7 Things I learned this year

I learned some shit this year. Thanks, 2019.

  1. Self care. It should be a regular thing. Not a once-a-month ritual of taking a bath and properly shaving my legs. Earlier this year, I had a very bad habit of getting sick all the time. And that could have many root factors and more serious issues at the core-but fortunately, I don’t think it does. When I finally started making sure that I’m getting enough sleep & started taking some basic vitamins, I stopped getting sick. And i don’t want to jinx it, but it’s been a hot minute since I’ve even felt the slightest cold. I’m also learning that it’s important to take mental, spiritual and emotional time as well. I end up spending a lot of my time with the people I care about in this world, and sometimes I put myself on the back burner. Without realizing it, I don’t give myself enough time to relax, meditate, and process things so I end up losing my shit at some point. Self care = alone time & there’s no reason to feel guilty about that.
  2. How to say no to things that just aren’t my responsibility. I’d love to be able to help everyone with everything. And I definitely think there’s something to be admired about the people that cover shifts and stay late at their jobs & go above and beyond on every project…it shows a true sense of responsibility. And grit. But, only if you have the rest of your shit together. If you’re saying yes and then overloading yourself, you just look like a dumbass & feel like a mess (aka me AF). Know what’s within your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual limits. Yes, do go above and beyond-but only when you can afford to. And at the end of the day, there’s no sense in feeling guilty for saying no and understanding your limits. The fact of the matter is: if it’s not your responsibility, it’s not your fucking responsibility.
  3.  How to say no to things you love. Prioritizing. As much as I’d like do everything and work everywhere and learn everything and exist in multiple places at once, I’ve learned to fight my fomo and make choices that align with my goals. It’s super hard and feels incredibly awful but unfortunately there’s only so much time in a day & you gotta make sacrifices in life. I’ve found that this becomes much easier when you focus on appreciating what you have from your choices rather than focusing on what you had to turn down. And sometimes you have to say no to things because you have other goals in mind, even if an absolute time conflict hasn’t occurred yet. For example, I cut back on one of my “real-life” jobs to give myself more time for modeling and acting. And within 2 weeks, I got a phone call for a reoccurring creative gig. Sometimes you gotta give the universe space to work it’s magic. 
  4. How to give people their time. It’s easy to get caught up in the fear that when people step out of your life, that they’re gone forever. Fortunately, that’s just not fucking true. It’s that bird analogy. If you love someone let them go, if they love you too, they’ll come back one day. Or you could cripple them and they’d stay forever. But that’s not the healthiest option, is it? Sometimes people need space, sometimes you need space. Most times it’s really hard to see that in the moment where the space is created. It’s very easy to just get butthurt about it. But from what I’ve learned, you just gotta let it go and realize everything’s not about you. And it’s okay to love people and miss them, but sometimes time apart allows for growth. And that’s fucked if you take that away from them. And from yourself. & even if it seems like you don’t know if you’ll ever see them again, you will. And youll pick back up right where you left off. Cuz life is good and you love each other. I’ve experienced this a few times this year with people I consider myself very close with. And our bonds are even stronger now. It’s a good feeling. Patience is a virtue. If that’s relevant, Idk if that’s relevant, it just sounded good. I gotta google that. 
  5. How to chill the fuck out. This one I’m still working on quite a bit. But there have been numerous instances where i feel my face get hot and my breath gets ready to run rampant… & then, I stepped out of the moment just long enough to let my body reset before a full-blown anxiety attack occurs. I’m a spaz. And if you know me, you know this. And this spazzing nature of mine stretches all across the emotional spectrum from depressed to overjoyed. I’m very emotional. Which is great for my craft. But it can be a little much for my real life. I’m working on my skills for controlling my emotions so they don’t control me. Yoga and meditation have helped a lot. But I also have to give credit to my amazing supportive boyfriend. I think he’s gotten a lot better about dealing with me and my anxiety. And his efforts and greatly appreciated. It’s easy to say the wrong thing and get me really spiraling out of control. However, & especially lately, he’s been really good at reminding me to check-in with myself and take a fucking breather. And he does so in a way that doesn’t make me feel ashamed of myself. Which is important. But also, sometimes for this lesson, I just gotta smoke weed and chill TF out. 🤷‍♀️🤣
  6. Just make your own cool shit, damn it. I’ve literally been fighting these conforming feelings all my life. It’s been an ongoing battle & slow af understanding of the concept of balance when it comes to falling in line with society & culture, & just doing my own damn thing. The beauty of it all is that I can stick it to the man as much as I want, but if want to exist in a specific community, I have to somewhat play by their rules. As an artist, to break into the creative industry, you have to make some sacrifices. Unfortunately, some of these sacrifices have included quality and story-telling. Quite frankly, I’m just over that shit. I know I have to be somewhat flexible, but I just can’t sacrifice good quality content anymore. I’ve been very fortunate to make some really good pieces this year, but I’ve also found myself reflecting on some not-so-good pieces that I’m honestly just not very proud of. And it was enough for me to learn that it’s time to focus on story-telling and if that means just collaborating with other broke artists, then so be it. Returning my roots here cuz I just can’t eat the sugar-coated bullshit & flavorless kool-aid any longer. I don’t want to be praised for my shitty work. And i don’t want to make shitty work anymore. I guess I’m just done with selling out. Even though I haven’t really sold out that much or I wouldn’t be living paycheck to paycheck 😂
  7. Family first, bro. I’ve always truly valued family and that includes the people in my life that I consider “my people” as well. My boyfriend, his family, all my close friends from FL and growing up, and a few good people now that I’ve added from LA. I’d do anything for them. This is not a new lesson but more of a theme this year and something that I was reminded of. I’m a very ambitious person that can get caught up in my goals from time to time but it’s important that I take time away from all of that to just be supportive for my family and my people. Boundaries are important too, but at the end of the day, all of these arbitrary numbers and physical achievements I’d like to reach don’t mean shit if I don’t have my people by me when I get there. So if that means stepping away from those goals for a few days to be there for the people i care about, so be it. Fuck it, man. I love my people and I love my passions. A happy balance can be found as far as lifestyle choices go but when your fam needs you, they need you. And when you need them, they’re there for you too. 

Cheers to fucking up! Can’t learn anything if you don’t screw up in the first place. Hopefully these lessons really sink in my head for 2020. I’m looking forward to making new mistakes, taking bigger chances, and going on more adventures! Wish you all the same!

-K xoxo

Things I wish I knew before moving to LA

TLDR: Save money, have your resume/reel/port ready to go, make friends and remember to do what you love!

I’m really glad that I decided to move to LA but it was a pretty quick decision and there are some things I wish I knew beforehand in order to properly prepare. Here is a list of things I wish someone had told me before I moved out to LA. Again, this is just from my personal experience, so take it or leave it. Some people did give me really good advice before I left FL, and some people gave me really good advice once I got here (those are posts for another day).. but if you’re planning to move out here sometime soon & you’re from a small town like me… these things might be helpful.

  1. Save money for acting classes. Obviously we all know that we should be regularly studying our craft, but if you want to take classes that will really make a difference on your acting resume-save a little chunk specifically for that, before getting out here. Casting breakdowns ask that you actually list if you have taken any improv classes from Groundlings or UCB because they are so well-known and credible. Classes are about $300-$500 per course. I’ve been out here a year and now I’m focusing on paying down the credit card debt that I have accumulated surviving this past year. If I saved the money beforehand I would have started on these classes right away while my schedule and wallet had room for them. It is still a goal of mine and I plan on starting classes this year.
  2. Save money for headshots. I don’t care which small town you are from or how many amazing photographers reside there-you need professional headshots. Professional headshots can make a huge difference in getting auditions and if you want good ones, you need to go to a photographer that knows what the hell they’re doing. That means they are specifically a “headshot photographer” -not a wedding photographer or lifestyle photographer- an actual headshot photographer. I’m guilty of not doing this one yet either. I used a headshot from a lifestyle shoot I had & it faired me pretty well for the first 6 months. Then I got some actual headshots done by a friend of a friend with a professional camera which faired me even better, but now I’m saving the money to get some “real” ones done because I know it will be a game changer. Also, don’t spend $1500 on headshots unless you’ve got the money to blow. You can get good, legit headshots by an actual headshot photographer for $300-$500.
  3. Have a demo reel! If you can scrounge up any footage, whether it be free indie work, free student film work, free any other kind of film work that provides you with footage of yourself-do it. If you don’t do it before you move out here, guess what? That’s what you’ll be doing when you move out here. Like me. Which is fine, but you can save time & get ahead of the game if you have something to start. Something is better than nothing. BUT something terrible is worse than nothing, so try your best to get some good footage & cut it to resemble something of your actual talent. I know some people that have paid reel companies to make footage for them out here and that is one way to do it, if you do come out here with nothing. However, I have heard that agents/managers/casting directors prefer reels that are made from actual work you’ve done. That being said, that is their preference so it may very well be better than nothing-but it isn’t free either. Not that I’ve actually done a lot of research on reel companies, but from what I’ve heard/seen here and there, they can be about $800-$1500. And I’m just too stubborn for all of that.
  4. Save money for visiting home. Boy did I think I was ready to get the hell out of Florida. Of course, when the day came that I actually left, I was a huge pile of tears, naturally. Now, I don’t think I’d ever want to move back to my hometown, but I sure do miss some of the people there a WHOLE LOT. I’m not very good at making friends but I have met some decent people out here & thank God I have exactly 3 Florida friends out here that moved here before me. I was able to go home a few times last year, but not as much as I would’ve liked & it definitely added to my credit card debt. Never in a million years would I have thought about budgeting for vacays home while planning to move here, but in retrospect, I sure wish I had. I miss my mom and my brother so much sometimes it hurts. It’s weird not having my best girl friends that I grew up here with me whenever I need them. I actually have homesick breakdowns every few months (…which is taking a lot of balls for me to even type out to you guys right now.) Bottom line, plan to visit home or you’ll end up moving back home. I mean maybe that’s a little dramatic..but definitely a possibility. lol Fortunately, I’ve got a nice long Florida trip planned in a couple months which should make me feel a little better!
  5. Save money for random shit. Cities are expensive. LA is terribly expensive. Sure rent is a lot- first, last, security. Most places just do first & security thank God. But, did you know that A LOT of rentals out here don’t come with a fridge? You’ll either have to buy one or pay extra per month for one. Have “oh shit” money socked away for things like parking tickets- it doesn’t matter how careful you are, it’s like LA initiation. Oh and car registration! I know people that still run around with their out-of-state tags but be careful with that. If you play by the rule book, you’ll have to register your car out here & I bought my car soon before I left Florida so I actually had to pay the difference in sales tax too. Came out to be over $700. Sales tax is what? 10%? No, really. Expect a lot of sales tax. Pay to park almost everywhere you go. Give yourself an uber/lyft allowance too because sometimes that’s cheaper and faster than finding parking. Oh and invest in one of those hands-free phone devices in your car. They’re serious about that law-I got $160 ticket for talking on speakerphone once because I had the phone in my right hand.
  6. Get a parking spot. Don’t listen to the landlords when they say there is “plenty of street parking.” Do yourself a favor and either stake out the area you’re thinking about renting to find out if there actually is a decent amount of street parking near your place or apply for an apartment that comes with a parking spot. Even if it is extra per month. Parking was so bad in my old neighborhood that my roommate and I would have to park 3 blocks away if we got home any later than 3pm. It was a good 15-minute walk in a not-so-nice area of town where I had plenty of “close-calls” and I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that.
  7. Save money for weed. This one might not be for everyone, but hey, its legal here & I tend to think it’s a better vice than alcohol. With the stress of LA traffic and this competitive field, you’re going to want a method to unwind & it’s as easy as running up to the dispensary on the corner. Actually you can use an app called Eaze & have it delivered right to you. Long story short, might as well plan for it.
  8. It’s okay to live a little ways away from Hollywood. It will inevitably take you an hour/hour and a half to get to your audition. I thought that living real close to the city was my best bet. Unfortunately, it made my first year living here somewhat miserable. Rent is super high (I mean, yes everywhere here, but worse the more in LA you are) parking is terrible & it will still take you an hour to get anywhere. You’re better off living a little further away and having a much better quality of life. Just accept the fact that it’s going to take you an hour/an hour and half to get into the city for your audition/callback. Good thing is, there’s a lot of self-tapes nowadays anyway to save you some time. Living in Long Beach has made me so much happier and appreciative of Cali living. Go up to Burbank or Pasadena, same idea. Anywhere out-of-the-city a little bit. In reality, I only live like 20 minutes south of where I used to live & I’m 20x happier.
  9. Pee beforehand. No one else will let you. Maybe this is a very general “city” thing, but seriously, traffic is bad out here-you might be in your car for 2 hours & most places won’t let you stop in & use their bathroom. I’m talking gas stations, stores, you name it-people are stingy with their toilets. A lot of places expect you to buy something and then you have to get a code number for the door…stopping at 4/5 different places when you’re already running late somewhere and your bladder is gonna burst is not a fun game to play. (Especially when it’s that time of the month, ladies.) I’ve found McDonald’s bathrooms to have been my best bet in times of need- which sounds terribly awful, but I promise you, it’s better than nothing.
  10. Learn to parallel park. And park in weirdly small spaces. I mean, if not, you learn real fast. Again, this may be a typical big city thing, but I’m from a small Florida town. & I sure had to learn quick. I never parallel parked in my life-I also never had to drive through hills and mountains and windy roads where you can’t see if a car is speeding by because of the curvature and all of the street parking. Driving is stressful. If you’re good at, maybe you have a future in Uber driving. Nevertheless, if you learn that beforehand, that’s one less stressor you have to worry about.
  11. Plan for self-tapes. Have a camera with a tripod near a window or invest in a decent lighting kit ($50 easy on Amazon) & getting it set up in your apartment/home with a white wall/plain background is crucial. Having the equipment is super helpful. Yes, you can make do with your iPhone and a DIY tripod out of books-but it’s much easier to knock out your auditions if you have the proper set up waiting for you. I’ve missed plenty of self-tapes because I didn’t have the proper set up and I just couldn’t make it happen. What a waste. Don’t do that to yourself. I’ve only recently done this for myself & it’s made a huge freaking difference. I get more done & I don’t procrastinate as much because I know it’s not such a pain in the ass. (Also, fyi, if you’ve got a lack of friends to read for you-like me-it’s important to have a camera separate from your phone so you can talk one of your friends/family members from back home into reading for you on speakerphone while you record your audition with another device.)
  12. Have hobbies/ways of meeting people. Fortunately & unfortunately, I grew up in town where the same group of kids I went to pre-K with were also graduating high school with me. The good thing was that I always knew everyone and had a bunch of friends. The bad thing is, once I left that comfy support system, there was notta whole lot in LA. Like I said, I do have a few FL friends and some really good friends I’ve met through work (which is the only way I haven’t completely lost my mind) but I don’t really have a group of friends that I hang out with on a regular basis-which (believe it or not) is actually really important for your mental/emotional health, at least I think so. lol My from-FL friends and my work friends all live on the other side of the LA county essentially so I try to see them as much as I can but it’s not very often. Also, the culture out here is super flake. You may try to make some friends but it’s not that easy. At least, it hasn’t been for me. Now that I live in Long Beach, I’d like to make some friends in this area so I’m going to start taking yoga classes around the corner from my house. Hopefully I’ll meet some cool people there. I think if you have other hobbies, it helps. Our industry is pretty competitive-you’re not exactly making friends in the waiting room at your auditions.
  13. Reach out to anyone and everyone you know out here. Out of the 3 FL friends I have here, I was really only originally close with one of them. The other two I became good friends with real quick. They were both super helpful & they took me under their acting wings & taught me the things they’ve learned about the film industry in LA. & I actually roomed with one of them for the first couple months! It was great but I booked an air Bnb for the first month (before I came out) because I didn’t want to be homeless and I ended up losing like $1300. Lesson learned, don’t be shy. Reach out to everyone and anyone you know before you go wasting money & making mistakes. They gave me a lot of helpful tips & they’ve become some of my really good friends now! You never know the kinds of relationships that will cultivate in this big scary city & its best to start planting those seeds before you actually make your move!
  14. Pack more lotion. Maybe this one is exclusively for east-coasters that are used to an excessive amount of humidity… but my nose would bleed almost every morning for the first few weeks & my face still feels like it’s going to crack off sometimes. Plan to Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. & Drink lots of water. Or you’ll feel like a fish out of water, like I did.
  15. Things are misleading in LA. There is an interesting kind of “mirage” feel to this city. People are shocked if you’re nice. Which is weird. & Apparently, for your own sake, you might want to take everything/everyone with a grain of salt. Again, this might be for any small-towner headed to a big city-but apparently there’s a lot of shady in LA, just as there is everywhere else. However, there’s a sense of magic in the air in NYC that I haven’t found in LA & maybe that’s my own skewed perception of things. It seems like people go big for the films here but not so much in real life. There is a serious lack of festivities for all holidays all year round, in my opinion. & Everything is made out to be a bigger deal than it is. Maybe this is a very obscure tip, but I wish I didn’t get so psyched about being in a big city for the holidays because I’m pretty sure we partied harder in Florida. And just little things, like businesses with misleading names and items or cover charges for things that just aren’t worth the money. All of those “pop-up” museums that cost $30 to get in just so you can get one good instagram pic & it’s really not even that fun? No thanks. And you think “Oh sunny California!” but what they didn’t tell you is it’s actually really cold and windy and the beaches are freezing. I still love you California, I promise. I just have higher beach standards coming from FL & other Floridians need to be prepared.
  16. Creepers are everywhere. The casting call was on a legit casting site & the audition is at a legit casting studio that you’ve been to multiple times? Ahh it must be okay. NOT. Make sure you ALWAYS do your research on the people you’re about to go in a room with because ANYONE can be a creep. I’m usually pretty good about doing my research but if you start to get busy with multiple auditions and multiple jobs, its easy to get lazy. I had one terrible run-in with a guy & I didn’t even know what hit me until I was half-way home and crying with discomfort. Thank God nothing happened happened to me, but basically I was alone with a man in a room for a “ecom model casting for prom dresses .” He asked me to remove my tights to make sure I didn’t have any bruises or anything that would interfere with the shoot (idk why but I did it-discreetly, under my dress without showing anything) and then he asked me to remove my bra (which I did not) and then started asking me about nudity projects & when I went to leave the room, the door was locked. Fortunately, I was the last girl for that casting but I was so creeped out I left without even reporting him. It was at Space Station casting which is a studio that I’ve gone to for multiple legit auditions before and after that occurrence but that particular day caught me so off guard that I’m just lucky he didn’t try anything more. Be careful!!!
  17. Remember your craft, your passion. If you’re coming out to LA because you love acting, you’ve got to act once in a while or you’ll totally forget what you’re doing all this for! It is real easy to get busy with work, stress, traffic, adulting, trying to make friends, affording groceries, auditioning, fighting with technology, fighting with your neighbors, etc. but you have to goof off and act a little or you’ll totally lose sight of your goals & the big bad city will actually swallow you up & crush your hopes and dreams. Pick up a script and act it out with a friend, throw on the camera and make up some characters, read some plays or rehearse some monologues, audition for that play that you really want to do & it takes up a lot of time & probably doesn’t pay much or anything at all.. do it & have FUN! Because the truth is, if it was enough to get you out here, it’s enough to get you through the times when you feel like it’s pointless and useless and hopeless and a total waste of time. Just act & have fun with it like you always do & it’ll get you back on the right path. & As long as you’re doing what you love-you’re doing it right! I managed to land a role in a play (that wasn’t paid very much) called “Time Stands Still” (which I was a fan of before auditioning) & it turned out that the director also directed a bunch of amazing film projects like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and numerous sitcoms! WTF-how cool is that?!

I’ve learned a lot living in LA this first year and I’ve got to admit-I was a huge grumpy butt underneath that whole time. But I’ve met some amazing people through work and my play and I’ve gotten closer to people that I knew back home & I’m finally able to say that LA is growing on me. I hope these tidbits will help anyone that may be making the big move soon & if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I hope that your first year in LA will go a little smoother than mine did, even though it was really a pretty great year overall. And remember #13-even if you’ve got no one else, you’ve got me 🙂

Things I don’t understand about Blogging

TLDR: Blogging isn’t as easy as I thought.

I have my current website through GoDaddy but now I’m trying to figure how to mush the two together. I just purchased something on Godaddy that I thought would do that but it doesn’t work. Meanwhile I’m still trying to understand how to use WordPress and when they finally do merge which website builder am I using? Just the WordPress I would hope so I could cancel the other. If I move everything over to WordPress will I lose my work email now? How do I keep that open? I guess I have to move everything over to Godaddy then? But then do I have to pay extra on WordPress too? Who knew it would be this complicated?