For those of you who missed it, I now have purple hair. :) I’ve done purple several times before… but never quite this vibrant. I have friends of all ages who sport fun rainbow colors on top of their head with grace and style. However I still find myself passing by mirrors doing double takes, forgetting that I’m the color of a Grapico. It’s a very complimentary color to my skin tone (which tends to be on the red side). I’m sure most of you would agree that in the next 5-10 years (or even less) hair of any color and style will be the norm. It won’t be seen as a rebellious statement anymore, but rather a thing of beauty and as a personal identifier. I certainly didn’t do it to rock any boats… I just love color. I am actually pleasantly surprised at how many people genuinely like it, too. Big thanks to Shelby McDonald of Beauty Shock, who always makes me a more attractive person. ;)

Good news!! If you haven’t seen Bubble, or would like to see it again, it is joining the Film Festival Collective in March! That means that if you have XFINITY/Comcast, you can watch it ON YOUR TV AT HOME through On Demand. This was made possible because we screened Bubble at two Film Festival Collective qualifying fests – Indie Memphis and Indie Grits. Thank you for showing our work! Also, Seed&Spark just announced a partnership with iTunes which will lead to distribution options for S&S funded films (like Little Cabbage). The way in which we watch film and our access to independent work is changing at a rapid pace.

Little Cabbage got more exciting news: we are official selections of the Atlanta Film Festival and the Chattanooga Film Festival! Heart explosions. It’s pretty hard to get your films screened in any festival, so we grateful when we are granted the opportunity to show our work. We do not take it for granted.

I didn’t accomplish my goal of having a finished presentable draft of Electric Bleau by my birthday (Feb 17). However….it is going to be ready to pass on as of this Sunday, March 1st!!! I needed a little more time, and I’m glad I allowed myself to extend the deadline. I am trying to practice a little bit of patience, which is hard when the next steps of the process are so exciting.

I have a few things up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share. One is a collaboration that is coming to fruition (yay!) and the other is in story development (potentially my second feature). I’m doing exactly what I have always wanted to – juggling various projects in different stages of production. This is what I love, and I want to be doing it all the time…which requires balance, responsibility, determination, and grace.

I had a really wonderful birthday. I kept it on the quiet side, which is what my soul craved this year. I did get to see some dear friends in Birmingham one night that left me on a high for days. I feel loved in both cities. It’s nice to have two places to call home. James took me out on the town for birthday low-calorie adventures, included a vegan pop-up dinner at Sound Table that changed my LIFE. It was so amazing. If I had access to vegan food like that three meals a day, I could easily make the swap. Vero also took me thrift store shopping (I have so many awesome new things!) and made me a delicious veggie dinner. I am lucky. I haven’t gone vegetarian or anything, but I definitely don’t eat meat every day.

The coming weeks will be full of writing and polishing for me, while keeping some other projects in motion for the future. My freelance work is still coming in, and very rewarding. Grateful for everything I have – the people, the work, and the passion projects.

Birthday Tour de Chocolate w Vero & Clint!

Birthday Tour de Chocolate w Vero & Clint!

Jump Zone with my brother Dave, Amber, Lauren & The Bean.

Jump Zone with my brother Dave, Amber, Lauren & The Bean.

Purple hair. :D

Purple hair. :D

Birthday wish: Jeni's Ice Cream for dinner.

Birthday wish: Jeni’s Ice Cream for dinner.

The Abi-do!

The Abi-do!

Atlanta filmmaker friends.

Atlanta filmmaker friends.

It’s birthday month!!! We are officially t-minus 4 days until I turn 36. There is even the small possibility of snow in Atlanta!

I set a goal for myself about a week ago that I would finish a presentable version of my feature script Electric Bleau by my birthday, and while it’s gonna be tight, I think I will make it. On that day, I want to pass off a printed version to James…the first person ever to set eyes on the full story. There will still be work to do after that point with revisions and rewrites, but in my mind that’s entering a whole new phase of the process. My second big goal is to read James’ notes and make the appropriate updates by the end of February/early March. At that time I want to pass it off to 2-3 other people for additional notes. The ultimate foreseeable goal is to have an accurate picture in March of when we might be able to film it. I am hopeful about the timeline at this point.

Starting this Monday we will have some exciting news regarding Little Cabbage! We will have two festivals to announce next week, then another at the beginning of March. This week we completed the official LC website, many thanks to James. We are so excited to start enjoying the festival circuit and savoring the satisfaction of audiences watching our film.

James and I are still on the calorie counting boat, doing really well. Some days are harder than others, but overall time is going by pretty quick. I may have said this before, but I never did an official weigh-in to start off with…only measurements. James is going to do his first weigh-in this Saturday (tomorrow) and I think I will wait until March. We are officially having the occasional adult beverage. We have also started incorporating moderate exercise. Results are starting to show! James and I have started a new funny habit of watching Survivor in our down time. They too have limited consumption habits, and it’s comforting (in this situation) to watch people worse off than you are. ;) We like to pretend we are living on an island campaigning for a million dollars.

A few quick things before I go! If you love cocktails and you don’t follow The Sipologist (James’ blog), you should! He just started an Instagram account this week as well. Speaking of tasty beverages…if you live in Birmingham and love craft beer, then you should definitely check out Eat / Drink Birmingham. Not only can you enjoy all kinds of craft beer from Alabama brewers and local bites (to your heart’s content), you will be the first to enjoy the brand new St. Stephen’s Stout. It’s a collaborative craft brew by ALL of the statewide members of the Alabama’s Brewers Guild. This group is the force behind the craft beer movement in Alabama and 100% of the profits benefit your ability to enjoy local brewer’s products. Not to mention that this event is being put on by Amber Schreckbach, a dear family member of mine & mother of The Bean.

See you guys on the flip side of 36!

fireside

Roasting our feet by the fire.

Happy

Happy birthday to my niece Anna Banana! Photo by Christy Schreck.

J&J

Inside a tree selfie.

jentree

Photoshoot outing in North Georgia. Photo by James.

james

Photoshoot outing in North Georgia

mixology

Vintage cocktail guide from my grandmother to James (belonged to my great grandparents).

I am feeling good as month 1 rolls off the calendar. January was externally quiet, but internally loud. Insecurities lurked in the darkness as we awaited news from several fronts, toying with my confidence at times. While we are still waiting for what’s to be Little Cabbage’s journey in the near future, I now feel a strange calmness and sense of excitement.

Electric Bleau’s second draft will be complete for sure in the coming weeks. I have a feeling that once that draft leaves my hands, the pace is going to pick up at lightning speed. Sometimes I look at other filmmakers I admire and wish that I was more like them, but I have to remember to be myself. They are successful because they’ve embraced their own style and continue to polish their voice. I have my own style too, and it’s ok to be a little different. Every indie filmmaker has their unique way of living day-to-day while still pursuing their passion, their own journey full of obstacles and successes. The more filmmakers I come to know personally, the more beautiful the individual struggle truly is. I am certainly not alone in what I’m trying to do. There are endless levels of what can be perceived as a successful indie career – and it all lies in the eyes of the beholder.

I go into birthday month with great enthusiasm and hope. I intend to focus hard on getting the ball rolling on several fronts. I want to push my comfort levels and personal perceptions in writing, directing and ultimately storytelling in general. Electric Bleau surprises me each time I pick it up. I think it’s a really good script… I’m already proud that it will be my first feature.

James and I are still doing great in our efforts to become healthier! We are now about 5 weeks in, with no signs of slowing down. I am still not drinking alcohol, which is a huge food trigger for me. I don’t intend to give it up for much longer, but I have to admit, the momentum feels good and I honestly don’t miss it (not too much, anyway). :) I’ve certainly lost weight in the past all on my own, but it sure is nice to have someone to do it with. I am really enjoying cooking together and planning weekly meals. I think we are close to breaking the habit of eating out for 75% of our meals – which saves us a lot of money and ultimately pounds. I am trying not to think too far into the future, so we are taking it week by week, day by day with the full intention of seeing it through to a comfortable place.

Also- HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all of my January family & friends! Damn, there were a lot of you.

My mom & dad on an afternoon walk in Birmingham with the pups.

My mom & dad on an afternoon walk in Birmingham with the pups.

Beltline walks are in season.

Beltline walks are in season.

Happy birthday Grandma!

Happy birthday Grandma!

Birthday decaf coffee for James!

Birthday decaf coffee for James!

Birthday walk with James to feed the turtles.

Birthday walk with James to feed the turtles.

Tour de Chocolate with Vero! Always a favorite. <3

Tour de Chocolate with Vero! Always a favorite. <3

January – the first month of the year, and for most people the month to initiate great change in their lives. January can also be a very sad time as some of your expectations either don’t start off or gain momentum as you had hoped. It’s a month to keep your wits about you, as it will test you more than any other month of the whole year. As a serial and experienced January goal-maker, I have started to redefine how I look at a year. I’ve also come to realize that almost any goal will need to be reevaluated and redefined multiple times before the final outcome occurs. The real question is – are you going to stick with it? Is it important enough to ride the roller coaster for? All big dreams and goals take sacrifice, usually more than you could have originally imagined. But you wanted it for a reason, so don’t give up under the pressures of a moody month!

This month for me is the equivalent of being poked continuously in the ass by pins and needles. This month will set a tone for Little Cabbage, especially in the few weeks to come. We’ve had a few big wins already – we are a finalist in the well-respected Hammer to Nail competition for the winter quarter (huge!) and we’ve already gotten our first festival acceptance (to be announced very soon). We were also nominated for the “People to Watch” category for the Georgia Entertainment Awards. With that being said, there are a handful of pending festival notifications that are hugely important to us that should arrive before the beginning of February (and a few after that). Please please please send us all of the posi vibes!! I know we will need serious momentum going into the feature Electric Bleau later this year.

I am happy to report that James and I started eating better in late December, and continue to follow through with that commitment. We both cut out alcohol until James’ birthday (which is this Thursday!). I might go even longer as my skin is looking really great, and alcohol is an eating trigger for me. I’m pretty sure that I will cut out red wine forever from my diet because of the reaction it causes to my rosacea. This is a sad, sad fact in my life. However, I look forward to finding other drinks that my body agrees with more without the negative consequences. :)

In other news, I’m keeping busy with a lot of great freelance work and writing. My freelance mostly consists of design and video work for some amazing nonprofits here in Atlanta. I am looking to add a client or two potentially in the coming months, so keep me on your radar if you hear of something fun! I really, really want to have a solid second draft of Electric Bleau finished by the end of January/early February…so that’s high on my radar. Once that’s complete, then I can start getting some notes from a few respected peers as well as starting the conversation about how to get it funded. I also want to start early this time around on casting. I already have some big ideas!

Special night out with some long-time best friends - Jenny Faye @ Susan!

Special night out with some long-time best friends – Jenny Faye @ Susan!

My mom having a tasty beverage in Destin!

My mom having a tasty beverage in Destin!

Family pic for 2015! I need to photoshop Amber's head in. :)

Family pic for 2015! I need to photoshop Amber’s head in. :)

Welcoming in a new year surrounded by peace & love.

Welcoming in a new year surrounded by peace & love.

Happy Birthday Jeffrey!

Happy Birthday Jeffrey!

A slumbering BK.

A slumbering BK. Photo by James.

Sunset

Sunset

The Bean has endless energy.

The Bean has endless energy.

Happy New Year from Abigail Rose!

Happy New Year from Abigail Rose!

Annual cornhole tournament.

Annual cornhole tournament.

We live the best neighborhood full of amazing murals.

We live the best neighborhood full of amazing murals. This one is by our friend BlackCatTips!

Georgia Entertainment Gala

Georgia Entertainment Gala

Walk on the beltline w Pam, James & Cilantro!

Walk on the beltline w Pam, James & Cilantro!

2014 was a daring, rewarding, and fun year. There were certainly challenges and sad happenings, but overall it leaves me with a sense of pride and gratitude. I will attempt to name some of the high points:

On the passion project level, we killed it. I finished (for the most part) a feature script that I hope to start making in 2015 called Electric Bleau during a creative residency with the Cucalorus Film Festival. I spent 2.5 months in another city focused on this alone, leaving my normal day-to-day life. James helped make this possible – and for that I can never thank him enough. Speaking of James, together we made a music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones (was it a dream?) and we tackled the massive short film project that is Little Cabbage. We learned lessons that we will take with us into 2015, and shared experiences that we will remember forever. Damn – we are a good team.

Professionally I took some risks. I left my 9-5 in January for the creative residency, then relied on freelance for the remainder of the year. I’ve done fulfilling marketing/design/video work for places like Piedmont Park, Historic Oakland Cemetery and Zoo Atlanta. I also did some writing that I am proud of. Because of this freedom and flexibility, I was able to step back and take a look at what I really want in the short-term and long-term. There are still questions that need answering when it comes to money-making possibilities in 2015, but I am actively pursuing several options. Ultimately I want to do work I love, that financially enables me to keep following my dreams in film.

Experience-wise, 2014 was full of new places and people. Bonnaroo remains a high point for us each year, and we plan to go again in 2015. My trip out to California in April for the Sonoma International Film Festival was a remarkable one, and just so happens to be where I met our Executive Producer on Little Cabbage. James and I have met & made so many new filmmaker friends this year…and each one of them inspires us to be better. Speaking of friends, my pool in Atlanta continues to grow. I feel like I am part of a community here of like-minded folks, which is more than I could have ever asked for after leaving Birmingham. I really, really miss Birmingham. I see her growth from afar, and it makes me proud. I go back as often as I can, and it fills me with a happiness like nothing else. Several dear friends got married this year, too. Those were very special moments for us.

In 2014 we lost and gained some people in our lives. My remarkable Aunt Shirley passed away in January. She was a strong woman who always stood up for what she believed in, and was a true fighter for love and life. I remember seeing her last Christmas, and our final hug goodbye. It was as if she knew. The service was packed for her life celebration, there was a special magic in the air. She is missed and remembered by many. In July we welcomed my newest niece Abigail Rose, born to my sister Rachel and brother-in-law David. A highlight from this year is playing future game for her on the beach the day she was born, predicting all of the wonderful things she will do in her life. She is a sweet little girl full of hope & promise.

This is my last paragraph, I swear! I do want to state a few of my intentions for 2015. I know not everyone believes in resolutions, but I thrive on visualizing the future. I want to make my feature in the next 365 days…at least have it in the can. I want to do more short form pieces – maybe another music video, maybe a commercial or two, maybe an actual short film. We will see what opportunities present themselves. I want to be healthier, and in a weight range I am happy with. We’ve already started making steps towards this. I want to spend quality time with my family and friends, creating more memories and appreciating them. I want to keep exploring, keep having fun, keep dreaming even bigger. I want to take challenges, failures, and disappointments with grace and turn them into something positive. I want to embrace being in my mid-30’s. I want to release hate, fear, anger and resentment when they arise. I want to forgive easily….including myself. I am ready for 2015 and everything it brings.

Dad & Owen

Dad & Owen

O'fella's first birthday!

O’fella’s first birthday!

Lily loves James' snowman cheese ball.

Lily loves James’ snowman cheese ball.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones in Atlanta, playing at the Fox ballroom!

St. Paul and the Broken Bones in Atlanta, playing at the Fox ballroom!

Christmas selfie.

Christmas selfie.

Sloss Furnace + James

Sloss Furnace + James

Sloss Furnace

Sloss Furnace

Anna & Lucy at ZOO Atlanta!

Anna & Lucy at ZOO Atlanta!

Hanging out with cute animals.

Hanging out with cute animals.

2014 selfies in print form from James.

2014 selfies in print form from James.

Cilantro has a new best friend named Cincinnati Fred.

Cilantro has a new best friend named Cincinnati Fred.

Lots of amazing food explorations with James' family! This is an awesome burger joint called Terry's.

Lots of amazing food explorations with James’ family! This is an awesome burger joint called Terry’s.

Brainstorming 2015 dreams & goals with James.

Brainstorming 2015 dreams & goals with James.

Eeks! It’s been a hot minute…and you know what? I’m ok with that. Four years ago I posted every day for over a year (I still don’t know how I did that) and have consistently managed to post on the regular ever since. Actually… my blog will be five years old in March! I am quickly approaching 1,000 posts to The Jen West Quest. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but when I think back on everything I’ve written about since then I realize it’s been quite a quest indeed. There have been major life changes across the board, multiple times. A lot of you have been reading from the very beginning too. I know who you are. Thank you for your friendship. 2014 has seen a shift in posting less often, but I anticipate that changing in the new year. I have new goals and new journeys to share. I wouldn’t want to embark on anything significant without including you.

Speaking of 2014 – she has been very kind to us. I know it’s been a rough go for some, but when you get the good you have to recognize and embrace. We’ve made some big projects happen and I’ve taken some significant risks that were impeccably rewarding. The biggest one being jolting off to Wilmington, NC for a creative residency where I spent 2.5 months writing Electric Bleau (companion feature to Little Cabbage) and living very minimally in order to make it happen. I’m so glad I took advantage of that opportunity. I consider Wilmington a home away from home, and the people there have supported me as an artist in ways that I can never repay.

2015 brings challenges that I can’t wait to take on. I am chomping at the bit to start preproduction on this feature (but taking my time polishing the script, first) and I also want to reclaim my health. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I fluctuate with my weight…but that never means that I’m ok with being complacent. It’s time to get moving again. I will not let my knee be an excuse anymore for abandoning one of my greatest loves – exercise. I miss miss miss endurance challenges like triathlon and longer runner events. I know I can do them all if I put the strength work in. As my brother-in-law says (PT pro), I will have to condition and train in order to run again. I am also going to focus on bringing my weight back down a bit. I’ve decided to not be ashamed about this, but to be excited. Only positive things to look forward to! I’m ready to put the work in.

This weekend we are heading to Birmingham for my family Christmas celebration… PLUS the private screening for Little Cabbage! If you were a part of making this film happen in any way and haven’t gotten the details, please let me know. We hope to see all of you there so we can thank you in person.

We got some big news recently that was announced yesterday: James and I, as a duo, were nominated for the “People to Watch” category for the 2015 Georgia Entertainment Awards! This made my brain explode. What a huge honor to be recognized in a city that houses so many types of filmmakers and creative innovators. We hope to continue to make our communities proud (including my hometown of Birmingham) as we go forth and make more films. Looks like James will be taking on his first directing project soon, too…

Bubbles, blue skies and Brandi Baker in the ATL!

Bubbles, blue skies and Brandi Baker in the ATL!

Me & Vero in Miami - enjoying her success! Congrats!

Me & Vero in Miami – enjoying her success! Congrats!

Thanksgiving in Cincinnati! Always a fun time.

Thanksgiving in Cincinnati! Always a fun time.

Dipping our toes in the Miami scene.

Dipping our toes in the Miami scene.

Vero and her dream avocado!

Vero and her dream avocado!

James made me a surprise 6 course dinner one night. <3

James made me a surprise 6 course dinner one night. <3

Fish fry in Cincinnati. I live for this!

Fish fry in Cincinnati. I live for this! Photo by James.

Private screening of Little Cabbage in Atlanta at the Plaza Theatre. Amazing night!

Private screening of Little Cabbage in Atlanta at the Plaza Theatre. Amazing night!

Vero and me in Miami! She won a free trip as a winner of the Seagram's calendar art competition. Thanks for inviting me to come along!

Vero and me in Miami! She won a free trip as a winner of the Seagram’s calendar art competition. Thanks for inviting me to come along!

Where to start? I feel so fulfilled, inspired, energized and emotional…in the best possible ways. James and I just returned from the 20th annual Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, NC, where I was fortunate enough to spend a 2.5 month residence earlier this year. There isn’t anything else out there quite like Cucalorus. It’s hard to explain, and can only truly be understood once you are deep into its web of spectacular weirdness. I saw so many amazing pieces of work over the course of four days – filmmakers who covered a broad range of talents and voices. I also finally watched Joy Kevin after missing it at Indie Memphis, which turned out to be one of my favorite films of 2014. As luck would have it, it’s been released to the public as of this week! Carve out a few hours in your schedule ASAP and then click here to watch. It’s the story of two married creatives, navigating the ever-changing balance of art and co-habitation. It’s funny, real, dark and magical. Beautifully written, and brilliantly casted. Go, watch!

I am so proud to say I’ve witnessed the birth of a powerful filmmaker this year – Mandi Edwards. She was my Cucalorus creative residence partner in crime, hailing from England. She created a short documentary called Guns in the House – a statement piece about violence and the surrounding politics in Wilmington. It’s so good that a local paper named it the #4 short film to see out of a pool of 140 short narratives & docs. She bravely stepped into a controversial conversation armed with definitive research and questions for the community. Remember her name in the years to come!

Our screening for Call Me went amazingly well – we had the honor of opening up for Leah Meyerhoff’s I Believe in Unicorns! Ah! I’ve been dying to see her feature, and it was well worth the wait. It’s identifiable, haunting and visually stunning. A huge heartfelt thanks to everyone at Cucalorus. Speaking of which – CONGRATS to several in our festival family who made a very important list this week! Flyway Film Festival, Sidewalk Film Festival, Indie Memphis and Cucalorus all made MovieMaker Magazine’s 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World. That’s pretty amazing.

Outside of the film universe – my parents had their 36th anniversary this week, and The Bean turned 4! We head to Jacksonville, FL this weekend to see my sister Rachel, David and baby Abi-do. I can’t wait. We have a tremendous amount of traveling coming up in the coming weeks, which is a tad overwhelming but also exciting. Each trip has an important purpose. I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so many beautiful & amazing things.

Happy Birthday Bean!

Happy Birthday Bean!

Happy Anniversary to my mom & dad!!!

Happy Anniversary to my mom & dad!!!

Mandi in Q&A for Guns in the House.

Mandi in Q&A for Guns in the House.

Happy!

Happy!

Cucalorus funny faces.

Cucalorus funny faces.

Reunited with Hannah Cheesman, and new friend Mackenzie.

Reunited with Hannah Cheesman, and new friend Mackenzie.

Sitting with the filmmakers of Joy Kevin for their screening, along with my friend Stephen Cone.

Sitting with the filmmakers of Joy Kevin for their screening, along with my friend Stephen Cone.

Joy Kevin Q&A

Joy Kevin Q&A

Cape Fear

Cape Fear

Hannah & Mackenzie Q&A with the fabulous Ingrid Veninger

Hannah & Mackenzie Q&A with the fabulous Ingrid Veninger

Mandi & James

Mandi & James

Hannah & Mackenzie during quick beach trip!

Hannah & Mackenzie during quick beach trip! Check out their new web series Whatever, Linda – their trailer went live this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guabFCtG9qQ

Special female filmmaker friends.

Special female filmmaker friends.

Airport shenanigans.

Airport shenanigans.

My dear friend Mandi Edwards.

My dear friend Mandi Edwards.

Play-doh at Jengo's.

Play-doh at Jengo’s.

At the screening for Call Me before I Believe in Unicorns with director Leah Meyerhoff.

At the screening for Call Me before I Believe in Unicorns with director Leah Meyerhoff.

At the Cucalorus secret screening closing film.

At the Cucalorus secret screening closing film.

Film Fatales Wilmington

Film Fatales Wilmington

I can’t believe Halloween 2014 is already behind us! I made my way over to the Indie Memphis Film Festival over the weekend where I met up with several filmmakers friends for a few days of fun. And it was absolutely freezing!!! I caught a few features that really inspired me – their programming is always spot on. I also sat in on some fascinating panels/talks that really fueled my fire. Next year will be even better I’m sure – and fingers crossed that we will be able to attend with Little Cabbage!

Today James and I head a few hours north to the mountains to write and create. My mom & dad were kind enough to let us use some cabin credits, and they will be joining us as well in their RV down the way. During my 8 hour bus ride to Memphis (ack!) I came up with a really solid concept that I’d like to develop for a series and/or film. It’s very me – while allowing the opportunity to explore a decade that I really love and write about a lifestyle that lends itself to all sorts of changing circumstances. It also incorporates an idea I’ve had in the past, which I mentioned in my last blog post. I am also going to officially reopen my Electric Bleau script and devise a game plan to polish it up for presentation. I honesty don’t know what my next big project will be yet, but I have a feeling it’s soon to reveal itself.

This week I had the amazing privilege of interviewing Ms. Lillian Deakins Timberlake (along with my work wife Hella Pamela), first cousin of the late Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind) with Oakland Cemetery for their new series called Living Links. The amazing guys at Mixed Bag Media helped us capture this magical moment on film forever. I knew it would be special, but little did we know how wonderful it would be. When we first walked in the door of her 1916 home, she was just coming down in her little wooden elevator. It was the best entrance! When the doors opened, this beautiful smile greeted us that never left her face for the next two hours. She talked all about her 92 years on this earth, her family, her cousin Margaret, and a lot about how Gone with the Wind impacted their lives. When the video is finished next week, I will be sure to share a link. I’m not in it at all… just off-screen asking questions trying not to geek out.

I realized that last month marked my one year anniversary in Atlanta – isn’t that crazy? Just when you think time is flying by… all you really need to do is think about where you were exactly one year ago today. We’ve done two big productions (Call Me and Little Cabbage), I did a three-month creative residency in Wilmington, I’ve moved to Atlanta to live with James, we’ve added a cat and a dog to our family, and a niece and a nephew were welcomed. Not to mention countless other things if I really sat down and thought about it. Yet, it seems time is slipping through my finger tips. Maybe that’s an illusion of my own making – and honestly I think it might be. We fit every ounce of happiness, joy and experience we can into our days. I really miss living in Birmingham for a multitude of reasons, but I think Atlanta is where I am supposed to be right now…and she treats me very well! Happy to have these two southern cities to call home.

James as Young Santa. ;)

James as Young Santa for Halloween. ;)

I got to interview Margaret Mitchell's first cousin, Ms. Lillian, for Oakland Cemetery's new series Living Links.

Interview with Margaret Mitchell’s first cousin, Ms. Lillian, for Oakland Cemetery’s new series Living Links.

IMG_0836

Ms. Lillian

Indie Memphis!

Indie Memphis!

Saturday crew at Indie Memphis

Saturday crew at Indie Memphis

Azza & Cilantro

Azza & Cilantro

My soul sister, Baby Kitty.

My soul sister, Baby Kitty.

Meghan & Hella Pamela!

Meghan & Hella Pamela!

Oakland Butterflies

Oakland Butterflies

Sunset walk with my parents, the Bean & pups.

Sunset walk with my parents, the Bean & pups.

The Bean!

The Bean!

This morning I sit with all of the doors open to let in the cool 50 degree weather, with the floor heater blasting on my feet. It’s a comfort that I love so much. Baby Kitty sits right next to me soaking up all of the extra warmth. It has been a perfect fall so far here in the southeast – highs in the 70’s for weeks with lows in the 50’s/40’s. This weather could only be sweeter with someone to snuggle with, but alas James is in his own personal heaven at Portland Cocktail Week adventuring as The Sipologist. :) He is missed by me and all of these animals. We can’t wait for him to come back on Sunday!

Speaking of those I love, I had several special treats this week! Rebecca Pugh (co director of Crush and a long-time best friend) passed through Atlanta and stayed the night with me Tuesday. It was like old times – we watched horror films, talked and drank bubbles. We caught each other up on all of the life events we’ve missed, and talked about our dreams for the future. Much to my happiness, Rebecca decided to skip out on her flight up north the next day and followed me back to Birmingham where I got to spend time with my family and another fun-filled night with Rebecca & Vero. We realized that the last time all three of us were together was exactly one year ago, the evening before Rebecca and I flew out to the Flyway Film Festival (which I am so sad to miss this year!!!). The whole thing felt written in the stars.

Since I last wrote, Little Cabbage was submitted to its first film festival! It’s about 95% complete… soon to be even closer on the next version. It was a BIG moment passing it off. You always feel a little naked showing those first few folks what you’ve spent the better part of a year working on. Feedback is critical, but you have to use a keen sense of judgement to know what to take to heart as something that could improve the film and what to interpret as someone’s personal taste. It’s something I still struggle to master sometimes. With that being said though, it’s damn good!!! I wish we could just show everybody now. :D

I am excited about several things currently – polishing up my feature Electric Bleau (of which Little Cabbage is a prologue to) and starting on a completely separate concept for another feature (or possible series that I can pitch). It’s based on an idea that I had 4-5 years ago…if I choose to go in that direction. I also have project with a friend here in ATL that I hope picks up steam soon, it’s a beautiful concept that I feel could be loved by many. Most of all – I’m just ecstatic to have things in the pipeline baking to perfection for the years to come.

As always, the coming weeks are full of activities and travels. First on the docket is attending the Indie Memphis Film Festival (as guests!) next weekend. We have nothing screening this time around but will be making the journey to be present at this awesome fest. The middle of November is the Cucalorus Film Festival, of which we have our music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones screening, and something super secret on top of that. It’s going to be very special, and we can’t thank them enough. In addition to all of the film happenings in Wilmington, I will be reunited with my spring creative residency roomie Mandi Edwards!!! Plus all of my other amazing friends that I have in that town, who I miss so much.

One more last thing – CONGRATS to our friends Wendy & Jeffrey on their marriage! It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Thanks for letting us be a part of it.

James taking video of ATL from Marta.

James taking video of ATL from Marta.

Rebecca with her morning cup of coffee before our Birmingham adventures.

Rebecca with her morning cup of coffee before our Birmingham adventures.

My mom and the Bean at McWane Science Center!

My mom and the Bean at McWane Science Center!

Bros with bubbles.

Bros with bubbles.

:)

:)

Rebecca reunion

Rebecca reunion

Fortune!

Fortune!

Jeffrey & Wendy's wedding

Jeffrey & Wendy’s wedding

Me and Hella Pamela

Me and Hella Pamela

My BOO

My BOO

Atlanta friends <3

Atlanta friends <3

Me & Wendy on her wedding day!

Me & Wendy on her wedding day!

October is always a busy month – events, work, Halloween, fall happenings, weddings… you name it, we have it going on. This week I made a short visit to Columbus, GA to see my sister Christy & her family! It’s a wonderful reality check for me to experience someone’s life that’s vastly different from my own routine. Christy’s days are full of endurance training and caring for three little ones (all under 5). When I go to her house, I feel like I enter a real home. She has all of her awesome Halloween goodies up (she is the best holiday decorator!) and her walls are full to the brim of life & love. I would call it simple joys, but it’s so much more than that. She has chosen to take her life journey with four other souls in a unique way that I so appreciate. I am also grateful that she lets me come and enjoy what she has created whenever I want. A visit with the Schrecks reminds me that there is so much more to living than deadlines and reaching the next big milestone/accomplishment. It’s about everyday love… and just being there with those you care about.

This afternoon James and I are heading to Birmingham for a quick visit, before all of the real October craziness sets in. I am hoping that some Sloss Fright Furnace is in my future this evening! I hope to also make it down to see my sister Rachel soon in Jacksonville… as I haven’t seen baby Abi-do since she was born in July! That breaks my heart. However, I can look forward to seeing her family in November for a pre-Thanksgiving family get-together, and then again for our annual family New Year’s trip. You can bet your booty that I will be giving that baby some serious love.

Next week we are going to see Little Cabbage for the first time with ALL components – sound design, score, special effects, color correction and title sequences. That was fast, huh? We have a lot of people to thank for the speed – especially Mr. Joe Walker. We have also started talking about our cast/crew/supporter private screenings for early December in Atlanta & Birmingham. If you helped us in some way along the line you can expect an invitation. James is spearheading these events, along with our dear friend Meghan! Our friends at the Cucalorus Film Fest also have something special up their sleeve for those who plan on being in attendance. That’s all I can say about that, though… :)

This coming Monday – Wednesday I will be in Rapid City, South Dakota to speak at an AAF meeting on how to use social media and crowdfunding to fuel your projects! I’ve never considered myself an expert in either medium…but I do have experiences worth sharing and I certainly know a thing or two about finding creative ways to make your passion projects come to life! Excited to meet new friends and to explore a new city.

Cucalorus!!

Cucalorus!!

The Schreck crew!

The Schreck crew!

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