Shampagne September

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If you read my Monthly Motivations yesterday, you’re familiar with a term that will pop up again and again over the course of September: Shampagne. This month, Shampagne, will become the thing that I eat, sleep and breathe, I hope.

Guys, creating your own work is extremely difficult. I have been through a roller coaster of emotions and I haven’t finalized the script or shot one second on camera. Last week, I was calling everyone I considered to be a rock, sounding off my frustrations, stress, questions, and unresolved internal dilemmas preventing me from moving on to the next step. Luckily, everyone had a listening ear at the ready and some great advice to dish out and today I can tell you that I am back in the driver’s seat, eager to tackle the behemoth of challenges headed my way.

In addition to the show, I am coming into my own over at That Bachelorette Show at 42West! Last week my character almost made it to the final two, so that signals to me I have really started to come into my own as Mac Jenkins. If you’re in the city I strongly urge you to come to the show, it’s a great party with a live DJ, bar, and some eligible “bachelors” milling around the audience.

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Back to school, means back to the classroom for me as well! Sure I’ve been teaching out on Rikers Island for the past few months, but I’m super excited to meet the next round of Adler Youth 2 students in the coming weeks and tackle Shakespeare once again!

Me and my class

Me and my class (fall 2014)

Finally, September marks new chapters for some of my closest friends, weddings, birthdays, and milestones!

You know the name of the game:

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Gonna keep it going as I take on all the month has to offer.

Ciao 🙂

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Throwback Thursday

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Graduation season has come and gone. Seeing the caps and gowns of various shades moving through the city brought smile to my face. Hard to believe it has been four years, since John Sexton announced we were officially graduates of New York University over the Yankees PA system.

Yes, graduating from NYU was, and is, one of my major life accomplishments thus far, however, the summer following graduation is what set the path I still follow today.

My apprenticeship at the Hangar Theatre from June-August of 2011, formed strong friendships, challenged me in unexpected ways, and helped me to see just what I would need to expect of myself in order to make it in the performance world. An exercise we did at the end of our time there is still with me to this day: a letter to myself to read the next year.

I wrote my hopes and dreams for the summer and my career, handed it off to Laura and Kris and forgot about it. Sure enough, one year later, almost to the date, my letter arrived in the mail. In honor of Throwback Thursday, and 4 full years out of undergrad, I have decided to post the letter here.

Life can be funny sometimes…

7/23/2011

Melissa can you believe its been year since Lab Company? Well little old me at the end of this journey want to leave you with a few hopes and dreams.

1.  I hope you are fighting the good fight and are finding work that speaks to you and allows you to bring a piece of yourself to the work that you know no one else can do.

2.  Your goal of having one paid acting gig before Christmas really did come and you, Myles, and Kyla celebrated in a great way. (karaoke preferably 🙂 )

3. That you continue to build strong ties with your sister-in-law showing your love through acts of kindness and not just words.

4.  Build a relationship with another casting agent and always remember you can call Stephanie whenever you need.

5. Stay true to yourself, listening to your voice and the voice of God. Making tough decisions with clarity and grace.

Never forget where you came from! Hope you enjoyed Jilia’s wedding, that Langston, Ava, Mom, Dad, and Frank are healthy and well and that you’re even closer to getting that Equity card.

Ciao,
Melissa

Hello, June!

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It’s June?!

Jeepers, where did the first half of the year go? I have literally been going full speed for 5 months now, and there is no end in sight (fingers crossed). Between acting, teaching, writing, creating and networking, 2015 has been very good to me. I’m pretty sure you’re getting tired of reading me say this every month, but it is honestly true. I am finding my stride so easily this year, and I think it has a lot to do with my new year’s resolution of “persistence and consistency.” I have always had prided myself on being organized, focused, and driven, but this year it has hit a whole new level, and I am beginning to reap the rewards on the left and right.

Yesterday, I was fortunate to participate in the Brooklyn Generator Project’s reading of Eboni Booth’s, Worthy. Ever since my summer in Ithaca, at the Hangar Theater, I have always loved working with a playwright as they refine their text in the rehearsal room, learning more about their characters and the world of the play, as I read them aloud. After the workshop performance, I was overwhelmed by the comments our audience had for me afterward. This is not a humble brag, instead it was a moment where I was able to take stock and realize once again, “I am where I’m supposed to be, doing what I love to do.”

I think that is a great realization to have as my birthday approaches.

As I enter the second half of my twenties, there is a sured-ness present that I suppose just comes with time and life experience. I hope that this next continues to build upon this momentum and that there are amazing challenges and moments ahead that will continue to shape and strengthen me.

June, glorious June, so happy to see you again!

Ciao

52 New Weeks to Get it Right!

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Happy New Year again everyone! I was able to bring in 2015 in a fabulous way, surrounded by my extended family, in formal wear, in Richmond. I was introduced to relatives I still had not met, danced the night away, spent time with my parents, and was confronted with the fact, yet again, of how blessed I am to be surrounded by a family that loves me and loves each other. 🙂

Okay, now that the gratitude is out of the way time to look ahead to the future and become grounded in the present. I found that my “Monthly Motivations” really helped me to cement my goals, priorities, and dreams for the upcoming month, and this year I’ll keep this practice going. Over the weekend I made a vision board for 2015, quotes, phrases, and photos that encompass all that I want to do, be, and become in regards to my personal and professional life. You can see a picture of my vision board on my Instagram roll towards the left of the screen. As far as a traditional New Year’s resolution, I have but one: To be consistent and persistent. That is all.

I hope you had a great holiday season and that the warm feelings and cheer bleed into the rest of your month and year, as much as possible. Happy New Year! Make it a great one 🙂

Ciao

Holy Moly!

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Holy Moly, you guys! It’s December!

Where on earth did this year go? It just flew by and over the course of the month I will be doing “Flashback Friday” posts featuring three months each week!

I think it’s safe to say that my “Fall First” bucket list, has been a bit of a snooze fest. After taking on extra shifts at the office, participating in readings and becoming involved with a theatre company, free time has definitely been spent with friends or fictional stories courtesy of Netflix, Hulu and the old Broadway. Eh, what can I say? I’m only human 🙂

My hope, however, is to make up for the lack of posts in November with tons of photos, poetry, quotes, and more for December. With holiday parties, family galas, Christmastime in New York, and any other exciting plans that may fall in my lap, this month shall be spectacular!

So my question for you is…how are you going to finish out 2014?

Ciao 🙂

Knocking on November’s Door

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Well, with Daylight Savings Time and Election Tuesday behind us and Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday coming up fast I definitely feel safely ensconced in November. The weather is still being a tad wishy-washy, not sure if it wants to remain crisp and cool or warm and humid, but fall is here to stay! It’s always a sharp slap in the face when the sun has vacated the sky after 5pm, especially considering that’s when I happen to go to work, but there really is nothing like this downhill journey to the end of the year.

I’m writing this month’s theme on very little sleep. I admit the time change always sends me through a loop, and my body is never really sure what it wants to do with itself, yet as I laid in bed ticking off the minutes my brain was rapid firing a to-do list for the upcoming weeks.

My poor Fall Firsts page, I have not forgotten you I promise. I’ve just been consumed with my various day jobs and a couple of one-off performances in between, to really focus on my fall bucket list. Lucky for me, I have until the winter solstice to check off as many of the items as I can.

Remember that exciting project I hinted at last month? Well, after finishing step one, and taking a prolonged, procrastination-riddled pause, I started back up last night and hope to finish the developmental stages of this by the end of the month. (Still keeping this under wraps until I’m further along).

Finally, the acting thing. The main reason why I decided to stay in New York City is to really find my footing in the performance world, whether that be on stage (my true love) or screen (a new friend). I have the tendency to approach my career in waves, completely focused for long spurts and then taking a nice “sabbatical” from the scene until ready to venture out again. While the last two projects I was involved with were wonderful experiences, I now yearn for more meaty and substantial projects. Hopefully, a new connection I’ve started to foster can grow into a meaningful relationship, helping me branch out and meet new people from all sectors of the theatre world, but performance is my true love, and it is time for me to give it the attention it deserves.

I am a-knock, knock, knock-in on November’s door and when December hits I will be prepared for 2015 a whole month early 🙂

Ciao

Say YES! October

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Man oh man, am I happy I waited an extra day before writing my monthly theme post for October. In the past 48 hours, my brain has been humming with so many creative ideas that I have FINALLY started to put them down on paper. (This is truly a big deal, let me tell you.)

I was on the subway this morning, furiously writing when a thought struck me: The last time I was this excited, scared, and thrilled was when I decided to publish my first blog post. And lo and behold, eighteen months later, I am now writing, on said blog, about my next creative foray.

I honestly don’t want to give too many details at the moment, because everything is still incubating in my mind. It really makes sense that the week New York is finally embracing autumn the next chapter in my career’s journey begins.

So with that vague set-up in mind my monthly goals are to say “YES!” A resounding yes, to all of the opportunities that are coming my way, that I’m not even aware of. William Shatner said it best:

“Why say “yes”? “Yes” means opportunity. “Yes” makes the dots in your life appear. And if you’re willing and open, you can connect these dots. You don’t know where these dots are going to lead, and if you don’t invest yourself fully, the dots won’t connect. The lives you make with those dots always lead to interesting places. “No” closes doors. “Yes” kicks them wide open…..As long as you’re able to say “yes”, the opportunities keep coming, and with them, the adventures. Say “no” to fear and complacency. Keep saying “yes” and the journey will continue.”
William Shatner, Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large

Second, I want to fully embrace all that the season has to offer. With my Fall Firsts bucket list, I’ll be able to explore the city in a new way, finding new favorite places, getting to know some of the other boroughs a little bit better, and becoming more comfortable with enjoying my own company. One of the things I love most about living in this city is that there is always something new to discover, even if it has technically been here the whole time. Discovery is a great thing, and I really want to dive in head first!

Super duper ecstatic about this month and can’t wait to look back on it in November with a humongous smile on my face!

Ciao 🙂