Layover: Dublin

Dublin was good to me, with 20 hours to kill before my next flight I maximized my time. First I grabbed a bite to eat as I figured out what my plan was. I knew I wanted to visit the Jameson distillery, trinity college, and Temple Bar. From there I had every intention of getting lost and enjoying whatever was brought my way.

As I came to the realization Trinity College was one block behind me, the rain started flowing. Making an executive decision, I zipped my raincoat and put my camera in my waterproof backpack heading straight for the building. With a quick walk by and appreciation I continued my mission to find the Jameson distillery. It took a bit of getting lost and discovering on a tram map that I was standing two blocks away.It was spectacular! The Jameson building is still quite original. They have done some renovations recently but kept much of the original work.

On the tour, I really learned quite a bit about the process of making whiskey and what makes scotch, Irish whiskey, and Tennessee whiskey different from each other. Between the ingredients and the style of distilling, each has a distinct flavor to it which I was able to identify during our tasting to understand. The energy was upbeat and the staff was very knowledgeable! I was a little bummed I couldn’t purchase a bottle with my brother’s name on it but that was my fault – I didn’t have my checked luggage with me and wouldn’t be able to take it through security.

After the tour, I made my way back to the temple bar area of Dublin and found the bar of the same name. I listened to live pub music and had a drink before wandering the streets until I was too tired and had to return to the airport for fear of falling asleep! At the airport, I mastered the art of putting chairs together to create a bed and took a well deserved nap before going through security at 4am!

Packing For Change

It is here already! I’m four days away from my exploration and it crept up on me so quickly! I haven’t packed a thing – I just finished unpacking from my move and I have zero motivation. I wish I had a wand like Hermoine so I could whisk everything where I need it without any real effort! Wouldn’t that be lovely?

With all the changes in my life, I need this now more than ever before – I’m ready for a two week hiatus to experience new things and have adventures. Although my original name for this post was Packing Is Such Sweet Sorrow, I feel no sorrow for my trip. I’m incredibly excited! I’ve just been admittedly a little sorrowful in my everyday life for the last few weeks. Perhaps this is just what I need to overcome that.

I’m not sure if I filled you in on my plans for my trip, in Dublin I’ll be visiting the Jameson distillery and picking up a gift for my brother in law. Him and my sister have done a lot for me over the last year. In Amsterdam I will be heading to the Anne Frank Huis and some museums. I’ll also be taking a trip down memory lane and heading to the village of Bergen op Zoom to meet up with an elementary school friend in the town I spent a small period of time living in. Once I head to Paris, I will be seeing my mom for the first time in nearly a year! We will be taking a private photography workshop where we will explore night photography and learn about the history of Paris and other fun factoids. A few days later I will partake in a class with a Sommelier to learn about French wine and cheese pairings. The rest of my time will be spent forming an intimate bond with my camera and basking in the glory of new places and experiences!

Dreams In Bloom

As September creeps upon me and I watch my savings grow, I know I have lots of expenses coming up with moving and finding my own place. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, however every time I find my nerves getting out of control I take a peek at my travel itinerary and remember it is all worth it.

First I get to spend a long layover in Dublin with plenty of time to leave the airport and explore a bit, I’m not sure where I will go exactly but I do know there is a bus that goes to and from the airport throughout the day and night and it isn’t very expensive. I just want to email and confirm they will have a bus in the middle of the night/early morning on the night I will need it. I would hate to plan my entire layover based around that transportation and get screwed. As far as what I will do there, I was thinking of just walking around the center of town a bit – take some pictures – and then find a spot to have a couple drinks before returning to the airport. Do you have any must see sites in Dublin for me?

Once I get to Amsterdam, I will have a few hours before I check into my Airbnb – if you have never stayed in one I highly suggest it! I had a fabulous experience in Asheville, NC staying in a tiny house. Once my flight lands and I get through customs, I’ll have plenty of time to catch a train and a tram to the Bloemenmarkt area of the city. If I am still too early to check in, I can always find a little spot to have some coffee and breakfast.

The first day I will probably just wander the area a bit and then get some sleep – I imagine I will be very tired. The next day I want to check out the Anne Frank House – when I lived in NL I really wanted to check this out but the line gets very long very early and every time I got to Amsterdam by train it was already wrapped around the block. Since I will be staying nearby, I intend to be one of the first people in the museum when they open at 9am.

My favorite artist is Dutch, MC Escher, I’ve loved his art since I was very young and even had a sweater with his hand drawing a hand picture on it. He has an exhibit in the Palace that I would like to go to after the Anne Frank House, it opens at 11am so if I am first in line at 9am I should be able to wrap up that exploration in two hours and then make my way to Het Paleis for an exploration of my favorite artist. The transportation will take about an hour and a half but I’m not worried, I’ll be printing all of my travel itineraries before departure so I can have them for reference and the museum is open until 5pm. With this museum I can purchase and print my ticket ahead of time to skip the queue which will save me precious time.

I think the next day I will take a boat tour to take some pictures of the city from a different vantage point. After that I will probably just wander around the various markets. I haven’t really gotten much further than this so far, any thoughts on must do/see things? At some point I would like to take a train ride to Bergen Op Zoom and/or Rotterdam for old time’s sake.


The Plunge

Upon recuperating from my recent life changes, I have come to the realization that I no longer have anchors holding me back from living the life I’ve always dreamed I would live! I realized that I’m quite good at saving money and finding smashing deals. Building a budget and sticking to it is no hard task for me. Personally I work best on a weekly basis, meeting these goals on a week by week basis gives me the motivation to keep going and succeed. It is helpful to watch things grow so rapidly week after week – I even downloaded this great app to build my goals – Money Box gives me the freedom to set a goal and time frame for the goal then track when I add money to that ‘box’. It even sends me a weekly reminder to make my contribution to my goals.

Since I have figured all this out and have been on a strong track, I bought a ticket to Europe for September. It gives me plenty of time to save all the money I will need – and with a round trip ticket for $460 how could I resist?!? I’ve been utilizing Airbnb to find places to stay at an affordable price and have been doing well so far.

I’ll be spending two weeks abroad visiting three major cities: Dublin (for a 21 hour layover), Amsterdam, and Paris. The only place I have been before is Amsterdam, I lived in The Netherlands for a while and thoroughly enjoyed my time there but feel I was in the wrong place to appreciate the cozy dutch culture. Now it is time to revisit this quaint country. Paris is a city I have been dreaming about my entire life – fueled by my love of classic literature and art. I’ve found a place to stay in the beautiful Montmartre district where the artists and writers throughout the ages have called home at various times including a few of my favorites including Fitzgerald and Hugo.

When I return to New York I’ll be moving into my own place so it is very important that I stick to my budget as best as possible and try every chance I get to exceed my savings goals each week. I’ve got a roommate lined up and a plan in action which is a wonderful thing – empowering in a way – but I’ll be starting from scratch. I’ll need to buy dishes and a bed and all the things that make four walls a home.

All of these decisions have made me feel a little overwhelmed but I’m grateful I have begun the planning process for this at such an early stage and with a steady income and money in the bank. There is a lot happening in my life but its a beautiful start to something wonderful and new.

Moving Along

Recently I have been going through a lot of life changes, I couldn’t bring myself to write about them because it was too painful to solidify it on paper. In the last three months I have left the life I knew behind and took a leap towards doing what I love everyday. Breaking up with the man I had been with for four years and leaving my beloved dogs with him as I packed my car with everything I own was beyond painful, but I did it – even when it hurt too much to admit to and I put myself in a different place mentally. I did it.

Working in film production, it was difficult finding enough work to survive in Florida. Unfortunately our tax incentives had run out and our legislators would not put more into the program which residually boosts the local economy. Instead of continuing to make myself miserable by serving tables on a daily basis to make ends meet, I chose to leave and go to a more lucrative state.

A little background on how difficult this was for me: not only did I live with said man for four years, but we lived together broken up for three months before I left. It was the longest three months of my life. There was no malicious behavior but the tension was incredibly high and naturally there was fighting. My dogs were a huge part of my life and the more I ran the logistics of my move I realized there was no good way for me to bring them. Now one dog, Arabella, I have had for about five years and I wanted her to come with me so badly but she is a rescue and doesn’t fare well in crowds. She shakes and cowers when strangers come near her. My other dog, Jupiter, was already agreed upon that he was my ex’s dog. Luckily my ex was gracious enough to keep the dogs together.

15002328_10157721635675440_133635098230312552_oBack to the move. I decided that New York City was beckoning my name. A large potion of my family lives there and offered help during the transition, there is also a myriad of productions filming here pretty much all the time. After packing my car, I chose to leave on my 27th birthday – a new year and a new beginning. My lovely friend offered to come along for the ride so we made it an adventure. Stopping in Asheville, NC to spend a couple nights in a 136 sq ft. tiny house, we enjoyed the nightlife and hiking around that area. We found a fabulous coffee shop in a double decker bus and I saw three waterfalls hiking up the side of a mountain. It was the perfect trip – I needed the clarity that the seclusion of hiking allows for.

If you are ever in that area I highly suggest checking out Wicked Weed Brewery and going to Sky Bar for sunset – it is a bar that is set on three levels of a fire escape. Seems simple enough right? The views topped the charts of amazing things I have seen. Everywhere I looked there were mountains. The drinks were a little expensive but we only had one and watched the sun set behind the mountains then moved on to a sushi and sake dinner before hitting the brewery to end our night.

My older sister has been amazing during this life transition of mine and offered me a place to live outside the city. Her husband built me a Murphy bed to make the office transformed into bedroom feel larger than it is. I cried when I saw it all. As of today, I have been in New York for two months and have worked on five different sets with one more scheduled for this coming weekend. Two of my employers have hired me for second projects and I am getting some great feedback.

So far I have not gotten the chance to direct any of my own projects but I am confident it will come in time, for now I am enjoying paying my dues and meeting new friends in production. Every single day I am here I start to feel more confident that I made the right choice in believing in myself and my capabilities. Sometimes it is necessary to make a big change to prove to yourself that you are worth it and you are capable of achieving your dreams.
Have you ever taken a leap of faith even if you were afraid to do so? Tell me about it, I would love to hear about your adventures!

Robots, 3D Printing, & Stop Motion Film

As a company we are taking a long, sleepless endeavor down the road of stop motion animation for our upcoming project Robotica: Changes In The Air, a story about a lonely robot who leads a mundane life in segregated Priceville with his pup Kurbis when he falls in love with his human neighbor, Zucca. You are probably asking yourself how they are neighbors in a segregated town. In Priceville the robots live on one side of the road and humans on the other, they have to walk on different sides of the sidewalk and some businesses will only serve one or the other. Robotica and Zucca live at the end of their cul de sac with a bunch of fences between them – although the fences aren’t enough to keep troublesome Kurbis out of Zucca’s yard completely. Nothing can stop Kurbis when she smells a pumpkin.

Robotica is a character I have been working on since 2010 when I first dreamt him up while doodling at work. I knew his personality and how he looks but I wasn’t 100% dead set on the storyline. Finding an artist that I trusted with my lil’ nugget was the hardest part but I’m happy to say that six years later I found the perfect artist and visionary who came with her own character – Kurbis. Kelsey has been working with Kurbis for over ten years now and really felt that she deserved to be in a movie. Putting our characters together and seeing how they would interact is how we developed the storyline and collaborated to create Zucca, our love interest.

LtoR: Robotica, Kurbis Zucca

It was fascinating to see how Kelsey was able to take my early sketch of Robotica and utilize the technology of 3D Printing with a sprinkle of ingenuity and create our first prototype last month. We brought him out to the Sunscreen Film Festival‘s first Film Market hosted by Indyoh and set him up on the table, showing people how we plan on keeping costs low by utilizing magnets to attache certain pieces and move them. We got a lot of great feedback from some wonderful people and had a great time unveiling him to the community.

Stop motion is a tedious style of filmmaking that is very time consuming because it is about stringing together still images to create the illusion of movement with the knowledge that the human eye sees 24 frames per second. That is equal to 24 still images in a single second and every image needs to be staged perfectly to have fluid, continuous movement. It is exhilarating and exhausting. The long hours of focus will be rewarded with an amazing finished product.

Now we are entering the crazy world of crowdfunding with Seed&Spark in an effort to bring together a larger budget than our own pockets (which is what we have been using so far) to give this project all the materials and attention it deserves to be something you will want to watch and share with your friends. We are even holding a contest! You can learn about it here:

The contest gives you, the audience, an opportunity to be a part of the film by sketching up a design for a robot and sharing with us on Facebook before Saturday May 21st and we will put your name into a drawing for every dollar you contribute to our campaign. So if you contribute $25 you have 25 chances to see your robot in the movie.

Will you be a supporter of Team  Robotica? Show your love by giving us a share on Facebook or a follow on Seed&Spark!


Making Dreams Reality

The Beginning

It all started in film school, I had a dream of a production company with the name of Just The Spinach Entertainment with so many ideas of how I wanted the company to be. I dreamed of a cultivating environment for people of all arts to collaborate and put themselves out there. After years of doubting myself – I am a creative after all – and working on anything and everything I can get my hands in while still paying my bills and writing my scripts, I found myself in a position where I could take the first step in fabricating my dreams.

The Next Step

Through meditation, writing, and positive affirmations (and lots of coffee) I built the confidence I needed to commit to myself; I bought the camera. I bought some lenses. I even bought a tripod and shoulder mount. Immediately, I started taking pictures and short videos to get to know my Canon and where it’s limits are. I became proud of my pictures and the footage I was compiling. I didn’t like the sound though, it felt boxy and canned. I invested in some sound equipment. With my office turning into an equipment shed, a few projects already in pre-production and a logo in hand I decided it was time.

Becoming Legit

After holding meetings with many reputable people and getting all my questions answered, I drew up a business plan and built my team with clear roles declared. I finally did it, I submitted my application for our LLC. Now Just The Spinach Entertainment LLC is a thing – it’s my thing and I couldn’t be more proud. I even own although though a website is still under construction, when it is complete I will share for your viewing pleasure. As I am sitting at my computer editing Monday’s footage for our upcoming web cooking show, Creative Culinations, I am in awe of the progress I am making. 

Whoever said create your own opportunities was right. Life is too short to wait for opportunities to come to you, you need to grab life by the balls and run steadily towards your dream. If you think life dealt you a bad hand and you don’t deserve it or it is too late to start working on your dream I am here to tell you that is false. It is never too late and anybody willing to put in the hard work and dedication can see their dreams come to fruition. A professor of mine whom I recently had coffee with gave me this great advice and I’ll admit that at the time I was skeptical. I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck hoping things work out for years, to be at a point where I own my own equipment and production company with multiple projects in the works is exhilarating – especially knowing where I come from. I won’t give up now, I can’t give up now.

Just The Spinach Projects

Creative Culinations premieres on Youtube and Facebook the first week of April, like our Facebook page for updates, recipes, budgets and cooking tips/facts. Just The Spinach is also working on two short narrative films as well as a short claymation film based on a passion character of mine named Robotica. Well, back to editing for now. Tomorrow will bring more filming for Creative Culinations and storyboarding for Robotica. Stay tuned!

The Ultimate Goal

In the future, Just The Spinach Entertainment LLC will have won awards for various projects in festivals across the world and have a studio space with a coffee shop attached that has a performance space for live shows. We will cultivate the arts in everything from dance to theater to martial arts and display them for the world to see. When our coffee house holds shows we will have a live feed for our audience that was unable to attend. 

What is your dream? What are you doing to make it a reality? Share your trials and tribulations as well as your success stories.

Favorite Women In History

Women have been making a bang throughout the ages, but these five ladies have been inspiring me since I was a young child. They have helped shape my beliefs and outlook on life and the world around me. Helped me grow confidence despite of the trials and tribulations that have come my way.

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Giving Back for Gratitude

My favorite afternoons are those spent at Trinity Cafe where their mission is to restore a sense of dignity to the homeless & hungry while serving a nutritious meal. We faithfully treat all of God’s children with dignity, compassion, love, and respect.

I get great satisfaction out of serving meals to the men, women and children who walk through those doors. On multiple occasions I had to choke back tears when someone stops and shows their gratitude before giving their seat to someone else who needs it. The program at Trinity is filled with love and respect for all human beings and the energy is contagious. As a guest or a volunteer, everyone leaves feeling better about the state of humanity within one another and the world around them. Hope for the future is evident.

For years I have been serving tables of yuppies who treat you like scum and are overly needy without any manners. It is amazing that those who have nothing actually say please and thank you when asking for something. Gratitude goes a long way. I look forward to the days when I attend and am happy to put my serving skills to use. With the opportunity to sit at the table and host our guests and the opportunity to hustle around and grab meals during every visit, the system is amazing.

The Trinity Cafe experience is like nothing I have ever witnessed before. When you walk in, a gentleman asks you how many are in your party and directs you to a table accordingly; they try to seat families, friends or couples together.

There are twelve tables that seat six at a time with a nice centerpiece. Silverware comes neatly rolled and when you sit there is a drink ready for you. You are greeted by the host at that table who asks how your day has been with a smile. The server comes by and says hello. She asks if you would like to start with your salad or take everything at once.

You are served a salad or soup to start, a hearty entree and given a dessert as well. After your first cup of lemonade or tea you are allowed as much water as you would like. When you leave, your spot is quickly cleaned by the bussers and reset by the server who then lets the doorman know how many available seats the table has.

Are there more places like this across the world? I would like to know about all of them. If you know of one similar comment below with the link.