Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Trip to South Africa

I recently went on a trip to beautiful South Africa.  I drove along the Garden Route stopping in Keurboomstrand, Plettenberg Baii, Windernis, Knysna, Cape Town, and Swellendam to name a few. In my opinion, visiting another country is the best way to learn about their cultures and way of life.  Books just don't match up to actually being in the midst of a country, town, or city's energy.  The Garden Route itself is spectacular.  It's filled with beautiful greenery, monkeys crossing roads, and exquisite views of the ocean.  The route actually reminds me a lot of the Pacific Northwest in the states.  Why was in in SA, you ask?  Well, the reason for the entire trip was to see one of my favorite people on the planet named Liesl Prinsloo.  She renewed her vows to her happy husband, and since most of her friends and family weren't at her first wedding in Amsterdam, it was an honor to be there this time.  She even said to me "it feels official now." So sweet!  I hadn't seen Liesl in almost a decade when I saw her in the Port Elizabeth airport.  I had just gotten my bags and was headed out when I see her happy smiling face jumping up above other faces in the crowd, trying to get my attention.  Of course I was extremely jetlagged because of the 9 hour time difference and 16 hour flight over so I'm sure that had something to do with my burst of emotion, but I cried like a baby while I hugged my dear friend for the first time in many many years.  :)  She brought her Mom and Dad, her Hubby, and his parents to greet me as well.  What a special moment in time!
Here are some things I learned about South Africa as well as my opinion, on different things while on the trip-I'm also including advice if you ever plan to travel there:

  • South African money is called Rand.
  • It's hard to find vegan food in South Africa. I ate a lot of hummus!
  • There aren't parking meters there, so there are men that tell you they will watch your car when you park.  It's forced on you, even if you don't want it- you'll get them standing there.  And they expect to get paid when you return.  Have a few coins on you to tip when you get back to keep them happy, and think of them like a meter.  
  • KEEP YOUR BELONGINGS ON YOUR PERSON ALL THE TIME and CHECK THAT YOU HAVE THINGS IN YOUR PURSE OFTEN.  I left my phone in a nice restaurant called Addis in Cape Town.  20 minutes later when I realized it was no longer with me- I went back and of course, nobody knew anything about it. mmmhmmmm....I learned my lesson.
  • Baboons crossing the road is normal.  Just as we have deer crossing signs here, there are baboon crossing signs there.  
  • It's surprisingly difficult to understand people with an accent in Africa.  I said "what" a lot.  It's very similar to a British accent, as South Africa is highly Dutch influenced, but my brain just didn't comprehend. 
  • You drive on the opposite side of the road from the states. 
  • Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are the two most amazing things you will experience in SA.  Don't think only the monkeys are cool- this bird's paradise is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. There are hundreds of exotic birds flying around you- some will sit on your shoulder...
  • If you are craving fresh food (and want a vegan option) eat at The Peppermill Cafe next to Monkeyland and Birds of Eden.  It is SO good. I ate there twice during my trip because it was so hard to find fresh food while traveling.  The chef is from London and designed the restaurant and menu himself.  He's delightfully personable and if you like his food- you should let him know.  :)
  • People hitch hike like nobody's business.  You don't have a car? hitch hike- it must be safe...or they are desperate.  I felt bad for not stopping so many times, especially when I saw a momma with a baby on her hip, but it's ingrained in my head to NEVER PICK UP HITCH HIKERS so I just couldn't.
  • Bring or get a map or GPS.  We had no map, no GPS, and no internet because our phones had no service.  It got really interesting when it was past midnight and we couldn't find our hotel.  We had to stop and ask locals who just happened to be out.  Mainly taxi drivers who knew the city.  This was beyond frustrating, because it's not like we didn't try to get a map.  The gas stations didn't have maps!  
  • Be prepared to tip anyone and everyone who helps you, even without you asking for their help.  That's just how it is. 
  • If you don't have time for a legit safari like us, visit a game reserve and do a 3-4 hour tour. BUT- don't drink a lot of water beforehand and don't expect a bathroom break.  I, of course, was the only one who had to go halfway through (even though I went RIGHT before leaving).  I held my pee in WAY past my threshold.  Our last stop was the lion enclosure, and I was about to hurt so bad- I was preparing tears in my eyes.  I had no problem with popping a squat at this point, but there were freaking LIONS outside the jeep and I couldn't!  When can you ever say, "Oh, I can't pee at all right now, not even pop a squat because there's a lion outside my car??"  So after leaving the lion enclosure, which was fenced up- I asked the driver to stop and let me out.  I had to get out in front of strangers, and pee in the bush.  A literal grassy bush, and the African "bush".  There were bontebok staring at me to my left and wildebeest to my right.  It was MORTIFYING but also super funny!
  • Ask questions while on safari- the guides have to go through a lot of training to even BE a guide and know a lot of information.  I learned SO much just by asking questions.  
  • Go feed some Elephants!  I went to Knysna Elephant park and fell in love with these beautiful creatures.  You won't regret it.  
  • If you're in Cape Town, eat at Addis.  Best ethiopian food I've ever had- although I still am mad at the place since my phone was stolen there..
  • Bring snacks to eat in the car.
  • Expect hardcore jet lag if you're coming from the states.  Especially from Cali- it's a 9 hour time difference.
I really enjoyed my trip to South Africa.  But I HATED the travel time to and from.  If you're traveling from Cali, expect around 36 hours to and 36 hours back.  That's just CRAZY.
The Heads

Knysna Elephant Park


Knysna Elephant Park

OMG! Monkeys! Tiny monkeys! Monkeyland

Birds of Eden

The bride, groom, and me.

Me and the bride.

On top of Table Mountain in Cape Town

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 interview

Cathy Baron on Auditioning Five Times for ‘Justified’ and How She Hopes Her Character Teri Returns Next Season

February 26th, 2013 10:00am EST | Alan Danzis By: Alan Danzis favorite Add to My News
Johnny Crowder’s got a lot on his mind this season of Justified—including a lie his girlfriend Teri told him about who recently beat her up. (It was Colt, who has his own lies and issues to deal with.)
To learn more about how Teri might continue to cause problems for Johnny and other characters this season, I recently spoke with her portrayer, Cathy Baron, over email. Here’s what we discussed.
How did you get cast on Justified?
I auditioned for the show with Cami Patton five times before being cast as Teri. The fifth time I asked my manager to get feedback from the casting office.
I was thinking, "What do they want from me? My 5th time auditioning this season and I'm still not booking the show?!”
I found out about an hour later that I had booked the role.
My first day on set, producer Fred Golan said to me they were just waiting for the right part to come along but they loved my auditions. It felt good to know that all my time preparing and auditioning paid off in a big way. It's all about preparation and persistence!
Cathy Baron
We've seen you in two episodes so far on Justified—can we expect to see you more this season?
Yes! I am in six episodes this season, so you will definitely see more of me.
Teri gets beaten up by Colt and then lies about who did it to cover for him—why do you think she didn't tell Johnny the truth?
The incident is still very fresh at that moment, and I lie because I'm scared. Colt threatens to take out my tongue and although I try to be a tough girl, I believe him.
I don't want Johnny making a big deal out of it and I'm embarrassed that I'm not strong enough to fight him off or intimidate him myself. It's easier to lie than to be watching my back to see if Colt will cut me.
Johnny's making a lot of dangerous deals this season—ever wonder if something happens to his character, yours isn't long for the world either?
Of course I wonder that! Nobody's safe, really.
The script changes often and nobody knows where the writers will go with the story. I do, however, hope to be back next season.
Cathy Baron
Any other projects you're working on now that you'd like to tell me about?
I am currently writing a screenplay about my grandfather, Bill Gautney, who was one of the first professional guitarists in country music. He played backup for big stars such as Patsy Cline and Chet Atkins. He was also a close personal friend of Hank Williams, and was taught guitar by Les Paul himself before Les mass produced them.
I asked Papa (that's what I call him) to record his life stories on tape for me because he had such an interesting, fun life. I told him my ultimate goal is to make it into a screenplay.
He spent a few days talking into his tape recorder and the same evening he finished, he passed away.
I have six full tapes with amazing stories on them about the country music world and WW2. I just hope the final product would have made him proud.

Regard Magazine!

Hello beautifuls,

I wanted to share some recent stuffs with ya.  I am in the current issue of Regard Magazine wearing clothing by the fabulous Piper Gore.  Photos below:

I really dig this black and white one.

Be sure to read the interview about Justified and other happenings at this link:
I had such a fun time playing dress up and having with the Regard team!  Thank you REGARD!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Today's Girl on

I'm so grateful to be Today's Girl on!

Today's Girl

I'm so grateful they are featuring me today and I hope to be in the magazine in the future!