Monthly Archives: November 2014

Feta-Pine Nut Dip (or My Contribution For Thanksgiving)

First of all, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I’m writing this post in advance so I can focus my time on my family, but I wanted to share with you all the dish that I brought down to San Diego with me.

I had asked my mom ahead of time if there was anything I could help her with, and she asked me to get some chips we like from Trader Joes and to make her feta-pine nut dip because she didn’t know if she would have the time to do it on her own. I figured I could make it at home and then drive down with it in a little cooler with an ice pack, so I said that I’d be happy to help out.

This dip is a family favorite and something that everyone loves and looks forward to at any family gathering. And I had never made it before so the pressure was on! But thankfully, the recipe isn’t too tough. So here’s my mom’s famous recipe for feta-pine nut dip so you can all make it and impress your friends and family!

Feta-Pine Nut Dip


What You Need:

1 (8 oz) Tub Whipped Cream Cheese Spread

1/2 Cup Plain Non-Fat Yogurt

3 Tbsp Pine Nuts (Toasted)

2 Tbsp (Packed) Fresh Basil

1 Clove Garlic, Crushed

1 (7 oz) Package Feta Cheese

1/3 Cup Chopped, Drained Oil-Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Here’s What You Do:

Place cream cheese, yogurt, pine nuts, basil, and garlic in food processor.


Blend using the pulse button until combined.


Add feta (crumbled or cubed) and sun-dried tomatoes and pulse until combined but still chunky.


That’s it! If you aren’t serving it right away, store it in the fridge. And this is a great make-ahead dip because it’s good for about a week in the fridge!


I highly recommend serving it with pita chips, veggies, or the flax-seed chips that you can get from Trader Joes.

As I’m writing this, my family has not tried it yet. I tasted it after it was made and besides being a little garlicky (I must have bought some potent garlic), it tastes exactly how my mom’s dip tastes.

Hopefully my family thinks that I did a good job with it and they enjoy it on Thanksgiving. And if you try out the recipe, let me know if your family and friends love it too!

Chalkboard Placemats (or Successfully Being Crafty!)

Thanksgiving this year is being held in La Jolla. My parents are renting a house and hosting it there. Since my parents are hosting and they are driving to the location, I offered to try to help out with whatever I could.

I was able to go out and get the tablecloth for the adult table as well as get some of the food things that my mom needed. But I wanted to see if I could do something really awesome.

I’ve seen so many pins on Pinterest about what you can do with chalkboard paint. I’ve always wanted to try one, but I never knew what exactly I should do.

But then I saw an idea about making placemats with chalkboard paint. The ones I saw on Pinterest were made out of a fabric placemat where someone glued posterboard on it and covered the posterboard with the chalkboard paint. But since I had seen some other ideas about using the paint on fabric, I decided to try it but skip a step.

First, I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to get the placemats. While I knew it didn’t really matter what pattern I bought since one side would be covered with the paint and I thought that some of the paint might seep through to the other side, I still got the matching pattern to the tablecloth I bought.

Then I went to OSH and had a nice chat with the employee in the paint department. He was actually super helpful and said that as long as I did thick coats of paint on the placemats, the regular chalkboard paint would work and I wouldn’t have to do any fancy primers on it. I got the regular chalkboard paint and had it done in black since I didn’t know if I would want to do a coordinating color to the placemats.

Finally, it was time to attempt the project.


I got a bunch of ads from the mail and covered the concrete in front of my house with it. It’s really good that I did this step because I was a sloppy painter.


The first coat of paint went on pretty nicely. I did it really thick and used a lot more paint than I thought I would. But I wanted to make sure that I covered the entire thing and none of the colors were showing through.

I let it dry for a day and then went to work on the second coat of paint.


I didn’t have to do this one quite as thick, but I still wanted to make sure that there was good coverage over the entire placemat.

I let them dry for another day before I got out the chalk that I bought to see if these were a success.


And as you can tell from the happy face I drew that they were! They aren’t super easy to wipe off, but if you get a damp cloth it isn’t too bad.

I’m excited to see how the kids like these at the kid’s table at dinner. I’ll have to do an update when I do my Thanksgiving dinner recap!

But at least these were a Pinterest win and not a Pinterest fail!

Sunsets and Songs (or Why Season Tickets To The Pantages Was The Best Decision Ever)

I know I said yesterday that I rarely go out, but of course last weekend was full of fun adventures. I had Rayshell’s party on Saturday and another show at the Pantages on Sunday!

I know it seems like all these shows are back to back. They are bunched up right now (I have my next show in a month), but then there is a few months between the next show and the show after it.

One of the members of the group who goes to these shows couldn’t attend this time (she exchanged her tickets for another date so she would see the show on her own). She is the one who goes with me on the light rail and subway, and I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go by myself. I’m fine riding them when it’s light out, but it’s a little scary at night.

So I decided to drive and hope that I could find parking near the theater and not too expensive. On my drive, I saw the most amazing sunset. I couldn’t get a great photo since it was behind me, but I did the best I could by shooting a picture in my side mirror.


The show this time was Kinky Boots. It was one of the shows that I was thinking about seeing when I went to NYC this year, but since it was in my series here I decided that I didn’t need to see it in New York and in LA in the same year.


I knew a little bit about the show before seeing it. I knew the basics of the plot and some of the songs since I had seen their performance on the Tonys. But I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

I guessed it would be pretty silly. And there were some really great and silly moments. But some of the serious moments are the ones that stuck with me the most. In a time where there is so much turmoil in the country and the world, the message about just accepting others for who they are means so much.

After the show, I headed back to my car for the drive back and had some time to reflect on all the shows that I’ve gotten to see so far.

When I purchased my season tickets for the Pantages, it was during a time that I was making steady (and decent) money. Right after I purchased them, I was struggling with paying my bills. I knew I couldn’t go back on purchasing the tickets, but I seriously questioned if I had made the right decision to spend my money on them.

This was seriously such a great decision for me to make. I’ve always loved musicals and have wanted to see them at the Pantages. But single tickets are not cheap and I had trouble finding people who wanted to go with me. Now, not only are the tickets about half of what I would have paid to buy them as single tickets, I have new friends who enjoy musicals as much as I do!

I’m not quite half way through the season, but I’m already anticipating the announcement of the next season. If it’s anything like this year, I’m going to find a way to get the money together to buy the season tickets again! Seeing so many musicals in one year (both with my season tickets and with my trip to NYC) has revitalized my love for musicals and made me realize what I’ve been missing in my life for far too long.

An Evening Out With Friends (or An Excuse To Dress Up)

On Saturday evening after my 4th workout of the week, my friend Rayshell was throwing a party.

The party was because she and her boyfriend had an out-of-town guest visiting, but Rayshell is such an awesome hostess that I think that she could use any excuse and make it a fabulous party.

I haven’t been going out a lot lately. My days are filled with working (and looking for work) and then going to work out.

On days that I work out after I’m done at my day job, I never wear “normal” clothes. When I wake up, I change out of my pajamas and put on my workout clothes. I see no need to wear another outfit while I’m working from home.

After my workout, I come home and shower and then just put my pajamas back on. All I’m usually doing after a workout is eating dinner, watching some tv, and doing any work that still needs to be done. Again, no need to wear another outfit while doing that.

So each week when I do my laundry, it’s pretty much all workout clothes and then 1 or 2 “normal” outfits (I repeat things since I’m just wearing them while I work from home).

So when I have an excuse to dress up, I take advantage of it!

I was super exhausted after the workout, but I wasn’t able to take a nap. Right before the party, Rayshell sent me a text that she forgot something at the store and was hoping that I could pick it up. So I left and got the supplies she needed and made the drive over to the valley.

I was the first one to arrive at the party, and that’s what usually happens. Mainly because I am not a late owl so I’d rather be there early and get a chance to hang out with my friends than show up late and only be able to stay for a little bit.

It was a pretty casual party, but so much fun. There were several people who I knew there and a bunch of new people who I met. I was there for a few hours before I started to feel really tired. I knew that I needed to head home before I was too tired to drive home safely.

So I made my round of goodbyes and made the drive back (at least there was no traffic). Pretty much as soon as I got home, I fell asleep.

Having fun events like this to break up my week really help to revitalize me. And I had another fun event this past weekend as well. But that will be for another post.

Checking Things Off The List (or 4 Workouts In 1 Week)

This past week was the first week of workouts for the Nike ID Challenge that my Orangetheory is doing. I have every intention of winning those shoes and I’ve been planning out how exactly I will accomplish each task (although I do still need to find 3 people who want to take a free class before 12/17).

Monday’s workout was a tough one (as always), but definitely doable. At the end of the workout, we had the Monday Challenge. One of the tasks for the Nike ID Challenge is to do 2 Monday Challenges. Since I do them every week, this is probably going to be the easiest thing to check off my list.

The Monday Challenge this past week was a 2 minute row. We have done this challenge before and because I push myself so hard in the first minute, the second minute is always a killer. But I tried to pace myself much better this time. The second minute was still tough, but it didn’t seem unbearable until the last 30 seconds. And I got 50 more meters this time than I did the last time we had a 2 minute row for the Monday Challenge!

Before Wednesday’s workout, I had a chance to do one of the Instagram tasks for the Nike ID Challenge. I got a picture of not one, but two of my favorite Orangetheory coaches!


And yes, we deliberately posed like that so we could get the Orangetheory logo in behind us.

Friday’s workout was possibly the toughest one yet. There were a lot of hills and I had a lot of trouble catching my breath again when we were doing the walking breaks between the blocks of treadmill intervals. As soon as I got home, I started regulating my painkillers because I knew that the next day would be one of the most challenging yet.

In order for me to get 15 workouts in before the end of the challenge, I have to go 4 times a week most weeks. Part of the issue is also that next week I will only be at my Orangetheory location for 2 classes because I’ll be out-of-town most of the week.

So this past week, I also worked out on Saturday. I’ve done back to back workouts before, but this is the first time that I’ve had 4 workouts in a single week.

I was hurting pretty badly from Friday’s workout still, but I knew I had to try my best.

Before class, I checked off another Instagram picture for the Nike ID Challenge.


These fabulous ladies that I’m with are Sarah and Brittany. They are my workout buddies. I used to get to work out with Brittany every class, but she switched class times. So I don’t get to see her unless I’m doing a class that isn’t a part of my usual schedule (like Saturdays). Sarah takes the same Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes that I do. She always saves my favorite treadmill for me and motivates me throughout the class to keep going. We had to take a picture for the Challenge of our Orangetheory family, and these ladies are a huge part of my family there.

The Saturday workout wasn’t necessarily a hard class, but my soreness made it seem that way. But I got through it and burned a ton of calories.

This week will be a 3 workout week. 2 at my usual location and 1 at the location in La Jolla (which doesn’t count for the Nike ID Challenge). It will be a nice break from my 4 workout week this past week!

Pre-Thanksgiving Pampering (or Trying To Get Everything Done)

Thanksgiving is pretty much here already. That’s insane! I’ll be heading to San Diego this year to join my family, and before I go I have so much stuff to get done!

I have some of my usual craziness, but for some reason this upcoming weekend is one of the most packed weekends of the year for me. And besides getting things packed before I drive, I have some food and crafts to finish up (I’ll post about those during Thanksgiving week).

But yesterday after work, I realized that if I wanted to get any of the beauty things done that I wanted to do, it was my last chance before I drive down.

So as soon as work was done for me at 3pm, I hopped in my car and drove to Brentwood where the Benefit store is that I get my eyebrows done at. Fortunately, you make appointments online so I knew that I would get in when I needed to.

Getting my brows done pretty much feels like maintenance to me. I’ve been getting them done since I was 14. And when I don’t get them done, I have a pretty bad unibrow. But at least at Benefit they try to make it fun. They always do a little makeup for you before you leave and while you are waiting there is a ton of makeup to look at and play with.

I actually needed to purchase a few things, and I found that they had a holiday gift pack that was cheaper than the 2 things I needed. So I got what I needed plus a little extra (some of which I will be giving to my mom).

After my brows were done, I got back into my car and drove about 20 blocks to the nail salon. I had also made an appointment for my pedicure (I don’t like doing walk ins anymore because you never know if they can get you in or not). I hadn’t had a pedicure since before my birthday and the blister on my foot is healing very nicely. So I figured I was due and wanted cute toes for Thanksgiving (although I’ve realized since that all the shoes I will be packing are closed toe).

When it’s wintertime and I get a pedicure, I try to go for some out there colors. I’ve done yellow and various neons before, but this time I found a really cute icy blue that seemed perfect for winter.


Now that I feel beautiful and girly again (it’s funny how getting your eyebrows done and a pedicure can make you feel like you got a total makeover), I’m superficially ready for Thanksgiving. This weekend will be some shopping trips and getting things prepared for my drive as soon as I’m done with work on Tuesday.

The countdown to the major family event of the year is on!

Getting Ready To Get Mentored Again (or A Evening With WIF)

When I did the WIF Mentoring Circle the first time, I was so excited to have a bunch of meetings with other motivated women for a year. At first it seemed great, but after the first meeting, pretty much only 2 other mentees came to meetings. And while the agreement was to have 6 meetings within a 12 month period, my group only had 4 meetings in 18 months.

It wasn’t a total loss. The other 2 mentees who came to the meetings were awesome and I learned a lot from them. I wasn’t supposed to be allowed to apply for another mentoring circle until my group completed all 6 meetings, but since it was announced that that would not be happening, I applied for the Winter circles.

In my application, I said how I could see how amazing the mentoring circles could be, and sadly that wasn’t my experience with my group. I was so excited that I was accepted again, and there was a mixer this week to meet some of the other women who would be in the program this time.

The event was a pretty casual evening. There were food and drinks (I ate before I went so I can’t tell you if the food was awesome but I’m assuming it was) and most of the evening was unstructured so we could just chat with some other woman at the event.

I was at a table that happened to be full of non-actors (a rarity and a nice treat!). We were all chatting and I don’t quite remember how the conversation got started, but I started chatting with the woman sitting next to me about the podcast Serial (which we are both obsessed with!). It turns out this woman (who I didn’t ask permission to name on my blog so I won’t right now) got a fellowship for WIF through UCLA where she is in the screenwriting program. That’s pretty awesome!

After about an hour at the event, the women who run the mentoring circles spoke and explained that we will know who our mentors and fellow mentees are by the end of the year. They haven’t put the groups together yet, so if there are people who we want to have in our circles we can request them (but no guarantees).

After the speech, I got up and spoke to the woman in charge. I just wanted to thank her again for accepting me into the program for the second time. And I wanted to make sure that I would have different mentors this year. I loved my mentors, but I think part of doing this experience again is to meet more people and expand my networking circles. She said that they would do their best not to put me with the same mentors again, and if for some reason it wasn’t like that, I can let them know.

After that, I decided to head home so I could get some work done before having to work the next morning.

Overall, it was a super successful kick off to the next mentoring circle. I’m so excited to see who’s in my group and who my new mentors will be. I can’t wait to find out what everyone’s specialty is and what jobs my mentors have. But I’ll have to wait a bit to find that out.


Getting Too Comfortable (or Getting Ready To Quit)

I’m in a very comfortable spot right now with my day jobs. The national box office job is going really well and I just got a raise. While customers are still mean to me all the time, I’m getting used to that, and my co-workers experience the same things so I know it’s not just me.

I’m getting babysitting jobs most weekends now too. While I don’t make a ton of money all the time babysitting, ever little bit helps. So many of the jobs I get are only 3 or 4 hours, so it’s not too hard and many times the kids are already sleep when I get there so I spend my evening reading on someone else’s couch.

The survey coding job is the weird spot in my life right now. I put in my availability every week, but I’m averaging 1 hour of work a month for them right now. That’s nothing (especially since that pay seems to be cut in half by taxes).

Obviously, I need to move on from the survey coding job. They don’t need me when I can work and some of the emails they’ve sent to us employees have been pretty rude and condescending.

My boss had asked me if I could work an overnight shift on a particular evening. I said that I was only available until 11pm because I had to be up early the next morning. The next email was a mini-rant from him about how he never asks for overnight shifts unless he’s desperate and I better have a good excuse why I can’t work. I sent another email explaining that I had to work early the next morning and I would be willing to come in until 11pm. I never got another email back after that and I didn’t show up for that shift because I was never told that I was scheduled.

They are using me so few hours each month that I could probably quit that job now and not see a financial hit in my life. I’m still struggling because I make very little money, but that extra $8 a month isn’t going to affect me too much. But I’m choosing not to leave that job until I have another one lined up.

What that other one might be is the issue. I have no clue what types of jobs to look for next. I know when I can work and how my jobs are structured, so I have some idea of the time that I can devote to another job.

It’s just too bad that this survey coding job isn’t going to work out for me unless something major happens. I really thought that it would be a great match for me, but it turns out that either they are not getting the amount of work that they were expecting or they don’t need work done when I’m available.

The one thing that irks me about eventually leaving this job is that this will be the second time I have left work with this company. It’s the same company that did the movie recruiting, and I quit doing that pretty quickly as I realized that it was not the right job for me. I’m not going to leave this job this time because it’s not a good match for me, but I need a job that will give me work. And I can’t keep keeping hours free for a job that doesn’t use me.

My time is worth more than that and I know that there is another job that will fit into my schedule that will be just right for me.

Attempting To Go Scale-Free (or A Personal Challenge)

While I’m attempting Orangetheory’s latest challenge, I’ve decided to try a challenge of my own for the next 30 days.

I want to see if I can go the next 30 days without stepping on my scale.

I honestly don’t know if I can do this, and if I can’t make it all 30 days I’m not going to be too upset with myself. But I want to see if I can judge my weight goals without the scale telling me what I weigh.

Right now, I use the scale as a safety blanket in a way. When I eat too much, I weigh myself the next day to prove that I haven’t gained back everything I lost. I might have gained a few pounds, but I can lose them again. But without seeing the number on the scale, to me it feels like I might have gained 20 or 30 pounds overnight.

I’ve been forced to go scale-free before when my scale has broken, but I’ve never done it voluntarily. I might put my scale in my car or one the top of my closet so I’m not tempted to weigh myself (right now my scale lives in my bathroom).

For a good part of next week, I won’t be able to weigh myself at all because I will be out-of-town at Thanksgiving. So that will hopefully help me reach my goal of going scale-free until the end of the Orangetheory challenge.

My original plan was to weigh myself yesterday and then weigh myself at the end of the 30 days to see where I am, but I actually forgot to weigh myself yesterday morning before I ate breakfast. And I can’t weigh myself after eating because that makes the scale higher than it should be. I don’t necessarily weigh myself every day, so the last time I weighed myself was on Friday last week.

So I’ll use that as my start number and see what my end number ends up like.

I’m still going to be tracking calories and exercise, so I’ll know if I’m doing ok with my daily calories. But I won’t have the instant results by stepping on the scale the morning after a “good” day. I’m curious how that might affect my motivation to stay on track (I usually feel extra motivated when I see the results that I desire).

My only fear with this challenge/experiment is if this will cause me to have a panic attack. I can see how one can come on from this, and if I see or feel any signs that I am about to have an attack, I will have to make a decision then if I want to wait out the attack and try to continue going scale-free or if it isn’t worth it to me to continue.

The fear of having a panic attack is the main reason why if I can’t complete this challenge I won’t be too upset with myself. I know that the only way I won’t be able to do it is if something like that happens and I feel like my mental health is suffering because of this. I don’t want to have a bunch of panic attacks or have to take my meds more than I need to. So I will do what it takes not to have that result.

So far, 2 days down and 28 to go on this personal challenge. No matter how far into this challenge I go, I’m curious what the results will be.

Working Out Injured (or No Excuses)

This past week was a week of injured workouts. I had hip pain due to the 5K and the weather and what I am considered one of the worst blisters I’ve ever had in my life.

But I didn’t let that stop me from working out at Orangetheory 3 times this week!

Monday was definitely a struggle. I had my foot bandaged up, but that almost seemed to make the problem worse. Because of the bandage, my shoe didn’t fit properly. It was a run/row day, which I thought would make things easier. I assumed that the treadmill would be the toughest part for me. Turns out, the rower was extremely painful. I went very slowly with the rowing section and probably didn’t get as good of a workout as I could have, but something is better than nothing.

The Monday Challenge was holding a medicine ball over your head while you were in a deep squat. My arms were doing fine, but after about 30 seconds the bandage on my foot felt like it ripped in half. To make sure I didn’t hurt myself further, I quit after that. I didn’t make the top 5 for the challenge, but I’m ok with that.

On Wednesday before my workout, the new challenge was announced. It was a slower day at work, so between calls and chats from customers, I made myself a checklist to make sure I would win the free shoes!


My OCD and hyper-organizational skills do come in handy from time to time.

For that workout, I decided to not wear a bandage on my foot but instead cover the blister in Bacitracin and blister block. While my foot did feel tender, it was much less painful that Monday’s workout. I still had to do modifications (like doing my squats on my toes instead of my heels), but since I’m used to doing modifications for my hip issues, this wasn’t a big deal.

Friday was another run/row day. The rowing is still tough, but it’s significantly better than it was on Monday. My blister is healing very nicely. I’ve been coating it in Bacitracin when I go to sleep and that does seem to be making a difference. I thought it would take 6 weeks for it to fully heal, but I think in a few more weeks it should be back to normal. But while the rowing was tough for me on Friday, since it was a strength day I decided to push myself. For the weights, I used 15 pound weight for everything except the Ultimate Burpees. I started working out at Orangetheory using the 10 pound weights. And lately I’ve been using 12 pounds and occasionally doing 15. But this time, I wanted to see what I could do. My arms are a little sore, but nothing drastic.

While this might not have been my best workout week and my highest calorie burns. This week was a major victory for me. There was a time where I felt like I had to take a week off from everything after a 5K. My feet would hurt so much and I would be exhausted. Even last year I would take a few days off after a race to recover. But now, I’m back to my usual workouts within 2 days. And not only that, I didn’t let being injured stop me either! I just found a way to work around it and keep going.

This is definitely a new me when it comes to working out. I can’t believe how much I’ve changed in the past few months. Just a year ago, I thought doing 3 tough workouts in a week would be too much for me. But now, that’s my regular routine. And I go out of my way to make sure I get my 3 workouts in a week. And soon, in order to win my free shoes, I’ll be doing 4 workouts in a week.

That should be interesting.