One year in Chicago.

Today is my one year anniversary living in Chicago. It’s also my last 5B show at iO which is crazy weird that they are both happening on the same day. I’ve graduated iO. It’s a great anniversary gift.
  For the last week, I’ve been trying to think of something profound to say about how much I’ve grown, how hard it’s been, and how much I miss Arizona but love Chicago. I’ve had trouble trying to find the right words. 
How do you summarize a year of your life? A year that challenged you. A year that forced you out of your comfort zone. A year that made you become a badass woman with a sword (thank you Jana). 
You can’t. I look back at pictures and stories and think wow I did that? And it’s unreal and unpredictable, my life. I think of all the new people I met, and how crazy it is that a year ago I didn’t know them. I also wonder how I made it through winter. 
I do miss Arizona especially when it’s -30, but I miss my family and friends everyday. I wish I could drive to see them when I need a hug or some good Mexican food. I wish I could go to the Torch and dance in the hallways. But I’m also super happy of their support. 
Thank you to my family. Thank you to Katie who has been so patient and kind. Lauren who understood why we can’t and has been simply the best. Thank you to my new friends and the improv community who have helped make Chicago feel like home.
Here’s to another year of what’s to come in Sweet Home Chicago.



Trying to Fall Back in Love With Running

Running and I have been on a break.

Truth be told we had a nasty breakup, and I was the crazy one.

I hadn’t return any of its calls. I ghosted on it. I cheated on it with Netflix marathons and over eating and drinking. In the past year, running and I tried to get back together, but then I would find something wrong with running like it didn’t satisfy me the way it use to, or I had a headache, or a newer shinier thing would come along like NFL Playoffs, and I would break up with running quicker than I ever ran.

I seriously gave it 100% to the 50 yard line effort with my relationship, but then I couldn’t run as far or as fast and I would give up. I gave too much, too soon. I start feeling bad about myself, and instead of having a heart to heart with running, I would find myself  turning to others things that were less pretty and didn’t mean anything like binge eating for comfort. When running would bug me to please call it back, I would get mad at it saying it’s too cold, or my knees hurt, or ask where my chocolate bar was.I felt bad about the way I was treating running, but the more it bugged me, the more I ignored it.

Oh but ignoring running was not the way to go. You see running would get its breakup revenge.It left gifts like heartburn and 15 pounds. It left nasty notes like bad test results and adult acne. It left me questioning life choices like what desert girl leaves the heat for the snow. It eventually gave me what I wanted…it left me alone.I was left with silence and heartbreak. My body started to ache, my breath got shorter, and my mind cloudy. I tried to find that same love in other things like quick Pinterest workouts, and while it felt good for a second, when it was over, I felt nothing.

When something good leaves you alone-when you set it free-you start missing it. You miss how happy it made you when you hit milestones, had your favorite songs, and took stupid, funny pictures together. You miss how amazing and alive you felt when you got that natural high feeling-as if no one else was in the room. You realize how compatible you were, and how truly isolated you are now without it. That empty hole you created is now even more visible when people ask what happen, or even new people you meet never knew you together as one.

I miss running. I miss the sound of feet hitting one…by…one. I miss that runner’s high I got when I hit my stride. I miss getting excited for races or sticking to a program.Running got me out of some dark places because it was something I could work hard at, and go through some shit with. Without running, a piece of me was missing-more than I thought. I want to get back together with running, but I am not sure how. All I can do is try to fall back in love with running.

But will it love me back?

A Break-up

That moment when you know it’s time to break things off is always the hardest. Better to do it in public and around people.

I don’t think this is going to work 2014. We had fun, the sparks are starting to fade. We’ll have our last romp tonight, but like Cinderella, you gots to go at midnight.

How you doing, 2015?

*wink face* *insert resolutions*

*pop bottle*

Hello almost 30. #mk30

I turned 28 about a month ago. In that time, probably out of forgetfulness and life, it took me a month to come up with 30. So here goes nothing.

30 things to do before 30

1) Lose 40 Lbs

2) Learn to ride a bike

3) Be Fluent in Spanish

4) Run 730 miles

5) Pay off my debts

6) Learn to play the guitar  

7) Fall in love

8) Run a half marathon in 2:45

9) Ask my parents about the day I was born. 

10) Visit a new state/country 

11) Kiss as snow is falling

12) Write a cook book

13) Tour Vandermill 

14) Visit Dinosaur farm

15) Go apple picking

16) Create a new Chicago improv group

17) Create a piece of art

18) Volunteer for 30 hours.  

19) Take a trapeze class

20) Perform at a Story Telling Event.

21) Graduate from iO

22) Read 30 new books

23) Write at least 30 short stories

24) Be a part of a parade

25) Complete T25

26) Take a ballet class

27) Ride a motorcycle 

28) Have a savings so I don’t have to work for six months

29) Get Headshots 

30) Something you didn’t think of.

How Improv Saved Me

Three years ago, I was formally introduced to the art of improv. I say formally because I had dabbled in it as a teen, and was exposed to it throughout the years. However we were formally introduced in August of 2011.

2011 was the hardest year of my life. I finished grad school by the skin of my teeth, I had gotten out of a bad relationship (and replaced it with another), and my dog, grandfather, and uncle passed away within 5 months of each other. It was very hard to be around myself. I tried to escape with partying and jetting off to Portugal, but I could never run fast enough. Soon, I was back home sitting on my staircase wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life.  And wondering how I could escape.

Within two weeks of that moment, I had a job doing what I went to school for and doing what was expected of me. As I was fitting in at my new job, my uncle passed away. Although expected, there was always a hope that maybe the cancer would disappear. Maybe then this pain would too. When it didn’t, I felt a part of me was dying as I was “living.”

A few days after my uncle’s funeral, a slightly bearded man named Jose came to my work to do a team building workshop with a focus on improv. I played it off as nothing during the workshop, but inside I felt a burst of happiness I hadn’t felt in I don’t know how long. I was timid and a bit reserved during the workshop, but a part of me knew I wanted to do more of this.

I convinced a friend of mine to come to Jose’s theater, The Torch Theatre, for a free class. It was me, her, and this guy in the class. I was really bad and wondered why did I waste this Wednesday night? Feeling down about the class, I didn’t go back the next month. 

On November 11, 2011, my nephew Luke was born. On that day he was, and still is, perfect. Here was this beautiful life I was holding. So innocent. He didn’t know how bad the world could be, or cared how sad I was. He was happy just resting in my arms. As I held them, I decided that 2012 was going to be my year of growth and change. I wanted to be better for him.

A week before my birthday (November 18), I wrote down new things I wanted to try in 2012. On that list was improv. In December of 2011, I went to the next free class. I was still was bad, but with Level 1 starting soon (and on sale) I decided to give it a go. One class session wasn’t going to hurt. What was the worst that was going to happen?

The first class session was hard for me. I was scared a lot of the time, and people kind of scared me as I had personal space and intimacy issues. I didn’t like people getting too close or touching my face as they would know who I really was and would feel my imperfections. I would like to think I hid it well, but I don’t think I did. I would often go home from class feeling bad, but as the weeks went by and the classes progressed, I started to feel a little less bad about improv and myself.

 It would take months and months of classes and shows to break down walls, but once they did, I started to enjoy the art more, and being around myself. One big breakthrough was when a fellow classmate, and now great friend Andrew, literally touch my face during a scene. He didn’t know about my issues, and I don’t think would have cared. He showed me that I was alright and I can be myself. I was okay.

As I started to attend more shows and perform more, I started to feel comfortable in my own skin, onstage and off. I discovered new things about myself, and didn’t feel scared to express and show them. As a result, improv has allowed me to travel more, have closer relationships with my family and friends, and find happiness that I could create. I started to enjoy being around myself more, and enjoying my imperfections. I’ve also liked to think I’ve gotten better at improv.

Improv saved me. It wasn’t therapy, but it allowed me to express emotions and feelings I would have kept hidden from the world. I’ve met some of the greatest friends and family from improv. It also gave me strength to move from the tiny pond I love of Phoenix, Arizona to the massive lake of Chicago to study this art. Without improv, I don’t where or who I would be.

Probably still on that staircase.

May regret posting this, but I found the video from that workshop because Google. I also have bangs. Enjoy?

The Improv Retreat

Repost from my blog entry at

I would like to start this by saying I grew up in the desert. December for me is 60s and a cactus with some lights. May not sound as romantic to you, but to me it’s the bees knees. It was also that December when I got a Facebook message from Rick Grove and Lauren Corl telling me we must go to Wisconsin (which was under piles and piles of snow) for the Improv Retreat with the one and only Tara DeFrancisco – who I had met for the first time on stage as a part of her show DeFrancisco. While I would like to say I thought long and hard about the snow, before I knew it, I clicked the link to pay and off my pay check went.

I was more than happy to spend my weekend in the woods with 275 other improvisors at B’nai B’rith Beber Camp in Mukwonago Wisconsin. The Improv Retreat started as a dream of Tara’s to help bring improvisors to the Midwest for a weekend of workshops, art, and the love of improv. It’s summer camp for adults who like to make things up. And maybe dance in the woods. And hug.
The weekend finally came as Lauren, Brandon and I picked up Rick from the airport and drove towards the land of cheese. Armed with snacks, cider (did not drink it on the way there mom), and Starbucks, we spent the ride trying to guess who was teaching what, where we were sleeping, and how much bug spray we may need. Rick, Lauren, and I came from The Torch Threatre in Phoenix, so we were even more excited/nervous of the different improvisors we were going to meet.

Upon arrival, I was in awe of how green and big the camp was as we walked to Crown Hall to receive our bunks and schedules. To greet us was Tara, looking excited and happy to see everyone. If you don’t know Tara, she has the ability to make you feel like a rockstar with just a hug. She made us all feel welcomed as we walked up the hill to our bunks. On the way down the 72 steps (which we walked up and down every morning), I started running into familiar faces from my last summer in Chicago, including my level 1 teacher Higbee (who had the same whit and charisma. Big fan.)

Lauren and I quickly got situated in our bunks, covered ourselves with bug spray, and went back to Crown Hall for announcements. During camp, everyone would meet one to two times a day to talk about events, policies, and to laugh. The camp had everything schedule from the moment we got there, to the moment we left. While it left us little time for free time, it also gave you the option to stay active and enjoy your surroundings.

Included in our schedules were three workshops, shows each night, shows during the day, smores, food, and my favorite- Joe Bill talking under a tree. While technically it was by a flag pole, to be given the opportunity to talk with Joe Bill about his traveling and experiences in improv is something I will not forget.
The camp experience is something I will not forget mainly because it took you out of your comfort zone. From each of my workshops they emphasized being here in this moment-this is what matters. And I know we say this over and over again as improvisors, but we sometimes need to be reminded to get out of our comfort zones. In Fear No More, Nnamdi Ngwe told us to look in our fellow actor’s eyes and fall in love. In the past, I’ve had trouble with eye contact and this was intimidating. However, in this moment, you are here and can’t look away.

In Organic Games with Higbee, we literally played childhood games to find patterns in the play happening and how we were going to support it without saying HEY SUPPORT THIS. For a moment, I had to remind myself how to play leapfrog. In Fireball Theory with Jill Bernard, we focused on reacting without telling your partner their nana is crazy, and saying the first thing to come to mind (banana banana) by remaining active in your play.

Stepping out of your comfort zone spilled over in other areas of camp. With a large group, it can be intimating at times to go up and talk to people. In reality, everyone at camp was very welcoming and said hey jump right in! For me I got to be a part of my first rap jam, play with improvisors from all over the world, do handstands by the lake, and play Merlin (sorry Robert and Colin if I messed up the name).

Camp gave me the refresher boost I needed. It rocked its first year and can’t wait to go back to the woods. It was awesome.