Monthly Archives: January 2019

Reaching A New Audience (or Laughing At My Dating Adventures)

I’ve shared a bit about my online dating adventures on here in the past. I’ve also shared about how I am working on a book about dating and the stories that I have. I love sharing my stories because most of them are so ridiculous that I want other people to get some entertainment out of it. Or some are lessons that I’ve learned that I want to share so others don’t have to go through the same things that I have. I’ve been very open about dating and I hope that the people who read my posts about it are enjoying them.

Whether or not they are enjoying them, I know my friends see that I post about dating. So when a friend of mine saw that his friends were starting a new podcast about dating and they were looking for guests with fun stories, my friend told me about it immediately. I messaged the hosts and gave them a few different stories of things that have happened and they loved them! They asked me for my availability and I was able to record 2 episodes of their podcast this past weekend.

I don’t have a ton of information about the podcast as it hasn’t launched yet, but I promise to share it when I have it. But it is a podcast that is all about dating and the situations that people find themselves in. Each episode is about a general topic but someone might have multiple stories about that topic to share. The 2 episodes that I recorded were about cheaters and nude photos or other over the top sexual messages that I get.

I was very happy to share my stories about both topics. I was especially excited to share my stories about cheaters because they are some of my funniest stories. It’s been very easy to find out if a guy isn’t single based on information they post on their profiles. I usually can figure it out with a very quick search. The last cheater I caught didn’t have a ton of information about him in his profile, but based on his name and employer I found his employer’s Instagram account and their most recent picture was of him and his fiancé congratulating them on their engagement. Of course I called him out on it and he immediately blocked me. I have no problem with calling out guys because they should know that we are going to find out they are cheating and that it might come back to their significant other.

I also wanted to share how I used to not want to look guys up online before going out with them because I didn’t want to have to act like I didn’t know anything about them. But I learned that it was in my best interest to look them up to see if they were not single (or lying about who they are) and there is a way to do it without learning too much about them. I know other friends who have struggled with the idea of Googling a guy before a date, but I think there is a middle ground between not looking them up and stalking them online. And that middle ground allows you to confirm they are who they have told you they are.

Sharing those stories was so fun and the hosts were pretty entertained by the cheaters I’ve caught and how some guys really don’t think they are doing anything wrong. And they also had their own stories to share which I loved hearing about.

The second episode I recorded that day was about the things that guys send to me that are no necessarily appropriate. It’s shocking what some guys will send thinking that it will intrigue you and not disgust you. I don’t think there is any reason to send someone an unsolicited nude photo, and many of these guys send photos that include their face. I would never share a photo that someone sent to me, but I wonder if there are people out there who would use that photo to try to harm or blackmail them. One guy who sent a photo to me that included his face is a teacher, and I know that if someone shared that photo it could ruin his career. I’m always surprised when I get a message like that, but I guess these guys have either found one woman who it worked on or it’s never worked but they are hoping their luck with change.

And just like with the cheating stories, the hosts had a few stories to share about weird messages too. Neither of them have stories as crazy as mine, but I don’t think either of them have been doing online dating as long as I have (and for the male host, I really doubt most women send nude photos as an opening line). We tried to be sensitive and not shaming to the guys who write some of the creepy things to me, but at the same time we just couldn’t get over some of the messages I get and how creeped out we were.

I’ve only done a few podcast interviews, and with every one I feel like I talk too much. I felt the same way with these interviews, but I also knew I had so much more I could have said. I tried to write some notes before I went to the interview so I wouldn’t forget any stories and I didn’t get to share them all. But I think I might be asked back to the podcast to share stories about another topic and I would love to get to do that.

I’ve had some friends ask me how I don’t get annoyed or pessimistic about dating because I’ve had so many bad and weird stories to share. I think what keeps me sane and encourages me to keep going is having outlets to share the stories on. I love sharing them on here and writing the stories for my book. And now I’ve had the chance to share them with a new audience in a new format and I can’t wait to be able to share the links to the episodes when they are live!

Showing My Stress (or Hoping Things Will Get Better Now)

There is no question that things have been stressful in my life lately. There are lots of different things that have causing me stress, but the biggest one has been my job hunt. Finding a job has been surprisingly difficult for me. I’ve applied for so many jobs and most of them have turned out to either be scams or misleading. Companies will post that their job is a remote position but then when you have an interview they tell you that it’s not and the pay rate is significantly lower than what they posted. I don’t know if they figure that since you went to the interview you would be ok with any changes or what. But it’s been very annoying to be spending time on interviews that are for jobs that aren’t what I believe them to be.

I’ve had several breakdowns while doing this job hunt. There have been days where I can’t stop thinking about my situation and will be calling different friends or family members crying hysterically. I’ve had to limit how much time I spend job hunting because when I didn’t limit myself I would feel so much worse about things. I’ve tried to keep thinking positively about things, but it’s not easy when it seems like you can’t make any progress or have even the smallest of victories or wins.

Stress is never really that good for anyone. I’m sure having minor stress in your life is good for something, but not having the type of stress I have been dealing with for the past few months. But I also have a few different auto immune diseases and I know that stress makes them so much worse. I was lucky that things hadn’t been that bad for me until recently, but it’s definitely hit me now and it’s showing on my body.

My auto immune diseases have different physical symptoms, but only one is really obvious when I’m out and about. I have alopecia which means I have patches of hair loss. This started when I was 14 when we discovered that behind both of my ears I lost a lot of hair. My parents took me to the doctor where I was diagnosed and we did some different treatments to make my hair come back. I’ve had patchy bald spots from time to time on my head and in my eyebrows, but it’s never been as bad as that first time. Most of time, it’s been weird little patches that are hidden by my hair. I sometimes see them and my friend who does my hair will see them. But when the bald spots aren’t on my hairline they aren’t as obvious.

But a few weeks ago, I started to notice my hair falling out more than normal. I would wash my hair and have handfuls of hair coming out. I didn’t find any bald spots so I assumed it was just all over hair loss (something else I have to deal with). But then I noticed a big patch on the back of my head where I lost my hair. I think I’m lucky because the way it fell out it looks more like that’s my natural hairline. But I can tell the difference and it’s very obvious to me. It is on my hairline on the back of my head, so there is a chance that it had been a bunch of smaller bald spots that just got worse recently. But all I know is that I only discovered the bald spot about a week ago.

There are some treatment options for me to try, but I’m not too sure if I want to do them. The best option that has worked for me is to get a bunch of shots in the bald spot. If it was worse looking, I probably would do it. I think I’m the only one who is really noticing it now and I don’t want to have to do all of the shots I know I’d need to do.

And the other reason I’m not going to do treatments now is that my stress has been lessened quite a bit. I still don’t have another job that I can count on, but I did get an email from my old boss last week. There is not a contract for my old job, but she was able to offer me a contract for a temporary job! I will be working for about 4 months and it will be more hours per week than I had on my old contract. It’s not enough in those 4 months to cover an entire year, but it will give me some time to breathe and figure out my next step. I will still be job hunting like I have been doing, but now I will be able to pay my bills.

I hate how much the stress has affected me, but I also know that how my body reacts isn’t always in my control. Auto immune diseases are complicated and I have had to learn how to roll with the punches with them. I’m just glad it wasn’t worse and that there’s a chance that it will start getting better now.

Having Some Realizations About My Workouts (or Still Adjusting My Thinking)

Before I get into my workout recap, I want to mention something that I realized this week. Here’s a little behind the scenes with my workout recap posts: I work on writing these throughout the week. After each workout I write the section for that day’s class because I never would be able to remember it otherwise. And because I do that, things might seem a bit disjointed or I repeat things. And when I was working on the recap of last week’s workouts, I realized that I often will give my reason or excuse for why I’m using the bike and not the treadmill. There’s no reason I need to do that, but I feel like I have to explain myself. I might still do that from time to time, but I’m going to be making an effort to not do that as much as I have.

Having that realization was kind of a game changer for me. It happened midway through the week and it really made me think about the reasons I’ve been giving myself for using the bike. This is something I’ve been struggling with for a while and I’ve said before how I’ve been working on my mindset. But even when I was working on my mindset, I didn’t realize that I was putting negative thoughts into it by putting reasons and justifications when I was writing these posts each week.

Now, on to the workout recap.

Monday’s workout was a strength based class. I’ve been working more and more with the resistance levels on the bike so it was exciting to see what I would be able to do this time. We didn’t have that high of inclines/resistance levels to work with this time, so I didn’t do anything too crazy. But I am noticing that the resistance levels that seemed like my legs were pedaling through jello before now seem much easier. It’s really motivating to feel the progress in the resistance levels that I’ve been making because I still struggle to notice the progress a lot with the bike.

On the floor, we had 5 blocks and 4 of them were add on blocks. Everything was timed for us and those 4 blocks started with lateral lunges with shoulder work. The combination of the lunge and shoulder work was a bit tough for me so I split them into 2 different moves instead of one smooth move. Each block we added on another exercise like static over under, sit-ups, and static crunch heel taps. The last block started with a plank and then had all the ab exercises (but not the lunges). With the ab work, I had to modify almost everything. With the weather we’ve been having in LA, my hip has been hurting and I had to make things a little easier on my hip. But I’m working on figuring out how to make things easier on my hip but not easier in general.

Wednesday’s workout was a 3 group class (I think now my Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday workouts will all be 3 group classes) and it was a mix of endurance, strength, power but it did feel much more endurance and power based. For cardio we had 2 different 6 minute distance runs (or bikes). The first one was paced by the coach with different push and base paces and the second one was on our own. For the second one, I used the resistance level between my base and push and I was able to go further on the second attempt than I had on the first.

On the rower, we started with a 5 minute row for distance. I was able to get just over 1000 meters in 5 minutes and then we had squats to shoulder presses with the medicine ball. Then we were supposed to row half the distance we did before and then more squats to shoulder presses. Finally we cut the row in half again with more squats, but I was still working on my row when the block ended. And on the floor triceps with a dumbbell, chest presses on the straps, sumo squats, and single arm chest presses. I did go a bit heavier on my weights than I normally do because the weights I usually use were being used by other people. That is a good motivation to move to heavier weights, but I also was lucky that all the rep counts were really low.

Friday’s workout was another strength based day, but we only had limited hill work. We had 2 blocks for each section of the room and we switched between blocks (there were 6 blocks total). For the cardio blocks, we had similar patterns. We had a push pace, base pace, base pace at incline/higher resistance level, flat base pace, and an all out pace at an incline/higher resistance level. For the first block I did 2 levels higher than my normal all out level for the incline work and the second block I did 3 levels higher. Those levels made my legs work so hard, but it was a really good hard feeling!

For the row blocks, we started with a 400 meter row and then had squats with overhead presses and calf raises using the medicine ball. Every round we went down 50 meters on the rower and did the exercises between each row. They were all pretty short rows which was nice after having cardio blocks but I wasn’t as fast as I would have liked to have been. And on the floor for the first block we had deadlifts, shoulder presses, and leg raises. For the deadlifts and shoulder presses we had drop sets. That means we had a low rep count with a higher weight immediately followed by a higher rep count with a lower weight (we had 4 reps and then 12 reps). I went really heavy for the low rep count and it was a nice relief to have the lower weights after. And the second block was a block where I had to modify everything. What I did was lunges with weights, bench tap squats, and crunches.

Saturday’s workout was probably my favorite workout of the week. My hip pain from the rain was finally done and the class was a really great workout with lots of switching. It was an endurance day, but everything went by quickly so it didn’t really feel like endurance work.

We had a 3 group class and the rower and cardio sections did kind of a run/row format. I started on the bike and I started with a 4 minute bike for distance. Then I was on the rower for a 2 minute row with squat twists with the medicine ball. Then it was back to the bike for another 4 minute distance challenge. When I was on the rower side, I did the 2 minute row with squats for the first and third parts and another 4 minute distance challenge on the bike in the middle. Since the cardio side uses the rower second, those blocks were back to back for me so I got all the cardio work done together.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks. The longer block had weight work with bicep curls, upright rows, and hip hinge low rows. After those we had ab work that added each round that we did. I only made it through the first 2 rounds so I had static crunch scissor kicks and sit-ups. The second block was shorter and it was all work using the straps. We had Y-raises, high rows, and low rows. My arms and shoulders were killing me by the end of the workout!

I’ve been using the bike exclusively for a while and I’m still torn on how to work the treadmill into my workouts again. In another week or so I’ll be back to being nauseous so it’s a weird thing to try to figure out. But maybe this time is exactly what I needed to do so I could keep having these realizations to be happier with using the bike.

Just Being Lazy In The Rain (or Not Much To Write About)

We’ve been getting a lot of rain in LA lately. It’s a good thing since we need the rain so much right now. It is a bit bad due to all the fires we’ve had recently because of the mudslide risks, but overall it’s a good thing. And as much as I’ve been trying to think positively about the rain (free car wash), I’m not a huge fan of rain. And even more, I’m not a fan of a week of rainy weather. We’ve had rain almost every day over the past few days. The timing has been funny because the past few days it didn’t start raining until I was done working so all the non-rain time was when I couldn’t leave my house. And once I was free, I didn’t want to go out in the rain for a few reasons.

My hip always feels bad when the weather is like this. I usually start feeling it a day or two before it starts and it ends once the weather clears up. I’ve been dealing with this type of pain since I had my hip surgery so I’m somewhat used to it. I know that it will happen and I’ve got a few things I can do to make the pain a bit more tolerable. It’s never a great time for me, but rain is not a very frequent occurrence so I’m lucky that I don’t have to worry about this too much.

The best thing I can do for myself when I feel like this is to take things easy. I have to stretch out a lot and I end up sitting or laying down in weird ways to make things feel better. The best way to explain the pain I have is that it feel like there is a huge air bubble caught inside my hip that is causing a ton of pressure. I imagine that if I could take a big needle and put it into my hip, it would release the pressure immediately and the pain would be gone. I know that it’s not really that, but that’s the only way I can think of how to explain it. I know that there are a bunch of people who have a similar issue with various body parts when the weather is like this, so at least I know I’m not a total weirdo.

Since the rain has been happening all week and I usually lay low when it’s raining, I haven’t really done anything this week. I’ve worked, worked out, read, watched tv, and looked for a new job. This isn’t necessarily something I did this week, but the video about the collaboration I’m doing with Andrew Coleman Smith came out this week. If you haven’t seen that video, I highly recommend checking it out!

I hate when I have nothing interesting to write about in these posts, but I really don’t have much to say. The rain has been keeping me inside most of the time and I just having had the motivation or energy to do much. Even my normal errands have been getting postponed because I don’t feel like leaving my house. I am trying to make the most of my time and being productive when I can, but there’s also the feeling of wanting to be lazy when the rain is falling outside. There’s something about this weather that makes you want to wear sweats, get under a bunch of blankets, and watch trashy tv or cheesy movies. I’ve done some of that, but I’m also being mindful of my time so that I don’t waste an entire day;

The weather is supposed to be clearing up so hopefully I can get back to my normal life of going out and doing things. I do enjoy being lazy from time to time, but I know this round of laziness has been too much and I’m ready to move past it. It’s not easy to do that when I hurt, but I’m hoping the pain will be over by the weekend.

I know this sounds like a whiney and complaining post, and it kind of is. But I’m also aware of having issues with weather like this and that’s why I don’t live somewhere that I have to deal with the rain all the time. I couldn’t imagine how much pain I’d be in if I lived in Seattle or Portland where rain seems to be all the time. I love the sunshine of being in LA and I’m ready for the weather to be back to what I’m used to.

Sorry for the boring post today, but honestly my life has been pretty boring this week.

Seeing Actors Supporting Actors (or An Awesome Union Working Project)

For almost the entire time I’ve been a part of Union Working, our big goal was to work on the next commercial contract negotiation. It’s a very important issue for actors right now as we want to see our commercials remain union. Working under a union contract guarantees so many things for actors and we want those guarantees and protections. And while there is still work do to before the negotiations start soon, we are seeing the results of some of that work now.

While most of us in Union Working are middle class actors (or just starting out), we have been so lucky to have some A-list celebrities who are just as concerned as we are about things happening in our industry. Many of them wanted to make sure they could voice their concern for the issue as well as their support for their fellow union members. Some of the leaders of Union Working have been filming these actors so they could help the cause and the first video was just posted on our YouTube channel.

I know that some people who aren’t in the entertainment industry aren’t as familiar with the issues of the working actor, but I can give a good example of why working union is important.

I did a non-union commercial in 2007 for a hair care product. I don’t exactly remember how much I made, but it was about $1,000 which seemed amazing for a day of work. I was so excited about it and didn’t think too much about it being non-union. When you do a commercial, you can’t do another commercial that conflicts with it (so you can’t have a Coke and Pepsi commercial running at the same time). When you work union, there is a length of time they are allowed to run your commercial and if they want to extend it they have to pay you to do so. That’s not the case for non-union work. My $1,000 seemed amazing when I made it in 2007. It’s not as amazing when that commercial is still airing today and I haven’t made another penny from it. If this was a union project and they wanted to air it for over 10 years, I would be getting paid continuously for it in holding fees and residuals. I know that many non-union commercials are not ones that can run in perpetuity like mine is, but it’s still a possibility.

I have shared this story about my non-union commercial many times with actor friends. I feel like it’s important for actors to know what risks they are taking if they want to work non-union. I wish someone had explained it to me because I would have been smarter about things. I probably would have still done the project, but I might have asked about adding a line in my contract to change it from being able to run forever to having an end date. There’s no guarantee I could have gotten that change made, but I would have liked to have been educated about what I was getting myself into.

This is not to say that non-union work is bad. Everyone starts out somewhere and the experiences I’ve had when I was a non-union actor have been invaluable. But I also understand the benefit of working union and I am proud of what our union has gotten us as actors. I also have become much more aware of what all unions have done for their members. So I want to support union work as much as I can. And when commercials are only going non-union sometimes to save the corporations making them a little bit of money, that doesn’t seem right. I understand that companies have to save money on some things, but I don’t think it should be at the expense of working class people trying to make a living. I think most people agree that when companies don’t give their employees a raise but will give their executives raises that it’s not right. Or it’s not right for companies to encourage their full time employees to go on food stamps or other subsidies to help them afford the cost of living. Employees deserve a fair wage and that is exactly what actors are asking for.

I know some people probably roll their eyes at us and think that we don’t have a right to complain, but there are working class actors just like there are working class employees in other industries. When you don’t know when you are going to work again, it’s important to make sure you are making what you deserve. Working class actors aren’t making millions of dollars a year. Some of us make $5,000 a year from actors. Many of us make less than that. And we do supplement our acting income from our day jobs, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve what we make when we do get to act.

I am so proud of the video that Union Working made and the actors that have been participating in the project. I love seeing actors helping each other out at all levels of success and I am so grateful that we have some incredible talent on our side looking out for us.

Making Small Investments In My Health (or Trying To Not Be Anxious Or Paranoid)

I’m seriously a broken record about some things in my life. I guess I should be happy to have a routine and know what will happen, but I’m so tired of having a lot of anxiety prior to going to a dental appointment. I hate that even a cleaning will cause me to get all worked up and I can’t relax until the appointment is done. Even when I am having the cleaning done, I’m still paranoid that things are going to turn for the worst. I’m always asking the dental hygienist if everything looks ok or if she sees anything that looks suspicious. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop and for her to see something horrible with my teeth.

I know that I take care of my teeth. I had a brief period of time right after college when I wasn’t as good about things like flossing, but now that I’ve seen what happens when I slack off just a little I know I can’t miss any step of my dental care any day. And every time I go to the dentist, I double check to make sure that I’m using all the best things for me. I’ve switched toothbrushes and toothpaste based on what I’ve been told and I trust that those are really the best things for me to use with my situation. It’s not always the cheapest, but it’s much cheaper buying expensive toothpaste than it is to get major dental work.

One of the parts of keeping my teeth in the best condition they can be in that I’m not the best at is flossing. While I floss every day, I know I don’t floss as hard as I should. When flossing hurts or is uncomfortable, you go easy on yourself. And unfortunately if you go easy on flossing it’s not effective. I’ve learned this the hard way and I’ve tried to correct myself. But I knew that I had to look into some better options for me to make sure that I don’t have more issues down the road.

For some reason, getting a water flosser seemed like a really weird idea to me. I always imagined they were giant machines and super expensive. And when I have a bathroom that has almost no counter space, it seemed like something that wasn’t possible for me to get. But I looked more into the options online and found they weren’t as crazy as I had in my head. Most of them are pretty compact, but even the compact ones are larger than the limited counter space that I have. But I did find some of the travel versions are small enough for the space I have. The only downside in most of the reviews was about the water tank only hold half the water you need to use it each time. To refill water once seemed like a really small issue so I looked into the cheapest option for buying it.

I really lucked out with timing because I got my CVS reward and a 30% CVS coupon that week. So I was able to get a flosser that normally is close to $70 for about $40. It’s still an investment and I know that I shouldn’t be spending money, but I had to think about it being an investment to save me money and pain in the long run. I only got it about 2 weeks prior to my dentist visit, so I had no idea if it would make a difference. But I knew that if my teeth were much worse than normal, that it wasn’t worth the convenience.

Fortunately, at my appointment my teeth didn’t seem that different from how they were in my past appointments, so that was a good sign. I also got some advice on how to use the new flosser better so that hopefully I can have some improvement by my next appointment. I also learned that for the best results, I still need to use regular floss too (so I should floss, use the water flosser, brush, and then use mouthwash). I didn’t love to hear that news since I was happy not using regular floss, but again I need to do what is best for my teeth. I don’t think I will ever get over my fear that my teeth will all fall out or I will be told that something horrible is happening with my teeth. But I want to feel as secure as possible about doing everything I should do to prevent that.

My next dentist appointment is the big one with the x-rays in 4 months. I’m trying to not feel nervous just yet, but I’m already feeling the anxiety. I think it might be because I just had an appointment and my anxiety hasn’t faded from it just yet. Hopefully that will go away soon and in my dream life I won’t have any anxiety at all before my appointment. But realistically, I’m just hoping I’m only anxious the week of and I can laugh about it after because everything is fine.

An Evening Of Cheesecake (or Just A Calm Dinner With My Birthday Twin)

With my birthday twin Joanna, we have 2 traditions. The first is to do our free (or almost free) birthday meal. We’ve been going that for pretty much as long as we’ve been friends. The other tradition is to get cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory. We try to do this around the end of December or beginning of January since that is almost around our half birthdays. Sometimes that cheesecake dinner is a bit later, but we try our best to do it around the new year.

We usually go to the Cheesecake Factory at the Grove which can be crazy around the holidays. We tolerate the crowds since we made the choice to go there, but it’s always nice when it’s not as bad as we expect. And since we delayed our cheesecake dinner until this past week, we were hopeful that the crowds would be much less than they are when the Grove is still decorated for the holidays.

We planned on an early dinner to avoid the dinner rush and I got to the Grove first so I went to put our names on the list. We are used to having to wait 30 minutes or an hour, so whoever gets their first puts their name down and we know that we will have time to kill. Usually, we use that time for a lot of our catch up since we are just sitting there. I got there first this time and I was shocked when the host told me it was only a 5 minute wait! I texted Joanna and she said she was parking, but I still managed to be seated before she got there!

Joanna arrived only a few minutes after I sat at our table, and we decided to focus on our food first and then our catch up. I went with my usual salad and Joanna got a salad as well. We figure that we should save room for the cheesecake we knew we’d be getting. Then it was time for our catchup.

I had seen Joanna somewhat recently when we were doing our self-tape auditions, so it wasn’t as big of a catchup as they have been in the past. But of course we both still had a lot to talk about. I was updating her on my job situation and the random stories I have from online dating. She’s been taking a break from online dating and I totally get it. It can be really depressing and demoralizing when you meet so many bad guys or keep getting ghosted or stood up. I think the thing that is saving my sanity is thinking of all the bad dates as good stories for my book. My stories are usually pretty entertaining and I was messaging with someone while I was at dinner, so she was getting a play by play of what was going on.

Joanna updated me on a really amazing acting class that she is currently in plus her trips to see her family. Even though she and I are very similar people, we have had very different journeys and our lives are in different places right now so it’s always fun to see the randomness that she has been involved in. I know my life is random and crazy, and so is Joanna’s. But I think that is part of what makes life fun and exciting at times. I wish that some of the randomness regarding work would calm down for me, but I’m working on it.

And even though getting to hang out with an awesome friend is one of the main reasons we do this dinner every year, the highlight for us is the cheesecake! And ever since we learned they can cut each piece of cheesecake in half for us, we’ve loved it even more! We always get 2 slices cut in half (so we each get half of each slice) and it’s become a tradition to get the red velvet cheesecake as one of them. For the other slice, we change things up a bit. I recently had seen a silly quiz online that said it would tell you what flavor of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory you were. I sent it to Joanna and told her it told me I was Dulce de Leche cheesecake. We decided that had to be the other piece that we got.

Even though we ate light with our salads, we were so full after cheesecake. But it was worth it! We walked around and looked at some shops around the Grove after dinner, but it was more just to window shop than to actually look for things we want to buy. I think we both needed some time walking around before getting back into our cars with how full we were.

But after a little window shopping, it was time to head to the parking garage. I know that we both had such a fun time for dinner and I love how chill and relaxed this dinner is. Traditions don’t have to be stressful or over the top. Sometimes just a nice dinner is exactly what you want to help keep your friendship strong.

A Week Of Bike Work (or Working Through Nausea and Pain)

I knew going into this past week of workouts that it wasn’t going to be a great week. I’m trying to be less pessimistic about the issues I have, but it’s not easy all the time to find a positive side to them. But I do try to remind myself that I at least knew this was coming so I could be prepared. I don’t necessarily know which will be ok days and which will be really bad days, but I’m always prepared. And fortunately this past week did have some bright spots for me even with all the issues I had to deal with.

Monday’s workout was an endurance day and we had the 1 mile benchmark run. I knew that there was no way that I could use the treadmill, so I was going to do my first benchmark bike attempt and I was excited to see what would happen. Because I track my distance on the bike each workout, I have an idea about how long a distance would take me, but I had no idea what my PR would be since I never did that benchmark on the bike before.

When you use the bike, it’s 4 times as long as the treadmill. So the treadmill had a 1 mile run and I had a bike ride of 4 trips (there is a debate if 1 trip is really 1 mile or not). On average, that would take me about 10 minutes to do, but I was hoping to do it in under 9:30. I knew that I had my nausea working against me, but I really wanted to try to push through the nausea and keep going instead of taking a break to let it pass. In the end, I did my benchmark in 8:58 which was significantly faster than I thought I could do! And I did manage to not take any breaks during that time, but I paid for doing that in the rest of my workout. I was dealing with so much nausea and each time I had a wave of nausea I had a very intense cramp. It wasn’t fun. The rest of cardio was a run/row, but I didn’t get that far into it. My benchmark took longer than most people and I was slow on the rower. But I got through 3 rows and was working on the next bike distance when cardio was done.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks. The first block had hip hinge low rows with weights, low rows on the straps, plank rows with weights, and straight leg hip raises. I couldn’t do the plank work so I did single arm hip hinge low rows with a weight. And I also couldn’t do the straight leg hip raises so I did regular crunches. The second block was shorter with sumo squats to high rows and leg lifts. Fortunately I was able to do both of those exercises so that was nice to not need modifications for at least a little bit of the workout.

Wednesday’s workout was an interesting one. With cardio we had treadmill/bike work alternating with exercises and for the floor we had exercises alternating with rowing. Every single block was 2 minutes long and we were constantly moving.

I started on the bike where all the 2 minute treadmill/bike blocks were a push pace for 2 minutes. I was able to use my push pace resistance level even though I couldn’t go as fast as I usually can. The 2 minute blocks between the biking was 3 rounds of 30 seconds on and 15 seconds rest of speed skater lunges, squats, lateral lunges, and sit-ups. I was able to do all those exercises with limited modifications and when I was starting to get nauseous that seemed to be when we had our 15 second break.

On the floor, we had the same pattern of 3 rounds of 30 seconds on and 15 seconds of rest with the exercises. We had bench sit-ups to stands, plank jacks, and then one round that had all the ab exercises in it. And when we were on the rower we had a 2 minute push row. Just like with the bike, I was able to get through it but I wasn’t going as hard or as fast as I normally can. I think I really lucked out with this workout having as much rest as we did because I wasn’t doing anything for that long at one time. I was prepared for so much worse with my nausea and it was nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Friday was the hardest day for me. I wasn’t really feeling nauseous anymore, but I was having horrible cramps with intense pain. I don’t know why my painkillers weren’t helping me, but it was some of the most intense cramping I’ve had that I can recall. All I could do when a cramp hit me was to stop and breathe through it. It’s on days like this one that I’m extra grateful for all my amazing coaches because they know what I’m dealing with and they don’t stress out over seeing me take breaks. They will check in on me, but I’m not always feeling like I have to explain or defend myself.

This workout was a 3 group endurance workout and my only focus was to get through it the best that I could. For cardio, we had 2 blocks that were the same. The idea was to increase our base pace so we could get more distance in the second block, but I didn’t worry about that. I didn’t reset the bike so I only know the distance I did over the entire cardio time. They were pretty classic endurance blocks with a long push pace, a base pace, a shorter push pace, a base pace, and an all out. I was happy with the easy to follow plan so I could just focus on trying to do what I was able to do and not having to worry about what part of the block we were in.

For the rower, we started with a 600 meter row and then we had squat front raises using a medicine ball. The idea was to decrease the row 100 meters each round. I only made it through 3 rounds before the rowing was done, but just like my feeling with cardio I knew I did the best I could with having to take as many breaks as I had to.

And on the floor, I needed a lot of modifications due to the exercises we had. We first had bench toe taps and plank work. I can’t do bench work like that due to my hips, so I did lunges instead. And I did my plank work using the bench so I wasn’t totally facing the ground. Then we had squats and crunches, which I could do just fine. And we ended with bench crossovers and mountain climbers, which I couldn’t do. I did skater lunges and used the bench for my mountain climbers so I was able to do something.

I was finally feeling more like myself by Saturday’s workout. I still wasn’t totally back to normal, but it was the best of the days that week. We had an endurance, strength, and power day and it was a good but hard workout!

For cardio, we started with endurance work with push paces to base paces that kept getting longer. Then we started doing hill work and we finished with a bunch of all out paces that were both on flat incline and hills. I was going almost my normal speed on the bike and I was using all of my resistance levels. I even was able to increase my resistance levels to do the hill work although I wasn’t doing the highest levels I know I could do. I had to take very few breaks during the cardio work and most of those breaks were me needing to drink water (I can’t drink water and pedal at the same time yet).

On the floor, we had 2 blocks. The first block had full thrusters with weights, single arm snatches with weights, and plank jacks. I know I went too light with my weights, but I was feeling a bit off doing them. It was almost like a light nausea feeling mixed with seasickness. So I went a little easy on myself. And I was able to do the plank jacks normally so I knew that was a sign I was doing much better! The second block was rowing and work using the Bosu. We started with a 400 meter row and then did kneeling shoulder work and hip bridges with the Bosu. Then a 200 meter row and back extensions and sit-ups on the Bosu. We were supposed to do a 100 meter row after that, but I didn’t make it to that point in the workout.

Considering I had a goal to be more enthusiastic about being on the bike, I think I did really well this week. I did have some negative feelings about how I was feeling, but that was more about how I felt and not thoughts about being on the bike. I even had moments that I was excited to be using the bike like figuring out my benchmark time for it. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the bike more often than the treadmill and the main idea I keep coming back to is to just use only the bike. I know it might not be the best plan for me, but I think it might be what I need to do while I keep figuring out my options. But whether I use the bike all week this week or do the treadmill a bit, I know it will be a good week of hard work!

Another Night At Hipcooks (or I’m On Fire!)

My first experience at Hipcooks was a few months ago. I was very lucky to be invited to check out a class and I had the best time! But that class was a bit weird for me because it was the morning after I had to force a friend to check into a hospital for being suicidal. As much as I wanted to focus on the class, I know I was distracted and not totally there. I still had an amazing time, but I couldn’t wait to take another class so I could feel completely involved in the experience.

The classes at Hipcooks are amazing and I’d take a class every week or so if I could (I am looking at their volunteer assistant opportunities so I can be in classes for free), but anything that isn’t essential isn’t in my budget right now. So I was so grateful when my friend Dani invited me to check out a class that she was teaching! She was going to be teaching another cocktails class so it would be similar to the one I went to before. But it was all new recipes and drinks so it was totally different. As soon as she invited me to her class, I said yes because I knew there was no way I was going to miss it!

The first class I went to was in West LA very close to where I live. This time, I went to their class in the art district near downtown LA. I gave myself plenty of time to drive there because of traffic, and I got there nice and early. They have a ton of free parking at that location which is amazing, so once I parked I headed over to the class to relax before everything started.

The space is very similar to the one I went to before. They have the same set-up for the cooking with the semi-circle table so everyone in class is working together.

And there was the big table for us to sit at to learn the different cocktails we were going to make and to enjoy the food we prepared.

The cocktail class I took last time was more of a summer themed class with lighter drinks and food. This time, the class was a winter themed cocktail class and we had food and drinks that had different holiday spices.

When I was a bit distracted in class last time, I was able to put my focus on taking photos of everything that we were doing. I loved being able to share photos of things we made and I was hoping to do the same this time. But I guess the more involved in the class I am, the less likely I am to take any photos! I took a few photos of things while we were making them, but they don’t show the finished product.

So you’ll just have to read the about what we made. For food we made glazed walnuts, gorgonzola stuffed apples, pears with Manchego wrapped in prosciutto, mushroom and goat cheese empanadas, croustade cups with salmon, seared beef on parmesan crisps, and spiced cookies. And for the drinks, we made a rosemary pomegranate gin fizz, a winter dark and stormy, mulled wine, a new fashioned, and a hot apple pie. All of the food and all of the drinks were so good! And even though I don’t really drink, I did try all of the drinks we made and I really liked the gin fizz! I don’t normally like gin, but this was really good and I could see making it for a party!

While I didn’t get that many photos of the food, I did get one amazing photo. The benefit of being more attentive and involved in the class is that I got to do some really fun things. For the glazed walnuts, we added alcohol and got to flambé the pan. There were 3 pans going and Dani demonstrated with the first one. The second one was done by someone else in class and the didn’t quite get it to burn in a really spectacular way.

Then it was my turn. I know I’m not a great cook and doing anything with fire can be scary, but I wanted to see if I could do it. Thankfully, I asked one of the other instructors to take photos of me while I did this because I think I got one of the greatest photos of me ever!

I thought I wouldn’t be as terrified as I was, but it was scary when it started going. After the initial shock and I started to move the pan around, it got easier and I was so proud of myself for doing it. It’s not something I would need to do in normal cooking (or would probably do in my own tiny kitchen), but it’s nice to know I have this skill if I ever get the chance to do it.

I also was involved in a lot of the other dishes including helping to shape the parmesan crisps into tacos and bowls after coming out of the oven. Everyone in class was working together so nicely and we had a really fun and silly mood in the room. The last class I was at probably was like that as well, but I just wasn’t totally there. This time I got to enjoy how nice it is to be in a cooking class where everyone is just having the best time.

I was a bit sad when class was done because I just had the greatest time! Dani was an awesome teacher and I’m so proud of her. She is new to teaching and I think she did so great and I know that she’s just going to get better as she continues to teach. And I know that I want to take more of her classes because it’s always fun to be in a class with friends, even if they are your teacher.

I hope that I get another chance to take a class at Hipcooks soon. Both of the times I’ve gone I have had an incredible time and have left feeling empowered. Cooking is something that still makes me a bit nervous to mess up, but Hipcooks class emphasizes having fun and trying new things. I know I need to do that more often not just in cooking but in my life.

Wondering How To Complete Some Goals (or I Have An Idea But Not A Plan)

Because there were so many goals in 2018 that I didn’t complete, I am working hard this year to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I always set my goals with the expectation that I will be able to complete or accomplish them. Sometimes they don’t seem that hard for me to do, but I’ve realized that is also my downfall. When I assume that I will be able to complete a goal without too much work, I can slack off on doing that. I’ve seen that happen a lot recently and I don’t want to continue that bad habit.

I think this all started when I started to do more abstract goals and challenges. When I don’t have a way to track and measure, I can tell myself that I am doing the right things even if I’m not. That’s why budgeting and tracking food and weight is important. I don’t want to ignore the signs that things are going the wrong direction. I will admit, I haven’t been great in budgeting and food tracking lately either. Budgeting is a weird one since I know that I am not making enough to support my lifestyle. I don’t need to get a bunch of alerts and red numbers telling me I’m over budgeting for my rent when I can’t reduce it. But as soon as I find a new job, I will be back on it since I know I need to.

One of my goals for this year is to use my free time in a more productive manner.  In a perfect world, a lot of my current free time would be getting used by a new job. Unfortunately the job hunting isn’t going as well as I hoped it would be and I’m still looking for a new one. I guess the job hunting could be considered a productive use of my free time, but because I was getting so burnt out from looking I’ve had to limit my job search time to 4 hours a day. I know that probably seems like a lot, but I need a job now and for some reason I’m struggling to find one.

I’ve also been doing online class stuff during my free time, but that’s not taking up as much time as I have. I’m trying to limit how much time I’m doing mindless things online or watching tv or movies, but sometimes I just don’t know what else to do with that free time. My biggest issue is while I’m working because I have to be on my computer then. I can’t go out and do things and I can’t really be doing things in different parts of my house. Even though my house is tiny, I can’t be in my kitchen cooking if my phone rings or a customer reaches out via online chat. I’m stuck at my desk and looking at a computer.

I have added a few educational apps to my phone like the New York Times crossword and I’ve gotten pretty good at it! But each of these little things I’m adding just doesn’t seem like what I need to have in mind when I’m thinking about spending my free time more productively. I’m honestly opening it up to suggestions because I don’t know where to start or what to consider.

I think realizing that one of my goals this year doesn’t really have a plan yet is a good thing. I’d rather realize it now instead of 6 months later and figure out that I have been wasting the time that I have. And with many things in my life, being hyperaware that there is something I want to fix is always a good thing and is very useful to me in making changes. I’ve been considering trying to track how I spend my free time, and I know there are apps I can use for that on my computer, but I’m not sure if that’s the right move for now. I really just want to figure out a plan for how I can change things and make them better before I try to see what my current screen time usage is like. Hopefully when I have that plan, my screen time during work will be limited to just my work stuff and perhaps whatever productive things I find to do between customers if they are things I do on my computer.