twenty seven lessons from twenty seven

personal
  1. Your kitten will become a cat because growth is inevitable. Don’t fight it.
  2. Living in the moment is paramount. It is also much easier than your thought it would be.
  3. Create your own way, you will thank yourself for it later.
  4. Paris will rapidly become your favorite international city, but the water they bring to your table will not be free.
  5. Friends helping friends is always on brand.
  6. All good things must come to an end. Even if it’s a Broadway show where everyone’s cool and kind to each other, it must, at some point, become a really happy memory.
  7. Less is more. Sell it, chuck it, give it away if you’re not using it.
  8. Your voice is interesting and unique. You will learn to use it, embrace it, and silence those who try to convince you that it must conform to the norm in order for you to succeed.
  9. Sit in the uncomfortability that comes with the changing seasons.
  10. Not all connections will become lengthy relationships.
  11. You are not letting yourself down simply because the narrative of your dreams is shifting.
  12. Botox is your friend, as long as it’s in moderation. It is not taboo. Say it again.
  13. Your friendships will shift with age and with time. Sometimes the shift will be a resurgence, sometimes the shift will mean letting them go.
  14. This is the first age you will reach in your adult life where you don’t have a boyfriend. Embrace that.
  15. Skincare routines are important. Even when you think you’re too drunk to complete it.
  16. Don’t leave the house without first filling in your eyebrows.
  17. Screen time can and will compromise your eyesight. Eat your carrots and order blue light glasses on Amazon.
  18. Some things – relationships, experiences, pieces of art – are better left where they are rather than trying to revive them.
  19. You are allowed to wear a myriad of hats. Stop limiting yourself.
  20. You will be met with people who may not recognize your successes the same way you do. Their opinion will not shrink the narrative you’ve written for yourself unless you allow it to.
  21. You cannot have more than two drinks anymore without being met with a brutal hangover the following morning and you just need to start accepting that.
  22. Turkey is the least cool part of Thanksgiving. #TeamSides
  23. If you get a weave, you will feel like you’ve lost your hair when you get it taken out. You are not balding. You are normal.
  24. You can act on-camera and you should act on-camera.
  25. Never fly Norwegian.
  26. Lean into the idea of coexistence over competition.
  27. Cilantro still tastes like soap.

one decade, one hundred things

personal

Earlier this summer, I spent a couple weeks traveling through Europe with two of my closest pals.  It was a time to reset my soul and return to New York feeling refreshed and ready for the final months of this decade.

While sitting on the train from Paris to London, a song came on my shuffle that brought back a flood of memories from my freshman year of college.  It was a Dave Matthews song, one of the many that filled my dorm room blasting from my iHome lamp in 2009.  It filled me with nostalgia and an odd sense of reflection to follow.  I used to credit DMB to being my favorite band at the beginning of this decade and it got me wondering where exactly the artist’s appeal came into view for me.  I started listening to DMB because some guy I dated my freshman year of high school really liked him, so I liked him too.  My date to the senior prom three years later also liked him, so I used the knowledge I had from the last guy to resurrect my liking him again.  That bled into the guy I started dating my freshman year of college, who loved him – in fact, that’s what made his head turn to me – and I continued to date him for eight years after that.  So, Dave Matthews was essentially the soundtrack to most of my dating life from 2006 to 2017.  But, as I sat on the train from Paris to London, with this song blaring into my AirPods, I had to pose the question of whether or not I actually like Dave Matthews Band, or did I just like a band because, for most of my adolescent and young adult life, I affiliated their music with the people I liked?

It seems so benign to deeply dive into self-reflection from hearing one little song, but it really posed many questions for me: How much of who we are has been inspired by others?  How much of who we are is temporarily inspired by others, then shed once we inevitably shed those people from our lives? How often do we say “yes” to liking something or trying something or contort ourselves into being something just to appease others?  How much of who we are are, at our core, comes from us and how much of it comes from what we see or hear or watch others do?

I realize that, when you’re young, you’re more apt to become a chameleon and blend in with the crowd for fear of being left out or going against the grain.  However, sometimes we can do it so often and for so long that it becomes enough of a pattern to carry with us into adulthood.  I’m about to turn twenty-eight-years-old and I sometimes still catch myself agreeing with people for fear of being different.  But I also recognize that certain people are ushered into our lives to introduce us to things we otherwise wouldn’t have known we liked until they showed us.  My eight-year relationship also introduced me to The Office before it self-imploded (the relationship, not The Office – that will be stand in its own light forever).  The guy I dated after him introduced me to John Mulaney’s stand-up, who I believe to be one of the most brilliant comedians of our generation.  The list goes on and on and on.

So, on that train from Paris to London, I decided that I wanted to take the remaining months of the decade to ask myself who I am and, to that end, who I’ve become over the last ten years.  At the beginning of this decade, when I was a freshman in college – seventeen, a face full of acne, my hair bleached to the nines – my friends and I decided to do this challenge on our Facebook Notes (remember notes? What a time) where we had to write one-hundred things about ourselves.  It was really challenging, but also really fun.  So I wanted to do it again, without looking at what I wrote ten years ago, and to also fill it with personal qualities and tidbits about myself that aren’t necessarily facts you could find out about me from just anywhere outside my day-to-day life or my very busy mind.  So since that day in July, whenever I noticed something about myself that I felt was worthy enough of being deemed a part of who I am or deeply-archived fun-facts, I wrote them down until I got to 100.  Bless you on this forth-coming journey:

  1. My name is Tara Jean Llewellyn. Tara from my mother’s favorite film Gone With The Wind.  Jean is my mother and grandmother’s name.  Llewellyn is Welsh and also my dad’s last name which should be obvious, but I don’t know the intellectual level of those reading along.
  2. I’m Long Island-born, Connecticut-raised.
  3. I live in a studio apartment in Manhattan with my cat Luna and an overstuffed closet filled with clothes I do not wear.
  4. I do, however, wear many hats; as an actress, a vocalist, a writer, a dresser, and a designer, among others that I have yet to discover.
  5. I don’t, however, look good in most hats.
  6. I drink a latte every single morning, sometimes two, from anywhere that’s not a chain unless I’m desperate.  It’s almost always iced, and almost always from The Chipped Cup on 149th and Broadway.
  7. I love puzzle games; Sudoku, solitaire, crossword puzzles, puzzles themselves.
  8. I get irrationally angry and anxious over certain sounds, a condition more commonly referred to as “misophonia.”  I also have very sensitive ears.
  9. I’m a Sagittarius. I don’t really know what that means about me other than the fact that I was born in December.
  10. I love Autumn, along with every other basic white woman.  Especially in New York.
  11. My favorite television series of all time is Gilmore Girls. Honorable mentions include Friends, The Office, and Sex and the City because I am predictable.
  12. I am a faithful Apple girl.  iPhone, iPad, Macbook, AirPods – though I have not hopped on the Apple Watch train, nor do I think I ever will.  I think they’re ugly.
  13. I’ve learned in my six years of living in a city that I love driving and will take any and all opportunities to drive when I can.
  14. I’m very bad at putting things away.  Most things typically sit anywhere in my apartment where they don’t belong until company comes over and then I put them away.  Or in a drawer.  Or in a bag.  Or in a box.
  15. My current alcoholic beverage of choice is a Moscow Mule.
  16. I’m an extroverted introvert.  I love being alone, but I must have social interactions to look forward to.
  17. I’m a touchy-feely person, but I don’t like when people invade my personal space.  If we’re sitting next to each other, please do not press yourself up against me unless you plan on taking me home later.
  18. I don’t like going to the beach.  I don’t enjoy basking in the sun for hours only to risk suffering from an inevitable sunburn for the duration of the days following.
  19. To that end, underwater life has always freaked me out; including, but not limited to, many of the scenes in the motion picture Titanic.
  20. You know what else freaks me out?  Space.  Space films.  Anything related to the abyss that is space.  Except Star Wars.  That’s way different.
  21. I love prequels.  They thrill me.  I love someone telling me how we got to where we are today.  That is why Wicked always spoke to me growing up.
  22. Back To The Future is my all time favorite movie.  Honorable mentions include When Harry Met Sally, Grease, Frequency, and I guess the rest of the Back to the Future trilogy, though the first one is the best.
  23. I don’t do horror movies but I love thriller movies until I hate them for thrilling me when I’m alone.
  24. Speaking of movies, I can’t go to the movies anymore because people eat popcorn like barbarians and I can’t concentrate on what I’m there to do, so, good luck dating me.
  25. Watching other people bite their nails gives me anxiety.  But it’s also like a car crash – I can’t look away.
  26. My mother told me my entire life that “we can’t pull off yellow” as if we’re conjoined twins or something.  So I never wore yellow.  But you know what? I rock the hell out of yellow, so expect a lot more of that in the 20’s.
  27. I loathe subway performers.  Also people who play games or their music without headphones.  That’s basically the same.
  28. I don’t like pickles or anything that’s been pickled.
  29. No matter how hard I try to be a morning person, I am forever a night owl.  Always have been, always will be.
  30. I cringe when people call me “ma’am.” Like, I’m in my twenties, please let me be young while I still am.
  31. I still sleep with the same stuffed penguin my mother bought me in 2002 for Christmas.  His name is Pangie.  He is very dirty.
  32. I’ve been to six foreign countries; almost all of which are European except for the time I crossed the border to Canada with my mom just to say we did it.
  33. I love taking and sharing pictures.  Even before social media exploded, I took tons of photos.  I get it from my mother, the photo queen.
  34. Cilantro tastes like soap.  Do not put it on my taco.
  35. I’m extremely indecisive which is why I will never get a tattoo.
  36. I have always had unfathomably long nails – even as a kid – so I never really got into nail polish.  But now, I have to have a gel manicure or my nails will break when I work.
  37. I’m a very expressive over-sharer.
  38. I’m also a pack-rat no matter how many times I try to be a minimalist.  I should watch that Marie Kondo woman sometime.
  39. In addition to doing any play and musical I could get my hands on, I was an Irish step-dancer as a child, as well as a Pop Warner cheerleader from the ages of nine to fourteen.
  40. And you know what?  After all that, I still do not understand the game of football.  What’s a down?
  41. I would list my favorite music artists, but my music taste has a wide range and changes with the seasons, so we’d be here for hours.  I like almost anything.
  42. I’m perpetually five minutes late to everything.
  43. I don’t like having a digital calendar.  I need a planner where I can write everything down.
  44. Do not ask me to sight-read music.  I will not be able to.  I learn everything with my ears, even if I’m looking at the music.
  45. I seldom eat leftovers.  I have always had a weird aversion to non-fresh food.
  46. Subsequently, I do not like going to the grocery store and buying in bulk.  I would much rather go more frequently to get things I know won’t go to waste.
  47. I would rather take classes than go to the gym – pilates, zumba, barre before I tore my meniscus.
  48. I’ve never been a big reader, but when I find a book that I like, I will read it in a day.
  49. I have never broken a bone.
  50. Stephen Sondheim is my favorite musical theater composer.
  51. If I had to pick a cake flavor, it would be red velvet.  Though, I prefer cupcakes over cake and I need the cake to frosting ratio to be appropriate.  Also buttermilk frosting over cream-cheese frosting.  But in all seriousness, ice cream cake is probably the best of the cakes.
  52. I have never read a Harry Potter book.
  53. I don’t consider myself to be very religious, but I do consider myself to be spiritual.  I believe in higher-power and the universe and fate and all that garbage.
  54. I do not care for dating apps.  Not one bit.  No judgment, but also no thank you.
  55. I have absolutely zero idea how to use a sewing machine. You should find that hilarious given what I do.
  56. I love fresh flowers – specifically peonies and eucalyptus.  I do not, however, have a green thumb.  Do not give me a plant to take care of because I will inevitably and inadvertently kill it.
  57. I only wear high-rise jeans.
  58. I have veneers over my four front teeth because I believe in shameless in self-improvement.
  59. I always write thank you cards.  I also always keep cards that are given to me.
  60. I walk very, very quickly.  You are signing up for a cardio class when you choose to walk next to me.
  61. I don’t like toppings on my pizza.
  62. My entire family is a fine group of die-hard New York Mets fans. My mama used to walk the players out onto the field on Old-Timer’s Day in the 70’s at Shea Stadium.
  63. My first real job was as a copy associate at an Office Max followed by a three-year-stint as a hostess at The Cheesecake Factory when I was fired from Office Max because they thought that I made copies of sheet music for free with their machines.  Honestly, I probably accidentally did.  And you know what? I regret nothing as they only paid me, like, $8 an hour before taxes, so I feel like I earned it.
  64. I must swab my ears when I see a q-tip which is typically once a day.
  65. When I was in high school, people used to ask me to forge their parents’ signatures on notes because I have nice handwriting and I would absolutely do it. For free. Really missed an opportunity there.
  66. I do not like showing up empty handed to parties. I will bring chips and salsa or wine, sometimes both.
  67. I will take any and all opportunities to cross the street even if a car is approaching and I don’t have a walk sign. It really scares the people I’m with.
  68. I love surprising people — surprise parties, surprise presents, surprising them with my presence.
  69. I almost always prefer salty over sweet. Pretzels and popcorn are my Achilles heel.
  70. I have completed the Whole30 challenge seven times over the last two and a half years. It taught me a lot about my aversion to dairy.
  71. I’m a grazer. I don’t eat three big meals a day, I tend to just eat here and there and hope for the best.
  72. I’m not a fish-eater. Exceptions include any and all shrimp and the imitation crab that comes in a California roll.
  73. My body has almost always conformed to a size 8 – pants, dress, tops, and shoes. 8’s all around.
  74. I’m really good at card games, specifically poker.  I get that from my dad.
  75. I cannot roll my “r”’s, even after taking five years of Spanish.
  76. If I see a lucky penny on the street I have to pick it up.
  77. My grandmother on my mom’s side is one of fifteen children; gifting me over one- hundred second cousins and really big family reunions twice a year that I typically can’t attend.
  78. I am the oldest of two siblings – people are oddly shocked to learn I have a brother.  I think it’s because he doesn’t allow me to post pictures of or with him cause he’s not a photo-nazi like I am.  I also have an older half-sister who I did not grow up with, but who is really wonderful.
  79. I tried a PB&J for the very first time this year. My mom would never make them for us when I was a kid. I always just got a plain ol’ peanut butter sandwich.  PB&J’s rule.
  80. I was not allowed to watch the television show Rugrats as a kid per my mother’s fear that I would turn into Angelica. I’m still not sure if it worked or not.
  81. One time, when I was little, I didn’t want to eat my peas (still don’t, peas are gross) so I stuck one up my nose and it took a lot of time and effort from both my parents as well as a pair of tweezers to get it out.  That’s different from the time that I stuck a really tiny bead from a necklace inside my ear, around the same time as the pea incident, where my parents actually had to take me to the hospital to get it out.  Not sure what I was going through at the time.
  82. I will always get the dressing on the side.
  83. I don’t like big bugs, they completely freak me out.  I’m talking cockroaches, very large spiders, things with lots of legs.  Ants and little spiders are fine though.  Mice and rats also freak me out – something to do with their tails.  It’s a good thing I live in New York City.
  84. My biggest vocal inspirations come from the likes of Carole King and Sara Bareilles. My biggest theatrical inspirations come from the likes of Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason.
  85. I don’t like beans, unless they’re in my chili.  Don’t give me rice and beans next to my taco.
  86. I could eat chips and salsa for every meal every day of the week, just name the time and place.
  87. I don’t like wearing open-front sweaters.  They get in the way.
  88. I have one hole in each of my ears after getting them pierced when I was ten-years-old and hating on every person who told me it wouldn’t hurt.  It absolutely did, and it was traumatic.  No more holes for this chick.
  89. I have a very challenging time delegating things to others.  I like to do everything myself and then get really stressed out because I’m doing everything myself.
  90. To that end, I’m a big DIY person.  Always have been, even as a kid.  I will almost always opt for making something or re-purposing something myself before resorting to buying it.  Same goes for hanging things, painting things, and fixing things that are broken.
  91. I’m getting better at it, but I can almost never get through a joke or a funny story without laughing before the punchline.
  92. I am very sarcastic.  I am also very sassy.  Typically, if I’m both of these things to you, it means I like you as a human.
  93. I hate Apple Cider Vinegar.  Even when I take it in a shot mixed in with juices that are supposed to mask the taste, it’s still there.  Don’t put that near my taco either.
  94. I did not get my driver’s license until I was almost eighteen years old because my parents did not want me to.  If you ask my mom, she’ll say it’s because I didn’t want to, but that is bullshit.  I did not want to take the bus to school as a senior, I would have much rather driven my first car, Norman – even if he was a beat-up 1990 Toyota Camry painted three different shades of red, with no mirror on the passenger’s side or the ability to open the passenger’s side door, forcing people to either sit in the back or climb in through the window.  He was the freaking best.
  95. I’m not a big museum person.  I’ll go, I’ll listen, I’ll watch.  But I can’t be there very long before my attention span wears thin.
  96. I can french braid my own hair better than I can french braid someone else’s hair.
  97. I’m almost always one step behind everyone else with the newest music or show.  I will also avoid listening to something from a musical until I can see it live as to avoid preconceived notions of any kind.
  98. I am an over-analyzer.  I will dissect the crap out of anything.
  99. I have never lived in a borough outside of Manhattan since moving to New York almost six years ago.
  100. I do, in fact, genuinely like Dave Matthews Band.  They’re not my favorite band as once described by a very young, impressionable Tara, but I do love listening to their music; not only to hear some favorite songs, but to also remind myself that we can, in fact, allow things that were once introduced to us by others to stand alone in our own proximity to how we feel about them.  Also, I like the saxophone.

Five Years, Four Apartments, Three iPhones, Two Broadway Shows, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

new york, personal

Today marks my fifth year in Manhattan. Every year that I celebrate my anniversary with New York feels like another milestone. To be fair, it’s the longest consecutive relationship I’ve ever been in (key word: consecutive).

Like any relationship, New York is a commitment. You have to really love it or you simply won’t enjoy yourself. It has enriched my life, taken me on many adventures, introduced me to some of the greatest people I could ever hope to know, and cultivated a more cultured woman than the sheltered girl who arrived here in early 2014.

We’ve almost parted ways a few times – coming eerily close to imploding break-ups where one of us had to move out (that would be me). I have felt impossibly suffocated by it, needed to escape from it, but somehow always manage to find my way back.

New York isn’t for everyone; I’ve learned that the hard way over the past one thousand, eight hundred and twenty five days. I love it, so I expect everyone else to, too. When my mom visited my very first apartment in Harlem, I felt like I was introducing her to a new boyfriend she didn’t entirely approve of. But it grew on her. It’s grown through me – New York is a part of who I am now.

I am better for knowing you, New York. Thank you for teaching me to be a bolder, braver, more patient and steadfast individual. You have my heart.

adventure awaits

personal, Travel

In November I came across an advertisement for a floral scratch-off map of the United States from Etsy with the title across it “Adventure Awaits.”

screen shot 2019-01-04 at 11.18.50 am

This isn’t my map, trust.

It’s pretty self-explanatory.  It starts out completely gray, then you scratch away states as you’ve visited them.  It got me thinking about how many places I’ve been to in the country I live in – which, admittedly, isn’t as many as I would like – but I would love to see more states bloom from the gray this coming year.  So, I ordered one for myself to frame on my wall – where it will become ceremonious to scratch away once I’ve returned.

This is, by all means, not a New Year’s Resolution.  I’ve placed zero expectations on what this year has to come, and I plan on keeping it that way: moment to moment (see The Year of the Moment).  But I do have many travel plans this year – most of which to states I’ve never been to – so this will be a beautiful representation of where I’ve been.

Stay tuned, y’all.

2019: the year of the moment

new york, personal

I’ve spent the past few days asking friends, what I believe to be, a very crucial question: what do you want to manifest itself in 2019?

Rather than resolutions, I’ve gotten in the habit of naming my year (thank you, Hailei Call). 2017 was The Year of Travel, 2018 was The Year of Patiently Evolving.

This year, I wanted to focus on being more present, listening more intently, and trusting the journey I’m on. I’m always thinking about what’s coming next; which can be both a blessing and a curse. I also live in a city and age with so many distractions. So I decided that 2019 will be The Year of the Moment. Embracing the moment, living in the moment, appreciating the moments I have with others, and accepting that some people and experiences are meant for the moment.

I have been ready for 2019, but not in an eager way. 2018 was a wonderful year, and I hope that 2019 continues to manifest even more joy. So I’ve welcomed 2019 in with open arms, from the comfort of my home, next to Luna, with good friends and delicious Prosecco.

Happy New Year, y’all. I hope that on December 31st, I can look back and know I was present for every moment.

best nine: vol. 9

new york, personal

The last puzzle piece to make up my year – my twenty-seventh birthday.

I hold birthdays to a pretty high standard – it’s your day! You’ve got 24 hours that are designated to be solely yours – whatever that means to you.

I’ve been pretty jazzed to turn twenty-seven. It felt like coming home – much like 2019 feels like coming home. Since my birthday falls so closely to the end of the year, December has become an even deeper month of reflection for me. I tend to not only think about what the new year will bring, but a new age.

Last year I had one of the best birthday celebrations to-date. My friends and family gathered at Playwrights Tavern in midtown on the first snowfall of the year and partied-down with me. So many people passed through and watched me drink (and drop) a lot of cosmopolitans. My mama and I took a lemon drop shot together (what?) and I ended up housing four extra people in my teeny-tiny studio apartment.

This year my day was spent laughing over brunch, working at Pretty Woman, eating and drinking at our holiday party, and dancing and singing Amy Winehouse’s “Valarie” onstage at Haswell Greens with a slice of pizza in hand with some of my closest pals. Twenty-seven felt more sophisticated, more down-to-earth. Twenty-seven feels more like me.

I dig you, 27. I think I’ll wear you well for like another year or so.

best nine: vol. 8

new york, personal

On October 30th, I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed at 8 AM to deliver roughly 12 bags of donations to Goodwill – old clothes, purses, knick-knacks. Why you ask? Because I was bringing a ten-week-old kitten home that day. The less you have, the better.

Her name was Lumi, a beautiful, itty-bitty Calico kitten I first saw on Instagram when my friend Lauren Molina posted that she was looking for someone to adopt her. I immediately messaged her: “I need this cat.”

And she said, “She’s yours if you want her.”

I didn’t actually think about taking her when I sent that message. She was just too cute, I couldn’t not say something. But what if I actually got myself a kitten? What’s the worst that could happen?

So on October 30th, I brought home my sweet little devil angel, renamed Luna Llew, dropped her tiny little two-pound body on my couch, and instantly broke into tears. What was I thinking? I’m going to have this cat when I have kids. This apartment isn’t mine anymore, it’s hers too. Now I’m actually responsible for someone who isn’t me. What did I just do?!

And then she sat on my shoulder and fell asleep.

I love Luna Llew. She’s a feisty little thing – just like her mama. I can’t remember a time when we weren’t sharing my sweet little studio together. What a serendipitous moment 2018 brought me through her.

I want her to stay little forever, but for now, we’ll settle for this photo.

best nine: vol. 7

new york, personal

September 2nd, 2018: The final incarnation of Seams and Songs – my one-woman show about my journey as a wardrobe-supervising actress in New York. I’ve done this show three times since 2016; and I think it’s suffice to say this was, by far, the cleanest, tightest, funniest version.

Which is why I’ll never do it again.

My knack for writing and assembling one-woman shows for myself will not go to waste; I will do other ones (stay tuned for Twenty Eight Years Later: the show I’m putting together for my birthday next year. It’ll be a good time). But this year’s Seams and Songs was too good to try and tamper with again. I’d like to leave it where it is.

The show started 30 minutes late because the waitstaff didn’t anticipate the turnout. I had three costume changes during this version – all underdressed, all pretty rad. I stood onstage with some of the best people I know. I finally publicly opened up about my time working on CATS and how hard it was. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt right.

Here I am, post-show, between my two beautiful childhood besties and brides-to-be. I also got this delicious red romper at Forever21 for $9 and altered it myself to be t-length because it wouldn’t be Seams and Songs if I wasn’t clad in items of clothing I learned to rig along my wardrobe journey these last five years.

best nine: vol. 6

new york, personal

The big kahuna of 2018: Pretty Woman.

I vividly remember feeling like the frantic energy surrounding my job at Desperate Measures would subside once we opened on June 13th. Alas, it only grew – between understudy put-ins and wig drama and the upkeep of being a one-woman department head of two departments that desperately needed two department heads – I was completely spent. So much so, that on June 21st, I stood alone in the dressing room angrily styling a wig, venting to myself about how much I could not do this job on my own anymore. To add insult to injury, I soon-after realized that I had run out of laundry detergent as I went to wash the clothes for that afternoon’s performance. So I bolt upstairs to the RiteAid across the street, and as I step outside, a text comes through on my phone from an unknown number asking if I would like to come in the following day to discuss becoming a dresser for the upcoming Broadway production of Pretty Woman.

If you’ve never been to/worked at New World Stages – there is no service. None. Goodbye world, hello crappy WiFi! So, had I not gone upstairs to get laundry detergent, I wouldn’t have gotten this message until much, much later; this perpetuating the insanity of conversing with myself. The universe is funny like that.

The next day, I stepped away from New World Stages to go to the Nederlander Theater for my interview. As I was walking down 8th Avenue, I crossed paths with my pal Chris Luner, who had worked on Desperate Measures with me and, ironically, was in pre-production for Pretty Woman. He escorted me through the theater and hand-delivered me to, who would soon be, my supervisor, the great Robert Guy.

I had barely sat down before he looked at me and said, “Do me a favor – walk all the way up the stairs to the sixth floor, then come back down and tell me if you still want to work here.” I did, said I couldn’t wait to see how great my butt would look after tech, and walked out of the Nederlander with a my next Broadway contract.

It was bittersweet – I had to call several friends to cancel plans I had made – including concerts, bridal showers, and alike – to accommodate my new, impending tech week. I also had to call my dear friends who had hired me at Desperate Measures and give them exactly two weeks notice. And, what’s worse, I had to tell my sweet cast that I would soon be leaving our wonderful show.

Despite the madness, Desperate Measures had become my home, and I loved working with my people every single day. I was very sad to leave; even if it was the best move for myself. Sometimes what’s right can feel wrong when you’re taken away from something before you anticipated.

As many of you know, this is my second Broadway contract as a dresser – the first was pretty rough. I was relentlessly bullied for most of my time there and it brutally tainted my experience. Leaving a company filled to the brim with kindness, patience, and encouragement at Desperate Measures was daunting for that very reason. What if I had the same experience that I did on CATS?

If you can’t tell by the sheer joy all over my face, my experience on this show has been nothing like my first. I love my job. I love this company. I loved this night. Opening Night of Pretty Woman was nothing shy of perfect. I danced all night surrounded by my favorite people, wearing a stunning dress (this entire ensemble cost me less than $80, by the by) singing my favorite songs.

I ended the night eating a personal pizza in bed with my mama zonked out on the couch ten feet away in her llama pajamas.

Quite possibly one of the best nights of my New York life.

best nine: vol. 5

personal, weddings

My one stipulation of taking my contract with Desperate Measures was an out on June 2nd, our third preview, to attend the wedding of my two friends Alexandra and Chris in Pennsylvania.

It’s typically unheard of for a supervisor to miss a performance during previews, but I was lucky to have an amazing friend and colleague in my GM Brian, and my designer Nicole Wee, who very quickly assured me I could use a sub without a hitch. It was also a blessing that my close friend Maggie Luther had previously supervised the show in an earlier incarnation, and already knew it well.

I rented a Zipcar and drove with my pal Holly down to Fiddle Lake Farm, where I attended the best wedding I have ever been to (sorry everyone – your weddings were still great, but this was actually perfect). From the drinks named after their two cats, to the bluegrass trio, to ice cream sandwiches as you walked in, to the vintage hankies basket next to the entrance (for all the tears we cried over the beautiful ceremony), to the food, to the bonfire and s’mores at the end – I could go on and on about how endlessly wonderful the entire celebration was. It was a proper tribute to two souls perfectly made for one another to celebrate their love with their people. Alexandra and Chris’s love is inspiring.

Despite the fact that I am ugly crying and laughing in this photo, it encapsulates June 2nd – which will forever remain one of my favorite days.