Monday, January 30, 2012


I will be the first to admit that 2011 was a fairly difficult year for me. As Lira said during one of her many, many pep talks, "2011 is your J.K. Rowling year! It's the year you hit rock bottom so that you can once again build your foundation!" Thanks Lira! Please don't become a motivational speaker!

The bad part about hitting rock bottom is a) it's never really rock bottom, so you're painfully aware that while it feels like you have lost everything, you have so much more that you could lose, and b) just like jumping off a bridge or out of a plane, it's the landing that kills you. It's the staying down, with zero energy to get back up and pick the grass out of your teeth, that is the hardest part. So we'll say that 2011 is the year I worked on my bounce, shall we?

I learned to bounce back, and roll with it, and flip the switch that says, NO. This isn't going to ruin my whole day/week/month. And for that... for that I give myself kudos. It's a muscle, that voice that says "I can still turn this around," and it needs to be exercised. Hourly. Like a chihuahua with a reeeeeeallly small bladder. Because the last two months of 2011 were some of the best I've ever had in my life. And if I'd given up on 2011... if I'd walked away or thought there goes the entire year I would have missed out on some pretty great stuff.

To sum it all up:

1) I got some stuff off my chest.

2) I got two raises in a week (right after some major car problems that sucked mightily).

3) I drowned you guys in more poetry (not that you complained).

4) I called a religious idiot out for predicting the end of the world.

5) I successfully raised the funds for a season 2 of my web-series, booked a role in an indie feature, and got some new headshots taken

6) I hit rock bottom with my car and my career

7) I sucked it up and bought a new car (see: aforementioned rock bottom-hitting)

8) I had a crazy summer of bbq's, baseball games, San Diego Comic Con, and camping at Yosemite.

9) I learned to let it go, shake it out, bounce back, and turn the year around.

10) and then in the last two months of 2011, I got engaged, booked a national commercial, booked a print (modeling) job, debuted an independent horror film that got almost 3 million views online, started shooting my web-series, and got a theatrical agent. Oh, and I also threw up a lot. But so did Benni so let's not hear any pregnancy whispers, shall we? (Eric, I'm looking at YOU.)

Want to know what 2012 has in store for me? Yeah, me too. Hopefully this year will be even more kick ass!

And involve a lot less vomit.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Every day I'm hustlin'

I didn't actually mean to take a month and a half long break from posting. Honestly. But if I gave you a laundry list of what my December and first half of January has been like, your brain might explode. Or you might just die of boredom, considering it's a list. So I'll try to re-cap in a way that doesn't garner either of the aforementioned reactions. Just because I love you guys.

On Thanksgiving Day, Benni proposed to me in front of my family and I (of course) said yes. What followed in the month of December was a training montage of Benni and I trying to find a caterer and venue before the end of 2011, seeing as how we had chosen October of 2012 to be the month we get married and we were already behind schedule. This was both easy and hard, easy because both Benni and I are incredibly laid back, hard because, as I'm discovering, I am a Wedding Asshole. Which is to say that I have not dreamed about my wedding since I was five, I don't really care about coordinating "color palettes" (sorry, sweet girl at David's Bridal whom I inadvertently mocked when she said that), and I am somewhat confused by what a "rustic wedding" means and why on earth it involves a truckload of burlap. To be more clear, I'm not overly sentimental, or emotionally attached, to many things. Except maybe my Battlestar Galactica DVDs.

So we found a caterer, and this is when I learned the number one rule of weddings: which is that most of the venues are actually just catering companies that happen to have a space. Having a caterer beforehand eliminated 90% of all the locations Benni and I were interested in getting married at. Also: it is hard to have a wedding when you are poor. Just putting that out there. Because most venues were several thousand dollars over what we could afford. Some venues were OUR ENTIRE BUDGET. I seriously began considering a wedding at In N Out and a reception in the drive-through line of In N Out (hey, the line takes long enough.)

Meanwhile, what I was trying to do in December when I wasn't madly trying to secure locations or buying presents off Amazon like a fiend was attend pre-production meetings for the second season of my web-series, Hell Froze Over (which is now currently shooting); work a full time job; shoot a print ad that I'd booked for a full day; spend a day at Disneyland as someone's guests (meaning we got in for free but we were on our generous host's schedule); and do a 36 hour, fully live-streamed horror movie on December 12 and 13th.

Yes, folks, the horror movie I did (Kill Cam Live) had a live element to it - throw the actors into the "kill room" and stream the footage live for as long as the characters survived. My character and her boyfriend found themselves trapped in the kill room for all of Monday and a good part of Tuesday - up until about 10 pm that night - when we finally both met our bloody ends. During the 36 hour time period, I had to be in character the entire time and pretend I was suffering from dehydration and starvation, that I was terrified to death, constantly interact with the audience and the killer (who was outside the room), and constantly interact with the other actor I was placed in the room with. And in two days, we got half a million views. Not bad... not bad at all. Overall, the project got almost 3 MILLION views. You can read about it here and here.

When I got out of the Kill Room late Tuesday night, I had a voicemail message. It was from the assistant to the hottest casting director in town, wanting to know my email address. The casting director (a casual friend of mine) wanted to email me the contact info of a few agents that he had personally called and pitched me to, and wanted me to follow up with meetings. And after my own brain was done exploding from such extraordinary kindness and thoughtfulness, that's what I did.

So I took two meetings right before I was supposed to leave town, got positive feedback, and was told to check back in after the holidays. The third meeting would have to wait until January. Benni and I drove an hour down to my mom's house, the Tuesday night before we were set to leave for New York and New Jersey to go visit his family for Christmas, in order to have an early Christmas dinner and celebration with my family. We opened presents, we ate a ton, and then we drove back up to LA.

At about 4 in the morning on Wednesday, I got out of bed and started throwing up. And I didn't stop for a good six hours. I'm pretty sure I threw up everything I have eaten since, oh I don't know, THIRD GRADE. It was that bad. Benni got me towels, and stayed with me in the bathroom, but nothing stayed down.

10 am rolled around. We needed to get on a plane to fly into New Jersey. I couldn't do it. I could not physically get out of bed, I was so tired and dehydrated. Benni had to leave without me, and even though I wanted to go with him more than I've ever wanted anything in my life, I couldn't make my body do anything anymore. It had just quit on me.

Sobbing, I called my best friend in the entire world, and she sprang into action. "Do you think you'll be feeling better by Friday?" she asked. "I better be, I don't have anything left to throw up," I replied. And then she did what every best friend in the entire world does: she bought me a plane ticket to go to New Jersey for Friday afternoon, having me arrive in Philadelphia late Friday night. "Merry Christmas," she said. I love that girl. There's a reason she's walking me down the aisle in October. She damn well EARNED it.

Friday night I fly out to Philly, and Benni and his sister and brother in law come pick me up. We spend the weekend with his family, then get ready to leave for LA Monday afternoon. On Monday morning, around 3 am, Benni gets out of bed and starts throwing up. We have a plane to catch at 4 pm. I am PISSED at the Stomach Flu Gods. PISSED.

So help me God, we are getting on that plane, I tell Benni. He nods weakly. And by the sheer grace, or determination, or stubbornness of me, I start him on a juice diet that morning, which he manages to hold down, I haul us off to the airport, and we get on that plane. We touched down in LA that evening, took the bus home from the airport, and just collapsed into bed. And that was Christmas. And in between recovering and resting during the remainder of December, we found a beautiful venue for our wedding that fit our budget, fit our every need, and let us use our own caterer. THANK YOU BABY JESUS.

When January hit, we jumped full speed back into filming Hell Froze Over (which we've been doing on the weekends), I met with the last agent and got signed on the spot, I jumped back into acting class, I signed up for another semester of American Sign Language, and I have been hustling. Every. Single. Day. to keep making these opportunities happen, to keep kicking ass as an actress, to keep myself employed, fulfilled, healthy, well-fed, well-rested, and bringing my A game.

It's hit and miss. But the point is... I'm still trying to hustle. And it's the trying that counts.
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