Tag Archives: books

A NaNoWriMo Update (or Maybe I Need More Dates)

At the beginning of the month, I shared how I was going to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I was going to use the month to work on writing the book I planned on writing about my adventures in online dating. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed when the month started, but I figured that I didn’t have to hold myself to the daily goals of NaNoWriMo and just could work on a story every day.

I had been taking notes on the stories that I wanted to write and it seemed like it would take forever to get through it. But I felt better when I had the idea broken down into chunks and I decided that until I got started that it would continue to feel like a huge task. So I got started on the stories and fortunately they seemed to be easy to write and it didn’t take me too much time to get each story done. It was a bit fun to remember the crazy things that have happened to me. And it helped me reflect on how much I’ve grown as a person since I’ve put myself out there more and that I’m much stronger now than I was earlier this year.

I rarely worked on more than one story a day. It seemed better to focus on one a day and it allowed me to write the story and do some edits the same day. I didn’t have to spend too long working on it so it never felt like a task. But then I ran into a bit of a problem.

I ran out of stories to share! I could technically write about more horrible people, but I did try to lump in some of the smaller stories into a single story. There is no reason for me to write about each guy that called me fat or said something about how I was an item on the bucket list for types of girls they wanted to go out with. Those could be combined and that seemed to be the best thing for how the flow of the book was going.

There are still 2 stories I haven’t written. Both are guys that I’m still seeing a bit so I don’t know how things will end. And I don’t want to work on their stories too much yet because I think the tone of it will be based on what happens with them. If one of them says something horrible to me, I’ll be more suspicious of things leading up to that than I would be if things just end because they reach a natural end. One of those stories is probably going to be a longer one and the other may or may not be a longer one (it just depends on how many more dates I have with him).

But even if both of those stories are long ones, my book is pretty short. If I printed it without those stories, it’s only 50 pages long and that includes the cover and chapter page. That’s a tiny book and I know that if I ever want to do something with it the book probably needs to be longer. I have no idea if I will ever try to publish it, but I have had some screenwriter friends express interest in it to turn into a series or something else. But no matter what I do with it, I know that if I want it to be more than just something for me that I need it to be a more substantial book.

I could go back and try to expand stories. I’ve already started to do that and have gone through several edits on multiple stories. I know there is more that I can do, but I probably need to step away from it for a little bit before I can view it again with fresh eyes and new ideas.

Of course, the other idea is that I just need to go on more dates. I’m still not seeing someone seriously and unless one of the guys I’m seeing now ends up being someone who I end up being serious with (and that’s not necessarily going to be the case), I will have more dates in my future. I’ve been less active with the dating apps lately due to my schedule and the holidays. But I’m trying to get better at it again because I want to keep meeting new guys. I don’t like dating lots of different guys, but I know that I need to do that if I want to find someone to eventually marry. I don’t meet people at work (since I work from home) or in my workouts, so online dating really is the best way for me to meet new people.

Of course, if one of the guys I’m seeing now ends up being something serious, that’s fine and I’ll end the book that way. I don’t have to sell the book, but if I do I know I can always have it as a novella and it can be a short book. I don’t expect to sell this book and make a ton of money on it, so a novella is always an option.

But I don’t feel like my story is done yet. I think there are plenty of adventures still out there for me and when they do happen I know I’ll have to write them down. I’m glad I didn’t feel the pressure to stick with the NaNoWriMo targets and that this book is going to be something I continuously work on. I have what I hope will be a majority of it done so adding stories as they happen won’t feel as overwhelming to me anymore.

A year ago, I had no idea that all these adventures would happen to me. While some of them still make me mad, I know that they all happened for a reason. And I guess that reason for some of them is so I could turn the stories into a book. And one day, hopefully this will be something I can share with others and people will get some entertainment out of my adventures.

Trying NaNoWriMo (or Kind Of Another Monthly Challenge)

Even though I just shared my monthly challenge, I’ve actually found another one and this one has to be done this month. National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is from November 1-30 and even though I missed the beginning of it I’ve decided to see how many days this month I can do it.

I had started working on a book about online dating a while ago, but I haven’t really worked on it much since then. I’ve meant to work on it, but it just hasn’t happened. I have updated things as I’ve had new stories that I knew I wanted to have in the book, but I know that I need to start writing my stories before I forget some of the details. And doing NaNoWriMo seems to be the perfect thing to help motivate me to work on the stories.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That is about 1667 words a day. I don’t really know how that will look in terms of the book I want to work on, but I think that could be some of the stories I have. I was using some old blog posts as ideas and they average about 1000 words. So doing more than a blog post isn’t going to be possible for each story I have to share, but many of them could easily be longer than that. I don’t want to have to hold myself to doing 1667 words a day because I don’t necessarily want to have to do a story and a half in a day, but it’s a good goal to have as an average.

So my idea for NaNoWriMo is to hopefully write one of my stories a day. As of right now, I don’t have 30 stories I want to share but I have to think about things and see if there are more swipe left stories (or guys that I didn’t want to meet) that I could add. There are so many guys that have started chatting with me and then said something that made me never want to talk to them again but I haven’t really thought about putting any of those stories in. All of my swipe left stories are guys that I was going to meet or there was something funny that happened. Sadly, guys that say gross things is a common thing and they don’t each deserve a story.

I have had some friends do NaNoWriMo in the past and they have worked on their books religiously and did accomplish the goal of writing a draft of their book within the month. While I would love to say that I’m going to work on the book every day, I know that it isn’t necessarily going to be possible. I have a feeling that when I’m with my family at Thanksgiving that I might be too busy between working my day job and being with family that I won’t be able to write. But I will have my laptop with me so writing will be possible if I find the time.

While I loved the idea of writing a book when it came to me, it has scared me a bit. It’s almost the same feeling I had when I started this blog and the best way to fix that was to jump right in and not think twice. With the book, since it isn’t being shared as I write I didn’t feel the same pressure to make sure I did it. But having the word count updates on NaNoWriMo should help to create that same pressure that I need to work. And hopefully the more that I work on it the less scary it is to me.

I have no clue what I’d do if I finish the book. So many friends have said I should publish it because my stories are so crazy. I don’t know if I would do that or how to do it, but it’s a fun idea. But I really just want to finish the book so that I can say it’s done and then I can figure out what to do with it. And I’m hoping that my crazy stories will be slowing down so if I have any more stories to add after it’s done that it will be a quick update. I’m guessing what I have to do right now is going to be a majority of the book and that’s a big hill to climb. But I know I can do it.

Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? Or have you done it in the past? I’d really love some advice on what helped you because this is a new journey for me and I know that having some tricks or tips can make this easier to accomplish.

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“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” (or Another Amazing Giveaway!)

You may remember that a little over 2 years ago I had a giveaway for the book “The Wisdom Of Walt”. I loved the book and it was amazing to get to meet the author Jeff Barnes. He truly is a Disney historian and there were stories in the book that I didn’t know before. And as a huge Disneyland geek, I love when I get to learn new things about the park I love so much!

“The Wisdom Of Walt” was all about leadership lessons that we could learn from Walt Disney and the story of Disneyland. While I don’t read a lot of leadership books, there were lessons I learned that I could totally apply to my life and I felt like it was such valuable reading for anyone. And I was so happy to see that many of my friends read it and found it just as great.

So when Jeff Barnes mentioned that he was writing another book, I couldn’t wait to read it! And he offered to send me a copy before it was released to check out. And I have to say that “Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” might be even more incredible than the first book!

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” is all about life lessons from Walt Disney and the Disney story. I love self-help and self-improvement books and this fit in perfectly with what I like to read. Each chapter had a very easy to read format and the lessons were clear and easy to understand (unlike some self-help books that almost make you hunt to learn what the chapter was about).

And each chapter had a lesson that really hit home for me. Some of the lessons were choosing to change, having to hustle, overcoming obstacles, and communicating clearly. These lessons are so relevant to multiple aspects of my life. I expected to find lessons that fit with my acting career, blogging, and my personal life. But there were lessons that connected with me with my work toward recovery from my eating disorder and I didn’t expect that at all!

I love when a book connects with me and speaks so clearly to me and that’s exactly what “Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” did for me. I know that this is a book that I can read multiple times and get new lessons and experiences each time. It takes a special book to be able to create that and I feel so lucky that I have a book that I know will be something that I will continue to learn from.

And while it was awesome to learn more lessons about Walt Disney and the various Disney parks, it’s not necessarily a Disney book. You don’t have to be a Disney fan to love this book, although being a Disney fan may bring a little something extra to reading it. But learning lessons about creating something you are passionate about, dealing with setbacks, and being your own motivation is something that anyone can learn from no matter what.

“Beyond The Wisdom Of Walt” was released this week and you can get the book on Amazon, and I really do recommend doing it. You can also order an autographed copy from Jeff’s website. But you also have a chance to win an autographed copy here! Jeff has not only given me a copy to read, but he is going to give one of you a signed copy! You can enter below and there are multiple ways to earn entries. And you can tweet about it every day through Rafflecopter to earn extra entries!

The giveaway ends on the 11th and the winner will be chosen from random.org. I will be contacting the winner via email and Jeff will be sending your book directly to you.

Good luck to everyone and even if you don’t win I highly recommend checking out this incredible book! Everyone will gain some amazing insights from reading it and I know that I am a better person for learning the lessons that Jeff put in the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Might Write A Book (or The Bumble Avenger)

My online dating adventures have been pretty ridiculous. While there have been some really great guys that I’ve met (and a few that I’ve seen more than once and hope I’ll be seeing again), it seems like a majority of the stories I have are not-s0-great ones. I’ve been lucky that most of the time I can figure out a guy isn’t a good person before I ever meet them. So most of the time when I go on a date with someone, there has already been some vetting and I feel pretty ok about it.

Of course, that’s not always the case and I’ve had some really bad dates where I spent more time getting to the date than I did on the date. I’ve also gone out with a guy who was engaged at the time because I didn’t search his name online like I do now. If I had looked him up, I would have seen that his wedding website was the first result in the search and his Facebook profile photo is with his fiancée. I regret not looking him up before the date, but I’ve learned.

With the guys that I haven’t met, there are a variety of reasons why I didn’t meet them. Sometimes they just have something creepy about them, sometimes they are trying to get me to meet them at a hotel and won’t accept me meeting them somewhere else. And yes, I’ve encountered more guys who aren’t actually single. In fact, this week I rematched with a guy I matched with a few months ago (we had unmatched for some reason or another). Back then, I wasn’t doing searches on the guys I’m talking to. Now I’m smarter and I found out he’s married. He was only married 4 months when we were talking before. I called him out on it and he deleted his profile.

With the engaged/married guys, I feel bad about it even though I know I didn’t do anything wrong. And I’m starting to message the fiancée/wife on Facebook so they know what their guy is doing. Most of them haven’t seen the messages because they are in their filtered messages, but at least I can feel like I’ve done something about it and hopefully they will find out that they are involved with a cheater.

I post some of the craziest stories of my adventures in online dating online to my friends, and most of them think it’s so crazy what I’m encountering. And with all my posts about how I’m finding out someone is a cheater and telling their significant other, a friend of mine called me The Bumble Avenger (even though not all the cheaters have been from Bumble).

Several of my friends have been telling me I need to write a book about what I’ve been experiencing. I just keep telling people that I don’t think my experience is that unique and I’m not a writer.

But then I got to thinking. I’ve done online dating before and what I’m experiencing now is nothing like what it was like before. It is totally crazier now. Maybe it’s because of how much easier it is to have a dating app versus using a website? Maybe people are finding it easier to cheat? So maybe my story is something that I should share with others beyond my private social media.

And as far as me not being a writer, I know that it’s true. I have over 1,300 posts on this blog (how did that happen?!?!?!) and I’m almost at my 5 year anniversary (more on that next week). Clearly I’m a writer whether or not I believe that it’s true. Maybe I just don’t think of myself as a writer when I look at screenplays or novels. But non-fiction books can be in a similar format to a blog.

So because so many people told me to do it, I’ve actually started to write an outline for a book. I have no idea what will come of it, but I’m glad I’m starting now. Even putting together the outline I’ve realized I’ve forgotten some of the crazy stories that happened to me in April and May. So it’s a good thing that I’m at least writing these stories down now even if nothing comes out of it.

If I do actually write the book, I don’t know what I would do next. I’ve thought that maybe I wouldn’t want my name on it, but I think it would be easy to connect me to it because my stories are pretty unique. I don’t feel like I would go back and change blog posts to try to hide my identity, but maybe people wouldn’t be able to connect it to me. If it does have my name, I would think carefully about how much I would want to reveal. And of course I would have to have people look things over to make sure nothing I’m saying could reveal who any of the guys are (I wouldn’t use any of their names but I don’t want something else in there to be a way to connect back to them).

This is seriously at the very beginning stages of everything. I haven’t really written much yet, but it will be something I want to try to work on at least a few times a week. It would be fun to see what I could do and you never know what could happen out of a project. I doubt I knew 5 years ago that this is where I would be with my blog and I’m so grateful that I started it when I did. Maybe the book could be the same thing for me.

Books and Roses (or A Day By USC)

When I thought I would be having surgery last week, I was trying to figure out fun things for my parents to do. I knew they wouldn’t want to be in the hospital with me all day long, so I was looking up what events were happening in LA while they were here. And the one that stuck out to me was the LA Times Festival of Books.

At first, I was so sad because I thought I would end up missing the Festival of Books. But of course, there was nothing I could do about that. But then when the surgery got cancelled, I was so happy because that meant that going to the festival was something I could do! So this past Sunday, we decided to go spend the afternoon there.

Both my mom and dad went with me and we had the dog with us as well. And since parking is so expensive near USC, we took the light rail (where it turns out my parents are senior citizens and the ride only costs $0.35!). Tucker is very good with traveling, but this was his first light rail experience. He didn’t love it, but he was really well-behaved and just sat on the floor by our feet. I don’t think a lot of people on the train even knew we had him with us. But the Metro employees loved him!

I told my parents that the festival was pretty big, but I don’t think they understood how huge it is! The last time they were at USC was when my brother graduated college there and I don’t know how much of the campus they had explored before. So I think they were a bit overwhelmed by the crowd there (so was the dog). But we just tried to go up and down the various sections and casually checked out the booths. We didn’t go into too many booths, but we did make a stop at the LA Public Library booth.

I’m a huge book nerd and was spending so much on books until I rediscovered my love for the library. And now I’m getting so many library books for my Kindle. I’m saving hundreds of dollars a month on books and I love that I can support the public library system. It’s so important and I don’t think enough people take advantage of what they can get there.

After being at the festival for a while, the crowds were getting to be a bit too much. So we headed across the street to the Rose Garden to see how all the roses were looking.

Since we had so much rain this past winter, everything was in bloom! The past few times I had been at the Rose Garden it wasn’t looking so great, but this time it was pretty full with flowers. The fountain in the center wasn’t going (maybe to still conserve a bit of water), but it was still so nice walking around checking out all the flowers.

My dad knows so much about roses and plants so he could almost name all of the types of roses in the garden without looking at the sign saying the name of the variety of roses. But there were some that we didn’t know and the names were a bit crazy. It was nice getting to just relax and walk around. It’s so pretty there and of course Tucker was loving all the smells all over.

It was a pretty warm and sunny day so after walking around a bit it was time for us to go back to the light rail station and take the train back. Tucker was much more comfortable on the train this time and he looked like he might fall asleep on the ride. And again, I don’t think a lot of people realized that he was with us so that’s a sign of a pretty obedient dog.

I’m so glad that I was able to make it to the LA Times Festival of Books. It really is a great event and I wish I could have spent more time there. Maybe next year I can go on both Saturday and Sunday so I can see even more of what there is there and hopefully learn about a ton of new books that I want to add to my reading list.

Keeping My Emotions In Check (or You Are Not Your Brain)

2017 is only 2 weeks in, but my emotions have been pretty up and down for me so far. I’ve had some really good things happen to me (like having fun with my friends at Disneyland) and some really not so great things (like my car dying). I’ve almost felt like I have been in a bit of a haze the past few weeks. Everything has been a bit overwhelming and while I am so grateful for all the good things that have come off all this, it’s not fun to feel this way.

It also doesn’t help that the weather has been very gloomy lately. I don’t love the rain because it causes me extra pain, and I feel like I don’t want to leave the house if I don’t have to. I can take painkillers (they don’t bother my liver), but I’m trying to limit them because I’ve realized that I’ve been depending on them too much in the past. So I’m limiting what I’ve been doing after work and I’m sometimes a bit isolated.

While I was technically diagnosed with depression in the past, I don’t believe that it was an accurate diagnosis. I think it had more to do with being upset with my eating disorder being out of control mixed with the mild OCD that I know I have. But when things are so up and down, it’s tough sometimes not to feel depressed a bit. And of course the state of politics lately isn’t helping my mood (especially when I’m now worried I’ll lose my health insurance if pre-existing conditions can get you rejected from health insurance again).

But I’m working hard on not allowing myself to be too down right now. I know all the situations I’m in are temporary and it is totally normal to feel overwhelmed when there are big changes happening in your life. I’m feeling more and more ok about what happened with my car (although I wish that getting a new car was something I had been looking forward to do instead of something I had to do). I’m trying to think about the good that the rain is doing for the drought that we have been experiencing and not that it is causing me pain. And I’m trying to keep telling myself that it is ok to feel down as long as I don’t stay that way forever.

The timing of this has been interesting because I’ve been reading a new book as part of my recovery themed reading lately. Right now, I’m reading a book called “You Are Not Your Brain” and it is all about changing how you think. It talks about taking how your brain works and making it work to your advantage to getting rid of bad habits, recovering from an addiction, or feeling overwhelmed.

I’m still in the beginning of this book, but it’s been a really good read for me so far. I’ve been seeing how the overwhelming feeling I’ve been dealing with can be worked into something more positive. I don’t have to let my brain control my life and that is something that I know many of us struggle with. The emotions in my brain aren’t always rational and I need to work on separating the rational feelings from the irrational emotions I get from time to time.

I know that being emotional isn’t a bad thing, but I really want to be able to keep my emotions in check more often. I know that it is not the end of the world that my car died, but it is still upsetting me when I should be more excited and grateful that I was able to get a new car (that is significantly better than my old car was). I know that feeling alone and isolated is either in my head or my fault. I have many friends that I could call or text to not be alone, but I’m choosing not to. I am loved, even when I feel like I’m not.

I know that my journey in my eating disorder recovery will be a long one, but I’m glad that I added reading books related to recovery as a part of the journey. I’ve read some books that I haven’t connected with, but then there are the others that I feel it is fate that I am reading them at that time. Self-help and recovery do go hand in hand and I think that all of this work that I’m putting into recovery is making me a better person.

While I don’t want to become an unemotional robot, I’m glad that I’ve been able to practice regulating my emotions right now when it is such an emotional time. Right now is some of the more significant ups and downs, so hopefully with this work that I’m putting in I can manage things even better when they are minor mood swings. And by managing my emotions more, I know that I will be able to manage my eating disorder more. It is all work in progress, but the progress is definitely going the right way.

More Eating Disorder Research (or Reading About HDE)

I’ve been keeping up with my monthly challenge to read a book about recovery every day. I’m pretty much doing the 10 pages a day (sometimes a few extra pages in a day) so that I’m not overwhelmed or feeling like I need to do a ton of reading each day. I think this was a really great challenge to set for myself and I’m happy that I’m not finding it too difficult to continue doing it each day. I think that it can only be a positive thing for me and I’m excited to see what I’ll learn with each book I read.

At the rate that I’m reading, each book takes a little more than a month to finish. So I’m getting close to finishing my second recovery book now and I’ve been learning quite a bit. The book I’m reading now is called “How To Have Your Cake And Your Skinny Jeans Too”.

hde

I’ll admit that I didn’t love the title when I saw it the first time (I’m not a fan of gimmicky books), but there was something about it that caught my attention and it was on sale as a Kindle book so I got it. Since each book is taking me so long to read, I have to buy them instead of getting them from the library (I only get 3 weeks with library books), but I’ve got quite a few that I’ve already bought and I’m sure that buying 1 book a month or so won’t be too expensive.

When I started to read the book, I wasn’t quite sure where it was going with how it was going to discuss achieving recovery. But after a few days of reading and getting into it I discovered that it is all about hunger directed eating (or HDE). The idea of HDE is that you will eat what you want because if you don’t it may turn into a binge later. If you deprive yourself of something for too long you will go crazy when you have a chance to eat it.

The idea of depriving myself and then going crazy with the food is not a foreign concept to me. I’ve had that happen and it’s not fun at all. But the idea of eating everything that I crave and want is terrifying because I know that when I do that in the short-term it ends badly for me. But the idea of HDE is that while the short-term may be a lot of “bad” foods, eventually you will get sick of just eating those and your body will start to crave the foods that you should eat and your diet will have more variety in it.

Following HDE does seem like it could be something for me, but like I said the idea scares me so much. All of my fears are things that are written about in the book, so that does make me feel a bit better. Nothing I’m afraid of isn’t discussed in one of the chapters with a solution or explanation of how it will work out. So since it seems like I have totally normal fears of HDE I’ve been testing it out a little bit.

I’m not going 100% with HDE yet because I don’t want to have the days of endless eating of foods that I crave. Those will cause my workouts (and probably my work at my day jobs) to suffer and I can’t afford that right now. But I’m trying to follow my cravings more than I normally do and see where it takes me. Along with those cravings, I try to meal plan around it so that I can get my 3 meals in for the day but staying as close to my calorie goals as possible.

It’s not going too badly. Once I started to plan around the cravings I have, I’m starting to see how they can fit into my every day life. The issue I’m still having is the volume of the foods I’m craving that I eat. This is something discussed in the book and it is similar to the mindful eating that I’ve been working on. I need to start paying attention to how I feel while eating things (and not going into a trance) and see when my body is saying that it is ready to be done with the food I’m craving.

This is something that is going to take time and I don’t know if HDE is going to work for me in the long run. What I do know is what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working and I need to start trying other things (even if they scare me or seem like it could never work) to see what will work and what will be right for me. I’m just glad that I’m at a point in my recovery that I can try things out like this and not feel hopefully when I have a set back and just view it as a learning experience.

Tacocity (or A Book Review And Giveaway!)

I’m so excited for today’s post! Not only do I have an amazing book recommendation for you, but I’m giving away a signed copy too! I recently had the opportunity to read “Tacocity: Los Angeles” which was written by my friend Rob Gokee. I’ve known Rob for a couple of years through various friends. He’s an amazing composer, big user of twitter, and obsessed with tacos! I feel like almost every picture he posts online is of tacos.

So when he started mentioning that he was writing a book about the tacos of Los Angeles, I wanted to read it! I’m not a huge taco person, so if I’m going to go get a taco somewhere I want it to be the best. And since Rob tested out dozens of taco places for his book, I know any place he recommends is going to be one of the top spots to go to.

Rob gave me a copy of his book to read (full disclosure, he gave me a free PDF version to review but the review is all my own) and I was very happy when I started reading it.

Tacocity

Obviously, I knew that the book was going to review taco places in Los Angeles, but I didn’t know much more. I was happy to see in the table of contents that he actually breaks down his reviews geographically so you can look at the area of Los Angeles that you happen to be in. Where I live in West LA, there aren’t a ton of awesome taco places. But while there were some familiar names in the West LA section I loved seeing that there were some places I hadn’t gone to yet and I immediately added them to my list of restaurants to try.

West LA

For each of the restaurants that Rob reviews, he includes a little bit about each place and what they are best known for. He also gives some tips about what to order, when the lines might be shorter (or in some cases if you should go to the outside line or inside line), and sometimes advice on parking which can be tough to find in LA. I loved hearing his stories about what he tried at each place and all the photos that were in the review section made me want to go have everything!

After the reviews of all the taco places around LA, there is a recipe section with some of Rob’s favorites. As you all know I’m working on trying to cook more at home, so I hope to soon have a recipe post for you all of me trying one of the ones from the book! This mole taco one might be the one I have to make because I keep coming back to the picture from the book and thinking it looks incredible!

Mole Tacos

I think this book is perfect for anyone who lives in LA or might be moving to LA soon! It’s a great guide to amazing food in the city and I think even people who have lived here their entire lives will discover a new restaurant in the book. And even if you don’t live in LA but love tacos, this is a great read from the recipes in the back as well as giving you inspiration for a LA taco trip (I’m sure if you tweet at Rob he can help you plan a taco crawl).

Now for the fun part! You can enter to win a signed copy of “Tacocity: Los Angeles”! There are a ton of ways to enter this time (just make sure you leave a blog comment as that is the required entry). While most entries are only one-time things, you can tweet every day for extra entries! Rafflecopter will randomly be selecting the winner at the end and you will be getting a signed copy of the book from Rob!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and I can’t wait for you all to read the book too!

PS: There will be a book launch/signing for “Tacocity: Los Angeles” coming up on August 22nd from 5:30-8:00pm at Salazar (one of the places Rob writes about in the book). I hope to see a bunch of you there!

Working On Money Priorities (or What’s Worth The Splurge)

I’ve really been working lately on spending less. I know it’s important for me to do this because I need to use that extra money toward my credit card debt (and not creating more debt). And obviously, there are some costs that I can’t avoid (bills and stuff), but I’ve gotten more serious at taking a look at my fun expenses.

I’m sure it sounds like I spend a ton because I go to Disneyland pretty often and now I have a pass to Universal Studios as well. This Disneyland pass was pretty much half paid for by recycling ink. That option won’t work for me in the future (the loophole that let me do that was fixed), but pretty much what I paid out of pocket was the same as 2 days at Disneyland. And my pass has the parking so I’m not paying $18 each time to park. I know I’ll go more than 2 times in a year so it’s easily worth it. And my Universal Studios pass was something I got at Costco for almost the same price as a 1 day ticket. The issue with my pass is that you can’t use it on weekends at all, but since I will probably only go on Mondays that isn’t an issue for me as well.

I am still spending money on other fun things, but I’m really trying to limit them to fun experiences like my season tickets to the Pantages or other shows (I just got tickets to see “The Little Mermaid” live at the Hollywood Bowl soon!). And when I do tickets like those, I’m working hard at finding good deals or making sure what I’m paying is a good value (like the season tickets being about $300 for all 7 shows). Part of why I love going to so many shows is it keeps me busy. And when I’m busy I’m not focusing on food.

And speaking of food, one of the biggest savings I’ve had lately is food related. I set the monthly challenge not to order any delivery food in March, and I’ve been able to keep that up so far this month too! I’m not doing as great about cooking from scratch, but even getting microwave food from the grocery store is cheaper than delivery food. When I’m not cooking, I’m going out to eat and that tends to be with friends so it makes it more of an outing than just eating. My grocery bills have gone up a bit since I’m eating at home more, but the amount they have gone up is significantly less than what I was spending on delivery food so that is a win for me.

But I think the biggest savings for me as been shopping. Mainly buying books, but I’m trying to be better about shopping in general. I used to buy a lot more stuff. Now, if I’m buying things online it tends to be household stuff I need or workout clothes. I’m not buying as much “normal” clothes because honestly I’m not in “normal” clothes that often. And even on non-workout days I usually wear my workout pants because they are more comfortable to work in.

But my book spending was pretty bad in the past. I used to be a huge library person, then there was an ordeal with my library card not working (I don’t know what happened and neither do they). Instead of doing the easy thing and just registering for a new card, I took advantage of how easy it is to get books on my Kindle. My old e-reader was much more difficult to get books on so just being able to press a button and order a book was so fun! But the spending was adding up. And while most of the books I buy I love and read over and over again, there were some that I got because they were on sale for $0.99 that I’ve read once and that’s it.

So recently I finally got a new library card and I’ve been taking advantage of it so much!

Library Card

It is so easy to get books on my Kindle from the library. Yes, I have to use my computer to get them. But then they are sent wirelessly to my Kindle and are on the device for 21 days. So most of the time I can read them more than once if I want to. I actually went a little overboard with putting Kindle books on hold from the library and had to delay a couple of holds (I had gotten 8 library books available at once). But I’m starting to find my groove with the library again and I feel like an idiot that I waited so long and spent so much money. I can’t go back and change it, but I’m glad I’ve changed now.

I know that there are still a few more places I can save money in my monthly spending. I want to get my grocery bills down a bit more as well as my household stuff (cleaning supplies, paper goods, and those things). I’m going to do some price checking between stores near me and Amazon and hopefully I can figure out the best options for me to maximize my money.

I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up this summer and a lot of them will involve money. But hopefully with the cutting back that I’ve been able to do I will not put myself into more debt just to do them.

Scared Speechless (or A Book Giveaway!)

I’m doing another giveaway! I know I still have my “Once Upon A Time: The Rock Opera” giveaway going on, but this is another amazing giveaway that I think you will all love! So I had no choice but to run 2 giveaways at the same time! You can enter both of them and I really hope that you do!

I met Steve Rohr when I was at the Entertainment New Media Network Conference last year. He was so amazing when he spoke to the group that I had to talk to him immediately after he spoke and pitched him to be on the Inside Acting Podcast. I’m glad he said yes because I absolutely loved his episodes! The stories and knowledge that he shared is amazing and I know how lucky we are that he was willing to speak with us. And I’ve been fortunate that Steve has stayed in touch with me because he’s a seriously awesome person (beside everything else he does, he’s the publicist for the Oscars!).

Steve recently shared with me that he and his friend Dr. Shirley Impellizzeri wrote a book called “Scared Speechless”. It’s all about taking the fear away from public speaking and how to become the best public speaker you can be. He offered to send me a copy and of course I said yes! While I don’t do much public speaking, I figure that any help I can get to be less nervous when I speak would be good plus I love reading self-help books!

I was so excited when it arrived at my doorstep and loved that Steve and Shirley signed it for me!

Scared Speechless Signed Copy

I immediately started to read it. I read it so quickly that I was done within 2 days and would have put this post up sooner except that I wanted to read it again before blogging about it! I felt like I read it so quickly that a second reading was needed to I could digest everything I was learning and make sure that I didn’t miss any lessons.

This is such a wonderful book! Obviously, it’s great for people who have to do public speaking or presentations at work or school. But so much of this book is perfect for actors who are nervous about auditions. It discusses some of the science behind fear and how to overcome them. It shares ideas for speeches and how to write different types of speeches like presentations, toasts, eulogies, and commencement speeches. And it has a great list of speeches you can watch or read to be inspired and to help you with whatever you may need to come up with.

What I love so much about this book is how it is broken up. Each chapter could be viewed as a standalone article. You could read just what you need to or read the entire book and still get a lot of information out of it. Each chapter starts with a chapter focus (listed on the first page of the chapter) so you know what you will be reading about. Then toward the end of the chapter there is homework or ideas to try to help work on the lessons that the chapter discussed. And finally at the end of each chapter there are key notes from what you just read in the chapter. It’s almost like someone already wrote notes on the book so you can make sure you didn’t miss anything and you know exactly what you should have gotten out of that chapter.

I read a lot of non-fiction books and I have to say that this one is one of the easiest books that I’ve read in a long time. It is very clearly written and the chapters are split up nicely so it doesn’t feel confusing or like it is repeating itself (which is a common issue I see in non-fiction books). I think that this really is relatable and anyone could find something in the book that connects to them and their public speaking (or auditioning) issues. This may be the first non-fiction book that I honestly think everyone no matter what should read.

You can go online and buy the book in paperback or on your Kindle now, but I have a signed copy to giveaway! There are a ton of ways you can enter. You can follow people on twitter, visit different fan pages on Facebook, comment on this post, or tweet out a message (and you can tweet out a message every day for extra entries!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I can’t wait for you all to read this book. It really is incredible and I have a feeling that this will be a book that I come back to from time to time to help me with my auditions and any public speaking moments I might have in my life.

Good luck and I can’t wait to announce the winner!