Category Archives: Shopping

Working On Being A Warrior (or Something To Remind Me)

I had set my word for the year to be warrior. I’m really proud of choosing that to be my word. It has a really strong meaning to me and there is a good visual in my head when I think about being a warrior. And it has a lot of different meanings as well so I can apply it to so many parts of my life. I know I’ve been a warrior in the past, but I really wanted to focus on it this year because I know I have a couple of tough things coming up. And being a warrior will help me get through it all.

As I have each year that I’ve picked a word of the year, I made the word the background on my computer. I also have set the background to my phone and iPad to be a similar pattern so it reminds me of the word as well. But even though I have those as reminders on a daily basis, I don’t think I’ve been applying myself to be a warrior as much as I could be. I don’t always see the background of my computer since I’m working so much. I usually have a ton of windows open so I’m not getting the reminder as often as I have in the past.

When I’ve been going through tough times, I’ve been starting to look at myself as a victim which I really want to try to avoid. I know I’m not a victim. I’m very lucky with so many things in my life. When things are bad, I do need to focus on the good and to remember how hard I’ve been working for everything that I have. And that is a big part of what a warrior is all about.

In the membership group for the Inside Acting Podcast, we have a forum about our words of the year and someone had sent me a link to some necklaces that had some words I was considering but didn’t pick for this year. I liked them, but it got me thinking that I should find something that says warrior on it to remind me of what I am trying to be this year.

And that search got me to the Mantra Band website and seeing their warrior bracelet! It’s a pretty simple bracelet and will go nicely with the jewelry that I wear on a regular basis (which is a necklace and a watch). I got the bracelet in silver which matches my other jewelry, but I love so many of the other sayings on other bracelets that I might get one of the other ones in rose gold.

It is such a simple and beautiful bracelet and I know that I will remember to try to be a warrior at all times when I’m wearing it. It will be a nice reminder for me to work on what I set out to do this year and to not let myself feel too down about things when there are so many other things going my way. I’ve had one other motivational bracelet before (it says positivity on it), but this one has a very strong meaning to me.

I’m really glad that I found this bracelet and ordered it (and it got to me 2 days after I ordered it online!). I’ve needed something to remind me more often of my word for the year, and this is the perfect way to do it!

I’m sure this sounds like I was paid to say all these nice things about Mantra Band, but I really did just randomly find them online and placed an order. I didn’t get my bracelet for free or with any discount and they didn’t ask me to write a blog post about them. But when I find a company I love, I have to share all about them!

If you want to order a warrior bracelet or one of their other items, you can go to this link to get 5% off an order (full disclosure, I get points towards earning discounts in the future if you use my link). Hopefully you can find something that motivates you to be the best, most positive, and most productive person! I know that my warrior bracelet has given me that boost and I am so grateful for that!

Adding Gadgets To My House (or Tools To Help Me Out)

While I’m trying to cut back on my spending and bringing more things into my house, sometimes you need to break that rule to make things better. It’s a hard balance to figure out because I’m sure I can justify spending for stuff I really don’t need. So I’m trying to be very picky and making sure that it’s something that I really need and not just something that I want. But there were two gadgets that fit into that rule that I ended up buying this week.

The first thing I got was a lamination machine for my house. Usually when I need to laminate stuff, I go to Staples and pay to get it done. I normally only need one thing or one page so it never seemed worth it to me to have my own lamination machine. But my mom has had one for a while and loved it, so when I was thinking about getting stuff laminated this week I looked into buying one for myself.

I did manage to find one that was heavily discounted on Amazon that would arrive that day at my house (thanks Amazon Prime)! And it was perfect because I have been working on my meal planning and wanted to create a nice reusable meal planning guide.

The machine I got is really easy to use and it came with a bunch of the laminating pages so I don’t need to buy any for a little bit. And I have been able to use the meal planning page I created each day (although I’m still trying to figure out how I can write on this without ruining it). And it’s small enough that it fits into a shelf on my desk so it is out of the way when I am not going to be using it.

The other new gadget I got this week also has to do a bit with my challenge to work on meal planning. I’ve thought for a long time that my kitchen was perfectly set up for me to cook, but I’m aware that I set it up based on what most people need and not what I need. I’m a pretty decent cook and my knife skills are ok, but when I have to cut up a bunch of stuff I’m not so great at it. So I have been looking casually at ideas to make chopping stuff easier and decided I needed to invest in a new cooking gadget. So I went out and got the Vidalia Chop Wizard.

I got it yesterday and used it last night to cook dinner. I made meatloaf muffins and this was perfect for chopping the onions and mushrooms I use it in. It was so much easier than chopping things by hand and everything was uniform so I didn’t bit into a huge piece of onion while eating dinner. I know that this can be used for a ton of stuff and I have a feeling that I will be discovering ways to use it on a regular basis.

And besides the new stuff I bought this week, I’ve been rediscovering stuff in my kitchen to help me with my food goals. I’ve been using my slow cooker (and I found my slow cooker liners so I don’t have to do much cleanup) to make easy meals and I’ve found recipes that don’t require browning food or getting another pan dirty to make the meal (my slow cooker pet peeve). And I’ve been using my food processor regularly the last few weeks and have started to think that maybe I need to buy another food processor bowl and blade so it will be easier to use it multiple times a day.

I know that I can do a lot of the work I’ve been using these gadgets for by hand, but why should I? This is making cooking easier and seems like I could be more likely to keep things up in the long run. The only downside is that I do need to go through my kitchen now and figure out what I really want to keep and what I can give to others because my kitchen is super tiny and lacking storage space. I don’t know where to put everything just yet (there are things all over my house that could live in the kitchen if there was space), but that will be something else I need to work on with organizing my house.

But for now, I’m just so glad that I was ok spending a bit of money to try to make things better for me with figuring other things out in my life.

Working On Cleaning (or Time To Declutter)

I try not to clutter up my house since I live in such a small place, but somehow it seems like all of a sudden from time to time that I feel like my space is too cluttered. I seem to acquire new things in batches, so it quickly feels like I have too much stuff in my house. For some reason, even though I didn’t really buy too much for myself during the holidays, it started to feel like I needed to do a big cleaning after the holidays. But for some reason, this time I’m struggling with getting rid of stuff.

A lot of the stuff I want to get rid of are clothes. I have a lot of clothes that I don’t wear anymore. Most of it is due to it being too large on me now (a good problem to have) but some stuff I just don’t like or it has started to show wear and tear. But despite the clothes not being worn that often, for some reason I don’t want to let go of them. Even the clothes that are too big are tough to bring to donate. All of the clothes I needed to get rid of still fit in my closet, but I wanted them gone. So I ended up taking out everything that I’m not wearing and putting them into bags. I haven’t been able to get rid of the bags yet, so they are just living in my utility room for now. I don’t know what the struggle with letting them go is, but I guess baby steps are better than nothing.

I also seemed to get a ton of new stuff on my desk. Part of it was when I got my new computer and I had to work on the transfer between the computers. Since the cables for the new computer are different from the old computer, I do need to buy some converters to make everything work the way I want it to. But my desk has also become a catchall for things that I need to deal with. I’m starting to organize my 2016 taxes and that’s all over my desk. I also have cards and paperwork that needs to be finished on my printer. My desk drawers are full, but not unbearable so. My focus is just cleaning the desk since that’s what looks cluttered. I want to get this done, but I also know that this stuff is still in process so I can’t just get rid of them.

And finally, I feel like I just have too much stuff in general around the house. I don’t have a ton of things, but the space has felt smaller to me lately. I do only have about 400 square feet, but it never felt too small before. And I haven’t really added too much that takes up floor space (I did get a robot vacuum during a flash sale on Amazon that is on the floor). I’m wondering if I’m feeling this way because things have been organized the same way in my house for years and I haven’t moved around furniture or switched things up in a while. My last big change was when I got a new couch. And that was over 2 years ago. Maybe I just need to rearrange things and it will feel better.

I don’t keep a dirty or cluttered house, but for some reason it’s just been getting to me. I know I need to do something to fix this or it’s just going to keep bugging me. I’m trying to take steps where I can to make things better but I know I need to do more. I do have motivation to do more this weekend because I’m supposed to be having people over on Sunday (having people come over is always a good motivation to do a major cleaning). But just cleaning might not be good enough because I don’t just want to move things around or hide them in drawers. I do want to get things out of the house that aren’t useful to me so that I can make sure my space is as functional and productive for me as possible.

Lunch And Shopping (or Proof My Work Is Paying Off)

I’ve been trying to keep up with staying social with my friends when I have free time. It is one of the things I’m focusing on this year so I don’t go too long without seeing friends (which can happen pretty easily). I used to see my friend Lindsay all the time because we would go to the same classes at Orangetheory. But since her schedule changed, we have to make more of an effort to see each other. We did run into each other at Orangetheory when she was taking a class after mine, but that’s not really enough time to catch up. So when she asked if I wanted to get some lunch this past weekend, I said yes right away!

We ended up meeting at 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which I usually avoid since it’s so touristy. But for a nice Saturday afternoon, it ended up being not too bad. We met up in front of a store and immediately walked to figure out where we wanted to get some lunch. We went to Steak ‘n Shake since it was a place that neither of us had been to before. Sadly, it ended up being a bad choice (we waited over 20 minutes for our burgers to be brought to our table and the food was cold when we did get it), but since the focus of our hangout was catching up and not the food, it was fine.

After eating, Lindsay had some shopping she wanted to do and I’m always happy to join a friend for shopping. I’ve gotten so used to not being able to try things on at the stores that my friends shop at, so I’m just happy to be the person who shares her opinion on the stuff others try on. Lindsay was on the hunt for some shoes and we checked out a couple of stores. She wasn’t able to find what she wanted, but it was fun checking out a bunch of different stores since so many places were having sales.

Toward the end of 3rd Street, there is an Athleta store. I’ve never shopped there before, but I’ve gotten their catalog before and knew that their clothes wouldn’t fit me based on their size guide. They do sell some plus size clothes, but I don’t believe they carry those in the store (so many companies only carry the plus size section on the website). But I do love shopping for workout clothes so I was happy just to see what they had and maybe I would find things that I would want to get when I was able to fit in them.

When we went into the store, someone greeted us immediately and told us that all sale things were discounted even further, and we decided to see what there was since you can’t do much better than sale items being on sale. The sale section was organized by size and I was looking at the XL stuff to see if there was anything that looked big enough to fit me. I found a zip up shirt that looked cute and realized that it might be something perfect to wear when I have liver surgery (I’ve read online that since my stomach will be very sore, it might be tough to lift my arms up to pull shirts on). I decided to try it on over my shirt to see how it fit and it was a little baggy on me.

I found the same shirt in L and tried it on. It was a bit snug, but Lindsay had me try both the XL and L on and she agreed that the L was the way to go. I was so shocked to fit into a L! I know that there is vanity sizing and all that, but Athleta is owned by the same parent company as Old Navy (where I have been getting all my workout stuff) and I’ve been wearing XXL in those. I’ve been wearing those shirts for a while and I started to think that maybe I could fit into smaller clothes than I’ve been wearing.

I looked through the rest of the sale stuff in L (the non-sale stuff is out of my budget for now) and found a cute sweater that I wanted to try on. And I was shocked to see that it fit too! It’s a little tighter than it shows on the model online, but it fits and I feel really cute in it!

I know that I shouldn’t buy stuff just because I like what the size on the table says, but it was pretty amazing to know that I was buying 2 shirts that are not a plus size but just a regular L. I’ve plateaued lately with my weight loss and even though I’m still down quite a bit from even a few months ago, it can feel like I haven’t changed at all in the last year. So getting shirts that prove me otherwise is a really nice thing!

After that shopping stop, it was time for Lindsay and I to each head back to our cars to head home. I’m so glad that she and I were able to get together. Obviously I love getting to catch up with friends, especially friends that I was so used to seeing twice a week before. But I’m also so happy that she convinced me to try on some clothes when I was so sure that there was no way they could fit me. She pushed me out of my comfort zone and it ended up being a great thing for me!

Unexpected Car Shopping (or New Year New Car)

As I mentioned in my New Year’s Eve post, my car died as I was leaving the party I went to. It was a really weird situation with what happened. I was driving home and I started to hear a ticking or clicking noise coming from the front of my car. Maybe 10 or 15 seconds later my car completely shut down and died. All the warning things were flashing in the front of my car and alarms were going off and then everything shut down. White smoke started to come out of my engine and I could smell something that smelled like it was burning. I had no power, no electricity, no lights. It was so scary but fortunately the freeway hadn’t gotten too crowded yet so I was able to drift over to the side of the freeway.

I got my car as far to the side as I could (there wasn’t a full shoulder for me to pull over into) and immediately called AAA. I told them I wasn’t in a safe situation because I couldn’t get the lights on in my car and I was still a bit into the slow lane and they promised to get a tow truck out to me as soon as possible. After being in a dead car for about 20 minutes, I could finally get my emergency flashers on and my lights would occasionally turn on. I just sat in my car with my seatbelt on (I was worried someone would hit me and I wanted to try to stay safe) and tried to stay warm as it was cold out and the heater in my car was dead too.

The tow truck got to me and I was towed home. The next day, even though my mechanic is open on Sundays, the mechanic was closed for New Year’s Day. I took Ubers to and from Orangetheory and limited my errands to stuff I could walk to and stuff I could carry home. I told my parents what happened and they were feeling hopeful that maybe this would just be another repair and it would be ok. But because I was in the car when it happened, I felt pretty certain that this was a bad sign and that there was no way we could repair my car for a reasonable cost. I started looking at used cars online and seeing what types of car I would consider. When I told my parents about that, they told me to look at Subaru Crosstreks because they are a good car, not too expensive, and while they are smaller and shorter than my Escape they still have a decent amount of room.

On Monday, I took an Uber to and from the gym again and once I was home and showered I called for another tow truck so I could get my car towed to my mechanic. I had warned my mechanic I’d be coming by and he warned me that this might be the end of my car. But I still wanted him to see it just in case I was overreacting and there was some hope left.

And as I expected, the car was done. In order to get it to work again, I would need to buy a new engine for it. And even doing that doesn’t mean I won’t have more problems in the next year or so. I called my parents to run things by them and they agreed that I needed to just get a different car. I’m so lucky that they were able to help me with buying a car so I didn’t have to get something that was super cheap and might not last that long.

I had called the Subaru dealership and they were able to meet with me that day. And even though my Escape wasn’t working anymore, they could give me a little bit of money as a trade in (it was more of a courtesy so I could get the car off of my hands). While I was waiting for a tow truck to bring me and my car to the dealership, I texted a couple of friends to see if anyone could meet me at the dealership to help me with car buying. I’m not great at making huge decisions like that and I wanted a friend with me. Fortunately, my friend Dani was free and was happy to help me out.

I had looked at the dealership’s used cars online the day before, so I knew what options I really had. I wanted to look at a few different cars and try a couple of types of cars as well, but Dani was willing to make sure I asked all the right questions and didn’t get taken advantage of by the salespeople. The first car I drove was a 2014 Crosstrek that was a really cool bright blue color. It was a nice car to drive and had some really nice features. It had about 40,000 miles on it so it was a used car but not super used. There was another 2014 Crosstrek on the lot, but I didn’t drive it because I didn’t realize that the technology in the car was the lowest end and was pretty outdated by then.

There was one 2016 Crosstrek on the lot and that was the next car I drove. It was much sportier than I’m used to, but it was really fun to drive. It didn’t have all the features I was looking for, but that was ok. Dani helped me to realize that having a GPS built into the car isn’t that important when I can just use my phone. And Dani (who rode in the backseat during the test drives), told me that the 2016 was a much nicer ride for her back there. And while this car was used, it was pretty close to new. It only had 5,000 miles on it and was only owned for a few months by the previous owner (they got into a situation where they didn’t need a car anymore which is why they sold it back to the dealership).

The last car I checked out was a Forester, which is closer in size to what my Escape was like. I love being able to sit up high, but the Forester was just too much car for me. I don’t need that huge of a car right now. And if I do end up needing a huge car later down the line, then I’ll look at them then. But for now, I needed a car that worked and wanted something that was fun to drive and perfect for me getting around town.

After some conversation with my parents (since they were funding the purchase I wanted their opinion and approval) and debating back and forth with Dani who was a great voice of reason for me, I ended up going with the 2016 Crosstrek. It is the better deal considering that it is basically a new car. I got a really great deal on it because there are some scratches on the car. But I don’t mind the damage because as my dad put it, I’d probably get scratches on it eventually. It’s a city car and it’s not meant to look perfect.

After deciding on the car, Dani had to leave and I was there for another few hours doing all the paperwork involved with a car purchase. We had to do the release of liability for the Escape and there were dozens of pages for me to sign for the Crosstrek. But about 8 hours after calling for the tow truck to bring my Escape to the mechanic to find out if it’s dead, I was leaving the Subaru dealership with my new used car!

This was not at all how I thought the beginning of my year would go. Even a week later, I’m still a little overwhelmed by the entire situation and what happened. I don’t believe it at times. My Escape was a great car for me for so long and I’m still sad that it died. But I’m so happy with my Crosstrek and how nice it is! I have personalized plates that have been on every car I’ve had and I did get them off of my Escape when I left it as a trade-in. I can’t put them on my Crosstrek yet, but once I do I think the car will feel more like mine and that I will finally be able to wrap my head around the entire situation.

A New Computer (or Out With The Old And In With The New)

I’ve been writing about wanting to get a new computer for a pretty long time (my computer frustrations have been happening almost as long as I’ve had this blog). And the day that the new MacBook Pros were announced, I knew that I’d be getting one. I didn’t have the money at the time of the announcement, but I knew that between what I was able to save and the check I was going to get from my grandma for Hanukkah that I would have enough. So I immediately started to plan for the new computer.

The first thing I had to figure out was which one I was going to get. I knew I’d do the smaller size since I do like to bring my computer with me when I travel or to different events. And since the Touch Bar was the new thing they were introducing with the MacBook Pro, I figured I should splurge on that as well. And because the main problem I had with my old computer was that I ran out of storage space, I wanted to max out on storage (the maximum was going to be 4 times what I had on my current computer).

Since I wanted to upgrade the storage, I wasn’t totally sure that I would be able to just go to the Apple Store and get my new computer. So I sent a quick text to a friend who works at the Apple Store to find out. And since I was doing this the day they announced the new computers, I started my text with “don’t worry, I’m not asking you for a discount on the new MacBook Pro”. My friend answered my question (I would have to order it online), but then he also offered to let me use his friends and family discount! I wasn’t expecting that at all, but since it is a better discount than my educational one, I was so grateful that he was going to let me do that.

It ended up being an easy enough process to order the computer once I had the money together  (I was on the phone with my friend while he was online typing in the information) and according to my order it would be arriving at the Apple Store the first week of January. So I figured that I would spend most of December preparing my old computer to transfer my data over and that in January I’d be able to get everything set up super quickly.

Of course, I didn’t get time in December to work on the transfer stuff and then this past week I got a message that my computer was ready to pick up at the store! I couldn’t go the day it arrived so I planned on going to the Apple Store in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve (when I had free time). I knew the store would be insane, but it would be ok.

Then, on Christmas Eve I logged into work only to find out that we were given the day off! I still had other obligations in the afternoon, but since I didn’t have to work I had 3 hours free and figured it would be the perfect time to get to the Apple Store and deal with the crowds. But I discovered that 8am (when they opened) at the Apple Store on Christmas Eve is pretty empty! There were maybe 20 employees there and only 3 customers if you include me. And since all they had to do was go into the back and grab my laptop, it was a pretty speedy process.

Once I got my computer home and unpacked it, I was shocked at how thin and light it was! It feels like a kiddie toy compared to my old one! And when I set the computers up side by side (to help make sure I’m transferring all that I need to), the size difference was really obvious.

I’ll eventually get a protective case for the new computer once they start making them since it makes it easier to travel with the computer and it makes it stand out more when I’m in a room where a ton of people have the same computer. And I managed to spend some time over the weekend and the beginning of the week getting stuff transferred over to the new one (I’m typing this on the new computer). My game plan is to try to work on the new computer with the old one nearby in case I figure out something that I need that I didn’t transfer yet. And once I feel comfortable enough with the new computer only, I’ll wipe my old computer clean so it can go to its new home (a friend of mine will be buying it from me).

While it would have been nice to have a new computer sooner, I’m so glad I finally could get a new one! I’m still getting used to things so it feels a bit weird to work on it, but I know that this is going to make my life easier. It will be much faster to work on it, especially at the box office job where I need dozens of windows open at once to work. And I’m hoping that this will also make my blogging better as well (I can start doing more stuff with my blog that the old computer couldn’t handle).

I know I’m incredibly lucky that I got money that helped me pay for this. The fact that I got it on Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah really made it the perfect gift! And I’m so grateful to my friend who let me use his discount. The money I saved helped to pay for unexpected expenses I had recently (like the new power steering I had to get for my car).

My old computer made it about 7 years, so here’s to making this computer last for the next 7!

Splurging On Technology (or I Guess I Had To Get A New Phone)

I’ve written recently about how my phone had been dying. When I wrote that post, my phone was lasting between 3-6 hours in a charge and I was finding tricks to make that ok with me. I had no plans on getting a new phone, mainly because I hate the new giant phones and I didn’t want something that wouldn’t be easy for me to use.

When I went to Tahoe, my phone got even worse. The battery was lasting maybe an hour if I was lucky. I was carrying 2 external batteries with me and I was charging my phone every chance I had (thankfully my mom has a charger in her car). Again, I was really not wanting to get a new phone, but I was starting to realize that I probably had to take some of my savings to invest in a new one.

I started to do some research on iPhones and discovered that there was a lower version of them called the SE. Basically, it is the same technical stuff as the 6S, but it is the small size like my 5S. It’s not the latest and greatest phone, but that was ok with me. Usually I only want to get the newest stuff since technology becomes outdated quickly, but I was willing to change it up for the phone. Plus, the lower version phone was half the cost of the new ones and that was worth it to me.

When I got home from Tahoe, I had a few more days before I had a free afternoon to get a new phone. My phone was getting worse and worse and by the time I was off to get my new phone, my old one could almost not hold a charge unless it was plugged in.

Getting the new phone was a bit of a bigger ordeal than I thought it would be. I really thought I would go to the Verizon store, get my phone, pay, and be done with it. But there were issues with my account that had to be figured out first. Then there was a lot of confusion about what I was paying for (they kept telling me the accessory bundle was included with my new phone, but to them included meant I pay for it with the phone). And after a few hours at the store, they finally said they didn’t have the phone I wanted there and sent me to another store to buy it (not sure why they didn’t do that sooner).

I drove over to the other store in rush hour traffic, but fortunately the other store had my new phone waiting for me. I stayed in the new store to make sure my backup from my old phone made it to my new phone and after several hours, I was finally on my way back home to play with my new phone.

Even though this was an expense I wasn’t really ready for, it ended up being worth it. I do a lot of day job work on my phone, so I need to have a working phone. And having a new phone is pretty nice. Things are working better and faster. And this new phone has significantly more storage on it so I’m not always deleting stuff to find room on my phone for what I need.

I’m still going to be waiting for the new MacBook Pro to be released before I make that splurge. My computer isn’t dying like how my phone was. If I had to make it another 6 months with my computer, I think it would be tough but doable. But at least now I know when I get the new computer that I have a phone that will be able to work very nicely with it.

Looking Forward To Some Big Spending (or Needing New Technology)

I’ve written before about how I really need a new computer soon. This realization hit me hard when the new iPhone came out. I discovered that the new iPhone (at least the most expensive one) has more storage on it than I do on my computer. The fact that a phone could have more room on in than my computer is sad and a sign that I’m getting desperate.

I’m still waiting on the announcement of the new MacBook Pro. I’m not going to buy an old computer which is my only option now. So I have to wait until whenever Apple decides to release a new one and I’m sure that there will be an insanely high demand for it so I will possibly have to wait before I can get my hands on one. I’m still hoping that a new computer will be released in the next few months because there are more and more projects I want to work on that will require a better and faster computer that has more storage than what I have now.

When the new iPhone came out, I thought that maybe I’d look into it since my phone has been acting a bit off lately. Nothing was too bad but I’ve had this phone for 3 years (sadly, that’s pretty long in iPhone life) and it was something I was thinking about. I was hoping the new iPhone would be a smaller size (like my 5s), but the new ones are still pretty big and I don’t really love them. Plus, since next year will be the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone, everyone is saying that one will be a huge overhaul compared to what we have now.

A few days after the new phone was released, my phone started acting up more. Now, I have an average battery life of 3-6 hours (that’s with only using it for maybe 1 hour total). The standby time on my phone should be much longer than that and it’s pretty bad. My phone battery will show that it is at 70% and a second later it goes down to 1% and shuts down. This isn’t the end of the world, but it is an inconvenience. I have one external battery that gets me a full charge on my phone, but I just bought another external battery that should get me 2 full charges. I’m also looking into battery replacement as a possible fix.

I also have an older iPad that has not been able to upgraded to a new operating system in a while (I think I’m using an iOS that is 2 or 3 versions ago). But I’m totally fine with my iPad for what I use it for right now so I’m not too worried about it.

I’m aware that I probably sound really spoiled and should be happy with the technology I have now since it is more than what many people have. And I am so grateful for everything I have and in no way am upset that I don’t have the latest and greatest. I don’t care for the best, I just want stuff that works.

If my phone was able to hold a charge for more than 6 hours on standby, I’d have no concerns and would probably keep the phone for another year or more. If my computer wasn’t flipping out on me on an almost daily basis, I would keep it because I love my computer. It’s just that technology doesn’t last forever and it seems like all of my stuff has decided to reach the end of its life at the same time. I’ve got the money saved up for a new computer and I’m ready to spend it the second I can on the new one when it is released.

I’m not sure I’m totally ready to spend money on a new phone (nor do I have that money really available to me right now), but I’m realizing that it is time to start saving for that and for possibly a new iPad. I don’t love the idea that I’ll potentially be spending a ton of money on new things when I know that any money I save for them should really be going toward paying down my debt. But I guess this is what I get for working from my phone and computer and needing everything to work in order to be paid.

Hoping To Fix My Computer (or Can The New MacBook Pros Please Come Out Soon?)

This is totally not the post I was planning on writing for today. I’ll write about what I was going to write about next week, but today’s post is all about my computer frustrations.

My laptop is my life. I run multiple jobs off of it, I run my blog off of it, and I do most of my online work on it. It’s really that important to me and I need it to work the way it should work. I understand I do a ton of multi-tasking (when I’m working I must have about a dozen windows open), but it should work just fine. But my laptop is also 6 years old. That’s not a horribly old laptop, but when you do as much work on it as I do every year counts. I try to stretch the lifespan of my technology as long as I can, but there are limits.

Over a year ago, I ran out of storage on my laptop. The new models have a baseline of twice the storage I have now, so clearly I don’t have that much space on my computer. I’ve gotten rid of as much as I can (all my old blog posts that are freelance articles are deleted and no movies are actually stored on my laptop), but I’m still down to less than 10GB of storage left. I’ve tried to find more and more to delete, but I’m pretty limited in what I can get rid of and still be able to work.

I also can’t upgrade my operating system because of the lack of storage, so not everything is running as smoothly as it should. My computer can be very slow and laggy at times, especially while I working. It’s so annoying to always have to tell customers on the phone that they have to hold while a website loads on my computer.

Obviously, the clear answer to my problems is to get a new laptop. And that’s totally my plan. I have enough money for a new one (thanks to all the money I saved for my taxes that I didn’t end up needing) and I pretty much know exactly what I’m going to get. I want another MacBook Pro and I’ll be upgrading the storage and memory (which will be quadruple what I have now) so the new laptop lasts me at least another 6 years.

The only problem is that the most recent MacBook Pro was released about a year ago. They are no longer current machines and a new one is supposed to be released really soon. But really soon is a pretty open-ended phrase. I thought they would be released before the holidays last year. Then I thought they’d be released in April. Now the rumor is they will be released in June.

I don’t know how much longer I can wait on getting a new laptop. My current one with no storage is getting to the point where it isn’t very functional for me. It would be a perfect machine for someone who doesn’t have several thousand photos that they keep on it. And I’m hoping a friend will buy the old machine from me when I get the new one because it really is a great laptop for someone who doesn’t have the same storage needs as me.

But for now, I’m dealing with a pretty glitchy set up. And last night, because somehow 4,000 of my photos disappeared, I spent my night watching my computer restore itself to an old backup in the hopes that whatever happened will be fixed.

Computer Restore

I will probably be jumping for joy the day the new MacBook Pros are announced and will be ordering one the second I’m able to. I can’t wait to be impressed by how much better a new computer will be for me!

Bikini Audition (or Finding My Confidence)

Last week I got a text from my agents. They typically only text me when I have an audition, so I immediately took a look at my phone to see what audition they had gotten for me! But instead of the text saying I have an audition, it said that I had a potential audition but before they confirmed me for it they wanted to double-check about one thing. They wanted to make sure I was ok being in a bikini. As an actor, you feel like you have to say yes to whatever (unless it’s something not safe like they ask you to ride a horse and you are terrified of horses), so I said yes right away.

The only problem was I didn’t have a bikini.

I have the bathing suit that I wore in Hawaii, but that was a tankini and this audition notice said specifically that the actor must be comfortable in a 2 piece bikini. I had a couple of days before the audition, so I figured I had time to find a bikini top and figure out a way to feel confident in it.

I’ll be honest, shopping for the bikini top sucked. I had to go to multiple stores with no luck. It seems like no place carried bikini tops in my size. I was able to find a ton of skirted one pieces or baggy suits, but nothing fun or cute. And it was too close to order something I could find online. Finally I had to realize that I was going to have to spend a decent amount of money on the top and I figured I could keep the tag inside and return it after the audition.

I eventually found a top that worked at Torrid (and had a coupon to save some money on it). I didn’t hate it too much when I bought it and I was planning on using the bottoms I wore in Hawaii (I didn’t need the matching bottoms).

I spent my weekend preparing for my audition and didn’t really think too much about having to wear the bikini. It was only going to be a minute of my time wearing it so I was trying not to worry about it. I focused on learning my lines and being as ready as possible for the audition.

The day of the audition, I worked my usual work shift (my audition was after work so I didn’t need to ask for time off). But since I didn’t feel like getting dressed for work and then dressed for the audition, I worked in the bikini with some yoga pants. I passed myself in a mirror a couple of times while I was walking between my desk and kitchen, and I have to say that I didn’t feel like I looked that bad. In fact, I was pretty happy with how the bikini looked on me!

Bikini Audition

I liked how I looked so much that I ended up taking the tag out of the top because I knew I had to keep it!

All of the sudden, I was no longer nervous about the bikini part of the audition. My only nerves were the normal audition nerves and I tried to get those out of my system when I was driving to the valley to the studio where the audition was held.

I personally think the audition went great! The casting directors and I made jokes about me stripping down when I was taking off the yoga pants and tank that I wore on top of the bikini. And they loved the bikini so much that they had me turn around so they could check it out (and they commented that they would totally buy that for themselves too). They laughed at the scene I read and I had no confidence issues at all. Who would have thought that being half-naked in front of a camera was the best way to get my nerves to go away?

In the lobby of the casting office, they had a selfie station. I didn’t have time to take a photo before the audition (and we all were focusing on our lines), but a friend who was there auditioning too took a picture with me after we were both done auditioning.

Selfie Station

On the drive home, I just felt so great. I had a weight lifted from my shoulders that I never knew was there. I know that I’ve heard that every body is a bikini body so many times. But I honestly never believed it until this audition. But now I’m excited to figure out when I can wear the bikini this summer. I’ll be going back east for a family reunion and I think there is either a pool or hot tub where we are staying, so I’ll bring it then. And I want to figure out some fun beach adventures to go on in LA too.

All my confidence issues aren’t gone now. I’m sure I’ll still feel a bit insecure when I wear the bikini in public where I’m the only heavy person (it helped that all the ladies at my audition who were auditioning were heavy too). There may be people who make fun or me or laugh and point at me in public. And if that happens that it going to suck and I’m sure I’ll feel down about it.

But for now, I’m just so excited that I’ve found even the smallest amount of confidence and that I’m ready to rock a bikini for the first time as an adult (and possibly the first time ever in my life)!