2019.

Hello beautiful people!

Keri Elaine at Cloud Gate in Chicago, beautiful black woman in the city. Actors who travel.
Nighttime in front of Cloud Gate

Can you believe it, we finally made it to the end of 2019. This year has been the most fulfilling thus far. I think we all know it has been a complete dumpster fire with student loan debt at an all-time high, a reality star running the country one Tweet at a time and mental health issues increasing. I for one have taken this year to focus on being as healthy as possible mentally and physically. Sometimes that meant ignoring social media for weeks at a time since I was too busy working, working out, and going to acting class. I maximized my time by reviewing lines for my self-tapes on my lunch break and shooting them as soon as I got off. I’ve seen my self-tapes grow leaps and bounds in the shortest period of time. I’ve auditioned for various roles, Networks and directors I have admired for years and only dreamed of having the opportunity to work with. I’ve managed to juggle a full-time job, auditions, submissions, partner work, weight loss, networking, catching up with old friends and travel. I started a Youtube channel since I’ve wanted to for ages and thought it would be a fun way to dive into film. If you want to see the world through my lens please subscribe to my Youtube channel

Multicolor couch bag, beautiful fashion blogger, black girls who travel and Chicago. Grey sweaters and black ankle boots.
Trying not to freak out over being 103 stories in the air and feeling the building sway.

This year, I finally understood what my favorite acting coach was trying to teach us about life. So often we try to understand the lessons God is teaching us quickly so we can move onto obtaining whatever thing we are chasing – whether that thing is love, financial freedom, a promotion or a materialistic item. While I completely agree that these things are important the question, I always ask myself is what makes your heart sing? What do you truly feel drawn to? Sims always said, “Life is a journey, not a destination. You all are so quick to get the destination you skip over the whole journey.” While we all knew he meant we should stop and smell the roses, I truly believe it is so difficult to sit still and observe the world when there are so many distractions. Even as I went out to dinner with friends, we observed every other table in the restaurant on their phones while out with their spouses, children even the grandparents playing candy crush instead of engaging with their grandchildren. Honestly, it’s no wonder there is a mental health crisis. How can you tell if someone is struggling if you haven’t even noticed their change in body language, behavior and lack of communication? I for one am thankful for the group I have that enjoys taking the time to talk eyeball to eyeball and people watch while discussing our future plans. 

As I flew to Chicago to join a friend on a last-minute girl’s trip, I realized I felt completely peaceful. I felt centered for the first time in a long time. Proud of the work I’ve done this year in my acting career and the shift in my day job. I stopped allowing other people’s comments to affect how I act and feel. I allowed everything to roll off my back like beads of water on a duck’s feathers. I feel hopeful that even though my love life can often be a dark comedy at times – that my person will come when he’s fully ready. I met a stranger who confirmed to me that he is coming, God just needed to work on him a little bit longer. Which immediately lifted a weight off my shoulders that I did not know I was carrying.

Foggy Chicago view of a beautiful young black woman in Chicago. Black chunky ankle boots and a cheetah sweatshirt.

I am so grateful to God for safely allowing me to travel to Mexico and Chicago, to continue to love the woman I have become, pay off my car, and one of my student loans. I am so excited to end this decade and began the next one with 2020 vision as I carry all the lessons I have learned into the future. Cheers to you all! What are some of the lessons you learned this year?

Thanksgiving Reflections

Thick brunette hair, Chicago, princess, looking at the river, downtown Chicago, emerald green Ted Baker coat.

Hello Beautiful people!

This past Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of going to my acting coach’s house for a formal dinner with part of our studio family. We were welcomed into Sara and Derek’s warm beautiful home. Everyone was excited to catch up about life and hilariously trying to understand what is Tik Tok? Is it the new Vine? If you know please leave a comment below. 

Chicago, princess, black beauty, ted baker emerald green coat, black booties, fall in Chicago

We sipped on cucumber water in between glasses of wine and hugged each person that walked in the door. We all reflected on what we were thankful for and took turns going around the table. The one thing we all had in common was being thankful for feeling confident in our talents. The peace of mind that even though we don’t get what we want, we are all so thankful for the even better opportunities God has brought to us. We all laughed and teared up about the fact that when we make plans God laughs. Every time things are slow and you finally book a vacation, you get the call for an avail check to fly to Los Angeles and commercial auditions. Which while phenomenal! Sucks when you are meeting up in a new city with one friend and can’t really cancel on them. We each discussed how beautiful it is to be a part of this supportive community. How rare it is to be around other actors that want the best for you and aren’t competing with you. Actors that see one another as people, not an opportunity to social climb. I finally got to meet the husband of a classmate whose project we shot a couple months ago. She started her own production company and he designed the gorgeous logo. We talked about his new job in a Persian rug store. I told him it’s amazing how the arts are everywhere. Each Persian rug is hand-woven, with specific colors and patterns to tell a story. Therefore, they are one of a kind and usually passed down from generation to generation. Similar to how we share stories through art, dance, song and film. We discussed how thankful we are to start writing and producing some of our own work. After all the market is changing HBO, Netflix, AMT, Showtime and Hulu are constantly looking for new material so what do we have to lose? Becoming the next Righteous Gemstones, Schitt’s Creek, Atlanta or Insecure would be an honor. I left this Thanksgiving completely thankful for the beautiful fulfilling people in my life and so empowered to see what we accomplish in the next year. What are you thankful for this lovely holiday season?

Tulum Trip Preview

Keri Elaine Tulum Ruins Mexico Birthday trip! Beautiful Tulum Keri Elaine Youtube Video
Ocean view clear seas Tulum. Keri Elaine black bloggers babe!

Hello beautiful people! Back in September I got to go to Tulum Quanta Roo, Mexico for my birthday. By far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The city was robust with traffic and it was great to have authentic Mexican meals. The seafood was so fresh and affordable (think 13 USD for octopus), the butter was the best I’ve ever tasted and the spicy margaritas priceless.  This year has definitely felt like the best year yet. Everything seems to be falling into place. I’m so grateful for the blessings God has placed in my life. I know that every hard time, every negative person or situation was a way of God pivoting me into a better opportunity. 

Beautiful laughing woman, black bloggers, vacation, spicy margarita, Mi Amor Tulum

I picked up this gorgeous maxi dress in Tulum. The beach side of Tulum had tons of clothing boutiques. I loved that this dress was made of natural materials and hand painted. The owner mentioned the pieces are one of a kind since they are hand painted. I selected was on of the few in this style. The artisans vary from Venezuela, Colombia and the Caribbean. I am working on a Youtube Video that will show clips from this store.

Natural Rough cotton dress Bohemian Keri Elaine
Gorgeous Natural Rough dress from Tulum

I also picked up a piece from Pepe Soho Studio. After meeting Santiago the gallery manager and getting a full demonstration on these pieces, I had to have one. I have a tradition of buying street art from every place I visit, and I bought three in Mexico. Two from an original Mayan family in Coba and the third from Pepe Soho in Tulum. Each piece of photography is printed on a special metallic reflective paper that reflects light and glows when you turn the lights off. The art work is not only vivid in color with the lights on, but glows like a nocturnal piece with the lights off. Every fall I reflect on the year and feel incredibly grateful the lessons of the previous months. What are some things you want to accomplish before December 31? 

9 Ways to Keep your Mental Health in Check

Keri Elaine Ocean views Caribbean Tulum, Mexico Vacation. Peace tranquility mental health. Birthday trip!

This past October 10th was Mental Health Awareness day. With the weather changing, and the holidays rapidly approaching it really made me think about ways to keep your mental health in check. 

1.    Call a friend who makes you feel understood. We all have that one friend or loved one we can be completely honest with. We can talk about our financial struggles, memories of carefree times, or our goals for the future. Reach out to that person to schedule a time to talk for an hour and genuinely listen to each other. Every time I do this I feel ready to go out and kick ass.

2.    Go for a walk at lunch. I do this literally every day. So many people sit at their desks all day and it can make the day feel like one long florescent light dream. Going for a walk in the middle of the day clears your head and makes the second half of the workday fly by.

3.    Journal. Sometimes you just need to write out what is bothering you. Then you can rip it up, burn it or throw it away. Whatever you need to feel relieved. 

4.    Talk to a therapist! Check your benefits at work, some offices include a certain number of therapy sessions for free or a smaller fee of 35 dollars a session. There are therapy apps like Better Help that have online counselors you can message. 

5.    Pray. When in doubt the good old Serenity prayer is always a favorite of mine. When you relinquish your struggles to God you instantly feel lighter. For My yoke is easy, my burden light – Matthew 11:30.

6.    Work out! Endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands. 

Credit to giphy
Credit to giphy

7.    Laugh. Watch a comedy show, read old memes you saved in your phone, Youtube stand up comedy or old episodes of Ridiculousness. Whatever will make you laugh.

8. Take a day off of work and do something you love. Treat yourself to a baseball game, a new art exhibition or something as simple as your favorite sandwich.

9.    Remember that all feelings are temporary. Joy, sadness, feeling blah. It is all temporary which is great because you can change it!

What are some things you do to stay mentally healthy? 

Halloween DIY Target Wreath

Hello beautiful people!

Target wreath Keri Elaine
Click the link in the post to see this on my YouTube channel

Two weeks ago I celebrated my birthday in Tulum, Mexico! I decided to vlog a little bit while I was there so that footage will come out next week on my YouTube channel Keri Elaine. If you are following me on Instagram you can check it out on my photos and highlights to get a preview!

Have a fabulous week🍂🍁🎃!

Why you Should Buy your Winter Coat Before Fall

Emerald green Ted Baker midi coat, beautiful black woman, in black ankle booties.
In love with my new Ted Baker coat I got it at Bloomingdales, but have linked the closest one I could find at Nordstrom here

I’ve been dreaming of an emerald green fitted coat since last winter. I checked many clothing sites trying to find one that would flatter my body instead of making me feel like the Michelin man in a puffer coat. Then, I saw the perfect one in Ted Baker. Only one problem, it was well over 500 dollars. Now I will admit I love luxury items. However, I will wait for the perfect sale to buy. By that I mean a 40 percent off sale on top of the end of season 30 percent. Which takes a good amount of tracking and patience. I do believe that a coat is a great investment piece. My last two coats I just got rid off (partially for being too small and starting to fall apart) were from 10 years ago. Back when Delia’s was thriving. Now I don’t even think they exist r.i.p.

Midcentury modern chair, black girl magic, in a Ted Baker emerald green coat, black ankle booties.

Fast forward to Labor Day I noticed the Ted Baker coats from last year were on sale. The green coat I loved went from 560(ish) to 405 and an additional 30 percent off for Labor Day. Which brought the coat down to under 290. I rushed to the mall to see if I could try on my size and the last emerald green Ted Baker coat they had fit me. 

Emerald Green Ted Baker Coat, rose gold hardware, orange velvet chair
The rose gold hardware on the belt, single button closure and magnetic cross at the top

As much as I hate winter (Florida girl problems), I feel mentally ready to brave the cold in this warm, soft wool coat. Having a coat in a rich color instead of black or grey makes me happier since winter blues are a real thing. If you are in need of a coat I highly recommend waiting until you are out of season. Then look for holidays like Mother’s Day, Columbus Day, Labor Day to get an additional discount on winter clothing!

I’ve Been Working on My Fitness

Lululemon black pants Kendall and Kylie shoes fitness. Black girls who workout. Modern industrial table

Hello beautiful people!

Over the past three months I have been on a hard-core weight loss and fitness journey. I had been working out in the gym doing a combinations of kettle bells, squat rack, videos on a Wexler and Zumba. However, my weight seemed to go up. I only ate out twice a week at deli’s and was eating vegetarian and occasionally vegan meals. I knew macros were a combination of fat, carbs and protein. I just didn’t know how many grams of each I should eat everyday. Once I worked with my trainer I found out I was eating about 30 percent protein and 60 carbs when I should be eating about 50 percent protein and 30 carbs 30 fats. I also learned fats are processed like carbs so if I ate an avocado and peanut butter to just eat veggies with my protein instead of a brown rice bowl or sandwich. I also started cooking 90 percent of my meals at home. I eat out for two meals a week and one is ad a fabulous salad place. The other is whatever my heart desires that week. I worked out 6 days a week for two hours consistently weight lifting, and running the stair master.

The main thing I have learned aside from macros is that you have to change up your workouts every four weeks. When you hit 5-6 weeks you start to platue. That’s why your workouts start to feel really easy after three weeks even though you upped the weights your lifting. So don’t be afraid to take a kickboxing class if you have been running or Pilates if all you done is weight lifting.  I lost 17 pounds over the course of 4 months after 90 days on a training program. Over all I feel so much healthier. I had tried being Vegan in the past and seemed to put on more weight. I now know that Vegan diets don’t work for everyone and that’s okay! I still use a Vegan protein powder and eat mostly veggie-based meals, but I know my body thrives when I have some animal and plant proteins together. Are you on a fitness journey? What is your favorite workout activity? 

Life Quotes from the Art of Racing in the Rain

This weekend I saw The Art of Racing in the Rain. As a car enthusiast who used to race cars on occasion with her friends, (sorry mom!) I knew this would be an interesting film. While I am a complete sucker for Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried this film had beautiful lessons about life. One of the main rules they teach you when riding a motorcycle is where you lean, you will go. If you lean to the right, your bike will head to the right. In The Art of Racing in the Rain they say, “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.” Meaning if we focus on the negative things in our life we will continue to spiral into depression, loss, and stress. If we choose to be aware of the negative things happening around us but stay positive that everything will work out in our favor, then it usually will. We can all use the reminder to focus on the good in our lives. Especially when pursuing a career in the arts, which is full of unnecessary opinions, rejections, self-doubt, and occasional financial hardship. However, it only takes one person to change your luck. One music producer to sign you, one person to buy your painting, one person to cast you on a tv show to put you back on top. 

Another one of my favorite quotes from the film states, “This is a rule of racing: No race has ever been won in the first corner; many have been lost there.” Perseverance is the key to success. It doesn’t matter how far behind on your goals, it only matters if you quit. One of my friends always says a year from now you’ll look back and think wow if I had quit I would’ve missed out on so many opportunities. No one comes into this world with all the wisdom to be a CEO or knows the exact steps to get there. We all have to finish what we are truly passionate about, then the success will come.

“You should shine with all of your light all the time”.

So many times in life I have allowed other people to dull my sparkle all for the sake of preventing conflict.

As I have gotten older, I have learned that anyone who does not want the best for you is not meant to be in your life. Holding yourself back is never the correct answer and prevents you from reaching your full potential. The one critique I consistently got back on my theatre juries in high school is why are you holding back? I never thought I was. I was going as far with the character as I possibly could. Now that I am in a studio that is supportive and positive, I realized I was holding back. Why? Fear, fear that I would deal with more judgment, drama, and stress than I already was. I did not feel like my classmates had my best interest at heart, or that I could trust my teachers enough to give me a parachute that would open. Now I have that. I know to go into every in-person audition, every self-tape and give it my 110 percent. So that no matter what happens I am proud of my performance.

Do any of these quotes ring true for you?

Intimacy: is it an Important Part of Acting in Film and Television?

Savage X Fenty Teddy in Purple Keri Elaine.com
Wearing Savage x Fenty

I joined a phenomenal new acting studio back in April. This has been the most supportive and fulfilling acting experience I have ever had in my life. The last time I felt this challeged and secure was my sophomore year in high school. This studio thinks completely outside the box and has a way of challenging and transforming actors. This past week’s acting class was about intimacy

A word that can strike fear in the hearts of many an actress. Why you might ask? While we make a career out of being emotionally vulnerable in front of the camera, the thought of being physically exposed as well can be emotionally draining, exhausting and terrifying. All you can think is ugh, now I have to bear my soul and potentially my body to 60+ crew members made up of, make up, hair, AD, grip, producers and ect.

Since you often have a lot of people around when filming, even on a “closed set” which should only have crucial crew members. Our fabulous instructor took the time to ask us what we feel comfortable showing? Nothing? Your butt, side boob or topless? It was interesting to hear each woman’s opinion on what she feels okay with sharing to the world depending on if it seriously supports the characters development and arc throughout the series or not. We all agreed that the amount of topless nudity just for the sake of being topless in film and television is absurd. There are so many bro movies out there that just have women topless for the sake of adding sex to the film while all the men are fully dressed and the women only have two lines. There should be some criteria for if the role has to have nudity, or inplied nudity to support the character.

If it was a series regular or guest star reoccurring role; then it would be worth it for the screen time. If the character grew up being a tomboy, runs her own entrepreneurial businesses, surfs or is a total hippie; then it would fit the character more. Some surfers are comfortable running around pretty much naked, which we the audience could believe. Still we discussed how to choreograph a scene much like we would in stage combat for fight scenes or a dance for a musical number. While intimacy coordinators are becoming more popular you can not rely on them/every set to have your best interest at heart. There is a huge learning curve right now and some directors are more cautions of assisting the scene because of the #metoo movement. Most of the time they expect the actors to figure out the intimacy scenes on set on their own. So we women (and men) need to take intitive to choreograph the scene ahead of time with our friend or scene partner. Making sure to cover what we do not feel comfortable showing, but offer an alternative. Of course which body parts are being shown of camera is discussed and negotiatied before we have even accepted the role and set foot on set.

My favorite part of the class was seeing how beautiful it is to be powerful and in control of your body. Seeing each set of scene partners play both roles (the class is all women and we each took turns playing the man and the woman in the scene), take tips on how to help your guy partner in the scene. How to break the ice when this could be your first day and scene with your partner. How badass it is to be confident because confidence is the sexiest thing you on and off camera.

8 Signs of a Hype-man

Hello Beautiful people!

Now that you’ve found yourself on this post you are probably thinking what is a Hype-man? Well in the past it was a hip hop singer who tries to get the audience excited about the performance. However here in Atlanta (the rap capital of the world) a Hype-man is another word for people who are pretending to be bigger and more successful than they are. This could be in the music, film or fitness community. These are also they type of people who try to get you to join their MLM (Multi Level Marketing) scheme. Talking about how quickly you can make money through selling leggings, weight loss coffee, tea and vegan supplements.

  1. They post frequently on Social media about the big project they have coming. I’m talking everyday, for weeks at a time 3 stories and a minimum of 2 feed post about a BIG PROJECT COMING SOON. 
  2. They use phrases like, “ya’ll better support me now, cause I’m about to blow up.” Or “Feel free to sign up now to be the first to get my newsletter so you can get on my level.” 
  3. However, when the day of the big project comes there is nothing to be revealed. If you ask about it you get blocked.
  4. They post casting calls stating they cannot pay you now, but will pay you, after they sell the series to a major network. Even though they have no connections to a network studio and can’t even afford to provide food or water on set for their actors and crew. Which is a requirement of all sets. 
  5. They talk about certain music studios, movies and celebrities like they are best friends with them. Then when you Google the movie they claimed to be in or the music studio they claimed to record a song with a certain rapper at, you can’t find their name or evidence that the rapper ever visited there. 
  6. When they say they were in a specific movie role as a lead with an A list actor, but then you can’t even find them on the listing of the film on IMDB or Deadline.com. The two reputable film sites for announcing television and film information. 
  7. They mention always being on set and are posting photos from crafty. Instead of focusing on their work, line changes, stage combat or intimacy choreography like most working actors would. 
  8. You support them by liking their post asking if they need help with anything, but you never see any of the footage, or music. Just an endless stream of lifestyle selfies and request for you to follow their fan page on Facebook.

Have you ever encountered any Hype-men? If so do watch from a distance or just ignore them all together?