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.

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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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Vivian Maier, where have you been all my life?

Vivian-Maier

 

This year at TIFF I saw a documentary that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. I.LOVE.DOCUMENTARIES. It’s a fact. Everyone should know it. I once stayed in all day and watched a documentary about the typeface Helvetica and then proceeded to watch one about confessions of some superheroes, orphaned animals after Hurricane Katrina and then finished off with Meryl Streep and Monther Courage. My social life is huge.

TIFF is a great place to see new and interesting documentaries. Last year I was obsessed with CASTING BY. This year the film I couldn’t stop talking about (it’s true, ask my friends and family) was FINDING VIVIAN MAIER. There is nothing I like more that a documentary about an interesting and mysterious person. Someone who I’ve never heard of and that I can later google for hours until I know absolutely everything about them. Once again, huge social life.

Vivan Maier is a giant mystery because she was discovered after her death. There really wasn’t anything about her out there until John Maloof, an amateur historian from Chicago discovered her photographs and made it his mission to give her the attention and praise she deserved. Maloof bought a box of her photographs at an auction and soon discovered he had stumbled upon something special. He became obsessed with her and soon found out that her personal life was just as beautiful, fascinating and mysterious as her photographs.

I won’t to tell you the rest of the story because you need to watch the documentary and experience it yourself. However, I will say that Maloof has done an incredible job showcasing Maier’s work around the world. This documentary and the books of her photographs that have now been published will guarantee that Maier will not be forgotten. Her work is so special that anyone that sees it will realize what a gift it was that she ever lived.

Learning about people like Maier remind me that no path is ever the right path. No one can  tell you the best way to live your life or ever make you feel like you’re doing it all wrong. Vivian Maier definitely marched to the beat of her own drummer and she chose a life that was fulfilling FOR HER. She didn’t compromise herself or her art for anyone, and she definitely didn’t take photographs for anyone’s approval but her own.

Below are some of the gorgeous photographs featured in the documentary. I’m in love with  the thought that she just walked around the city and captured candid moments that no one else would have paid attention to. She also knew what was going to be visually interesting even if the picture seemed like it was of nothing in particular. I’m obsessed.

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Three sites that will get you excited about being a girl…or woman…(or whichever you’re feeling like on any particular day)

This is what happens when I don’t have to go to work. I spend copious amounts of time online reading everything and anything that will entertain my ADD (I’ll never admit it) mind. I can’t just sleep in all day or watch countless hours of Breaking Bad so I can finally catch up! No. No, I have to fuel my restless brain and fill it up with the thoughts and ponderings of some of the most creative and inspiring minds on the internet. To be fair, I actually KNOW men and women who are incredibly bright and amazing….but they don’t have blogs. And they can’t always meet me at my favorite coffee shop. So, I’m left with finding my fix on the world wide web.

In the last few years there have been 3 websites that have never failed to amuse, educate and inspire me. They each satisfy my various moods and they each have a unique point of view. I’d be a jerk if I didn’t admit that they inspired me to start my little blog.

You need to check them out for yourself, but here is a little taste of what they each have to offer! In no particular order:

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HelloGiggles is my go-to site when I want to smile. It’s a self-proclaimed positive online community for women, although men are always welcome. They cover a variety of topics like fashion, love, DYI, pop culture and friendship…but the special thing about them is that they’re alway positive. Even the reader comments couldn’t be more lovely. I consider myself to be a nice person but hellogiggles reminds me that I can always be nicer…and less cynical! The site was founded by  Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi…and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the daily giggles.

Check out one of my recent favorite posts: Who doesn’t like a good Top 10 List?

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Jimi Hendrix – Power Of Love

 I’m grateful when I find art and words that inspire me. If you take the time you can find astounding things on the lovely internet. I found this piece online yesterday and fell in love with it right away.

It was created by a printing company called Studio on Fire. I will post more about them soon because they are incredible. For now please absorb these words and think about them throughout your day.

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Allison Janney For President

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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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Inspiration Blitz – What Are You Waiting For?

I have these on my desktop and read them almost daily. It’s my daily mantra of sorts. I also have a poster in my room that says ‘What Are You Waiting For’. I stare at it as I fall asleep.

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Lena Dunham On Knowing Nora Ephron (And Our Relief That These Two Geniuses Met)

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

                                                                                                            -Nora Ephron  

Is Lena Dunham the Nora Ephron of our generation?

After Mrs. Ephron died last month I wanted to write about her on this blog. Stupidly, I thought that night I would get in bed, reread some of her essays, get some inspiration and write a brilliant tribute. I wanted to, I thought I needed to, and I thought it would help me put into words why I admired her so much. Instead, I just sat there, stared at my computer screen and ultimately succumbed to reading what everyone else had to say about her on the internet.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve thought about her a lot. I read her works and I went on a mad hunt across Toronto to buy ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’, a book I had read a few years ago but never owned. It wasn’t until I started rereading the book that I was able to BEGIN to articulate why I admired her so much. I was also able to understand how people like Nora, visionaries, wonder women, thinkers, shape our lives over the years in such subtle sneaky ways that we don’t even realize it’s happening until they’re gone and we feel the hole left in our heart and spirit.

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The Cast of ‘Anything Goes’ is Beautiful.

There are moments when I think the theatre community at large is full of crazed ego maniacs who make dumb choices based on silly ideas and negotiations. I ask myself why I’m in a business that treats me like a dollar sign, an object and a pawn. I think about all the skills I have, the education, and wonder why I don’t just get up and do something else! Start my own business, work for a worthy cause, or finally start focusing on creating a family of my own.

Then a video like this comes along. It changes my whole perspective and gets me out of my rut. in the few minutes it took me to watch this, within the first 10 seconds actually, I was reminded of the power of art. Of song and dance. That power, mixed with passionate people and great talent, really does have the ability to change the world.

In my moments of frustration I try to remember that the theatre community, as crazy as we are, is continuously spreading a message of love and light. It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

I saw Anything Goes on Broadway last year. I can confirm that this is an incredibly talented group of people. It’s nice to see that they are also eager to spread a positive message and share the magic of heart and music.

Let me end this by saying that Joel Grey is perhaps the cutest thing since my grandfather.

Enjoy the magic.

When I Think Of Bliss……

The coast of Lima, Peru near Miraflores. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I made it even more beautiful by putting a 1960s filter on the photograph. I’m in love.

Some things are just bred in the bone. For me it’s the need to have family around. To learn. To be kind (to try to, anyway). To laugh. To be almost too introverted. To dream. To keep wanting more…and to find peace and clarity near the water. The ocean and the sun have never let me down. Just being able to smell the sea is enough to put me in a good mood. Sitting in the sun, looking at this view with family around, is what I miss the most about Lima.

Just add a plate of Ceviche and you’ve got heaven.

Are You A Bully?

I saw this movie last week and I encourage everyone to see it and share it with every young person they know. This problem needs to stop and kids need to realize what they are doing to each other. ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ seems like a silly sentence now. Words do hurt, and unfortunately can push kids to do tragic things.

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There’s No Place Like Home.

I can see myself living on this street. There is something about cobble stone, colourful trees, a warm summer night and the close proximity of kind strangers that puts a smile on my face. I love being in a huge city, but living on a street that is quaint and beautiful.

I believe this is a photograph of a beautiful street in Germany. I’ve never been. I don’t know what I will feel if I ever get there. Maybe one day I will land in Germany and think, yes, this is where I was meant to be!

I really believe we are all meant to be somewhere. There is one place in this world that is meant for each of us. The place that will make us the most complete, at peace and happy. I’m not sure if I’ve found it yet, but I’m looking…and I have some ideas.

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This One Is For The Little Birds

I love Dallas Clayton and his story. His books are a must for any home with children, as well as anyone who appreciates a little inspiration, and is a child at heart.

I have to say, It think a lot of Dallas’ pieces would be perfect as art work on kid’s bedroom walls. They’re beautiful and always contain a wonderful message.

I thought this was a fitting post for the little ones during Poetry Month. Thank you, Dallas!

Find out more at www.dallasclayton.com

Nurture Our Dreams

It’s always been my dream.

I want to follow my dreams.

It would be a dream come true.

Every young person that came through my panel at the 2012 Sheridan College Music Theatre-Performance auditions wanted us to know it was their DREAM to get into the prestigious program. They wrote it in their questionnaire, they told us in their interview, and they showed us through their passionate and hopeful performances.

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