Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Speaks To Me Sunday #80

9 Jul

Totally guilty of trying to solve my life. I constant find myself wanting to cross EVERYTHING off of my To-Do List in one day. 

But if I cross it all off… what’s left to do? What life is there left to live? I don’t have to solve every problem and conquer every obstacle right this very minute. I don’t have to have everything planned out and perfectly pieced together.

What if I could stop looking at my life as something to solve and instead view it as a pile (an organized one 😉) of wonderful and good things. What if I cared for and nurtured those good things? What if my life grew into something beautiful? 

I love a good To-Do list as much as the next Type-A girl. But even I have to admit that a Christmas-Morning-like pile of all the wonderful things in my life is so much more fulfilling than a crumpled up list of crossed off (or ya know… rewritten again and again) problems and worries.

So, one at a time. I want to build my pile of good things. Now I just have to decide what will I add to the pile first. 

The Last Days

11 Feb

These are the last days. 

The last days I will be a Tour Guide, an Angeleno, a California Girl.

Saying goodbye is hard. It’s bittersweet at best. When you know you are about to leave, it’s like putting on rose colored glasses. Everything is amazing again. It’s fresh, new. Just like it was the day you unpacked your dreams and the Uhaul. 

We still stand by our reasons for leaving Los Angeles behind, but I am thankful for these last days. They have given me the ability to remember all this city has to offer with clear eyes and an open heart. 

We put together an LA Bucket List of all we wanted to do, see, eat, and experience before we said goodbye. I have loved exploring and truly enjoying the beauty of the mountains, the ocean, the thriving and active city. I have found joy in being at work, spending time with my co-workers, sharing the magic of making movies with people from all over the world. I have cherished every moment with my beloved LA family – the laughter, the hugs, even the tears. 

The last days have solidified just how wonderful the past five years have been and how thankful I am for the chapter we are now closing. 

It’s too easy to forget what life can really be. I get caught up in routine, making in through the day, and just living life. We should all get to live like it’s the last days. Seeing more clearly, smiling bigger, loving harder, breathing it all in… 

Here’s to living in the last days. 

And let’s be honest… I’ll always be a California Girl. ❤

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 (155th Edition)

28 Oct

Hello! Guys, October is my favorite month, and I’ve been having a blast. Here’s a few of my favs… (with an announcement at the end!)

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. I’ve been dying to go to a Halloween event in LA for the last three years. It’s called DELUSION, and it’s a haunted play. Instead of the usual haunted house where people jump out and scare you, there is a story and you become a part of it. We finally got tickets and braved the spooky villa set up in Downtown LA. It was truly an incredible experience! The actors were so committed, and being involved was so exciting/terrifying. My favorite part was a section set up escape room style, but really… it was all done very well. We left totally exhilarated and impressed. I’m so glad I’ve got friends who are willing to get scared with me.


2. My family came to visit! It’s always nice have loved ones in town. It was a quick trip, but we squeezed in a lot of fun – Delicious food, Universal, manicures with my niece, Griffith Observatory, and Hocus Pocus at the El Capitan! Such a blast with some of my favorite people. I miss you already!


3. All the Halloween movies! We usually reserve this time of year to watch all our favorite scary movies. Honestly, we haven’t had as much time to watch them this year, but we definitely watched our favorites – we love all the Scream movies, Cabin in the Woods, and (of course) Hocus Pocus. If you haven’t seen them, do yourself a favor and check them out. It’s the perfect time of year after all!

4. My birthday was this week! If you know me, you know I love my birthday. And birthdays in general. 🙂 There is just something special about reflecting on the last year of your life and dreaming about the next. I am doing a lot of dreaming these days, and I can’t wait to see what year 28 will hold!

We did some super fun celebrating for my big day! We started the morning with a walk to my favorite bagel shop and kitty snuggles. I treated myself to a face mask and a bath while I read a good book. Then Dan took me to get a massage – totally wonderful. Birthday donuts were also acquired, duh. 😉 Once we were good and relaxed, we met up with friends at one of my favorite restaurants – birthday candle and all. We finished the night by making our own s’more desserts that looked like the spell book (boooooOOOoooook!) from Hocus Pocus (gosh, you’d think I like that movie) and watching a scary movie. It was relaxing and special. Add in all the sweet messages, posts, and phone calls in between and it was totally perfect. I am so thankful for the wonderful people in my life. I can’t wait for another year with all of you.


5. I need to share that this is going to be my last Favorite Five Friday post. #155! It sounds like a good time to retire it. FFF was exactly what I needed when I moved to Los Angeles, and man, it has been a joy to share in this way. My life has changed so much in this time. Thanks for traveling it with me! I am ready to move forward, expand, and grow. I’m hoping my blog can do the same. The Art of Acting Up isn’t going anywhere. I will continue to write, but I haven’t decided what as of yet! For now, I will continue with Speaks To Me Sunday, and then we will just see what happens next. I hope you stick around to find out. 🙂


As always, Happy Friday!!! 

Favorite Five Friday (153rd Edition)

2 Sep

Friday! The week is coming to an end and so is summer. That definitely brings a mix of emotions for me. That nostalgia for back to school days and the relief that a busy peak season is winding down at work. We are certainly trying to enjoy the last weeks of summer…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. Dan and I have become such homebodies over the last year. I blame our cats. They are just so cuddle-able. 🙂 But we’ve decided we need to get out more. So, we have been running around LA and exploring the city. In the last couple weeks we’ve gone to Echo Park for picnicking and pedal boating, we adventured downtown for some delicious coffee at Philz and to check out Skyspace LA (a great exhibit in LA’s tallest building including an outdoor glass sided slide!), and we’ve eaten at many delicious restaurants – my favorite was The Griddle Cafe and their delicious pancakes! It’s safe to say we are having a great time, and we’ve got plenty more stops on our list.

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2.  Because of all our outings, we have been going on so many more dates, and it’s been awesome. I think that sometimes when you are married you do things together for habit, convenience, etc. It’s been great to set specific time aside to go on real dates, to intentionally spend time together. It really makes a difference. So happy he’s my forever date.


3.  The Giving Keys is a fantastic company with an inspiring story. I’ve long been a fan of the gorgeous jewelry they make and the reasons behind it. I’ve been wearing their “Brave” necklace for more than a year, but I just added another to my collection. I’ve been experiencing some worries and anxiety about the future lately. Something my mom well knows! She had The Giving Keys make a special necklace for me – “Peace.” It’s exactly what I needed. Aren’t moms the best?

4.  It’s almost vacation time! (And not a moment too soon. We have been seeing pictures of our Europe trip last year pop up, and it’s making us anxious for adventure.) This year we are headed to Orlando for Universal and Disney! Because as you know, we not only work at a theme park, we also love visiting them. We might be crazy. Haha. But we are so excited to go explore, ride all the rides, eat delicious food, and enjoy some much needed time away and time with each other. The countdown is on!

5. Lemon and Jack are still here. And still the cutest. It’s absurd how much I love them.


Happy Friday, y’all!

Favorite Five Friday (152nd Edition)

5 Aug

Oh hi! It’s been an incredibly busy summer… Which means I haven’t been able to write a Friday post in a couple weeks. Don’t worry, I’m still here! I hope you are too. 🙂 Here’s what we’ve been up to…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1.  We officially completed Whole30 AND our reintroduction phase. We added in off plan food groups one at a time to see how they make us feel. Neither of us experienced any issues. Now, our challenge is figuring out how and when to incorporate foods that we know aren’t super healthy. We have both felt so good on Whole30, and we don’t want to give that up. But we would like to add back in a little more variety! So, we are taking it day at a time. So far, so good. We have learned so much by focusing on this experience and what we eat. It’s safe to say we are better for it and we will continue this journey.

2.  We wrapped our fantastic commericial class with Laurie Records. Talk about a learning experience! I thought I was pretty savvy about commercials having been cast in a few and auditioning quite a bit, but this opened my eyes to a whole new level of commercial acting. (Yeah, it is definitely different than for TV and film.) Each week we got to “audition” and then watch our tape afterward. As an actor, it’s so beneficial to be able to see what you look like on camera. It’s certainly helped me remedy (or at least make a start) a few bad habits. I’m also hoping to focus more on confidence and fun in the audition room. I think it will make a world of difference. Thank you, Laurie!

3.  Time with friends and having a community is such an important thing for us. We’ve loved hanging out with awesome people over the last few weeks – some visiting from out of town, some our regular pals. This quality time is everything.

4.  Dan started up softball again! It’s so fun to watch he and our coworkers battle it out on the field. (That works for sports, right?) It makes it even better knowing how much Dan loves it.

5.  We’ve been getting out of the house more often, and it feels great. Dan and I can be serious  homebodies. During the summer, we are pretty exhausted after our work week. Plus, we love snuggling in at home with our kitties. But there is a whole big world out there! We’ve been trying to be a little more adventurous and exciting. It actually seems to make us a little more energized than staying in. Cheers to more adventures!


Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (149th Edition)

24 Jun

Friday is here again! It’s been a good week…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. We have successfully reached Day 12 of Whole 30! Whew. We have stayed strong. Both of us are feeling good, learning a lot, and enjoying cooking together. I’ve actually found that we are more productive in all areas because we have to be so on top of things with our meal planning. I’m certainly liking that side effect. More updates to come!

this is the kind of food we eat!

meal planning with a little help.

2. It was a million degrees in Los Angeles this week. Okay, it was 108, but it was mighty toasty spending seven hours outside giving a VIP tour. We survived it , and had a little fun by getting to do our tour together!

snapchat didn’t get it quite right, but close!

3. Beach day! I don’t get to go to the beach as often as I like, but I got to go this week. And to make it better, I got to try out a new beach AND spend the day with one of my favorite people. Cammie has lived in L.A. for the last year, but she and her husband are moving to Texas so he can finish his medical residency. I’m sad (slash excited for them) to see them go, but so happy I got to spend Cammie’s last day with her. We went to Manhattan Beach, got some sun, walked in the ocean, window shopped, and talked about all the adventures coming our way. I love friends that leave you feeling refreshed and happy. Love you, Cam!

4. One year ago we brought a tiny tortico home, and we named her Liz Lemon. She has been a source of joy and laughter for us ever since. She puts up with her brothers hijinks, sneaks into the fridge, sleeps in the sink, chases me while I work out, obsessively stares out the windows, and literally hugs our arms when she wants to snuggle. Lemon, you would do your namesake proud.


5. Phase one of Project Refresh is complete! We’ve done so many fun things to make our apartment feel more special, more unique to us. I’m loving what we’ve done so far…

a little Harry Potter love.

 

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painted the shelf myself. the postcards are from our visit to the Churchill War Rooms in London.

LOVE our gallery wall!!

 

gorgeous print made just for us by my friend Elise!

wedding photos for June – love that we can switch them out so easily.

crazy Dr. Who loving cat lady.

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (147th Edition)

3 Jun

Lookin’ good, Friday. A perfect addition to the week, really. And I can’t believe we’ve made it to June – one of my favorite months. I feel like I’m celebrating a LOT of milestones these days. It’s an exciting time…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. Four years ago we packed all of our belongings and moved across the country to a place where we essentially knew no one. Leaving Nashville was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m pretty sure we only got through it because we had each other, our dreams, and what we felt was God’s calling on our lives. Of course, I still miss Nashville and my community there. They will always hold a truly special place in my heart. But I am also incredibly proud of the life we have built in L.A. and all we have accomplished in our time here so far. It’s also pretty neat to have loved ones and family all across the country. Four years ago we said see ya later. Never goodbye.


2. Project Refresh continues in the Hackman Household… a couple months ago I decided I wanted to redo pretty much everything in our apartment. But it takes time! We are making progress. My favorite thing this week was putting up our gallery wall. We are still gathering photos and prints to put in the frames, but we finally found all the pieces we wanted. So we decided to just go for it! I’ll post more pictures once it’s complete, but here’s how it looks on our wall!


3. This week was the TEN year anniversary of my High School Graduation. WHAT?! I feel like that means I am supposed to be a real grown up, but I still find myself looking around for an adultier adult when times get tough. Maybe we all are? Getting older is challenging yet inevitable, ya know? We all do it. But I guess growing up is something else. As for me, I think I’ll choose to keep at least a little of my childishness. 😉 Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on all that’s happened since commencement, and it’s pretty amazing to see how far I’ve come. I toured across the country performing for nine months, moved to Nashville, got married(!), acted in dozens of shows, worked hard and received my BFA in Acting, moved to Los Angeles, found a job I love where I’ve been a part of some once in a lifetime moments, been in commercials and on TV, never stopped pursuing my dreams. Through it all, I’ve met wonderful people, cultivated incredible relationships, dared myself to dream bigger and be braver. And there is still more to do and further to go. Looking back makes me nostalgic, proud, and excited for the next ten years. I think I’ll get the hang of this adulting thing after all.

4. More milestones… One year ago Dan and I wandered into the NKLA animal shelter, and a little gray tabby wandered into our hearts. As soon as he saw Jack, Dan knew we had to have him. It was only made more clear when Jack was handed to us and he immediately started purring. There was no way we were leaving without him. I can’t explain it, but over the last year Jack has made our lives happier just by being in it. I love being a crazy cat lady Cat Mom.



5.  It’s National Donut Day! Oh Those Hackmans could not help but celebrate. Donuts are kind of our thing. 🙂

Happy Friday! Go eat a donut!

Favorite Five Friday (140th Edition)

25 Mar

I had a really sweet week full of time with people I love. I hope you did too! Here’s a few of my favorite things…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. Two things I love are exploring new places and time with friends. I got to do both of those things this week when Cammie suggested we go to Abbot Kinney for the afternoon! First of all, time with Cammie always feels like a Godsend. Our conversations are always captivating, and every time, I leave her presence feeling refreshed. I had never even heard of it (crazy!), but Abbot Kinney is a hip little street in Venice with great shops and yummy food. I was a particular fan of Intelligensia Coffee. We had coffee, wandered, tried on clothes, ate lunch at Lemonade, and chatted about life, love, and other mysteries. It was certainly the Girl’s Day I needed.


 2.  I have always been a huge, unashamed musical theatre nerd. At age five, my favorite movie was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. At age ten, all my wildest dreams came true when I was cast as Annie. Listening to (and singing) showtunes has always been a part of my life. I am a fan of most musical theatre, but once in a while,  a show comes along and it strikes your heart… The Scarlet Pimpernel, Wicked, The Last Five Years, and now… Hamilton.  It’s consuming me. I can’t stop listening to (and trying to sing) these songs. Lin-Manuel Miranda already won me over by combining musical theatre and history. Add in absurdly catchy songs with brilliant lyrics, characters that make your heart ache, and an extra special something that brings me to tears every time… I’m yours. So head over heels, crazy about this show. I am just dreaming of seeing it performed live. If you haven’t heard of this show, where have you been?! Seriously, give it a listen. Hamilton might just blow your mind.

3.  More fun things on my day off! I got to tag along on a trip to the L.A. Zoo with my pal, Leah, and the kiddos she nannies. Those boys are awesome. They all showed me the coolest parts of the zoo. I didn’t even hide when we walked by the spiders! My favorites were the monkeys and great apes. They just have such a fun energy. The L.A. Zoo even has a great seating area by the chimpanzee enclosure so we got to eat the lunches Leah brought for us while we watched the chimps at play. Basically, the zoo is awesome.


4.  Happy Birthday to my handsome, hilarious, and hard-working Daddy! I love getting to celebrate this guy. I hope you know how loved and appreciated you are, Dad. I love you!


5.  And we got to celebrate in person! My mom and dad came for a little weekend visit so they could get a sneak peek at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And to see us too, I suppose! It’s been so fun to see them experience Harry Potter. It’s truly a magical place. Thanks for coming to visit, guys!

Have a Happy Friday and a wonderful week! 

Favorite Five Friday (139th Edition)

18 Mar

 Friday is here! Warning, this post is a little sappy, but aren’t we all sometimes? Here’s my favorites for the week…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1.  As a little girl I lived for our family trips to Disneyland. It’s pretty much a dream come true to live so close to The Happiest Place on Earth. Being an annual passholder in one of my favorite things. It’s so wonderful to plan out Disney days with friends. It’s equally as wonderful to be able to get up and decide I think I’ll go to Disneyland today. That’s what Dan and I did this week, and it was exactly what we needed. An easy going time with a little magic. I love being married to someone who craves that childlike wonder as much as I do.

2.  I have been feeling super grateful lately. I am so blessed by the people in my life. My village. The friends spread out across the country that always seem to reach out exactly when I need it. The family who supports me whole heartedly. The close knit group of pals I spend my time with here in L.A. The fabulous group of women who lift me up and help me grow on a daily basis. I am truly humbled and grateful for these beautiful people.

3.  I’m also grateful for the dreaming Dan and I have been doing this week. We all have a picture of what our lives should be, but sometimes it doesn’t end up that way. And if we aren’t careful, we might miss the fact that what we have is even better. So, we are paying attention. We are creating a new picture. A picture that includes living our dreams, doing what we love on a daily basis, traveling this world, sharing our gifts, spreading God’s love, investing time in our friendships, loving on and growing our family. I feel excited to color outside the lines and create something completely ours.

4.  The most important tool an actor has is their headshot. It’s your calling card, your opportunity for a casting director to see you and want to learn more. You need a brilliant headshot! Well, I’m pretty sure that Kat Tuohy delivered that for me. I adore all of my new pictures, and I have no idea how I will choose which ones to use. I cannot wait to put these up on all my casting websites. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Kat. You are talented, kind, gracious, and brilliant. Thank you! (Go check Her out, people!)

  
 

5.  Cat pictures!  

Have a gorgeous weekend! Go color outside the lines.

Happy Friday!