My super talented sister, Blythe Thomas, flew to NYC to shoot my collaborator, Joey Contreras, and me. We were in desperate need of some new and improved team photos, and we sort of hit the jackpot with B Thomz behind the lens. Basically, we're even more ready than ever to write you a Broadway show, so come hither universe! Check all our new pix below, and then hire my sister for your next shoot! <<#shamelessplugs>>
I recently finished up at It Shoulda Been You on Broadway, and it was a tremendously enriching experience. Beyond fantastic. However, I always knew that it was more of a short-term gig, so immediately after opening, that panicky voice in my head began screaming, "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY?!" Yes. How will I make money now?
Enter temping. A glorious option for people like me who are getting married in a month, and cannot fairly commit to a new full-time position. My calendar leading up to May 23rd is actually offensive. Furthermore, I don't know precisely what I want my next career move to be. I have to say, after being at the same job for three years, I'm really enjoying the shifting tides. Dare I say, I'm diggin' the uncertainty?
This spooky professional unknown is very new for me. I am a notorious planner, and usually break out into a patchy neck rash when I don't know my next move. Adorbs, right? However, at this particular fork in the road, I feel that perhaps I need to open myself up to the unpredictability of our fair universe. At least for a few months.
So while I sort out my brain and streamline my various ambitions, temping it is! Here are six little tips that I've learned so far in order to be considered a passable temp (trust me, I do not consider myself an expert temp just yet).
1) Show up early. The most recent company I temped for asked that I show up at 8:45 in the morning on my first day. I showed up at 8:30. Not a big deal, but those fifteen extra minutes gave me the chance to quietly study the reception set-up at this particular company. My lovely trainer needed a few minutes to get settled before taking me on, which was perfect, because by the time she was ready for me, I had a ton of questions. This helped us both breeze through the training period efficiently. I feel that entering a temp gig with your ball-buster hat on is only going to lead to greatness. You want me to learn a new, super complicated phone system before I have my morning coffee? Done. Get at me. Y'know how I did that? Staring at all the doo-dads on the phone console for those extra fifteen minutes I gave myself. BOOM.
2) Never say, "I don't know who that is" when you're answering the phone. Of course you're not going to know who everyone in the company is, but you certainly don't want to seem like you don't. I've learned quickly that the best thing to do is either transfer the call to your supervisor for the day, or take a message. Do not attempt to answer questions you don't know the answer to, and do not assume someone is not an employee at the company just because you don't have that person's extension. Essentially, cover all your bases, and never let on that you have no freaking clue what the CEO's son's name is.
3) Be nice to everyone. Every single person you interact with, be nice to them. Why? Because when your recruitment firm asks for feedback about you, at least if nothing else, people at the company can say you were friendly. Also, manners might get you some free shit. In the last two days, I've been offered free bagels, pizza, and cookies. Um, yes please.
4) Respect that the desk you're working from is not yours. Be tidy. Don't snoop. Don't break into the emergency supply of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or Excedrin stashed in the bottom drawer. Just don't do it. It's not your shit to take. When you leave for the day, turn off all electronics, throw out any spare post-its littering the desk, and make sure everything looks just as you found it.
5) Take the damn "cheaters" manual. Don't be too proud. You are going to need all the help you can get when being thrown headfirst into a temp gig. You will want all the tabs in all the binders with all the phone numbers and all the policies. You will want all the things. Also, it's probably one of the only times you're allowed to "cheat" without facing any judgment.
6) Embrace the experience. There will inevitably be either new skills for you to learn, or if nothing else, skills for you to brush up on. Even if being a "sub" doesn't seem super glamorous, it's kind of badass. You're in, you're out. You (hopefully) don't sink the ship, and you keep the company coasting a long. Perhaps you make some new connections, or at least a good impression. You become familiar with a new company, and its operations. You make the money you need to survive while you figure out your next big project. So embrace all that. Embrace the beautiful in-between that is temping, and absolutely without question, eat the free food.
So I'm getting married in less than two months. Shit be cray, but I could not be more excited to marry my handsome eggplant-parmesan-making dude. However, every bride needs an appropriate send-off, one last tequila shot infused weekend before becoming a Mrs. My friends did not disappoint in this respect.
I mean not to brag or anything, but I pretty much just had the most successful bachelorette party weekend EVER. I credit it entirely to my irreplaceable best friend (Meredith Savage Cabbage Fifer) who arranged the impeccable shebang, and then of course my group of gracious and fiercely fun gal pals willing to make the trip to Philly.
This was my first bachelorette party experience, so I had no idea what to expect. I had only one major request of my friends, "Please no genitalia in my face." They assured me they would take this into consideration as they shamelessly embarrassed me.
Now, again, I cannot take credit for the creativity and insane generosity of my beautiful friends, since I planned NOTHING. However, I can tell you what a bitchin' bachelorette party looks like. It looks like mine. So if you want to plan the ultimate farewell-to-single-life-party for a bride friend of yours, OR if you're a bride and need some tips to better embrace this shindig, then here you go:
1. Don't tell the bride shit about the weekend (and brides, don't ask). No matter how much the bride begs, how much she wants surprises ruined for her, DO NOT CAVE. She must enter the weekend fully hydrated and with undefined expectations. That is all. If she knows what awaits her, she will have too much time to prepare her face, and then all of the hysterical spontaneous pictures you want to take of her will be ruined. I swear that the nervous anticipation of my party ended up being the best part, and it made every element of the weekend that much more exciting. So don't tell your bride anything. Not the hotel plans, travel plans, dining plans, stripper plans - don't tell her shit.
2. Stock the hotel rooms. Because who doesn't like a self-made hotel bar? No one. Meredith stocked our rooms with outrageously thoughtful goodie bags full of mouthwash, tissues, chips (duh), and Alka Seltzer (double duh). She also made sure we had bottles upon bottles of booze and chasers, confetti, and "Wine Flu" cups. These decorative touches created a playful and personalized environment, and also this way, we could pull a Ke$ha and brush our teeth with a bottle of Jack if we so chose.
3. Eat your body weight in bread and cheese. This is a no brainer. How do you think my friends and I had so much energy all weekend? WE ATE LIKE NO ONE WAS WATCHING. We didn't give a fuck. I mean brunch should be a definite. It not only gives you the opportunity to indulge in the best jalapeno laced Bloody Mary of your life, but it also supplies you with infinite nosh options where the main dish ingredients are pretty much exclusively bread and cheese. In addition to brunch, you must absolutely partake in late night drunk munch sessions, ideally ones in which you can sample the food staple of your chosen party city. In Philly, naturally, we ate cheese steaks at 2AM, because that's what you do. Also you can put pickles on your cheese steaks, and who can conquer the world (much less a hangover) when pickles are involved? This bitch. I mean I could climb Mount Everest if pickles were part of the equation.
4. Embrace penis paraphernalia. It's just part of the weekend. It's inevitable. There will be an inflatable penis. There will be penis straws. In my case, a penis crown. Basically, just get comfortable with the idea of kitschy penis shit. I wasn't initially super relaxed about a bunch of plastic dicks bombarding my weekend, but it was actually hysterical. I also grew quite attached to the pink, inflatable penis who I logically named Stuart. Not gonna lie, he was pretty adorable. He knew how to get down.
5. Sightsee! Or shop. The weekend should absolutely be about partying, but let's get real, it's nice to have a little balance. The girls and I had a blast just touring around Philly, stumbling upon the city's tiny LOVE sign, its concrete park full of giant dominoes, and of course, its various shops. These activities that did not include crushing mixed drinks, made us feel more in touch with our mental faculties (if only for a few hours).
6. Go to a show. Or y'know, in my case, a male revue called Hunkomania. Yup. I said it. I saw it. I thought it was fuckin' great. I mean prior to my bachelorette party, I was completely underwhelmed by and anxious about male strippers. I did not want anything to do with them. However, my friends told me that not having some form of "adult entertainment" was a non-negotiable. It was going to happen. They said my face wouldn't get touched, they put plenty of Purell in my purse, and off to Hunkomania we went. Honestly, I haven't laughed so hard in a good, long while. The "hunks" are friendly, not busted, and have a hefty supply of compliments at the ready, plus a sense of humor. They also give you the chance to exchange your larger bills for singles, which is totally considerate. What gentlemen, those strippers. All in all, I had a number of vodka sodas, cheered with my friends, got up on the stage, and closed down the club. I will say this experience will never be repeated. Until my next friend gets married.
7. Get the fuck out. Every good party comes to an end, and in the case of a bachelorette weekend, it's as soon as you wake up Sunday morning. My NYC friends and I were originally on a 7:00pm train on Sunday, but we all woke up that morning, and were like hell-to-the-no-mo-fo. There was no way our hangovers or our pride would allow us to stay in Philly any longer. We immediately moved our train to the early afternoon, stuffed our faces with savory crepes, and were on our way back to the Big Apple. Sunglasses on, hearts full, eyes bloodshot. We had the best time, but it was time to get the fuck out.
To all future brides out there, I hope you have as much fun at your bachelorette party as I did at mine. Mine was proof that you could have one of the most fun weekends ever, while still maintaining your dignity. Finally, to all my girlfriends, when you get married, I'm coming for you.
WHAT IS THIS LIFE?! Is an exclamation that has been repeating itself on loop in my head for the past 72 hours. I've recently started a gig on the Broadway. Most likely, a short-term gig, but a gig that I am extremely grateful for nonetheless. Hence the exclamation. Like seriously? I get to spend my days in a Broadway theatre until this original musical opens? I get to assist the writer of this show (who is devastatingly charming, talented, and humble)?! WHO AM I? Nobody. Yet.
See, I chose to leave my steady theatre job of three years in order to pursue the Broadway gigging circuit, because yes, the gigging circuit is actually a thing. Basically, you try to hop from one show to the next, and pray you make enough money to sustain the most basic artist life. You're taking a major risk with your job security every single day, and let's face it, you're probably also signing up for a Marketplace (health) insurance plan, which is NO PICNIC. Still, it's worth it. It's worth it , because this thrill, this high stakes environment that Broadway simply is, is what I love and what I need. It's where I've always wanted to be. It is a spectacular kind of magic that I've only ever dreamed of being apart of, and now, I am a (very, very) small part of it. I'm ecstatic. Jazz hands and pizza for everyone!
Like I've referenced in my previous blog articles, I want to be a writer, and in order to be one at this point in my life, I feel that some random leaps of faith are necessary. That doesn't mean I haven't been waking up every morning mid-panic attack (duh I have bills), but I'm also proud. Proud to say that I am opening myself up to the universe that is 42nd street to see what it truly has to offer. I'm ready to know nothing, and learn everything.
I really do feel like Kimmy Schmidt right now. I mean I have been singing, "Unbreakable/It's a miracle!" to myself every time I walk through the stage door. Granted, I was never a mole woman, but my previous job was technically in a basement and I never had a window. Also, everything is currently a revelation to me. Like Broadway shows have softball teams? Like hello, that is fabulous, what? Plus everyone is so nice, and casual - like hey, it's Broadway, no big deal - EXCEPT IT IS A BIG DEAL. Clearly, the jury's still out on how I will fare in this environment.
Maybe I fall flat on my ass, and end up working at Lenny's in two months, assembling turkey sandwiches for stock brokers? Maybe I hop to another show? Maybe I stay with this show? Maybe my own show gets picked up? Maybe I just stop saying "maybe" and see what happens? Yes, I think, for the first time in my exceedingly neurotic life, that's what I'll do. I'll just see what happens. I'll acknowledge that my professional life is currently only question marks. But hey, answers can be overrated.
I’m twenty-six. I’m about to get married. I have a small dog and a small cat. I have naturally arched eyebrows and a huge overbite. I have just chosen to leave my job. I have yet to find a new one. I wonder, can I have it “all?” All. All of it. Everyone’s “all” is vastly different of course, but my “all” is a perfectly balanced existence in which both career and family sit happily on an even plane. I win all the awards. I have all the friends. My marriage will never function on eggshells and things unsaid. I am happy. I am beautiful. My metabolism kicks fucking ass.
Typically when one approaches a major life event, it is not uncommon to question the future. To try to tackle a puzzle that you don’t have all the pieces to yet. It is impossible to know what you will or will not have. So why do we try so hard? Why do we spend hours sketching out our ideas of what our lives should be? Because we’ve been programmed this way. We’ve been taught to create our own destinies. We’ve been taught that we have a sky full of stars, of possibilities that we can master and mold into our own constellation.
Do I believe we have a hand in our futures? Absolutely. Do I believe we can craft a life in which we feel whole and satisfied? You bet. However, do I think we latch on too fiercely to this pressure of having it “all”? Yes. Yes I do. How do we relieve this weight? I’m not sure I have bulletproof answers. I have tips. I have affirmations. I have struggles. I have clues from the universe that perhaps I’m not taking advantage of yet.
Regardless, here are five things. Five things that continue to help me muddle through, carve my own path, my own acceptance of the unknown, and above all else, that help me get this “YOU MUST HAVE IT ALL” monkey off my damn back.
1. Remember that you are brave. You make brave choices. Fearless choices. And you probably don’t even realize you’re making them. When I recently gave notice at my job, and subsequently began informing my friends and family, I kept being met with the same response: “Congratulations!” I was getting emphatically congratulated for quitting. At first, I thought, what a strange response. I’m about to be unemployed. I will lose my health insurance. I will be terrified. However, the more praise I received for choosing to leave my post, the more I began to agree with my little fan club. I mean, yeah! Yeah, congratulations to me! I made a bold move. I was unhappy with my circumstance, and instead of waiting for someone else to offer me a plate of professional goodness, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Do I know what kind of future awaits me? What day job or career high could possibly land in my lap? Of course not. However, I do know that by being a little courageous, I have opened myself up to a greater adventure. To a greater unknown destiny. Cheers to that.
2. Therapy. I recently invited therapy back into my life, and can I just say, I fucking missed that bitch. Therapy is so, so wonderful. Not only is it a safe space to say whatever you damn well please, but it also gives you the opportunity to tap into how you are really feeling. If you’re lucky like me, you have an exceptional therapist who can help you untangle your mental knots, and reaffirm that you are doing just fine. That your journey is yours. There are simply things out of our control, things we can never change, but we can change how we react to those things. We can change our behavior, our focus, and our expectations. I am grateful to have therapy as a tool in my arsenal as I try, with great ambition, to move forward in this life.
3. Don’t bother comparing yourself to others. Run your own race. It will do you no good to privately compete with all the humble braggers littering your newsfeed. Also, heads-up, you’re a humble bragger too. It is natural to look at what others have, and wonder, why don’t I have that? Well, you just don’t. By the way, do you want that? Do you really? Or do you just think you should want that? Instead of focusing on the other person, focus on yourself, on your goals. Chances are if you’re that caught up in what other people are accomplishing, you are unhappy, to some degree, with your own trajectory. Not because you too want a condo in Aspen or a promotion at Goldman Sachs, but because you want to feel you are worth something in your world. Guess what? You are. You are worth a lot, but if you are not where you want to be yet, then brainstorm the shit outta how to get there. That alone will distract you from the other people (who, by the way, do not have it “all” either).
4. Be grateful for what you do have. You may not have everything, but you have a lot of things. Good things. Good things that make you feel good when you actually pay attention to them. So pay attention to them! I have an incredible, honest, generous man. I have a talent for writing, for acting, for critical thinking. I have two delightful furry children. I have a stunning collection of diverse and irreplaceable friends. I have the best family conceivable to me. Okay, now you do what I just did. Acknowledge your good things. Repeat them again. And again. How are you not smiling?! See! Don’t you feel fucking fantastic when you take a beat to consider all the goodness you have in fact been gifted? Am I right or am I right? Dig it.
5. Redefine your “all.” You won’t meet every goal. You won’t avoid failure. You will sacrifice. You will have limits. And that’s okay. That’s part of life. No one has it “all.” Everyone has to adjust expectations. However, that does not mean everyone settles. You will find as you continue through life, that what fulfills you changes. Your desires, ambitions, and needs will transform, and inevitably, you will end up exactly as you should with everything you truly want. So let’s maybe try to surrender to that. To that greater plan we have some, but very little control over. Let’s just, y’know, follow our hearts, trust our instincts, and cut ourselves some fucking slack. Perhaps by doing that, we’ll start to feel like we DO have it “all.” So let’s give it a try. Deal? Deal.
I'm not sure when it happened. I'm not sure when the days began to blur into one giant blob of rejection letters, stressful work meetings, and body pain. Yes, to all the pain. Back pain, hip pain, eye pain (no doubt from staring at the computer screen too long), but fuck. Fuck, man. This adulthood thing has its supreme disadvantages, but then what good is complaining? What good is ruminating on how much more difficult your life is than that of Mr. X or Mrs. Y? Yup, we’re going into the dark place, folks. The poor me place.
See when I get overwhelmed like I am currently, when I am just in the shitter, I've realized that there is a simple, effective trick to re-setting my mood. The re-set comes by focusing on the small things in my life that I am utterly thankful for. Of course I could focus on the grand gift of life, being alive, being healthy, being engaged to an insanely amazing man, having the most supportive family and friends in the world, being a good writer, owning a dog with saucer eyes who makes me melt with a baby head tilt - sure, all of those are big, mamajama things I am the most grateful for. However, when I'm too anxious to process the big things, I can more easily adjust my attitude by focusing on the small. Then subsequently indulging in the small.
For example, if I loved bubble baths, I would concentrate on putting together the most luscious bath and then I would soak in it. So yes. Here are a few itsy bitsy things that I love to indulge in when I am feeling beyond STRESSED OUT, and that help me get back to my place of yes:
1. PIZZA! Yeah dude, that's right. I don't at all consider pizza empty calories, because the warmth and sublime happiness I experience when stuffing my mouth with cheesy pepperoni laden goodness is just so damn rewarding. I would prefer to have an extra jiggle in my junk for eternity versus looking like Kate Hudson but missing out on fucking pizza.
2. Sephora. During periods of immense personal and professional frustration, I have been known to circle the Sephora aisles relentlessly until I've chosen a brand new skincare product to test out on my finicky skin. This private ritual in which I blow off all the Sephora sales associates, and moisturize my knuckles with several different creams is deeply soothing to me. I don't mind spending the standard $50 that is synonymous with a Sephora purchase, because it makes me feel better. It's my money, it's my skin, and I feel better because of the binge.
3. Draino. IT IS A MIRACLE PRODUCT THAT MAKES YOUR SHOWER INFINITELY IMPROVED. USING THIS PRODUCT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE A DRAIN NINJA. YOU CAN FIX ANYTHING! I MEAN YOU BOUGHT DRAINO?! YOU KNOW HOW TO PROBLEM SOLVE!
4. Joss and Main. Online curated flash sales for furniture and decor?! Like hello, gorgeous. I can buy candelabras in the shape of frogs, rugs knit by the Greeks themselves, and impeccable purple linens - and all at a very reasonable price! OR if I don't want to spend money, I can just troll the site for hours accumulating the vast supply of decorating tips provided. My apartment has gone from a weak 4 to a solid 7.5 because of all the time I've spent on Joss and Main. I'm confident a 10 will come eventually.
5. Baggy sweaters. It's my happy place. Just roaming around inside an oversized sweater. There's nothing better. Drop a few crackers down there? No worries. You don't even feel it. The sweater should be so comfortable and so large you could literally store three porcupines in there and not bat an eyelash. They could have fucking afternoon tea in there. That's how big the sweater should be to achieve total cozy time.
6. Sending a pointed, sort of superior email. Okay, you need to be careful with this one, because you are absolutely walking a fine line. So the number one condition that must be present in order to send this email is that the recipient must deserve it. The second condition is that you must not lose your cool, because then you will look like a crazy person and the passive-aggressive understated bitchy rationale of your response will quickly dissolve. An example: let's say you've constantly taken the high road when it comes to your “friend” Lauren's not so subtle digs at your life choices. Let's say in the latest email in a series of emails, she writes: Oh, well when John and I bought a home, we did a 15-year mortgage instead of a 5-year. In our opinion, a 5-year just felt too reckless, but that's just us! Of course this is her response after you've told her that you’ve indeed opted for a 5-year mortgage. So in this case, an appropriate reply to Lauren would be: Totally hear you, Laur. I guess we're just in the fortunate position where we only need 5 years to pay off the house, but that's just us! Lunch soon? Xoxoxo
I MEAN. That feels fucking great. Nonetheless, only indulge in one of those if the opportunity truly arises, and if you can craft a response that will put a sock in the person, but not incite WWlll. It's hardly an actual step towards re-setting your attitude, but it will in fact remind you that you're so much more with it and down to earth than this frenemy of yours. Knowing this, your mood should start lifting immediately.
7. Sleep! Catching some zzZzZz is the best possible way to feel better about a semi-difficult few weeks. It's the simplest way to recharge your batteries, and wake-up with a fresh perspective. Sleep definitely helps me realign my shakras, quell my Negative Nancy voices, and get my feisty back.
So there you have it! 7 small indulgences that personally help me re-set my mood. Perhaps you'd like to try them, or perhaps you have 7 of your own. Perhaps you are always happy and never get bogged down in your own wallowing shit, and if that's true - I salute you, and want to meet you. Seriously, that's not sarcasm. You're amazing. However, the rest of us all go through a poor me period sometimes, and that's not a state we should linger in for too long. So these little tricks definitely help me, and maybe they'll help you too! I mean at the very least, buy Draino. It is actually a miracle.