January 1rst 2016. Stephanie and her dog Rocky met us at the Ventura Dog Beach. A place where in my near future I would be taking Jack on many adventures. But I didn’t know this then. All I knew is that I needed to heal. I was still very raw from losing my baby girl in September and even though I had hope I would make it through and eventually get my shit together, most days I felt like the odds were stacked against me.
I put one foot in front of the other, as they say, and woke up each day seeing it as an opportunity to find joy in spending time with the people I love and working on things I felt passionate about. Easy does it…
The year started off with a lot of pictures of Jack. He can’t help it. He looks good at every angle. He’s the ultimate emotional support dog, with his goofy grin and playful demeanor. I can’t tell you how many compliments this dude gets on a daily basis.
I joined the Film Fatales and wasn’t long after, that I hosted an event in my backyard. There were 30 female filmmakers there, including Lesli Linka Glatter who humbly acted like she was one of us. God, I love that woman. We talked about creating your own content and the successes of women who had created their own TV shows. That night, I made a commitment to myself to see Hey Day through, a series I had shot a pilot presentation for in 2015.
In March for my birthday, 13 of my closest girlfriends shared a house at the Sycamore Hot Springs and danced with a live band at the Madonna Inn. We even challenged a table of little girls to a dance off. They accepted then quickly ran away when they realized we were a bunch of drunk old ladies. Throughout the fun filled weekend, nobody really said it outright, but this team of ladies was like my rescue squad. The amount of support and love I felt that weekend healed my heart in a way that made me think everything was going to be okay. And that I didn’t have to be stuck anymore in this story of “sadness.” My friends are magical and completely bad ass. Crap, I’m crying now.
Off I went to New York to fill my cup with inspiration in the form of the New York Art Fair. There’s something about the city that restores my confidence and plants my feet firmly on the ground. I was going to be starting another episode of Pretty Little Liars soon and I wanted some new visual references to draw from. The smells and vibe of New York City, as well as the stranger at the bar who I happen to have a fun, meaningful conversation with, always make me feel like home. The City is the first place I lived on my own, where I found my independence and where I began to understand who I could become as an artist. I got exactly what I needed.
It was time for me to put my directing hat back on (just kidding I don’t wear a hat when I’m directing) and this time I was especially excited about the fact that there was a stunt in my opening sequence. Meg Foster told me that she appreciated my style of directing and that she was so happy to see a young woman in a leadership position on set. The cast and crew couldn’t have been more welcoming and it was a productive and incredibly enjoyable shoot. I was honored that I got to be a part of the last season on such a memorable show with such a great group of people. To add some icing to that delicious cake, a good friend of mine Sprague Grayden was in the episode. She brought me a Starbucks coffee with “Boss Lady” written on it. It was a pretty great moment. Thanks Sprague!
The day after we wrapped my episode of PLL, I took off to Tulum, Mexico. I wasn’t there two hours before I witness a circular rainbow. The rest of the trip went pretty much like that…. a vortex full of love. I made some new friends, the Kopacz sisters (5 of them), who are a FORCE, let me tell you… I’m so happy to know them and to have witnessed their bond as sisters. The last night, I choreographed a little dance routine for Anita, the birthday girl and we danced all night while we sweat off our repellent and the mosquitoes ate us all up! It was worth it, because we got it all on camera. Boom!
Jack and Minae fell in love.
The best part of the summer is when my brother Manaia and niece Magic came to visit from American Samoa. We did all the dorky family stuff like go to Universal Studios, have BBQ’s and hang and eat pizza. I wish they lived closer but they live in paradise so I wouldn’t want to take that away from them for selfish reasons. Guess that means I have to go to Manua soon to visit!
I went to Hawaii with my homies and I visited my 2nd family at GH for the annual Nurse’s Ball!
There was loss of life and new life this year. Three of my friends lost a parent. And I got to finally meet Bowie Banjo! It wasn’t difficult to predict this baby would be beautiful. But my goodness, he’s a cutie. And so sweet and chill. Love that kid.
While house hunting in Ojai, Jack may have picked up another girlfriend. Sorry Minae! He was just trying to get to know the people in the town. You’re still his LA girl.
I became a producer on a much needed documentary on female filmmakers and TV Directors by Cady McClain called Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct. It feels great to be a part of a community who is literally changing the face of the entertainment business one woman at a time. These women inspire me every day.
Oh and Hey Day got picked up by a production company! (More news on this later.)
After much deliberation, thought and faith, me, Jack and my anonymous partner (my man) made the big move out of LA and into Ojai valley. To say that Ojai is place of healing is an understatement. I’ve been drawn to this place for the last 15 years but it wasn’t until now that I was ready to make my move and call it home. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Venice Beach changed my life for the better. I learned how to surf, put some serious hang time in with the homies, but it was time to move on.
Two weeks before we moved in, I found out I was pregnant again. And although I no longer have the luxury of being naive, I can’t help but think the timing is just perfect. Despite all the politics and the horrendous election (I just can’t right now), this year has been such a blessing. Thank you for letting me share the good, the bad and the ugly with you.
Happy Holidays! Thank you all for your support and I wish you guys a wonderful New year!