do shit that makes you happy

Tuesday was one of those days…I was having a sliiight pity party for one and going down a social media rabbit hole didn’t make matters better. Instead of reflecting on my accomplishments, I went straight to comparison and the ugly thoughts of:

“sh*t it’s almost the end of the year, WTF have I done?!” 

“damn she’s so young and killing it, FML”

“andddd another role I couldn’t get into the room for”

“I really haven’t gotten in many rooms [casting director’s offices] this year, so I suck” 

“I’m not going to make it in LA” 

etc. etc. etc.

Yep. Those nasty fuckers (aka thoughts) crept in real hard. With the end of the year coming in full speed ahead, it’s pretty easy to feel those WTF did I do this year thoughts? Admittedly, I’m still hung up on the fact that I don’t have a TV credit to my name. I’m SAG eligible, and my auditions this episodic season have been lackluster.

But I know it’s dumb to hold on to the negative.

I mean I was a lead in a movie this year! Number 2 on the call sheet baby. I filmed another fun role later in the summer and managed to pass my level one somm exam. Can’t take that away from me.

Admittedly my fall quarter I slowed down on the social media game and didn’t post much to my blog. But hey, like nature, we all have cycles and shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it.

So, friendly reminder if you’re feeling down or beating yourself up in the comparison game- just tell those bad thoughts to SHUT IT OFF.

Pour yourself a glass (or 2 of wine) and throw on your favorite show, go on a run, read the book that’s been on your nightstand for months (is that just me?!), make some cookies, whatever makes you happy and tell yourself life is marathon and not a sprint. Best to enjoy yourself along the way, because if you can’t learn to do that on your ride to your top- then how can you expect to appreciate your life when you success comes your way?! Biggie wasn’t lying when he said “more money, more problems”. There’s always going to be something “more”, so enjoy the now.

Kick ASS today. Keep dreaming BIG. And do something for yourself that’ll make you smile. Even if it’s just for a few moments. Soak it in, and repeat on the reg.

xo NP

P.S. I followed this recipe and drank a chilled Pinot Noir. A+ combo (just sub dark chocolate chips for milk when making the cookies!)

bridging the gap

A few months ago, Catherine McCormick of CatherineGraceO asked me to be a part of a nationwide campaign to “bridge the gap” between millennial and midlife bloggers across the country. The aim was to break boundaries between age groups and bond over our similarities–which hint, there are lots!

I was fortunate enough to speak with Cynthia Lawson. And man she’s a beautiful soul! Incredibly positive, a loving mother and a handbag designer, she is a self-taught creative. Although it wasn’t until she brought her daughter to a modeling audition that she got the bug. Casting asked Cynthia to audition too, and thus began her modeling career. Being on sets helped shape her style which translated to growth her other career in pharmaceutical sales. Her regular offices noticed a shift in Cynthia; she was chic, confident and beaming! In her words:

Along the way I noticed how my job industry was obsessed with youth culture
and appearances. Not to mention if you were outdated or looked old you became invisible. My
mission over the last fifteen years has been to overcome this stereotype. Armed with fashion
magazines and the E network, I consistently noticed that woman like me were not represented.
It wasn't until 2009, that I discovered a hidden world of fashion blogs written by stylish women
of all ages. These soon became the fuel that I needed to bring out my true self. I started from
the top down and updated my look with a sleek new hairstyle. Girls a good hair style can
immediately update your look and take years away. I looked for the right style of clothing that
complimented my body type, and tried to become adventurous with my color palette. As I
looked at myself in the mirror I realized, I look younger now than I did fifteen years ago. The
style formula I created and continue to add to, has been the guiding light in my life and really
gave me a purpose.

Through her career shift, things began to blossom and she realized that people respond to how you dress. She’s not lying. As humans, we take stock of how people present themselves- are they laid-back, confident, polished etc. and in turn we make adjustments to how we introduce ourselves to said new face.

Through her time modeling, she came into her own and started to “dress for success”. I’m out here in LA doing the same thing! Playing into that game so to speak. Sure would I love to roll out of bed and arrive to an audition? Yes. But does an athlete just walk on the field without warming up? Appearance is the entree to acceptance Cynthia told me. I couldn’t agree more. You could have the best audition out there, but if there’s no effort for appearance there will be chatter. Dress for the role people! Go into that room and own it. Casting wants you to be the answer to their problem!

This conversation reinforced my belief that at the end of the day, regardless of the age gap and career choices, we all share a lot more in common with one another than differences. Both of us want to uplift and empower those around us while realizing that we first need to keep our mental game strong. By leading with openness (and a kick ass outfit to reflect that) we can encourage those around us to do the same.
So, I’m daring you again to chat with a stranger, acquaintance or colleague who is at least 20 years older than you- hopefully you’ll find that bridging the gap isn’t such a hard thing to do.
Cheers!

making “me” time

And just like that, it’s the first day of Spring!

Growing up I learned that Spring was all about rebirth; plants and animals coming out of hibernation as the frost melted away into sunshine and warmer weather.

blooms at Lake Elsinore

And while warmer weather might not be there for everyone (just come visit Southern California to get your dose!) there are hints of Springtime popping up everywhere:

ps loving the portrait feature on the iPhone 7!

…Like poppies! Popping up (can’t help myself!) throughout the parks in California. Known as a “super bloom”, the wildflowers are extra happy and vibrant this year because of all the rain we got during winter–see we really did have seasons this year!

..We also “sprung forward” so the days are feeling longer and the nighttime slump comes later.

…There are lots of “spring cleaning” ads. Having been in my new space for a little over a month, I’m taking the time to clear the clutter and get rid of excess stuff I haven’t touched in months.

…It’s March Madness! My Dad is in his, damn I can’t even remember how long he’s run it, but he’s the ring leader (call him the “commish”) of a big NCAA basketball tournament pool. His emails bring me joy everyday. It also helps that my alma mater, UNC, is still in the running and Villanova (last year’s champs who beat us) are already out. YES!

…Pastel colors are everywhere! Stores are gearing up for Easter (hello Reese’s and Cadbury chocolate eggs!) and flowers are blooming.

wildflower cluster

So back to flowers and “me time”. Over the weekend, I decided to drive out solo to Lake Elsinore and see the colorful blooms. Man, did I feel like I was in Oz (not just how colorful, but lotssss of other people had the same idea).

cactus meet flowers

Wanting some time with little human interaction to reflect, soak up the sun and take some pics, I took a slightly steeper path, made it to the top and spread out my things.

alllll by myself (and loving it!)

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. For everyone!!!! Making time for yourself-even if it’s just 15 minutes and at your kitchen table- it is so vital to staying grounded. For re-centering, rebirth (hey, hey, Spring connection) and refocusing on you. What brings you happiness and what you need to let go. I’ll write more on this later in the week and the steps I take, so look out.

sunny selfies

In the mean time, on the first day of Spring. I dare you to take some time for yourself. JUST FOR YOU. Because at the end of the day- even with girlfriends, boyfriends, moms, dads, spouses, family, coworkers, etc. If you aren’t making yourself whole and happy it’s going to make it damn challenging for the rest of your circle to bring you that fullness. Find it in yourself. I promise it’s there.

You can start small and:

…buy yourself flowers

…get whipped cream on your coffee

…read the comics AND the sports section from a real newspaper

…sit an extra 5 minutes in your car to listen to your favorite song (again)

…take a walk around your block during your lunch break, or when you’re home from work

…smile

…stay longer post workout to stretch a little deeper or dip into the sauna if that’s available.

Whatever you choose do it for you!

Wishing everyone a great start to their week. Let me know how you take your “me time” in the comments.

xo N

act like a champion today

So I just had a breakthrough, even though it’s been in front of my eyes since I was little.

Has that ever happened to you?

You hear something for years and it doesn’t totally make sense/you think you understand, and then BAM one day it hits you?? The marquee finally blinks in all of its’ glory!

Mine went a little something like this:

So, there’s a famous sign: “PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY” that hangs in stairwell between the Norte Dame football locker room and the tunnel to the field. Tradition states that all the players touch the wall on their way out before game day. My dad is an ND alum, so we had a replica hanging in our basement growing up. Later, as I was choosing colleges- I ended up choosing UNC because I saw that same sign in a stairwell at the theatre department, only it read “ACT LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY”.  A literal sign I should go there.

Now flash-forward to post college, living in LA and my acting teacher said something along the lines of “LA is the Olympics of acting, so you better train (aka rehearse, practice, read scripts etc.) all the time if you are going to make it in this sea of actors”.

And even with all of these sports metaphors, I was still thinking about myself as an “actor” and weirdly that meant I felt guilty about getting help– I needed to figure it all out on my own because that’s what the great actors do right?? They just find the character, they know the beats of the scene, where it needs to go to tell the writer’s story etc. The greats do it all on their own.

And it’s ironic too because part of the reason I love what I am doing is I constantly get to LEARN. I’m a student of life, as corny as that sounds. But subconsciously I was blocking out help.

But recently it clicked. The “BAM” moment happened during another acting class, as the teacher- a series regular actress- said her career changed when she started thinking about her auditions with an athlete’s mentality. No longer were they this big once in a lifetime, must book or fail situations. Auditions became a game. This meant she was still training, approaching the text from a writer’s stand point and making the strongest choices based on what was on the page BUT she then scored herself post audition like she had just played a game of basketball. That took the audition more into her hands and totally changed her dynamic in the room.

*Most* athletes don’t beat themselves up after all of their losses– because statistically you can’t win them all. Instead, they look at game tapes and work on improving their plays so next time around they can give it a better shot. By approaching acting with the same mentality, it has allowed me to reimagine what winning and losing look like. I feel more in control because I know I have the tools, and can keep training on the parts that aren’t up to par (pun intended).

Not saying this is the way. It’s just the way that I now approach my work- and maybe it’ll help you, regardless of your profession. The same principles can be applied.

Now that the marquee’s lights are flashing (thank God!) I don’t need to feel less than because I work through scenes with an acting coach or another actor (aka teammate). And winning doesn’t just come in the form of booking the job. It comes from keep track of growth in the audition room, classroom and onscreen, of being consistent and great at what I do. Being an athlete means showing up to all days like they’re game days; ready to utilize the training, while also trusting your teammates, coaches and your own worth–and ultimately “PLAYING LIKE A CHAMPION” all the damn time.

why i marched

photo c/o Sophie Kuller

Because I couldn’t sit at home

For my future daughter and son

Because my female body shouldn’t be as regulated as GUNS

*nasty women unite*

Because there’s a massive wage gap that still exists, especially seen in Hollywood

Because I stand with Planned Parenthood

Because every woman has the right to choose what’s best for her life

*love is love*

Because it’s not ok to be slut shamed

To know that we’re not fighting this alone

Because coming together is the first step in a longer narrative

*girls just wanna have fun-damental rights*

To build bridges, not walls

Because things still aren’t EQUAL across the board

Because there’s strength in numbers

*pussy power*

To feel empowered

To defend and advance human rights world wide

To show there is a peaceful way to fight

*free the nipple*

To open our hearts and raise our fists

To help the broken hearts make art

Because the US sets world wide examples

*and while we’re at it, fuck that dog movie too*

Because this is a marathon, not a sprint–here’s some next moves

Because labels shouldn’t hold us back

For what Meryl said

*my body, my choice*

Because there’s a double standard

For the women and men who’ve already dedicated their lives to equality, and to inspire future ladies and gentlemen to do so

For my dear friends, mother, grandmothers, gay friends, straight friends, new friends, old friends, teachers, male friends and all the people I love- this was about equality and defending our human rights.

*love* NASTY-IER NAT