Wednesday, May 29, 2013


The clouds have been lifted.  Today is a beautiful, clear, blue-skied day.  

These past few weeks, my mind has been ruled by the evil monster of self-doubt and anxiety (I have yet to name this beast), causing me to seriously consider leaving and give up this whole profession.   The cancerous thought that began in your mind, sinks down into your heart, and eventually leaks into your soul.  And as hard as you try, no matter how many mantras you chant or spiritual books you've read, it doesn't soothe.  The remedy is no where to be found.

Yet, the small, ounce sized part of you that is buried beneath black lies makes you keep going.  Even when you don't want to.  And you pick yourself up, and drive through traffic, drag you feet up the stairs and find yourself in a classroom.  A classroom you've been to hundreds of times, full of people who have seen you laugh, and cry and everything in between.  These are the people who know you for who you really are.

And you find yourself again.

And it feels like home. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Life Rules.

This weekend, I completed my first improv class.  I cannot believe how quickly it's gone by.  It seems like just yesterday, I was walking up my street, coffee in hand, into the little theatre annex off Santa Monica/Hudson, feeling like a kid on the first day of school.  I definitely plan on keeping it going, it has been by far, one of the best things I've done for myself this year.  Not only do I have a better sense of improvisation and comedy, but I have a different perspective on life in general (see essay below).

What Improv Taught Me About Life

1) The rule of ‘Yes, AND’.  One of the fundamentals of improv.  When you are presented with an idea, you support the other person by saying ‘yes, AND’.  Even if it’s an idea you don’t like, you establish that what they’re saying is true, and then add information.  I’ve found myself saying ‘yes’ a lot more in my own life, instead of finding reasons, or excuses, to say no to opportunities.  Simple words, yet incredibly effective. 

2) Giving gifts: One of the fun exercises we do in warm-ups (besides zip-zap-zop), is giving “gifts” to our scene partners (traits, characteristics, status).  It can be as simple as making them your significant other, or telling them how great their rabbit costume is even though the invitation said ‘Black Tie Event’.   Giving gifts is great because you take the pressure off yourself by taking care of another person.  Another essential life skill.

3) Releasing the need to get it right:  This one was tough for me.  I have the tendency to want things/scenes/life to go a certain way, and why not? We’ve grown so accustomed to putting in the work, and following a certain path, only to find it didn’t go the way we intended.  Improv stripped me of this mindset.  You learn to let go, and take in what’s happening in front of you.  Even if you had a great idea for a scene as a baseball player trapped in the locker room during the 9th inning, and now you’re working the mall charm kiosk with your worst enemy, you adjust.  There is no “right”, only better. 

4) Step out, even when in doubt: You can’t just stand up there and be a spectator.  You have to support your team, and step out even when you don’t have a whole idea.  Sounds silly, considering that it’s improv, but you’d be surprised how easily fear can take over and make you stay on the backline.  It wasn’t until the very end, that I finally understood that you just need to step out and initiate, or at the very least, support what’s happening. You’ll never be ready, until you step out and decide to be ready. 

5) Being truthful: At the end of the day, you just want to be honest and truthful.  There is such a thing as being too crazy and over the top.  What makes a scene funny, is the humanity behind it.  We laugh not because of the joke, but because we’ve see that kind of behavior, or we know people that are just like that (myself included).  It’s the human nature that we connect to and makes us laugh.  



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Swing into Spring.

April is here, and thus, officially Spring! There's such a lovely quality to this time of year, where the air is fresh and sweet, the sun stays out longer, and the days are bright with potential and new possibilities.  I see it as a kind of "check-point" throughout the year, to see if you've kept any of your resolutions, what's working, and what you might want to get rid of; aka spring cleaning

LA is known it's healthy lifestyle and sunny culture, and rightly so.  We have roughly 284 cloudless days, juiceries overtaking every corner Starbucks, and a farm-to-table movement dedicated to conscious eating.  

While I feel like I've mastered the external part of eating right, and exercising, I've been making more of an effort to exercise the internal parts of me.  One of which is practicing a daily meditation.  I was always the kind of person that loved the idea of meditating, but found it difficult to sit still and "clear my mind" for an allotted time.  Usually, I'd just get frustrated (or hungry), call it quits and then carry on the rest of my day.  What really got me back into this was spending a couple minutes in the morning (usually after a run) with an idea, or an intention for the day.  You might call this daydreaming.  As it turns out, this was my gateway into meditation.  Your mind is supposed to have a thousand thoughts per day, and you're going to wander, but once you begin to fine-tune your focus on one concept, you can change your way of thinking.  It's been really helpful listening to guided meditations by the inspiring Gabrielle Bernstein, especially for someone like me who feels like their brain is more akin to Grand Central Station than a tranquil waterfall.  Nevertheless, I've found that this simple practice has opened my awareness and I actually look forward to it. 

I encourage everyone to find a little time for themselves to sit in peace during the day.  Whether that's in a full-length meditation, a cat-nap, or taking a walk outside.  It's a kind, friendly reminder to take care of yourself.  And just be present.   



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Up to Speed.

I've been sick for the past three days, and I'm final feeling like a living person again!  Allergy season is always the worst, especially because I love being outdoors and breathing fresh, spring air.  I may not know my own limits, because it left me bed-ridden for the last 72 hours.  Having to slow down and take time off always makes me feel behind, but it's moments like that I realize that I need to take a break and just rest.  Health is by far one of the most important things to me, if not the most, because it's how we bring ourselves out to the world, and we strive to be in full health: body, mind and spirit,  and it's a valuable lesson to be reminded of.

Before I descended down the ill path, I got to celebrate a dear friend's birthday on Saturday.  The magical Claire Perry was turning 26, and also leaving us the next day for Las Vegas.  Funny enough, I had always imagined her being in that city, and I have no doubts that she will make quite an impact when she arrives.  We spent the day overlooking her beach view in Venice, and the followed with the most extravagent dinner at Mao's Kitchen.  We started with the Shrimp & Spinach dumplings, which arrived in a bamboo steamer with a garlic ponzu, Eggplant Pamphlet: eggplant slices stuffed with shrimp, and then fried in tempura batter, then dined on Long-Life Beans: vegetables in a black bean sauce, and The Coconut Curry that Changes Your Life: tomatoes, bok choy, celery, broccoli and chicken covered with a silky, delicious, coconut curry goodness.

Dessert was walking to the beach and catching the last rays of run before they were tucked away.  A few good snapshots with friends.  Hugs and laughter. 

Oh, and six red bean pastries.  That I ate by myself :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Release and Allow.

 (I promise to start writing more, but in the mean time, a little blip of what's been bouncing in my brain)

I get these awesome, inspiring e-mails daily from Brian Johnson and his team over at en*theos, and below is one of the quotes I got this past weekend:

 "We need not to be afraid to touch, to feel, to show emotion.  The easiest thing in the world is to be what you are, what you feel.  The hardest thing to be is what other people want you to be."-Leo Buscaglia

I love these little nuggets of wisdom.  It reminds me that there is no perfection, only an ideal, and even then, we always have to be our authentic selves in everything we do.  Only then, do I feel, we can truly open ourselves up to who we really are and experience life like we never imagined.

With grace and sophisticated sass,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"The road to hell...

is paved with good intentions."

What a saying.

I never understood it as a kid.  I'm all about contradictions, and I'll be the first to make a witty juxtaposition, but this one just didn't make sense.  I mean, how is it even feasible? Only recently have I finally come to understand what it means. 

In the book I'm reading right now, Deepak Chopra spends several chapters discussing suffering and darkness, and how it pertains to our lives.  It's my natural inclination to want to skip over those chapters, and continue onto the path of sunshine, rainbows and a chocolate waterfall-everything that doesn't have to do with being sad or discontented.  However, it seems to be a recurring lesson to make peace (or at least compromise) with my darkside. 

"In the unconscious, there is a full population of unexamined artistic talent will never emerge unless the unconscious mind allows itself to release what it is holding"

Darkness is something I tend to see as unusable, or something no one would be interested in.  In fact, it's one of my great fears that if people found out who I really was, they'd probably just leave me.  He goes on to say, "...the shadow is personal and universal at the same time..." 

We are very much light as much as we are dark.  The sooner we begin to embrace both sides, the sooner we can emerge into our full selves.

I encourage everyone to welcome their fears and doubts and dark (myself included), and see what happens. 

You have my permission (and unwavering love).


Monday, January 21, 2013


As in 'today', or 'hey' (and also the Yiddish exclamation that I've been using a lot of lately).

So far, 2013 is proving to be a good one.  I had some doubts and reservations (which is really just my odd taste for even and symmetrical numbers), but it's shaping out quite nicely.

A friend of mine from New York came to visit earlier this week, and it was such a treat getting to spend time with her, since we seldom see one another.  I love showing my friends that come to town all my favorite spots, and just experiencing the city through their eyes.  It's like they breathe new life into something that usually is routine or mundane.  Of course, the hardest part is when they have to leave.  But then, their absence makes for the perfect excuse to make Blueberry Cornbread. 
One small cake for me, one giant cake for mankind.

Being blue isn't such a bad thing.