Color outside the lines

aruba
(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "open topic" which means i can write about whatever the hell I want!)

I'm in an Facebook group for actors & there is a lot of focus on branding in that group. Every weekend, there is usually a topic that relates to your brand (for the record, my "brand" as an entertainer is sporty & sassy, but a touch girly...that's the short version). One of the first weekly topic (and the thing that really got it going as a weekly thing) was: What would your on-brand TED talk be?

I had to think about it for a bit....sure, it had to include my perseverance. I've been told so many times I couldn't do things in life. That only drives me to succeed even more. I reflected back on my life and came up with the perfect topic: Color outside the lines.

I've been doing it since kindergarten. In fact, that's the first time I remember getting in trouble at school (which I did a lot). The teacher tried to reprimand me for coloring outside the lines and I wasn't having any of that. Really? color inside the lines? where is the creativity in that? I have an active ADHD-ridden mind. It floats, it wanders and there's nothing wrong with that. My mom didn't make me color in the lines at home.. My color/paint by numbers were sometimes by the number and sometimes they weren't & that was okay as long as I was behaving. Now you send me school and some teacher is telling me that's not okay? Why? I see a world outside the line of that little circle you want me to color yellow. I'm pretty sure a defiant "no" then became a temper tantrum and I wound up in the principal's office (a place I became very familiar with through the years) & often because teachers weren't fond of my outside of the box thinking.

Flash forward to junior high. I was allowed to pick out my own clothes and I sometimes made some bold fashion choices. Why? because I could & my mom let me. This would lead me to get ridiculed at school, but sure enough....a couple weeks later, the same outfit I would get teased for wearing was now being worn by the popular kids. The only difference is they were being praised for how cool their clothes looked. Did I mention I was stupendously unpopular and bullied almost daily by students and teachers?

By the time I'd made it to high school, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a model. After a vacation to Los Angeles after my freshman year, I also knew I wanted the hell out of Ohio or at least out of the cow-tipping part of it. I love the bright lights of a big city, the hustle & bustle, the energy that seemed to flow 24/7/365. Definitely not coloring inside the lines. That's unheard of where I come from...crazy talk. You go to the local commuter college (if you even go to college) & you settle down in the country. Yeah, not happening with me. Of course, putting my intentions out into the universe and the world around me (namely my school classmates) opened me up to even more ridicule and bullying. Asking me if I was going to model dog food, telling me I was stupid for thinking I'd ever amount to anything worthy of moving anywhere, throwing dog biscuits at me at prom. Just a few examples. Still, I kept coloring outside of the lines....not as much, though.

I also played tennis and there was some more coloring outside the lines. I'm usually "the poor girl" at tournaments. A product of the public parks, a local grant helped pay for my private lessons, my tennis skirts were skirts from the kids department, my rackets bought on layaway or discount because they were former demo rackets. I modeled my game after Andre Agassi because he seemed to "color outside the lines" as well. One of his marketing taglines was "that oughta wake up the country club" & I lived by that mantra, often knocking off the country club kids.

I did go to college in a bigger city. Looking back, I should've bailed on college to pursue modeling, but playing tennis was important to me as well. After college, someone suggested I started modeling to pay off my student loans. I faced a lot of resistance at first. Here I was starting to model again at a time when most girls are calling it a career and most agencies are no longer interested in developing a "new face". Who are they to set the rules? I don't look my age. Why is age such a big deal? Forget that....I'll color outside the lines and make my own damn rules. I was lucky to find a photographer who felt the same way and was a mentor to me. He often took me to New York. When we couldn't get me into agencies for some reason or another, I'd get on the phone and fake being a manager or agent back in Ohio to get me an appointment with the agency (I had a nice list of aliases). I'd lie about my age (like anyone is asking for ID. as long as you look 18 and say you're 20, they don't care). seriously? fuck your fashion rules. If you don't want the 10-20% for helping me get the job, fine...eventually someone will. Just more money in my pocket.

It obviously works. I'm in Los Angeles, where I've been for over 10 years, working as a model & actor. (Oh yeah....I got a D in acting in college. my crime: turning Steel Magnolias into a comedic piece after the professor said "offer up your own interpretation" for the class final. Yeah, I colored outside the lines. Unfortunately, she seemed to like it as much as my kindergarten teacher enjoyed my little yellow circle at age 5).

I'm on my way to Ohio to walk in a fashion show as I write this. I'll probably be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) model strutting down the runway. There will be models half my age in the show. I continue to color outside the lines of what is the "norm". My life is probably more colorful as a result.

My name is Amy & I color outside the lines. Deal with it.
red string
(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "hair shirt". A hair shirt is a shirt made of very rough cloth that some religious people wore in the past to punish themselves for things that they had done wrong.)

You would think I would know what a hair shirt was. After all, I have a European history degree. I had a religion minor at one point. I studied The Crusades. Women & the witch hunts (Salem & in Europe) were one of major papers (possibly my senior thesis). Surely, I should know....I didn't. I suspect it had something to do with the copius amounts of alcohol I imbibed while in college & the direct correlation to the number of classes I skipped.

Turns out, I was wearing one for about 10-15 years before I met my boyfriend, Brendan. Prior to meeting him, I was convinced I was cursed & unlucky in love. This was due to the fact that I cheated on a previous boyfriend, back in college, who I had thought was my soulmate. He even forgave me for my grievous mistake & I turned my back on him...opting for my freedom instead. I changed my mind, but he was then with a woman he would later marry. Our final exchange did not go over well. Thus began the karmic burden that I felt I was to bear.

I met another guy and it was great for a couple years. Then it wasn't, but by then I'd moved cross country to try to work things out with him. He ended up marrying the next girl he was with after me. There was also the whole awkward mutual friend's wedding where he showed up with his new gf & he's at the same table as me. My "date" was my best gal pal at the time, so I wouldn't be alone at this wedding. At least there was a great coffee bar at that wedding & I do love caffeine.

Duds, duds, duds and more duds followed (or I'd fall for gay guys who didn't know they were gay at the time. that's always fun). If I even got to the date part, that is. When i did...they were horrible (like the guy getting in a fight w/ another table at a restaurant on our date) I seriously went through a stretch of about 5 years of celibacy (I wasn't just having random hookups, that isn't my cup of tea) & then i figured something was better than nothing. Of course, that led to a few broken hearts because I always got emotionally attached (isn't that how it always happens?)

Then came a guy who we dubbed the Blondie Bear Douche Bag (hey Buffy/Angel fans...remember Harmony calling Spike "Blondie Bear"...yeah that's where it comes from because I was dumber than a damn box of rocks when it came to this winner). I thought I deserved the way he treated me....emotionally toying me along, never calling me his girlfriend, knowing he was hooking up with other girls. Between him and the previous hookups who just wanted to be friends, I was convinced that I was ok to have sex with but not good enough to be girlfriend material. I thought I deserved this though....I had love and I pissed it away. I had a guy who had my back 100% & I fucked him over. Karma says this is my payback & that's why I think I let this guy walk all over me. The final 2 straws were when he called me fat & finally, one of my good friends issued the ultimatum of "it's him or me" and made me ax this douche nozzle from my life. (btw, I last heard that this tool, who fat shamed me, my friends & anyone over a size 4, gained a bunch of weight....speaking of karma)

I'd finally had enough. It had been about 10 years of torment, constant loneliness and frequent rants in this blog how I was cursed. it was my lot in life to be alone & I needed to find a way to come to terms with that (feel free to go back to anything prior to Oct 2010 if you'd like to see for yourself)

Finally, I thought....maybe, just maybe....if I hunted down my ex, who I felt I wronged all those many years ago, and apologized for everything I'd thought I'd done wrong....maybe I would life would stop raining down so hard on me in the love department. I was terrified, but I found him on Facebook and I did it. (What if he goes off on me? What if he thinks I'm nuts for doing this? What if he just ignores me?). It was all paranoia in my head. Turns out....I was punishing and torturing myself for all those years for nothing. We both admitted to saying some really nasty things to each other. The ex & I are pals still to this day on Facebook.

A few months later, after removing the hair shirt I had worn for all those years, I met Brendan. It's not always been perfect & he did have to struggle for a while to convince me I was deserving of the awesome love he has to give, but he truly is my Prince Charming. I love him. I obviously did something to please the universe enough to bring this gem into my life.

Woooo! i made myself a commercial demo reel

Indians mickey
So I had a LOT of free time today on set waiting to shoot my co-star role on a non-union cable show. Luckily, I had my laptop and fully charged battery. I opened up IMovie and about an hour later of tinkering, I had myself a commercial demo reel & (for now) saved my broke ass about $100-200 in editing costs.

We are all in the gutter

bw beauty

(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "We are all in the gutter")


The gutter. For a while, it felt like where I'd been since Aug 25th of this year.

It started with a phone call as my boyfriend and I were leaving to go to our dentist appointments. I got let go from my restaurant job of 3+ years for reasons I still don't know or understand. Simply told "owner's decision". Personally, I think that decision was based on my age considering what took my place in the wake of my departure & the fact that it happened a week after my birthday. That's a very typical L.A. thing to do & well, you can get away with it in an "at-will" employment state like California.

Everyone told me "oh with your resume & experience, you'll have a job by the end of the week". It's now almost 2 months later, I still don't have a steady job. The casual/chain restaurants tell me that I'm overqualified, the fine dining places tell me that i'm under qualified. I'm stuck in limbo. I have freelance catering gigs, audience work (where you get paid to be in a tv show audience) & stuff like that. Nine times out of ten, you are treated so crappily by the people in charge at these type of things, you leave at night with your self-esteem in the gutter. I did get approved for unemployment, but they are giving me shit for picking up these freelance gigs and also for applying for restaurant jobs when I have 2 college degrees.

Things didn't stop there. When it rains, it pours and the gutter was filling with water. My 20-something cousin disappeared (as far as I know she is still missing...well doesn't want to be found), has a serious drug problem & is violating her probation. My car died....twice. At the sum of about $1000. Desperate for money to fix my car (a necessity in L.A.), I took to crowdfunding in the form of a GoFundMe account (I've raised about 40% of my goal so far....my own brother shunned me in a rather passive-aggressive manner which is pretty telling, but that's a rant for another time and place. I have learned that there are people in L.A. who I have known WAY less who are WAY more family to me than he is.)

On top of the degrading jobs, I now had to deal with this. One of the lower points was when I, a grown woman, had to swallow my pride & ask my mother for financial help to pay my rent (something i might have to do this month as well....to which, she told me "family takes care of each other"...too bad she didn't instill that value in my brother). Sometimes, I would just come home from a fruitless day of job searching, lay on the couch and cry...cry is an understatement. I would bawl, hard. Depressed. No, I wasn't suicidal, but my thoughts were getting pretty dark for a while. I thought I was a failure at life. Thankfully, i had friends who cared enough to pull me off that road.

Then my boyfriend, who had become the main breadwinner for our household, came down with kidney stones. Sadly, I had to turn down a job interview in order to rush him to urgent care. He's going to be fine, but the next day....Sept 25 (1 month since I lost my job), he got let go from his bartending job (the place botched its opening, they had to cut hours).

Now we were really IN the gutter. WE'RE in the gutter. We're both jobless. We're living off what's in our fridge/pantry. Scraping together change for gas money to go to job interviews.

He's lucky, though, he worked for a well-known chef's restaurant. He found a job in like 10 days...actually for his old manager at that restaurant who is now at a new place. Me? i'm still jobless. Not all is bad though....I've been blessed with a guest star role on a non-union cable pilot. I did so well on it that the casting director booked me on a co-star role for another non-union cable show she also cast (I film it tomorrow). I rode the wave of these 2 roles to land a tv/film agent (otherwise known as a theatrical agent). So, at least things are looking up on the acting front.

Also, I have learned that people who really care about you will pull you out of the gutter. They will donate to your crowd funding, they will help you with job leads, they will take you out for a drink or dinner so you can just get out of the house, they will just text or call to check on you.

We're all in the gutter at some time in our life....lose a job, have someone get sick/die, suffer a broken heart, etc. It's the people around us who determine how deep that gutter is, how dirty it is & how fast we get out of it.

I am truly blessed with the friends & non-blood family that I have in L.A. & with that being said, I hope you are as truly blessed by those around you if/when you find yourself in a life gutter.

#gratitude.

Crossing all the T's

party rockstar
Thanksgiving is coming up and in this household that means a grand clubhouse feast with all the finest meats & cheeses in the land (among other foods....and bonus points if you picked up on the variation of that ESPN Sportscenter classic phrase there)

Planning starts weeks in advance. That's where crossing all the T's and dotting all the I's comes into play.

2012 was the year of the Turkducken. A magnificent creature. If you are not familiar with what a turducken is...well, it's a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. Sure, you can go the lazy way and buy one pre made, but where is the fun in that? Brendan (my boyfriend) had never done one before, so this was definitely going to be an adventure. You have to take the backbone out of every single one of the 3 birds. Now, we went really ambitious by making a different stuffing for every layer of the bird as well: sage apple, cornbread & sausage, mushroom & wild rice. Everything from scratch. Yes, I said everything from scratch.

We started prepping for our feast for about 15 friends on Monday. That was the shopping day. Two full grocery carts of chaos. Needless to say, we got the turkey for free and just to be sure....we paid for our two carts separately so we got 2 turkeys for free (the 2nd one was the backup in case the turducken went terribly wrong.

Tuesday and Wednesday were baking & prep days....I made cornbread (for the stuffing), rolls from scratch, carrot cake, pumpkin cheesecake, apple pies. On Wednesday...Brendan started deboning his birds



This is what the finished pre-cooked bird looked like


that's 3 birds and 3 layers of stuffing!! Here's the finished product along with my from-scratch macaroni and cheese!




Yes, it was a hit....yes, it was freaking awesome! And if you want to see even more photos, click https://www.facebook.com/amyharber/media_set?set=a.10152251928660184.919653.596420183&type=3

2013: Um, how the hell do we top a successful Turducken?!?!?! it's called deep-brining a turkey for 24 hours and then making a fresh blackberry glaze for it. If that's not enough turkey for again 12-15, well we're also going to make some BBQ sauces and grill some turkey drums as well (oh the things you can do at Turkey Day when you live in sunny SoCal). Still apple pie, still pumpkin cheesecake, but this time...thanksgiving just happened to coincide with the annual bitter rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan. So I got super ambitious and made a creation called the Buckeye cake.. Chocolate, peanut butter, peanut butter buckeye candies, frostings from scratch. Everything had to be perfect on this cake or it wouldn't work....the hardest part was getting the Block O to stand on top of the cake.



yes, that's the cranberry mold that we made from scratch, but using a can to make it look store bought....that's a thing.

BBQ drums with just the right amount of char


another awesome bird...


and our souvenir menus that we printed and laminated for our guests...


We're about a week or two away from the planning stages for 2014. I'm sure we will come up with something spectacular once again. Crossing those T's and dotting those I's to make sure our friends (who like us) cannot be with their families during the holidays feel like they are at home.
flush u away
Day 3 prompt: According to Law of Attraction, we attract to our lives whatever we give our attention to, whether wanted and/or unwanted. Describe in one sentence something that is uncomfortable and unwanted for you. Then give 5 minutes to writing about how you would like things to be.

Not having a real steady job is definitely uncomfortable and unwanted for me.

I would love to have a job like I just had. let's be honest, it was easy damn money. I only worked the weekends & got to, at least, feel like a working actor Monday- most of Friday. I came in Friday night, did my job all weekend, walked away on Sunday night with a nice sum of money. I talked sports, slung beer & wings and profited.....a lot!

This being jobless thing has sucked. It got made worse by my boyfriend losing his job as well. At least he just got hired to a job now, but i'm still looking. In the meantime, I've had to take any kind of legit gig I can find....extra/background actor work, focus groups, freelance catering gigs, paid audience work. Most of it is degrading because people treat you like crap on those type of gigs and certainly not glamorous. To say that my self-esteem has taken a hit in the past month would be an understatement.

Anyway, back to how I want things to be (because that's the whole point of this). I want an awesome actor-friendly thrival job that not only allows me to pay my monthly bills, but also grants me extra cash to do actor things like casting director workshops, acting classes, etc.
don't hate
I went with the alternate prompt today (I like that there is more than one choice). Questions about love. Are you in love? Have you ever been madly, insanely, deeply in love? What does it feel like? What is the difference between being "in love" and simply loving someone?


I'm totally in love with my boyfriend, Brendan. Our 4-year anniversary is Saturday. We celebrate on the day we met. I still get butterflies in my tummy around him. I get anxious (of course, that could also be me little anxiety problem that was triggered by my father's death in 2011). I don't always show it but I would do anything for him.

yes, we've had some super duper nasty ups and downs, but this past month (and more importantly the last week or so), has been the true test. First, I lost my job & then he lost his job. that's when shit gets real and it's just the 2 of you against the world, fighting and scrapping to make every dime count. Not knowing when i was going to be employed again with a steady job was scary enough (I'm working some freelance catering gigs here and there, plus I booked a nice non-union acting job...thank god). Now, it's both of us. On top of the job loss, we also had to deal with my car needing almost $1000 in repairs and Brendan's body decided now was a good time to develop kidney stones (thank god what we hope are small ones that only led to a trip to urgent care). Some of the jobs I've taken in the past month just to pay our bills have been: catering, paid tv audience work, extra/background actor work, focus groups....not exactly the glamorous life. It's been emotionally draining at times, but Brendan has been there the whole way to help me keep my chin up. Now, i'm also doing the same for him.

We'll get through it. Money comes and money goes. This has been our best week yet on the job hunt front (of course, this has been his only week, but his resume includes one of the top restaurants in L.A., so he'll probably even have a job before me). This whole struggle, I think, has actually helped improve our communication.

Right there....that is freaking love. that madly deeply insanely in love feeling? yep, I have it....i feel lost without him. I'm not saying i'm dependent on him (in some ways I am...I mean, the man grills an awesome chicken. he keeps me fed), but I am saying that that last time I lost a job, I was a depressed, angry wreck & this time, I'm not (well except the demoralizing nature of some of the jobs I've done to get us money...nothing bad, just people being disrespectful to "the help" kind of things). He keeps my spirits lifted and hopefully i do the same for him.

Now I must join him in a cuddle session in a nice warm bed. Our anniversary won't have the glitz and glamour that it's had in past years, but as long as we have each other, the rest will fall into place.
camera loves me
I decided to sign up for the 30-day journal challenge. Every day for the next 30 days I get a prompt emailed to me. Today's topic: What is your Why? is all about "what do you journal for"

I've had this blog/online journal since 2001. When I first moved to L.A., it was to keep everyone back in Ohio updated on my exciting new adventure in Hollywood. Then it became a soapbox from which to rant and rave about anything and everything. It also became therapeutic as I worked through some inner demons a lot cheaper than a therapist would charge.

It hasn't been without it's up and downs. I've had harassing hurtful anonymous comments, jealous people who have tried to hack it, stuff like that which made it less fun at times. For the most part though, it's just been a way to express some of my thoughts and feelings.

That is my "why" in the "why are you journaling"

In The Garden

living in the present
(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "in the garden")

I grew up in rural Ohio and for as long as I could remember, my family had a garden. Sometimes, it was in the corner of our backyard. Other years, my father would have a plot given to him by the elderly lady who lived across the street from us. He would mow her yard, do weekend handy, deal with yard pests work in exchange for it. (side note: I once saw my father stick a gun down a gopher/mole hole and also blow the head off a pesky rodent who was nibbling at our plants). We would grow tomatoes, beets, peas, green beans, potatoes and many other things. My mother would often can the produce so we would have it during the winter (either her green beans or beeat were so good that they took first prize at the county fair...heck, it may have been both of them actually. I can't remember exactly). I would also always get to choose a plant or two to grow in this garden we would have...sometimes I'd go with flowers, but often times, i would grow pumpkins or watermelons, so i could later have a fruit stand in my grandparents' front yard (since they lived around the corner on a much busier street) and earn some bonus money in addition to my allowance.

Flash forward to me living in Los Angeles. I'm getting more into food. I'd love to have a little herb garden or something. It's a concrete jungle. Sure, there are community gardens, but they are nowhere near where I live & there are waiting lists to get just a smidge of a plot. My father was dying & my boyfriend was looking to give me anything, something that could give me a lasting piece of my father. I was sinking into a deep depression & having the beginning signs of the anxiety problems that I still struggle with years later. He bought me a garden box for my birthday & got permission from the landlord to put it outside our building in some open space. I didn't touch the box for almost 8 months....too depressed, too sick, other excuses. Then in April of 2012, it came to life....I planted some herbs in it, but I thought....let's plant a couple other things too. Brendan had access to all these wooden wine boxes at his work, so he brought some home. we made planters out of them and I planted a pepper plant in one. it was like having a memory of my father with me.

Then winter (by LA standards) came....it actually got cold enough to frost and the cold weather destroyed almost everything...esxcept the pepper plant that was hanging by a single branch.

In spring 2013, Brendan came up with a genius idea: a garden box stand. Something that could not only house the garden box that he bought me, but also allow me to have additional plants in wooden wine boxes as well. He sketched it out meticulously like an engineer or architect, bought all the lumber and built it by hand. My job? to weather seal & paint it.....any color I wanted. That was task by itself....so many colors to choose from. I went with a lavender purple....something girly that would compliment all the green that was going to appear.

Now I do not have the greenest of thumbs.....my cilantro always dies, my basil always struggles. It also took a hit when we went on vacation and the girl I asked to water everything forgot a day or two when it just so happened to be a heat wave in L.A., but it seems to have hit its stride. My cilantro? needs to be replanted. it died (of course it did). My basil? struggling...i'm about to replace it for like the 4th time. My flowers are good...in fact, they are jumping to other boxes...those rascals. we have tomatoes, garlic, peppers, oregano, mint, rosemary, the peas that I just planted are starting to come up (hope I have better luck than the last time when they all died). And that first pepper plant? Still chugging along.

The first pepper plant...still chugging along...fighting the good fight


The garden box that started it all:


In the foreground, the newbies of the garden...the peas


garlic, herbs, tomatoes and more:

Tags:

last chance idol

Indians mickey
That's right. i'm hopping back into the livejournal writing competition again...you know, like Rob & Amber with Survivor and The Amazing Race...i just can't stay away from the game it would appear. Like one of those crazies who go right back to the island for another round after they just got home from the previous season.....here I go again, just a week or so after getting eliminated.

I'll admit, I was a little distracted...you know the whole lost my job and then my car died thing. which, if you feel like skipping your morning latte and doing a good deed to help me out, you can go here and donate to help me get back on my feet (or wheels which is more approp in this case)
no freaking
(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "intersubectivity" and it's a intersection meaning that I had a partner/companion piece this week as well written by yachiru)

It started with a conversation.

"This intersubjectivity thing is hard. I don't get it. Wikipedia usually clears things up for me, but this psychological, philosophical crap just muddles in my ADHD brain and then i drift and then I comprehend nothing and it ends up being just a bunch of words like legal or medical jargon."

"Relax. Take a deep breath. Let's look at this part of the wikipedia Proponents of cognitive sociology have argued the presence of intersubjectivity, an intermediate perspective of social cognition, that provides a balanced view between personal and universal views on our social cognition. It suggests that instead of being individual or universal thinkers, human beings subscribe to "thought communities" - communities of differing beliefs that each individual belong to. So look at it as "thought communities" like Team Jen or Team Angelina"

"I'm totally Team Angelina...I never really bought into the whole Friends thing. Like they could afford that apartment in NYC on those salaries. Hell, like there's even an apartment that big in NYC!”

And so I rolled with it.

I started thinking about all the teams that happen within a relationship and the little quirks that happen when you live with someone. There’s no right or wrong really, though the person with their preference probably thinks they are right. You just belong to a different thought community despite your love for each other. Here are some of the fun ones in my relationship.

Toothpaste: This was the first quirk that reared it’s ugly head in our relationship and it was before we even moved in together.

A little fact about me is that I’m borderline OCD crazy about my teeth. After all, about $5000 or so in dental work as a child/teen/young adult will possibly do that to a person. I’m talking extractions, the roof of my mouth widened twice, spacers, braces for almost 3 years, retainers, more retainers. No wisdom teeth extraction. Those were the only 4 to come in straight….so i kept them & the orthodontist, deciding he had tortured me enough from the ages of 7-20ish, made sure I had room to keep them.

Anyway, the routine consists of flossing, whitening pre-rinse, minimum 2 minutes of brushing with a top of the line Sonicare toothbrush & Crest Pro-care toothpaste (yes I have a preferred brand) and, finally, post-rinse anti cavity mouthwash. BTdubs, if you have insomnia & watch tv, you might see my teeth on a GoSmile informercial (I got a free trip to Portland OR with my smile). Therefore, it should come as no major surprise that I like my toothpaste rolled. yes. please roll it as you go. Use a bobby pin to squeeze it all to the top of the tube and roll it. My preferred brand isn’t the cheapest, so i like to get as much out of the tube as I possibly can.

You can only imagine the shock & horror on my face upon starting to use my lover’s toothpaste while staying at his place to find it a squished mess. There are those “thought communities”. I pray for them. I really do. All I have to say is that I roll my toothpaste & I breeze through my dental cleanings. Mr. Messy Tube…well he’s another story. I think it is in direct correlation to rolling or not rolling.

Peanut butter: Oh geez…crunchy (me) vs creamy (him). Ohhhhhh, but it goes FURTHER than that. I like the natural stuff. The stuff you have to stir, the stuff that you sometimes have to put in the fridge after you open it, the stuff that is just peanuts, oil, salt. (Jif Natural crunchy is my top choice, but I’ll take Trader Joe’s crunchy too). Brendan? Creamy and it better have some fake stuff like hydrogenated whatever oil or “it’s not real peanut butter.” Yet, strangely, when his peanut butter is gone, somehow mine mysteriously disappears shortly afterwards. He couldn’t possibly be eating my “fake” peanut butter….He blames the gnomes that we have in our living room (they’re so mischievous)

Milk: What is milk? That is the real question here. I know mine comes from a cow. I know the kind my boyfriend gets comes from a cow. Mine just doesn’t happen to have lactose and in the eyes of my boyfriend….that makes it FAKE MILK!!! Now we both work in the restaurant industry as our “thrival jobs” (aka the night job you work when you are an actor that allows you to “thrive” not “survive” at your art…i really need to start a Hollywood-to-English dictionary) & we’re at a party with some chefs from his restaurant. Somehow, the “milk” topic comes up and this actually became a discussion with these chefs….Team Cow, Team Soy, Team Almond…you get the picture. Meanwhile, I sometimes have as many as FOUR things of milk in my fridge (or 2 milks and 2 “white waters” as the boyfriend calls them): white milk, white lactose free milk, chocolate milk, lactose free chocolate milk. Oh yeah….soy milk is more legit milk that lactose-free milk (at least in his eyes.)

Don’t get me started on our sports team rivalries….that’s probably best saved for another week and thank god we don't really care about toilet paper up/down (those people are just weirdos!)

And if you’re wondering Team Edward or Team Jacob. NEITHER. Vampires don’t fucking sparkle. Team Angel for life!

The Art of the Fart

Indians mickey

the kindling that feeds me

Indians mickey
(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "kindling")

how does a passion for something start? what is the spark to the kindling that makes that fire burn? also, what if you have more than one fire burning at the same time?

I knew I wanted to be a model or at least be in front of a camera from the time I was a few days from 11. As I got to high school, modeling also became acting. Then college delivered a D in acting (that's what happens when you are asked to deliver your own interpretation on a scene from a play & you serve up Steel Magnolias as a comedy to an uptight dramatic theater professor who faile as an actress herself). modeling in hold because it's impossible to balance a modeling career, a collegiate sports career, 15 credit hours and a job to pay for things. Change of plan. Broadcast journalism....I'm still on a mic or in front of a camera. Then you find you can't get a job out of college because you didn't do enough internships because sports didn't allow it. Back to modeling it is. I'm not going to be stuck in Ohio all my life. This shit isn't even happening. I'm not giving the bullies the satisfaction of their being right when they told me I "was a loser who would never do anything in life." and that the only thing that I could model was "dog food".

Simultaneously, along the journey, I discovered that life doesn't come with a meal plan of 3 set meals in the cafeterias and food courts every day (and twice on weekends). That would be pretty damn sweet though especially if they served the turkey tetrazzini from The University of Findlay (so good it would make you see Jesus). I should probably learn how to cook something that doesn't involve a freezer, microwave and box entitled Lean Cuisine.

Thus, began my interest in food. I had a couple simple cookbooks & Food Network. By the time, I got done with my second degree at Ohio State in 2000, I could feed myself without (usually) setting my smoke alarm off. I got my first big restaurant job working for Planet Hollywood/All-Star Cafe (the sports themed restaurant they had) & I befriended the chefs. I didn't know how important that would be until a phone call from my mom, who was clinically depressed from my grandmother's mysterious illness that left her practically comatose for almost 9 months before her passing.

"I'm too sick, too depressed & I just can't do it. we are not having Thanksgiving dinner. we'll go out or something"

LIKE HELL WE WILL!!!

What good proper Midwestern family goes out to eat for Thanksgiving?!?! Not this one...that's for damn sure. Impulsively, I told my mom "I'll do thanksgiving. just make me some green beans because no one does them like you. I will do the rest...even pumpkin pie (I hate it...the texture grosses me out. I love pumpkin everything else though)"

what did I just commit to?!? Freak out time. I told the head chef at Planet Hollywood what I signed myself up for and frantically told him "I've never even bought a turkey let alone cook one!!?!? I can't let my family down though. they need this. my mom needs this!" he sat me down after a shift and gave me tons of pointers & short cuts (we call those life hacks now). I cook almost everything, bake almost everything, pack up my car and drive an hour to my parents' house. Everyone lived, no one complained and Thanksgiving was saved. Hey, that was pretty fun. it was like chemistry but without the pesky math. I wonder if this makes up for the time I screwed up Christmas when I was 5 with that whole trip to the ER thing.

I would then discover Rachael Ray (I have a ton of her books, cooking pans, knives, utensils, magazines, etc). She speaks to me, she's my kitchen spirit animal, make it fast & make it yum-o. I work in more restaurants (cuz that's what you do when you're an actor in Los Angeles), different cuisines & I even help open a restaurant or 2 (including 3-weeks paid gig in Aruba for Hard Rock Cafe)

Then I meet my boyfriend...he introduces me to fine dining, Top Chef and celebrity chefs. We cook together & go on culinary adventures. We've even almost "gone to network" for a major food show on Food Network (going to network is when you meet with/audition in front of the network executives/producers/etc. it's usually the last thing between you & the gig and usually only you and couple other people/groups)

anytime someone asks me how I got interested in food and cooking, I always refer back to the kindling that fueled the fire that fed my family that particular Thanksgiving. it's the burning passion of this hobby that keeps me fed without making myself a broke actor both financially and spiritually (all work and no play makes Jack a crazy boy as we all learned in The Shining).

I got let go from my latest weekend restaurant job yesterday (major overhaul of the company. nothing I did wrong). one of the first things I did was clear my mind in the kitchen. I made my own tomatillo salsa and experimented making apple chips without a dehydrator. Maybe now...I can work on replicating that perfect turkey tetrazzini from college.

Some of my culinary creations:
Breakfast: waffle sandwich with fried egg, swiss cheese and leftover brisket


Lunch: green leaf lettuce, turkey bacon, cantalope, yellow bell pepper


Dinner: Thanksgiving dinner to be exact, from 2013....I've come a LONG way from that first Thanksgiving. yes, that is a homemade cranberry mold that we made look store bought by letting it set in a can!
red string
(NOTE for non-regular readers or readers outside of Livejournal: this week's topic for the writing contest I'm in is "disinformation")

Sometimes I wonder how my life would've been different....the friends I would've made, the amount of college debt I have (or wouldn't have), the awards i could have won. Then again, I think about the friends I would've never met...all because of someone's disinformation about me.

I was a pretty decent tennis player in high school....team titles, all-conference, all-county, ranked in the state, stuff like that. The natural progression was that when I hit my senior year, the college coaches would start courting me (pun intended). Yet they weren't. it baffled my already-messed-up teenage mind. They were putting some feelers out during my junior year, so where had they gone....

"why are they now talking to the other girl on my team? Yeah, I get it. She's #1 on the team. i'm #2. I know my role, but come on...there's quite a few of you coaches and only 1 of her...you're not all getting her...at least look at me too. Hey...why are you ignoring me? I mean, i know I had a minor knee injury and didn't do as well as last year by a couple matches, but I'm still worthy of a scholarship...what gives!?!? hello? hello?"

silence. nothing. college recruiting season & signing days came and went. I held out....hoping, praying....this is everything I'd worked for since I got cut from the volleyball team freshman year, walked out of the gym, headed to the tennis courts and said "can I join the team?" (they pretty much took anyone who could hold a racket due to low numbers). Everyone is choosing their colleges...it's April. I still don't know where I'm going & I still don't understand why I'm being overlooked. Schools are filling up their spots & I hastily choose a school that promises me "we don't have tennis scholarships now, but we're getting them in a couple of years. The players who stick it out will have first priority when we do." I jump at this chance despite the fact it's a pricey private school & I'm going to have to pay for all of this on my own with student loans (and a few grants here and there).

It's my junior year of college....I sat out of tennis my freshman year, overwhelmed by everything college, so now i'm on the 5-year athletic plan, but it's okay...those last 2 years are going to be covered by the tennis scholarships that are coming after this year. I'm fine. Until i'm not. My teammates and I start hearing rumors....the scholarships are going to the incoming players from high school to make the program better in their new conference. (it's no secret we suck....I think we've won 1 match, barely, in my 2 years on the team. Of course we suck, we're playing against schools that are full scholarship programs. They have better players. I got my ass smoked in 30 minutes by a girl who eventually turned pro...and I was like the 5th best player on the team which means she was too). Finally, a few of us confront the coach...yep, it's true...and it was the plan the whole time. The scholarships are going to players who will replace us. We won't be cut from the team, but we'll only play like 1 match a season. THEY LIED TO US!!! USED US!! YOU TOLD US THESE SCHOLARSHIPS WOULD BE OURS?!?! YOU BASICALLY TRICKED US INTO GOING TO SCHOOL HERE ON OUR OWN DIME!!!!

"Really? You want me to shell out all the money I pay for a private tennis coach in the offseason in hopes of being competitive (in addition to the money I'm paying to go to this school at like $20K a year), practice like 15-20 hours a week, work my ass off for like ONE damn match a year? This isn't what I signed up for. Fuck this shit. I'm out of here"

I transferred to a smaller school, a program with at least a winning record, a chance for a team title (which is what I so desired like high school) & a chance for me to be the top player on the team. Most importantly....a scholarship. The thing I had desired for so long was now mine. I never won that team title (I think the closest we came was 3rd), but I was all-conference both years I played at my new school. Now somewhere along the way, I had a conversation with a coach...I said I wish I would've gone to the smaller school all 4 (well, 5 years...would've been 4 had I gone there because I don't think i would've sat out a year). That's when I got the shocking statement and answer to the question that had baffled me since my senior year of high school.

"I tried to get you out of high school, but your high school coach told me that you weren't going to college"

Excuse me?!?! Now i'd had run-ins with the tennis coach my senior year of HS to the point my mother had to go to the athletic director and school board. (my awesome HS coach quit after my junior year and the senior coach had beef with me...she was a teacher at the school I'd conflicted with all throughout high school). This woman wouldn't go so far as to sabotage me, would she??! I couldn't believe my ears. I still to this very day think she saw the opportunity to settle her "issues" with me (and my mother for challenging her "authority") & took it. Had I been smart (and not dealing with other things in life at the time), I should've contacted a lawyer and sued. Maybe she could be paying my $60K in college loans from my 3 years that were out of pocket at the bigger private school.

On the other hand....I have 5 wonderful friends that I met while I was at the bigger school. Five wonderful friends, who I still talk to regularly, that I wouldn't have had otherwise....so at least there is that.

As for those coaches who did me wrong....oh trust me....I'm going to make it so you NEVER forget my name. What you did to me (and others), the lies you told, the distrust you created, only fuels me to be successful no matter what I do. Of course, in your eyes, the disinformation is probably what i'm saying.

aaaaaahoooo scare quotes of Hollywood

vip goose
(note: thank you to the actors who spewed some great quotes to me for inspiration. I'm obviously not crediting you to spare you the "wrath" of these "Hollywood big shots")

You're fresh from the midwest & just stepped off the bus (or in my case, spent 3 days driving cross country from Ohio with my ex-bf, my cat & 25% of my life in a car. The other 75% got shipped). You see the big sign on the hill, the stars on the sidewalk and the palm trees that reach to the sky.

Welcome to Hollywood, what's your dream?

And that's when the "agents", "managers", "casting directors", "decision makers", "photographers" are like....great, that's nice. how cute. well guess what? we're here to destroy that dream, tear you apart and send you packing back to wherever you came from with their "scare tactic" scare quotes. Only the strongest will survive & even then, you're bound to fall for some of these scary cliche quotes at least once. I know I have....even as recently as a year ago. Then you realize there's some serious bullshit in this town at times. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice....yeah,(usually) not happening.

Here are some beautiful examples (thank you to some of my actor friends who I asked to give me some of the "words of wisdom" they've heard over the years)

The most famous being: "you'll never work in this town again" (or some variation of it). I've actually fallen for this one a couple times.

First, as a model (which is what I originally came to L.A. to do), I had a portfolio test shoot with a photographer who has shot tons of famous people from all sorts of career fields (sidebar: a test shoot is usually when a photographer is updating his portfolio/testing new equipment & the model works in exchange for photos. no one is getting paid money either way). Now I figured the guy was famous & worked with the top modeling agencies in town, so it wasn't a problem going to his home studio or going by myself since he had an assistant there as well. WRONG. He sends the assistant away, starts rubbing his hand on my leg, asking me if I'm a bad girl. I mention that I'm getting uncomfortable with the situation & he tells me that he's "just getting me in the mood of the shoot". Then he goes so far as to spank me on the ass and asks me if I like things rough. Okay...that was when I'm ready to lose my shit on this guy. I mention that i have boyfriend that plays pro football (yeah it's a lie, but he did ask me earlier if i had a boyfriend to which i said yes thinking it would make him back off a little....it didn't). He then informs me that I "better play along" or he will call my agency along with other agencies in town and tell them that I'm "extremely difficult to work with" (which can get you dropped by your agency...unless you're a supermodel). Thankfully, he kept his hands off of me for the rest of the shoot, but kept saying wildly inappropriate things to me. I learned a few years ago that I wasn't the only one he'd done this too & it's mostly all bark, no bite if you stand up to him. If I ever see him again, I'll probably kick him in the balls and hand him my agent's phone number....please, call them, I'd love for you to tell them.

The next time was last year. Normally, I never do background work (that's the people you see in the background of shows with no lines or anything,) but it was a Disney movie and I wanted to work on a Disney movie as part of my Hollywood bucket list. Wouldn't you know it, the Murphy's Law of Acting states that if you want to get an audition when things are slow book extra work or buy a plane ticket out of town. Sure enough, I got the call for a commercial audition that paid a lot of money. So, I try to cancel the extra work saying that something came up and I can't make it. This guy threatens the crap out of me....threatens to blacklist me with the production company (bullshit), call my agent (she would've laughed at him since the commercial would put money in her pocket) and leaving a note on my profile on this online casting site that only casting directors can see (having worked w/ the casting side of that site, i know it's possible)....so I bend and stick with the extra work. I mention it to the other actors once I'm on set....turns out this guy is totally full of shit. Too bad i don't find out until later in the day when it's too late to make it to my audition.

A while back, some guy who runs a small theater here in L.A. tried to "threaten" me by ending his email to me (in reply where I told politely told someone directing a show at his theater that my agent prefer I not do shows at that theater.) with "(the guy who owns a few theaters and is known and respected by far more people than you realize)". I laughed and saved the email for future reference (just in case) since California has amazing stalking & harassment laws. (He likes to troll read my blog, so I'm sure I'll get another nasty email after writing this....just remember what I said about harassment the last time you contacted me and remember, I didn't mention your name or your theater in this post, so your "secret" is safe. you can keep fooling unsuspecting newbie actors in this town.)

Another one of my favorite "scare quotes" runs along the lines of: "If you haven't made your acting career by 35...you should give up and find something else." (sometimes the age is 30, sometimes 40) but it's almost always from some know-it-all "agent" or "manager" who thinks they are god's gift to the entertainment industry. Really? Well if that was so true...the world would've never known of the beautiful, talented and wise Kathryn Joosten (may she rest in peace having left us 2012). You may have known her from The West Wing or Desperate Housewives (she won 2 Emmys for the latter playing nosy neighbor Karen McCluskey). She didn't even begin acting until she was 42, starting in Chicago-area community theater & didn't even move to Hollywood until she was 56. I was lucky enough to interact with her & get advice from her on some actor-based internet message boards....she was very humble like that despite all of her successes. Also what defines "making it"....are we talking A-list stardom, not having to work a night job, I think everyone's ideal of "making it" differs in their own mind. Here's some other actors who got their start after this "agent's" "magical point of no return" age: Harrison Ford, Ken Jeong (from The Hangover & Community), Samuel L Jackson (are you mother fucking kidding me mother fucker?!?), Alan Rickman (yes he was a stage actor but his breakthrough film role, which is the Hollywood "making it" in Die Hard was when he was 42), Jane Lynch (Glee) was in her 30s before becoming a regular working actor and 40s when she became "known". Morgan Freeman was still doing community theater in Los Angeles and nearing 40 when he became a solid working actor.

There are other comments you hear that aren't scary quotes but they are bullshit. Like "wow that was great" (half the time they are telling that to everyone auditioning or they are saying it to you having not even paid one iota of attention to your audition. just a month ago, i had a casting director with her head stuck in her computer the whole time i was auditioning...only to later see she was tweeting DURING my audition because it showed up in my twitter feed...really!?!?) or some variation of "You're a fantastic actor. Why are you so fat?" (this also applies to models too...".you have a great look, but you're too thick", "you'd work so much more if you were a size 4 or a size 2"....yeah, let me just get right on that by chiseling away my hip bones and snorting some coke so I never eat). They're just downright rude at times.

So you know what my dream is Hollywood? how about a little respect that we're not all idiots just hopped off the Greyhound at Union Station with some stars in our eyes. My dream is not to be "threatened" by someone in so-called "power". Now here's my "scare quote" to all those types: I know how your game is played now. Good luck trying to "scare" me into playing your game.

Sincerely....an over-35 actor who isn't going to risk her health to be a size 0 & will laugh in your face if you tell her that she'll "never work in this town again", because even if it is true, with all the runaway production (sidebar: that's when filming goes to smaller markets like Cleveland, New Orleans, Atlanta, etc), I'll just find a new town to work in and still be successful.

PS: "don't put photos of you with alcohol" funny.....cuz Chelsea Handler has never had a problem with that. Drink up and enjoy my photo with this post.
Indians mickey
20 years ago next week....Seattle Mariners' pitcher Randy Johnson struck out Oakland's Ernie Young at 9:45 p.m. PDT and that was it for the 1994 baseball season. Done. Finished. Over. No playoffs, no World Series (for the first time in 90 years). Baseball went on strike and didn't return for 7 and a half months (even eating into the 1995 season)

When it returned, the game was hurting. People were upset. I know I was. I had planned to go to Jacobs Field in Cleveland to see my beloved Indians play for my 21st bday. My bday is August 19....8 days after the last game of the 1994 season was played. They weren't going to the ballpark, attendance was down. They weren't watching on TV, the ratings were down. They were migrating to other sports like NBA (something to do with this guy named Michael Jordan returning to basketball after he didn't want to be a replacement player in baseball as he had played in the minors during the 1994 season). The NBA found a way to capitalize on this & i personally believe that's why the league is so popular now.

Baseball had to do something to get people back and I think that's how we wound up with what is now know as the steroid era.

What's better than watching sluggers chase Roger Maris' 37-year-old record for most home runs in a season (61)? Not much...I mean, even Nike built an advertising campaign around Mark McGwire's monstrous booming homers and brought "Chicks Dig the Long Ball" into the baseball vernacular. The home run is sexy and the chase of that record by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa is the highlight of the 1998 season.



“A terrible beauty has been born” and it's known as the Steroid Era.

Baseball benefitted from the drug-induced soaring long balls. Three years after, the chase for 61, Barry Bonds came along and blasted 71 bombs in the 2001 season. Attendance numbers were rising back to pre-strike levels, ratings were coming back. People were excited about the game. My Indians were winning....so I was excited as well (well until my interest waned as I focused on other things and I drifted away from the game from about 2001-2007.)

Then the lies started catching up to MLB and ended up being exposed in 2002. First, recently retired player Ken Caminiti admitted that he had used steroids during his National League MVP-winning 1996 season (he died in 2004 from a heart attack linked to steroid use). Then the BALCO scandal broke taking down Barry Bonds (this is also the same scandal that exposed sprinter Marion Jones). Sammy Sosa failed a drug test & more stories came out from former players saying "hey, I took steroids" or "hey, that guy took steroids" including Jose Canseco's infamous memoir Juiced.

It's just my opinion that commissioner Bud Selig knew about the steroids the whole time, but decided to turn a blind eye because it was a way to get people excited about the game again. He continues to turn a blind eye as recently as last year with the mere slap on the wrists for the players who were busted in the 2013 Bosch steroid scandal. Really?!?! 50 games and if your team made the postseason, you still got to play. Don't even get me started on the whole Alex Rodriguez legal wranglings. I just get beyond furious fired up mad...mostly because of what is in the next paragraph

It wouldn't be the only shady business in Selig's tenure. There have been rumblings for years that he wouldn't award the city of Cincinnati the all-star game because of his supposed personal grudge against Pete Rose & fears that the fans will make it a giant Free Pete Rose protest. (for those not familiar, Pete Rose is serving a lifetime ban from baseball for gambling/betting on baseball. He never bet on his team to lose though. Also, it is rumored that Selig will not review Rose's application for reinstatement because he holds Rose responsible for the death of former commissioner & friend Bart Giamatti who died of a heart attack 8 days after banishing Rose from baseball). Cincinnati will finally get their all-star game next year in 2015....I don't think it is coincidence that it will be the first all-star game following Selig's retirement as commissioner.

A terrible beauty was born in the mid 1990s & I think last year's suspensions were a reminder that it's still alive and well, but I also think the fact that several notable players from the steroid era are coming up short in Hall of Fame votes. Yes, chicks (and other fans) still dig the long ball. I am just grateful that many of the long balls I loved and adored were hit by Jim Thome of the Cleveland Indians. His name has never been linked to BALCO, the Mitchell Report or Bosch. He was just a country strong farm boy from Peoria, IL who once belted a homer 511 feet at Jacobs Field. He hit 612 of them...almost all of them during the steroid era. I'm headed to Cleveland shortly after writing this....one of the first things I will do when I get to the stadium is gaze in awe at the statute that was just unveiled over the weekend to honor one of the "good guys who did it right".

PS. Free Pete Rose....he never cheated on the field like these suckers. Alas, that is another post at another time.

Eulogy for a hairdresser

red string
I went into my salon yesterday to make my appointment to get my roots touched up before I go home to ohio. As I was doing so, the guy helping me informed me that my former stylist, Brent, had passed away earlier this month. Brent had done my hair for like 6 years until one day he just disappeared. He didn't show up to the salon, no one knew where he was. I had his cell phone number, but it had been disconnected.

He had a history of health problems related to his former days as an alcoholic/addict & had a few stints in the hospital as well over the years. So when he disappeared about a year or 2 ago, I sadly had to assume the worst, but hoped for the best.

I can still remember the first time he did my hair. I went to the salon and asked who was the best colorist for red hair (as I was sporting the auburn locks at the time). The person setting the appointments said Brent. I took him this photo of Jennifer Garner



and said "give me that style with my red color" and that's exactly what he did. Then when I realized that bangs are not my friend & make me look like a manly drag queen a few months later, I said "I'm an idiot. what was I thinking?", he fixed it.

When I said, "hey, i have a friend going to cosmetology school & she's going to need a model for a year or so. Plus I'm kinda broke because I lost my job." He didn't take it personal. We just agreed that when she was done with school and I was back on my feet financially that I would find my way back to him....and I did.

Then about a year & half later, he was gone, but the silver lining that I can take away from this is that he lived longer than what some of us originally thought. I hope he is at peace and I am grateful that he was there to make my hair look fabulous & listen to whatever I was ranting & raving about when I sat in his chair.

He loved the user pic I put with this entry. He didn't style my hair in this photo, but he did the color and he loved how great it looked in this photo. RIP, my friend.

vip goose
I have to admit that when the topic "Chekhov's Gun" was announced for the writing contest I'm in (LJIdol Season 9), I was a little stumped. I thought "Oh shit...well this has been a fun ride. Looks like I'm going to be bye-ing out of this competition" (i used my 3 byes like in the first 6 weeks of the competition due to life getting bat shit bonkers) and then I was also thinking that some people might be thinking "Oh, she's an actress, she's going to have an unfair advantage with this one". I'm not that kind of actress. I have no intense theater training. I was just a model in Los Angeles who one day got told "you're funny. read this script" and somehow that morphed into an acting career.

Baffled about the topic, I brought it up to my actor boyfriend (you might remember him as Prince Charming from last week's entry). He is classically trained, studied Meisner, done Shakespeare. We went out to eat on Wednesday to celebrate my signing with a new agent & this topic became part of our conversation. That's when inspiration struck. I thought he was going to drop some acting knowledge bomb on me and instead he basically said that Chekhov's Gun could be applied to food. WHAT?!?!

Simply put, One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.. Well, we hear it time and time again with the food shows that we love to watch (Top Chef, Chopped, Iron Chef, Next Food Network Star) If it's not essential to the dish, it doesn't belong on the plate. For example: if the garnish isn't edible, it doesn't belong on the plate (we've heard that from more than 1 culinary judge, but there is a great example to breaking this rule that I will show later). Not only do my boyfriend and I like to watch a lot of celebrity chef food shows, but we also like to eat at their restaurants when location, time and money permit it.

One of my top 5 chefs is NYC-based Alex Guarnaschelli of Chopped/iron Chef fame (and if you watched Gossip Girl, her restaurant Butter is where some serious drama went down about season 2). Well, on our last trip to NYC, we went to Butter and i had an amazing cocktail called a Calamansi. it is Grey Goose vodka, fresh watermelon ice cubes, torn mint and calamansi lime juice.



This cocktail is a great example of If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on a wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there..

Chapter one: you get the drink shortly after you order it. there are those ice cubes. just hanging out in the glass like the rifle on the wall. You take a sip. this is kinda strong vodka-y. Chapter two: you've let it sit for a couple minutes as your appetizer has arrived & you're enjoying it, but it's time for a sip. you stir it a little. not as vokda-y this time. Chapter 3: The ice cubes are about 1/2 melted. Take a drink now....yes that rifle definitely fired. This drink is incredible and you completely understand why this woman is one of the best chefs in the freaking world (and I might add, the only active female Iron Chef). Everything comes together to form a balanced, tasty cocktail.

Another great example is at Richard Blais' San Diego eatery, Juniper and Ivy. If you're a fan of Top Chef, then you know that Richard was runner-up in season 4 Chicago (only because he let his nerves cause him to choke) and then triumphantly returned to win Top Chef All-Stars about 4 season later.



Pictured is a sweet corn agnolotti with cotija cheese and walnut gelée (that's the brownish-black dollops in the photo). In this case, the gun is the walnut gelée. Chapter one is when it hits your table & the dollops are like little balloons just resting on top of the pasta. However, in Chapter Two (meaning: when you eat it) The gun/balloon must be "fired" (eaten) by popping it and smearing it on the agnolotti. Otherwise, you end up with a dish that is too sweet and unbalanced....as my boyfriend found out when he tried to do so. The nuttiness in the gelée counteracts the sweetness of the corn.

Now Blais is a bit of a rebel in the kitchen at times and does some insane stuff with molecular gastronomy. Remember what I said about "if the garnish isn't edible, it doesn't belong on the plate"? Well here's a case where while the garnish isn't edible, it's actually essential to the plate's concept.



This is raw oysters with a salsa verde and horseradish beads that have been frozen with liquid nitrogen (thus serving as the chilling agent for the oysters rather than ice) served on a solid piece of wood with seaweed garnish draped over them. Now a video would do this much better justice than the photo, but that is actually fog coming from the liquid nitrogen used on the dish. When it is placed on your table, it looks like something that was ripped straight from the cave of Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid which is why the seaweed (despite not being edible) is the Chekhov's Gun of the dish. You wouldn't get the same visual effect and emotion response if this dish was just fogging on a simple white plate.

Now that I think of it....fine dining is very much like theater. You have a beginning (appetizer, drinks), middle (your middle courses) that come to a climax (your main entree) and the end/resolution (dessert, coffee, after dinner drinks). The director/writer is the chef, the plot is the coursing of the meal, the set is the restaurant aesthetics, the actors are the ingredients and the props are the plating/garnishes.

Coincidentally, when Chekhov passed away, his body was transported to Moscow in a refrigerated railway car for fresh oysters. (interesting fact I discovered why researching the topic)

Bon Appétit!

And this photo just for good measure because i'm still stoked we met Richard Blais:

bitch a bad thing
I'm so pissed about this whole Ray Rice situation and the bullshit 2-game suspension the NFL gave him for beating his then-fiancee UNCONSCIOUS and dragging her through a hotel. I was pissed when it happened. I was pissed when he and the Baltimore Ravens held a press conference about it....and the now-wife (yes she still married him) was apologizing more than he was. For the record, not ONCE did he apologize to HER during the press conference and she's the one he beat the bejesus out of. Please tell me on what fucking bizarro planet should a battered woman be apologizing for the fact she was beaten? "Oops, I'm so clumsy. I just tripped and my face fell into his fist"

The more sports shows I watch and listen, the madder I get. Basically, the NFL is saying that the price for joining the OJ Simpson Apprenticeship program is TWO games. Two!!! Hell, smoking a joint (legal in 2 states, btw) will get you suspended a whole season. Taking a fertility drug because you're trying to start a family with your wife will get you four games. Terrelle Pryor got FIVE games for getting tattoos....in college before he even played a down of professional football. Hell, Michael Vick got more than 2 games for BEATING, killing and fighting dogs. (as he should have). Good news, Aaron Hernandez....if somehow, you are able to beat the murder rap....you're probably only looking at like a 4-game suspension with the way the NFL is looking these days. Just don't take any Adderall.

Really? Is that the message you are going to send to women? Sure thing....I mean, the NFL has no problem treating their cheerleaders like shit as well. Several teams are being sued by their current and former cheerleaders over wages (less than minimum wage in some cases) & job treatment/working conditions.

Somehow, the NFL thinks this is ok to alienate what is like 50% of their audience/revenue because "hey once a year, we dedicate a whole month to women. Look at our pink cleats, pink towels, pink hats, pink this, pink that. Save the boobies" Yeah let me just get on that and buy a nice pink Ray Rice jersey (yes, you can buy that on the NFL's website, right now! nothing says women empowerment like that!). Meanwhile, the actions the rest of the year say "you are second class citizens. whatever...we already got your money. screw women"

Don't even get me started on the ridiculous woman-unfriendly bag policy they started enforcing last year at NFL stadiums. No purses, ladies. You have to carry something like a see-thru bag and you get to announce to the world (or at least the 40-50thousand at the stadium) that you're having your period if it just so happens to fall when you have tickets to the game.

It baffles my mind. What is the message that you sending out?

Yes, I will still watch my Dolphins. Yes, I will still play fantasy football. Yes, I still hold my belief that if any man ever did that to me....he better find his ass in the witness protection program by the time I regain consciousness because I'll beat his ass right back.

LJ Idol Week 14: Confession from the Chair

no you didn't
She doesn't want to air the dirty laundry. She wants everyone to think it's the fairy tale relationship (we know it's not). After all, everyone was rooting for it, cheering for it, so glad when it finally happened. She had been lonely for years.

The chair sees everything though and knows better.

Sure it was great in the beginning. They laughed, they loved and it was something out of Hollywood rom-com montage. They probably moved in too soon....I mean, it really was still in the honeymoon period...that period before you start to see the quirks, before you start the nitpicking. Then her ailing father took a turn for a worse & he died. That's when the fighting started and it hasn't stopped. I wish he could've let her grieve how she wanted to grieve. I wish she wouldn't have shut him out & pushed him away.

She had a meltdown in the months after her dad's passing. He accused her of making herself sick which only made things worse. It took the ER doctor telling him otherwise to believe her. She still holds regrets and resentment at times for that. He told her she was irresponsible and unreliable because a project close to both of them fell through during this time. How could she focus on anything when she felt like her world was crumbling? Meanwhile, the one person she needed was becoming more resentful of her day after day. He blamed her for things in his life not going right...a career downturn, weight gain, lack of motivation....and he made her pay for it with emotional detachment. He stopped telling her that he loved her saying only his action proved he did. Actions speak louder than words, but that's not always true or the same.

I feel he resents her for sidetracking things in his life to take care of her (she only needed that after her family situation yet he insists he has to hold her hand through life). I feel she resents him for forcing her to go to therapy & projecting his problems onto her.

She thinks he's rigid and too black & white. There's no grey area of an discussion with him. She walks on eggshells in her mind because she doesn't know if a conversation will start an hours-long argument or fight. Of course, then he accuses her of being too defensive. She's an abstract thinking, she rambles at times and she's impulsive when talking. yeah, she sometimes interrupts to get her point across but it's only because of years of her voice not being heard (but in his book that's just an excuse). He accuses her of having a computer addiction, but he doesn't realize that this is the way the game is play in their chosen career fields now. (but it's okay if he spends all day on his iPad reading espn and playing fantasy baseball/football/pick a sport). At least she is working and/or networking. Meetings happen because you hustle online. I think sometimes he is jealous of her successes. She tries to motivate him but then he accuses her of "trying to be his mother" when really she is just trying to look out for his best interest because she cares. Still, he accuses her of being selfish and only caring about herself despite the fact that her friends often comment how she's less "me me me" since she met him.

He's not a bad person. he's just been in a bad place & she tried relentlessly to get him back to that good place even at the sacrifice of herself. Yet she's the one who is selfish. She thinks he's controlling. He thinks she's a bitch at times....and well, she is (but a lot of women are every 28 days). Neither of them are innocent and they both push each other's buttons at times, though she is the one who is always apologizing. They are both to blame. It only took them almost 3 years, but I think they are finally realizing that.

Somehow, they are still together. I'm sure all of their family & friends think they are both nuts. Hell, i think they are nuts but they need to see past all the bullshit and realize their opposites actually compliment each other rather nicely. I think they are getting better though neither of them thinks so at times. He really is the best thing that has happened to her life and well, if they could just trust one another for longer than a day, they would take the world by storm. If they don't kill each other first. Luckily, they don't have a chandelier, so I won't be looking at War of the Roses 2.0 anytime soon. I think Cindrelly and Prince Charming can still work this thing out.

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