Actors Need Self-Awareness. So Do You.

Self-Awareness is a concept I’ve been pondering lately both on a professional and personal level, and I’ve realized there are several kinds:

Awareness of body.
Awareness of ability.
Awareness of desire/intent. (want)
Awareness of behavior.

When analyzing a character for a script, I have to answer questions about that character based on each level of awareness to better understand who they are.

The script does not provide the entirety of the character. It is the actor’s job to create that depth. Only after establishing and coming to a full understanding of who that character actually is, can an actor do their job.

Why should this matter to you?

Because just like the actor, you are limited by your own level of self-awareness. You are both the character and the actor of your own life.

You must constantly asses and reassess what you actually want. “Actually” is the keyword.

You may be pursuing a college degree because you want it, but when boiled down, you actually just want your parent’s or society’s approval.

You may want more followers on social media but what you actually want is validation.

Once you establish what you’re truly wanting, then you can analyze how you go about getting it. Or, if you truly need it to be happy in the first place.

Becoming a Portrait Photographer

The best part about starting my ongoing acting classes at the beginning of this month, is all of the amazing people I’ve met and friends I’ve made. A great life hack for making friends after moving somewhere new is definitely getting involved in acting, even if it’s just community theater. (Los Angeles might be an exception to this, but I’ll let you know.)

One person, in particular that I’ve been spending a lot of time with is Meagan (Instagram: @AdventureWithMaae). Thankfully, (as if you hadn’t already guessed) she’s the kind of person who is down for adventure, so when I suggested we get up at 5am for a photoshoot, she enthusiastically agreed.

I’ve grown into loving getting up early, and getting up to do a photoshoot is even better. You avoid morning traffic and you’re up at the perfect time to get golden-hour pictures.

Not only is she gorgeous but she also takes direction well, so it made it extremely easy to direct her poses so we could get the perfect shot. And her green eyes made the photos extra fun to edit because they’re such a powerful focus-point. I also maintain that actors are more expressive than the average person. Exhibit A:

This is only the second photoshoot I’ve done with a specific subject so while I’m extremely happy with how these turned out, I’m sure there’s still plenty of room for growth.

I was able to create a preset for this photoshoot that gave the photos what I like to call a “musk” in the background shrubbery and an overall golden hue. I did have to be careful to make sure it didn’t make Meagan appear too orange and finding that balance for each individual photo did prove to be a little challenging. When compared to the original photo some edits can look a little too on the orange side but when alone it looks much more natural.

This can also be a problem when I’ve stared at the same photo for too long. I’ll often need to take a brief break and then come back to it with fresher eyes.

To see more of my content, follow my Instagram: @alyybazan

How I grew my awareness on Pinterest from 800 views a month to 9.1K in a matter of days

Check out my profile on Pinterest: @coolgirlvibezz

I pin about art, lifestyle, aesthetic, and fashion.

Pinterest is one of my favorite platforms. I get some of my best inspiration from here and not only that, but it’s a huge tool for driving traffic to your personal or professional sites. Pinterest will be huge for building my personal brand and awareness.

I recently switched from a personal profile to a business profile and let me tell you, what a difference it’s made. I can track statistics, make paid promotions, and see my progress. I was shocked that just a few small changes increased my profile views in just a few days.

  • Daily Activity

Maintain a constant stream of content to all of your boards. You don’t want people to forget about you! Pinning from others will assist in maintaining high output and engagement.

  • Caption with your username

I noticed a lot of other people doing this and at first, I thought it was kinda over the top but it truly helps! By putting your username in the caption, often people will repin without removing it and it acts as an indicator to other pinners where they can find more pins like it.

  • Pay attention to who’s repinning from you

I don’t think enough people do this. When someone repins from you or even follows you, take a gander at their page. Find some of their pins to repin and follow a board of theirs. This assists in building a sense of community.

  • Make your profile SEO friendly

Stop treating Pinterest as a social network and treat it more like a search engine. Add descriptions to your boards and make sure the names of your boards accurately and clearly describe what you’re pinning. This makes it much easier for the people who are looking for your content to find you.

Special recommendation for businesses:

Many make the mistake of strictly posting their own curated content to Pinterest. And while that is a huge part of building and showing your brand, if you truly want to drive up traffic to your blog or site, you will want something more to draw people in.

Repining from other people or pages things that also fit your brand is invaluable for catching more eyes. When you repin from someone, they receive a notification that you did so, increasing the chances that they’ll see your page. And if you’re pinning from them, chances are they’ll be interested in the content that you have to offer.

And by pinning more you increase community engagement.

Happy pinning!

My New Side Hussle

You can’t live your life through someone else. Unfortunately, a lesson I had to learn the hard way. One that I thought I already knew.

Over the past few months during my apprenticeship with Acton Academy, I learned a lot about marketing and content creation but also about myself. Students are taught here that they should focus more on what they are passionate about rather than trying to live up to average standards set in place for them by some higher power.

It wasn’t until I saw the growth that was taking place in these students’ lives that I realized how much I let myself be shaped by what I felt others expected of me and what was typically deemed as “practical”.

For a time, I was able to feel like I didn’t have to pursue that which I feel I have a calling to do. I felt comfortable living without satisfying that itch because someone I was close to was pursuing it for me. Not actually for me of course- for themselves, but I felt I could live my life satisfied simply by having them around.

It’s easier, after all, to live through someone else in that way. There’s no work involved, but no true satisfaction or recognition either.

It’s not the aches and pains of hard work that will kill you. It’s regret. I don’t mean physically kill. I mean spiritually. Why deny yourself the satisfaction of having at least given it all you’ve got and learning the outcome when you know the opposite is sitting in the nursing home wondering what could have been? That crap kills your soul long before you’ve given up the ghost.

I’m lucky enough to have met some wonderful people within the past year during my time in the Praxis program that have inspired and encouraged me to pursue that which I have a calling for. And with the experience I’ve gained through this program, my understanding of building a brand and marketing, I know I have a competitive edge.

Effective work, creative work, and hard work are what I plan to put on full display for all to see as I truly pursue this thing in a way that I have yet to see many others do. The best way to learn and work is to do it out loud after all.

I’m talking blogs, vlogs (as soon as this giant zit goes away), new projects, an updated website, and maybe even a podcast because gosh darn it, I’m feeling ambitious.

And who knows? Perhaps I’ll get further into it and decide it’s not truly for me. But I have to actually go for it to find out. I hope to inspire others to do the same.

I’m going to be an actor, guys.

#sidehussle #letsgetit

An Open-Ending

It felt surreal as I did everything for the last time; stopped into Mugshots coffeehouse for a final gingersnap latte, dropped the books I had been hoarding off at the library and talked to a beloved past coworker,  had breakfast at Minnie’s with my father before he had to go to work, shop around the farmer’s market and talk with the vendors whom each I have come to know very well.

I know I will see everyone and everything again when I come to visit but it won’t be quite the same. I’m sure I won’t be either, I’m already not.

As I was preparing to take my leave to go, I kept relating myself to a book character in a series I recently finished. It was written in a way that left it open-ended, things were implied but you didn’t know for sure. The brunette protagonist, after heading a movement, was leaving everything she had known for a new beginning.

Her journey changed her in many ways, it challenged her relationships, it introduced her to new struggles, to things so much bigger than herself, but she held such a significance that no one, including herself, ever expected her to have.

So many people hated the ending of this series- I read the reviews. The battle had been won but the revolution was still in progress and we were given no idea if our protagonist would end up with her love interest. Many were left confused and unsatisfied with this ending, but I think I get it now.

We were left with just as much idea about the future as the protagonist. And isn’t that how we all travel through life? In the very beginning of the series, the protagonist describes what direction her life is expected to take, and surely it would have happened exactly as stated had a curveball not been thrown and a reckless chain-reaction ensued. How many times in our lives does that happen to us?

Prior to leaving I was overwhelmed by just how much things were about to change, and how much they already had. I thought I knew the exact direction my life was going to take and was sent reeling when this changed so abruptly in a way I couldn’t have predicted. It shook my confidence in this new opportunity I have and I was terrified that this too, would not work out like I had planned.

What brought me comfort through it all was my relationship to God, it seemed he was continually putting things in my path to remind me just how overwhelmingly loved I am. And I truly mean overwhelming. It’s helped me to realize a lot of things.

I now know what new direction I want to take, and this apprenticeship is exactly what will help me achieve that, as well as some of the new relationships I’m building. But I’m not living for the future like I once was. Instead, I’m choosing to live for the day, achieving and fitting as much life as I can within 24 hours instead of waiting for a better tomorrow. I’m choosing to keep my story open-ended.



Praxis Tech Stack: Utilizing Google

I always express to people using the computer why it’s so beneficial to use google over many other alternatives out there but I knew that there was still a lot for me to learn about using several programs that Google has to offer. So this month as part of my Tech Stack learning, I worked to learn how I can use Google even more to make better use of my account.

Google Docs

    • You can share entire folders by selecting the desired folder and then selecting the icon with a plus sign and a person. There you can add people who can have access to it and change settings for view only or enabling editing.
    • Tag people in comments on a document by typing a + followed by the user’s email. Example:   This will send them a notification that they were tagged.


  • Switching to Suggestion Mode will allow any edits that are made to show up as only suggestions instead of a permanent change to the document. Shows up in green, and suggestions also show up in the comments. The original user can accept or decline the change by selecting which they prefer.


  • To keep tabs on what your colleagues have done, you can view a revision history via File > See Revision History or by clicking the link next to “Help” on the top menu (it might say “All changes saved in Drive” or “Last edit made by X 10 minutes ago”). A list on the right side will show you who updated the doc and when; click their name to see what they did.
  • If you can’t remember the name of the file you want, but you can remember who shared it with you, click on Shared with Me in the left menu of Google Drive. You’ll get a list of all the documents you share access to. If the list is too long to parse, type the collaborator’s name in the search field at the top to narrow down the choices.

Google Sheets

    • You can select a template or create from scratch
    • To find the Sum highlight that which you want to sum, go to Insert > function > sum


  • To Upload a Spreadsheet to Google go into settings and check to make sure convert files is checked, otherwise, it will upload as an excel file and not a google sheets file. Click on New > File Upload


      • NOTE: Things do not always convert perfectly
    • Click once to Select a Cell, double-click to Make changes within that cell.


  • Select an entire Column by left-clicking once on the letter of the desired column.
  • Select an entire Row by left-clicking once on the number of the desired row.
  • Select the entire Sheet by clicking the box in the left-hand corner above row 1 and before column A


    • Google sheets use a standard rounding convention when this selection is chosen. $19.99 automatically is displayed as $20, but the actual value inside the box is still 19.99


  • Merge cells by clicking the symbol that looks like:


  merge cells.png

  • Use the Align icon to change the alignment of the text within the cell
  • For alternating colors within a table, select the desired portion of the table, then go to format > alternating colors. A box will appear showing options of colors, styles, and other customizable features.

Google Calendar

  • Best utilized by downloading the application for this on your phone.


Praxis Tech Stack: Adobe After Effects

Review of the program.

Adobe after effects is a video making software but is perhaps best for what I would call “from scratch” compositions for animations in which do not require prior footage, though it certainly can be used to edit such videos and add certain effects. This is not the adobe program for true video making such as a vlog but is still extremely valuable for making a different kind of video.

The thing that  I have found to prove the most challenging when using this software is how complicated it looks upon initial viewing- in fact, even after spending time over the course of this month working with this software there is still far more for me to learn than that which I have already learned.

I have found that the easiest way to add a new element to a composition is to click layer at the top of the page and then select “new”. From there you can select what kind of new layer you need such as “text” and “solid”.

It is a fairly touchy program. For some reason, it seemed very easy to make detrimental mistakes that were hard to undo. People posting tutorials made everything look easy and did not seem to encounter the issues that I did when it came to simple tasks such as selecting an element and moving it to a new position on the page. I often relied on the “align” feature to adjust the placement of an element but even with that I experienced difficulty.

My tutorial:

How to move the position of an element on an Adobe After Effects Composition.

Some tutorials that helped me:

Some Simple Animations

Difference Between After Effect and Premier Pro

Praxis Tech Stack: Zapier Notes

What is zapier?

  • Zapier is a tool that lets you connect all kinds of web apps & software to share information between them all, streamlining many processes.
  • Creates automation between two or more apps with seemingly endless combinations



    • Zap: An automated workflow between apps; a blueprint for a task you may plan to do repetitively
    • Trigger: A trigger is the part of the automation process that tells a zap to run.
    • Action: The event taking place that does what you are intending for it to do.
    • Task: A single action performed by zapier. (Every time a zap is used it contributes to your  task usage.
    • Apps: Created by zapier; built-in services that are included in your account for free that  help you optimize your workflow
      • Filter – ensures your zaps fire only on the right kind of data. To incorporate, click on the specific zap that you wish to modify and select the “+” sign. From there you can select the filter app and apply.
      • Delay – using the delay app allows you to build zaps that wait before continuing through with the rest of the zap. You can set a specific time that the next step takes place or a specific date (time delay for value and time delay for unit).


  • Formatter – this one is a much more versatile application than those stated previously. Formatter can tweak numbers, dates, and text in over a dozen ways to get it in the format you need.


      • Numbers – Work with numeric data to do math operations, reformat currencies, and more (with line-item support).
      • Utilities – Various utilities like “choose value from list” or “look up in table” (with line-item support).
      • Date / Time – Work with dates and times to change formatting or add/subtract time (with line-item support).
      • Text – Work with text data to find & replace, capitalize, remove HTML, and more (with line-item support)
    • Email parcer – takes bits and pieces from an email so you can use it in a zap.
      • 1. Go to and click log in with your zapier account and the authorize button on the next page
      • 2. You can have as many parcer inboxes as you want. Click “create mailbox” to create your first one.
      • 3. Use the email to create a template. Be cautious when using a previous email that it does not contain extra threads or replies as this can cause issues when you define the template. You can copy and paste the content into a new email instead to prevent any issues.
      • You will generally want to leave the default options alone. It’s very important that the email that you wish to parce contains the information that you are looking to grab. If you can use a non-space delimiter. ex) Name : Ryan | Occupation : Marketing |…

| <these help parcer to identify the separation between the parts of information

      • Identify the part of the email that you wish to parce into separate fields so we can map them in zaps. Highlight the data in the template itself. You will see the format automatically change a little bit (this is meant to happen) left click on it to make any changes.
      • Repeat the previous step for each part of data on the page and then select Save address and Template button at the bottom of the page.
      • Go to zapier and select create a new zap.
      • Search for and select email parcer in the trigger apps, click on the new email trigger and hit continue.
      • On the next page you will need to click the Select an Account button and authorize the parcer tool to connect to our zapier account and then click Save and Continue.
      • Select the mailbox you would like to use.


Create a zap

Step 1: Choose a trigger

Trigger: What happens in an app that tells the zap to run

Connect: generally you will need to log into the accounts that you are creating a zap for.

Make sure you grant zapier permission.

-Select the page that you want Zapier to look at. You can also select a from.

-Test connection

Step 2: Choose an action App

Action: an event that zapier completes in the second app automatically

Connect: just as in the previous step, you must log into your account and allow Zapier


Map the field: Ensure the information flows accurately from the first app to the second.


How to Share Posts Automatically from Instagram to Pinterest Tutorial.


Texting Sucks

There are good texters and there are bad texters. I’m still unsure as to which I am. Objectively one would think I would be great at it because I’m so young. But as I get older it has become more of a chore. I no longer have the time to sit and text multiple people at one time. There was a point in time that I found it to be the best gauge of popularity or the best way to get to know someone, in fact, I made a lot of good relationships through texting.

Only now do I realize just how unhealthy that is. To determine your self-worth based on how many people are texting you, how many people want to talk to you daily, or if that certain person, in particular, is messaging you back fast enough. It’s such a trivial thing to waste your energy on.

We seem to place such a high value on texting, but isn’t it more meaningful to actually go out and spend time with that person? They may take a couple of seconds to reply to your message but are they actually setting aside time for you? Are you setting aside time for them?

Then on top of that, it is extremely difficult to convey tone via text. I cannot tell you the number of awkward situations I have encountered during texting conversations because the message was interpreted incorrectly. When you subtract tone from the equation of a conversation, you lose an important asset in communication causing messages to become misconstrued.

I will always appreciate the convenience of texting to solve a quick problem or reach someone without interrupting what they may be doing, but to depend on texting for a majority of your basic communication is a huge social limitation.

Creativity and Forward Thinking Review

This week the focus was creativity and forward thinking. I enjoyed a lot of the content for this week and it was very inciteful. It was interesting to consume content that I found myself finding points I initially wanted to disagree with as so far the content I have encountered for this module have been things that I had no reservations against.

It was valuable to finally be able to interact with information for this module that wasn’t necessarily something I would agree with and it challenged me to look past my own point of view to understand someone else’s.

See the full review here.