Friday, February 26, 2010

A Winter Wonderland

Today, Montclair State University had it's second documented snow day in the past 400 years. Tomorrow will be the third, and I could not be more pleased =)

I know! You're thinking to yourself, "When is this kid gonna stop exaggerating???" Well I'm not, and it's my blog, so you can blow it out your nose with a rubber hose! That's not an exaggeration, I'd really like you to do that.

Ok, so here's the deal. I didn't get RENT. I know, big shocker- what's a short, bald, italian who's a classically trained tenor NOT doing in RENT? It was a huge surprise to me too, but I think I'll manage. The point is, it kind of hurt because it isn't like some huge production, so I couldn't imagine why they at least didn't want me for ensemble or something, but I think I'm over it. I think in the end, it just wasn't meant to be, and that means there must be something bigger and better on the horizon... right?

Spamalot National Tour auditions are on Monday, and I'm going to those, which should be fun. Again, not getting any hopes up, but it'll at least be a day off from class, and an opportunity to keep working on my audition skills. The best part about the RENT audition process was that I was so comfortable- it's really becoming very easy for me to walk into an audition room and just be myself without getting all jittery and crazy. I guess we'll see if I can make some kind of impression on the Spamalot people. It should be a better match, because that show totally fits my sense of humor =)

Anyway, I'm going to bed because I'm tired, and will be making the long journey home tomorrow... and by long journey, I mean an hour on the train. Sue me, I exaggerate (it's my blog, and I'll die if I want to).

Remind me the next time we're talking to tell you my feelings about Hedwig and the Angry Inch. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There is a Presence in this House...

A while back, my roommate Rachel went to some kind of bizarre event and somehow came back with a helium-inflated pig. It is roughly 200 feet wide, and 7 feet tall... ok, maybe a bit smaller. But the point is, Porky (as I've come to call him) has been taking up residence in the corner of our living room next to the tv.

Now, imagine this- I'm sitting in the chair next to the tv... minding my own business... when Porky, perched quietly in his corner, suddenly drops about a foot and a half. I can understand that. "Maybe it's the wind," I think to myself, "a draft, perhaps?" I go back to my healthy round of facebook stalking, listening to Wanda Sykes on HBO.

Moments later, Porky is wandering, ever so slowly, toward the television. "Strange," I think, and I give him a slight push so that he might find his rightful spot again. I go back to the computer. Just over the top of my computer screen I see a pink mass floating slowly but determinedly towards the entertainment cabinet.

By now I am slightly frustrated, and I can't help but give old Porky a nice kick back to the corner. Wasting no time, he made a 180 degree turn and is now charging like a stealth bomber towards the screen, apparently wanting nothing more than to obscure my view of Ms. Sykes.

I reached over again, grabbed a hold of a great chunk of the pink beast, and hurled him towards a different corner of the room. The pig, now on a mission, sank another inch, and began spinning in a death swirl in my direction. As I watched my life flash before my eyes, the pig spun quickly toward my face, and in a moment whirled by, circling back towards the TV.

In a fit of rage, I threw myself on the balloon animal, wrestling it to the center of the room. I refused to give in to the power of that peptobismol colored problem, grappling and tackling until finally it escaped and began climbing back toward the ceiling. This round is over, and my view unobscured, but somehow, as I peer over my shoulder to the center of the room, I can't help but feel a slight sense of uneasiness, as though this is just the beginning...

Don't Ask, Don't Tell... Because We Already Know You're Stupid.

In all seriousness, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be applied to something that truly makes a difference in the military, like the IQ's of the idiots who make these laws.

Wouldn't you be truly horrified to find out the Secretary of Defense was working with a solid 45 or 46? The entire administration in Washington combined can't break 100, and I'd bet money on it. Because no one in their right mind, or at least one that breaks 100, would implement such a bigoted, red-neck, bible-thumping law.

General George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, commented in an address to congress, "We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness." Could someone please explain to me how men who can handle being shot at, blown up, and living in holes in a desert for months on end can't handle someone in the military being gay? Killing people is a day's work, but cuddling up next to Colonel Sanders at 14:00 is a big no-no.

It gets better- Defense Secretary Robert Gates goes on to question how lifting the ban will "[affect] troops and their families". Let me get this straight (HA)- The army thinks that having gays in the military will affect... soldiers'... families?

Well, luckily for all of us (and the state department), I took High School english, so I will draft the letter for them... considering they're probably working with the same education:

Dear Ms. [Insert Lesser Sex's Name Here]:
      We regret to inform you that while serving his country in the Iraq desert, your husband, [Insert Heroic name like "Hank" or "Texas"] was forced to cohabit with homosexuals. His brave efforts and heroic example inspire all of us to fight for this beautiful, God-fearing nation to our last breath. Unless it is next to a fudge-packer.

Counseling for you and your loved-ones is available, and fully provided by the Horizon Blue Cross insurance provided by your husband's service and the unmarried, tax-paying gay couples throughout the country.

Our condolences and best wishes go out to you in this difficult time.

Dick Cheney
Truly, how could a soldier being openly gay affect soldiers' families??? Unless one of those soldiers leaves his wife and kids to go adopt one of the insurgents with his new life partner 'Rex', I just don't see the affect.

Listen people- can we just call a spade a spade and say that this is good ol' fashioned bigotry? They're afraid the other soldiers won't be able to play nice with the sissies, and it'll fuck up morale. Well how about this: when the meat heads get rough, they get kicked in the ass. Rather than make soldiers hide in the closet, why don't you tell Billy-Bob to put down the Bud Light and pick up "The Pink Triangle", he can "Larn him some toler-ance".

So tired of this issue. I'm starting my own country, and none of these people can be in it.


Sunday, February 21, 2010


Ok, so it's been a REALLY long time since I posted, but in all fairness, this has been a terrible week.

In a BFA performance program like mine you often have to partake in what are called "production practicums". These include Stagecraft (building and erecting sets), business (advertising), costumes (pretty self-explanatory), and production operations (running crew, or on-stage crew) which I'm doing now.

The show- "Moliere". The writing- terrible. It's a show about the life of Moliere, not by him, and it is the most boring show I have ever seen. It makes so little sense that I'm not sure I even follow it most of the time, let alone express an interest. Luckily for me, it's a workshop production and there is very little for me to do.

Unfortunately for me, it's a workshop production and there is very little for me to do. I have been at this small, black box theater every night from 5pm-approximately 11 or 11:30, not to mention Saturday when I was here for the matinee AND the night show, as well as Tech last weekend that was 10am-10pm Saturday and Sunday. So for a show that I do very little in, it has taken up a great amount of my time that could better be applied toward activities that would really matter... like having clean clothes or being able to do my work at home with all of my resources.

Well, to put it mildly, I have been a bit on edge this week. I've had a very short temper, and will admittedly say that I have been a huge grump. But like I said, I feel like I'm wasting my time here doing nothing, not to mention the fact that I have to deal with condescending stage managers on a show that isn't very good.

Luckily, as I speak I am sitting backstage at the last performance. The only downside is that after the show today we have strike, which won't be so bad as there is no set, just props. However, I have a callback for RENT at the Montclair Operetta Club at 7pm (actually 4pm, but I explained that I had a show today) and I'm praying that strike does not interfere with that.

On a completely different note (with the possible exception of the fact that it also is irritating me), I have started to learn to knit continental. While I was so quickly picking it up, I noted two things-

1- It is a BITCH doing a knit stitch from the front if you're used to doing it from the back. There were tears, counseling sessions, and a few weak moments, but I think I'm getting it...

2- I have not been combination knitting for the last two years... entirely. I have been doing a combination knit stitch and a continental purl stitch (thank you Nanny for being completely misguided and passing that down to me), which is why my stitches always looked so tight and neat. This is because if you do a continental purl, the working front leg of the stitch slants down to the right. If you work this stitch from the back as in a combined knit stitch, when you slip the stitch off of the left needle, you are technically twisting the stitch the wrong way, thus making the bottom look tighter, and the stitch actually looks more clean (I think, at least).

It's funny because as I was working in proper continental, and even when I tried working in true combined knitting I found the stitches looked very loose, and often appeared to be upside down because the edges of the separate stitches were closer together than where the two legs meet in the loop of the stitch below. I'll provide pictures later to show what I mean, but that's the best way I can explain it. I suppose this issue stems, in some part, from how my tension is affected by the change in method.

So what to do now? I don't really like the way my stitches look in continental, but I'm also torn by the idea of knitting "improperly" or without a recognized method of working stitches. I am always looking to improve my skills as this is a hobby and I want to keep learning and improving, however I find I am missing my old method and the way my stitches turned out. In the end, I keep thinking that I should do what makes my work look good, and that makes me want to keep working in my old style. But that one part of me keeps saying "You should learn to knit properly, you should learn to knit properly..." I guess I'm just at a bit of a loss at the moment.


Here's to the end of a very unpleasant week, hopefully the beginning of a great artistic venture, and figuring out what the hell is going on on my needles...

Oh, and the ladies who lunch =)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

So Busy =(

Dear Blogspot-

I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up with this, my week has been terribly busy. I'm working running crew on a crazy show, and going absolutely crazy. I'll be posting more next week to fill you in.

On a side note, my knitting world has basically been turned upside down. After almost two years of knitting, and trying to make combined knitting work, I think I'm finally going to have to switch to continental. It's just too big a hassle to keep trying to figure these stitches out and how to twist them and turn them and make them work. Sooooooo I hope this all goes well. It's been rough so far...


Monday, February 15, 2010

Movie Magic and Make Believe

Who knew that besides being a knitter, actor, singer, mask-maker, and defamer of flamboyant bloggers, I was a literary critic? So here goes-

I try to read before bed every night just to keep my mind fresh, and my most recent read was "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton. The movie was playing on HBO all through the beginning of January, and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for watching people get ripped to pieces by giant, scary lizards... or as Dr. Grant would suggest, giant leathery birds.

The movie has always been one of my favorites- Steven Spielberg shockingly made an amazing movie that captured the magic of what Michael Crichton's novel set into motion. Mr. Spielberg's ability to use brand new technology and the scoring of the amazing John Williams to bring us into this unbelievable world filled with animals that precede humanity by several million years is uncanny. It takes the vision of someone who truly understands how magical this idea is to make a movie like Jurassic Park successful.

So after watching this movie that uses such superb imagery and affective storytelling, I decided to read the original book. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed by the book. I understand that Michael Crichton is a more scientific writer than a visual one, and I did appreciate the amount of time he spent explaining the complex science that (theoretically) would go into cloning extinct animals. However, I felt the moments that required more thrill or magic, more awe in the face of this dramatic discovery, were sort of breezed over. I felt like some of the amazement of being thrown into this world where man and beast are abrasively propelled into a game of survival was just a matter of explanation rather than description.

I thought Crichton's rhetoric is what suffered the most. His ability to describe the moment in detail and suck you into this very visual world was surrendered in place of explaining the science. For that reason, I enjoyed the movie more because it focused more on the drama of the situation than explaining how the situation came to be. I thought Spielberg used as much of the exposition as he needed to explain the story, and then told the real story.

I also felt that Crichton ended the book reasonably abruptly- There was Hammond's death (sorry for those of you who haven't read it, but in all fairness, it's almost 20 years old), they follow the velociraptors into a cave, they get on a helicopter, and it's over. I just think there could have been more excitement. Even the parts that were thrilling, or should have been, lacked any exciting description or detail. It was very choppy.

Anyway, I'm sorry this couldn't be a more in-depth entry, but I'm in tech for a show and can't devote much time. The next post will be more detailed, I promise! Consider my writing here a tribute to Mr. Crichton.

I've started a new knitting project, as my sweater is on hold while I wait for more wool. Some capped fingerless mittens in pink with pink/green/white argyle caps. Should be fun.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Just For Fun

One more post about this mask! I couldn't help it...

This'll be a short one, I just wanted to post the finished product next to the original mask:


So after about 12-15 hours of work (and over 24 in total) on this mask, it is finally finished in time for makeup class tomorrow! I am not one to pat myself on the back (I usually take a big ol' swing), but this one came out AWESOME. Definitely exceeded my own expectations...

I'm gonna skip to the pictures and give you a few details in a minute, because if I don't, I may piddle-

This is the finished mask! All of the creases and edges were blended using a combination of:
1) Zap-a-Gap Krazy glue, intended to fill gaps
2) A papier mache mix made of 1 part water and 2 parts elmer's white glue. This came in VERY handy in filling gaps, covering any areas where new clay was applied to fill gaps, and concealing edges.
3) The paint itself. Thank God the brown was very thick and could be used to blend a lot.

Overall, there are still some rough edges and creases, but I like the effect they give the mask- afterall, Caliban is no looker.

Next to the rendering.

 Close-up of the eyes. They look even better in person... big ol' swing...

Close-up of the chin. Some fixing was done around the edges using new clay, zap-a-gap, AND the elmer's... lots of work, but it paid off. The lips have a translucent orange on them. Unfortunately, it didn't show up much in this picture...

And there you have it! I'm very proud of this one. The effort was definitely worth the end product, and thank the lord for that snow day! Never could have done this in one night...

Hope I'll have more stuff to show soon. What's the next big project??? My hands are itching to do something else...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Krazy Faces

Let me tell you one thing about making masks- all of the fun stops when you start gluing the pieces together. The finished product is looking great, but my hands are COVERED in Krazy glue.

The other dilemma I had when I woke up to find my pieces dry, was that they had also shrunk a lot more than I had anticipated. I had assumed that they would shrink a little, but the cheek bones didn't even fit in their original places. After a bit of tweaking, though, I adjusted them to their closest fit, and I will fix the rest when I start painting. Overall, though, it's looking awesome... was there ever a doubt? =P

A few pictures-

The original concept drawing. I couldn't take a picture yesterday since the pieces were drying on my notebook. The drawing was made using a process I learned in class- reading the play and writing down character attributes (ie: wide, shadowy, fearful, dramatic, scheming, etc.). Then you write alongside those attributes objects that physicalize that attribute. Using those objects, you start to draw the character, seeing how those objects inspire you, including the shapes, textures, and colors of the face.

The mask glued together.

The mask next to the concept drawing.
The mask is drying now, so hopefully in an hour or two I'll be able to start working on some of the final gluing elements and the painting. I've decided to make a sort of papier mache gloss to cover some of the more fragile looking areas, and also to fill in some of the places where shrinkage made the pieces less close to the skin of the mask. I may also use it to blend edges so that when I start painting it will look a bit more seamless.

For now, though, it's shower time...


"Hell is Empty and All the Devils Are Here"

During the snowstorm today, between getting some french toast at the diner and watching Jurassic Park, I put a few long hours into the Caliban mask for Stage Makeup... and I have to say, it looks pretty awesome so far.

I would say it's about halfway done- My main goal today was to draw out the patterns for the changes on the plain white mask and then make the "prosthetic" pieces that would change the face to the shape I wanted. The pieces were made from a white air-drying clay I happened to find in the University bookstore, and It worked pretty well with the project. My only complaint is that it seems to have cracked a little in the drying process, but the cracks were easily repaired/filled with krazy glue. I'm sure I'll be able to make them reasonably invisible in the painting process. Either way, my design allows for cracks and wrinkles, so who knows? It may be a blessing in disguise.

I have a few pictures to show right now, accompanied by slight explanations-

This is the original white mask with the preliminary design drawn onto the face so that I could sculpt the clay directly onto the mask. I then planned to allow the pieces to begin drying, and about halfway through, remove them from the mask to dry fully. I will then glue them into place before the painting process.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the forethought to take pictures while the pieces were on the mask drying, but as the pieces came off, I labeled them and placed them in their respective places on the original concept drawing. This is a picture of all the pieces laid upside down on the drawing. Some sections are made in several pieces like the eyes and nose that will be pieced together tomorrow. The lips are also in three separate pieces, which might be slightly more apparent in the next picture.

This is a pretty good depiction of what the pieces will look like once they're on the mask. They consist of two brow bones, under-eye bags/wrinkles, the bridge of the nose, both nostrils, creases at the mouth (not pictured), exaggerated cheek bones, wide jaw bones, two upper-lip extensions, a plumped bottom lip, and a pointed chin. Painting will involve shadowing several areas like the cheeks, chin, temples, and eyes.

Joan Rivers Before surgery.
Just a closeup on the detailing on the eyes and nose. The pieces are laying on the original drawing.

Closeup of the lips and chin. You can see in this picture the separation between the two pieces of the upper lip.

I'm really excited to piece it all together tomorrow! Don't know if I'll make it through the night. This project has definitely sparked the part of me that was always interested in making prosthetic makeup pieces. It's a lot of work, but I've loved every second so far. Painting will be fun, I'm sure. I really can't wait to see how this turns out =) 

I also have planned to make stringy hair with white yarn... not sure if I'll go through with this part though. It seems like that might be overkill. I guess we'll see tomorrow.

OH. And, unfortunately, I will not have the time to work on it tomorrow that I had hoped to have, considering Montclair State University is one of the only institutions that isn't closed tomorrow, opting rather to have a delayed opening. Remember when we had those in High School? Exactly.

Anyway, here's to hard work paying off (hopefully), awesome results, and the ladies who lunch.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Making Faces in the Snow

The weather channel is saying bad things for my area tomorrow, as in 12-24 inches of snow and 40-some-odd mph winds... I think it's safe to say that I will be staying home. However, Montclair State University has already started backtracking on their "winter weather" cancellations, so who knows... I may be shedding tears in acting class tomorrow anyway. This school is infamous for remaining open, even in a declared state of emergency. Apparently, my school was founded by the American Postal Service... which would explain why everything gets done so late and aggressively.

On a lighter note, plans for the cabaret I mentioned earlier are already underway, however tentatively. Ideas are floating around, and I can't wait to hear some of my roomies' thoughts. At the very least, I know we're all serious about doing it, and actually committing time to make it good. I will definitely keep everyone posted about the details. After all, what good is sitting alone in your room?

I have prepared for the winter weather in a number of ways:

1- The knitting needles are laid out and ready to work. Perhaps I'll continue working on Mom's VERY late Christmas/(now)birthday present, considering I'm still finding the money to buy a few more skeins of the wool for my sweater. I think I might have to start making specimen donations. Don't judge me, a check is a check.

2- There's definitely hot cocoa and mini marshmallows in the cupboard... they may not be mine, but when has that ever stopped me? In my apartment, I think the general sympathy is that if you can find it, you can eat it. Which is why we've started cutting holes in the floor and camouflaging them with the carpet in the living room.

3- For my stage makeup class (and I may have mentioned this project already) we have to make masks depicting either the character of Ariel or Caliban from Shakespeare's The Tempest. The project involved reading the play, writing character traits about our chosen character, and then physicalizing them in a drawing. Next, we're taking the drawing and turning it into a theatrical mask ala comedia dell'arte. I chose Caliban, and made a damn good drawing, if I may say so myself. Something about the grotesqueness, but the humor in his ugliness drew me to him- Paging Dr. Freud.

So I went to the campus bookstore tonight before I hit the gym (UGH) and bought $35 (UGH) worth of art supplies so that if I'm snowed in in my pajamas tomorrow, I can get some work done on a fun project. Luckily I had a gift card to the bookstore, so it was like spending fake money, but money none-the-less.

Anyway, as I said, I hit the gym, which means I STANK. Time to hit the showers, boys. Wish me luck- the neighbors upstairs tend to stomp and bang things when I start singing. And to think in 10 years they'll be paying a hundred bucks-a-ticket to hear it! Whatever, their loss =P


Monday, February 8, 2010

Something Good

I know, I know... getting lazy. But I haven't forgotten you, oh tender world of blogspot! Just busy, is all...

A few notable things for this week-

1. I shaved my head again last night. SO nice to get rid of that extra weight- and way more manageable =) I know I just got the headshots done (trust me, it made my hands tremble with that little buzzer), but I couldn't help but want to do it. Something in me was really drawn to the idea, and part of me wonders if it wasn't an emotional reaction to life in general; you know the deal- emotional turmoil = need for change = the hair turns blue sort-of-thing. I'm not in any real kind of distress, but being single, not being cast this semester, and that damned acting class are really taking a toll on the ol' self-esteem. I guess there's a little Britney in all of us...

2. I had a really great day in my Performance Practicum today. My professor, Michael Rider, is a VERY smart, VERY funny, and VERY talented man, and the biggest Queen since Liberace. I love him to death; he kills me, I swear.

The point is, though, that he's the only teacher, with the exception of my voice teacher Peter Stewart, that makes me feel like I'm not a complete idiot. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't always pull his punches when he tells me which notes were flat (or which acting moments, for that matter), but he does it in such a way that it's also mentoring and nurturing. He explains himself, and assures me that I've got it, I'm just not getting it. And let me tell you- in a world where there are a thousand people ready to tear you to shreds over the outfit you wore, alone, not to mention what (and how) you're singing, it's nice to have someone at my back.

I sang "I Got Life" from HAIR, and Michael told me it was a good choice for me ("At least it's not a girl's song..." Bitch =P), especially since he doesn't see me let loose and just go crazy most of the time. He's told me many times that he's tired of seeing me come in wearing my tie and vest and singing the well-put-together songs. So today I gave him something messier, and it definitely paid off. Everyone had nice things to say, with only constructive criticism, and I ran it a second time with improvements- overall a very positive experience.

After class, though, my friends and I moseyed on over to Michael for the usual post-class hour-long discussion of brassy divas and gossip. Today we talked about some of the great cabaret performers, and how we as students should be not only studying them, but putting together our own cabarets. I've been wanting to do one for a long time, so I think I'm going to put one together with my roommates and see how it flies. I've been gunning to put together a cabaret called, "An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin" where I play both Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin (trust me, my impressions are on my resume). I know what you're going to say, that you won't believe me, you'll think it strange... yeah, I'm done with that one.

Anyway, I'm feeling good today. I know I've got something to offer this disgustingly mean world of showbusiness, even if it's not much. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's mine, and I'm unique in so many ways. Embracing my individuality is sometimes hard for me, but when I do, it's always the thing that pays off. So here she is boys- ready or not, here comes mama.

Some lyrics of choice today:

(Picture Elaine Stritch singing these, you'll cry, I promise)

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood,
Perhaps I had a miserable youth.
But somewhere in my wicked,
Miserable past,
There must have been a moment of truth.

For here you are,
There you are
Loving me;
Whether or not you should.
So somewhere in my youth
Or Childhood,
I must have done something good.

Nothing comes from nothing-
Nothing ever could.
So somewhere in my youth or childhood,
I must have done something good.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Come On In From the Outside

Today was a pretty terrible day, although I must say a lot of people had it worse.

The day started off with very little and very poor sleep, and I somehow managed to squirm out of bed to get to my acting class. Let me tell you, it was really worth getting out of my warm bed and my pajamas to go to YET another class where Jorge Cacheiro systematically humiliates you in front of your peers and then offers no consolation or useful criticism. Instead, somehow, acting class has turned into a forum for discussing the anecdotes he picks up on the sets of "Scrubs" and "The Wire". We get it, you love the wire. Now let's work on some acting technique, shall we?

As I left that class feeling broken once again and convinced that I was not cut out for this profession, I made my way over to my Religion class in Dickson Hall (yeah, I giggled too... especially because it's across the road from Morehead Hall... What????). As I walked, I texted my roommate Brittany, telling her just exactly what I thought of this lousy school and its useless professors... and stepped in a puddle that was anywhere between 3-4 hundred feet deep. That's a rough estimate, but I can gauge it tomorrow. It was a lot like the scene from Bruce Almighty, only if I'd walked back across it, I would not have walked on top of the water. Where are my Jesus powers, Jim Carey?

Anyway, I decided to skip Religion, went and sang for a bit, and then went to work where my boss, the Balrog, proceeded to have me change the labels in her planner. It was really a hoot, I'm apparently not playing this up enough for you. Parker Brothers is planning an adaptation... just wait.

Finally, I got home and had a chance to sit for a few minutes before I got dressed to go to the wake of a friend's mother. And thus, I have reached the point of my story-

Today was so unbelievably heartbreaking- to see someone in so much pain, someone who is usually so full of life and joy, and to know that there is nothing you can do to help is one of the most vulnerable and terrible feelings in the world. He is a very strong person, and I know that he will make it through all of this alright. I just wish more than anything that he didn't have to experience this.

His experience put a lot of things into perspective for me. In any context, these situations are extremely humbling. It is a reminder for those of us that are lucky to be together in this world that we have to appreciate each other as much as we possibly can. We have to strive to live life to its fullest extent and never allow ourselves to be broken... at least, irreparably.

I am very grateful for my life. I am lucky to have such close, beautiful friends, such loving family, a gorgeous nephew, and the opportunities and experiences that I've had. I don't take those things for granted, even for a minute, and even in my moments of doubt, anger, depression, and desperation.

Spread love. Spread joy. Tell people you love them. Do good. Strive to be your best.