Thursday, September 30, 2010

Instant Shepherd's Pie; Sexism is Alive and Well in America

I made money today! I love that. I realize that most people make money about five days a week but for me it's much more infrequent and thus more satisfying.

Anyhow, yesterday I went and saw TV director Guy Bee at The Actors' Network - his most recent work is Supernatural. Then I came home and prepared for my evening audition at 7:30. Right before I left, the weather got all crazy. First I heard the loudest crack of thunder echoing through the mountains, which was surprising because we never get thunder. Then it dropped twenty degrees. If we were in the Midwest, I would have thought a tornado was coming! Instead we just got some light rain and lots of big lightning. This week has been crazy. My audition went really well, and it was funny because I was playing a 16-year-old and was surrounded by teenagers and their parents. I felt so old!

Last night I watched Law and Order: SVU and the new Law and Order: Los Angeles. I love SVU because Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni are the two most awesome people on television and I was quite pleased with LOLA, as well. It's just fun to see LA on TV.

Today I filmed an industrial in Pasadena (the payday I mentioned) and then went Trader Joe's shopping. One of the reasons I haven't had much interesting material to write about lately is because I've just been wanting plain, unadulterated fruits and vegetables - whole tomatoes, carrots, apples, and baked potatoes. But today I was craving frozen peas and corn so I bought some at TJ's and modified my standby, Instant Colcannon.

I'm going to call it...

Instant Shepherd's Pie
1 organic potato
1/2 cup kale
1/4 cup frozen artichoke hearts
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper or 21 Seasoning Salute

Clean potato well and pierce several times with a fork. Microwave for two minutes. Then add your frozen corn and peas and microwave another minute or until potato is cooked and veggies are thawed.

While the potato is in the microwave, steam your kale and artichoke hearts.

When all the veggies are done, mash them all together with a fork and season to taste.

To season, I used this new TJ's purchase:

It's good. But I would warn you, it tastes kind of lemony. It's closest in taste to lemon pepper.

Ahh, craving sated. Until tomorrow.

I don't have many plans for tomorrow before going out with friends in the evening, so I plan on spending some serious time creating my 5-3-1 goals. I agree with Faith, writing down your goals can be intimidating because then you have something to fail at! BUT, you also have something to aspire to. And work towards. And I am a lot more reward-pursuant than I am risk-averse. Well, when it comes to dreams, at least. When it comes to money I'm definitely more risk-averse!

Links Giveaway!

The rest of my links for today really show that sexism is alive and well in America. There are many people out there who still think that men and women are fundamentally different and that women are less intelligent, weaker beings who try and control men and use them. If not that severe, then at least they are looking for a good provider while men are just out to spread their seed. All of these stereotypes are so wrong and it's upsetting to realize how many people still hold them to be true. Responding to an Elle article alleging that men want to have sex with every woman they see and women don't fantasize about strangers. As if! The first viewpoint states that there's no difference between male and female brains, but a dissenting opinion argues that men are smarter because they have larger brains. As someone who knows both men and women, I know that's not true. This link in particular is very disturbing so don't read it unless you're ready for some real hate speech. But it will make you realize that these kinds of ideas still exist and we need to be aware of them so we can combat them.

I do feel confident that most Americans do not share these beliefs (especially the ones featured in the last link) but some of these stereotypes are more pervasive than we'd think and we need to be aware of them and make sure that we don't accidentally hold them, ourselves.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Urth Caffe and Goal Setting

I went to Urth Caffe on Melrose for coffee today. It's a cute, busy cafe with lots of coffee and tea plus breakfast and lunch. I just wanted coffee so I didn't look very closely at the menu but it seems vegan-friendly. They have almond, soy, and rice milk for coffee but there's a 50 cent surcharge (LAME!). There's also a wide arrange of add-ins, including agave.

I got a large coffee with hot almond milk and it came in a mug with a nice layer of foam. It was delicious and it didn't even need any sweetener.

This afternoon I went to The Actors' Network, first to see Darci Monet, a vocal coach, and then for a talk on goal setting. The session with the vocal coach was fun because there were very few of us and she had each of us get up in front and do some vocal exercises. In the second session we talked about setting goals for five years, three years, and one year from now, as well as breaking up those years into three-month segments. The facilitator told us to ask ourselves - if a camera followed you around, how much time would it see you spending actively working towards your five-year goal? Because if you aren't taking actionable steps towards your goal, it's just a pipe dream. And you should set goals based on what you can achieve, not what other people decide for you. That's a tricky part of being an actor - so much of your career is completely out of your hands. Acting is not a time-in, money-out career. You don't necessarily get out what you put in. But that shouldn't stop you from setting goals. And then when you fail to accomplish a goal (as we all do sometimes), keep going. Don't give up and start over. I kept thinking how similar acting and weight loss are - people feel defeated so they give up and they're constantly starting their career over. That's the same mindset that says, "Oh I blew it today. I'll start my diet for real on Monday."

Tomorrow I'm going to another event at The Actors Network and then I have an audition!

Do you set goals for yourself? Do you write them out or keep them in your head? Do you break down an action list?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Indian-Spiced Barley Stew

Record-breaking heat is ripping through LA right now. It was 113 degrees today in the Valley. OMG! So of course I did something that makes no sense and I made soup.

I would have liked to add an onion and some celery but I just used what I had on hand.

Indian-Spiced Barley Stew
1 cup uncooked barley
1 cup yellow split peas
10 medium carrots, chopped
5 cups water
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp umeboshi plum paste (optional, sub for soy sauce)
1/4 cup chopped dulse (optional)
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 bunch basil, chopped

If using an onion, brown for a few minutes in a soup pot. Then add barley, split peas, carrots, and water. Watch water as the soup cooks and add more as necessary to keep desired consistency. Add seasonings and basil at the end. Makes about 10 1-cup servings.

It's really good!!

I'm going to get coffee with my mom's co-worker's cousin tomorrow morning. I love those distant connections! We're going to Urth Caffe so I'll be sure and take some pictures for a post tomorrow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pasta and New TV Shows, Part Two

Life has been pretty much the same - audition, work out, look for acting jobs, watch new TV shows, repeat. I've eaten more Indian-Spiced Yellow Split Pea Soup, brussels sprouts, salads, and Instant Colcannon. I even made two brussel sprout converts at TJ's the other day. Score.

On Tuesday night I went to a friend's house to watch Boardwalk Empire and Glee and they sent me home with some salsa and guacamole. I mixed it with assorted greens to create a salad o' leftovers.

I also made some PastaSlim noodles (like Shirataki noodles) made of tofu that I've had in the fridge for a while. I just heated them up with some garlic, two tomatoes, basil, and onion. It was good.

Part Two of my new TV reviews:

Outsourced (NBC): Many people thought this sitcom would be offensive because it deals with a business outsourcing to India. But who is it offensive to, Indians or laid-off Americans? I would say neither. I didn't find this show offensive at all and in fact I found it surprisingly charming and funny. Yes, there was an anti-vegetarian joke I didn't care for but I won't let that cloud my opinion of the whole show.

My Generation (ABC): This show flopped. It wasn't bad though - it was kind of ... average. I'm not sure I like the documentary style and I think the promotion was terrible (the billboards were such a ripoff of Parenthood!). It could get better, though. Rousing praise, I know.

Running Wilde (FOX): First, I just have to say that I can't stand that FOX made two shows (Raising Hope and Running Wilde) with such similar names and on top of that, scheduled them back-to-back. Grr. And I really didn't care for this show. I found it forced and unfunny and there is zero chemistry between Keri Russell and Will Arnett. And I do not like the little girl narrator. I will admit, though, that kid protagonists bug me in general so that could be part of the reason.

Undercovers (NBC): I wanted to like this because it's a JJ Abrams spy drama and I was obsessed with Alias. Unfortunately, it was just boring. I'm going to base part of the blame on the two leads, who I found unbelievably white bread. They're so generically good-looking and just "fine" and didn't capture my attention. I stand in complete opposition to the LA Times review, though, who said that the two leads were electrifying and carried the whole show. So it's all a matter of taste.

Terriers (FX): This show needs to see an improvement in the ratings and I hope people go watch it because it's really good! It's about two unlicensed private investigators and I think it was hurt by its terrible and confusing marketing that featured snarling dogs for no reason. But the leads are funny and have good rapport and the case is interesting. Thumbs up.

Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC): I liked it. I thought maybe a bit too much was made of Michael Imperioli's character's quirkiness. It was pleasantly average, I guess.

The Whole Truth (ABC): I really liked this show! It's a court procedural but it shows the defense and prosecution in detail so you're judging the proceedings along with the jury and you don't know whether the defendant is guilty or not. Thankfully, though, they did tell us at the very end which was nice because it would drive me a little crazy to never know who done it.

Better with You (ABC): It's a completely average sitcom. It's funny and nothing you haven't seen before. But I enjoyed it.

Premieres of recurring shows:

Fringe (FOX): So cool! I need to start watching this show.

30 Rock (NBC): Laughed my ass off. Alec Baldwin is perfect and Matt Damon's guest star was very funny, too. The writing on this show is so kick-ass. And Tracy Morgan is hilarious.

Community (NBC): I laughed! The show was funnier than I remembered from last year, which makes me think it has hit its stride.

The Middle (ABC): I laughed. It's a sitcom, it isn't realistic at all but it has some good moments.

Cougar Town (ABC): Funnier than I thought it would be, especially in light of its bad ratings so far this year even though it featured Jennifer Aniston.

Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice (ABC): I always watch these and they're the same. I love them and if you do, you still will.

This isn't quite all the new shows but it's the majority. I'm missing a couple CBS shows because they don't put their shows on Hulu. No, I won't keep watching all of these shows but now I'm excited to be on ratings watch!!

Kristens Raw Ebook Giveaway An opinion on the TV show The Biggest Loser that I agree with. Averie's vegan lip balm giveaway!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

California Pizza Kitchen and New Fall Shows, Part 1

I met a friend from high school for lunch yesterday. I hadn't seen her since high school but she went to USC and then stayed out here so we finally met up and we had a great time! We met at California Pizza Kitchen, I let her choose and said I would be fine with any restaurant with a half-decent salad or coffee with soy milk because I'm very flexible. And that's true, I don't really like eating out very much so I don't mind just getting a drink. But luckily, she chose a restaurant with good vegan options.

The CPK website is great because they have a very clear list of vegan items (and they know that honey isn't vegan) and nutrition information for all their menu items. Yay! So I could pick out what I wanted beforehand as well as know the nutrition content of what I was eating. I hate surprise calorie bombs because of the inordinate amount of oil most restaurants use. So I ended up ordering a cup of the asparagus soup with no croutons.

This may not look like much (or maybe it looks like baby food) but it was delicious. Seriously, I was surprised. But this was seriously good. It cost less than $5 and they also have the bowl version which is twice as big.

I've also been watching a lot of new TV. It's fall premiere week, baby! The general actor advice is that you should watch an episode of every show on television and I totally agree. Not only do you need to know what a show is like in case you get an audition for it, but you should also know what the other people in town are working on. If you meet someone who worked on Criminal Minds, you want to be able to talk about it. So I figured I would do a short review of each show I've watched so far. If you aren't interested, then don't read it. But I have more interests than just food (this goes in the "happiness" section of my title).

From two weeks ago:
Hellcats (CW): College cheerleading show with Aly Michalka and Ashley Tisdale. This was cute. I can't say I'll be dying to watch it every week but I'll definitely give it a chance. This is a cute change for Tisdale who goes from playing the bitch on High School Musical to being the sweet and slightly ditzy cheer captain.

Nikita (CW): I liked it - more than I thought I would, actually. But I do worry that it skews a little older than the general CW audience. It's more Covert Affairs than Vampire Diaries. But I can see some potential for a fun series and wow, Maggie Q is gorgeous.

This week:
The Event (NBC): I'm intrigued. This is definitely a show like Lost or FlashForward that raises more questions than it answers and you'll need to watch it every week to know what's going on. But so far, I'm into it. I'll definitely watch it.

Hawaii Five-O (CBS): I didn't really like this. I like silly action shows but this was too much like CSI: Miami for my taste. Plus, I don't get the appeal of star Alex O'Loughlin. He keeps getting roles (this is his third series in as many years) but as Nikki Finke said on Deadline Hollywood, I don't see what distinguishes him from all the other Caucasian males in their thirties in Hollywood who can't break out. Plus, this show has a much more interesting actor in Daniel Dae Kim who's being woefully underused. He should be the focus of the show.

Lonestar (FOX): This show is the current talk of the town, but not for a good reason - it's dangerously close to the chopping block. First episode ratings were terrible even though most industry types like the show. It's about a Texas conman bigamist. Yeah. I think my roommate said it best - she just can't enjoy a show with a main character who is doing something so horrible as to be married to two different women. It's despicable.

Chase (NBC): I actually liked this more than I thought I would. It's a total formula - tough blonde chick exactly like Mary McCormack of In Plain Sight chasing bad guys. But everything works a little better than I thought it would and I could see it being a perfectly enjoyable show to tune in to on occasion. But it does look expensive, so unless the ratings get a little better it could be in trouble. Jerry Bruckheimer is costly.

Outlaw (NBC): Jimmy Smits (who I like) stars as a conservative Supreme Court justice who has a change of heart and steps down to become a defense attorney and champion the little guy. Yeah. That's a silly premise, and I never bought it. I wouldn't say it was so bad I wanted to scream at the TV or anything, but I feel no desire to keep watching.

Raising Hope (FOX): A total loser has to take care of his baby with the help of his kooky redneck family because the mom's out of the picture. Half-hour comedy. It's OK. I know a lot of people really liked it, but I found lots of the child endangerment humor to not be quite up my alley.

Boardwalk Empire (HBO): Beautiful but low on heart. The set is too clean but the background of Prohibition-Era Atlantic City is gorgeous and it's fun to see all the period costumes and furnishings. I think they can fix this, though. The problem is that we don't care about any of the characters and nobody is really likeable. I see salvageability though and HBO has already picked it up for a second season anyways so it'll have time to develop and find its land legs.

Premieres of returning shows:

Glee (FOX): I love Glee but I wasn't thrilled with this episode. The songs were overproduced and sounded way too much like they were sung in a studio and cleaned up with Auto Tune. Rachel was also more horribly mean than usual and it didn't fit well. She's usually just clueless and selfish, not evil. One of the biggest changes happening to Glee is that in the beginning of the show, the kids sang when it made sense - during practice or a performance - but now they're breaking into song at any old time, like a musical. But next week is the Britney Spears episode and I'll admit it, I am anticipating some greatness.

Vampire Diaries (CW): The return of the teenage vampire drama that's just better than it should be. One thing this show gets totally right is its great-looking cast. At least the CW understands that viewers like to watch hot people making out and that's just how it is.

90210 (CW): I love 90210. It's fun and a nice mix of lighthearted fare with some deeper issues that I think they handle pretty well. And like I said, CW hires hotties.

Gossip Girl (CW): If you like GG, you'll still like it. But I'm still rooting for Dan and Serena, I can't help myself.

Parenthood (NBC): My mom doesn't like this show because the parenting is too bad but I love Crosby and Jabbar and would watch the show just for them. Dax Shepard is a great actor (if you don't believe me, watch the episode from season one when he watches the video of his son's birth. It's great) and Jabbar is adorable!

Chuck (NBC): I watched the premiere because it's a cult favorite that's always in danger of getting canceled. It's really silly. Linda Hamilton was a guest star and she looks like my mom. In other words, lookin' good, Linda Hamilton.

One Tree Hill (CW): I watched this just because it's been on forever and I've never seen it. It's a soap opera. That's all there really is to say.

Life Unexpected (CW): I only ever saw the last episode of the first season but it was pretty easy to catch up. Girl grows up in foster homes, finds her parents who had her when they were 16, they become her legal guardians. In this episode she accidentally made out with a guy who ends up being a teacher at her school. I am saying GO FOR IT. I love illicit romance. DO it, YO.

I feel a little apprehensive putting any sort of criticism online because I respect all the work that goes into every show but damn it, I am entitled to my opinions, too.

And don't judge me for watching so much TV. It's my industry!!

To stay up on TV shows and find out what's playing tonight:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Protein and Iron in Broccoli and Mushrooms

I had a super simple dinner tonight. Sometimes you just need to keep it basic - broccoli, mushrooms, and onion. I stir-fried about 1/4 onion I had left over with a bag of mushrooms and a bag of broccoli from TJ's and flavored it with a little rice wine vinegar and Chinese Five Spice powder.

Just based off a quick analysis of the nutrition, this entire dish (a whole bag each of mushrooms and broccoli!) is about 170 calories, 22 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, and 25% of your RDA of iron. Oh yeah, and negligible fat and no cholesterol. Let's compare this to 170 calories of a chicken breast with the fat removed - according to Spark People, about 2/3 of a breast. The chicken has 36 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 92 mg of cholesterol, no fiber, and only 6.3% of iron. And of course that's not even to mention all the other nutrients that are more plentiful in the broccoli and mushrooms - more calcium, more Vitamin C, A... I could keep going. But I just think this is great proof that you don't even have to go out of your way to get copious amounts of protein and iron in a vegan diet. Just eat plants!

Tomorrow I'm going to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen with a friend I haven't seen since high school. So I should have something fun to show you.

Link of the Day: Just because he's cute.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gum and Jujubes

Wow, I've had a busy and fantastic weekend!

First up, I got an e-mail today from the director of the film I auditioned for on Thursday and said took over three and a half hours out of my day. She said she had decided to cast someone else but loved my performance and would like to stay in touch for future projects. I thought that was really nice because that never happens. In the audition process in LA, you go in, audition, leave, and you will probably never hear anything back. You could get a call that evening or weeks later letting you know you got a callback or booked the job, but you have no idea. And if you didn't get it, you just won't hear anything at all. So it was very nice of her to write me.

On Thursday night I totally ran out of gum and Crystal Light, which was a catastrophe, so I immediately headed to Ralphs to rectify that situation. I may have gone overboard a tad:

Don't worry, that will last me a while. I'm not one of those pack-a-day chewers, but I usually have a couple of pieces of gum a day. The watermelon is my #1 flave that I have been chewing for years and the other two were new additions inspired by Averie (they didn't have the key lime flavor!) I couldn't choose between the two so I got both and I'm glad I did. The mint chocolate chip tastes like a sweeter version of normal mint gum but the scent is 100% perfect, OMG. I just sniff it for fun. And the strawberry shortcake is also delicious. Ha gum is weird but whatever, I like it.

On Friday I had another audition and in the evening I watched Snatch. It was all right, kind of like Ocean's 11 but less fun. OK, dirty joke - I still remember when that movie was about to come out and Madonna wore a super low-cut shirt that said "Snatch, Coming Soon." I didn't know it was a movie so I thought she meant boobs now, snatch later and thought it was quite scandalous. Turns out it was my mind that was in the gutter (and I was maybe 11?).

I also bought this coffee from Trader Joes.

Once again, inspired by Averie. =) I hadn't really noticed this coffee and I felt silly buying a pre-ground coffee when I own a coffee grinder but this stuff is only about $3 and it turns out it's pretty darn tasty! I like my coffee really really dark and strong. NO watery coffee here!

Yesterday I spent several hours Skyping with my mom in the morning, having fantastic deep conversations on various political topics. I've missed that. Then I had another audition and it didn't go as well as they usually do. I was supposed to be really emotional and crying and right before I started talking someone in the room next door started blasting Beyonce and it kind of got me off my game. But that's OK, because I came home and made soup and watched The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Then I spent a few hours preparing for my audition and filming today. Finally about 10:30 I went to a bar called Happy Ending in Hollywood with my friends. It's a little out of my character to go out that late but that's how life is here and I am adjusting. I had a lot of fun and met cool people!

Even though I stayed at the bar until they turned the lights on, I woke up bright and early this morning (first around 6, then I willed myself to sleep until 7) with lots of energy - it was filming day! I got ready and then headed to an audition that I had first and it went really well. Lots of fun. I think I like doing comedy better than drama because there's just no better feeling than making people laugh. When you have a room of people cracking up, you can't help but feel positive.

I had time before filming so I went to the Studio City Farmers' Market (where I saw Noah, Claire's dad from Heroes, BTW). I bought some awesome produce.

That's green onions, mixed lettuces and spinach, two heirloom tomatoes, celery, fresh basil, jujubes, a teeny daikon radish, and a huge onion. Let's take a closer look at those jujubes.

I've seen these before but never dared try them. They're called "Chinese dates" but they taste more like apples (they just start to look like dates as they age, as the top fruit is in the process of doing). I'd never been able to sample them before buying but I got a bite today and thought it was pretty darn delicious. I love apples and I could see just eating these like mini-apples. Yum.

I also bought a loaf of homemade bread for some friends who I'm going to see on Tuesday. I didn't know what kind to get, so I picked "squaw bread" because it sounded interesting. I probably should have gone with something plain but oh, well. I gravitate towards the new and different. Plus, the baker said specifically that it was vegan friendly and I love people who know what vegan means and give a crap.

Everything, including the bread, was about $11. Seriously amazing deals. The tomatoes were $1.50 per pound (unheard of! and definitely the cheapest at the market!), celery $1.50, green onions 50 cents, all that lettuce was like $2. I definitely say that lettuce is much cheaper at farmers' markets than at any kind of grocery store, be it WF, TJ's, or Ralphs.

After the market I went to do my filming at 1. I had a GREAT time! I was playing a student filmmaker casting her thesis film - the only problem is, I haven't written it yet, so I make the auditioning actors read monologues and jump through figurative hoops. We'll shoot a couple more scenes in October, she'll edit between November and December, and they should be up on the internet in January. So that will be a great New Years' present to you all.

This evening I got to Skype with my family during my brother's 20th birthday party and watch him eat cake and open presents!!! I got him a waffle iron. =) It was great to "be there." I love him SO MUCH!!!

Good Links Today: Article about how Hugh Jackman used a mostly-vegan diet designed by Brendan Brazier to bulk up for the latest Wolverine movie. Good for him! He realized that loading up on animal protein could give him muscles but was terrible for his body and he wanted to bulk up in a healthy way. Averie's Zevia giveaway - that's stevia-sweetened soda, y'all. Hilarious clip from a 1970's sex ed video. EEK! Gena's butternut squash smoothie. How interesting is that?!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Basil Eggplant

Aughh I spent so long in traffic today. I had an audition at 4 at USC which just was perfect timing for terrible traffic both ways. Including the hour I spent waiting for my two minute audition, I was gone for over three and a half hours.

This morning I worked out, spent time researching TV shows, and watched Lethal Weapon. I love Danny Glover. He's like my grandpa. Not like my actual grandpa, but he would be another one. Speaking of my real grandpa, he's going to go see Bloomington at the Tampa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival next month. That makes me happy. =)

For dinner I made a simple Thai recipe - Basil Eggplant.

I started with this strange eggplant:

And a bunch of Thai basil.

Basil Eggplant
1 Italian or two Asian eggplants
1 tsp red curry paste or red pepper flakes
1/2 bunch Thai basil, de-stemmed
1 tsp sugar

Cut your eggplant into odd-sized chunks to make them easy to stir. Heat up garlic, add eggplant. Add about a cup of water, cover, and let cook until really soft and mushy - 10 to 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir basil through to heat. You can also add a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. Serve over rice or by itself.

Santa Monica and New Salad Dressing

Simple, short post today.

Yesterday I went to Santa Monica with a friend new to LA because he needed to see the ocean, even though it was cold!

Today I spent hours doing laundry (seriously), finally talked to my mom, called Time Warner cable to fix our internet (blahh), watched Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, and went to a free panel at SAG about agents and managers.

For dinner, I had a nice salad of spinach, mixed greens, cucumber, carrot, celery, green onion, a big tomato, red pepper, and some of this new dressing:

It was OK. I just bought it because they didn't have the balsamic dressing I like.

I have an audition tomorrow and I'm going to cook up that big eggplant I bought at the farmers market.

Links: Giveaway! Giveaway! Interesting article about sex workers, Craigslist, and Singapore. You may hate it but it also may introduce you to completely new ideas.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Green and Orange Soup

I had a big day! Two auditions, Power Group, and... I booked a job! I got cast in a webseries by someone who saw Bloomington and remembered me. I didn't even have to audition.

I made a huge batch of soup last night and ate it while watching the sixth Harry Potter movie with my roommate. I call it...

Green and Orange Soup
4 cups dry split peas
1 cup kale stems, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
3 bunches carrots and greens, chopped
5 green onions, diced
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp chili powder

If using an onion, saute for a couple of minutes. Then add all ingredients and about 10 cups of water. You may need to adjust water based on how thick you want your soup to be. Just make sure it doesn't dry out - it will soak up a lot of water. Cook until peas are completely soft, then season to taste.

Number of Servings: 10

And the nutritional info:

Calories: 132
Fat: .6 g
Sodium: 98.3
Carbs: 25.6 g
Potassium: 696 mg
Fiber: 9.6 g
Protein: 7.9 g

For full info, click here.

Oh yeah, it's incredibly nutritious. And with some nooch on top, you add B12, as well. I used up all of the three bunches of carrots and greens that I bought at the farmers' market and the stems from a big bunch of lacinato kale.

Here's my bowl, topped with some BBQ sauce and a sprinkling of nooch. And no, BBQ sauce on soup is not weird. It's fantastic.

And here's one of my full jars.

I also used some of this as a topping:

It's pretty good, just a subtle, sightly salty taste.

Tomorrow I'm accompanying a friend new to LA to the beach. I just hope he doesn't think that going to the beach involves swimming or tanning. Because I don't do that.

My questions for the day are the same as yesterday -- how do I keep my plants alive? =)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Studio City Farmers' Market!

I can't believe I haven't posted since Wednesday! Honestly I've been so busy that I haven't had time to either post nor make any interesting food. I had some brussels sprouts, salad, and lots of soup. And coffee. And seriously, that's it.

Last night I went with some friends to a fancy Italian restaurant called Il Moro. I got the minestrone soup. It was delicious, though overpriced at $8. And definitely vegan, I inquired. I didn't want to bring attention to myself photographing my food so I just snapped a quick camera phone picture.

I've been really busy! On Thursday I had an audition and an acting class. On Friday I had another audition (this one in Chinese) and then I met some new IU friends and went out on the town. On Saturday I finally got to Skype with my mom after not talking to her since Wednesday morning. Then I scooted off to another audition and coffee with my brother from America's Court (so, not my real brother obviously). I brought one of my empty Starbucks coffee bags and got a free cup of coffee! Yay!

Today I went to the Studio City Farmers' Market.

I didn't jump in either of the bouncy houses.

I tried not to get anyone in the foreground of my picture, but there were too many darn people. So, sorry, Farmers' Market lady.

I bought some awesome stuff. Seriously, for about $10 I got all of this - celery, a bag of mixed lettuce and spinach, a bunch of Thai basil, a monster eggplant, a big bunch of lacinato kale, a bunch of chives, a red pepper, and three bunches of carrots (there was a sale, 3 bunches for 5 bucks!). I walked all the way down and compared prices in my head and then walked back and bought the best deals. Plus, everything's organic.

But that's not all! I bought some more plants! I didn't do a great job with my last plants so I bought a few more. They only cost $5 for three plants. The plant guy probably thought I was mentally deficient because I asked so many questions about which plants are hardest to kill and he warned me against cilantro and dill. So I ended up with garlic chives, English mint, and rosemary. And then I came home and planted them and I'm going to try very, very hard to keep them alive.

That's mint, chives, and my old, mostly-dead parsley. It's not totally dead, though, and I'm going to try really hard to resuscitate it. Same with my tomato plant, which I didn't want to embarrass myself by photographing.

And that's my rosemary plant!

After washing off my garden dirt I went to get coffee with a friend from acting class. Tonight I watched the 6th Harry Potter movie with my roommate. I've read all the books but I would get them the day they came out, read them in two days, and then pretty much forget everything I'd read.

I also made a biiig batch of something that I'll show you tomorrow. ;)

LINK: Look at this and laugh. Then read the post about the "alot." And laugh. Alot. (yes, that is spelled wrong. You'll get it if you read the post)

Do you shop at the farmers' market? Do you grow plants? Do you have a green thumb, or a wither-and-die thumb? Any tips for me on keeping my new herbs alive? =)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BBQ Millet-Stuffed Pattypan Squash

I have four auditions in four (week) days! I had an audition today for an educational video at the Scientology Celebrity Center, which was cool because it's a beautiful building and I never would have gone there otherwise. Then I have three more auditions tomorrow, Friday, and next Monday. I love being busy.

Last night I made something pretty fancy for dinner and I was proud of myself. When I was at Whole Foods the other day I saw a pretty pattypan squash and I figured it would just be wrong to go all summer without eating one. I stuffed it with a variety of veggies and some millet, a delicious new grain. Grains are so easy - just boil them with a little water and cook like rice until it tastes done.

BBQ Millet-Stuffed Pattypan Squash
1 pattypan squash
1/2 cup cooked millet
2 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I used Trader Joe's KC BBQ sauce)
nutritional yeast topping

1) Cut top off squash and scoop out innards with a spoon, leaving at least 1/4 inch thick shell. Dice squash innards (sounds gross, right?)
2) Mix veggies and BBQ sauce and stuff into hollowed-out squash. (Optional - saute veggies first. I'm too lazy for that.)
3) Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Hollowed-out squash.

Mixing filling.

Before going in the oven.

All done!

I had some leftover filling so I made a pretty amazing veggie casserole. I added some extra broccoli, okra, and corn I had in the freezer and half a fresh beet, put it in a Corningware, and baked it at 375 for 30 minutes.

It was really good! And it's so easy to just cut up vegetables, flavor with BBQ sauce, and bake into a delicious casserole.

Right now as I type I'm somewhat watching the premiere of Hellcats on the CW. I try to watch an episode of every show on TV so that I'll know something about it if I meet someone who works on it. You want to work in TV, you should watch TV.

Are there any new fall shows you're excited about? Old favorites you're looking forward to coming back?

Links to Love: It's exactly what it sounds like. It's cute.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend - Parsnip Fries and Babycakes Vegan Bakery!

Hellooo there, I hope you've all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

On Friday I spent several hours cooking! I made a gigantic jar of my super-awesome Indian-Spiced Split Pea Soup and I ate a lot of it this weekend. I actually just finished it today for breakfast! I made it pretty much the same way but I added at least a cup of fresh basil at the very end and it was a delicious addition.

I also made a nice serving of parsnip fries.

Parsnip Fries
2-4 parsnips
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Wash parsnips and cut into fry shapes. Toss with seasonings and roast at 450 for 30 minutes. Make sure they're well-cooked enough or they'll be too tough.

Tip: Stick them in the fridge and eat them cold later. They taste even better this way, not sure why.

I had another audition on Friday, and on Saturday I went to a party and then to the bar Happy Ending. I stayed out really late and totally messed up my sleeping schedule but oh well!

Sunday I took the metro downtown to meet the Vegan Ladies meetup at Babycakes vegan bakery.

Everything at Babycakes is vegan and they also have lots of gluten-free and sugar-free options. I got a brownie and it was delicious.

It was also 99 cents and really tiny.

See? Pretty small. So I just ate it really, really slowly. Most people got cupcakes and I heard no complaints. For some reason I'm not a huge cupcake fan. I don't really like fluffy desserts, because I have no interest in eating air. If I'm going to eat dessert I want it to be thick and dense. I want to get my freakin' money and calories' worth, darn it! So if I have a choice between something ridiculously chocolatey and anything else, I'm picking fudgy ridiculousness every time.

Last night I hung out with friends and today I relaxed and watched Gilmore Girls before going to a free Chekhov-technique acting class. It was actually a lot of fun. I feel like there's a lot of pressure to pick an acting technique (Meisner is very popular here) but I haven't really clicked with anything. We'll see, maybe Chekhov will be for me. I liked what the teacher said - when everything is flowing and working, you don't need any technique. Technique is there to help inspire you, so however you find inspiration is great.

I'm excited about this week because I have two cool auditions - a Scientology industrial film on Wednesday and a Mandarin-teaching webseries on Friday. I guess that means I have an excuse to brush up my Chinese all week!

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend? What's your absolute favorite dessert - dense, light, chocolate, vanilla, lemon? Mine is probably really dense chocolate cake, Raw desserts, and chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vegan Beauty and Makeup and an Awesome Day of Filming

I had a great day today because I got paid to act. Any day I get paid to act is a great day and that's what I'm pursuing in life - more great days.

Yesterday was good, too. In the morning I spent a few hours going through my financial records. When I moved out here I started printing out my online banking statement each month, going through my receipts, and analyzing my spending habits. I fell a few months behind so that's what I spent time catching up on. It was really informative. Besides rent, my biggest expenditure is definitely food - I figured out how much I spent on food per month, how much that equaled out to per day, and then my daily average food cost for the first six months here. By looking into my spending so closely, I think I'm getting a much better idea of how I can cut down on costs and I plan on making the second six months cheaper than the first. If this sounds like a lot of work, it really isn't. It just requires half an hour of work per month and a decent filing system.

I spent about five hours at TAN (The Actors' Network) yesterday because I attended two panel discussions regarding the upcoming SAG (Screen Actors' Guild) elections. If you're interested in knowing more about these really interesting panels, check out my brief review on my blog at If you aren't interested, then just let me say that "Ethan" from Lost was on one panel, and Morgan Fairchild was on the second and I got to talk to her afterwards. I love seeing actors in business mode, because they are just as sharp and political as any other businesspeople. It's a side the general public certainly doesn't see much of.

Yesterday I also got to try out my new purchases from Ulta. Here's the one I'm most excited about!

It's an Ecotools vegan makeup brush set! I needed some brushes and I heard these were pretty good. Well pretty good for $15 a set is very good to me, much better than very good for $30 a piece like many other makeup brushes cost. Urban Decay (and Too Faced, I think) also make good vegan makeup brushes. Non-vegan brushes would be the kind that use hair from animals. If you see cheap "natural hair" brushes, you're probably looking at freakin' rat hair brushes or something, and lots of the fancier brands use something awful like goat hair. Believe me, they're not walking around behind goats collecting their stray hairs. Those goats die. Dead goats for makeup brushes? No, thank you.

And now I have to get into the less vegan-righteous part of my purchase and the current state of my constantly-evolving stance on beauty products. Here's what I do:
1) I buy makeup from companies that do NOT test on animals. I do not buy makeup from companies that do.
2) I don't buy makeup that contains clearly animal-derived ingredients like beeswax and lanolin.

That's not perfect. I know that lots of the big companies still have ties to animal testing and unrecognizable animal by-products are most likely used. And I feel crappy about that and I definitely would like to only buy products from vegan companies in the future. But it's a fact that those products are generally quite a bit more expensive. I do try - I buy Crazy Rumors lip balm (vegan and awesome), Aveda shampoo and conditioner (vegan), and my toothpaste, facewash, soap, moisturizer, etc. are all the cheapest vegan and organic brands I could find at Whole Foods. But makeup can be slightly tougher because it's often pretty hard to find and the cost difference can be substantial. So I buy from purely vegan companies when I can, and the rest of the time I stick with my aforementioned strategy.

I had originally gone to Ulta because I really needed some new liquid eyeliner, and I bought one from Revlon that passed my two bare-bones requirements. I considered buying one from Urban Decay, because they're an animal-friendly company with many vegan products, but their eyeliner is not vegan. Eyeliner and mascara seem to be the most difficult products to find vegan versions of (I know this means that some people just give them up, but that is not an option for me. I'm an actress and my face matters). So I could buy $18 non-vegan eyeliner from a company that does not test on animals, or I could buy an $8 most likely non-vegan eyeliner from a company that does not test on animals. So I went with the Revlon.

Please do your own research on companies you like and which do and don't test on animals, but here's the short list I keep in my head regarding cosmetics.

Companies to not buy from because they test on animals:
L'Oreal (which kills me, because I used to love their mascara)

Those are the majors. So I stay away from those. I know that Revlon and Almay don't test on animals. There are other, more expensive brands that don't test and that I love and buy when I can, including MAC and Urban Decay. For the cheapies, I really like Revlon, so I usually stick with them.

BTW, if anyone wants to buy me the Urban Decay vegan palette... that would be cool.

While we're on the subject of personal care items, I do have a suggestion for a cheap, vegan lotion to use:

Yep, coconut oil! I don't eat it, I just rub it on my legs every day and I love it. It soaks in beautifully but keeps my skin really soft and well-moisturized and a little goes a long way. I bought this in February on sale for about $7 and it's still about half-full. Plus, it's really fun to watch it melt and solidify as the temperature dips above and below its melting point of 72 degrees.

Moving on to TODAY and filming America's Court! I drove to Sunset Bronson studios (where they also film Hannah Montana, BTW) before my call time of 2:00 and then sat around for about an hour. That's always the case -- you better not be late, but you'll almost always sit around for a while because production will be running late. But that is the production's prerogative, and you never want to be the one that causes any delays. Finally, we got to one of my favorite parts - the makeup and hair department. I love having other people do my makeup and hair. Here's one of my favorite hair moments from the movie Bloomington that I just had to capture on camera.

See? How could I not take a picture of that?

Well, I got big hair again, today. The stylist found out I was playing a cocktail waitress from Kentucky so she pulled out the teasing comb and got to work. So I got some photographic evidence from two perspectives. By the way, I have my professionally applied makeup on in these pictures.

I felt a little crazy with that hair, but that's part of the fun.

The filming itself was fast, because that's how television works. You just crank it out and don't you dare mess up. I don't want to talk too much about the plot or anything because I wouldn't want to upset the producers, but I'll definitely let the world know when you'll be able to see it. Suffice it to say, I had a blast.

After filming wrapped around 5:45, I went to a bar to try and catch the Broncos game but they couldn't get it. I guess this game was not televised in much of the country, because my mom said it wasn't showing in Indiana, either. So I just came home and helped myself to this:

Salad with lettuce, celery, onions, chives, carrots, heirloom tomato, raw (previously soaked and dehydrated) pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, and Maple Grove Farms balsamic dressing. It was delicious. I ate the rest of the tomato just by itself and it was perfect.

And beautiful, might I add.

So there's my update. I plan on doing some major cooking tomorrow so I should have some good blog fodder coming up.

Random Thought -

Here's a list I just saw of the top money-generating stars. The dollar amount is how much money they generated for each dollar they were paid. So if a studio hires one of these stars, they will get the biggest bang for their buck.

1. Shia LaBeouf $81
2. Anne Hathaway $64
3. Daniel Radcliffe $61
4. Robert Downey Jr. $33
5. Cate Blanchett $27
6. Jennifer Aniston $21
7. Meryl Streep $21
8. Johnny Depp $18
9. Nicolas Cage $17
10. Sarah Jessica Parker $17

Now what is ridiculous about this list is what would happen if you compared it to a list of top-earning movie stars. I'll give you a hint - they're almost always men. Men are paid way more than women in this business, and top-earning male celebrities make twice as much as female top-earners. But if you look at this list, it's pretty clear that men and women are pretty equal in their ability to bring in profits. PAY EQUITY! I hate how women get the short straw in this business. There are far fewer roles for us, especially if we're older, those roles are usually less interesting (think lead vs. lead's girlfriend), and then we get paid less.

Huffington Post puts the spotlight on chickens. This explains perfectly why I am not proud of people who tell me they only eat chicken and not red meat.

Cruelty Free Face A site completely dedicated to vegan makeup and beauty, written by an Angeleno and a professional makeup artist. I think she could teach me some things. Major companies that still test on animals.

So, wow. That was a lot. I'd love to hear if you guys have vegan beauty and personal care brands/items you love and your philosophy on the whole thing.