29 January, 2010

Meet Tia and Naika Wilson.

These are my dearest friends Mike and Missy Wilson's newly adopted daughters from Haiti. Beauty can and inevitably does come out of tragedy. I am so grateful I will get to watch these precious girls grow up. See more here: My Life Speaks and here: Bring Tifi Home.

25 January, 2010

Wellness Experiment Update 1

Well pals, today marks 3 completed weeks of the Wellness Experiment.

As I write I'm sipping on a glass of water enjoying a slice of Quiche Lorraine at the Muse (support local establishments!) and I've just finished an hour long strength and flexibility class at the YMCA.

While I'm pretty satisfied with the status of my eating habits I am really pleased with my newfound exercise routine.

I can already feel my body taking a more athletic shape and after only 3 weeks of consistent exercise it has already become a habit. (there is that thing about 21 days to forming a habit right?) I had intended to take both Saturday and Sunday off but after 1 day away I was already craving the burn by Sunday. So. Weird. Right?

Now I don't want to paint an inaccurate picture for you. After 3 weeks I'm not sprinting 5k's or benching 150.

I am dancing (Zumba=simple salsa, chacha and hiphop dance steps [and btw zumba is so awesome it deserves it's own blog post]), jogging/speed walking for an hour at a time, and taking Pilates & strength and flexibility classes.

Oh also I've been carrying around this nalgene bottle trying to drink water. 8 glasses of water a day still feels like a massive amount but if I drink it at lunch, dinner and while I'm doing my sweaty activity of the day I get pretty close.

I also relax a little on my rules on Saturdays. Life is too short to always play by the rules right?

Speaking of eating habits the primary thing I've cut out is the massive amount of sugar. When I decided to (get crazy and) get a sandwich and a small sweet tea at chick-fil-a this weekend I was shocked and dismayed at my reaction to the sweetness of the tea. Too sweet! Have I un-acquired my taste for liquid sugar? What am I without my passion for all things sweet tea?!


My energy level is up, up and away. I still like long nights of sleep but my research tells me some people just require more. So my 3 week update of Wellness Experiment in summation thus far:

1. I'm starting to drink water like it's normal and it's ok.
2. Exercise is fun and the energy reminds me of when I was a kid.
3. My pants fit a teeny bit better which makes me feel GREAT.
4. I'm getting used to ingesting less sugar and I like that even though I will always identify with the sweet tea culture.

In other news I will (hopefully) have good news to report soon about certain career-related topics but for now I'm not announcing anything.

I hope you are enjoying your own renewed motivation to get healthy! I heartily recommend it.

22 January, 2010

On Writing

"We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you'll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you've already been in. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer's job is to see what's behind it, to see the unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words--not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues." -Anne Lamott

18 January, 2010

Beginning a career in acting...or something else absolutely audacious

Leslie and I have made this decision to read at least one book a month this year. Since I have more time this January I'm trying to do two. I know, I know I should be able to complete more reading than that. My brain likes to tip its hat at Attention Deficit Disorder so I read at a snail's pace. My mind gets bored focusing on one thing at a time. Nonetheless I wanted to share with you a little passage from one of the books I'm reading now: "How to Be a Working Actor" by Mari Lyn Henry & Lynne Rogers. A lot of the content is stuff I wish I had known before I pranced up to NYC last year. If you happen to be in college or graduating soon or are just considering a career change into the performing arts I do recommend you pick up this book. And apparently save $10,000 before you move to New York...not $900. Lesson learned.

"If you were planning a career in dentistry, archeology, or accounting in stead of performing, you would not be at all surprised to learn that establishing yourself requires the mastery of specific skills, as well as the investment of serious amounts of time and dollars. Yet show business, more than any other field of endeavor, is so loaded with legends of success achieved by accident, with tales of plucky but enthusiastic amateurs winning out over seasoned professionals, that it is frequently perceived as a fantasy playground even by those who make their living in it.
Every dramatic form has glorified the waif who gets off the bus in Los Angeles or New York with little more than a knapsack, a pair of tap shoes, and a load of moxie. She then collides with the powerful producer, celebrity, or agent who, struck by her artless quality, declares, 'You're what this tired old town needs,' makes a few phone calls and, in minutes, transforms her into a superstar. Doesn't that sound like the plot of a movie you've seen a couple of times? It's a wonderful story. Let's hope you can audition for the lead when they cast the next remake. In the meantime, let's not confuse that myth with reality."

Preparation + Moxie + Patience + Diligence = Success

Join me next time when I'll be discussing "What in the world does 'success' mean anyway?"

07 January, 2010

Meet George Jetson...his boy Elroy...

Hello people of the future!

I mean, is it just me or does 2010 sound like the age of the Jetsons?! It is the future people.

This marks week 1 of the new year and with it brings moves and experiments and plans to make-oh my!

First of all: MOVES.
I am now (unofficially) living in Lynchburg, VA. The cute (read: frustrating) part is that mere days after I got all moved in I received word of 2 things: A) Liberty won't be giving me free undergrad classes B) UVA is discontinuing their well-respected MFA program. All that to say I'm in VA and I'm not sure why. Well, that's not true. For the next week I am here to spend time with my sis and bro-in-law while they're stateside. I feel really grateful that it's possible. For a big picture thinker/do-er/color-coded calendar-er such as myself I loathe the concept of floating through life. Decisions have to be made...even if my present options don't make my heart palpitate. I think that is called being an adult?

Back when I was in New York I spent a great deal of time with my health-food loving uncle. I noticed his zeal for fresh fruits and vegetables. His kitchen was organic EVERYTHING. (Now, because he reads this and I cannot tell a lie--he does have a soft spot for sweets and breads. But there is way more healthy food in his fridge/cabinet than carbs.) After dinner one night in Astoria we walked by a little vegetable stand and began admiring tomatoes. While he was uber-sensitive of sounding too Jewish mother-y he expressed concern for my (what we'll call) poor eating habits. It's not that I ate SO terribly. It's just that I didn't give much thought to what I consumed. (and by "much" I mean "any".) The thought occurred to me that perhaps I would have more energy, stamina and better all over health if I actually make a concerted effort to make healthy choices. I thought I felt pretty good when I wasn't exercising, getting a normal sleep schedule and eating whatever was around. So maybe it's worth it to see if I do in fact feel that much better if I try to take care of my body. So I'm giving myself a month (for now) to see how it goes. Here's what I'm doing:

1. No carbonated drinks.
2. No sweet tea. (knife in my heart.)
3. 8 glasses of water a day (I'm building up to this one.)
4. Exercising 5-7 days a week. (Running, Pilates, Zumba, Strength & flexibility classes)
5. Nothing obviously bad like fried foods or burgers.
6. Veggies/fruit every day.
7. Committing to a regular sleep pattern. Midnight to bed. 8 am to rise. (I like to sleep 9 hours but as an adult I shouldn't need to. I'm thinking the 9 hrs results from my unhealthy lifestyle.)

So if you want I'll update a little here and there on the Wellness Experiment. We'll see if doing healthy things really makes a difference in how I feel. I know this is unprecedented. Update women's magazines the world over!

Instead of resolutions this year I've assigned each month of 2010 a different focus-either a skill I want to learn, a trait I want to possess or a value I want to focus on. Obviously January is "Wellness." February is "Learning to (really) Cook." I got the idea from a blog I like & you may want to check out: Happiness Project

Also with the New Year came a slew of new books, movies, plays and trips I want to experience! I shall report back on all noteworthy items.

For now I'm going to go not eat a cookie.

01 January, 2010

New new new new new

It is 9:30 AM on New Years Day 2010. Normally if I had a lazy morning I would turn on the TODAY show, sip on a cup of coffee, and catch up on blogs and other internet nonsense. Today I felt a strong sense to set the tone for the year right and keep the TV off. I do have my laptop and coffee though. It’s time to do some reflecting. And I reflect best here.

I think I’ve figured out that New Years is indeed my favorite holiday. Not necessarily because of the sparkly dresses and champagne toasts and parties (although I do love all things glamorous. Please!) but it must be my favorite because I’ve noticed that I try to perpetuate New Years all year long. I made goals/resolutions 3 different times over the past year. That is 3 pretend new years’s.

I love New Years because the obvious—it’s a new year. A new day. A prime opportunity for change and to make the best choices in one’s life. Like the lyrics from the musical “Rent” 525,600 minutes—how do you measure your life in a year? There are different ways to measure…how much money you’ve accumulated (or how much debt), how successful work endeavors went, if you succeeded in maintaining your relationship, if you finally got rid of the one you needed to, if you found love, if you locked love down, if you stayed close to the ones who you meant to, if you inspired others to be better, if you sacrificed time and money on the needy’s behalf. How did your year go?

I don’t know if you caught Oprah’s “Christmas at the White House” special on TV a few weeks ago. I didn’t see it with my own two eyes but I did hear that she asked the President one great question: “How would you grade yourself for what you’ve done the past year?” I think it apropos to ask myself the same thing.

If I were getting a 2009 progress report on the Report Card of Life what would I give myself? I think part of me wants to give myself a high score. “A” for effort if you will. But there are some things I fell short in—service to others, sacrificial giving, investing in social causes.

Primarily this year I invested in myself…with investing in friends and family coming in a lame 2nd.

I’m continually haunted by the heading of this blog: “This is Your Life.” If you know the Switchfoot song you know the rest of that phrase is: “Are you who you want to be?”

So I ask you: are you who you want to be?

This year I’ve spent a lot of time in a church-less world staring at the NYC sky (the patches between skyscrapers of course) and wondering what’s the point.

It is apparent that we as a human race all long to matter…long to leave some sort of legacy (like Jane Austen’s or Madeleine L'Engle’s would be fine with me!) I have seen that soul cry in all my friends—Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheist. My answer to that longing no matter your background is to delve into the meaning of love. For me of course a great depiction is in 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible. I choose today to make a cognizant effort to be less self-serving. As Avenue Q points out so ironically the most selfish thing you can do is be unselfish cause it makes you feel so good. :-)

Love more. Serve more. Be more patient. Think about myself less. Maybe I’ll give myself a higher score next year…