Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Spamilton (or A Between The Seasons Musical)

It’s been a little while since my last show at the Pantages. And we do have tickets for next season, but our first show of that season is about 2 months away. My Pantages group didn’t really have any plans for shows between our two seasons, but when I was driving past the Kirk Douglas Theatre I noticed an ad for “Spamilton“. So I texted the group to see if anyone was interested in checking the show out and everyone said yes!

I have some friends who work at that theater so I contacted them to see if they knew of any deals, and my friend said that he could get us his employee comp tickets! We were going to have to buy the other 2, but that saved us 50% on the tickets so we were so happy about that. And since it’s a show that doesn’t have an intermission it wasn’t a big deal that we couldn’t sit together. We figured we’d hang out before the show and after the show.

We met up for dinner in downtown Culver City before the show and then headed to the theater. None of us knew too much about “Spamilton” except that it was a spoof musical about “Hamilton” and we were excited to see what it was all about.

As soon as we got into the lobby we noticed the drink specials that they were offering. We all loved the puns on the songs that the drinks were named after.

Dani and Michelle decided to have them spin the wheel so they could get the $5 drink of whatever it landed on. I don’t remember what they got, but they both enjoyed their drinks so it was a great deal for them.

Right before the show started, we split up to go to our seats. The two seats we bought were in the second to last and the last row in the center and the two seats we got from my friend ended up being in the 5th row! I thought they would be toward the back because that’s how many comp tickets go, but we lucked out!

And as soon as the show started, we didn’t stop laughing! This show was amazing! You have to know musical theater to get it, but you don’t have to know “Hamilton” super well to get the jokes. If you know the songs a bit and who the cast is, you’ll get the jokes about the show. But there were a lot of joked about other musicals, playwrights, and other people involved in the theater world that they sang about.

One of my favorite parts was when they sang about mashup musicals. It was just so clever and the mashups they created were perfect. I loved how they did “The Lion King” and “The King and I” together and “Avenue Q” and “The Crucible” together. The songs were really funny and I was almost crying I was laughing so hard.

At times we wondered if we were bugging the people sitting by us because we were laughing so loud and they weren’t laughing. I don’t know if they were quiet laughers or if they didn’t get what they were making fun of. But we were having an amazing time and hopefully everyone else in the audience was too.

The show is pretty short at only 80 minutes but it was a jammed packed 80 minutes. And the cast had so much energy from start to finish and it looked like they were having a great time. The main cast was 5 actors and they were accompanied by a piano, but it felt like a much fuller show than that. But I loved the simplicity of the set and music because the performances stood out so much!

After the show was done, we all agreed that it was a great show and very funny! I think it helped me to get my musical fix in between our seasons at Pantages. I am still entering the lottery every day to try to win tickets for “Hamilton”. I really want to see it for a second time before it leaves LA but I haven’t had any luck yet. But there’s still a bit of time left before it leaves so hopefully my luck will change (or one of my friends will win and bring me with them).

Or maybe I’ll go see “Spamilton” again because it was such a great night out!

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Festival Of Holidays (or All The Food, Some Of The Rides)

After my last adventure to Disneyland, my friends and I tried to plan out when we could go for the rest of 2017. We knew that our winter holiday blackouts were coming soon with our passes and we were limited in how many more days we would be able to go. We made some plans for December but we were also hoping to figure out when we could go in November too. We couldn’t figure out when all 3 of us could go, but Michelle and I were both able to go this week so we decided to go for a Disney day!

The timing was perfect because the holiday stuff just started at Disneyland. And at California Adventure they were doing the Festival Of Holidays which consists of about a dozen different food booths with different holiday themed food offerings. It’s similar to what they did during the Food and Wine Festival earlier this year and we were excited to check out what food we could get! And as Annual Passholders, we could get the Sip and Savor pass which allows you to get 8 items for $45. Since most things were more expensive than $6, it’s a pretty great deal!

Michelle got 4 things and I got 3 things throughout the day. And most of the time we split stuff between us so we could each try as many things as possible. I think the salmon and brisket were my favorites so far. But I’ll be in the park at least one more time before the Festival Of Holidays ends (plus I still have 5 more food items I can get with my pass) so I’ll be trying many more.

And our priority was to try all the amazing foods, we did go on some rides as well. We went on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout twice in the hopes that we’d get a new song on the ride. There are 6 song choices and we had only had 3 before. But on the 2 rides we had, both times we had songs we had already heard before. Hopefully we will make it through all 6 songs one day!

We also went on California Screamin’ since that ride will be closing for a bit soon. They will be changing the theme of the ride (but keeping the ride the same) so it will be themed to “The Incredibles”. But we still wanted to make sure we got to go on it before it closed and changed.

And they will also be closing Mickey’s Fun Wheel to change the theme so we made a stop over there as well. We were about halfway up on the ferris wheel stopped because they were loading the cars below us. Michelle and I were focused on the fun view and looking at what food things we wanted to try next.

But we realized after a while that we had been at that spot for a while and when we looked down we realized that there was no longer a line for the ride. I don’t know what happened but it did break down so they had to move it so that each car could get off. But when they got our car down to the bottom it kept moving. It was weird and we thought maybe the ride was working again. But I guess they just made a mistake because it started going backwards so we could be let off. But they gave us a pass to use for another ride and we took that to go on Soarin Around The World.

We also got to see an incredible sunset while in the park. It kept changing colors as the sun was setting, but it looked amazing every time we looked at it.

After those rides and our food, we decided to go over to the Disneyland side. It was pretty crowded over there compared to California Adventure but it was still so pretty with all the holiday decorations up.

It felt so late but it wasn’t even 6pm! The time change really threw me off and I was already starting to feel tired. We tried to go look at the castle but they were filming the tv special that will be airing soon so the castle was blocked by various equipment. We kind of could see how pretty it looked, but I’m looking forward to seeing it another time when the view isn’t obstructed.

And we then had our final ride of the day which was Space Mountain. It’s back to the regular version of the ride, but that feels special since between Hyperspace Mountain and Ghost Galaxy it seems like I never ride the regular version.

We debated about trying to go on one more ride to wait out traffic, but we both were pretty close to being done. Even though we didn’t go on that many rides, we did a ton of walking. My Fitbit said I had done about 17,000 steps which is what we normally do in a full day of rides.

But even being tired while we were walking out, I couldn’t help but smile at how pretty Main Street looked with all the lights.

I’ll be back at Disneyland in a few weeks for sure, but there may be another adventure before that or right after before we are blacked out for the holidays. The holidays are so pretty at Disneyland and I want to make sure I experience it as much as possible before I have to wait a year for it to be back again!

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Final Union Working Meeting For 2017 (or A Commercial Roundtable)

I’ve been so lucky to get to be a part of Union Working for a while now. Their meetings are always so inspiring and I’ve learned so much from attending. I’ve made some awesome friends and I’ve been getting more and more involved with the union, which has been a goal of mine for a while. I know that there is much more that I can do, but I’m taking steps in the right direction.

The meetings for Union Working are about every 6 weeks and the meeting this past week was the last one for this year. It seems like a lot of things are winding down because of the holidays but I know that it will be back in the new year. But since this was the last meeting for the year, the group did one of the best meetings they’ve ever had as a 2017 finale.

Usually the meetings have a guest speaker who answers questions from the group about what is happening in the entertainment industry. A lot of the focus is on what is happening with commercials but other things come up too. But for this meeting there was a roundtable discussion. So instead of just one guest there were multiple guests. And the questions were asked to everyone so we could see how different people in the industry have different answers and they got to learn from each other as well.

In the roundtable we had staff from SAG-AFTRA (even though the group is not officially affiliated with the union we do have staff members who have spoken before), casting directors, agents, actors, and even the creator of one of the online submission services that is used for submitting actors for auditions. It was a really great variety in the panel and I was impressed by who they were able to get.

There were a lot of topics that we’ve heard about before, but it’s always great to hear someone else’s perspective. And to listen to the people on the panel debate amongst each other was interesting. Sometimes they helped to form ideas as a group that could help actors together. Or they learned why one idea or another wouldn’t work based on what we as actors have access too. And some of them weren’t aware of all the limits or abilities of the union so I’m glad that information was able to be shared with them.

The idea of this meeting wasn’t necessarily to walk away with actionable steps but to leave with ideas that we can use toward working on things for the future. I was more inspired than ever to keep working hard for my union and to keep trying to bring more people to Union Working meetings. When they start again in the new year, I want to try to get one friend to each meeting I go to. These meetings are great for members of the union but they are also great for those who aren’t members yet. There are many things I wish I had known when I wasn’t union. I probably would have been much smarter about my career and I probably would have joined the union sooner. But now that I’m in, I want to see all professional actors as union members so we can continue to strengthen the union.

There was a hangout at a bar after the meeting was over, but I needed to get home to get some work done and go to sleep. Last week was a bit of a rough week for me with sleeping due to the nausea issue so I really was making an effort to try to get to bed sooner than normal. I missed the social aspect of going to the meetings, but I know that leaving was the best thing for me and that I’ll have plenty more opportunities to go to bar hangouts when the meetings start up again next year.

Even though this is the end of the Union Working meetings for the year, it’s not the end of my involvement with them for the year. I was asked if I’d help out with some work that the group is doing and I’m pretty excited about that. I don’t have all the details about what I’m doing, but I’m just happy to be involved. That’s all I’ve wanted to do and it was an opportunity that presented itself to me and I’m taking advantage of it.

I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of this group. I’ve been able to do so much this year with them and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring for the group and for my involvement with them.

A Mid-Week Realization (or Forcing Myself To Run)

Last week, I blogged about my lack of 5Ks in my future and how I felt that was affecting my workouts. That post was in the middle of this past week of workouts and it was what I needed to get my butt back in gear. I was struggling during the beginning of the week because I was having horrible nausea (I’m looking into finding new medications that should help me) but when I wrote that post I was coming to the end of the problem and was able to get back to what I know I should be doing.

Monday’s workout was a power and strength day and it was one of the worst days for my nausea. I was terrified that I would throw up during class and wondered if it would be dangerous to take more medication before I was supposed to (I didn’t, but for me to want to means it was really horrible). Because I was feeling so awful, I only had a goal to get through class and not worry about anything else.

It was a 3 group class and each section of the room had 2 blocks. On the treadmill the first block was increasing 1 minute hills and the second block was 45 second all out paces with front raises with weights in-between each all out. I had to decrease my speed for the entire time because just walking fast was making me feel sick. But I did manage to do what I could and didn’t give up which was all I could ask for.

On the floor, the first block was squats, lunges, and scissor ab work. And the second block was lateral lunges, rotations on the straps, and plank work. Unfortunately, there was a lot of up and down while on the floor and that again made things tough on me. I took time to sit and tried to feel more like myself while I was working because I knew that pushing myself harder wasn’t going to be a good thing for me.

And on the rower, the first block was 200 meter rows with shoulder presses in-between each row. I didn’t look at my rowing time because I knew it was bad. And the last block was a 6 minute row for distance and I ended up taking a break every minute or so to try to feel better. It was a tough class to get through and I tried not to be hard on myself because I know that these were not normal circumstances for me.

Wednesday I was finally starting to feel better and I had the extra motivation of trying to get back to my running. And this class ended up being a run/row switching format so it was a good opportunity to work on my running. It was interesting to switch a couple of times during a run/row, but that allowed me time to rest and recover. There were 3 blocks in the run/row and the first block was .1 mile runs with 200 meter rows. I was able to run every time I had the .1 mile run. The second block was 3 rounds of 30 second intervals, 2 rounds of 45 second intervals, and a 1 minute all out pace to end the block. I ran all the push and all out paces and walked my bases. And the last block was an incline .1 mile run which I ended up doing as a walk because I didn’t feel ok with running on an incline. And the rowing in the last block was 200 meter rows that increased each round.

The floor was a lot of arm work and lunges. The first block was single arm snatches, pop jacks, and lateral lunges. The second block was lunges with weights, upright rows with weights, and crunches. And the last block was rows on the straps, pullovers with weights, and plank work. I felt pretty strong on the floor and only had minor moments of nausea so I was feeling proud of myself. And I did a decent amount of running so that really helped my confidence.

Friday’s workout was a power day so it felt like another perfect opportunity to work on my running. All of the blocks on the treadmill were really short. The longest block we had was 4 minutes but most of them were closer to 3 minutes. The first few blocks started with a push pace that was between 30-90 seconds and then had a base pace and ended with a push pace to an all out pace. I ran all the push and all out paces and walked my bases. This was more what I was used to so I was feeling amazing!

On the floor, we mainly had 1 long block. In that block, we had 3 sections that each had 2 moves in them. We were supposed to do 3 rounds of the 2 moves in that section and then go to the rower to do a 1 minute row for distance. The moves were push ups, skaters, chest presses using the straps, low rows using the straps, lunges, and plank work). I think my rower was having issues because it was telling me I was only doing 40 meters in 1 minute when normal for me is around 200 meters. At the end of the workout, we went over to the rowers to row in the same pattern as the treadmills. It was a 3 minute row for distance and again my rower was having issues with telling me the distance. It ended up saying I did just over 100 meters when I know it was closer to 600. But I was able to row for the 3 minutes without stopping so that was an improvement over the beginning of the week.

I was feeling pretty awesome about my running when I got to Saturday’s class and found out it was an endurance day. Those are tough days for me to work on running, but I was going to do my best. Since it was a 3 group class, I knew I’d only be on the treadmill for about 15 minutes so that helped. The treadmill was distance runs on our own time. We started with a .25 mile run which I was able to run without stopping. Next was supposed to be a .5 mile run and I was going to try to do running intervals. I did about 90 seconds of running before going down to my walk and thought I could get back to running after about a minute. But my legs were feeling like they weighed 1,000 pounds and I ended up walking on an incline to finish it. But I did do it as a .5 mile run/walk and not doing the power walk option of .25 miles.

Next I was on the floor were we had increased rep work. Each round started with 5 burpees (I was so glad my nausea was gone because the burpees would have been horrible otherwise) and then we had squats, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups on the straps. Those other moves started at 10 reps each but went up 5 reps each round we did them. I made it through the 20 rep round before time was called to switch to the rower.

On the rower, we started with an 800 meter row and the row went down 200 meters each time. Between each row we had jumping jacks with a medicine ball. About halfway through the time on the rower, things switched to be squats with the medicine ball between each row. I was able to do my 800 and 600 meter rows without stopping and the only reason my 400 meter row had a break was to learn about what the new move was going to be in-between the rowing.

While this past week of workouts got off to a tough start, it ended on a pretty great note. I had 3 decent days of running including running .25 miles without a walking break. It wasn’t that long ago that running that distance without walking seemed impossible and I was able to just jump back into doing that. Hopefully I can figure out some more motivation for my running and I can figure out better ways to handle my nausea so this doesn’t become an issue for a week each month.

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.

Trying To Make A 5K Plan (or Maybe This Is The Motivation I’m Missing)

I’ve been feeling a bit stuck (or even going backwards) in my running lately. It’s unfortunate that I’ve been feeling like that because I have made some amazing progress. But things like getting sick or having a weird schedule have been affecting me more than I would like. I want to get back into making awesome progress with my running, but I don’t know what it will take.

You might have also noticed that I haven’t written about doing a 5K in a while. I usually have a race around this time of year, but I actually won’t be doing one. The race that I normally do was supposed to be last month but then it never happened. It was very odd because it was promoted as a certain date but you couldn’t register for it. And then the week it was supposed to happen they announced it wouldn’t be happening. I wasn’t thinking I would be doing this race since there was nothing about it online, but it was still a disappointment when it didn’t happen.

And I haven’t signed up for the race that I usually do in the spring yet. That race has always been a 5K, 10K, and half marathon. But we got an email earlier this year that the race was merging with another race and it now appears that there are only options to do a 10K or half marathon. It’s also more expensive now. So I’m not sure what I want to do about that.

I’ve never done a 10K but I’ve been considering it. But I said I would want to do a 10K as a Disney race because that would be extra motivation to work hard. And then Disney announced that there won’t be any races coming up at Disneyland because of the construction happening. So there went that idea.

It’s weird to not have any 5Ks in my future. There are a few other races I’ve done in the past that I’m thinking about doing toward the end of this year or sometime next year, but it’s not the same as the tradition that I’ve had for the past few years. But I really think I need to get back into doing races because I think that is what I need to do to get my running back to where it was.

When I have a race that I’m getting ready for, I’m so competitive with myself. I always want to PR on a race and I know that I have to work really hard in my treadmill workouts to do that. Plus, then I also go out and do running workout on my own. Right now, I don’t feel the sense of urgency that I have in the past and maybe that is allowing me to be a bit lazy in my workouts. As much as I want to blame not feeling well, I have to remember that one of my last 5Ks was right after I had been at the hospital for the day with horrible stomach pains (which helped to lead me to discover I have the liver tumors). If I could have an amazing race after being in the hospital, then I can work on my treadmill workouts after feeling sick.

If I had a race that I was working toward, I would push myself to work harder in my workouts because I know what I have to be able to do to match what I’ve done in the past and I usually push myself to do more than that. I have a goal in mind that I’m working toward and I didn’t realize before how important that is for me in my workouts. I really need another race to know is coming up to keep me accountable and working hard. Otherwise, I can take it easy but still feel like I’m doing a good job because I’m there for my workouts.

I need to look at my schedule to see what 5Ks I could possibly do and which ones aren’t too expensive. And I am going to think about doing that 10K in April but I’m really torn if I think I’m ready for that or not. But the planning needs to start happening because if I don’t then these races will happen and I won’t be a part of them. And as hard as it is to believe, I think I actually miss doing 5Ks. They have been a part of my life for a while and it feels weird not to be doing them or having more medals to add to my collection. Hopefully I can figure out a plan to keep doing them so that I don’t feel like something is missing in my workout life.

A Wizard’s Birthday (or A Full Universal Day)

When I got my Universal Studios pass again this year, I knew it would be worth it since you only have to go twice to make it the cheaper option than buying tickets. But I didn’t know if I’d go much more than that because I don’t love going there as often as I do Disneyland. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be getting another pass after this one expires, so I’m making sure that I get my Universal fix in while I have a pass.

So when my friend Erin told me that her daughter Olive was doing a birthday adventure at Universal, of course I wanted to join in! I’ve known Olive her entire life and I love that she is so into the world of make-believe. She loves everything Harry Potter and loves being in the park to do spells.

They wanted to get there when the park opened, so it was an earlier start than I’m used to. I was at the gate before it opened and it was raining a bit while I waited for them to join me. But fortunately that stopped soon after and it ended up being a pretty gorgeous day out.

Olive could easily spend the day just doing the Harry Potter ride 13 times. That’s actually what she said her plan for the day was. But the grownups in the group knew that wasn’t how the day was going to go so we encouraged her to pick other rides she wanted to go on. We went on the Minions ride, she and I watched when the others went on Jurassic Park, and I got to ride a few other things without Olive. But the main part of the day was spent in the Harry Potter section of the park.

It was nice to see that they were already decorating for the holidays and most of the buildings have garlands and wreaths on them.

We did the Harry Potter ride twice as a group and we also had a nice lunch at the restaurant there. While I can be a bit tired of the same things over and over again, I love being there with Olive because seeing things through a kid’s eyes is just such a fun experience. Seeing her believe in everything in the park as something real is a great thing. So many kids are jaded by her age and I appreciate that she still believes and is still a kid and not an elementary school aged teenager. Kids should get to be kids and that’s exactly what she does.

While we were at the park I was starting to deal with some pretty bad nausea. I had my medications with me and was taking them while I was there, but I was glad when we decided to take a break from the rides and go watch the Waterworld show. I see that show almost every time I’m there and it is still one of my favorites.

I was feeling a bit better after sitting down for the show, but I was not feeling like I could do any more rides. I don’t think I would have thrown up on a ride, but I didn’t want to risk that or do anything that would potentially make me feel worse. So while everyone else was getting ready to ride the Harry Potter ride again, I had to say goodbye so I could go home and try to feel better.

I didn’t feel too horrible about leaving early because some of Olive’s friends arrived just as I was leaving. And I had been in the park for about 6 hours which is longer than I’m normally there. So I had a full day and I think that Olive had fun while I was there. And from the photos I saw on Facebook, I know that she had fun after I left too. It looks like they stayed there until the park closed so they had a super full day!

I’m only about halfway through my year with this annual pass to Universal so I’m sure I’ll make it back there again before it expires. Some of the employees there mentioned that they were going to do a special castle show for the holidays so hopefully that will be this year so I can see it. And I’ll probably go back right before my pass expires to ride all my favorites one more time before I know I won’t be going back for a while. And maybe Olive will want me to go with her again and we can have another Harry Potter filled day!

Trying NaNoWriMo (or Kind Of Another Monthly Challenge)

Even though I just shared my monthly challenge, I’ve actually found another one and this one has to be done this month. National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is from November 1-30 and even though I missed the beginning of it I’ve decided to see how many days this month I can do it.

I had started working on a book about online dating a while ago, but I haven’t really worked on it much since then. I’ve meant to work on it, but it just hasn’t happened. I have updated things as I’ve had new stories that I knew I wanted to have in the book, but I know that I need to start writing my stories before I forget some of the details. And doing NaNoWriMo seems to be the perfect thing to help motivate me to work on the stories.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That is about 1667 words a day. I don’t really know how that will look in terms of the book I want to work on, but I think that could be some of the stories I have. I was using some old blog posts as ideas and they average about 1000 words. So doing more than a blog post isn’t going to be possible for each story I have to share, but many of them could easily be longer than that. I don’t want to have to hold myself to doing 1667 words a day because I don’t necessarily want to have to do a story and a half in a day, but it’s a good goal to have as an average.

So my idea for NaNoWriMo is to hopefully write one of my stories a day. As of right now, I don’t have 30 stories I want to share but I have to think about things and see if there are more swipe left stories (or guys that I didn’t want to meet) that I could add. There are so many guys that have started chatting with me and then said something that made me never want to talk to them again but I haven’t really thought about putting any of those stories in. All of my swipe left stories are guys that I was going to meet or there was something funny that happened. Sadly, guys that say gross things is a common thing and they don’t each deserve a story.

I have had some friends do NaNoWriMo in the past and they have worked on their books religiously and did accomplish the goal of writing a draft of their book within the month. While I would love to say that I’m going to work on the book every day, I know that it isn’t necessarily going to be possible. I have a feeling that when I’m with my family at Thanksgiving that I might be too busy between working my day job and being with family that I won’t be able to write. But I will have my laptop with me so writing will be possible if I find the time.

While I loved the idea of writing a book when it came to me, it has scared me a bit. It’s almost the same feeling I had when I started this blog and the best way to fix that was to jump right in and not think twice. With the book, since it isn’t being shared as I write I didn’t feel the same pressure to make sure I did it. But having the word count updates on NaNoWriMo should help to create that same pressure that I need to work. And hopefully the more that I work on it the less scary it is to me.

I have no clue what I’d do if I finish the book. So many friends have said I should publish it because my stories are so crazy. I don’t know if I would do that or how to do it, but it’s a fun idea. But I really just want to finish the book so that I can say it’s done and then I can figure out what to do with it. And I’m hoping that my crazy stories will be slowing down so if I have any more stories to add after it’s done that it will be a quick update. I’m guessing what I have to do right now is going to be a majority of the book and that’s a big hill to climb. But I know I can do it.

Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? Or have you done it in the past? I’d really love some advice on what helped you because this is a new journey for me and I know that having some tricks or tips can make this easier to accomplish.

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A Disney Birthday! (or Princesses and Awesome Ears)

I love Disneyland and I love birthdays so when those get to be combined it’s so much fun! And this week, I had a fun Disney adventure that was to celebrate my friend Michelle’s birthday! We also wanted one more Disney outing to see the Halloween stuff before it switched over to Christmas decorations, so this was perfect timing.

Since we were going to celebrate Michelle’s birthday, Dani and I tried to do some fun planning. We got her some Peter Pan themed ears and told Michelle to make lunch reservations somewhere fun and festive. Michelle is going to wear the ears we got her another time because this time her outfit was Maleficent themed. We all tried to have cute outfits this day because Michelle had recently added MaxPass to her annual pass which includes Photopass so we can get all the cute photos from Disney photographers!

We had to take advantage of getting fun photos right away. When we got to the parks, we started on the Disneyland side and did a bit of shopping at first so Michelle could get some ears to match her outfit. And then we were over to get some photos with Star Wars characters. When we saw Kylo Ren, there wasn’t a Photopass photographer, but we still got a cute photo.

But there was a photographer when we got to Darth Vader and we got so many photos! I knew they took photos while we were posing, but they also took so many photos while we were interacting with the character. It was fun to look at those photos, but my favorites are still when we posed.

After our photos we went over to Tomorrowland to do Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Michelle and I still have our year-long competition with the points on that ride), and Star Tours.

I wish I had a photo from Star Tours too because Michelle ended up being the Rebel Spy that time! I’ve never gotten to be on the ride when someone in my group was the Rebel Spy and I’m sad I didn’t think to have my phone out to take a photo when she was on the screen. Oh well. Hopefully that will happen again and I’ll remember!

After those rides, we headed over to California Adventure since our lunch reservation was over there. We had some time before lunch so we went on Soarin’ Around The World and then walked over to Ariel’s Grotto. I had never had lunch there before (they also do breakfast) and I was impressed by the decor and the view when we got inside.

When you walk downstairs to the dining area, you first take a photo with Ariel. We thought we could use the Photopass for that photo, but it isn’t part of that and we didn’t want to spend $30 on the photo. But we did take advantage of all the princesses that walked around during lunch and got photos with them. The only negative was that there wasn’t a photographer walking with the princesses so most of our photos ended up being selfies.

The food at Ariel’s Grotto is a prix fixe meal. You get soup or salad, a choice of entrée, and then a dessert selection.

I went with the crab chowder and the tri-tip and those along with the dessert were really good!

And we made sure that they knew it was Michelle’s birthday so she also got a cupcake with a candle in it along with her desserts.

After so much food, we wanted our stomachs to settle a bit before riding anything too intense so we went on The Little Mermaid ride and then went to the Animation Academy to do some artwork (I’m finally getting better at drawing circles).

Then it was time to ride Guardians After Dark. Since this was a Halloween offering we wanted to make sure we got to ride it again, and Dani hadn’t had a chance to check it out yet. We didn’t get to do the Guardians ride during the day, but I’m sure we’ll do that next time we are there. But the nighttime Halloween version is fun so I’m glad we did it.

After that ride, California Adventure was closing and we were going to go back to the Disneyland side. But we were taking our time and did some shopping and discovered something amazing in one of the stores. Disneyland now sells ears that have changeable bows! So you can have one set of the ears headband but change up what character it represents! I loved that idea and so did Dani and Michelle. All of us ended up buying ears and a second bow. I kept mine with the original bow, but I liked it that way too!

We then headed back into Disneyland to ride the Jungle Cruise since it’s so much fun to ride that when it’s dark out. But as we walked over, it started to drizzle/mist rain. It was so weird and none of us thought it was going to rain that day. But fortunately, the boats on the Jungle Cruise have canvas on top so we were protected from the rain.

And after that ride, we all felt like we were done for the day. But we decided to try to get a cute photo of all of us with our new ears and there was no line for the Photopass photographer in front of the castle! There is always a big line there but maybe the rain scared people away? But within minutes we were taking a bunch of photos in front of the castle. And I love how the rain almost looks like glitter in the photo!

It was a nice full day at Disneyland and we didn’t feel rushed around at all. And some of the Christmas decorations were already up when we were there. But I know we’ll be back at least once or twice to see all of those holiday decorations. But I was just glad that we got to see all the Halloween stuff one more time and got to celebrate another birthday at Disneyland. I never get to celebrate my birthday there since it’s during my pass blackout, but now I’m thinking I should celebrate my half birthday there next year!

Another Attempt At Mindfulness (or I Think I Need To Work On This Until I Figure It Out)

I’ve tried to work on mindfulness multiple times and it has never seemed to stick with me. But it keeps coming up in my life and I feel like that is a sign of something. So I’ve been inspired to try mindfulness again and the timing is perfect since it’s time for another monthly challenge! But first, time to recap last month’s challenge.

Last month, I challenged myself to work on doing daily speed cleaning. Ideally, I would spend 5-10 minutes a month focused on a small space in my house to clean and organize it. I wanted to do this because I had felt like my cleaning was getting overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. So I wanted to take away the pressure from doing a big cleaning in my house because that seemed to be what was stopping me. I set an alarm to work on this each day and I tried my best to do what I could.

I wasn’t totally successful with this, but it went better than I thought it would. There were several days that I couldn’t do cleaning because either I was gone all day (like during the Convention) or I had no energy because I was sick. But when things like that weren’t stopping me, I really did accomplish a lot. And by telling myself I only had to do one small cleaning thing allowed me to just do it and not worry about not having time to finish it. There were some times that I did a really small cleaning job like using a new multi-hook hanger to put all my tank tops in one spot (it also saves room in my closet). And then there were other times where my small cleaning job ended up getting me motivated to do a bigger cleaning job. But it has gotten me into the habit of spending a bit of time every day working on this so that I don’t feel overwhelmed again.

Last month went well and I’m really hoping this month will too. Mindfulness has been a struggle for me each time I’ve tried to work on it. I’ve found little things that have worked, but they aren’t enough. I want to be more aware of so much in my life. This isn’t just a food thing because there are days where it seems like the entire day slipped away without me knowing what happened. I want to avoid days in a fog like that if possible.

The book that I’m reading as my 10 pages of a recovery based book right now is all about eating mindfully. I actually wish I had read this book when I first started trying to be more mindful because it’s pretty great. Each section has a lesson along with some action steps to take. And so many of these action steps are things that I haven’t done before or thought of doing before. I actually think I need to go back and start reading from the beginning to take notes on things because I haven’t been doing that. And that is part of my challenge for this month.

I want to go through the book again and other resources I can find and start finding action steps to take to work toward mindfulness. Maybe the reason why it has failed to stick with me before is because mindfulness is more of an idea and less of something I can do. If I had steps to take and work with, that would probably be better for me. I need something tangible or to check off on a list to work with and I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this before.

This month’s challenge won’t necessarily be about putting mindfulness into practice right away. I’ve tried that a bunch and it hasn’t worked. But instead, this challenge is going to be about researching action steps and ideas to put into use over time. I want to devote time every day to re-reading the book I’ve been reading as well as looking online or in other reference books to make a list that I can use moving forward. I want to make mindfulness work for me and it’s not something that I can just turn on right away. I need to work toward it and I have failed at doing that before. Because other challenges have come to me so easily, I assumed that this one would too. But I am learning and have realized what I hope will be the missing step to be able to implement this into my life in the long-term.

I know that this seems like a much more passive monthly challenge than others have been, but this is what I think I need to focus on this month. And there are only so many things I can add to my life with these monthly challenges, so having one that is more of a reflective thing is probably going to help me not get burned out on them. And I totally don’t want to experience burn out because I just got my 2018 Volt Planner so there will be another year of monthly challenges next year!