Monday, January 7, 2013

Blessed and Sending Blessings

Photo by Judson Hanna
Occasionally in life you get a glimpse that everything is alright. That life is unfolding as it should. That things are falling into place more beautifully than one could dream. That lessons are being learned at the crucial moment where they will help reach the next level. That people that are meant to be in your life are in your life. That others have taught you what you needed to grow. That those you love can see and love the person you are at your core. That the world is good.
Today is one of those days.

So thankful for all the people that have touched my life. So thankful for every person that reads anything I have to say. So thankful for my fabulous, generous, loving family and friends, especially my dear sister, Allie. So thankful for this journey I am on and for this life I lead.

Feeling BLESSED AND SENDING BLESSINGS to you all, today and always.

xo, Olivia

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Will Be Your Best Year Yet

Don't you just love New Years? You get to start all over. Everybody gets a second chance. -Forrest Gump script 

It is 2013. How are you going to make this your best year yet? How are you going to use your second chance to live the life of your dreams? I think the best place to start is to evaluate how you feel about your life. I started by evaluating where I was last year, where I am today, and then meditating on what the future could hold.
In 2012 I resolved to:
BE HAPPY, LOVE FULLY, LET GO OF FEAR, GIVE BACK, MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE (Under the "make my dreams come true" section I included such things as book 6 national commercials, shoot for Victoria's Secret, get a commercial agent, get a theatrical agent, book awesome stuff.)

Did I accomplish every resolution I set out for myself? Not necessarily. Did I make all my dreams come true? No, I do not yet model for Victoria's Secret nor have I booked 6 national commercials...But I did reach for my dreams in a way I never knew possible and I accomplished things I never dreamed possible.
Miss Beverly Hills headshot for Miss CA USA

In 2012 I:
Got a commercial agent
Was booked on an all expense paid trip to Tokyo
Bought my very own house (didn't see that one coming)
Got a theatrical agent
Got a manager
Hired an entertainment lawyer
Broke my first entertainment contract legally 
Got a NEW modeling agency that I LOVE!!!
Left an acting studio I felt ok about
Found an acting studio I know has the power to help me transform and launch my career
Shot for Sketchers, Splendid, Ella Moss, BCBG, Marshall's, Zappos and more amazing companies
Shot with incredibly talented photographers 
Won the title of Miss Beverly Hills USA (also didn't see that one coming)
Helped Children of the Night raise over $20,000 in speaking on their cause

I am proud and blessed by my accomplishments of last year. The outcome I feel was greater in many ways than what I had set out to do. This year I am reframing my resolutions to where it is not about the outcome of my goals. I do not have to make my dreams come true today. I just have to CONTINUE TO DREAM. I am okay with being a work in progress. I am okay with being wrong sometimes, and taking those opportunities to LEARN AND GROW. I am okay with knowing that the road to life is long and winding and my vision of the ultimate goal now may not be the same vision I have 10 years from now or even one year from now. I didn't know that I would buy a house in 2012 and I didn't know that I would ever compete in pageants, yet the timing was right and in this past year those two experiences shaped my year more than accomplishing any other goal or commitment I set forward to do. 

With the Miss California USA pageant just around the corner, I know what I would resolve to do on last year's list, but this year I'm looking at the bigger picture. The final outcome of most situations is out of our hands- whether we book national commercials this year, shoot for Victoria's Secret, get our dream position at our dream job, win the lottery, win the title of Miss USA, etc... What is in our control is how we approach our life. We do not have to wait to accomplish our goals to live the life of our dreams. Why do I want to be Miss California? Because I think it would give me an opportunity to make a difference, to give me visibility in the community to spread the message of Children of the Night, to be a role model for young people to follow their dreams, to have a presence in the community to boost my own career and relationships in the entertainment field (in order to serve in all the aforementioned areas). Therefore, my 2013 resolution is to live as Miss California, whether I take home the title next weekend or not, I can choose to live as Miss California and embody all of the qualities that I attribute to being that title holder. I am NOT saying I do not want to win...I am just saying that in 2013 I have decided nothing can stop me from living the way I choose. Each time I walk into a room this year I will carry myself as the successful model, actress and title holder I aspire to be. I will LIVE CONFIDENTLY. And in 2013, I will have my BEST YEAR YET! I wish the same for you all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

YOU could be the next President

Your Playing Small does not Serve the World
Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually who are you not to be?
You are a child of God

Your playing small does not serve the world
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone
And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give
other people the right to do the same
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence
automatically liberates others.

I wanted to share this with you all because it is these exact words that turned my world upside down. I am not the only one to think they are powerful because Nelson Mandela used the first part of this in his inauguration speech. The first time I read this poem, I cried. The first two lines put into words exactly how I had felt most of my life- "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure". Fear so often is the source that has held me back from chasing my dreams. When I made the move to LA to pursue acting, I let go of that fear. I still battle it each day and have to remember to keep it in check. But, I finally let go of the concept that these big hollywood "celebrities" were better than me, that what they did for a living was more noble than anything I could ever do. In spending more time in this business I have found that "celebrities" are just like me. I am equally capable of the great feats they have accomplished. They have put in the work, they have made the connections but they are not inherently better than I. We are all uniquely gifted and capable of anything we set our minds to. Literally, anything you can create in your mind, you can create in your world. If you want to be a billionaire, the next President or the next Angelina Jolie. You already have the heart for it and once you cultivate the desire, you will make it happen.

I encourage you today to face your fears, to realize your own potential, to dream bigger. You are worth the effort. "We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us", we are born to spread our inner light, our inner love. A world filled with love, for ourselves, for others and for the possibilities of humanity leaves no room for fear. DREAM BIG, LIVE BIGGER.

If I had lived in fear and continued to shrink at the opportunity to succeed, no one would have given me a crown ;) Now its your turn to shine!

Friday, October 19, 2012

How one "BOOM" changed everything

As "Here Comes the Boom" has reached the number 5 spot in box office hits I can't help but be grateful and a bit shocked at how this one movie changed my life. May of 2011 I was preparing to graduate with a Health Science degree from Boston University. I was working as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer and had big plans of moving to the west coast to further study fitness and build my fitness empire. Then I got an email from a local photographer that said they are casting model types for a feature film starring Kevin James and Selma Hayek and that he could get me into the casting. I thought it seemed like a good opportunity. He asked me to send my headshot and resume. My resume was full of my health science education and fitness background and my head-shots were in black and white from the waist up (for the actors that are reading this feel free to cringe at the thought of me walking into an audition armed with THAT). 

I walked into a room full of beautiful girls, but only felt moderately nervous when they called my name. When you walk into an audition for a featured role with nothing to lose, carrying no pressure from the acting classes I had never taken, knowing my life would continue as usual if I did not get the part, the pressure is minimal. I walked into what was my first impression of what an acting audition was. There were six men seated at a table at the back of a large room (thankfully I didn't know at the time that those men were the big time Hollywood producers of the movie). A man working the video camera asked me to slate. I didn't know what that was so I made it up. It went something like "I am Olivia, I'm 5'11'', a photographer guy told me to come to this audition. I am a student at Boston University and I am into fitness although I don't know that much about MMA, but I could totally by a ring girl because I have taken a few boxing classes". Luckily, this crew found that speech endearing instead of unprofessional and apparently one of the producers had a daughter that was going to BU in the fall so I offered some advice on wearing layers in the cold temperatures and joining the social groups on campus. I left the room shaking each of their hands and thanking them for their time. Since I was naive to how an audition should go, I left thinking I had a shot and hoped that it would work out because it would be fun to work on a feature film.

Against all odds, I got a call about a week later. There would be a fitting and then three days of shooting, they assured me I would get a SAG voucher for each day (I didn't know what that meant). Finals were coming up and I knew I couldn't afford to miss my last few classes, but, I decided to embrace seniorititis and take the risk for the unique life experience. It was certainly an experience. I got to be on set of a major motion picture. I saw the amazing work and extremely long hours that went into film production. I got to shake the hands of the stars and get advice from a very kind and gracious Henry Winkler (The Fonz). I felt like I was pinching myself each day. The other ring girls were less thrilled, they complained on the long hours and the long breaks. I was enthralled by the whole process. As I sat there each day with a front row seat watching this amazing creation come together, I realized my life passion was not just fitness--My passion was in entertainment! I had just always been too scared to pursue it. This featured role was my introduction. It ignited a fire in me that I had not previously even known existed.  My plans for moving to California immediately altered from "build a fitness empire" to "be a leading lady". 

Armed with nothing but a SAG card and that fire in my heart, I did make that move. The last 17 months of my life have been a roller coaster of lessons. One hugely important lesson is getting cast as a leading lady is quite different than getting cast as a local hire featured background. Do not for one second think that I have skated easily through this town armed only with a cute face and charming personality. I have taken classes in technique, scene study, improv, audition technique, commercial audition technique, voice and movement, self-realization,  and character analysis. I have busted my butt with a personal trainer- thats right, the personal trainer become the trainee! I have dyed my hair to get the part and then spent months dying it back to get the next role. I have felt the heartache of rejection more times than I can count. I have been laughed at. I have been yelled at. I have been told more than once to "go back to middle America" and "you will never be a star". I have gotten the call back, been put on hold and never gotten the job. I have gotten the job and been downgraded on set. I have worked the job and never gotten paid. It has not been easy every day. But that fire is still burning strong and I want to one day prove to all the naysayers that I can do it, that I did find my life path that week on "Here Comes the Boom", that all the work that I have put in and will continue to put in will pay off in a huge way. Mostly, I want to prove to myself that I can do it, that I can reach this goal and live the life that I spent a lifetime dreaming about.

If you see "Here Comes the Boom" feel free to think of me and how with one little stroke of luck my whole outlook on life was altered. That one casting convinced me to chase my dreams. So thank you to the director and producers: Frank Coraci, Mary P. Ewing, Gino Falsetto, Kevin James and Todd Garner. Thank you for giving me the chance to work on this amazing production. Thank you for inadvertently encouraging me to follow my wildest dreams. And although I know the ring girl scenes were cut from the film. I am far more grateful for the experience and the encouragement to chase the leading roles that I now get to audition for. 

May you all discover and pursue your passions to the fullest each day. And may all of your wildest dreams become the happiest of realities!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Here is to happy drinking!

If you read my blog, you know my dedication to hydration. I truly believe that getting hydrated (for those that aren't) will change your life. If you want energy, drink more water. If you want a flat stomach, drink more water. If you want clear skin, drink water! It seems so simple but so many people under-hydrate or dehydrate. Aim for half of your body weight in consumed ounces (64 ounces/8 glasses for 128 pound people).  If you are a caffeine or alcohol drinker, you need to be drinking twice as much water as caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. And if you work out, drink an extra glass for every hour of sweat session you partake in.

If you have spent any time with me, you know my dedication to carrying a water bottle with me at all times. In high school, I went with the gallon jug. I trucked it around like a badge of honor of my hydrated body. But there is something about a gallon jug that screams impracticality while driving to auditions and going to the movies with friends. I then transfered to genius bottle with a straw attached. I made my way through college with my "sippy cup" as my friends so affectionately nicknamed it. Alas, it spilled and leaked all over me, my purse and my car too many times to rationalize its continued use, SO I have moved on to my new water bottle go to- the ECO bottle!

I can feel good knowing that the bottle stays locked, tight and sealed in my purse or rolling around in my car. The dual lid makes it possible to add ice or lemon wedges to the bottle and have access to clean it thoroughly at the end of the day. And the small lid can be used when drinking out of the bottle through the day with a lessened risk of dumping half a bottle on to what will surely be your most sheer white t-shirt.

Be Eco friendly. Don't waste precious resources or your precious cash on plastic bottles. Buy a refillable bottle and stay hydrated! Here is to happy drinking!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Best 'Get Skinny' Tips

1. Be realistic. Base your "skinny" on how you feel at a certain weight, how clothes fit you and how much energy you have. NOT on how skinny your friends, coworkers, prepubescent teens or Kate Moss look this month.

2. Self LOVE. Realize that if your skinny jeans don't zip this week that doesn't make you bad or wrong. It is an off week for your jeans and don't stress because Lululemon pants are more comfortable anyway. Also, it is perfectly normal for weight to fluctuate a few pounds during each day and throughout the month (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A WOMAN). So go easy on YOU and know that you will get back to the basics of your eating and workout plan and those extra five pounds will fall off naturally. Never weigh yourself more than once a week (and only weigh yourself that often if you are actively losing weight). The scale is not the best indication of how you look and feel. You can turn five pounds of fat into muscle without the scale budging, but the way your clothes fit and HOW YOU FEEL will be the best indicators of that change.
Give yourself a self-hug. Look in the mirror and say you are sexy. Then find a figure flattering outfit that allows you to relax your tummy for today.

3. HYDRATE. I cannot reiterate this point enough. People that are skinny drink excessive amounts of water. When you are hydrated you digest food more completely, have more energy and stay full longer. Go for half of your body weight in ounces- if you weigh 140 lbs drink 70 ounces a day minimum! Bring a refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go so you will remember to stay hydrated (I'll allow you to skip black tie affairs with your bottle but thats it!) If you are a soda drinker (even diet soda), you will be amazed at how your body responds to drinking water instead and you will lose weight and feel better from making that one change in your diet. I recently gave up diet soda. I have gone two weeks without drinking any soda and had a sip of one yesterday and realized I have already lost my taste for it. I now prefer water with my popcorn snack. It was hard to forgo soda the first week, but stick to it and you will notice a huge difference in your energy and your belly bloat!

4. Slow down on the alcohol. I am a huge believer in having fun, but as I have grown older I realize that fun and alcohol are not synonymous.  When you are having several drinks a night it seems like everyone else is doing the same, but slow your roll and you will realize many people nurse the same drink all night, or separate their alcoholic drinks with an in-between water (YAY for hydrators). If you go out for long nights dancing, set a pace before you hit the dance floor. "I will have no more than 3 drinks today." That way you won't be tempted to keep throwing them back and losing track over the night. You also will likely cut out shots from your routine, which is a good way to stay in check of how much each drink is affecting you. By setting limits you will enjoy your night more, cut the crazy calorie intake of alcoholic drinks and have energy the next morning for a workout.

5. Snack Smart. I keep an apple, almonds and Skinny Bits in my purse. While running errands or working you often forget to eat when you get hungry. Having lean protein and fiber on hand is a great way to resist starving your body and craving the drive-in for a quick fix by the end of the day. When you drink water and snack on healthy snacks, you avoid wild blood sugar dips and will not be craving cupcakes or french fries by 4 pm. Starving yourself is never an effective way to lose weight. Keep your body feeling nicely satisfied all day and you will keep your metabolism moving and avoid the need to binge until you are stuffed.

Child-size, mini and sample are the best sizes :)
6. Avoid saying "I CAN'T". This tip is true for every aspect of your life. Even The Little Engine that Could taught us "I think I can", never I can't. So when you are on the path to a healthier life and someone offers you a slice of birthday cake please don't respond "I can't". It sets up a complex in your mind that there are things that are not allowed or forbidden. Just as we all learned as pre-teens, when something is not allowed it becomes more appealing. Change your language. It is never that you can't eat at that restaurant or that you can't order french fries or your fourth glass of wine or a shot of tequila, it is just that you "won't". You can do anything you want. Food has no power over you. So when a food comes up that you know will tip the scale or make you feel sluggish for the rest of the day just say "no thanks" and know in your head that you could have that cake, but you won't because you are focused on feeling your very best!
My friend, Kira, just taught me the genius trick of mentally telling yourself, "I can have it later" when it comes to dessert. This works phenomally for me because I am a sweets junky. So at the end of the meal when the waiter offers the dessert menu, I decline with the inner thought that if I am still hungry in an hour I can go get frozen yogurt. An hour later, I have digested more of my dinner and no longer am craving the sugar rush. If I still have my sweet tooth, I will make decaf green tea with a drop of honey knowing "I can always have dessert if I still want it later." Allow yourself to have something if you continue to want it, just don't over indulge. I believe everything is allowed in a healthy diet. Just use good judgement and smart portion sizes for high-fat and calorie dense foods.

(For more tips, see 5 things you can start doing today!)

It is so empowering to put yourself in charge of your health instead of following rigid rules and "I can't" philosophies. Your body is an amazing machine and when you feed and hydrate it well you will start to appreciate just how much your body loves being healthy. I hope that you can stay motivated and happy on your path to overall fitness. But, most importantly, LOVE YOURSELF for all that you are. I used to hate my thighs, I have to actively practice saying "I love you thighs," "You are strong, long and lean." I have come to realize that my legs are my best asset and even a possible source of my income, hello body parts modeling.  It may seem silly at first to use positive affirmations on what you have previously viewed as a body flaw, but trust me, you can change anything when you send it infinite amounts of positive energy. The more you love you, the more your body will respond to getting in the best shape of your life.

Health and happiness,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting back to health one bit at a time

It's been a long hot summer. As it is coming to an end I'm starting to see the results of my newfound summer routine-- traveling, eating, spending time at the beach and going to a few too many margarita happy hours. What is a girl to do when the long summer days get shorter and the promise of fall fashion weeks and pilot auditions are on the horizon?
It's time to get back to health! I am an Everything Fit girl through and through, but I also have an insatiable sweet tooth and a jam-packed schedule. When the summer temperatures hit their peak, I found myself abandoning my running schedule and finding more room in my diet for french fries. It happens, and you know what, it's okay to fall off the fitness wagon as long as you get motivated to get back up again!

I needed a little extra motivation since energy had plummeted as my gym schedule and eating habits had become lax. When you interrupt a steady gym routine it can be hard to remember how you used to get out of bed an hour earlier just to run around and lift weights.

I found my extra kick through my friend, Chrissy, recommending Bits of Health. They have algae tabs (mint-sized algae supplements) to help a variety of needs. For me, Recovery bits prevent an all-day slump after a morning workout and Skinny bits provide a high boost of complete protein pre-workout and between meals. They are one calorie a piece and are all natural (no cafffeine, sugar, or chemicals). I am always skeptical to try new fitness trends (pills especially) but it turns out algae is food. So it felt more like adding a wheatgrass shot to my day (and tasted similar) rather than popping a chemical compound. They have been a great way for me to protein up and power through my day. As I combed my favorite magazines, Shape and Women's Health, hoping to be inspired by the toned bodies of the models or the never ending list of ways to "Shrink your belly". The six pack abs were helpful to reminding me to buckle down, but I also found more evidence that algae is the new way to get in extra protein! According to the July/August issue of Women's Health "Spirulina, a blue-green algae, is a surprisingly good source of protein with all eight essential amino acids and up to six times the iron content of red meat. Research has all shown that it may help your immune system fight off infections." Skinny bits are 100% pure spirulina algae, so I feel good knowing a can chew or swallow these little bits to help keep me healthy.

I dislike "diets". I don't believe in self-deprivation or starvation. "Bits of Health" and I share the same philosophy: It is not about what you take away from your diet, it's about what you add to your health regimen. If you need to get back to your health, focus on the things that you can do more of: increase your water, protein, vegetables, fruit, and your vitamin intake and put in more hours at the gym. When you do start adding these things to your life, you will have less room in your tummy for a midday french fry snack and less late night cravings for cupcakes and ice-cream. When you focus on what you shouldn't be having, it's all you can think about! You feel deprived and let down and increase your risk of failure in your new healthy lifestyle.

Getting back to your fitness goals can be a challenge. I recommend going after it one bit at a time. Find what motivates you. Get excited about it. Practice it. Stick to it. And get back to your health!