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Speaks To Me Sunday #79

25 Jun

This past year of my life has been filled with change, growth, hard decisions, big feelings, and a deeper understanding of who I am and who I want to be.
In this time I have been desperate to write, to express my feelings, my thoughts… but I’ve found myself at a loss for words. What I have been feeling and experiencing is just so big. I’ve been sharing bits and pieces, but some of it I am still trying to find the language to describe. 

So, if you’re wondering where I’ve been… I’m still here. Taking my time, listening, and trying to put what’s in my heart into words. Because I do feel like it’s important to share. What are our experiences for if not to learn from, to share with others, to forge meaningful connections… so, when I’m ready, I’ll let you know. 

In the meantime, I feel like something new is coming. More change is happening. I’m not who I was yesterday, last year, or when I started this blog about five years ago. I’m embracing the woman I’ve become and excitedly anticipating whatever comes next. 

Speaks To Me Sunday #77

5 Mar

Fresh start, clean slate, blank canvas, next chapter, new beginnings.

It’s like inhaling a deep breath of relief and exhaling a world of possibilities. 

There certainly is something magical about beginnings, isn’t there? Anything can happen. The thought makes me completely giddy. 

I am at the start of a new beginning. It’s been full of excitement, heartache, relief, doubt, sureness, and joy. Mostly I just have a lot of feelings. 

Packing up and leaving Los Angeles behind was harder for me than I thought it would be. I created a life there, and I am incredibly proud of all I accomplished. I will forever treasure the relationships and experiences California brought me,  but LA didn’t end up being where I wanted to build my life, plant my roots.

Nashville has been calling my husband and me back for quite some time. We couldn’t keep ignoring the way this city tugged at our heartstrings. The possibility of continuing to follow our passion for acting in a thriving theatre community and the budding Southern film market was so appealing. Equally important was returning to loved ones, finding a church family to fellowship with, dreams of our own home and a growing family, and the desire to truly invest ourselves in the place we choose to call home. The possibilities are endless and exhilarating. 

So here we are. Back in Nashville at the start of something new, choosing to begin again. It’s been quite the journey, but I am ready. I am choosing to trust in the magic of beginnings. 

Hey y’all! We’re home. 

La La Land

11 Jan

Can I tell you a secret? 

I was avoiding going to see La La Land.

I know.

And not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. In fact, it’s totally my kind of movie. A musical starring two of my favorite actors – clearly a winner. But I was scared.

I was scared because I am getting ready to leave the real La La Land, and I thought it might hurt. A film that I’ve heard described as a love letter to LA. A film showcasing some of the most beautiful locations in Los Angeles. A film about aspiring artists, struggle in the City of Angels, creativity, hope, and finding your own way. A film that just might tug at the heart strings of a girl who tried to give La La Land her best. 

And I was right. It was beautiful, it was my kind of movie, and it broke my heart. 

I have to give it up for Damien Chazelle and the creators of this gorgeous film because they nailed it. They told my story. The story of every actor who came to LA with a dream – every interrupted audition, every draining day job, every frustrating minute stuck in traffic, every awkward moment trying to promote yourself, every rude question about what you are doing with your life, every ounce of doubt that makes you think “maybe I’m not good enough,” every YES that just might change your life. It’s exhausting! It’s exhilarating! It’s Los Angeles. 

And I’m leaving it behind. 

After almost five years, the allure of LA has dimmed, and I realized I was ready to move on. But then this movie ignited some of the old excitement. It made me question my choices. It made me wonder if I truly gave it all I had. Total gut punch. No one likes to question their decisions once they’ve already been made, right?

But I’ve been doing it – reassessing, going over all the options. Driving myself mad. But you know what? The same truths that brought me to the original decision to leave… they’re still true. I love the idea of LA. The real LA? It’s not the same thing. It’s easy to romanticize, sure. Like in a gorgeous movie musical that looks like a glorious dream sequence from one of the classics. (Good job, Mr. Chazelle.) But it’s not the reality, it’s not what it feels like day to day. Truthfully, I never fell in love with Los Angeles, the city. I loved things about it… good friends, the gorgeous view of the San Fernando Valley from Universal that will forever be etched in my mind, passing movie studios every day on my way to work… at a movie studio, new opportunities to explore all the time. There is a lot to enjoy. But it never really became my home. And as much as I love adventure, I also need home. I want both. 

So, we are closing this chapter. And it’s bittersweet. But just because I’m leaving LA doesn’t mean I am leaving my dreams here too. They have grown, expanded, shifted. Yes, I still want to be an actress. That will never change. But I want to get back to my roots – the stage. I want a fantastic theatre community where I can invest myself. A place where I might truly be able to impact people. I also know the Southern market for film and television is booming. Hollywood is not just in Hollywood anymore – not really. So, I can keep looking for my shot. Even more, I want to focus on relationships, family, community, and the things that were made so much more challenging in LA. Quality of life. I want to thrive instead just surviving. And Nashville feels like the perfect place to do it. How exciting! 

I might be leaving the City of Stars, but it will always be a part of me, a risk I’ll never regret taking. And maybe one day we will be back,  but for now I will just be thankful for the opportunities, experiences, and even grander capacity for dreaming that I found in La La Land. 

Favorite Five Friday (134th Edition)

29 Jan

How it is already Friday again?! Another busy, fun-filled week…


1. I really enjoy hiking, but I haven’t gotten to do much of that since we moved to Burbank. Well, little did I know, there’s a great little hike just a few minutes up the hill from us! I got to enjoy with with some buddies and an adorable pup. It was pretty fantastic, and I’ll definitely be going back.

2. It’s Oscar Season! We are working on another Oscar Musical starring all the Best Picture nominees. We were busy recording the fantastically catchy song this week. I can’t wait for you all to see it!

 3. I spent a good chunk of time this week working on a photobook with pictures from our trip to Europe. It made me so happy to relive all those memories. Thank goodness for photos! They really are so important. I can’t wait for the book to arrive! And now I have travel fever. I just want to go! We’ll see where we end up next. 🙂

4. My brother is getting married in a few short months. To an amazing woman! I was so excited to go order my bridesmaid dress this week. It’s becoming so real. I am so thrilled for Jer and Sabrina. I can’t wait to be a part of their big day.

5. It had been far too long, so Leah and I decided it was time for another magical photo shoot. I love that we can just wander into some random wooded-ish area, I put on some fun costumes, and Leah creates something unbelievable. I’m always impressed by her artistry. Look how magical! (Go see her stuff/two more photos in this series at

Happy Friday, y’all! 



Speaks To Me Sunday #16

5 Jul

This came off of an awesome list that I read some time ago. I can’t seem to find the whole list, but if I do, I will post it. Each item was fantastic, but this was what I needed at the time. It’s what I needed today. 

I didn’t write my Favorite Five Friday post last week because I felt unremarkable. Nothing very exciting happened. I went to work, I cleaned my apartment, I went to the store, I took care of my cats, I watched some TV with my husband. I did all the things that add up to a pretty normal life. But it’s my life. So I’m trying to remember that it’s remarkable to me. 

Every day has meaning. Even the ones where nothing out of the ordinary occurs. Those days are the foundation. It’s okay that each day is not fireworks. That doesn’t mean my life is not amazing. That doesn’t mean that I am unremarkable. Some days are just the basics. That’s what makes the great days so wonderful. 

That said, some days I need to choose the remarkable. It can be so easy to stay home on the couch with Netflix and skip out on plans with friends or a new adventure. There’s nothing wrong with that! Sometimes you need it. But nights spent with Netflix are a lot less memorable than hilarious moments with your pals or trying something new. There is always a choice. And we so need variety! 

Please remember how remarkable you are even on the days that don’t feel special at all. #SpeaksToMeSunday

Speaks To Me Sunday #7

26 Apr


I love you, Amy Poehler.

I feel like I am just starting this journey. Whether it’s saying sorry to someone who bumped into me or apologizing about feelings I’m having… My people pleasing has got to stop. My opinions, emotions, and thoughts matter. I know men can struggle with this too, but I feel like women are so prone to making apologies for things that are not their fault. 

(This article sums it up pretty well:

I’m done being sorry for taking up space, for chasing my dreams, for feeling so deeply, for trying to be my own person. Ladies, let’s stand up to “sorry.” 

What are you done being sorry for? Comment, tweet me, or post to Instagram (@JoannaHackman). #SpeaksToMeSunday 

Choose Your Own Adventure

21 Nov

I love adventure.  Being a part of new and exciting experiences. Challenging yourself and taking risks.  Truly and wonderfully living.

I am ridiculously infatuated with the idea of adventure.  I want to live my life adventurously, but sometimes the cautious, routine-loving woman who runs my brain makes me second guess myself.  It is up to my heart to kindly tell her to please keep her fears of failure and losing control to herself.  This is my life, and I am going to choose my own adventure!

I have recently been on multiple adventures with my new friend, Leah.  We haven’t known each other very long, but I have already learned quite a bit from her. I admire the gutsy way she takes on life… she already wrote a brilliant blog post about what an adventure it was to become friends. (She’s a fantastic writer! Check it out here: Friend Dating).

So, I am not going to get into that particular adventure, but I wanted to share some of the others we’ve had so far!

Trying to figure things out in a giant city can be pretty tricky (especially for the directionally challenged. Ahem…me).  I get scared to go out and do new things because I don’t want to get lost, get in an accident, go to far, do it by myself… the excuses go on and on.  The first thing Leah invited me to do with her was a fitness class. In a place I wasn’t familiar with. On trampolines.  I thought it sounded amazing, but I was a little nervous about it.  So many new things all at once… the uptight lady in my head was frowning in disapproval.  But I had to do it! I wanted to do it! I went for it…And it really was awesome!  New activity and new friend all in one night.

Since then we’ve been on a six-mile hike in Laurel Canyon, had a lunch date in a cute cafe,  and made our way to Griffith Park on a photography expedition.  Hanging out with Leah is always an adventure, and I am loving it.  She’s inspired me to take some new risks and be open to new adventures.  People, this is the kind of friend to have.

I cannot wait til our next adventure!  Until then… “Adventure is out there!”