Tag Archives: birthday

Unexpected Birthday Present (or I Love Having Technology That Works!)

I was not planning on asking for anything for my birthday from my parents this year. They helped me get my car at the beginning of the year so I didn’t feel right asking for anything else. I still feel a bit guilty about my new car, but I know that they are happy to help me out. But there was no way I was going to tell my parents I wanted something for my birthday.

I usually get a check from my grandma for my birthday, so I was thinking about what I wanted to use it for (she prefers that I get something fun with it and not use it to pay bills). I was talking with my dad before my birthday and mentioned how my iPad was pretty much dead at that point. It was taking hours for it to turn on and for me to open an app could take close to 30 minutes. And that day, I couldn’t get it to turn on no matter what I did. I didn’t think my iPad was going to be usable anymore.

The iPad I had was about 5 years old, which is a pretty long time for a piece of technology. I used to use it much more often, but over the past 2 years I used it less because it was getting so slow and several apps that I like to use wouldn’t work anymore. But I didn’t want to get a new one because at that time I knew I’d spending a lot on a new laptop and technically my old one still worked.

I’m aware that this is totally a first world problem. I don’t need an iPad, but I like having it and it is something I do work on. But I think I also knew it wasn’t a necessity to get a new one so when my old one pretty much died on me I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get a new one for my birthday. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be the perfect thing to use my birthday check toward.

This call with my dad was just one of our usual phone calls and the iPad thing just happened to come up. And he agreed that getting one for my birthday would be a great thing to use my check for. I didn’t think much more about that conversation after we hung up. But then the next morning, I got an email from my dad with the subject “Birthday Surprise”. And my dad wrote that he and my mom had discussed it after he got off the phone with me and they wanted to get me my iPad for my birthday!

I was totally not expecting this and I even called my parents to tell them that I didn’t tell my dad about my old one dying to try to get them to buy me one. I kept asking if they were sure they wanted to get it for me because I was considering my car my birthday present (and I’m totally considering it my Hanukkah present for this year too). But my mom said that they wanted to do that for me and I couldn’t express how grateful I was for it!

I was originally going to get the new one before my birthday, but there were a few delays in me getting it. But the delays worked out well because I was able to make a decision on which one I wanted to get (after getting input from a friend who works for Apple and from my parents) and I realized that they had a back to school special for their educational discount (which I get for being a substitute teacher). Not only would I get the normal discount, which is about $20 off, I would get a free pair of wireless Beats headphones! So this past week, I headed over to the Apple Store near me to buy my new iPad!

It was a pretty fast purchase since I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I just had to decide on what color I wanted (I went with gray to match my laptop). And I’ve spent the past few days making sure I get everything set up on it before I try to erase all the data off of my old one (if I can get it to turn back on again). Just like with my laptop, it’s a crazy difference between the old one and the new one. Things are working again, I can get work done so much faster, and I know that it is going to make me more productive.

If I could figure out how to do all of my day job work from my iPad, I’d do that when I go out-of-town. But for right now, that’s not possible due to the phone calls I have to do for my box office job. But I think I might actually be able to run everything else from it which is a nice idea. The iPad can use a keyboard so if I figure out how to do it all (or if I don’t have to take phone calls for my box office job), I think it will be pretty easy to work with it and I think that will be a nice feature for me when I get to travel again.

This present was so unexpected but beyond appreciated. I am so grateful to my parents for wanting to get me this because they easily could have just gotten me nothing for my birthday which is exactly what I was expecting. And I love that now whenever I use my iPad I’m going to think about this awesome birthday this year and how amazing my parents are!

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!

SaveSave

Birthday Workouts (or Just Having A Good Week Of Workouts)

This past week of workouts was my birthday workouts! Since I usually have a birthday week, it only makes sense to have a birthday week of workouts. I didn’t have any expectations going into my week of workouts since I’ve had some really great running weeks and some really bad running weeks lately and I didn’t want to have something in my head that I wasn’t able to get done.

Monday was another 2 group class (instead of the 3G the it is supposed to be now) and it was a power workout. I was actually pretty excited since I know that power days are usually the best ones for me to work on running (and I wanted to run to burn off the calories I’d eat at Truxton’s later that day). In the 30 minutes on the treadmill, there were 13 all outs. It was pretty crazy!

There were 3 treadmill blocks and all of them started with a push pace which I ran. Then we had all out pace intervals with walking recovery in-between. The first block was 1 minute intervals, the second block was 45 second intervals, and the last block was 30 second intervals. I did the first block with my speed at 5mph and the second and third block with my speed at 5.5mph. I know I could have gone faster, but I’m really working hard at not burning myself out because I’m wondering if that is what has been causing the off weeks I’ve been having lately.

The floor on Monday also had 3 blocks. The first block had skaters, ground to press squats, row with weights, and a 100 meter row. I was pretty happy with my skaters because I was able to keep my back foot up the entire time (something that I still struggle with). With the 100 meter row, we were supposed to do both timed rows and counting the number of pulls. For the timed row, I did it in 18.1 seconds, which isn’t the best I’ve done but also isn’t that bad. And for my number of pulls, I got it down to 8 which beat my goal which was 9. The next block was lunges, ab twists, sit ups, and a 150 meter row. I only got to the timed row and did it in 28.6 seconds. And the last block was 200 meter rows (I didn’t focus on my time) and squats between each row set. Considering that this was my last workout as a 33-year-old, I was pretty happy about it!

Wednesday was a birthday workout! I was hoping that I’d have some friends with me in class, but it’s not easy for my friends to meet me at the time I go so I was on my own for the workout. But that was fine because the studio manager, Adam, decided to take that class and made sure that he pulled the treadmill card for my favorite treadmill and he took the treadmill next to me! And it was as if the universe was working in my favor because my birthday workout was a run/row!

It was also a strength day which means running on inclines, but I was determined to see what I could do. Usually a run/row is for the entire block and you go at your own pace. This time, there were 3 blocks and we repeated what we could in each block during that time. And then we switched with the floor between blocks. So I figured that since we would be switching I would try to run on the inclines. The first block started with a 400 meter row (which went down by 100 meters each time) followed by a .2 mile run. The run started at 2% and each round went up 1%. I was able to run the entire thing and even made it back to the treadmill to start the .2 miles at 3% incline. The next block was a 300 meter row (each round went down 50 meters) with a .15 mile run starting at 3% (each round went up 1%). Again, I was able to run it all but I only did the run once before time was called. And the last block was a 200 meter row (it stayed the same) with .1 miles at 4% incline. And I ran it all but only made it one round on the treadmill. Even though I didn’t do a ton of running, I ran all of it and did it at inclines which is a pretty awesome accomplishment for me.

The floor work was also 3 blocks and each block was a bit tough in the beginning since I was still catching my breath from the run/row. The first block was shoulder work, rowing with weights, lunges and abs. The second block was squats, flys with weights, and plank work. And the last block was all tricep work.

I would have to say that this was a pretty successful birthday workout. I’m glad that I spent my birthday at Orangetheory since it is such a huge part of my life now! And I think they were pretty happy to have me there that day too!

Friday was a power day (again, super happy because I could work on my running!). This time, everything on the treadmill was 30 second intervals. We had 5 blocks and the first 4 blocks all had the same pattern. Each block was 30 second push paces with 30 second base paces and the last minute of each block was a 30 second push to a 30 second all out. The first block was 5 minutes and each block got a minute shorter. The very last block was a slightly different pattern but the same concept with push to all outs with walking and more all out paces.

I was able to run all of my pushes at 4.5mph and all of my all outs at 5mph. I tried to do my base pace at my new faster base pace but I could only do that for a bit of the first block. All the running made me need to have a walking base pace that I’m comfortable with. But to me, being able to run as much as possible was more important than to work on my increased base pace. I’m glad that all the intervals were only 30 seconds because running was a bit tough for me that day. I was dealing with some nausea and I’m still experimenting with that time on a workout day it’s best for me to take anti-nausea medications.

The floor work was the same block pattern with the first 4 blocks being one minute shorter than the other. The 4 minute block and the 2 minute block were both rowing with the same intervals as the treadmill. The goal was when doing the 2 minute row to get at least half of what you got in the 4 minute row. In the 4 minute row I did 850 meters and in the 2 minute row I did 460 meters so I’m pretty proud of myself. With the other 3 blocks, we had a mix of squats, burpees, plank work, and biceps.

I felt like I had done a lot of great running work during the week and I was not expecting to be able to do much running on Saturday. But then I found out it was going to be a 15 minutes for distance challenge and I knew I needed to run. But there was no way I could work on running for the entire 15 minutes so I decided to follow the intervals that we were given.

It was a mix of endurance, strength, and power in the workout so the treadmill started with a 3 minute push pace. After that, we started to do push paces at inclines and I was able to run those as well. And the end of the treadmill block was 30 second intervals that were similar to Friday’s workout. And as always, we ended with an all out pace. I know that if I had run the entire 15 minutes I would have gone farther, but I’m pretty happy with the distance that I got to at the end of the cardio block.

Next I moved to the floor where we had one longer block and one short block. In the longer block, we had single leg deadlifts, squats, weighted swings, and strap work. Single leg deadlifts are a tough one for me since I don’t really have the ability to balance on one leg for that long right now. So I balance by holding onto the weight bench with one hand and then doing the single leg work. It is so much harder than regular deadlifts, so I know that I need to keep doing them to get stronger. I have no clue if I’ll ever be able to do single leg stuff without assistance, but I know the only way to find out will be to keep doing the work and trying. And the short floor block was situps and plank work for 3 minutes.

And I ended on the rower starting with a 3 minute row for distance. My goal was 650 meters and I wanted to scream in frustration when I got to 649 at the end of the 3 minutes. It was so annoying to be so close! After that, we had squats and more rowing. I didn’t go too hard in my rowing because I knew we’d be ended with another 3 minutes for distance and I wanted to beat 649 meters. The last 3 minutes for distance was a push, base, push, all out pattern similar to the treadmill and I really tried to do pushes and bases on the rower. It’s not easy for me to do that all the time because I’d rather be steady, but I wanted to see the difference compared to the 3 minute row I did at the beginning of the row block. I think my stubbornness paid off because I was able to get to 668 meters this time!

Overall, I’d say this was a pretty epic birthday workout week. I wasn’t expecting to do a lot of great running and somehow I did have that. And because I think I took it a bit easier than I could have done, hopefully this week of workouts won’t suffer from what I did the last week. I want to get over this one good week one bad week pattern and just have more consistent weeks. Hopefully that will happen for me soon!

SaveSave

Birthday Twin Tradition (or An Almost Free Meal)

One of my favorite birthday traditions is going to Truxton’s with my birthday twin Joanna for dinner. We’ve been doing this for pretty much as long as we’ve been friends and it’s always a fun night for us. We try to have more catch up hangouts throughout the year and we’ve been getting better at doing that. But our birthday dinner is something we always look forward to.

We were going to try to do our dinner on our actual birthday again this year, but our schedules didn’t quite work out that way. So we ended up going 2 days before our birthday which was a great way to kick off each of us celebrating our birthday week!

We did a later dinner than normal, but that was fine because parking meters in Santa Monica were free! We both found parking pretty easily and walked over to the restaurant together. Because it was a later dinner, the restaurant wasn’t that packed, but that was nice since it wasn’t horribly noisy either.

When we started going to Truxton’s the birthday deal was a free entrée and free dessert. That made things really simple for us but we also always felt like we didn’t need 2 desserts. Now, the deal is $20 toward the bill. They used to combine the coupons (so we could get $40 total) but now it has to be split onto 2 checks. We decided to try to see if we could make it so when it was split each half would be $20 and we would get our totally free meal again.

We originally wanted to get Monkey Bread as an appetizer (it’s so good there!), but unfortunately they were all out! It was crazy that they were out, but we figured it just wasn’t meant to be. And for our entrees, we both were kind of debating between the same two things: the brisket sandwich and the club sandwich. So we decided that we would order both and would each have half.

It was a bit messy when we tried to cut the sandwiches in half, but it was fine. And it ended up being the perfect thing since we both got to have some of each thing we were craving. We also did one sandwich with garlic fries and one with regular fries so we got to have both options.

And dessert is always the highlight of the meal for us. We decided to go for the giant cookie that has ice cream on top. It’s pretty decadent and seems like one of the more festive desserts they have there.

They brought plates out for us so we could try to split the cookie and ice cream up, but there was no way to really do that. And we are fine sharing a plate so we each grabbed a spoon and pretty much stuck to one half of the pan. And even though we were both full from the sandwiches and fries (it’s probably a good thing we couldn’t get Monkey Bread), somehow we were able to finish the entire dessert!

We really tried to do some planning on what we were going to order to see if there was a way that we could make sure that each half of the bill would be $20 or less. Technically there was a way to do it, but it would have been with the dinners we really weren’t wanting. As much as we want a totally free meal, it’s better to order what we want to eat. And even though we didn’t have our free birthday tradition, it was still a very cheap dinner out.

And even though the bill was super cheap, we like to leave a big tip because we know that servers make most of their income from the tips (we left about $20 on what would have been a $41 bill).

And while the food was awesome, getting to catch up with Joanna was even better! It had been a while since our last catch up meal and we both had so much to share! Joanna has gone on some fun trips and has had some changes in her day jobs. I’ve become a medical miracle and also have had some changes in my day jobs. But I’m lucky because even though it’s been a few months since we had seen each other, when we get together it seems like we can always pick up where we left off.

We ended up hanging out at dinner for about 2 hours before we both had to head back home. The next tradition we have is our cheesecake outing that we do around the new year, but I know that we both are going to keep trying to make an effort to see each other more often (even if it isn’t a free meal that we are meeting up for).

SaveSaveSaveSave

Happy Birthday To Me (or I Can’t Wait To See What 34 Will Be Like)

It’s my birthday! You all know that birthdays are a big deal to me so I’m pretty happy that it’s my birthday today! Although I am working multiple jobs (most likely I’ll be working all 3 of my jobs today) so today won’t be too much birthday celebration. But I still enjoy all the phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages I get even if I have to look at them between customers at work.

Birthdays are always so awesome for me, but this year seems even more amazing. And that’s because 33 ended up being such a great year for me. If you had asked me when I turned 33 if I thought it was going to be so amazing, I wouldn’t have guessed it would have turned out the way it did. And a few months after my birthday last year, I started to have what felt like a horrible streak of bad luck.

I had the discovery of the tumors in my liver and then my car breaking down multiple times, spending money to fix it, only to have my car die on me. I also had issues with my eating disorder and some other personal things happen that made me feel like my luck was just awful and good things weren’t going to come my way. I didn’t want to feel so negative about my life, but it was hard to ignore the feeling that things were just going horribly for me and I didn’t know how or when that would change. But then things turned around so much starting with my tumors shrinking!

I still don’t know what changed my luck, but I’m so glad that it did. It’s not that I’ve always been unlucky, but I feel like my luck is better now that it ever has been in my life. And I feel like the good luck is allowing other good things to come into my life and I don’t want that to stop. I’m trying to not worry too much that my good luck is going to run out because I know it can end at any time. But I’m working hard to enjoy it while I can since things are just so much fun right now for me!

And if when I turned 33 I had no clue how awesome my year was going to be, I’m thinking that 34 will be even more incredible since I’m getting off to a good start. There are so many things that I’m looking forward to this year already and I know that things will continue to be added to that list. I’m so grateful that things in my life seem to be going so much better for me and I have hope that it will continue to be this way. I know that there may be some tough stuff this year, but I’m trying to stay optimistic about things this year.

I’m not trying to stress about my liver and the scan that I’ll be having this fall. If my tumors have grown, I’ll have surgery and that will be fine. I don’t want surgery, but I think I’m in a much better head space now to have surgery than I would have been if I had it in April. And I’ve got some stresses at work right now that I really can’t control. I’m just working on getting through it and dealing with things as they come. Hopefully things will turn out my way, but I also know that I’m doing everything I can to make that happen and I can’t worry about it any more.

Today isn’t going to be the most exciting day for me, but that’s ok. I knew having my birthday on a Wednesday meant that I would have to plan celebrating on other days. I’ve already done some birthday fun and I’ve got more coming up this weekend. But today will be a relatively normal Wednesday for me. But to know that I’m working hard, going to the gym, and doing stuff that makes me happy is all I could really want for a birthday.

I’m actually kind of excited to think about what my blog post will be like 1 year from today. I hope that being 34 will be just as great as being 33 has been for me. But again, I have no clue what my future holds and there is no way for me to predict it. I just hope that I continue to have fun and that whatever happens makes me happy and makes my life even more amazing!

So Many Birthdays and Anniversaries! (or A Month Of Celebrating And Remembering)

August is a pretty amazing month for me. Obviously it’s amazing since it’s my birthday month and I usually have lots of birthday celebrations. I think the birthday month thing started because growing up I wasn’t always able to celebrate my birthday on my birthday. When I was in school I would be out-of-town a lot on my birthday. I spent multiple years at summer camp on my birthday so I’d celebrate at camp and then have my birthday party when I got back home toward the end of the month. So I think it’s just a continuation of that when I have a birthday month now.

It also is such a full month of other celebrations so it naturally feels like I can continue my celebrations as well. I don’t want to steal the thunder at someone else’s birthday, but if I’m at a birthday party in August and it comes up that I just had a birthday usually people will say happy birthday to me as well. That doesn’t always happen, but it has happened a lot. And because I have so many different friend groups and we are all so busy, having multiple birthday celebrations seems required.

And it’s not just me that we celebrate toward the beginning of this month. In my birthday week we have my parents’ anniversary, my cousin’s birthday, a friend’s birthday, my birthday twin’s birthday, and my acting coach’s birthday. All of those things take place within 5 days. It’s a lot and it can be a bit overwhelming. It’s especially overwhelming when I have to get cards for everyone. I write down each person and what they are celebrating so I don’t forget anyone. And I usually mail all the cards off at the same time to make things as easy for me as possible.

I love getting to celebrate the people in my life. It’s so fun getting to do that and I love picking out the perfect present for people. And I know I’ve talked about this before, but this is also a bit of a tough time for me. My friend and my acting coach have both passed away in the past few years. I don’t get to celebrate them anymore the same way I used to and it can put a bit of a damper on everything. I miss all the birthday jokes we had together because of the back to back birthdays. And it’s not the same without those stupid jokes.

I try to not be sad about not getting to celebrate them anymore. I’m trying to focus on the happy memories I had with them and to celebrate their lives on their birthday. It’s still weird and I’m still getting used to it. I don’t know if it will ever feel normal that they are gone. And there are still times I forgot that either of them passed away. I will have something happen to me and my first thought is to call one of them. I can’t seem to erase their contact information from my phone so it’s still in there. And just as I’m about to look up their number I remember and stop. Fortunately it’s not that way on their birthdays, but it’s still a bit heartbreaking when it happens.

It does take me by surprise when it hits me this hard each year that they have passed away. I keep thinking that I won’t remember or that it won’t affect me. But it’s still a hole in my heart and I can’t forget about it. But that’s probably just a sign of how much I loved them and how important they were to my life. I know that both my friend and my acting coach changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without one or both of them in my life. And I’d like to think that if they were still around that they would be proud of me.

There is so much I feel like I’m celebrating this year on my birthday. I wish that I had everyone I love who usually celebrates around the same time as me still alive and able to celebrate too. But this is the reality of life and I know that while things might keep getting easier it will never completely go away. I will always remember that I’m not able to celebrate them the same way, but hopefully I’ll be able to focus on celebrating all the fun that I did have with them while they were still alive and can make their birthdays a positive and happy day for me.

My August Challenge (or Being Selfish To Be Happy)

Another month is here! I can’t believe July is over and it’s already my birthday month! And as always, a new month brings the recap of my last month’s challenge and announcing what my challenge will be this month.

Last month, I wanted to work on practicing more mindful breathing. More specifically, I set a reminder to work on breathing and staying calm at 2 of the times that I commonly feel like I want to binge eat. This was a challenge idea I got from therapy and I was curious to see how it would go for me. Doing things like this have been tough for me in the past because I get super focused and forget to do it. Or I get distracted by something else and forget. But having a reminder on my phone does help since I have to dismiss it to make it go away.

While I didn’t always do the 10 slow breaths that I planned on doing, this still was a successful challenge to me. If I was feeling like I wanted to binge, this alarm stopped me and made me think. It didn’t always stop it, but at least I was not in the trance that I’m used to being in when having an episode. I was more aware and even if I didn’t always make the right choice I knew it was my choice. Because this gave me so much more awareness, I will be doing this beyond just last month’s challenge. I think that the benefits will continue each month that I do it and it is a helpful thing for me to have.

But doing challenges beyond the month that they are for brings me to this month’s challenge. I really struggled to figure out what I wanted to do. I’ve added so much to my days between my happiness checklist and all the monthly challenges that I’ve continued to do. I’ve continued almost all the monthly challenges beyond the month that I did them for and that’s a lot of stuff for me to remember to do.

So this month’s challenge isn’t necessarily something I will be doing every day but instead something that I want to have as a focus for the month in general. I want to focus on figuring out what makes me happy and what I want to continue to do. I have to do so much out of obligation or responsibility and I want to make sure all the stuff I add to my life are for fun and not because I feel like I have to because I’ve been doing that for a while.

On my happiness checklist, most things are things that I want to keep on there. They do make me happy and when I haven’t done something for a while I’m reminded to do so. But the ones I’m thinking about taking off are the ones that I do every day and I don’t have to focus on doing. This mainly is about reading and eating disorder recovery research every day. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t read at least a little bit. I read every single night before bed and I read a lot in my down time too. And I do recovery research every day because I read 10 pages of a recovery book every day. While these things make me happy, I think maybe I should add 2 other things to my list that I don’t do every day so I can challenge myself to keep focusing on my happiness.

And with my monthly challenges, most of the time I want to continue doing them when the month is over. But I’ve been noticing that some things are either stressing me out or I’m not doing them. I need to start removing those reminders from my phone so they don’t remind me that I’m not doing something. It can make me mad when I get a reminder to do something that I know I won’t do. But my idea of wanting to try to be perfect has prevented me from just deleting those reminders. I’m going to go through them this month and figure out what I want to keep, what I want to delete, and what I might want to add.

And when I’m figuring out what I want to edit and add, I have to work on being very honest with myself and not worrying about not being perfect or caring what other people think. That’s not easy for me, but that’s why this is a good challenge for me. It’s my birthday month and I want to make this an amazing month! And I think focusing on exactly what makes me happy is the perfect way to make the month the best it can be!

5 Years Old (or My Blog Is A Kindergartner)

This past Sunday, my blog turned 5 years old. As I’ve said each blog anniversary, I can’t believe this! When I started my blog, I knew that I would be doing what I could to keep it up. But I don’t think I would have been able to do 5 years of every weekday posts!

Looking back at my first blog post is a big embarrassing because I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t know if anyone would ever read it (and back in the beginning I had plenty of days with 0 readers for the day) and I didn’t know if anyone would care. But to know it all started with a post where I pretty much said that I didn’t know what I was doing makes me so happy to be where I am now.

I know I’ve said this so many times, but I wanted to say thank you to every single one of you who reads this blog. Some of you are my friends and family but many of you are people I haven’t met in real life yet. Some are following me for my eating disorder recovery, some for my acting career, some for my fitness journey, and some of you just like reading what happens in my life. No matter why you read this blog, please know that I appreciate each and every one of you.

This blog has morphed quite a bit in the past 5 years. Like I said, I had no clue what this blog was going to be when I started. And through the past few years I’ve added things to my blog such as my recovery journey and weekly fitness posts (I can’t even remember not doing Orangetheory posts on Mondays!). This blog has changed as I have changed and hopefully you will all agree that both the blog and I have changed for the better.

Whenever someone reaches out to me and tells me that they started going to Orangetheory, saw a therapist, or even started online dating because of something they read on here I’m just beyond flattered. I never thought my life could impact others just by telling the truth and it’s amazing that I’m able to do that. And finding out that I’m helping others inspires me to keep going, even when I don’t have anything to blog about.

I wrote about this recently, but this blog has changed my life because I’ve been forced to go out and do more. Otherwise, all my posts on here would be pretty boring. And sometimes it’s tough for me to figure out what to write about, but there is always something that I want to share or get off my chest. Just being able to write it down (and maybe have someone read it and help me) makes me feel so much better when I’m struggling and going through a tough time.

5 years ago, I didn’t know what I would blog about and honestly I thought that I would keep more things about my life private than I do right now. But I’ve found that hiding parts of myself doesn’t allow me to be as free as I need to be in order to write honestly. I do still keep some things to myself or wait on sharing them, but I think you all can tell that I’m not trying to hide that much that often.

I never imagined I’d be sharing as much as I have when I started this, and there’s no way for me to know what I’ll be sharing in the next 5 years. Hopefully there will be so many awesome and interesting things happening in my life that I can tell you all about. I’m putting myself out there in so many aspects in my life and I’m sure that something great will happen because of that. I can’t predict the future, but I know that all the effort I’m putting in to better my life will have a big change. And I really can’t wait to see what happens with that!

5 years is a long time to be doing something every single weekday. I haven’t even had a day job that long! But I’m so glad that I stuck with this and kept going because it really has been a life-changer for me.

Half Birthday (or Reflecting On The Past 6 Months)

After having a bit of a negative day earlier this week (and to be honest, a negative week), I decided to spend yesterday trying to think more positively. Stress isn’t a good thing for me mentally or physically and I needed to get myself out of that funk. And when I woke up yesterday deciding to be in a better mindset, I also realized that it was my half birthday!

I know that most people don’t celebrate half birthdays, but my dad and I do. I’m not sure how the tradition started, but it’s been a thing as long as I can remember. There aren’t any cards or gifts for half birthdays (or if there are they are more of a joke than anything), but it’s more about a time marker to me. Days and months can go by so quickly that this is a nice way to pause and do some reflection. And that’s exactly what I did yesterday to feel better about things.

6 months ago, things were terribly different but they still were different. I had just started running again for the first time in a long time and was making great progress. Running was more of a novelty to me still 6 months ago and I wasn’t as focused on my progress the way I am now. I was focused on speed and getting PRs with distances more than anything. Now, I’ve realized that I need to focus on my endurance more. I won’t be getting a ton of PRs in my workouts, but I will be making huge progress. Being able to run for more than 10 minutes at once is huge and is making me just as happy as my last 5K PR.

6 months ago, I had been making progress with my recovery but I think the changes I’ve made in the past 6 months are much more significant than the ones I made the 6 months prior. I’m still doing a lot of the same stuff, but I’m going more in-depth with them. I’ve been able to recognize some of my triggers and stop and episode from happening before it does. I’m not perfect, but progress has been made. And thinking back at those 6 months gives me so much hope for what the 6 months leading up to my birthday will bring.

In the past 6 months, I haven’t had a ton of auditions and I haven’t booked an acting job but I’ve still had awesome things happen. My short film is getting into festivals and we are talking about making a sequel to the movie. We are getting a lot of positive attention for it and that is all I could ask from a film that was just a really fun project to do with friends. We did take the shoot seriously, but when you are making a short film you aren’t doing it to make money or become a star. It’s a passion project and we are all just so grateful that people are enjoying it. And I’m hoping that we will continue to get into more festivals and we can share this film with as many people as possible.

And I know that some people may think that since 6 months ago I didn’t know about the tumors that things were better off then. But I actually see it differently. Yes, it was nice not to know about the tumors but it is so much better that I do know about them. I’m lucky that I didn’t have any issues with them, but that might not have been for forever. I have read a lot of stories of people being hospitalized because they had a small tumor rupture. And with the large tumor I have, it would be bad if it ruptured. I’m glad that I know about them. I’m able to make the changes in my life that I need to and I will have them removed before there is anything that makes it too risky to have the tumors. I don’t want to say this is a wake up call for my health because I was already working on my health. But this gave me a new sense of urgency and a new mission with my health.

But what I think has been the best thing in the past 6 months for me is that I’m having more fun. Something happened after this past birthday where I wasn’t feeling as self-conscious as I have in the past. I don’t worry too much about what other people think about me or my life. I don’t care that some people think that I’m wasting money on tickets for the Pantages or my pass for Disneyland because those are things that make me happy. They don’t have to make anyone happy but me. And because I’m not worrying about what other people think as much, I can enjoy my life the way I want to. I’m living my life more and loving what I’m doing more. And that’s just awesome.

It’s nice to have a post like this where I’m looking at the good when I had a post yesterday when things weren’t so good. I’m so glad I had my half birthday yesterday to make me take a minute and reflect on positive things so that I could realize that things aren’t as bad as my brain might be trying to tell me that it is. And now I know that I’ve had an awesome past 6 months I can focus on working on making the next 6 just as good if not better!

Happy Birthday Dani (or Another Awesome Disney Day!)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, I went back again this week! But this time, it wasn’t just a regular Disney day. We were going to celebrate my friend Dani’s birthday! Since Michelle and I knew last week we’d be coming this week for the birthday adventure, we did some planning while we were waiting for the rides!

The first thing we did last week was pick up a birthday button. Even though we knew we could get one when we came back, we wanted to have it in advance. This way, not only did we have it to give to Dani when we all met up to drive together, but Michelle was able to jazz it up with some rhinestones to make it even more special!

I think it looked amazing and Dani loved it! Also part of our pre-planning was making a fancy lunch reservation for our group, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

It was 4 of us for the day (Michelle, Dani, Dani’s boyfriend, and me) and we got to the park around 1pm. We had our lunch reservations at 2, so that gave us just enough time to ride the first ride Dani requested to go on: Toy Story Mania. I’m not that great at the shooting part of the game (I don’t go on this ride that often), but it was fun and I tried my best. And as soon as we were done with the ride it was time to head over to lunch.

I hadn’t had the opportunity to eat at Carthay Circle yet (I did go once to eat at the bar, but that’s different), so when Michelle and I were figuring out where we should make lunch reservations this was the first place we thought of! When we checked in for lunch, there was some time before our table was ready so we relaxed in the lounge area. We ordered some drinks and toasted to Dani and her fabulous birthday! And soon enough we were led upstairs to our table.

I had checked out the menu online earlier, so I was pretty sure what I wanted to get. We ordered the biscuits for the table (I heard those were a must-have) and a couple of appetizers to share among us. I tried the chili relleno that had duck in it. The pepper was a bit too spicy for me (I think it had spicy breading on it), but the filling was delicious!

And for my main course, I got the tri-tip with blue cheese risotto. It was very filling and rich, but I had planned for a meal like this. It was so good and I would totally order it again!

And of course, we needed some dessert! Dani chose the monkey bread and the servers put a candle in it for her to blow out.

It was a very relaxing lunch and I’m so glad that we splurged on doing this. We probably spent almost 2 hours eating, but it was worth it! Cathay Circle is a gorgeous space and I feel very lucky that I got to check it out. And while we were getting ready to leave, I noticed some floor length mirrors and decided to do a mirror selfie in there.

Our next stop was Tower of Terror (yes, right after we ate a big meal). This was possibly my lat chance to ride Tower of Terror because it will be closing in the beginning of January. I might make it to the parks next week, but it’s not for sure. So we all wanted to ride the ride once the original way and once at nighttime. It had been a while since I had been on the ride during the day, but it was just how I remembered it. And we tried to take a ride photo with us all doing clock faces, but I think there was a bit of miscommunication because I just look like a goober in our photo.

After the ride, we did a bit of walking around the park and noticed the nice sunset that was happening. I think we were all feeling a bit goofy because all the photos we took there were pretty funny. While I tried to take a nice photo, Michelle decided it was time for a funny face behind me.

And I didn’t realize that we were taking a funny group photo so while Michelle and Dani have silly faces I just have a ridiculous grin.

Our next ride was on the carousel right next to Toy Story Mania (since that was going to be our next ride). We all sat in a row and tried to get a group photo, but that wasn’t happening since we were all up and down out of sync. But Dani got this fun picture of me and her boyfriend.

Just as we were able to ride Toy Story again, the ride broke down. It was sad that we couldn’t go on it, but we were given a pass to ride any other ride in either park as an apology. We saved those for later and went on our next ride which was California Screamin’. I couldn’t wear my Minnie ears on the ride since I knew they’d fly off, but I held them so that I could get them back on my head for the photo.

And then it was back to Tower of Terror to ride it in the dark for possibly the very last time. Dani and her boyfriend didn’t know what they were in for with the ride and Michelle and I wanted it to be a surprise. They figured it out when we were in line since there were signs advertising that this was a chance to ride the ride in total darkness. I was a bit sad that this might be my last ride on this before it’s closed and changed into another ride, and I think everyone else agreed. So we decided our ride photo should be a sad one.

After that ride, we headed over to Disneyland for the rest of the night. The first stop was Space Mountain and it was awesome as always. It does feel a bit slower when you aren’t seated in the very front, but we wanted the birthday girl to have the best seat on the ride.

Then we walked across the way to ride Buzz Lightyear. I had told Michelle about the point values for the targets last week, and it turned out she had no clue that the targets had different values! That was a huge mistake because she ended up kicking my butt on the ride!

And we knew we wanted to watch the fireworks and it would be less crowded over by Small World, so we headed back that way in the park. We rode on Small World before claiming our spots to watch the fireworks, and it looked so festival with all the lights in front.

We found some steps to sit on for fireworks and Michelle and Dani went on a food run to get us all some corndogs to have for dinner. And while the view of the fireworks were partially obstructed by a tree for me, they still looked nice. And since it was less crowded back there, I think that I’m going to try to watch fireworks back there from now on.

At the end of the fireworks, they have “snow” falling. It was pretty magical to see and even though the soap in the snow made my hair so gross, I couldn’t help but go out and get a picture of me in the middle of it.

We ended our night with a going on a few more rides. We made it on the Storybook Canal Boats, Peter Pan, and the Jingle Cruise. And even though we all said that we didn’t want to stay at Disneyland super late that night, it was close to midnight by the time we got back to the car!

This may have been my last Disneyland adventure until 2017 (if I make it there next Monday it will probably be a very short day). I’m so glad I got to spend it with amazing friends and being able to celebrate someone’s birthday!