The Samson Effect

Since I can remember, my hair has defined me. I’ve only cut it short three times in my life. Today was número tres. By short, I mean a bob or somewhere around my shoulders, but never shorter. My long hair has always been my prize. It’s defined who I am and how people describe me. The crazy thing is, I’m not alone. Many women I’ve spoken to in the past have mentioned their desire to have long hair or their fear to lose it. I’ve always been afraid of having a bad haircut. Maybe it’s a control thing. It’s certainly not logical at all. It’s what I have always called my strength, like the story of Samson in the bible.

FullSizeRender 7The first time I ever had a drastic haircut was at the age of six or seven, according to my mom. I can’t say that I know exactly why I decided to chop off my long hair or if my mom had convinced me to do so, but I remember how it made me feel. That night, after hours of crying, my mom found me in front of the mirror, still awake and still crying. “Why did you do this to yourself. Why! Why!” I remember the words perfectly as I smacked the bottom of my bob, both left and right. I felt ‘less than’ and not pretty and definitely, not my idea of what beautiful should be. I don’t know who or what told me that. All I know is that I felt this horrible feeling and so, that became what short hair felt like and I didn’t want to feel that way again.

The second time I had short hair was in high school. It was tenth grade and I was getting ready to attend my first homecoming dance. Now that I think about it, it’s funny, but I decided to go to the worst possible place to get my hair done. EVER. No, it wasn’t a barber shop or some lady’s house, it was my grandmother’s hair lady. This should have been my first clue. I remember sitting in the chair and telling her how excited I was about dressing up in 40s glam for my first ever homecoming dance. Suddenly, in the midst of chatting, I felt her section the crown of my hair and comb it high above my head. Snip! Snip! That was the start of a horrible experience. I hoped and prayed that somehow she’d make it look okay, but I knew better. The hair that went down to my bellybutton was now a hot mess and I had a party to go to. Thankfully, mom and I went to work and disguised the mess that night by curling the horrible layers, but the next day was another story. Ever since that day, I’ve been scared and nervous whenever a hairstylist first takes his or her scissors to my hair. If I don’t trust them, that feeling comes back, strong as ever.

IMG_0022Today was my third day. Now, this wasn’t a decision I spent months or weeks working on. I knew I wanted something different, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I liked the lob haircut (long in the front, short in the back), but… no way! Too short for me! Then, I called my hairstylist and decided to just talk to him about it and come up with something different together. It had been years since I did anything other than the same boring layers and the same boring color. I wanted some color and new style, but most importantly, I wanted a change.

My stylist sat down to discuss my options for the lob haircut  and I agreed that I wanted the longest part to end up mid-breast and that we’d go conservative in the back. Although I’ve been going to him for three years now, the feeling came back. I was sweating, indecisive, and increasingly nervous with every move he made with the scissors. Then, I saw it and ran my fingers through my hair. It was short. Perhaps shorter than I anticipated, but I was okay. That ‘feeling’ had subsided.

IMG_0036Soon, my dear friend Darlene came by with her boyfriend to pick up some things and I saw that she was surprised, but loved the new look. Minutes later, another dear friend, Sharon, showed up for her appointment. She was surprised, but raved about it too. Of course they were surprised! No one had seen me with anything shorter than very long hair and here I was taking a ton of inches off– in one sitting. So, while she did her roots and I finished my color, we sipped wine and got caught up with life and work. It was great, but now, I couldn’t run my fingers through my hair. In the back of my mind, that little feeling was creeping back. Ever so slightly.

Now, I know I sound like a crazy person. I mean, c’mon! It’s just hair. After my stylist was all done with color, he tried something different for the finished look based on the pictures I showed him. It was a curly, mousse and diffuser version of my locks, something I don’t ever do. I loved it. I really did, but the locks looked shorter and that fed the little feeling inside me, growing stronger.

On the car ride home, I called my boyfriend. He could hear it in my voice and soon he said, “Baby, it’s hair. It’ll grow back and I’m sure you look beautiful no matter what.” I wish that had been enough, but I raced home and did a quick blow dry just to calm my nerves.

Why did my hair make me feel like this?

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Simple. I’ve always hidden behind my long hair. It’s been what I drape over my shoulders if I’m uncomfortable with the way I look, what I’ve always known to be desirable by the opposite sex, and what I’ve allowed to identify me. But, man, I’m so much more than that.

I’ve always heard of women changing their hair after a breakup or divorce, college rebellion, or motherhood, but I’m as stable as ever in my personal life. Maybe, just maybe, being good and happy and confident in my own skin as I get older is the reason for this. Maybe, what people think or don’t think matters less now than it ever did.

April 5, 2016

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I was listening to the SoulFeed podcast on iTunes about two weeks ago and came across this quote during one of their conversations. It spoke to me because I realized that every time I say I’m not ready yet, what I’m really saying to that challenge before me is “I’m scared and you intimidate me.” By starting before you think your ready, you learn along the way, leaning into the discomfort of the unknown. Life happens every second we are alive and if we spend our time waiting in fear, we’ll never do the great things we want to achieve. Mostly importantly, if the opportunity passes, we’ll always wonder why we didn’t take that chance. Have you ever done something before you think you’re ready? What did you learn? How did you grow?

A Sunday in Santa Barbara

Today I had the loveliest day in Santa Barbara. It’s been a place I’ve been meaning to go to, but just couldn’t seem to find the right time for a visit. We tried going for my birthday this year and Valentine’s Day, but it just wasn’t happening. Then, this past week, my boyfriend Craig and I got the awesome news that his friend Will had just gotten engaged to his girlfriend Gia in Big Sur (Yes, another place I’ve been meaning to visit). A few days later, they invited us to join them in Santa Barbara as they narrowed down a location for their wedding in November 2016. Finally, it was happening! We quickly said yes and got up early this morning for the hour and a half drive.

SOLVANG, CALIFORNIA

Our morning breakfast was at a little diner in the quaint town of Solvang, also known as the Danish capital of America. It felt as if we had left California and were somehow transported to a tiny town in Europe where men walk around in kilts and folks meander like tourists at a theme park. Founded in 1911, the town keeps its authentic roots, from the unique architecture of restaurants and stores to a replica of the Copenhagen statue of The Little Mermaid.

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After a few mimosas and a hearty all-american breakfast, we left our Danish time travels to find a venue for the bride and groom.

WHISPERING ROSE RANCH

whisperingroseranchwedding.com

From the moment we drove up to the venue, we knew this place was really special.

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Sycamore Lane, pictured above, is full mature trees that create an impressive entrance into the property. Many brides have chosen to have their dinner reception here, adorning the street with long table and elegant lanterns, giving this area a magical feel.

Our tour continued on to the groom and bride’s quarters beside Monty Roberts’ stunning home overlooking the valley below.  Monty, the owner, is a famous American horse trainer and author who developed a world-renowned equine training technique called Join-Up using non-verbal language. Yes, he’s a horse whisperer and was once a Hollywood stunt double for Elizabeth Taylor among others. Today, he just happened to be in England at Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth’s request.

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Of course, before leaving, I had to meet the horses on property for a quick selfie.

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I gotta say, this horse’s selfie skills are on point and I look slightly terrified. He was a bit of a biter and wanted all the attention to himself. So Hollywood…

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From here we found ourselves in the coolest bar we didn’t know we loved.

MAVERICK SALOON

http://www.mavericksaloon.org

This is a legendary bar with one of the most impressive collection of George Washingtons. Recommend to us by the tour at Whispering Rose Ranch as the best after-party wedding spot, the saloon serves as the only real bar in town. We walked in during a slow Sunday afternoon to the near empty bar, but that was not the case the night before. Our bartender shared with us that four separate wedding parties had all crashed the bar. Weekends at Maverick are nothing short of fun and we’re looking forward to partying at this place later this year.

*Note: When you go, make sure to leave a dollar bill tacked to the ceiling. The bartender has the tacks and markers. It’s a must!

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After a cold Corona, we made our way to Los Olivos for some wine tasting.

SAARLOOS AND SONS TASTING ROOM

http://saarloosandsons.com/

This little place has two of my favorite things ever: wine and cupcakes! For $10 you get six different mini cupcakes and pay for the wine separately. We had a blast trying out the different wines and cupcakes as I searched like a mad woman on Pinterest for table centerpiece inspirations, unconventional dessert options, dresses, colors… AHHH!!! Planning a wedding takes a lot of time, work, and decision-making skills. So glad we had sugar and vino to calm me down.

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Oh, and these wine glass holders built into the deck chairs are perfection!

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SANTA BARBARA MARINA

Our day ended with a trip over to the Marina, where we finished our trip with a quick dinner by the Maritime Museum. The view was nothing short of spectacular.

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I can’t wait to go back and explore this amazing California gem! Thanks so much to Will and Gia for taking us along for the ride. It was a really good day.

 

 

Moving In LA

Hey guys!

It’s been a while, but I’m back. I’m currently on location in Clearwater Beach, Florida filming the sequel to Dolphin Tale and loving every minute of it!

(This is the view from my hotel)

But, that’s not why I’m writing this blog! I’m writing to talk about moving. That’s right! Moving. I’ve learned a few things over the past couple of days that I think will help you guys out. When I first moved to the West Coast, I came to visit for a whole week before locking down a place. Then, I flew back to pack and drove across the country.

This time it’ll be a bit different. I’m here for work until the new year and flying back to find a place won’t be possible. I have a feeling a lot of actors go through this so I thought I’d have you learn from my hits and misses. Here are some things you can do from another state to help your search for that perfect place!

1. Figure Out Your Budget and Stick To It

When I first started looking for places, I was convinced that I was gonna be able to get a super cheap and cute place in a safe area I knew and felt comfortable with. Then, when I couldn’t find a single place in the area I was looking for, my price range went up and so did the areas where I was looking to rent. Turns out that in LA a good area can be really close to a bad area. You also don’t want to get stuck in a part of town where traffic is always horrible or live so far that getting anywhere takes forever. So finding that perfect gem becomes a little bit harder to afford if you, like me, don’t want to live in Shanty Town.

The problem with finding a place that’s a hundred or two over budget is simple: unless you are living in a rent controlled building, you’ll be having to move within a year or two. If you have to furnish the place like me, it ends up being even more important. Having a good savings cushion in California (and anywhere) is important. You don’t want to spend it all on helping you cover your month’s expenses because you got a pricey little place.

2. Westside Rentals Is Awesome, But It’s Not The End All Be All

When I first moved everyone said, “You have to do Westside Rentals. It’s a must.” Well, it’s not. Sure, it’s great and there are some amazing properties, but you can also try craigslist and other sites. Lots of people post their places everyday, look for roommates, and sublease apartments and you can find dozens of new listings every day. There are people that never even list their places! Some just post a sign in the front yard and that’s it. Which if you aren’t there like me, it brings me to another point…

3. Your Friends Can Be Your Eyes And Ears In LA

That’s right! If you have any friends or social networking groups that are local to the areas you are looking to move to ask them for help. I know I’d always find for rent signs driving around The Valley and Hollywood. There are also many places that aren’t even listed because friends of tenants find out and get to them first. You can be one of those people! Make sure that you check the places your friends find and once you’ve narrowed ALL of your choices or if you hear of a place that’s too good to pass up, ask a friend to take you on a virtual tour. You can Skype, Tango, or FaceTime around the property and surrounding areas and get a friend’s perspective or advise in the process!

4. Don’t Stress

Believe me, this is a hard one for me not to do. There’s only so much you can do from far away. Another option I’ve found helpful is to research places and then wait until you are in town to take those tours and drive around yourself. If you’ve got awesome buddies with a couch or can afford an extended stay hotel, then you can wait to make a decision ’til then.

Tip from my buddy: “If you find a place you love, drive around during rush hour traffic and then in the middle of the night. Check out the surrounding areas to get a feel of the place… what works for me may not work for you.” 

UPDATE: I did find an amazing place in Studio City thanks to my wonderful friend Emma who used FaceTime to show me around the property. I negotiated the priced down $25 a month and sent in the application using the DocuSign app on my phone!

Sundays at The Melrose Trading Post

Yesterday, I spent a wonderful afternoon of shopping at The Melrose Trading Post located in the parking lot of Fairfax High School (7850 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046). The entrance is only $2 and parking is free!photo (28)

Vendors set up their tents and are open for business from 9am-5pm. You’ll find everything from unique accessories and upcycled furniture to original artwork and vintage clothing. You can literally spend hours going through all the tents! Don’t be afraid to bargain with the vendors… sometimes you can score some amazing deals. I’ve bought vintage tops, designer wallets, original jewelry, and every time I go back I find another great and one of a kind find!

My find of the day was this cute infinity necklace from honeygemrocks! Find them on Etsy HERE.

photo (29)They had tons of awesome jewelry! Definitely a place to stop by and check out!

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If you get hungry while you’re shopping, head over to the food court! You’ll find all sorts of yummy treats that satisfy even the healthiest appetites. They had coffee stands, crepes, sandwiches to name a few…. but of course I couldn’t help myself… Cool Haus was just calling my name. I had red velvet ice cream wedged between chocolate chip cookies. And I ate the wrapper. It’s made out of edible paper ;~)

There are also plenty of places to sit around and live entertainment every Sunday. 

Every time I’ve been to the Post has been great and it’s probably one of those things I’ll always try to find time to do. If you’re looking for some inexpensive fun on a Sunday morning, this place is for you. But one last tip: Bring CA$H. If you do find something you love, it’s a great way to negotiate a deal.

Follow Them at:

http://pinterest.com/melrosetrdgpost/

https://twitter.com/MelroseTrdgPost

https://www.facebook.com/MelroseTradingPost

Waze App: One of the Best Ways to Get Around Town

405Let’s face it. LA traffic sucks. Most commuters spend hours a week trying to get from point A to point B and the process can be beyond frustrating. I’ve found a great app called Waze which uses a community operated system where drivers alert each other on traffic conditions, hazards, and even police up ahead. Once you open the app on your smart phone, it begins to track the speed at which your car is moving along with those around you to calculate your trip. The cool thing about Waze is that it’ll give you the fastest route every time and alert you if your trip is delayed due to traffic conditions. It even changes your route for you if it’ll save you time. For example, for those of you who hate the never-ending construction mess on the 405 or can’t stand being trapped in a 110 mess, look for the routes icon to navigate freeway free, but be aware that sometimes taking side streets might be worse.

TIP: for those of you new to Los Angeles, using it often can teach you all sorts of new routes known only to locals. :~D

There are other features which allow you to connect with your facebook contacts and see if any other Waze users are in your area. Frankly, I don’t want people to know where I am at all times (too Big Brother for me), but if you like it and find it useful, then comment below :~) You can also gain points when you report conditions, but again, I don’t use those features.

This little app has saved me more than once getting from one audition to another… I highly recommend it. Best of all… It’s Free!

Find out more or download the app here: WAZE

The DMV

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Yesterday I finally got my California license plates after four trips to the DMV! I never thought it was going to be so difficult and I’m sure my experience might differ from someone else, but here are some things that might help you speed things along.

TRIP#1

I brought my car from Florida (where smog checks aren’t required) so I had no clue that my car needed to pass a smog test in order to get my California tags and registration. I saw car repair shops all over LA that said smog test, but I never even bothered to check if I needed one. FIRST FAIL.

I arrived with an appointment ( you can get one here: DMV Appointments) to take my written test for my driver’s license and get my tags and registration and was helped by the front desk person who looked through my paperwork and gave me a number. She never checked for my smog paperwork so after I took the written test, I sat there for another hour or two before I was told I needed one by another person.

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TRIP#2

After I left the DMV, I stopped by an auto repair shop to get my smog certification and return to get everything finalized. Well, what’d ya know? My car failed! The diagnosis would’ve taken a full day which I didn’t have. So, I was back to the DMV to get a temporary permit without an appointment. I was there forever!

I went to get the diagnosis which revealed a $600 repair and after driving it for a week, had to get a second smog test for another $50. Finally, the car was ready…

TRIP #3

Two weeks later, I walked in to the DMV early in the morning for a 3rd time and went Read More

Acting Programs

Choosing an acting class in Los Angeles can be a bit tricky if you don’t know where to start. You’ll often meet actors who’ve gone from acting class to acting class, those who are forever auditing classes, and then the are actors like me who got lucky and have found a home where they study. It is important to find a place you love.  Taking classes is an important step in continuing to further your art and will enable you to also begin the process of networking.

There are all kinds of techniques and methods and formulas…  all of which you are most likely find here Los Angeles. Here are some schools for you to research:

The Ruskin School of Acting

Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theater

Ivana Chubbuck Acting Studio

Margie Haber Studio

Aaron Speiser Acting Studio

Anthony Meindl Actor Workshop

…and so on. Be sure to also check out Backstage.com for more on schools and acting coaches. Leave a comment and let me know who you love and where you decide to study!

<3,

Bets:~)

Welcome!

Hi there,

First of all, thank you so much for stopping by my blog. My name is Betsy Landín and I made the move to Los Angeles in March of 2011 to pursue an acting career at the epicenter of it all… Hollywood. This was my first time moving to a different state since my parents relocated to Orlando from Puerto Rico some twenty-plus years ago. It was scary, exciting, and frankly, the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Throughout these past five years, I’ve learned a lot along the way. What at first began as my desire to help others navigate through their LA journey has now become much more. I’m so excited to share my experiences, my adventures, those little things that make life awesome.

Happy reading and I can’t wait to hear what you think!

love and light,

Betsy Landín