Tag Archives: fireworks

Have A Low-Key 4th (or Friends, Fries, and Fireworks)

Since the 4th of July party I usually go to was on the 1st, I had the 4th of July free. I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do that day, but I knew I was going to enjoy having an extra day off. So many holidays are on Mondays (or have fallen on a Sunday) so I don’t get an extra day off that often. It’s a real treat when there is an extra day that I can relax and have fun.

I figured I’d try to go and see fireworks somewhere, but I really didn’t have a plan. For the last several years, I’ve pretty much gone to Chris and Marie’s party. But I used to go to other events before. About 4 years ago I went to the fireworks show in Studio City. And for a few years before that I went to the show in Culver City. But with my friends living all over LA, I wasn’t quite sure where I would end up this year.

I texted some friends to see who was interested in going to a show and most people either had plans or didn’t feel like driving in holiday traffic. I don’t blame them because I didn’t want to drive that far and usually I have plans. But fortunately my friend Grace (she works for the podcast with me and also goes to OTF) had no plans and was up for coming to my side of town! So after she had some acting work to do, she headed over and we went to the Culver City fireworks show.

The Culver City show used to be at Culver City High School, where I used to be a substitute teacher. I was pretty familiar with the school and we watched the fireworks from the football field which was pretty fun. But since the last time I went to the show, they moved from doing the show at the high school to West LA College (a community college in Culver City). It’s still pretty close to my house, so it didn’t take us too long to get there.

The seating is on the grass of some of the sports fields there (I think it was the soccer and softball fields) and most people bring blankets and chairs to sit on. I had a big beach blanket that stays in my car, so I grabbed that for us to sit on. The gates opened at 4pm and we got there around 7 so a lot of the field was already claimed by other people. But we didn’t need too much room for 2 of us and found a spot that seemed pretty good. Since fireworks go up high, I wasn’t too worried about being very close. And I wasn’t expecting to see the show that was on the stage before the fireworks (I think it was just different musical acts).

It was pretty awesome getting to hang out with Grace. We’ve gotten to hang out a bunch lately and she is so awesome! She’s pretty new to LA still so I’m always sharing random LA advice with her. But she’s been kicking butt considering she’s still new to town! I wasn’t doing that much for my career when I moved here, but then again I was focused on college then. But it’s awesome to be friends with someone who is super motivated because that motivates me to do more.

There were a bunch of food trucks there to buy food and Grace went on a food run while I held down our blanket. It took her a while because of the crowds, but I didn’t mind because there was some really great people watching. It’s such an interesting crowd that goes to this fireworks show. It’s not the typically LA event and it really has a small-town feel to it for being in the middle of a major city. I loved seeing all the families having fun and the kids acting like kids and not being jaded by the world.

Grace ended up getting us some french fries and they were so good! They were so good that I forgot to get a photo of them before we ate them! It was the perfect treat to have while we waited for it to get dark for the fireworks to start. I had looked at what time sunset would be, but the show had to start much later (closer to 9pm).

In the past, I’ve always been impressed by this fireworks show. For being a smaller show, it’s one of the longer shows. And this year was no different. It was about 20 minutes of fireworks to lots of different songs. We couldn’t really hear the songs because all the speakers were placed close to the stage, but it didn’t matter. Seeing the fireworks is still awesome and exactly what I wanted to do for the 4th of July.

After the show was done, Grace headed out to get an Uber home while I headed back to my car. Taking an Uber would probably have been the better option because the parking garage was a total mess trying to leave. I didn’t even move my car from the parking spot for about an hour. It took me almost so long to get out of there, but once I was out of the garage it was only a few minutes to get back home.

It was a low-key 4th of July, but it had all the elements of what I wanted to do that day. I’m glad that I got to do exactly what I wanted to do that day and it was a nice way to have a day off before getting back to all the craziness of my life.

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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!

4th Of July Weekend (or An Early Holiday)

With the 4th of July falling on a Monday this year, things were a bit different from normal for me. Since I have Mondays off in a normal work week, I didn’t get any extra time off for the holiday (that’s going to happen again at Christmas and New Years too). And since most of my friends had Monday off for the holiday, the big party ended up being on Sunday night so everyone could take their day off to recover.

So I headed over to Chris and Marie‘s house on Sunday night for their annual BBQ party. I made Drunk Fruit again since it was such a big hit last time and I bought extra fruit so we could have some regular cut up fruit too (this was before I realized that 4 of us would be bringing watermelon to the party).

Drunk Fruit

As with all of the parties that Chris and Marie throw, this was a fun but low-key party. It was actually one of the biggest parties I can remember them having, so it was a lot of people in the backyard eating a lot of good food and just being silly. And even though it wasn’t the 4th, there were a couple of people around the neighborhood shooting off (illegal) fireworks so we didn’t miss those. I didn’t go up on the roof this year to watch the fireworks, but I could see them pretty decently from the ground in the backyard.

And since we started a tradition a few years ago with a couple of us running through the sprinklers, we had to do that again this year. Technically, only the first time we took the photo (2 years ago) we were running through the sprinklers. Now we pretend that the sprinklers are on but the photos are now a tradition that we have to keep up. And the photo looked pretty amazing this year!

Sprinklers Photo

I just love how the first year we were just running through the sprinklers, last year we were almost making fun of ourselves, and this year we were making fun of making fun of ourselves.

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I can’t imagine how crazy the next year’s photo will be! And because everyone had to watch us take the photo, a few others wanted to join in on the fun so we got a slightly larger group to be in another pretend sprinkler photo.

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I stayed at the party until about 10:30pm and then headed back home. I’m sure everyone else was staying up late and continuing the party, but since I knew I had stuff to do the next morning I didn’t want to be out too late.

On the 4th, I actually had a pretty low-key day. I went to my workout and then I spent a bit of time with my friend Dea. She’s been getting a lot of donations to replace what she lost in the fire and I went over to help sort things and get them organized. It was amazing to see how many things people have given to her and I know that as soon as she finds a new home to rent she will be set up really quickly.

After helping out, I drove home and thought about going out to see the fireworks somewhere. I texted a bunch of friends, but people either already had plans or weren’t going to go out. After a while, I decided that I didn’t feel like going out and spending money to see fireworks somewhere. So I ended up spending the night home watching silly movies on Netflix and listening to some crazy neighbors set off fireworks down the block (they sounded so close that I could feel my house shake sometimes).

Overall, I think this was a pretty awesome 4th of July weekend. I got to hang out with my friends and be at a BBQ and I got to be lazy and relax around my house. I don’t know what more I could have wanted out of my weekend because this really was the perfect combination of everything I wanted to do.

A Full Summer Day At Disneyland (or Seeing Favorites And Seeing New Stuff)

My Disneyland pass is about to be blacked out for the summer. As much as I’d like to go to Disneyland in the summer, it’s so much more crowded then plus the heat can be pretty unbearable at times. I may do a quick Disneyland trip next week (a new ride is opening), but my day in the parks this past Monday is basically my last trip until the end of August or beginning of September.

I went with my usual Disneyland buddy, June. She is really one of my favorite Disneyland buddies because we enjoy the same rides and since we both have a pass we never feel too rushed to do stuff. When I drove over to her house on Monday, I realized that we were looking a little matchy-matchy. It was pretty funny and we took advantage of our look with a quick photo in the park that afternoon.

Matchy Matchy

When we first got to the parks, we focused on California Adventure to start. Our first ride of the day was the Tower of Terror, but we had a funny experience on the way over there. We were walking down toward the ride when there was a toddler playing with a water bottle. She kicked it over toward us and started walking over to where we were. She looked up at us and had the most intense serious look I’ve ever seen. We joked that it was like the Terminator was coming over to get us! The baby was really sweet, but she looked like she wanted to kill us! After that moment, we were inspired for our photo for the Tower of Terror.

Tower Of Terror

June pretended to want to kill me and I was pretending to be terrified of her. We both got a good laugh out of seeing our photo and decided that we would keep that photo idea going for any other ride photos we did that day.

Our next stop was the Animation Academy. We saw that they were drawing Captain Hook and June really wanted to do it. I’ve never been too successful at drawing anything there, but I’m always happy to try. I really don’t know if my drawing looks like Captain Hook, but I think it’s one of the better ones I’ve done. Mine is on the right and June’s is on the left.

Captain Hook

We were enjoying the relaxing vibe inside the building where the Animation Academy is, so we decided to do some more exploring around there. We made a stop at the Beast Library (I was matched as Belle and June was matched as the Evil Queen) and then enjoyed watching the Turtle Talk with Crush show.

Beast Library Turtle Talk

Our last stop in California Adventure was the Soarin Over California ride. This ride is closing down this week (it might actually be closing today) and will be reopening at the end of the week as Soarin Around The World. While I’m excited to see a new movie with the ride, I’m really sad to see this go. The Soarin Over California music was the ringtone of my phone for several years and this was one of the rides that has been a favorite for my entire family. We said our goodbye to the ride and I’m hoping I might be able to go to the park for a quick stop next week to see the new movie.

Soarin Over California

As soon as we got into Disneyland, we saw Belle in her blue dress right in the entry area of the park. There wasn’t that long of a line for photos, so we figured why not stop and get another fun character photo!

With Belle

When I was taking June’s photo for her, this random guy came up to me and was asking if that was Snow White. I kept saying that it’s Belle, but I think the guy was pretty convinced that she wasn’t. It was a bit odd, but June and I got a good laugh out of it.

Disneyland was pretty crowded on Main Street, so we tried to wander through the stores to stay out of the crowds. We ended up being where the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show is, and they have the most amazing map of the original Disneyland park in their lobby.

Disneyland Map

We decided to watch the show. I know they redid the animatronics a few years ago and I hadn’t seen it since the update. It’s a little odd how realistic his face is, but it was a nice little show and it was pretty empty in the room so I could forget for a bit that the parks were super crowded.

We continued around the park and went to Hyperspace Mountain next. This time, I got to pretend to want to kill June and she was scared of me for the photo.

Hyperspace Mountain

I seriously love how our photos came out! It’s so much fun thinking of funny ideas for the photos and I’m so grateful that June is ok going along with whatever crazy idea we come up with!

We hit up a couple of rides back to back after that. We went on the Haunted Mansion (it’s a treat to see it not dressed for Halloween/Christmas so that was awesome), the Jungle Cruise (they recently updated the ride and it looked amazing!), and then got in line for Indiana Jones. Sadly, Indiana Jones broke down while we were in line. We tried to wait it out to see if it would be up and running again soon, but after waiting 15 minutes we decided to leave and go on something else.

Our last ride of the night was Star Tours. Neither June nor I was chosen as the rebel spy for the ride, but I was seated right next to the person that was chosen so that was fun. And because the 3-D glasses for the ride look so cool for photos, we decided to both put on a Terminator look for a quick selfie.

Star Tours

We were heading out of the park then, but we realized that the Paint The Night parade was going to start in about 10 minutes. We walked toward the Main Street Railroad station (so we’d be close to the exit) and actually found a pretty great spot to watch the parade. This was the first time I had really gotten to see it (I had seen it from a distance before so I only saw the tops of the floats), so it was nice to be right by where the floats went by to see the details and fun things they put on them.

Paint The Night

It was a bit crazy trying to exit the park right after the parade, but we managed to get out quickly and got onto the second tram that went by. As we were on the tram back to the parking structure, we could see a bit of the fireworks. So when we got to the parking structure, we got to our level quickly and watched the grand finale of the fireworks from the side of the park.

Fireworks

It was actually a pretty good view of the fireworks and even though we couldn’t see the projections or hear the music, fireworks are still fun.

We were in the parks for about 8 hours that day, and I think we accomplished a lot! I was pretty exhausted after that full of a day and I feel pretty happy that I got my Disneyland fix in before I can’t go for a while. If I go next week to see the new Soarin Around The World, I’ll totally write about it. But this was really my last real Disney day until the summer is over.

Fabulous 4th Of July (or Fireworks!)

My 4th of July was spent at Chris and Marie’s house (my favorite party house!). The party didn’t start later in the day (some people had earlier parties to attend), so I spent some time relaxing during the day so I could try to stay at the party as late as possible.

I also made something to bring with me to the party. I made Drunk Fruit Salad.

Drunk Fruit Salad

Super easy recipe. Cut up fruit and soak in liquor (I used tequila). I soaked it for about 2 days, but right before the party I realized that I forgot to add margarita mix, so it was a bit stronger than I planned. I also made “sober” fruit salad for people who didn’t want to have alcohol.

I also tried to work on some sort of patriotic outfit. I was drawing a blank and then I remembered that I had gotten a headband to wear at Disneyland that would be perfect!

Sweaty Bands

The party had a lot of the usual crowd. It’s so much fun to catch up and hang out with everyone. It also helps to keep a relaxed atmosphere at the party.

As always, there was lots of good food. Since parties like this aren’t all the time, I didn’t stress about what I ate and enjoyed myself. But I really don’t think I did that badly. I may have overdone it a bit with the desserts because there were so many yummy things, but again this was a special occasion.

Last year at 4th of July, it was so hot that a couple of us ran through the sprinklers to cool down. This year wasn’t as hot, but we decided to recreate the photo (minus the sprinklers).

Sprinkler Photos

We’ve already decided that this photo will be an annual tradition!

Once it got dark, a couple of us headed up to the roof to watch the fireworks. There were shows all around us and we kept turning around to catch them.

Fireworks

As we were on the roof, we saw a truck race into the alley behind the house. They stopped and then sped off. They had left a box and before we knew it fireworks were shooting out of the box! It was so close to the house and that made the fireworks look huge! But with them being so close to the house, the sparks were coming down right by us. One of the sparks got me on the ankle, but it only stung for a second.

We got down from the roof after that and the alley fireworks drop off happened 2 more times (it wasn’t as scary when we were on the patio versus on the roof).

As much as I wanted to stay late at the party, I always have to time out when I leave based on traffic and potential drunk drivers. Since bars close at 2am, I didn’t want to leave close to then. So at about midnight, I headed home (and only had to stop at 1 DUI checkpoint).

This was such a perfect low-key 4th of July. While I know that there will be plenty of parties before next 4th of July, I’m already looking forward to next year!

4th Of July (or Hot Dogs, Fireworks, And Rooftops)

I spent my afternoon and evening of 4th of July over at my friends Chris and Marie‘s house. They really do throw the best parties and this was the first time I’d be over there for 4th of July.

I’m always a little wary about driving on 4th of July (or any holiday where there is a lot of drinking) so I tried to time my drives for when there wouldn’t be a ton of traffic. So I headed over there around 5pm and got to their house pretty quickly.

Everyone was hanging out in the backyard and just relaxing and catching up. Definitely my type of party (I’m not a fan of crazy parties). After being there for a while, the sprinklers came on in the backyard. Marie and Chris just got new grass for their yard and they had to water it a lot so the grass would grow properly.

Since it was pretty hot out, I decided that I wanted to run through the sprinklers. I wasn’t really wearing the best outfit for that (I wore jeans), but I didn’t care. And I didn’t want to run through the sprinklers alone, so I decided to recruit some other people to join in.

Marie was the first person to say yes, and then 2 other party goers saw what we were going to do and they took off their shoes to join us.

I have to admit, even though I didn’t like that my jeans got soaking wet, running through the sprinklers was pretty awesome and a perfect activity for the party.

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After the sprinkler adventure, Chris got the grill fired up and started taking orders for hot dogs. Ordering was necessary because he and Marie and gotten 7 or 8 different types of hot dogs for the party! I wish I had taken a picture of the sign they made because they gave all the hot dogs really clever names.

I ordered a cheddar dog mainly because I had never had one before and it sounded good. And it was! Sadly, no photos were taken of the food because I was too busy eating it (I was hungry after my workout earlier that day).

We all spent time just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company while waiting for the sun to set. Even though having fireworks is illegal in Los Angeles County (unless it is a professional show), Marie and Chris said that last year plenty of people near their house set off fireworks.

So once the sun was down, a bunch of us climbed a ladder to hang out on the roof of their house to watch the fireworks. And since they were being set off so close to us, the fireworks were huge in the sky!

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We were up there for a while until someone complained that they were just hit by a piece of fireworks shrapnel. We didn’t know what had happened until we used the lights from our phones to look on the roof. We found a marble sized hard ball that must have been part of one of the fireworks (maybe it held some sort of propellant to make the fireworks go into the sky?).

After that, we all got a little nervous about being on the roof, so we headed down to watch the rest of the fireworks safely in the backyard (where I guess technically something could still hit us but we had the overhang from the roof to protect us).

I hung out at the party until about 11pm. I had figured that 11pm was a pretty safe time to leave. People who went to firework shows had already left and bars were still open so a lot of people were hanging out there. Thankfully, my plan worked and not only did I get home safely, I got home very quickly as there was no traffic on the freeways.

Even though this was a pretty low-key 4th of July, it was really a perfect way to spend a day off. I was around great friends, great food, and great conversation. What more could you want?

4th Of July Recap (or It Was All About Vine Videos and Fireworks)

I had a pretty amazing day yesterday. And considering that 48 hours before I had no idea what I would be doing, I’d say I made some awesome plans.

My day started in spin class. I ended up going much earlier than I wanted to, but in all the later classes the bike I wanted was already reserved. It was an instructor that I hadn’t had before. His class was tough, but it wasn’t totally my style. I think I might try to stick with some of my favorites if I can.

After I got home from class, I had some free time so I just relaxed at home. I did some cleaning, I watched some tv, and I read a book. Then it was time for me to head over to Studio City for the 4th of July event there.

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It was held at the CBS Radford lot, which I’ve been to before for a couple of auditions. But I’ve never really spent a ton of time on the lot wandering around. So this was my chance to do so.

I met up with my friend Robert there. The first thing we did was walk all around the lot. Most of the lot are soundstages, but there is one New York style street there.

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I’ll come back to our adventure on that street in a minute.

A few soundstages had events going on inside. We sat down at one stage that had a bunch of model airplanes to check out the program for the day (and we wanted to enjoy the air conditioning). We realized that there was a magic show being done by The Magic Castle! So we headed over there and got front row seats for the show. It was a pretty great show! There were two magicians performing and they had some fun tricks (they kept it family friendly since there were so many kids there).

Next, Robert and I got some dinner. There was a huge line at the food court area, so we headed to the back of the lot where there was BBQ.

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You ordered your food and then waited for your name to be called by a very entertaining guy (he kept cheering and high fiving people when they picked up their food).

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After enjoying a nice tri-tip sandwich, we headed back over to the New York street. We wanted to shoot some video back there, and Robert decided (or maybe I convinced him) to download the Vine app. If you don’t know what Vine is, it is a like a video tweet. You get to make a 6 second video on your phone. You hold your finger to the screen when you want to film, and take it away when you don’t (so you edit your video inside the app). We took some pretty funny videos of us being crazy actors on a backlot.

After our video fun, it was time to claim our spot for the fireworks. For those of us who didn’t get $100 tickets (mine was $20), we had to claim a spot on the ground near the parking structure. Those who had expensive tickets had seats on the roof of the parking structure.

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While we waited for the fireworks to start, Robert and I decided to take some fun photos (since there wasn’t enough lighting to do another Vine video).

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(I feel like I look like I only have one front tooth in that bottom picture. As you can see from all my other photos, I have all my teeth.)

Finally, the fireworks started and we had an amazing viewpoint!

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After the fireworks ended, Robert and I waited about 20 minutes for the crowd to clear out of the parking structure before we headed back to our cars. And since we waited, I had almost no trouble getting out of there and getting home!

All in all, I had a pretty amazing day. It’s so nice to get to go out and enjoy a holiday with a friend (and on a backlot which is one of my favorite places to be). I hope that you all had as great of a day yesterday as I did! Now it’s time to go back to reality.

Happy 4th Of July (or Feeling Like A Lady Of Leisure)

Happy 4th of July readers!

I know a lot of my friends are working today (hazards of working day jobs that are convenient for leaving for auditions), but I’m lucky enough to get today off. It’s not really a great day to try to make sales over the phone.

Normally on my days off, I’m pretty heavily scheduled. I have a lot to get done and only one day to do them. But since this is a bonus day off, I’m planning on enjoying it.

As of right now, all I have planned is to go to CBS Radford in Studio City to see the fireworks. I’m also planning on going to spin class, but I haven’t reserved my bike for one yet (still figuring out when I want to go).

It’s nice to have the day off (and I’m trying to keep in mind the reason we are so lucky to have a day like today). And somehow now, I’m able to appreciate the time off much more than I was when I was unemployed. Maybe I’m more grateful for something that I don’t get to do as often?

This is going to be a short post today because I hope you all get to go out and do something fun today (like see some fireworks!). Besides working out and seeing fireworks today, I’m not planning anything else. I’m going to enjoy my time and perhaps watch some bad tv. That sounds like the perfect day off to me!