I Will Make You Mine (My Directorial Debut)

I've been hinting at this for a while now - there have been signs all along - from ending my podcast to neglecting my YouTube channel. The announcement just came out in The Hollywood Reporter, so I can finally share with you what I've been working on this past year.

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Last Thanksgiving I was taking a walk with my friend and longtime collaborator, Dave Boyle. Dave has directed me in three films - two of them being the feature "Surrogate Valentine" and its sequel, "Daylight Savings." I blogged about both of them and was always very attached to this particular project. Anyway, during our walk, I asked Dave when the third one was happening (when we were doing press at SXSW he always joked that this was going to be the most low-budget trilogy in history). Dave pretty much confirmed what I didn't want to hear - that it was never going to happen.

"Well, what if I make it happen?" I asked. Half serious.

Dave's reply was that if I wanted to take the reins on the third movie, he would help me. That's all I needed to hear. A few days later I was on my way to Boston for Thanksgiving with Abe's family. The entire plane ride there I wrote half the script. Three days later, on the return flight back, I completed the first draft.

I was surprised at how the story poured out of me. I wanted to tell the female perspective of the three women from the first two movies, which centered around my now good friend Goh Nakamura (playing himself). Not to get all woo-woo, but never before had I felt such a clear artistic calling. These characters, and this story, wanted to be reborn.

Several drafts/meetings/months later, here we are. Ready to give birth to my first film! About to direct my first anything (I've never even done a short before) that I also wrote, that I'm also producing, and that I'm also starring in. The weird thing is, I'm not even afraid or nervous because I feel so taken care of. Along with Dave, my producing team is highly experienced and nurturing - and my crew is equally supportive. I feel lucky to have so many people equally dedicated to telling this story. We have many of the original cast, and the same Director of Photography (Bill Otto) from the first two films.

Follow the action over on social media @IWMYMfilm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (my producers have already begun posting Behind-The-Scenes InstaStories every day). More info at the official site, too.

I've learned a lot. When things calm down, I promise to share more via blog posts and videos about what this process has been like.

My father passed away 6 years ago around this time. Actually, the day he died is the same day we begin filming scenes in my house. I haven't felt his presence in a long time but lately - especially when I'm alone in the car listening to music - I get this overwhelming sense that he's with me, encouraging me, and guiding me through this next phase of my life.

Thank you for always following my journey on this blog.

Alaska Adventures

Oh, Alaska. You've been on my bucket list for a loooong time.

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And for good reason.

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Even though I had work to do the whole time.

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We had a large family reunion trip to celebrate my uncle's 75th birthday. Instead of a huge cruise, we sailed via small ship line Uncruise Adventures, which allowed us to stop whenever we spotted animals. In Glacier Bay National Park alone, we saw a whole bunch  (including the very rare Glacier Bear).

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Being on a boat all week was surprisingly un-claustrophobic, considering I rarely spent time on land. The activities usually involved getting on another boat - like a kayak or a skiff. Three sit-down meals  a day took up a lot of time too. They were incredible customizing meals for my group's dietary needs, including my celiac restrictions. I even got to make special requests, like gluten-free pancakes for dinner one night and an off-the-menu Cobb Salad for lunch (because we were obsessed with their bacon at breakfast).

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Day 6 we did get to plant our feet on some solid ground in Haines, Alaska - though I was swaying with sea legs the whole time!

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This town is adorable, and this bakery (which also sells gluten-free goodies AND Thai food) is for sale (half a million dollars) in case anyone is interested!

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I was particularly smitten with their Hammer Museum, which is very different from the one in LA.

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We flew out of Juneau, Alaska and explored the town first. I dig these little towns and all their quirks - though this one was a lot more modern than the other ones we visited. (I will say that in Sitka - where we started our cruise - I was very surprised to see my movie Saving Face at the local thrift shop!)

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I know my last few blog posts have been super travel-heavy but all that is about to change. I'll make an official announcement soon, but in the meantime click here for a sneak peek at what I'm talking about - and give us a follow on social media to stay in the loop!

Road Trip: Cambria to Los Angeles

When in Cambria, take a walk along the coastline...

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...visit Nitt Witt Ridge...

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...and the Elephant Seals.

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Also, be sure to grab a slice of Olallieberry Pie from Linn's - where they have a gluten-free version that is really impressive! I ate mine live on Instagram and couldn't quite pinpoint what an olallieberry tastes like - but it's a hybrid of a blackberry and raspberry.

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Our B&B hosts told us about this town nearby called Harmony, where the population is 18 and once had a cat mayor. You can watch the video I made there on my YouTube channel or at the bottom of this post.

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On our drive back to LA we stopped at Mission Street Ice Cream in Santa Barbara. I cannot stop thinking about this peanut butter frozen yogurt, which was so reasonably priced for the size and addictively delicious.

Mission Street Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Santa Barbara, CA

Mission Street Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Santa Barbara, CA

Hearst Castle

When Abe and I first graduated college, we did a road trip up the CA coast and stopped at Hearst Castle. When we found out how much money the tour would cost, we kept on driving. Nowadays we can afford the price of admission (varying from $25-36 with an $8 service fee) but we can see why they charge what they do.

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We got tickets for the Grand Rooms (recommended for first-time visitors) but there's a lot of other tour options. Included is a bus ride, thorough guides, and lots to see.

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Abe took all the photos, obvi.

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It was actually cold on the day we went (the 4th of July!) so after the 1-hour guided tour, he stuck around the gardens while I went back down to the visitor center to stay warm.

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Before re-boarding the bus down you get to hang out by the indoor pool, which was probably my favorite part.

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J. Patrick House

Our last leg of this past 4th of July weekend road trip found us in Cambria. After all that driving, we were ready for some R&R at this perfect B&B - J. Patrick House.

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