Getting Back To Normal Again (or An Off Week)

After a weekend of fun and travel, once I got back to LA it was time to get back to real life. I was pretty exhausted on Monday evening after traveling for 13 hours to get home, so I didn’t get too much done. All I really did was unpack my suitcase and sit on the couch watching some shows my DVR recorded. I tried to stay up until 10pm so that I wouldn’t wake up too early the next morning, but I didn’t accomplish much more than that.

I didn’t really plan much for my week besides doing errands, working, and working out and I’m pretty glad about that. I was feeling really jet-lagged on Tuesday and it really surprised me. I didn’t feel any jet-lag on the flight there and I was feeling pretty good on Monday after getting home. But Tuesday was just a very off day for me and I couldn’t seem to get things back on track for me. I eventually just had to accept the fact that the day was going to be off and hopefully Wednesday would be better.

Fortunately, Wednesday and Thursday were much better. But I still ended up being pretty lazy at home. I don’t know if I was dealing with post-vacation let down, realizing how much I did miss my family and wished I could see them again, or just was feeling off but I wasn’t having the best days this week.

I got all my work done and it was easy enough to get back on track with work and workouts. But my food and mental health were off. I was doing so great before my trip and even on my trip (I did gain 4 pounds on vacation but that could be due to a lot of factors other than bad eating). And I’m aware that off weeks are to be expected in life, even when I’m fully recovered. But they still annoy me and I get a bit depressed and upset about them.

I’ve been trying to get food and stuff back on track but it’s not happening for me yet. I know that it’s important for me to keep trying and it’s going to stick again soon. I can’t be too upset with myself because this is normal. This is what recovery is about. This is what my life may look like for the rest of my life.

I’m working on a checklist for myself to try to get things back on track. I’m breaking things down into the smallest steps so I can feel accomplished as I check things off one by one. It’s going to take time to get back on track, but I want to be able to be proud of myself for doing things step by step and not doing things stupidly in a way that cannot be maintained like I have in the past.

I can’t do much more for myself than to try. It’s not easy to be patient with myself, but that’s something I’m working on and I know that this is a test in patience for me.

The Rest Of My Maryland Trip (or More Family Time)

While the main event of my trip to Maryland was the family reunion, I also had all day Sunday there to spend with everyone. I started my day on Sunday with breakfast at Maria’s Love Point with my mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law. I can’t speak highly enough about Maria’s Love Point. My family were the only guests there so we had some really personalized attention. We had such an amazing breakfast every day and they asked us what we liked so they could make us things we would want. Every breakfast was fantastic and I’m just glad I didn’t gain a ton of weight from the trip!

After a relaxing breakfast at the B&B, we got into the car to head over to my Aunt Susan’s house where most of the family was gathering for breakfast and family time. It was a pretty short drive from where we were staying to her house, so everyone who was there was still there when we arrived. This was the first time I had seen my aunt’s house, so I got a quick tour from my dad and then spent the rest of my time there hanging out with my cousins.

I really was just so grateful that I’ve gotten to know my cousins as adults. I’ve had the privilege with my cousins on my mom’s side, but I see them every year. It’s not really possible for me to go back east every year or for my cousins to come to CA every year so our time together is really special to me. My cousin Danny is working on his PhD right now and he and I got into some really smart conversations. He sent me a couple of papers he’s worked on and while I knew he was smart I had no idea that he was that smart!

My conversation with my cousin Rachel, Alisa, cousin Janis (Rachel and Leah’s mom) and my mom was actually about childbirth and all the craziness that goes with it. I was the only one in the conversation without kids, but it was still fun hearing everyone’s stories. I’ve heard my birth story from my mom a couple of times, but it was fun watching my cousins listening to it and having their stories to share too. And while we had that conversation, everyone was taking a turn with Alisa and Danny’s brand new baby Hendrix (he was only a few weeks old). Everyone wanted to hold him because he’s just so cute, and finally I got my turn.

Hendrix

I’m so happy that I got to meet Hendrix, but I’m sad because I have no idea when I’ll see him (or Sebastian, his older brother) next. I’ve already been bugging Alisa and Danny that they need to come out to the west coast for a trip, so hopefully they will come visit soon!

After a few hours at my Aunt Susan’s house, it was time for us all to leave. My family headed back to the B&B where it was so hot out that the only thing we could think to do is to get back into the pool.

At The Pool

As you can tell from my photo, I got a bit of a sunburn while in Maryland. Only the parts of my body that were out of the pool (including my knees) got burnt and thankfully the sunburn is starting to fade now. I tried my best to protect my skin but I’m wondering if the humidity affected how the sunscreen worked on me. And yes, that is the bathing suit that I bought for Hawaii.

The pool was perfect and we spent a long time in there just hanging out as a family and enjoying our trip. It was nice to have some relaxing time together and I’m glad that we weren’t crazy over-scheduled while we were there.

After some time in the pool, we all got ready for dinner. We went out to a restaurant that was right on the water and we had a gorgeous view from our table.

Dinner View

After a nice dinner together, we headed back to the B&B and we all started packing to get ready to leave the next morning. My brother and sister-in-law were heading to Washington D.C. the next day and my parents were meeting with some friends to go camping. I had to get back to LA to get back to work, but it was nice that we were all leaving at the same time.

The next morning, we all headed to the airport together. The train station (for everyone else) was right next to the airport and we tried to arrange all of our transportation to be around the same time. I was the first one dropped off since I was flying and had to get through security. So I said goodbye to my family and headed into the Baltimore airport for my trip home.

I had 2 flights to get home with a few hour layover in between. My first flight was pretty uneventful. I had my window seat and the flight was full so every seat was taken. I spent most of my time reading my book and taking really quick naps (I think I slept for maybe 5 minutes at a time). My layover was spent getting some lunch and doing more reading. But when I got on the plane, I discovered that my seat was upgraded a bit!

Since I booked my tickets for this trip back in January, I’ve had several flight changes for my flights home. I think at one point I was getting flight or schedule changes every day. At one point, my new flights only had a layover of 30 minutes. I wasn’t ok with that so I called the airline to change it. I guess when I changed my flight but asked to keep my original seat number I got upgraded from economy to the fancier economy section!

The section I was in was only 3 rows of seats so it felt nice and small and I didn’t feel overwhelmed or panicky at all. I had a window seat with a ton of leg room and there was nobody sitting next to me so I stretched out on the flight.

Upgrade

It was so worth it to have the slightly upgraded seat (I would have loved to have been in first class, but that wasn’t in the cards for me), and I think having the extra room in front and next to me really helped to make this flight the most calm one I can remember having. If I have the option to upgrade to the nicer economy seats in the future (which I usually can’t do since I fly Southwest), I think I’m going to splurge on it because it was so much better for my mental health. I really am so happy that my flights were calm and I didn’t even take my meds for it. This is huge progress for me and I’m hoping that future flights go just as well.

Between the drive to the airport, my flights, my layover, and the time to drive back home I had traveled for 13 hours to get back to LA. The trip was totally worth it and I wouldn’t have changed any of it, but I was happy to be home.

I really hope that these family reunions will be more often in my future. I don’t want it to be another 5 or 16 years before I see people. I really do love my family and I want to be in their lives and not just through Facebook. Hopefully some of them can come out to visit me soon or I will have an opportunity to get back east again in the near future.

Going To Maryland (or A Cousin Reunion)

As I’ve mentioned, this past weekend I went to Maryland for a family reunion. I know it’s a bit crazy to fly back east just to be there for the weekend, but I had limited time I could take off and being there for the weekend is better than nothing!

My trip began on Friday (I was able to take both Friday and Saturday off from my box office job) when I flew to Baltimore. I was able to get on the same flight as my brother and sister-in-law so that was nice. Our flight was a bit delayed, so we grabbed some lunch at LAX before getting on the plane. It was a super packed flight and we couldn’t sit together, so I spent my flight reading and trying to not panic (I didn’t take any panic meds and I did great!).

When we landed, we got a cab out to Stevensville and arrived at Maria’s Love Point (the bed and breakfast my family was staying at) after midnight. We were all pretty tired so all we did was say hi to my parents, find our rooms, and go to bed. My room was perfect for me and I fell asleep pretty quickly that night (thankfully no jet-lag for me).

The next morning I woke up and had an amazing breakfast (seriously, Maria’s Love Point was the best B&B ever!) and went exploring around the B&B with my family. It was crazy hot and humid but we did want to go outside to check out the amazing view that the property had.

The View

There was a dock that went out into the water and we walked out to the end and back. I was shocked to see that the water was filled with jellyfish! Everywhere you looked you would see them so I was glad I was up on a dock and not walking along the edge of the water.

That day was the family reunion, but since it wasn’t starting until 1pm we tried to relax that morning. We all ended up spending a bit of time in the pool to try to beat the heat, but we were so grateful that the B&B had some really powerful air conditioning when we needed to cool off more inside.

Maria's Love Point

The family reunion was actually held at Maria’s Love Point, so that made things pretty convenient for us. We hung out in the pool until about noon and then we all started getting ready. It was being catered by a local restaurant and it was being held in a big room on the bottom floor (it was supposed to be outside but with the extra high temperatures and humidity we ended up moving it inside which was best).

I was pretty excited for this reunion! I went to the last big family reunion which was 16 years ago (half of my lifetime ago) but I hadn’t made it to any of the smaller reunions in the years since. I saw my aunt, uncle, cousin, and cousin’s girlfriend 5 years ago at my brother’s medical school graduation; but I hadn’t seen them since. I was in touch with a bunch of family through Facebook, but that’s not the same.

This reunion was a reunion of cousin’s on my dad’s mom’s side. It was my dad, his siblings, his 1st cousins, and all of the 1st cousins’ kids and grandkids. We were only missing a couple of people there but we had 30 cousins from 3 generations all in one place which was incredible!

3 Generations Of Cousins

It was really great seeing people again for the first time in years and I even got to meet some cousins that I had never met before! It was a bit overwhelming, but I think we were all thinking that so there was no awkwardness at all.

Even though I was super excited to see everyone, I think I was extra excited to see my cousins that I’ve been closest to over the years. My cousin Leah (who I believe is technically my second cousin but we always called her my third cousin) and I were super close as teenagers. She came to stay with my family for a month for a couple of summers and I stayed with her family for a few weeks one summer. She even came out to California (she lives in Pennsylvania) for my Sweet 16. We were pen-pals for a couple of years and we see each other on Facebook, but the last time I saw her in person was 16 years ago at that reunion. Since then she’s gotten married and has 2 kids!

I was also super excited to see my cousin Rachel (who is Leah’s sister). She and I weren’t as close before as Leah and I were (Leah and I are only a few months apart and Rachel is a bit younger), but we’ve stayed in touch through social media and we’ve got similar personalities and senses of humor. I know if we lived closer to each other that we would be super close and probably hanging out quite a bit. She’s also had a kid since the last time I saw her.

And Alisa is my first cousin Danny’s girlfriend. Before this reunion, I had only seen her once in person 5 years ago my brother’s medical school graduation. At the time, she was super pregnant with their first kid. She actually had him a few days after I met her. And since then, she and Danny have had another baby. Again, we see each other online all the time and we’ve become very close, but it had been years since I had seen her in person.

The four of us were hanging out quite a bit at the reunion and I had to get a selfie with my amazing cousins. None of them are my first cousins, but that doesn’t matter. I love them all so much and I am so incredibly lucky that I get to have them as my family.

My Cousins

5 years ago (when I last saw Danny and Alisa), we got a picture together since before that trip it had been over 10 years since I had seen Danny. Ross, Danny, Alisa, and I got a quick picture after dinner and I’ve loved having that picture. Since we were all together again, we had to recreate the photo with the 2 babies (one of whom is technically in that first picture in Alisa’s belly).

5 Years Later

I have to say, I don’t think we’ve really changed that much in 5 years!

Sadly, the reunion had to come to a close around 6pm. I loved spending time with everyone, but we only had the space for a certain time and we didn’t want to take advantage. There was still more family time (more on that tomorrow), so it was only goodbye for the night.

While my parents, brother, sister-in-law and I were relaxing that evening; we found out that the house next to the B&B was throwing a huge party that night and they would be having a fireworks show. They do this party once a year and it happened to be the night we were there! So after it got dark, we all headed out to the patio to check out the show from the next house.

Fireworks

By the time the fireworks were done, all of us were pretty tired from the big day and we all headed back to our rooms to get a good night sleep before the next day (and my last full day in Maryland). And I’ll write about that tomorrow!

Trip Planning (or Keeping Panic To A Minimum)

This past weekend, I went to Maryland for a family reunion. I just got back last night so I’ll recap the trip tomorrow, but I wanted to share with you how my trip planning went.

I’m a pretty good traveler, but I get so nervous and panicky about things. I always want to make sure I remember everything and I know I overpack because I’m scared I’ll forget something that isn’t easy to find (like clothing). For years, I’ve taken panic meds before traveling (for a day or so before flying and then right before my flight to be ok with flying). But since I’ve been doing better with my panic attacks and my Vyvanse makes the panic meds not as effective, I’ve been trying to get through traveling without the meds. I’ve been doing ok with doing that at the dentist (which is a miracle), so it should be the same for traveling.

I tried to do all of the other things I do to prepare for traveling to keep myself calm. I made all of my usual checklists, I did all of my usual prep work (checking all my travel toiletries and supplies), and tried to plan for some fun things to do on the flights there and back. I flew there with my brother and sister-in-law, but I flew home by myself so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of new library books on my Kindle to read and other things to keep my mind off of flying.

I was doing pretty great with my prep stuff, until I started planning out my clothes. While I am used to occasionally having hot days in LA, we don’t have humidity like they do in Maryland. I wanted to make sure I had clothes that would do their best to keep me cool in 90 degree heat and 90% humidity. Most of what I packed were workout clothes since those wick away sweat (I know that’s gross, but it’s true). And my outfit for the reunion was a tank top and a skirt so I figured it should keep me a bit cooler than other things. But just knowing that I might be sweaty for the entire weekend stressed me out.

I don’t know why that got to me so much, but I really was stressing a lot about the clothes and what would and wouldn’t show sweat if I was gross. I know that everyone else might be just as gross and sweaty, but I still didn’t want to look that way. I think part of it is knowing that I don’t want to look like I’m sweating because of my weight. I don’t want to be that stereotype and while I’ve been making good strides in my fitness and weight loss, others don’t know that and I don’t want to be judged.

I was talking to my mom about this a bit last week before leaving and she helped to calm me down a bit. I said that I just wanted to make sure I was impressing everyone since outside of my immediate family I haven’t seen any of the people at the reunion for 5 or 16 years (or ever in some cases). My mom was telling me how it doesn’t matter whether or not I impress people. I’m living my life the way I want to and as long as I’m happy it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know I’ve known this, but having someone else tell me it made it finally register in my brain.

I really tried to focus on how awesome it’s going to be to be going on a trip and to see family that I haven’t seen in years. I’m so lucky that I had the opportunity to do this and I’m grateful that I got to go. These family reunions are held each year, but since everyone pretty much lives on the east coast they are always held there. And I usually don’t get to go so this time was really special. Focusing on those things did help me relax a bit and not feel like I really need to take my panic meds. I’d rather not have to take them anymore so testing myself is good for me. I’m so used to taking them, and trying to get off them is a good idea since I pretty much have to choose to take them or my Vyvanse (and I would rather be taking Vyvanse).

A full recap of my weekend in Maryland is coming and I can’t wait to share with you everyone that I got to finally see again!

Wanting To Run (or Focusing On Running And Rowing)

My week of workouts last week were a bit interesting. I’m discovering that I need to push myself harder to get my heart rate up, but my endurance isn’t quite there yet. I’m finding the most trouble on the treadmill. I used to be able to get my heart rate into the orange zone while power walking, but now it doesn’t want to get there unless I’m running. I know this is a good sign and I’m getting much stronger with my cardiovascular ability. But I need to work on the endurance to get there too and I’m not finding it as easy as it was when I started running to build endurance now.

I don’t think I’ve necessarily hit a wall, but I’ve hit a small barrier. It’s like weight loss. When you start losing weight, you tend to lose very quickly at first and then it slows down. When I started running I found I could push my time by huge jumps without too much effort. Now, I’m finding it tough to run longer than a minute at times. I’m not giving up or losing hope, but it’s made me realize that I have to focus on training a bit differently now and perhaps I was just staying in my comfort zone before and now I’m truly pushing myself.

On Monday, we had a power day that switched between blocks. All the blocks were pretty short so I was able to do some good treadmill work. I was able to run during all of the all-out segments which were either 30 seconds or 1 minute long. I’m pushing things a bit with my speed on those all-outs, so I’ve been doing more at 5.5 mph when I’m not too tired (when I’m tired I’m scared I’m running sloppily and don’t want to hurt myself).

With the power day, we also had rowing to do. The rows were timed sprints and they weren’t too horrible for me. We had 3 timed sprints (1 minute, 2 minutes, and 4 minutes) and while my wattage on the rower was pretty low for me, I was able to do all of the sprints without taking a break and I hit my goal for the distance each time. There was a rowing workshop this past weekend that I wished I could have gone to (I was out-of-town) but I really want to go to the next one. I know I could be doing better with my rowing and I’d like to work on improving that.

Wednesday was a power day again, but no switching between blocks. It felt more like an endurance day for me because of the long time on the treadmill, but we had several walking recoveries during the 23 minutes on the treadmill so that helped a lot. Some of the push paces were 2 or 2 1/2 minutes long, and for those I had to stick with power walking. I really wanted to run (or run/walk), but I knew I needed to save my strength a bit for the all-outs. I did run during the shorter 1 minute push paces including the time that we had a 1 minute push into a 1 minute all-out (so that was 2 minutes of running). While we had the shorter all-outs, I decided to really push myself (I had barely been in the orange zone at all with my heart rate) so I ran for 30 seconds at 6 mph. That is definitely fast for me and I don’t think I could have done it for more than 30 seconds at a time. But it made me happy and gave me a boost of confidence when I was losing a bit of confidence in my running.

After all that treadmill work, I was exhausted. But I was only half way done with my workout so I tried to catch my breath so I could do my best during the floor work. For the floor, we had 2 long blocks that had a couple of different things to do in each one. But we started each set in each floor block with a sprint row. One block was a decreasing row and the other block was a constant row. But they were always sprint rows. I was starting to feel a bit competitive with one of the people on the rower next to me so we decided to race each other for one of the 150 meter rows. The goal time for 150 meters is under 45 seconds. But in my race I was moving so hard that the rower was starting to move with me and I was able to do it in 29.8 seconds! I lost the race (the other person did it in 28.8 seconds), but I was still pretty happy with what I was able to do. And I did another race (but with myself this time) for one of the 200 meter rows at the end of the workout and was able to do it in 47.9 seconds (goal time is under a minute).

I didn’t work out on Friday (I was on the plane on Friday during my usual workout time) so I did a Thursday workout instead. Thursday was endurance, strength, and power all in one workout. And it was a run/row day so I was really able to work on those workout elements. Because there was endurance, strength, and power for the run/row; each of the segments of the run were different. Some were longer distances, some were at inclines, and some were super short. So I had to work on a plan on how to use running during them all. For the long distance one, I did 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking. I did the walking distance for it (which is half of the running distance), but my coaches have all been ok with that. They know what I’m doing and they have all been really supportive.

For the strength running, since it was at an incline I had to plan carefully. But I did want to try the running with an incline because it’s a good way to push myself without having to run longer. I still did 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking for it and I was splitting the difference between the running distance and walking distance. I ran at the running incline and walked at my usual walking inclines for push paces. This was pretty tough (especially running at 5% incline), but I was able to stick with my 1 minute/1 minute plan so I was feeling pretty awesome about that.

The power running were all short bursts of .15 miles. I really planned on just running the entire thing because I know I can do that and have done it plenty before. But this was at the end of the workout and I was pretty exhausted (I was rowing sprints between all of the running segments so that was a lot). I really tried my best to run as long as I could, but I was feeling like walking after 45 seconds. I stuck it out for the minute and then started to walk.

I felt a bit disappointed in myself but as soon as we were switching to the floor my coach told me how impressed she was with my running improvement. While I’ve been so focused on times and distance, I haven’t really thought too much about form. But I guess I no longer look like I’m struggling for each step and things are starting to look really smooth and fluid. That gave me a huge boost of confidence and made my floor work on Thursday a lot happier.

After my Thursday workout, I started asking my running friends about help on building endurance. A couple of them are going to be sending me some notes and advice that they’ve seen online or have heard in running groups. I need to start thinking more seriously about my running training if I want to keep improving. I never realized how hard I could push myself and train like this, but I’m so glad I’m doing it. Since the beginning at Orangetheory I’ve felt like an athlete (not just someone at a gym). But now I feel like not just an athlete, but an athlete in training and I need to take that mindset outside of just my workouts and start researching running and planning things out.

I’ve got a few more months until my next 5K race. I feel pretty good that I can PR on the race (unless I get hurt I will be doing a run/walk race for the first time). But I don’t just want to PR on the race. I want to set a goal for myself that is tough but achievable. Hopefully I can reach that goal and prove to myself that even if my running progress is stuck now that in the long haul I made huge progress.

The End Of My Black Friday Deal (or Cabaret At Pantages)

This week was the final show in the amazing Black Friday deal I got with my friend Dani for the Pantages this season. This time, the show was “Cabaret”. Dani and I really lucked out with our shows in the Black Friday deal and I’m so glad that we decided to go for it. Plus, our seats for each of the shows were so much better than any seats we’ve had before (they were significantly better than what our season tickets were like last season or will be for next season).

The big downside to this final show in the deal was that Dani couldn’t go. The entire run for the show was while she is out of the country, so she gave me her ticket to give to a friend. I asked around to see who wanted to come see “Cabaret” with me this week, and my friend (and amazing casting director) Jeremy Gordon said he could go with me. I met Jeremy through The Actors’ Network, but I hadn’t seen him in person for a very long time (but we’ve stayed in touch through social media). Jeremy and I have been saying for a long time that we were way overdue for a coffee hangout, so going to see a show together was pretty awesome.

Since it’s not cheap to park by Pantages, Jeremy and I carpooled there. It was nice to have someone in the car with me while I dealt with traffic, and it gave us a great opportunity to catch up on things. We also both realized that neither of us had seen “Cabaret” in its entirety before. I’ve seen most of the musical numbers and knew a lot about the story, but I’ve technically never seen the show before. I thought it was pretty cool that we were both first-timers at the show and we were looking forward to seeing what it was like.

Cabaret

I don’t want to give away a ton about the show in case some of you haven’t seen it, but it was incredible! The cast was really great and I think that it was beautifully staged (which can be tough for a touring show). There was a great mix of silliness and seriousness throughout the show. And while the sound seemed a bit too low (both Jeremy and I noticed it was a bit quiet and could be tough to hear at times), I was able to follow the story and got sucked into it pretty easily.

I did know a bit about how the show ended, but I didn’t know all of it and it took my breath away. It was very intense and while it was sad it was also beautifully done. And when the actors took their bows at the end of the show, there was no music from the orchestra (which I don’t know if I’ve ever seen before) and that added to the shock value of the ending and made it stick with me. I am glad I didn’t know the entire show because that moment was so powerful and I’m glad I was able to experience it at the show.

I think Jeremy will agree with me that the show was so well done and I highly recommend checking it out if you are in LA (or when it tours in your area). With the way that politics are going these days, this show is actually pretty relevant and current even though it takes place in the 1930’s. But even without the politics of the show, it was just great and I’m so glad that we chose it to be a part of our deal when we bought them back in November.

After the show, Jeremy and I took a silly selfie outside the theater to document our awesome hangout.

Jeremy Gordon

I’m so glad that Jeremy was able to come with me to the show. While I was sad that Dani wasn’t there, it was great to get to share the experience and my love of going to the theater with another friend. We’ve talked about hopefully going to another musical again in the future so I’m looking forward to that. I’ve promised to tell him if there is another Black Friday deal similar to the one I got so he could get some tickets for next season (it seems like the season tickets for Pantages are pretty close to being sold out so I’m lucky my group was able to get our tickets already).

With the exception of any shows I may see at the Bowl this summer, I most likely won’t be seeing another musical until my season tickets start in November. I’m ok with taking a break. I’ve only been going to the Pantages again in the past view years. Before that, there was more than a 10 year gap between shows there. But I’m glad that my friends have gotten me back into seeing musicals because they really do make me happy and make my life so much better.

Women In Film (or Brunch and Ghostbusters)

Continuing with my busy weekend, I also had my Women In Film mentoring group brunch on Sunday! We’ve been trying to be really good about meeting up every other month, and we’ve learned that meeting for a weekend brunch works well for us. This way, none of us have to drive in rush hour traffic and we aren’t tired from working all day. Also, going out for brunch means that we don’t have to all prepare food and I don’t have to super clean my house!

I was really excited for this brunch. I got to tell everyone about “Single Parent Date Night” (some of my fellow mentees actually were donors for the Kickstarter too!). I told everyone about the filming process and how we really lucked out with finding some amazing locations and getting some incredible crew members. The budget we had for the film was pretty small, but I don’t think that the film will look like that.

I also updated everyone on the day job situation and how I’m very torn about doing the next level of improv classes at UCB. The classes aren’t cheap and I’m thinking that maybe taking a different class with that money would be a better use of my money. I have until December to take the next level of improv classes without having to redo the first level, so I’m not rushing to figure out what I want to do.

This brunch seemed to be full of updates from everyone. It was really great to see that everyone is doing amazing and making big strides in their careers. I still love that we have our meetings every other month and I really hope that we are able to continue to do these for a long time.

After brunch was done, I asked the group if anyone wanted to go see the new “Ghostbusters” movie. Since we are members of Women In Film, I figured going to support women in film by seeing a movie was pretty fitting. Not everyone could go, but 3 of us got into my car and drove a few minutes away to where there was a screening starting 20 minutes after we finished our meal. The timing was really perfect so I felt like it was fate that we were able to see the movie after brunch.

Ghostbusters

I know that “Ghostbusters” has gotten so much hate, and I really don’t understand it. If “Spiderman” can be remade lots of times why can’t “Ghostbusters” be done once? People claimed that the new movie ruined their childhood, but that makes no sense. If you don’t want to go see a movie, don’t see it. But all of us who went love the actresses who were in it and were excited to see what they did with the reboot. We didn’t care what the random reviews online said (and most of those were done before anyone saw the movie so they can’t be trusted) and we were just excited to see the movie with an open mind.

Honestly, it was an amazing movie! All of us really enjoyed it and were laughing throughout the movie. Yes, it had similar elements from the original but again we see so many remakes that it’s not a big deal. If it was a remake without any bits from the original movie that would have been very weird. And they had some fun new stuff and we all loved seeing the cameos from the original cast members.

But the biggest deal to me was that “Ghostbusters” was just an awesome movie that happened to star women. There was no romantic comedy element to it, nobody had to be saved by a man, nobody fell in love and changed their life, and as a friend of mine put it no woman ended the film scantily clad or in spandex. The women weren’t supermodels, they were real. And you could have replaced the women in the film with men and it would have been the same movie. That is so rare and special.

I had the best time seeing “Ghostbusters” and I’m so glad that we went to see it after brunch. It was the perfect thing to do after the meeting and I think we all felt so inspired after the credits were done. I know that many people won’t see the movie because there are women in it or that they saw all the negative reviews that happened before the movie was released (almost all the real reviews are positive), but I’m happy that we went out and supported women-led films with our money that afternoon.

It really was the perfect morning and afternoon for me. I got inspired by my fellow mentees and the steps they are taking in their career and then I got inspired by seeing “Ghostbusters” and how amazing it was.

Happy Birthday Rayshell (or I Love Casual Hangouts!)

This past weekend was pretty busy for me, but that was fun for me! I love when I have a bunch of awesome things to go to and being able to be social with my friends. I can get pretty isolated with just working at home and then going to the gym, so whenever a friend throws a party I really do try to go! It’s good motivation to get out and do things when someone is having a party and I know I need to be more social so this helps.

Rayshell had her birthday recently and she had a casual get-together at her house on Saturday. While I do love big event birthday parties, it’s nice when you have something smaller and more relaxed at times (especially when you are in the middle of a crazy weekend). Rayshell (and her husband Paul) are pretty amazing at having parties at their place so I was pretty excited to get to spend time with them and the rest of my friends. I had a bit of a busy day on Saturday with work and some other things, but I still ended up being at their party pretty much right when it started (I have a reputation for usually being the first guest at their parties).

The party was pretty chill and that is what I feel makes it awesome. There was no pressure to dress up fancy or to have to impress everyone there. It was just a fun hangout with a bunch of friends most of whom I haven’t seen since Rayshell’s wedding. I’m so glad Rayshell does a couple of parties a year because they are great times for me to get to see a bunch of people who live all over LA and it’s not easy to get to see them all the time. Also, Rayshell and Paul’s apartment really is set up well for parties so I think they like hosting them there.

I spent most of my evening talking with my friends on updates on their lives (we all also discussed what we bought or wanted to buy on Amazon Prime Day) and it was just nice to relax around Rayshell and Paul’s apartment and getting to find out what people are up to without it being an update on Facebook. We all feel like we see each other more often because of social media, but then when we get together we realize how it has been a while since we were in person together!

And of course, since this was a birthday party there was cake. And when we were all singing to Rayshell I got this super adorable picture of Rayshell and Paul (seriously, they are the cutest couple!).

Rayshell and Paul

I really wanted to stay later at the party, but my body was getting ready to shut down around 11pm so I had to leave shortly after the cake. Fortunately, most of us aren’t night owls so I think most of the people I knew would be at the party got there on the earlier side so I didn’t miss them by leaving by 11pm. I really was having a great time at the party and talking with everyone, but since I had a 20 minute drive home I really knew I had to leave when I was feeling tired.

So I said goodbye to Rayshell, Paul, and all of my friends there and headed back to my car to head home. It really was a fun hangout with everyone and I think we all appreciated Rayshell and Paul for hosting another great party and giving us all an excuse to hang out again. I think the next hangout opportunity is going to be my birthday! I still need to figure out what to do, but I can’t wait to see everyone again in a few weeks!

My First BlogFest (or Maximizing 5 Hours)

This past weekend was BlogFest. BlogFest is a fitness blogger conference that is partnered with the IDEA World Fitness Conference and Sweat Pink (which is a blogger organization I’m a part of). This was the 3rd year for BlogFest and I was lucky enough to be able to get a ticket for it! They were offering free tickets to bloggers, you just had to put in your application why you deserved to attend and I was selected!

BlogFest

My original plan for BlogFest was to ask my boss at my box office job if I could work just customer chats (not phones) for the 2 days of BlogFest which is what I had done during the SAG-AFTRA Convention. I know my boss doesn’t like when I do that, but I didn’t want to have to ask for those days off either. Then, I found out that I would be going out-of-town the weekend after BlogFest and I would have to have time off for that. So since I had to take time off, I wasn’t comfortable asking for chat only days when I’m already getting time off (we don’t get vacation time or time off at the box office job so I have to limit how much time off I ask for).

Because of my work schedule, I ended up only being able to attend the afternoon of the first day of BlogFest, but I was determined to make the most of the time I was going to have there! As soon as I was done with work at 3pm, I raced over to the light rail station and caught a train to downtown. Since the event was being held at the convention center, it was pretty easy for me to take the train there and it saved me time in rush hour and saved me money for having to park downtown. I got to the convention center about 10 minutes before the next blogger session was going to start, so I quickly checked in and found another BlogFest attendee who was able to direct me to the room where the session was being held.

The first session that I was able to attend was all about social media and how to maximize using it for your blog. While I think I’m pretty good at using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; I’m pretty bad at using Snapchat and YouTube. I got a lot of great tips and advice in the session and while I haven’t been able to implement those things just yet, I’m working on some ideas that I hope that you all will enjoy!

After that session we had a few minutes before the next (and final) session that I could attend so I took a quick second to take a selfie in front of the BlogFest step and repeat (it was my only chance!).

BlogFest Arrival

The next session was a breakout session where there were a bunch of small groups discussing topics like branding, monetization, content, and other topics that bloggers may be concerned about and needing advice on. I had a pretty awesome group and I got some great ideas for things that I want to work on for here and hopefully will be able to start using them soon (things are in the works!).

Sadly, I missed all of the morning sessions that day and all of the sessions the next day. There will be notes posted online soon, but I still wish that I could have attended more because I really got so much out of the 2 sessions that I was able to go to. I also ended up missing the IDEA World expo and checking out all of the vendors there because I wasn’t able to get back to downtown another day.

But even though I was done with my 2 sessions pretty quickly, I still had some more fun that night.

My next stop was at Lawry’s Carvery to get a quick dinner with some fellow BlogFest attendees.

Dinner

It wasn’t the healthiest dinner (especially since we all blog about fitness), but it was quick and very yummy! At dinner, I finally got to meet some of my online blogger friends in real life which was awesome! We had a very honest conversation about our blogs and the challenges we are having now and it was so great to get that type of support from other bloggers who have been there and aren’t judging me for my lower numbers or anything.

The final stop for the night was the JW Marriott hotel (right next to the convention center) for the party for BlogFest attendees and everyone who is at the IDEA World conference.

Party

Since BlogFest was just some of the people attending the conference, we got a group of tables inside the reception that were reserved for our group.

VIP

Most of the people at the reception were in the line to get food, but since I just had dinner I sat down at a table and got to chat with more bloggers who I hadn’t met yet. We discussed our blogs (and even got someone to set up a brand new blog while we were there!) and it was just a really awesome time. While at the reception, I was feeling a bit sad that I was going to be missing all the rest of the time at BlogFest and I just feel more motivated that I need to figure out how to get some more flexibility in my life. I want to be able to attend events like this and not have to worry about if I will lose my job for asking for the time off. That’s my big motivation right now and I’m hoping that by next year’s BlogFest I’ll have something worked out.

But before I left, some of the amazing women behind Sweat Pink grabbed me so we could take a silly photo at the photo booth that was set up for the reception.

Photo Booth

Right after that, I had to head back to the train so I could get home. I only spent about 5 hours at BlogFest, but those 5 hours were pretty incredible. I got to meet some inspiring people, learn new things, and just have a fun time! I can’t wait until my next blogger conference opportunity and hopefully I will be able to spend more than 5 hours at it!

A Few Setbacks (or Not Being Hard On Myself)

This week was a tough week of workouts. But they weren’t tough because the workouts were hard. They were tough because I was struggling. I know that having off days is a part of making progress, but knowing it doesn’t make things easier when I’m having an off week.

I knew Monday might be tough because I was still recovering from my night shoot over the weekend. But I got a lot of sleep on Sunday night, so I was feeling pretty good waking up on Monday morning. So I thought that maybe I wasn’t going to have a bad day and my exhaustion was done. And when I got to Orangetheory and saw that it was a run/row day, I was pretty excited because I knew that those days are easier on me with keeping the treadmill time to short bursts.

But it was also a strength day which meant hills on the treadmill. I tried to run the first segment on the treadmill (with incline), and it just wasn’t going to happen. After trying to run for that first segment, I realized that there just wasn’t going to be any more running that day. I did power walk everything else and it wasn’t my best speed or incline but I got it done. And we did have to do calf raises after each row segment so I was able to catch my breath a bit between rowing and the treadmill. Fortunately, I did a bit better on the floor that day. We did a lot of shoulder work and also had some rollouts on the straps (which I felt great because my body needed that stretch). We also had a 6 minute block on the floor that was just ab work using the Bosu ball, which also was less taxing on my body.

Wednesday I was finally feeling more like myself. I’m shocked how long it took me to recover from the night shoot, but I also think I pushed myself too hard the 2 days after the shoot so I wasn’t able to recover as fast as I could have. The workout was endurance, strength, and power and we were switching between blocks so the class seemed to go by pretty quickly for me. For the endurance and strength treadmill blocks, I walked the base and push paced but I did run for the all-outs. But on the power section we had 30 second all-outs followed by 30 second walking recoveries and I was able to run for all of those all-outs. I was going pretty quickly for those 30 second segments, typically staying above 5 mph.

The floor work was focused a lot on arms and abs. I was doing ok with that until the very end of class where we had a short buddy challenge. My friend Dani was in class with me so she and I partnered up. We had to be in a plank and alternate bringing one hand up to high-five each other while staying in the plank. At the beginning I was doing ok, but my body was so ready to be done by then. I tried to keep up my part of the partner work and to bring my hand up every time so Dani always had a buddy to high-five, but I wasn’t able to keep my plank the entire time and was feeling pretty out of breath while trying. Again, I was frustrated that I had to give up during the workout, but I was trying to remind myself that I had just done a big workout and did some pretty fast run sprints.

Friday was the day that I was back to my usual workout self. We had a strength day that did switch between the blocks. Since I’m really not ready to work on running on hills, I stayed with power walking for almost all of the treadmill work. I was keeping my inclines up around 6-10% and my speed was usually between 3.5 and 3.7 mph during all the push paces. One of the all-outs was on an incline so I walked that one too. But we did have 2 all-outs that were at a flat road and I ran those. For the 1 minute all-out, I ran for a minute at 5 mph which felt really fast that day but it was great not having to be at an incline! And for the 30 second all-out, I was going at 5.5 mph which felt like flying to me! I really love doing those sprints because I’m able to go really fast and I love feeling that. I just really need to work on my endurance so I can start running more often in the workouts.

The floor work on Friday was a good mix of rowing and arms. We had a bunch of 200 meter rows which I was able to do in under 55 seconds every time. The rows were tough toward the end of the workout, but since they were short they weren’t too bad. We also had to do ultimate burpees in the first block which were much easier for me than they have been in a while. I was able to include the push up with each burpee and I was using some pretty heavy weights for them as well. All of my arm work was done with 15 pound weights, which aren’t the best I’ve used but since there was so much arm work I was happy with that.

Friday’s class also marked the last class I’ll get to take with my friend Dani for a while. She’s leaving next week to go to Africa where she will be hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro! While I’m sad I’ll be missing my workout buddy for a few weeks, I’m super excited for her! This is going to be a huge hike and I know she’s been working really hard on getting ready for the trip and making sure that she’s in the best shape possible. She’s been using super high inclines for all of her treadmill work and she’s been doing really long hikes every weekend to make sure her endurance is there. She got an Orangetheory hat as a gift from the studio we go to and I’m so excited to see the picture of her on the top of the mountain wearing it! So since this was our last class together for a while, I figured we had to get a post-workout sweaty selfie together.

Dani's Off To Africa!

The next two weeks of workouts will be working around my trip next weekend, but I’ve finally got it all figured out! I might not be hitting all of my workout goals this month (like wanting to try to run for 5 minutes), but at least I’m not giving up!