Mandy Boyle

NEPA-er with Moxie. Writer. Sometimes Actor. Nerdy Girl.

Author: Mandy (Page 2 of 51)

La La Land

Today was a day that felt like a good day for a movie, so I did just that.

I headed to the Cinemark with my leftover raincheck pass in hand for one ticket to the 1:15 p.m. showing of “La La Land”. Having seen the previews and heard how beautiful it was, I imagined that I’d spend the whole time enchanted – just like when I saw “The Artist”.

The line was long for the concessions but I waited anyway. One hot dog with mustard and a kids pack of popcorn, a small drink, and Welch’s fruit snacks. It’s a good value and the perfect amount for me.

Eager to be dazzled by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, I rushed to find a single seat at the back of the auditorium, squeezed between a woman with a persistent throat tickle and a man’s North Face jacket.  Even so, I love going to the movies.

The previews were the mix of sap and action you’d expect, but then, it happened.

La La Land. A seriously gorgeous production where every shot is rich in color and tone. Emma’s eyes glittered. Ryan’s smirk charmed. The tap dancing made me smile. The singing was soft and lovely. The ending made me cry.

It was the stuff of dreams, which is really what the movie is all about. We make promises to ourselves. We hold ourselves to the highest of standards and face summits all the time. Sometimes we make it, sometimes we don’t – but the point is that we tried and that we stayed true to what we really wanted. And those people along the journey? They make it all worthwhile.

Go see La La Land.

A New Year


It took me a moment this morning to remember it was 2017.

I woke up, tired from the festivities the night before, and looked at the ceiling.

The cat’s paws clicked across the floor.

My husband, in full burrito blanket mode, was still sleeping.

It was quiet.


A new year is welcomed with noisemakers and spoons banging on pans, but the next day is more peaceful. This morning was that way.

I opened my phone and scrolled through Twitter.  I read resolutions and news articles. Then I switched to Instagram to graze through brunch photos and inspirational quote graphics. It was nice, in a way, to be reminded of the newness of the day. Heck, of the year.

Although you can start something new or make a change at any time, New Years feels good. That sense of possibility.

I thought about the file I have saved on my Google Drive. A list of things I want to accomplish in the next year (among other time frames).

It feels good to have a plan and a sense of direction for the months ahead – even if it’s just a Google doc.



Taking it Home With You

As an actor, I repeatedly put myself into situations where sometimes I bring work home. And by that, I mean I can get the emotional hangovers of whatever I’m doing and that gets shared with the Mister, the cat, and whoever else may come into my path.

crying emotional anchorman will ferrell ron burgandy

If you’ve ever done theater that was draining or intense, you may be able to relate. Perhaps you had an emotional connection to the work or to the other actors. Maybe your character shares something profound in your history. That day could have just done a number on your energy. Whatever it is, you came home after rehearsal or a performance and just couldn’t unplug. You might have slipped into a warm bath of numbness or let your stage emotions ripple outward into your life, breaking the fourth wall and wreaking havoc on your homeostasis.

angry new girl frustrated disappointed schmidt

It’s tough, but it happens to a lot of us. Especially the lot of us who are sensitive to begin with!

I was thinking the other day of what it was like to be in Angels in America. The experience was so, so special to me for many reasons, but the character of Harper Pitt was a beautiful opportunity.

Admittedly, I had days when I came home and just had to cry for Harper. She made me feel powerful and powerless at the same time. She was electric and manic and childish and playful and sad and bitter and so many other things. After playing her, I found myself taking all of that home.

Challenging as it was, I’m hungry for more roles like that one – where I can stretch and push and play. But in the meantime, it has me thinking about how sometimes it can be really easy to bring the baggage you’d rather leave behind into other parts of your life.

As for how I try to keep things separate and unplug, it’s not an exact science. I’m not an expert and am still a huge work in progress. But here are a few things that help me when I’m put into a situation where I’m bringing stuff home (and it’s not just theater stuff – this works for work stuff or other life stuff).

The Commute Talk Down. Commuting time can be stressful, but it can also be one of the kindest moments you have with yourself. I have long and sometimes passionate discussions with myself in the car. I’ve done this ever since I could drive.


The car is my sounding board, my time to process out loud, my time to get out whatever dregs of crazy I have left in my body before I have to get my shit together. I’ve had fights out loud with imaginary people to get out my anger. Stoplight sniffling. Stream of consciousness while on cruise control. Random bouts of singing intermingled with dissertations on whatever I might be thinking at that moment. It’s nice.

The Self-Care Reminders. I set reminders on my phone and used post-it notes during Angels in America to do little things to take care of myself. Between my bouts of hunching over my Taco Bell like an animal during rehearsal, I pinged myself to stretch, drink water, or to look at a cat pic. I played Solitaire as a way to unplug my brain during breaks.

Mia Page animation cat sleep creature

When I was home, I paid a bit more attention to what I was doing to take care of myself. I watched videos of Fred Astaire dancing and gave my cat extra belly rubs (petting cats lowers your blood pressure, FYI).

The Support Group.  Just open the hell up and communicate with the people around you about how you’re feeling. Do it. Don’t talk yourself out of it. If you’re mad, be mad. If you’re sad, be sad. Let the people who love you take care of you and listen. They want to.

EditingAndLayout hug the office hugs michael scott

I’m lucky in that I have such a powerful support group around me. I could openly talk about my feelings and what I was experiencing in a totally open place. I asked for hugs when I needed them.

The Amenities. Like Tom on Parks & Rec, I’m a sucker for amenities. Little indulgences like aromatherapy face spray (came in my POPSUGAR box!), good chocolate, water with mint and lemon and cucumber, a shower beer, or one of those sheet face mask can sometimes cure all that ails you. Or at least can keep you sane for that moment.

Mashable parks and recreation parks and rec aziz ansari camping

Find little ways to reward yourself for making it through or for reminding yourself that you’re an amazing tropical starfish deserving of comfort and happiness.

The Calm App. Also check out I swear by this thing. Guided meditations prove to be super helpful when I can’t sleep or when I feel like my mind won’t quiet. I use them also to center myself when I feel like I can’t get my equilibrium back.

zutto loop lettering calm keep calm

If you’re not a fan of the app or want to try something else, you’ll also find plenty of guided meditations and visualizations on YouTube. Even just some deep breathing and a little quiet can go a long way.

Anyways, just be good to yourself when you’re working on something that stresses you out or challenges you emotionally. It’s good to stretch those feelings muscles.

Now What?

“What do you think is going to happen?”

I must have heard this 50 or more times since it happened.

After a brutal election cycle, I – like millions of Americans – spent my November 9 feeling overwhelmed by a swirling and full range of emotions. Nothing about this week, and now, is straightforward.

The world we live in is complicated. In spite of what Facebook shows us in our news feeds, there are numerous ways to think and feel about the things that happen in our lives. We don’t always agree with each other. We alternate between decisions made too fast or too slow. We get things right and wrong. History has shown us that. But we also have moments that make us more human to each other, when we can display grace and compassion. Unfortunately, those moments are usually in times of great challenge or tragedy. I wish it were different.

I wish that I didn’t feel the way I did on election night. But I did.

I wish that I would have woken up to the first female President in the history of our country (though imperfect), realizing the dream that so many parents have had for their daughters. That my parents told me about all the time growing up. But I didn’t.

Yesterday morning, I read a piece written in the character of Leslie Knope. Leslie, in many ways, is my spirit animal. She’s a woman who in the face of incompetence and small town small-mindedness, never gives up. She never stops trying. She never stops working for what is right, good, and just. She’s the superhero we need when the world is maddening. Like it is at this very moment.

I read her letter twice. First, silently to myself at my desk at work, as I sat still processing how unpredictable life can be. Her words reassured me. I felt, for just a moment, that I could breathe again.  Later, I read it out loud to my husband (another Parks & Rec fan) as we watched Netflix together, as he was curious to know what she had said on the matter. Her words, read aloud, suddenly meant more. I heard it anew in my own voice and had bright moment of recognition. This is all of us now. We can speak our truths aloud and make something happen with them.

Today, I’m writing this from Marywood University’s campus. I’m here to speak at the Entrepreneurial Institute, put on by the amazing team at TecBridge. I’ll be talking about how to find your battle cry: the unifying big idea that drives action in organizations, tells your customers what to expect, and anchors what you do.

I feel good being here. No, I feel great being here. I’m surrounded by people who have the desire to make change in the world. Who want to do more. Who ache for the opportunity to take risks, fail, and most importantly, succeed. I’m also surrounded by members of the Marywood University community who have always made me feel at home and like I belong.

I’m in an environment where – as our University President said in her opening remarks – dignity, service, and  justice are “big time.”

We should be thinking about our own battle cries for the future. What will we do to take action? How will we move forward? What can we do to preserve and advance the big time ideals of dignity, service, and justice?

I know for me, I’ll continue working on the things I care about most. I’ll teach, perform, serve, strive, and organize. I’ll have meaningful dialogue. I’ll be respectful. I’ll be kind. I’ll take care of my family. I’ll continue to be a proud woman and member of my community. I won’t accept anything less than what I deserve. I’ll keep moving.

I take great comfort in that. Just for today, I have the opportunity to keep moving.




Creative Non-Fiction

Over the summer, Brent and I took a creative non-fiction writing workshop. It was awesome.

Not only was it taught by one of my dear friends and colleagues, but it was also an opportunity for me to write consistently and explore a style that I haven’t really played with before.

Being a blogger is sort of like creative non-fiction, I guess. It’s a lot of reflection and storytelling elements get used to talk about thoughts or feelings or events. But there’s an all at once delicate and powerful ZING to it that’s like nothing else.

Each week, we’d be given a prompt to write about. Then, in one page or two, we were to tell our story. I wrote a lot about my childhood, about important moments in my life. Some of my stories were sad. Some were happy. But they were all my moments and getting to share them with others in a writing workshop was such an intimate experience. It was thrilling and therapeutic. And I loved hearing everyone’s stories each week, too!

I’ve been toying with the idea of using this blog as a platform to share some of those pieces of writing – and maybe make some more! Eventually, I’d love to submit something somewhere and get it published. Seeing a byline in print still thrills me and it gives me those little gold stars that I try to tally up in my head when I accomplish something (Type A, much?).

No matter where it appears, I still smile and give my 16 year-old self a big hug when I see my name on a piece of work.

See that, Young and Naive Mandy Who Still Wants to Go To NYU and Live In the Village? You can write and not have to live in New York and have all of that school debt.

Ah, well. I guess I should make her proud and just keep doing it already. It’s one thing to talk about it, er, blog about it. But it’s another to do it. So, let’s give it a whirl. I’ll write some stuff and share it here. Could be fun!

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