Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Working On My Crafty Side (or Starting Off Halloween Season!)

I love Halloween. I don’t know if it started because of working at Halloween Horror Nights or the amazing Halloween parties that my friends have thrown, but I love Halloween time. I remember when I was growing up that my parents would get the Halloween box out of the garage and we would spend an afternoon decorating the outside of the house. Now that I’m in my house, I really don’t decorate the outside but I’ve tried to be better about decorating the inside. I’m not the most crafty¬†person, but I’m good at shopping and have found some cute decorations that work in my house.

But my friend Anne is probably one of the most crafty¬†people I know and is amazing at decorating! She decorates her house based on the season and changes out things seasonally so that everything reflects what she is decorating for! I met Anne when I went to the blogger event a few years ago about the Hard Rock Cafe 5K and we’ve stayed in touch ever since then. We don’t get to see each other that often, so when she invited me to a crafting party at her house, I immediately RSVPed yes!

The plan was to decorate styrofoam pumpkins and she would have all the crafting supplies for us. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t know what to do with the pumpkin but I knew there would be so many creative people there that I could learn from and hopefully I would be inspired and could make something cute.

When I got to the party, Anne had all the crafting supplies out by the tables she set up. I was so impressed by everything that she had for us and even more impressed that this was all stuff that she already had in her house!

There were so many things on the table to use to decorate the pumpkins! I honestly didn’t know where to start. The only thing I knew I didn’t want to use was glitter because it gets everywhere and I try to not have glitter things in my house (I guess that proves I’m not into crafts since I don’t like glitter). But there were so many paint options, ribbons, gems, door knobs to use as stems, and other things to choose from so not using glitter wasn’t going to limit me.

Other people started to grab paint, glitter, and other things to decorate and I took a moment to observe and see what everyone else was doing. A lot of people were painting their pumpkins another color and then were going to work on decorating on top of that, but I knew that it wouldn’t be what I would do. So I took a look carefully at the supplies table and got inspired by some gem-type ribbon. Anne got a glue gun out for me so I could glue it down, I grabbed some gems to go with the ribbon, and I started working.

I covered the stem of the fake pumpkin with the ribbon and then wrapped it around and glued it down. Then I took some of the gems and put them randomly around the pumpkin. I was liking how it looked and decided that because I’m such a big Disney nerd that I needed to add a few hidden Mickeys to my pumpkin. And I was so happy with the end result!

It’s the perfect mix of Halloween and Disney and it will look so cute on my dining room table! And it’s simple enough that as I get more decorations that it should still work with everything. And because Anne had so many extra pumpkins, I took another one and took colored gems to create a pumpkin that was just Mickeys.

As expected, everyone else was so creative! The pumpkins looked like things you would buy in a store and we joked that we should create a shop to sell what we made. I wish I could be as creative and crafty as everyone else, but that’s just not a skill I have right now. I probably could be better if I worked on it, but I don’t have a lot of opportunity to do that.

And when everyone was all done, we had to get all the pumpkins together for a photo. That’s what happens when you are in a room of bloggers, social media specialists, and marketers.

I do feel like mine are the least fancy of the bunch, but I am still proud of what I made and that they did turn out cute. I was not competing with others to make the best pumpkin, I just wanted to do something that I could be proud of and that didn’t look ugly. I accomplished both of those goals.

I’m so glad that I went to the pumpkin party because I got to meet so many amazing people and I got to spend an afternoon being creative. Even though my creativity isn’t usually in crafting, any time I get to be creative is a good thing for me. And it helped me kick off Halloween season early so now I can take the rest of my Halloween decorations out and start getting my house into the Halloween spirit!

Revisiting My Past (or Enjoying An Amazing Concert)

I recently did a temp job for my old workplace doing some telesales. This workplace was the theater that I worked at when I started this blog. I hadn’t worked there in a long time, so when they asked me if I could help with a short telesales campaign, I felt flattered that they wanted me to help. It was a bit weird doing that job again since it had been years since I had done it, but things came back to me pretty quickly.

The show that I was campaigning for ended up selling almost all the seats, so that’s good news. I wasn’t able to do the sales that I know I could do, so that wasn’t so great. But I am glad that they sold out and that they were able to get the fundraising done that they needed to.

But even though my sales weren’t what we were hoping for, the theater offered me 2 tickets to go to the concert and I immediately said yes! I hadn’t been back to the theater since I worked there and the concert was a night of Josh Groban. I am a fan of his music and I did a music video for him (although they ended up not using any of the scenes they filmed with any actors in the final music video). And to get to see him perform live and in such a small venue is such a special treat.

Since I hadn’t been back to the theater in years, I wasn’t sure how it would feel to be back. And I’ll admit, it was a bit weird. I did see a few people who I worked with and some of them seemed happy to see me again. Other people didn’t recognize me and I didn’t want to bother them while they were busy working. I felt like I belonged there and I was out-of-place at the same time. Fortunately, I had a friend with me so we were having an awesome time at the pre-show reception and I didn’t stress too much about how odd it felt to be back there.

The pre-show reception was fun and they had some really great food. There was also some free wine, but we both stuck with water. We hung out outside eating and catching up on life. It’s always nice to catch up with a friend and even better when that is distracting me from feeling weird.

When I was told I was getting some free tickets, I assumed they’d be in the back of the balcony. None of the seats in the theater are bad ones, but I figured they’d put us in the back since they were free tickets. But to our surprise we were pretty close to the front and almost in the center!

I was not expecting to have as great of seats as I had so I was even more excited once we were sitting down! And the energy in the theater was so amazing because everyone couldn’t wait to see Josh Groban come out.

The songs were mainly Broadway songs (which I loved!) with a couple of songs from his various albums mixed in. And he was telling stories and jokes in-between each song. He was very entertaining and if anyone in the audience wasn’t a huge fan of him before I know that he won them over by the end of the night. And not only did he sing, but he also played piano and the drums! That seemed to be a surprise to everyone in the audience and he impressed us all!

The show was about an hour and a half without an intermission but I think we all wanted it to last longer. He is so talented and sang some amazing songs. But I know that the event also had a dinner after the show for guests with tickets at a certain level so they couldn’t keep the concert going all night. Even though I think everyone left wanting more, we all left with smiles on our faces.

Even though I felt weird being at an old workplace, I’m so glad that I got to go. I wasn’t deliberately avoiding going there, but I know that I didn’t make an effort to go to any shows there. And it is an amazing venue that isn’t that far from my house. I need to take a look at their schedule for this season (which is their 10th anniversary season) and see if there are any other shows that I can go to. It will be a while before I’m back at the Pantages, so I need to fill my love for theater at other venues. And I have a feeling that I’ll probably be back sometime soon.

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Audition Prep (or Taking My Career Seriously)

I’ve felt a bit out of the acting game lately. Doing all the work with SAGAFTRA does help, but it’s not the same as auditioning and working. Unfortunately, I don’t control when I get auditions or work so I have to just be grateful for when I get those opportunities.

Last week, I got an email from a casting director that I know socially but have never had the chance to audition for. They had a script with a character that they thought I’d be right for and they wanted to know if I was interested in auditioning. This was the first time this happened to me and it was really exciting! I wanted to say yes right away, but I also wanted to make sure I read the script. I did, I loved it, and I told them that I would love to audition! So it was set up through my agents and I got my scene to prepare for the audition.

I’m lucky with the auditions I normally get. They rarely are 1 or 2 line parts that are actually tougher to audition for because you can’t do too much. I get bigger auditions that have pages of dialogue to work with. When I have those bigger auditions, I have started to use an audition coach. As much as I know I can work on the audition on my own, it’s so much better to have some feedback.

But I’ve never used a coach for the smaller auditions. But for this audition, I really wanted to be as prepared as possible and to take things seriously. I need to make sure I maximize each audition chance I get, and this time I felt a little extra pressure because I know this casting director as a friend but he doesn’t really know me as an actor. Plus, since I was asked if I wanted an audition versus just getting an audition made it feel extra special and like I needed to be the best I could be.

I’ve got a few audition coaches that I know and that I’ve worked with before. So I sent out some emails to see who was available and could help me out. And I’m so lucky that Marci Liroff was able to help me! I’ve auditioned for Marci a couple of times in the past and I also took her audition bootcamp class a few years ago. So she knows my abilities as an actor and I know that I work well with her when she’s coaching me and guiding me into working a script.

I went to meet with her this Monday and it was exactly what I needed to do to get ready for my audition. I was apologizing for asking for coaching on such a small part (the audition scene is only about 6 lines), but she reassured me that it is totally fine and actually it is good to get coaching on auditions of any size. That made me feel so much better. I didn’t want to feel like I needed the help, but that I was using the help to improve what I can already do. And that was the sense that I was getting from Marci when I was meeting with her.

We started out with doing the scene simply and built it up from there. I had made a strong character choice but as we worked on it we realized that it wasn’t the right choice. Those are the sort of things you can only find out if you are working with a coach or someone else. You don’t get the same reactions if you are working on your own because you need someone to bounce things off of. We also practiced in what is closer to an audition setting with me walking in so I could get the flow of things down.

I had walked into the coaching session feeling like I had made a strong character choice but wasn’t feeling too certain about things. After working on the script with Marci for less than an hour, I felt super confident about how I was interpreting things and that I could feel that way in the audition room too. It’s amazing how powerful audition coaching can be and how it really does change how I felt before going into the audition.

I really think that I need to do coaching for my auditions from now on no matter how big or small the part is. Getting to work on the script is good, but just spending some time working is even better. The time I was working with Marci felt like being in class (it pretty much is like a private acting class) and it did make me happy getting to do that. It’s not free to get coaching, but it’s not outrageously expensive either. And if this is what I do as an acting class type thing, it’s cheaper for audition coaching than an ongoing class. I would like to be in class again one day, but right now the timing isn’t right.

But besides how getting audition coaching makes me feel, it’s also a sign of looking at my auditions more seriously. I take my career seriously, but if I’m being honest with myself I probably could have been taking it more seriously before. I don’t think that getting coaching before auditions I’ve had in the past would have necessarily changed anything, but I’ll never know. But from now on, I’m going to take each audition as seriously as I would for a series regular during pilot season and hopefully I can do coaching before as many of them as possible.

Let’s Go Dodgers (or A Night Out At The Game)

I didn’t really grow up in a sports family. I did play sports as a kid (I did soccer, softball, gymnastics, and swim team at various times in my childhood), but we really didn’t watch sports. Part of that was because my dad hates watching tv, but we rarely went to live sports. I think for a couple of years we maybe did one baseball game a year. I went to maybe one or two hockey games. The first professional basketball game I went to was not that long ago. And I’ve never been to a professional football game.

Since moving to LA I’ve gone to a couple of baseball games. I went to a Dodgers game once for my birthday and once for a friend’s birthday. And maybe 10 years ago my roommate at the time won VIP tickets for an Angels game and I took my brother. But I rarely go to a game just because I don’t usually think about going. So when a friend of mine asked me if I want to go with her to a Dodgers game this past weekend, I jumped at the chance to go!

It was actually her company picnic, so they had a reserved section before the game where there was food. We got there pretty close to the start time for the picnic and we got some Dodger dogs, chips, and water. It was pretty awesome to not have to spend money on food at the game even if the food isn’t too horribly expensive. Free food is always the best and it was fun getting to meet some of my friend’s co-workers before going over to our seats.

I was worried that we were going to be sitting in the sun, but when we got to our seats we were under an overhang and not facing the sun so we had lots of shade.

Being at a game is really so exciting and it’s fun to be in a crowd like that. It’s a bit overwhelming too, but fortunately our seats were the last row in that section so I didn’t feel like I was in the middle of everyone. It felt a bit more secluded and I was able to relax.

The game was fun. Unfortunately, the Dodgers weren’t playing that great but we did get to see some great plays. And to me, being at the game is more than just watching the game. It’s being around friends and just enjoying being outside. And it was much cooler that night than it had been lately so I was having fun enjoying some outside time. Plus, we had some pretty sunset clouds a little after the game started.

The game was moving pretty quickly, but my friend and I had decided to leave before the game was over. It’s so much easier to leave before everyone else tries to leave and we didn’t want to be stuck in the parking lot for a long time just trying to get out onto the road. Plus, neither of us were super invested in the game. I think if we had paid for our tickets, we would have stayed longer. But when you have free tickets, you don’t feel like you have to get the most for your money. But we did stay until the sun went down because it does look pretty cool being in the dark with the stadium all lit up.

We left after the 5th inning and when we were in the car we had the game on the radio so we could pay attention to what was happening. Nothing ended up happening in the game until I was home and put the game on my tv. There were a few more runs, but I think the most exciting moments were during the beginning of the game when we were there. And the Dodgers continued their losing streak and ended up losing this game as well.

Even though I didn’t stay for the entire game, I really did have a great time at the game. This is something that I was telling myself I needed to do again since it had been years since I was at a game. And this was the perfect chance to get to go and not have to worry about if I should be spending money on it. And it made me realize that I do want to try to get to more baseball games. I don’t know if I’ll go every summer, but maybe every other or every few summers would be fun. It’s a nice treat to do and it’s a great way to hang out with friends.

Hopefully the Dodgers will start winning again and if I get a chance to go to another game soon it will be one where they do win! I have a lot of friends who are big baseball fans and diehard Dodgers followers and I know they really want the team to do better than they are doing now.

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!

Over-scheduled and Bored (or Why Can’t I Find A Happy Medium)

Lately it has seemed like my schedule has had some serious ups and downs. I’ve had days where I’ve had absolutely nothing planned (or nothing planned beyond having to work that day) and then I’ve had days that were so over-scheduled that I was stressed out about how I would manage to do it all without running late. It’s so crazy to me that one day I could be sitting at home bored out of my mind and the next day I could be gone for almost 16 hours from the time I leave my house for the first thing planned until I get home from the last thing planned.

I do like to be busy. First, that gives me something to blog about. If I just sat at home every day after work, this would become a very boring blog. I’d still have some personal and emotional things to write about (like this post), but there would be no adventures. And I also know that when I’m busy I either don’t have the desire to binge or I don’t have the time to. Sometimes when I’m super busy I do still have a binge eating episode, but those are not as often as they are in my normal life.

I know that I can’t depend on my schedule to get me into recovery or to eliminate binges, but it’s almost like a fantasy in my mind that I would love to have come true. I know that there have been things that have happened in my past that have put me in a temporary state of recovery, but when that ended my eating disorder was back. I know that recovery isn’t just being too busy to have an eating disorder because your eating disorder will find a way to become a priority in your schedule again. But I feel good knowing that at least right now in my life, my eating disorder has to work around my schedule and that I’m not cancelling plans to have being episodes.

In an ideal world, I would be able to handle being busy enough most of the time that bingeing doesn’t happen that often, that would get me to recovery, and it would stick even if my schedule got less busy in the future. But I don’t live in an ideal world and being busy most of the week isn’t good for my mental health. I occasionally have mini-breakdowns where I have gotten too overwhelmed by everything and just need to have a day at home where I do nothing. Of course, those days never happen to fall on days that already had nothing scheduled on them. But I try to be flexible with my schedule to allow myself to have a mental health day when I need it.

And I have been trying to find a good happy medium between having too much and having too little to do. I don’t know what that happy medium looks like yet. I thought I had gotten there a few weeks ago, and then I had a moment where I freaked out because I had so many unread emails and tasks I needed to check off. I’ve been trying to make daily checklists to get things done, but on both busy and lazy days sometimes I’m not able to get those done. And then those things that needed to get done just pile up and continue to overwhelm me.

I think that part of the overwhelming feeling is that only some of my schedule is in my control. Many things have to be done at the time they are scheduled (like work) and I can’t get around that. I have to plan my other things around it and sometimes 2 non-flexible things are up against each other and I either have to prioritize and say no to something to ask someone to move their schedule around. I hate asking others to adjust to my schedule because I don’t want to feel like I’m inconveniencing someone. But sometimes I need to have the courage to do that or to say no to something that I know would be at a time that wouldn’t be best for me.

I’m really working on planning out my days better so that on both over-scheduled and lazy days are productive and as stress-free as possible. I’m trying to take travel time in consideration when planning things so that I feel confident that I can make it from one thing to another. And I’m continuing to try to work on figuring out how much stuff in one week is too much and how little is too little. It’s a weird balancing act to try to figure out, but I know that as long as I’m working on it that I will get there eventually.

 

Representing For My Union On Labor Day (or A Beach Day Fail)

This past Labor Day I didn’t really have any plans. Mondays are my days off anyway so I knew I’d be going to workout in the morning and needing to do errands at some point that day. But since I knew most of my friends had the day off as well I figured I should try to make some plans. But of course, I procrastinated until the last minute and the night before I was trying to figure out what to do.

I texted a few friends to see if anyone was free, and only my friend Dani got back to me. We decided that even though the beach would be really crowded, we should try to go to the beach for a few hours. I hadn’t been to the beach this entire summer and figured it was a perfect thing to do for the day. Plus, it had been so hot and I knew the beach would be a bit cooler than where I live.

We decided to meet up around 1pm at her place because she lives closer to the beach. I was going to pick her up and then we were going to try to find somewhere to park near the beach that wasn’t too expensive. I packed up some magazines, sunscreen, and a towel and got into the car to drive over. And when I got to Dani’s house, she opened the door and had a better suggestion than going to the beach.

Dani recently moved to a new place and she suggested that we just hang out at the pool at her apartment complex. There wasn’t anyone there, we wouldn’t have to deal with the sand, and if one of us had to run to the bathroom there was a clean place to go (and not have to deal with gross dirty beach bathrooms). It sounded like a perfect plan and I happened to find a parking spot right in front of her place.

Once I parked and we got inside, we grabbed some lounge chairs and got ready to have a nice afternoon of relaxing. There were a few other people at the pool once we got there, but it was still pretty peaceful and felt like a nice mini-vacation in a way.

It was a bit overcast and significantly cooler than it had been all weekend, so we just spent time reading on the lounge chairs and didn’t go into the pool. Plus, I didn’t want to have to drive home in a wet bathing suit. But I wasn’t going to go into the ocean either, so relaxing on a towel was exactly how I had been planning on being on the beach too.

Since it was Labor Day and that day is about unions, I decided that I was going to wear my Union Working hat. It seemed perfect to be supportive of my union and other unions that day, plus it is a really great hat too!

We briefly talked about maybe getting some food (all I had packed for the beach was water), but we ended up not really caring too much about getting anything. It was just nice having several hours laying by the pool and not having a care in the world. My only regret was that I didn’t have my Kindle with me. I didn’t pack it because I didn’t want it to get sand it in, but that wasn’t a worry at the pool. Fortunately, I can use the Kindle app on my phone so after I was done reading magazines I started working on some books.

I ended up being at the pool for about 4 hours. Because of it being overcast (and maybe a bit because I was super careful about putting on a ton of sunscreen), I didn’t get sunburnt at all. I was actually a bit surprised by that and was worried that the next morning I would look like a lobster. But I guess that I lucked out and even though I don’t ever tan, I am always worried about burning. It was like it was a sign that us hanging out by the pool instead of going to the beach was the right choice.

I still haven’t made it out to the beach this summer and I really don’t know if I will go. I don’t always go each summer, but I feel like since I live so close it’s silly for me not to take advantage of that. But honestly, hanging out at a pool where I didn’t feel sandy and gross when I left was so much better for me and made my Labor Day a pretty awesome day!

Last Minute Bowl Adventure (or A Very Hot And Humid Night Out)

With summer almost over, I realized that there was a good chance I wasn’t going to make it to the Hollywood Bowl this season. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go this season, it’s just that I never got around to planning for it. When the season was announced, I had other things on my mind. And then as the summer went on, I just kind of forgot about it. I was a bit sad to think that I wasn’t going to get out there this summer when my friend Dani texted me.

One of Dani’s friends had extra tickets for the John Williams concert. Dani was taking one and she wanted to see if I wanted one too. This was just a few days before the concert, but somehow my schedule was free the night of the show (which wasn’t the case for so many nights this summer) and I said I wanted the ticket. It worked out so well that I probably couldn’t have planned it better myself!

Dani, her friend, and I met up to take the Bowl bus together. It was such a hot and muggy afternoon that we were happy to get inside the air-conditioned bus. I don’t know what happened, but in that very long drive (it was about an hour and a half) it got hot and humid inside the bus too. We were all starting to feel drowsy and ready to get off the bus. But it seemed to take forever for us to get there.

And once we arrived, it wasn’t much better outside. We were hoping that it would cool down once the sun was down, but it was still over 90 degrees out at almost 8pm. We aren’t used to the humidity either so that made things much worse. But we were just happy to be at the Bowl and get to our seats.

Once we were seated (and drank a ton of water and had some food) we were starting to feel better. I think we were probably all dehydrated from sweating so much and we needed to get something into our bodies to get into a better space to watch the show. It was still close to being unbearably hot, but it was better once I didn’t feel sick anymore.

And as always, the concert was amazing! We had some pretty great seats and the people with the seats next to us didn’t show up so we were able to spread out a bit more. That was nice since we didn’t have to be squished in our seats which would have probably made us feel even worse in that weather.

The first half of the concert was with another conductor, but he was great and the music was wonderful. But I think everyone was waiting for after intermission when John Williams was coming out. And he didn’t disappoint! He conducted the philharmonic in all the scores that we wanted to hear like Harry Potter, Superman, and of course Star Wars when everyone got their light sabers out.

But what we weren’t expecting was to have Kobe Bryant come out to read his poem “Dear Basketball” while John Williams conducted the score he created for it. It was very moving and as someone who isn’t a sports person I was surprised by how it ended up being a highlight of the evening. It was something that was special to get to witness and I love that there are always fun surprises whenever I go see this show.

Of the group I was with, I was the only person who had seen John Williams before. So when the evening was coming to a close, I told everyone else to stay seated because there are almost always 2 encores. And the finale song is always the score from ET. And it was exactly what I thought it would be (although the rainbow lighting that they normally put on the Bowl didn’t happen this year).

After the concert was over, it took some time for us to get back to the bus to head back home. It was still so hot and humid outside but fortunately this time the air conditioning in the bus was working. We were able to relax on the bus right home except when we saw the huge fire that was happening in the hills nearby from the freeway. We all knew the fire was happening, but to see it from the freeway and how bright it glowed at night was a little scary. Fortunately, it wasn’t that close to us and now the fire is getting closer to being totally out.

I’m so glad that I was able to make it to the Bowl this summer. I really didn’t think I’d make it and it really helped to make my summer feel more complete by getting to go. There are still a few more shows this summer, but I don’t know if I’ll make it out to another one. But I know I need to prioritize getting tickets next summer when they go on sale.

Another Day On The Lot (or Going Solo For The Podcast)

I wrote about how recently the podcast I work for started working on our 300th episode. It’s still so amazing to me that we are going to be releasing our 300th episode before this year is done. It feels like we were just doing episode 100 and 200!

Even though our 300th isn’t going to be until November or December, we started producing it early because it is a big episode that will involve multiple days of work. Typically, our episodes are pretty simple interviews that take about an hour or so and we edit them into 2 or 3 episodes. The interview time is minimal while post-production time is a bit more. But with this episode, we are doing multiple days of interviews and production plus we know that post-production will take even longer. So we wanted to get a head start.

We had an amazing day working on it previously, but we knew going into that day that we would be coming back to the studio the next week to continue working on it. But what we didn’t know at the time was that both of the hosts would end up being unavailable to return due to scheduling issues. We didn’t want to lose the day, so the hosts suggested that I go to do the interviews on my own.

I’ve worked on the podcast for a long time, but my voice has only been on the podcast a handful of times. Mainly it’s if you can hear me in the background during an interview. I’ve never conducted an interview on my own and I’ve never done any of the work outside of pitching potential guests on my own. But I knew how important this day was to our production schedule so I knew I had to do it. I was incredibly nervous about what I would do, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I can’t share too much about what happened that day because we are still keeping things a surprise, but the main thing I got to do was be on set while there was some filming happening. I’ve been on set plenty of times as an actor, but I’ve never been on set when I wasn’t acting. Being an observer is totally different because you can focus on so much else happening on set. I was able to watch the writers and director work together while things were being shot and could listen to the discussion they had between takes. This was something that actors don’t get to see that often so it was totally a special treat for me.

Between filming, I was able to do a little bit of interview work. I’ve sat in on dozens of interviews and I know kind of how they go. But I felt very unprepared and that was totally my fault. I didn’t prepare in questions in advance but instead used what I observed that day to inspire what I wanted to ask. I’m sure that the interviews were fine, but I felt pretty disappointed in the lack of things I was able to discuss. But I know that the hosts are just so grateful that I was there to do the work because it needed to be done.

I was at the studio for several hours before the day for the cast and crew wrapped up. While I was waiting for an actor to walk me back to my car (we wanted to chat some more), I was able to wait in a trailer that wasn’t being used that day. It was so unbearably hot and they didn’t want me to have to wait in the sun.

While in the trailer, I just sat back and reflected on the day. I was proud of myself for doing the interviews, even if they weren’t as good as they probably would have been if the hosts were doing them. I got to learn so much while on set that I know I can use as an actor the next time I book a job. And I got to think about what it would be like if this was my life instead of a life that I was observing.

There is no question in my mind that acting is what I am meant to do. Even being an observer on set made me so incredibly happy. There is a sense of calmness and joy I get while on set that I don’t get anywhere else. And if I could experience that everyday, I would be so happy. That’s exactly how I want to feel all the time. I know that being happy and working as an actor won’t cure everything for me, but to feel like that in just one aspect of my life would be a dream.

I know that we are already talking about having more days at the studio for production of our 300th episode. Knowing that makes me so happy because that means I’ll get to have more days where I get to feel like I did that day. I just hope that the hosts will be able to come with me the next time so that we can all work together and I don’t have to be alone.

Learning To Love The Rower (or Creating My Own Challenge)

Since pretty much the beginning of my time at Orangetheory, I always want to start on the treadmill. Part of this is because I want to get the treadmill work done first because it’s the hardest for me most of the time. But the other part is that when I start with rowing and floor work my hip can be very temperamental on the treadmill. I almost always struggle on the treadmill after being on the floor, so I figured I should just try to always start on the treadmill to prevent this.

But this past week, I ended up challenging myself to start on the rower/floor each class. I didn’t start the week with the challenge, but after my first 2 workouts of the week starting that way I decided to keep going with it and seeing what happened.

Monday’s workout was a 3 group workout that had a mix of endurance, strength, and power. I had to start on the rower because I was running late, but it ended up being a good thing for me. We had kind of partner workout between the rower and the floor work which made the workout pretty interesting. When I started on the rower, I started with an 800 meter row and then I went to the floor to tag my partner. I then did pull ups on the straps and crunches before my partner tagged me and I went back to the rower for a 700 meter row. I finished that row and then time was called to switch.

Next I was on the treadmill where most of the work was endurance type work with longer push paces. I started out with running, but my hips were really tight and my ankle was bugging me so I ended up walking the entire treadmill work. The end of the treadmill time was work on inclines so I knew that walking those would be the only option for me with how I was feeling. It was frustrating that my body wasn’t letting me run, but I also knew that power walking is a good workout when I do it fast enough and at a high enough incline.

After the treadmill, I went to the floor where it was the partner workout again between the floor and rower. On the floor I did squats, hammer curls, skaters, and mountain climbers. And while I was on the rower I did the 600 and 500 meter row before the end of class. The second time doing the partner workout was a bit easier, but I think that was also because I knew how the partner work was going to go and had a better idea of how long I’d end up spending on the rower.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day, and I started on the rower not by choice. It was very weird what happened because there weren’t that many people who got to class before me but they couldn’t find the treadmill cards. But I figured again that starting on the rower was a good challenge for me. When you start on the rower and it is a 2 group class, you usually start with floor work.

The floor had 3 blocks. In the first block we had lunges, squats, and plank crunch work. The second block was froggers, situps, and superman work. And the third block was burpees, strap work, and situps. I went a bit easier on the floor than I’m used to because I knew I had the cardio still to go and I didn’t want to be too tired when I got on the treadmill.

The cardio work was a run/row with weights. It started with an endurance run that was supposed to be .6 miles. I decided to do that as a power walk so I did .3 miles at 6% incline. Then we did shoulder and tricep work with weights before doing a power row of 150 meters. Then back to the treadmill for a power run of .15 miles. Since that was a pretty short run, I decided to do it as a run and not a walk. Then the weight work again before going back to the rower for the endurance row of 600 meters. I just made it back to the treadmill to start the endurance run (or for me, power walk) when class ended.

Friday’s workout was an endurance day and I chose to start on the rower. I figured that I might as well challenge myself to do the rower as the start for the week and see what I could do. And not only did I start on the rower, it was a weird day for me because I did a morning workout! I don’t do mornings on Friday because of work, but I had to take the day off work (more about that later this week) so I was able to do a Friday morning workout. It was fun because so many of my Monday morning people were in that class so we were all cheering each other on.

This time, we had 2 blocks on the floor and 2 blocks on the treadmill and we switched between blocks. On the floor, the first block was squats, rows using the straps, pushups to plank work, and a 600 meter row. I ended up going slower than normal on the row and it took me over 3 minutes to complete it. I think I was being a bit too cautious and worried about overdoing it in the beginning of the workout, and I could have done better. But there wasn’t a lot of time to be upset since that was just the beginning of the workout. The second block on the floor was squats, triceps, abs, and pop jacks.

When I got to the treadmill, I had already made the decision to walk the entire time. I had a big day of walking ahead of me (again, more on this later this week) and I didn’t want to overdo it because I didn’t want to spend the day in pain. The first block was decreasing push paces that started at 3 minutes and went down to 1. I did all my push paces at 6% and my all out paces at 8%. The second block was increasing push paces starting at 1 minute and going up to 2 minutes. And I did the same inclines on the treadmill this time.

Saturday’s workout was one that I was really thinking about cancelling. I was exhausted and have not been sleeping well because of the heat wave. But it ended up being the perfect way to end my rower challenge so I’m so glad that I went. It was a 3 group power workout and again I started on the rower. But this time, we had been told that Water Rower, the company that makes the rowers we use, was going to donate $1 toward the Red Cross for hurricane relief for every 1,000 meters we row and post a photo of on social media. So when I started on the rower, I didn’t follow the plan and just decided to row the entire block without stopping. I got just over 2,000 meters and then moved on to the treadmill.

I tried to run on the treadmill, but had to move to power walking after about a minute of running. But that worked out ok because I ended up having a plan in my head with the rowing and wasn’t thinking too much about the treadmill. I then went to the floor where we had some weights and ab work.

Then it was back to the rower where I decided that I wanted to see if I could stay on for more than just the rowing block. Someone else in class was doing the 10,000 meter challenge and I thought that maybe I could get to 5,000 meters total. So I knew I had to row another 3,o00 meters and that would pretty much take me 2 blocks. Fortunately, there was space in the class for me to stay on the rower so I started rowing and tried to get into a zoned out state.

Rowing over 2,000 meters is pretty rare in class. And any time we have to row 1,000 meters is extremely tough and usually I have to take a break. But I knew my time was limited and I couldn’t take breaks like I wanted to. So I just tried to stay steady in my rowing and not look at the distance that often. I was at about 1,500 meters when it was time for my group to move to the treadmill, but I stayed on the rower. I never thought I’d skip the treadmill to keep rowing, but I was determined to get to 3,000 meters. And when that treadmill time ended, I just got to 3,000 meters and was able to get a total of 5,000 meters in class!

That’s $5 that Water Rower is going to donate to the Red Cross! It’s not a lot of money, but between everyone in my class I think we got probably $50 in donations. And when you add up all the classes in all the studios that is going to be a lot of money!

I think that I pretty much killed it in my rowing challenge this week. I don’t think that I will be starting on the rower regularly because this confirmed to me that it is still tough for me to run on the treadmill after rowing and doing floor work. But I won’t be as worried or nervous about it now that I’ve proved to myself that I can do it.