Elaine Stritch – A Legend

STRITCH-2-obit-articleLarge The dear and talented Elaine Stritch passed away last week. Imagine my surprise when I logged onto my blog after 10 months to find this post I had been working on. I usually have 4 to 5 posts in my drafts folder but this time it was only this one. A bare draft of only a title and two clips of this legendary performer.

This feels like a sign. I have been thinking for months of reuniting with my blog to share with (all three of) you some of the people, places and things that have been making their way into my mind and soul, changing how I think and how I want to live. From the very beginning Elaine Stritch was one of those things.

This puts a smile on my face. It feels like things might be aligning. Perhaps my intuition isn’t that bad. Perhaps I should listen to it more often instead ignoring it over the drone of everyone else’s thoughts on Twitter and Instagram (I am too in love with it).

I think this post about Ms. Stritch will be the first of a series of posts. A series of people who have made a deep impact on my thoughts, my heart and my actions. Even if I’ve never met them, even if you think it’s silly, I’ll tell you about them. I’ll own it, and I will celebrate everything they offer me. I truly feel you never know what can happen if you just put it out there into the universe. I think Elaine would approve :)

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I Want To Go To There – NYC

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New York City – I want to go to there. I saw this picture on Tumblr and I immediately almost started crying. It was that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach but at the same time it’s in your throat, and if you try to speak you know you will break down. I’m not sure what that says about me or my feelings about NYC since last night I cried at ‘Ice Age – Continental Drift’, but I digress.

I think what struck me about this picture is that it captures a moment in time when you’re young, you have little to no responsibility, you can call up a friend, who clearly also has nothing much to do, and you both board a greyhound for a weekend in the city. In my case it’s a 12 hour bus ride, but if we were lucky we got one of our parent’s cars and we could make it down there in 10 hours tops!

A memory is coming back to me….there were 4 of us and we might have been cutting it a bit close. We left Toronto at about 10am and we were trying to get to NY before an 8pm curtain of a broadway show. We made it in time, but barely. Those little adventurous moments are the kind I live for (in moderation), and my friends never disappoint! However, it’s all fun and games until someone gets me to a broadway show late. Especially a show by Stephen Sondheim. Remember that lesson.

NYC has held a special place in heart for many, many years, and now that my moving there is pretty much a done deal I find myself reflecting on how it all started. When did I suddenly become obsessed with the city that never sleeps? I love sleeping, so that part of it isn’t even that appealing to me. Besides, NYC is full of people, and I hate big crowds. Sometimes on the subway people make eye contact with me and I’m sure they’re about to spit in my eye. The germaphobe in me finds the thought terrifying. Renting an apartment costs more than I will ever be worth…so that’s not it either. None of these things ever enter my mind when I tell people why I NEED to live there. I guess I’m just really amazing at spinning a story that works for my purposes. I’m an actor, after all. I can act like I love EVERYTHING about NYC and maybe I’ll believe myself. Those acting classes don’t cost a fortune for nothing (especially in NY)!

The longest period of time I’ve spent down there is 3 months. I did that two summers in a row, actually. Looking back on it there were moments that I definitely hated. If I think really hard and I let myself remember I recall crying every day for the first week of my very first 3 month stint. I had no money, I didn’t really know anyone, and I was living in a tiny room in an apartment with 3 other girls whom I’m pretty sure were all clinically insane. It also didn’t help that it rained every single day and anything I thought to do would have cost money. My parents of course thought I was having the best time because that’s what I told them. Thankfully, the skies cleared, and so did my crappy mood, and I quickly made lots of friends and wonderful memories. Every trip since then has been amazing. I mean, life’s never perfect so neither were my trips, but they were amazing enough that I could make myself believe they were perfect!

I don’t know what it is but I love the vibe of that city. I love the architecture, I love the streets, and I love the people. New Yorkers are not mean or rude, I just think they’re focused on a goal and they’re not interested in people that will get in their way. Tourists, unfortunately, are usually in the way. I have gotten so much help and good vibes from strangers in that city that I will defend them to anyone. Try me.

As I sit here right now typing this I am a nervous wreck. What if this move that I’ve been wanting for so long doesn’t actually happen? Even worse, what if it does and it’s nothing like I expected? Am I THAT good of an actor/liar that I can convince myself everything’s ok? Will I die alone of malnutrition and loneliness in my little corner of the studio apartment I share with 5 other girls because I decided to go see ‘Matilda’ instead of buying any food for a month straight?? Oh, did I mention I’m really dramatic sometimes. Surprise!

Ok, I know it will never be that bad, but I write this in an effort to put out into the universe the idea that this will be a whole new wonderful chapter in my life. I hope it brings me great adventures, lots of inspiration, and an embarrassing amount of new friends and experiences. I want to be able to walk down the street, to work, to brunch, to a show, and feel lucky and excited every step of the way. I want to create a life for myself that I am proud of, excited about, and that I can become successful at. MY idea of success, that I will not compare against any ideal or expectation set by anyone. A success that will allow me to bring along my friends and family, and give me the freedom and opportunity to help out as many people as I can along the way.

As I read this back it sounds like I have my s**t together much more than I actually do! I don’t, but if I write it, and I believe it, maybe it will come true! I read ‘The Secret’ once and that has something to do with it, right? (mental note to pull that book out again, and not tell anyone).

Dear NY, I don’t know what it is about you, or when it started, but I am in love. There, I said it.

Random Inspiration To Get You Through The Day

All things that are inspiring me at the moment. I couldn’t decide what to include but this is a random cluster of my inspirational fuel for the past little while. There is a lot more where this came from….but I hate long blogs ;)

I tend to draw a lot of my creative fuel from books, but I also love quotations and beautiful design. Also, who doesn’t love a good Stephen Sondheim quote or song. The Weepies will never let you down, Bernadette Peters will get anyone through anything…..And Chelsea Handler is just the most honest hilarious woman in the world. Period.

Enjoy and use as needed :)

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The Reason I Love ‘In The Heights’

 

This pretty much says it all. Lin Manuel Miranda is the Latin Sondheim.

I Want To Go To There – Venice

Venice. Another one of those places I can’t wait to get to. How can anyone not be inspired, in love and happy in that city!? Sometimes I can’t even believe it’s real! I mean, you get to and from places by gondola! I want to go to there!

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Eduardo Fernandez – That Vintage Smile

My grandfather, Eduardo Fernandez, in 1947. He was in the Peruvian Air Force and eventually a Colonel. 

I love old photographs. It makes me feel like I’m spying on the past and at the same time connecting to it. I especially love old photographs of my family. I love looking at them and imagining what their lives were like, what their dreams were, what they were thinking! I think old photographs are so much more genuine that what we have today. They really captured a moment in time and no one could say, ‘I looked weird in that one, let’s take it again’. Some of those weird looks are my favorite! Even the photos where families posed in a studio are so mysterious. I love it.

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Allison Janney For President

Toronto International Film Festival 2011

Ok. Not literally, people. Come on, the woman doesn’t even like politics. She doesn’t trust it (neither do I. Except Obama, of course). When I say ‘Allison Janney For President’ I mean it symbolically. As a compliment paid to a distinguished artist who is making the world a little better through her art and her life.

Truth be told, I stole that line from my sister. I did not stop laughing for hours after hearing her say ‘Anita For President’, in response to my friend Michelle’s portrayal of Anita in 1st Broadway National Tour of West Side Story. My sister was so taken with that performance that she just believed Anita was real was going to conquer the world one Jet at a time. It also helped that, as a person, Michelle is the coolest girl around.

That’s how I feel about Allison Janney. Forget the fact that she played one of the most powerful and memorable characters on television (CJ Cregg). Or the fact that she transforms herself for every role (think Drop Dead Gorgeous or Juno). Or even the fact that she stands out even while sharing screen time with some of hollywood’s greatest, like Meryl Streep. The really outstanding thing is the honesty and humanity she brings to everything she does. That’s the part that makes people think they know her, love her and want to be like her.

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Let’s Look At The World A Little Differently

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ”
– Margaret Mead

I’m the tiniest bit hesitant to post something about a corporation as big as Coca-Cola. At the same time, they have been making beautiful videos and commercials for years, and they never fail to bring to tears or infuse me with happiness.

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My Childhood Television Favorites – Epic Mockumentary

  • This is for anyone who grew up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.
  • This is for those good people with a healthy sense of humour.
  • This is for those pop culture junkies who know how to appreciate a good vintage video without judgement.

I remember this era of television fondly. Friends, Will and Grace, Fraiser, Scrubs, every incarnation of Law And Order, etc. THURSDAY NIGHTS! My only regret is that I didn’t get into The West Wing sooner. But not to fear….I’m all caught up now and it’s quickly become a favorite.

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Quiet Design – Dream Bedroom

I really don’t think anyone could wake up in a bad mood in this bedroom. If the sun always promised to shine it would be perfection. Part of me always wants to be surrounded by pretty colors, lots of books and beautiful art on the walls, but another part of me thinks white and sparse is the way to go.

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I Want To Go To There – Paris

There are a few cities on my bucket list that I am incredibly sure I am going to love as soon as I set foot on their culturally and historically rich streets. Paris might be on the top of this list. It’s either Paris or Barcelona. The only reason New York City isn’t on this list is because I have been there so many times it’s almost my home away from home.

This incredibly visual and artsy video was created by Land of Nod Inc. and its founding members Robert Kolodny and Bennett Elliot. The amazing song is by Les Sans Cullottes. It captures what I hope one day will be my whirlwind adventures in that incredible city.

My mom lived in Paris for a couple of years when she was a teenager and I have loved growing up listening to her stories. In the last few years everyone in my family has made the trip and I can’t help but wonder when it will be my turn! I cannot wait to experience the museums, the food, the culture, and yes, the shopping. Mostly, I can’t wait to sit in some obscure Parisian cafe and people watch, read a book…and write. Bliss.

Sesame Street – Best Thing Ever, Maybe?

This exploded online yesterday and I couldn’t resist. I love the cleverness of people. I have to celebrate it. I also love Sesame Street and Cookie Monster…and Elmo.

When I was growing up in Peru I knew it as Plaza Sesamo. If I remember correctly, when I got paid after doing a commercial (I think I was 5), my parents let me take some of the money and buy anything I wanted. I ended up with a board game set that was, I think, 4 games in one, and it was all Plaza Sesamo. Elmo didn’t even exist yet, I don’t think!

I recently had the pleasure of putting together an audition tape for Sesame Street and one of the scenes I had to tape was with Elmo. A very talented friend of mine read the scene with me and I couldn’t believe what was happening. It’s one of those moments when I pinch myself and think – is this really my life? Did I really leave work early today to come home and record an audition with Elmo? For Sesame Street? Craziness.

Enjoy these little pieces of magic. I promise they will put a smile on your face, and perhaps take you back to a time when all you had to worry about was how to get to Sesame Street.

A Father’s Day Truth

Happy Father’s Day to my dad. The man who has been my instruction book for many, many years. I’ve helped him write a few chapters, but for the most part he’s written a pretty good book himself.

Thank you for all that I know. Thank you for putting up with the drama of living in a house with three girls for so many years. Thank you. Thank you. Gracias. xo

The Wise Words Of Dr. Seuss

My favorite Dr. Seuss book is ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go‘. It was given to me by a good friend when we graduated High School. Actually, she had written a short play about it which we performed for our final Drama class project.

I haven’t thought about that in so long! It was a great script. I have such talented friends.

The book has such a positive message and it came at a time when I had no idea of where I was going. I was heading to University, I wasn’t going to know anyone, I wasn’t sure if I had picked the right course of study. So many questions! Dr. Seuss has a way of shifting that fear into excitement for the future….and for that I am grateful! The book is never far from my sight and I try to share it with friends whenever possible.

It’s a great graduation gift for a student who is heading off into the world. It makes the adventure that much more exciting!

The picture below is another reason why we all love Dr. Seuss. His message is universal and one that we should be sharing with kids as early as possible. How incredible to see a small child holding this sign. Good job parents. Good job.

My Fantasy Home Library

There are few things I like more than books.  There are a few more things I like more than being alone….but not many!

All kidding aside, I really love books and one day will have a library in my home just like this. A loving family. A house on the beach. A library. The simple things.