Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Episode One: The Saga Begins.

I have to first begin by extending an enormous thank you to the lovely Miss Anna Lise Jensen for her suggestion of such an appropriate nom de guerre. Many thanks to the other suggestions I received, but this one landed closest to home. Donna Reed not only captures the essence of what we have come to know as the "stereotypical housewife," but she truly exemplifies a defining characteristic of the 21st Century Woman: WE WORK.

A Little Bit About Donna Reed...
Donna Reed was an Academy Award & Golden Globe winning actress, remembered best for her turn as Mary Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life and as Donna Stone on The Donna Reed Show. She appeared in over 40 films during her 30+ years in the business.

She was truly a woman ahead of her time, despite her on-screen embodiment of the cookie-cutter housewife of the times she lived in. She was college educated (she insisted on graduating before fully diving into her MGM career), co-chaired an anti-war advocacy group called Another Mother for Peace during The Vietnam War, had a successful film career, and still managed to have a home, a husband (or three), and raise four children.

After her death in 1986, the Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts was created in her memory and provides scholarships to performing arts students.

A Little Bit About This Modern Day Donna...

While I may not (yet) be an Academy Award & Golden Globe winning actress, I'm certainly aspiring to be one. My crowning characteristic of the moment is that I'm at least a working actress. I have steady theater work through the remainder of the year in sunny (albeit humid) Florida. I'm hoping as ever to book other gigs, be it modeling, film, or commercials, to fill up the limited free time around my shows. My goal ultimately is to return to Los Angeles as soon as possible in 2012. And while I will constantly be seeking the growth and improvement of my craft that will hopefully ensure me a long, successful career in this business, I am a firm believer that to enjoy one's work, one must have and enjoy one's life. After all, how are we to accurately re-create, or in reality live, life on the stage or screen if we have never been out and experienced the glorious world around us? For the majority of my readers, I know you're affiliated with the arts in some capacity, and living life fully on the income of an artist can prove a difficult, but not un-accomplishable feat.

Which brings us to the definition of Adventure...

adventure |adˈven ch ər; əd-|nounan unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity her recent adventures in Italy.• daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm :she traveled the world in search of adventure a sense of adventure.• archaic a commercial speculation.verb [ intrans. datedengage in hazardous and exciting activityesp. the exploration of unknown territory they had adventured into the forest.• [ trans. dated put (something, esp. money or one's life) at risk he adventured $3,000 in the purchase of land.

I myself prefer the verb tense of this word as it instills a sense of movement, a seeking quality. Of course, an adventure does not have to involve the loss of life or limb (or even that ever precious dollar). An adventure to me is simply finding something you love and pursuing it with vigor, and simpler still, enjoying the pursuit.

Thus, a blog is born...
Those that know me well will tell you with unwavering certainty that there are few places I love more than the kitchen. I love to cook and especially to bake and even more to eat whatever I've created. However, just over a year ago, I realized that my love for the kitchen was harming more than just my waistline. My self-esteem was at an all time low and years of negativity were wreaking havoc on my perception of life. The kitchen became a place of solace, but not for the right reasons. So one cold day in January 2010 standing with my mother, appropriately, in her kitchen, she asked me a simple question, "Where do you want to go from here?" I could either continue on the downward spiral I was on, or I could dig my heels in and change my path completely. A week later,  I made the best decision of my life to date and joined up with Weight Watchers. 16 months and 30+ pounds later, the lightness I experience isn't just the numbers on the scale, it's in every particle of my being. The small, active choice of just wanting to be thinner has become about so much more than that. I have finally discovered the ability to love myself for who I am no matter what that scale says.

The kitchen has again become a place I truly love to spend my time, and I have found many ways to make it work to my advantage. I'm an actress which means I'm judged the second I walk in a room based solely on my appearance, but I also love to eat and I refuse to starve myself in order to wear "smaller clothes" or fit this twig-skinny idea of beauty that is forced down our throats daily from every media outlet available. This woman is going to have her cake and wear her skinny jeans too!

I get asked a lot about living the Weight Watchers lifestyle, what my tricks are in the kitchen, food recommendations, etc, etc, etc, and I want to share what I've learned with as many people as possible! You don't have to do Weight Watchers to find success in whatever your weight-loss goals may be. You just have to be willing to choose yourself and make smart, healthy choices for your body.

The Modern Day Donna Blog Menu...
*Expect to see a lot of recipes. I'm all about creating the healthiest foods possible without sacrificing taste. I've done a lot of research into "smart" foods, modified hundreds of recipes, and found a number of healthy tricks. Everything I share will be something I've already made, so I'll be able to offer extra tips and advice to aid in your success!

*As a working actor I travel, a lot. I try to experience local culture as much as possible wherever I am, but that can be a costly endeavor if not done correctly. I hope to share some tips about getting out and seeing the world without breaking the bank in the process. After all, a good housewife is a thrifty housewife!

*I love to decorate and create meaningful gifts, but again,  I do it on a limited budget. There is a blog in the future where I will attempt to decorate my Los Angeles apartment for under $500. It will be a challenge, but one I fully intend to overcome!

*Q&A: I want to answer your questions, so if you have them, post them! Whether it be about food, exercise, acting, modeling, traveling, etc, etc, etc, I want to hear from you!

*As an artist, there will be posts regarding my work, and any tips I've found to be particularly useful to an actor striving to make it in this business.

The World is an Empty Plate...
See everything around you as an opportunity to explore, learn, and grow. Fill your plate with the things you love and experience those things fully! I hope you'll enjoy sharing in the filling of my empty plate. I'll try anything once, so expect a flavorful adventure complete with pearls, heels, a whole lot of metaphorical and physical cake, and of course, the skinniest of skinny jeans.

Here's to the road ahead,

-Modern Day Donna


  1. I enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to reading more. My granddaughter Chloe will read them with me. Your awesome. Cheryl from C.S. Ks.

  2. What a cute blog idea Sandy! It's great to see that you've "made it" out there and I wish you the best of luck. Do you still ever do FWK? I'm going to be getting back into it. If you're in Wichita at the end of July I hope you can come see my show! Have fun in Flordia :)

  3. Oh I should say that the play is Laundry and Bourbon and it is with "Some Kind of Theatre Company" here in Wichita. Also, here is my blog if you get a chance to check it out.