Tag Archives: birthday

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!

My First “Real” Run (or Testing Out My Birthday Present)

While I’ve been doing bits of running for a few months at Orangetheory, that’s the only place I’ve been running since I started again. It feels safe to run on the treadmill. Nobody at Orangetheory is judging what I can or can’t do. Nobody cares if I’m dripping sweat. Nobody (except my coach) is even really paying attention to me. I’m able to feel safe in trying things and pushing myself to new limits.

But I’m aware that running on a treadmill is very different from running outside. And if I really do want to run/walk my 5K in November I have to start getting used to being outside and not being dependent on a treadmill to control my speed or intervals. I did a bunch of research last month about running outside and different apps for intervals to see what I could do to help me in this journey. And when I talked to my “running guru” (who is my best friend) she recommended looking into running watches.

I’ve had workout watches in the past. They always seemed to be too complicated to figure out how to do what I want to do. None of them had GPS on them so I could pretty much just time things and not know my pace or distance (unless I was doing a race and then I knew the distance). But the more I looked into running watches, the more it seemed to make sense. So when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told them I wanted a running watch. And I found last year’s model (it still seems like one of the better models) without the heart rate monitor option for a pretty decent price!

While I had gotten the watch about 3 weeks ago, yesterday was the first day I was able to test it out. I’ve been working on getting my sleep schedule back on track, so I’m finally waking up again at 7am each day. And yesterday I had a free morning before I started work at 10am, so I figured I had to stop making excuses for myself and get my butt outside to do a run/walk.

There is a path not too far from my house that has no traffic on it. You can technically run all the way to the beach, but then you will encounter some crosswalks that you have to get through. But I figured I could just go back and forth on one section between two crosswalks and then I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic, getting stopped at a red light waiting to cross, and if I got really tired I’d be close enough to my house.

Before going out, I set my watch to do intervals of 1 minute each. I actually ended up setting it up a bit incorrectly, but the error was in how many intervals I wanted total and not the timing so it worked out ok for me. And I had read the instructions for the watch and it seemed pretty easy to start and stop the timer so I wasn’t too worried about how this would all work.

As soon as I got to the path, I started the watch and started running. Because I hadn’t run outside before, I had no clue if I was going quickly or slowly. But I was going and it felt pretty good so I was happy with it. The first interval ended quickly and I was glad that running for that minute outside didn’t feel too bad or that different from being on the treadmill. I know that my walking was slower than I’m used to, but again, this run was all about trying it out and not trying to work on speed or anything.

I did 6 sets of the run/walk intervals (so 6 minutes of running and 6 minutes of walking) when I was starting to feel pretty tired. I’m used to being able to stop to drink some water or wipe away sweat and I really wasn’t doing that this time. It was starting to get a bit hot out and one of the directions I was running was into the sun. After one more interval, I was heading back toward my street and I was feeling a bit too tired to run (and I didn’t want to risk hurting myself by doing sloppy running). So I spend the rest of the way walking back and cooling down a bit.

Once I got to the end of the path by the crosswalk, I stopped the watch so I could see what I had done. I’m sure there is a way to see my pace or distance on the watch while I’m moving, but it was only showing me the intervals so I didn’t know how far I had gone and I honestly was feeling pretty clueless about it. It felt like I was not going that far, but I knew I was out there for 17 minutes so I figured I’d be close to a mile at least. I was pretty happy when I finally saw the result.

garmin

I would have loved to have gone farther, but I also have to remember that I’m trying to ease my way into running outside. The downfall in the past for me have been doing too much too fast. If I can only do a mile at a time for the next few weeks, that’s ok. Eventually my endurance is going to be better and I can go farther and run/walk longer.

Once I got back home, I was checking out more stats from my workout. A lot of things don’t make sense to me yet (I don’t really get the cadence stuff), but there was one screen that I totally got and was super happy to see.

my-mile

This is not a mile PR for me, but the fact that I was under a 15 minute mile when I didn’t have a treadmill telling me my speed or distance is awesome! My big goal for my next race is to average under 15 minute miles, so this made me so happy! Again, the endurance thing is my main concern now, but I know I can work on that.

I feel like this was a very successful first run/walk outside. I’d love to be able to do 1 outside workout a week and hopefully I can make that happen. It is a bit intimidating running outside where people can see me (and judge me), but I need to not worry or focus on that. I know that I’ve made massive improvements in my running over these past few months and that’s the most important thing.

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).

Bodega

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.

Nighthawk

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.

Hamilton

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!

Almost Free Birthday Dinner (or Spending My Birthday With My Birthday Twin)

My actual birthday was a pretty low-key day for me. I had to work both of my main day jobs (10 hours total) that day and since it was a weeknight I really didn’t have much planned to do that day. I debated about going to workout that afternoon, but I ended up deciding against it. But I still wanted to do something fun on my birthday and it ended up being the day I went to my free dinner with my birthday twin!

We ended up making this plan about a week ago when I got the email about the free birthday meal. I texted Joanna to ask her when she wanted to go for our dinner, and she asked me when I was free. I knew I was free on the evening of the 9th, so I asked her if there was any chance that she was free too. And by some awesome fate, she had also been looking for something to do that night of her birthday! So we decided that it was meant to be that we had our birthday meal on our birthday!

The birthday deal at Truxton’s has changed in the 7 or so years we’ve had this tradition. It used to be a free entrée and free dessert per person. It was easy to plan what to eat then. Now, it’s $20 toward the meal so we have to plan accordingly so that we make sure we don’t go over the $40 we get (we are so set on making sure our meal is totally free).

Free Birthday Dinner

We got to Truxton’s about the same time and headed inside for our awesome birthday meal. As soon as we sat down, we took out the birthday deal emails so we could give them to the waitress. She didn’t seem too upset that she got the table that was there for a free meal (which is what I’m always afraid of) and she totally understood our desire for a free check because it was our tradition.

After we ordered, Joanna and I opened the birthday cards we got for each other. I was thinking that somehow we might each buy the same card, but we got different ones for each other and both cards were perfect!

Birthday Cards

For our food, we did things a bit differently since we weren’t stuck to just doing 2 entrees and 2 desserts. Like last year, we got the monkey bread to start. It was super delicious and we were both so hungry that I totally forgot to get a picture of it before the plate was empty!

And for our food, we were both torn on what to get. We were debating it back and forth (with me checking the total on my phone to make sure we stayed under $40) and we both were thinking about getting one of the sandwiches that was new to us. Since we both were thinking of getting the same thing, we decided to get a big salad and one of the sandwiches and split everything.

Dinner

It ended up being so much food that we couldn’t finish so it was a good plan to split things like this. I have a feeling that this might be a part of the new tradition. And of course we had to get dessert. They always have amazing desserts at Truxton’s so anything we got would have been great. But the giant cookie with ice cream on top sounded super tempting and we decided to go for it.

And even though neither Joanna nor I asked them to put candles on the dessert, they did that for us since they knew it was both of our birthdays. That was a nice touch and we both enjoyed it!

Birthday Dessert

And yes, we pretty much finished that entire cookie between the two of us. It was a big splurge, but totally worth it to me.

When we got our bills, we noticed that there was a slight difference than normal. They had to split the checks because there can only be 1 birthday coupon on each bill, and since things were split up it wasn’t totally free. We were under $40, but because of the split we owed under a buck.

Almost Free

While the tradition of the totally free birthday meal didn’t quite happen, we are still super happy with the deal. We got all that food for under a dollar and we still got to feel awesome leaving a giant tip (we left $30 on what was technically a $37 bill).

We sat around allowing ourselves to rest a bit after eating so much food, and then we decided to walk for a bit before we both had to get into our cars. I checked out my phone to see what time it was (I still had a bit more work to finish up after dinner) and I saw that it was 8:09 on 8/9 which was pretty cool.

8:9

We walked for a bit and then headed back since Joanna had a bit of a drive and I had to get home to get to work. But it was a super awesome birthday hangout and I’m so happy that I got to spend my real birthday with my birthday twin! That doesn’t usually happen so it’s pretty special.

And of course, we had to discuss what our next crazy birthday twin adventure would be. We will have our usual cheesecake outing, but we are also thinking about doing something for our half birthday (which would be in February). So we might be having another amazing birthday twin celebration on our half birthday which would be so much fun!

There’s still more birthday adventures to come. My birthday party is this weekend so I’ll let you all know how it goes next week. And while I don’t have any other birthday adventures planned yet, the month isn’t over so I might think of some more things!

Happy Birthday To Me (or So This is 33)

Today is my birthday! As you’ve seen from past birthdays, I’m a big birthday person. I love celebrating other people’s birthdays and I love celebrating my own. So my birthday being today is a pretty special day for me. I’ll be writing posts later about how I celebrate my birthday (as usual it will take place on a couple of different days). But today I just wanted to reflect on turning 33.

I have no fear about being 33. I’m not really where I thought I’d be by 33, but this is the first year it’s really not bugging me that much. When I was in high school, I figured by now I’d be acting full-time, be married, have kids, and have a pretty stable life. Technically right now, none of that is true. The only thing that is close is the stable life but that’s not really how I feel about my life right now.

Yes, I still want to get married, have kids, and be acting full-time but I’m not feeling like it needs to happen right now as I thought in the past. If I was already married, that would mean I married someone I dated in the past and I’m really happy that didn’t happen. Those relationships ended for good reasons and I doubt I could be happily married to any of them now.

And I’m aware that there is a countdown until I can’t have kids any more (stupid biological clock), but I’ve still got a few years to work on that before it’s really going to be an issue. I’ve seen so many of my friends build their families in ways other than having their own kids, so I know that I don’t need to get pregnant to have kids one day. Having that pressure taken off of me and my mind has been a good thing for me.

Even though my life isn’t where I thought it would be, I’m pretty darn happy where I am at 33. The acting part of my life is the only part where I’m a bit annoyed at times that I’m not where I want to be, but I’ve gained patience and am so grateful for any opportunities I do have to perform and work to make the most of every moment I get to be in front of the camera. And I have faith in myself that I will get to where I want to be one day.

And I’ve made some amazing friends as an adult and I know having them in my life has made things so much better for me. Those friends push me to better myself and help me get to where I want in life. I never imagined what friends I would have at this point in my life when I imagined my future while in high school, but I never could have imagined having friends as incredible as the ones I have in my life now. So that is so much better than I dreamed of.

Overall, I’m really excited to be 33. I think this is going to be a great year for me. Things are in a much better places than they have been in the past and I know that things are just going to continue to get better and better. As I say quite a bit on here, I’m just excited to see what comes next because I know that good things are coming my way.

Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes! Some birthday fun recaps to come soon!