Category Archives: Celebrations

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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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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Ringing In 2018 (or Being Festive While Being Lazy On The Couch)

I had been looking forward to New Year’s Eve for a while. It’s always a great party and I knew that I’d be seeing a bunch of my friends there. And I was hoping for a much easier time getting home after the party compared to the year before (that’s when my car died). Everything seemed to be going my way until the week of New Year’s Eve.

That’s when I started dealing with the nausea and pain from hormones and I started to question if I was even going to make it to the party. I felt so horrible and wasn’t sure if I’d be a good party guest. But then I realized that not going to the party wasn’t going to make me feel better and I wanted to see my friends no matter what. So I took all my medications to try to help me get through the evening and headed to the party.

I did accessorize with my bracelets with my words of 2017 and 2018 on them because it felt like a fun way to celebrate a new year.

When I got to the party, I wasn’t feeling too bad. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat anything, but I was able to hang out outside and be social with my friends. It was a smaller party than it has been in the past so it was easier to talk to people and catch up.

But after about an hour, I felt like my medications weren’t working anymore and the pain and nausea were getting to me again. I wasn’t going to leave the party, but I decided to go lay down on a couch in their living room to try to feel better. For a little while, I was by myself in there and that was fine with me. But slowly people started joining me in the living room to hang out and dance. I stayed on the couch being lazy and trying to feel better but it was nice to feel like I was still involved a bit.

Pretty much everyone at the party knew the situation with how I was feeling, so nobody was making a big deal out of me not doing much at the party. And people seemed to be making a bit of an effort to come over to hang out with me since they knew I wasn’t going to be getting up from the couch. And while I was feeling bad most of the time, there were moments that I felt like myself again and I managed to take a fun photo with some of my friends.

I was at the party for a few hours, and for a majority of that time I was on the couch not feeling so great. It was nice to have the distractions of my friends, but it was a bit frustrating to not feel like myself and to not be participating as much as I would have liked. Everyone seemed so happy and at times I worried that I was being a downer and bringing the party down (I know in reality I wasn’t, I just felt that way).

Right before midnight we turned on the tv to watch the ball drop (even though it was technically a 3 hour delay from when it happened in New York). I fortunately was feeling slightly better as midnight approached so I got off the couch and joined everyone to celebrate the new year. Even though I don’t drink that much now, I would have had some of the champagne if I was feeling ok. But I didn’t think mixing pain and anti-nausea meds with even a little bit of alcohol was a smart idea. So I toasted the new year with water instead.

I was happy that I made it to midnight with my friends, but right after I decided it was time to head home and get to bed. The party was going strong when I was leaving, but everyone knows that I like to leave before it gets too late because I don’t want to have to deal with crazy drivers on the road. I was also a bit paranoid that something would happen on my drive back like last year. Fortunately, I got home without any issues and was in bed before 1am.

While this wasn’t the New Year’s Eve that I had been looking forward to, it still ended up being a fun time. I think that just being around my friends is what makes these parties so great for me. The next party will be the Oscar party and I’ve already started to work on my costume for it. I’ve got a fun idea for the costume and I think it shouldn’t be too tough for me to do!

My 2018 Goals (or Pushing Myself And Being Gentle With Myself)

I think that my goal setting for each year always takes an interesting twist. I get so ambitious with what I want to do and then I get so fearful that I won’t be able to accomplish them. I know that not succeeding at every goal is ok, but I do also like to set myself up for success. So when I was thinking about my goals for this year, I did a lot of reflection on what has worked in the past and what hasn’t worked as well. And I think I created a pretty good set of goals for the year.

My first goal for 2018 is a Orangetheory one. I like setting a workout goal for the year because it helps me stay on top of things. And when I have an annual goal, I can break it down and know what my monthly goal needs to be as well. Last year I did pretty amazing with my workout goal so I want to push that just a bit further. I want to do 199 workouts in 2018. I think it should be possible because I’m pretty much doing 4 workouts a week every week. I need to make sure that I do that again this year. And there’s a chance I might have to have a few 5 workout weeks to make up for things. But I know what I need to be doing each month to accomplish this so I can keep checking in with myself as the months go on this year.

My next goal is to find at least 1 5K race to do. Neither of my regular races are probably happening this year, and I don’t want to have a year that I don’t do at least one race. It’s been a long time since I haven’t had any races in a year and I don’t want to make that this year. It was weird enough only having 1 race last year. I would like to try to have 2 races, but I am picky on what races I do and since I have no clue what will connect with me I don’t want to set myself up too much for that to not work out. Hopefully I’ll have more than 1 race, but I’m going to make sure that there is at least 1.

The next goal could be related to either of the previous goals. I want to set a new PR with my mile time. It’s much more likely that it will happen at Orangetheory when we have a mile challenge than in a race where I need to pace myself, but you never know when it will happen. I know what my mile PR is and I know it will be very difficult to beat it. But I think that having that as a goal will help me work harder on my running so that the goal is much more possible at some point this year.

Next is something I also had last year. I want to get my debt down to a number that is a goal in my head. I missed hitting this goal last year but I also had some financial setbacks (mainly having my hours cut back significantly at one of my jobs) that I think really contributed to me missing the goal. But now with my current financial status I think I can hit that goal and maybe even get a bit further than that. It won’t be easy, but I’m really going to try. I know that no matter what, I will get my debt down more and that is always a victory. But I’d really like to hit this goal this year!

And finally, I set a recovery related goal. It’s always tough for me to pick a recovery related goal because this is where I can really set myself up to feel like I failed. As much as I’d like to say that I want to be in recovery by the end of 2018, that is not realistic. And the baby steps in recovery aren’t easy to measure (or at least, not easy for me to measure on my own). So when I was thinking about what I wanted to do in my eating disorder recovery this year, all I could think about is how I can’t just keep doing what I’m doing. I need to make changes to see changes. And that idea inspired my goal. I want to try new recovery methods and ideas this year. I don’t know what methods and ideas they may be, but I want to be more open to new ideas and see what sticks. Trying new recovery methods doesn’t mean that they will work, but I won’t know unless I try which is the idea of this goal.

So there are my goals for 2018. I think that I’ve set some things that I should be able to do and things I will need to strive for. And I can’t wait to see how these end up getting accomplished this year and I know that before I know it I will be writing my post updating you all on how it went!

Reflecting Back On 2017 (Kind Of Reaching My Goals)

I can’t believe this is my last blog post of 2017! It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was writing my goals for the year. This year definitely wasn’t what I expected it to be, but that was mostly for the best. But because of things not being the way I thought they would, some of my goals didn’t end up happening the way I thought. For some goals I totally surpassed what I expected and for others they didn’t happen. But even with the non-successes (I don’t consider them failures), I learned a lot.

My first goal I had for 2017 was 181 workouts. When I set that goal, I expected to be out for a little while when I had surgery so I thought it might be a bit of a stretch. I tried to make up for the time I thought I would be missing by doing more weeks of 4 workouts a week. That ended up being my new normal which was pretty exciting. And then I didn’t have surgery so I didn’t have to take the time away that I thought I would. But that didn’t slow me down and as long as the last few days this month go as planned I will be ending the year with 196 workouts!

I was pretty shocked when I looked at my total and saw how far over my goal I had gone. I knew I was going to be doing more than I thought, but I didn’t think I’d be 15 workouts ahead of my goal. That’s pretty amazing and even if every workout wasn’t the best one, consistency is so important and I think I’ve proved to myself that I have that.

My next goal I had for the year was to get through my liver surgery as easily as possible. I’ve got a history of having an easy time with surgeries, but this was going to be the first time I would have to stay overnight at the hospital and it was a much more extreme surgery than any I’ve had before. Well, as you all probably know from all of my posts about it, I didn’t have surgery. So technically there was no way for me to accomplish this goal. But I reframed it in my mind to be more about getting through this entire situation about my liver with less stress. And I think I did accomplish that. I think that I will always be a little nervous before going in for an MRI because I don’t want the tumors to grow, but beyond that time I really don’t think about my tumors that much at all. I do think about them once a day when I do visualization, but after that I try to not focus on it.

Next was to work on my recovery and hopefully reduce my binge episodes. I’m torn on how I did on this goal. I think that I have made some big strides in my recovery and there was some time where my binges were the most infrequent they have ever been, but that didn’t last. I don’t know what I need to do to keep that momentum, but my awareness is higher than ever and I consider that a win. I think this past year I’ve also become more aware of how long this recovery journey may take and that even if it doesn’t feel like I’m taking steps forward I am. I wish that some of my progress was more obvious and the results could be seen, but I think I’ll just have to wait a bit on that. But it’s a good thing that there isn’t a deadline to be recovered.

Next was a money related goal. I wanted to reduce my debt to be at a number that I had in my head. That reduction would have been about 25% of the debt I have and would have been amazing. I didn’t quite make it to that number, but I did get my debt down about 19% which is better than I have done before. This is also after getting a major reduction in my hours at one of my jobs. I went from 12-15 hours a week to 4 which cut my income down a lot. So to be able to reduce my debt that much and re-budget my life with the reduced money coming in is a big step. I wish I could have done more, but I also know that the circumstances weren’t easy and to reduce the debt at all took a lot of work.

I also set a goal to have a new PR in my 5K race. That worked out pretty well for me since I had a new PR at the one 5K I did this year. I had that PR on the course with the hills which usually slows me down. But because I had my running intervals longer that made up for any decrease in speed I had on my hills. To PR is awesome and I’m so happy that I was able to do that. But I was sad that I only had 1 race this year and that I didn’t have another chance to try to improve on that PR. Next year will be weird because neither of the 5Ks I usually do will be happening, but at least I know that I hit my 2017 goal for my races!

And my final goal for this year was to have more fun. I think I totally succeeded in this! I had so many Disney and Universal adventures with friends. I went to a lot of fun parties and just tried to have a lot of fun with the random things of life. And even though dating can be crazy and stressful at times, I’ve been having fun with that too. It does help that I’ve been turning all the bad stories into stories for my book so whenever I have a bad date I think about how funny it will be when someone else reads it. I haven’t gotten serious about anyone yet, but to have fun with dating is something that hasn’t really been in my past before and I’m glad that’s kind of my experience now.

Overall, I think I had more wins than non-successes with my goals. I might not have achieved everything I wanted, but that’s not really what goals are about. If they were all easy to reach then I didn’t set them high enough. I need to be striving for things and not reaching my goals does motivate me to do better. Look at my workouts as an example. I missed my goal in 2016 but far surpassed it in 2017. Missing that goal last year motivated me to do even better this year.

My next few posts will all be about what I’ve got in mind for 2018. I’ve got some big goals again that I’m thinking about and I’m excited to share them next week. But for now, I guess that’s a wrap on posts for 2017! It was a great year for me and I’m so grateful for you all following me on my journey! Have an awesome NYE (and please don’t drink and drive!) and hopefully we all have an incredible start to 2018!

A Very Low-Key Christmas (or Not Spending My Day Off Doing My Usual Stuff)

I really didn’t do much at all this year on Christmas. It was a bit unfortunate that it fell on my day off of work because it didn’t feel like much of a break. In fact, it was a bit annoying at times because I would think of an errand that I would want to run like I do on a normal day off but couldn’t do it because everything was closed. Since I couldn’t do my normal day off stuff, I tried to not really focus on doing much at all.

Originally I was thinking about hanging out with some friends for the day with watching movies and getting Chinese food. I do that a lot and it is always a fun way to spend Christmas. But as it got closer to Christmas, my friends weren’t able to meet up. Some ended up having something to do with relatives that weren’t that far out of town. Others didn’t feel like doing anything that day and didn’t want to get dressed to leave their house (I don’t blame them). And other friends ended up getting the nasty cold bug that has been going around and I was happy that they weren’t going to come over to expose me to getting sick.

But spending Christmas alone isn’t that big of a deal to me. It would have been fun hanging out with friends, but I was able to just be lazy for the entire day and do everything that I wanted to without worrying about anything. It’s award screeners season and I’ve got access to all my digital screeners (the DVDs haven’t started arriving yet). So I spent a bit of my day watching some of the screeners so I don’t feel like there is a crazy rush to watch them all before I vote for the SAG Awards.

I also hadn’t had a chance to catch up on shows that I have been recording on my DVR or streaming so I started to watch some of those. And I love to read and wanted to get through some of my library books so I spent a lot of time doing that. And of course, I got my Chinese food. It was just delivery food since I was on my own, but I made sure not to overdo things. And once I was done eating, I didn’t want to keep the leftovers in my house because I didn’t want to keep eating when I knew I didn’t need to. So all my leftovers went in the trash as soon as I was done. It did feel like a bit of a waste of money for what I spent on food, but the wasted money is fine when it is helping me. Plus, I figure I save a ton of money on other things by having free movie screeners or getting books from the library so I didn’t have to feel too guilty.

I didn’t see anyone besides the food delivery guy the entire time. I spent the day in sweats with no makeup on and my hair up in a top knot. I was kind of a basic white girl for the day, but that worked for me. I didn’t feel like making an effort if I was just going to be home alone for the day and it is nice to not worry about things.

I know I need to do some of my regular errands during this week after work to make up for not getting them done on my day off, but I didn’t have a ton that I had to do anyway. And with my next day off being New Years Day, at least I know that most stores like grocery stores are open so I don’t have to put things off for another day.

I’m sure that for some people reading what I did for Christmas is a bit depressing. But Christmas isn’t really a holiday I’ve ever celebrated. It feels like just another day to me. And yes, I would have loved spending time with friends seeing movies and going out for dinner but I can also do that other nights. I like that I have my traditions on Christmas that can be done on my own or with my friends. But whether or not I’m celebrating the day with others I always seem to have a good time.

Just A Quick Christmas Hello! (or Back To Normal Blogging Tomorrow)

I know that my Monday posts are normally my workout recap, but since today is Christmas I just wanted to do a quick post to say that I hope you are all celebrating Christmas however you like to celebrate! I will be doing Jewish Christmas (more on that later this week) and will be enjoying a relaxing Monday!

It is weird to think that today is a holiday for everyone when for me it just feels like a normal Monday off. The only difference for me is that I don’t have a workout today and nothing is open. I usually do all my errands on my Mondays off, but this time I don’t know if I’ll even really be leaving my house to do anything.

My workout recap will be coming tomorrow, but I just wanted to have a quick message today to say that I hope you are having an awesome day doing whatever you love to do! And if reading my workout recaps is how you wanted to spend Christmas, I’m sorry. But I guess having that tomorrow will make your Christmas 1 day longer.

 

Union Holiday Party (or Seeing A Lot Of People In A Little Time)

This seems to have been the week of parties. On Monday I had the 300th episode party for the podcast. On Tuesday I was supposed to go to a holiday party but I ended up being too tired to go (I was still recovering from Monday). And Wednesday was the SAG-AFTRA holiday party!

I’ve gone to the holiday party before and knew it would be pretty crowded. But I think I kind of forgot how overwhelming the entire party could be. I was still feeling tired from the week and had spent Wednesday working and working out. As soon as I was showered from my workout, I got into my car to go to the party. I knew I was missing the beginning of the party, but I wasn’t too worried about that. Last time they were running low on food toward the end of the party, but I was feeling a bit off besides being tired and didn’t feel like eating. So lack of food at the party wasn’t a concern for me.

As soon as I arrived and got in line, I started to see friends of mine. That is one of the great things about being more involved in the union. The more events I go to the more I recognize people at other events. It’s still a bit much going to a party like this alone and I had wished a friend could have come with me. But at least I knew I’d be seeing a lot of friends.

Once I was in the party, I started to try to make a lap around the room the best that I could to see who else I knew there. It seemed like everywhere I looked I knew at least one person so that was pretty awesome. Some of my friends there had been up since 3am that day because the SAG Awards nominations were announced that morning. That put my tiredness into perspective for me!

It was nice to have a fun social event to catch up with actor friends. We didn’t really discuss union issues, there was no need to talk about election season, and everyone was in a fun and festive mood. I didn’t take any pictures, but fortunately I had friends who took pictures with me so there is some evidence that I was at the party!

Since I got there late, I wanted to stay until the end of the party. But things just weren’t working for me that night. I was having a great time catching up with my friends and wanted to do more of that, but I knew I needed to get back home. I didn’t want to drive and feel tired so I wanted to leave before the tiredness started to feel worse. And my body was just feeling worse. I have a tendency to get stress sick (where you get sick right after something that was stressing you out) and I think I got that from worrying about the podcast party. I knew that I could potentially stay longer, but I would be paying for that later and I didn’t want to have to worry about that.

I only ended up being at the party for about an hour or so and I wish I could have been there longer. But at least in that hour I saw so many people who I knew. There were a few people who I saw in photos later that I didn’t get to see in person, but I think I saw a majority of my friends there. I felt like I had been pretty social and got to catch up on life with people. I think a lot of people were feeling tired and stressed so at least I wasn’t alone in that feeling. And my friends understood when I wasn’t acting like my normal bubbly self.

Of course after this crazy party week I don’t have any more big holiday parties that I can think of besides NYE parties. It would have been nice to have all the parties spread out so I could have enjoyed each one (and attended all of them), but things don’t normally go like that. I’m just glad that I didn’t feel too tired or sick to get to the union holiday party and that I did have a great time in the limited time that I spent there!

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Celebrating 300 Episodes (or We Had Another Amazing Party)

I’ve shared on here before when the podcast I work for celebrated 100 and 200 episodes. And this week, we celebrated 300 episodes! I’ve been with the podcast for a long time, but it’s still pretty crazy to me on how many episodes we’ve done. And I couldn’t be more proud of our hosts, Trevor and AJ, for everything they’ve done.

This time, we didn’t do a live recording. Instead, we did a week in the life of a series regular with Chelsey Crisp. We had been working on interviews for a few months and Chelsey even did some interviews for us so we could hear from cast members who weren’t available when we were on set! This interview (or I guess series of interviews) ended up being so incredible and I am very proud of it.

But just because we didn’t do a live recording didn’t mean we didn’t want to have a party and celebrate this milestone episode! It actually ended up being easier not having the recording because we only had 1 location to worry about. I wasn’t stressing out about getting back and forth and was able to focus completely on the party. And I wasn’t doing the planning alone. The podcast community manager, Deb, was the co-planner (and honestly did more than I did).

Since we were only focused on the party, we tried to make it as amazing as possible. We wanted to have a step and repeat again with photo booth props. Adam Emperor Southard (who did my headshots in the past) was able to be our photographer and Deb and I did some shopping and creating for some fun photo booth props. We did have a lot of things on our own, but we also found an awesome 99 Cents store that had so many costumes and props for us to buy! But one of my favorite things we had was an Instagram photo frame that Deb made. It looked so good and everyone loved taking photos with it!

(BTW, all photos in my post were taken by Adam and I highly recommend using him for any headshots or photo shoots you might have)

I didn’t take as many photos this year as I had in the past, but I still tried to get some good ones. I wanted to get one with Grace, who is the podcast PR manager and my Orangetheory buddy!

And I got one with my friend Nick. But him being at the party is a bit of a cool and crazy story. Nick and I were in improv class together 2 years ago. We became Facebook friends while we were in class together but hadn’t seen each other since the class. But the morning of the party, he messaged me on Facebook to say that he just started listening to Inside Acting and heard that the production coordinator had the same name as me and he wanted to know if it was me. I told him it was and that we were having our 300th episode party that night. He happened to be free and made it to support us! It’s so crazy how perfect the timing was with that all because if he started listening to the podcast one day later he would have missed the party and I would have missed getting to see him again!

And of course, we had to get a team photo of the entire Inside Acting team. It’s rare for us all to be together so we wanted to take advantage of this moment!

But we also needed to get a fun team photo to take advantage of all the props we had! Besides the Instagram frame, I loved our speech bubbles. Many of them had phrases that the hosts say often on the podcast and they thought it was hysterical that we had those speech bubbles.

But we didn’t just have a party with photos, we wanted to make it seem more like an event. Since our 300th episode was focused around one episode of “Fresh Off The Boat” that Chelsey was filming, we decided to screen the episode at the party. But what the guys didn’t know was that Deb and I planned a surprise for them before the screening.

I reached out to all of our past guests, past team members, and current team members asking for anyone who was interested to send us a video of telling the guys congrats on reaching 300 episodes. We got several videos back and I worked on editing it down so it was a more manageable length to watch. They had no idea that we did this and I was terrified that the surprise would be spoiled by someone. But it wasn’t (even when it started to play without sound and we had to start over) and it was obvious from looking at the guys that they were so touched that we did this and they had no clue that we were planning any sort of surprise like this.

And if you are interested in watching the video we made for them, you can check it out here:

We also had a raffle where we gave away a lot of fun prizes. Everyone seemed really into the raffle and I think we will have to do it when we have our party for the 400th episode in about 2 years. We were giving away headshot sessions, coaching sessions, demo reel editing, and other fun things.

And while I was stressed out for pretty much the entire party (I just wanted everything to go perfectly), I did try to take some time to sit back and reflect on this milestone episode and the incredible community that this podcast has created. I loved seeing listeners meet each other for the first time, talk to the guys about how they loved one episode or another, and just have a fun time at a party that we were throwing. It was a really special night and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it.

I told both Trevor and AJ how proud I am of them at the party, but there are seriously no words to express how I feel about these guys. They created this podcast that has turned into a resource that so many actors use to educate themselves about the industry. We get the best guests and we are so lucky that guests are now reaching out to us instead of us always reaching out to them. I know that this podcast is going to continue to grow and it will only be getting better. Saying that I love them both and that I’m so grateful to them only scratches the surface of how I feel. I am just so incredibly lucky that they are my friends and that I get to help them with the podcast.

Now that we finished our 300th episode, I’m already trying to plan how we can top it when we have our 400th episode. Fortunately, I’ve got about 2 years to work on that and I’ve already got some ideas of what I want to do. I know that I don’t have to keep topping myself with these milestone podcast events, but I like to have something to work toward. And I know that Trevor and AJ deserve only the best when we have these milestones.

If you are a listener to Inside Acting, thank you so much for your support! I am so grateful to all of our listeners because there would be no podcast without them! And I just want to make sure that I keep the podcast as great as our listeners expect it to be and I hope that I can keep that up!

Bonfire At The Beach (or A Winter Birthday That Feels Like Summer)

My friend Dani had a ┬ábirthday celebration at Disneyland last week, but she was celebrating a milestone birthday so she had to do multiple birthday parties (which I totally support!). She had been trying to figure out what to do for her birthday and she finally decided on a beach bonfire! I hadn’t done one of those in a while, so I was super excited to get to celebrate with her that way.

I had a few things to do before meeting everyone at the beach and the sun was setting as I arrived. It was a gorgeous sunset and I’m glad I didn’t miss it!

And since we’ve been having a bit of a heat wave lately, it wasn’t that cool on the beach when the sun set. Dani and her friends had gotten there much earlier so they already claimed a bonfire pit and had everything set up. It was a much better setup than when I’ve gone before. They had chairs, blankets, and a table for all the food. And the fire was going by the time I joined them all.

It was just a good old-fashioned classic beach bonfire. They had hot dogs that we roasted over the fire and lots of snacks to have with them. And we also had s’mores. Dani recently got nice roasting skewers so we didn’t have to search the beach for sticks or anything. And all the food was so good, even if I did burn a hot dog or two. There were a few hot dogs and hot dog buns that fell into the fire, but it just added to the flames. But watching everyone have random fails with trying to cook the food gave us all a good laugh.

From the beach, we were actually able to see the glow from the fire in Ventura County. It was weird to see that and it reminded me how close the fires are to us. The fire closest to me is not as bad as it used to be, but the fires that are a bit further are still not contained and houses are burning down. And we also saw fireworks from Marina Del Rey from our beach. It was a weird juxtaposition to see the glow from flames plus fireworks and having a bonfire on the beach. I think we were all a bit weirded out by that, but we tried to not think about it too much.

But what was best about Dani’s birthday party was just getting to have a fun nice relaxing on the beach with awesome people. I didn’t know a lot of the people who were at the party so it was nice to get to meet new people. And Dani was just so happy to see people from different parts of her life joined together and having a good time. I can totally relate to that feeling because that’s what makes me so happy when I’m hosting a party too.

I had a date about a month ago where I was telling the guy I was with that I never made it out to the beach during the summer and I figured it would be a while until I made it out there. I never thought I’d have a bonfire on the beach during the winter but it really was awesome and I’m glad I got to get to the beach. I know I need to take advantage of being so close to the beach more often but it’s not something I think of doing on my own. So I’m glad that Dani wanted a beach bonfire birthday so I got out to the beach at some point this year!