Favorite Five Friday (83rd Edition)

18 Sep

Hey all! I’m not going to lie… I might as well call this the “Dan Edition.” All of my favorite parts of this week were spent celebrating my handsome husband’s birthday! Turn back now if you don’t want to see anything sappy. ;) (Don’t worry, it’s not that sticky.) Romantics and the brave at heart, keep on reading…


1.  I am so thankful that Dan was born! This guy is the most hard-working, courageous, and generous man I know. He always takes care of me, challenges me, makes me laugh, believes in me, and makes me feel like there is nothing better than being Joanna. I know… I am the luckiest. :) I feel like there should be more than one day a year to celebrate the fact that my best friend came into this world… so, I like to celebrate big. (If you don’t know me… I am a little obsessed with holidays. Birthdays included.) And that’s exactly what we did this week! Surprises, hunts for clues, treats, and adventures – it was quite a fun week!


2.  We got to kick off our celebration by going to the Employee Preview Night for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. Beforehand, we had a few friends over for a little ice cream cake (it’s become a tradition for me to make ice cream cake every year for Dan’s birthday – this year was Nutella Crunch!) and to sing happy birthday, of course. Then we were on our way to evening full of screams and thrills! I love Halloween Horror Nights. Remember how I said I love holidays? Halloween is pretty much the top of my list, and I get to spend a full month in Halloween fun! We’ve got some pretty awesome mazes this year. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who might be planning to attend the event this year, but I think American Werewolf in London was my favorite maze. It got some serious screams out of me. So, if you are going… don’t miss that one! We got to go through all of the mazes and scare zones… it’s safe to say we had a screamin’ good time. (Yeah, I went there.) Come check out Halloween Horror Nights 2014!


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3.  For Dan’s actual birthday I planned two adventures. The first was going to Warner Brothers for their VIP Tour – something we’ve been talking about doing for months. As VIP Guides, it felt strange to be on the tourist side, but it was a lot of fun! We got to see some really neat sets, hear about some cool history, and learn some new things. Plus, there was a William H. Macy sighting which was super cool. Part of the reason I felt like we should to the WB tour for Dan’s birthday was because they are celebrating 75 years of Batman. They had all kind of cool displays set up to check out Batman over the years. They also film a bunch of other shows and movies we really like. We enjoyed getting to see another studio and getting to be VIP guests for the day.




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4.  The second adventure was a trip to Disneyland for the Happiest Haunts Tour. Disney offers all kinds of VIP tours, but around Halloween they give a tour that revolves around some Halloween history. We had a VIP Tour Guide and a Ghost Host to share lots of fun facts and get us VIP access to a few of the rides. Our favorite ride this time of year is The Haunted Mansion because Jack Skellington and The Nightmare Before Christmas crew come to deck the halls. We also got several sweet treats along the way, and a very cool Happiest Haunts pin. One of our favorite aspects of the tour was the audio devices they use. Each guest got an ear piece and a receiver to wear. Then the VIP Tour Guide could speak normally into his microphone and we could hear him as we walked along through the park. They also played special spooky theme music to underscore the evening. I’m pretty sure the other people in our group thought Dan and I were a little crazy as we broke out into silly dances along the way. It was a really magical adventure.

"I knew it!"

“I knew it!”


5.  I also just want to say thank you to the friends and family that reached out to Dan on his birthday… sending sweet messages, spoiling him with gifts, wishing him a good day. It makes my heart happy. :) I loved getting to see him be so loved! Thank you for celebrating with us!

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I hope your week was just as fun! Happy Friday and Happy Birthday, Dan!

Bonus Picture!

Bonus Picture!

Favorite Five Friday (82nd Edition)

11 Sep

Friday has almost come and gone, but there’s still time to sneak in a little…



1.  One of the coolest kids I know turned four, and I got to celebrate with him! We had a great time partying like pirates at Phin’s birthday party this week. Being a big kid is fun!


2.  I have spent most of the last week training Universal’s latest class of Tour Guides, and it has been a really neat experience. You all know that I love my job… seeing other people fall in love with it is awesome. I have really enjoyed watching to each of these Guides in Training as they learn the information, put their tour together, and put their own personal stamp on it. I can remember exactly what it was like to be in their position – the challenges and the excitement. Getting to be a mentor and a source of encouragement has been the highlight of my week. I am wishing them all luck as they get ready to test next week!


3.  There has been a Gratitude Challenge making its way around Facebook, and I was asked to join in this week. Basically, the challenge lasts five days, and each day you have to share three things you are grateful for and then challenge three more friends. Seeing my news feed flooded with so much positivity and thankfulness has been such a breath of fresh air. We can all get so caught up in complaining about the things that don’t go our way. It’s easy to forget all of the beautiful things that exist in our lives. There is so much to be grateful for.

4.  Speaking of gratitude, the 13th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 was this week, and every where I turned people were sharing their stories, lifting each other up, and stopping to remember those we lost. I am so thankful for the people who gave their lives and those that still fight to keep us safe. I can’t believe it’s been 13 years. I will never forget where I was when I heard the news, the emotions it made me feel, how it changed me. I will always remember 9/11 as the day I truly discovered what it meant to be proud to be an American. We will never forget.

5.  This was particularly meaningful to me this week. I think it might be my new mantra… I need a theme song… ;)



Happy Friday, lovely people! Until next time!

Favorite Five Friday (81st Edition)

4 Sep

Another week, another post! It’s time for…


1.  I know a lot of people do a pretty extensive spring cleaning. Well, we just decided it was time for a serious fall cleaning. Dan and I have de-cluttered and parted ways with all kinds of items we no longer need. A mix of books, movies, clothing, household items, etc. we just decided to pare down to things we really want. Life is too short to watch bad movies and read boring books. That is our new philosophy. So, we are donating and selling tons of stuff! We also scrubbed our apartment from top to bottom. It feels so good to have a clean and organized apartment. It makes me feel like I can take on anything.

2.  Summer came to and end, and the Studio Tour said see-ya in style. We had a delicious Labor Day feast prepared by the folks at Lucille’s BBQ. It was so nice to relax and eat awesome food with the best co-workers around.



3.  Speaking of my co-workers, this week a group of us took a trip through Universal’s House of Horrors to pay our respects to the haunted maze before they closed the doors for good. We had a screaming good time! ;)


Then Dan and I had to go one more time just for good measure…


Rest in Peace House of Horrors.

4.  These days I am doing a lot of travel dreaming. I used to spend so much time traveling that staying in one place sounded perfect. Well, now it’s been long enough that I am dying to go out and see more of the world. There are still so many places I haven’t been. Plus, Dan and I haven’t taken a real vacation since our Honeymoon! It’s about time we go somewhere… I’ve got big plans.


5.  I just finished read The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It was recommended by my mom and Dan. It was about time I read it! It’s a pretty compelling story with some interesting characters. I can’t wait to see the movie and to read the next four books in the series.

Happy Friday to you! Enjoy the weekend, folks!

Favorite Five Friday (80th Edition)

29 Aug

Summer is officially winding down… I wish the heat would cool it, too. (See what I did there? ;) haha) It has been a hot one. Check out this week…


1.  Dan and I are going through a down-sizing phase. We are getting rid of clutter and things we don’t need. He has decided to attack our wall of DVDs. We love movies, and we love to collect them. We have bought many an inexpensive DVD at going out of business sales. A terrible habit began where we would buy movies that we had never seen. They would sound interesting or star actors we like, but we would buy them without even knowing if they were good. Well, over the years we have discovered that most of them either A) Weren’t good or B) We didn’t care enough to find out. So, we are diving into some of the movies we are on the fence about to make up our minds. It’s been fun to have so many movie nights. Plus, it feels great to get rid of things we don’t need.

2.  Having couple friends is a ridiculous amount of fun. I mean, having friends at all is awesome. But having friends that are also in a relationship is pretty neat. There is always some common ground to share. Times spent with these friends are some of my favorites these days.

3.  This sweet moment that happened this week:

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4.  I’ve been reminiscing about my touring days… So many wonderful moments and memories. I will be forever thankful for the places I saw, the people I met, the friends I made, and the impact those tours had on my life.


5.  Disneyland has been calling our names for several weeks now. We haven’t been able to make it down to Anaheim very much during the Summer of Mayhem. We finally got to go visit the Mouse this week, and it felt so good to be back! I know you’ve all missed my Disney posts so here’s a few photos ;) ….


Dan was pretty cute when he got to meet Cap.

Dan was pretty cute when he got to meet Cap.

Happy Weekend to One and All!

Favorite Five Friday (79th Edition)

22 Aug

Hey, Friday. You’re lookin’ good…


1.  One of our dear friends was in town this week, and we got the chance to meet up with her for a few hours. She was staying in Hollywood so got to eat breakfast with her at the fabulous Roosevelt Hotel. The 25 Degree restaurant there is amazing. It was so lovely to have a relaxing breakfast and the opportunity to reunite with a friend. Thank you, Miss Trina! What a refreshing morning. :) (The photo is a bit grainy, but still cute!)


2.  The Universal Tour Guide Showcase auditions were this week, and I had a really great time. My scene partner and I picked an awesome scene. I feel like we really created some fun an interesting moments. Our audition went really well, and I left feeling very proud of what I did. Unfortunately, I did not get cast in the showcase this year. Of course, I am disappointed, but I feel like I am learning to bounce back from that faster. You have to develop a tough skin to work in this industry – while somehow still remaining vulnerable. It’s an interesting dynamic, but it’s one I am working on. I feel great about my audition, and I am just going to keep plugging away. I can’t wait to see my fellow guides in action at the showcase this fall!

3.  I have been craving a beach day all summer! We don’t get to go too often. (Plus, my husband gets burned pretty quickly so it’s not always high on his list). Well, we finally had a day to go and it was perfect. We walked in the sand, sat in the sun, played on the monkey bars, and are ice cream! There is something so amazing about being by the ocean. It’s simultaneously calming and thrilling. Maybe that’s just me? I am just a huge fan of that atmosphere. I’m dreaming of a day where maybe I will have the chance to live right next to the beach. But being close is good enough for now.



4.  Some friends of ours who are fellow Nashville transplants live in Downtown Los Angeles. The mileage isn’t too far, but the traffic is terrible. Basically this means we don’t get to see them very often. Well, they just moved to a new place so we got to go check it out this week. One of my favorite parts of this week was eating dinner in their cute little bungalow and catching up on each other’s lives. It feels like a little piece of our Nashville home is with us when we are with them. Plus, I love this little man…



5.  I’ve had several people going through all of my fabulous headshots and helping me choose which ones I should use. Kat Tuohy took so many fantastic pictures that it is hard to pick! Soon I will post my selections, but I came across this little outtake and thought it would be fun to share…



Enjoy your weekend, friends! You deserve it. :)

Favorite Five Friday (78th Edition)

16 Aug

Guys, I’m not going to lie…I didn’t post yesterday because I didn’t feel like there was much to say.  Mostly, I just worked this week.  I love my job, and I am always happy to be at work.  Plus, being able to pay bills is a good thing!  I just didn’t have too much to say. Then, this morning I just felt like I should post something anyway.  Life isn’t always made up of exciting moments, but it’s still thrilling to be alive.  So, here ya go…


1.  Speculoo’s Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s is the most delicious thing ever. I might have eaten an entire bag of pretzels this week just so I could dip them in cookie butter. I have always been a fan of the Biscoff cookies that they have (or had) on Delta flights. Well, that is exactly what cookie butter tastes like! But it’s in a spreadable, peanut-buttery kind of state… so you can put in on things! Like pretzels. And celery, ice cream, bread… Maybe this week I will have to come up with more ideas of what to put it on. Thoughts? Have any of y’all tried this stuff?! Do it. (Warning: The cashier at TJ’s called it “Crack-ie Butter” and he might not be wrong.)

2.  Snow cones at work!  What a fun place, right?


3.  I’ve really been able to switch on my actor brain recently… head shots, work shops, agency meetings.  I’ve also been working on a really fun scene for a showcase audition I have coming up next week. It’s been exciting to work that muscle again.  It’s also made me realize how much I want (possibly need) to be in class.  Whether it’s a specific technique, scene study, improv… I just want to get out there and do that.  Making goals.

4.  I love The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.  We watch pretty much every episode.  I have never been super into any late night talk shows, but Jimmy just makes it so fun.  It’s also a great way to keep up on entertainment news – which is important as an actor.  If you haven’t seen the show yet, check it out!  Mr. Fallon is nailing it.

5.  As a kid, you fall in love with movies and the characters that are in them… it is some time before you truly realize the character is played by an actor – a real person who is bringing that role to life.  For a while, they are just one in the same.  Do you know what I mean?  The first actor that I can remember recognizing as a person outside of his fabulous characters was Robin Williams.  When I would see him in a movie, I knew who it was and I’d expect to see something amazing.  He never disappointed.  Mr. Williams brought to life some of the most beloved characters from my childhood.  He also played roles that inspired me as a performer.  Watching him on-screen is like taking a Master Class in acting.  When I heard of his passing this week, I was stunned.  Is it strange to cry for someone who you have never met?  Obviously it is not, because every social media site was literally flooded with posts echoing all the things I was feeling.  I saw posts from friends who are actors, friends who just love movies, friends who couldn’t care less about the arts… He was so well-loved by his audience.  This genius of a man touched so many lives!  Robin Williams had such a bright spark that he shared with the world.  Even from afar, we all feel his loss.  I can’t imagine what those who experienced that spark personally are going through.  My heart goes out to family and friends – those that truly knew him.  He will be remembered as we all watch Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, my personal favorite, Hook… and the many other movies he breathed life into.  Robin Williams, you will be missed, but never forgotten.



Enjoy your weekend, friends. Make every moment count!

Favorite Five Friday (77th Edition)

8 Aug

It’s Friday! And I am actually posting! What a week it has been…



1.  There is something so special about handwritten cards. The women in my family have always been so good at holiday cards, thank you cards, just a little note here and there. I can’t remember a day of Elementary School that my lunch did not come with a note from my mom. When I was on tour for months at a time, I knew I could look forward to letters waiting for me in many of the places we performed.  Well, not only does my grandma hand write her cards, she also hand makes them! She also got me on this little DIY kick. Making cards is a lot of fun! This is the much-needed one she sent me this week:

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2.  I got to go to a fun on-camera workshop this week with the fabulous Shari Shaw and Keith Andreen. Shari worked with the Guides at Universal last summer, and this year she came back with an awesome camera man. It was a fun way to work on scenes, and I am looking forward to getting to check out the tape later. This is also a great introduction, as Shari will be directing the upcoming Studio Guide Showcase that I’m auditioning for at the end of the month!

3.  Guardians of the Galaxy came out this week! We went on a triple date with our pals to see it in Prime, and now we never want to see a movie another way again. Not only was it in IMAX 3D… we also sat in cushy reclining chairs that each had their own subwoofer underneath. Prime definitely made it a whole experience. Man, I love going to the movies. And, of course, Guardians was awesome.

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4.  I got new glasses this week! I love them. If you know me, you know I have a thing about red sun glasses. So, I decided some red-ish glasses would be appropriate as well.

Kat Tuohy Photography

Kat Tuohy Photography

5.  Well, that photo was my intro into my next topic… I recently got advice from my agents and some wonderful casting directors about getting new head shots.  They wanted a couple different looks and vibes that I was missing.  A fabulous photographer was highly recommended to me, and once I saw her photos, I knew that I needed to shoot with her. Kat Tuohy is a genius, and I am in love with the photos she took. Here is a sneak peek at my head shot shoot:

Kat Tuohy Photography

Kat Tuohy Photography

What a lovely week! I hope yours was wonderful, too.

Happy Weekend, All!


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