Tag Archives: birthday party

Bonfire At The Beach (or A Winter Birthday That Feels Like Summer)

My friend Dani had a  birthday celebration at Disneyland last week, but she was celebrating a milestone birthday so she had to do multiple birthday parties (which I totally support!). She had been trying to figure out what to do for her birthday and she finally decided on a beach bonfire! I hadn’t done one of those in a while, so I was super excited to get to celebrate with her that way.

I had a few things to do before meeting everyone at the beach and the sun was setting as I arrived. It was a gorgeous sunset and I’m glad I didn’t miss it!

And since we’ve been having a bit of a heat wave lately, it wasn’t that cool on the beach when the sun set. Dani and her friends had gotten there much earlier so they already claimed a bonfire pit and had everything set up. It was a much better setup than when I’ve gone before. They had chairs, blankets, and a table for all the food. And the fire was going by the time I joined them all.

It was just a good old-fashioned classic beach bonfire. They had hot dogs that we roasted over the fire and lots of snacks to have with them. And we also had s’mores. Dani recently got nice roasting skewers so we didn’t have to search the beach for sticks or anything. And all the food was so good, even if I did burn a hot dog or two. There were a few hot dogs and hot dog buns that fell into the fire, but it just added to the flames. But watching everyone have random fails with trying to cook the food gave us all a good laugh.

From the beach, we were actually able to see the glow from the fire in Ventura County. It was weird to see that and it reminded me how close the fires are to us. The fire closest to me is not as bad as it used to be, but the fires that are a bit further are still not contained and houses are burning down. And we also saw fireworks from Marina Del Rey from our beach. It was a weird juxtaposition to see the glow from flames plus fireworks and having a bonfire on the beach. I think we were all a bit weirded out by that, but we tried to not think about it too much.

But what was best about Dani’s birthday party was just getting to have a fun nice relaxing on the beach with awesome people. I didn’t know a lot of the people who were at the party so it was nice to get to meet new people. And Dani was just so happy to see people from different parts of her life joined together and having a good time. I can totally relate to that feeling because that’s what makes me so happy when I’m hosting a party too.

I had a date about a month ago where I was telling the guy I was with that I never made it out to the beach during the summer and I figured it would be a while until I made it out there. I never thought I’d have a bonfire on the beach during the winter but it really was awesome and I’m glad I got to get to the beach. I know I need to take advantage of being so close to the beach more often but it’s not something I think of doing on my own. So I’m glad that Dani wanted a beach bonfire birthday so I got out to the beach at some point this year!

Happy Birthday Grandma! (or Double Birthday Celebrations)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birthday Party Adventure! (or Another Traditional Celebration)

I’ve celebrated my birthday at Bodega Wine Bar a couple of times now. It’s such a great place to have a casual birthday hangout so when I was trying to plan what to do for my birthday this year I had going back to Bodega at the top of my list. I looked at having a party at other locations, but I kept coming back to thinking Bodega would be perfect. So I gave them a call and they were able to get me the same section I’ve had in the past for a birthday party this past Saturday! So it was another Bodega birthday adventure!

Before my party, I actually decided to go to DryBar to get a blowout. There is now a DryBar right by my house, so that’s so much easier than having to drive 10-15 minutes to another location. I could walk there, but that day was so hot and humid and I didn’t want to ruin my hairstyle on the walk back. Fortunately there was a meter right in front of the salon for me!

The blowout only took about 30 minutes so that gave me plenty of time to go back home so I could relax a bit before getting ready to go out. I didn’t take a photo of my outfit, but I decided to try to be dressy and casual at the same time so I wore a basic black sundress with some cute heels. And then it was time to head over to Bodega!

And I lucked out with a parking meter again! I found one that was right around the corner and it was free since it was after 6pm! It was perfect and I walked right over to see who was an early bird for the party.

I’m glad I wasn’t the first person to arrive because I always hate waiting for people. And right after I got there more people started to arrive. I’m glad I got a reserved section again because it made things much easier for us. The bar was a bit crowded with some other parties and this way we didn’t have to worry about finding space for everyone. Although at one point there were maybe 15 of us there and it was getting a bit crowded. But I don’t think that anyone really minded that.

I hadn’t had a drink since my birthday party last year, but I knew I’d be ordering one at my party this time. My liver surgeon has told me that I can drink, but I haven’t been drinking since I don’t want to put more stress on my liver than I need to. But this was a special occasion so I figured it was a good time to have my first drink in a year!

I knew my tolerance for alcohol would be down, but I was actually surprised how low it was. I’ve had time without drinking before and it never seemed like I lost too much of my tolerance. This time, I was able to drink maybe about half of it before I felt like it was hitting me. I ordered food to help me feel a bit better, but I ended up not drinking any more of my drink. It was delicious, but I guess I need to realize that I can’t drink the way I could before (at least not for a while).

But I didn’t have my party to be able to drink. I had it so I could hang out with my friends and have fun. And that’s exactly what happened! I love when different groups of friends come together and meet. And this had people from so many different parts of my life there. It was so fun watching my neighbor talk to someone who is part of the leadership of the Unite for Strength slate. Or to see one of my Disney friends talk to someone from my WIF mentoring group. It was just awesome sitting back and watching people get to know each other and have my worlds combine!

I didn’t want any presents (although I did tell people if they wanted to do something they could donate to Unite for Strength) because I wanted this to feel more like a regular fun hangout and not a birthday party. I didn’t want anyone to sing Happy Birthday to me or make anything a big deal. Some of my friends did pay for my food and drink, so that was special and I wasn’t expecting it. All I wanted from my friends was to have them there and get to have fun with them.

We ended up being at Bodega for a pretty long time. It was getting a bit noisy and I think most of us aren’t usually late night people so by 11:30 we were all ready to go. People had been coming and going all night so it was a rotating group of people there, but pretty much everyone who was still there decided to leave when at the same time at the end.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday adventure. It was fun and no-stress. Everyone there seemed to have a great time and that’s what I wanted. I always want everyone else to have fun and that’s what makes me happy!

While this was the main birthday adventure for me, what I have to write about in tomorrow’s post was almost the grand finale of the birthday fun!


Not Drinking At A Bar (or A Birthday Party At Neat)

After doing my 5K race (and getting almost no sleep that night), I was ready to be at my house the rest of the day and being pretty lazy. When I got home around 11am after the race, that’s pretty much exactly what I did. I showered and got into comfortable clothes and then pretty much didn’t move from my couch for several hours. But I did have to move eventually because one of my workout friends was having a birthday party that night!

I don’t get to see many of my Orangetheory friends outside of workouts. Even though I really enjoy hanging out with them at the workouts, we don’t always get to socialize outside of class. So when I get a chance to see someone in normal clothes, I totally take advantage of that! And since they don’t usually see me in something other than workout clothes with my hair in a top knot, I decided to make a bit more effort than normal in picking my outfit.

I don’t usually wear red, but the theme of the party was to wear something red and I found that belt on Amazon. The way I dressed was pretty different from what I’m used to, but I was feeling pretty confident and now I’m looking at ways to dress more like that more often!

I was a little nervous going to the party since the only person I would know there was the birthday girl. I’m a bit shy in situations like that and always feel so awkward going up to people I don’t know to join in on a conversation. But thankfully, my friend was awesome and was introducing me to a bunch of people that night. She knew that I didn’t know anyone else there and I appreciate the effort she made to make sure everyone was having fun and not feeling left out!

The party was held at a new bar called Neat. In full disclosure, the manager is the brother of a friend of mine (who I hadn’t met until that night), but I have to say that this is such an amazing bar! I don’t have a ton of bars that I love because so many bars in LA are either super fancy or are just too showy. I like being able to go somewhere and not stress too much about how I’m dressed or if I’m making a good impression on others. That’s one reason why I also love Bodega Wine Bar. But to find a bar like that is tough to find and it seems like when I find one they end up closing down.

But Neat was pretty awesome. There was a semi-private space in the back that was reserved for the birthday party that still was a part of the action. And in the main room most of the tables are on the edges of the room so there is a lot of space in the room that makes it not feel too crowded. There were a ton of people there, but since I didn’t have to keep going around chairs or tables it didn’t feel that bad.

And they do have a pretty epic drink menu too! I would have loved to have tried a drink or two, but I can’t really drink right now. But that didn’t matter since the staff at Neat was so cool. I talked to my friend’s brother and he asked me what sort of flavors I liked. I told him I liked citrus and then he got to work. I don’t know everything that he used in my drink, but there was some lime in it and before I knew it I had a custom non-alcoholic drink just for me!

It was so nice to have a festive drink at the party since it can feel a bit weird only ordering water at a bar. But I felt like I was included in the fun because I had a drink that I really liked! It was pretty tasty and reminded me a bit of a margarita. Even when I can drink again, I would totally consider getting this again because it was so nice and refreshing.

I really had a great time at the party, but I was getting pretty exhausted right after the birthday cake was brought out. I had been up so long that day and my legs were starting to feel a bit like cement. It’s not easy to wear heels a few hours after doing a 5K race! So I decided that it was time for me to go home and get some needed rest.

I’m so glad that I went to the party. Not only is it fun to get to see someone outside of Orangetheory and get to meet new friends, I got to check out a bar that I have a feeling I’ll be going to from now on. It’s always great to find new places in LA that I love because I do get stuck in ruts from time to time. But I busted out of that rut at this party and now I’m excited to get to go back to Neat again in the future!

Going Back To Normal (or An Early End To My Birthday Adventures)

I’ve had a really great birthday this year. I loved having dinner on my birthday with my birthday twin and my birthday party was really one of the highlights of the year so far. I feel so loved and I’m so grateful for the amazing friends that I have in my life. I am so lucky.

Normally, I have a ton of smaller birthday adventures leading up to and following my birthday. That usually happens because when I have a birthday party a bunch of people can’t make it. So I end up meeting them for dinner or drinks on another date to celebrate with them.

But this year, my birthday party had such an amazing turnout that I’ve gotten to celebrate with almost everyone who I wanted to celebrate with at once! I’m not used to having everyone in one place (and it was so much fun watching everyone meet each other and make new friends), and it was really just perfect.

But because of that, I’ve realized that my birthday celebrations are basically over. I still have to pick up a couple of the birthday freebies that I love and I might get birthday pie with a friend, but I’m done with planning birthday outings beyond that.

It’s not a bad thing that I’m done celebrating my birthday. I’m totally happy to have just one celebration and have that be that. It’s just weird when for so many years I’ve pretty much planned a birthday month and I feel like I’m missing or forgetting something now. But then I remember how amazing this past weekend was and I feel like I got all the birthday I needed in that one night out.

It is nice to be getting back to normal so quickly. I over ate during my birthday and I want to get the scale moving back in the correct direction. I need to focus on my health and recovery and birthday adventures are not the best time to plan that (I’m aware if I go for birthday pie that I will have to not focus on recovery for that moment).

I’ve been able to really pay attention to what I’m eating and what my behaviors are like. I got into some bad habits last week and it’s tough to break them but I know I can do it again. I’m working on remembering what I was doing earlier this summer when things were working really well for me and doing those again. And hopefully I will be back on track again within the week and if not, I know I’m making steps towards that.

I’ve got some big goals in mind for the next month or so, and I’m glad that I will be able to put my attention toward those. One of my biggest goals is with my next 5K race, which is the first weekend of November. I know that it will be here before I know it, and I want to make sure I take the time to do what I want to do. Things are going well so far, and I want to make sure that continues and things only get better!

While I’ve loved having a birthday month to celebrate my birthday, keeping things short may be the best thing for me right now. I need to focus on “real life” and not celebrating and going out for lots of meals that are splurges. I’m not eliminating the idea of a birthday month again in the future, but for right now this ended up being the perfect thing for me.

The Best Birthday Party! (or Wine Bar and Breakfast Bar)

This past Saturday was my birthday party and I have to say that it was one of the best birthday parties I’ve ever had in my life! Planning a birthday is stressful for me (worrying about if anyone will show up, if it costs money if people can afford it, hoping that everyone gets along) so while I love having a party I hate having to plan it. But I decided to go for something easy again this year and had a gathering at Bodega Wine Bar where I’ve had my birthday before.

I have to say, the staff at Bodega Wine Bar are amazing! I worked with one of their party coordinators and she was really easy to work with and didn’t require me to do too much. All we had to figure out was how many people would be there so we could figure out what reserved section would be best. I figured that maybe 10 people would be there and I loved the horseshoe section where my party was before so that was set up for me.

I set up a Facebook event for my birthday and about 7 people said they could make it, so I figured it would be a fun and relaxing hangout with my friends. And since it was my birthday, I decided to go with a really fun outfit and wore a tutu I got at Kiyonna a while ago (this picture is from the end of the party so I’m looking a bit wrinkled and my makeup and hair are not as done as they were at the beginning).

Birthday Outfit

A friend drove over to Bodega with me so I wouldn’t be there alone when I arrived. But it turned out some of my friends were already there! And by the time we sat down, even more people had arrived and we were starting to fill up our reserved section.

Usually with birthday parties like this, people arrive throughout the evening and there is a flow of people leaving and arriving throughout the evening. But this time, it seemed like almost everyone was there within the first 30 minutes! We quickly filled all the seats in our section at the bar and started to have to grab more chairs for everyone to sit down!

Most of the people at the party didn’t know the others who were there. But so many of them were people who I wanted to introduce to each other and everyone seemed to be getting alone and having a great time seeing the few people they knew and getting to know the people that they didn’t. Every so often, I just had to sit back and look at how awesome it was to have so many people there to celebrate my birthday and to watch everyone just having an awesome time!

And of course, we had to get a group picture with almost everyone who made it. The picture isn’t the best quality, but you can see that everyone is happy and it was an amazing turnout (I’m all the way in the back).


We had some food and drinks but mainly we were all just talking about the most random stuff (like Disneyland or podcasts) and everyone was joining in on the conversation and enjoying being around everyone else.

As we got closer to 10pm, most people were leaving (some had come in from the valley and they didn’t want to be out too late), but there were a few of us who weren’t ready to end the night yet. Then we remembered that Nighthawk Breakfast Bar (which closed down shortly after I went there) just reopened in Venice that week! So we got into our cars and drove over to Venice and hoped that we could get in so we could have some of their amazing food!

Fortunately, there was a table available when we got there and we were quickly seated and checking out the menu to see what we wanted to get.


My friend Elisa wasn’t able to get to Bodega but was able to join us at Nighthawk. And then I realized that the 4 of us (me, Elisa, Michelle, and Dani) who got the season tickets for Pantages for next season were all together for the first time ever! And not only that, Saturday marked exactly 1 year until we are going to be seeing “Hamilton” during opening weekend in our season! That is something to celebrate and we tried to get a photo to acknowledge that.


None of us really wanted to have drinks since we drank at Bodega, but we had to get some food for sure! Michelle and I have both been craving the Benedict Fries since we went to Nighthawk the first time. So of course we got those to share with everyone. And the last time we went we were tempted by the Tower of Bacon, but didn’t have room in our stomachs so we got that this time as well. The fries were better than they were before and the bacon was super delicious, but we wouldn’t have called the bacon a “tower”.

Tower of Bacon

We all enjoyed the food so much and it was the perfect way to end the evening! Even though Nighthawk was not the original plan, it worked out so well and I’m so glad we decided to make a stop there after Bodega! It really made my birthday so amazing and I had the best time!

I’m so grateful for my friends who were able to make it out to celebrate with me and for the ones who couldn’t make it but were celebrating virtually through texts and Facebook messages. I really had the best birthday ever and I’m hoping that this means that this year is going to be the best year ever as well!

Happy Birthday Rayshell (or I Love Casual Hangouts!)

This past weekend was pretty busy for me, but that was fun for me! I love when I have a bunch of awesome things to go to and being able to be social with my friends. I can get pretty isolated with just working at home and then going to the gym, so whenever a friend throws a party I really do try to go! It’s good motivation to get out and do things when someone is having a party and I know I need to be more social so this helps.

Rayshell had her birthday recently and she had a casual get-together at her house on Saturday. While I do love big event birthday parties, it’s nice when you have something smaller and more relaxed at times (especially when you are in the middle of a crazy weekend). Rayshell (and her husband Paul) are pretty amazing at having parties at their place so I was pretty excited to get to spend time with them and the rest of my friends. I had a bit of a busy day on Saturday with work and some other things, but I still ended up being at their party pretty much right when it started (I have a reputation for usually being the first guest at their parties).

The party was pretty chill and that is what I feel makes it awesome. There was no pressure to dress up fancy or to have to impress everyone there. It was just a fun hangout with a bunch of friends most of whom I haven’t seen since Rayshell’s wedding. I’m so glad Rayshell does a couple of parties a year because they are great times for me to get to see a bunch of people who live all over LA and it’s not easy to get to see them all the time. Also, Rayshell and Paul’s apartment really is set up well for parties so I think they like hosting them there.

I spent most of my evening talking with my friends on updates on their lives (we all also discussed what we bought or wanted to buy on Amazon Prime Day) and it was just nice to relax around Rayshell and Paul’s apartment and getting to find out what people are up to without it being an update on Facebook. We all feel like we see each other more often because of social media, but then when we get together we realize how it has been a while since we were in person together!

And of course, since this was a birthday party there was cake. And when we were all singing to Rayshell I got this super adorable picture of Rayshell and Paul (seriously, they are the cutest couple!).

Rayshell and Paul

I really wanted to stay later at the party, but my body was getting ready to shut down around 11pm so I had to leave shortly after the cake. Fortunately, most of us aren’t night owls so I think most of the people I knew would be at the party got there on the earlier side so I didn’t miss them by leaving by 11pm. I really was having a great time at the party and talking with everyone, but since I had a 20 minute drive home I really knew I had to leave when I was feeling tired.

So I said goodbye to Rayshell, Paul, and all of my friends there and headed back to my car to head home. It really was a fun hangout with everyone and I think we all appreciated Rayshell and Paul for hosting another great party and giving us all an excuse to hang out again. I think the next hangout opportunity is going to be my birthday! I still need to figure out what to do, but I can’t wait to see everyone again in a few weeks!

A Birthday Celebration (or An Orangetheory Reunion)

When I started working out at Orangetheory, I didn’t have any expectations of making new friends there. I wasn’t thinking that people would be mean or anything, but I’ve never really made friends in a workout setting before. The closest I had to friends at a workout place was meeting someone at Richard Simmons who mentioned having an opening at her work and I ended up working for her (and she and I are friends now).

I’ve worked really hard at making friends as an adult, and I think that there is something about Orangetheory that just lends itself to people becoming friends. I’ve made some really good friends there, but the people I think I’ve become closest to are Lindsay and Sarah.

The 3 of us used to always work out together on Wednesdays and Fridays. But now Sarah goes to the Santa Monica location and Lindsay goes to the West Hollywood location. So we don’t see each other that often. So when Lindsay invited me to her birthday party, I said yes right away! And when I found out Sarah would be there too, I got even more excited!

The party was at Toca Madera, which is pretty close to where I live. I had never been there before, but I had checked out the menu ahead of time and it was pretty much healthy Mexican food.

Toca Madera

The restaurant was pretty crowded and loud, but we were seated in the back room. It was still a bit loud, but it was much more relaxing than near the bar in the front. And we were seated below this amazing tree with tons of lights and lanterns on it. It was gorgeous!

Lit Tree

There were 10 of us at dinner, so we got a couple of orders of guacamole to share at the table. And the restaurant serves tortillas and butter (instead of bread and butter) so we got a decent amount of food in before our dinners arrived. And one of Lindsay’s friends who wasn’t able to be at the party had ordered champagne for the table!

Birthday Girl

For dinner, I got fajitas (or the closest thing to fajitas there is). It was perfectly cooked and delicious and I was very happy with my order.


There were several pages of tacos that you could get, and most of the girls at dinner got one or two orders of tacos. I know I need to go back another time so I can test out some of the tacos and sides (I got a taste of their street corn and it was amazing!).

Another one of Lindsay’s friends brought an ice cream cake. So after the dinner dishes were cleared, the cake came out.

Birthday Cake

It turns out that this type of ice cream cake is Lindsay’s favorite and she was so excited to see that someone had arranged for it to be there! I really enjoyed it, but it was a bit cold inside the restaurant (they had one of the skylights open and it is brisk in LA now). But I still finished it because I’m also a huge fan of ice cream cake!

Before I knew it, it was time for me to head home. I wished I could have stayed longer, but it was already pretty late for me and I knew I had to be up early the next morning. But before I left, I had to get a picture with Lindsay and Sarah.

OTF Friends

I’m so happy that Lindsay invited me (and Sarah) to celebrate her birthday with her. It was really awesome to get to be there and I love that my workout friends have become more than workout friends. We try to hang out when we can and even though we don’t see each other on a regular basis anymore, it’s ok because I appreciate the random times we see each other even more.

Goodbye 31 (or Hello 32!)

First of all, this is my 800th blog post! That’s so crazy! I feel like I need to start planning something amazing to do for my 1000th post now!

Anyway, back to today’s post!

This weekend is my birthday! As you know I look forward to my birthday every year. I enjoy all the freebies that I can, and I get to see so many of my friends over my birthday adventures.

This is always a busy time for celebrations for my family. Not only is it my birthday on Sunday, it is my cousin’s birthday and my parents’ anniversary today! I like having all these celebrations at the same time. Sometimes being at the tail end of all the celebrations isn’t fun, but that’s ok. The best time with the celebrations back to back was when my entire family traveled to Africa for my grandparents’ 50th anniversary. While we were in Africa, we celebrated my cousin’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary, and my birthday. That birthday is still one of the most memorable ones for me (and not just because I had the worst food poisoning of my life the night before my birthday).

Africa Birthday

I know many people my age hate getting older, but it doesn’t bother me at all. Maybe that’s because I don’t look my age, or maybe that’s because in the acting world I play younger than my real age. In fact, there are times that I forget my real age and only remember my acting age. That always makes for an awkward moment when I’m having to think about how old I am.

Getting older doesn’t scare me at all either. I’m not in the place I thought I would be when I’m 32, but I also never knew I could be in the place that I am in right now either. I have a really amazing life. I have really amazing friends who love and support me 100%. I am living in my dream city and working on making my dream career come true. I always thought by the time I was 30 that I would be married and have kids. By 32 I figured I’d be living a stay-at-home mom life and maybe still pursuing acting.. I still have the dream of getting married and having kids, but I don’t feel the same time crunch that I imagined in my 20’s.

Turning 32 isn’t a milestone birthday. But whenever I try to do things for milestone birthdays, they’ve never happen the way that I wanted them to. I remember my 21st birthday, I was supposed to have a ton of friends come meet me at a restaurant so we could celebrate my first legal drink. Throughout the day, friends were contacting me saying that something came up or there was a family emergency. I didn’t feel like I was being bailed on, most of these people had real conflicts and it didn’t help that I had done the planning at the last-minute. In the end it was me and two friends celebrating that first legal drink. But I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It also stands out in my mind how the morning after my 21st birthday, I had to be at work at 7 AM. So there was not a lot of drinking to be done that night. So I don’t see the point in trying to make milestone birthdays special (unless I’m not planning it).

I wrote about my 30th birthday on the blog. While it was a milestone birthday, it was still a relatively low-key birthday celebration. For some reason, turning 31 seemed like a much bigger deal than turning 30. Turning 32 feels more like turning 30 but it did turning 31.

I’ve got lots of fun things planned for my birthday this year. I’ll be sharing them over the next couple of blog posts. I’m doing things a little bit more low-key this year than I have in the past, but that’s exactly how I want them to be.

I’m going into my 32nd year a much stronger, confident, happier person than I was before. This is exactly how I want to start my 32nd birthday. While I’ve had struggles and challenges this past year, I wouldn’t change one thing. Each of the struggles has improved me. While I would like to believe that I would still be the same way even without these challenges, I know that without them I never would have been able to build myself to be the way that I am.

So here’s the last few days of being 31! And here’s to making 32 my most amazing year ever!

Santa Barbara Weekend (or Family and Friends Time)

This past weekend, I was up in Santa Barbara (which if you aren’t familiar with the California geography is about 2 hours north of Los Angeles). My friend Rayshell was celebrating her 30th birthday and her parents offered to throw her a party. So the party was held at her parents’ place in Santa Barbara.

I’m sure at some point in my life I’ve been to Santa Barbara, but it must have been when I was little because I don’t remember ever going there. I know that I’ve never been there as an adult, so that’s at least 13 years.

I knew about the birthday party a few months in advance (Rayshell wanted everyone to have the chance to make hotel reservations if necessary). My sister-in-law’s parents live in Santa Barbara, so as soon as I knew that I would be up there, I texted them to see if they could meet up while I was there. My sister-in-law’s mom wasn’t sure if they would be in town while I was there, so she asked me to text closer to the date.

When I texted her again, she let me know that my brother and sister-in-law were going to be in Santa Barbara the same weekend. So I made plans with everyone to meet up with them for a little bit on Saturday before I went to the party.

I drove up by myself and got to my sister-in-law’s parents’ house in about 2 hours (traffic wasn’t my friend the entire way). It was so great to see everyone. I hadn’t seen my brother or my sister-in-law’s parents since Christmas and I hadn’t seen my sister-in-law since our NYC trip.

I was only able to stay there for about an hour, but it was a nice visit. My brother and sister-in-law are going on a trip to Africa next month. They are going to be going to Tanzania, which is where my family went when we went to Africa in 1997. So we were chatting about different things to prepare for the trip and memories that my brother and I have when we went there as kids.

After my visit, I got back on the road to head to Rayshell’s parent’s house. It was only about 10 minutes from my sister-in-law’s parent’s house, so that was easy.

The party was in the backyard and they had hired a taco man to cater dinner. Technically, he was more than a taco man because you could also get a salad, a burrito, a quesadilla, or nachos. I opted for the beef nachos because they looked so amazing!


I totally made the right choice! My nachos were awesome!

I was sitting next to my friend Sarah Levin (who I refer to as the “other Levin” and she does the same to me) and it was so nice to get to catch up with her. She recently got engaged and will be getting married soon. So I got to see the ring and hear all of her incredible wedding plans.

And of course, Sarah and I wanted a picture with the birthday girl.


Not only is Rayshell in a Levin sandwich, Sarah and I are dressed alike (blue dresses, black sweaters). I thought it was pretty funny.

Also at the party, there was a magician. He reminded me of the magicians who perform the close-up magic show at The Magic Castle. There were some tricks that I’ve seen before, but there were also a bunch that I had never seen and I was amazed how they were done (I might have googled some of the tricks because I just couldn’t understand how he could have done it).

And one of the final tricks of the show was the magician juggling a machete, a bowling ball, and a torch lit on fire while balancing on a board that was on top of a plastic pipe.


I know you can’t see that he is balancing in the picture, but trust me, he was. And he was very close to the tree in the backyard so everyone was nervous that he would catch the tree on fire. But fortunately, everything was safe and not on fire at the end of the show.

After the magic show, there was some dessert and then people started to head out. Some people had to make the drive back to LA, some were headed to their hotels (or houses if they were locals), and some people headed out to the bars. I was very lucky that Rayshell’s parents said I could spend the night at their house. Hotels were very expensive (especially for a Saturday night in the summer). So while everyone else was leaving, I was helping with some cleanup.

And while putting away the leftover alcohol (which I didn’t have any of), I discovered the biggest tequila bottle I’ve ever seen!


It’s Costco brand but everyone said that it was great.

After cleaning up, everyone who was staying at Rayshell’s parents’ house just hung out outside for a while talking around one of the fire pits that they have.


It was a very relaxing way to end the evening. And before we knew it, it was 1am and we were all exhausted. I slept in the living room on the couch, and it was a perfect place to crash after a party (I can’t imagine trying to make the drive home after the party).

The next morning, we all had breakfast together and then I headed back to LA. Sarah needed a ride back so I drove her and that gave us even more time to catch up and just have fun talking.

It was such a perfect little mini-getaway! It felt like a vacation but I didn’t have to go that far.

Thank you so much to Rayshell’s parents for letting me stay at your house! You are both so generous and were amazing hosts! And Rayshell, even though I’ve wished you a happy birthday a couple of times by now. Happy Birthday again! I hope you had a great time at your party! I know I did!