Rising Up

What kind of people spend 12 hour days in the woods, or sitting on hay bales, or at ski resorts, or in the mountains, and then end the day with pizza hot tub parties and a lil rose?

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My kind of people.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Yeah, well, so is glamour.

Filming and everything that comes along with it is super appealing to me. My teenage self would be like YES this fulfills all type A personality / challenge traits I seek in life as well as the ultimate creative goals of individuality and group projects. Check. Check. Check.

Sometimes, though, you meet a group of people who seriously change your life.

*Cue the music*

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I’m sorry, but I can’t help but think about how this would make a great series. Me, talking about these people I met on set, and how our lives all intersected and how we got to where we are, and then we flash five years in the future and it’s awesome and you know, I play myself because. Obviously. OK back to what I was saying.

What became overwhelmingly obvious after spending only two days with this group of people was that we all had been experiencing huge life changes. Each of us in our own way, had made some kind of decision and then bam – this project popped up.

For me that included a complete decimation of my former life, including my home, relationship, and career focus. Never has the phoenix rising from the ashes held so much meaning for me! Fitting I’m posting this on Easter. My career, my mood, my health and overall well being have improved immensely. And I really believe that my new friends have had a big part to do with it.

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We all come from different backgrounds, are different ages, and have different life experiences. But as I have had time on the long days to talk with these people one on one and share many non-stop laughs as a group, I realize that we have way more in common than not.

The weird thing about working in film is that you meet people and you spend a ridiculous amount of time with them. You become closer than say you would with a normal acquaintance who maybe you have a beer with once a week or see at a party. The film goes on for several weeks and then it’s over. Every project, whether it’s been film or theater always feels like a break up at the end. You get together, you have this weird routine that will never be replicated again and then suddenly….gone.

I guess my point is that we all spend a lot of time trying to find the right people to have in our lives, when I have realized that all the best people have just come into my life by me just letting them. I really believe good people attract each other and we all have something to learn. Sometimes you gotta just let people in.

IMG_1187I love my life and I am so happy to be around people who really care about what they do and don’t take themselves too seriously.

This next week is going to be a wild ride. From filming, to Tribeca, to major changes, my life is full. So thank you to those people who have been helping me transition into the most beautiful place I have had yet to be so far. I couldn’t do it without you.

*Cue music*

Medium Shot: Casey chortles to herself, pets her dog.  End Credits.

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The 2016 Revolution.

 

Hamilton. Because: Revolution.

This year I wanted a revolution.

Well, be careful what you wish for, AM I RIGHT?

When you want a really big life, you have to make room for the really big things. And I guess what 2016 has taught me is that sometimes you have to sweep out all of the tiny little things that just take up space in order to allow for better things to come.

I always tell my friends and colleagues when they are feeling down about something..”Hey, think back to what you were doing exactly five years ago and think about how far you’ve come.” Right now I’m going to take my own advice. Hold on.

Ew. I just got an image of myself in short red hair. We all make mistakes.

Earlier this year I read that book about tidying up. Like you and your mom and neighbor probably did. And I really started treating items in my house differently. I got rid of five bags’ worth of clothes and..crap. I kept getting this feeling like I needed to downsize, get lighter. None of it really made sense to me until now.

This year I stopped chasing things that I thought were important to me for a really long time. Because I am a hard worker, I assumed that I should automatically take part in certain projects, do the SAME thing as every other actor, and overall just shut up and stand in line. But I’ve seen what it’s like on the other side, where  I create my own work and do my own thing… Do the thing no one else is doing and watching as people frown and say, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” I gotta tell ya. It’s awesome.

I decided to just do what I wanted. I got back to my very first love, something I have always relished in..making other people laugh.

I LAUGHED A LOT THIS YEAR. I LAUGHED TIL I CRIED.

I also cried til I laughed.

It’s been a year, okay?!

This past year has prepared me for this moment. To let go of all of the stupid things people worry about (and usually don’t let go of until something catastrophic happens to bring clarity to  their lives) – being good enough, money, what your friend thinks, having the ideal life, wanting someone to do what YOU want them to do, yadda yadda yadda.

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from explodingdog.com

All that’s left for me is knowing how I want to feel every day when I wake up – that sure makes your dreams crystalize faster and with more intention.

When you get really clear on what you want? The people who are NOT clear about what they want start to fall away. I had heard of that before and I think I thought I believed it, but it wasn’t until this year that I really saw people get cleared from the decks, while some others show up more than ever.

Like I said, I started this year asking for a revolution. And I kicked my own ass. And when shit got hard – and did it ever – I held on to my faith and I held onto my ideals and I’m still here intact. And I can laugh about it now. Even though it’s not far from this moment.

I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next and I don’t know if I’ll be anywhere near where I am a year from now.

But what I do know is that five years from now I’ll be like
“Yeah, I’m better off now, but damn did I make that revolution look good.”

 

My Juice Fast

I’ve been vegan for almost 9 years and I had never once done a juice fast. And just as before I refrained entirely from eating meat products, I had a lot of misconceptions about doing a juice fast. Like..it would be too hard. And wouldn’t I not be able to do anything? Also, is it really THAT good for you?

Over the years, I have regularly incorporated fresh juice into my diet. I have a Breville juicer and I have always felt better when I had juice pre or post workout or first thing in the morning.

Recently, I heard Joe Cross (of the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”) talk about juicing and what really goes on in your body when you juice and how beneficial it is. It was the first time I actually heard my questions answered about juicing and I felt really inspired to just do one! So, my next stop was the Netflix vault where I watched the film.

If you are at all curious about disease in the body and how juicing can help eliminate that, I encourage you to watch this film. Especially for Phil, the 300+ lb trucker. You will be amazed. After watching this film, I thought, “Well, if he can do it, I certainly can!”

Some people who know me were a bit confused as to why I decided to do this. Aren’t you already vegan? Aren’t you already healthy? First of all, yes, I do eat a clean, plant-based diet. But I am not 100% raw, and there is definitely room for improvement. I am a caffeine drinker, I enjoy a nice Malbec, and just like every other  person on the planet, I am exposed to pollutants and chemicals in the environment.

Currently, I am on Day 5 of my juice fast and I feel amazing. But let’s back up.

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This is a “Dreamsicle” Recipe from Fully Raw Kristina. I juiced a vanilla bean, people!

 

DAY 1 JUICE FAST:

I started off with a really strong juice recipe, as in, very detoxing: beets, lemon, ginger, celery, also…jalapeno, cilantro. I MAY have been starting off a little gung-ho. The juice tasted great, I felt great…and then an hour later I felt nauseated. I didn’t throw up, but this was the beginning of feeling like crap.

I was indeed regular, but I think because I already eat a lot of fiber, I didn’t have what some people experience, which is running to the bathroom constantly. I was just “normal.” I did have to pee constantly, but that’s to be expected.

I drank more juice later in the day, and on the first day I only ended up drinking about four 16 oz servings of juice in total. But by that night, I was kinda cranky, but I wasn’t hungry! On and off nauseated, and I started to develop a head ache.

DAY 2:

I woke up wanting to punch the sun.

It was like I was moving through water. I didn’t feel nauseated anymore, but I still had a headache and I was in a very bad mood.

I also took two naps.

I checked my tongue and it was all white (grosss!) BUT health freak that I am, I pointed to my husband and said, “Look! Look! It means it’s working!” This is a common detox side effect. So began the scraping of my tongue on a regular basis!

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Ying-Yang Zen Juice!

I drank plenty of juice all day long, but man, I was useless. I wanted to have that super awesome productive zingy energy I was told most people don’t get until Day 4, but I had to settle for dealing with my emotions and not doing much else.

At one point, I did make an herbal tea of cinnamon and mint (weird, right?) which tastes great, but made my tummy hurt awhile later. That is normal for me if I drink tea on an empty stomach, but I didn’t want to push it.

I have heard that these cleanses can result in healing crises – both physically and emotionally. As your body repairs and has time off (digestion requires a huge amount of energy), you can expect pain in certain areas.

The weirdest thing I noticed? I had pain on the back of my head on the left side, behind my left eye, my lower back on the left, and my left elbow. This may seem random to you, but t me, it was the places where in the past I have occasionally had flare ups from when I was hit by a truck crossing the street. I have done a lot of reading about how scar tissue and other repairs can start to be healed on a cleanse – because your body is finally able to use energy normally going to digestion to HEAL instead.

This was also when my supplemental juices came from Pressed Juicery. I mean, I’m all about making your own fresh juice – but damn if it doesn’t get old cleaning every single piece out and chopping up everything and whine whine whine. From this point on, I alternated between the juice i made and the juices that came in the mail.

Oh and guess what? That night, I could not sleep. Don’t know what that was about.

DAY 3:

I woke up feeling much better. The headache and back ache thing would come and go throughout the day, but my energy was much better. I was moving around a lot quicker, and able to actually get work done.

At this point, when I thought about food, it didn’t make me super hungry, but when I smelled it cooking, it smelled soooo amazing.

That is another thing that happens – you smell everything so much clearer. I mean, walking outside, I felt like I could smell the earth and the rocks and the air and the sun and I know I sound crazy, but it’s true! Like Sookie, in Season 1!! (Anyone?)

I smelled the coffee beans on our kitchen counter just to enjoy the smell!

This reminds me, before I forget: I have had on and off sinus issues for the past few years, and I felt some major drainage this day. So I am hoping that’s a good thing.

DAY 4:

Woke up with a slight headache. It  wasn’t as bad now. No pain anywhere else. I practically jumped out of bed, my body was so buzzy. I was going to go to a Yoga & Abs class!

Even though by this point I had done a ton of research about energy, and how our bodies are actually meant to withstand feast or famine for long stretches, I was still a little nervous about doing an intermediate yoga class.

I pounded a green juice and packed my water and I was off.

OK ready for the weird hippie stuff? While driving, everything seemed sharper(as Joe Cross puts it, senses are heightened so that your body  can go hunt and scavenge – already now prepared to be in famine mode) and brighter and honestly, I felt lighter. I mean, at this point, yes I had lost a little bit of weight, but I just mean I felt more energetic.

I got to class, and just did it…I felt energized, I never felt winded*

*Note – The first couple of days in a fast, your body lowers its temperature, as well as blood pressure, so until the intial hunger pang / detox symptoms are over, it is not recommended to jump into an exercise routine.

I came home to find the Urban Remedy Juices waiting for me at my door.

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I did note however, that I felt “hungry” which I hadn’t felt in awhile, so I made sure to drink  extra raw coconut water in between juices.

Last night, I also drank half a raw pressed almond milk from Pressed Juicery. And it was flipping delicious.

DAY 5 :

I got up at 4:30am this morning and I didn’t feel groggy. I wanted to do a couple of things in my office before leaving for work at Quinnipiac University. Felt fine!

I drank a parsley, cucumber, lemon and some other combination from Urban Remedy and that was perfect. When I got to Quinnipiac, I started to sip on a Cayenne / Lemon number, just in case I felt some thirst or hunger while I was working as an SP.

The one thing I did forget, was to drink a ton of water! I had some on the way to the school, but I should have really had more when I got there. My throat and mouth felt a bit dry. That was okay, because when I left, I chugged more water and juice on the way home.

I had purchased a cleanse that was low-glycemic, so I was in the mood for something a bit sweeter when I got home.

I juiced: 3 carrots, a snippet of ginger, a green apple, 4 kale leaves, 1 tangelo, and a bunch of red grapes. It hit the spot. I just finished another yummy blend from Urban Remedy, and I probably will have my “dessert” juice when I watch Netflix this evening.

Dessert juice? What?

I have a cacao nib / almond milk blend, as well as a  cashew milk blend waiting for me. I did drink Pressed Juicery’s Vanilla Nut Milk Blend (Did you know you can juice a vanilla bean? YEP did that for a couple recipes!), only a half serving because the fat content was so high! Don’t go rolling your eyes – sprouted almond milk is indeed fine because it allows your body to absorb nutrients without absorbing too much fat – that being said, fat takes a lot of energy to digest. So I decided to drink half at a time. Night time is a better time to do this because I won’t be adding anything else in the mix to confuse my digestive tract 🙂

Tomorrow I plan on breaking my fast SLOWLY. By first drinking warm lemon water, then another juice, and then some fruit. From there, I will see how it goes!

Final Thoughts:

Do I think juicing is for everyone? Nope. I think it takes a certain desire and a frame of mind to decide to do this. You should be prepared to face some discomfort and be okay with taking a good look at yourself in the mirror. Regardless of whether someone juices or not, I think we all could use a time out of some sort now and then to deal with our emotions and figure out who we really are.

I did this cleanse for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to see if I could do it. I love a good challenge. Also, I just felt that I needed to let go of some gunk from the winter and just appreciate things more in general.

Juicing requires you to slow down and savor each moment. It helped me to be more present and also to rethink food habits in general. It’s good to do a clean up / inventory every now and then.

This blog post is probably plenty long enough. I could go on and on and I know I’m probably leaving something out, but if anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them!

Thanks, and Happy Spring!

UPDATE: I haven’t posted this yet, but I wanted to let you know how Day 6, Breaking my Fast went.

BREAKING THE FAST, MAN:

I woke up and drank a green juice and went to a yoga and meditation class. Honestly, at this point, I felt like I could fast for a long time, but I knew I was going to get the itch for like..you know, actual food pretty soon.

When I got home, I drank a delicious Beet / Ginger / Carrot / Apple blend from Urban Remedy and about an hour later, decided to break my fast with fresh pineapple.

It’s a really good idea to break your fast with something juicy in order to reintroduce your body to fiber again. A funny thing I noticed while chewing was that my jaw cracked a few times LOL but besides that, it was great!

For lunch I made a simple veggie broth with a slew of frozen veggies and that tasted sooo good. I think the best part was eating something warm after having pretty much only cold or room temperature juices all week.

For my first dinner back on food I had a salad, kidney beans, and sweet potato fries! It was all good!

 

 

 

 

 

new stuff.

In honor of me going on and on about 2016 being a revolution, I am going to periodically post new stuff I am doing. Accountability. Be all You Can Be. And blah, blah blitz..

-Barre Classes – ass kicking and ballerina habit-forming! That sounds weird!

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This photo is borrowed from http://www.lowcountrypowerpilates.com, so check them out. But those little squishy ball thingies?! SO awesome for a core workout.

-Street Parking – By this I mean, I have been parking in different places when I work at Yale, or tried driving new routes home from places. You know, switching it up. You know what happens when you do that? You see new things, like a cupcake truck that has only one vegan cupcake left and you get to have it!

-FitBit – Now, I am pretty strict about NOT counting calories and instead using common sense and intuitive eating with my vegan lifestyle. However – that being said – I love counting my damn steps. Running, working out, walking city streets..it becomes a game and who doesn’t love a game?

-One Woman Show – I wrote and performed in my own one woman show. I am working on doing it again over the summer with some rewrites. But I finally did it and it was scary and awesome.

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This is a photo from my show, “Love &…” This photo makes me laugh. So many things happening here. Caption contest?

-Bootcamp Classes – DAMN I haven’t sweat like that in a long time. The numbing sensation of breathing so hard (this is quickly sounding like I’m talking about something dirty but I am not apologizing for this) you don’t care anymore, is an awesome feeling. Plus obviously great for the ol’ metabolism and also  endorphin producing. I get super talkative and hyper after a sweat-breaking workout*

*When I was in high school and we would go running, my friends used to tease me for the first fifteen minutes post-run. Why? Cause I would say words backwards.

Example: “Hey Casey, where are you going?” Me “I’m French Class going to.”

“Cool socks!” Me “Thanks, I love socks orange!”

-Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Ice Cream: So far, I’ve had the Double Fudge Brownie one (Solid B) and the Coffee Caramel Fudge one (A-) I still have two more to go!

What new things have YOU tried so far in 2016?

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Looking the Part

“This is a good shot of you.”

As the casting director flipped over my head shot to scan my resume, I sort of smirked to myself as I shifted my weight and listened politely.  After saying “thank you,” of course.

That particular shot was 11 years old. I had just gotten new shots done, but I hadn’t received the files yet, so I was using some older shots that most resemble my current look.

And I knew the actual head shot had nothing to do with anything.

—–

I have come to the conclusion that when people say you need to “look the part,” what they really mean is “be ready” and what they really mean by that is “be comfortable with being yourself.” When I say yourself, I assume you know I mean your BEST self, but YOU none the less.

There have been times when I have perfected “looking the part,” using 10485% of my classical acting background and training and costuming skills and come nowhere near getting the part.

There have been times when I was called in to audition just after arriving, with no time to look over lines, improvised when requested and gotten the part. (PS the only thing I remember about that particular day was that I had woken up and remained happy before and during my audition).

There have been times when my hair color was growing out, I hadn’t gotten a chance to work out in over a week, and my head shot was hanging on by a thread. It’s where I was. But I was comfortable and ready and I felt fantastic and I knew the sides inside and out. And I got the part.

I’m not recommending being a mess going into your audition. But I am recommending SHOWING UP in LIFE as your best self wherever that may be. Like, here’s a thought.

If you are in a rut with monologues or auditions or just not “feeling it” lately, take a break. Go do something (else) fun! Go out dancing! Meet up some friends and don’t talk about acting. Learn to crochet!

Last year I had to take some time to get some perspective, but when I really think about it, all it ever really is, is getting back to myself.

Cause it’s not really about the role. It’s about you playing the role. And life is really about you. YOU are the main character in your life. So, shouldn’t you look the part of you?

Slow Clap…Right? Nailed it.

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One of my new shots,  mid-laugh. Credit: David Noles Photography NYC

 

In Review

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It is a balmy 50 degrees the day after Christmas. It hasn’t been a white one, but I am perfectly content with that. The afterglow of the holiday is still lingering in my house and I am grateful for the opportunity to have my family spend time here over food, drink, games, and stories.

This year in a word has been: unexpected. I could not have predicted the events if I had tried.

Coming off the whirlwind of 2014 with travel around the world, production planning, awards ceremonies, and film premieres, I was left feeling shocked, happy, and a bit unsure of my next step. So, I spent the majority of last winter writing up a storm while trapped inside due to the stormy weather outdoors and did a lot of thinking. Those who know me well may say perhaps too much thinking.

So for me, 2015 was a lot about boiling everything down to the essence of why I was doing art in the first place. It wasn’t until I decided to give up trying to perfect the search of the next “career move” that it found me in a series of fortunate synchronous events.

I made a drastic choice that left a lot of my family and friends scratching their heads. And I couldn’t explain why, but I knew that this year, if I did something completely new and different and perhaps off the course, I would find what I was looking for. I couldn’t explain how I knew this, but I did.

I was right. It took some pain this year and it took some tears, but I arrived at a fresh perspective in my acting work. Right near the end of the year, I landed a wonderful role in a feature film I was able to work on with old friends in the industry, as well as new friends whose work I had admired on the big screen from a young age. Around the time I booked this job, I suddenly had this familiar sense of clarity that I honestly don’t think I have had so viscerally since I first graduated college, determined to make a go of this whole acting business.

I know what to do now because I know how to listen to myself. 2015 was about scraping away the gunk, shaking off the old, unplugging from beliefs and throwing out the same stories to get back to the whole point of performing and bringing joy into other people’s lives by virtue of what I do.

My January 2016 is already booked solid with work. This fall, right after my birthday, I gave myself the best gift of all: the gift of yes and no, determined by no one else but me. I am only going to work on projects that make my heart race with excitement. I am going to work with people who respect my time and want to create beautiful collaborations together. I want to share my creative talents to make the world a healthier and more fun place to be.

You know that Tolkien line, “Not all who wander are lost”? That’s exactly how I feel. I knew I needed to wander a bit to get back to where I was always headed in the first place. I highly recommend wandering, and letting go of the need to control everything. Because once you do, only the important pieces of your life stay in place. The things that are holding you back and holding you down will simply fall away.

Business people might tell you “organization and planning is key” to any successful venture, but I would argue that things need to get messy first. Sign up for that class you always wanted to. Go for a walk. Go drive somewhere and get lost. Once you have struggled a bit, you’ll come back to your office or studio and look at everything in a new light. You’ll know what to throw away, what to keep, and more importantly, what organization principles will work best for you.

Biggest lesson of 2015?

Joy should be easy. And your work should be your joy.

PS. If you haven’t read this book yet, do it. It’s a game changer. But go take a hike first 🙂