Thursday, January 28, 2016


For my friends and family not involved in the Chicago comedy scene, there is a lot of really awesome stuff in the works to help create safer places for women to play, learn, perform, and grow as comedians. I realize most of the people I know who aren't involved in this community have no idea what is happening, but it is important so I wanted to take a moment to write about it. I know this wont be as eloquent as I would like and it will only graze the surface of the issues coming to light, however, I think it is important to share.

Let's start at the beginning. Recently in the LA comedy scene a woman named, Beth Stelling, broke her silence about abuses she endured from a fellow stand up comedian she had been dating. She was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by her boyfriend for a long time before calling it quits.
            Read more about Beth here and here.
Her courage and openness has spurred a movement in LA as well as Chicago and many cities across the country. Women are opening up and sharing stories of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault in the comedy community. A non profit organization, Women In Comedy, made a form which allowed women to anonymously submit stories about their individual experiences facing sexism and sexual harassment/assault in classes, rehearsals, shows, etc...
           Visit the website and read some of the stories here.
It quickly became evident and alarming how many women all over the country experience varying levels of sexism at the hands of teachers, coaches, directors, teammates, classmates, etc... The mildest of which can come in the form of men claiming women aren't funny or placing women into deliberately submissive roles in sketch and improv. The worst of which can be sexual assault, rape, physical or sexual violence from fellow team members, teachers, coaches, etc... Many males in this community use their positions of power to coerce and use female comedians. One of the biggest issues women face is their voices being silenced in these discussions in the past. Many women are too intimidated to report these instances for fear of backlash from the theatres. Often the theatres staunchly defend their teachers, thusly leading women to decide not to report so as not to "ruin the reputation" of the teacher, have their own name dragged through the mud, or be "run out" of the comedy business.

The good news? Because of this outpouring of stories many women are demanding changes to policies at the various comedy theatres to make it easer and more lucrative for women to report these occurrences. And thanks to the hard work of some very smart, dedicated women many of the major comedy theatres are re-evaluating their policies or putting new policies into place. They are working with lawyers and HR professionals to start a dialogue and begin the long process of making these theaters safer spaces for women.
          Here are a couple articles explaining the whole atmosphere in Chicago a little bit better than               me. Jezebel Article and Chicago Tribune Article.

I mean just look at all these badass bitches getting shit done!! I am so proud of all the women in this community for speaking up, standing up, and most importantly supporting each other and creating safe spaces for women to talk!

I, for one, am fortunate enough to have been in many classes and teams that were super supportive, respectful, and sympathetic to the struggles of women in comedy. Not to say I have never felt the sting of sexism in this community, because I have and it is heartbreaking. But almost all of the men and women I have had the privilege of playing with have been nothing but respectful and aware of how women are treated off stage and represented on stage. Many of my teammates and classmates actively work to make sure the playing and learning environment is positive and safe.

It is not even worth my time to regale the many times on or off stage that a male comedian has said or done something to make me feel uncomfortable. From this moment on I will stand up for myself and my fellow women! I will be unafraid of speaking up and letting someone know when they have crossed the line! I will not back down from an opportunity to educate a fellow comedian about their role in perpetuating sexism and misogyny in this community. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could stop sexism in its tracks just by calling it out whenever we see it, smacking down harassment before it even starts, standing up for the safety of our fellow comedians, and creating safe places for women to perform, play, learn, and above all else be funny!!!

While the steps these theatres are taking is a BIG deal and huge step in the right direction the problems are far from being solved. There are a lot of gray areas especially when it comes to independent teams, post show parties, after hours conversations, etc... However, progress is progress and there is an open dialogue, which is hugely important. Right now people are pretty amped up on women's rights and creating safe spaces for women but it is important to note, women are not the only groups of people who face extreme prejudice in this community. People of color, women of color, and LGBTQ groups are also often fighting for their voices to be heard. Hopefully, these new policies and conversations will benefit all these marginalized groups making the entire comedy scene in Chicago (as well as other cities) a generally safer environment for funny people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and orientations!

Right now women in the comedy world are fired up and fighting for change, and only good things can come from this many women fighting for something important.

"Girls, if a boy says something that isn't funny, you don't have to laugh."                                                                                                           -Amy Poehler
And if its sexist feel free to tell him just how not funny his "joke" really is!

Stay funny all you classy ladies!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dear Diary

It's been exactly one year since my last blog posting. I am clearly incredibly successful at keeping a blog alive.
My blog has essentially become one of my old diaries from elementary school:

Dear Diary,
I know it's been a while since I have written, but I promise to write everyday this year. Promise.

Dear Diary,
Screw it.... We both know I am a failure when it comes to any sort of daily writing, so why even try?

So, Let me catch you up on this past year in a series of retroactive Diary entries reminiscent of my early days as a failed writer.

January 2015
Dear Diary
On Hiatus performed in Sketchfest this month. It was a blast! Bonus: my mom came to visit!

February 2015
Dear Diary
I have been unemployed this whole month. It's been a bummer except I have been watching some excellent television on Netflix.

March 2015
Dear Diary,
I got a job teaching swim lessons. I graduated from the Second City Conservatory... my Mom, Dad, Sister, and Grandma came to see my graduation performance. March was a big month for me.

April 2015
Dear Diary,
On Hiatus is writing a new show called Retro Lens, but what does that even mean?

May 2015
Dear Diary,
Opened and closed Retro Lens with On Hiatus
P.S. Marketing is hard.

June 2015
Dear Diary,
Did this month even happen?

July 2015
Dear Diary,
Spent my birthday in Detroit with my dad's family. Introduced Megan to the craziness that is a Forest Family gathering. Good news, I haven't scared her off... Yet.
Forest Family tradition, Pirate mini golf

August 2015

Dear Diary,
2 weeks in sunny San Diego with Megan and her family. Plus, Disneyland with Willie, what more could a girl ask for.

September 2015
Dear Diary,
Opened a new show with On Hiatus called Autumn Shorts: a Night of 10 Minute Plays.

October 2015
Dear Diary,
Quite my job. Unemployment really suits me well.
Closed a new show with On Hiatus called Autumn Shorts: a Night of 10 Minute Plays
P.S. Marketing is really really hard
My Dad and I went to my cousins wedding in Detroit! 

November 2015
Dear Diary,
Started a new job taking care of two precious and rambunctious girls (5months and 2.5 years)

December 2015
Dear Diary,
On Hiatus is writing yet another sketch show for Sketchfest 2016!!!

I am resurrecting this blog because I forgot how great it is to have a writing outlet that isn't some sort of serious project. I just need to write more and think less.

However, do not take this as any sort of "resolution" that I will be writing every day or every week or even every month. Who knows this could end up being a blog that only consists of a yearly recap. Let's set our standards low and then chances are we will exceed them.

NOTE: I wrote this and meant to post it on January 1st... Clearly I am already off to a good start. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Well hello there stranger!
It's been awhile since I have posted here and I have to say it was very nice to have a little vacation from writing. I know that I should be writing every day to hone my skills and become a better writer. But with all the writing I was doing for my blog and for my sketch groups I was starting to feel a little burnt out. So vacation came just in time for me between the number of hours I was working, the rehearsals, classes, and amount of writing I was doing I was glad for the break.

So here are some of the highlights of my holiday celebrations and vacation.

Before heading back to Colorado to visit my family I had a little holiday fun in Chicago.
Megan, her sister, and I headed to the Christkindlmarket in the Loop in Chicago. We did some shopping, window shopping, and indulged in some German snacks. 

Since Megan and I weren't going to be together for Christmas we decided to have our own little christmas celebration together. We got dinner at Twin Anchors in Old Town before heading over to the Lincoln Park Zoo for Zoo Lights. We walked around and saw the ice sculptor hard at work on a frozen octopus, indulged in some delicious peppermint hot cocoa, and rode the Endangered Species Carousel. 
After our adventures at the zoo we headed home to warm up, open gifts, and watch a Christmas movie.
It was a pretty fabulous, albeit chilly, pre-Christmas celebration. 

Soon after I headed out of the Windy City to my home state of Colorado. Oh how I miss these beautiful mountains! 

Being home with my family for the holidays can only mean on thing and that is a ton of baking and food prep for the big dinner. 
Mary, my Dad, and I making pizzelles as per tradition! 

Thankfully, or maybe not, It snowed a bunch during my time in the Mile High State. It hasn't yet snowed significantly in Chicago, so I was enjoying watching the snowfall while curled up next to the fire with a cup of tea. 

Risking everyone's lives driving with my 15 year old sister! 
There are many Forest Family Christmas Traditions and as per usual I took so few pictures its actually astonishing that I have a blog at all. Some of my favorite traditions include hash brown quiche for breakfast, a 4 course Italian feast for dinner (Italian wedding meatball soup, lasagna, roasted chicken/salad/green beans, macerated oranges, and of course pizzelles, biscotti, and chocolate for dessert), and the annual cousin foosball tournament!
Tradition runs so deep in my family it was no surprise when my little brother Nathan won the tournament for the 4th or 5th year in a row!!! 
Between much relaxing and TV binge watching we managed to get out and have some fun family times including this trip to Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanical Gardens. 

We take the best selfies!! 
And this trip to the Denver Art Museum to see the Brilliant Cartier special exhibit
Classy, classy ladies! 
I got to catch up with some old friends from childhood, high school, and college. Of course, true to form, I only have one picture with my good friend Raye from college. We squeezed in a visit on New Years Eve on my last night in Denver. 
Puzzles, Diet Coke, and a good friend what more do you need? 
Tomorrow morning I am heading up to the mountains with my family to spend a few nights at my parents cabin.

I am super looking forward to one last relaxing weekend before heading back into the chaos of Chicago, preparing for Sketchfest 2015, and starting Level 6 of the Conservatory.
We don't have any internet up there so I am trying to get all this packed into one blog post.

Happy New Year Blogosphere!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Alternative Christmas Cards

It's that time of the year again. You're thinking about what picture of your family you are going to put on one of those glossy postcard-esque print outs from Sam's Club and you are devising the letter you plan to write to all your friends and family bragging about your recent trip to Hawaii, the fact that your eldest daughter just got accepted into a top Ivy League school, and your youngest son's baseball team is the state champion. You'll gloss over all the things in life that are just mediocre or completely miserable like how you got a wicked sunburn while in Hawaii or how your middle son decided he wanted to go to clown college. Meanwhile, all your friends and family will also be writing, editing, rewriting, and re-editing their list of accomplishments from 2014. So why not break away from the pack and do something unique and different for your Holiday cards this year.

Here is a list of alternative Christmas Card letters you could send to your family and friends
  • A series of limericks that merge holiday themes with your lousiest moments from 2014
  • A hand drawn crayon portrait of your family with a description of the symbology of the picture
  • A crossword puzzling challenging your friends and family to care enough to decipher clues
  • A Dadaist piece involving random words and pictures from 2014
  • A letter from your future selves divulging the secrets of how everyone meets their ends
  • A 100 page novel about a fictional family with a perfect life
  • A series of cave paintings narrating an epic adventure you wish you took with your family 
  • Your Christmas card for 2015 explaining that it's never to early to get a jump on sending out your Christmas letters
No matter what you decide to write just make sure that the pictures are perfect and only capture the half of the family that you care the most about!
My mom accidentally, through a series of unfortunate events, printed 200 of these Christmas cards with duplicate pictures of me, my dad, and sister. Finally 200 cards later was able to get the second picture to correctly be of her and my brothers! I like to think that my parents just wanted to remind the world how much they love me and my sister. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Liebster Award

I got nominated by Becky from BeckyBoop for the Liebster Award, which is an award given out by bloggers to other bloggers for being awesome and usually geared towards newer bloggers! (Say "bloggers" one more time in that sentence!)

Here are the rules:

-Link back to the blogger who nominated you
-Answer all of their questions
-Write 11 facts about yourself
-Link 11 blogs with less than 200 followers and tell them you have nominated them
-Ask 11 questions of the people that you nominated

Hold on to your pants team this is going to be a lot of information about me, and there is no stopping it!

Questions from Becky

1. If you could live in any book universe, where would you choose?
My immediate reaction to this question is Narnia. Is it cliche? Maybe, but I am sticking with it... it's so gosh darn pretty there!

2. What is the most odd term of endearment that you have used for someone, or that someone has used for you? 
Well, I have used some pretty weird terms of endearment in the past and present and to avoid any seriously lasting embarrassment I am going to go with some of the ways that I address the little girl that I nanny. I like to make up new nick names for her all the time so here are some of my favorites: Pumpkin Pie Face, Mocha Choca Latta, Yoga Baby, Giggle Butt, Tortellini, Poopy Pants, Pooper Scooper, Buga Boo, this list could go on and on.

3. Snap Question: Zombie apocalypse! First weapon that comes to mind? 

4. If you were a vegetable what would you be and why? 
Romanesco... Because you've probably never heard of me!

5. Do you have any tips or tricks to posting regularly? 
I don't necessarily post regularly. I try to post a couple times a week even if one of them is just about my week or something fun that I did. Then I try to come up with another post of something more creative and comedic. It doesn't always work... but what cha gunna do? 

6. What is your families most important Christmas tradition? 
I wish it didn't say the word "important" because I think the best holiday tradition we have is our annual foosball tournament. Which pits everyone against each other and always ends up with my little brother winning. But that's not as "important" as having lasagna every year, come hell or high water, we will be eating my Dad's lasagna! 

7. Do you have an outfit or item of clothing that you have owned for a long time but rarely wear? 
Yes, I do. I own a sweatshirt from when I was 6 years old and started swimming on the neighborhood summer swim team (so if I am doing my math correctly that is a 17 year old sweatshirt). The miraculous thing about this sweatshirt is that it fits me! My mom bought the sweatshirt about a million sizes too big when I was a kid so I could fit my whole body inside of it while at meets. Lo and behold I perfectly grew into it. 

8. State a favorite character. Now explain what kind of underwear they would wear. 
Scarlet O'Hara. Historically speaking she would be wearing all those crazy petticoats, bloomers, corsets, and such. But I would like to think that Scarlet O'Hara is actually wearing days of the week underwear and always the correct day of the week is being represented. 

9. If you could add one hour to your day what would you do with it? 
My initial reaction was to say "What couldn't I do with it! I could be so much more productive if I had an extra hour every day!" But, lets be real, I would just sleep an extra hour. 

10. What do you want to achieve by the end of 2014?
Seeing as I only have 28 days left, being a realist, I would say very little. But last year for New Years I came up with this project idea to do an improvised painting project. I really loved the idea but I have yet to actually do a single one. So maybe I can do one before the end of the year. 

11. If you could be any Harry Potter character who would you be? 
If we are basing this on personality I would be Hermione Granger, if you know me this is so explanatory. If we were picking based purely on who would be the most fun to be, I would say Luna Lovegood.... obviously! 

11 facts about me! 
  • Christmas is my favorite time of year. And for me Christmas season starts early to mid-October!
  • I dislike chocolate dairy products; chocolate milk, pudding, ice cream, hot chocolate, etc... But I love just having a bar of chocolate
  • I never get sick of talking about improv and comedy in Chicago... hope you don't get sick of hearing about it
  • I am currently picking fingernail polish off my fingers... cuz that's what I do. 
  • I got head shots taken a few weeks back and I finally settled on which ones to get edited and I am so stoked for you all to see them! 
  • I love the winter and all snow and winter activities
  • But my favorite part of winter is cuddling up with a bunch of blankets and a hot cup of tea. 
  • I have recently started being obsessed with red lipstick, and I am liking the drastic change. 
  • I have been known to talk in my sleep and even on occasion sleep walk. 
  • I am super freaking proud of my girlfriend who just got cast in Twisty, the House Ensemble team at Second City!!  
  • This section, by far, took me the longest to write. 

People I am nominating: 

Now it's your turn! Answer these questions!

1. What makes you smile? 
2. What is a secret talent you have? 
3. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to blogging?
4. When you are stressed or upset what makes you feel better?
5. Who is your favorite literary character and why? 
6. What movie have you never seen that everyone else has seen and would be appalled that you haven't? 
7. What is your favorite smell?
8. Tuna or egg salad? 
9. Where is some place you never want to visit again? 
10. What is the most strange, weird, exotic, or disgusting food you have ever eaten?
11. It's a rainy Sunday afternoon... What are you doing? 

Thanks for sticking it out till the end! Here is a picture of a couple cute puppies to say thanks! 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Best Holiday Show!

Dear people of Chicago and people who will visit Chicago this holiday season,

Please do yourself a favor and go see It's A Wonderful Santa Land Miracle Nut-Cracking Christmas Story... Jews Welcome at Stage 773. It is the most fun you will have watching a holiday themed show!

I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more. I sang along, I ate fresh baked cookies, and drank cold eggnog. I might be biased because I am friends with two of the talented actors/performers in the show, but I think regardless of my bias it is a great show.

Let's start at the beginning. When was the last time you walked into a live theatre show and they handed you fresh baked christmas cookies covered in powdered sugar? If your answer isn't this weekend, then you are doing something wrong!

Making fresh cookies right on stage as you walk in! 

The whole show was full of singing, dancing, instruments, hula hoops, puppets, christmas lights, christmas trees, and an all around good time. 

 I can't even put into words how wonderful this show was. It really was a full experience from the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, brimming with holiday spirit, joy, and fun! 

If you don't go see this show then you will be missing out on the best holiday experience this season! Of course, that could just be my biased opinion. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thankful Thanksgiving

Phew! I don't know why the past week was so exhausting, but I feel like I can finally sit down and get some "fun" stuff done. I have been writing like crazy, unfortunately not for my blog,  and I feel like I have been running around Chicago with my head cut off. So I finally had a chance to sit down and read some blogs on the blogosphere and write.

Nancy from Sincerely and Sarcastically tagged me in her Thankful Thursday post and now that it is two days past Thanksgiving and not even a Thursday I think I will finally write on it. Plus, now I can tell you guys about my wonderful Thanksgiving.
PS This is the turkey that Travis made, isn't it beautiful!! 
1. My family- Of course!

2. Megan- I love her so much!

3. My friends- in all their crazy wonderfulness!

4. The Chicago Improv Community- so many opportunities and awesome people

5. My Job- It's the best day job for a burgeoning comedian!

6. That I don't have to pay for heat in my Chicago apartment- warm winter months ahead.

7. Left over Thanksgiving food in my fridge- so I don't have to buy groceries for a couple days,

8. The heat lamps on the train platforms- for heating only the top of my head.

My Thanksgiving Extravaganza!

This year, like last year, I was staying in Chicago for Thanksgiving and as such would have to make my own Thanksgiving fun. With my group of friends we continued out tradition of a big pot luck Friendsgiving on Friday night.
On  Thursday Megan, Courtney (her sister), and I went and saw Birdman (sidenote: it was pretty amazing!). After the movie we spent all day cleaning my apartment making it presentable for guests. We ended our night with a delicious Thanksgiving feast of Buffalo Wings and Mexican Train Dominos!

On Black Friday we got our shopping on but not in the way your thinking. We headed down to The Village Discount Thrift Store to find another table and some chairs for our Friendsgiving dinner. Everything at the store was 50% off so we bought a pretty nice outdoor patio table for $4 and a kitchen bench for $3, plus a Pictionary game for $1.50. 

After the thrift store we went to the dollar tree and got some decorations for the party. Some of them I already had from Target and CVS.

We spent the rest of the day cooking and prepping things and of course I forgot to take any pictures of all the delicious food that we made and that people brought. We had an overabundance of dessert, most of which was left at my house so I will be feasting on pie, cheesecake cupcakes, and chocolate peanut butter desserts. 
Anyway the whole event was a huge success and I got to spend this wonderful food centered holiday with some wonderful friends, new and old.