Monthly Archives: January 2018

Figuring Out Some Self-Care (or Working On My Physical And Mental Health)

I’ve been a bit too stressed out lately. A lot of it had to do with just being overwhelmed and trying to schedule myself, but that didn’t explain all of it. Reflecting back on it, I think that it’s possible that my panic and anxiety disorder came back. It wasn’t enough for me to feel like I needed to take medication or call my new therapist, but it was something I was aware of.

Like with so many other things in my life, being aware is a huge step for me and I consider that to be a win. But of course I wanted to make the stressed out feelings go away and not just be aware of it. Part of what I’ve been working on is related to my monthly challenge this month. I’m being a bit selfish and turning down invitations to things I don’t want to go to. I’m not committing myself to things that aren’t what I want to do socially and I’m not going insane when there is an event I want to go to but it doesn’t fit into my schedule. I’ve had to miss some fun things like birthday parties and baby showers because of work, but I’m not feeling guilty that I have to work because my friends understand.

Being selfish is a bit of self-care and I never really thought of that before. I think it has been a big step in my mental health although it isn’t fixing everything. But giving time to myself does allow me to think through the stress I’m feeling and figuring out what is causing it and what I can do to make it a bit better. And I know I’ve said this probably a million times, but I am also working on time management to work on my stress. I hate when I get to the end of the day and I still have so much to get done. I’m trying to work on doing stuff throughout the day and not just after work or after my workout.

But this time, I’m also working on my physical self-care too. I love to look at different beauty products, but I’m not always someone who uses them. But I decided to get a set of sheet masks from Amazon (they were pretty cheap) so I could work on my skin care. They are nice, but I look pretty creepy when I’m using them!

I’ve only used one so far so I don’t see a huge difference in my skin, but I think the mental break I get when I use those masks help too. It is time that I have to be still and relax, which I probably don’t do enough. I also found a nice new body cream at CVS on sale that I got that feels a lot more luxurious than my normal body lotion. Sometimes, it’s the little things like those that make a big difference.

I’ve been working a lot of doing these self-care things this week and I really have noticed my stress levels go down. I still need it to go down a bit more before I feel totally like myself, but I’m glad it’s getting better. I didn’t need to turn to medication (which I’d rather not use since it will make my Vyvanse less effective) and I’m not waiting it out and suffering. I’m taking action and figuring out what works. Or at least what works for me right now. I know that things will change all the time and what is working now might not work later this year. But at least I was productive in figuring out what I needed to do.

I know that this self-care is a positive step, but I still am working on how to stop the stress from getting to this level. I want to be able to stop it before it gets this bad and I start feeling overwhelmed. But as I’ve learned I have to look at the baby steps I take and not get frustrated. I can’t be expected to figure out everything right away so I need to appreciate that I figured out one small step toward figuring it all out. And hopefully next time, I’ll figure out the next small step.

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Making My Friend Try On Wedding Dresses (or I’m So Glad She Found The Perfect Dress!)

I’m sure that most single women don’t love when their friends get engaged and share all the wedding planning details. But that’s not me. I love hearing about plans and details and all of that! So every time a friend of mine gets engaged, I usually am always asking what’s happening, what they have picked out, and what they still need to do.

When my friend Jane got engaged, she shared about how she was a bit anxious about looking for a dress and I immediately told her I wanted to go shopping with her. She started shopping back east with her mom and didn’t find anything. And after that experience, I think she was a bit hesitant about trying it again. But because I can be bossy, I told her that we had to go check out dresses. We went to David’s Bridal a week ago without an appointment just to see if they could take a walk-in, but they couldn’t. But that gave us a chance to look around at dresses that she wanted to try and I think she was feeling a bit better about the options that were out there.

She got an appointment for this week and I think we were both pretty excited to check out the dresses we liked and to find out what she would like. She mentioned not being sure about certain silhouettes or wanting a veil, but she knew my job was to encourage her to try on things that she wouldn’t necessarily pick for herself because you never know what you will like.

When we had been there the other day, we picked a big variety of dresses for her to try on. Some were short dresses, some long, some were very simple, some were so heavily beaded that we wondered if it would feel too heavy, and most other options you could think of. There was one short dress that Jane thought could be the one and it happened to be at that store so we made sure it was on the list. And when we went back this week, we looked around a bit more and found a few other options that I thought could be nice.

When the consultant came out to meet us, she decided that we should do 5 dresses at first for Jane. 2 of them were ones that Jane loved, 2 were ones that I loved, and then the consultant picked one out on her own. Then we went back to the changing rooms where she took all of Jane’s measurements and I hung out in the waiting area super excited to see what Jane was going to like!

The first dress that Jane tried on was a fun dress with a high-low hem. It was a very plain dress, but that meant we got to have fun checking out options on how to customize it. She tried different belts, different sleeves, and mesh overlays. We found a combination that Jane really loved and I thought that maybe she would end up with the first dress that she tried on. She looked super happy about the dress and I could tell that some of the stress she felt going into the appointment was quickly gone.

The next dress that she tried on was one that I loved that Jane wasn’t sure about. ┬áIt wasn’t right because it was too low-cut and even with making a change to fix that wouldn’t make the dress right for her. But I’m glad she at least tried it on. The third dress was another one that I picked out and it was a gorgeous dress with lace and a longer train. Jane was nervous about a dress with a train, but I told her she needed to just try it. And when she walked out, it was such a magical moment!

She looked incredible in the dress! It fit her perfectly and it was just amazing! It wouldn’t be the dress I would expect her to wear, but it being unexpected made it even more perfect! She also tried a veil on with it and the veil made it complete! I was tearing up a bit because she looked like a bride out of a magazine! I had a good feeling that this would be her dress, but I tried to stay calm because I didn’t want to influence her choice.

The next dress was the short dress that Jane loved. It was a fun dress, but as soon as she had it on she knew it wasn’t right for her wedding. And it wasn’t able to beat the previous dress. And the last dress she tried on was one that the consultant picked that was similar to the dress I loved. And when Jane walked out in that one, I knew she was going to have a tough time picking a dress. It was beautiful and she looked amazing in it. She was so confused on which one to get so she decided to try the one we all loved again to see if she still loved it.

And when she got that dress back on, I knew that it was the dress for her! She was just glowing and couldn’t stop smiling. She looked like a bride and looked like herself which is exactly what you want. She mentioned how it was so funny that I picked her dress and how it wasn’t what she was planning on trying on and how it ended up being exactly what she wanted. I would have been happy with whatever dress she got as long as she loved it, but I feel so special that she got a dress that I picked out!

I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the dress (even though she said I could), so I’m only going to share a little bit of the detail on the train.

I wish I could share more of the dress without giving it away because it is just so amazing! And she looks amazing in it! It was so fun to get to watch her find her perfect dress and she kept saying after she picked it out how painless and easy it all was. I’m glad that that’s the experience she had because I am sure that wedding stuff can be insanely stressful and I wanted this to be fun for her.

I feel so lucky that Jane invited me to go shopping with her and that I got to see what her dress looks like! It was such a fun afternoon with her and I feel so special that I got to be a part of that day!

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More Musicals (or Back To A Fun Routine)

It’s crazy to think that my last show at the Pantages was 5 months ago! It doesn’t feel like it was that long but I guess it has been almost half a year since I was at a show there. But the new season of shows just started and my group went to the first show of the year for us!

My entire group has renewed our tickets for this season, so it’s me and my 3 friends at the shows (the next season is announced soon and we are all thinking of renewing again). Every time we go to a show, I realize how lucky I am to have friends who go to shows with me. I had so many years of not going to a show because I didn’t want to go alone and now I’ve had a few years of seeing a ton of shows each year!

Going to our shows have become a fun routine for us. We almost always will meet up for dinner before the show and I love that we make it a full night out instead of just going to a show and going home. There are a couple of places we seem to rotate through for dinner before the show. This time, we decided to go to Shake Shack. I’ve discovered that I enjoy Shake Shack a lot more when I don’t have the bun on the burger, so I get my burgers in a lettuce wrap. And I figured after my tough workout a few hours earlier that day, I earned a shake too.

It was a lot of food and I wasn’t able to finish it all, but it was a nice splurge to have. We did realize that it would be much better in the future if we order on the app than wait in line. Even if we used the app right when we got in line, the food would have been ready first from the app. I guess you live and learn.

We took our time eating (plus the line took about 30 minutes) and walked across the street to the Pantages about 15 minutes before the show was going to start. The first show of the season is Aladdin and we are all big Disney fans. Our only concerns were about how close this show would be to the one we used to see at Disneyland. But we also knew the Disneyland show was pretty short compared to this musical and they had different musical numbers.

I really enjoyed this show! I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorite musicals, but it’s good. There are a lot of classic Aladdin moments that are in the musical, but it’s also its own show. The cast was very talented and the leads were the actors who originated the roles on Broadway. We saw the understudy for Aladdin, but he was very good (I was a bit disappointed not to see the main actor as I was excited to watch him perform).

I think my favorite was the actor who played the Genie. That part is an actor’s dream because you do get to be fun and creative with it a bit. You can change things up with some of the joke and it is such a beloved character. And the actor was so talented and was just a joy to watch! Also, I think he is the funniest character in the show.

And not only were the actors great, we all agreed that the staging and costumes were incredible. The cave of wonders set was probably the best set I’ve ever seen with all the shows I have seen at the Pantages. And the costumes had so many sparkles and we were all mesmerized by them. It’s fun to see a show that is so detailed and elaborate because that’s not always how touring shows are.

It’s so nice to have a full year of musicals coming up. Our next musical isn’t for about 2 months (Aladdin is in LA for a while), but after that we pretty much have something every single month. And with the exception of seeing Cinderella again, every show this season will be a new show for me! And many of them have been shows I’ve been wanting to see. I have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing year of musicals and I’m so happy to get to do this!

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Joining The 500 Club (or A Special Workout Class)

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I actually did 5 workouts last week. I had my normal workouts on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. But I also had a workout on Sunday as well. But this wasn’t just any workout. This workout was a class that you had to be invited to attend.

I found out that this class was only for the select few members who have done at least 500 classes. I don’t know exactly how many people have done that, but they mentioned that it was a pretty small number. And even though this workout would mean that I would end up doing 4 workouts in a row between last week and this week, I knew that I had to take the class no matter what! And the class was coached by Drew, who doesn’t usually teach when I go, so I wanted to make sure I made it for his class.

The class was a pretty tough one. It was strength based so there was a lot of inclines on the treadmills, heavy weights on the floor, and lots of rowing. There were 3 groups in the class so we did switch and that helped. But that doesn’t change that I think all of us wanted to show our best ability in class because we knew that we were an elite group. The social media manager for the studio was there taking videos and photos of us during class, and I saw myself on their Instagram feed after class was done.

This post isn’t a workout recap. To be honest, I don’t remember a ton about the workout because I was super focused on doing my best and not remembering what was happening each block. This post is about how I diminished and underestimated my accomplishments and never realized that I have become one of the hard-core members of my studio.

I’ve been going to Orangetheory at least 3 times a week every week since they opened. Since then, I’ve almost attended 650 classes (that does include my workouts in San Diego at Thanksgiving). That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, but I just assumed that a lot of people have done that. I see a lot of the same people in class from week to week and I always thought that most of them take other classes at times that I don’t go. So while I know that over 600 classes is an accomplishment, I figured that a lot of people had done that.

But to realize that there weren’t that many of us who have done enough workouts to be invited to this class was eye-opening. I had to take a moment to think about it and realize how this shows my dedication to my fitness. This isn’t to say that people who haven’t done 500 classes aren’t dedicated. A lot of my friends either didn’t join as early as I did or go to other workouts throughout the week, and they are super dedicated too. But for me, who never probably did 500 classes of any other workouts combined, this is proof of my work. While I don’t see the proof all the time on my body, this has gotten it into my mind.

After the class was done, they had cake out in the lobby for us all.

I was going out to dinner right after the class so I skipped out on the cake. But they also had special Orangetheory hats for us all that had “500” embroidered on the back that I got. That is a really awesome hat and I know that I will wear it with pride!

I really love how my Orangetheory studio does special stuff like this for members. They always work on building us as a community and not just as random people who work out. It’s such a special feeling to know that I am part of an amazing group of athletes. Even if I don’t feel like one myself, I know that I am getting there. I can’t do as many workout as I have without at least making steps to being the elite athlete that so many members are!

I don’t know if there will be another milestone class thing like this. I am over halfway to 1,000 classes so maybe there will be one for that. But even if there aren’t other classes like this again for me, I love knowing that I have done over 500 classes and got to celebrate that accomplishment!

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Back To Balancing (or A Pretty Routine Workout Week)

This past week of workouts wasn’t that eventful of one. That’s actually kind of a victory for me since having things be routine is a pretty big milestone for me. It’s nice that even with some setbacks and struggles, the workouts felt so normal to me. Technically this was a 5 workout week, but the 5th workout was something special so that will be in tomorrow’s post.

My workout on Monday was endurance, strength, and power based. It was a 3 group class and we had 2 blocks on each side. I ended up walking for all of the treadmill work. It was going to rain and when it rains my hip hurts. It’s an annoying fact of my life, but I also know there is nothing I can do to fix it so I try to make the best of it. The first block was a long push pace and then a push pace to all out pace. And the second block was 1 minute or 30 second all out paces but we had to increase the incline each time. If we didn’t have the inclines I probably would have run, but I know I’m not ready to run on inclines right now. So I started at 6% incline and bumped it up .5% for each of the all out paces.

Next I was on the rower where the first block was a 1,000 meter row to start. My time was pretty slow (it was longer than the goal time for the class) but I also wasn’t as focused on the rower as I have been in the past. After that row we had lunges and then sets of 250 meter rows until the block was done. The next block was 500 meter rows (I got a slightly better time than half of my 1,000 meter row) and then 100 meter sprints. I was excited for the sprints because I know I can go pretty hard on those. I really wanted to get my time under 18 seconds but I wasn’t able to get it under 19 seconds that day. And on the floor the first block was chest presses on the straps, chest flys on the ground, and plank taps. The second block was bicep curls, plank rows, and torso rotations.

Wednesday was a strength day without switching between blocks. Since it was strength that meant we had hills on the treadmills and I wasn’t going to run it. It was also my first class with a slightly different plan for my medications so my heart rate was a bit odd. Each of the blocks on the treadmill were a similar pattern with a push pace (it was on a flat incline for runners), then a push pace on a hill, and ending with a push pace to an all out pace on a hill. While I didn’t get my inclines as high as recommended for power walkers, I did get it to be between 6-10% for the hill sections. I did struggle a bit with some dizziness (and I’ll probably have that for a few weeks as my medication adjusts), but I took my time when I needed it and felt pretty great when we were done on the treadmill.

On the floor we had 2 blocks. The first block started with a 250 meter row (I did it in under a minute) and then we had seated shoulder presses to stands and leg raises. The last block was a longer block and it started with deadlifts, low rows, and lunges. After 3 rounds of those we moved onto a core blast that was scissor abs and crunches. I wasn’t using heavier weights than normal on the floor, but I was able to use my regular weights which was good considering I was struggling on the treadmill.

Friday’s class was a mix of endurance, strength, and power. I had a couple of friends in class with me so that always makes the workout better! I was still struggling a bit with my heart rate so I stuck with walking everything. For the endurance block on the treadmill we had longer push paces. On the strength block we had increasing inclines for each segment and I was able to keep things between 6-10% again. And the last block was on the rower which was a nice change of pace. It was 30 seconds of a push pace, 30 seconds of an all out pace, and 30 seconds of recovery for 4 rounds.

On the floor, the first block was lunge jacks (I did them as regular lunges), roll outs on the straps, and plank work. The second block was single arm clean to presses with weights, lunges, and knee tucks on the bench (I did the knee tucks instead of any modifications). And the last block was on the same pattern as the rower. We had 3 rounds of 30 seconds of skater lunges and running man. And then the last minute was a plank hold. This class seemed tough to me because of my heart rate issues, but my friends agreed that this seemed like a really tough (but really awesome) class!

And Saturday’s workout was one that I wasn’t planning on going too crazy. It was the second day of what would end up being 4 workouts in a row (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday). I originally thought I’d go on the bike, but I decided to use the treadmill and modify where I needed to. And I’m so glad I stuck with the treadmill! It was a 3 group class and the beginning of class was a round of 4 minutes at each section. On the treadmill it was a 4 minute run for distance. I thought maybe I’d do intervals with walking, but I decided just to run and see what happened.

I stuck with 4.5 mph because 4 minutes of running was more than I had done in a while. And it was difficult and I really thought about switching to a walk. But I just kept thinking how I was 1/4 of the way done, 1/3 of the way done, 1/2 of the way done and so on. I just watched the clock and decided to try to do the entire thing as a run. I had in my head that it would be amazing to get to .3 miles in 4 minutes and I saw that I was going to be close. So I bumped up my speed for the last 10 seconds and managed to hit my target perfectly!

On the floor, we had 4 minutes of bicep curls using weights, bicep curls using straps, tricep kickbacks using weights, and tricep work on the straps. That was a really tough 4 minutes since it felt like my arms never got a break! And on the rower, it was a 4 minute row for distance. While our coach said we should try for 1,000 meters, I knew that I couldn’t do that. So I set my goal at 850 meters which seemed pretty conservative to me. But when I missed it by 1 meter, it really made me mad! I knew I could have done better for a few seconds to get there but I didn’t do it and it showed.

The next round was about 10 minutes on everything. On the treadmill, it was longer push paces and I stuck to walking. My heart rate was having trouble recovering during the base paces like it normally would so I didn’t want to overdo anything. The second block on the floor was incline chest presses, upright rows with weights, toe touches, and weighted torso rotations. It was a tougher block, but it seemed much easier to me than the shorter block. And the last block on the rower was an 800 meter row followed by squats and then a 400 meter row. I got my 800 meter row in under 4 minutes and my 400 meter row under 2 minutes so I was happy. Getting a good row in at the very end of class isn’t easy!

Like I said, this was actually a 5 workout week. But I will be writing about that last workout tomorrow. But for the first 4 workouts of the week, I think I did pretty amazing!

New Year New Therapist (or Not Starting At Square One)

I’ve been seeing my therapist for a little while. At first I was going more often, but more recently it was only twice a year. In therapy, I talked about some of the issues that may have helped to lead to my eating disorder, but in the end we really came to the conclusion that I just had the genetic code that made me extra susceptible to having some sort of addiction issue and that food ended up being what I turned to. I do have some self-confidence issues with people being verbally abusive to me in my past, but I know that what they said about me isn’t true and I just have to work on reminding myself that.

It was nice that I had gotten to that point with my therapist. It’s not too common that someone prescribing you medication wouldn’t make you do as much talk therapy, but he knew that I really wasn’t needing it anymore. While I’m not totally in recovery, I’m probably in the best mental state I’ve ever been in for my entire life. I’m so happy that I’ve had the breakthroughs that I have had and I know that my therapist was proud of me as well.

But before my most recent appointment, I found out that my therapist was no longer working for the medical offices (and he may not be working at all in LA anymore). I was originally randomly assigned a new therapist, but I ended up calling and making sure that I was set to see someone who works with those with eating disorders. I knew that this appointment was more of just a meeting and if I didn’t like the therapist I could ask for another appointment with another doctor, but I also nervous. I know that not all doctors would be as relaxed about things as my previous therapist was, but I hoped for the best. I went into my appointment with as open of a mind as possible.

And I have to say that I really lucked out. My new therapist really did take the time to review the notes my previous therapist made in my chart (I’m seriously so curious what he had written about me). She knew my progress in therapy and with medication and was pretty educated on my medical history. And I was blunt and honest with her about how I wasn’t really seeking as much talk therapy as I was when I started because I felt like I had reached the pinpoint of my issues. I knew that telling her that was a risky move because the medications I take are a controlled substance and I didn’t want to sound like a drug seeker.

But she completely understood where I was in therapy and why I didn’t feel the need to talk things out the way I did in the beginning. Of course she gave me the option to talk things out if I felt like I needed to, but I told her that my only fears were about if she was going to change my entire treatment plan. She is going to make some changes in my medication. She actually thinks my dosage is too low and we will be making increases to how much I take over the next few weeks. And we will be doing a follow-up phone call in a month so she can know how I’m doing. That’s much easier than me coming in again and I appreciate that she is giving me that option. And if everything goes as well as she thinks it will, most likely I will go back to twice a year appointments.

As my therapy appointment ended, my therapist noticed that the rainstorm that had been happening earlier that day had ended and that there was an amazing double rainbow right outside. I took it as a good sign that this new therapist is going to be a great member of my medical team and that good things are on their way for me.

While switching therapists wasn’t what I was planning on doing, I’m so happy that it went as well as it did. In the past, I had some therapists that I didn’t feel connected with me and that I wasn’t getting anything out of the appointments. It’s not easy to find someone who you want to work with and I’ve been lucky enough to get two therapists back to back that seem to be the right people for me. And hopefully with the new medication plan I will see more progress in my recovery. But if I don’t, I know that this therapist will be able to work with me and we will figure out what I need to do.

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A Boring Visit At The Dentist (or Getting Ready For A Future Bad Appointment)

This week I had a dentist visit. It wasn’t that long ago that an appointment would be a pretty huge thing for me because I would have a horrible panic attack. I’ve had panic attacks at the dentist pretty much my entire adult life until not too long ago. I still wonder when the panic will come back, but I’m trying to stay optimistic about it.

I was a bit worried this time because I had some weird issues that turned out to be related to hurting my gums randomly. Everything will be fine and back to normal soon. It’s always so reassuring when the hygienist tells me that things are fine because then all the worst case scenarios can finally go away in my head. I still always worry that there is something that is missed and it will come back to haunt me at the next appointment, but I try to not think about that. I don’t want to spend the months between appointments worried. It’s bad enough to be worried the week or two before going in.

I’m still a bit boggled by how my panic issues have gone away. I know that my medications were supposed to make them worse and not better. But I’m such a medical weirdo in so many other ways so I guess it makes sense that I would have the opposite side effect. I try not to think about it too much and just try to stay grateful that I can finally have somewhat normal dentist appointments. For most people, going to the dentist is so routine and not something that they fear. I am trying to get back to that mindset.

I am lucky that the hygienist I see is pretty awesome. She and I chat and gossip during my appointment so that makes it a bit more fun. We are always updating each other on our lives and sharing crazy stories that have happened. She may be doing that just to distract me from everything, but I think she enjoys making my appointment a bit more fun too. She’s so used to seeing the bits of panic that still happen at appointments and she really does so much to try to make everything easier on me. And that includes giving me a heads up on anything she sees right at the beginning of the appointment.

This time, I mentioned to her the issues I was having and she took a look and told me that everything was fine. That’s better than all the horrible things that went through my head and were making me freak out a bit. But while she was doing the first glance at all my teeth, she did notice something that isn’t great. I’ve had a ton of dental work done. I genetically have bad teeth and have had to deal with issues for a long time. I’ve got lots of fillings, a couple of crowns, and some general issues. But all that dental work isn’t a permanent fix.

I haven’t had to have a crown replaced yet (I have had one fall off and need to be re-glued, but that’s different), but I’ve had pretty much all the fillings replaced at least once. Fillings usually last about 10 years and I think I’ve got a few that are older than that. Since I take good care of my teeth and go to the dentist 3 times a year, maybe I make mine last longer. But I know that they aren’t forever and eventually they need to be worked on again. I just had a filling replaced last year and fortunately it wasn’t that bad.

So while the hygienist was taking a look at everything, she noticed another filling of mine was looking darker which could be a sign that it was getting worn down. This isn’t as urgent as the replacement of the filling was last time, so nothing is planned to be done yet. It was just marked down as something to watch and see what happens. And the next time I’m at the dentist, it’s the big appointment where I get my x-rays and see the dentist. So at that appointment, I think the dentist will probably say that it needs to be replaced since he likes to take care of things early to prevent them from getting worse (like making this end up needing to be a crown).

I am grateful that I didn’t get bad news at my appointment this time, but now I’m just trying to forget that I’m probably going to get bad news next time. I’m sure that I will be having the work done after my next appointment and hopefully it goes as easily as it did last year. I know I’m getting better with shots so that does help make things easier on me. And I just have to keep reminding myself that fixing this now with an easy appointment means avoiding a really bad one later. I’ve had too many of those bad appointments and I don’t want to deal with another one.

But for now, I’m focusing on the good of my lack of panicking at the dentist and ignoring the potential for the bad appointment coming up in a few months.

New Year More Brunches (or Awesome Company, Not So Awesome Restaurant Service)

It’s been a while since I’ve had a brunch hangout with my WIF mentoring group. We’ve been meaning to do one, but with our schedules and the holidays it seemed like we couldn’t find a time that most of us could go. We had to keep putting it off, but we finally found time in January to schedule a brunch so we could have our overdue hangout.

So many of our brunches have been at the same place, but we have been wanting to try a new place. I’m not going to name the place we went to (because I’m not trying to publicly shame them), but we went somewhere new for us that was still pretty close to my house so I was happy about that.

Even though our last brunch was a few months ago, I was pretty limited in what my updates were about. I shared about the SAG-AFTRA convention and how I was getting ready for the upcoming pilot season. And since most of the women in the group are friends with me on Facebook, they have seen some of my random posts about online dating and were asking me about what was happening with that. I used to feel pretty bad about my lack of updates, but I’m more comfortable about it now. I know that I am not in total control of when I will have fun and exciting updates but that when I do everyone in the group will be so excited for me!

But for me, the highlight of our meetings is getting to hear what everyone else has been up to. I think that we all had a bit of a slow time because of the holidays so there weren’t as many updates as normal. But we were all understanding with each other and ended up chatting about more social things than business things.

While our hangout was fun, the brunch part wasn’t as good. We ended up having some pretty bad service. When we arrived, it took a while before we got water (the restaurant maybe had 3 other tables with customers) and then another 30 minutes before we could order. When they brought out the food, they brought everyone’s food but mine at first. I assumed that my food would be coming soon, but after 10 minutes I was still waiting. I told everyone else to start eating, but one of the women in the group got mad and tried to figure out where my food was. Finally they brought it out so we could all eat.

I got the pork belly hash and it was pretty delicious. While we were annoyed by the service, the food was at least pretty good. But the service kept being weird. It took about another 30 minutes from the time they took our empty plates to the time we got our checks. And then I experienced something that was the weirdest service thing.

My bill was about $14 and I put a $20 bill in and expected to get change. I was going to leave some of the change as the tip and when I got my change I took out some money to leave. But then I counted what I had left and it didn’t add up. It took me a minute to realize that the server didn’t take money for the bill. All she did was break my $20 into smaller bills and give it back to me. If I hadn’t noticed that, I would have left only paying a fraction of my bill and not leaving a tip at all. Even with not-so-great service, I still wanted to leave a tip. And if I had underpaid, I would have felt horrible. I’m glad I noticed it before I walked out, but I thought it was so strange.

But even with the odd service issues, the brunch was still a great one. I love getting together with the group and having some time to reflect back on what I’ve done and celebrate everyone else’s victories. I know that the rest of the group feels the same way and it was actually something we talked about at our brunch. We know that most of the mentoring groups don’t meet after their mentoring circle is done or on their own during the year of the mentoring circle. I had that experience in my first group. But with this group, we lucked out because we just clicked. There are 2 members of the original group that don’t participate anymore but a majority of us really do our best to make these brunches.

Even though we missed the last few months of last year, I think we are back on schedule for doing these every other month. We might run into the same problem again at the end of the year with the holidays again, but even if we only meet 4 or 5 times over the year instead of the 6 that we try to that is a lot. And I get so much out of each of these meetings so I will take whatever I can get in a year!

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Holiday Cheesecake (or Birthday Twins and Twinkle Lights)

The last few years it has been a tradition for my birthday twin, Joanna, and I to get cheesecake around the holidays. We haven’t always been successful with our timing, but we have been pretty good about at least doing it eventually between our birthday adventures. But this time, I wanted to make sure we were on top of it and I texted Joanna before around Christmas to find out when we could get cheesecake. Somehow, we both ended up being free right before NYE so we made a date for our cheesecake outing.

I was totally looking forward our hangout and then of course it ended up happening right as I was starting to feel my worst. But I wasn’t going to miss this tradition so I took some painkillers and hoped for the best. Fortunately, Joanna is such an amazing friend and understood that I wasn’t feeling so great. So she probably took charge more often in the conversation and I’m so grateful for her for that! We knew that it was going to be crowded and that there would be a wait for a table, but normally when they tell us it will be an hour it’s really just a fraction of that. But this time, we ended up waiting almost 90 minutes for a table. But we were determined to get our cheesecake and figured this just gave us more time to catch up.

We both have been having adventures in online dating so we were sharing stories about that. And she had just been to visit her family so she was updating me on how everyone in her family are doing. It was a pretty chill hangout and catch up but I’m always so grateful that we get to spend this time together. She and I both have weird and sometimes crazy schedules so we don’t get to see each other that often. More often than not, the only times we see each other are for our birthday and for the cheesecake. So we need to maximize each hangout.

Once we finally got a table, we ordered pretty quickly. We’ve both been to Cheesecake Factory enough to know what we want (although the flatbread that Joanna likes was just taken off the menu) and we got to looking at the menu at the cheesecake which was the most important part of the meal to us. I ordered a salad for my dinner and we decided on red velvet and tres leches cheesecake to have. We’ve learned that we can ask the server to split each piece of cheesecake in half, so we each get half of each slice.

Somehow I always have room for dessert even though I was still feeling pretty awful. But I knew I ate too much so we decided to walk around a bit after dinner. All of the Christmas lights were still up at the Grove and it really was beautiful. It was the first time this season that I had seen the lights and I’m glad I didn’t miss my chance to check them out!

We also went to check out the tree, but it’s so big that it’s almost impossible to get a photo of the entire tree!

But we decided that the tree was the perfect background for us to take a photo together!

It wasn’t as crowded by the tree and decorations as it was near dinner, so it was nice to be able to walk around and not feel totally squished. The crowds are the main reason why I rarely go to the Grove, but whenever I go there I’m reminded about how nice it is there and how fun the holiday decorations are. But I think that it will probably be a once a year type of adventure. Plus, most of the stores and restaurants there are places I can go to somewhere else so I’m not always that motivated to drive over there. But it makes a perfect place to meet for our annual cheesecake dinner!

After checking out the decorations, it was time for us to head back to our cars. I really was trying to keep a smile on my face and ignore the pain I was in, but I knew I needed to get home to get some more painkillers in me (I ended up missing a party I was supposed to go to after dinner because I was feeling so horrible). But even though I wasn’t feeling that great, I’m so glad that I went out for cheesecake. It’s an important tradition for us and also it was a nice distraction from how I was feeling!

While I know that Joanna and I have good intentions to try to hang out again before our birthday, I know that there’s a good chance that the next time we will see each other will be for our birthday dinner. But at least we both know that we try to hang out more often and when we do get together we maximize the time that we have!

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A New Year Of Workouts (or Finally Starting To Feel Like Myself Again)

This past week was the first week of workouts for 2018! I’ve got a big number as my goal for my workouts for the year, so I’m glad I got off to a good start!

I did do a class on New Year’s Day since I usually do a class that day plus it was a Monday (one of my normal workout days). But this time it was weird for a few reasons. First, I was still not feeling good so I knew I would have to take it easy. But also, this was my 4th workout in a row! I think I’ve only had 4 workouts in a row once before (I know there may be another one coming up soon) and it’s a lot. So I was pretty tired going into the workout and knew that combining being tired with not feeling great meant I wasn’t going to have my best workout to start off the year. But I did start it off in style with breaking in some new workout shoes!

The workout was an endurance and power day. And despite it being the first day of the new year (so you’d expect a ton of resolution people at the workout) the workout wasn’t that packed so it ended up being a 2 group class instead of a 3 group class. It was a run/row format but I did it as a bike/row. And this type of run/row workout was one where we built upon each block. So we started with block one of the run/row and then we did block one and block two and so on. I made it to the last block when time was called so I was pretty impressed with how far I got even though my workout didn’t feel that strong.

On the floor we had one long block. The moves included plank punches, mountain climbers, plank jacks, squat rows with weights, high/low row combos on straps, and hammer curls. All the moves that had me in a plank position or bent over were making me feel pretty nauseous so I had to go easy on all of those. It wasn’t an easy floor block to get through, but I pushed as much as I could and was just glad that I showed up when I know in the past I would have used how I was feeling as an excuse.

Wednesday I was finally feeling better so I could have a good workout! It was a power day with 3 blocks on each side. On the treadmill, blocks 1 and 3 were pretty similar with push to all out paces. And block 2 was 4 rounds of a 45 second all out pace followed by a 30 second walking recovery. Between the 3 blocks, we had 11 45 second all out paces! I decided to try to do some running so I walked the base and push paces but ran for all 11 of the all out paces! It felt so good to feel normal again and I was so happy that it was a workout that I could push myself in.

On the floor, the first and third blocks were on the floor. We had push ups, chest presses, triceps with weights, squats, side raises, lunges, pull ups on the straps, and triceps on the straps. And the second block was on the rower where we had the same pattern as the treadmill with 45 second sprints with 30 seconds to recover in-between. While I didn’t do anything spectacular on the floor or rowing work, the fact that I felt like myself was such a victory that I didn’t care. Even though I was only feeling sick for a week, it seemed like forever and I worried when I would be able to get back to working on my workout goals.

Friday was an endurance day with no switches between blocks. As much as I wanted to work on running again, I also knew that I need to take things easy as I got back into it so I did all my treadmill work as power walking. All of the blocks had a similar format with a 2 minute push pace and a 2 minute push pace to a 1 minute all out in them. I did 6% for my inclines on my pushes and 8% for my inclines on the all outs.

On the floor we had 1 long block that started with a 500 meter row (I finished it in 2:11 which is pretty decent). Then we had add-on blocks on the floor. Every block started with burpees and then we added things on like squat thrusters, roll outs, swings with weights, and knee tucks. Doing all those burpees wasn’t easy, but somehow I managed to get them done. And we were supposed to do a second 500 meter row once we finished all the moves on the floor, but I was just finishing up my floor work when time was called so I never got to do the second row.

And even though I started the week with my 4th workout in a row (3 of those workouts being for the week prior), I still got a 4th workout in this past week! This time it was a strength based workout but it was a 3 group class. Because it was a strength class and I knew that meant inclines on the treadmills, I did another power walking day. Both blocks on the treadmill were similar with a longer base at an incline (I did 6%) and push to all outs at inclines (I did 8%). I was at my normal treadmill speed but I think I might have been able to push it a bit more in my inclines.

Next I was on the floor where we had 2 blocks as well. The first block was rows with weights, shoulders with weights, and plank leg lifts. The second block was uppercuts with weights, pushups, and running man. And on the rower we started with a 500 meter row and then went down 100 meters each time. After we got to 100 meters, we went back up by 100 meters each time. I made it to the second 300 meter row before class ended.

While this wasn’t the incredible start to my year of workouts, I think it wasn’t too bad. I was dealing with circumstances that I couldn’t control that affected how well I was able to work out, but I still showed up and started off the year with 4 workouts! Now I just can’t wait to see what will happen throughout the rest of the year!