Happy 2019! My New Year’s Goals (and how to achieve them)

Hey y’all!! It has definitely been a while. I’ve really missed blogging and vlogging, and I’m totally ready to dive back into it!!

2018 feels like the longest year ever. In one year I:

-played three roles in Quickies and made my Orlando Fringe Festival debut

-costumed The Wedding Singer for the second time and played a role in the ensemble (which is definitely the most intense ensemble track I’ve ever done!)

-was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder

-played Kitty Verdun in Charley’s Aunt

-tested out some lifestyle and diet changes

-costumed Legally Blonde, which performed in the Dr. Phillips Center in downtown Orlando

-celebrated a whole year at Kilimanjaro Safaris

-played Florence “Flo” Gill in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which challenged my usual typecast (belting a G5 in a corset- that’s a new one for me!)

-celebrated my two year anniversary with my loving boyfriend

-costumed an entire production of Spring Awakening in nine days!

-directed my first production in Orlando

It’s been a really, really busy year! But it’s been a year without any focus. I have goals that I’ve been trying to achieve for ages and haven’t gotten anywhere…mostly because I haven’t retained my focus. This year is all about baby steps and staying focused on the goal ahead.

So what are my goals this year?

#1: Lose Weight

Yeah, I know. I’ve made this goal a million times, lost a few pounds, slacked off, and gained it back. What makes this year different is that I have the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease and it’s being treated. I spent most of this year getting my blood tested and checking my levels, and this point I’m almost where I need to be. So if my medication is where it should be, and my thyroid is functioning better than it used to (it’s not at peak condition yet) I should have an easier time losing weight than I have before. The downside of spending the year getting tested and having a chronic illness that causes weight gain…well, my weight has ballooned. Now is the best time to start healthy habits with a better diet and consistent exercise to stop further weight gain and hopefully lose more…seventy pounds of it! Not only is losing weight better for my health, but I know it hampers my performances and my options for roles when I audition, so I look forward to getting to try out for a wider variety of roles.

Diet wise, I’m looking at a low carb/dirty keto diet. I’ve been testing various dietary changes this year, and it looks like my body responds well to cutting out gluten and cutting down on carbs. Dairy doesn’t bother me, which is very exciting! Apparently people with Hashimoto’s do best with around 50 carbs a day rather than the strict 20 carb for traditional keto, so I’m going to do what works best for my body. I’m also determined to drink water, cut back on sugary soda, and stop drinking so much coffee and switch to tea. That I did on accident in the last few weeks, and I can already tell my energy has improved without relying on caffeine!

Along these lines, I really want to take ballet, and right now I’m not in good enough shape to spend the money on classes. If I can lose 40 pounds- about half of my goal, and down to the lowest weight I’ve been since college- I want to start taking ballet classes. And eventually I want to go en pointe!

#2: Take Care of Myself

These are all those little things that help so much but I just don’t think about them. Flossing! Night skincare routine! Meditating! Regular doctor visits! Sunscreen! I have a whole list of little things that in the long run make a big difference.

#3: Make My Wardrobe Function

I don’t wear clothes often. Wait a minute. I should rephrase. I don’t wear cute outfits very often. I either wear my work costume, pajamas, or rehearsal clothes. And none of those are cute. My normal rehearsal outfit is a schlubby tee shirt (most likely with a cartoon character on it) and old yoga pants. My goal for the year is to sort through my wardrobe, get rid of a bunch of items, and make new clothing pieces to improve my wardrobe. I’ve also downloaded the Cladwell app, so hopefully that will also help improve how I style myself.

#4: Get Back to Blogging and YouTube

I’m on a good start for that! I have several months’ worth of ideas stacked up and I’m trying to get ahead of posts. YouTube will be easier now that I have a better phone to film on, and if videos pick up I plan on investing in a good camera and lighting. You can visit my YouTube channel here!

I also want to pay more attention to my neglected Instagram account. I have my main account here, and I started a fitness/diet/health/ballet account here.

#5: Save $1,000

If I save $20 a week, I’ll be in the clear. I just need to be careful about my spending!

#6: Write a Book

I wrote a book once. It took four years and it’s been sitting in a drawer for ten years. And I used to be a prolific fan fiction writer which, laugh all you want, is a fun hobby that allowed me to push the boundaries of my abilities and develop strong skills. I’ve had extensive outlines sitting around for months, and now I want to write 300 words a day and eventually complete a book by the end of the year. Maybe my goal for next year will to get published!

#7: Improve My Home

I’ve lived in the same apartment for almost six years now. I’d like to move to a larger apartment- I really want a dedicated space for sewing, writing, and filming. In the meantime though. I’ve really let my apartment lapse. When you’re dealing with chronic, overwhelming exhaustion, cleanliness is one of the first things to fall by the wayside for me. Shane and I spent the two days before New Years scrubbing, organizing, and doing laundry (we did ten loads and it took the entire second season of 30 Rock to put it away) and we’re going to work hard together to maintain, organize, and decorate our space until we can move.

So those are my goals for 2019! Watch this space for updates. What are your goals for this year? Comment below, I’d love to follow your journey!

Life and Health Update

It’s been a hot minute! I took a little bit of a break after a new development in my health journey, and now that I’m feeling a little more prepared I’m ready to start blogging again.

A lot has happened in the past few months. My birthday was in February, I ran the Disney Princess 10k, and I trained for a new role at work as a Yes Faciltator in the Magic Kingdom. I also was cast in the ensemble of a production of The Wedding Singer, and I’m also costuming it! I’m assisting with the costumes for a production of Little Shop of Horrors as well, but that’s not quite the beast that Wedding Singer is. I have some auditions lined up for the summer and fall as well that I’m excited about. And I’m working on a book for Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time (I have a completed outline ready to go!)

The biggest change, though, happened after my yearly physical. Disney has an amazing health services deparment on property for cast members, and I have a fantastic GP over there. My physical was absolutely normal, but my doctor asked if I had any questions, and I (very anxiously) asked if we could check my thyroid levels. She asked why, and I spilled out a whole list of symptoms that I’ve been experiencing. I never want to be That Guy who comes in with a self diagnosis from WebMD, but at the same time I was experiencing almost everything on the symptom list. Luckily, my doctor is wonderful and immediately agreed to check my thyroid levels.

I got a call three days later saying that not only do I have hypothyroidism, but I also have Hashimoto’s disease, and there was already a prescription waiting for me to pick up that afternoon, and that I needed to make an appointment for follow up bloodwork in eight weeks.

Well. That was a lot to happen at once.

To rewind a little bit, I was experiencing a lot of things that I assumed just came with getting older- tired all the time, muscle and joint pain, weight gain for no real reason. About six months ago, though, I started watching Kathryn Morgan’s videos on YouTube. She’s an amazing dancer and has a fantastic channel, but one of the first things I noticed was that her hair texture was really similar to mine, and I haven’t really seen that before. (If you watch my Evil Dead vlog, you can see how thin my hair is; it’s been falling out in handfuls over time.) Scrolling through her videos she had several about her illness- she has hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. She’s very upfront and well-spoken, and that’s when I started wondering if that could be what was going on with me. I started doing more research, and thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask about it. I told my mom about it while I was waiting for the results, and it turns out that thyroid problems are an issue for several relatives on that side of the family.

So that’s been quite a change. I’ve started my hormone replacement therapy, and while I have seen some positive changes, I’m looking forward to the results of my next bloodwork to see what the doctor wants me to try next. I’m also trying to make some major dietary changes, namely cutting out gluten and dairy. I’m hoping that, now that I have the correct diagnosis, my health will improve and I’ll start losing weight!

Do you deal with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease? What advice do you have?

I Made a Cameo in a YouTuber’s Video!

So I’m just now starting with this whole YouTube thing, but I made a cameo appearance a while back on a famous YouTuber’s channel!It was super early in the morning and I was a little grumpy about being in tour guide instead of characters, but I put on most of my makeup and went out to will call, which was the themed Movie Ride name for our fastpass entrance. I saw some official film crews out, which wasn’t a terribly strange sight to see; I’ve seen a lot of professional filming in the parks. (My favorite was when I was in tower at Star Tours and got to watch them filming a commercial for Canada in one of the gates.) But this was the first time I recognized the person filming!

Charis, better known as Charismastar, was filming outside of the Chinese Theater, and lo and behold, I ended up in the background. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her at all, and I don’t think she saw the comment I left on the video when it was posted, but that’s definitely me in the background!

Can you spot me in the video?

Book Review: Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

The Girls in the GardenThe Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book, but I only liked it. And that’s okay.

I was expecting something different from the description and the dreamy cover. It just wasn’t what I expected. The story turned out to be populated by real but extremely unlikable characters, the mystery kind of petered out, and there was no real resolution. All in all, it was a very realistic book, and it was nicely written, but when I read, I like to escape. This book made me feel, well…more hopeless than anything else. It was like eating dinner at a fancy party and still being hungry afterwards, so you go through the McDonald’s drive through on the way home. (So I read Kate Atkinson’s Human Croquet for the millionth time afterwards.) I did think it was well-written, but it was a little too bleak, and I don’t think I’ll want to pick it up again.

View all my reviews

My Debut in the Orlando Fringe Festival

I had been hoping for a chance to perform in the Orlando Fringe Festival- definitely a bucket list kind of performance! A lot of cities have a Fringe Festival; basically groups will perform brand new, usually off-the-wall shows in a myriad of designated locations throughout the city. I actually was invited to a part of the Fringe Festival in the spring of 2017, but I had to turn them down. I was in a wedding as a bridesmaid for the entirety of the second weekend, and that’s…you know, ever so slightly important.

In February of 2017, I performed in a premiere of a short play called Welcome to Intercourse. It’s a super cute play and I loved the role I played so much. Well, the author of the play wrote three more short plays and packaged them together as a show called Quickies, and she wanted me to come back to play Peggy again, as well as two other roles. But I couldn’t. I was so upset! I loved the role, but ultimately I wouldn’t be able to do it and I had to turn it down.

Flash forward to this past summer! I got an email from a director I’d worked with previously; Quickies was possibly going to the winter mini Fringe festival, and the actress who originally played the roles couldn’t make it. Would I be interested?

WAS I EVER!

The show was confirmed in late October and we rolled into rehearsals shortly afterward. It was a short rehearsal period, but the four plays are about 10-15 minutes long each, divided amongst the four actors, so all in all it wasn’t too terrible to balance. It was just a lot of practicing lines in the car as I drove to and from rehearsals.

The show only ran for two performances, but we had fantastic audiences and great feedback. It was a new theater for me, and it was fun playing on a new stage. And I loved revisiting Peggy, who’s one of my favorite roles to play. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on my performances and it just makes me pleased as punch.

I wasn’t actually in the first of the four short plays. It was a two person retelling of Scheherazade and the Sultan; it was funny and sassy and I loved watching it from backstage. Of course, backstage was about 3′ by 4′ (and that’s generous) and there were three of us back there, so it was a little uncomfortable.

The second plays was called Meet the Pets. A guy brings a girl (me) home after a date so she can meet his pets. So we had a snooty cat (a guy in a tuxedo and a British accent) and a lovable dog (a girl in flannel and corduroys). It was super funny, and while my character started off as a manic pixie dream girl, she ended up being really smart and self-assured. So it was fun playing both sides of the spectrum.

dress: Forever 21
denim jacket: …I’ll have to check?
floral leggings: No Boundaries
boots: Blowfish
hat: Target
purse: Betsey Johnson
glasses: Eye Buy Direct (Moody frames)

The second show was called Buried. It’s short and bittersweet. I played a girl named Grace who runs into her ex-boyfriend in the middle of a graveyard, and you start to put the pieces that it’s a metaphor for her mind, and she’s trying to bury the memories of him, and she can’t…and then BAM guess what it’s real and she killed him and she’s talking to his ghost. It’s one of the trickiest roles I’ve ever played even though it was only about ten minutes long. Grace is both lighthearted and deeply hurt, so there was a lot of balancing. Plus I had to drag around a shovel.

dress: Forever 21
headband: Goody’s
shoes: Keds

The final short play was my favorite, Welcome to Intercourse. I played Peggy, an accountant who just got jilted by her fiance. Her best friend Eva decides they should go on a road trip, and of course their car breaks down outside of Intercourse, Pennsylvania. And who comes to rescue them but a pair of Amish boys! Peggy and Josiah have a deeply touching conversation onstage, but offstage Eva and Ezekiel fix the car, and of course it sounds extremely suggestive. It was a great little play full of innuendoes, and the girl who played Eva is a dream and it was literally so fun to play opposite her.

dress: Modcloth (Blueberry Lemonade dress)
jacket: I’ll check…
shoes: Payless
glasses: Eye Buy Direct (Sophie frames in pink)

I had such an amazing time doing this show. It was such a quick run (haha, get it, Quickies, I’m hilarious) but it was so fun to do. I don’t know if I’ll get to be a part of it again, but hopefully I’ll get to work with this team again in the future!

Stories from the Great Movie Ride

In today’s video, I’m going to tell some of my favorite stories from my time at the Great Movie Ride! I miss the ride so much; it was my favorite ride as a guest and my dream job as a cast member. I am extremely lucky that I got to be a part of it, and now I want to share my stories with you!

Adult Ballet Classes?

When I was little, I wanted to dance. I twirled whenever music came on. I checked out every book I could find in the library about ballet (the Dorling Kindserly book practically belonged to me). I taught myself basic positions and practiced them religiously.

(Source)

But, for a variety of reasons, I never got to take ballet. I cheered in high school, which was at least dancing adjacent, and I danced a little in college when I was studying theatre. But I pretty much shelved ballet permanently. It’s only an option for the young.

But let’s fast forward. In the past two and a half years, I’ve done at least five shows that requires dancing. And I suck at it. I didn’t used to suck. Yeah, I had some trouble picking up choreography in the past, but I’ve never had this much trouble. And I’m so out of breath. And I feel clumsy and clunky. Especially for my last musical role, when I was Cheryl in Evil Dead, and I had to be sexy on top of dancing. I was miserable. I was so frustrated with myself. My dance captain for Heathers even said (in the most loving way possible) that I’m a terrible dancer. And I hate it. I always wanted to dance, but I’m untrained and horribly out of shape.

In the past few months, especially after my disastrous experiences dancing, I’ve really been thinking about how I can get better, and it’s brought my mind back to the idea of ballet. There’s a dance school within walking distance of my apartment that offers adult classes- drop in, $10 a lesson. And there’s a bigger ballet school that offers a similar rate for more advanced classes for an adult beginner. I started looking into it, and all those childhood dreams started coming back- standing at the barre in a black leotard and pink tights, practicing battlements and developpes, learning how to do proper pirouettes and pas de chats in the middle of the floor. It also brought back the memory of my fifth grade teacher lending me a pair of pointe shoes and secretly practicing steps in my bedroom. I remember how that felt, and how much I want to actually learn how to do it.

And then I remembered that I’m sixty pounds overweight, and woefully out of shape, and easily out of breath.

I know ballet can be learned by anyone of any size, but right now I’m not ready. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with a real ballet class, even one for beginners. I’m certainly not ready to put on a leotard and tights (again, ballet belongs to anyone no matter the size, but that also doesn’t necessarily mean I feel comfortable right this second).

I’ve set up mini goals for myself, in five pound increments, until I reach my goal weight. One of those mini goals, when I reach 140 pounds, is to start taking ballet lessons. Right now that’s about 33 pounds away- just about halfway to my goal weight. Why 140? Well, that’s the lightest weight I’ve been in the past ten years (and even then I was trying to lose weight). I’m giving myself the time to prepare, physically and mentally, to putting myself into ballet. Right now I need to learn how to eat right and get my muscles used to working hard (which right now is through Cassey Ho’s Blogilates app). I’m going to create some stamina and work with the goal of finally dancing ballet in mind.

And when I reach that goal, you bet I’m going to keep working until I get to go up on pointe. It’s going to happen.