Monthly Archives: November 2013

Grandma’s Birthday Dinner (or One Of Our Thanksgiving Traditions)

I’ll do my recap of my Thanksgiving on Monday, but first, I’m going to share with you my Wednesday.

Ever since I can remember, my family has celebrated my grandma’s birthday along with Thanksgiving. For years, we would go out on Friday night to a nice dinner, but recently we’ve switched that to be on Wednesday night.

So after a kind of crazy drive to San Diego (it took me twice as long to get there because of so many car accidents on the road), I went over to my grandparent’s place to meet up with them before dinner.

The dinner was at The Godfather restaurant. We’ve had my grandma’s birthday dinner there in the past, and I like it because my family gets a private room (we kind of need to with so many of us being there including some noisy little kids).

As soon as my cousin’s son Dalton saw me, he came running over. Dalton and I have a special bond. Ever since we met for the first time, we’ve been super close. And I love him just as much as he loves me. Of course, I made sure that he was going to sit right next to me. I don’t get to see him too often, so when I do I want to make sure I get as much time with him as possible.

Dinner was good. The food was as good as I remember it (I’m glad that I forgot to eat breakfast and lunch on Wednesday because there was a ton of food). And the conversation was fun too.

This year is a little weird for me because I’m the only person from my immediate family at Thanksgiving. My brother has missed it before, but my parents have always been there. But with my mom having chemo on Wednesdays, there wasn’t really a way for my parents to drive down (and now with the dog’s cancer it would be difficult to have him here too). As soon as dinner was done, I called my mom to fill her in on what happened, who said what, and if any big family announcements were made (my cousin has announced her engagement and pregnancies at Thanksgiving dinner in the past).

Even though it kind of stinks to stay at a hotel alone, I’m so grateful that I spend my Thanksgiving with my extended family. We have 4 generations at Thanksgiving now and I know that something that a lot of people can’t say. I’m also grateful for the fun Thanksgiving traditions my family has, especially celebrating my grandma’s birthday.

Happy Thanksgiving (or My Top 10 Things That I Am Thankful For)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m spending today with my mom’s side of the family in San Diego this year. I’ll be doing a recap of my Thanksgiving (and my Grandma’s birthday dinner) soon. But I wanted to take today to share some things that I am thankful for. I’ve been noticing people posting one thing they are thankful for every day on Facebook. I haven’t been doing that this year, but I’ve decided to do a top 10 list of things that I am thankful for this year.

1. I am thankful that I have a family that loves me and supports me.

2. I am thankful that even though my mom is going through chemo right now, she is doing amazing and I am every reason to believe that at the end of her treatments that she will be cancer-free.

3. I am thankful that even though I might not love my day job, it pays my bills and allows me to do what I love.

4. I am thankful that I have acting in my life, something that I am so passionate about and couldn’t imagine not doing.

5. I am thankful that I have amazing agents who submit me for great parts and believe that I am going to book something big in the near future.

6. I am thankful for the traveling that I got to do this year (and that my parents could pay for it because I would never be able to afford Maui on my own right now).

7. I am thankful that I am healthy enough to do the 5Ks that I’ve done so far (I’ve got one more in a week).

8. I am thankful that I found a workout that I love and that there are instructors there who truly care about me and want me to get in the best physical shape that I can be.

9. I am thankful that I have amazing friends who support me in what I do and are there to cheer me up when I need it.

10. I am thankful for this blog. It has been like therapy for me. I get out things that sometimes are too hard to say out loud. And I feel like by sharing these things, I have been able to get closer to my friends and family and not feel like I am hiding a part of myself.

So those are the top 10 things I am thankful for. I’m definitely thankful for more than that, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you all! I hope that you get to spend today with people who you love and you have a chance to reflect on the things that you are thankful for this year (feel free to share some in the comments if you’d like to!).

You Never Know Who You’ll Run Into (or Seeing A Familiar Face 6 Years Later)

I have one more story to share from the film festival. But this one requires a bit of back story.

In 2007, I worked on a Fox tv show called “Unhitched” for one episode. It was technically background work (meaning no lines), but I was going to be featured so you could see my face and I wasn’t just someone in a big crowd. The scene was at a party and a kid who can’t swim gets knocked into a pool by one of the main characters. A very attractive woman wearing a white dress jumps into the pool to save the kid. As she comes out of the pool, her dress is see-through so a lot of the men are looking at her. The man playing my husband in the show is taking a home movie of her walking out of the pool and I walk into the frame about to eat a piece of pizza. My husband asks if I really need to eat that, and I take a giant bite. Fun fact from that shoot: we had to do it so many times that I went through 3 large pizzas (I got to spit it out so I didn’t really eat it).

Anyway, it was a one day shoot, I had a lot of fun, and I made some decent money (they screwed up my call time so I ended up getting a lot of overtime that day).

A few months after shooting that, my parents started to get a couple of calls about a commercial about a tv show I was in. My parents asked me about it, and I figured it must be from “Unhitched”. I didn’t see the commercial for a while, but when I did, it was during a commercial break from “American Idol” (so I know a bunch of people saw it). I had it saved on my DVR so I could remember that moment.

A few months later, I was working the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival when this man approached me and asked me if I was on “Unhitched”. I explained that I did a background role on one episode but yes, I was in that commercial. Well, turns out the man who came up to me was the man who cut the commercials for the show! He was the one responsible for putting me in that commercial! I thanked him so much for the exposure he gave to me, and he promised to send me a DVD of the commercial so I could keep it (here’s the link for it on YouTube).

I’ve always been so grateful to this guy for putting me into the commercial for the show (and sending me a copy of it).

Flash forward to this past weekend. When I was putting together all the materials for the film festival, there was one name that stuck out to me. I couldn’t remember how I knew it, but I figured that I would find out when I saw the person. Turns out, it was the same guy from 6 years ago who cut me into the commercial! He couldn’t believe that we ran into each other again (and it had been years since he worked for Fox making those commercials). He watched the commercial again on YouTube and showed it off to all of his friends. And we kept laughing how cool it was to run into each other again.

This all proves to me again how small the entertainment industry is. And how important it is to be nice to everyone you meet. This guy, who used to make commercials, is now in a position to hire me for a project (and of course I gave him my business card so he wouldn’t forget me). I also was so glad to run into him so I could express my gratitude to him again for putting me in that commercial and giving me that type of exposure. It is so rare to get so much attention from a background role.

Running into people you’ve worked with or met years ago is one of the reasons I love this industry. When you really get into it, everyone knows everyone and you don’t feel so alone.

Beverly Hills Shorts Festival (or Remembering To Breathe After Being So Stressed)

Saturday was the actual screenings for the film festival. In the past, we’ve had screenings the entire weekend, but since this was my first time running the festival, the other co-directors agreed that we should cut it back to one day (I’m very grateful that they made that decision).

The screenings were at 3, 5, and 7 with an awards ceremony at 9. But I wanted to get to Busby’s super early so I could make sure that everything was in order. When I arrived, the ballroom was all set up for the screenings.


It was only bright in there because the curtains were still open. While the screenings were going on it was nice and dark.

I also tested the DVDs we were using. The biggest fear that I had was that there would be some sort of technical issue during a screenings. It’s happened before and I’m sure it’s happened again. But I’ve never been the person who had to fix it (or who had to listen to an angry filmmaker yelling).

I tried to stay calm while waiting for the volunteers to show up for the first shift. I killed time by making phone calls and playing a couple of rounds of Candy Crush.

And before I knew it, the festival was starting. Since I couldn’t be in 2 places at once, I stayed outside at the check in table while the films were going. But I always had a volunteer inside in charge of making sure there were no technical issues. I also had a volunteer run the Q&A after the screening.

While I didn’t get to see any of the films during the festival, I’ve been told by the volunteers and filmmakers that there were no technical issues during the entire thing. I had no angry filmmakers and nobody demanded a refund of their ticket (yes, that’s happened in the past as well).

I got to host the awards ceremony for the first time (I’m normally just hanging out watching it). It was so much fun getting to pass out awards (not all the winners were present, but those who were were so enthusiastic that they won).

And then it was done.

I’m still in shock that I managed to do it. I’ve been nervous for so long about this and honestly, I think it went smoother this year than any other year (that could be due to the fact that we ran all the screenings off of DVDs and only had one day of screenings). There are a couple of things that I’m hoping to improve on for next year, but I’ll have an entire year to prep for that festival.

I also wanted to just say on here how grateful I am to all my volunteers this year. I know that the festival would have been a disaster without them. Not only were they rockstars in doing their jobs, they also helped to calm me down.

Now I get to relax at Thanksgiving with most of my family.

BTW, if you are a filmmaker and want to submit your film for next year, let me know!

Opening Night Party (or Getting To Be A Party Hostess)

Friday evening was the opening night for the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival. The party didn’t officially start until 8pm, so I worked my usual half shift that morning and made a last minute run to Staples for some supplies (I seemed to need a lot of office supplies this past weekend).

I got to Busby’s East (where the party and the screenings were held) super early so I could set up and make sure everything was in its place before any of the filmmakers got there. I was also crazy nervous because not only was this the first year I got to help run the festival, I was doing it without the other 2 co-directors who are usually there every year (they leave in New Orleans and couldn’t make the drive this year).

My awesome volunteers showed up 7:30 and they got to work on some of the last minute tasks that needed to be done for the festival (getting filmmakers checked in, cutting tickets, and collecting materials from the filmmakers).

I was feeling a bit panicky before the party started, but by 8:30, we had a nice crowd there and everyone was having a great time. In the past, I always worked the checkin table, but this year, since I was in charge, I had to make sure to walk around the entire time introducing myself to the filmmakers and their guests. All the filmmakers were so incredibly kind to me and they all seemed so excited to be screening their films (and to be screening in a room that had a private bar).

Everything really did run smoothly through the entire evening. The only minor issue we had was with other bar patrons trying to come into our room that was reserved for our group. There was a sign at the entryway of the room saying it was closed for a private party, but people kept coming in and asking if we really needed the room (I wanted the room to stay just for us so the filmmakers knew that all the people in the room were fellow filmmakers). I just kept asking those crashers to please wait until 10:30 when we no longer had the room reserved.

Before I knew it, it was 10pm and time for us to clean up. We had everything ready to go back into my car in a matter of minutes, so the volunteers and I decided to take advantage of the photo booth in the room we were using.


It was only $4 for the photos and it printed out 2 and gave us the option to email it as well (I emailed it to myself and then forwarded it on to the volunteers).

I was so relieved that the evening went well and everyone had fun. I was still very stressed out about the screenings the next day, but I knew that this event had gone as well as I could have hoped!

Catch Up Time (or A Blog With Lots Of Random News)

Time for a little bit of catching up on life.

First of all, a little bit of news about my dog, Dante. My parents took him to the dog oncologist yesterday. It wasn’t necessarily bad news, but it wasn’t good news either. Basically, right now we are waiting for his leg to heal from his surgery before we do anything else. He’s also getting a new pain medicine to hopefully help him sleep more at night (right now he’s been waking up a lot at night and waking up my parents too). And to help him eat a bit more, he’s also getting a steroid.

I’m starting to feel a bit more normal in my routine after my crazy weekend, but I know that with next week being Thanksgiving and having several days off of work, my brain will be more confused about what day it is next week. But I’m trying to get back into everything that seems to be normal to me. Somehow, I’ve been forgetting to check my daily affirmations in the morning, so I’ve started doing that again. And I do feel a difference in my attitude and how I feel when I do them.

And this weekend is the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival, the film festival that I am running! Tonight is the opening night party and tomorrow will be all the screenings. If you are in the LA area and want to come to the festival, we are selling tickets at the door. I’d love to have some blog readers there to see the amazing films that we have chosen for the festival this year! While I’m a bit nervous about running the festival alone for the first time, I’m still super excited about my new title. And when I got a box of supplies from one of the other co-directors, I couldn’t help but be super excited when I saw my badge.


I promise to recap my experience running the film festival next week! Hopefully everything goes smoothly!

That’s my recap of life for now. I hope that you all had a great week before Thanksgiving week! And hopefully I’ll see a couple of you at the film festival this weekend!

Feeling Jet Lag Without A Time Zone Change (or Back To Home)

After my 24 hour visit home, I was back to my usual routine in LA. But everything felt off.

It was weird that on Thursday night I was sleeping in my own bed (with no visitors), on Friday night I was sleeping in my own bed (with my dad sleeping in the living room on an air mattress), on Saturday night I was sleeping in the guest room at my parents’ house (my old room is now a gym), and on Sunday night I was back to sleeping alone in my own house.

I felt jet lagged like when I was in Hawaii earlier this year. When I woke up on Monday, I was really confused. I couldn’t figure out what day it was or what time I had to be at work (I’m lucky that Monday is a late shift day). And then when I got to work on Monday, my boss wanted to know how my visit with my dad went. So I ended up telling him about Dante and how my dad and I went home.

I tried to be totally normal at work, but just after my lunch break at 4:30, I checked in with my mom. I wanted to know how Dante was, and of course I ended up crying on the phone. I spent some time calming down after the phone call, but my boss and co-workers had noticed that my eyes were red and my mascara was underneath my eyes. While I’m still looking for a new job that is better for me, I’m very grateful that my boss is sympathetic to what’s going on right now and he’s told me if I need any random days off that I can take them off with no question.

I’ve also got the film festival that I’m running coming up this weekend so that’s been keeping me busy (and making the days seem to blend together and not helping with the jet lag feeling).

Today, my parents are taking Dante to the dog oncologist. The appointment is around noon, and I’ve asked them to call me as soon as the appointment is over. We will have a better idea of what the future will be like for Dante then. So while I’ve asked so many times for positive thoughts already for my mom, if you can send some positive thoughts to my dog as well today I’d really appreciate it.

24 Hour Visit Home (or Another Cancer Patient In The Family)

The original plan for my dad’s weekend in LA was for him to stay until Sunday night. We had a full weekend planned with the concert on Friday, spin class on Saturday, and we were going to check out a couple of museums on Sunday.

But the night before my dad flew down here, he called me with some bad news. My dog, Dante, was diagnosed with a blood vessel cancer and it was pretty advanced. The vet wasn’t sure if Dante would make it that much longer, so my dad wanted to see if I wanted to come home last weekend. After some debating, it was decided that my dad would come down here and then he and I would fly back home on Saturday after spin class and then I would come back to LA on Sunday evening so I could make it to work on Monday.

On Thursday, my dog had a surgery on his leg to remove blood clots (the blood vessels in his leg burst and made his leg very swollen). He wasn’t eating after his surgery and was not really able to walk. When I picked up my dad on Friday, the situation was seeming very grim. Dante still had not had food and he was acting pretty out of it.

But by Friday afternoon, one of our neighbors brought over some wet dog food for Dante to try (my mom couldn’t leave Dante alone to go to the store) and he finally ate something. Later on Friday, my mom emailed me this picture of Dante looking a bit more like his usual self.


He still wasn’t really able to walk too well, but that probably had a lot to do with the giant compression bandage on his leg.

On Saturday, before my dad and I got home, Dante got his big bandage taken off. His incision still has a bunch of stitches (that have to stay in until Thanksgiving), but he was able to walk a lot more. Once my dad and I got home, he was walking a little bit through the house, but since he had just taken a pain pill, he was a little drugged out.


On Sunday, we took him for a little walk outside in the neighborhood to help stretch his leg and to make sure that he stays strong. We usually take him around this one particular long block near our house, and when we got to that corner, he tried to turn the direction that we usually go. So even though he was still limping and walking funny, I felt better seeing that he wanted to just do what is normal to him.

It was tough to leave Dante on Sunday evening. We really don’t know what the future holds for him. My parents are taking him to a dog oncologist this week and we should have a better idea of what we will do then. And even if the oncologist says that he doesn’t have much longer, that doesn’t mean it’s true. There are miracles out there. One of the dogs that is part of the pet therapy program that my mom runs (and Dante is practically the mascot of) had a form of bone cancer and his owner was told that his dog only had 6 months left. That was over a year ago.

But for now, my family is focused on making Dante as happy as possible and giving him the best quality of life we can (which for now means only wet dog food and people food, no more kibble for him). I’m hoping that I will get to see Dante again when I go home next month, but for now, I’m just grateful that my parents paid for me to go home for one day just so I could be with my dog.

Sharing My Soul (or My Dad’s First Spin Class)

One of the things that I had been wanting to take my dad to for a while was spin class at SoulCycle. First of all, I wanted to see if my dad agreed with me that it was a good workout (I like to prove to him that I don’t do easy or weak workouts). But the second reason I wanted to take him was because he has been riding a bike almost every day since before I was born and I wanted to see how he would do in an inside bike ride. My dad used to ride his bike to work almost every single day. Now that he’s retired, he either goes out on his road bike or on an adventure on his mountain bike most days of the week. But spinning is different from outside bike riding so I was curious to see how he would do.

We scheduled our spin class to be on Saturday morning. I wanted to make sure that we got one of my favorite instructors for his class, and I saw that Heather was teaching at 9am on the Saturday that my dad would be here! So we signed up for that class right away.

My dad wasn’t too nervous for the class since I had shown him some videos of what the class would be like before we got there. And obviously he did a great job pedaling the spin bike the entire time. Where my dad had some trouble was the coordinator of the different moves on the bike. But I don’t blame him for that. It took me a couple of classes to get the rhythm of everything down. And since I still can’t do all the standing up stuff, I don’t do all the moves on the bike yet.

After the class, my dad agreed with me that it is a tough class and a great workout! And I got to say hi to Heather really quickly and she invited me to be her guest at one of her 7am classes one day (I have to try to start getting up earlier to make it to that class)!

Overall, I’m pretty sure that my dad enjoyed the class. We got a good workout in and I think he’s starting to understand why I love spinning so much! There isn’t a SoulCycle studio that close to my parents’ house, but there is one about 4 blocks away from my brother and sister-in-law’s house so I told my dad that he should take them to a class sometime! I don’t know if it will happen (I don’t think spinning is my brother’s thing), but maybe one day it will!

I’m just glad that I’m starting to share my love of SoulCycle with members of my family. Maybe my dad will come to a class with me again the next time he and my mom are in town…

Time For Another Dad Visit (or How Much Can We Get Done In One Day)

My dad was in town this weekend. This trip was planned back in the spring when my dad picked out a show that he wanted to go to at my work. So after I won tickets for being top salesperson, I got us tickets for the show.

My dad flew in early Friday morning. We now have a tradition of going to IHOP for breakfast whenever he flies in, so we headed there first. After breakfast, we headed out to Burbank to visit one of my dad’s childhood friends. This friend is very into gardening (like my dad), so he wanted to show off what he had been working on at his house.

While we were there, we mentioned that I was trying to replant some of my plants in my front yard, so he took us to a plant store and my dad and I found a new pot that we could use in my front yard.

After the visit in Burbank, my dad and I headed back to my house to do a few projects that I’ve been wanting to do.

First was finally hanging up the medal holder that my Aunt Cindy gave to me a few months ago.


I think it’s looking pretty good with all the medals that I’ve gotten so far this year!


The next project was a bit of a surprise for me. My dad makes these planters that are covered in bark and I got one from him back in 2010 that I have outside. But over the years, my dad has learned how to make them better and better. So he brought me a new bark planter, but this time it was a small one that could go inside. So we put it on my dining room table and made a quick run to Michael’s to buy some silk flowers to put in it.


It really looks nice in my dining room and adds a lot of color to my house.

The final project was to work on replanting my outside plants and adding in the new plants that my dad’s friend gave to me. Since my dad is much better and all the gardening type stuff, he did most of the work while I tried to help with the design. I think that all my planters look pretty nice now.


Finally, after all of that, we had a bit of time to relax before heading over to my work for the show. We saw Arturo Sandoval that night. He had a 20 piece band with him and it was such an amazing show! Lots of high energy music and our seats were practically on the stage! It was a great evening.

Coming up in my next post: my dad goes to SoulCycle with me for the first time!