I Did Not See Russia From My Window

As you may be able to tell from my photos, I just got back from a vacation in Alaska. I traveled there with a friend from study abroad to stay with another friend from study abroad and have a mini reunion in the final frontier. To answer some quick questions, I know you are all dying to know…I did not see Russia from my backyard and I did not get eaten by a bear, nor did I see one (a little bummed about both these facts). Although it was beautiful in Alaska, my reasoning for going on the trip was to see old friends. If you have an opportunity to re-connect with friends, I highly suggest it. People are the most important thing in your life.

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3 years later and our beers weirdly match our shirts

Alaska is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 states, but ironically it is the most populous territory located north of the 60th parallel. The estimated population is 738,432 (not even a million), with half of Alaska’s residents residing in Anchorage. I know you may not care, but I had a lot of time to read Wikipedia during my layover and thought it was interesting.

I arrived at Anchorage airport around 11:40pm and it was still daylight outside. It did not hit me right away how far north we were, practically close to the arctic circle. Science tells me that we did experience some darkness (since we were below arctic circle), but it felt like one continuous day.

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Casual midnight sunsets

Our first day we headed 2 hours south to Seward, Alaska.  The drive itself was gorgeous and seemed like it was almost fake. The bright blue water mixed with the snow topped mountains was breath taking. It was only 15 minutes outside of Anchorage where the mountains started to overtake the view.

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We saw a baby moose on the road to Seward, Alaska

Some history on Seward first (and the Alaska Purchase). The Alaska Purchase was the United States’ acquisition of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Russia wanted to sell the land due to its difficult living conditions and lack of natural resources (the irony must have killed them later). Also, they did not want the United Kingdom to easily seize the territory in case of war. The town name of Seward comes from its actual purchaser, Secretary of State, William H Seward. Americans opposed the purchase and dubbed it “Seward’s Folly.” I guess those natural resources really showed them.

For the next two days we camped right by the sea in Seward. Every July 4th the town has a race up and down Mount Marathon, about 906 meters high. Also, the town in mile 0 of the historic Iditarod Trail. The trail began as a passage across several mountain ranges and valleys en route to Nome for Alaskan native peoples. When the gold rush hit in 1910, thousands of people began traveling the trail, populating along it. Today, it is the route for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race every year.

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On our first day we went on a tour of the Iditarod Sled Dog facility. This is where they train the sled dogs until they race. The dogs will also train with their team, but remember we are in Alaska in the summer, so it is easier to train by pulling tourists. The trail, as mentioned earlier, goes all the way to Nome during the winter. It is a brutal course, that typically takes easily over 8 days, where you get no sleep and must travel alone while taking care of your 12-14 dogs.  The girl giving us the tour came in 49th place this year, but keep in mind that not everyone finishes the race. Finishing is a feat. She was a total badass.

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The Iditarod Trail

The tour started with a puppy cuddle session. I could have died happy in those moments. A lot of people assume these dogs are huskies, but they are all mutts. Most dogs were pulled by people in the gold rush and taken off the streets. Now the dogs are bred based on their racing qualities.  After we were taught about the sled dogs attire and equipment (you can see a picture of Custard below with full get up). Then we were taken on a sled ride. The dogs love racing. They bark and howl if they must stop at any moment. All they want to do is run.

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The closest dog is Bama. Naturally, he was on the championship team last year. He also has brothers named Crimson and Tide. ROLL TIDE!
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This is Custard getting ready to mush

The dogs are attached at their side to another dog. When they stopped to take a pee break, they first went to the right side and all the right-side dogs peed. Then in sync they shifted to the left side, so the other half could pee. It was quite hilarious. Also, female dogs do not race because the male dogs were getting too distracted especially in heat. Another fun fact is that the term “mush” or “mushers” comes from the French verb, marcher, or to walk. We are simply mispronouncing the term and now because of movies/TV/culture, think it is the word to say to sled dogs.

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A quick run on the trail
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Some of the dogs are famous in Hollywood

Later that day we hiked up Exit Glacier. It is an active glacier located right outside Seward. We did not see any bears on the hike, but always remember to carry bear spray. It is like pepper spray on steroids. During the hike there are signs showing where the glacier used to be based on the year. For those who think climate change is not real…the below picture is taken at the sign that reads “Year 2010.” In just 8 years the glacier has shrunk significantly, and it is not getting any better. I am happy that I got to see this because who knows how long we will be able to hike and see it. Before I get myself on a rant and depressed, I’ll continue along with our trip.

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Exit Glacier + Glacier Beers
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Yes…that only reads year 2010

The next day we took a 3.5-hour wildlife cruise through Resurrection Bay in Seward. The name has something to do with retreating during a bad storm. You can look it up if interested, I cannot recall. We got to see everything from a humpback whale, sea lions, sea otters, puffins and bald eagles (4th of July, freedom, America, etc…) Also, they gave us bloody mary’s on the cruise, so it was just perfect.

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Views from the cruise (yes it rhymes)

After Seward, we headed back to Anchorage for the rest of the trip. We started by going to the art museum. There was an underlying theme of current culture overtaking the native lands. This theme can be stretched throughout the entire US, but especially in areas such as Alaska, where there is still “untouched” land. One may view this lands as a place that is not be utilized, an economic opportunity, while one may see it for the beauty it holds and believe we must keep that land safe (think of it as Pocahontas I guess). Anyways, it was very interested to see.

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This bar had a free cheese block. Thought it was worth sharing.

Then we went to the bars of Anchorage. The downtown area was great and bigger than I had expected. I also did no research before coming to Alaska, so that is on me. We went to two speakeasy’s in town. The first one we had to leave (there was no rule about playing “Bad and Boujee” and not knowing it was heard by the actual fancy restaurant out front…opps).

For our last day we went to Crow Creek Mill. The town was established in 1896 and is still one of Alaska’s most renowned hydraulic gold mining operations. Walking through the town feels as if you are back in time, working in the mill yourself. Then we treated ourselves to dinner and drinks at the famous Double Musky Inn, located in Girdwood, Alaska. It is a cajun style restaurant built in 1962 and was originally an after ski bar stop.

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Outside Crow Creek Mill
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Crow Creek Mill
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I’m artsy

Thank you Charlie for being a wonderful host (also to your roommate Nolan for letting us take over your place). Lizzy, thank you for agreeing to come with me. Being able to see you both again was a dream come true.

Until next time, please enjoy this tree with a donk (that is slang for big butt)

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The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about tacos.

I don’t know why we take so much time to reflect during milestones, but here I am sitting at my new favorite coffee shop in Noho trying to decipher the last year I lived. Exactly two years ago, I had surgery and was unable to walk for 6 weeks. Fast forward to one year ago when I boarded a one way flight to LA without a job or place to live. Then yesterday I graduated from the UCLA Professional Program in television writing and have been working a full time job and possibly even upgrading to get air conditioning in my next apartment (okay that last one is a long shot, LA is expensive y’all).

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I did a thing yesterday!

Even with so much excitement leading up to big milestones, I still find myself unsure about a lot of things. I am only 24 years old and barely know anything. At times I feel like I have control of LA life. I wake up (in my adult bed that is not made of air) feeling like I understand what I am doing and what is next. Other days I feel like I am clueless about life and can’t even kill handle killing a cockroach in my room by myself.

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I finally found my favorite cheese here and it weirdly made me feel more at home. It’s really the little things.

For the past year, I had deadlines every week, where some beat sheet, outline, or draft of a script was due. Then each week I would get notes and support from my workshop. Now I am back on my own (well I still have my classmates for support and notes, but not a forced weekly meeting). I am struggling trying to map out how I will bring that writing structure back into my life, so I am doing what I do best, writing it all out on here in hopes of coming to some clarity.

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Missing people and red eye is terrible, but here is my workshop!

A lot of people ask me how I like Los Angeles, but to be fair I have not even lived in the same city consistently for over a year in the past 5 years. For anyone else who grew up in northeastern cities, you may know how different the west coast can be. I am a big believer that it does not matter where you live, but the people you are with in that location. The other day, I overhead a man saying how much he originally hated living in LA, but then just realized he was lonely and it was not necessarily LA that he hated, but his loneliness while here. I am like most 24 year olds in these giant cities. Just wondering around trying to figure out how to not be lonely while chasing dreams. I have a feeling this lasts the rest of your life.

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Woke up one morning and my side mirror housing was just gone. Red side mirror housing for my car is on national backorder and I think it is no coincidence!

So much has happened over the past year! I finally got a real bed after sleeping on my air mattress for 2 years. I figured out car insurance (sorta) and that one red light ticket will cause the price to go up $50 every month. I got a 401K plan and I’m very close to understanding how it works and why it is important that I got one. Most importantly, I worked full time (and overtime) while taking night classes and finished strong with three new scripts!

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I’ll never stop boasting about my adult bed. Yes I still own a penguin pillow pet…it is extremely comfy!

At the UCLA graduation ceremony one of the guest speakers told us what will define our careers is what we end up doing on Monday night in lieu of class. Just because the program ended does not mean the work of the writer is over. If you have ever stared at a blinking cursor over a blank page for hours straight you may understand the anxiety we all feel graduating. On Monday, all of us must go out there and continue writing our stories on our own.

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We told Fresh Brother’s pizza it was my graduation when ordering for our office and they gave me balloons and a decorated pizza box. They even commented “Get it girl” on my Instagram post.

I think back to my first months here in LA, full of unknowns (like where is my next paycheck going to come from because rent is still due), but also just trying to find purpose after a year of recovery at home. I talked about this in a previous blog, but here goes again because I love it so much. As one of my favorite poems by David Wagoner says, “Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger.” I am here and I am not lost, but just standing still to take it all in.

In other news, I also joined a co-ed flag football league. We play at Santa Monica beach on Saturdays. A couple weeks ago we played in the playoffs and actually won the championship! Hopefully the next season will be starting again soon.

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CHAMPIONS!

I decided to be super adult and see a dentist for the first time in 2-3 years. Let me tell you it was a giant mistake. Now I have to go back and get a lot of cavities filled and I am terrified. Please send your thoughts and prayers!

As for the future, I do have some plans. I hope to go back and revise some scripts I worked on this year as well as start some new ones. Maybe even write and film a short. I keep saying I am going to update this blog more, but I promise I am working on it. Most importantly I am going back to Philly for a visit in 2 weeks.

Now that school has finished, I also decided to take some vacation time. I am taking a trip to Alaska to visit some friends from study abroad. Not sure on our plans, but I am sure pictures and blog posts are to come. Lastly, I purchased a 10 day roundtrip ticket to Japan over labor day weekend. More to come on that as we start to plan.

Thank you to my friends and family for being my biggest support system as I moved out to LA and continued on with school and working. My father who took a week off to help me apartment hunt and move in all my thrift store finds. My mother who was always available for a late night phone call and my biggest cheerleader. My sister for always being my best friend. My grandparents who helped me afford my Trader Joe’s addiction while at the UCLA program and believing in my writing. My room mate for passing off my rent checks to the landlord and making sure I was alive each week. My boyfriend for making me coffee everyday and giving me the space to always be creative. Also to all my friends who have shown so much support and love.

Until next time, please enjoy this photo of an inspiring quote from our new favorite North African taco joint…

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“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about tacos.”

Today I Deflated My Air Mattress (this is also a Patriots joke)

Sorry for not writing any blog posts in the past couple months. I have been a tad busy, starting a new full time job, continuing night classes and trying to maintain everyday life things such as eating and showering. To start, let me give some updates.

First of all, I started a new job in November at Encore Hollywood as a production assistant. We do post production for multiple TV shows. If you want to know more, check out the company’s website: www.encorepost.com.
Second, I am now on my second semester at UCLA for the professional program. Last semester we finished our spec scripts. For those who might not know spec scripts are episodes you write for an existing TV shows, as if you were a writer on their staff. I did my spec for “The Mick,” which I know still needs lots of editing, but it was a great learning experience.
This semester we are doing original TV pilots. I have decided to do a dramedy about female health and sexuality. If you know me or read any of my previous blogs, this would come as no surprise. It is always exciting to write about something you are passionate about and is personal to you, so here goes nothing.
On that note, I attended the women’s march here in Los Angeles. It was like the Philly one, except they had a ton of celebrities giving speeches and musical performances. The march as always, gave me inspiration, especially when it came to outlining my TV pilot for class.

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Looking like a feminist Hey Arnold character
I am realizing now that it has been months since my last post, so it may be hard to squeeze every detail in, but I will try. Before Christmas, I took a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Fun fact, the park does not have a single “Joshua tree,” but multiple “Joshua trees,” in every direction. I don’t know why, but this was news to me. Of course the one day we decide to go to the desert, it was 40 degrees and raining. Luckily the hikes were beautiful and the hole-in-the-wall diner we ate at had great comfort food.

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You can really see those Joshua trees…and my car Bonsai
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Yes there is water in the desert
It is hard to believe that I only moved to LA 7 months ago with no job, or place to live and at the time no idea I would get into the program at UCLA. It sometimes does not hit me till I am driving to work down La Brea and notice the Hollywood sign in the far off mountains. (except I guess they are not too far off)
Now, the big news of the week is that I finally have a mattress. On Saturday, a co-worker was generous enough to give me an extra. For those of you who do not read my prior blogs, I have been sleeping on an air mattress since senior year of college. At the time it made sense since I was moving around so much. Now as I deal with my third case of whiplash, (minor accident, not my fault, literally someone tapped my bumper just hard enough to whip my neck) I decided that maybe it was time to give my neck and back the support it deserves. (I also have terrible scoliosis)

At first I thought it would be simple. You go and pick out a bed frame and place the mattress on top…oh boy was I wrong. First of all, if you think you can remember everything in one IKEA trip, then you are mistaken. You will need to go multiple times. Second, you also need a support bar and stacks for the bed. Also, if you like to sleep high up like myself, then you have to purchase a box spring. Then on top of all this (puns intended) you need a mattress protector, sheets, comforter, pillows, pillow cases, etc…

Maybe it is on me for not understanding how beds work, but to be fair I have actually never had a bed frame. To be honest, I don’t really own anything I would consider “adult.” (I eat off plastic tableware) I also decided to buy my first “adult” dishware set. It was quite an overwhelming day.
Also, did you know that you can get a $2 complete breakfast at IKEA. It comes with eggs, sausage and the lingonberry crepes! If you are a member of IKEA family (which is completely free, so why are you not?) then you get a free coffee or tea with your meal. I mean you could potentially just eat at IKEA every morning for $2. You might get fat and I am pretty sure it is powdered eggs, but hey you gotta do what you gotta do…anyways I’ll stop going off on a tangent.
When I got back to my apartment to set up the bed, I got ready to deflate the air mattress, which had been my support system for three years. As I took off the mattress protector, it turns out I made a great decision. It was the same feeling you get on Deal or no Deal when you realize the box you did not choose is revealed to be the penny. There was mold all over the air mattress and topper where I slept every night. Scroll fast if you do not want to see a photo.
yep…mold
If anything it continues to make me wonder how long it will take to “have my life together.” It is only when you “mop” your floor with a make shift swiffer complete with 7/11 Clorox wipes attached, do you think to yourself it may take your whole life. For right now, I am the proud owner of a bed and a dishware set and for me, that is the most accomplished I’ve felt in months. Maybe in the future I can own a mop…or even a vacuum, but let me see how much adulting I feel like doing after taxes.
I also purchased a couch and two chairs for a total of $5 from a co-worker’s auction. (Nothing a little carpet cleaner and vacuum can’t clean) Our place is now filled with tapestries, Spongebob wall stickers, and a mish-mosh of old thrift store furniture. One can say it is really coming together, or that it has “personality.” We are just happy to have places to sit other than the floor.

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Our $2 couch
In the next weeks, I’ll start actually writing the script for my TV pilot. After I am finished with that, we write another original TV pilot. Ironically, pilot season is coming around the corner in Hollywood, so I have a feeling all my free time will be gone. At least I can get a better nights sleep on my new mattress.
The best news of all is that the Eagles won the Superbowl! The Philadelphia Eagles won the Superbowl…sorry just had to say it twice so I could fathom it myself. Along with Alabama winning the national championship, I can say this was the best year of football yet. Although, I know most people would disagree, I am beyond happy!!
I will try my best to keep up with my blog posts more often, but until next time please enjoy this picture of Chad with a cactus stuck in his hand, because I said that I wanted to take one home…
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Yes I Only Have $2.00 Today

I realize I have been slacking on my blog posts, but I have just been so busy the past weeks. So, here goes the next one:

This past week while eating lunch outside at Sony, I left my purse on a chair. I did not realize I had left my purse there until an hour later when facilities contacted me about a missing purse with my ID inside. Of course I was so thankful and a bit nervous that I did not even notice my purse was missing. They returned the purse to the front desk where I work. The security guard asked me to check the wallet because it looks as if some cash was stollen. She made note that there was only $2.00 in the wallet. I had to look her dead in the face and explain that at this point in time I only had $2.00 period. So that is how life is going.

Do not worry, that was the day all my bills were due and my pay check was late due to the holiday. I promise I have enough money to live…kinda.

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They loved our matching brunch shirts so much that they gave us free drinks!

This week has been filled with crazy overtime hours as well as a working Saturday. On top of this my last sketch comedy writing class is this Sunday. My UCLA screenwriting classes start the first week in October. I feel like I have not even had a second to breathe other than last night when I finally caught up on Bachelor in Paradise (go ahead and judge me).

Other than working and doing writing assignments, my life is not too interesting. I was able to go to the Alabama bar for the first football game. The bar had Gallettes cups with yellowhammers as well as Dreamland BBQ sauce. For all the people that don’t know what I am talking about, Gallettes is a famous Alabama bar on the strip that serves a famous drink known as yellowhammer in yellow plastic cups that you can take home. It was incredible to be surrounded by Alabama fans again. Back in Philadelphia, my mom and I would be the only ones cheering on the Tide, while everyone around us was rooting against them.

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Wyclef did a free show during Sony happy hour

I also tried my first escape room, which we completed with 10 minutes to spare (yeah I’m kinda a big deal). They are super fun if you like puzzles. I am a total nerd who loves puzzles (well especially Sudoku).

Last week I attended one of the sketch comedy shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. As a student, we can attend certain events for free. Usually it is sketch comedy, but in an amazing surprise turn of event, it was a puppet musical. The musical was about four friends who move to LA in hopes of making it in the entertainment industry, but of course learn the harsh realities of LA quickly. It may have hit a bit too close to home at times.

In a week it will have been three months since I have moved to LA. Some days it feels like I have been here for years and other it still feels like my first week. I think these moves have just become second nature to me. Over the past 5 years alone, I have lived in 6 different cities, each time starting over.

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When you work on Saturday, you can get awesome pictures of the lot with no one else in them

I have realized this is a pattern for our generation. Maybe it is just me who sees it, but most of my friends have scattered across the US for either jobs or school. It seems we are all just continuous nomads. Sure moving and finding your bearings in a new place can be hard, but I think the most challenging thing is starting relationships over. It is hard enough to make friends again in a whole new city, but it keeps getting harder once I have to leave a place, where I am already established. Life has a crazy way of moving you from place to place, so I guess I will have to see how long this journey will continue.

In other news, I purchased a flight home for Thanksgiving weekend. Sure I arrive in Philadelphia at 5:00am on Thursday, but at least I get to see some family and maybe attend my high school reunion on that Friday.

I understand this blog is short, but I just wanted to give some updates in the little free time I could find. Until next time please enjoy this photo of the biggest fire to ever hit LA from last weekend. This is fine. We are all going to be fine. Global warming can’t be real with all this proof.

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Yes the hill is on fire

Stand Still

I have officially hit the two month mark in LA as of August 17th. It really does not seem as if that much time has passed. I still feel like I moved here a week ago.  Although there is not too much to report, I always enjoy sharing what’s happening in my week.

This weekend my room mate and I attended Brunch Con. Imagine Comic Con, but for brunch. It is exactly what you picture. There is an endless bloody mary and mimosa bar, multiple food stations (egg station, waffle station, bacon station), as well as photo booths. All my basic girl dreams came true!

I cannot rave about Brunch Con enough! If you want to go next year (it is annual) please let me know. I am planning on matching t-shirts and fanny packs so that I can easily access my fork.

We also went to brunch the next day at a place called Akasha in Culver City. They loved our matching Brunch Con shirts so much, they gave us free drinks and put our picture on their social media sites. It pays to brunch!

My most proud moment of the week was figuring out car insurance. Once my car was registered in California, I ]also had to switch over the insurance to California. The thought of limits and liability scared me (and still scares me), but after multiple phone calls and tons of research, I was able to get car insurance. It was the most adult I felt in a long time.

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I’m official!

As always, I am keeping myself busy. I am guilty of something I think most of us are. I tend to spend too much time preparing for my next move that I forget to enjoy where I am in the moment. It is sometimes only when I look back on the past year that I realize it is all just a memory. From time to time I even wake up in a panic in my new room, forgetting that I had uprooted my entire life to Los Angeles.

A couple months ago, before moving to LA, my mom and I took some yoga classes together. We did one specifically that took place on the new moon. There are a myriad of groups and places that hold “moon circles,” or  “women circles.” It is worth trying if you ever have the time.

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Speaking of moons, here is an awesome full moon in North Hollywood

Anyways during the class, we were doing a breathing exercise and the teacher read a poem during it. If you know me, then you know I am a literary nerd. Of course I went home, looked up the poem, dissected it and thought about it’s meaning all night. The poem is as follows:

LOST
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

Some of you may already know this poem. I had heard it before, but never really thought of it again until this class. It resonated with me and in the past week, it has come back into my thoughts.

I am learning to stand still (this is coming from the girl who spontaneously buys cheap flights on Skyscanner every couple months). It sounds like a simple concept, but it is harder than I imagined. I get so wrapped up in all the future talk, that I forget that I am here, in this moment, at this time. That is the beauty of literature though, the ability to make your mind wonder through words.

Sometimes I forget that I am only 23 years old and I do not need to have everything figured out. Where I am at right now is great. I am not lost. I am simply here.

I will wrap this up before I get too deep.

So on final thought…remember to stand still.

Until next time please enjoy this photo of the Jeopardy sound stage that I pass by on the way to my car everyday…

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I may have to find a way to get inside

Entry- Level

I have officially lived in LA now for over a month, but I swear it only feels like a couple days. Technically I am now a California resident (I have my new license ID, license plates and angry DMV tweets to prove it).

I have been told that my blog posts are getting shorter, but I believe that I am just getting busier. I feel like in a matter of one week, my schedule became a packed tight, no free time bundle of chaos.

For starters, I started a long-term temp job at Deluxe Entertainment. I am the front desk/receptionist at the Culver City location. It is great because my commute is super short (15 minute commute in LA is pretty awesome), but also it is located on the Sony Pictures Lot. My favorite part about working on the lot is waving at tour groups as they walk down main street. I like to pretend I’m a celebrity, although I think my temp badge gives it away.

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The Sony lot has this awesome rainbow

The Sony lot also has cool lunch/social events. During the summer on Wednesdays there is an employee BBQ. Also there is a great taco truck that comes on Fridays. Rumor has it that there is an employee happy hour on Thursdays, but I will have to check for myself this week.

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Right outside my desk

Along with working Monday-Friday, I have signed up to do freelance events for a catering company to make some extra money. As you can start to see my schedule is filling up quick.

On top of all this, I am still taking sketch comedy writing classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Each week we have an assignment due. This is great because it forces me to write every week (I guess this blog does too). Writing is a muscle and even with the weekly writing assignments, it is important to continue working on other personal projects as well.

Surprisingly I find time to do some fun things outside of work. This past week I was able to go to a live taping of Tosh.0. If you caught last Tuesday’s episode, please look for me in the front row.

On Saturday I had my first catering event, which was a wedding in Santa Monica. I was pretty exhausted from working full time, taking classes and dealing with switching over my car registration (it is a lot harder than I thought it would be). As I left the wedding, my white button down covered in guacamole, my black tie barely keeping shape, I realized I forgot where I parked. Usually I forget, but then realize once I get my bearings. Instead, I wondered around in the heat for an hour walking up every side street searching for this car. It was in that moment that I realized I needed some sleep and to maybe take a deep breath. Do not worry, I found the car, but after an hour of searching, I may have even shed a tear.

After a much needed nap and shower, I was ready to enjoy the night. My room mate has some friends in town. We went to a bar called Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. It is a speakeasy, where you have to enter through a fridge.

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It was a “chill” night

Sunday morning, a bunch of Alabama alumni ate brunch at Mama Shelter. It is a rooftop bar located in Hollywood. There are couches to lounge and views of the Hollywood sign. I may have been badly burnt, because I forgot that rooftops have direct sunlight.

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Bad and boujee

Also I of course watched this episode of Game of Thrones. If you want to chat about theories, let me know!

Only after one month, I have started such an amazing journey out west. There have definitely been ups and downs. One day you are having an emotional breakdown searching for your car and the next you are entering a bar through a fridge. I am so happy I have taken this risk though. I may only be entry-level for now, but every path has to start somewhere. You may not even know you are on a path until you look back.

Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the elevator up to the roof top bar…

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This is the ride

Patience Iago

Most of you know the iconic quote, “patience Iago,” from the Disney classic Aladdin. Just when Iago thinks they cannot get a hold of the lamp, Jafar reminds him to be patient. I remember my parents quoting the line every time my sister and I would be inpatient children growing up (and still today). Although I am not searching for a magical lamp, patience has turned out to be a huge part of my move to LA.

With most job applications, the process seems to take forever. Sure you may send in an application and hear back for an interview, but that interview isn’t until the next week. Then they call you back for a second interview for the next week, and all you can do is constantly refresh your emails knowing full and well you may not even get the position.

I was not moving to LA with the intention of finding a job even within the first month. I consider myself to have some patience, but certainly this process will test your limits. Also the rent is due August 1st, so that really puts a fire under my butt.

I spent every waking moment checking my phone/computer and refreshing job posting sites. Then once it was night time, I would scour the internet for more links. I decided that maybe it was time to take a break, so today I went to a yoga class.

You know those moments where you meet a stranger and they just say something you really needed to hear? Well if not, that is what happened to me today. All it took was the yoga instructor telling me to be patient and lets things work themselves out. I know this sounds simple, but I was so worked up in having to find a job right away that I forgot to take some time for myself. I moved to a whole new city just three weeks ago and that in itself is a lot to handle.

For me, this meant realizing that there are so many things I cannot control. I can continue to try my best and continue doing what I love. Luckily I picked a career path that is free to do on your own (although my need to drink coffee while writing is not free). All I can do is continue doing everything I am doing and just be patient.

Other than the job search, I have been keeping myself busy doing the things I love. First off, I signed up for sketch comedy writing class at the Upright Citizens Brigade. It is a famous theater for sketch comedy, improv and stand-up in LA and NY. I had my first class this past Sunday and it was great.

Last week I had the opportunity to bartend for the Outfest Film Festival at the opening night gala. It was exciting to bartend again after 3 years. Plus, all the vendors were generous in their free samples. (I guess that is what happens when you are making drinks for them at an open bar)

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Return of Bonnie the Bartender

I have also been making trips to the Writer’s Guild Library. Did you know it is free to go and use? You can go in and read any TV or film script. Even if you are not a writer, it is an amazing place to check out.

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There is a local farmers market in Culver City every Tuesday
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Luc Besson double feature and Q&A – the best part about living in LA is getting to attend these kinds of events!

Also, I tried going to one of those meet-up groups. At first I was a bit scared it might be really awkward, but it actually turned out to be really fun. I will definitely go to another one of their events, or try some other ones.

Until next time, please enjoy this photo of the Ghostbusters car from the Sony lot (I may or may not be temping there for a bit)…

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Who you gonna call?

The First Two Weeks of Adulting

As you may know from my previous blogs, I have made the leap and moved to Los Angeles with no place to live and no job. With a logline like that I guess I can tell you about how the first two weeks are going.

My room mate had been out a week prior to me searching for a place. By the time I arrived with my dad, we were able to review her favorites and then choose from there. By my second day here, we decided on a place in Culver City/Westchester (southwest of LA and closer to the beach). What I found so shocking is that most places did not include a fridge and or stove. I understand those are not things that are always included, but for the amount they were asking for rent??

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We got the keys!

The next step was to set up utilities. First was the power, which was fairly easy. It just required a trip to the LA Department of Power and Water and a very long wait time with no place to sit. The internet was also fairly easy. The biggest problem was SoCal Gas. When I called the person on the phone told me that they could not turn out gas on for a week. This would mean we could not use our stove or hot water until they arrived. After some choice words, we had the date moved up, but not by that much. It was back to my days in Ireland with cold showers (except no immersion).

Our place also had no furniture. Yes, it was the return of the air mattress (still the best investment I have ever made). My room mate and I headed all over town, searching through thrift shops for kitchen and living room furniture. By the last stop, a man in charge of a thrift shop, offered to sell us a table, desk and couch for a reasonable price. He also offered to drive it all in his truck to our house. We could not say no! The guy also offered my dad a job because he was such a good helper. Meanwhile, I am still unemployed.

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Such a good helper!

Our living room now features a blue plush chair, an ottoman (if you put pillows behind its like a cheap couch), a kitchen table and two chairs (one was a gift from our landlord and the other is my desk chair, which we use so that two people can sit at the kitchen table). Hopefully after we get some income, we can afford more chairs and maybe even a couch!

While my dad was here, we were able to do some fun things in between unpacking and setting up utilities. We went to the Professional Drum Shop (where my dad spent most of his days back in the 80s) as well as the DW Drum factory. We also found an amazing dinner near my apartment that we went to multiple times.

For the past weeks I have been applying to jobs non-stop. I wish I could give you more updates on the job front, but it is pretty stagnant. Since you cannot apply to jobs all day long, I have tried to go out and explore the area, but it becomes very hard when you have no income. Even parking at the beach is $20.

I was able to do some exploring, such as walking around downtown Culver City, hiking up the Baldwin Hills and Malibu. I have gone to the beach and searched some happy hour specials. We found a local brewery. I am never scared of getting bored here in Los Angeles.

In all my spare time, I spent an entire day at the DMV switching over my PA license. I know it is not necessary to change it over, but it was about to expire and I did not think I was going to be back in PA in time to renew. They do not make the process easy. Waiting at the DMV is like watching paint dry, or being forced to listen to Nickelback on repeat. After 6 hours and a 30 question multiple choice test, my new CA license comes in the mail in 2 weeks.

Sadly I must go back to the DMV to handle my license plate and car registration, but that is future Bonnie’s problem as of now!

I know us millennials use the term “adulting” all the time. You must remember in college that we learned the parts of a cell and not how to properly cook a meal or balance a checkbook. I feel slightly accomplished when finishing an adult activity, for instance like opening a checking and savings account in my name. Wow what a rush!

Now it’s time to enjoy the holiday and then continue on the job search.  Until then please enjoy this photo about diarrhea that was on an apartment complex we toured.

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Curious about what happened in order for them to put this sign up

The Waiting Place: A Year At Home

As many of you know, I am moving to Los Angeles today. A month ago, or so I booked a one-way flight in hopes of finding a job in the entertainment industry. I still do not have a place to live or a job, but it is all part of the adventure.

I applied to some grad programs back in December, unsure if I wanted to go or not. After booking a one-way flight, I found out 2 weeks before leaving that I got into the Professional Program at UCLA. It is a one year program for comedy television writing and I am so excited to get started.

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Got this delicious cookie cake. I should really move more often.

Before making plans to move and hearing about UCLA, I spent the past year living at home. After graduation, I had surgery and a long bed rest period. Even without surgery, I needed to save up enough money to eventually move out. I am beyond lucky that my parents were willing to let me live back home and take this time.

Although the comforts of home can be nice, being 23 and living in your parents’ house after college is not always the greatest time. I worked two jobs, almost 6 or 7 days a week. Making friends was almost impossible in Lafayette Hill. I spent months unsure of what I wanted to do next.

I found that the more I talked to people my age, the more similarities I discovered. 22/23 is a weird age. You finish college and then have no guarantee for a job or higher education. For most of us debt kicks in. When you move to a strange city or back home, it feels like a total start-over.

I always called this year “The Waiting Place.” When you graduate college, high school or have a huge life event, people always reference “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” The one thing I am sure that the book had right was “The Waiting Place.” (You may know this part of the book where people are waiting for the grass to grow or a check to clear) For me, it is a place in your life where you feel like you’re always anticipating the unknown. It could be hearing back from grad school or job applications. It could even be waiting for the time you move out of your parents’ house. Or just hoping you can quit your current job and move onto something you are more passionate about.

The only benefit of waiting is time. As a crazy planner, I spent my college years constantly busy with school, activities and social. I never had a moment to rest. It only took one day of staring at the ceiling on bed rest for me to realize that I cannot sit still. The year did lead to some amazing things though. For one, I had the opportunity to travel again. I went back to visit Alabama, I visited some friends in Minnesota and took a trip to Switzerland and Austria. Second, I saved up a ton of money so that I could move out to LA with a lot of backup. Third, I had the time to apply to grad programs and really think of my future.

I learned so much during this year:

  1. “Let go or be dragged”

I heard this quote from three of my favorite regulars at Cake. (Cake is the restaurant I worked at for 9 months in Philly this year) They had noticed I was not doing well that morning and offered it as advice. It had stuck with me through the year. There are so many ways to interpret the quote, but that is the thing I loved about it.

  1. Just because you have no idea what you’re doing with your life does not mean you are doing nothing.

This is maybe the quintessential feeling of being in your early 20s. When I was younger I thought that by 23 I would have it all figured out, living in my mansion and going to my amazing job. It turns out that you will never have it “all figured out.” Every day you are learning and growing and taking steps to progress forward. You may just not see the bigger picture yet.

  1. Book the flight, worry about the details later.

This is corny, but it is true that you will regret the things you did not do, then the ones you did. Travel is so important to me, but booking a flight does not mean you have to even fly somewhere far away and exotic. Just get in your car and go somewhere close by. Go on an adventure!

  1. Call that friend or plan a visit to see them. There is nothing more valuable than the people in your life. (This goes with #3)

When you are living at home on bed rest, you start to realize how silent your phone can become. People obviously reached out to me on bed rest, but sitting home all day makes you realize how small our interactions are with others. Pick up the phone and call that old friend. Invite a friend to a drink and actually talk. Trust me, they will be so happy you reached out. I can sometimes be a hypocrite and bad at keeping up with friends, but I am trying to be better!

Now I am off to move to LA, exactly a year after being put under for surgery. I could not have survived this year without the love and support of my family and friends. Cherish the time you have with family and friends from home because you never know when you will be on a flight chasing your dreams.

To all my friends who are graduating or just feel lost, enjoy your “Waiting Place.”

More updates to come about LA and hopefully new photos of my apartment (still need to find one of those). Until next time please enjoy this photo of my sister’s new adorable dog, Stella…

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The cutest doggo

We ate Mozart Balls

After our time in Innsbruck, we took a train to Salzburg. Our first stop was the Hellbrunn Palace, built in 1613 by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, Prine-Archbishop of Salzburg. Hellbrunn was used as a day residence in summer and is named for the clear spring that supplied it.

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Hellbrunn Palace

The palace is famous for its trick fountains. Markus Sittikus created these fountains to use as practical jokes on guests. (He basically liked shooting water at his friends. He might be my hero) Some of the trick fountains would be under seats or some coming out of the steps. All the fountains run on water and gravity alone, no electricity. There was even a small 1750 mechanical town that played Mozart music. The entire thing was run by a water organ.

On these grounds is the gazebo from The Sound of Music. There is a whole Sound of Music tour that you can do, but of course it is ridiculously priced and would take up our entire day of sightseeing.

Next we went to Hohensalzburg castle, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Inside the castle there was a giant timeline of events surrounding the construction of the castle to modern day. (You can look up all the details if you want) OF course, the theme of fire came up again and again. It seems as if these towns just keep burning down and building the same things.

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We watched the sunset over the Hohensalzburg Castle on the hill

After we went on a tour of the Stiegl brewery. The name comes from a set of steps (stiegl means steps) that led down to the waters of the canal in Salzburg.  The tour included a generous beer tasting.

The next day we signed up for a tour of the salt mines. There are salt mine tours all over Austria. Honestly it was hard to hear during the tour, so I did not learn very much other than it how long it must have took to construct these mines by hand. The tour itself was strange and crazy. First you must put on these ghostbuster looking body suits. Then the guides squeeze you onto these trains that whip through small mine tunnels. Suddenly there is a laser light show and then you go down a toboggan slide. It was one of the strangest tours of my life.

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Hottest kids you know

On a side note, I tend to hate these guided tour things. We were with a group of other couples, families and people that did the tour with us. A lot of the older couples kept asking us where our parents were or just assuming that we had no idea what was going on because we looked young. Granted, I look 14, but the assumptions started to become annoying. So to people on tours…please stop talking down to younger people traveling.

Also there was a woman on our tour with her husband and three young children. This woman did not understand sarcasm and instead took every comment I made as a way to  “mommy” me. As we were returning from the tour to return the ghostbusters uniforms, I made a comment to my sister about how I was going to steal the uniform and run off. This woman (who was not even in our conversation) turns around and tells me that I have to return the uniform and that the guide said so. I then went on to tell her I was telling a joke to my sister. She went on to not understand and then very slowly explain how we return the uniform. She always talked to me like I did not understand everything. It was like the woman at the post office that assumed I had no idea how to address a letter. Maybe its a young thing or blonde thing, I don’t know. Anyways it can be very frustrating when you are traveling.

Anyways back to the trip…

After the salt mine tour, we visited the Mirabell Palace. It has a famous marble hall that is used for concerts and weddings. Many people recognize the gardens from “Do, Re, Mi” in the Sound of Music.

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Mirabell Gardens

When the sun was setting, we took a boat cruise tour. It was just a ride down the Salzach River. The old city, or Altstadt, is on the left bank, while the new city, or Neustadt, is on the right. The boat tour would have been interesting if I could actually hear anything over the sounds of screaming children and people talking. Fun fact: Apparently Mel Gibson and Tom Hanks once stayed at a fancy hotel in Salzburg (that is all I could catch from the guide).

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Shadows of Salzburg

The most important fact about Salzburg is that it is the birthplace of Mozart and home to a museum of his childhood instruments. The town is obsessed with Mozart. Even at the end of the boat tour, the boat spun in circles while “Rock Me Amadeus” blared on repeat. Salzburg is home to the Mozart ball, or Mozartkugel. It is a small round chocolate made of pistachio marzipan, nougat and dark chocolate. It was created in 1890 by Paul Fürst and named after Mozart. The handmade original ones are manufactured by Fürst’s descendants up to today. Of course many versions of the Mozart balls can be found all over Austria.

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Mozart was born here!!!!
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My music is deep

The next day we had to travel back to Zurich, since out flight back to New York left from there. We decided to leave Salzburg early so we would at least have a couple hours to explore Zurich.

We visited the Grossmünster, a Romanesque-style Protestant church (personally, I liked the name). Majority of the stained glass windows in the church are created by Sigmar Polke. I could not take pictures, but look it up because they are beautiful! Since it was Sunday, every other tourist site was closed. We at least got to walk around and see the outside of all the beautiful buildings in town.

For our last night we decided on fondue and raclette. Both of these dinners are focused on melted cheese so it was right up our alley. It was a great end to an amazing trip.

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Swiss cheese for life!

To get to why our flight to Europe was so cheap…

Our flight back home landed in JFK airport, but our next flight back to Philadelphia left out of Stewart International Airport, about an hour taxi ride away. Instead of taking the flight, it made more sense just to get a train back to Philly after leaving JFK.

We made it home safe and sound. More to come on my move to LA!

Until next time please enjoy this photo of me getting tricked by the trick fountains in all the right places!

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