Podcast Picnic (or A Perfect Sunday Afternoon)

The podcast I work for is doing more and more hangouts with our listeners. I like this! We had a hangout recently at Native Foods (and we actually have one there tonight if you want to join us!) and we have more in the works.

This past weekend was a hiking and picnic hangout at Griffith Park. I had every intention of doing both the hike and picnic, but sadly I had a bad hip day that morning. So hiking was not going to be a good idea.

But I wasn’t going to miss out on the picnic! Since I wasn’t doing the hiking, I let another podcast team member know that I would get there early to save a picnic area for us. The park was a bit crowded (the hazards of being there on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon), but I found parking after a while and a perfect picnic spot!

Griffith Park Picnic

A couple of listeners of the podcast got there before the hikers were back. And a few minutes later, the hikers had finished their hike (they all looked like they had an awesome time) and we were ready to have our potluck picnic.

I brought some hummus, carrots, and pita chips. And everyone seemed to bring something different so we had an entire table full of food (sadly, I was so busy hanging out with people, I didn’t get a chance to take any other pictures at the picnic).

This picnic was just another awesome couple of hours with like-minded actors. Everyone is motivated and not just sitting around waiting for their “big break”. And everyone there was more than willing to share advice and stories with the rest of the group. That is such a rarity. I’ve encountered so many actors who believed that if they struggled to find the information at one point, everyone should have to do the same struggle.

Because Griffith Park shuts down at sunset (and cars can be towed starting then), the picnic wasn’t as long as I wish it would have been. Time flew by so quickly and there was so much more that we all wanted to talk about. Good thing that we are all pretty much going to be at the event tonight so we can continue our conversations.

If you aren’t a listener of Inside Acting and you work in the entertainment industry in any field, I highly recommend listening to our podcast! We just launched our new website (which is very nice looking) and our new membership program (which lets you be a part of our online community, mastermind group, and courses).

And hopefully I’ll see some of you at Native Foods tonight!

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No More Late Nights? (or Is My New Medication Making Me A Party Pooper?)

I’ve been taking my new medication for a little while now. My heart rate is almost back to where it used to be (even in workouts) and all the other side effects that I was feeling are gone.

But I still don’t feel totally back to normal now. And it seems to be only affecting me at nighttime.

This past week I had been going to bed earlier than usual, but I didn’t think much of it. I’ve been dealing with a cold or allergies lately and whenever my body is fighting something like that it needs more sleep.

Then on Saturday, my day started pretty normally. I worked my morning shift and then went to a workout. After I got showered and changed, I was supposed to head out to Chris and Marie‘s house for another party (seriously, they are the best party hosts ever!).

I got to the party around 4pm and was feeling fine at first. But I was starting to feel a bit worn down. I thought maybe I was hungry so I ate some food, but I was still feeling off.

I decided that it wasn’t worth it to me to stay out super late so I set a goal that I was going to stay until at least 9pm. But by 8pm, I was starting to feel so exhausted that I worried about how safe I would feel driving home in another hour.

I ended up leaving just before 9pm and as soon as I got home I fell asleep.

Maybe I’m still dealing with this cold/allergies thing, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s the medication. I’ve looked it up online and the medication is a time release medication that is typically out of your system about 12-14 hours after you take it. On Saturdays, since I have an early shift at work, I take my medication no later than 7am. So to be exhausted by 7pm makes sense.

I know that I’m still in the testing/trial phase of the medication. Things still need to be adjusted for me if I’m going to stay on it long-term (which I don’t know if I will). I see my doctor in just under 3 weeks from now and I know that this exhaustion thing will be something I mention if it continues.

I don’t want to put the blame on the medication, but it’s really the only thing that has changed in my life (except for the heat in LA lately). I can’t figure out what else might be causing this. And while I’m not normally a night-owl, I do like to be able to go and hang out with my friends in the evening. Hopefully when I speak to my doctor, something can be adjusted with this so that I will be able to do that again.

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4 Workout Week (or Heavy Weights And Speedy Treadmills)

It was another 4 workout week at Orangetheory. I’ve pretty much decided that on Mondays, I’m going to do morning workouts (unless I already have something scheduled in the morning). It’s just easier for me not to have to drive home in rush hour traffic and there’s no reason why I should have to save my afternoon on my day off. Plus, morning workouts allow me to do fun things like Disneyland on my day off!

I’m still struggling with getting my heart rate to get up in the mornings, but that makes me feel like these morning workouts are needed. I need to be good with working out anytime during the day.

My biggest focuses right now in my workouts are to keep increasing my weights and treadmill speed. I haven’t been in a plateau, but I know that I can’t restrict pushing myself due to the fear of hurting my hips.

I’m having an ok time with using at least 15 pound weights for everything. For chest and shoulder work, it’s still tough. Especially when we have longer sets (like 10-15 reps each round). I’m getting really fatigued but I’m trying to not go down to lower weights right away. I’ve been doing alright with that. I’m pretty much not reducing the weight I’m lifting until the 3rd or 4th round each time.

Where I’m having trouble is pushing myself beyond the 15 pound weights. I know that for some things like squats that I can probably start using the 20 pound weights. But I don’t always grab for those. They just seem so extreme somehow to me. But I’m aware that I’m not reaching for the heavier weights now so hopefully the next time I have the opportunity to use them, I will.

As far as speeding up on the treadmill, I was able to keep my pace at 3.4 miles an hour during all 4 workouts. On my Saturday workout, it was definitely a struggle because my legs were tired (plus it was a hill day which doesn’t make things easier). I have no plan to move to 3.5 miles an hour anytime soon. 3.4 miles an hour still seems really fast to me.

But the other change I’ve been working on making on the treadmill is my walking speed between blocks. For the joggers and runners, when they get to walk they are told to put the treadmill at 3.0 miles an hour. Since that has always been so close to my walking speed, I would lower my treadmill speed to 2.0 or 2.5 miles an hour when I walk between the blocks. But I’m trying to go to 3.0 miles an hour between blocks sometimes. When we’ve just done a crazy hill or all-out (where I’m at 15% incline) I still need the super slow speed to cool-down. But if I’m not beyond exhausted at the end of a block, I’m really trying to only go down to 3.0 miles an hour.

These are all good progress steps in my mind. I’m much happier with the progress I’ve made with the weights than the progress I’ve made on the treadmill. I’m not sure why that is, but I just feel like my treadmill work is still such a struggle (the hip pain doesn’t help). Maybe I’ll feel better about it in a few weeks when I have my next 5K. I have no idea if I’ll PR again, but I feel like it’s a possibility because I’m doing faster treadmill workouts at Orangetheory now than I was doing before my last 5K.

I’ll just have to wait and see what happens at the 5K.

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Going From So Much Excitement To Normal In A Few Hours (or Life As An Actor)

My day on Tuesday was going to be pretty normal. I knew I had work from 10-3 as usual and then I had the afternoon free (my temp job is done now).

So as I went around doing my after-work errands (which included buying the digital version of “Into The Woods” for my AppleTV), I was pretty much in no-stress mode.

Then, as I’m sitting at home, I get a text from my agents. I had an audition for Wednesday evening! It was for a national commercial and I had lines to prepare.

So I quickly got into actor mode. First, I rescheduled my afternoon workout for Wednesday. I might have been able to both workout and make it to the audition, but I didn’t want to stress about it. So I rescheduled to a super early workout. Since the audition took place late, I didn’t have to worry about dealing with anything at my day job, so that was one less thing to take care of.

I really wanted to watch “Into The Woods”, so I had it up on my tv while I ran the lines for the audition on the Rehearsal 2 app on my iPad.

Audition Prep

The script for the audition was more than I’m used to for commercial auditions. There were 4 potential parts that I could be auditioning for (the audition notice didn’t specify the part), so I decided that I would memorize all 4 parts.

So I spent a good chunk of my afternoon/evening working on the script and getting everything else ready for the audition the next day (plus planning on waking up early to get in a before-work workout).

Then, I got another text from my agents.

My audition was canceled.

My agents really didn’t get much information beyond the audition being canceled. So it could be for tons of different reasons. Maybe they didn’t want me to audition. Maybe they already cast the part. Maybe it’s not really canceled but it will be rescheduled and they don’t have a new reschedule date yet. Maybe the commercial isn’t going to happen anymore.

No matter the reason, there was no need for me to prep anymore.

So I did all my prep work in reverse. I put away my iPad and the script. I canceled my early morning workout and rebooked my afternoon workout. And I got to watch “Into The Woods” without having to focus on the script.

This is a way of life for me. I think this is only the first or second audition that was ever canceled on me. Usually, when I get a cancellation text my agents have been told that it will be rescheduled but the casting directors don’t know when. They can’t reschedule without a date through the online submission services so if the new date is unknown, the audition has to be canceled.

I can’t get down about this. I did nothing wrong. And for all I know, in a week or two this audition will come back and it will actually be a reschedule and not a cancellation.

I just have to keep thinking positive and know that eventually, an awesome part will be mine. But for now, I will just be grateful that I was considered for a great job and I got to practice my acting skill with a new script.

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YSL Mascara (or Showing Off My Limited Makeup Skills)

I have always wanted to be a makeup person. I think that makeup can be so fun and make you look so glamorous. But somehow, I never got the makeup gene.

My mom wears makeup most days so you’d think that I would have learned from her, but somehow that talent wasn’t passed down to me. I’ve taken makeup classes before and have had friends who are makeup artists try to teach me, but there is always just a disconnect there. So I’ve had to accept the fact that when I want to get my makeup done for fun events, I must have someone else do it for me.

One of the only makeup things that I can do is mascara. That seems pretty foolproof to me (same with concealer and lip gloss). So when I found out that Influenster was sending me some mascara, I was so excited!

Influenster

I got the Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effect Faux Clis mascara. And I have to say that this mascara is pretty amazing!

First of all, I think that it’s a pretty gorgeous product.

YSL Mascara Tube

I don’t pick out my makeup by how good it will look on my counter, but this really does look pretty and make my makeup area look nice and classy. And the gold makes my makeup collection look luxurious and fancy!

My first impression of the mascara was that it smelled really nice! That’s so unusual for mascara, but the fragrance is floral but not overpowering. And I’m so happy it doesn’t have a medical or chemical smell like many mascaras do.

I decided to do a before and after photo to show you all how nice just adding the mascara looks. Sorry for the creepy closeup photos of my eyes.

Before and After

With doing nothing else (no eyeliner, shadow, or concealer), there is a really big difference between the two photos! I love mascara that makes it look like I’m wearing eyeliner because that’s one of the most impossible makeup things for me to do.

I put the mascara on pretty early in the morning and it lasted all day without smudging or flaking. And it didn’t irritate my contact lenses either (something that most mascaras do). I’m glad that it didn’t bother my contacts. So many of the contact lens-friendly mascaras are clumpy or don’t really do much. So to find a “normal” mascara that happens to be contact lens-friendly is something special.

Since this particular mascara that I got wasn’t waterproof (they do have a waterproof formula), it was pretty easy to take off. Just a few swipes with a cotton pad that had eye makeup remover on it and my lashes were perfectly clean (I didn’t even have any smudges under my eyes when I woke up the next morning).

I do have another mascara that I love and use a lot, but I think that the YSL Volume Effect Faux Clis is now going to be in the regular mascara rotation! I just can’t get over how awesome it was! And it will be perfect for special events when I can’t get my makeup done because it really does look like I have eyeliner or false lashes on while I’m wearing it!

Thank you again to Influenster for sending this to me so I could test it out (and share it with you all)!

FTC Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

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Post-Workout Disneyland Afternoon (or Maximizing A Couple Of Hours At The Parks)

After my morning workout on Monday, I had my entire day free! I was thinking about doing some errands, but since none of them were urgent I decided that those could wait. Instead of running errands, I headed down to Disneyland with my friend Caroline!

We headed down to Anaheim after lunchtime at got to the gate around 3pm. It wasn’t a super crowded day, but since all annual passes were valid that day, we knew that the after-work crowd would get pretty big.

We started our afternoon in California Adventure. We had a couple of rides that we wanted to ride, but that wasn’t in the cards for us. Our first choice ride was Radiator Springs Racers, but it was down that afternoon. And we wanted to ride California Screamin’, but even the single rider line looked to be over an hour!

We did do a lot of walking around (I easily exceeded my steps for the day while there) and I took a picture for my sister-in-law.

Disneyland Vineyard

There is a mini vineyard at California Adventure next to one of the restaurants there. When I was in Napa, I mentioned to her that they had this, but I don’t know if she believed me. So I got a photo as proof.

Caroline and I eventually rode Toy Story Mania (where Caroline kicked my butt) and then walked over to Disneyland for the rest of our day.

Disneyland is started to get ready for their 60th anniversary, and things are starting to look really cool! The castle is sparkling now (it’s a little tough to tell in the photo).

Disneyland Castle

I’ll be going to Disneyland quite a few times in the next month or so, so I’ll try to get more pictures of all the work that’s being done for the 60th.

Our first ride in Disneyland was the Monorail. I love riding on the Monorail and especially when I can ride in the front with the driver!

Front Of The Monorail

Being up front does give the best view in my opinion of the parks while you are riding around. And there is some construction at California Adventure that I was excited to see from up high.

Condor Flats Construction

That area is where Soarin’ Over California is located. They are re-doing that ride and re-theming that section of the park. It won’t be reopened for a while, but I can’t wait to see it when it’s done!

After our ride on the Monorail, we headed over to Space Mountain (another one of my favorites). And as always, I tried to pose for the photo. And Caroline joined me in posing too!

Space Mountain

Next was Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters where I kicked Caroline’s butt. It helped that the ride stopped near one of the secret super high point value targets.

Buzz Lightyear

After that we rode Star Tours and Indiana Jones before realizing that we needed to head home soon. We stopped for some dinner at the Jolly Holiday Bakery which I have to say was really good! I had a sandwich and it was yummy and filling! Then it was time to make the drive back home.

Getting to do a fun afternoon at Disneyland really makes me grateful that I have an annual pass. Caroline and I didn’t feel any pressure to have to ride a ton of rides or to get everything in that we wanted to do. It was a fun and leisurely trip.

And I know that since I splurged and paid for the parking add-on on my pass (which was discontinued after I purchased it so I’m extra happy I splurged!), I can do more afternoons like this. And if I don’t get any food, the only cost for my afternoon is the gas to get there!

I’m already looking forward to my next Disneyland adventure (which may be very very soon!).

 

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Baby Shower Saturday (or Celebrating Baby Allen)

This past Saturday was the baby shower for my friends Jennifer and Andy. I met them through Marie and Chris, so I’ve known them for a while through all the parties that Marie and Chris throw. I don’t know them super well outside of the parties (and Facebook), so I was super honored to be invited to the baby shower!

They are having a baby boy in about a month, so the baby is almost here!

Mom-to-be and Dad-to-be

The party was held at Chris and Marie’s house, so that was easy enough for me to get to after work. The hostesses had set up a nice lunch table (which I totally forgot to get a picture of) and the present table was looking nice and full with all the gifts we brought for Baby Allen.

Baby Presents

After we all ate and caught up, it was time for some baby shower games! The first game was a twist on The Price Is Right. There was a list of about 10 different baby items and we had to guess how much they cost (everything was priced at Target). Then, we had to add up how much our entire list cost. The person closest to the total without going over wins!

I was not good at guessing the prices. There were a few that I was only a dollar off of, but most of them I was 5 or 10 dollars off! While I know that babies are expensive, how cheap some of the things were really surprised me (I guessed high on diapers and baby food).

After getting the total of everything, I was less than a dollar away from the grand total! And mom-to-be Jennifer was a penny closer to the total than I was! I thought that was pretty awesome! So Jennifer and I both won a prize for that game.

Next was baby shower bingo.

Baby Bingo

All the squares related to Jennifer and Andy or were baby necessities. While we all had a great time playing bingo, it took forever for someone to win! It was funny in the end how many squares we all had filled in before there was even a winner! I ended up getting 3rd place in bingo and got another prize (I felt a little silly taking home so many present for a baby shower that was for someone else).

After bingo we had a game of a word scramble and trivia. I’ve done a bunch of these word scrambles at baby showers and I really should write down the answers! I know that some of the scrambles this time were in games I had played before. I only got half of them right (although that actually really impressed me).

After all the games, it was time for Jennifer and Andy to open up the presents. I got them a sleeper outfit (that was on their registry) along with a matching hat and some baby shoes and sunglasses. I have to say that baby boy stuff has gotten much cuter over the years! I remember when my cousin had her first son and so much of the baby boy stuff was just generic or not cute at all.

The baby shower wrapped up with some cake and one final game.

Baby Cake

For the last game, we all wrote down name ideas for the baby since Jennifer and Andy haven’t picked out a name yet. There were several people who thought that Baby Allen should be named Alan Allen. I voted for Alf Allen. I guess we’ll have to see in about a month what they decide on!

As the evening set in, the fire pit in the backyard was lit and we all just got to hang out. It really was the perfect way to spend a Saturday after work!

And again, I am reminded how lucky I am to have this group of friends in my life!

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Getting Faster Bit By Bit (or Speeding Up My Heart And My Walking)

I’m getting more and more used to my heart rate being fast during my workouts. And the more days that go by, the more normal my heart rate becomes. In fact, it might almost be back to before the medication this week or next.

It was nice for a little while to have my heart rate faster than usual. I felt like I was getting more out of my workouts since I was getting more time in the orange zone. I know that it doesn’t really work that way when your heart rate is fast due to medication, but it felt like that to me.

But this past week, getting into the orange zone wasn’t as easy this past week as it was the week before. I’m working on using heavier weights during all of my workouts, but I know that I have to step up my cardio as well.

I’ve been using the incline on the treadmill a lot more than I did in the past. For my base pace, power walkers are supposed to be at 3% incline. I now always have it at 4%. During my push pace, I used to be at somewhere between 6-9%. Now I have it at at least 10%. My all-out pace is still at 15%, but that’s because 15% is the highest that the treadmill goes.

But as I get in better and better shape, my heart rate doesn’t go as high with incline as it used to (it’s real proof that my heart is getting stronger!). I’ve tried to slowly increase my speed, but it hasn’t been easy.

When I started at Orangetheory, I was usually at 3.0 or 3.1 miles an hour. I liked 3.1 miles an hour because then I knew that at that speed it would take me exactly an hour to do a 5K. Eventually, I was at 3.2 miles an hour on the treadmill. And a little while ago I went up to 3.3 miles an hour.

But this week, I really wanted to push myself. Maybe it’s because in my head I’ve realized that there is no way that I will not have another surgery on my hip in my near future. It’s inevitable and I better use my hip before it gets cut up and I have a long recovery. So I went to 3.4 miles an hour for all 3 of my workouts. I know that this isn’t that fast yet and I’m still below 3.5 miles an hour which is the bottom of what power walkers are considered at Orangetheory, but it’s improvement.

And I need to keep taking steps like this in increasing my speed. I’ve decided that if I ever decided to do a half marathon, the only one that I will consider will be one at Disneyland. If I’m going to do something that crazy, I might as well be at my favorite place in the world. All Disneyland races have a required pace time of a 16-minute per mile or faster.

So I found this great chart online to help me get to my goal of 16 minute miles.

Walking Speed Guide

I would probably want to be at 3.9 miles an hour on the treadmill to feel comfortable doing a Disneyland race. I know that those races have lots of awesome photo ops, and I’d want to have time to take advantage of those. On the Disneyland race website they even recommend having a training pace of 15-minute miles to allow for the photo ops. So that would bring me to 4.0 miles an hour on the treadmill.

That seems like so far away from where I am right now. But in reality, it’s not that much more of a jump than what I have done from when I started at Orangetheory to now. So maybe in another year (unless I have my hip surgery), I’ll be at my goal speed.

I’m thinking of making a training plan to figure out how to steadily increase my speed. I’m also looking at making a plan for increasing my weights as well. I might work on that this week when I have some time between customers at my day job.

But if any of you have ideas on how to make a plan to increase my speed (I’m not even starting to think about increasing my distance yet), I’d really love to hear your recommendations. I’m really so new at all of this, so I can use any help that I can get!

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1 Week On Vyvanse (or Hoping To Answer Some Questions)

I’ve been on Vyvanse for a week now. Since I’ve been so open about both my eating disorder and being put on this medication, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it.

First of all, Vyvanse is an ADHD drug that the FDA approved for people with moderate to severe binge eating disorders. I’ve heard for years how ADD and ADHD medications have helped with my type of eating disorder, but the rule with my health insurance is that my prescription coverage doesn’t cover prescriptions that are being used for something that the FDA hasn’t approved it for yet. So while I wanted to try some other options, this is the only one that my insurance will cover.

To get prescribed this medication, first you have to be diagnosed with a binge eating disorder. I was first formally diagnosed with it even before it was a recognized eating disorder by my hospital. Since there really weren’t any treatment options at my hospital (they were going to consider me a non-purging bulimic), I went elsewhere for therapy. This included the RFO program which did have group therapy. I had to be re-diagnosed with a binge eating disorder to get the prescription.

This is not a weight loss drug. I know that those are out there, but I wasn’t looking for that. This medication helps to reduce the number of binge eating episodes that I have. To me, that is way more powerful than a weight loss medication.

And yes, I have felt some side effects. I had a racing heart pretty much the entire first few days. But now, that is gone. I also had issues with shaking hands, but that is also pretty much gone (that sometimes comes back when I work out). Beyond the first two days, almost all the side effects have stopped. The only side effect that I’ve felt every day is a little dizziness for brief amounts of time (maybe less than a minute) a few times a day. It feels very similar to vertigo (which I have so maybe that is what the dizziness issue is).

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how it’s going so far. Well, I’ve been on the medication for a week. And I’m taking less than half of what the dosage usually was for patients with binge eating disorders. I’m even taking less than the recommended starting dosage. I’m not sure why my doctor did it this way, but I will be meeting with him in just about a month to reevaluate (and I’m sure to up my dosage if I’d like to continue taking it). It’s hard to tell how much it’s working right now. I have had moments where I have no appetite, and I know that is something that this is supposed to do. But it has not reduced my binge eating episodes down as much as many of the trials stated it did for those patients. Again, this might be due to the low dosage that I’m on.

My plan going forward is to continue taking the medication and evaluating if a higher dosage would give me better results when I meet with my doctor next month. That’s it. I can’t really do much more than that. I’ve been warned that it can take several months to figure out if a medication is right for me and what dosage I need to be on. I just have to be patient and see.

If you have any questions about Vyvanse (I’m not paid to talk about it, just sharing my experiences with you all), let me know. I’m happy to help answer what I can. It makes me so happy that by me allowing myself to be open and share this with the world that others feel comfortable enough confiding in me. If I get nothing else out of this medication, I will know that I might have helped at least one person be less ashamed about their eating disorder.

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WIF Mentee Potluck (or How Many People Can I Fit In My House)

With my new WIF Mentoring Circle, our mentors want us to meet with them every other month. For the in-between months, they want all the mentees to meet on our own. We set up our meeting when we all met for the first time, and I agreed to host.

We decided to make our meeting a potluck so everyone signed up to bring something different. Obviously I would have the plates/cups/silverware for everyone, but I also wanted to have some food. I knew that the days leading up to the meeting would be stressful, so I did some searching online for easy appetizer ideas. I ended up deciding on doing a meat and cheese plate with some crackers. And fortunately, Trader Joes has some pretty incredible things so I was able to make this pretty easily.

Meat and Cheese

I got the tray and bowls at Ross Dress For Less because I realized as I was getting ready that I have no serving platters. That tray was $6 (I’m thinking about going back to get another one) and those bowls were in a set of 4 for $7.

I spent most of my afternoon cleaning my house (doesn’t everyone do that when company comes over?) and my fellow mentees started showing up right on time at 5pm.

With all the food that everyone brought, my dining room table looked pretty full.

Food Table

We all grabbed some food and then sat in my living room area to chat.

I was pretty shocked that all 8 of us who were able to make it fit into my living room pretty easily. I’ve never had more than 5 people over but with my new couch and the rearrangement of my living room I can fit more people than before!

We all went around the group and shared what we had done since our last meeting last month. We got advice and shared stories and it was really a great evening of women who really are working hard to make it in the entertainment industry.

We ended up meeting for almost 3 hours (we might have to figure out an agenda for our next meeting so we don’t run crazy long). This mentoring circle is such a huge difference compared to my other mentoring circle. I don’t know if anyone in my last mentoring circle really met outside of our group meetings. We definitely weren’t told that we needed to do so (I like that my current mentors really want us to meet during the in-between months).

I’m excited to see how the rest of this year goes with my mentoring circle. I have my next meeting next month (that meeting is with the mentors as well). Hopefully they will have some guidance on how we can run our own meetings to maximize what we get out of it.

In the meantime, I’m just so grateful that my mentors and fellow mentees are just as enthusiastic about getting as much out of this year as I am!

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