Tag Archives: 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!

Happy Birthday Rayshell (or I Love Casual Hangouts!)

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

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

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

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

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

Rayshell and Paul

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

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

A Little More Time In Santa Barbara (or Hanging Out With My Sister-In-Law)

When I found out that Rayshell’s bridal shower was going to be in Santa Barbara, the first person I texted was my sister-in-law. The last time I was in Santa Barbara was the week before she and my brother moved there, so I had never seen their apartment. My parents had been there before and told me how cool it was, so I knew I wanted to check it out as soon as I could. So I made plans to meet up and hang out with Krystle after the shower was over.

It was a super quick 5 minute drive from Rayshell’s parent’s house to my brother and sister-in-law’s place, so I had plenty of time to hang out there before I wanted to start driving back to LA. They have a very cute apartment (I didn’t take any pictures, sorry) and it was awesome to see where they had put some of the stuff they had in their San Francisco apartment in their new place. They also had gotten some stuff from my grandparent’s when they downsized, so it was nice to see that stuff too. They also have a really great view from their deck, but it was a bit foggy and cold so we didn’t stay outside too long.

The first thing I did when I saw Krystle was give her the birthday present I got for her. Her birthday isn’t for a few more weeks, but I found the perfect gift for her about a month ago and I wanted her to have it right away. So I brought it with me and gave it to her to open right then.

Krystle runs a wedding and event planning business (if you are in Santa Barbara you totally should use her for your events!) and I wanted her to have a really professional and cute business card holder to keep in her purse. So when I saw this Kate Spade card holder, I knew it was exactly what she should have. I just didn’t have any idea that it would match her business cards perfectly!

Card Holder

I think she loved it and I think that she will look so cool when she hands out cards to prospective customers! I’m just so happy that I got to give her the gift in person and see her expression when she opened it! That’s so much better than shipping the gift when it’s actually her birthday.

After she opened her gift, we headed out to a wine bar. My brother was sleeping (he worked a late shift the day before) and we didn’t want to wake him up. I don’t remember the name of the wine bar we went to, but it was surrounded by a ton of other wine bars that all had unique looks to them. This one looked like a place that my sister-in-law would have decorated herself.

Wine Bar

She got some wine and we shared some food, but we really didn’t eat too much. We spent our time there catching up on life and discussing how much we want to do another trip together soon. We are going to do a fun day trip along with my brother and a bunch of my friends in about 2 months, but she and I are hoping to do a weekend in Las Vegas sometime soon. That’s in the works and we have to figure out when we are both free (and when I’ll have money to do it). We are also hoping to get back to New York again in the next year or two because there was so much stuff that we never got to do the last time we were there!

Before we knew it, we had to head back to the apartment because Krystle had a call with one of her clients and I wanted to get back to my car so I could start the drive home. When we got back, my brother was awake so I got to see him for a few minutes. But he had to head out to work so there wasn’t a lot of time to catch up.

Right before Krystle had to get on her call with her client, we said goodbye and I got into my car to drive back to LA. I’m so glad that they live so much closer to me now. It’s not that unreasonable to go up to Santa Barbara for the day (or for her to come down to LA for the day). It’s actually a shorter drive than when I go to San Diego, and I do that drive a lot! So I have a feeling that there will be more Santa Barbara days in my future!

A Birthday Celebration (or An Orangetheory Reunion)

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

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

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

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

Toca Madera

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

Lit Tree

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

Birthday Girl

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

Dinner

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

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

Birthday Cake

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

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

OTF Friends

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

Checking Out A Local Restaurant (or A Birthday and Pizza)

This past Saturday was my friend Dani’s birthday. I’ve definitely gotten to know Dani well over the past year. Between our season tickets to Pantages and her now working out with me at Orangetheory, she’s no longer just a friend of a friend. So I was super excited to be invited to her birthday party and getting to celebrate with her!

I had to work my second box office job on Saturday (making it a double work day), so I knew that I was going to be a bit late. But fortunately, I thought the show was later than it was so I wasn’t as late as I thought I’d have to be!

The party was held at Bella Vista, a Brazilian pizza place that’s pretty close to my house. But I had actually never been there before! It was described to me as all you can eat pizza, so I was pretty excited to check out the offerings.

Bella Vista

The way it worked was that the servers came around from time to time with different pizza options. If you wanted a slice (or two) of that pizza you let them know. If you don’t want that pizza, another one will be by soon.

I sat next to Sarah (who was also part of the Pantages tickets group) and she had been to Bella Vista a couple of times before. So she was helping me know what pizzas are crowd favorites and what was on some of the pizzas that I was unsure about. And since the slices are on the smaller side, you can try a bunch of pizzas without filling too disgustingly full.

I pretty much had basic pizza while I was there. I enjoyed the four cheese and margarita pizzas. And I tried the fried garlic one because that was Sarah’s favorite (I agree that it’s pretty awesome!). And then I got a bit more adventurous and tried one that had bacon and spinach on it (I’m not normally big on the bacon/spinach combo but this was yummy).

After getting our fill of savory pizzas, it was time for the sweet pizzas to come out. I had the chocolate strawberry and the caramel coconut ones and they were ok (I think the savory pizzas were better). After all of that pizza, I was beyond full!

There was a pretty big group at dinner and I didn’t know everyone so I stuck with staying next to Sarah. And Dani came over to chat with us too. And my friend Kate (who is the one who introduced me to Dani) flew in for the party and ended up staying at my place that night (it was a nice little mini-visit with Kate).

I think that Dani had a pretty amazing birthday dinner. I had a great time and I know that I’ll be going back to Bella Vista for pizza in the future. There are a bunch of other adventurous pizzas that I didn’t feel gutsy enough to try then that I’d like to try now! Hopefully I’ll think of a good excuse to have all you can eat pizza soon!

Out Of The Heat (or Finally Getting A/C!)

I’ve been complaining about the heat in my house since my very first summer here. Because my house is so old, the insulation is pretty bad. So when it gets hot in LA, the heat gets trapped inside even if it cools down outside in the evening. There have been plenty of nights where it’s over 90 degrees inside my bedroom when I was going to bed.

I have never really lived in a place with a/c (my last apartment had it but it was facing a wall in the kitchen so it was useless). And I wanted to get some sort of a/c for my house. But there were issues from the beginning. Until recently, my house had fuses and there wasn’t enough power to run an a/c. Then when I got circuits, I was told that I would have to still watch how much power I used because there is still very little power in my place.

Next was the issue of trying to find a portable a/c unit that wasn’t a swamp cooler (because it does get too humid in LA to use one) and didn’t use a ton of power. Once I found that, then it was the issue of finding one that wasn’t insanely expensive. I never found anything that seemed right to me so I never got a portable a/c unit.

I was talking to my landlord last month and we were making small talk about the heat. I mentioned the lack of a/c and he said that because of my house set up I was pretty limited in my options. I said how I really wanted to put a window unit in my dining room, and he said that it couldn’t block the communal driveway (my dining room looks onto the driveway and there is about a foot of room between my wall and the driveway path). With that new restriction, I started to do some research again.

I actually found a low profile window a/c that doesn’t stick out that far and is energy-efficient so it doesn’t go over the power limit I have in my house! And since I hadn’t asked for anything for my birthday from my parents, they agreed to buy it for me!

Once I knew it was on its way, I had to figure out how I’d install it. Fortunately, the directions were available online so my dad and I both researched them. And when I was at brunch with my friend Jane a week ago, I mentioned the new a/c unit and she said that she had installed one before! So she agreed to help me out when it was here!

This past Sunday was installation day. Prior to that, I had made a trip to Home Depot because my dad discovered some fine print in the directions that would require me to drill a piece of wood onto my window sill. And my dad and I had multiple FaceTime calls so he could look at what I was doing.

FaceTime Help

It was actually pretty funny when we were on FaceTime trying to figure this all out.

On Sunday, there were dozens of phone calls/FaceTime calls to my dad while Jane and I were working and then we also had to make another Home Depot run. But after a couple of attempts (and thanks to my power drill and saw that my dad got me years ago), we were able to install it!

New A:C

I’m sure this sounds silly, but even in the couple of days that I’ve had it this a/c unit has made a huge difference in my life! I got it installed just in time for another heat wave in LA and I’m finally getting to work in my house in reasonable temperatures.

Cooler House

I’m still super nervous about how much more expensive my power bill will be, but there was a little guide on the a/c unit that said if you ran the until 8 hours a day for 3 months it would only cost an extra $48 a year. Hopefully that’s true.

I’m so glad that my parents were generous enough to get me this a/c unit. I’m so happy that I was able to install it and that Jane was willing to help me (and we did this in the heat since the a/c wasn’t in yet!). And I’m so excited that I will not feel as sick inside my house during a heat wave and feel trapped since I have to work in my house.

Hopefully when I eventually move one day this a/c unit is as easy to uninstall as it was to install. This thing is totally coming with me wherever I go!