i’m a receptionist. here are some books.

So…I bagged a new temp job. I am now a … (drumroll please) … RECEPTIONIST! I’ve gotta say, I’m really loving this lifestyle – catering waiter one week, receptionist the next week, unemployed the week after… I feel crazy agile like a cat!

Not this kind.

With all the bread I’ve been bringing home, I bought two new books that have been recommended to me for inspiration.

The Actor’s Way by Benjamin Lloyd, and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

Both have elicited rave reviews from friends of mine. Can’t wait to get started!

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So many doors opening and closing - it's like a tornado some days. Almost as if the universe is clapping. - ArtBot34

I think it behooves every person to question themselves a few times. College is a warm, fuzzy, and misleading time. Once you leave the womb-like system, you’ll find that there are many things you haven’t learned, and it’s your job to fill the gaps.

What always helped me were the invaluable words from people who had walked the path before me – those who remained undeterred on the way to their destination, and also those who gracefully deviated.

Have my interests evolved into something new? Or does this world still holds the same raw inspiration that drove this hungry college student all the way to New York in the first place. Believe me, I’m still hungry, but I’ve feasted on so many other parts of life, that I’ve forgotten the taste of the world I left behind.

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Happy Powder, Anyone?

I am taking on a new challenge – clean eating.  In honor of the challenge, I present a few exemplary food moments from my past…

1985: My carnivorous instincts at their finest – my mother races to my side when she sees me grab a cricket and shove it into my mouth. All that’s left? One cricket leg.

1991: On any particular day in my elementary school at lunch time, I would be in the ‘cafetorium’ bartering Lisa Frank erasers and Bubblicious for a piece of a swiss cake roll or the remainder of someone’s Lunchables Pizza.

1992 – present: Zebra Cakes and Star Crunch…

1993: My 5th grade teachers discover colorful fingerprints on classroom walls and on homework assignments. The culprit? A new craze in the fifth grade called ‘Happy Powder’. The recipe: sugar and Kool Aid powder mixed together and stored in ziplock bags. We brought them out during class and ate it with our fingers. We were all  threatened with detention.

1996: Two friends come over to my house after school. For an afternoon snack, we mix together marshmallows, chocolate chips, peanut butter, fruit by the foot, and M&Ms in a bowl and microwave it all. The bowl of crap is washed down with Surge cola and Cheetos.

2000 – 2002: We are now allowed to go off campus for lunch in high school: Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, or Wendy’s every day.

2003: As a college freshman, I am tired of Ramen, so I survive for one whole week on bits of old birthday cake and sunflower seeds.

Thankfully, my digestive tract has proven to be much more resilient than I originally thought – unless there is actually some kind of evil mutant living inside me borne of all the food additives and chemicals I’ve consumed. I’m sure that if there was, it would look like a little something a gooey honey bun…and right now, I’d sell my soul for one of those…

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The Best Costume I Ever Wore.

Every actor has that one costume that really made a defining impression on them… made them feel legitimate… nudged them into character… My defining moment was in 2006. Beauty And the Beast.

I played two ensemble characters: first, a villager in the opening scene with the super-important solo – ‘You call this BACON?’

And last but not least…

I'll eat your faaaaace!

Oh, the Splenda! (oops, I mean splendor!) With the shiny white tights and glassy, emotionless eyes to match. The flower-pot, one of the serving utensils, and myself all had to use the elevator to the stage on the second floor because our costumes did not allow for things like stair climbing.

One evening, President Bush, sr. came backstage after the show to congratulate the cast. On his way through, he grabbed my costume. He chuckled, and proceeded to say, “I grabbed your sugar.” Well played.

My favorite costume-related memory also came from this production – and it took place every day before ‘Be Our Guest’. I’d go on to wait with my friend, the flower pot – and we’d noticed that the floor  and most of the wings were littered with at least twenty enormous plate costumes – face down with legs protruding from underneath in an eerie elephant graveyard configuration.

The costumes themselves were too heavy for the small girls playing the saucers, so they fixed the problem by laying face down when they weren’t on stage, and the only way back up was to be assisted by stage hands.

I still look upon those days, and the resulting styrofoam sugar cube scars under my arms with a fond admiration.

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Dr. Seuss Slapped Me In The Face Today.

“One of the hardest things to teach a child is that the truth is more important than the consequences.”

-Dr. Seuss

Those last 7 words hit me between the eyes this morning, and I hope they hit you between yours.

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The Haircut Walk of Shame.

I’m getting my hair cut soon, but I’ve been putting it off, since I am a bit gun-shy about haircuts right now. It’s a bit hard for me to talk about, so give me a moment and let me calm my trembling hands…

Since I’m a fancy dame on a budget, I usually seek out cheap salons with great Yelp reviews like:

“Wow, this haircut was $, but it looks like $$$$$$$$$!”

My area of Brooklyn is sprinkled with odd little salons ranging from ‘way too expensive’ to ‘probably a cover business, so don’t risk getting raped’, so it’s difficult to discern between them based on a store front.

It was so much easier when I had long hair. I seemed to look like the person in my headshot, and I hardly ever had to deal with salons – additionally, I died my own hair, and felt really smug and thrifty about it. (FYI, I am just now crawling out of the ashes of my disastrous box-color days.)

After searching, I found a cute little salon down Third Ave. that had just opened. Their prices were muy reasonable, and they were gaining publicity online. I trusted the reviews, and scheduled an appointment for the next day.

I was super excited about the place. It looked decent, and the woman doing my hair was somewhat fashionable, and said she had styled hair for runway shows for years, and helped invent and market a brand of flat-iron.

Conversation flowed well, and she went to work, snipping away. I relaxed into my chair, and watched out of the corner of my eye. She was going along nicely, so I gave her my trust completely. What a gem of a place!

When she was done, I was mildly pleased. It was shoulder length, and exactly what I had asked for, but very average. Nothing spectacular, but no disasters. So, with a sigh, I remembered how little this haircut would cost, and I swallowed my pride. It would grow out soon enough.

She blow dried my hair, and then reached for her straightener. ‘Oh, how sweet.’ I thought. ‘She’s really giving me special treatment.’ So we conversed as she styled my hair. I studied the blonde dead ends scattered around my chair. After a while, I inevitably noticed what she was doing.

She had taken a thin straightening iron and applied it to the bottom half of my hair, spinning it like a curling iron, and then pulling out violently like a pair of scissors on a ribbon, making it curl within an inch of its life, and whipping my head back with it, ripping three or four stray hairs out by the root each time.

The ends of my hair were extending out in a tight curl, giving my head a bell, or bunt pan shape. The faster her elbow drew back, pulling the straightener with it, the tighter the curl, and the further I felt myself slip into a dissociative state reserved only for victims of prolonged abuse.

My head took on different forms as the time ticked by. At first resembled a Tiffany lamp, then one of the Great Lakes, and then – finally, a shower loofah shaped like George Washington’s head.

At some point during the life-altering process, she decided she was done, and handed me a mirror. I saw the tight-lipped ‘glad to do you a favor’ look on her face, so I forced a squeal of delight mixed with a groan of agony that came out sounding like a cat in heat, and said something like, “I’m glad I came super-duper thank you” while walking sideways to the cash register.

It was at that moment when I realized I’d have to walk home looking like an open bag of easter basket grass.

I clenched my teeth and everything else in preparation for the long trip down Third Avenue.

Throwing my purse over my shoulder, I opened the door. From the minute I left the salon to the minute I entered my front door, I walked with more speed and determination than I’ve ever exhibited. The whole time humming “What a Friend I Have in Jesus” and other church camp songs in the hopes of undoing the evil that had just been committed, and to deflect the stares and comments from passers-by. My tight curls bounced on my neck with each step, laughing at me… I may have blacked out once or twice.

Since I had to work that evening and didn’t have time for a shower, I spent the rest of the day with my hair pulled back into a tight wad-like pony tail that looked like a steel wool sponge.

That was the day I decided to start investing in my hair.

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Taking The Scenic Route

This morning, I went out of my way to walk through Madison Square Garden… It’s unbelievably beautiful right now – honestly – a camera couldn’t capture the expanse of it. My eye yearned to see a small wedding in the lawn area. It’s the perfect day for it.

It helped me pinpoint what I have most enjoyed about being an adult, and that is the ability to discover new places on your own.

I don’t know why, but seeing a new place by myself makes a greater, more meaningful impact on me when than when I’m with another person. Without a doubt, I have made some great discoveries with friends and family, but I automatically focus more on the person I’m with than on the experience at hand.

After college, I moved to the Crystal City area of Washington DC during cherry blossom season for two months by myself. It was my first time away from Texas, and I will never forget how proud I was of myself – navigating the Metro and bus system, seeing the National Mall for the first time, popping into a Smithsonian museum after work, walking through magical Alexandria…I learned a lot about myself in those two months.

In Crystal City, I lived in an apartment with a couple of coworkers – two ‘good ol’ boy’ types. They hit up the same sports bar every single night to play darts and to play girls. I went along with them a few times, and aside from the fact that I had to apologize for their childish behavior repeatedly, I ached for new experiences in this foreign city. It made me sad for them that they were in such an ideal location with access to the whole city, and they were at the pub every day by eight o’clock.

My wish for anyone in a new place would be to skip the hotel bar and the familiar sights – and to go get lost in the labyrinth of NEW.

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Wisdom Teeth – Don’t Take Them Out With an Ice Skate.

If you are in college, or are a dependent on your parents’ insurance plan, get your wisdom teeth knocked out now. Don’t wait until you are a twenty-something pauper living in Brooklyn without insurance.

Think about it:

a.) If you are lucky enough to find a sketchy doctor that will take them out for you with a rock and an ice skate, you still won’t have your mommy around to comfort you with a popsicle and a coloring book.

b.) If you can’t afford it once they start coming in, eventually your whole bite will change, resulting in a funky looking headshot, and quite possibly, a Lateral ‘S’, which sounds funny, and is a pet peeve to casting directors.

And in case you were wondering, I still haven’t gotten mine removed…

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Running on Empty

Besides my burning calves and my sweaty laundry pile that is taking up a huge amount of real estate in the corner of my bedroom, and making me feel like a badass dirty athlete, I am enjoying my daily run. I’ve been doing it for a week, and I can’t say I’ve felt this energized since my days in track and cross-country in junior high and high school. 

I get a strange thrill when I glance down at the thin white line that separates the bicycle/running lane from the speeding-cars-of-death whizzing down Shore Road:

(Speeding-Car-of-Death: noun, a type of car that speeds unnecessarily, very close to and/or within the pedestrian lane. Example: The speeding-car-of-death struck a pedestrian along Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2010 and proceeded to drag his body all the way to the La Guardia airport in Queens.)

So, if I can avoid this macaab ride to the airport, my goal for next week will be a tough one. Though I’ve tried many times before, I plan to officially break things off with my long-time lover, Diet Coke. 

Try drinking one in public up here in New York – no, don’t drink it – don’t even open it! Just pull it out of your bag and hold it.  Approximately 17 people will come up to you and tell you it’s poison. The public humiliation should be enough to make me quit, but I can’t eat anything savory without something bubbly and sweet alongside it. I am helpless against its power. 

It all began my junior year in college when I put myself on the Atkins Diet for about four months in an attempt to lose weight for a show. I survived on romaine lettuce, chicken breasts, and George Foreman-grilled burgers (sans bread.) I am surprised I didn’t die. I’m sure I was rotting from the inside.

I recall my good friend, Miss Texas pageant girl, and inspirational Atkins Diet guru told me I was ‘free to have as many pork rinds as I wanted, because they have like, two carbs per serving!” Sugar-free Jello and chocolate, and diet beverages were allowed on this diet as well, although an ingredient called ‘sugar alcohol’ left me feeling muy gassy.  It was at this point that Diet Coke entered my life, and filled the sugar-free void that has led to an addiction lasting nearly five year. 

I don’t think there is enough conclusive evidence on it to rule it out as dangerous or unhealthy, but I don’t want to find out in ten years that my diet soda addiction cost me a pancreas or the ability to see the color orange.

I don’t know whether I’ll feel more of a health health-boost or more withdrawal symptoms using this cold-turkey approach, but I’d rather drink water and take my chances on avoiding cars.

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Here We Go!

Bridge to Shore Road

It’s now been a week since I decided to embark on this year-long journey. My feelings over the past few days have been the same as every reaction I’ve had after coming up with a decent idea – I think about the realm of possibilities for approximately 3 nanoseconds, and then the doubts and risks start to arise. I can always find a way to make a harmless interest into an evil, smelly, bully monster that takes my motivation instead of my lunch money. I end up feeling silly and talentless. This time, with the aid of my so-called ‘New York cojones’, I blocked out that smelly scene-stealing bully, buckled down, and decided I’m in it to win it. (Insert high five and/or chest bump here.)

So I began planning in mid-April, and used the rest of the month to form my year.  I plan to start with the little things, build small habits, and add more when I am ready.

I recently read ‘The Happiness Project’ and was inspired by Ms. Rubin’s monthly resolutions. And although her project is very different from my own, I thought I’d also begin my journey with fitness and overall health – since I feel outstanding, and can think clearly when I am active and healthy.  Additionally, the art of auditioning requires one to possess a healthy amount of physical stamina that I lack at the moment.

So, starting today, on May 3rd, I am making a promise to myself to run every day. At least one mile, if not two. Running is my form of meditation, as I have to keep moving at all times, and it’s hard to sit in one place for long. Also, I LOVE watching the world around me go by.

So, with that said, let me clear my throat… ahem – One Year to Curtain starts today, on Tuesday, May 3rd!! 

(I celebrated with a diet coke earlier, so that means it’s for real.)

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