Tag Archives: friends

Friends and Rowing (or More Records In My Workouts)

Another great week of workouts for me! I’m seriously so happy that each week lately has been going pretty great for me. Even with the few setbacks I’ve experienced, overall I’d say that these workouts really are going better than normal and that I’m able to do a lot more than I’m used to. I hope this keeps being the trend for the next few weeks because I’m going to be getting in as many workouts as I can!

Monday’s class was promoted as a signature workout. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it pretty much means that it’s a workout that we’ve done before. This is a way that we can track out progress (like Peak Performance Week) and see what we have been able to do. I track my workouts on Evernote so I can see my progress all the time, but it was nice to have this workout as another way to track things. The format of the workout was a modified run/row. Each block started with a timed row and then we went to the treadmill to finish. The rows were 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 4 minutes. I had goals set for each one and the only one that I missed was the 1 minute one (I wanted to do 300 meters and only made it 299).

But I had set my 2 minute goal to be 500 meters (I did 504) and my 4 minute goal to be 900 meters (I did 933), so that is pretty incredible for me. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought of rowing as my weak point in my workouts. And while they aren’t as great as everything else, the improvements I’ve been making in rowing has been helping a lot. After those timed rows, I really wanted to run on the treadmill but my legs were having it. I ended up power walking the entire time doing my push paces at 8% incline and my all out paces at 10% incline.

Wednesday’s workout was an endurance day and as a surprise, JZ (who used to be the regular Wednesday coach) was coaching! I do miss seeing her on a weekly basis, so it’s nice when I’m surprised and get to have her as my coach. With the endurance workout, I know it can be tough for me to try to run as much as I would like, but I decided to test myself again. The first block started with a 4 minute progressive push pace. Each minute, we were supposed to increase our speed and I did go .2 mph faster each minute. It’s still a bit tough for me to run for 4 minutes, but it was good to test myself like that.

The rest of the first block and the entire second block were shorter push paces (between 1-3 minutes) and I walked all of my base paces so it wasn’t too tough to keep doing the run segments. I also ran all of the all out paces (as I pretty much always do)j and tried to bump up my speed as much as I could. I was able to do 2 miles on the treadmill in under 30 minutes which keeps giving me hope that I can do another PR at my 5K in about 2 weeks.

On the floor, both blocks started with a 700 meter row. I wanted to do that in under 3 minutes, and I was able to get that done both times and was able to get faster the second time I tried!

The first block also had squats and single leg deadlifts. I usually do single leg stuff as double leg stuff because my balance isn’t so great, but I gave the single leg deadlifts a try (with lighter weights than I usually use) and was happy to see that they weren’t as tough as I expected. I had to keep putting my back foot down to get my balance again, but as long as I took my time I was able to get them done. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a lot of balance work after surgery (that involved using my core and I know I’ll be restricted on ab work), but this is a good sign that maybe I can keep working on balance stuff later this year.

Friday’s workout was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and was a run/row day. And I also had a friend (Elizabeth, who was with me cheering on marathon runners) taking her first class ever that day! I love having friends join me for class, and a lot of them are signing up for memberships so I get to keep seeing them in class! Elizabeth started on the floor when I started on the treadmill, so we didn’t get to work out next to each other, but I could tell she was having fun.

The run/row format was a tough one. It was a .15 miles all out pace run at 15% incline and each round you brought the incline down 2%. I might have been able to do a little bit of running at that incline, but I didn’t want to overdo things because I knew I would have the Dri-Tri the next day (spoiler for a post coming up later this week!). I ended up power walking all of the treadmill segments but I did bump up my speed a bit more than I normally do so I could make sure that I was getting into the right heart rate zone.

The run/row felt really long this time and I was really glad to be switching over to the floor. We had 3 blocks on the floor this time each. The first block was some weight work with squats, strap work with chest presses, and body weight work with running man and hip bridges. The second block was all work on the BOSU ball with doing arms and ab work. And the last block was all medicine ball work with squats and lunges. It wasn’t an easy class, but I felt super accomplished when I was done. And I think that Elizabeth liked it too and she’ll be coming back to try another class next week!

As I spoiled earlier in this post, I did the Dri-Tri on Saturday (which I’m counting as my 4th workout in the week). But because that’s something special and not really a regular workout, that will get its own post later this week!

LA Marathon (or Cheering On My Friends)

I’ve been cheering on the runners at the LA Marathon for the past few years. It’s a really great event to go out and watch and since so many streets are closed that day the traffic isn’t too horrible (LA drivers stay home when there are too many closures). For the couple of years, I’ve known people who were running in the marathon and that made me want to go out and watch the runners even more. And this year was no exception with almost a dozen friends doing the marathon, many for their first marathons ever!

Even though I’ve cheered on the runners in the past, I’ve never really done much beyond driving over to the course and standing out there to cheer and clap. But this year, I felt like I should do more and wanted to make some fun signs for my friends. I had a couple of ideas of things I wanted to do, went to get some large paper and cut out letters from Staples, and got creative.

The rum and cute one signs are ones I’ve seen at other events or online, but the other two were ones that I came up with. I had let my friends know what signs I had made so they could look for me while they were running and I tried to get out to the course on the earlier side. I also had some friends who wanted to join me for cheering on the runners this year. Normally I’m by myself, but it was nice to know that I would have other people hanging out with me while I waited for my friends to be running by us.

This year (or at least I learned about this only this year), there was runner tracking on the LA Marathon website. So I entered the race numbers for all of my friends and was seeing when they would be close to where we were standing just past mile 19. One friend was so fast that they ended up going past mile 19 before I got out there (they were so fast they qualified for the Boston Marathon!), but there were still plenty of people to be on the lookout for.

The first person I saw going by me was someone I know from Orangetheory. I forgot he was running and wasn’t tracking him, so I’m glad he saw me and got my attention so I could cheer him on. Next was my friend Jonathan who is the business manager for Orangetheory. He ran the marathon last year with Jordan from The Balanced Blonde, but he was running by himself this year. And he was looking pretty calm and happy while he sped by us!

The next people to come by were more Orangetheory friends. Jordan and Terry are usually in Monday workouts with me (Terry and I currently battle over which of us gets treadmill 11 because we both love that one) and they have been training hard together for a while. I know that they were super prepared to run a marathon, but it still made me so happy to see them happy as they came by us. I know how tough a 5K can be on me, I can’t imagine how tough a marathon would be! But Terry saw us with the signs and ran over to us with a smile and a high five for each of us!

Next, there were a couple of the women I know through the Tone It Up Facebook group running. Most of them were people who I haven’t met before in real life, so they had to be on the lookout for me with my sign. But I was following the tracking app carefully and tried to pay extra attention to when I knew they would be close to running by me.

But there was one Tone It Up friend running who I do know. Elva is someone who I met a while ago through the group and we had been at a few of the same events before (she was with me at one of my 5Ks). But she is also my neighbor and lives only a few blocks from my house! She and I have met up for a running hangout (she ran, I did run/walk intervals) and we keep saying that we need to do that more often. It’s tough with our schedules being very different, but I know we will make it happen.

She is such an amazing runner and has done so many races in the past, but this was the first time I would have a chance to cheer her on. I had her in the tracking list from the website, but she was also texting me updates so I would know when she was close. And right on time, she was coming over to me so I could give her a huge hug! I wasn’t expecting her to stop, but I’m glad she did so I could say a quick hi and we could get a fun photo together!

After Elva went by, I didn’t have any more friends I was looking for. But one person who was hanging out with me cheering on runners had a few more friends out on the course so we were all on the lookout for them! There were a few people who we think either quit the race or never started because their tracking on the site was either saying they couldn’t be found or that they couldn’t be tracked. And by 1pm, the sweeper car was getting close to where we were so we knew the runners were almost done. So it was time for us all to head back to our cars to continue on with our day.

I’ve cheered on the marathon runners several times now, but this was the most fun I’ve had doing it! I had so many people I was supporting at the race and that was just so inspiring. And I think having a group made things even better. We were all having so much fun talking about the crazy costumes we were seeing and laughing at the reactions the runners had at our Trump sign (several runners stopped to come over and take a photo of the sign). Hopefully at the next marathon, I can think of some clever signs again and will have more great friends out there to support the runners with me!

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.

Friends and Milestones (or Another Amazing Workout Week)

I feel like I’ve been killing it in my workouts week after week lately! I think that I really just want to do as much as I can in the next month (only 1 month to go until surgery!) and I know that the stronger I am the easier my recovery will be. I also want to see what limits I can push my body to now so I know what I will have to work toward when I’m recovering. I know that recovery will take time, but I think having strong goals to focus on will help me a lot.

Monday’s workout was a strength day and we switched between blocks. Knowing that it was a strength day and there would be inclines, I decided to walk all my inclines. Most of the time, I was walking at 8-10% incline instead of running at 5-7% incline. But I did run one of the 5% push pace to all out pace segments. And of course, I ran all of the flat road pushes and all outs. Inclines will probably be a struggle for me with running for a while, but I’m testing myself with it bit by bit.

On the floor, it was really an arm focused day. The first block was all tricep work and it was really tough. We did tricep chest presses, tricep push ups, and tricep kick backs with weights. My arms were so tired after that block. I wished they had mixed up the arm work and not had all the tricep stuff in one block, but I also know that it was that way to be tough and getting through it is an accomplishment. On the second block, we had strap work with low rows and pull ups. There were also hop overs on the benches which are always tough for me because of my hips. But I was able to almost do them as hops instead of steps which is a big deal for me. And the last block was a row focused one. I had a 200 meter row and really wanted to break the 40 second barrier, but it was done in 40.7 seconds which is so close but it feels like it’s taunting me.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day without switching between blocks. But it worked out pretty well for me even without getting to switch. On the treadmill, blocks 1 and 3 were the same and blocks 2 and 4 were the same. On blocks 1 and 3, I ran everything except for a 1 minute base pace that was in the middle. I probably could have run it, but I was scared of overdoing things and getting too tired. And on blocks 2 and 4 it was almost all 30 second intervals (with walking recoveries) so I was able to run everything. And I ended with a 30 second all out pace at 7.5 mph. That’s super fast and I don’t think I could do it longer than 30 seconds, but it was nice to know I could do a little sprint that quickly.

On the floor, we had a lot of ab focused work. My body wasn’t feeling 100% that day, but I was doing the best I could. Each block started with a sit up exercise, and sometimes I just had to modify it to just be a regular sit up instead of a fancy one. But I was still doing full sit ups and not crunches. Most of the other work on the floor was body weight stuff that was core focused (so more ab work), but we did have a quick rowing block at the very end. It was 30 second intervals like the treadmill was, so I wasn’t too focused on my distances.

Friday was a super awesome day! It was a special workout for St. Patrick’s Day and I had a friend taking her first class then! Grace works for the podcast that I work for and she wanted to test out Orangetheory to see if that could help her get back into a good workout routine. And the special workout that day was a partner workout, so I think it was pretty ideal for Grace to have as her first class. She and I were partnered up the entire time so I was able to help her out the few times that she wasn’t quite sure what we were doing next (but she got a hang of it super quickly and killed it in her workout!).

The partner workout had 3 blocks, but blocks 1 and 3 were the same. And since it was St. Patrick’s Day, a lot of things had 17 in them. For blocks 1 and 3, the treadmill controlled the switched between the partners. The treadmill ran .17 miles and the rower was rowing for distance. I was able to run every time I was on the treadmill and we did some pretty great distances on the rower. I forgot to take photos of our distance, but I do know that we did more in the last block than we did in the first.

And the 2nd block was the big one that lasted 30 minutes. This time, the floor/rower controlled the switching. You had to row for 170 meters and then do 17 reps of various floor exercises. And while the rower/floor person was going, the treadmill person was running until tagged out. I was running the entire time at the beginning because the switching was happening pretty quickly. I was on the treadmill for maybe 2 minutes. But as the block went on, the switching was taking longer and I had to switch things over to doing run/walk intervals. I felt most comfortable doing 1 minute intervals because that is something I’m so used to doing.

Like I said, Grace was so amazing in class especially since this was her first workout at Orangetheory! She was making me want to work harder to keep up with her and to try to be a good example. And I’ll be getting to do more workouts with Grace in the future because after she took that class she decided that Orangetheory is awesome and she got a membership! I’m excited to have another friend at my workouts with me. I love having people in class with me that are so encouraging and it helps me stay accountable since I don’t want to let my friends down.

Saturday’s workout was an endurance day and it was a 3G class so we were only at each section of the room for about 15 minutes. I was able to start on the treadmill and it was a 14 minute run for distance challenge. The longest I’ve run has been 10.5 minutes, but when I did that the longest I had run before was maybe 4 minutes. So I figured I might as well try to run the entire time. Plus, I had a goal in mind that I wanted to be able to run for a mile without stopping before surgery. I haven’t done that since middle school (20 years ago) and it’s a milestone that I’ve wanted to try.

It wasn’t easy to run that long. I was actually pretty tired much faster than expected. But I think that was because I worked so hard earlier in the week. Maybe if this was the first workout of the week I wouldn’t have struggled, but this was at the end. I kept the speed at 4.5 mph almost the entire time and didn’t focus on anything except not stopping. I got my mile done in under 13 1/2 minutes (not a PR but I don’t care since it’s the first mile with no walking breaks) and after 14 minutes I was pretty darn happy with myself and what I was able to do!

Next I was on the floor but I was taking a lot of breaks because I was pretty tired from the run. There was a couple of little blocks on the floor with the first one being leg and shoulder work. Then we had a very short block (maybe 4 minutes) of different types of squats. And we ended with a short core blast with sit ups, back extensions, and planks. And finally I had the rower which was rowing followed by half squats (which were so tough because my legs were done by that point). It was a tough endurance day, but I was so proud of myself for what I did!

With 1 month left before surgery, I’m really working on maximizing all my workouts. I’ll be doing the Dri-Tri again soon and I’m really excited about that. I’m also going to try to do 4 workouts every week leading up to surgery with the exception of the week I have my 5K race. There is another challenge coming at Orangetheory that I’m debating about doing. It’s during April, so I won’t have the full month to accomplish it. But I’m going to try really hard to do what I can. I want to keep having epic workout weeks each week, and it seems like that will be the trend for the next month!

Another Disney Day (or Gaston And AP Days)

I was just at Disneyland last week, but of course I wasn’t going to say no to going again this week! This trip had been planned for a bit because my friend Michelle and I wanted to see what they were doing for the AP Days at Disneyland and this seemed to be the only time we could go when the event was happening. But then they also announced all the Beauty and the Beast stuff at Disneyland so we added wanting to go to the pop up restaurant on our list and were very excited to have a fun Disney day!

When we got to the parks, we were pretty shocked about how crowded it was. It wasn’t spring break and there wasn’t a holiday so we didn’t know why everyone was at Disneyland. It wasn’t unbearably crowded, but it did surprise us. And since we knew the Beauty and the Beast pop up restaurant was a limited time thing, we were prepared to have to wait a while to get food when we were ready to eat.

But before eating, we had some stuff to do! We started with Hyperspace Mountain. I’m trying to get in a bunch of roller coasters before surgery since I know I won’t be able to ride them for a while after surgery. I’m planning at least one more Disney trip before surgery and I know I’ll be going on this again. And Michelle and I tried to do the pose from the Hamilton poster for the ride, but I turned a bit too much to the side so my arm got cut off. But Michelle looked awesome!

Our next stop was right next to Hyperspace Mountain at the old arcade building. That is where the AP Days event was being held. There were some art projects for kids, special merchandise that you could purchase, and phone charging stations. But the photo ops were what we decided to take advantage of!

There weren’t a ton of people inside of the event, so we were able to get through the photos pretty quickly. Then we went on a quick ride on Star Tours (another ride that I won’t be able to go on after surgery) before heading over to the Red Rose Tavern.

We had heard about the insane crowds there since everyone wants to experience it before it goes away (but there is no end date yet). We were prepared for the worst, but when we walked up it was pretty empty! And it was so cute inside. They decorated it to look like Gaston’s Tavern from the movie and there was a lot of stained glass all over.

We took a look at the menu when we walked inside, but since there was no line to order we just stood off to the side to look at the options. And once we knew what we wanted we were able to walk right up to place our orders.

Since we weren’t sure if either of us would be able to be back before this pop up ended, so we decided to order a few things and share them. From friends who have been there already, I heard that the chicken sandwich and poutine were really good so we ordered those plus the two desserts (lemon cake and “gray stuff”) that they had to split between us.

And it was all awesome! This was so much better than regular theme park food and we were both saying how we think they need to keep this permanently at Disneyland! It was a lot of food and we were both feeling pretty full after eating. But that was ok because we had a quick stop before going on any more rides that day.

Earlier in the day I saw that one of my Orangetheory coaches, Whitney, was at Disneyland that day too! She and I were texting and finally we were able to coordinate meeting up when we were done eating. We were on our way to the meeting spot, but while we were walking we happened to see the Gaston character walking around. He’s a character you don’t see that often and he wasn’t stopping for photos. So I ran in front of him and did a quick selfie as he was walking.

After that quick photo, we walked over to Indiana Jones where Whitney was waiting for us. We just hung out for a little bit while she was eating and it was a nice catch up!

Whitney was there with her family so she went off with them and Michelle and I went on a few more rides. We went to Indiana Jones (another one that will not be ok to ride after surgery) and Haunted Mansion before doing our last ride in that park.

Michelle and I have a year-long competition going with Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We have set rules for ourselves, but mainly we have to ride together and we are adding up all the points we get to see who has the most points at the end of the year. I’m winning right now, but that can change so quickly! For some reason, our ride photo left out Michelle’s score, but she got more than double the points I got.

We originally weren’t going to go over to California Adventure, but we ended up wanting to ride on Soarin’ so we headed over there after Buzz Lightyear. But on the way, we did some shopping. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but I always like to see what is for sale at Disneyland. And about a year ago, I saw a set of dog bow ties that I loved but only came in small dog sizes. But this time, they had them in a large dog size!

I called my mom quickly and she confirmed Tucker’s neck size (these will either just fit perfectly or we will add a little extra velcro to make them fit) so I got them for him! Tucker doesn’t dress up too often, but I figured these could be cute for Halloween for him or just for fun outings.  Plus, I love Disney stuff so I want the dog to have some too!

Our ride on Soarin’ was awesome (as always) and by the time we were done with the ride we were both pretty exhausted. I had a big workout before meeting Michelle and she had been working hard. And even though we were only at Disneyland for about 6 hours, it felt like a full day for us!

I’ve had a couple of back to back weeks with Disneyland days. I have another day planned for the beginning of April and that might be my last trip there before surgery. I’m glad that I’ve been able to go so much lately because I know I will miss it when I can’t be there. But for now, I’m just maximizing each day I have there!

Watching The Oscars (or Costumes and Twitter)

I’m sure by now you have all seen and read about what happened at the Oscars. If you haven’t here’s a great article about how the wrong film was announced as best picture, how it happened, and what was done to try to correct it. While that is a huge part of what happened at the Oscars, that was only a small time at the party I was at.

I went to Chris and Marie’s house for the Oscars as I have every year for a long time. It’s a great party every year and I’m always looking forward to it. The group of people who go to the party are a mix of those of us who take the Oscars very seriously and those who aren’t super into the awards but love any opportunity to dress up and hang out.

I had an idea for a costume around New Year’s Eve, but it seemed too complicated for me to figure out how to make and I gave up on it. I had another idea for a costume and even went out and bought things for it, but I decided that I wouldn’t be comfortable in the costume. I started researching what movies came out in 2016 (since the only rule for costumes is that it needs to be related to a movie that came out in the past year), and finally found the perfect idea for me!

I went as Anthony Weiner’s twitter account (inspired by the documentary “Weiner”). I had a dry erase board with his twitter profile picture where people could write tweets and I wrote on tape on my body a couple of statements Anthony Weiner had made after his scandals were in the news. It was another easy/lazy costume, but fortunately people at the party found it really clever and fun.

As always, Chris and Marie decorated their house and yard for the party. This year, the theme was Arrival and they did an amazing job making decorations that were exactly like the movie. I especially loved the photo set up they made with the aliens from the movie!

Since there is a mix of people at the party, the viewing areas are split up. There is the quiet room and the regular viewing area. The quiet room used to be much more quiet, but over the years we’ve gotten a bit chattier. We are still very quiet during all the speeches, but we will occasionally talk or say a comment during the show. And of course we are super chatty during the commercials. But my favorite party of the quiet room is that the video is projected onto the wall of a room so we have a giant screen to watch on!

We have ballots to use for the guess the winners contest at the party, but pretty quickly I knew I wasn’t going to do so well with that. While “La La Land” wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, I knew so many critics loved it and I assumed it was going to win more awards than it did. I also hadn’t seen all of the animated, documentary, or short films so for many of those I had to guess. But so many people and films that I wanted to win did and I was really enjoying the show.

Then there was the moment when the wrong movie was announced as Best Picture. I don’t think I’ve heard so much screaming before during the Oscars. We were all so confused (as was probably everyone watching) and we couldn’t believe what was happening. I’m glad that the error was corrected during the show so the producers from “Moonlight” could get up and speak, but I know that it was a moment during the ceremony that will not be forgotten. I know it was an honest mistake, but it was a big mistake.

I think everyone was in shock after the awards were done, but we all headed to the backyard to start the costume contest. We all go around and announce what our costumes are so we can vote. When I announced my costume, I got a bunch of laughs, but I knew that my costume wasn’t going to be a winner. So many people had amazing costumes and I was just happy to see how creative other people can be.

I loved my friend Regan’s Hidden Figures costume (she was with some friends who played other characters from the movie). Their group got first place in the costume contest.

And the funniest costume I saw was actually the costume I was originally thinking of doing! When I went to see Dr. Strange, I immediately thought how cool it would be to go as the cape from the movie. I was trying to figure out how to make a cape look like it was levitating in front of me, but I never could figure out a simple enough solution. But my friend Andy figured out a really easy way to do it and I think his costume looked so much better than anything I could have done!

After the costume winners were announced, the party started to wind down pretty quickly. Most of the people at the party had to work the next morning (I had an early workout the next morning) so a lot of people were trying to get home. I left pretty early too, but since that’s when most people were leaving I didn’t feel like I was missing too much of the party. I went around saying goodbye to all of my friends and walked out to my car.

On a random side note, this was the first party since my car died on New Year’s Eve and it was a little stressful driving home. Even though I have a totally different car, I was still paranoid something would happen on my drive home. I’m sure I’ll feel like that for a while because things like that stick with me. But I got home safely and I’m so glad that I have a car that doesn’t have any problems!

Overall, it was yet another amazing party for the Oscars. I love getting together to watch the show and it makes me feel a part of an amazing community. Most of us know at least one person who works at the Oscars (I know 3 or 4), and we love getting to celebrate movies and be proud of our friends who are there. Hopefully one day I’ll get to attend the show in person, but I know if that happens I’ll probably miss going to the party since that’s what I look forward to each year!

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!

Game Of Thrones The Musical (or A GOT Newbie)

A little bit ago, I wrote about my friend Erin and her “Once Upon A Time: The Rock Opera”. Even though I don’t watch the show the spoof is based on, I had so much fun and it was really great! It’s not easy for a spoof show to be something for fans of the show and newbies alike, but that’s exactly what Erin did with the rock opera. So when Erin told me that she was a part of a new spoof show, I said I wanted to see it even before I knew what the show it was based on was!

This time, she was a part of “Game of Thrones: The Musical”. I’ve never really seen “Game of Thrones”, but that didn’t stop me from being so excited to see the show! Erin was so generous and gave me a ticket plus an extra ticket to bring a friend. And I ended up bringing my friend Camber who is familiar with the show. I figured that she could help explain anything to me that I wasn’t able to understand.

The show is at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood so it was pretty easy for me to get to (plus they have a parking structure right across the street). The theater had a nice bar (I can’t drink right now but Camber was able to get a great drink) and when the doors opened we were able to get some great seats in the second row where we had a perfect view of the stage.

And just like with the rock opera, this musical was designed very nicely for fans of the show and people who didn’t know the show. There were plenty of jokes that I didn’t get but everyone around me seemed to think were hysterical. But more often than not I felt like I understood everything and was able to follow the storyline of the show.

There were 12 original songs for the show and they were all so funny and I was laughing so hard during almost all of them. Again, the songs had some inside jokes that I missed but I never really felt like I was excluded or lost while watching. That is such a hard balance to find because they didn’t want to dumb down the show for newbies like me to understand everything.

When intermission happened, Camber was able to explain some things to me that I didn’t understand and also explained some of the jokes. I was telling her how my friend Erin was in this and my friend Ace (Erin’s husband) was in the show as well. I was showing Camber the photos from when I saw Ace in “Aladdin” at Disneyland and she thought that was pretty funny. Ace’s character in this show is nothing like Aladdin.

The second half of the show, was just as good as the first. And when it was done I was a little disappointment because I was enjoying myself so much! I never really cared to watch “Game of Thrones” before, but now I really want to! The show is based on a lot of the first season, so I’m thinking about watching the first season and then going back to see the musical again. Then I will be able to get so many more of the jokes!

After the show was done, the cast came out to take photos with everyone. Of course, Camber and I had to take advantage of that!

I got to talk to Erin and Ace after the show to tell them how much I liked it (they both knew I don’t watch the tv show and were pleased to know that I didn’t feel too lost watching it). I really wanted to talk to them more and tell them more about my favorite parts of the show, but there were so many people who wanted to talk to them and I didn’t want to take up more of their time. But hopefully I can tell them later (or they will see this post and know!).

If you are in Los Angeles or will be out here between now and March 12th, I highly recommend checking out the show! The tickets are cheaper if you buy them online (and you can use the promo code “king” for an extra discount!), plus then you don’t have to take the risk that the show will be sold out at the door! And if you aren’t in LA, you can download the soundtrack to the musical. The lyrics are so funny and I think that any fan of the show will love the songs. But I really do think everyone should go to see this show. It’s tough to find great theater that is affordable, and this is one of the better shows I’ve seen. I could see this being on a tour and being a big hit soon. So if you go now, you can say that you knew it before the world knew about it!

Thank you again Erin, Ace, and the entire cast of “Game of Thrones The Musical” for inviting me to see the show this past weekend! I had an amazing time and I really am hoping that I can come back to see the show again before you close!

A Universal Adventure (or Lunch And A Tram Tour)

This past Monday I was originally going to go to Disneyland. That didn’t end up happening (and I’m glad I did change my plans), but since I had my afternoon free I decided to make some other plans. I thought about it for a minute and realized that it has been a while since I went to Universal Studios. I’ve got about 2 months left on my pass and wanted to make sure I went at least one more time before it expired. So I called my friend Robert and he was free too so we decided to go to the park to hang out!

Since I was coming after my workout and Robert had to go to work at 4pm, we didn’t have a ton of time at the park. But since we both have passes and didn’t really care too much about what rides we went on, this worked out perfectly. We made plans to meet up at the gate at noon and I rushed to get ready to drive over to meet Robert. We ended up having pretty perfect timing and got to the front gate within minutes of each other.

As soon as we went inside, we went to get some lunch. Robert has been working his way through the menu at the Three Broomsticks restaurant in the Harry Potter section of the park, so I was happy to go there so I could help him get a few more things knocked off the list. Plus, the food is pretty good there and isn’t like traditional theme park food. I was pretty hungry after my workout (and it was lunchtime), so I got the bangers and mash for my lunch. It was a bit more food than I normally would eat, but it was perfect!

It wasn’t too crowded at the restaurant so Robert and I had a nice time just relaxing and catching up. He works for the Oscars so he’s about to get really busy with helping out at the show. So I wanted to take advantage of the time we had to hang out before he gets too busy with work. We had just seen each other recently (he came over to watch the SAG Awards at my house), but we both have had a lot of things happening in our lives lately. So it was nice to catch up.

After our lunch, we were debating about if we were going to go on a ride or just walk around the park. We ended up deciding to go on the tram tour since that’s always fun to do and it was a pretty nice day out. I had told Robert a while ago about how it was interesting to sit in the very front of the tram because of the way some of the theme park elements of the tour work, and it was awesome to find out that we were going to sit in the first row of the front car!

We had a nice time going through the tour. It is silly and gimmicky, but it’s always fun. I like to see what the backlot looks like when they are filming different shows, and I really do love the theme park elements and how cheesy they can be sometimes. When we were getting close to the Jaws part of the tour, the guide told us that Jaws was under refurbishment and we could not go through it. I could see that it was all torn up, but the guide told us not to be sad because we were in for a special treat. And as we got closer to the ride, we saw that one the animatronic Jaws was off to the side getting ready to be used!

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one of the Jaws out of the water so that was a really awesome thing! I do love the Jaws part of the tour so I’m glad they are working on keeping it looking nice so it will be around for a while to come.

One of the last things on the tour that we always see is my old workplace. I love going past the Bates Motel or Bates house. Even though I had some unpleasant experiences with working Halloween there (specifically with guests who decided to hit or attack me or other employees), I do still look back at that time with happy memories and I miss working there. So getting to see where I worked does make me happy.

After the tram tour, Robert had to head home so he could get ready for work. I thought about staying at the park to walk around a bit more, but I decided to head home so I could avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic. We were in the park for a little more than 2 hours, but even though it was a fast visit it was the perfect thing to do that day!

I don’t know if I’ll be back to the park before my pass expires. I am looking at getting another pass for next year if I can find a good deal like I did this time. But if I don’t make it back for a while, I’m glad that I have had a couple of great days at Universal and really got my money’s worth with the pass.