2013 Year in Review | The Quintessence

I went and saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last week and was blown away by the beauty in that film. The writing, the acting, THE CINEMATOGRAPHY! Ahhhh! It produced a brain implosion!

Any who, I walked away from that theater with one word lodged in my head; quintessence. This word comes up many-a-time in the flick and the very nature of it and what it means to the film was enough to make me giddy with knowledgeable delight. According to the ever so wonderful Merriam-Webster Dictionary, quintessence is the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form.

...So it got me thinking.

What represents the quintessence of my year? That's a hard one! It takes time! Well, at least I thought it would, but then as I sat staring at the beautiful San Franciscan skyline it came to me: Mark is the quintessence of my 2013. (Big fat duh! I married the man, so I'm glad that one was a no brainer!)

This has been a year of exponential change. Relationships were pulled apart (sometimes harshly) and dissected. I made some discoveries and learned how to say no and yes when appropriate. Then I did a lot of personal self-investigation. I got down to the roots* of me and honored those roots appropriately. (*Those magical roots that tie me to the Earth; keep me grounded and guide me.)

All of that root examining changed me. I changed. Totally booted the old me and luckily, Mr. Arana (AKA Mr. Spider) was okay with the new me.

Basically...in a nut shell...

He lets me love him the way I know how to love. (I'm no expert. I am a pretty damn good loving person 90% of the time, but then I can also be a selfish, stubborn and might I add gangsta human being other times.) So him letting me love him the way I know how is a HUGE thing. Not everyone likes the way we love, ya know...

So he's my "it."

...And this is the picture of him that really sums up all that love and importance I hold for him. I took this picture of him while we were on top of the island of Maui. Frigid cold, but stunningly beautiful; the sunrise was amazing...but all I could look at was my darling husband. Says a lot. This shows my love in its purest, most concentrated form.

I love him...like Universe large...tons of galaxies within galaxies kind of love...onion-y love-lots of layers that sometimes make me cry. When I was a kid I created this theory (in my head) that people love to snap lots of pictures of the one they love. I grew up and proved that theory correct.

And now my 2013 Year in Review. I love doing this every year. I get to relive the good stuff...share with you how I saw life for the past year. Happy New Year, friends.

{Music from the About Time Soundtrack: How Long Will I Love You by Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney & Ben Coleman}

{Past Year in Reviews:   2012 , 2011 , 2010}

When Christmas Spirit is Needed the Most

I write with a heavy heart tonight...

One of my friends with THE most beautiful spirit is going through something terribly, heartbreaking and difficult. Something I wish with all my heart I could heal and help with, but I can't. I just hope that what I preach is true...that waves of love and warmth and positive intentions come flooding towards her and that she can literally soak it up and let it all coat her heart and help her through this time.

If ever there was a moment when Christmas spirit and love was needed it's now. My prayers, my magic, my thoughts, cyber hugs...they all go to her.

Christmas is special and joyful and wonderful for lots of people, but it can also bring pain and sadness for others. Because of this fact I give as much goodness as I can when I'm out and about. I hope you do the same. Smile lots. Give extra. Love harder.

Mark and I are having a quiet Christmas this year followed by a semi-impromptu holiday getaway. I don't see myself writing all that much so Merry Christmas now, friends.

Hug your loved ones. Tell those who aren't in hugging distance how much you love them and show them you care. It's the perfect time to pray for a little magic and wish for a Christmas miracle.

My Favorite Celebration Dance


Because it's Friday!
Because I'm alive!
Because my bestie got some great news!
Because Mark and I have planned an awesome trip right after Christmas; just the two of us!
Because all my Christmas shopping is done...only 5 days to spare!
Because life is goooooood!
Because yesterday's office work party was actually hilarious fun!
Because no one's told me I CAN'T be an actor!
Because I'm feeling strong!
Because I did all my workouts this week!

The Power of Empathy

You know I never could put my finger on one specific thing that distinguishes a great friend from the rest. After watching this adorable short featuring Brene Brown and her words of wisdom I now see what it takes. It's empathy!

I've always been an empathetic person. As a small kid I'd see someone being sad and I'd break down into tears. I'd actually meet them in their sadness. I never looked at it as a curse or something to avoid. While it was painful and hurtful at times it wasn't enough to leave someone in their sadness...and I've kind of existed in that way ever since.

I watched this video and the light bulbs went off. Watch out for those who say "Well at least..." You make think they're being kind and they could possibly be trying their best, but it's not the kind of best you need. You need people who "see" you and embrace you...those who don't think you need to be fixed or saved or any of that dramatic stuff.

Remember that. :) It's good to know!

In My Next Life...

I want to be her.

{All Photos from Atlantic-Pacific}

I really don't dig wearing skirts and heels, but she makes it look so fun. Even this self-proclaimed tomboy can't resist her Valentino pumps. Damn it.

Books I Currently Love


I have this nasty habit of panicking when the library doesn't have the book I want to read so I start selecting books down my reading list line until I hit the jackpot. Only problem with that is I end up with bunches of books all at once when they come in. 

That happened to me this time around. I have three books currently sitting on my coffee table. I am reading this BEAUTIFUL book called, Randy Lopez Goes Home, that I've been wanting to read for years and Mark is reading one of my other wish listers, How to Be Black. (I haven't seen him this invested since the Hunger Games, y'all. He's not a big reader like I am.)

I can't say too much about Mark's choice since I have yet to touch the dang thing, but my book by Anaya is breathtakingly beautiful. Each word is a morsel that I gobble up. It's magical surrealism meets Chicano awesomeness meets The Alchemist. If you're looking for magic this is the book. It's been awhile since I've gotten lost in both a story and the writing. Was needed, homies...was sorely needed.

He's learning about my peoples!..at least I hope that's what's happening.

Christmas With The Aranas

Oh, how I Luuuuuv me some Christmas! I love the energy, the sweet sentiments, the twinkle lights and the magic. My favorite thing to do the day after Thanksgiving is prepare the home for the holiday. My home comes alive...warmth enters and the whole place becomes enchanting. I keep apple cider on the stove simmering on the weekends. I'm like a serious Christmas nut. 

I don't mess with "beautiful Christmas themes" or years of change. I'm all about colorful lights and ornaments that mean something. I want to be able to one day sit with my little spiders in front of the tree and explain where each ornament came from and what it means to us as a family. My mom did that for us (although she now does tree themes...silly mortal) and I loved the tradition.

So we've gotten ourselves a pickle ornament, which I will adore using once we have kids. I love pickles, but I loved them even more once I found out that in some cultures placing a pickle ornament on a tree was a family game. You hide it among the branches. The first little to spot it gets a special 'extra' gift. GOLDEN GREENY AWESOMENESS! 

I also ordered one of the last stinking "First Christmas 2013" ornaments on the planet. That thing was ridiculous to find, but oh-so necessary. As for the base ornaments. No "all white" trees or all this or that. It's all about tradition and growth...My tree will not discriminate lol. All colors are cool. Arana Christmas Code. Word to your mother.

The pickle!!!

The Year of Mish...there's a hashtag for Pete's sake. Date's important, yo!

Even the wrapping paper and supplies are random and lovely. The theme is not to have a theme.

I suck at wrapping. Seriously, but I love presents under the tree enough to keep trying.

The Goddog was apart of the Christmas setup. 

Be a deer and rock some Christmas spirit.

Mark sprinkles his spiderness when he can.

Letter! (Close cousin to WERD!)

Happy Birthday Man Bestie!

I have a man bestie. He's been my man bestie for many, many moons and I love him dearly.

I love him for a variety of reasons; one of those because of his birthday. He's a Friday the 13th baby like I am. We share the love of 13. We fight over the seat in the movie theater. He high fived me a gazillion times for incorporating the number into our wedding.

He's a great friend. I took him out to lunch yesterday to celebrate (He took today off to enjoy his day so I had to catch the fella early) and celebrate we did. We feasted on Mediterranean food...then grabbed frozen popcorn. It was a good, fun day. It love spoiling the folks I care about with little gestures of kindness. I'm sure the lady behind the counter at the popcorn place was confused. She's seen me in there with my husband before, but there I was gushing with another guy. What can I say; I'm a lucky girl. I'm blessed with boys. I was the secret sister in Little Women. Jo was jealous of my tomboy ways and booted me from the book.

Happy birthday D. Love you, dude. Glad you were born. Keep pimpin'.

I'm Alive and So Are YouuuuUUUuuuu


I'm alive! I woke up! You all are rolling your eyes and saying, "Yeah, Tish. We do that every day. Good job," but today I had a procedure done in the morning that required sedation and I do not do well with the idea of going under. Anytime my life feels like it could be in jeapordy I do my tried and true Tishy 'thing': I write goodbye letters to those I love. I lost my father at a young age and (never got to say goodbye) so now I HAVE to say goodbye. Words can never go unspoken! People think I just HAVE to have the last word, but that's never been the motive. I just can't do that to anyone. My loved ones HAVE.TO.KNOW. Period.

So last night as Mark and I got ready for bed I sat down with my book and began to write. I wrote a letter for each person I love and instructions for what I wanted to happen after my passing. Do you know how hard it is to write a living will? I cried so hard my nose started bleeding. YES! Mark was drifting off to sleep and then I start spazzing out; he wakes up startled and freaked and then we both laugh as I lay in his arms with tissue shoved up each of my nostrils.

And that's when it got even more hard, because thinking about losing a man you JUST married and doing that to him...and leaving him. Well, it just kind of tore me up inside. I hugged him tight for a very long time and in the morning as the nurse pulled me away I hugged him again and whispered in his ear that I loved him very much. It's scary letting go of someone's hand and walking into surgery. I was in a bed with needles stuck into me for a good hour before they gave me the happy juice (as they called it.) That was so nerve wracking and heart breaking.

I love that man. I love that man! OOO WEEE, do I love him! I fell for that fella quick when we first met. We've definitely had our fair share of moments where I've wanted to trip him nice and hard, but I love him so much harder than I've ever wanted to trip him. :) 

I'm glad I woke up and was wheeled out to his smiling face. I'm thankful for the beautiful friends who texted and called the night before to wish me luck. My wonderfully kooky mom and my best friend...I'm thankful he took off work and sat beside me ALL.DAY as I slept. 

I of course will read the letters to my loved ones. Why? Because you should always tell your loved ones how you feel? I love journaling. It's such a beautiful way to document. The old school blogging. You all just think this was a trend that started for me in 2005. Pshhh! I've been chronicling since 1987, yo. Word to your mother. 

Journaling helps me remember and reminisce...helps me reflect on who I was and who I now am. I'm proud of myself, too. I have no regrets. I am perfectly content with those who are present in my life. When you're sitting there processing your life and the decisions you have made you wonder if you've made the right choices. I have. Realizing that was a gift in itself. I'm getting back to old school...loyal and loveable people who you can count on hands found their way into my life and there they shall remain. 

I have my peoples. I'm alive and so are you.

It's a Wonderful Life. 

A Scary Nap + Awesome Dreaming

Tomorrow I'm having a procedure done that requires me to "go under" for a couple hours. That TERRIFIES me.

Nope, not getting plastic surgery done. Getting my lovely guts looked over to find out why I've been having issues for the past year and some change. I've written about my issues on Fit Bottomed Girls a couple of times....I'm healthy as a horse. My GI doctor adorably gushes over how awesome my body runs. She says I should frame my numbers (don't tempt me, woman!) but I still have crazy pains that I'd like to nip in the bud.

So bring on the endoscopy! A tiny little camera is going to travel from my throat and explore my gut and organs to figure out where the problem is chillin. Remember that totally awesome movie, Innerspace? I swear that's what it's going to look like. Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid are going to enter my body and then I shall sneeze them out at the end. It shall be epic!

It shall also be scary. I don't really enjoy being put under. The last time I went under was for a foot surgery a couple years ago. I wrote this long letter to my loved ones...my version of a living will and I'll do the same this time. It drives my husband CRAY, but I can't help it. I've lost folks! Things happen and if they do I want people to know how much I loved them and all that jazz.

So. Wish me luck! Full recovery and solution to the tummy problems! Wish for a great wake up followed by Ellen personally calling me and asking me to be the Christmas sloth she's been dancing with for the 12 Days of Christmas. Then Marki Costello will call and say, "Tish! Glad you got involved with helping the show grow. I'd love to represent you! Can you meet with my crew on Monday so we can talk about your brand and how we plan to pimp you out in 2014?"

This could all happen. It's Hollywood, after all and I am the QUEEN dreamer.

Women and Hollywood

I was a movie watching fool this weekend. (That's the perfect cure for cold weather!) Without even trying I chose three goodies with female empowerment themes. Yes, even Frozen did the darn thing.

Frances Ha

My buddy, Twinkie, told me to see this movie. I recommended it to Jen without even having seen it myself, but yesterday I finally watched and was relieved that I recommended a good one. Talk about a good friendship movie! Let's not have a dude come in and save the day. Let's just watch a woman live life...and deal with it sans savior with a weenie.


I'm not gonna lie;  I'm a cartoon nut. I don't need littles in order to check out the latest animated flick so it was nothing out of the ordinary for me to skip right on over to the Arc Light and sit with a bunch of adorable littles to watch. The movie was so cute. I loved that Mark laughed multiple times and sat on the edge of his seat; totally immersed in the stuff. (The Disney magic got 'em.) The story is great. Don't want to ruin anything. I'll just say Disney is getting smarter about women and how littles see them. No more damsels in distress. The brass ring ain't the ultimate prize, yo! PS I'm obsessed with the snow man. I need a pet snow man in my life now! Josh Gad is amazing! (and special note: I used to compete against him in high school debate and forensics.)

Does anyone else like to listen to children comment during the movie. Some adorable and smartie fartie kid behind us kept commenting about which parts were interesting...which parts weren't and how sad it was when one of the good guys found him/herselt in a pickle. Double the laughs. Make sure you see during kiddo hour. Seriously.

Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley

Where do I begin...Well first of all Whoopi is my idol so anything she creates, goes. She directed this beautiful documentary about one of the comedic greats; Jackie "Moms" Mabley. Had to check that ish out. It totally reminded me of a class I took in college where we studied folks like Red Fox and Richard Prior. I'm a history (specifically Black studies) nerd nut. I just can't get enough of learning and I love the approach Goldberg took. Moms started on the Chitlin' circuit and made her way up...She broke down Moms' career; the key comedy clubs she went to...her comedy and the powerful change she brought; disguised in jokes. You just have to watch it. It keeps playing on HBO. She influenced the likes of Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin...I love when other greats give props. It was nice and heart warming. She's still hilarious and relevant all these years later.

Girl power.

A Simple Thank You

I always have time to stop and reflect. Yes, "The Marki Challenge" (as I'm lovingly referring to it) is HUGE! It's SO MAJORLY IMPORTANT, LIFE CHANGING! but and there's a big but (hee hee) I always strive for balance with Hollywood. I believe being a great actress involves being open to the world. You can't live in a silo...I love people! I love life and I will tell anyone that I get my juice and passion for the craft from my love of people and human emotion...behavior.

So...all that to say yesterday I was in Marki's Challenge, but I took a couple hours to connect. I wrote a haiku to my bestie. I told her how much she means to me. I opened the sweetest thank you letter from my Goddaughter and picked up my phone to hash over how wonderful her little heart is with her mama.

People who I love dearly are starting to get their thank you's for attending and/or supporting our wedding. I cried quite a few times while writing those letters. (Maybe that's why I was so touched by my Godchild...she's like her GodMama!) Truly being thankful...sitting down and allowing the love people showered upon Mark and I are on our wedding day to seep in...it's an emotional explosion of goodness. How often do you get to witness that sort of love?

I've gotten texts saying folks are tearing up...I took some time to love and shower my friends and family right on back. It was a day of gratitude and love. No matter what happens in life, I have these moments and happy tears. There's something comforting and endearing about that.

Life is goooood. Real goooooood.

Hollywood Happy!

I'm in the zone right now!

There's now a facebook page where I hope each of you lovely readers search for and 'like'. I'll use the page to share progress, discuss the show, share acting information I learn about and audition details.

Even if you're not into the whole Hollywood scene this is just a chance to watch someone go after their dream. I'll be cooking up the most honest "Behind the Scenes" I can legally (you know Hollywood can be quite secretive sometimes!)  share with you.

Someone had to tell it like it is! I wrote a book about all of this a couple years ago. It fizzled, but my wish to act in film never wavered for a minute. Apparently I'm supposed to tell this story. I was just using the wrong medium!

Thank you all for the support. It really does come down to numbers. I've never attached my worth to my twitter followers, but I will attach some importance to the number of hits I get for this campaign. I have to show this woman that I mean what I say and I say what I mean!

So if you feel like helping a dreamer...seeing some magic unfold then stay tuned and like and share as much as you can!

Sincerely with Luv and Kiwi,


My twitter handle: @LuvandKiwi
Instagram: @LuvandKiwi
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SupportTheDreamer
Marki's Twitter handle (tweet her! Let her know you believe in Tish!) @MarkiCostello

Project Help A Dreamer!


Many (okay hopefully a lot of you) know that my dream has always been to act. Tish must act! Tish loves to act! Tish = actor! With that being said I need your help. In my last post I mentioned how I sent a desperate message. Well that desperate message was received! And it was responded to! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 

The gist: Over the weekend I wrote this talent manager who has the mouth and proverbial balls to get me through some acting doors. Doors that have remained invisible to me these past eight years (doh!) Her name is Marki Costello. (Recognize that famous last name?) She's got a show on E called "Drama Queen" right now. I tweeted her asking how I could submit myself. She tweeted back her email. I emailed her so fast I almost shit myself and then today I received this response: 

SO HERE'S THE DEAL. We are getting so many wonderful emails from all of you who are watching the show and who are so beautiful and talented, and have wonderful dreams of succeeding in Hollywood. As I always say, it's SHOW BUSINESS with a big emphasis on BUSINESS. I only succeed in my business when I find talented people who are just as hard working and just as driven as me.. people who I can partner up with and with whom I can create an EMPIRE......with their talent and my knowledge, it is a winning formula for success. But most IMPORTANTLY, their work ethic has to match mine - now THAT IS WHEN YOU HAVE A WINNING COMBINATION. So with that said, it would be amazing to have someone who possesses all of these qualities for season 2!! I'm reaching out to you to see if you have what it takes to be on season 2 of The Drama Queen as talent or as an on-camera EMPLOYEE. The biggest mistake people make is, they think being talent is just red carpets and glamour. But what it really is, is HARD WORK AND DEDICATION. So we are challenging YOU to show US your hard work and dedication. We are looking to see who truly believes they have what it takes to match our work ethic and passion, and be a part of the CMEG team. We are asking you to now concentrate on the BUSINESS OF SHOW.. Whoever gets the most creative by spreading THE DRAMA QUEEN WORD -- whether it's by emailing everyone in your data base, tweeting every person you know ten times a day, passing out flyers in your local mall, or Instagramming pictures or videos -- we want to see it all! YOU WILL SEND US SCREENSHOTS OR SNAPSHOTS Of your hard work and creativity and I will fly in 4 of the finalist to have a meeting with me in LA for either an on-camera employee position for season 2, OR as a client on my roster who I can manage and develop into a STAR. So get busy and get creative and SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT! 

Here are the deets - 'The Drama Queen' airs every SUNDAY at 11/10c on E! Check your local listings and make sure to DVR every episode, so you don't miss out on the crazy, the chaos, and the HARD WORK, that is Hollywood.

So I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna work hard and pimp the living SHAT out of myself and I'd ask in the next coming weeks if you could help. I've emailed some of my brainiest and media savviest friends and asked them to help me figure out a way to pimp the show and me being on that show. Hopefully I get a clever ole hashtag soon. I ask, dear wonderful friends, if you could help me out by passing this blog post along...telling people to read it via email. Re-tweeting my posts about getting on the show and working with this team. Helping in any way you can to spread my word. 

I'm crying as I write this because I want this SO bad. It takes a village to get into this business. I know some of you have actually never seen me act...haven't even read all of the posts I've wrote over the years declaring my undying need to be in a great film. It's my dream and I'm hoping maybe you empathize with dreamers. Wouldn't it be great if you helped me and I did make it through those doors and you did see me living out my dream by being in a film?! Wouldn't it be cool when you heard me talk about this challenge and how you helped me to fulfill my life long wish?! How many people can say that triumphantly?!  

So I'm asking for lots of re-posting, sharing, and help!  Who's with me?! 

Can you see the hopeful pleas shooting out of my eyes? I'm telepathically pleading with you to help! 

Desperate Reaches

I don't know when I became that desperate girl who sees a director or writer or producer or agent and starts in on the Tishy campaign, but I am. I'm trying my hardest to find someone who both a.) can open doors in Hollywood and b.) believes I have what it takes to walk through those doors.

Enter my latest action. I wrote a successful talent manager on Twitter and she wrote me back and told me to send her my 'stuff'. I always hang my head in shame when folks request this. I have no 'stuff'! That's why I'm desperate and reaching out to people on the twittersphere. You have to show work to get work, but you can't get work unless you have work on your resume. So should I lie?! I can't lie. So I just plead and cross my fingers super hard that these people I'm reaching out to see some 'something' that fills their brains up with my potential.

It's Christmas time, which means we've been plopped down on our comfy couch with apple cider all weekend watching movies. Not just ANY movies, either...CHRISTMAS MOVIES...with lots of magic and feel-goody heart pulling stuff that makes me want to act and be apart of that even more. I'm itchy and ready and impatient and ...and... and...ugh.

You always hear the stories. Some huge, successful actor was just minding their own business when some agent or director saw them and plucked them from obscurity and plopped down in a new world of film and awesomeness. This happens! I've read the story too many times to count. So I'm just hoping that can happen for me.

To be continued...

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