Thursday, December 29, 2011

This might be my most vulnerable blog post (and the one I'm most proud of)

I've been cleaning things out this past week and it started in my bathroom. I have accumulated a lot of stuff in my life and due to purchasing these mostly useless things, I have found myself in debt. I have spend countless amounts on clothes and makeup and creams and potions all to make myself seem appealing to other people (and I guess in turn to make myself appealing to, well, me).

Maybe somebody liked me because of the outfit I was wearing or the bag I had, but I'm guessing probably not (and if they did, most likely they aren't still in my life). So it's time to get rid of that crap. I don't know what made me do it, but I just decided to throw everything out in my bathroom that I don't use anymore (or, in some cases, have never used). Get rid of it, get rid of it all. And then get rid of the idea that if I use this stuff I'll be perfect (that's a little harder than placing a garbage bag in the trash, the idea of perfection, but that's probably a discussion for the shrink that I don't go to, no worries I'm keeping a list of things to discuss with said shrink when I'm wealthy enough to afford one, until then it's just you and me and this blog, kiddos).

This was my medicine cabinet:

Not much 'medicine' to be had in there. It was overflowing with things I purchased to change my life (only recently have I realized that you might be able to change what you look like with a $50 cream but it will never seep down deep enough to change how you feel about yourself), wow that is surprisingly deep!

I have bought 'firming lotions':

because they will make me skinny (lord knows only skinny people enjoy their lives right?) and that will make me attractive and land me a prince and an acting job.

I have purchased 'wrinkle creams' before I had an actual wrinkle:

because they will make me look eternally young (only young people have fun right?) and that will make me beautiful and land me a movie star boyfriend and a singing job.

I have purchased 'bigger lips': *Don't be alarmed, this is a lip gloss and not an actual syringe (my madness has drawn the line at actual plastic surgery)

because having bigger lips will make me...ugh, I don't even know anymore, what? it would remind people of Angelina Jolie and then see me as more attractive and then blah blah, you get the rest. Writing this makes me sad and angry. Sad that I thought/think so little of myself, that I didn't/don't think I was/am enough. Angry that I let companies and ads and society continue to fool myself into thinking that a quick fix like an extra volume extending mascara will change my life.

I know now that it won't...only I can. And I'm working on it. I usually write a blog post at the end of the year with what I think are my biggest accomplishments for that year, and I've had some incredible experiences in 2011. I'm so proud of the things and the work I've done. But I think I might be most proud of this:

letting go of things that I DO NOT NEED!!!

I'm closing the door on the idea that I need something else or someone else or a huge paycheck or an Academy Award to be enough:
I am a work in progress but I also am enough when I'm true to myself, when I'm honest with myself and with other people, when I stand up for what I believe in, when I force myself to look fear in the face and continue on anyway, when I write a blog and hit publish post, when I try something and fail, when I sing a song and I don't sound like, hell, anyone else. I am enough!! We are all enough! Let's start to actually believe and live like it.

**Let's also be clear that deep down I'm a 'girly girl' (and a product whore) and this doesn't mean I'm not gonna wear makeup or get highlights; it only means that I'm understanding that I don't NEED any of these things to feel better about myself, to know that I'm ENOUGH, or to make people like me, all of my dorky charms do that all on their own, when I let them shine like they are supposed to.

***This ain't gonna be easy...It's all great to write this when 2012 is still a blank slate that can be filled with anything you want, but the true work comes when all the champagne has been popped and I'm out there trying to be my best, most authentic self and that's when I'll be tested. I'm willing to try (and fail) and continue to share it with you (or if no reads this, myself).

I wish you (all twelve of you who read this) nothing but the best in the new year...nothing but health and happiness and joy but also the strength, sense of humor and perseverance to pick yourself up if (and let's face it when) you fall.

I truly believe 2012 will be a FABULOUS year, maybe one of the best yet (and now I will let go of the fear that I have just jinxed myself by saying that) and say...


-Jean Ann

Here are my 2012 Intentions:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I made cookies and no one got hurt...

I. DON'T. COOK. I accept it. I hope you can too, without judgement. That being said, I'm completely okay with you judging just how much I enjoy eating, especially really good, fattening food. And if it's good, chances are I didn't have any part of creating it. I do know how to reheat things (I make waffles in the morning in the toaster, but I have burned myself while doing it); and man, you should see me microwave a meal! I can see why people like to cook, I wish I did, but I just really like to eat so much more (my friends joke that as soon as we are done eating one meal we are already thinking about what and when our next meal will be) but this post isn't really about meals. It's about a rare sight: me making something in the kitchen...COOKIES. Yes, I baked some cookies and no fire fighters were called.

Every year, since I can remember, my mom makes Butter Cookies (except in our case they should be called Margarine Cookies, but that doesn't really have the same aural appeal). Well, I made me some Butter/Margarine Cookies today and I want to share the recipe. I know I've been a little MIA from this blog. I have written posts but I never got around to hitting the send button...I guess I'm not ready to share those, yet. So as an apology for my absence, please enjoy the recipe (sorry you'll have to make them yourself). Seriously they're like the easiest cookies to make and I'm not really a baker either. Let's begin...


½ lb stick margarine or butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ cups of flour
chocolate chips
pinch of salt

Put margarine in bowl, then add a pinch of salt and mix it with a fork. Add the eggs, mix those. Then add sugar, mix. Lastly add the flour, a cup at a time. When it gets too hard to mix with the fork, use your hands. As you mix, you may need to add a little more flour until you get the right texture (not too hard, not too soft, the batter should come off your hands easily; well in the best case scenario it shouldn't stick to your hands).

Once it’s the right texture put the batter in a cookie press:

Press into a pan and add the chocolate chips:

Since I've made them for Christmas I use the tree and flower (like a poinsettia plant), there are many other attachments that come with the cookie press and you can use them for other occasions, but I only bake one day a year, in December:

Put in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for approximately 10 minutes (depends on your oven). Bottom should be browned a little:

Take them out of the oven (this is the hard/dangerous part for me) and then place cookies on a little tray when they are cool enough (you would think this would be self explanatory but you can never be too careful):

You can add powdered sugar when cooled, and then give some away. This is a good idea because it makes you seem generous but really it makes you makes you eat less cookies, so you'll have less weight to lose in January (you're welcome):

Holy crap, they look normal and even taste good. It's another Christmas miracle!

ENJOY!!!! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. Celebrate!! Celebrate some thing each day, you're still here, you might as well enjoy it. Eat a cookie (or a handful), even if I made it!

Til next time!


Monday, September 26, 2011

À la prochaine Paris...

Until next time!

Well, we bid Paris adieu on Monday morning and when I sat down at my computer in my hotel room in Evry (which is a tiny suburb of Paris, where we are doing one show tonight), I came across a quote. Truth be told, the quote may or may not have been on my phone in the form of a text message from a horoscope site that I may or may not subscribe to (it's free). And it may or may not have been from a few days ago and I never saw it. But whatever it may or may not be, I loved it immediately: "Just because there's a wall in front of you doesn't mean that your journey is over!"

So many times we hit a wall (physical or otherwise) and think, 'Well, that's it, I cannot possibly get past it. Might as well go right, or left, or hell, just go back'. But I believe we can push over the wall, if we really want to. Hell, why not just knock the damn thing down. It won't be easy! And it probably won't happen like a bulldozer at one fell swoop, but it can be chipped away, tiny piece by tiny piece. And maybe when you get to the other side, you'll find that it isn't even what you were looking for, but I know I'll be much happier seeing it for myself and deciding that it's not what I want, instead of wondering just what was on the other side of that stupid thing. That's just how I am.

I've hit many a wall on this journey as a performer (let's not even get into the walls I've hit in my personal life) and they've been in all different shapes and sizes. Some walls were about getting a gig, others happened when I've gotten one. I've even hit a few walls while on this amazing tour. That being said, I was just in Paris, hitting walls there hurt a little less...

Sometimes getting over or through the wall is just about staying in the moment. A few of the shows at the Pompidou were really difficult for me. Physically, I didn't feel at my best and my mind was getting the better of me ("you're getting sick", "you're not going to be able to do this", "you're gonna have to go home") but I had to try and shut that talk off and remember where I was in the moment. I needed to be with the 11 other people I was on stage with and the people in those seats. Now, I'm not superwoman, I didn't stay present in every second, but I fought and I got through it. I got over a wall.

And lets face it, there were times in my life where I hit a rough patch in my career and could've turned back. It would have been much easier than going forward, but if I did, I wouldn't be here. And it is a pretty awesome place to be right now...

I don't know a whole lot about a whole lot, but I know that I'm gonna keep hitting walls on this journey, and so are you, but I'd like to see what's on the other side. It might be pretty nice...

You bet your sweet tooth that that is my dessert! I'm assuming a detox will be in order sometime mid-October. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ahhh, Geneve

FALL TOUR BLOG: Geneva I figured I'd do some small blog updates from tour (when I can), so just to preface them, these won't be very profound or soul searching (or very grammatically correct) entries, but I hope you like 'em anyway!

Well week one of the our "Neutral Hero" Fall Tour has come to an end. It's interesting getting back into the swing of things. It should feel like picking up where we left off but it somehow doesn't. There's almost a rebooting of things. And it has actually taken me about 4 days to realize that I'm on tour again and to feel comfortable in it. If you don't really know me, you won't know that I have some 'issues' with change (so it usually takes a few days in a new city to adjust). I know that it is imperative to have change, in fact it is probably the best thing for us, but I like comfort and change doesn't usually have a lot of that (until the change becomes part of us)!

Another reason I think I felt a bit out of sorts is because the group of people I usually spent the most time with last tour (we call ourselves 'The Supper Club', for obvious reasons) were staying in an apartment building about 10 minutes away. Their place was right on the river (not exactly right here but this a lovely pic of the river)...

One of my main goals for this tour was to be in the moment (which is really hard, both on stage and off) and I'm not sure I succeeded, as I felt like I was constantly looking forward to Paris while in Geneva, but each day is another day with many more moments to cherish.

All that said, it feels fantastic to be doing this show again with this groups of people. It is such a special piece, and I get more and more from it each time we perform it. I really hope we get to bring it to NY and share it with you, but right now this moment is in Paris...Oui, Oui! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

I would assume that when you are expecting a bundle of joy, you would have a bevy of names waiting. Granted I have no children, nor am I expecting to be expecting any time soon (Hey, I’m not even 100% sure I want kids. They’re a lot of work and they’re your responsibility for a lifetime, but I digress). Yet even I have a few ideas of what I would name my children, if said hypothetical children were actually to be born. However, my parents apparently did not prepare. In fact, my mom so strongly believed I was a boy that she had decided my name was to be Michael. There were no alternatives. So when, lo and behold, I turned out to be a girl, they were up the proverbial creek. I know what you’re thinking, They should have named you Michelle. Yes that would have been the logical thing to do. Well, they didn’t. Amelia, my mother, emphatically rejected that choice. It got so bad that the nurse actually said “If you want to take this baby home tomorrow you need to pick a name.” It was then, as legend has it she, my mom, not the nurse, turned to my father and said “Her name is Jean Ann. That’s it.” Perhaps she was still hopped up on pain meds because no one has any idea where in the world she got this name from. And every time I meet someone in a noisy place and repeat my name three times until I finally just agree with whatever the last thing they called me, I secretly and sarcastically, thank her.

Just last week while in a bar someone asked my name and for a second I thought, let me make this easy on everyone involved and say something simple like Marie or Liz, but my friends would have thought I was insane, so I said Jean Ann and of course he said “What?”. So I tried again, this time with more emphasis on each word, “Jean__Ann”. “Gina?” he asked. “No” I smiled, and said it again, slower now with more feeling “J-E-A-N A-N-N”. Lightbulb! “Oh! Jean Ann, like two names”! Hallelujah. And as the conversation died and I felt semi-exhausted from the effort that had been wasted, it got me thinking what exactly is in a name. How important is it really?

Let’s face it, you didn’t have a choice about it unless you legally hated it so much that you changed it, or you have an alter ego like Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce (or Roxy Strago?), but it’s something that you are stuck with forever. You also have a last name, I know you can call me Captain Obvious, but it’s what you share with the rest of your crazy family. Some people can’t wait to get rid of it as soon as possible, but for me it’s something I hold dear. I’ve always been proud to be a Garrish. And since my dad passed away in 2006 it means that much more to me. I want to celebrate my name, to make him proud, to carry it on for the family. But what happens if and when I get married?

Growing up, I, like many other little girls, held on to the romantic belief that a tall, handsome prince would sweep me off my feet and we’d live happily ever after. How could it not happen? It did for every Disney princess, as well as every female character in every romantic comedy I’ve ever seen (I think shrinks sound give money to companies that make these things, they must have send a bunch of us ladies into therapy) and hey I had a leg up, I didn’t live with seven little men and I most certainly did not have a fin. Well, a few, ahem, years later, my prince has apparently gotten lost and is without a reliable GPS system. So I continue to live and enjoy my life as a singleton. And with each year that passes I accomplish more and more. So why should I have to give that up? Okay, I know I’m getting ahead of myself because I’m thinking about something that may not even happen. Shouldn’t I wait until someone puts a ring on it before I analyze this? Maybe, but that’s just not me.

When I lost my dad there was a part of me that felt like I had lost a part of myself. He, along with my mom, was one of the few people who had always loved me unconditionally. I knew in my heart of hearts there was nothing I could do that would change how he felt about me or just how much he loved me. And believe me; I’ve heard the story of when my parents were both 40 and I unexpectedly came on the scene. He was none too happy. I’m not sure when he’s feelings changed, I’d like to think it was before my arrival, but I knew from the time I was a little girl I would always be his little girl. Then he was gone, far too soon, no cure. How could this happen? Who would now love me for exactly me?

People always want to change you. Make you into who they think you are or should be; especially in the entertainment business. And as an actress, I have come across more than a few people who have thought I didn’t have the “look”, whatever that is. I once met with a manager who pretty much hated everything about me & the way I looked. She actually was the subject of my very first post on this blog, I think she was the reason I started writing it, so I guess I should thank her? ( In brief, I was told that I'm not beautiful, but rather I was pleasant looking. I needed to lose weight, change my hair and makeup, be more glamorous, maybe get colored contacts, make my eyebrows thicker, my eyelashes longer. And that was not the first time someone in the industry has been critical of my appearance. One time an agent told me my teeth were too white. Um, seriously? Is that even a possibility? Apparently so! She 'might' work with me as long as I made changes.

Now I'm not telling you this to get compliments from you, I'm telling you because it's bullshit! As an actor I'm always trying to improve. Had she said I think you should take this class, it will make you a better performer. Or learn this monologue because it will stretch you, I would have considered it, but changing everything about myself just to get my foot in some door isn't ok with me. Maybe that's why I haven't found that big commitment yet, because I'm scared of someone wanting to change who I am. I'm scared of losing me, I guess (technically I also have commitment issues, but that's a subject for another blog, another day). And Lord knows there are many things I’d like to change about myself, but it should be up to me to make those changes (or not) and no one else.

A few years ago while celebrating my birthday, a friend and I got into a discussion about relationships. He pretty much told me I’m an idiot, well that was implied, and then he told me that I could find a man that would support my dreams and goals, and wouldn’t make me give anything up. I’ve never forgotten that conversation and I still wonder if he really exists, because I haven't found him yet, but if and when I do, I hope he'll be like my dad (not look like him because obviously that would be creepy and weird). But I hope he has integrity, faith, strength, a fierce loyalty, a sense of humor but most importantly, I can only hope he loves me with a quarter of the amount of unconditional love my dad had for me. And at the risk of sounding greedy, I pray he never wants to change me (or my name) because I’m Jean Ann Garrish and that’s all I ever have to be. Thank God, because it’s all I can ever be! And I’m pretty okay with that.

*my barista knows me by name and actually never asked me how to spell it...she's just a genius it seems!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My life in shelves...


Packed! Cluttered! Disorganized! Messy!

I recently came to the realization that I don't finish everything I start (okay fine, it's not a recent revelation, and if I'm being honest, it's probably more like I don't 'finish' the majority of the things I start). Case in point, this little blog. Last entry before this one? That would be Thanksgiving 2010. Wow, way to give it my all, right?!

Not convinced? Okay, I'm currently reading at least five books. I keep going to the next one thinking it'll be better than the one I'm reading at the moment (could this be a window into my psychology??? Hmm.)

Wanna take a guess on how many of these books and plays on my bookshelf that I've actually read? Or how many I've actually finished once I started? Not a good percentage I'm sure. Sometimes I think I start things because I think it's gonna make this huge transformation in my life and when it doesn't happen immediately (or easily) I'm on to the next thing. There was the time when I was going to make jewelry and sell it online. Or the time I decided I'd earn extra money making greeting cards (you should have seen the glitter on my floor). I've spent a big majority of my money (and accumulated debt), not to mention the amount of time, on things I wanted to do and never finished.

How about the guitar lessons I started to take and well, you guessed it, never finished? Sure I can play a few songs and even sing along, but that's only because most pop songs have 4 chords in them and if I sing loud enough, I can kinda fake 'em. P.S. I have three guitars. That's right THREE and I can't play any one of them proficiently. So now this summer I got a ukulele because I think it will be awesome to play. And how many times have I played it so far? Oh maybe, twice, but for the record, I haven't given up on this one, so there is still hope! :)

Yeah, it's true, I don't finish everything I start, but I also don't give up on things that I truly want! Oh, there have been more than a few hiccups and doubts along the way, but I'm NOT not finishing this. I can't. And what exactly is finishing anyway? Isn't finishing the end? Do we really want that? Isn't it the process that we learn from? I think this blog post is a reminder to me that the things that are most important to us are the things we will stick to no matter how much work there is to do (or how many obstacles we face). We can never truly finish...we just continue on and learn from our missteps. I'm not a quitter on myself and you shouldn't be one on you either. There's something in all of us that we truly want and we it owe it to ourselves, and others, to go get it! And hell, those books will still be there for me when I want to finish them, but right now I'm a little busy with some other things.

And here's the little guy:

He's cute, isn't he?! I'll keep you posted on our progress but in the meantime, just to prove to myself that I can let go of some of my perfectionism, I'm uploading a recording I made on my ipod the first night I played it. Lord knows it's bad, embarrassing even, but its a work in progress, just like me: