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Amy's Tasty Travels: Knuckle & Claw

This is my other "show" that I started on Periscope/YouTube. I basically go to places that are fun, interesting, maybe i see them on a food show, maybe they are a staple of the area I'm visiting (like when I go to Ohio) and I give you a taste of what it's like to eat there. This was probably one of my first ones. My friend Candice and I went to Knuckle & Claw in the Silver Lake neighborhood of L.A.

I had my first lobster roll when I stopped in Catalina Island as part of my cruise to Ensenada Mexico. By the way, they're a lot cheaper and bigger on the island than here, but they also get their lobster shipped in daily from the East Coast at Knuckle and Claw.

So enjoy and look forward to more Amy's Tasty Travels.

Remember how I said I started a little cooking show on Periscope/YouTube....well here's one of my first videos.

This is a quick and easy way to take leftover chicken and transform it into yummy chicken tacos.

What's Amy been up to!?!?

What's this!?!? a blog entry!?!? from Amy!?!? holy shit! it's a damn Festivus miracle!

Okay, not really but it has been a damn long time since I posted on a regular basis. Let's get away from that and back to when I wrote....a lot.

So, you might be wondering what I've been up to.....oh just being broken hearted and miserable for the most part since Brendan broke up with me at the end of January. Hating life, losing weight from stress and anxiety due to our constant fighting while still trying to live under one roof, almost going batshit crazy when the doctors were trying to figure out the best anti-anxiety drugs for me (prozac bad, zoloft good....and there's nothing like having your mom tell you that you look like death and you tell her it's because you've only slept 5 random hours in a 72-hr span), then gaining weight from the zoloft (damn i'm fat right now...shut up, don't say that I have the height to carry it. I don't want to hear it. I flat out got lazy and stopped caring)

now that we've gotten the really sucky stuff out of the way, let's get to the awesome stuff. Thanks to my awesome pal casting director branding guru ball of awesomeness Bonnie Gillespie....she turned me on to the live-streaming video app known as Periscope. I HAVE FOUND MY VOICE AND THE MEDIUM TO SPEAK IT!!!

i've already started 2 shows....I do them live on Periscope and then transfer them to YouTube for replays. The first was a cooking show where I do fun demos in my kitchen. I call it "Hungry Like the Cook" (come on, you know I have to pay homage to my fave band, Duran Duran). The second is Amy's Tasty Travels (this title pretty much taken from Rachael Ray's show of the same name, but they say imitation is best form of flattery)...i go to fun places in L.A, (or wherever I'm traveling and I do little segments on the food, ambiance, history, meaning to me, etc). I am also developing a sports show and I'm even contemplating beauty/fashion stuff (for the sporty tomboy girl of course) as well.

I also joined instagram (follow me: amydharber) and initially it was just going to be food stuff, but hey, I don't have my boyfriend now so who gives a crap how many social media platforms I'm on now....this is all about expanding my brand and exposing myself now.

acting work has been a struggle...especially since my stupid ass gained weight, but I'm getting back into things. I did book a commercial a while back, so there's that.

Phoenix the cat is good. Ralph the dog is good & somehow Brendan and I are still living together without killing each other though it's tough at times especially since I still love him so much but he's like a closed door to me which breaks my heart at times. Thank god we have a 2-bedroom apartment.

I'm still working at the job I got in November and I'm also helping my pals out at their pizza place.

that's a lot of things in a nutshell. the long version would probably horrify you.

Caitlyn Jenner, courage & the ESPYs

There's a lot of stink about Caitlyn Jenner (former known as Bruce Jenner before her transition) being awarded the Arthur Ashe courage award at this year's ESPY Awards (the sporting world's awards show done by ESPN). A false story saying Noah Galloway was the runner up (not true...there is no runner up for the award). A petition to have it awarded to the late college basketball player Lauren Hill (yes, the girl was courageous. I don't disagree with that). I believe all 3 of these individuals are courageous in their own way. So I'm not going to argue that.

What I am going to argue about is the fact that people seem to be talking a lot of crap about whether it's "courageous" or not to do what Caitlyn is doing. That's where I have a problem because a lot of the people doing it on social media have probably not even met or talked to someone who is transgender. Is giving Caitlyn Jenner this award going to keep you from enjoying your lunch tomorrow or will it even matter 6 months from now? Ask yourself that. Nope....probably not. What it might do, though, is help people understand gender issues & possibly prevent another Leelah Alcorn situation from occurring (Click here if you are not familiar with the death of Leelah Alcorn)
Check the suicide rates of transgender individuals yourself if you don't want to believe me.

As of tonight, I've decided that I'm just going to keep cut/pasting the following response to every post i see on Facebook questioning Caitlyn's courage.

"such ignorance. do you know trans people? do you know their struggle both internal and external? well I do know a few and I do know of their struggles on DAILY basis & sometimes it takes courage just to get out of bed, be yourself and face the world. some trans people live in constant fear that they will be the victim of a hate crime. many are often shunned from their families. frequently laughed & mocked at by sales people when trying to shop for clothes/makeup/etc or (for those too scared to come out) living a life they hate because they can't be themselves & constantly scared their "secret" will be outed. go spend a day or two with a trans person, talk to them and then you can come back to me and talk "courage" until then STFU"

And I do mean TALK TO THEM....go to lunch, have some coffee, hell....if you're really damn adventurous go shopping. Relax....you're not going to "catch anything" or want to suddenly become the opposite gender. However, you will find that they are NOT "weirdos" "freaks" or "sick in the head" (like i've seen in comments on social media). They are just like you and me. They put their pants or dresses on the same way I do, watch the same shows, listen to the same music, cook the same meals, hold conversations....you see what I'm getting at here?!?? In fact, the trans people who I know....hell, they are some of the most generous, most accepting, nonjudgmental people I know and that's saying a lot to still be kind and open-hearted when a good portion of the world hasn't shown them the same in return. If you are confused or don't understand, ask mature questions. They will give you mature answers. Trust me on this because I have done it.

I'm pretty sure that Lauren Hill's grave marker probably says what she would've wanted it to say. Unfortunately for many trans people, they do not get that respect. Leelah Alcorn sure as hell didn't get that respect.

I can't wait to be moved to tears by Caitlyn's acceptance speech & I can't wait to see the fabulous gown she wears to accept it. I pray some of you have the "courage" to watch it.

Dear blog readers

I know I left you abruptly back in January and I kind of just up and disappeared, but I'm coming back....soon. I got a LOT of stuff going on. I'm talking like a metric shit ton of stuff going on....that's a lot of shit. big damn changes. scary ass changes. changes I never thought I'd ever been dealing with.

Until then...watch me get a little bit of my groove back....I've been making some live-streaming videos on Periscope here and there. Consider it a little sneak peak of some of the changes.

Periscope vids

and of course, follow me on Twitter

@AmyHarber

soon...my pretties....soon.

Carrie Bradshaw is to Manolo as I am to Nike

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." - Marilyn Monroe

For me, it's tennis shoes. I want to be girly and have cute shoes, but I have painfully narrow feet and bad ankles from playing tennis....also a recipe for disaster when you're a bit clumsy like me. Also, shoe shopping is always dreadful. Nothing is ever narrow enough for me unless I want to spend like $200 on a pair of shoes.

Therefore, I love Nike sneakers & my most favorite pair ever were the Andre Agassi black & white Nike Air Flares from 1994. I preferred playing tennis in men's shoes because they were cut higher on the ankles (which actually kept me from breaking my ankle the one time I rolled it). I really did almost conquer the world in those shoes.....I had a stranglehold on the top spot of my tennis team, rode those shoes to being an all-conference selection & almost went to nationals. I loved those shoes to death...I think i finally threw them out because they had a hole in the bottom of them just from recreational wear after their playing days were done. STUPID STUPID STUPID....why do I let people talk me into ever closet purging? (I hate you all. Carrie Bradshaw would never let this happen!)

About a year ago, I told Brendan (my boyfriend) that if I were ever to find a pair in my size again, I would pay whatever price I had to in order for them to rest on my feet again. Yes, even if I had to go into considerable credit card debt. These suckers are like Louboutins to me. That's how bad I want these shoes back into my life. They were the most perfect Nikes ever.

Guess what? They're being re-released by Nike this spring which means I probably won't have to take out a second mortgage on a home I don't own to even have a first mortgage on. Now comes the tricky part....finding WHEN the release date will be so I can have my ass at the Nike store that morning. I'm so afraid they will sell out. I have to have these shoes. (don't worry, I have connections working to get me a release date).



You will be mine....oh yes, you will be mine....and then, I will once again conquer the world.

The highs and lows of 2014

Overall, 2014 wasn't too bad. Then again, it wasn't too good, but hey, it's ending on a positive note.

Jan:
-I went home to Ohio and spoke to young actors at my high school. A first. I was so freaking nervous.

Feb:
-went to NJ, had my first taylor egg ham and cheese sandwich (a NJ delicacy), saw the MLB Fan Cave (along with filming my audition video on location), explored Eataly and dined at Iron Chef Alex Guarnachelli's restaurant Butter. I also froze my freaking ass off and I got snowed in under 16 inches of snow, delaying my flight by 2 days.
-modeled for a photo shoot for my friend, Kelly
-participated in the last in-person session of Self-Management for Actors class with Bonnie Gillespie

Mar: (a rough month)
-Our dog Ralph had been having some problems with his back. it was so bad, we would have to carry him everywhere. (he's fine now, btw)
-after being jolted up at 5:30am on St. Patricks Day by a scary-ass earthquake, filmed an audition video for The Great Food Truck Race with Brendan and my friend Caileigh. They loved us...they wanted us to come to network. In fact, they called us just hours after submitting our video. Then tragedy struck...
-Brendan got a call telling him that one of his friends was on life support and wasn't going to make it. I drove him almost 2 hours away during rush hour (hell in L.A.) to say farewell to his friend. It broke my heart as we also know his friend's wife (she's our dental hygenist)
-A couple of days later, Brendan's uncle passed away.
-Then we learned that the friend's sudden death was actually a suicide. Brendan took it really hard and well, i didn't always know how to best handle the situation.
-Needless to say, despite Food Network wanting us to come interview at the network offices, we had to pass. It just wasn't the right time. I still haven't mustered the energy to watch the season that we would've been on. It's just sitting on our DVR. Brendan, on the other hand, refuses to watch it all together.
-I did make it through 3 cuts for the MLB Fan Cave.....bounced right before the final cut.
-entered an online writing contest and managed to not get booted during the weekly eliminations until about September.

April:
-Brendan got his wisdom teeth removed....finally. It wasn't fun, pretty or pleasant. He got through it though. He was such a trooper.
-Got new headshots

May:
-We'd been through the ringer the past couple of months, so I suggested a cruise for Brendan's birthday. We found a good deal and headed out of Long Beach to Catalina and Ensenada, Mexico. We kayaked in the ocean, hiked on the island, had some local brews. I ate "weird shit" (as I put it). Went wine tasting in Mexico, got ripped off for some really bad fish tacos (seriously, the fish tacos at Rubios are better and cheaper). Had Starbucks in Mexico.

June:
-met with a few agencies...always take the meeting.
-got my first voiceover credit when i did a voiceover on a spec commercial.

July:
-made the bittersweet decision to leave my longtime agent to sign with Tangerine Talent...initially it was just commercially, but they brought me on theatrically as well later in the year.
-learned that my previous hairdresser, Brent, passed away.

Aug:
-went home to Ohio, caught every game of Reds/Indians, ate at 2 restaurants run by Iron Chef Michael Symon...oh...and caught an epic foul ball at the Indians game (they even put me on the scoreboard)
-Lost my job of 3 years at the sports bar I was working at exactly 1 week after my birthday...no reason ever given to me other than "owners want to make a change" My regulars were shocked. I was heartbroken and it put a lot of stress on our household. Especially since I just blew a lot of my savings during my vacation.
-Auditioned for and booked the Fashion Angels charity fashion show in Ohio.

Sept:
-the universe takes and the universe gives....no sooner did i lose my job, then I booked a guest star role on a cable re-enactment show. I'm talking the lead guest star. my biggest role to date yet! 3 days on set....most of it being made up to look near death. I had a lot of fun for being a "sick person"
-still jobless, but I was picking up some freelance catering shifts here and there.
-job interview, job interview, job interview
-oh....Brendan had his first battle with kidney stones and also lost his job...for a couple of weeks, it was really scary and we were living really poor. No income whatsoever since my unemployment got held up. He found a most wonderful job though.

Oct:
-more job interviews, still no job. Well, job offer, but the place wasn't going to open until Nov and it wasn't the position I wanted. Still, I took it...in this case, something was better than nothing.
-did so well on that guest star role that the casting director called me for a co-star role on another show she works on.
-Went home for the Fashion Angels charity fashion show and rocked that damn thing.
-Got another job offer, but it's random and sporadic. I'm working special private events for Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Nov:
-Brendan was still battling the kidney stones, but i think they figured it out. thank god! that was scary.
-Started my new job.
-Got a call from my old manager at my old job and he offered me a job at the restaurant he just partially bought with some other people. Somehow i went from no job to 3 jobs.

Dec:
-Losing my damn mind working 3 jobs. Ok, not really, but I've been really busy.
-baking away my anxiety. lol.

Overall....sure there were some rough spots, but not too shabby....and I'll even be popping up on your tv somewhere and sometime in 2015.

Ebola or Cheesecake Factory?

Just a little short I was in....

Color outside the lines

(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.
(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

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


(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

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.
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.
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.
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

(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

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)
(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!

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