What are we thankful for?

Greetings friends. I come to you from a dark place…well let’s not be dramatic. I’m fine. A little dark around the edges maybe, but with the ongoing race war, war for marriage equality, and war on women…America is dark right now. If there is anything I’ve learned from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica, or any other nerd endeavor of mine…it’s that darkness can only be combatted by light. So this is my small attempt at that. This is something I’m doing this year and I encourage you to do it too!

Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year.


However, I don’t think I can wait until the new year. I really need, and I think we all do, some light right now. Rather than focus on the things in my life that suck right now or that I want to bitch about, I’m going to say what I’m thankful for. Let’s all do it, shall we? I’ll start. In no particular order.

1)I’m thankful for my health.

2)I’m thankful that my parents are still around. I love them so much.

3)I’m thankful that I live in a beautiful apartment that always makes me smile when I look at it.

4)I’m thankful for my gifts. Large and small.

5)I’m thankful for lilacs.

6)I’m thankful for theater.

7)I’m thankful for Starbuck and Pink! and Brandi Carlile and Kate Winslet and Barbra Streisand and Madonna and Hillary Clinton and Cate Blanchet and all the strong women/female fictional characters that I have looked up to my entire life and have shaped who I am.

8)I’m thankful for a love of reading.

9)I’m thankful that my brothers are finding their way in the world.

10)I’m thankful that when I called my father on Father’s Day that he was having a good day.

11)I’m thankful to have meaningful relationships in my life. So many people are not so lucky.

12)I’m thankful for a bedroom to retreat to.

13)I’m thankful for 80’s movies always bringing me joy.

14)I’m thankful for a good, healthy, meal.

15)I’m thankful for quiet time.

16)I’m thankful for the ocean.

17)I’m thankful for a nice, cold, drink.

18)I’m thankful for a misty grey rainy day.

19)I’m thankful for sunshine.

20)I’m thankful that I’m learning how to deal with rejection. Slowly but surely.

21)I’m thankful for my successes and my failures. They push me.

22)I’m thankful for my independence.

23)I am thankful, so thankful, for my Grandpa.

24)I am thankful to be an artist.

25)I am thankful to Sondheim, LaChiusa, Flaherty, Coward, Loesser, Tesori, for writing music that makes my heart sing.

26)I am thankful for technology.

27)I am thankful for my silly cop shows that bring me laughs and sometimes tears.

28)I am thankful for my intuition.

29)I am thankful for the love I feel in my life.

30)I am thankful for a clean house.

31)I am thankful for Disney and Pixar.

32)I am thankful for this blog giving me an outlet.

33)I am thankful that I’m a dreamer.

34)I am thankful for a nice outfit.

35)I am thankful for travel.

36)I am thankful for family heirlooms.

37)I am thankful for an afternoon nap.

38)I am thankful for a soak in the tub.

39)I am thankful for my God given talents.

40)I am thankful for my LIFE.

What are you thankful for?


Truths about Weight

In this day and age (the Facebook age) we see a window into our friend’s and loved one’s lives. Every day we see posts about our friends and what they’re up to. We learn things about them that we didn’t know before. We see their political bents (liberal), their favorite movies (Soapdish, Groundhog Day, Goonies), their favorite tv show (right now…PSYCH…don’t judge me), and often we see what their favorite foods are. We see what their favorite foods are, because there is a facebook obsession with posting photos of food. “This is me eating a hotdog.” “This is me splitting ice cream with my oh so cute boyfriend.” Etc. Etc.

So here I am, beating myself up because I had a 1/2 cup of whipped cream with my sliced strawberries instead of the 10 calorie 2 tablespoon portion that I am supposed to have. I count my calories. I keep a food journal. There is no junk food in my house. I have lean protein, whole grains, and green veggies with EVERY meal. I eat every four hours because that’s what Jillian Michael’s tells me to do. I also drink enough water to supply a camel.

So I’m sitting here, beating myself up about said whipped cream…which is MAYBE 50-60 calories, and on a daily basis I have to watch my naturally slim friends eat doughnuts and cake and ice cream and hotdogs and chips and garbage. Some of them work for it, they work their asses off for it (literally) in the gym or as a dancer or whatever. But SOME of them don’t. SOME of them just get to eat whatever they want whenever they want and do nothing physically to counteract that and honestly it pisses me off. It’s clearly not their fault. They got the long end of the genetics stick.

Now my Biggest Loser food math of food in and energy out doesn’t apply to these folks I suppose. People that don’t have to deal with their weight, don’t understand how hard it is to not gain weight. We’re not all hiding in our closet eating a jar of peanut butter. I have to do everything I mentioned just to not GAIN weight. I am not a big girl, but I have to do all of this just to stay at an average, healthy weight and don’t even get me started on what it takes to LOSE weight. That’s a whole other ballgame including cardio and strength training and tears and regrets.

I know I have nothing to really complain about. There are people that have to struggle with their weight way more than I do. People who are dying from eating too much or eating too little, but nobody ever talks about those of us that are straddling the line. We don’t have food disorders, but we are genetically predisposed to store fat and have to work so hard not to. And honestly, I think if I was a dental hygienist or something I would be perfectly content being slightly pleasantly plump. However, for some strange reason, I’ve settled on being an actress. We are selling our “look,” and as a girl who is normally bigger than most envision the leading lady to be, but not big enough to be the funny character woman, it can be frustrating as hell. I don’t always know what “type” (the kind of part an actor is usually cast as) that I fit into.

So what have I learned from all of this? A. Life isn’t fair. B. What fun would it be if it were? 3. Everyone has their struggles. If they don’t have weight problems, they’re dealing with something else. D. Facebook is bunk. It’s not a true representation of someone’s life. It’s not the whole story. E. My journey is MY journey. I don’t fit conveniently into a box. I’m unique and wouldn’t want to be any other way and I am the designer of my own destiny and my own career, no one else. 7. Besides brief moments of whipped cream rage, I like eating healthy. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. Z. “Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”  -Rita Schiano



Stuck on 15 miles


I didn’t run this week. I’ve barely done anything this week or done any sort of workout of any kind. I’ve been holed up in my apartment eating turkey burgers and watching PSYCH marathons. I’m barely employed right now, so I can’t blame it on my work schedule. I can’t blame it on the heat, because it hasn’t been that hot. I can’t blame it on not seeing any progress, because I’m the smallest I’ve been in three years. I just didn’t run.  I’ve been feeling low and unmotivated and small.  I’m broke, so I don’t have my healthy foods in the fridge and I think I’m starting to finally feel the creative void that comes with taking a break.

I decided to only do things that I feel passionately about this year, and while I have a couple of possible exciting projects in the air, nothing is solid yet. Doing only  “what makes your gut rumble and your heart want to explode,” per the lovely Kate Winslet, means that I will be doing less and I have to be okay with that. I need to be able to be a person that can function in life when I don’t have something artistic going on, without crawling into some hole.

People keep asking me details about my weight loss and any tips that I might have. In the last four months I’ve lost 26 pounds. I’ve lost this amount before and always returned to bad habits once I reached my “goal.” The reason I think it will work this time and the number one tip that I can share is that “tomorrow is another day.” That sounds simple, but it’s the best advice I can give. So many of us, especially us artistic types, are perfectionists who can’t deal with failure. Before, if I had a couple of  bad days or a bad week, I would quit because clearly I’d failed.

This time I’ve had setbacks, hundreds of them. I’ve even regained weight and had to lose it again, but every time  I have had a setback, I haven’t given up. I’m human. There are going to be days where I eat fried fish and caramel cake while I watch So you think you can dance at midnight. Not like I did that last night or anything. Totally speaking hypothetically here.

I think the difference between a DIET or WORKOUT FAD and a LIFESTYLE is that you know you’re not always going to be perfect when you’re doing it for life. A fad workout or diet is a called FAD for that very reason, they’re not sustainable. They can work, absolutely, but unless you’re crazy disciplined (or just plain crazy) you can’t stick to them and eventually you will gain the weight back.

So what is my point of all this? I guess my point is that I’ve had a rough week, but I’m done moping now, and tomorrow morning I’m going to put on my running shoes and get back on the wagon. I have a lot of miles to make up, and I refuse to give up. Thanks for reading my morning pages.



HEROINES: Jess Godwin


Jess Godwin was my first friend in Chicago. We were at Musical Theater orientation at Columbia College, both transfer students, checking out our competition fellow students. We looked at each other, acknowledged each other’s talent, and decided right then and there that we would be friends. I had just gotten out of the Navy, JUST got to Chicago, and I had no friends. It was my birthday. As a girl who has moved around her whole life I’m used to starting a school year in a new town, in a new school, and not having made any friends yet to celebrate my birthday with. Well, Jess and Nicki Peterson-Pearce, another wonderful orientation friend who is crazy talented that I am still friends with today, took me to have my first slice of Chicago pizza. I barely knew them, but they did that for me. That early kindness has not been forgotten.

We kept in touch during school and became friends. I watched her instantly skyrocket to the leads in the mainstage musicals at school. Her voice was unreal, one of the best live voices I’d ever heard. She gave me the number to her voice coach, John Komasa, who is a genius. I started training with him. I then started training with her acting coach, Janet Louer, my mentor to this day. Jess and I took many audition classes and Laban classes together and kept bonding. While she excelled at it, I could tell early on that her passion wasn’t for the theater and saw her struggle with that. She would grab me in the hall and we’d duck into a classroom where she’d quickly play me the new song she was working on. Her face would light up and it was clear that this is what she was meant to do.

Jess graduated college a year earlier than I left, and again, instantly had musical leads all over town. She got incredible reviews, and was definitely gearing up to be the new “it girl.” We even, FINALLY, got to do a show together, Songs for a New World, at Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. We had a wonderful time and it is still one of my favorite shows I’ve ever done.

Jess started devoting her life, full-time, to being a singer-songwriter a year or so after we did that show. I remember her early shows and how powerful Jess’ original music was. I was moved every time I saw her perform by the unbridled passion that she channeled into her performances behind that piano.

People couldn’t help but take notice, and I have watched for the last couple of years as Jess was pulled into a million directions. She had music business people telling her what to wear, what kind of music to sing, to stay behind the piano, to not play and just sing, to be jazzy, to be poppy, to use patter, to not patter, to dance, to not dance,  to be the girl next door, to be a sexpot, etc. etc. etc. People were obsessed with how they could sell Jess the best so that THEY could make the most money off of her.

Recently, Jess has decided to do things her own way. Not only is she not listening to anyone’s “advice” anymore, but she is using her music to empower young girls. She started the Greater Than project which targets bullying, body image, and other issues specifically targeted to young girls. She truly believes that music can heal and can save people. This became apparent at her concert Saturday night, when she brought up a girl from the audience. Her name was Paula. Paula was one of Jess’ fans on twitter and Jess noticed that Paula wasn’t doing so well in school and that she wasn’t having a very easy time with peers. Soon after, Paula started learning to play the guitar. Her tweets quickly turned from how miserable she was to how excited she was to be a burgeoning musician. And Saturday night I watched Jess sing “Blackbird” while Paula accompanied her. At the end, not only did the place erupt with applause, but we started chanting, “Paula! Paula! Paula!” My eyes filled with tears. It hit me hard, that Jess was changing this young girl’s life. She would never be the same.

Jess has found her true calling. We all knew that her music would take her far and that her talent was incomparable. What we didn’t know was that she is a philanthropist and is the happiest when she is helping others. I am so damn proud of the woman she’s become. I am so moved by her efforts and she more than ever deserves a spot on my heroines list.


If you would like to support Jess you can purchase her music HERE.