Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar is habit forming

Yippee!!!!!  Another week of 'new'.  I am really getting into this 'new' stuff.  Seriously, I have been finding myself saying yes to things that I before would have said 'no' to or 'maybe later' or 'next time'.  It is like I am on auto pilot.  When I hear that voice in my head say, 'no, not now'....I stop and turn around and say, 'hell yes, I'm going to do that right now'.  It's been an eye opening experience.  I don't have to go out looking for new things to do.  New things, new opportunities, new experiences, new ways of thinking, new people are falling out of the sky all day long.  I just simply needed to make the choice to see the 'new'.  AND...walk into the 'new' instead of run away from it.  Choosing to try something new can take you out of your comfort zone.  Fear can pop its ugly little head up.  A couple weeks ago, I treated myself to a 'new' bottle of body oil.  Holy cow, just going up to the register and paying for that body oil put me right into my crap.  "You can't afford that, Melinda". "Why are you buying that, Melinda"?  "You don't need that".  "Who do you think you are anyways buying a bottle of lavender body oil"?  "You have real bills to pay".  SHUT UP, EGO!!!!!!   Really?!!  I don't feel like I deserve to treat myself to a $4 bottle of lavender body oil?  Heck, I could scrap together $4 worth of coins from the floor of my car.  It has been two weeks since I bought that body oil.  I don't miss the silly $4.  I have been using the body oil everyday.  Guess what?  It makes me feel pretty.  Doesn't every woman deserve to feel pretty everyday?  I say 'hell yes' to that!!

New Things Feb 20 - 26

- Last year I started working out with Richard Simmons at his exercise studio in Beverly Hills.  I am having a BLAST.  I don't know if I burn more calories working out with Richard or laughing with Richard.  A few weeks ago, I asked Richard how many days a week I should do sit ups.  Richard looked at me and said, "You need to do sit ups everyday that you eat".  I said, "That's everyday".  Richard said, "Ding-ding-ding...your correct!".  So, this week, I decided to take his advice and do my sit ups every blessed day.  Holy Cow, I already feel a difference.  It only takes 5 minutes a day.  In those five minutes, I have done something good for myself and now I can bounce a quarter off my abs....not really.  But, my ab muscles do sincerely feel stronger.  Thanks Uncle Richard.  xoxo
                                                 Me, Richard Simmons, and my Mom

-Over the last couple years, I have found myself a bit embarrassed by something.  Several times I have been in a group of people who are talking about a current event that is happening in the world or in America and I have no clue what they are talking about.  So, I just sit there and smile.  Well, it's time to try something new.  I have decided to read two news articles everyday.  I get some from Newsweek, some from AOL, some from newspapers I find in coffee shops.  Wow...who knew there was so much going on outside of my little bubble. Just like the sit ups, it only takes a few minutes a day.  I already feel so much more informed and aware of the world around me.  I also don't feel like such a ding-bat when people begin to discuss current affairs.  As Maya Angelou once said, 'When you know better, you do better'.

-This week is Pre-Oscar week.  Hollywood is getting ready for its biggest night....The Academy Awards.  In honor of Oscar, I decided to do something new that was Oscar related.  So, I went to the FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles.  Through April they are displaying all of the Oscar nominated costumes.  The display is incredible with all the nominated costumes from this year and the winner from last year.  The detail in each costume is brilliantly beautiful.  The thought and creativity that goes into each stitch is undeniable.  I realized that costume designers put a lot of thought into each piece.  What era is the piece from?  What social class wore it?  Is this the first time the character wore this outfit or has the character worn this outfit many many times.  The costumes play a big part in bringing a story to life.  The teenage girl in me got all giddy when I saw the Mad Hatter costumer that Johnny Depp wore in 'Alice in Wonderland'.  I also saw the costumes from the 'King's Speech', 'The Tempest', and 'True Grit'.  Of course, no photography was allowed inside of the exhibit.  I can't wait to see which talented designer goes home with that little gold statue.

- This week I stumbled upon one of those things that I normally would have considered passing on.  One afternoon, while trying to find a nice cafe latte, I ran across a Leonardo Da Vinci display.  I really had to drag my butt into this 'new' one.  WOW...was I in for a shock!!  I knew Da Vinci was an artist, but I didn't know he was also an inventor.  The exhibit had over 20 different machines that Da Vinci had invented.  Many of his inventions are still used today.  It was actually very interesting. happened.  I ran smack-dab straight into the Mona Lisa herself.  I laughed as I realized that I had forgotten that Leonardo Da Vinci was the artist that brought this master piece to life.  Of course, this wasn't the original painting.  However, I realized that every time that I have seen the Mona Lisa, it has been in a book or on a greeting card. This was the first time I have ever seen a print of the Mona Lisa framed and hanging on a wall.  She truly is breathtaking.
                                                   "Oh, Mona Lisa.  How I adore you"

- This week, I had my first experience, as an actress, doing voice over work.  'Voice over' is the off-camera voice you hear in a commercial, TV show, or film.  There was no camera, just me and the microphone.  It was pretty neat.  I really had to 'feel' each emotion and allow my voice to express what I was feeling.  My voice will be used in the opening of a short film, called 'Glow'.  It will premiere next month.  I can't wait to go to the screening and hear my voice.  I wonder if I'll be in surround sound.

-I have been to many screenings of many films.  This week I had a first in the 'screening of a film' department. I am originally from a small farm town called Durand, IL.  Just outside of Durand is another great midwest town called Rockford.  Much to my wonderful surprise, there are film makers in Rockford.  Who knew?!  A team of Rockford film makers just produced their first feature film.  It is a horror film called, "Raymond Did It".  This Rockford, IL produced film screened in Hollywood a couple nights ago.  Seeing hometown peeps come all the way to California and screen their film in Hollywood was an exciting first.  Go Rockford!! Just
another example of someone living their dream.  BRAVO!!

Raymond Did It

Well, that is another summary of another great new week.  Tomorrow is Oscar Sunday.  My friends and I celebrate the Oscars every year.   I can't wait to see what new things I find while celebrating this old tradition.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oprah Inspired My "New" Things This Week. Thank You, O

Oprah used to end each show with a segment called 'Remembering Your Spirit'.  I decided this week that some of my new things would be in the theme of remembering my spirit.  Little did I know what a gift I would be giving myself.      

New things Feb. 13 though Feb. 19

-First things neighbor has a cat.  This cat is named Chewie.  He is named after Chewbacca from Star Wars.  Chewie is just out of kitten-hood.  He just reached his full grown height, but still has kitten energy.  Needless to say Chewie has lots of energy and loves to dart out quickly from no where and get under my feet.  This has caused me to step on him, trip over him, and even dropped things I was carrying because he startled me.  His mere existence has brought out my dark side.  Our relationship has been quite like Chewbacca meets Darth Vader.  This week I decided I really don't like the way that the 'dark side' looks on me.  So, I have decided to befriend that little shit...I mean cat...dear ol Chewie.  I decided that whenever I see Chewie I would say hello and give him a little pat on the head.  Long story short, after a couple days of showing Chewie some love, that darn little thing started to grow on me.  By Thursday morning I was sitting on my front stoop, sipping my morning coffee with Chewie on my lap.  We had a little heart-to-heart.  He now knows to look both ways before racing across the sidewalk or up my steps.  I now know that dear little Chewie just wants to be acknowledged and loved.  Don't we all?  However, Chewie also knows...that even though we are now new BFF's, he is still NOT allowed in my apartment.   Thank you, Chewie.  XO

-My next new 'remembering my spirit' thing was to say hello to everyone I passed for one day. HA!  That was a trip.  Tons of fun, but a trip.  Most people said hello back, some did not, and some took it as an opportunity to tell me all about their day, if not their life.  When I decided to do this, I had forgotten that I would be going for a run on that same day.  As I was running on the jogging path near my home, I passed many people.  As I promised myself, I said hello to each person.  The longer I was running, the more tired I got.  The more tired I got, the less I was able to cheerfully say, "Hello".  So, I decided to just wave at each person.  The longer I continued to run, I became even more tired, so I just smiled at each person that I passed.  Before I knew it, I had ran almost TWICE AS LONG as I usually do.  Wow...a bit of contact with my fellow humans gave my body some extra energy and I didn't even realize it.  Thanks everybody!!!  xo

-One day I had meetings up in Los Angeles all day long.  I was rushing back down to where I live in the South Bay to get ready for my night job, when all of a sudden it began to rain.  Between traffic and the rain, I was running very very late for work.  Right before I got home the rain stopped and out of the corner of my eye I saw the most magnificent rainbow.  "Oh, that's cute", I thought, "but I am late for work and gotta get my butt home".  In the theme of remembering my spirit and trying new things....I suddenly put my foot on the brake, pulled the car over, got out, sat on the hood of my car, and just took the time to really look at that rainbow.  A sense of calmness came over me.  My troubles all of a sudden seemed so trivial.  Each color of the rainbow made me think of all the good things that had happened to me that day, some of which I had already forgotten about.  Then in a moment, the rainbow just faded away.  But, the feeling that rainbow had given me stayed with me all night at work.  I had a GREAT shift.  Oh, and by the way, not only was I not late to work....I was five minutes early.  HA!

-One evening I was in Culver City waiting to go to a meeting.  I love down town Culver City and have been there dozens and dozens of times.  Each time I go to Culver City I drive past the legendary Culver Hotel that was built in 1924.  I always say to myself that I am going to stop in and check the historical place out.  Well, this week I decided to stop talking about it and go check the joint out.  When I walked into the Culver Hotel, I walked back into time.  The lobby felt like the 1920's.  The decor was kept quite like it must have been back then.  There was a piano man playing old songs from the 1930's, a fireplace, and projected up on the wall was old silent 'Laurel and Hardy' films.  It was happy hour, so wine was only $4 a glass.  I bought a glass of wine, sat down by the fireplace, and watched a 'Laurel and Hardy' flick.  I couldn't help but think of all the starlets from the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's that must have graced the lobby of this old hotel.  All of them hoping for their chance to work at the movie studios just down the street.  They say life has no guarantees.  I say, oh yes it does.  Life guarantees us moments of wonder and fun and quiet 'wows', if we only choose to stop, get out of the car, and look around.

-One morning I got together with a few of my BFF's.  We made brunch and watched a movie.  One of my girlfriend's made homemade, from scratch, ginger snap cookies with chocolate chips.  I LOVE chocolate, but even I was thinking, "Really?  Ginger and chocolate?"  But, in the spirit of trying new things and because I have a huge sweet tooth, I gave the cookies a try.  HOLY COW!!!!   It was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. The cookie was so incredible, I asked for the recipe.  It was a Martha Stewart recipe, of course.  Who else but Martha would think to put those two flavors together and make it work?  Not to mention, the recipe calls for fresh grated ginger.  That was the first time I have ever had a cookie made with fresh grated ginger.  Can you say "moist"?  Guess what kind of cookie I am going to make this Christmas?
Check out this fabulous Martha Stewart Cookie recipe....

-One of my dear friends, who follows my blog, gave me a 'new thing' suggestion this week.  She suggested that I start taking pictures of all the new things that I try.  Why not?  That would qualify as a new thing.  I am going to do my very best to get a picture of every new thing that I do..or at least one or two a week.  If at times I am unable to, I will try to find an image on the internet or perhaps a website.  I have already added a few pictures to my past posts.  So, go back and take a gander.

Have  a great week and remember to keep your mind open to the new.  Because even something from 1924 can bring a new experience into your life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

*And...drum roll please....another week of NEW things

This 'trying something new everyday' sure has put a breath of fresh air into my life.  I am having so much fun experiencing all my new adventures...big and small.
                                                               ", new, new stuff!!!"  
Feb. 6th through 12th

-The Diva in me came out this week.  If there is one thing I have always been good at, it is pampering myself.  I could write a book called, "101 Ways for a Woman to Pamper Herself on any Budget".  I love getting pedicures and giving myself facials.  I realized I needed to give the rest of my body some more attention.  I decided to find a new body moisturizer to use when I get out of the shower.  I decided to try a body oil.  I shopped around and shoot...body oils are a bit expensive.  Believe it or not, I was in Trader Joe's shopping for dinner one night and I spied a bottle of Lavender body oil for just under $5.00.  I figured, something new (and cheap) why not?  After dinner that night, I took a nice long hot shower.  After I got out of the shower and while my skin was still damp, I applied my new Lavender body oil to every square inch of my body and OH MY GOSH...LOVE IT!!!  The aroma of the oil made my little bathroom smell like a spa.  The oil itself felt great and sooooo luxurious.  Good-bye dry winter skin.  Hello to new silky, smooth, and soft.  I am all about turning my humble bathroom into a relaxing spa every chance I get. 

-Of course, embracing your inner Diva is not complete without ending your day with a nice glass of wine.  I LOVE having a nice table red in my kitchen at all times for my nightly glass of indulgence.  I do get a kick out of finding inexpensive wines that really taste good.  I call myself a 'cheap-wine connoisseur'.  I get the biggest kick out of finding nice tasting wine under $10.00....and I am NOT ashamed to admit to it.  I hit the jackpot this week.  Trader Joe's (yes, I shop there often) has a new Red Zinfandel.  "Trader Joe's Grower's Reserve Paso Robles".  This is no "Two Buck Chuck".  This Zinfandel is smooth and full body.  Honestly, I thought it was too good to be true, so I bought a second bottle. ($4.99)  WOW.....I found my new staple of a red wine.  I may even  serve it at my next party.  CHEERS  

-This week was also a week of finding new ways to workout.  I began by trying for the first time in my life a bootcamp workout.  My trainer was a very fit former marine.  I was introduced to things I have never heard of before, let alone tried.  I workout with kettle bells, did TRX exercises, and my cardio involved a big fat heavy as hell rope.  It was a circuit training that lasted about an hour.  It was so much fun.  I was always moving on to the next exercise, so the hour went by super fast.  I left feeling great.  SEMPER FI

-I have been telling myself for years that I was going to start exploring more hiking paths around Los Angeles.  This week I finally stopped talking and started doing.  For the first time, I hiked Runyon Canyon in Hollywood. I never would have thought that you could hike in Hollywood.  Holy Cow...yes you can!!!  This hike was really neat.  It goes through the Hollywood Hills.  There is a lot of nature to take in.  There is also a couple good hills to climb to give you a nice workout.  Of course, you also get a bird's eye view of Los Angeles and a great view of the Hollywood sign.  Kinda puts a 'new' spin on the whole hiking thing.  It was a fun afternoon and I will definitely hike Runyon Canyon again.  Lots of celebrities hike there.  So, now I know where to bring out-of-town guests that say they just have to see a movie star before they go home.  HA!  

-In the spirit of finding new places to work out in LA county.  I discovered a new running path.  HA!  I have to laugh at how "LA" this path is.  This week I went running at the Donald Trump Golf Course.  Holy Hannah!!  Let me start by saying that Trump's golf course is right on the coast.  Each hole has an ocean view with Catalina Island off in the distance.  There are public trails that go along the golf course and part of the trail actually goes onto the course.  I ran right pass the 5th hole and a golfer teeing off at the 6th hole waved at me.  Part of the golf course has a Coastal Sage Scrub habitat, so the entire area smells so fresh and beautiful.  With the green fee starting at $215 a game, I think I will stick to the running paths.

-My Mother gave me a 'new' thing to try.  I tried to go 24 hours without swearing.  Did not work.  Shit...try, try, again.  :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

First Week of to a great 'New Things' start!!

I have officially begun my second month of trying something new everyday.  The first week has been a hoot.  When I first decided to begin the journey of trying something new everyday, I thought the hardest thing would be thinking of something new to do each day.  What I am learning is when you put an intention out into the universe, the universe has a funny way of sending you what you need.  I really haven't had to find new things to try this week.  New things seem to find me.  How about that?!  :)

Feb. 1-5, 2011......NEW THINGS I HAVE TRIED!!

- I had an audition for a national TV commercial.  My Mom is in town visiting me from Illinois.  So, she came along to the audition with me and waited in the waiting room.  While she was waiting in the waiting room, the casting director walked by, looked at my Mom, and asked her to audition for the commercial too.  HA!  I LOVED it!!  We got to audition together.  I have been on many commercial auditions, but this was my first time auditioning with my Mom!!  Talk about something 'new'!  It was soooo incredible to share what I do as an actress with my Mother first hand.  She did a great job.  As we left the building she started jumping up and down and yelling "Yahoo"!!!  My Mother was experiencing the rush an actor gets after a great audition.  I asked my Mom, 'Now do you understand why actors keep at it?'  My Mom answered, 'Oh, yes I do!'.
Now this was a new thing that I could not have planned and I adored every moment of it.

-I love my Mom's visits.  She is my Mom and best friend all rolled into one.  Since my Mom and I will be 2,000 miles apart on my birthday next month.  My Mom decided to surprise me with an early birthday dinner.  My Mother took me to dinner at a Polish restaurant in Santa Monica that I have never  been to before.  My family is from Poland.  I am so fortunate to have known my Grandparents who immigrated here to America from Poland.  I grew up hearing the language, listening to stories of the 'old country', and eating lots of delicious homemade Polish foods.  The Polish restaurant in Santa Monica served a lot of the same foods my Busia (Grandma) use to make.  AND....the servers sang Happy Birthday to me in Polish.  That was new.  I have never had Happy Birthday sung to me in Polish before.  It was the best birthday dinner ever and another great 'new' experience.
Dziekuja Matka (Thank you, Mom)
                                 "Mom and I remember and honoring where we came from"

-I took a ride on the Ferris Wheel on the Santa Monica pier.  I have seen that big ol thing many times, but this week I bought a ticket and went for a ride. about a view!  From the top of the Ferris Wheel you can see the entire Santa Monica Bay from Palos Verdes all the way to Malibu.  The sun was perfectly dancing off the waves of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean.  Life sure is full of beautiful blessings, if we only choose to see them.

-I ate Popped Potato Chips.  The are not fried or baked.  These potato chips are heated under pressure until they pop.  They are low in fat and super tasty.  I was quite impressed.  Thanks once again, Trader Joes.

-Another new thing I tried this week was looking at myself in the mirror in a 'new' way.  Usually when I look at myself in the mirror, my eyes go straight to what I think is wrong with my body.  For example.....I am a six foot tall woman.  Yep, that is a lot of body.  But, when I look in the mirror my eye goes straight to that inch of fat under my belly button.  There is another five feet-eleven inches of me that I could be looking at, but do I?  NO!!!  I stare at that one inch of fat under my belly button until I am so obsessed by it that I feel like I weigh 100 pounds more then I do!!  WTF??!!!  Talk about self-abuse.  This week I tried something new.  Every time I looked in the mirror, I had to find five things about my body that I liked.  Sadly, that was easier said then done.  The first couple days I could barely find two things about my body that I liked.  On the third day, I forced myself to stand in front of the mirror until I could name five things about my body that I liked.  A tear did roll down my cheek when I realized how long it took me to find those five things.  God has blessed me with a healthy strong body.  I have a choice.  I can honor it with gratitude, love, and respect  or I can judge it with hate, insecurity, and shallow jealousy.  I think I'll take the love and gratitude choice.  So, from one New Year's Resolution, another is born.  Everyday this year, I will look in the mirror and name five good things about my body.  If I have to say the same darn five things over and over again each day, so be it.  No more body-bashing for me.  Lets face it, when I am 80 years old, I am going to look back at this body I have today and say.....Can I have that one back??  :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Years Resolution for 2011...try something new everyday.

"Hummm,  what new things can I try?"

Hello and Welcome...My New Years Resolution for 2011 is to try something new everyday. Why?....Why Not?  Actually, the truth is I was starting to get a bit bored with my usual life routine.  I have always believed that if you are not happy with your life, you have no one to blame but yourself.  So, I have decided to stop complaining that I am bored and do something about it.  I am going to try something new EVERYDAY in 2011.  Some of the new things maybe as grand and outrageous as sky diving or taking a trapeze class.  Some of the other new things maybe as simple as taking a new route to work or checking out a new website.  Change can be big, change can be small, but change is always good.  I think trying something new everyday is going to be just the thing to trip my trigger.

I began this 'trying one new thing a day' idea on Jan 1st.  It has been fun and full of surprises.  It was just suggested to me the other day that my next 'new' thing be blogging.  I have NEVER blogged in my life.  So, one of my new things for the month of Feb 2011, will be to start blogging.  What better to blog about then my quest to try something new every day in 2011.  Below is some of the 'new' things I tried in the month of Jan.------

-Ate at 'Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles'.  I have lived in Los Angeles county for 12 years and I have NEVER eaten at the legendary 'Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles'.  What was I waiting for???  I am a calorie counter and always trying to maintain my weight.  I am here to tell you that chicken and waffles are worth every calorie.  Sometimes you just gotta indulge and let your eyes roll back in your head. Life is too short not to cheat on your diet once in a while.  Yummmy!!

-For the FIRST time, I went and saw a production of the musical "Hair".  LOVED IT!!!  I ended up on stage with the cast of "Hair" singing and dancing to 'Let the Sunshine In'.  I hugged a dude who looked like Jim Hendrix, and left with a daisy in my hair.  It was so cool, man.  :)

-I bought my first lap top computer EVER.  Yep, it is 2011 and I just bought my first lap top.  I LOVE IT!!! My lap top has blessed me with many new experiences.  I watched a movie on my lap top while curled up in bed. I got to check my email while sipping java at my favorite coffee shop.  I downloaded iTunes for the first time.  AND....instead of running to my computer savvy room mate for help with my computer questions, I have used google to find my answers.  I feel sooo smart.  Does this mean I am a computer geek?

-I took on a 5 Day Running Challenge and did it!!!!!!  This is huge for me.  I have never ran five days in a row before.  I even lost a half of an inch on my waist in the process.

-I tried black rice for the first time.  Holy Cow....super yummy!!  Black rice has become one of my new kitchen staples.  Works best with fish.

-I went to the Griffith Park Observatory for the first time at night and looked out at the stars from that HUGE telescope they have there.  Wow....I had a lump in my throat as I looked at a cluster of stars being formed.  I also learned that we are all made up of left over star dust.  See, I always knew I was a star!!  And so are you, and you, and you, and you.....

-I get pedicures once a month.  This month I decided to try a new nail salon.  Yikes...this new salon was not nearly as nice and friendly as my usual salon.  Hey, I tried something new.  As Maya Angelou once said, "When you know better, you do better".  I am not only going to stick to my usual nail salon, I am going to appreciate it all the more.

-Played the new video game Kinect.  WOW.....FUN!!!!  I could become a 'gamer' with Kinect.

-I am a total 'Trader Joe's' girl.  I shop at the one near my home twice a week.  This month I shopped at the Trader Joe's on Sunset and Vine in Hollywood for the first time.  Same store, but a new location with a different vibe.  It had an 'old Hollywood' flare to it.  Nothing like buying a bottle of Two-Buck-Chuck while standing next to a life size picture of Clark Gable.  "Frankly my dear..."

-I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild.  Every year I end up having to work during the SAG Awards.  This year I decided to take SAG Award Sunday off of work.  I hosted a dinner party and watched the awards live with good friends.  It felt so good to take the day off and celebrate my union.  At the end of the evening I opened a bottle of bubbly and toasted to everyone who has every had a dream and to everyone who has the balls to live their dreams.  CHEERS!!

-I rode on the Los Angeles subway for the first time.  I have ridden the subways in Chicago and New York, but LA was different.  But then again, LA is always 'different'....that is why I love the City of Angels. ox

Well, that kinda sums up my 'New Things' in Jan.  Right now I am in the mist of another new thing...BLOGGING!!!!  This could be fun.  Feb is a new month and I am open to more new experiences....