaia. I talk about those damn cats a lot on this blog. You can bet Kevin and I talk about (and coo at) them even more in real life.
  3. I quit my boring desk job as a receptionist at a law firm last year to…well…follow my bliss, i.e. to pursue work that makes me happier.
  4. I graduated from NYU Tisch with an acting degree.
  5. I graduated two years late because I dropped out somewhere in the middle to..uh..see how much I could screw my life up before hitting rock bottom. It was a blast. That’s sarcasm.
  6. I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD LIKE IT’S MY JOB.
  7. I really want a dog.
  8. I’m originally from the suburbs of Chicago.
  9. I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties through diet and exercise. I’ve kept the weight off for almost 8 years.
  10. Kevin and I have been dating for 3.5 years and we’ve lived together for 2. But we’ve been friends for over 8 years! Ā I guess I’m keeping him. šŸ™‚
  11. When I was 21 I punched an ex-boyfriend in the mouth, got kicked out of the apartment we were living and ended up essentially homeless on the streets of NYC with $12 to my name. That’s obviously a much longer story. Continue reading

the magic hour

I took a long walk through Prospect Park at dusk last night. I needed it.

Concert music from the bandshell drifted along the grounds. So many people were playing soccer, walking dogs, jogging, laying in the grass. Little kiddos were yelling and screaming and giggling as they ran around in the dirt without shoes.

It smelled like a breezy, warm summer evening.

It was perfect.