I Went to NYC

I’m trying to be better at updating.  We’ll see how this goes. . .

Greetings, all!  I’m trying my best to catch you up (quickly) on what I’ve been doing (read: why I haven’t been updating) so far this year.  Here’s a quick look at my recent trip to NYC.  There are only highlights- there were no lowlights. LOL A bunch of my friends from all over (Hawaii, Florida, California) were going to be in the city at the same time, so it was a perfect storm of fun.  I got to see friends from high school, college, and performer friends I had been missing terribly.  I squeezed in an audition (it went OK!  They had nice things to say)

My friend Alex was kind enough to let me stay with him and show me around.  We had a blast eating and walking (and walking) our way around Manhattan.  Check out my trip in pictures:

My first visit to MoMA. I love modern art. No, really.

Alex won us tickets for the Book of Mormon lottery. The show was fantastic. I was inspired.

It snowed the second day! Hadn't been in snow since I was a toddler.

A and me about to see some bones at the Natural History Museum.

I'm mad he didn't come to life.

On our way to a night out with some of the Hawaii crew.

Me and A dancing it up at Barracuda.

Me and T living at Barracuda.

On the way to brunch in the village.

I think this was a lesbian bar? I dunno. It was near our brunch spot in the village.

Freezing on our way to see Lady Libs.

She's so pretty.

Being goofy in Times Square.

Exhausted! My last morning. Waiting for Alex at his audition at Chelsea Studios.

I had an absolute blast during my trip.  I didn’t want to leave (but then, I never do.  Wherever I go on vacation is usually awesome).  Where should I go on my next trip?  Suggestions are welcome.  Also,  check out Alex’s blog about living and auditioning in NYC here.  Thanks for stopping by! xx

I Met Temple Grandin

Happy New Year!  What?  Is there something wrong with celebrating the new year mid-March?  Deal with it.  OK, OK.  I thought if I came in “Wrong But Strong” I could bully you into forgetting how wayward I’ve been with my blogging.  But seriously, you guys?  I’ve had tons of RL shiz popping off.  Lots of life changes, and exciting goings-on.  This awesome story happened a while back, but I’m so happy about it, I had to share.  And, I wanted to start off my new year of blogging hopefully inspiring you folks a bit.

Temple Grandin (film)

Temple Grandin (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, here’s the tea:  my good friend, S, is a superhero who works with kids with autism spectrum disorders.  If you don’t know, I am very interested in autism and I really don’t think it gets enough attention.  S and I talk about autism all the time, and we are both huge fans of Temple Grandin, one of the leading animal behavior experts, autism advocates and a high-functioning autistic.

I first learned about Temple when I watched a biopic of her life , simply called “Temple Grandin,” starring Claire Danes.  If you haven’t seen this movie, it needs to go on your list.  Claire Danes is incredible as Temple.  After meeting Temple in real life, I can safely say that she perfectly captured her idiosyncrasies, humor, and feisty spirit. As a young woman with a little-understood disorder in the 1950s, this story of “the woman who thinks like a cow” is so inspirational to me.  Seriously.  She overcame crazy odds to earn advanced degrees and innovate autism therapies.

Long story short, S asked me to speak at an annual conference on autism spectrum disorders.  I was going to offer tips on interpersonal communication (what my degree is in), as well as grooming and dating tips.  BUT, the conference wrapped up way early, so I didn’t get to speak.  Ah well.  I still got to hang around, meet people, and hear Temple speak at that night’s dinner.

How did I meet her? Well, S was Temple’s escort for the evening, so she had to drive her back to the hotel at the end of the night.  She asked me to tag along, and I made it my mission to take at least ONE pic of S with Temple since she hadn’t gotten any.  At first I was so nervous to chat with Temple, but she was great.  Very funny.  I asked her about her squeeze machine (!), which she said she no longer needs.  Awesome!

Here’s a pic of Temple and me.  Those are little animal pins on her lanyard.  I love her!

Isn’t this cool?  I know, no need to tell me.  It’s rare to meet one of your heroes and she is exactly the same in person.  Meeting Temple Grandin was killer, but it was just one of the dope things that happened while I’ve been away.  Stay tuned.  I’ll fill you guys in ASAP! Thanks for stopping by! xx

Music Monday: Gotye

Good morning, all!  Hope you enjoyed the weekend.  I did not- I was in a drug-induced stupor trying to fight off the terrible cold I came down with.  I feel way better today.  I’m getting there slowly but surely.  I’ve been rocking out to today’s MM artist for the past few weeks, and his music definitely kept me company this weekend.

He goes by the name Gotye (pronounced GORE-tee-yay, according to the interwebs), and he brings a fun, groovy mix of rock and pop that is highly listenable.

Born in Belgium, Gotye (Born Wouter De Backer) was raised in Australia and showed early signs of musical ability.  He had an affinity for the drums, but also studied piano, and guitar.  Gotye experimented throughout early adulthood with several bands, including The Basics, a duo with Kris Schroeder.  They’ve released several albums and often perform with Gotye.

It wasn’t until 2006, though, with the release of his album Like Drawing Blood, that Gotye got recognition as a solo act.  Now, with Making Mirrors, Gotye has branched out and upped the ante.  After being hyped on Twitter by celebs like Ashton Kutcher, Mirrors’ second single, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” has been an unexpected hit.  The swinging groove finds him (and guest Kimbra) reflecting on a bad breakup.  The video is a work of art.  Check it out:

Please notice in that vid how bombtastic Kimbra is.  She rocks my world on this track.

You can really hear Gotye’s influences on Making Mirrors.  Some tracks are completely futuristic (“State of the Art”), while others sound like they could have been recorded by Hall & Oates (“I Feel Better”).  I’ve definitely found a song to fit my moods.  I really love “Eyes Wide Open.”  The beat, the lyrics, and his melody are all gorgeous.  Also, whale sounds normally creep me out, but they’re perfect here.  Give it a listen:

Gotye’s Making Mirrors is out now.  Must- have tracks:

“Somebody That I Used To Know”

“Eyes Wide Open”

“In Your Light”

“Save Me”

I love this album so much.  I hope you’ll give it a try.  If you have new music you think I’d like, drop me a line (or a tweet) and I’ll give it a listen.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a great day! xx

BTW I *Really* Like Animal Print

Erin Wasson and a fierce cheetah, Harper's Bazaar 2005

That’s all. There is really no other point to this post other than to come out of the closet as an animal print freak. I thought I had it under control, but last week I signed up on Pinterest, and now I’m afraid I’ll need serious help.

Do you know about Pinterest? It’s a new site that serves as a “virtual pinboard” and lets you organize and share all the amazeballs things you like on the web. It’s crazy. It’s addictive. It’s exclusive. You have to be invited or wait forever for the Pinterest crew to approve your request to join. After asking around, I scored an invite from a girlfriend and signed up last week. Since joining, I’ve probably spent an hour each night pinning and repinning stuff onto my “boards” (how each category is organized). I really act like I don’t have songs to learn and things to do in the morning! Jeez.

Anywho, no one that knows me IRL is at all surprised, but the first board I made was dedicated to animal print. I’m throwing in all the fashion, crafts, and art I find that has the stuff. Mostly leopard, but I love a good zebra or giraffe print, too. No cow or fish scales, my love of animal prints is strictly Safari. Check out some of my finds:

Animal Magnetism in fashion, accessories, and around the house.

I normally don’t like giraffe print bags, but this one is so bright and fun. It would make a great diaper bag or kid’s backpack:

Found on Sodahead.com

Check out this bow tie! I wish that The Boyfriend would wear this, but he would rather do just about anything else, I’m sure. I’m going to start wearing bow ties just for this:

Photo credit: SixStarUniforms.com

I won’t post everything I’ve found here. It would take too long and the list is ever-expanding, but I hope you’ve seen something that makes you understand my love of animal prints. And if you’re afflicted, I’m sorry if I pulled you off the wagon. ; )

Do any of you use Pinterest? Leave your info in the comments and I’ll check out your boards. (@hezaire) if you want to follow me. I’m glad you stopped by today. Have a good one! xx

Hunger Games Pictures

The Hunger Games

Image via Wikipedia

Hi, crew!  Hope you’ve all been having wonderful days since last we chatted.  I’ve been crazy busy- working, working on music for a new musical (more on that soon), and RL crap has been occupying my time.  BUT, I have had my ears open for any cool Hunger Games news. . .

If you don’t already know (how could you not) I love The Hunger Games books.  They’re not the best things I’ve ever read, but I was totally engrossed and I’ve recommended them to all my friends.  The world author Suzanne Collins created is so exciting.  I can’t wait for the film adaptation! Gah!  In the meantime, a bunch of new pics came out recently that I’m gaga for.  Pick up the latest issue of Vanity Fair for the complete series of pics from this shoot.  It looks really good.

Photo credit: VanityFair.com

How cute is the girl who’s playing Rue?  I just can’t.  You can check out most of the photos here on VF’s website.  Just be warned that the interactive bio feature on the cast photo has some mayjah spoilers, in case you don’t already know what happens to everybody.  Also, don’t hit me, but doesn’t this look eerily similar to the shoot they did for “Twilight?”  I feel like it’s in the same field and they’re wearing the same clothes.  Anyone else?

Also new to the HG website are striking cast posters.  The posters feature the first book’s main characters in profile.  I’m obsessed with them.  Woody Harrelson looks kind of dapper as mentor Haymitch Abernathy, right?

Jennifer Lawrence as "Katniss Everdeen"; Woody Harrelson as "Haymitch Abernathy"

Elizabeth Banks as "Effie Trinket"; Lenny Kravitz as "Cinna"

And I’m living for Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket.  She looks way fiercer than I pictured Effie (which was pretty damn fierce), and Lenny Kravitz as Cinna is adorbs.  Hard to believe this guy will be playing the mild mannered designer:

You can check out all of the character posters and stay updated on HG movie news at http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com . There’s some cool stuff on there.

Gah!  I’m loving these new pics.  They are getting me super jazzed for March 23 2012, when The Hunger Games hits theaters.  If you haven’t read them yet, what are you waiting for?  Crack a book open and join me in the fandom.  Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day! xx

Stuff I Made: DIY T-Shirt Scarf/ Necklace

Photo credit: Echoshirts.com

I was checking out one of my favorite blogs, More Design Please, when I happened upon this cute DIY project.  It’s completely No-Sew, and once I got the hang of it, took about ten seven minutes to finish.  I love DIY clothing, but am sometimes daunted by labor-intensive projects.  I also really loves scarves.  I did a quick inventory and I have around 20 in heavy rotation.  If you’re at all like me, this might be right up your alley!

Before you click the link for directions, just know that all you’ll need for this project is a T-shirt and scissors.  I made a couple of different ones with various t-shirt sizes.  I’d recommend a big shirt because you can get a larger scarf out of it.  Here are some photos of my project:

The Process

The Finished Product

I made another  color, too:

Now that we’re finally getting some fall weather here in Florida, these scarves will get lots of exposure!  Have fun trying this DIY project!  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great day! xx

Music Monday: Death Cab For Cutie

Way WAY in the back!

Howdy, all!  Now, normally I would use Music Mondays to bring you an artist that is new(er), or at least new to me, but today I’m taking a different track.  I saw Death Cab live on Saturday, and it was the balls.  So, I’m just gonna go ahead and talk about them.  ‘Cause I can.  Yay! Go me.

So, my friend Trevor and I braved the deluge we got here in Orlando on Saturday to catch their show at House of Blues.  This tour is to promote their newest album, Codes and Keys.  That album, which came out in May, is way different from anything I’ve heard from them before.  It’s very. . . happy.  I’m thinking that marriage agrees with lead singer Ben Gibbard (he’s hitched to super cutie Zooey Deschanel).  I’m still trying to gather my thoughts about it.  I like Codes for the most part, though.  Especially the lead single, “You Are A Tourist.” The video is funky and cute:

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to think to hard at the show.  They started off with a rocking 9-minute jam version of one of my favorites, “I Will Possess Your Heart” off their album Narrow Stairs.   They even played “Photobooth” off The Forbidden Love EP.  I think this might have been the first song of theirs I ever heard.  Hearing it live took me waaaay back.

That was probably the best thing about this show- remembering where I was when I heard those songs, or who I dedicated them to in my mind back then.  That and they sounded so great live.  Gifted musicians and well crafted songs are always a good time!

Death Cab for Cutie is on tour now- catch them if they’re in your town.  Click here for tour schedule.  And check out Codes and Keys.  Let me know what you think! Have a fantastic day.  Thanks so much for stopping by! xx

Well That Was Fast

This is literally what I found when I Googled "Sad Bunny."

Bummer, you guys! Looks like NBC’s The Playboy Club was cancelled.   According to The Hollywood Reporter, the controversial show got the axe after disappointing ratings a second week in a row.  Several advertisers pulled spots after a proposed boycott from the Parents Television Council on grounds the show is “degrading and sexualizing.”

Um. . . derrr.  It’s a show.  On American television.  About Playboy.  Do we really need a boycott for a show that pretty much everyone knows is going to have a lot of the smexing? Is this to protect the kids?  I know plenty of kids.  They are too busy watching their own shows to give a crap what’s on their parents’ TV.

I digress.  The point of this post was to talk about the void for a show about the swingin’ 60s that was left by The Playboy Club.  I mean, we have the genius that is AMC’s Mad Men, and the cigarette-free twilight zone that ABC has created with their 60s-era drama Pan Am.  But I just think we need one more show about the 1960s!

I know I sound harsh.  Truth is, I liked the show.  But I’m a sucker for sharp tailoring, thick eyeliner, and a Tina Turner impersonator.  I will watch practically anything set in the 60s (and the 40s).  I just wish this show had been on cable.  Part of the drama of that time was the sexual tension, race issues, and gender issues.  I’m not sure a network TV show can handle all that controversy. . . and not get run out of town.

"Can I stay at your place? I'm sorta. . . in between jobs right now. . ."

I’m especially bummed for Laura Benanti, the gorgeous actress who plays Bunny Mother Carol-Lynne.  She is a fierce betch and made the show fun to watch.  I really hope this gorgeous Broadway vet gets another job on the TV.  Maybe she and the other bunnies could catch a Pan Am flight and start new careers! ; )

What do you think?  Did NBC cancel The Playboy Club too soon?  Which network show is next?  And what are kids these days watching?  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great day! xx

Music Monday: Frankmusik

Hi, peeps! OK, I realize that you must think I died or slipped into a cupcake-induced diabetic coma.  Never fear, I’m here.  I’ve been here.  Well, not here here.  Part of the reason I haven’t updated in a few weeks is because of my epic trip home to Hawaii (it ruled.  I might write about it in a couple of days), and also because I’ve been listening to really bad music and seeing bad movies.  Not on purpose.  I’ve been busting my booty trying to find something cool to bring you, but I hadn’t had much luck until this past week.  Honest.

Photo credit: coffeeandbars.com

Enough about me.  Let’s just get right into it, shall we?  This week’s MM artist has been featured by me already

(before there was a Music Monday to speak of), and he’s back with a hot new album.  I’m talking about the electropop yumminess that is Frankmusik.

Born Vincent James Turner, Vincent Frank (Wikipedia says the surname “Frank” is a tribute to his grandfather. A-dorable!) is a British solo artist with the uncanny ability to create a huge pop sound as Frankmusik.   Driven mostly by keys and synth, all of his songs have seriously dance-able beats.  Check out the first single and title track from his new album, “Do It in the AM:”

While he is signed to Cherry Tree Records, a dance-heavy label with party-rockers LMFAO and pop hip-hoppers Far East Movement, the party isn’t always raging underneath his catchy hooks and pounding drums. Listen closer and you’ll find songs about disintegrating relationships and longing.  Check out this acoustic version of ,”Cut Me Down” an extra track Frankmusik posted on Soundcloud last month:

If you like what you heard here, follow @Frankmusik on Twitter for more free tracks.

Must-have tracks:

“Do It in the AM (feat Far East Movement)”

“The Fear Inside”


“Cut Me Down”

Frankmusik’s new album, “Do It in the AM,” comes out TODAY on iTunes.  Ch-ch-check on it! Also, catch him on tour with Erasure through 2012.   Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great week! xx

New Project: Head Of The Class

At the start of summer I had a change in my work schedule, and found myself with my mornings mostly free.  I had decided that I would take it easier this summer (less working, less partying, more sleep), but I’ve also been thinking about all of the resources that I have around me.  I mean, I know so many talented people, I might as well learn something from them, right?

I really committed to this last year with what I jokingly called the Tracy Chapman Project (to be a black acoustic guitarist who sings emotional folk songs), but I’m amping it up with a new acting class and several dance classes.  Woohoo! I figure, guitar lessons have been going so well, why not use my free time productively instead of sitting around the house eating entire boxes of strawberry Newtons (yeah, it’s happened).

Me and my babies!

My acting class will focus on film acting, and will last for twelve weeks.  Hopefully I’ll stretch myself as an actor and learn more about myself.  Those will be my main goals for the class.  I’ll be posting here about my progress.

I was their age when I started dancing. I promptly quit. Then I came back. I wanted out too, kids.

For dance classes, I’m going to be focusing primarily on jazz and ballet (the two forms I started with as a wee babe).  I might be looking in to tap, but I seriously dislike doing it (LOVE watching it!), so that is doubtful at this point.  On the dance front, my focus will be improving my technique and flexibility.  I’d also like to get better at picking up choreography.  Before I moved to Orlando I was taking class weekly (and I was getting pretty good, too!), but I’ve been mad lazy. So, for the rest of the year I’m recommitted to ze dance.  BOOM! KACK!

You might be wondering why I’m doing this (let alone why I’m telling you).  It’s simple:  I found myself, after several years working as a performer, becoming stagnant.  I wasn’t really learning and growing as a performer.  True, I have been making connections and learning about the business, but the feeling of progress and feeling like I was constantly improving wasn’t there.  For someone like me that can lead to unhappiness pretty quickly.  I’ve gotta feel like I’m moving forward or I feel like I can’t breathe.  It’s easy to get complacent as an actor when you’re working, but that’s the last thing I ever wanted to do.  This is not a profession where you can ever rest on your laurels.

So, I’m making a change.   How about you?  How are you working towards your best self?  I know that sounds super self-helpy, but I mean it!  Let’s discuss in the comments below.  Have a great day, all! xx

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