Lydia's Journey BEYOND Hollywood

Follow an actress's journey beyond Hollywood. The life after a successful 10 year career...

Friday, November 25, 2016

The JOURNEY Continues

Hey everyone,
So much has happened this year!  Let me catch you up!

January, we decided to move out of our 3 bedroom rental house, giveaway most of our stuff and put into storage the things we couldn't part with.  We moved in with my parents for a few months while we shopped around for an RV.  We had done some research on traveling in an RV fulltime for about a year and had decided to just go for it.  The kids were a good age to where we didn't need to change any diapers, but didn't have to worry about school.  They are Pre-K and Kinder this year and we are "homeschooling" them for now.
We bought our Travel Trailer in May and set off on our journey mid June. 

It has taken us all the way to the west coast and back and now to the east coast.  We plan to see as much of this country as possible!  I am still running my talent agency: and my husband is now hopping around to different companies with his fitness equipment expertise.

So come on over to our other Website/Blog/YouTube Channel and follow our journey around this country!

Not sure when I will be back to update this blog - but I invite you to stay connected with us on our other one!   Also, PLEASE subscribe to our channel:

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

And the JOURNEY Continues...

First of all, let me just say this blog was correctly titled!

My journey has been quite an interesting one!  Definitely not "uneventful" - that's for sure...

I left LA about 6 1/6 years ago, not knowing why I was leaving a pretty stable acting career in an industry where stable acting careers are hard to find.  I came back home to Texas, not sure what I was looking for, but open to the adventure that was to be found.

Three years later, I left Austin and found myself back in my hometown of Corpus Christi Texas, with two kids and a husband.  That was January, 2 years ago.  My initial plan was to open up a casting office in town, and continue casting.  What I found was a city that didn't have much of an entertainment business community.  No talent agencies, no acting schools, aside from high school theatre and the college and university.  That makes casting very difficult.

That's when I decided to start teaching.  I found Aurora Arts Theatre, and they welcomed me with open arms.  I started teaching a Headshot Workshop, then an Audition Technique class.  Then I added an Acting for the Camera class.  I invested in a camera, lights, backdrop, and my classes continued to grow and grow.  After about 6 months of teaching at the community theatre, I decided it was time to move my classes to an actual home, and Spotlight Talent Studios was created.

After teaching these actors for about a year, they were ready for the next step:  finding an agent.  I advised them that since there were no agencies in town, their best bet was to go to Houston, Austin, or any other city to pursue a career in acting.

That's when I decided that instead of sending great talent to other cities, I would try and get them working while they lived here.  So then The Blanco Agency was born.  That was last January.

For 15 months I juggled two businesses on my own.  And I knew, based on the talent on this town, and the growing community, that these would grow to two full time businesses in no time.

And that's exactly what happened.  I've been doing the super-human act of juggling the acting studio and talent agency for over a year - and it's been hard!  Especially considering my other full time job of "mommy" to two 4 year old kids!  And the fact that I taught almost all of the classes!

So yesterday, was the big day.  I handed over the studio to someone else to run.  You know how that saying goes, "You have to let it go, to let it GROW" - and that's what I did.  I let the studio go to someone who will grow it into the studio I've always wanted it to be - and I will focus on the agency, so I can grow these actors into the professionals I know they are!

It was a mix of emotions, because that was a huge milestone for me - opening the studio.  And I have seen actors evolve into better actors over our time together, and I am proud of that.  I'm excited for what's in store for the students and the studio.

I'm excited for what's in store for me and my family.  Now I will get to spend more time at home, with my kids.

And the word "home" is changing for us as well.  More on that to come!  :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Proud Agent

So...I'm having one of those moments where I am extremely proud of the talent I represent.
No really - I have some amazingly talented actors on my roster.  
Yes - here in South Texas.  Corpus Christi to be exact.  
A city which has NEVER had a talent agency submitting actors for these opportunities!

I had the pleasure of seeing the opening night performance of the musical RENT at the University last week.  Three of the leads are with my agency, and the others, I would love to sign on!  The show was SOOOOO freakin good.  I had seen some of these actors in other shows and never knew some of them can sing like that!  And to see my actors, the ones with the agency, push and stretch their acting limits for these roles, it was the coolest thing to witness!  I think because of my background, and knowing the hard work an acting career takes, it makes me a special kind of agent - one who appreciates the work my actors do - on stage, and off.

Another proud moment this past week was having so many of my teens audition for High School Musical 4!  They got private coaching, worked on songs, memorized with very little time, and submitted great audition tapes!   I had 11 actors audition and 6 received in-person callbacks in Dallas!  Not a bad ratio!  And after hearing back from the actors after their callbacks, it seems like those went very well also!  

Its pretty exciting to be a part of their journey.  
I consider this to be the beginning of a long and successful career in the business, 
if they continue to pursue it.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

ACTOR: Your Hobby or Profession?

Acting is fun. 
And for the most part, those who have been bitten by the acting bug will find a way to ACT.  Whether its in their school's play production, community theatre, independent films, or their own youtube channels. 
I have seen a ton of talent in my life.  Both at the small town level, and on Hollywood sets.  And I often wonder about the actor onstage in the local community theatre and wonder what their plans and dreams are... 
When I started as an actor, I absolutely loved it.  I couldn't get enough of it, actually.  I would audition for plays back to back, participate in student films whenever I could, and dreamt about the day when I could actually do it for a living.  That was my goal.  To make a living doing what I loved to do - so that "work" wouldn't feel like "work".
And so I busted my ass to make it happen.  I was focused on a goal and made sure I achieved it.
I'm pretty proud of myself..

But I realized that not everyone who loves to act wants to do it for a living.

Opening my agency last year, I have been scouting talent everywhere.  What I'm finding is that there are many kinds of actors.  One is a wannabe star, who wants to give this acting thing a try with very little effort, or training, or preparation.  They submit to the agency with a selfie with the hopes of "being discovered" - and gawks at the notion of being expected to drive themselves to an audition 4 hours away, or pay money for professional pictures or acting classes.  The wannabe star won't bother with community theatre because that is just "to much work and time - for free".

The other is amazingly talented, experienced, and passionate, but just not business minded, or driven to make this a "profession".  They have a real gift, but no desire to pursue it professionally.  So you see them as the lead onstage in community theatre or local films, but that's where it stops for them.

And occasionally I find actors who know the business side, have done the research, invest in headshots and acting classes, drop everything to head to an audition, but maybe lack the natural God-given talent that some others may have.  But boy, do they wish they did!

And if I'm really lucky, I may find an actor who is driven, professional, and talented.  The trifecta!
But unfortunately, those actors aren't not nearly as many as I would love to find.

The deal is - if you want to do this professionally, you have to put in the effort.

Do your research.  As a professional actor, it is now your job to find out who is casting what, and how you can meet them or let them know you exist.  You are the CEO of your own company, so you need to know how to successfully MARKET yourself.

This career is an investment.  It's NOT about being "discovered".  It's about putting in the hard work, money, and effort into your future success.

So.....Yes, you should enroll in acting classes somewhere.
Yes, you should invest in a professional headshot if you want someone to take you seriously as an actor. 
Yes, you should make sure you have a reliable car to take you to and from auditions.
Yes, you should save enough money to be able to pay for gas if you have to go out of town for an audition.

It's all the cost of doing business.  And yes, it is expensive.  And who knows when you will see a return on your investment...  But that's the risk you take - if you really want it.

And I guess that's what frustrates me most as an agent - is seeing actors who don't want to invest in their careers, but just want it handed to them.

It doesn't work that way.

Luck.  You hear that word a lot in this business - and for some it has been true.  They have been "lucky" that someone discovered them walking down a street, or in a local coffee shop.  But for most, you create your own luck through your hard work and efforts.
That saying goes, "it takes 10 years for an overnight success"....meaning the harder you work, the "luckier" you get.

So please,  do not submit to an agent if you're not ready or willing to put in the work. 

It's not an easy business to get in to, and you don't want to waste both yours and an agent's time if you aren't willing to pay your dues.

Figure out what kind of actor you are - and that will help you choose the path to take. 

It could end up your hobby, or profession.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

And the Journey Continues....

No - I have not forgotten about this blog.  I have not moved on to more important things in my life.  No - I have not lost my love of journaling my experiences.... 
Let's see - what is my excuse? 
Well, Last I left you, I was having an open call in Corpus Christi for my casting office.
Well, that casting office has turned into a full blown TALENT AGENCY.  The first talent agency EVER to land in this part of Texas.  As if that won't keep me busy enough, I opened the acting studio Spotlight Talent Studios where we offer acting classes for all ages as well as on camera and business of acting classes.
We have had an INCREDIBLE first year.  2015 has marked the milestones of first bookings like national commercials, feature and short films and local commercials for our talent!  I now represent actors for TV and Film, Commercials and Print and have actors from LA to NY on my roster!
I do have a local level of talent who is just trying to gain experience and work in the local market.   Like I said, it's been one incredible year.
Spotlight Talent Studios has been flourishing as well.  We have on-going classes every Saturday at Aurora Arts Theatre, Acting for the Camera on Wednesdays, Improv on Thursdays and Kids Acting for the Camera classes on Sundays!  In addition to weekend workshops and private coaching!  SO PROUD of the growth of the talent I've been able to work with!
I do miss my LA life and friends.  I MISS TRAVELING. 
So the next big journey myself, my husband, and my two kids are going on is a Christmas trip in an RV around Texas as a sort of trial period for us.  We hope to buy an RV this Spring and take this show on the road!  We want to live and work on the roads of our great US of A and see the beautiful parts we have yet to see!
I'm excited!  And nervous!  But I know this journey we call life is here for one reason - for us to EXPERIENCE IT! 
And I can't wait to...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Busy Lady

I've been SUPER busy these past few months!
I won't give the many excuses for why I haven't updated lately…  I'll just try and catch you up and be better in the future (fingers crossed).
We landed back in Corpus over the holidays and it's been a lot better than I anticipated.  First of all, I didn't expect to be working this much!  I figured I'd take on a few casting jobs and do it part time, like I did in Austin.  But a small snowball has built into a giant one that I'm trying to keep up with!
I've had back to back casting jobs for local commercials and print which is AWESOME!  I've called on a few actors I've known, as well as the new ones I've found along the way since I've been back.  I'm now getting around to finally having an open call.
I've partnered up with Aurora Arts Theatre who has given me a home for my Business of Acting Workshops that I have developed.  I've had a few now on Headshots and Talent Representation.  Still getting the word out that I'm here.  I'm trying to get the local community ready for these jobs that I bring them in for, and the many jobs that will come soon.  The actors wanting to obtain professional work, whether in this market or other markets in the future, need to learn all the professional basics to make that happen.  That is the whole reason I even developed these workshops.  So when I bring someone in to audition for a client or producer, they come in with a professional headshot and resume, they know how to audition and behave in the audition room, and they are trained to knock it out of the park!  I want the clients to be excited about the talent here - because that will lead to more work.  Word will get around that Corpus Christi is the little hidden secret in the state and hopefully more production will start to come this way - which will be great for everyone!
I've even added acting classes to my plate!  I'm teaching Acting for Beginners classes Saturday mornings and at the end of May, I will add Audition Technique for those actors ready to start booking work!  In June, I'm adding Acting for the Camera classes and this summer we will have a Young Actors Summer Camp!  Oh my God!  That sounds like A LOT!  Lol…  So much for part time!  And all these classes and workshops are in addition to the casting work I am doing!  Exhausting!  But exciting!
I'm excited to bring these opportunities to my hometown.  To be able to offer something that these actors have been looking for!  I can't wait for the day when Corpus is competitive with Austin and Dallas and Houston!
So this week, I'm running around town trying to get the word out about this Open Call I'm having on Saturday.
So if you are an actor with experience, please come to the open call!  If you are someone who has thought about doing this "acting thing", come to the open call!  I want to met everyone who is interested in booking paid acting work so I can keep you on file!

Also, coming up in May:  The Business of Acting Workshop:
This workshop will teach everything you need to know about a career as an actor!  marketing yourself, finding work, auditioning, everything!

I'm hoping to prepare as many actors as I can!  :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Corpus Christi Casting Notice

Promoting Tourism in Corpus Christi
Casting Director: Lydia Blanco Garza
Interview Dates: TBA
Callback Dates: None  
Shoot/Start Date: mid- end March/April
Pay Rate:  $100/day or $50 for half-day - buyout for all usage
No additional talent agency percentage
Location: Corpus Christi, TX


Please submit by Friday March 7th.

[ HERO FAMILY ]  Hispanic couple, 30s, healthy and fit, must be comfortable on the beach in a bathing suit,  will be building a sandcastle and enjoying a nice family day at the beach.  Two cute Hispanic children ages 4-12, Will consider real families or individual submissions. Preferably one boy and one girl, and must be able to take direction

[ KIDS ]  Healthy and fit, comfortable in a bathing suit on the beach, kids will be playing, building sandcastles, playing soccer, etc  Please submit ages 12 and under, must be able to take direction, OPEN TO ALL ETHNICITIES

[TEENS ]  Ages 15-18, healthy, fit and attractive, comfortable in a bathing suit, playing volleyball, hanging out by a bonfire, OPEN TO ALL ETHNICITIES

[ YOUNG COUPLE/COLLEGE KIDS ]  20 somethings, healthy, fit and attractive, comfortable in a bathing suit, enjoying a day at the beach, hanging around a bonfire, playing volleyball, etc, OPEN TO ALL ETHNICITIES

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Busy Bee

This has been a very productive past few weeks.
I've been making the rounds trying to spread the word for my upcoming Headshot Workshop (Feb 15). I visited Texas A &M, Moody HS, King HS, Carroll HS, John Paul and Incarnate Word.  I spoke to all the Theater classes, told them who I am and what I've done, what I'm doing now, and what I plan to do in the future.  It's been really awesome meeting all the aspiring professional actors in this town.  And I'm really excited to be able to help them reach their goals and dreams.  I'm in the process of developing a workshop series to help teach everything they need to know to get started in a professional career in the business whether they decide to stay in Texas or move to another market.  I'm planning on opening a studio/office of some sort where I can privately coach, have weekly Acting for the Camera classes and Audition Technique classes, and weekend workshops.  All while casting my projects.  I'm taking meetings with local advertising agencies for local commercial and print work jobs and gearing up for the two feature films this summer.
I'll be in Houston March 1st for a fundraiser for the feature I'm casting:  B.O.O.S.T.  I'm excited to meet those local actors and help make this project happen.
I know I've been busy lately, but again, like I've said countless times, I plan to update my blog more often.  It's hard to remember everything I've done when I take forever to write it in my blog!  Lol
I'm still looking for my local talent, so if you are in the Corpus Christi area and want to be considered for work, please email me a headshot and resume to!
Now let's get everyone working!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

New Website!

Here is my casting website that you can check for any upcoming events and projects!

Home Again

Well, it's a new year, with a new business, in a new city.  Technically not a "new city" since Corpus Christi" has always been "home".
We moved back to town after 3 years in Austin just a couple of weeks ago.  Right before Christmas.  I know...what were we thinking??  The holidays are now over and we are hitting the ground running.  My husband opened his own business called Revive Fitness Services, where he resells and refurbishes exercise equipment.  Since he is literally starting it from the ground up, we have a lot to do to get it up and running.  But since he is so great at what he does, I'm sure we will be rolling along in no time!
I'm now trying to get my casting business situated in the city.  I have two feature films that I will be casting this year and I have many actors I need to meet!  I need to create files for when I'm ready to cast my projects, so I can look here first, before looking in other markets.
My goal is to give the local actors in town the opportunities to work here, without having to travel to other markets for work.  I'm sure they will have to for other jobs, but there is no reason these actors should be forgotten.  I want to educate the community about the business of acting, audition technique, and how to get started in their professional career.  I want Corpus to give Austin and Dallas a run for their money!  It's a beautiful city and I'm sure lots of projects will want to shoot here, so I want them to cast here also!  It's hard because this city doesn't even have talent agencies.  So as a casting director, I would normally reach out to agents for talent.  And there aren't any in town, so I have to find them myself.   This year I plan to reach out to as many prospective clients as I can to get these actors working!
Right now, I am planning a headshot workshop for this spring.  Then soon after (or before?) I will hold an open call to meet some actors.  I plan to visit the community theaters, university, college, high schools, even middle schools to meet the local talent.
I'm excited for these new business ventures for my family.  It's great to be back home where my kids can spend time with their grandparents and extended family!  It was kind of lonely in Austin...
Good to be HOME  :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Here we go Again....

Big changes happening....
So we've decided to leave Austin behind :'( and head back to our old hometown of Corpus Christi.  My husband wants to open his own business there.  He resells used and refurbished fitness equipment.  The change will be good considering both of our families live there, so our kids can grow up around family.  I've decided to open my casting office next year there in Corpus.  So here we are...wiping the slate clean and building everything from the ground up.  Scary, yes.  but exciting.  I'm excited for my husband to finally work for himself, doing what he does best.  And I'm excited at the opportunity I will have to scout talent in Corpus and hopefully be able to employ some of these actors.  I can't wait to hold a casting call to see what kind of talent I can find.  I can't wait to be able to teach classes on the business of acting and audition technique.
This will be good...for all of us.
In the meantime, I'm sad to leave such a great city...a city that I always expected to raise my family in.  I'm sad that my kids will have to leave their school - just when they were getting comfortable and doing so well!  But I'm sure these new experiences and new memories with family will teach them more than any school could!
So we are a week away from Halloween.  And somehow I became the "crafty" mom and decided to make their costumes this year!  Lol  Ivy will be Pebbles and Nic will be Bam Bam.  Simple enough for this first timer crafter!
I love the fall!  :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mrs. Garza

Well, Well, well, what did you do this weekend?  Me?  I got married.  Yup.

Friday, August 30, 2013

And It's Almost September....!!!!

Okay....  2nd birthday was last night at Chuck E Cheese's.  That was a success.  Nic didn't run off screaming - but he wasn't dancing and laughing the whole night.  As long as we didn't have a huge meltdown, I consider the night a success!

We are officially one week away from our lovely beach wedding.  Now I know why people elope! planning really ain't my thang!
But in a week - it will be over and the honeymoon will begin!  Hopefully for the rest of our lives!  Actually, since finding a sitter for 2 toddlers still in diapers is damn near impossible - it looks like we will have to take the kiddos with us if we want any kind of real honeymoon.  So we are thinking of taking a road trip (I know - we're crazy) to maybe Memphis/Nashville/Pigeon Forge, TN - cuz we love country and have never been to music city!  So, wish us luck.  We will need it!

School officially starts next Tuesday!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think I'm more excited than the kids!!!!  We had the "meet the teacher" day yesterday and it wasn't too bad.  I thought Ivy would freak out and not leave my side, and just the opposite happened.  She sat in tiny chairs and played with the other kids and didn't even notice when I left the room!  Nic, on the other hand, had a harder time adjusting.  I'm hoping Tuesday runs smoother....

I'm still working on the feature film BOOST and I'm excited to meet all the new talent here in Austin and the surrounding cities!  It won't officially start casting until the Spring of next year - but I'm excited nonetheless....:)
Let's see...what else...?  I'll keep you updated....

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Come on September!

Well well well...
SOMEONE'S busy!  Geez...I have SO MUCH going on this month - it's crazy!  Not that that's an excuse for my break from blogging...  well, actually it is.  :)
Let's see....  We are officially 30 days from our little beach wedding, 2 days away from my bachelorette party/girl's night, exactly 3 weeks away from Nicolas's 2nd birthday party, so my hands have been busy taking care of goody bags, invitations, wedding RSVPs and centerpieces!  Yikes!
And on top of my busy personal life, I am now casting the feature film B.O.O.S.T.  So here I am hosting a fundraiser in Austin for this project, organizing the table read in Los Angeles, and auditioning actors already, way into pre-production.  Did I mention I was busy?
Yet, here I am, updating my blog, instead of packing for our trip to Corpus this weekend, which we leave in just a few hours.  And that's because I JUST finished editing an audition tape for one of my clients.  Oh yeah, on top of it all, I'm still coaching and taping auditions.  Yeah.  And that's still with me being at home with two toddlers.  When did my life get this scary????  LOL
But busy is good.  I don't know if being THIS busy is good considering I'm still kind of sick with a sore throat and cough.
I can't wait for September.  The wedding will be over, birthdays will be done for the year, the kids start school which gives me 2 mornings a week to myself, and I can finally concentrate fully on this new feature film project.  YAY!
I'm excited to be casting again.  It's from a Texan filmmaker who is out in LA.  He wrote this script based on a true story and is bringing it back here to shoot.  I can't wait to start meeting new actors again, and bringing in some of my favorites!
You will be hearing a lot about this new project as we try and get our funding to make this happen!  I'll post details on how you can come support or donate if you feel so inclined!  :)
B.O.O.S.T.  ;)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Second Wave

My first wave of excitement was when I became a professional actress.
My move to Hollywood and the jobs I started to book filled me with such excitement that I couldn't contain myself.  (Thus this blog...)  It was a lifelong dream and I didn't know how to separate myself from my craft.  It was the scariest thing to decide to leave Hollywood and my career for who knows what.  I just knew it was time to make a change.  Nothing had ever filled me with that same excitement before and I was afraid I would never feel it again.  I was leaving behind everything I knew and felt was ME, to start a new life.
I knew it was time to change when I stopped having fun, when that excitement started to fade.  I would book jobs and it didn't feel the same.  I wasn't sure if it was me burning out and just needed a break, or it was time to just walk away.  I felt like this for a few years before I decided to leave.
I moved back to Texas, as most of you know by now, and started building my own family.  I became a mother, and tried to navigate in my new life and role as mom.  I've thought to myself that maybe this was my new wave of excitement.  It is the hardest job I've ever had but I've felt a love like I had never felt before.  My excitement was different than what I felt for my career.  I felt this feeling more in my heart and less so in my gut, like my acting career.
I decided I would step back from Acting altogether and switch gears - focus on a casting career.  I really loved working in casting while I was in LA and became more and more interested as time went on.  I was torn for some time about what to do.  Do I leave acting behind and make the move permanently to casting?  Could I do it?  Would they hire me?  When I decided to leave LA, I kept the possibility of having a future career in casting in my back pocket.
I participated in a staged reading for Teatro Vivo this past weekend.  It was nice to work with old and new friends and the energy I felt while on stage felt like visiting an old friend.  I've always felt at home on stage, but those crazy butterflies that used to flutter like crazy when I stepped on one had now turned into a quiet calmness now.
But what took me by surprise is the second wave of excitement I started to feel after I saw some amazing performances by other young actors in the festival.  It was exciting to recognize talent and feel like I wanted to do anything I could to help them.  I saw myself in these actors who were so young and and just starting to realize their dreams, and they had no clue how to bring them to life.  And I felt this need, down in my belly, to help them along the way.
So maybe my second wave of excitement is me being a mentor?  A consultant?  Who knows...  I just know that I want to help people with what I've learned throughout these years.  Having a successful career in Hollywood isn't easy - AT ALL, and I'm not claiming to know the secrets that will make someone book jobs - but I have learned a lot in my career.  I've seen plenty of people make mistakes along the way.  I've made a few myself ;)  And I remember being in college and not really being prepared for a professional career in this business.  Sure I learned the craft, but I wasn't prepared mentally and professionally to play with the "big dogs".  So I want to bring my knowledge to these young actors who really want to start a career in the hardest business out there, in my opinion.
So I got together with a Casting Director friend who relocated to Texas last year herself.  We had coffee on Sunday and talked about what we could do for this market.  Looks like we may develop a workshop from the Actor's and CD's perspective that we could take to the Austin/San Antonio market.  The goal is to eventually start casting when we have more time to devote to it - but for now, a workshop sounds perfect.
More to come...
It's just exciting to feel that second wave :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Update :)

Wow - I used to be SO good about updating my blog.  My apologies to my readers.  It just seems like ever since I had kids, I have no time for anything!  Lol
Well, a small update:  I'm currently participating in The Austin Latino New Play Festival.  We are presenting staged readings of 3 new plays to an audience this weekend.  I haven't been on stage in 2 years!  Thankfully it's just a reading and I don't have to memorize my entire script!  It was 2 weeks of rehearsal.  That I can handle...
I'm sending the kiddos off to school this fall.  Twice a week for a few hours each day, so that gives me time to get back to work.  I can't wait to dive back into casting!  I just read that the NBC show Revolution may start shooting out here in Austin.  I would LOVE to cast a TV show here in Austin!  It would be awesome to give all these wonderful actors opportunities!
On the family side of things...  My baby girl, Ivy Rose is fully a toddler now.  I have 2 toddlers roaming around my house  - which means I'm running after 2 kids and picking up tons of toys!  Taking them to a park by myself is impossible!  So I try to save that for when daddy is off, like the weekends...  We try to fill up our week with playdates with other toddlers, storytime at the library and crafts at a local BabyEarth.  It's crazy ho much they are learning, and imitating!  LOL  I have to watch what I say and how I say it, because they give it right back to me!
These past 2 years have both flown by and seem like an eternity!  It's just been 2 1/2 years that I've been back in Texas.  It's crazy how much life can change in such a short time.  :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Just One Hour...Please

Well, this week, I've learned the importance of an hour.
Sometimes all it takes is an hour of grocery shopping by myself to happily call it "me-time".  I can have a day or week, or shoot, even a month, when I am with my kids 24-7 and I need some kind of BREAK.  I think I need a night out with girlfriends or a 4 hour shopping spree, or even a manicure/pedicure - but really all I need is an hour to HEB and I start to actually miss those kids that crawl all over me and don't let me breathe, much less shower!  It's funny how that happens.  I'll bitch about how I need to get away, and when I do, I miss home.  Go figure.
This week has been pretty busy on the "work" front.  I've been taping clients this week for their taped audition submissions and getting ready for the local screening of HOMEBOUND in El Campo this weekend, where it was shot.  I'll be part of the Q&A since I cast the film.
Really excited to see the film on the big screen and see the reactions from the community who made it happen!
Also received my copy of Finding John Smith in the mail today!  The feature film I shot in Iowa a few years ago.  I have yet to see it and I'm pretty anxious to!  It was a great role and an awesome group of people to work with!
SXSW was this week.  It's my 3rd SXSW since moving back to Texas and I haven't been involved in any of them!  I've just been too busy having a family that I haven't really set aside time for it.  But I vow that next year, I plan to have my casting director business cards ready to go for all those producers who come for the festival and want to shoot their amazing projects here!
I plan to crawl out from under my mommy rock and start doing more in the film industry here, now that the babies are growing older.  Can't wait to start casting FULL TIME!  WhoooHooo!!!!  :)
Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Domestic Goddess

I quietly smile to myself as I open the oven door and pull out my parmesan breaded chicken strips.  I feel so domesticated!  It wasn't that long ago that dinner for one consisted of something frozen from the grocery store, or something quickly picked up from a drive thru window.  I'm a long way from that life.  Nowadays I look forward to feeding my family.  I buy in portions of 4 (since Ivy is eating table food now), well, really portions of 3 since the babies share a portion.  And I'm now that girl who looks for recipes to try and cute new crafty projects for each holiday.  Seriously domesticated.  And I smile to myself because I'm now getting comfortable, dare I say happy, with this life change.  I've always been happy about it, just in shock really.  I couldn't get over how drastically different my life now was and it scared the crap out of me.  I now had this family that depended on me.  I craved this when it was just me, but when I got it, I didn't know how to accept it.  It's been two years since my new life has come screeching into my life, and I now feel this happy calmness.  This acceptance.  This love.  It's unreal that this is my life.  I may have to pinch myself everyday until the day I die...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

This Stage

I've been on many stages in my life.  Small black box theater spaces, huge stages that I shared with the San Antonio Symphany, and even stages that weren't really stages.  I've even been through many stages myself - from the awkward kid who didn't know who she wanted to be, to the professional actress struggling with what to do next.  To the woman who is now a mommy.  Out of ALL those stages - I love the stage that my kids are in now the most.  :)
Ivy will be a year in a month.  And Nic will be 18 months.  And as much as I loved holding my newborns in my arms, I remember thinking, um...when does this begin to be FUN?  Yes, having (almost) two toddlers definitely has its TOUGH moments (tantrums anyone??), but watching them learn and discover things is priceless.  Hearing them "talk" to each other is surreal!  They may understand each other, but it sounds like babble to me and their dad.
Ivy slept a lot when she was a newborn, and didn't interact all that much.  Then she started to grow.  And grow.  And grow.  And everyday we notice how much more she is turning into her own person, with her own unique personality.  She's funny, and sweet, and demanding, and strong!  Whenever Nicolas tries to grab a toy from her hand, she grips it so tight!  They are quickly becoming best friends - and it's pretty amazing to witness!
Nicolas has music in his soul.  Not only will he stop whatever he is doing and start to dance when he hears it, he'll dance just for eating something he likes.  He does the happy dance for food!
He loves to run back and forth and act as if someone is chasing him.  He will sit down on anyone's lap!  He loves to be hugged.  He knows how to kick a ball already, but what I find the sweetest thing about him is how he loves stuffed animals.  He hugs them tight and bites their noses.  It's too cute.
Ivy loves to give kisses.  She started early on the french kisses, so I'm trying to keep that tongue back in her mouth, but she's giving love nonetheless!  She crinkles her nose and snorts.  She dances when she hears music.  And she is very ticklish.  I LOVE making her crack up laughing.  She has an amazing belly laugh.
These are my babies, who are quickly growing up.  I can't believe it's been a year already since I became a mom to TWO babies!  I try not to blink too much because before I know it, they will be off to college and I'll really be wondering where the time went!
Ok, back to singing along with Elmo.
La la la, la la la, Elmo's World....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Year Mark

We are coming up on two years back in Austin.  Two years happens to be the exact time I lived here last time.
It was right after graduating college.  I came to Austin because I wanted to start a professional career as an actress, but I wasn't ready to make the move to Hollywood just yet.  I accomplished a lot in those 2 short years.  I secured my first agent, used professional headshots, worked on film for the first time, and even booked lead roles in independent feature films.  In those 2 short years, I grew up a lot, as a person and an actor, and I was ready to fully go after my dream.  I knew that meant having to go back to square one, humbling myself, and working as an extra for a year and a half before booking my first speaking role on TV.
For my 10 years in LA, I've thought about moving back to Austin several times.  At every anniversary, I would reminisce about my short time in Austin and how much I loved living there, the great people I met in my short time, and the awesome experiences I had.  I would often say that Austin is where I would love to settle down and raise a family.  I remember towards the end of my 10 years there, talking to a friend of mine about how I missed Austin and I would love to move back again someday...and she finally said "Lydia!  You say that every year!  You should just do it already!"
I thought to myself..."Yes.  She's right.  I say that every year.  What's holding me back?"
I think it was the fear of leaving something I worked so hard for.  This dream that I've always had.  I made it part of my identity.  If I left - what would I do, who would I be?
I had to leave when it felt right for me.  When I was finally ready to step away and focus on something else.
It's funny how my life came full circle.  I've noticed that a few times in my life.  I remember working as an extra many times on the show Strong Medicine - and it was so surreal when I booked that show as my first job.  Arriving to set, and not going straight to the extras holding room and "checking in" - but finding an AD and being led to my dressing room.  I remember sitting in the makeup chair, enjoying every minute of this full circle experience.  I was on cloud 9.
And here I am today, back in Austin for two years now, raising my family and calling Austin home again.  It was around this time in my first stay in Austin that I was packing up and getting ready for a move to Hollywood.  How much I have changed since then!  How much of life I have experienced and lived!  I feel like I'm 80 years old!  haha  But I am grateful for everything I've been through in my life:  the good, the bad, and the ugly.  All those experiences have led me to here.  Now.
It feels good to be home.  :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Moving Along Nicely...

Well, now I get why people elope!  Wedding planning is my worst nightmare.  I've never been much of a party planner or decorator, and trying to come up with a "theme" much less a small guest list has all been a challenge!  Luckily, we decided on a very small beach wedding with just close friends and immediate family.  I found a photographer, caterer, and maybe even a dress.  So things are moving along nicely.  Still have 8 more months to go.  Nice...
I started jogging last week.  OMG - I can't believe how easy this used to be for me.  Now it is the hardest part of my day - and that's saying a lot if you've ever seen Nic throw a fit.  I haven't made it part of EVERY day, I'm just glad I've been able to do it a few times already.  My body definitely feels the pain afterwards.  But I know the more I do it, the better I'll feel - and the easier it will get.  It's the third week of January so my hardcore regimen has started to slack.  The first couple of weeks I was writing everything I ate down in a notebook and app, and logging all my workouts.  I haven't done that in a few days.  :(  Oh well...
I took on a new coaching client.  She is 10 years old and just started out in the business.  It's nice to be able to have a coaching session or tape an audition here from home when Ceasar watches the babies upstairs.  I just wish I had my own office.  Kitchen appointments don't feel as professional.  :(  But I'm hoping whenever I get back to casting full time, I'll have a separate office to handle coaching, auditions,  consulting sessions, etc...

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Day One

Well, actually, it's Day two.  Day two of the new year, and day two of my new diet and fitness overhaul.  Day one of working out though.  Thanks to a very bad stomach ache the first of the year, I followed my healthy eating diet, but I couldn't workout until today.  So Day one of back on the saddle.
What's weird was, I've lost 100 pounds before.  I did it once, I can do it again, right??  It's not like I'm trying to lose the whole 100 again, but I'm trying to get my butt back into shape.  I'm not even shooting for my skinniest.  Just my happy weight.  To go with my happy date.  :)  We finally set a date to get married - September 7, 2013.  So I have 8 months to drop pounds.  Eight months to get back into fighting weight.  Ugh.
The thing is, it's like I forgot HOW I did it!  It WAS many years ago...and I was so much younger.  My metabolism was way faster...yadda yadda yadda...  I know I can do it again.  I just have to remember what worked.
If I can recall, I remember calling it the "Common Sense Diet".  I didn't eat junk food, fried food, fast food.  I drank tons of water, I ate smaller portions, more fruits and veggies.  I started walking, then jogging, then running.  Then I remember I plateaued.  I was stuck on those last 20 pounds.  Only really needing to lose 10 of those, but kind of in a crazed diet mind-frame, I went for the 20.  That's when I turned low-carb and kicked up the workouts.  Ah, victory!  I was my goal weight for maybe 5 minutes. Ok, Maybe a weekend.  Then I slowly landed back at my "happy weight" where I stayed for the most part.
The treadmill is turned on and ready to go.  I started walking on it today.  Trying to squeeze in 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, trying to add it all up.  It's hard to take care of two babies and our home, pay bills, go grocery shopping and find 10-15 min here and there to jump on the treadmill, when jumping in the shower is a daily challenge!  But I will do it!  Whether that means that my shower has to  now be moved to the evening so I can have my days free to workout...I will do it.
So day one of this journey.
I don't intend this to turn into a weight loss and diet blog - or even a wedding planning blog, but this is what's happening in my life in 2013.  So, yeah.  And a First birthday in March.  And a Second birthday in August.  And hopefully a 2 morning a week pre-pre-pre school in the fall for the babies....  A lot going on.  :)
But first, Day one.  Two.  Whatever.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Beginnings...

What is it about New Year's that always makes me feel like I get a fresh start?  A do-over.  A chance to set new goals. I LOVE this time of year!  I get so excited about the possibilities for the new year.  I never dwell on what I didn't accomplish this year - only what I dream about for the next year.  I clean out closets, desks, drawers and fridges.  I've always been a pretty optimistic person.   I know some people don't like making new years resolutions, mainly because most of them quit after a few weeks.  But there's something about getting excited over new goals, that drive to achieve them, the possibility of actually reaching them, that gets me so excited!
2012 was pretty amazing.  It was hectic and stressful - yes, but there is no way I can beat the miracle of giving birth to my beautiful Ivy Rose on any other given year.  I've had some amazing accomplishments over the past few years, but nothing quite like these past couple of years have given me.  I've complained a lot about how hard my life is now, sounding like a spoiled brat that used to have such a "cush life" - but I do want to take a second and pause on all the blessings I received this year and last.  The family I now have is more than I ever could dream of!  And no one's life is easy, but I'm grateful for the love that surrounds me each and every day.  My daughter's smile and my son's hugs around my neck can make anything better.  :)
2013 will be a big year for me as well...  We are planning a wedding for the early fall.  Figured we ought to get married before the babies graduate high school!  :)  And I'm starting back on my diet and exercise regimen.  I know I have a long and hard road ahead of me - since it feels like I'm back at square one, but I know me.  And I know I can do it.  I have to!  A beach wedding demands a fit bride!  And I'll have two toddlers running around this new year - I have to be able to keep up with them!  Physical training just to keep up with my kids!  And get back into my favorite jeans....  Where are those old things anyway?  I haven't worn them in ages!  :(
But this year I plan to.  And wear them well....  ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Zero to 100

You know that saying?  I went from "zero to a hundred"?  Or "baptism by fire"?  Or that ever popular "jumping in with both feet"?
Well, Ceasar and I were decorating our living room for the holidays this weekend, and after putting our stockings up by the fireplace, we realized we have 5 - FIVE stockings up!  Ceasar's, Mine, his 11 year old daughter's, and Nic and Ivy's.
I went from zero - to now 5.  And this is less than a year!!  This December will be 2 years that I've been back in Texas.  Just a short two years ago, I got in my little two seater convertible with my cat and moved back to Texas.  And here I am, no more cat unfortunately (she passed away the same month we got here) and now with a house full of my own family.  How weird is that??
I think that's been my biggest issue - is trying to adjust to this huge change.  I jumped in with both feet and even though at times it seems like I'm drowning, I'm learning to swim as I go.
There are days when I wonder if the babies even know my sacrifices, or appreciate them.  I bathe them, feed them, clothe them, love on them all day long.  They barely know how to sit and stand, so I don't expect them to make me nice pretty cards saying "we love you mom" just yet.  But just when I think they are too young to express such emotion, Ivy leans in to give me a kiss or Nic wraps his arms around my neck and gives me a hard squeeze.
Ok, ok, I get it.  You love me.  ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Am I Doing this Right?

Let me tell you, this mom thing is tough work!  I second guess myself at every turn!  Am I giving Nicolas enough vegetables?  Am I doing him harm by allowing him an actual bottle now and then instead of his sippy cup?  (He sleeps quicker sucking on a bottle instead of a cup - sue me)  Are they both supposed to be pointing at their nose by now?  Am I reading enough to them?  (probably not)  Is it disgusting that they share every germ by sharing teething rings and toys???  (LOL)  How am I supposed to ever get it right????
I have a confession.  There are days when I actually have a full on melt-down.  Yes, in multiple.  It usually comes after 5pm, when Ceasar happens to work late and both kids decide to throw fits, and I'm trying to cook dinner, feed them, clean up the house a bit, remember to move the clothes into the dryer so they don't start to stink, and then...I just lose it.  I chalk it up to being not "cut out for this".  How do some moms make it look so easy????  This is hard.  Really hard.  I'm sure it gets easier, and it seems like my posts lately are all about how HARD my life is now!
I guess when I was daydreaming of being a mom, I was picturing myself going to PTA meetings and carpooling to dance rehearsals and football practices.  I forgot there are a few years before those days.  And those years are filled with sleepless nights, and stressed out days.  In the midst of wishing it was kindergarten time and they are both in school during the day, I get a mini-flash-forward and realize that when they DO go to school and leave me all alone during the day - I'll probably miss the little suckers.  Probably.  ;)
I do realize that they won't be this young for long.  It does go by very fast.  Ivy is trying to skip crawling and go right into walking!  It'll be over before I know it, and my babies won't be babies anymore.  So I guess I should enjoy it now - as impossible as it may seem when they are screaming and crying and I have no idea WHY!!!
It's a learning process - this mom thing.  We all are learning together.
Ok, Nic woke up screaming from his nap.  Better bring him downstairs and feed him.  Vegetables.  ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Learning Baby Lessons....

As I'm not new to this whole "show" business, I am new to putting babies in this business.  
My 7 month old daughter Ivy had her second audition last week.  It was for a national diaper campaign which includes commercial and/or print work.  We signed in, they told me to strip her down to just her diaper and top and that they would take her in  - alone, play with her, take some pictures, and she'll be right out.  And before I knew it, some stranger walked off into another room with my child and shut the door.  I was immediately uneasy.  That just didn't seem right to me.  I had no idea who was in that room, what was happening, and as a mother, I was more frightened for the well being and safety of my child.  She was indeed, right out and we left.  Because I left so uncomfortable about it, I called SAG to find out if that was normal protocol.  They told me that, as per the SAG commercial contract, page 92 states "(a) parent must be present at all times and shall have the right, subject to production requirements to be within sight and sound of minor".
So....when Ivy got a callback for this commercial, I was armed with the information and was ready to go in with her on this callback.  We arrived, signed in, stripped her down like last time, but this time she was supposed to go in with another baby, sans parents.  As they were about to take her in, I told the woman that I needed to be with my daughter, in the same room.  I didn't need to be where she could see me, but where I could see her.  She quickly handed me my child back and said that she couldn't go in with me and she would call the baby wrangler that worked for the client to speak to me.  And off went that other baby, without her parents.  Afterwards, they called her parents in, along with me and Ivy to ask simple questions about how the babies slept, and if they were light sleepers, etc.  Then, that was it.  As we were all walking out, the baby wrangler came outside to speak to me.  She asked me what the issue was and I voiced my concerns.  She informed me that they do it this way because they want to see how the baby will be on set, without the mother nearby.  But my argument was, as her mom, I should always be nearby.  Again, she didn't need to see me, but I needed to know she was ok and being treated properly.
After a long conversation with this woman, she explained to me that if she booked the print work, that is not under SAG anyway, thus the SAG contract wouldn't matter.  The bottom line was, I needed to trust them.  And if I felt uncomfortable at all, then maybe this wasn't the right thing for us.  She reassured me that my child will always be either with me or with her, the baby wrangler.  
After some thought, I went ahead and let her take Ivy back into the room without me.  I figured I already was in that room, I saw who was in there, I saw the set up and saw what the babies will be doing.  And since I spoke to this woman, I felt more comfortable handing Ivy over for a few seconds.

Call me over-protective, but I had to go with my gut.  And the first audition made me uneasy.  Mainly because I wasn't familiar with that situation.  It all comes down to trust.  And it's hard to trust strangers with your child.  Even when I leave them at a child care facility, it's hard!  

I might have caused Ivy this huge national campaign, but I had to do what was right for us.  I'm not sorry I made a big deal out of it.  This is my baby we are talking about!  And I will protect her until the day I die.  :)

Now, I hope she books it.  ;)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Audition #2!

The babies are keeping busy!  
We have our second audition for the babies this weekend.  It's for a national diaper campaign with commercials and print.  It would be awesome if one or both would book it!  What's funny is, they plan to shoot in Round Rock, where we live, and a location scout came by last night to take pics of our home.  You never know, they may end up shooting here AND using US for the commercial! That would just be too awesome.
I've been taking my time about getting an agent in town because I didn't think there would be that much work for them locally.  But it seems like things are picking up!  And I'm on the fence about going out on auditions myself.  I'm going this weekend since its an audition for families with babies, but I don't think I want to get back in the auditioning game for just myself.  I'd rather work in the casting office, finding the talent!  Too bad the casting work out here is not as abundant as it is in LA...
So I've been tossing around the idea about writing something.  Not sure if I want to write a book or a script.  If I write a book, should it be my autobiography about my life and career?  Would anyone care to even read that?  LOL  Or maybe specifically about my 10 year career in Hollywood and the struggles I had to break the stereotype?  Or maybe a consulting or how-to book for the beginning actor just getting into the business?
Decisions decisions....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Experiment

I have always been addicted to TV for as long as I can remember.
It's probably one of the main reasons I became an actress.  Growing up, I remember our family TV being on all the time.  I can do everything while watching TV.  Fold laundry, cook, check email, get dressed, all while keeping one eye glued to the TV.  It's quite a skill actually!  I'm the queen multi-tasker!
But lately, I felt like my addiction to the tube, as well as the computer, kept me from doing the best job possible as a mom to my babies.  I noticed my toddler's behavior was getting more aggressive and frustrating (to both himself and ME).  I figured it's because of his molars coming in.  And then I thought, I wonder if all this noise from the TV bothers him?  Or maybe he's frustrated at competing for my attention with the TV and computer?  I wonder how different our day would be if I cut all of this out for just one day.  To see.
So yesterday, I came downstairs to Sesame Street already on and the babies mesmerized as usual.  (I fear I'm raising future TV addicts!)  So I turn the TV off and explain to their dad that we are not having any electronics on today.  Well, no TV or computer.  I need my coffeemaker.  ;)
The day started off very peaceful and quiet.  No excess noise or sound.  Just us.
What I noticed about this experiment was my toddler really was a lot calmer than usual.  Happier even. I found myself looking at their faces more.  Enjoying my time with them.  Having fun, playing more, being silly.  I felt more relaxed, present, calmer.  I didn't miss it much really.
Not until about 4pm when I needed to start on dinner and the tantrum began.
And like the unperfect mom I am, I ended up finally turning the TV on, and putting on Sesame Street while I finished making dinner.  Tantrum averted.
Even though my experiment didn't last ALL day like I hoped, I learned a lot from the quiet time I spent with them.  And I plan to incorporate less TV and computer time in my day, and more quality and quiet time with them.
Logging off now...  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guest Blog: Tips for New Moms

Guest Blogger, Katie Moore, shares her recent article with my readers.  :)

Tips for New Moms: Prevention and Treatment of Diaper Rash

Having a newborn in the home can present many challenges for a new mom. Along with figuring out feeding and sleeping schedules, a new mom will also have to learn how to comfort her baby when he is uneasy.
One of the most common problems that results in discomfort for baby, and added stress for mom, is diaper rash. It was long thought to be representative of neglect, but this hypothesis is patently false. Inflammation does result from infrequent diaper changes, but there are many more causes. Prevention and timely treatment are the best ways to minimize or eliminate this problem.

Preventing Diaper Rash
Contact dermatitis is the inflammatory erosion of the epidermis. It occurs with prolonged contact between skin and feces or urine. This type of diaper rash only affects areas in direct contact, and it is recognizable in this manner. Other causes include disruption of the skin's beneficial bacteria and allergic reaction.
Knowing these causes immediately suggests several preventive measures.

* Disposable diapers often contain a variety of chemicals, including whitening agents, chlorine, perfumes, dyes, and synthetic materials for added absorbency. Moisture and warmth cause skin pores to open and allow entry to these chemicals. It is worthwhile to investigate chlorine-free and hypoallergenic diapers.
* Cloth diapers are washed in different detergents. These are possible allergens. If this type of allergy is responsible, it will likely result in a rash anywhere touched by the dampened cloth, so this is easy to test.
* Skin bacteria and yeast are not understood well by modern science. There is a definite interaction between intestinal flora and skin populations. Antibiotics for baby or breastfeeding mom are sometimes responsible for diaper rash.
* Dietary changes also cause changes in intestinal bacteria and presumably diaper rash. Instead of switching to formula in one day, try mixing formula and breast milk in increasing amounts over a week or more. If carrots will be introduced as baby food, a breastfeeding mom can eat carrots too and only provide them to baby in small but increasing amounts.

Treating Diaper Rash
Researchers estimate 25 percent of babies visit the doctor for diaper rash. These visits are largely unnecessary. The rash is rarely serious enough to warrant treatment and is easily treated with a couple of tactics. The first step is to allow the skin to dry and cool. A sheepskin sleeping blanket is easy to clean and waterproof, so diapers are unnecessary during sleeping hours. Zinc oxide, vitamin A and D enhanced ointments, and herbal preparations of witch hazel are all useful. 

If the diaper rash does not go away with treatment, or if you have questions and concerns prior to treating the rash, do not hesitate to call your doctor. Just like your OB doctor was a resource throughout pregnancy for guidance on topics such as immunizations, cord blood banking, and circumcision your baby’s Pediatrician will guide you in these sorts of situations.

The most important factors influencing propensity to diaper rash are nutrition and hygiene. Staying clean and gradually changing the diet will prevent most occurrences. If a rash fails to clear with the
suggested treatment, it is time to visit the doctor. Keeping baby healthy is the best way to reduce mom's and baby’s stress.

Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.