Being The New Employee (or Starting Yet Another Day Job)

I started my new day job this week. It’s box office/customer service work for a murder mystery theater group. They have locations all over the country, so we are considered a national box office.

Everyone started a week before I did (I’m not sure the exact reason, but it worked out well for me). So a lot of the kinks in the system were figured out before I started.

But since this is work from home, I don’t have anyone around to answer questions for me.

Thankfully, this is much easier than my other box office job (or the telesales job). There is a spreadsheet with all the information that we need to know. And if things get too specific or someone needs to know something about a particular location, we just email that location and they take it from there.

I have to answer questions over the phone and also on online chats, so that’s a little new for me.

My first day was Tuesday (this job is Tuesday-Saturday) and it was pretty scary. The phones are weird because they ring for all of us at the same time (there are 4 of us in different locations around the country). So sometimes I’d answer the phone but someone else got it a split second ahead of me. Then I’d hear a dial tone.

I was terrified that I was doing something wrong with the phones, so I kept emailing another employee asking her a million questions. Thankfully, she was patient with me and understood that it’s tough when you are working alone at a new job.

After my second day, I’m starting to get a hang of it, but it’s still a little scary. I’m worried that I’ll get asked some crazy question and have no idea what to do (it’s happened plenty at my other box office job). I’m just trying to remind myself to stay calm and not to be afraid to ask questions to other employees.

This isn’t my first work from home job, but it seems different from all the others. This is the first time that I have to wait for the work to come to me, instead of me initiating the work like I did with my headhunter assistant job. I’m learning that it’s ok for me to step away from my desk for a second to get a drink of water or something because I’m never more than a few steps away from my phone or computer (the benefit of living in a tiny house).

I’m so happy that I finally have a job with regular hours again. And I’m ok with feeling nervous. When I started my telesales job, it was my first telesales (or any type of sales) job ever. I was so scared and would hope that people wouldn’t answer their phones. But by my second year at that job, I ended up being the assistant manager.

I’m not expecting to get any sort of promotions with this new job (it really isn’t set up to be that way), but I keep reminding myself that in time I will be comfortable with this new job and it will feel easy to me. And having regular money coming in will be really nice too.

Minor Remodeling (or Putting My Parents To Work On Their Vacation)

Whenever my parents (or just my dad by himself) come to visit, there is always a list of things that I’m hoping to get done at my house. A lot of times it’s minor things like help hanging things on the walls (I have weird walls in my house and my dad has a special drill bit that we need to use to put screws in). But this trip, we had bigger things in mind.

It started with my birthday couch. When the plan was to get something from IKEA, I knew that my dad and I would have to put it together. But since I got a different couch that came delivered all put together, that was one thing that we didn’t have to do.

But I knew that my mom would have some ideas about how to reorganize my house to make the couch fit in better. There aren’t a lot of ways to organize furniture in a 400 square foot house, but my mom has a way of figuring it out.

When she got to my house, we moved the lounge part of my couch to the other side right away. Then we looked at moving my TV around. Finally, my dad and I took the doors off of my entertainment center because I never close the doors. After lots of deliberation, I had an entirely new looking living room just by moving some furniture (and getting the new couch).

My living room went from this:

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To this:

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I know it’s a little tough to tell the difference from the pictures, but trust me, it’s made a huge difference! My living room looks much bigger now and the flow of the furniture makes more sense.

The next project that we thought would be a huge project involved my dining room chairs. My dining room set is from the late 1960′s or early 1970′s (there’s some debate on that). My aunt actually got it for herself and then she gave it to my dad. My parents had it in storage for a while until I got my first apartment in 2003. Then they gave it to me.

I absolutely love my dining room set. It’s simple and classic and it’s so well made that it doesn’t look as old as it is. The only thing that was bugging me was the cover that each chair had. It was made of black vinyl and all the padding that was there (if there ever was any) was gone. One chair had a little tear in it, but besides that they still looked decent. The chair covers were the original covers that they came with when my aunt bought the set. So my parents agreed with me that it was time for an update.

We headed to a fabric store near my house and found a wonderful fabric that matched my house really well. And it was in a clearance section so it was only $5/yard (compared to $38/yard for another fabric we loved). My dad brought his staple gun down so we were planning on figuring out how to cover the chairs ourselves.

While in the store, one of the employees asked my dad if we needed any help so my dad explained what we needed. Turns out, that employee does chair covers on the side! He would take the fabric we purchased, remove the old fabric, add new padding, and cover it all.

That was so much better of a plan than my dad and I winging it! I’m sure we would have done an ok job, but why not leave it up to the professionals!

We dropped the seats off on Saturday and they were done on Monday morning. While I was at the dentist my parents picked them up for me and came over to my house to put the chairs back together. When I returned home, my parents had done all the work!

The chairs look amazing.

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The fabric really goes with the style of the chair and they are so much more comfortable now! I have some of the scraps of fabric from the cushions and I really want to do some sort of project with them. There isn’t enough to make a table runner, but I’m thinking maybe figuring out if they could be turned into placemats (anyone know anything about doing that?).

Besides our decorating work, my dad also washed all the outsides of my windows and my screens so my windows are super clean now. We also did some work with the plants in the front of my house (my dad brought me another bark planter and we did some touch up work on the old one).

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Considering I live in a rental house and I can’t do a ton of work to the inside, my parents have really helped me make the space my own. And after living here for 4 1/2 years, having things freshened up really makes it feel new again.

And I’m so lucky that my parents are both willing to help me fix up my house, each in their own ways. My mom is such a great decorator (so much of the artwork in my house was either originally my mom’s or she got them for me), and my dad is an awesome handyman (who only charges me in beer).

Saturday Evening With My Parents (or I’m Posting A Little Out Of Order About My Weekend)

Typically, when I do recaps of things that happen in my life, I put things in order. But to make a bit more sense of what I did with my parents this past weekend, I’m breaking things up a little funny.

On Saturday, I spent the morning/early afternoon with my parents (I’ll talk more about that in tomorrow’s post). Then my parents headed back to their hotel to rest for a bit. And at about 5pm I headed over to their hotel to meet them for our evening plans.

My parents usually stay in Brentwood (there is a dog friendly hotel that they like there), but this time I encouraged them to stay near the Hollywood Bowl. So they found a nice hotel on Highland Ave (although it was quite touristy) and that’s where I headed to meet them.

It was important for them to stay near the Hollywood Bowl because that’s where we were headed on Saturday evening!

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My mom saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl when she was younger. She’s not 100% sure she was at the show 50 years ago or the show 48 years ago. But either way, she saw them at the Bowl.

My dad on the other hand, has never seen a show at the Bowl. We went there during the wintertime so he could check out the venue and we toured the museum, but never for a show.

So when this summer’s season was announced, I knew that this would be an awesome event to go to with my parents.

My mom originally wanted me to get us box seats, but those sold out before I even had a chance. The best seats in my opinion are the first row of any section because there is more leg room and you can use the concrete barrier as a table for your snacks. So I found us some pretty close seats in the first row of a section.

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Technically, they were partially obstructed seats, but we never really had an issue with that (plus everything was shown on the giant screens).

The show was amazing (check out my Instagram for some videos). The first part was 30 minutes long and it was the playlist from the Beatles concert 50 years ago. It was shocking to think that the Beatles only played for 30 minutes when they were in LA!

After intermission, there were maybe 15 more Beatles songs. They had a bunch of different singers. Some were amazing and some I wished hadn’t had as many songs to sing as they did. But overall, it was an amazing concert!

My parents both had a great time and because their hotel was so close to the Bowl, I parked my car there and we were able to walk to and from the concert. That was much more relaxing than me taking the Bowl bus there and trying to meet up with them!

After I got back to my parents’ hotel, I got my car and headed back home.

I’ll be back at the Bowl this weekend for the John Williams show and I’m hoping to go in September for the Simpsons event. Every time I’m there, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have such an amazing venue so close to where I live!

The End Of My 8 Week Challenge (or The End Is Really Just The Beginning)

Last week was the end of my Orangetheory challenge. Well, it’s the end of my first Orangetheory challenge. I’m in the middle of the weight loss challenge they have going right now.

I remember the beginning of my challenge being so scared that I wouldn’t be able to finish or that I would somehow hurt myself. And I’m so happy to say that I did all 24 workouts in my challenge and I didn’t get hurt!

Monday’s workout was tough because there was a lot of lunge work. That’s a tough one for me because my hip flexors don’t always work the way that they are supposed to. Fortunately, the lunges were done while using the TRX straps, so that helps me keep my balance and takes a little pressure off of my hips when things start to hurt a lot.

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Wednesday’s workout was another killer. It had to be a killer because somehow my mind has blocked out that day! But I do remember that at the end of class, I was thinking about how much flexibility I’ve gained recently (I lost a lot of flexibility after my hip surgery), so that inspired my picture for that workout.

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Friday’s workout was a super awesome day. Not only was it marking the end of a challenge that I thought I’d never be able to do, my parents got into LA that day, so my dad decided to join me for the workout!

My dad has joined me for a couple of unique workouts. He came with me a couple of times to work out with Richard Simmons, he tried SoulCycle, and now he’s tried Orangetheory.

My dad works out pretty regularly, but he doesn’t really use a rowing machine. So he had been training on the rowing machine at the gym that he goes to to make sure he was ready for class. Of course, Friday’s class wasn’t a run/row day. There was a little bit of rowing, but not much.

My dad found the class really good and tough. There were several strength moves that he had never done before (including using the TRX straps) so he now has some new ideas for his own workouts.

It was super awesome to have my dad come to class with me. I wanted him to see what I had been doing for the last 8 weeks and I know that he likes checking out new and unique workouts. He’s not necessarily set in his ways with working out, but he is pretty traditional.

And of course, since my dad was in class with me, he had to be in my workout photo!

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Now that my first challenge is over, I have an unlimited membership to Orangetheory. I’m planning on still going every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and sticking with my usual 4:15 class unless there is a reason that I can’t be there in the evening (like tonight when I will be live-tweeting the Emmys!).

I’m not planning on adding a 4th Orangetheory class each week yet. But I am going to start using my exercise bike at home again (I was scared to use it before I was comfortable working out so often).

I really do see this as a lifestyle change. And that’s the best thing that could have come out of this challenge.

And if any of you want to come check out Orangetheory with me in LA, let me know. People can still take a free class to check it out!

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The top row of photos is 2 months ago. And the bottom is from this morning.

Yet Another Birthday Outing (or Enjoying Benihana!)

Last night was yet another birthday deal. It’s technically not as good of a deal as Truxton’s, but it’s pretty amazing.

If you are a part of the birthday club at Benihana (I think you just have to sign up with an email address), you get $30 to spend in your birthday month!

I haven’t always taken advantage of this birthday deal. The last time I did was a few years ago with my friend Erin (who does my hair) and her kids (who I babysit). Her daughter was old enough to enjoy it but her son was only a few months old, so he spent dinner sleeping in his stroller.

I decided that I wanted to do the Benihana deal again this year, so I asked Erin if she and the kids wanted to come with me. Her daughter, O, was super excited because she remembered it from a few years ago. Her son, K, was a bit hesitant at first. But as soon as I showed him a video of the onion volcano, he was sold on the idea!

It happened to work out nicely that we all had yesterday evening free (well, Erin’s husband couldn’t make it). We went to the Benihana in Encino since that’s pretty much half way between Erin’s house and my house.

Erin and the kids got there before I did, and when I walked in the door, I had a very nice greeting from O and K. K was so excited to see me, which was a nice treat because he usually doesn’t like when I come over to the house (he thinks that always means that his parents are leaving and I’m babysitting). And O was happy to see me as always.

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We lucked out at the table we were seated at. Everyone else was very entertained by the kids and the funny things they kept saying. K was very excited to see eggs being scrambled for the fried rice and kept going on and on about scrambled eggs for a while.

Dinner was very yummy. With my $30 I was able to get a strawberry lemonade and filet mignon (and all the sides that you usually get at Benihana).

Fortunately, everything that I had (including all the sides) were already in My Fitness Pal so I was able to keep on top of my calorie count for the day (I only went a little bit over).

After dinner, they brought out ice cream for the kids as well as for me (the birthday deal includes it).

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I had some of the ice cream, but didn’t take the leftovers home (like O and K did with their ice cream).

Overall, it was an awesome birthday adventure. I’m glad that Erin and her kids had a fun time. And anytime I get to hang out with them is wonderful to me.

I’ve possibly got one more birthday adventure before the month is up, but my calendar is starting to get full again! If I don’t get it in, that’s ok. I’ve definitely taking advantage of the birthday deals this month!

My LA Anniversary! (or 13 Years Have Gone By Quickly)

It’s my LA anniversary! I’m not exactly sure if it’s today or if it was yesterday, but since I can’t remember the exact day I moved into the dorms at LMU, I’ve always celebrated it on the 21st.

13 years ago my parents helped me pack up my car (and theirs) and we made the 6 hour drive down from the Bay Area to LA.

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My parents car held most of my things since at that time I drove a small car.

My friend Kate didn’t start college as early as I did, so she decided to come along for the adventure! So Kate came with me in my car for the drive and my parents drove together in their car.

I remember a lot about that drive for some reason (which makes me shocked that I don’t remember the date). I remember us goofing off and talking about how amazing college was going to be for both of us. I remember the exact route we took to get to the hotel we were staying in the night before I could move into the dorms. I remember the freeway exit, and for years after that, whenever I took that exit I remembered my excitement to move to LA.

Being in LA had been my dream for as long as I can remember, and I was so happy that my dream was coming true. I knew that I was very lucky that I could say that.

The next day, we all drove to LMU to get me moved into my dorm room. I was there before my roommate, so I got first choice in which bed I wanted. My freshman dorm was pretty awesome and I had a very nice view out of my window.

Once we got everything moved in, my parents and Kate had to make the drive back up so I said goodbye to everyone.

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In my 13 years in LA, I’ve gone to and graduated early from college, had about a million different jobs in tons of different industries, had some really horrible roommates and some incredible roommates, pursued my acting career, and pretty much just lived the same dream that I had when I moved down here 13 years ago.

It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve never regretted my decision to live here. It feels more like home to me than going back to the Bay Area. And in 6 years, I will have lived in LA longer than I ever did in the Bay Area.

Next month is the LMU Alumni BBQ. As I have for the past few years, I will be going this year. I like to go back and see where my LA life started. I always walk by my freshman dorm room and look up at my window and remember how crazy things were for me that first year and how I wondered how I would ever find my place in LA.

I’m so glad that not only have I found my place here, I have filled it with amazing friends who make my life amazing.

Back To School (or Getting Prepared For Another Of My Day Jobs)

Somehow, even though it feels like I have 1,000 different day jobs, I really have it down to 4. I have working at the box office during shows at the theater company where I used to do telesales, I have the survey coding job (which is the graveyard shift one right now), I have a new box office job from home that will be starting next week, and I have substitute teaching. I also have babysitting and dog sitting, but since those are few and far between, I’m not quite counting them.

I’ve been a substitute teacher with a small public school district by my house since 2007. I used to work more often, but when I did telesales I really didn’t have any days that I could work.

Now that a new school year is starting up, I’m getting prepared to possibly have some sub days in the future (although right now it looks like I can only work on Mondays).

Since I’ve been with my district, they’ve never really trained the subs. We were hired and then starting working as soon as possible. But they are trying to change that and make communication better between regular employees of the schools and the subs.

So this past Monday, I attended my first substitute training class. It was a half day in the morning (and we got paid to attend!), and I’m really glad that I got to go.

I really don’t know any of the subs so it was nice to meet some new people. And they did have some really helpful hints and tips for being more effective in the classroom that I know I will use if I get a chance to sub this year.

The three hour training went by pretty quickly, and when it was done, I had a chance to speak with the woman who pretty much organizes all the subs for the district. Part of the requirements for subbing include keeping your certification up to date (I pay every year to keep things current) and having a current TB test on file (which needs to be done every 4 years).

For me, the TB test can get a little annoying. I can’t do the standard skin test. In 2001, I tested positive for exposure to TB. I never had it (or any signs of having it) and they put me on medication for a year just to be sure. But as far as I know, my skin test will always come up positive. And I don’t want to have to deal with taking the medication again as a precaution.

So I get chest x-rays to prove that I don’t have TB. Sadly, my private health insurance won’t cover those. Even though a skin test is free, the chest x-rays would be about $500 to do.

Fortunately, my district is willing to pay for me to get tested at a clinic near the schools. So as soon as my meeting was done, I got my paperwork to get my chest x-ray and headed over to the clinic.

I lucked out getting there when I did because there was only one person ahead of me. Before I knew it, I was in the x-ray room getting ready (you keep your shirt on but have to remove any metal which for me was my necklace and bra).

The x-ray was really quick and the doctor at the clinic was able to review it right away. As expected, my chest x-ray was negative so I am cleared to work for the next 4 years in my district (I do still have to turn in my paperwork from the clinic, but I have 2 months before it’s due).

School in the district I work for starts next week. I don’t expect to have any sub days for the first few weeks, but you never know. At least I feel more prepared than I ever have for the coming school year!

Continuing The Birthday Celebrations (or A Birthday Twin Adventure)

On Friday evening, I got together with my birthday twin Joanna. It had actually been a while since we had seen each other.

But besides wanting to hang out again, we had a birthday tradition to uphold!

It was time for our free birthday meal at Truxton’s!

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This might be one of my favorite birthday traditions. Joanna and I have been doing this for years, and both of us look forward to it each year.

Truxton’s really does have one of the best birthday deals around, and it would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of it.

So when Friday came around, I was ready to have an awesome meal (I had also saved up my calories so I could afford to have a meal like that).

Since we knew that our meal was going to be free, we both ordered without looking at the prices. I got a 1/4 chicken with some garlic fries (and they were super garlicky) and Joanna got the salmon.

While we waited for our food, we spent some time just catching up on each other’s lives. Since we are both actors, we both live pretty crazy lives. We both are always changing things around like our day jobs, representation, or other things like that.

Both of us have had some changes in our lives, so it was nice to have the time to fill each other in on what’s been going on. Since right now we only have 2 annual traditions (birthday and Christmastime) and somehow we never have the time to get together, over dinner we also decided that we are going to add a fall and spring tradition hangout. Right now we only know what we are doing for fall (Disneyland), but we have some time to plan out spring.

After dinner, we ordered our free desserts. We always get this one ice cream dessert that comes with churros so we only had to decide on the second dessert. We opted for a giant freshly baked cookie.

We each had 1/2 of each dessert, and I have to say that saving my calories (and working out like crazy at Orangetheory) was totally worth this splurge. It was so yummy!

When the bill came, we had a bit of a laugh at the difference between what Joanna’s meal would have cost versus my meal.

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Thank goodness it was all free! And since it was free, we were able to leave a nice tip (we left $30).

All in all, it was an awesome evening out. Not only was it a free meal, it was a meal with a good friend who I don’t see nearly often enough!

I’ve still got a few more birthday deals that I’m planning on taking advantage of, but my birthday month is going to be over before I know it!

Stronger And Stronger (or Week 7 Is Done!)

Week 7 of my Orangetheory challenge was another week where I tested myself to see how far I could go.

First of all, I did get myself signed up for a membership so that I can continue to go 3 times a week once my challenge is over after this week. My plan is to continue with the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. That seems to be working well for me and it will fit in with my upcoming work schedule for the new day job.

To be totally honest, this past week of workouts was a bit of a blur for me. There were some run/row days that were tough and made my legs feel like jello. I tried to go faster on the treadmill, but my body wasn’t having it most of the time (I was able to push myself for a minute here and there, but not ongoing).

I continued to see how my body could do with trying to not to the modified workouts. I did burpees the right way (jumping my legs back and forward instead of stepping back and forth). I also did jump squats for the first time. Not only were they jump squats, they were unassisted (or without the TRX straps) jump squats. Those weren’t easy, but that workout only required doing 5 at a time so I managed.

I’m also picking up heavier and heavier weights. With the exception of some of the shoulder work, I’m no longer grabbing the 8 pound weights (which is what I started with). I’m now using the 10 or 12 pound weights depending on what strength move it is and how tired I’m feeling.

I’m doing better core work as well. I did some planks without shaking and did some crunches were you moved your legs and not your shoulders (I don’t remember what those were called) without having the do the modified workout.

I know that this isn’t the most interesting update about my challenge, but the fact that it isn’t interesting is what makes it interesting to me.

In the beginning, I remembered every single detail about every workout because everything was so new and weird to me. Now, it just feels like a part of my routine. I go in 3 times a week and put in my 1 hour. And during that hour, I push myself so hard that sometimes I wonder if I can make it through the workout. But I always do and I know that I’ll be back there doing the same thing again soon.

This is starting to become my new normal. Even with SoulCycle I never got this consistent. It never felt like a usual part of my day. Then, it felt like something special and unique. But to have it feel normal is so much better and makes me optimistic that this new habit of mine is something that I will continue to do for a long time.

Even though I don’t have specific stories to say about each workout, I do have my 3 photos to share with all of you.

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A Birthday Present For Me And My House (or Thank You Mom And Dad!)

My parents are pretty great at getting me awesome presents. They do ask me what I want, so that always helps.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I were talking about my birthday and I mentioned that I finally wanted to replace my old couch.

I had that couch in my old apartment before I moved into my house (I think I got it 7 years ago). The couch was actually part of a set of 3 pieces: the couch, the loveseat, and the armchair. The couch and armchair moved into my house with me. The loveseat was ruined by my last set of roommates at my apartment (one of the cushions got sliced open somehow), so I made them buy it off me.

I loved my couch, but it was starting to show some wear and tear.

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About 6 months ago, I saw a couch at IKEA that I loved. It was a couch with a lounge on it and it turned into a double bed! I tried it out then and thought it was super comfortable. I remembered it for future reference.

When I mentioned wanting to get a new couch, my mom decided that that would be my birthday present from my parents!

So earlier this week, I went to IKEA to check out the couch again. I went to sit on it, and it didn’t feel right. The back was super low. Turns out, they changed the couch. This one was similar to the old one I saw, but it was a different one with a different name (who remembers the names of IKEA pieces?).

I was pretty upset. I really wanted that couch. I called my mom and she encouraged me to go look at other furniture stores. You never know what else is out there.

I went around to 4 or 5 different stores with no luck. Either the couches were way too big, or they were way too expensive.

As I was driving home, I passed the storefront for Sofa Club. I’ve driven past it a million times, but I had never gone inside. I found some parking, walked inside, and right next to the door was my dream couch!

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It was exactly what I wanted (minus the sofa sleeper part but that’s ok)! The owner of the store gave me a great deal on it because I bought the floor model and Sofa Club is actually a custom furniture store. Then, I asked if she had any discounts for the beginning of the school year, and she said that if I was a teacher, she would give me free delivery and take another $20 off the price. I’ve never been so grateful that I keep my teacher ID card for substitute teaching in my purse.

The couch came a few hours later. The delivery men were nice enough to move my old couch and chair into my garage (a friend is taking the couch from me and I’m still looking for someone to buy my chair).

The couch looks amazing in my house!

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I am thinking of getting the back pillows switched out. The owner said if I wanted pillows without buttons, they would exchange the ones I have for new ones at no cost (they would just have to take a few days to make the new pillows). I’m pretty sure I will get the other pillows. While the buttons look cute, they aren’t the most comfortable to lean against.

My parents will be in town next week to visit me, so they will get to see the present they got me in person soon. I’m so grateful that my parents got me such an incredible gift. It’s the nicest piece of furniture I’ve owned. And it really makes my house look even better than it did before!