Category Archives: Celebrations

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!

Another Disney Birthday (or Eating All The Foods Again)

I love getting to celebrate my friend’s birthdays at Disneyland. I don’t really get to do it since my birthday is during the summer blackout for my annual pass. But celebrating someone else’s birthday at Disneyland makes me as happy as if it were my birthday. And this week, I was at Disneyland to celebrate my friend Dani’s birthday!

And not only was it an adventure to celebrate Dani’s birthday, we also wanted to go and try more of the foods at the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. I had gotten to try several things the last time I was there, but there was so much that I wanted to try. And I still had a lot of tickets left of my Sip and Savor pass and this was possibly the last chance I would have to use it.

When we got to the parks, we immediately headed to the annual pass area for the Festival of Holidays so Dani could get her Sip and Savor pass. We all knew we’d be trying a bunch of food, and the pass really was the best option for us.

Over the time that we were in the parks, we all got to try a lot of food. I personally got the brisket, a eggnog macron, crab salad on polenta, a pretzel, and chocolate pot de creme. It was all delicious and the serving sizes were pretty good. I ate a bit too much, but I couldn’t help myself!

And between the eating, we did get some rides in. We let Dani pick the rides since it was her birthday. She wanted to check out California Screamin’ before it goes down for refurbishment.

And we went on Guardians of the Galaxy where we finally had a new song on the ride! I have now heard 4 of the 6 songs so I’ll hopefully complete that list soon.

And we went on Dani’s favorite ride, Toy Story Mania. It took 2 tries to get on that ride because it broke down right before we rode it, but we returned later that night and we were able to get on before we left.

We usually have a plan when we go to Disneyland, but this time we didn’t. So we ended up doing a lot of walking and going back and forth a lot. It was great because we all got a ton of steps in (we figured we walked about 7 miles that day), but I was feeling some pain.

But when we went over to the Disneyland side, I had a chance to rest. My friend Christopher was at Disneyland with his wife and kids. They were hanging out on a bench waiting to watch the castle light up at night. So we decided to join them and check out the castle. It was a very windy day so we knew the fireworks would be canceled, so this was our only chance for nighttime entertainment while we were there. It was awesome getting to catch up with a friend and we all loved seeing the castle change to the winter look. And while the castle was undergoing its transformation, fake snow was falling which just seemed magical!

The last ride that we went on at Disneyland was Small World Holiday. It’s always so pretty to see all the lights on the facade of the ride.

And the ride is fun during the holidays too. It’s different from the version during the rest of the year and I’m always happy to ride it. I don’t mind the regular version, but the holiday one is much better in my opinion. Maybe it’s all the extra lights that they add inside the ride!

After our ride, we decided to get a nice photo in front of the castle. Michelle’s annual pass includes Photopass photos now, so it’s nice to be able to take advantage of the photographers that Disneyland has. There was a line for the photos, but it went pretty quickly so we were able to get our nice group photo without too much of a wait.

By that point, we had walked back and forth quite a bit between the parks and it was starting to get cold. The temperature wasn’t too bad, but the wind made it feel much worse. We all decided that even though we would have loved to have gone on a few more rides that night, we were ready to head back (and to get into a nice warm car!).

My pass is good for part of next week and then I’m blacked out until the new year. I don’t think I’ll be making it next week but I know I’ll be back in January when my pass is good again. It’s almost time to renew my Disneyland pass and there is no question that I’ll be doing it. I get so much happiness out of my Disney days and I can’t imagine not having them anymore!

Family Thanksgiving (or Relaxing In San Diego)

As I have the past few years, I was down in San Diego for Thanksgiving. My grandma lives there and she cannot travel, so the rest of us come to her to celebrate. And again, my parents rented a house that was big enough for a good chunk of my family to stay in so I didn’t really have to worry too much about planning for the trip.

I ended up going down after I was done with work on Tuesday. I know traffic could be potentially bad so I was prepared to spend a long time in my car. I had to make a quick stop first to pick up some pies I was bringing with me, but it was technically on the way so it wasn’t that much of a detour for my trip. With no traffic, it’s about 2 hours to get to San Diego. But there was one time (not Thanksgiving but another holiday) where it was over 7 hours to get there. But somehow there really wasn’t too much traffic when I was driving and it was under 3 hours to get there. And I arrived just in time to see a gorgeous sunset.

The next day, I started by having to work one of my jobs for a few hours but it was before much was happening at the house. And once I was done working, I grabbed my Kindle and went outside to read. It was pretty hot so I was hanging out in the shade. But I wanted to take advantage of the amazing view that we had from the house.

That evening was my grandma’s birthday party. Even though we had stuff planned every day, the trip was pretty lazy and I didn’t have to do too much at all. It was nice to have time to relax and I definitely took advantage of that.

On Thanksgiving, I had my workout with my family and then I tried to help my mom get everything ready for dinner. We’ve found that it’s actually much easier to make most of the stuff we eat in advance so there wasn’t a ton that had to be cooked. But I did help get the table ready with the plant/place cards I made and decorated with the photos that my mom had printed out.

Everyone loved the plants, especially after we explained the meaning behind them. And it was so fun having family photos on the table because we were all checking them out and remembering when those photos were taken. And while the kid’s table didn’t have photos, they did have their plants and I think they were able to entertain themselves.

It was a bit stressful for my mom to do dinner again, but it turned out amazing! All the food was so good and getting to spend time with almost all of my family is something that I know I am lucky to get to do. It’s nice that we do this every year and that we know this tradition will continue.

After dinner we cleaned up and then things were pretty casual. We were mainly hanging out as a family in the living room and my cousin’s kids were entertaining us. It was the perfect way to spend the evening.

The day after Thanksgiving I had to spend the morning working but for most of the time I was working in the kitchen so I was around everyone. My great-aunt, great-uncle, and second cousin came by later and when they arrived I ended up finishing my work shift in the room I slept in. But I was done about an hour after they arrived so I didn’t miss out on too much family time.

I spent most of that afternoon outside with my grandma. My cousin’s kids were playing in the pool and my grandma and I were watching them. And Tucker seemed to be very focused on them too.

My grandma has some memory issues, but she was having some pretty good days while I was there. So we were talking about the pool that she had at her old house and how all the grandkids loved to play in it. We were always in the pool whenever we were visiting them. And my grandma loved to see kids playing in the pool and having fun. My cousin and her kids aren’t in San Diego that often, so I know my grandma appreciates the time that she does have with them.

And no family gathering would be complete without a game of backgammon. My grandma is amazing at the game and my grandpa used to say that she was a witch because she can always get the roll she needs. She struggled a bit with the game, but she still managed to beat my cousin by getting all the doubles that she needed to come back in the end to win!

As much as I would have liked to have stayed longer, I did have to get back to LA so I could get ready for the next day. I left just before dinnertime and was lucky again that traffic wasn’t that bad. But to get to spend 4 days with my family is something that I know not everyone can do so I’m glad that my schedule and jobs allow me to do that.

The next time we will all be together will be Thanksgiving next year. I’ll see my immediate family before that (and hopefully my grandma too), but to get everyone in the extended family is a once-a-year thing. But that’s ok because we seem to maximize the time we have together.

SaveSave

Happy Birthday Grandma! (or Double Birthday Celebrations)

When my family gets together for Thanksgiving, we also celebrate my grandma’s birthday. Her birthday is usually the week of Thanksgiving and the tradition in the past was to go out to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving for a fun celebratory meal. More recently, we changed the tradition to be the day before Thanksgiving so the day after could be leftover day.

This year, my grandma’s birthday was the day before I got to San Diego so I missed the celebration on her actual birthday. But plenty of my family was there and my mom cooked a steak dinner for everyone. My mom is such a good cook and I wish I had been there for dinner (but fortunately my mom saved me some leftovers for when I got there the next day).

I’m sad that I wasn’t able to be there, but it would have been a bit difficult for me to get there a day earlier. And I know that I can’t always be at everything that I want to be at. But I’m glad that my grandma seemed to have a great time and that she was able to celebrate turning 90 with lots of family with her.

But we did have our traditional day before Thanksgiving birthday celebration for my grandma. We went to an Italian restaurant that we’ve gone to a bunch of times in the past for her birthday. It works out well being there because there’s a private room that we can have (we had 14 of us in the group this time) and my cousin’s kids can run around a bit without worrying about other people in the restaurant. And it works out well for us to have our own room since we all move around so much and I’m sure we’d annoy other people in the restaurant.

The room is nice to have but the table always seems too big for the group. There is a lot of wasted space in the middle of the table so it can be tough to talk to everyone there. But since we moved around a lot during dinner everyone was able to talk to each other. And since this was my first chance to see some of my family on this trip, it was nice to get to have time to chat and catch up. And I knew that I would be spending a lot of time with everyone the next day so if I didn’t get to catch up with them as much as I would have liked, I wasn’t too worried about it.

The dinner is always good, but that’s not the highlight of the meal. It’s always seeing everyone having a good time and talking around the table. And while my grandma has difficulty hearing and couldn’t always participate in the conversation, she looked happy seeing everyone together. But we all did take time one at a time to go over to my grandma and talk to her. It’s easier for her to have a conversation with one person and she seemed to like having time with each person who was there.

I’m sure we were a pretty loud and crazy group, but that’s why the private room works out perfectly for us. And then when the waiter brought out a dessert for my grandma with a candle in it, we could sing as loudly as we wanted to!

It was so great to see my grandma so happy and enjoying herself. I know how important any time I get to spend with her is and I try to take advantage of it the best that I can.

Turning 90 is a big accomplishment and I’m glad we were able to celebrate my grandma’s birthday twice. And while I was only able to be there for one of the celebrations, I’m glad that I could be there at all. I know that I’m lucky to be able to travel for this and my work is flexible enough that I don’t have to worry about taking time off.

I’ll do the rest of my Thanksgiving trip recap next week. I hope that you all had a great time doing whatever you decided to do for Thanksgiving and you got to eat some delicious food!

Happy Thanksgiving! (or Just A Quick Post)

I just wanted to have a quick post on here to say Happy Thanksgiving! I am hanging out with my family today (and hopefully kicking some butt in the family workout at Orangetheory) and I hope that you are all spending the day with people who you love and doing something that you love.

I know that not everyone is close to their family that they were born into, but the family that you create with your friends can be just as important. So whether you are with family that is blood to you or family that is like blood to you, hopefully you are surrounded by awesome people today!

Now I’m off to be with my family, get in all the time with my dog that I can, and probably eat more than I should at dinner!

Thanksgiving Prep Day (or How Much Can I Fit Into A Day)

While I didn’t try to procrastinate and do things at the last minute, that’s what seemed to happen this week for getting ready for Thanksgiving. I had every intention of getting stuff done the week before and then doing all the last minute stuff the weekend before. But somehow it all ended up happening the day before I had to leave.

Part of the reason was that I ended up going to the Vulture Festival, but that was an awesome reason to procrastinate. And then with the food I had to make I wanted to do things at the last minute because I knew that doing them too far in advance meant that things could spoil. So somehow pretty much everything ended up happening in one day.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but timing was tough. I had a workout in the morning and then had to take my car to the dealership at some point. I had recently taken my car to the dealer for an oil change (I was told that I might get a free oil change at the dealer which is why I went there) and right before taking it in I noticed one of the bolts holding my floor mats down was gone. So I mentioned that at the dealer and they had to order a new part for me. Fortunately my car has an awesome warranty on it so that new part was free. But I had to go back to get it taken care of.

I probably could have waited until after Thanksgiving, but I wanted to get it done. I also didn’t want to wait too long and have them ship the part back or something. It took about an hour and a half at the dealer since it was so busy, but I managed to get some work done while I was there so it wasn’t completely wasted time.

And for the food I had to make, it wasn’t as difficult as expected either. My main concern was that I only have one bowl for my food processor and I needed to use it for 2 different things. But since I made my banana bread and one of the dips in the food processor first, as soon as things were done I washed everything and by the time the banana bread was out of the oven I had my food processor bowl clean and dry to make the feta dip that I needed to do. I also had a few other things I needed to get to help out, but everything else was store-bought so that was super easy.

Packing was also a last minute thing. I had to pack my work stuff but I worked right up until I left so that couldn’t be done in advance. And while I tried to plan what outfits to bring ahead of time, I was still changing my mind right before I left so that ended up being done quickly too. Besides my workout clothes, I don’t think anything that I originally planned to bring as far as outfits go ended up being what I brought with me.

But not everything was left to the day before. There was one project that I started over a month ago that I’ll be bringing to Thanksgiving. If you are in my family and reading this before Thanksgiving, stop reading now or you will have something spoiled for you!

It’s kind of become a tradition in my family that we try to present something to everyone at Thanksgiving. It started a while ago when my aunt and uncle hosted and they created an awards ceremony for us all. We all got an award (even Dante!) and that kind of created a new thing. We haven’t always done something big but there have been some epic gifts for everyone in the past. A few years ago we gave everyone a cookbook that was a collection of family recipes. I use this cookbook all the time (the banana bread and feta dip are in it) and I think everyone in the family loves it!

And the year my grandpa passed away, I helped to find someone to create memory bears out of his sweaters. I don’t know if we will ever create a better gift for the family because those bears are so special and everyone was so surprised that we did it. Only my parents and I knew about them and it was really awesome to see everyone’s reactions to them.

This year, I volunteered to do the gift for everyone. We wanted to do something special, but we also knew that we didn’t need to go crazy with it. My parents and I were thinking about what we could do and it finally came to me one day. When my grandpa passed away and my grandma moved to a different apartment, all of their outdoor plants were going to be tossed out. My grandma doesn’t have an outdoor space and there was no reason to keep them. When I went to San Diego to pick up some stuff that I was taking home I decided to take some cuttings of the succulents to bring back.

I had planted some of the succulents at my house and gave some to my parents as well. And if you know about succulents you know that they can be cut and replanted a lot. So I decided to get some small jars and put a cutting of one of the plants in each one. I made one for every member of the family and there will be a sticker of someone on each one. So these will be gifts as well as place cards for dinner.

I hope that everyone likes them and that they are able to replant them at their homes. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow when they are on the table!

While Thanksgiving prep was a bit more stressful than I would have liked this year, I’m excited to get to be with my family this week. We are so lucky that 4 generations of us get together each year. Not everyone in the family can make it this year, but it will be almost all of us.

How Is It Almost Thanksgiving?!? (or Working On My Checklist)

I swear this month has flown by way too fast! I was just looking at my calendar and realized how little time I have left before Thanksgiving! And of course, I have a bunch of things that I need to get done before I go down to San Diego to be with my family and most things I haven’t even gotten close to starting.

The biggest thing I needed to work on fortunately was something I am already done with. I am working on something for the family that will be part of our name cards for dinner. I can’t share too much about it since I know my family reads this and I want it to be a surprise, but it’s been a multi-step project. But I have worked on this over the past month and I’m down to the last few steps. And I think most of those steps are going to be things I need to do once I’m in San Diego so that’s taking some of the stress off of me.

And as it has been the past few years, my mom has asked me to help out with some of the food. I’m very happy to do that because I get to make things that I like and I know that everyone else enjoys them too. I’m going to make the same dips that I have made before and those are pretty easy to get together. I only have one bowl for my food processor so that does make it take a bit longer, but it’s easy enough to do in an afternoon. I’ll also probably make banana bread again too since everyone likes having that as a breakfast or snack option.

My mom also asked me to help out with getting some of the pies for Thanksgiving dinner, but she asked me to order some instead of having to make some. So I placed an order online with The Pie Hole for some Thanksgiving pies and will be picking those up on my way down to San Diego! We always have amazing desserts but I think these will be extra amazing! And since I’m ordering these it’s a pretty simple thing I can do to help out.

Most of the other stuff I need to do to get ready for Thanksgiving are things that can’t be done until right before I go. I’ve already double checked what my work schedule will be during that week (I’ll be working from San Diego) and I know what work stuff I need to pack with me. I’ll eventually figure out what clothes I want to bring, but I know for sure it will include my workout gear since I’ll be doing a family workout on Thanksgiving morning! But the rest of my wardrobe will be figured out the weekend before I leave since I will have to do laundry and that type of stuff before figuring out what I want to have with me.

There isn’t that much time left between now and Thanksgiving especially since I have been adding things to my calendar without thinking about how soon I will be going to San Diego. But I’m working on blocking out time to do all the things I need to take care of so the weekend before I go isn’t going to be too crazy or stressful. At least this time I don’t have to do an MRI the day before I leave! That was just added stress on top of planning stress last year!

But this time, I get to just have fun while stressing out a bit for the next week and a half before I go and when I get down to San Diego I won’t have to worry about much at all. I can focus on having a nice time with my family and enjoying the craziness that having 4 generations of a family together brings. And knowing my family, there will be at least a little bit of craziness happening. But that’s what makes getting together once a year for Thanksgiving so awesome!

And before I know it, I’m sure I’ll be posting on here how I can’t believe that it’s almost 2018, or the 4th of July, or my birthday, or something. Time really does fly by faster as you get older and it always takes me by surprise.

Enjoying The Gala (or Having An Awesome Friend Date)

I’ve already written about the SAG-AFTRA Convention, but I left out the gala. To me, the convention and the gala almost seem like separate events. Part of this could be because the gala is a ticketed event so not everyone who is at the convention goes. But to me it was a no-brainer that I’d be going to the gala again because I had such an amazing time the first time!

When you buy your tickets for the gala, you have the choice to get 1 ticket or 2. Last time, I got 1 because I really didn’t want to stress about finding someone to go with me and I was already overwhelmed about everything. But this time, I decided to be hopeful about what has been happening with my online dating adventures and got 2 tickets. And I did try to ask someone who I’ve gone out with a few times if he wanted to go with me, but that really didn’t work out.

So with my extra ticket, I decided that I should make it a really fun friend date! And fortunately my friend Ben was happy to come with me! Ben is also a delegate so he was already at the convention. And he and I have been saying that we were overdue for a hangout so this was the perfect opportunity for us to catch up!

Last time, the gala was at WB studios so I had to drive over from the convention. But this time, it was at Universal Studios and there was a shuttle from the Sheraton Universal to the gate so it was much easier to get to. And the union staff arranged for LA delegates who didn’t have time to go home to change to have a meeting room to use as a changing area. It made things super easy for us and I was ready to go right when the shuttles started.

When Ben and I got there, we lined up to check in and ran into a bunch of friends. And as soon as we passed the metal detectors the first thing we saw was the red carpet. I figured we should do photos while we still all looked really nice so we lined up for photos and the interviews they were doing.

At the end of the red carpet was the open bar. I enjoyed water while my friends got drinks. Even though I invited Ben to be my date for the night, I figured we both be off on our own (which would have been totally fine with me), but we ended up sticking together. It was awesome getting to hang out so much and we seemed to be pretty lucky with things. We went inside to the lobby of the Globe Theater (where the dinner was going to be) to check things out and the doors to the theater opened up right when we were at the doors! So we went inside and managed to get a table in the front and center of the room behind a reserved table.

At our table we had some friends that we knew as well as some new friends we just met. It was so nice having a fun night out where we weren’t worried about the politics of the union and just got to have fun. At the gala, they give out awards and things were split up a bit. We had some awards and then there was a break to go to the buffet for dinner. The food was really good (I think it was better than last time) and there was also a dessert buffet. And after we ate, the awards continued.

It was so fun watching the union honor those who have done awesome things. And having friends at my table was fun because we could chat to each other about the weird and cool things we were observing. And once the awards were done, it was time for dancing. But I was so tired that I decided against dancing. But I wanted to make sure I got some pictures with people while we were all dressed up and fancy!

Ben was leaving around the same time so we headed out together. And then we realized that we never took advantage of the photo booth setup that was near the red carpet. There was no line there so we were able to do a photo with each of the backgrounds they had for the green screen set up. And I think we were both feeling a bit crazy and tired so the photos are pretty weird even for me.

But they were awesome and I’m so glad we took an extra minute to do that before getting the shuttle back to the hotel. And once we got back there, I said goodnight to Ben (who had a meeting for convention that night super late) and I headed home to try to get some sleep before having to get up super early the next morning.

I had an amazing time at the gala. The gala on its own is already great, but getting to hang out with an awesome friend makes things so much better! And like I said in yesterday’s post, I’m already waiting for the next one in 2 years. I know I will be going to the gala again because it is one of the highlights for me for convention weekend.

Celebrating Some Anniversaries (or Remembering Awesome Family Moments)

This past week had a couple of family anniversaries. I try to remember to celebrate each one when it happens, but things have been a bit crazy lately for me so my mind did slip a bit. But I figure it’s never too late to celebrate.

The first anniversary that happened recently was my grandparent’s anniversary. We don’t necessarily celebrate this anymore since my grandpa died because we don’t want my grandma to be upset. But I still like to remember it because it is a good reminder of how a marriage can last a very long time. I was lucky that I got to celebrate my grandparents’ anniversary with them several times. For their 50th, they took the entire family on an African safari. That still is one of the coolest trips I’ve ever taken. And for their 60th we had a family party up in Portland.

I also got to be there for what would end up being their last anniversary together. It was their 67th anniversary and it was a pretty simple dinner as a family. But even though that anniversary wasn’t a huge celebration, it’s still a good memory because it was such a fun dinner. Obviously at the time we had no way to know that was going to be the last anniversary my grandpa would be alive for, but I’m so grateful that I was there and got to celebrate with them. Also at that anniversary, my grandpa was telling the story of how he met my grandma. We ended up taking a video of that and it’s something that we all are so glad we have forever now.

I think we all wish that my grandparents would have been able to celebrate more anniversaries together. If my grandpa was still alive, this year would have been their 70th anniversary. I’m sure that they would have done something special to celebrate that. It probably wouldn’t have been a trip, but I bet we would have done a family dinner like we did for their 60th. It’s sad that they weren’t able to make it to that milestone, but to know that they made it to 67 years is pretty special. Not everyone has a marriage that lasts that long and it’s proof that you can stay married that long as long as you work at it. And it’s an inspiration for me even though the chances of me getting to 67 years with someone is a long shot (if I got married this year, I’d be 101 during a 67th anniversary).

Also this past weekend was my brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary. This one is awesome because I’m reminded of going to their wedding in Hawaii. I don’t get to take trips that often and going to Hawaii for a week was such a treat. And of course, I love that Krystle is my sister-in-law because she and I have gotten so close. Celebrating their anniversary is cool, but celebrating the day that Krystle officially became my sister is almost more special to me (sorry Ross!).

And they shared a pretty cute photo from their anniversary this past weekend. They both ended up buying each other the same anniversary card. It was not planned at all, but I think it shows how they are meant for each other.

I think that some of my single friends don’t love celebrating other’s anniversaries like I do. Maybe they see it as something that they haven’t achieved yet and they might be jealous. And I can understand that feeling even if I don’t feel it myself. But even with all the craziness I’ve encountered with my online dating, I’m still hopeful that I will find someone one day. So being able to celebrate isn’t something I’m jealous of, it’s something I’m looking forward to having myself in the future.

There are a couple of times a year when family celebrations are bunched up together. My mom’s birthday and my aunt and uncles anniversary are on the same day. My parents’ anniversary, my cousin’s birthday, and my birthday are within a few days of each other. And then there are these two anniversaries only a few days apart. I don’t know if all families have bunches of celebrations like we do, but it’s fun for me. It also makes it a bit easier to remember to celebrate everyone since I’m doing it in batches (except of course this year where I didn’t do things in advance). The next big family celebration will be my grandma’s birthday/Thanksgiving. And it’s crazy to think that November will be here before we know it!