Bikini Audition (or Finding My Confidence)

Last week I got a text from my agents. They typically only text me when I have an audition, so I immediately took a look at my phone to see what audition they had gotten for me! But instead of the text saying I have an audition, it said that I had a potential audition but before they confirmed me for it they wanted to double-check about one thing. They wanted to make sure I was ok being in a bikini. As an actor, you feel like you have to say yes to whatever (unless it’s something not safe like they ask you to ride a horse and you are terrified of horses), so I said yes right away.

The only problem was I didn’t have a bikini.

I have the bathing suit that I wore in Hawaii, but that was a tankini and this audition notice said specifically that the actor must be comfortable in a 2 piece bikini. I had a couple of days before the audition, so I figured I had time to find a bikini top and figure out a way to feel confident in it.

I’ll be honest, shopping for the bikini top sucked. I had to go to multiple stores with no luck. It seems like no place carried bikini tops in my size. I was able to find a ton of skirted one pieces or baggy suits, but nothing fun or cute. And it was too close to order something I could find online. Finally I had to realize that I was going to have to spend a decent amount of money on the top and I figured I could keep the tag inside and return it after the audition.

I eventually found a top that worked at Torrid (and had a coupon to save some money on it). I didn’t hate it too much when I bought it and I was planning on using the bottoms I wore in Hawaii (I didn’t need the matching bottoms).

I spent my weekend preparing for my audition and didn’t really think too much about having to wear the bikini. It was only going to be a minute of my time wearing it so I was trying not to worry about it. I focused on learning my lines and being as ready as possible for the audition.

The day of the audition, I worked my usual work shift (my audition was after work so I didn’t need to ask for time off). But since I didn’t feel like getting dressed for work and then dressed for the audition, I worked in the bikini with some yoga pants. I passed myself in a mirror a couple of times while I was walking between my desk and kitchen, and I have to say that I didn’t feel like I looked that bad. In fact, I was pretty happy with how the bikini looked on me!

Bikini Audition

I liked how I looked so much that I ended up taking the tag out of the top because I knew I had to keep it!

All of the sudden, I was no longer nervous about the bikini part of the audition. My only nerves were the normal audition nerves and I tried to get those out of my system when I was driving to the valley to the studio where the audition was held.

I personally think the audition went great! The casting directors and I made jokes about me stripping down when I was taking off the yoga pants and tank that I wore on top of the bikini. And they loved the bikini so much that they had me turn around so they could check it out (and they commented that they would totally buy that for themselves too). They laughed at the scene I read and I had no confidence issues at all. Who would have thought that being half-naked in front of a camera was the best way to get my nerves to go away?

In the lobby of the casting office, they had a selfie station. I didn’t have time to take a photo before the audition (and we all were focusing on our lines), but a friend who was there auditioning too took a picture with me after we were both done auditioning.

Selfie Station

On the drive home, I just felt so great. I had a weight lifted from my shoulders that I never knew was there. I know that I’ve heard that every body is a bikini body so many times. But I honestly never believed it until this audition. But now I’m excited to figure out when I can wear the bikini this summer. I’ll be going back east for a family reunion and I think there is either a pool or hot tub where we are staying, so I’ll bring it then. And I want to figure out some fun beach adventures to go on in LA too.

All my confidence issues aren’t gone now. I’m sure I’ll still feel a bit insecure when I wear the bikini in public where I’m the only heavy person (it helped that all the ladies at my audition who were auditioning were heavy too). There may be people who make fun or me or laugh and point at me in public. And if that happens that it going to suck and I’m sure I’ll feel down about it.

But for now, I’m just so excited that I’ve found even the smallest amount of confidence and that I’m ready to rock a bikini for the first time as an adult (and possibly the first time ever in my life)!

 

Trying To Help (or An Adventure In My Car)

The other night, I was driving to my friend’s birthday party. To be honest, I was planning on writing about the birthday party on this post. But what happened on the way is more interesting and was a lesson for me.

I wasn’t that far from my house when I got stopped in traffic. The cars weren’t moving that much and I assumed that there must be an accident ahead. I wasn’t worried about how long it would take me to get to my friend’s party, so I wasn’t thinking too much about it. Traffic finally started to move slowly, and after a few minutes I was able to see what the issue was.

The street I was driving on was a pretty major street (2 lanes in each way). Besides the cross walks at the streetlights there are also some crosswalks not where there is a light. There is a cross walk button for pedestrians to push so lights flash and cars stop. The lights weren’t flashing but there was a woman in the cross walk.

She was maybe 5 feet off of the curb into the street. She wasn’t moving forward or back like she was trying to cross (or scared to do so) but she was swaying and blocking traffic. Cars were stopping thinking she was trying to cross, but she wasn’t moving. And cars had to go around her to be able to drive so that was causing a traffic jam.

When I drove by her, I could see that something wasn’t right. I don’t know if she was drunk, high on something, or mentally unstable but clearly she wasn’t ok. I was able to pull over about half a block away from the cross walk and called 911. I felt weird calling 911 because I wasn’t totally sure it was an emergency, but I was terrified that a car would hit the woman and I knew I had to do something about it.

The 911 operator was pretty amazing. I was able to give her the exact location where I was and since I could see the woman in my rear view mirror I was able to give her a full description. While I was on the call with 911 the woman started to walk back and forth on the cross walk and occasionally stopping in the middle of the street (and almost getting hit by multiple cars). I’m sure that I was making the 911 operator nervous because I kept saying under my breath “don’t get hit by a car” and “stop doing that” while the operator was getting the information over to the police.

I kept apologizing for calling 911 because this might not be an emergency, and the operator kept reassuring me that I was doing the right thing and that I shouldn’t worry (I was also worried about getting a ticket because where I pulled over my car was parked illegally).

After being on the phone for maybe 5 minutes, the woman stopped crossing back and forth and stayed on the side of the street that I was parked in. I relayed that information to the 911 operator and then noticed that the woman was walking down the sidewalk toward me. The operator said not to do anything and just to keep updating her on where the woman was.

Then all of a sudden, the woman stopped at my window. She was looking in and staring at me and eventually was knocking on the window. I started to freak out little bit, but the operator said to not engage with her and to just stay on the phone and update her as needed. Then, before I knew it, the woman was pulling on my passenger door trying to open it.

I totally freaked out at that moment. I’m so grateful that my mom taught me to always lock my car doors as soon as I get inside so this woman was not able to get into my car. But I was still terrified and I know the 911 operator was trying to calm me down. All I could do was just keep saying “why is she trying to get into my car?” and watch the woman as she kept trying the front and rear passenger doors. The 911 operator told me that the police were on their way with the sirens on and they should be by my car soon.

After less than a minute of the woman trying to get into my car, I saw the lights of the police cars coming down the road and when they stopped behind my car the woman was still pulling on my car doors. Once they got her away from my car, the 911 operator said that I could hang up with her and that the police would probably need to talk with me.

I told the police exactly what happened and why I called 911. They took notes on my statement and took my name and phone number and sent me on my way. I took some time to calm down (I didn’t know it at the time but I started to cry when the woman was pulling on my car doors) and when I finally drove away the police were talking with the woman by the cop cars.

I have no clue why this woman was trying to get into my car. I have no idea what was happening or if I totally overreacted and there was a reason for her to be in the middle of the street. All I know is that if I had heard of a woman getting hit in a crosswalk on the news that I would feel terrible that I didn’t do something. So I had to do something. By the time I got to my friend’s party, I was still shaking a bit and coming down from the excitement of the drive over. I kept thinking that maybe I had done the wrong thing (I still don’t know what happened with the woman). But the more I think about it, I know I did the right thing. Worst case, the woman explained to the police why she was doing what she was doing and she was sent on her way. But if she was in need of help, someone had to get the help to her.

I know that we all drive past things that don’t look totally right and don’t think twice about it. I was lucky that I had the time to pull over and call 911 about this, but hopefully if you encounter a similar situation (or if I encounter another one) you will be able to help out as well.

Reflection on April’s Challenge (and Looking At May’s)

I’ve been keeping up with the monthly challenges with my Spark Planner. Even though I do weekly and monthly goals in the planner, the monthly challenges are nice because they are something I want to do every day and for each of them (100% accurate food tracking, daily gratitude lists, and no ordering delivery food), I’ve been able to maintain those habits since then. I’m sure that eventually I will not be doing everything 100% perfect, but it’s nice to know that I’ve added some great daily habits into my life that I’m keeping up.

For April’s challenge, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I eventually settled on doing daily weigh-ins. I have such a love/hate relationship with my scale and tracking weight can be so emotional for me because it’s a black and white status. If I gained 6 pounds because I ate something really salty, it upset me and any weight tracking things I used made it look so horrible.

So once I knew that I would have this as my challenge, I looked for a new way to track my weight. Weighing in every day is great, but if I don’t keep records then there is no point of doing it. After searching in the app store, I came across Happy Scale. You still track your weight similar to any other app, but in the tracking it shows trends versus just the current number. So if you are overall down 10 pounds but you happen to gain a pound, it will still have a line headed down. It also shows you what you will weigh by a certain time based on the trend that you are currently on. This app really helped me to focus on the overall view and not just pinpointing this particular moment.

As far as my monthly challenge goes, I wasn’t 100% this time. I didn’t bring my scale with me to Santa Barbara, so on Sunday and Monday that week I didn’t weigh in. But every single day beyond those I weighed in (I set an alarm to remind myself but I didn’t really need it). I’m fine that it wasn’t 100%, and now I’m trying to figure out how I want to continue in the future. I don’t know if I love the idea of daily weigh-ins, but I don’t know if weekly ones are good enough if I’m tracking a trend. I’m going to play with the frequency of the weigh-ins and I feel really confident that I will find a happy medium.

For my May challenge, I decided to change things up a bit. Most of my challenges have been related to my health or eating disorder recovery. I love that I’m making great strides in that, but I also want to improve other aspects of my life. And one thing that I feel has been falling behind is my acting career. I’ve had some great things so far this year with the short film I helped a friend with and the new short film that I’ll be starring in (don’t forget to donate to our Kickstarter!).

But I know there is so much more that I can do. And I can’t think that my agents will do 100% of the work for me. I need to be proactive and work on finding great parts to audition for as well. So for May, I’ve set my challenge to search the various self-submission acting sites every single day. I can’t guarantee that every day I will submit myself for something because there isn’t always something that matches me. But every day I will check to make sure. I used to be really great at doing this, but lately I’ve been slacking.

I’ve set an alarm to go off every single day to remind me to look on the self-submission sites. It does come in handy to have the alarm because it’s so easy to forget. But this way my phone (and computer) will keep reminding me until I click that the task is complete. So far, it’s been pretty easy to remember to self-submit but I know there will be days that I completely forget until the alarm goes off. But that’s exactly why I have the alarm and there’s no shame in needing to be reminded to do something.

Hopefully out of doing self-submissions checks every day, I’ll get some more auditions this month. Getting auditions isn’t something I can control, so I’m not focusing on the results (just the action). But having results would be awesome and I know that every opportunity I have to audition is another day that I get to live my dream and be closer to my dream career.

Nighthawk Breakfast Bar (or A Late Night Breakfast/Dinner)

I’m always looking for fun things to check out around LA. It fits in nicely with one of my 2016 goals to go do more fun stuff with my friends. So when I saw an article from the LA Times about a new restaurant that is only open late at night and serves breakfast style foods, I knew I had to check it out! I posted about it online and asked my friends who wanted to check it out. We managed to get a group of 5 of us and were able to go this past week!

The Nighthawk Breakfast Bar is only open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 8pm-2am. I’m not usually a late night person and we heard that it can get really crowded, so my group went on Thursday night and we made an 8pm reservation. The Nighthawk is out in Hollywood, so my Disneyland buddy June and I carpooled together. My friend Rayshell met us there at 8, and my friend Amanda and her friend had to work until 8 so they met us there at 9.

When June, Rayshell, and I got there the very first thing we did was check out the menu and the amazing drinks that they have available!

Nighthawk

In all the reviews we had read online, people were raving about the Spiked Cereal Milk. While they sounded awesome, I decided to get one of the Julius drinks (I got the OG).

(by the way, sorry that so many photos are the best quality. I took them in a dark space without a flash so others weren’t bothered)

OG

It was pretty amazing! It tasted so much like an orange creamsicle and there wasn’t too much alcohol in it so I didn’t feel that buzzed. Rayshell got one of their boozy floats (and I got to try it and thought it was awesome) and June was the one who got the Cereal Milk!

Cereal Milk

It was a lot of milk, but we all got to taste it and it was really delicious! I just wished that they had some sort of Cereal Milk sampler (maybe shots of each type?) so you could try them all and not have as much milk because it’s a pretty filling drink.

We also got some food to start with (and Rayshell couldn’t stay too late either). The first thing that caught our attention when we were checking out the menu online before we were there were the Benedict Fries. They sounded amazing and we all knew that we would have to get them.

Benedict Fries

And we totally made the right choice on those! The egg on top was perfect and runny and the hollandaise sauce on the fries was really good! I think we all loved them and the only regret we had was that with only 3 of us splitting them they were so filling so we didn’t get too much more food!

When we had the Benedict Fries, Rayshell also ordered the Purple Haze Potato Hash.

Duck Hash

She let June and I try some of it (since I knew I would be writing this post I felt like I needed to try as much as possible). It was a little bit spicy for me, but not so bad that I didn’t enjoy it. The duck was really delicious and it was a great match for the Benedict Fries we also had.

Sadly, after we ate those Rayshell had to leave (she had an early work day). But June and I hung around for Amanda and her friend to get there and we tried to prepare ourselves to order more food (we really wanted more, but we were so full!).

Amanda and her friend got the Benedict Fries too (June and I didn’t have any of theirs) and the Chicken and Biscuits.

Chicken and Biscuits

I got to try the Chicken and Biscuits and I think that the next time I go to Nighthawk I will have to get those! I’m not usually a fried chicken person (or gravy person), but this was really good and not greasy like I thought it might be.

And since June and I wanted to try one more thing, we went for more of a dessert option and got the Drunken French Toast.

French Toast

The french toast was the perfect end to the meal. It was really sweet and light and everyone at the table enjoyed eating it!

What shocked me the most about going to the Nighthawk Breakfast Bar was that everything was really delicious and that I had really no complaints about the food at all. I was telling June in the car on the way home that if something wasn’t as good as the rest then maybe we could have ordered more things to try (we really wanted to get the Tower of Bacon but had no room in our stomachs). But since everything was really top-notch, we basically cleaned the plates of everything that we got. But we also know that a return trip to the Nighthawk Breakfast Bar is in order so we can try out more things (and maybe by then they will have some sort of Cereal Milk sampler too!).

If you are going to go to Nighthawk, I do recommend making reservations. It wasn’t super crowded when we got there at 8pm, but it filled up quickly and if you go really late I can imagine that there would be a wait for a table. Also, nice it is a late night restaurant, you can probably find free meter parking nearby! We found a free meter (it was free after 8pm) right across from the restaurant so we were pretty happy about that! I really do recommend everything that we ate and I would guess that everything else on the menu is just as good as what we tried. This is a really fun place to check out with a pretty chill atmosphere (especially chill since it is in Hollywood and many places there are a bit touristy).

If you get to go to Nighthawk, I’d love to know what you had and what you loved! I think my friends and I will be able to make it back there in a month or so, and I know we want to know what things are must-haves for next time!

Busy Workout Week (or Maybe Overdoing It A Bit)

I had a 4 workout week this past week. I totally needed a 4 workout week (it was actually the only 4 workout week I had for April), but I think that some of my activities on my off days (or before my workouts) made it seem a bit tougher than it usually feels. Of course, I also might have felt it more because it had been way too long since my last 4 workout week and I’ve learned that I need to make sure that I’m doing them more often so I don’t get out of the habit of it.

I think my Monday workout went pretty well. It was a day that had endurance, strength, and power and those can be really fun. It was a switch day, so I was never on the treadmill for that long at a single stretch. The endurance block was full of longer push paces, but those weren’t too bad for me. The one treadmill thing that got to me was the strength section. Strength on the treadmill means hills and sometimes the power walkers are expected to go much higher on the incline than I’m ok with right now (I’m wondering if my calf will ever feel back to normal again). I tried my best, but I’m really not ok going above 8% (or on really good days 10%) on the treadmill. So I had to keep my inclines lower than I would have liked, but I tried to bump up the speed when I could.

The floor work wasn’t too bad, but my body wasn’t loving the pop jacks or knee tucks. Knee tucks are much easier for me, but they can be a struggle when I’m tired or my hip is feeling ready to be done. But what I liked the best about this workout was that the end was the endurance block that was a partner challenge. So I felt extra motivated then because I had a partner counting on me and the treadmill part of the partner workout was a 1 minute push to all-out on the treadmill so it was pretty fast.

Wednesday was a tough day for me at first. I had gone to Disneyland after the workout on Monday, and I might have overdone it a bit with the walking after a workout. Tuesday I was really sore and Wednesday I was still feeling a bit off. I tried to do some stretching work to make my legs and hip feel better, but when I’m having an off day sometimes there is nothing I can do to make it better. So when I got to the workout, I was happy to see that it was a run/row day. All the treadmill blocks were pretty short (I think the longest I was on the treadmill at a time was under 4 minutes), and the rowing wasn’t too bad. The rows were between 100-200 meters each time, so that was basically under a minute of rowing. I tried to take a moment between the treadmill and the rower to catch my breath and make sure I wasn’t pushing my hip too much. I think I did ok with that because when I got to the floor block, it went really well for me!

I was doing my squats with 20 pound weights in each hand and managed to do all my arm work with the same weights! I’m getting close to being able to move to 25 pound weights for my chest presses (somehow that is where my upper body is strongest), but I’m still doing great with 20 pounds and the last few moves of each set can be a struggle. But knowing that I’m getting close to moving up to the next weight makes me feel pretty awesome. We also had lunge work to do that day, but I wasn’t able to do my lunges how we were supposed to (with our back leg on the weight bench). So I did my regular lunges instead and didn’t feel too bad about it because I was feeling so great about the weight work I had already done.

Friday was an interesting day. Before the workout, I had put a challenge out online that for every donor we get on the film Kickstarter, I would do a burpee before the class. I really was hoping we’d get a bunch of donors, but we only got 2. But then again, that meant I only had to do 2 burpees. I’m not the prettiest doing burpees because of the hip issues, but since I was filming this to share online I tried to look awesome doing them. Sadly, trying to look awesome also made both of my hips hurt so badly (even with only doing 2 burpees), so I was already feeling a bit sore before the workout even started.

Friday was a solid 30 minutes on the treadmill to start. We had a couple of 2 minute pushes, and those felt like 3 minutes or more to me. But I managed to get through it. When we had to do hills, I had to keep them pretty low (I basically stayed at 6%), but I did bump up my speed to balance it out. On the floor, I got to use the 20 pound weights again for my chest and arm work and we had some shorter rows. By the end of the workout, my hips were feeling a bit better than they did right after those 2 burpees (I’m so grateful the workout didn’t have any burpees in it!). But even though I was feeling a bit better, I knew that Saturday was going to have to be a bit of an easier day for me.

Saturday I was using the bike instead of the treadmill. The cardio blocks were back to back so I was on the bike for 30 minutes straight. It technically wasn’t a distance challenge day, but we were given a distance to try to get to in class. The runners on the treadmill were supposed to do a 5K (3.1 miles) or better in the 30 minutes, so I figured on the bike I should try to go 12 miles since for run/row days the bike has to do 4 times the distance of the treadmills. We had a lot of long pushes between the treadmill blocks. It seemed like a majority of them were between 2 or 3 minutes and I was feeling pretty tired by the end of the blocks. But once we were told to switch to the floor, my distance on the bike was 12.1 miles, so I was pretty happy about that.

The floor work was a lot of should work and we had some longer rows too. One block was an 800 meter row and the other was a 400 meter row. I managed to do both without having to take a break, but it wasn’t easy. And I was under the time that we were supposed to be under for the rower, so that was pretty awesome. At the end of each floor block, we had a 1 minute plank challenge. I still have to do planks on my knees (on my toes hurts my calf), but being on my knees also allows me to focus much better on my form. I could feel the planks in my core a lot, but I was able to keep going for the entire minute both times.

This week, I know I’ll be doing 3 regular workouts. There is also a dri-tri on Saturday that I’m debating about doing. I know I’ve felt left out in the past when I didn’t do the dri-tri, and I think that maybe I should just push myself to do it. But I also somehow don’t feel ready for it yet. I’m hoping that by tomorrow I will have a decision made on whether or not I will go for it. This dri-tri is the preliminary for the regional dri-tri, but since I know that I will not be a contender for representing my studio if I do it my focus will only be to finish and not to beat anyone else. I know that if I do it, the chances of me being the last person to finish is really high, but if I go for it I think finishing is the only goal that I’ll have in my head.

Working On Money Priorities (or What’s Worth The Splurge)

I’ve really been working lately on spending less. I know it’s important for me to do this because I need to use that extra money toward my credit card debt (and not creating more debt). And obviously, there are some costs that I can’t avoid (bills and stuff), but I’ve gotten more serious at taking a look at my fun expenses.

I’m sure it sounds like I spend a ton because I go to Disneyland pretty often and now I have a pass to Universal Studios as well. This Disneyland pass was pretty much half paid for by recycling ink. That option won’t work for me in the future (the loophole that let me do that was fixed), but pretty much what I paid out of pocket was the same as 2 days at Disneyland. And my pass has the parking so I’m not paying $18 each time to park. I know I’ll go more than 2 times in a year so it’s easily worth it. And my Universal Studios pass was something I got at Costco for almost the same price as a 1 day ticket. The issue with my pass is that you can’t use it on weekends at all, but since I will probably only go on Mondays that isn’t an issue for me as well.

I am still spending money on other fun things, but I’m really trying to limit them to fun experiences like my season tickets to the Pantages or other shows (I just got tickets to see “The Little Mermaid” live at the Hollywood Bowl soon!). And when I do tickets like those, I’m working hard at finding good deals or making sure what I’m paying is a good value (like the season tickets being about $300 for all 7 shows). Part of why I love going to so many shows is it keeps me busy. And when I’m busy I’m not focusing on food.

And speaking of food, one of the biggest savings I’ve had lately is food related. I set the monthly challenge not to order any delivery food in March, and I’ve been able to keep that up so far this month too! I’m not doing as great about cooking from scratch, but even getting microwave food from the grocery store is cheaper than delivery food. When I’m not cooking, I’m going out to eat and that tends to be with friends so it makes it more of an outing than just eating. My grocery bills have gone up a bit since I’m eating at home more, but the amount they have gone up is significantly less than what I was spending on delivery food so that is a win for me.

But I think the biggest savings for me as been shopping. Mainly buying books, but I’m trying to be better about shopping in general. I used to buy a lot more stuff. Now, if I’m buying things online it tends to be household stuff I need or workout clothes. I’m not buying as much “normal” clothes because honestly I’m not in “normal” clothes that often. And even on non-workout days I usually wear my workout pants because they are more comfortable to work in.

But my book spending was pretty bad in the past. I used to be a huge library person, then there was an ordeal with my library card not working (I don’t know what happened and neither do they). Instead of doing the easy thing and just registering for a new card, I took advantage of how easy it is to get books on my Kindle. My old e-reader was much more difficult to get books on so just being able to press a button and order a book was so fun! But the spending was adding up. And while most of the books I buy I love and read over and over again, there were some that I got because they were on sale for $0.99 that I’ve read once and that’s it.

So recently I finally got a new library card and I’ve been taking advantage of it so much!

Library Card

It is so easy to get books on my Kindle from the library. Yes, I have to use my computer to get them. But then they are sent wirelessly to my Kindle and are on the device for 21 days. So most of the time I can read them more than once if I want to. I actually went a little overboard with putting Kindle books on hold from the library and had to delay a couple of holds (I had gotten 8 library books available at once). But I’m starting to find my groove with the library again and I feel like an idiot that I waited so long and spent so much money. I can’t go back and change it, but I’m glad I’ve changed now.

I know that there are still a few more places I can save money in my monthly spending. I want to get my grocery bills down a bit more as well as my household stuff (cleaning supplies, paper goods, and those things). I’m going to do some price checking between stores near me and Amazon and hopefully I can figure out the best options for me to maximize my money.

I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up this summer and a lot of them will involve money. But hopefully with the cutting back that I’ve been able to do I will not put myself into more debt just to do them.

Stopping A Panic Attack (or Only One Health Issue At A Time)

I’ve been pretty lucky lately with my panic attacks. I was warned that with taking Vyvanse it can make panic attacks more frequent or more severe. But I’ve almost experienced the opposite. My random panic attacks aren’t really happening right now (which I am so grateful for) and my expected panic attacks (like at the dentist) are the most mild they have ever been. I’m very happy with this side effect and it’s been really nice to not have to stress or panic about a panic attack happening.

Then the other night in the middle of the night I had a gallbladder attack. It was pretty awful, but fortunately not the worst one I’ve ever had. But they are pretty painful no matter how mild they get. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really see straight. My vision was going in and out (it almost felt like I was going to faint at times) and I stayed on my bed to stay safe. The pain was so uncomfortable and I couldn’t find a position to put my body in to make things feel even the smallest bit better. And I’m not sure if this is a part of the gallbladder attack or a reaction to the other symptoms, but I couldn’t stop sweating and was having trouble catching my breath.

In the past, my gallbladder attacks have brought on panic attacks. It makes sense to me because you do feel like you are dying when you are having a gallbladder attack. I really was wishing that I would pass out so that the pain could happen without me really knowing about it. I wanted it to end, but it wouldn’t. If I had a panic attack, I would have felt that it was totally normal.

But somehow, I was able to rationalize with myself in that really bad moment. I knew that it was a gallbladder attack and that it wasn’t a heart attack or that I was dying or anything. I knew that it would end eventually and when they do go away it usually is sudden for me so it could be going away any minute. And I knew that I had a choice to go to the doctor’s soon if I wanted to get my gallbladder out and never have to deal with this again (I don’t do that yet since my attacks aren’t that frequent and it’s a surgery that isn’t necessary yet).

I found a way to lay on my bed that was a safe enough position for me (I wasn’t at risk for falling off the bed if I did pass out) and I was working on focusing on my breath. I was trying to do counts for each inhale and exhale and was putting the counts in the front of my mind and not the what felt like endless pain.

Finally, the attack stopped pretty much as quickly as it came on. I tried to get as calm as I could and focus on getting back to sleep. The entire thing was about an hour long and the next morning I found it pretty funny that when I looked at my sleep tracking from my Fitbit, it was clear when the attack was happening.

Sleep Tracking

The pink lines are when I’m awake so you can see that chunk of pink in the middle of my night. That’s when I couldn’t stop moving because of the pain but you can also see that the entire night was a bit restless for me (the restless moments are the blue lines).

I know that I have the option of getting my gallbladder removed, but like I said above the attacks are pretty rare so I don’t think that surgery is a good option for me. I’ve had a couple of ultrasounds in the past and they have always told me that until the attacks are frequent enough that they are affecting my life, I don’t need to have my gallbladder out (the attacks aren’t good but they aren’t damaging my health in any other way right now). I’m just glad that my attacks are rare and they seem to be over within a few hours each time (from my research it seems like some people can have them for a day).

While it sucks that I had the attack, I’m so glad that I was able to prevent the panic attack from happening at the same time. I think that helped me get through the attack much better and I’m thinking maybe it helped it end faster than they have in the past.

Obviously I don’t want to have to go through this again, but I know realistically that it will happen again but I’m glad that somehow I was able to control the panic attack from coming and whatever skill set was in my subconscious to do that is able to be used in the future.

A Full Disney Day! (or Character Photos, Ride Photos, And Only Being A Group Of 2)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, I was back there on Monday! This was the day that was my friend June and I originally scheduled for a Disneyland adventure, and I’m glad we went. When we went last week, it was pretty crowded and very hot. We didn’t do a ton of rides, and the rides we did do were on the calmer side. So this trip was much more of an adventure!

We got to Disneyland at lunchtime and started things off with some awesome character photos! As soon as we got inside the gates, we saw Belle with no line for photos! So of course we had to take advantage of that and we both got our photos with her.

Belle

Then as soon as we went under the train tracks, we saw Goofy (in his 60th anniversary finest) with almost no line as well. Since people lined up behind us, we took our photo together.

Goofy

After that photo, we looked around and saw so many characters out doing photos. We saw Mickey, Minnie, Daisy Duck, and Pluto all out at once. It was crazy! We started lining up for each one, but every time we got in line we were told the line was closed. So that was it for character photos for us.

Our next stop was something we didn’t do last time (and we probably should have): getting Dole Whips!

Dole Whip

It doesn’t feel like a Disney day to me without a Dole Whip, and it made a great treat since we were going to do a later lunch. It was too crowded to eat them by the Tiki Room, but we found a table nearby to sit at and enjoy them.

Our first ride of the day was Space Mountain. It’s still in the Hyperspace Mountain overlay and I still think this overlay is the best one and I wouldn’t mind it staying this way forever. June and I both said that somehow (even though we know it’s not possible) the ride felt faster to us and we were both smiling so much after the ride. We didn’t do that crazy of a ride photo, but it’s still a good one.

HyperSpace Mountain

After that, we headed over to Star Tours. When we were in line close to the front (but not that close) we heard the cast member asking if there were any groups of 2 in line. I joked to June that we were a group of 2, and somehow that made it up the chain and we were told to go in front of maybe 40 people since we were the first group of 2 to speak up! It felt weird to go in front of that many people, but if nobody else was in a group of 2 I’m glad we got to get on the ride!

After those 2 rides we were ready to head over to California Adventure, but we made a quick stop at the Disneyland train station. The trains are running now because of the Star Wars Land construction, but they have some of the trains out at the stations and you can get up close to them to check them out (and the conductors are out there too). At the Main Street Station, not only did the have the engine to check out but they had the Lilly Belle too!

Lilly Belle

The Lilly Belle was originally designed to be a train car for Walt’s VIPs. More recently, you’ve been allowed to try to sign up for a time to ride in the car. They had to stop doing that because some people would get there early and sign up for all the spaces before anyone else could. So they stopped allowing guests in the cars.

Since none of the train cars are running right now, they have the Lilly Belle out and while you can’t go inside, you can peek through the windows and through the open door to see the inside.

Inside Lilly Belle

This was the closest that either June or I had ever been to the Lilly Belle, and this was such an awesome moment. Also, the conductor who was out there was very informed on the Disneyland railroad (and the park in general) and he was talking to us about what the future plans for the railroad seem to be and that hopefully the trains will be up and running again by next summer! I was so happy to hear that since I love the trains and I do miss being able to ride them as a way to relax between rides.

After admiring the Lilly Belle for a while, June and I headed over to California Adventure. Even though the presentations for the Food and Wine Festival are on the weekends only, the food booths are open during the weekdays and we were able to try some more of the other foods that we didn’t get to try last time.

Food and Wine Fest

This time we each got a shrimp taco and beef slider and we split a lemon macaroon and a blueberry tart. These are all really good, but I think that the pork taco that I had the week before was my absolute favorite thing. But both the shrimp taco and slider were delicious and they were the perfect lunch that day!

After lunch, we headed over to the Animation Academy to see what character they were drawing then. Turned out to be Baymax and I figured that he couldn’t be too tough to draw. Of course, again I couldn’t properly draw circles and ovals and my Baymax looked close but not quite right.

Baymax

Our next stop was California Screamin’. This is always one of my favorite roller coasters and I loved when my mom and I went on it a couple of years ago because it was the first time she had gone without her wig in public (it would be horrible to lose a wig on that ride). June and I were able to ride in the front of the ride and I loved getting a great view from the top of the big hills without anyone in front of us.

CA Screamin

We continued with the fast rides by riding Radiator Springs Racers next. The car we were in won, and somehow there was an empty seat in our row so June and I both got to take the side seats.

Radiator Springs Racers

Our final ride of the day was the Tower Of Terror. And we had a similar experience there as we did at Star Tours. We were in line with maybe 20 people in front of us when the cast member asked if there was a group of 3 that wouldn’t mind sitting one behind the other in a row (instead of next to each other in a row). Nobody volunteered so he asked if there was a group of two and June and I raised our hands so fast! We got to go in front of the other groups and I think that our ride photo looked pretty cool with me behind her (I was trying to be an evil witch and she was pretending to be scared of me).

Tower of Terror

After the rides, we made one more stop at the Animation Academy to see what they were drawing then. It was Scrooge McDuck, and that sounded pretty fun so we went back to draw again. This time, my drawing really looks off but I had fun trying.

Animation Academy

One of the last stops of the day was Food and Wine food booths again to get the cheddar bacon soup in a bread bowl (I forgot to take a picture but it was really good and perfect because I was feeling cold). After getting our soups we headed over to watch World Of Color. We ended up being allowed to sit on some steps to wait for the show which ended up being pretty great since we were trying to eat while waiting. We had about an hour to wait from when we got to the steps until the show started, but even though we had a slightly obstructed view it was still pretty.

World Of Color

After World Of Color was done, the park was closed so we all headed out and June and I headed back to the car to drive back to LA. We have a little bit of time before our passes are blacked out for the summer and a couple of things will be opening before we are blacked out. So I’m sure we’ll have at least one more Disney adventure before a few months where we can’t go to the parks.

We ended up being at Disneyland this time for about 9 hours and I think we got so much done! It was the perfect day to have after we were there the week before because it filled in the gaps of things we didn’t get to do before.

Almost Ready To Make A Movie! (or Can You Spare A Buck?)

I’m so excited about the short film that my friend Christopher has written for us to star in! It’s a super cute story, I like the character I’m playing, and I think it’s going to be a really fun shoot! I’m so happy that Christopher wrote a film and had me in mind for the other lead. And since he and I are basically the only actors, we haven’t had to do any additional casting.

After meeting with my friend Bryan, he agreed to direct the film (which makes me so happy!) and he connected us with his friend Jaime who is going to be our producer. We’ve been getting things done pretty quickly and we think we will be able to shoot the film at the end of May or beginning of June. But then we found one small roadblock that’s preventing us from scheduling our shoot.

Money.

We are cutting costs where we can (and Christopher and I are going to do deferred pay so we aren’t paying ourselves for the project), but it’s not cheap to make a movie. Even a 10 minute movie like ours will be has costs like sound, camera equipment, lighting, editing, and other post-production costs. We have reached out to all of our friends and I think we have a great crew put together and they have all agreed to work at a reduced rate to help us keep costs down.

We put together a budget that is as limited as possible without putting the quality of the film at risk. Even though everyone is helping us keep things as cheap as possible, after we pooled our money together (I’m taking mine from my new computer fund) we found ourselves a bit short. We need about $2200 to make sure we can afford everything we need to in order to make this film a reality. It’s not a lot of money, but we’ve all stretched our personal budgets as much as we could and that’s how much left we need to find. We thought about ways to raise the money, and we’ve agreed that a Kickstarter campaign is the best way to go.

I hate asking people for money and I don’t expect any of you to donate (although if you want to I’d be so grateful!). But what I’m asking of you all is to please share our Kickstarter campaign with people you know. You might not be able to give anything, but someone you know might want to do it and you are the way to connect them to us. You never know who will want to help a short film get made just because they think it sounds cool.

As with all Kickstarter projects, we have rewards for various levels of donations. We are going to have a link to watch the finished movie online for some donors. Other donors are going to be able to name my pretend kids in the movie (I play a single mom). If you are an actor or know an actor, we also have a limited supply (we only have 5) of headshot shoots with our director Bryan! The donation level for the headshots is a fraction of the cost of what headshots normally cost, so this is a great deal for getting new headshots done! And if you know an actor who might want new headshots soon, you can donate at that level and gift the reward to them. And for the ultimate reward, our highest donation level gives you a producer credit on the film plus you get to be on set while we are shooting!

We have donation levels from $1 to $1000. Even a $1 would be amazing because if enough people each give us $1, we’ll reach our goal! I don’t care if we have 20 donors or 2000 donors. As long as we are able to fund our project, I’m ecstatic! The most important thing to me is that we are able to film what I think will be a wonderful short film and that we get to share it with the world!

If you have the ability to donate, any amount will be such a gift to us and every single dollar will be appreciated more than you probably think. And if you can’t donate (and trust me, I can relate to not being able to donate), please share this post or our Kickstarter campaign online so others can see it and they can either donate or share. We know the only way to make this film happen is with help and we can use as much help as we can getting the word out about this!

Proof Of My Progress (or I Am Doing Better)

I had a really amazing week of workouts this past week. I wasn’t expecting it to be awesome, but it really was one of those weeks that I wish would happen every single week. I lucked out in the workouts that I went to and I think that also helped to make my week the best one that I can remember in recent past.

Part of the reason why this week was so great was that I had 2 days where it was similar to the run/row format (which I love and makes me so happy). Monday technically wasn’t a run/row. It was a run/floor day. So basically we had an assigned distance on the treadmill (I was doing a quarter-mile at 6% incline) and then I headed over to the floor to do my floor work. The floor stuff was mainly ab work, so it felt nice to get a bit of a rest on the floor after being on the treadmill. We repeated that format for the first half of class before we headed to the rowers.

The rower segment was longish rows (800 meters) followed by arm work and sprint rows. The longer rows were a bit tough for me and I was really tired when I was doing the sprint rows. I tried to focus on technique and form so I know my rows were a lot slower than they should have been. But since that was the second half of the workout, I expected that I’d be pretty tired and it wouldn’t be as easy as if I had done the rowing first.

Wednesday was a pretty traditional run/row day. The one thing that was special and that I loved was that the run/row plan was printed out and taped to each treadmill.

Run:Row Guide

Normally the plan is on a whiteboard on the side of the room and I end up wasting time trying to read it (or walking over to read it if it’s too blurry or there is a glare). So having the plan on my treadmill helped me save time and kept me on track.

The basic format for the run/row for power walkers was that we started with a .08 mile power walk and then did a 100 meter row. Each round, we increased the treadmill by .05 miles and the row by 100 meters. I was trying to keep my walks at 6% incline and 3.5 miles an hour for each one. I wasn’t feeling my usual pain that day and I’m not sure if it was because it was a run/row day (so less time on the treadmill than normal) or it was because I started taking a new supplement for my hips. But it was nice to not hurt and to have a good cardio day. The floor work was a lot of TRX strap work and that seemed to go pretty well for me as well.

Even though each day was awesome, the most amazing day for me was Friday. I knew before going to the workout that it would be a 22 1/2 minute run for distance thanks to friends who had posted workout pictures on Instagram or Facebook after they did the workout in the morning. We had done the same challenge last month, so I had a goal in my head to just do a little bit better than I did then.

Since my treadmill work on Wednesday had gone so well, I decided to see if I could bump things up a bit on Friday. I followed the coach’s instructions for when we should be doing a push pace and when we should be at base pace (we had the option of doing whatever we wanted to get the best distance, but I wanted to follow the plan), but I went faster for both my push and base paces than usual. My base pace was at 3.5 miles an hour and my push pace was 3.6 miles an hour. We had a couple of really long push paces (3 minutes, 2 1/2 minutes, and 2 minutes) and those were really difficult with the increased speed.

But somehow I was getting through it and halfway through the challenge I realized that I will definitely be passing the distance I did the last month. I wanted to see if I could do 1.35 miles and by the last minute I knew it would be close. So for the final 30 seconds of the challenge, I actually ran on the treadmill which I’ve never done before! I was still holding on to the handles, but I was still running! I easily did better than I did last time (which was 1.303 miles), but I was just off a bit from my new goal.

22.5 Minute Run

This challenge was exactly what I needed. I had been feeling a bit down since my last 5K. I really thought I had been making progress lately. And even though I said I didn’t think I would PR at my 5K, in my head I was thinking there would be no way I wouldn’t PR. So when my 5K was one of my slower races, I was really feeling upset. I couldn’t believe that I was so wrong in making progress in my speed and I was questioning if I was just taking it too easy at Orangetheory. So having this challenge and showing that in 1 month I had gone .046 farther than last time gave me such a confidence boost and gave me faith again in myself.

The rest of my Friday workout was a bit of a blur for me since I was on such a high from my awesome progress on the 22 1/2 minute challenge. We did a bunch of squats and had some sprint rows. But to me, all I could think about is how all my self-doubt was for nothing because there is no doubt that I’m making progress.

I’m now also debating about trying running again. I did a tiny distance of running at my last 5K (just the bit leading up to the finish line) and now I did the 30 seconds of running on the treadmill. I had done a bit of running before I had my hip surgery, but I have been too scared to try it again. The hip surgeon I met last week gave me so much good feedback about how my hips are looking pretty good and workout restrictions weren’t even discussed. I’m not going to try to do most of the things that were on the restrictions list (I know it’s way too risky to try ice skating or skiing right now), but I might test out running.

I’ve downloaded the Couch to 5K app for my phone and I’m hoping to find a friend who will want to do it with me. I’m not sure when I’ll try my first running day, but I think it will be in the near future. Until then, I might try running again on the treadmill at Orangetheory (maybe just during the all-out moments) just to see how I feel. I don’t want this boost in confidence to go away any time soon. It’s just so amazing!