A Blogger in Ecuador: Technology Wars

Ok, I have SO many blog drafts started, but I’m having some major technical issues, so I wanted to give you a quick update from Mindo! Many more posts to come, with details and photos and stories and joy, I promise. Hang with me, friends! 

Things I Want to Share Quickly: 

1. At orientation, we were told it is best not to bring laptops. I am a rule follower, so I listened. I sincerely regret that decision! (If you are googling and searching the internet, as I did, for tips on traveling with Dramatic Adventure Theatre, here is one: if you want your laptop, bring it!)

2. I brought my iPad with a keyboard case thing as a compromise. Day 1, I plugged the keyboard in to charge, and it never, ever came back to life. Considering it only cost $20 on Groupon, I consider it a win that it lasted a year or so. Still, its untimely death was truly unfortunate, because….

3. It’s impossible to find most things at most stores in Ecuador. I certainly haven’t stumbled across an electronics store yet. It was an epic journey just to find a bag of nuts and some curl creme. (Mine exploded in the bag on the way over.) 

4. This trip has without a doubt been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. More detailed blogs to follow, but let’s just start by saying I’m being stretched and pushed and challenged in terrifying ways ALL the time. They say a DAT day = three regular days, as far as how much happens. I have to agree. 

5. Ecuador is so beautiful all the time. I can’t take it. 

6. The kids we have been working with in the different communities, from mountains to island, are more amazing than words can express. I will definitely try to find the words for future blog posts, I promise.

7. I’m really, really proud of the work we’ve done so far. 

8. I miss home like crazy, even though I love it here. 

9. There was no phone connection and only the tiniest, weakest wifi the entire 11 days I was in the Galapagos. The wifi on the mainland is super hit or miss- mostly miss. My phone connection comes in and out, but it isn’t cheap to keep that turned on! 

10. I really, really want to post some photos in this post, but I’ve learned the hard way they when writing a blog post on my phone, the pics take SO long to load over this connection, it freezes the post and I’m lost in no man’s land. 

11. I have a couple of friends with laptops here I am certain are kind enough to share, because all the other actors I’m traveling with are absolutely amazing, wonderful human beings. Talented, brilliant, loving, open….I’m so happy to be a part of this group.

12. Worst case scenario: If I can’t organize a laptop, blogs start rolling in when I reach NYC in a week. 

13. I’m exhausted. 

14. I am grateful. 

15. We have SO, SO, SO much in our country. So much opportunity, so much convenience, so much stuff, so much food, so MUCH. 

I haven’t forgotten about you. But the internet gods DID forget about ME. Stay tuned…. 

(We can still accept donations, and they are, in fact, badly needed! Please click below for more info and, if you are able, share the link! Thank you!)

https://www.gofundme.com/SabrinaInEcuador

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Places I Love- Detroit: The Heidelberg Project 

Today I’m starting a new series on this blog called “Places I Love.” I’m obsessed with exploring my city and finding awesome little gems, great restaurants, cool museums or shops, all types of sweet, must-share, well known or not-so-known experiences. Since I’m based out of Los Angeles, I will definitely start highlighting my favorite spots there. However, we also split our time with Detroit, and I’m really growing to love that city as well. To that end, I’ll be sharing some of the places that really excite me there, too!

You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can’t keep her from falling for a guy who still lives there and is so great she has a long distance relationship with him and even marries him and then has to go back there all the time.

That’s the saying, right?

To kick it off, I want to tell you guys about the Heidelberg Project, a crazy and amazing art installation/ community/ program in downtown Detroit. Not the super gentrified, condos popping up, high-end restaurants, shiny and new part of downtown Detroit, but near and yet somehow very far from there.

“The HP” was founded in 1986 by the Detroit artist Tyree Guyton. He returned to Heidelberg, the street where he grew up, and found it in shambles and decay. Guyton had already lost three brothers to the streets, so, encouraged by his grandfather, he picked up a paintbrush and decided to use art as his weapon.  Continue reading

When You Feel You’re “Missing Out” on the Bigger Things

Being the age

I dropped out of college after about two and a half years. I say “about” because I sort of just stopped showing up somewhere during my fifth semester. I wasn’t being lazy or giving up- quite the contrary. I was working several jobs to make ends meet, so when I started booking paid acting and modeling work, I didn’t have time to fit in everything. I figured I didn’t need a theatre degree for my career as an actor if I was working as an actor, so I let the need to finish school go.

(Side note- I am not advocating the idea that one should take dropping out of school lightly. However, I also don’t think anyone should finish college and get up their eyeballs in debt if it doesn’t make sense for their lives. Another blog post for another day.)

Since I left school before most people I knew at the time who were pursuing the acting life, I suddenly had this feeling that I was a little bit “ahead.” Not as a person, or an actor, definitely not in experience or financially, but just as far as time was concerned. It was like I had two “free years”, where all acting credits and experience were “bonus”, where I could slack off or not, and it didn’t matter. Continue reading

Volunteer Trip to Ecuador!

action Ecuador

I have amazing news- an upcoming project I’m incredibly excited about!!

I’ve been cast with a group of actors and artists going to Ecuador this summer. We will be living there for 30 days, participating in a series of workshops, lectures, and incredible experiences.

The BEST part is that we get a chance to give back and make a real difference. Our group will work within disenfranchised communities and with indigenous people, empowering the local youth with theatrical education. We will help them find their voices through the magic of acting and playwriting, giving them the tools to tell their stories.

This will all culminate with the creation and performance of our own original pieces inspired by our experiences in Ecuador. Our casts will preview these works in Quito before performing them in a festival in NYC the following week. Continue reading

Open Letter To My Husband, Who Lives With Both Me and My Depression

 

Dear S,

I should start by making two things clear. One- you are a wonderful, kind, supportive, loving man, and I hope to be married to you forever. I pinch myself when I think about how lucky I am to have found a husband like you. You set the bar very high in our relationship.

Two- I know you can’t possibly understand what it is to live with depression. I know that. You can learn about it, listen to me talk about it, read about it, study all you can. But you’ll never really know. You just can’t. You’ve come a long way when it comes to being sensitive and knowledgeable on the topic. (Remember when you used to say things like, “I understand, I felt depressed when I went through this or that”?) You simply can’t know because unless you experience it, you just won’t.

I could not be more thrilled about this, actually, because I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone, let alone the man I love most on this planet. My heart nearly bounces with joy knowing that you’ll never go through an episode like this. Yes, you will have times of pain, of grief, of heartache, of deep sadness. I can’t stop that. I wish I could, but that’s life.

However, I’m happy to know you won’t have to wake up some days and just want to die, even though you were perfectly happy the day before. You won’t sit down on the couch under the weight of a soul crushing sadness that leaks out through your tear ducts and literally not be able to rise up under the weight of it. You won’t lash out for no reason, after spending days feeling terrified of nothing at all, snapping because you can’t take that pain a minute longer.

You won’t lose days of your life without realizing the time has passed. You won’t know what it is to fall to the bottom of an emotional well and not even want to climb out because the light at the top doesn’t seem remotely worth it somehow. You won’t spend hours and days and weeks feeling worthless for no reason and wondering what the point of all of this is, anyway.

You won’t do that. You are as you should be, as I love seeing you. Full of life. Full of joy. You wake up each day ready to take it on. You’re a nonstop ball of energy, a source of light, an Accomplisher of All Things Necessary.  You’re an extrovert, a dad who plays on the floor with the kids, a husband who works sixty hours a week and still finds time to travel and do half the housework.

I’m in awe of you. Continue reading

A Good Cause & A Sad Fact

https://www.gofundme.com/bretts-treatment-fund

So, I don’t know the above people. I clicked on the link because a good Facebook friend shared it, and I usually find myself caring about causes dear to my friends’ hearts.

Normally I simply donate what I can, click to share on Twitter, and move on with my day.

Today, a line from this page hit me so hard, and I had to write about it for a minute.

This campaign is to help a woman struggling with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, who recently had a situation requiring serious hospitalization and needs help. Of course, she has to fight and beg and plead with her insurance to help cover the cost of this treatment, because health insurance has a long way to go in the treatment of mental illnesses. Which is a whole separate blog post in itself. (Sigh.)

But this is the line that stabbed me in the heart:

“Brett’s very nervous for a lot of reasons–not the least of all because depression can make you believe you don’t deserve help.” Continue reading

Modeling Post-Eating Disorder

Ever since I shed the oppressive weight of my eating disorder, I’ve assumed my modeling career to be over. Not just because it’s impossible to stay at or under 110 lbs on my frame in any healthy way, but also because, naturally, I’ve been getting older at the same time.

Modeling was never the end game- I always wanted to be an actress forever, a model for now. It was a way to make money without waiting tables. I liked getting photos in beautiful clothes and being spotted by friends in magazines, and I liked having my hair and makeup done and getting into character in front of a camera, but, if I’m honest, really the whole experience was hell.

I was always, always, always hungry. No matter what, I starved before every shoot. Sometimes, when I was busy, I was eating 300-500 calories a day for weeks. I will never forget that first bite of food in the car or on the train coming home from a job- usually a pop tart or something equally bad for me. It was the only food I ever felt I deserved. I worked, I starved, I posed, I was sweaty and shaky- this food was earned. Continue reading

“Get Out” – Why I Still Can’t Breathe

Film Title: Get Out

 

Holy SHIT guys.

I just (finally) watched Get Out– Jordan Peele’s incredible, insane, amazing, terrifying, thought-provoking directorial debut. That’s right…debut. Like, “oh, I’ve never done this before, but lemme just give it a shot, and DO IT PERFECTLY.”

Oh, he wrote it, too, because he is a film robot. He’s the Tom Brady of creating content. Comedy? Sure. Horror? Why not.

I had to blog because I have to talk about this! It’s consuming my brain! It’s like it moved into my mind, rented an apartment, and is just sitting there, like, “remember THIS scene?! THAT scene?! How about the BINGO SCENE!?!?”

This blog is probably a safer read if you’ve seen the film already. I don’t know if there will be spoilers yet, but probably. I’m just free writing what the film alien that has taken up residence in my mind tells me to write.

I have to get it out of my head.  Continue reading

Should I Join SAG-AFTRA?

sag-aftra-logo-featured

Easily the most frequent question I get from other actors is this-

“Should I join the union?”

It comes in many forms. “Am I ready?” “Is it worth it?” “Will I still be able to work?”

This blog post is dedicated to helping you answer that question. After all, you’re really the only one who can make this decision for yourself. Let’s explore all the elements you should consider before plunking down a hard earned 3,000 bucks! Continue reading

Day Designer Review: Favorite Planner Yet

New Year = New Planner.

Basically, that’s the most exciting thing about the new year to me. As December slowly melts away, I’m closer and closer to a fresh, clean planner full of dreams and promise. It’s like getting brand new school supplies, but for grownups.

Judging by the countless hours it took me to choose my new planner online, I am not the only person who feels this way. There were so many options! So many blogs dedicated to reviews! So many videos! Bright ones, serious ones, artsy ones, structured ones, planners for every taste and every need.

So how is it possible that it took me, a (self-labeled) planner expert, so long to choose the right one? I’ll tell you why- I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for. Last year I used the Spark Planner (now known as the Volt Planner) and I really thought it was perfect for me. Weekly and monthly goal pages, writing prompts, 30 day challenges- all this stuff I think I want to do, but, it turns out, I don’t. The planner is definitely right for some people, as evidenced by many great reviews, but for my scattered, ever shifting life, it became one more thing to do, instead of something to contain the doing. Continue reading