A Mentor and a Friend

Today I finally sat my butt down to write a long overdue letter.  The recipient is my film professor from college who quickly became my friend over our long ours of working together.  We’ve been writing each others letters since graduation and I decided to add my most recent as it describes every aspect of my life at the moment :)

Happy Back to School Time! 

I’m not sure if it’s a “happy” or a “already?” time, but I figured I’d say happy to wish you a grand spring semester 2013.  It’s been awhile since we’ve e-mailed each other and I’ve missed you so I figured I’d take the next step and continue our correspondance.

How was your Christmas/break? This was my first Christmas holiday completely unattached from the school system AND my first where I don’t spend it with my family.  All and all, it was a very enjoyable time.  Mom-in-law Leslie hosted her book club’s Christmas party so we had extra motivation to get in the spirit.  We spent a couple weeks preparing and decorating.  We put mini stockings over the fireplace, got a real tree, and decorated it along with the two fake trees that the Walkers have collected over the years.  I stole the idea of wrapping pictures/paintings and re hanging them up to look like there are presents on the wall and decked out our staircase that goes upstairs with silver and gold garland and white ornaments.  We are so proud of our efforts.  The decorations are still up.  

All members of the book club were supposed to bring treats but you know how I am about feeding people.  I was so excited that I made lemon lime punch (with limeade, lemon/lime soda, and lemon sherbet), two cheese balls that I plopped on top of each other and decorated into a snowman, and greek yogurt artichoke dip complete with crackers, tortilla chips, and slices of baguette.  All treats went over wonderfully.

Ryan’s brother, Matt was able to get a whole week off for Christmas.  It was great having him around.  The few days before Christmas everyone still had various responsibilities to do during the day but we always met back up for dinner and then had family time after.  It’s been years since I’ve felt the whole “homey” Christmas full heart that I used to when my whole family was together so it was really nice to dedicate so much time being together.  I’d say it was my best Christmas in my adult life.  

I got to show Matt more of my cooking chops while he was in town.  I was in charge of Christmas dinner.  We decided on having a Turkey dinner.  I was a little nervous because my only previous experience cooking a turkey by myself was back at home with a detailed list of instructions from mom.  After much google searching and phone-tips from my mom I was able to pull it off.  I made some fantastic mashed potatoes to go with if I may say so myself.

I was so excited for gifts!  I am the type of person that collects gifts/ideas all year long.  I had my shopping done right after Thanksgiving so I got to be Leslie’s shopping assistant when it came to Ryan.  I got him fly fishing supplies, gourmet Montana coffee, and a vinyl record cleaning kit and I picked out a new fishing pole for Leslie to buy him.  My favorite gifts I got were a huge cookbook (with lots of pictures) from Ron (dad-in-law), some books from my mom, and Ryan’s present to me which is a private weekend (this Sunday!) at a bed and breakfast (comes with a 4 course breakfast!) in Keokuk, Iowa.  

I got quite a collection of fun books for Christmas.  My sister sent me two graphic novels that were co-written by a girl she graduated high school with.  The collection is called “The Virgin Project.”  This girl and her uncle go out and interview various people about their “first time” and draw illustrations to the story.  It was really interesting.  I thought it was such a cool idea.  Totally up my ally.  My sister knows me so well!  I finally got the book “Bossy-pants” which I tore through in about 3 days.  I remember you saying it was a good read so I thought of you while I read it.  I love how down to earth and witty Tina Fey is.  She seems to have a completely realistic view of everything, with a twist of humor.  I also got Mindy Kaling’s (another comedian) book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”  I really enjoyed it because she’s so bright and bubbly and talks to the reader as if she or he was her home-dog.  She kind of reminds me of a combo between Sierra Lewis and Pippi.  Since reading those delicious delights I’ve been in kind of a book slump.  I was so thrilled to read them that once I read them I was bummed it was all over.  Kind of like kids opening Christmas presents.  I’ve been trying to get into “Thank you for Coming- One Young Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm” but it’s not as zany as the others so it’s taking a bit to get into.

Becky and Chase were finally able to visit!  They had made plans to come to Macomb right after school got out but both got super sick the day before departure.  I was so bummed I cried. They were able to make it the Friday before school started.  It was so much fun!  It was really nice to be with friends again and to show them the good parts of Macomb.  We went out to eat at the local pub, which claims to have the best burgers in town.  I wouldn’t argue.  Then we loaded up with hot coco and peppermint schnapps and went sledding.  I had to run off for a few hours to work and then I met up with them at the bar and we all went to the Walker’s favorite Mexican restaurant “El Rancherito” where we partook in some delicious chicken fahitas.  After chowing down we came home, built a fire, then spent the rest of the night playing a card/dice game called “fill or bust.”  We woke up the next morning to Leslie graciously cooking breakfast and then Becky and Chase had to leave by 10 a.m. to visit some last friends/family in Iowa City before going home.  It was super relaxed and left me wanting more.

Speaking of which, Ryan and I are thinking about coming to town for Superbowl weekend. Ryan’s friend Mike always has a great party so Ry wanted to go since we only have a few more trips to Columbia planned before we leave (so far the only plans are True False and tentatively our last night in the Midwest before moving).  We’ll be there Sunday and Monday.  Do you have any plans on Monday?  Breakfast or lunch?   

Pippi and I have been really missing each other.  She’s still with Big Brother’s Big Sisters and she just started school to get a graduate certificate from Mizzou.  Her term with BBBS ends by August so she’s been looking for jobs to move on to.  She wants to stay in the non-profit area.  Her loose life goal is to be either a program coordinator or program director at a non-profit by the time she’s 30.  I think that’s pretty cool.  Even though I’ll be popping into Columbia for two days she and I really want to have some quality time together so for presidents day in February she’s going to come to Macomb (Or we’ll meet halfway in Hannibal) and we’ll spend all day and night catching up, drinking hard cider, eating delicious food, and watching girly things.  My secret wish is that she’ll find an amazing job in San Fran/Oakland and will have to move in with us.  That would be unrealistic but perfect :)

So San Fran is the decision.  I made Ryan promise not to change his mind anymore.  It’s getting too close to crunch time.  I like it because it’s the perfect combo of the two other places we’ve been flipping between.  I really wanted to move to Portland because of the vibe and how green it is but we would never be able to support ourselves in film there.  Ryan’s always wanted to go back to LA because of the opportunities but we aren’t so excited about the car lifestyle.  San Fran seems pretty fun loving with film work still available AND we have a penciled in roommate who will find us all a place to live in Oakland before we even get there.  That’s a biggie.  If things don’t work out in San Fran then our fallback is LA because we have so many friends and family there.  If LA doesn’t work out then we’ll probably go to Portland and deal with doing film on the side.

I’m not anticipating getting a job in film right off the bat in San Francisco.  Probably, much to every filmmaker’s dismay I am looking for a stable 8-5 job to start out with.  Life is going to be so crazy with moving in, new bills, and adjustment that I think I’ll really need some stability.  And having a stable paycheck would really help my sanity.  I’ve been looking into festivals, schools, and production/distribution companies but I’m not completely banking on it.  I’ve got an “in my field” research list started and a “backup” list that involves jobs that I’m sure I’ll still enjoy while getting on my feet.  My backup jobs involve working for any school, legal zoom (Ryan worked there when he lived in LA, we are going to see if there’s a SF office), nannying, waitressing, personal assistant jobs, secretarial jobs, or even bank telling if it comes down to it.  When I finally get a job I plan on volunteering for festivals so I can move up the food chain and join yoga or some sort of feminist/LGBT group or something so I can make friends.  I’m still in slight denial so I’m not terrified yet but I have a feeling in April my e-mails are going to be a little more panic induced   

This week in order to prep for my future job application process I’ve been getting all my professional things in order.  I plan on dissecting my resume into 3 new ones (an extended one for my own files, a film related resume, and a general one for non-film jobs).  I started a tumblr “webpage” where I’ll have all my contact info, my resume, my filmography, and I’ll blog about film related stuff.  I already wrote a blog inspired by the Golden Globes about women in comedy.  It’s kind of a love song to recent female comedians.  Nothing overly intellectual but I can send you a link if you’re interested.  I started a Linked In account and have been loading that up with info.  I collected my favorite film projects into a “portfolio” collection on Vimeo.  I’m going to ask Chase to take some head shots of me while I’m in Columbia so I can use them for business cards and all previously stated projects.  So far I’m about 60% done with all of it.  I have the Pippster to thank for kicking my butt into gear since she told me she was looking for a job in 6 months rather than my 3 1/2.  

I decided to legally change my name.  I was holding it off just out of laziness because there are at least 10 things I need to change but it’s getting about that time.  Every time I have to sign for something I have a slight identity crises because signing Lykins feels weird now.  So, now that I’ve made the decision I will start the process of procrastination and in a few weeks time I’ll start researching/calling to make it happen.

Bootlegger’s been going well.  We’ve filmed 23 interviews so far and endless amounts of b-roll.  At the moment we are in the archives going through boxes of articles/pictures of McDonough county in the early 1900’s.  As a producer I’m basically Ryan’s right hand woman.  He’s been having trouble delegating, mainly because everything that needs to be done at the moment needs his intake/vision so my main roll is to support, assist, and brainstorm. I’m also going to start doing some building sketches that may be used for animation.  Ryan’s work ethic continues to amazes me.  I thrive on institutional structure (such as a job or school) where there are instant gratification/consequences (grades/paycheck) but if I try to do anything on my own my energy fizzes out about 20% into the process.  

We had our Cornfed Film Fest Production Party last Friday!  It was our big fundraiser to help raise money so we can actually go through with this thing in April.  It excelled my expectations.  Ryan and I were pretty nervous because it was hard to get the group together during break BUT the last two meetings before the party we had high attendance and multiple people stepped up to get the job done!  We had a silent auction of items donated by local businesses (I got a flattened wine bottle cheese tray), a donation bucket, a 50/50 raffle, a scavenger hunt trivia contest, tasty appetizers from the restaurant I work at, and a screening of the two short films that won awards last year.  We had about 40 people (including us) there and had a great time.  The next big steps are programming (I’m going to start asking some friends to submit once we’ve update our website), verification of venues, seeking out additional sponsorship, and overal planning.  I was nominated secretary so I happily type up notes for each meeting and send them out (you remember) and I’ve also taken over Facebook updates.  

Work has been great.  Right before New Years we got a new group of hires.  I am no longer the new girl.  If fact my boss has been calling me the “head hostess” for over a month now.  I trained the two new girls and am always put in charge whenever I work with the other regular host.  I enjoy what I do.  What’s funny is that I love bussing tables.  I get thrills with challenging myself on how many plates/glasses I can safely carry.  I am an odd duck.  One of the new girls and I get along really well.  She is a potential friend.  I may just grow some lady-balls and ask her on a friend date soon.  I like everyone I work with but there’s always a bit of drama that makes me want to only hang out with them at work.  This girl is funny and weird like me so I think there’s potential for a friendship to grow.

SPEAKING OF FRIENDSHIP!  I just want you to know how much your friendship has meant to me.  I met you 3ish years ago and was instantly intrigued by what a strong woman you are (being a Cottey Student that is one thing we look for in everything).  Then I went to Stephens and had you as a teacher/mentor/boss.  I loved how you took me seriously and treated me as if I were a valuable member of the team. You trusted in my ability and gave me responsibilities that were fulfilling.  I love our chats and hope to stay in touch for many years (and film festivals ) to come.  Thank you for being such a wonderful friend.

That’s about all that’s new thus far.  I intend on writing the instant more interesting things happen.  I hope all is well!


Recipes for Bree

Just caught up with one of my ladies, Bree and one of the things we talked about was food.  Of course, that is my favorite subject so we discussed everything we have been cooking lately.  She said she’d been running out of things to cook and asked for some recipes.  I have a tendency not to measure, so a few recipes will just have ingredients.  Here’s a list!

Fancy Sammy- 2 Sliced rosemary olive bread.  Spread pesto on each slice, add tomato, hard salami, and provolone.  Cook in a skillet with olive oil like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Thai Peanut Soup- Peanut Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil                    1 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
3 cups Butternut squash                14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped onion               4 cups veg broth 

1 Tbsp minced garlic                14 oz can coconut milk    
1 Tbsp curry powder                2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
3 Tbsp flour

Cut squash in half, length-wise, and bake on a cookie sheet at 350’ for ~45
minutes.  Cool, then peal and dice squash. Heat oil, sauté onions, garlic,
curry and pepper until onions are tender.  Add diced squash.  Sprinkle flour
over vegetables.  Add tomatoes.  Cook and stir 1 minute.  Add broth, coconut
mile and PNB stirring to blend.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and
simmer until squash is tender.

OMG Chicken (found on pinterest)- Place 4 chicken breasts in a pan.  Mix 1 container of plain greek yogurt with 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.  Lather the chicken breasts with mixture.  Sprinkle Italian Breadcrumbs on top and bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Salmon Patties- One 14.75 oz can of salmon.  Put in a bowl and take out bones if desired. Sautee some onions and celery and mix into salmon.  Crumble ritz crackers and mix in with salmon until the texture is good enough to make patties.  Crumble more ritz crackers onto a plate. Roll salmon mix into balls and roll balls in the extra ritz crumbles.  Flatten balls into patties and fry over stovetop with a tbsp or so of oil.  Cook until there is a good crust on both sides.  Great with rice!

Bean and Cheese Burritos- Over stovetop cook one 16 oz can refried beans, 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, chili powder to taste, and 1 medium tomato chopped until heated through. Plop mix into flour tortillas and fold to make burritos.  Bake burritos in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  I like to broil for 30 seconds to toast the top of the burritos.  Eat with appropriate burrito condiments!

Poptart/Mini pies- Cut palm sized circles out of store bought pie crust.  Spoon in a tbsp of your favorite jam into each circle.  Fold circle in half and use a fork to synch the pies into a half moon.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.

Stuffed Peppers/Veggie burritos-  I roast my favorite veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, butternut squash, onion, garlic) and mix the cooked veggies with rice and black beans.  Place filling in tortillas and fold into burritos and cook in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  For peppers, hollow out pepper and fill with filling.  Cook in 400 degree onion until pepper becomes soft to the touch (an hour or so?).  One of my friends took a chilled stuffed pepper and sliced it so it became a sort of stuffed pepper sushi.  Pretty cool :)

Quesadillas My staple.  I always eat quesadillas when I’m hungry.  Lately I’ve been loading them with veggies though.  When I make loaded quesadillas I put cheese, red onion, tomato, spinach, olives, bell pepper, black beans, and canned chicken sautéed in taco seasoning in the tortillas.  I just cook them right over the stove and once the cheese is melted and the tortilla has a crust, BAM totally supreme meal.

Frito Dinner Ryan’s mom makes this when we need an easy thing to eat that is SUPER fast.    Here’s all it is.  Heat one can of Busch’s vegetarian beans with cooked ground turkey.  Top with fritos, tomato, shredded cheese, sour cream, and salsa.  Lately I’ve been using plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I like to think it’s healthier.

Meat Loaf- In a bowl mix 1 lb of hamburger, 2 eggs, 1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup, 1 pack of lipton mushroom gravy powder, 4 torn up slices of bread, 1 cup oatmeal.  Mix, put in a casserole dish, and cook in a 350 degree oven for an hour.

Breakfast Wreath- Take a container of Pillsbury croissants and arrange each triangle into a circle with the long end facing out.  Arrange bacon, scrambled eggs, and shredded cheese in a circle on the thick edges of the croissant.  Fold the long ends over ingredients to shape a wreath.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 17 minutes.

Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup.  When you have gotten all large bits off of a roast chicken or turkey, put the carcass in a pot covered in water.  Boil for an hour or so to make broth. Take out the carcass and throw the bits of chicken/turkey that you pull off the bone back into the broth.  Sautee onions, garlic, and celery, and carrots.  Throw in the pot with broth.  This is a pretty simplistic soup.  You may add other veggies you desire.  I like to addd chunks of potato.  Cook soup until veggies are 

Peanut Sauce-My friend Becky and I have made this a few times together before.  We didn’t necessarily put all these ingredients in.  We picked our faves’ and just mixed to taste.  Put rice wine vinegar, lime juice, peanut butter, teriyaki  soy sauce, sugar, cayenne pepper, blac pepper, cumin, ginger, sesame oil, garlic cloves, tumeric powder, cilantro, olive oil, red pepper, coriander, water, and siracha into a blender.  Add water to make sauce desired consistancy.  

Roche Chicken Salad Take a rotisserie chicken and cut all meat into chunks.  Add onion, celery, slivered almonds, mayo, and sliced grapes to taste.  Eat with crackers, bread, or itself.  THE BEST

How Women in Comedy Have Changed Me

There have been a time or two when I have been considered funny.  Maybe not the witty “oh ha ha, how clever” type, but I have always been keen on sacrificing my self dignity to make my loved ones laugh, no matter how weird.  It feels so great to be the reason behind someone’s chuckle.  One of my favorite things about my husband’s and my relationship is that I can find his funny bone any time of day and he can mine.  Things that normal civilized people wouldn’t find amusing sends us through the roof.  Farting bare ass on doors is an example.

I hadn’t thought much about females’ roles in comedy until 2011.  I knew we were funny and I have the attendance of a women’s college in the butt-crack-of-nowhere Nevada, MO to prove it.  It wasn’t until people were raving about the movie “Bridesmaids” breaking barriers that I truly grasped how spectacular our species is.  Here were six ladies letting it all out for our joy and entertainment.  And Melissa McCarthy!  Have I fallen in love with that woman!  I have been her home-girl since she played the adorably klutzy chef with a fantastic giggle in Gilmore Girls.  She went the farthest into the wacky and I about cried with pride.  

After watching multiple women sh** and puke wearing thousand dollar bridesmaids dresses I’ve been gradually seeking out more mirthful muses to add sunlight to my daily life.  I have found a treasure chest full.

Amy Poehler I first took notice of you as Leslie Knope in “Parks and Recreation.”  I, along with everyone with a carotid artery, was charmed with your boundless passion and trusting innocence.  Your bright and cheerful demeanor along with the fearlessness to be a goon has lightened my spirit on more than one occasion.  Plus you brought to me the lovely, beautiful, remarkable Rashida Jones.  I read two books by your peers (soon to be mentioned) and both are in love with you.  Which makes me beg for you, yourself, to write a book so I can spend a few wonderful afternoons in your company.

Tina Fey you are as real as they get.  I read “Bossypants” and was intrigued by how down to earth you really are.  You say it how it is, no sugar coating.  You first came into my radar with the witty “Mean Girls” and have been a standard powerhouse in my view since.  

Mindy Kaling you are exactly who I want to spend a friday night with.  Either out clubbing, or if I had my pick, dressed in pjs drinking hard cider and watching chick flicks and eating green curry.  I loved reading “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” So sassy and fun.

Ellie Kemper you are absolutely adorable with everything you do.  I can’t wait to see you in more things to come!

Ellen Degeneres.  You have revolutionized the world with your generosity and dance moves.

Melissa McCarthy, I will mention again how much I adore you, your curves, and willingness to pull out all the stops.

Emma Stone.  Not technically a “comedian” per say, but you delivered SO WELL in Easy A that I think you should seriously consider continuing showing the world your spunk.

Aubrey Plaza, you make aloof cool.

Rebel Wilson, so delightfully odd.

As of yet my only successful bits are acting like an alien/sheep, speaking in a childlike voice, and having no fear of discussing various lady parts in public.  My husband thinks that I am the cutest and most hilarious being on this earth and has lately been encouraging me to pursue comedy.  Because of all of you ladies, I just might take a wack at it

Kristen Wiig, Lucille Ball, Whoopi Goldberg, Rebel Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Ellen Degeneres, Aubrey Plaza, Ellie Kemper, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Melissa McCarthy… You are all fantastically funny women and even though I am just a sapling in my first steps in learning about this magnificent world of laughs I thank you for being my inspirations.  

What a courageous, passionate, gorgeous, warm, and glorious woman this is!


Goodbye handheld, hello Fig Rig.


Goodbye handheld, hello Fig Rig.


Terrill Bros general store in 1911. 
Built in 1887, for decades it was the largest business of any kind in McDonough County.
Today it serves as production headquarters for #TheBootlegger.
Photo courtesy of Archives & Special Collections at Western Illinois University.


Terrill Bros general store in 1911. 

Built in 1887, for decades it was the largest business of any kind in McDonough County.

Today it serves as production headquarters for #TheBootlegger.

Photo courtesy of Archives & Special Collections at Western Illinois University.

Two more thank yous ;0

Going to Citizen Jane Film Festival!

Here are some homemade biz-nass cards I’m taking with.

Where to get the best pastries you have ever eaten in your life.  
We had bear claws (huckleberry and some sugar frosting stuff), Feta and olive, and spinach blue cheese.
Also a super quirky and fun woodsy environment.  Next time you’re in MT check it out.

Where to get the best pastries you have ever eaten in your life.  

We had bear claws (huckleberry and some sugar frosting stuff), Feta and olive, and spinach blue cheese.

Also a super quirky and fun woodsy environment.  Next time you’re in MT check it out.

Super Quesadilla

  • Tortilla (flour or corn)
  • Chicken with homemade taco seasoning
  • Black Beans
  • Green Pepper
  • Yellow Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Peach Salsa
  • Sliced Avocado