Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Another Educational Union Event (or Merging My Acting And Blogging)

As I continue to work on my union education, I seem to find more and more events that I really want to attend. Some of them are events that they have from time to time at the union that I’ve never attended before and some are new events that I’m so excited to be a part of. And this week, I was invited to attend an event that was brand new and perfectly suited for me!

SAG-AFTRA and Tubefilter came together to co-host an evening to discuss influencer marketing and the FTC guidelines we need to follow. While I don’t do a ton of sponsored posts on here or on social media, I do have them from time to time (I try to limit them to only things that I really believe in). And I know that there are some rules I need to follow in order to follow what the FTC requires and I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything properly. And since many sponsored posts can be under union jurisdiction, I loved that the union was involved in this conversation to answer questions.

I’ve learned a bit about some of the rules I need to be aware of because of other union events I’ve attended. Until recently, I had no idea that things I did on my blog could be under my union’s jurisdiction. I think this is something that most actor/bloggers aren’t aware of yet and I know that SAG-AFTRA is starting to get the word out now that guidelines are starting to be a bit more clear.

At this event, there was a panel that had a lot of amazing panelists. They included a YouTube creator, an employee of the FTC, and a union representative. While there was a lot of back and forth because some rules are still a bit unclear, I think the tone of the entire event was that we all want to work together to figure out how to create policies that protect us as creators and still follow FTC guidelines.

The meeting really reminded me of the Union Working events with how people may be coming from different sides of an issue but we understand that by working together and being strong as a group it will benefit us the most. And while not everyone has the answers to everything, people are bringing up questions that are helping those higher up to understand the issues we are facing and the concerns that we want answered. Sometimes, the answers to questions was to say that they didn’t know, but I highly respect people who aren’t afraid to say that they don’t know (instead of making up an answer).

The panel was about 2 hours long (and they probably could have gone for another 2 hours and I still would have been fascinated) and then there was a bit of a social mixer after. I was sitting at a table with some of my friends so I had a chance to be social before the panel. And after the panel, we came together to discuss what we had learned and what issues we are concerned about. We had a chance to speak with the National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA and I got to express some of my personal concerns or confusion over the rules. Influencer marketing is still a pretty new system so I think there is a lot of confusion by a lot of people. And since I don’t do it that often I think I had extra questions. But I did leave the meeting feeling much better about the situation and knowing who to contact if I needed to get something specific answered.

I don’t know how big the overlap is with actors and bloggers (or other types of influencer marketers), but I’m very excited to be someone who fits into both categories. I’ve already talked to the union about how they can reach the blogger community to help those who are not in the entertainment industry understand what is happening and what the union is doing for them. I think it’s going to be a very exciting time to see those two worlds come together and I love that I get to help connect them and bring them together.

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Finally Back At Disneyland (or Enjoying An Average Day At The Parks)

I finally made it back to Disneyland this week! It had been a while since I was there because of the holiday blackout and then being busy on my days off. I really had missed being at Disneyland and I was so happy to be back there! The only odd thing was that it was pretty hot that day (it would have been hot even if it was in the summer), but we didn’t let that bring us down.

We got to the parks a bit later than we normally would, so we headed straight to California Adventure to get some lunch first. They are celebrating the Lunar New Year right now in that park and have some fun and new food offerings. I got the sticky rice with pork and a sugar cane shrimp skewer. They were both pretty good and the perfect lunch before going on some rides!

After enjoying our lunch, we headed over to Guardians of the Galaxy to ride it. This is still one of my favorite rides and we always have a great time on it. While we didn’t plan on how to pose for our photos, I think we still got a pretty funny one!

Since it was hot out, we decided to go into some air conditioning next. We went to the Animation Academy to do some drawing where it listed the character we were drawing as “artist choice”. It ended up being Dante from “Coco” which I haven’t seen yet. So we were all a bit confused on what the finished product would look like until we were done. Mine looks a bit weird, but I think all of our photos look enough like the character.

We thought about if there were any other rides we wanted to go on at California Adventure, but we decided to head over to the Disneyland side for the rest of our day. And our first stop was Space Mountain where we tried to recreate our poses from the Guardian ride for this photo.

Then we headed toward Fantasyland to check out the Mickey and the Magical Map show. I had never seen this show completely through so I was excited to check it out. It was really cute and the performers were really good. We all had grabbed some snacks before the show and enjoyed a break in the shade while watching the show.

Last year, my friend Michelle and I had a year-long battle on Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. We kept track of our scores whenever we rode it together over the entire year. This year the battle is going to be Michelle, Dani, and me and we are not going to just do the total score for the year (I only won last year because I had one really amazing game), but instead the average for the entire year. I’m glad we made that decision because on the first game Michelle and I both had laser guns that didn’t seem to work and Dani had the best game! It was so good that she ended up in 4th place for the entire day at Disneyland!

By this time, it had gotten dark and we have all discovered how much better it is to ride the Jungle Cruise at nighttime. It’s still silly, but it looks more interesting in the dark than it does when it’s light out. And the skipper we had this time had some pretty funny jokes that we hadn’t heard before. I love that they are getting more creative with the jokes and I hear new material more often.

Even though we were all a bit tired (and it still felt warm outside), we weren’t quite ready to end our Disney day. We went over to Indiana Jones to ride that because it had been a while since we had been on it and we ended our day with some Dole Whips and watching the show in the Enchanted Tiki Room.

While there was nothing too exceptional about this Disney day (except Dani and her crazy high score on Buzz Lightyear), it was still an amazing day. I just love getting to spend time with my friends at Disneyland and I love that we don’t have to make it into an event each time we are there. We can relax, take our time, and ride or not ride whatever we want. There is no stress to make it a special day and I realize how privileged I am to have that. I know that not everyone can have an average day at Disneyland and I love that that’s exactly what I had this week.

My pass is up for renewal in 2 weeks and I’ll be renewing it again for sure. It is not a cheap thing, but it’s so worth it to me. I would want to go to the parks as often as I do if I didn’t have a pass, and that would be so expensive. I easily get my money’s worth with my pass and it saves me so much money. I’ve been trying to budget for it all year and I think I should be fine with getting it. But if not, I will figure out a way to make it affordable for me.

Surprising A Friend Headed To Broadway (or I Have More Motivation To Plan My NYC Trip)

I’m sure there are some people who get jealous when their friends have amazing accomplishments, but I’m not one of them. I love to get to celebrate people’s successes and it makes me more motivated to create successes myself! My friend Matt got a job as an understudy on Broadway and he’s about to move to New York! I’m so excited for him and I know he’s going to do amazing in NYC. And to celebrate the move and his job, Matt’s wife Carolina organized a surprise party for him!

I love surprise parties, but I haven’t had the chance to be at that many. So I was super excited to get to be at this one and I knew it would be a great party. We were all supposed to arrive at the party about 30 minutes before Matt and Carolina were going to arrive. I got there a bit earlier and was able to help with some of the set up. There were some really fun decorations to celebrate Matt and his job on Broadway and I helped with filling in some letters on the giant chalkboard.

Right before Matt and Carolina arrived, we were warned so we could get into place. We were all near the gate they would be walking in and we were crouched down so he wouldn’t see our heads peeking over the fence.  It was pretty funny waiting for the gate to open because we were all waiting toward one gate and then I guess the plan changed for them to walk in another gate. One of the hosts was singing and talking loudly so we would get that they would be coming in a different gate and we all turned around and repositioned ourselves.

The story Carolina told Matt about why there were coming over to the house where the party was being held was that they were dropping off a table there. So when we all surprised Matt, he was carrying a table inside. 

Surprising Matt from Jen Levin on Vimeo.

He had no clue this party was happening and it was so great to see how surprised he was! Carolina worked so hard to make this party happen and I am so happy that it went off exactly how she wanted it to be. I was just so excited to see how happy Matt was that we were all gathered to celebrate him!

There were a bunch of people I knew at the party so I spent a lot of time chatting with them. We were all catching each other up on life and other random things and we all did get a chance to talk to Matt a bit. But there were a lot of people there who wanted to talk to him and none of us wanted to dominate his time.

I know we are all going to miss Matt when he’s in New York. He’s one of the leaders of Union Working and his leadership at the meetings will be missed. But maybe he’ll have the opportunity to start a chapter of the group in NYC while he is there!

My sister-in-law and I have been talking about doing another NYC trip soon and we both know we need to do it! And now that I’ll have another friend living there it’s extra motivation to plan the trip! There’s no guarantee that when we do plan our trip that Matt will be performing (as the understudy he won’t necessarily know what nights he performs in advance), but it would be amazing if the timing worked out so we could see him in the show! But even if that doesn’t work out, I know it will be great to get to see him and Carolina again.

I wanted to stay at the party longer, but I was only able to stay a few hours because I had to get home for some work and errands (being a responsible adult stinks sometimes). But before I left, I needed a photo with Matt! And of course, other friends joined in because as actors we can’t resist a camera.

Congrats again Matt on your amazing gig in NYC! I know that everyone is so excited for you and can’t wait to see what other accomplishments you’ll have on your NYC adventure!

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Doubling Up On Friend Time (or It Feels Like We Just Saw Each Other)

I’m always so grateful when I have friends who are still in my life even if I haven’t seen them in a while. I wrote about a friend like this recently, but I got to experience more of that this week.

After doing the drop-off at My Friend’s Place, I went to meet a friend for a late lunch. This friend is someone who was in UCB classes with me and I don’t think I had seen her since our last class. But we stayed in touch through social media and this past weekend asked me if I had any free time coming up. She recently had surgery and wanted to meet up. And it worked out so perfectly that I was free after the donation drop-off and that it happened to be in the same neighborhood that she lives in!

We ended up meeting at Mel’s Diner which is always fun. We were spending so much time starting to catch up that we had to stop so we could decide on what food we wanted. We quickly decided so we could get back to our catch up time. The surgery that she had was very similar to the surgery I had on my hip. She didn’t have to have her cartilage removed like I did and her injury was caused by the shape of her hip socket and not bone spurs, but it was pretty much the same issue. And I was shocked by how fantastic she was doing! She was only a few weeks post-op and was already walking around and looking amazing! At that point when I had surgery, I was still on crutches and taking painkillers.

Besides our surgery talk, we also talked about acting. She has been wanting to get back into acting (she took a bit of a break) and I think that it’s a fantastic idea. I remember from when we were in class thinking that she was really talented. And I know that she has taken a lot of great acting classes so I think that she would be ready to go with auditions pretty quickly. She just needs to get some of the business stuff done and she’d be ready to go. It’s always exciting to watch someone talk about a career that they love to do. And when she was telling me about acting I could tell that it was what she is passionate about.

She’s also a Disney person like me! So of course we had to talk about different rides and things that we love in the parks. She has an annual pass so we were saying that when she is more recovered from her surgery and could walk a bit more that we need to have an adventure at the parks. I’m really looking forward to that because I can always use more Disney friends!

And while getting to have this catch up with a friend was awesome, it was a double friend day because of us going to Mel’s. A friend of mine works there and she happened to be working while we were there! It was just luck that it happened that way but I’m so glad it did! I love getting to catch up with her too (even though we do stay in touch over social media, it’s not the same). She is also an actor and we met working on a project together. We occasionally audition for the same parts, but we have slightly different looks so we don’t always see each other at auditions. So getting to catch up even briefly while I was at her work was a nice treat!

My friend and I ended up being at our lunch for a few hours before I needed to head home to do some errands. But getting to see her as well as my other friend really revitalized me. Being around great friends is one of the self-care things that I know I don’t do enough. Sometimes I forget how much it boosts my mental health when I get a few hours to sit down and talk to a friend. And not just talk to anyone, but someone who listens and is able to give great advice. That is something I am so grateful to have in my life and I need to remember to do this more often.

Continuing To Support My Friend’s Place (or Learning New Ways To Help Others)

I’ve written a few times in the past about My Friend’s Place. It’s an amazing organization that helps homeless youth in Los Angeles. So many organizations to help the homeless focus on adults and their needs. So it’s great that there is a place for homeless youth to get support and services they need. They do such a great job with providing education, health services, housing information, and other services that homeless youth need. Every time I have things to donate I bring it there since I love the work they are doing. I always just wish that I could do more to help.

At the SAG-AFTRA Convention, we encouraged delegates who were staying at the hotel to donate their hotel toiletries if they didn’t need them. Since My Friend’s Place has shower facilities, toiletries are needed so they have enough supplies for everyone who wants to clean up there. When there have been National Board meetings in LA, board members from other locals come and stay at a hotel here and they have been encouraged to do the same. We’ve managed to collect quite a nice collection of things to donate from people at the union.

I also had some things from friends who knew that I do donation drop offs. Sometimes people just need a way to be able to make a donation easily and don’t have the time or ability to do a drop off on their own. So this week, I went along with 2 other members of SAG-AFTRA to do a drop off of the things we collected.  It felt so great to be able to go with lots of donations even though most of them were from other people.

A lot of times when I do drop offs, I just bring things over and then head back. But this time we had some time to be there and I’m so glad that we weren’t rushed. We got to check out a new thing that My Friend’s Place is doing called the Corner Collective.

The Corner Collective is art, apparel, housewares, and jewelry that was made by the youth at My Friend’s Place that is for sale. Artists come in from time to time to teach a class and then the youth get to create their own work. And now, they are selling them so the youth are able to gain new skills like marketing and are able to gain confidence knowing that what they create is valuable. I know it must give them so much pride to know that someone is buying what they made. And I bet that confidence and pride can be shifted into other areas of their life so they can continue to make steps to getting a job and getting a place to live. It’s such a great idea and I love that we were able to see the work that was for sale!

We also found out that they are going to be doing their 30th anniversary gala on April 7th. It’s going to be held at The Hollywood Palladium and I’m definitely going to see if I’m able to attend. I’m sure it’s going to be an incredible event and I know that supporting such a great organization is something I want to do whenever I can.

I wish I had the ability to donate more items to My Friend’s Place because it is an organization I believe so much in. But since I can’t give as much as I’d like, I figured I could help continue to spread the word about them and the work they do. I found out about them through someone telling me so hopefully I can inspire others to do the same. They have a list of donation items that they are always looking for on their website. I know that some people have been hesitant to donate to certain organizations because of how they may use the donations. With My Friend’s Place, I know that the things we drop off go directly to the youth that they support in Los Angeles. There isn’t a corporate office that determines who gets what. It all goes right there and is used by who needs it first.

If you are in Los Angeles, please consider donating to My Friend’s Place the next time you have items to donate. Or if you have to buy a gift for someone, please browse what The Corner Collective has available and know that your gift will go to support the homeless youth in Los Angeles. And if you are interested in attending their gala, there will be more information on their website soon.

One More San Diego Day (or I Don’t Know When I’ll Be Doing This Again)

This past weekend I did a day trip to San Diego for what will possibly be the last time for a while. My grandma is moving from San Diego to up north where she will be close to my aunt, uncle, and my parents. I’m super excited for my grandma because I think this move will be a really great thing for her. But it’s still a weird feeling that I won’t have any more family in San Diego anymore.

My entire life my grandparents lived in San Diego. They bought their house a year or two before I was born. Then a few years ago they moved to their apartment which was only a few freeway exits further from their house. When my grandpa died, my grandma moved to assisted living but it was in the same building as their apartment. So that move didn’t really feel like a big move. But now she’s doing the biggest move in my lifetime.

On my drive down I was trying to not think about how this was probably the last time I’d be doing this drive for a long time. I’ve been going to San Diego my entire life. And once I moved to LA, I started to do the drive on my own for visits with my grandparents and for Thanksgiving. I would guess that I probably did the drive 3 times a year on average for the last 16 1/2 years. So that’s about 50 times that I’ve done that drive. I have so many random landmarks that I look out for on that drive to help pass the time. And I’ve had a lot of random driving adventures on that drive as well.

I probably won’t be driving to where my grandma is moving to (it’s about a 7 hour drive for me) so I’ll be flying to visit her and for Thanksgiving. In some ways it’s nice to know that I won’t be doing that drive again because it is a bit tiring, but it’s sad to know that I can’t do a day trip to see my grandma and that I will have to do more planning when I want to see her.

For this last trip to San Diego, I went down to help with the prep for my grandma to move. 2 of my aunts where there as well as my parents (and the dog). There were so many people in my grandma’s place that it did get a little crazy in there, but I was just trying to help wherever I could. My dad and I put together boxes and got artwork off the wall. I didn’t really do any of the packing, but I also wasn’t going to be the person unpacking so I wanted to let others do that job. They would know what was in each box so I didn’t want to ruin their planning.

And the main job that I knew that I would have that day would be to be a distraction. While I think my grandma is excited to be closer to family, I think this move is a bit scary and overwhelming for her. We are doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible, but it’s still an unknown for her and I think she still sometimes struggles knowing that it’s just her and not her and my grandpa. But I made sure that my grandma was feeling ok throughout the day. And I joked to her how her only job was to sit back and enjoy us doing all the work.

We got a lot of stuff packed up while I was there. I went back home that evening but there were movers to help move all the heavy stuff the next morning (and there will be movers at the new place to help unload all the heavy stuff). Fortunately, my grandma’s new place will be just about the same size as her current one so we didn’t have to worry about downsizing her things. We’ve done that when they moved from their house to their apartment and then again when my grandma moved from the apartment to where she was living. It was stressful trying to do that and I know it made my grandma emotional deciding what to keep. So I’m glad that we didn’t have to do that part again.

On my drive home, I was a bit sad. I’m so happy for my grandma and I am so glad she won’t be as isolated as she has been in San Diego. But this is the end of something that has been a part of my life for my entire life. I am not someone who moves that often (it’s almost been 8 years since I moved into my house) and my parents still have the house that they got before I was born. So maybe I’m just not used to transitions like this. I do still have some friends who live in San Diego (although normally they come to LA to see me) so I know I’ll be back down there eventually. But for now, I’m saying goodbye to San Diego and closing the chapter of my life that has family living there.

Managing My Setbacks (or Taking My Time With Adjustments)

This past week of workouts were a bit tough for me. I had a few things that were preventing me from doing my best, but I knew that was going to happen ahead of time. I think knowing the week was going to be a bit of struggle before getting to each workout was actually an advantage because I set my expectations lower than normal and didn’t have to worry about reaching goals that probably wouldn’t be possible.

Monday’s workout was a 3G power class. Normally this would be an amazing workout to work on running, but that wasn’t the plan this time. First, this was my first class with taking my Vyvanse all in the morning instead of splitting it up between the morning and lunchtime. Also, this was my 4th class in a row because I had my normal classes the week before plus the special 500 class on Sunday. Because of those factors, I didn’t try to run at all. We had 3 blocks on each section and we switched between the blocks.

The treadmill was all the same pattern for all 3 blocks. We had a push pace, a base pace, a push pace, and an all out pace. I managed to use my normal walking speed and the inclines I’ve been using for a while so that seemed like a victory to me. On the rower, the first block was doing 15 pulls and seeing what distance we got. Then we tried to get to that distance in fewer pulls. The second block was the same idea but with 300 meters. And the last block was just rowing for distance. My rower was acting funny and it wasn’t doing the meters correctly so I just tried to row straight through each block. And on the floor we had 2 moves for each block. And those moves included lunges, push-ups, hop overs, lateral raises, pop jacks, and upright rows using weights.

Wednesday’s workout had its own struggle. It was the first day on a new dosage of Vyvanse. Fortunately since it was an afternoon workout it didn’t affect me as much as it did in the morning, but I still have to make sure my heart rate doesn’t get too high. It was an endurance day and I did start trying to run but realized that I couldn’t do my running intervals. So I stuck with walking with my normal walking speed and was able to do my inclines. The goal for the class was to get ourselves back to base pace (instead of increasing push or all out paces) so I tried really hard not to jump the rails on the treadmill during the workout. I did have to do it when my heart rate got a bit too high, but I was doing better than expected. On the floor, the first block was squats, hamstring work, and knee tucks. The second block was rounds of 200 meter rows with hammer curls in-between. And the last block was sumo squats, half squat swings, and plank jacks.

And just when I thought things would be a bit more normal, I had a new issue on Friday. This time, I had a minor freezing procedure on my foot so it was a bit tender. It wasn’t as bad as it’s been in the past, but again I knew I needed to stick with walking. This time it was a power day and all the blocks had rounds of push to all out paces. I stuck with my normal speed and inclines, but since I was on the treadmill I still felt pretty good. I debated about using the bike, but I know my treadmill workouts are better and I’m glad I was able to do that. And the floor had skaters, plank twists, deadlifts, alligators on the straps, mountain climbers, and plank dips. And the last block on the floor was the same pattern as the treadmills with push to all out paces.

Saturday’s workout was a bit better than the rest of the week. But of course when I was debating if I could run it ended up being a strength day so I didn’t want to run inclines. It was a 3 group class and I’m pretty glad that it was because this was a tough one! On the treadmill, we had rounds of 3 minute or 90 second hills. I wanted to try to get my inclines higher, but I was feeling a little light-headed so I stuck with my usual inclines. On the floor we had lunges, upright rows with weights, lateral raises, chest flys, and weighted ab work. And on the rower we had decreasing rows starting at 500 meters and between each row we had squats and push-ups.

This week I will be increasing my medication again so I have a feeling I will have a similar week to the past week. I need to be careful with my heart rate and I’m glad that I go to a workout that makes it easy to monitor it. This week should be the last medication increase and then it might take another week or two to have this dosage feel normal. I’m just going to keep focusing on trying to do my best and realize that I have setbacks that might not be allowing me to do everything I’d like to do.

Figuring Out Some Self-Care (or Working On My Physical And Mental Health)

I’ve been a bit too stressed out lately. A lot of it had to do with just being overwhelmed and trying to schedule myself, but that didn’t explain all of it. Reflecting back on it, I think that it’s possible that my panic and anxiety disorder came back. It wasn’t enough for me to feel like I needed to take medication or call my new therapist, but it was something I was aware of.

Like with so many other things in my life, being aware is a huge step for me and I consider that to be a win. But of course I wanted to make the stressed out feelings go away and not just be aware of it. Part of what I’ve been working on is related to my monthly challenge this month. I’m being a bit selfish and turning down invitations to things I don’t want to go to. I’m not committing myself to things that aren’t what I want to do socially and I’m not going insane when there is an event I want to go to but it doesn’t fit into my schedule. I’ve had to miss some fun things like birthday parties and baby showers because of work, but I’m not feeling guilty that I have to work because my friends understand.

Being selfish is a bit of self-care and I never really thought of that before. I think it has been a big step in my mental health although it isn’t fixing everything. But giving time to myself does allow me to think through the stress I’m feeling and figuring out what is causing it and what I can do to make it a bit better. And I know I’ve said this probably a million times, but I am also working on time management to work on my stress. I hate when I get to the end of the day and I still have so much to get done. I’m trying to work on doing stuff throughout the day and not just after work or after my workout.

But this time, I’m also working on my physical self-care too. I love to look at different beauty products, but I’m not always someone who uses them. But I decided to get a set of sheet masks from Amazon (they were pretty cheap) so I could work on my skin care. They are nice, but I look pretty creepy when I’m using them!

I’ve only used one so far so I don’t see a huge difference in my skin, but I think the mental break I get when I use those masks help too. It is time that I have to be still and relax, which I probably don’t do enough. I also found a nice new body cream at CVS on sale that I got that feels a lot more luxurious than my normal body lotion. Sometimes, it’s the little things like those that make a big difference.

I’ve been working a lot of doing these self-care things this week and I really have noticed my stress levels go down. I still need it to go down a bit more before I feel totally like myself, but I’m glad it’s getting better. I didn’t need to turn to medication (which I’d rather not use since it will make my Vyvanse less effective) and I’m not waiting it out and suffering. I’m taking action and figuring out what works. Or at least what works for me right now. I know that things will change all the time and what is working now might not work later this year. But at least I was productive in figuring out what I needed to do.

I know that this self-care is a positive step, but I still am working on how to stop the stress from getting to this level. I want to be able to stop it before it gets this bad and I start feeling overwhelmed. But as I’ve learned I have to look at the baby steps I take and not get frustrated. I can’t be expected to figure out everything right away so I need to appreciate that I figured out one small step toward figuring it all out. And hopefully next time, I’ll figure out the next small step.

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Making My Friend Try On Wedding Dresses (or I’m So Glad She Found The Perfect Dress!)

I’m sure that most single women don’t love when their friends get engaged and share all the wedding planning details. But that’s not me. I love hearing about plans and details and all of that! So every time a friend of mine gets engaged, I usually am always asking what’s happening, what they have picked out, and what they still need to do.

When my friend Jane got engaged, she shared about how she was a bit anxious about looking for a dress and I immediately told her I wanted to go shopping with her. She started shopping back east with her mom and didn’t find anything. And after that experience, I think she was a bit hesitant about trying it again. But because I can be bossy, I told her that we had to go check out dresses. We went to David’s Bridal a week ago without an appointment just to see if they could take a walk-in, but they couldn’t. But that gave us a chance to look around at dresses that she wanted to try and I think she was feeling a bit better about the options that were out there.

She got an appointment for this week and I think we were both pretty excited to check out the dresses we liked and to find out what she would like. She mentioned not being sure about certain silhouettes or wanting a veil, but she knew my job was to encourage her to try on things that she wouldn’t necessarily pick for herself because you never know what you will like.

When we had been there the other day, we picked a big variety of dresses for her to try on. Some were short dresses, some long, some were very simple, some were so heavily beaded that we wondered if it would feel too heavy, and most other options you could think of. There was one short dress that Jane thought could be the one and it happened to be at that store so we made sure it was on the list. And when we went back this week, we looked around a bit more and found a few other options that I thought could be nice.

When the consultant came out to meet us, she decided that we should do 5 dresses at first for Jane. 2 of them were ones that Jane loved, 2 were ones that I loved, and then the consultant picked one out on her own. Then we went back to the changing rooms where she took all of Jane’s measurements and I hung out in the waiting area super excited to see what Jane was going to like!

The first dress that Jane tried on was a fun dress with a high-low hem. It was a very plain dress, but that meant we got to have fun checking out options on how to customize it. She tried different belts, different sleeves, and mesh overlays. We found a combination that Jane really loved and I thought that maybe she would end up with the first dress that she tried on. She looked super happy about the dress and I could tell that some of the stress she felt going into the appointment was quickly gone.

The next dress that she tried on was one that I loved that Jane wasn’t sure about.  It wasn’t right because it was too low-cut and even with making a change to fix that wouldn’t make the dress right for her. But I’m glad she at least tried it on. The third dress was another one that I picked out and it was a gorgeous dress with lace and a longer train. Jane was nervous about a dress with a train, but I told her she needed to just try it. And when she walked out, it was such a magical moment!

She looked incredible in the dress! It fit her perfectly and it was just amazing! It wouldn’t be the dress I would expect her to wear, but it being unexpected made it even more perfect! She also tried a veil on with it and the veil made it complete! I was tearing up a bit because she looked like a bride out of a magazine! I had a good feeling that this would be her dress, but I tried to stay calm because I didn’t want to influence her choice.

The next dress was the short dress that Jane loved. It was a fun dress, but as soon as she had it on she knew it wasn’t right for her wedding. And it wasn’t able to beat the previous dress. And the last dress she tried on was one that the consultant picked that was similar to the dress I loved. And when Jane walked out in that one, I knew she was going to have a tough time picking a dress. It was beautiful and she looked amazing in it. She was so confused on which one to get so she decided to try the one we all loved again to see if she still loved it.

And when she got that dress back on, I knew that it was the dress for her! She was just glowing and couldn’t stop smiling. She looked like a bride and looked like herself which is exactly what you want. She mentioned how it was so funny that I picked her dress and how it wasn’t what she was planning on trying on and how it ended up being exactly what she wanted. I would have been happy with whatever dress she got as long as she loved it, but I feel so special that she got a dress that I picked out!

I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the dress (even though she said I could), so I’m only going to share a little bit of the detail on the train.

I wish I could share more of the dress without giving it away because it is just so amazing! And she looks amazing in it! It was so fun to get to watch her find her perfect dress and she kept saying after she picked it out how painless and easy it all was. I’m glad that that’s the experience she had because I am sure that wedding stuff can be insanely stressful and I wanted this to be fun for her.

I feel so lucky that Jane invited me to go shopping with her and that I got to see what her dress looks like! It was such a fun afternoon with her and I feel so special that I got to be a part of that day!

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More Musicals (or Back To A Fun Routine)

It’s crazy to think that my last show at the Pantages was 5 months ago! It doesn’t feel like it was that long but I guess it has been almost half a year since I was at a show there. But the new season of shows just started and my group went to the first show of the year for us!

My entire group has renewed our tickets for this season, so it’s me and my 3 friends at the shows (the next season is announced soon and we are all thinking of renewing again). Every time we go to a show, I realize how lucky I am to have friends who go to shows with me. I had so many years of not going to a show because I didn’t want to go alone and now I’ve had a few years of seeing a ton of shows each year!

Going to our shows have become a fun routine for us. We almost always will meet up for dinner before the show and I love that we make it a full night out instead of just going to a show and going home. There are a couple of places we seem to rotate through for dinner before the show. This time, we decided to go to Shake Shack. I’ve discovered that I enjoy Shake Shack a lot more when I don’t have the bun on the burger, so I get my burgers in a lettuce wrap. And I figured after my tough workout a few hours earlier that day, I earned a shake too.

It was a lot of food and I wasn’t able to finish it all, but it was a nice splurge to have. We did realize that it would be much better in the future if we order on the app than wait in line. Even if we used the app right when we got in line, the food would have been ready first from the app. I guess you live and learn.

We took our time eating (plus the line took about 30 minutes) and walked across the street to the Pantages about 15 minutes before the show was going to start. The first show of the season is Aladdin and we are all big Disney fans. Our only concerns were about how close this show would be to the one we used to see at Disneyland. But we also knew the Disneyland show was pretty short compared to this musical and they had different musical numbers.

I really enjoyed this show! I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorite musicals, but it’s good. There are a lot of classic Aladdin moments that are in the musical, but it’s also its own show. The cast was very talented and the leads were the actors who originated the roles on Broadway. We saw the understudy for Aladdin, but he was very good (I was a bit disappointed not to see the main actor as I was excited to watch him perform).

I think my favorite was the actor who played the Genie. That part is an actor’s dream because you do get to be fun and creative with it a bit. You can change things up with some of the joke and it is such a beloved character. And the actor was so talented and was just a joy to watch! Also, I think he is the funniest character in the show.

And not only were the actors great, we all agreed that the staging and costumes were incredible. The cave of wonders set was probably the best set I’ve ever seen with all the shows I have seen at the Pantages. And the costumes had so many sparkles and we were all mesmerized by them. It’s fun to see a show that is so detailed and elaborate because that’s not always how touring shows are.

It’s so nice to have a full year of musicals coming up. Our next musical isn’t for about 2 months (Aladdin is in LA for a while), but after that we pretty much have something every single month. And with the exception of seeing Cinderella again, every show this season will be a new show for me! And many of them have been shows I’ve been wanting to see. I have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing year of musicals and I’m so happy to get to do this!

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