Sometimes to Take Two Steps Forward, You Need to Take One Step Back

It's been a minute since I've written a blog because, well, life. And, to be honest, I've been feeling a little conflicted about my message. Last November, I was laid off from my serving job and I took it as a sign that I was done with waiting tables and on to the next stage of my life as a writer and actress. And everyone walked off into the sunset, stayed in love forever without fighting, and could eat as many pieces of dark chocolate as they liked without gaining any fat on their thighs. THE END.

But the fact of the matter is, that those six months made me extremely anxious, depressed, and more hopeless than the Cavs in the NBA finals. Sure, I had extra time. And I DID accomplish a couple small feats, like finishing my spec script and applying to a bunch of writing fellowships. But the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty about how I would continue to pay my bills started to eat away at me. What was supposed to be the best time of my life ended up being the worst.

It also turns out that I HATE freelance and copywriting. From afar it seems great. You write on your own schedule so you have time to tend to all your creative passions! Except at fifteen dollars per article about E-commerce tips or WordPress Customer Service plugins, which I know absolutely nothing about and, therefore, took a minimum of three hours to research and write, it would take me approximately NINE HOURS to make FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS. It took me about four days to quit that job with a big 'ol, "Sorry, I'm not sorry."

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Meanwhile, things like headshots, acting class, and, well, FOOD, were draining the bank. Something had to give.

On a plane ride back from visiting my family in Ohio, because 1- I love them, and 2- I didn't have to pay for food while I was there, (But mostly one, family, mostly one!!!😘) I was watching the movie Paris Can Wait, which is all about food and wine throughout the Parisian countryside. I got such overwhelming JOY from watching the leading man talk about food and wine. Way more than I had felt in the past six months banging my head against my desk urging paid work to come from ANYTHING besides writing about Woocommerce (I mean, what even IS that?), that I got off that plane and IMMEDIATELY decided to go for my level one sommelier license.

I had been talking about taking my level one sommelier test for years but something always got in the way. Now, with no more job excuse, I put my foot on the gas. With only one month to study, (way less than I would have liked) I hit the books hard. Immediately, I felt better. I had a concrete purpose, pass this test. It's the complete opposite of acting and writing where each day you can figure out something to pursue but there is never any guaranteed outcome. Trust me, I've been acting and writing in L.A. for ten years and... let's not talk about it. This post is supposed to be about how I'm NOT depressed anymore. 😜 But with this, if I studied hard I WOULD pass the test. And I had to face the facts, there is a huge part of me that likes and needs that kind of stability.

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My First Mystery Blogger Award!

I am very excited to announce that I have been nominated for a Mystery Blogger Award!!! I am so extremely grateful and excited!!!!

OK. But if you're like me you may be thinking, but what does this MEAN? I have to admit that I've heard of the Mystery Blogger Award, even found some really great blogs that way through other blogger's nominations, but I didn't really know what it signified. So the type A in me did some research. According to my Google search it is an award:

"for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get."
Wait. And you're sure I'M nominated for this? My first thought was, "Oh no! I suck. I mean, I haven't even written a blog in like a month, because, um, life." And even before that I hadn't been feeling my usual inspirational self so I had resorted to writing about, well, food. I'm not worthy!!!

But all jokes aside, my second, and most prevailing, thought was one of pure gratitude. Thank you so incredibly much  Love Infusion for nominating me. Please, everyone, check out her blog. She, like me, doesn't take herself too seriously. And once she even wrote an inspirational rap.

OK. Again, I'm new at this and not sure of the protocol so, just like everything else in my life, I'm going to wing it.

Three Things About Me:
  • I love my cat, Logan, so much I'm basically a crazy cat lady. I bought him a Cavs jersey to wear when I watch the games at home. (If you don't know who the Cavs are, they are a basketball team from Cleveland and I am a die hard fan!)
  • I'm currently studying for my first level sommelier exam which I take in one week in Vegas. (part of the reason I haven't been blogging, sorry!) A sommelier is basically a wine expert sooooo... I've been drinking A LOT of wine.
  • I write a column for a magazine called "The Sugarzine". It's a great magazine focusing on women and their careers, and a bunch of other positive ish. Check it out here: The Sugarzine
The Questions I Was Given:
  • What event, if any, started your spiritual awakening? This one is easy as I've mentioned it from my very first blog Who Am I?  Six years ago my whole life pretty much fell apart. I was engaged and we broke up in pretty horrific fashion, I ended up homeless, his dog killed my cat, and I got in not one, but two car accidents... all in one month. It was pretty much Armageddon. I decided something had to change because I wasn't exactly doing so hot. A friend of mine invited me to go see Marianne Williamson teach from "A Course of Miracles" and I was hooked.


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How I Ate My Way Through Spain: Part 3

When we last left off on my Spanish adventure, we had completed a jam-packed, fun filled day in Valencia. And once again, on minimal sleep, we were up at 6am to make it to the train station for our next leg: Seville! (pronounced Se-bi-ya not like The Barber of Seville. Come on, don't be THAT American.)

This time we had a four hour train ride so we got in a decent nap which was good because I was dying. This was the first time that the thought, "Dear God, what have I done?!?" popped into my head. I had a dreadful feeling that I had bit off more than I could chew in my itinerary planning.

That is until we got into Seville, dropped our bags off at the hotel, and ran to a restaurant as fast as we could. We were starving. Did I mention how much I love Spanish tapas? Yes? Too bad, I'm going to say it again. I LOVE SPANISH TAPAS. OK, now I'm screaming at you. But look at this.

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Grilled octopus in squid ink. I'm getting hungry just looking at it. I will tell you that the moment they put this in front of me all my sleepiness went right out the window. Good food just makes my heart beat fast like that. And it tasted even better than it looks! We also had skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Both were delicious.

With our stomachs full we felt recharged enough to explore beautiful Seville. Our first stop was The Plaza de Espana in the Parque de Maria Luisa. This was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.

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If you visit make sure you have Euros to pay for the row boats, which I desperately wanted to do. We were both fresh out and hadn't had time to stop at an exchange center so I bartered with a local vendor to exchange U.S. dollars for a small fee. And, even though my boyfriend and I weren't the best rowers at first, we got the hang of it and it was so worth it!

After walking through the beautiful park we made our way to Hotel Alfonso XIII, a very expensive luxury hotel our cab driver had told us was worth the visit. He claimed they had the best cafe con leche in town so, obviously, I had to check it out. The hotel was amazing and very upscale. I felt a little like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman as I squealed in pleasure at the wide array of scented lotions in the bathroom. We sat in the central courtyard which had natural sunlight and a serene atmosphere and got ready for our pick me up.

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From Frozen to Flower: How I Made it Through Winter to Spring

It's spring! Thank God. I need a little sunshine in my life. OK. Yes, I live in L.A. so pretty much every day is a sunny oasis, but what my life lacked in seasonal changes on the physical plane, it definitely made up for metaphorically.

Because this past November, on the day before Thanksgiving to be exact, I was laid off from my serving job of nearly eight years. Yeah. Thanks for that corporate America. Your timing is impeccable. Despite the overwhelming amount of shadiness dealt out by my former employer at the time, I had an optimistic view of the situation. This would give me the time to finally go after what I really wanted, writing and acting.

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Then the frost set in. December 21 was the first day of winter and, right on cue, I started freaking out.

  • FACT #1: I had no job but Christmas shopping waits for no one
  • FACT #2: I had no job and could no longer vent my problems to co-workers in lieu of therapy
  • FACT #3: I HAD NO JOB! OR DIRECTION... Besides playing with my cat. I did a lot of that.

My body froze, icicles formed around my heart, and winter gales blew all my hopes and dreams down towards Shonda Rhimes' office, who probably has like 18 hit shows by now.  I even called up a friend I used to work with and cried... about missing my serving job! I didn't even know who I was anymore! My whole world had been frozen, and not in the funny Disney musical way.

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The thing is, I was making a lot of money at my old job. This wasn't the Denny's on the corner. This was a five star, five diamond property that charged $48 for a salmon salad! I was making more money than most college graduates right out of business school. I loved that financial freedom, and the first thing that entered my chilly little winter brain was, "Go get another high end serving job."

And I could have. But that would have kept me in my same old "safe" routine. These thoughts were my ego mind trying to keep me stuck. If I got another serving job I wouldn't be creating new beliefs that supported me deserving to make money doing what I love. This part of my winter was tough. It consisted of me challenging every belief that I have and telling it, "thank you, but I'm going to go another way." And this way came with way less money. I had to use every ounce of strength and courage to dig deep down into that barren, snowy wasteland and keep going.

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How I Ate My Way Through Spain: Part 2

Barcelona was a dream. Breathtaking architecture and mind blowing food. Read about it  here. Now, on to Valencia!

The first mistake my boyfriend and I made planning this trip was over-ambition. We made it back to our hotel from our amazing fourteen course meal at Moments at 1:00am. And then we had to pack. Our reservation had been at 8:30pm, which was also the earliest possible dinner time. Spaniards do things late. My kind of people but not when I foolishly schedule a train to Valencia at 7am the next morning.

So a little loopy, we woke up at 5am and were on our way! Luckily, we got to sleep two and a half hours on the train because then we were off and running.

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Our first stop was the Valencia Cathedral. Inside, we took a tour and saw some beautiful art work. And then the piece de resistance, the Holy Grail.

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Apparently, this is the chalice Jesus drank out of at the last supper. The Moors brought it over on a ship when they conquered this area in 715 AD. But who knows for sure. There are eight different chalices around the world claimed as the Holy Grail. But I'm gonna go ahead and say this one is real. Because this is the one I saw.

We also saw this:

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This is the real human hand of Saint Augustine. It has never fully decomposed. I was unhealthily obsessed with this piece. It was gross and amazing at the same time. OK. Enough about that. I promised you food.

We rented bikes and rode through old town into the City of Arts and Sciences. We were starving at this point so we stopped at a little outside cafe for some sangria and jamon sandwiches. Jamon sandwiches are literally just prosciutto on a baguette with a little butter. But they are DELICIOUS. I also must note that in the U.S. I am not able to drink milk. (I'm an almond milk girl.) But in Spain I had all kinds of dairy products like butter and cafe con leche and I never had a stomach ache! My theory is that there are too many antibiotics or other preservatives put into our food. So thanks for that U.S. Thanks. Oh, and by the way, this was our background during lunch.

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Yes, that is real. And no, we didn't only have one bike. It was just nicer for the picture.

I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of our jamon sandwich but you can see a typical one in the photo at the top. Next, we rode all the way down to the beach and had a delicious meal of cod fritters (left) and grilled cuddlefish (right). Everything melted in your mouth and the flavors! I can tell you one thing, Spanish food is not bland.

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