Remember when my blog was about looking for love in all the wrong places? Well, I finally found it! He's kind of like a British stiff-upper lip type-guy, but not British. He's from Seattle, and now I live here too! With him!

So much has gone down since I was last blogging regularly. Some of it involved living on a tiny houseboat that was submerged in cold lake water where I was very cold most of the time. And, honestly not very happy. As much as I was digging life in Seattle and loving my non-British guy, I was really needing some girlfriends, warmth (and closet space!). So, here is where it all gets a little magical. I think that if you're from NYC, like myself, you know what the dream is. You live in a loft or high-beamed ceiling place and go out a ton and wear fabulous clothes and have torrid romances with terrible, beautiful guys with terrible, beautiful tattoos. I did this. My clothes were never as fabulous as they'd be in the movie version though, because I was always broke. ALWAYS. Sheesh. So, semi-fabulous New York life, check. Then I sort of did it in LA. It was very "Entourage" in that I lived with my very successful screenwriter-friend and tried to catch pieces of her glitter which she so generously shared with me. So, more going out to great places with great music and terrible, beautiful men who made me feel like a cockroach. I really did live and die in LA (no joke). It all sounds so impressive now in a way, and I'm really glad I went through all of that. I was a wannabe actress too, which only ups the ante, enter gross directors and one night stand with a hot mess from a well-known tv show. Hardcore!

Well, we all know that this is part of the plan as a New Yorker. You get thrashed up and hurt and then you come together and emerge as a beautiful falcon. Some splendid beacon of light with lots of wisdom and glowing skin. Every New Yorker knows that the latter part of this plan involves finally ditching it all for the Pacific Northwest to live in a sweet bungalow with your dog and cute kid and nerdy-hot hubby and grow tons of salad. Well, part of that dream is now coming true as well. I have this adorable house that even has it's own name; The Lilac. It's friggin lilac! How cute is that? Also, it has a gas fireplace which is too amazing for me to have even dreamed it up.

I have also made some amazing friends here. Tiffany and Tina are some of my favorites and every time I hang out with them I end up doing karaoke and its heavenly because no one here cares that I can't sing for shit. Here is a picture of Tiffany and I where I look like I have really short hair but it's actually just in a bun:
Here are Tina's boobs:
And here is her hair:

Here's another thing I love about Seattle; it's low-maintenance if you want it to be. There is a difference. What I mean is, many people here do not care about hair, make-up and clothes, so if you wanna go to dinner in your long johns that is perfectly okay. However, if you want to dress up and wear red lipstick and high heels, that is perfectly fine too. I have found this kind of pressure-free environment sort of lets me be my true self. And, it turns out my true self loves make-up and clothes. I don't need to do it for anyone else but me.

Also, success here is not that big a deal. I mean, people have jobs and I think for the most part it's a pretty affluent city, but career is not the main topic of conversation. Work is just ONE part of life here. Imagine that?? I have a totally bizarre job as a preschool teacher (bizarre considering what I was pursuing).

But, there is more to be had in pursuit of a full and happy life. Thank god for that or life would be so boring. Some of it involves the parts where my non-British boyfriend attempts to get me to "act right" and I try to get him to loosen his ascot (he's only wearing one metaphorically). All this leads to hilarity, obviously, sprinkled with some pain.

I am currently envisioning a beautiful rustic wedding in the woods, through a clearing with a clear view of the PN snowcapped mountains. Of course, I've yet to become engaged (ahem). Well, I will keep you all posted on that front.

Also, I became a pie-baker because that is so PN,  right? And, I really love it. The harder the recipe the better. For Thanksgiving I made a key lime pie and a cheesecake with raspberry sauce. The cheesecake didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped, but I was still so proud of myself. Of course, when I tried to show off to my PN friends, they were like, "I made 24 pies, so..."

I also tried to get into knitting but I'm really bad at it. Almost as bad as I am at singing.

Here is a picture of my dog pooping in our yard this morning. It makes me so happy to see him out there doing his thing.

Lastly, I will leave you with this picture I found of Audrey Hepburn where she is not looking ridiculously fabulous. It's kind of like Stars Without Make-Up and it makes me feel better. I can be shallow.

Hustler in a Party Dress

When I was little (yes I start this way a lot) I used to scream and cry if my mother tried to put me in pants. All I liked to wear were dresses. Everyday. It didn't matter if I was going to the park- whatever, dress please. Once in my party dress, I would go downstairs to our building's courtyard where I would collect bugs and sell them at a dollar a piece to this boy named James. James was obsessed with bugs. I would tell him that these regular, old Queens-bugs were special and rare (and maybe from Japan!). And, he'd believe me.

The building courtyard was a hotspot for me to hatch all my plans. My friends Tina and Betsy were tiny and Greek. I wanted them to play the babies in our game of house, but since they were small for their ages they wanted nothing to do with that and insisted on being mom and dad instead. The bugs came in handy here once again. Tina and Betsy were terrified of bugs, so I would pretend that one was crawling up their legs and they would then cry and want me to carry them. Hence, making them the babies.

It wasn't all about bugs, though. I had other dreams. Broadway mainly. I made the kids in the building be in my shows. I rehearsed them mericilessly and forced them to buy costumes according to my specifications. In a production of "Annie", I made a Pakistani boy play Punjab. When he showed up for the show in the outfit I had told him to buy, his parents looked at me in disbelief. They had no idea their son's director was seven. They scolded me and told me I was a naughty girl. I told them I was sorry I wasn't an adult, but tickets were still going to cost them five dollars. No comps for family. Always my motto.


When I was about four years old we lived in Colombia for a while at my grandmother's house in Manizales. She had a maid named Tulia. Tulia was one of those old ladies who wore her long grey hair in braids. You know the kind. She wore printed, cotton dresses and was no taller than a ten year old child. I loved Tulia so much that I insisted on sleeping with her every night in her bed. Something about that concerned my mother for some reason and eventually she put a stop to it.

Tulia believed herself to be clairvoyant. She once started telling the family for days that the world was coming to an end. Shortly thereafter, we were hit with one of the biggest earthquakes in Colombian history. Every house on the block collapsed but ours. I remember seeing the street cracked down the middle. But what I remember mostly is Tulia. On her knees in the backyard praying frantically to be pardoned by Jesus and be taken to heaven. Or to live. I'm not sure what she was praying for, but there was begging involved.

Tulia had a nephew who was ten or eleven and mentally retarded. He was also quite large. He came to visit her every now and then. Once he started to tickle me and wouldn't stop. When they found us on the kitchen floor I was bright red and gasping for air. They had to pull him off of me. So, basically I almost got tickled to death. You may understand now why I have a fear of being tickled.

I went to nursery school at a place called "El Mundo de Los Ninos". We wore orange and white checkered smocks. The kids teased me and called me "gringa" because according to my dad I had a funny accent. I think I just talked like any bilingual four year-old.

I also had a friend named Lena who lived across the street. She had blond hair and blue eyes which in Colombia is close to royalty. She was a bad little girl. She stole my doll that walked and talked. My mom stormed into her house one day insisting to Lena's mother my doll was there. She ransacked Lena's bedroom till she found it hiding in her closet. My mom was not about to let someone take my walking and talking doll. My mom seemed to want that doll more than I did. Somehow she knew Lena was the culprit. Lena then got spanked in front of all of us. I felt terrible for Lena. I figured she should be allowed to steal that doll if she really wanted to since she was my best friend.

Luckily, with all this stressful stuff going on I had Tulia to come home to. She told me all kinds of great stuff I can't remember anymore.

Grandma Always Wore Lipstiq

On Tuesday my gradmother, Maria Elena Villegas, passed away. She was 80 years old. I want to share some things I remember about her life...

She was one of sixteen children. That's right, sixteen. I've heard the family joke around that it was so crowded in their house, some of the kids had to sleep in the bathtub and other strange places. I'm not sure if this is a true-joke or a lie-joke.

She was sixteen and already engaged when she met my grandfather Ernesto. Ernesto met her exactly twice before telling her to leave her fiancee and marry him instead.

When she was in her late 20's my grandfather passed away leaving her a widow with eight children. That's right, eight. In an effort to remarry, she would make some of the younger kids hide whenever a suitor came to visit. She figured it would be much easier to rope a man in with say, three or four kids, instead of eight. The youngest, my uncle Pedro, would often come crawling out of hiding and the other kids would have to chase after him. This would totally foil my grandma's plans. She never remarried.

My grandma babysat for me when I was a little girl. She was extremely vain. I never saw her without her "face on" which always included firey, red lips. Her hair was always completely in place too. We would walk around Jackson Heights together, but not till after she made me promise to call her tia (aunt) in front of other people. I usually forgot and called her abuelita anyway. She never really got over me embarrassing her like that and brought it up often "Remember when you were little and used to call me grandma in front of people?!"

Sadly, I did not inherit her cleavage. Come to think of it, both my grandmas had bras that looked like giant salad bowls to me. Something happened to the family line.

My parents who were both vegetarians forbid her to feed me meat. As soon as my parents would leave I would beg my grandma for steak. She'd always give me some and make me swear I wouldn't tell. This was usually the first thing I would tell my mother as soon as she walked in the door. Mom and grandma would fight and the very next day I would beg for meat again. I would promise her that this time I really wouldn't tell. As soon as I saw my mom I would not only tell her about the meat, but go into crazy details about how my grandma cut it up into tiny pieces for me and how she cooked it and so forth. This cycle repeated daily, so I'm not really sure why I say I was raised vegetarian come to think of it.

She wore so much make up that a few summers ago my stepfather was worried she would make the pool multi-colored when they went swimming.

My grandma was a journalist and poet. She had a deep, throaty voice, sometimes when she answered the phone people thought she was a man. She had red hair. She liked her vodka. She had a very dark sense of humor. She was sharp and elegant. She was a big flirt. She painted pictures of birds and houses. She kind of reminded me of Lucille Ball.

Stop Acting!

There he was. An earnest-looking young man on the subway. He had the look of someone who'd just arrived in New York from the land of corn. Somewhere open and expansive. His skin didn't have that greenish cast all us New Yorkers get during the winter months (no matter what ethnic/racial background we all manage to look green this time of year). He gallantly stands up for a young woman to offer up his seat up. This plain young woman, obviously unaccustomed to gentlemanly behavior sits down looking awkward and confused. He doesn't want anything from her. Just offering his seat. Doin' gentlemanly things.

In his hands, this young man holds a book. I always check out what other people are reading (I never read anything so I read other people's book covers instead). The book's title: "How to Stop Acting". On the book's cover is an older-looking man who slightly resembles Steven Spielberg. He frames his face with his hands (think Vogueing). This book really gets me thinking. A book on acting explaining how to stop acting. Huh.

I take this whole thing pretty personally because I too was once like this young man, spending money on all kinds of acting books; how to's, how not to's, monologue books, scene study books, break-into-the business books. And it wasn't just the books- there were headshots, classes, clothes I would only need for that one audition where I play a hooker/cop. I was pretty much going broke desperately trying to learn how to stop acting and become authentic-as a hooker/cop, naturally.

Here's the problem with that. Most people who want to be actors don't know how to be authentic. Actor-types probably all grew up like I did; playing roles constantly while checking yourself in mirrors to see what that looked like.

You know this is all you want to do with your life and vow to take this craft extremely seriously so you enroll in one class after another. Here you endure countless hours of humiliation intermingled with nursery school coddling.

A typical New York acting class is meant to break you down completely. Strip you of all those "acts" you've been working on your entire life. Everything you ever did to get attention-that integral driving force within every actor is yanked away piece by painful piece till you are nothing but an open, bloody pulp laying on the floor. "Okay, NOW do the scene!" your teacher will excitedly say.

Of course, we are all terrified of our acting teachers. This is generally what defines a great teacher. He or she should be the most intimidating human being you've ever encountered. You begin to live for their approval. The small moments of praise you receive from your acting teacher become the only moments you are truly happy or feel worthy. You begin to crave this praise constantly. Every time you go up to show your work you know you will either come out feeling like a genius, or go home to die small deaths till next week's class where you might redeem yourself.

This is really hard on anyone who is dating an actor or married to one. You are up or down and they can't do a damn thing about it. They don't understand! They lead mundane lives. Free of humiliation and glory.

In class, we watch terrified as our fellow classmates go up to do a scene. One poor guy goes up to play George from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf". He's doing fine. Fine, for Wisconsin.

Suddenly, our demi-god-acting-teacher stands up in a fury and kicks this poor guy in the balls. "Do you feel that?!!" he asks enraged. Said student is now laying on the floor in fetal position. "That's how emasculated George feels by Martha! Look at you, you pussy!!". Finally, the student begins to cry. "Okay, now you're ready to do the scene! Now!" The student gets up. "Wait! Hold on a minute. You're what? 24? Your grandfather still alive?" The student nods his head no. "Good. You remember what he walked like? How he moved?" The student nods his head yes. "Okay, use your dead grandfather's body. But don't forget what a minion small piece of shit man you are. And...go!".

We all watch in amazement. By the end of the scene several of us are crying. Our genius teacher has done it again. This boy from Iowa now knows the pain of a has-been, aging, emasculated professor. It's incredible. It's painful. But at some point, you gotta wonder what the point least, I did.

I started acting to escape pain. I wanted to be on a sitcom. This shit... I didn't need this shit. I was already an emotional mess, did I really need to get my mind fucked with weekly? These other kids, the ones who'd led fairly pleasant lives up until then and now got beaten up emotionally every week- this may have been novel for them. They hang on to it longer than I do. But, eventually many of them give it up too.

Let's face it, at some point, the debts pile up, the therapy bills aren't getting any cheaper; we know its time to look into other options. I run into some of my old classmates now and again. They're doing all sorts of things. We talk about what those things are for a bit and then say our goodbyes.

Some of them are still at it. Some are actually working on tv. I can't help but get excited every time I see one of them on the tube. You see them on Weeds and think, wow, they really stuck it out! Maybe I shoulda held on a little longer...

This thought only lasts for a moment. See, I know deep down that I could never, ever "stop acting".

NYC-Subway Talent

It's really too bad I shot this with my shitty Android phone and the quality is so poor. You miss just how truly amazing this guy is. Do you have any idea how hard it is to rub your belly while doing a turn to a beat? Yeah. You try that.

The Megan Fox Backlash

When Megan Fox first came on the scene, I'll admit, I was not a fan. I thought, I can't be friends with this girl, she'd definitely steal my boyfriend (yeah I know, but if I had one she would).

Anyway, suddenly all this stuff started to emerge in the press about all the crazy stuff she said, and I started to have a change of heart. I was like, this chic is kinda nutty, and I kinda dig it. We could mos def be bff's, after all. So, just as I'm fantasizing about how Meg and I would go out drinking together and talk weirdo-style (my fave!), I start hearing all these guys hating on her.

A few weeks ago some guy we were hanging out with said that Megan Fox was a stupid, slutty, bitch. Whoa! Hold the cell phone pal. First off, I don't recall Meg Fox promising anyone she was smart. Second, how come she's supposed to hang around half naked making guys think about sex, but act like she's totally oblivious to it? Now, that to me would seem pretty stupid. Obviously, she's gonna talk about the obvious.

And, bitch? C'mon. We all have our bad days. My girlfriend who I was with that night works in film and said that most actors she works with are nightmares. She went on to say it was most likely that either Meg Fox didn't sleep with someone really important, or, she has a terrible publicist. I think both. She probably didn't fuck her publicist.

I'm still with you, girl. For today, anyway. Don't do something really terrible over the weekend. It could start to get difficult to defend you all the time. And, I really wouldn't want it to put a strain on our friendship.

xoxo gigi