Tag Archives: dinner

Air Food (or French Food In Santa Monica)

Because of this blog, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do some really cool stuff. And this past weekend, I got to do one of those cool things! Through a friend who I know through Orangetheory, I was able to attend the soft opening of a brand new restaurant in Santa Monica! And I’m so excited to share with you all about the amazing experience I had at Air Food!

Air Food was started by Marc and Thierry who both come from Paris. They started with doing pop-up restaurants there wanting to create gastronomic food with a variety of foods. They became very popular and decided to open a restaurant in LA, which is how Air Food was born!

I haven’t had many opportunities to try French food, so I was beyond excited to attend this dinner! I had a feeling that I was in for an amazing night of food, and fortunately one of the new dresses I bought recently was the perfect thing to wear since it wasn’t too body conscious and I would be able to enjoy all the food there.

When I arrived at Air Food, I was the first soft opening customer there. I was a bit nervous about that and was wondering if maybe I should have waited to arrive, but Marc immediately came over to greet me and I think being there first was a total blessing. Marc introduced me to Thierry who was busy cooking and then he introduced me to the space and the food that they have there.

I loved the space. It’s a pretty small restaurant, but that makes it great! It’s not too crowded and there is a mix of seating at tables and at the bar for people to choose from. And Marc let me know that being at the bar was best because then I would have a view of the kitchen and could watch all the cooking going on. And for the customers at the tables, they would be able to watch all the excitement of the cooking through a camera that is in the kitchen that will be played on a large tv.

Marc also showed me their full water menu. For me, going to a place that has different types of water is perfect. I don’t drink soda and I’m not really drinking alcohol right now, so knowing that I have a choice beyond plain tap water makes me so happy.

Marc showed me the water wall and told me about all the different bottles and where they came from. I’ve never gotten to experience meeting someone so knowledgeable about water, but it made me want to learn more about water options for my house beyond just drinking filtered tap water. I told Marc about how I like sparkling water, especially with orange flavor, and he suggested that with my food I try a new tangerine/lemongrass water from Voss. I agreed that it sounded perfect and took my seat at the bar to get ready to have some delicious food!

To start, Thierry prepared some foie gras for me. I’ve never had foie gras before and was intrigued to try it. I’m not too adventurous of an eater, but I’m glad I tried it and I have so many friends who are so excited to find out that there is a new restaurant in LA that serves their favorite treat!

I was then presented with the menu for the soft opening. Everything on the menu that night will be available when they open, but there are some things that will be on the regular menu that weren’t an option for me. But even with fewer options, there was plenty for me to choose from and I was torn on what I wanted to eat!

What pleased me the most seeing the menu was seeing how reasonable the prices were for the food. I know that when I think French food (and sometimes when I think of Santa Monica restaurants) I think of expensive prices that I usually can’t afford. But everything on the menu is affordable even for me! After going back and forth on a few things that sounded delicious (and with a little input from Marc), I decided on the artichoke gratin and the rib eye steak.

The gratin was so creamy and I loved that it had truffles in it! And artichokes are one of my favorites so I was so happy that there were giant pieces of artichokes in the gratin and the pieces weren’t hidden in there. And the steak was so perfectly cooked! It was tender and flavorful and I wasn’t able to stop eating it!

But I probably should have paced myself a bit because then there was also dessert to order.

I was so full, but after thinking about it I decided to order the apple tart for dessert. I love apple tart and recently had a great one at Wood & Vine. So I wanted to see how awesome this one would be since I knew it would be incredible. And when it arrived I wasn’t disappointed.

Not only was it beautiful (and it was so beautiful that I didn’t want to cut into it), but it was so good! It was light and the pastry wasn’t too much. It was a refreshing dessert that seemed like the perfect way to end the meal.

There is no question that I will be returning to Air Food. And even though the event I went to was a soft opening, you are all in luck! Because Air Food is having their grand opening today! So if you are in Santa Monica, you need to make sure you stop by for lunch or dinner. And make sure you say hi to Marc and Thierry! They have created such an amazing restaurant and I’m so excited for everyone else to get to experience the food to see how lucky we all are that we now have this food in Santa Monica!

The Bodyguard and Bone Marrow (or An Amazing Dinner At Wood & Vine)

This past Sunday was another Pantages night out for me and my season ticket group. Normally I write about the dinner first and show second (as that’s the order that we do things), but I’m changing it up a bit. The show that we went to see was “The Bodyguard” and I’ll be honest that we were a bit unsure how we felt about this show before seeing it.

But this was such a fun show! It was explained to us as almost like a Whitney Houston concert with a bit of plot between the songs. And that’s a great description for the show! Deborah Cox is the lead and she was incredible! The songs were so much fun, the dancing was awesome, and everyone seemed to be dancing in their seats. And if you go to see the show, don’t leave during the curtain call. There is some fun after everyone takes a bow and I’m glad we stayed for it. Even though this was a show we were all unsure of before seeing it, I highly recommend getting tickets for it if you are looking for a fun night out at the theater!

Now, back to our dinner. Our group is always trying to figure out where to get dinner before our shows. We have gone to the same few places multiple times and when I was at the LA Times Festival of Books I went to the Pantages booth and grabbed one of their restaurant guides. I sent a photo of it to the group and we decided to check out Wood & Vine. Wood & Vine is right across from the theater and I have no clue why we hadn’t been there before. But trust me, we will be making many return trips there now!

Only 3 of us from the group could go to dinner, and since it is all shared plates we got a bunch of things for us to all share. We started with some olives which were perfect and then ordered a few things that sounded good to most of us. Michelle and Dani wanted the Brussels sprouts and I figured I’d try it. I hate them but I try to try foods that I think I hate at least twice a year. These were good, but there is still something about Brussels sprouts that I don’t think I will like (sorry Wood & Vine). But I think Michelle and Dani were happy I didn’t like them because they wanted them all to themselves!

Dani and I also split the mac and cheese which was so perfect! It was nice and creamy and the cracker crust on it was a nice crunch. And we also got the scallops and pork belly (scallops were something that I didn’t like until recently and started to like after forcing myself to try them) and I think we were all in heaven eating them.

But for us, even just looking at the menu, we were most looking forward to the bone marrow. My grandpa loved bone marrow and I actually had some at a Tone It Up dinner the night that he died. But I hadn’t really had an opportunity to order it since then. So to get it at Wood & Vine was exactly what I wanted. And when the plate came to our table, we were not disappointed. It looked incredible!

There are no words to describe how delicious this was. It was heaven on a plate and even just writing about it is making me crave it again!

The entire time that we were at Wood & Vine, the staff was just so nice to us. We got to chat a bit with the manager (he was the one who described the show as a Whitney Houston concert to us) and it was just wonderful and friendly there. And while we were eating we were looking so happy and they were telling us to save room for dessert. We figured they were talking about the bone marrow since that was the last thing that was coming to the table. We thought that was the perfect “dessert” for us and when we were done eating our table was full of empty plates where the amazing food had been.

But then, the chocolate pot de creme was brought over to our table. We thought it was a mistake but the staff let us know that they actually ordered dessert for us on the house! We were thanking them and then the other two desserts from the menu, butterscotch with bourbon ice cream and an apple fry pie, appeared on our table too! We couldn’t believe that they got us all 3 desserts from the menu on the house!

We were full, but of course there is a separate part of your stomach for dessert so we all dug in. And the desserts did not disappoint! They were all decadent and delicious and at that time the last member of our group, Elisa, got there and we offered to share the desserts with her too. We were not planning on dessert (we might have ordered a bit less if we knew we were getting it), but it was a fabulous end to an incredible meal. And to have the restaurant give us the desserts on the house to make sure we could try them is above and beyond what I would ever expect from a restaurant!

We’ve already decided as a group that when we go to see “Hamilton” in about 3 months that we will be returning to Wood & Vine. It is really one of the best restaurants that I’ve gone to and there are so many other things on the menu that I want to try now. And of course, we’ve joked that we are going to order at least 2 plates of bone marrow to split between the 4 of us. And I have a feeling that we will be going there for a lot of our pre-show dinners for our shows next season as well.

Usually my nights out at the Pantages are more about the show than our pre-show dinner. But because of how amazing the food and staff at Wood & Vine were, this time the food was totally the highlight of the evening and has raised the bar on what we expect out of our pre-show dinners! Thank you Wood & Vine for your hospitality, awesome Broadway show discussion, and the desserts you gave us!

San Diego Day (or Some More Family Time)

When I thought I was having surgery, the plan was to recover in LA with my parents for about a week and then head to San Diego to recover for almost another week. We wanted to make sure that I had enough time with help from my parents before they left (and obviously if I needed help longer we would have figured something out). Once the surgery was cancelled, my parents’ trip stayed the same but I didn’t go with them to San Diego right away. I decided to work so I didn’t have to use up the hours I had banked from work and then just went to San Diego for the day.

I’m pretty used to going to San Diego just for the day. It’s a bit of a drive, but not too unbearable. Plus, this was going to be a great opportunity for me to take my new car on a longer drive for the first time. The drive down was pretty easy (although I’ve figured out some new things that I want to see about getting for my car) and I was at my parents’ rental house right when they wanted me to get there.

As soon as I arrived, my dad and I went to get my grandma from her place. It’s much easier for her to get into my car than my mom’s since mine is lower to the ground. Plus that gave me extra time with my grandma. When we got her in my car and started to drive to the rental house, she realized that she left her sunglasses in her walker which was in my trunk. Fortunately, I have some random sunglasses in my car for just this occasion. I handed a pair to my grandma and I think she looked pretty amazing in the red sunglasses I had!

Once we got back to the rental house, most of the time we spent as a family was watching old home movies. My mom has turned most of our home movies into DVDs and it’s pretty fun to watch them. A lot of them are from family vacations and I’m glad that we have the videos since I was a teenager and don’t remember the trips as well as I’d like to. But I do still remember some of the really random moments from the trips like when we were in the amazon 17 years ago and I caught a piranha.

I posted that photo online and some of my friends commented that I look the same, but I think I look much older now. Or maybe I just looked really old when I was 16/17!

And as usual when I go down to San Diego to be with my family, my mom cooked an amazing dinner for us. There was a nice little outdoor eating area at the rental house and it was perfect weather for all of us to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing and delicious dinner.

And I know that my grandma really appreciates me coming to visit, even if it is only for a few hours. She seemed so happy with us all being together and I know that she had a great time. I thought maybe seeing some of the home movies would make her sad because my grandpa is in them, but that didn’t bother her. She didn’t remember everything that we did for each trip, but when there was stuff she did remember she seemed to light up and have funny stories to share about that part of the trip.

I didn’t get to spent too much time in San Diego because I had to be back in LA at a reasonable hour. I ended up spending about 5 hours there (and the total drive time round trip was about 4 hours), but it was totally worth it. I don’t get to see my grandma that often and I know I need to see her more. If I hadn’t gone to San Diego this time, I don’t know when I would have seen her again. Maybe at Thanksgiving but the last time I saw her was Thanksgiving and I would hate for an entire year to pass without a visit.

I know I need to make more of an effort to go to San Diego to see my grandma. It’s not that bad of a trip and just going out to lunch or dinner with her seems to make a huge difference in her day. I just need to work out when I can get down there again before Thanksgiving!

Overdue Happy Hour (or Trying A Neighborhood Restaurant)

I remember when I was little and hearing how adults felt like time went by so fast. I never understood it then since it seemed like each day would take forever (especially when it was a standardized testing day at school). But now it totally makes sense to me. Sometimes it feels like something wasn’t that long ago when it really was a few months ago. That’s what happened with my hangouts with my friend Rayshell.

We have been making an effort for a while to try to get together for happy hour every month every other month. We both have busy lives that seem to be on opposite schedules, so if we don’t make an effort to hang out a lot of time can slip by. Rayshell was recently on a trip and I had told her than when she got back we had to do a happy hour. But I didn’t realize then that the last time I had seen Rayshell was back in November! So much has changed in both of our lives since then so we quickly got to scheduling a time to meet for dinner.

We try to alternate if we meet on her side of town or my side of town, and Rayshell decided that it was her turn to come to my neighborhood (plus, her job is kind of toward where I live). I was trying to figure out a good place for us to meet that had a fun happy hour menu and I thought of Public School 310. I’ve been to Public School before, but only to the location in the valley. It’s weird that I hadn’t been to the one near me before since it’s walking distance from my house. But somehow it just never happened. So this happy hour seemed like the perfect time to check it out!

Rayshell and I love a good happy hour menu, and this one seemed pretty amazing to us! The drinks were super cheap, but since I can’t drink right now I had to skip that. But Rayshell got a $5 beer that was huge! And we decided to each get one of the little plates and then split something too. I got the meatballs and we split the hummus.

The food was really good and it was all a great deal! Between the beer and the 3 plates, our dinner was under $25! That’s really cheap, even for happy hour! And with this being so close to my house I feel silly that I hadn’t been there before. It’s totally going on my list of great places in my neighborhood.

Besides having great food, it was great conversation. Like I said, it had been a while since I had seen Rayshell. We see each other’s posts on Facebook and text from time to time, so we were a bit caught up on each other’s lives. But it’s very different to catch up in person than it is online. And as we caught up, we both realized how much stuff had happened since we saw each other back in November!

Rayshell was telling me all about her trip, but she has also been working out at Orangetheory! She doesn’t work out at the same location as me since there is a location walking distance from her house (I’m jealous since I have to drive almost an hour home in rush hour traffic from the studio I go to). But she’s been going twice a week for a while so we wanted to talk workout stuff. I love that I have so many friends who work out so we can all talk about our workout wins and totally understand what the other person is talking about.

And even though Rayshell knows about my surgery next month, she wanted to hear about what was happening and what the plan is. I’m sure that hearing that I have a big tumor that will be taken out can be overwhelming for my friends. I don’t feel too worried about it because I’m not in pain and I feel very confident in my surgeon. But since nobody else knows that I’m not in pain and nobody else has met my surgeon, I can see why other people are worried about me. But I do want to make sure all of my friends know that I’m totally ok with everything that is happening so I’m more than happy to explain it all to them.

I also had to update Rayshell about getting a new car! It’s still a bit weird to me that I have a new car, but it is feeling more and more like mine and not like a rental or a temporary car. It helped a lot that I now have my personalized plates on it. I’ve had those plates on every car I’ve ever had and it makes it feel more like mine and not someone else’s. And it is really nice having a car that doesn’t have a bunch of things that I need to fix or that doesn’t want to play my podcasts from my phone. My old car was fine, but this one feels like such an upgrade. And while I wasn’t actively looking for a new car before, I know Rayshell knew all the issues I had with the old car so I think she’s pretty happy for me that I have something that works and doesn’t need thousands of dollars in repairs.

Our happy hour was pretty short because Rayshell had to deal with traffic to get home, but it was the perfect quick catchup for us. I know that she is hoping to come visit me when I’m in the hospital or when I’m recovering with my parents, so I’ll be seeing her again soon. And even though I might be in pain when we hang out then, I know that Rayshell is going to do what she can to make that still a fun hangout and feel like one of our regular happy hour adventures.

Cheesecake Dinner (or A Half Birthday Outing)

I’ve written about the traditions that my birthday twin, Joanna, and I have been doing for a while. It’s tradition to go to Truxton’s for our birthday and then we started doing Cheesecake Factory around the holidays. But lately, we’ve changed our Cheesecake Factory dinner to be more of a half birthday thing. And since it was just our half birthday, we made an effort to do our dinner close to the right time.

We ended up going this past Monday after I had my screening. Joanna was actually at the screening the week before at my film festival, so she didn’t have to go to this screening. But the timing worked out really well between us to go to dinner after my screening so I was excited to get to discuss the screening with her. I was so nervous going into the screening and still feeling a little bit anxious after, so it was nice to know I would be able to talk it through with a friend to calm me down.

So many times when we go to Cheesecake Factory, it’s so crowded that we have to wait forever for a table. This time, I got there just before Joanna did and our table was ready a few minutes after she got there. For some reason, we always get seated outside on the patio (thank goodness they have heating lamps), and we were seated out there again!

I knew what I was going to order right away. I always get the same salad because it’s delicious! It also isn’t too massive (like many of the items there are) and the calorie count isn’t too bad since it’s on the skinny menu. But it is so good and a nice balance to getting cheesecake so it’s the perfect thing to order. I know that there are recipes to make this at home, but I like having this as something special that I get when I go to Cheesecake Factory.

Over dinner, Joanna and I did a bit of catching up. I had just seen her the week before so there weren’t a ton of new updates in our lives. We did discuss my surgery and Joanna was telling me about some awesome trips that she’s got coming up this year. And we also started to plan what we wanted to do for our birthday this year. We said we should do a combined birthday party since then we don’t have to worry about having parties at the same time. And we have a couple of ideas for what that party could be.

And of course, because politics and current events are unavoidable right now, we did discuss some of that. We pretty much are on the same side with everything, but there are a few things that we aren’t 100% together on. But we are able to have some really amazing and respectful debates and I know that I learn a lot from those. Most of the time, we do agree on everything. But when we get to play devil’s advocate regarding something we disagree on, it’s always interesting.

But as always in our Cheesecake Factory outings, the highlight for us wasn’t necessarily getting to hang out but getting cheesecake! I love getting to hang out with Joanna, but I know we both are thinking about what types of cheesecake we are going to get as soon as we plan our dinner. I learned recently that you can ask your server to cut the slice in half before bringing it to the table, so that made things so much easier for us. We each had a half slice of the red velvet cheesecake and a half slice of tiramisu cheesecake. It’s a lot of cheesecake, but it’s so good and worth being a big splurge!

Neither of us could finish our slices, but we enjoyed every single bite. It’s a treat for both of us and I know we both look forward to our cheesecake outing each year. It’s a good thing that we only do this once a year because it is such a splurge and we both probably go a bit overboard with the food. But it’s something nice that we do and great way for us to celebrate our half birthday!

6 more months to go before my next tradition with my birthday twin when we go out for our free birthday dinner!

Disneyland Adjacent (or Downtown Disney)

This past weekend was a bit of a weird one for me. I ended up being in a bad mood on Sunday (for reasons I’m not sure about) and was planning on spending most of the day moping around and feeling a bit sorry for myself. But my plans changed when my friend Michelle texted me to see if I wanted to go to Disneyland for a few hours that evening!

I’m always down to go to Disneyland and even if we could only spend a few hours there I knew it would make my day amazing! I got my stuff together and got into the car to drive to Michelle’s house. But on the drive to her house, she called me to let me know that our passes were blacked out because of the holiday weekend (since we both have Mondays off we sometimes forget about 3 day weekends). We thought about going to Universal Studios instead, but we were blacked out there too.

I got to Michelle’s house and we were trying to figure out what to do. We both wanted to go do something and were torn on figuring out what to do. Finally, we decided that we should go to Disneyland anyway but instead of going to the parks we would get some dinner at Downtown Disney and try to watch the fireworks from between the parks (so we don’t have to pay to get in). And since there is 4 hours free parking at Downtown Disney (a long as you get dinner), we wouldn’t have to pay to park!

We headed down and got to Downtown Disney pretty quickly. We headed over to Tortilla Joe’s (which I love!) and put our names on the list. It was going to be over an hour for a table, but we had time to kill before the fireworks and were happy to walk around Downtown Disney do shop. There are so many things that I would love to buy, I just don’t have the money for it. But it’s always fun to look and there are some ideas of things I want to put on my wish list for the future and maybe to put on a list for my birthday.

We were done window shopping and it was finally time for us to get dinner. As much as I want to drink alcohol right now (and my surgeon said I could as long as I didn’t drink too much), I’m trying to be good and not drink. I really wanted a margarita, but I had to settle for a virgin strawberry one.

It wasn’t as good as a real margarita, but it was a nice change from just drinking water and made dinner feel a bit more special. And as always, the food there was awesome. Michelle and I might have eaten too many chips because we were both so hungry for dinner, but the chips were really good! And I had a tostada salad that I’ve had before there and it was the perfect dinner for me.

And besides just having a good dinner, it was so nice to get out of the house. I’m usually such a planner and having a spur of the moment adventure was a great way to get out of a rut. Plus, Michelle and I wanted to work on planning our next Disney day (which will be in a few weeks) so hanging out at dinner was nice.

After we were done with dinner, we walked over to the esplanade between Disneyland and California Adventure so we could watch the fireworks. I’ve watched the fireworks from there before so I knew while it was a slightly obstructed view it would still be fun. It was a bit weird to be at Disneyland but not to be at Disneyland, but it was still nice to feel like we there that night. We thought about taking a funny photo at the gates of the park trying to reach through, but we ended up just doing a selfie by the gates and were very happy with how our photo turned out (not bad for the selfie camera on my iPhone!).

We were waiting around and knew it was about the time that fireworks were going to start, but nothing was happening. We checked the website to see if we got the fireworks time wrong, but then we just thought that maybe they were a bit delayed. Since we weren’t in the park and couldn’t hear the announcements, we weren’t exactly sure what was happening. But about 10 minutes after the fireworks should have started, someone who was just inside the park walked by and said that the fireworks were cancelled that night.

It’s a bit sad when the fireworks were cancelled, but I understand why they have to do it. Sometimes it’s super windy higher up where the fireworks go and they can’t have the show happening with the wind like that. Or the clouds are too low and they know that nobody will be able to see much. I’m glad that someone told us all because we probably would have waited out there a bit longer to see what was going to happen.

So after that, we walked back to the car and made the drive back to LA. Even though we didn’t get to go into the park or see the fireworks, it was still a fun Disney adventure. It was the perfect thing to do when I needed something to boost my mood. I felt so much better being out at Downtown Disney than I would have if I stayed home. I got a nice dinner with an awesome friend, and I got a lot of walking in that I probably wouldn’t have done.

It really helped to make my Sunday a great day and I’m so glad that Michelle texted me to go on yet another adventure with her!

Another Grove Adventure (or Dinner And Not A Screening)

I rarely go to the Grove, so the fact that I went last week was unique enough. But the fact that I went back this week is totally crazy! But since it is the time that I get a lot of invitations to screenings, there is always a chance I’ll be back there. Most of the screenings I go to are at the Director’s Guild or other screening rooms, but from time to time the screenings are at regular movie theaters.

This week, I had been invited to a screening of “Sing” at the Grove. I RSVPed right away, but because it wasn’t a screening hosted by an organization that I’m a part of they said that they overbook and seating will be first come first served. I invited my friend Dani to come with me and since we both had that afternoon free we decided to meet up for dinner before the screening.

The screening was at 7:30 and we figured we should try to line up an hour or so early (that’s what I usually do), so we met for dinner at the Grove at 5. We ended up going to the Cheesecake Factory since it is next to the theater and were seated on the balcony. They have heating lamps out there so it wasn’t too cold, and I liked having the view of all the lights from our table.

We had a nice dinner and discussed lots of random stuff. Some of it was about our tickets for Pantages (it was at dinner that we realized our next show was on Oscar Sunday so we started to work on figuring out when to move our tickets to). And of course since she is my workout buddy we discussed Orangetheory. It’s always nice to be able to get together with a friend for dinner and I’m glad we had some time to hang out that wasn’t before a show or on the treadmills during class.

We enjoyed our dinner of salads and cheesecake (you can’t go to Cheesecake Factory without getting cheesecake!) and then headed to the theater next door to line up. The line wasn’t too full so I figured getting there when we did worked out pretty well. Dani has never joined me for a screening, so she was excited to go to one with me. And close to 7pm, the line started to move and we were getting excited to get inside.

But as we were almost at the front of the line, someone from the studio came over to say that the screening was at capacity and that there were no more seats. This is something I know can happen at screenings, but it’s never really happened to me. Turns out, the line that we saw when we got in line was only part of the line. They had been letting people inside the theater for almost an hour by the time we got there because some people were lining up 2 or 3 hours before the screening.

While I was sad that we didn’t get in, it wasn’t horrible. I do want to see “Sing”, but I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities to see it. I know I’m so lucky that I get to go to as many screenings as I do (movies are so expensive!) so I’m not going to be upset that I missed one of them. There were so many kids in line who didn’t get to see the movie and I feel so bad that they didn’t get in.

Since we no longer had a screening to go to, Dani and I decided to walk around the Grove a bit. The Christmas decorations were just as pretty as they were the week before, but it was so much more crowded there!

We decided to wander around Barnes and Noble where I found some new books I wanted to add to my library wish list plus some books that I want to buy as gifts for people next year. It was funny walking around a bookstore since I haven’t really done that in a while. And there were some sections in the bookstore where there were so many books in a row that I have read! I know I read a ton, but since they are usually on my Kindle I don’t think too much about the number of books I get through.

It was nice getting to window shop in a bunch of different stores and see the various holiday decorations that the stores have, but the crowds at the Grove were starting to get a bit overwhelming. It was tough to walk around without having to stop because there were too many people in front of us. So we decided it was time to leave there before the crowds got even worse.

Even though my plans that night were to get dinner and see a movie with a friend, it was just as nice to get dinner and window shop. Taking time to just walk around and check out what is happening isn’t something I do all the time, so it was a nice change of pace from what I’m used to.

Hocus Pocus (or Musical #3 For The Week!)

Even though I saw “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” twice in a week, I still had one more musical to go for the week! A month or so ago, I saw that there was going to be a musical parody of “Hocus Pocus”. It was being performed at the Rockwell, and I had loved when I saw the show there before. My friends Dani and Michelle were both interested and we picked the first date that we could get tickets.

hocus-pocus

We didn’t think about the show being the week after our first show for Pantages, so it was pretty funny when we realized it was going to be a musical filled week. But it ended up being a really perfect situation and I’m so glad that we did it!

Last time I was at the Rockwell, we got tickets through a ticket reseller so we didn’t get to pick our seats. This time, we did have a choice and we found seats at a table right next to the runway going through the middle of the room. We figured we’d have a perfect view of the show and were so excited to have amazing seats.

When we got there, we were the first ones seated at our table. Shortly after sitting down, the other group seated at our table sat down and we made a bit of small talk. It’s pretty hard not to talk when you are all squished together. The other group we were sitting with were really nice and they had some friends involved in the show and the venue so we were meeting quite a few people there. And we ended up finding out that the woman sitting right next to me is Ariana Grande’ mom! That was pretty awesome and we thought it was just a funny LA type of night.

When the show started, we really didn’t know what we were in for but we had heard the show was great! And great didn’t even begin to explain it! This show was probably one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life! The performers were all insanely talented and this show was so funny that we were all laughing so hard we were crying.

the-show

We were expecting there to be songs that were created just for this musical parody, but they ended up using lots of popular songs. I’m glad they did that because the music was recognizable and it really made everything that much funnier. Each song they used was perfect and I wish there was a soundtrack to buy because I would totally listen to it over and over!

the-witches

One of the fun things about being at a show at the Rockwell is it is a dinner theater venue. We ordered an appetizer to share, we each got an entrée, and then we split a dessert. Dani and Michelle ordered drinks, but I just stuck with water. We tried to get our bill when the show had the intermission (we didn’t want to be stuck trying to pay at the end of the show), and the waiter said that it was already paid for. It turns out that Ariana Grande’s mom decided to pay for our meals and drinks! It was so unexpected and we couldn’t thank her enough. I wish there was something more we could have done to thank her because it really was so nice for her to do that!

At the end of the show, we said goodbye to the other group seated at our table (and thanked Ms. Grande again several more times) and headed back to the car to drive home. All 3 of us could not stop talking about how much fun the night was and how we wished the show was going to have a lot more shows so we could possibly go again (the show is closing this weekend if anyone is trying to go). We really lucked out in getting these tickets and hearing about this show, and we’ve discovered there are several more shows coming up at the Rockwell that we are hoping to go to in the near future.

Magic Castle Fun (or Girls Night Out)

I’ve been fortunate to be able to go to Magic Castle twice in the past. It’s a really fun place to go to and since you need to be invited it’s not something that everyone gets to do. I don’t know members, so it’s not something that I can be invited to that often. But through a friend of a friend, I was able to get an invite to Magic Castle and I organized another girls night out there!

I had a great group of friends with me when we went this past week. In that group, I had my friend Shey (my Evil Twin), my workout buddy Dani, and my friend Camber who I met through my WIF mentoring group. Shey also invited her roommate and one of her roller derby friends to round out the group. I think it was a really great group and we were all so excited to be at Magic Castle.

red-carpet

The rules are that you cannot take photos beyond the lobby, but the entire place was decorated for Halloween and I totally loved that! The only photo of the decorations I could get was in the lobby, but you can see the fun stuff that they put out to celebrate.

magic-castle

We arrived at Magic Castle a bit before our dinner reservations, but they opened the dining area a bit earlier than expected so we were able to get in for dinner pretty quickly. And it turns out that our server was a friend of Shey, so that was fun! The dinner that they serve is pretty delicious and I was excited to have a nice splurge meal. I didn’t drink any alcohol (I wanted to save the money and calories for food), but I didn’t miss drinking at all. For my dinner, I had a steak (and it was cooked perfectly!) and I got some banana pie for dessert. It was a bit more food than I’m used to, but it was really good and I was glad that I didn’t try to restrict my food too much!

All of us had a great dinner and we enjoyed discussing tons of random stuff over dinner. Considering that most of the people in the group didn’t know each other before that night, it was awesome to see everyone get along so well. You never know when you create group outings like this if things will go well, so I’m so grateful that it turned out perfectly!

After dinner, it was time to see the main stage show (we get tickets to guarantee seats with our dinner). We got there a bit close to showtime, but we found 3 seats in one row and 3 seats right behind it toward the front of the room. We were off to the side, but we had a great view and the tricks that the magicians did were pretty incredible! I knew how a few of them were done because of a show I’ve seen on how to do magic, but there were so many tricks that I couldn’t figure out how they were done!

After the main stage show, our next stop was the close up magic room. We ended up being in the front row for the show so we were super close to everything happening. Usually the close up room is my favorite, but the magician that we watched seemed to be a bit nervous and their hands were shaking really hard. It started to make me nervous, but he was still able to do some great tricks and everything was impressive.

Our next stop was to try to see the last stage show at Magic Castle, but we missed the show we were hoping to see. We figured we’d wait an hour to see the next showtime and were trying to figure out what to do. All of a sudden, a man at the bar asked us what we were doing and we said we didn’t know. He responded that we were his audience for the show he was about to do. There was a card table near the bar where we all sat down and he did a bunch of different tricks.

He was so impressive! The fact that he didn’t have time to prepare since he just found us while he was eating at the bar was amazing. And the tricks blew all of our minds! We kept trying to figure out what was happening or how he could do it, but none of us could figure out anything! I’m so glad he was willing to put on a show for us because it ended up being the best show of the night!

We made it to the last stage show after our private show, and that was really fun too. There were some great rope magic tricks as well as some disappearing money ones. And the magician was very animated and kept everyone’s attention even though it was close to midnight on a weekday when we were at the show.

By then, we were all pretty tired (we had been there for over 6 hours) and most of us had to work the next morning. So it was time to say goodnight and for all of us to head home.

This was just a really great night out with my friends and I’m so lucky that I was able to get to Magic Castle again. I’m hoping that I might be able to get another pass at some point next year because there were a lot of friends who wanted to come but couldn’t due to scheduling. I’d love to have a chance to share this amazing place with more people soon!

An Overdue Friend Hangout (or A Medical Discussion Dinner)

There have been some friends that I haven’t gotten to see in a while. It’s a lot of issues with scheduling with all of our crazy schedules, but also time flies by and we forget how long it’s been. So when a friend of mine invited me to dinner recently and I realized it had been months since we had seen each other, I said yes right away!

This friend is someone who I used to see pretty much every week, but our schedules haven’t been matching up lately. She also had some medical things to deal with that prevented her from doing too much stuff. But we’ve stayed in touch through texting so when we got together, it felt like almost no time had passed!

We went out for Mexican food and I was a little nervous about it. I’ve been doing really well with my food lately and I didn’t want to eat too much or something that I shouldn’t (there was also another dinner coming up that I knew would be a splurge). Fortunately, neither of us cared to eat chips and salsa, so we didn’t get any for our table. Not having the chips in front of me made me feel a bit better about things since I didn’t have to stare at them or try to figure out if I should eat some. And I ordered fajitas, so I felt pretty confident that I made a good food choice and started to relax more.

Once we had ordered our food, our conversation became all about medical stuff. I was telling her about my MRI, and she shared all the stuff that she went through recently. She found out that she has the BRCA mutation (the breast cancer gene) and went through some stuff to make sure she stayed healthy. She had a double mastectomy and then reconstruction. I hadn’t seen her since her surgeries, and it was great to see her (also she looked amazing!). I’m not sharing her name because I don’t want to share her story for her, but she knows who she is and I’m so grateful that she is my friend.

She has been so open about everything that she has done so far and has always been more than happy to support me and share advice and tips. When I knew I’d be getting my MRI, she was one of the first people I contacted for advice and to find out anything I should be prepared for. She told me it wasn’t that big of a deal and let me know that I’d be fine. When she’s done additional genetic testing, she let me know so I could see if my mom did that testing. She’s not afraid to tell the truth about what she’s going through and I really appreciate that honesty.

I’m curious if anyone at the tables near us at dinner could hear our conversation. We were talking about a ton of medical stuff like surgeries, IV issues, scars, and other things that most people wouldn’t usually discuss. I’m totally used to it since growing up I heard lots of medical stuff over dinner when my parents were talking. I love that I have a friend who is able to be as chill about talking medical things over food as I am.

We did discuss other stuff besides cancer and medical stuff like my workouts at Orangetheory, other mutual friends of ours that neither of us have seen in a while, and random comments about the people watching we were doing from our table. It was a really nice dinner and it made me realize that I should do dinners with friends more often when I can.

While we had a pretty quick dinner, it was the perfect thing for me that night. I needed to have some positivity in my week, and my friend did just that for me. I have been very set in my ways with my food, and I needed the push to go outside what I’ve been feeling have been safe foods (even though I splurged a bit at dinner, my weight wasn’t affected the way I was scared it would be). And I got some great advice about the cancer screenings I’ve been doing lately and how normal they really are so I shouldn’t be too worried about them.