Tag Archives: friends

Making My Friend Try On Wedding Dresses (or I’m So Glad She Found The Perfect Dress!)

I’m sure that most single women don’t love when their friends get engaged and share all the wedding planning details. But that’s not me. I love hearing about plans and details and all of that! So every time a friend of mine gets engaged, I usually am always asking what’s happening, what they have picked out, and what they still need to do.

When my friend Jane got engaged, she shared about how she was a bit anxious about looking for a dress and I immediately told her I wanted to go shopping with her. She started shopping back east with her mom and didn’t find anything. And after that experience, I think she was a bit hesitant about trying it again. But because I can be bossy, I told her that we had to go check out dresses. We went to David’s Bridal a week ago without an appointment just to see if they could take a walk-in, but they couldn’t. But that gave us a chance to look around at dresses that she wanted to try and I think she was feeling a bit better about the options that were out there.

She got an appointment for this week and I think we were both pretty excited to check out the dresses we liked and to find out what she would like. She mentioned not being sure about certain silhouettes or wanting a veil, but she knew my job was to encourage her to try on things that she wouldn’t necessarily pick for herself because you never know what you will like.

When we had been there the other day, we picked a big variety of dresses for her to try on. Some were short dresses, some long, some were very simple, some were so heavily beaded that we wondered if it would feel too heavy, and most other options you could think of. There was one short dress that Jane thought could be the one and it happened to be at that store so we made sure it was on the list. And when we went back this week, we looked around a bit more and found a few other options that I thought could be nice.

When the consultant came out to meet us, she decided that we should do 5 dresses at first for Jane. 2 of them were ones that Jane loved, 2 were ones that I loved, and then the consultant picked one out on her own. Then we went back to the changing rooms where she took all of Jane’s measurements and I hung out in the waiting area super excited to see what Jane was going to like!

The first dress that Jane tried on was a fun dress with a high-low hem. It was a very plain dress, but that meant we got to have fun checking out options on how to customize it. She tried different belts, different sleeves, and mesh overlays. We found a combination that Jane really loved and I thought that maybe she would end up with the first dress that she tried on. She looked super happy about the dress and I could tell that some of the stress she felt going into the appointment was quickly gone.

The next dress that she tried on was one that I loved that Jane wasn’t sure about.  It wasn’t right because it was too low-cut and even with making a change to fix that wouldn’t make the dress right for her. But I’m glad she at least tried it on. The third dress was another one that I picked out and it was a gorgeous dress with lace and a longer train. Jane was nervous about a dress with a train, but I told her she needed to just try it. And when she walked out, it was such a magical moment!

She looked incredible in the dress! It fit her perfectly and it was just amazing! It wouldn’t be the dress I would expect her to wear, but it being unexpected made it even more perfect! She also tried a veil on with it and the veil made it complete! I was tearing up a bit because she looked like a bride out of a magazine! I had a good feeling that this would be her dress, but I tried to stay calm because I didn’t want to influence her choice.

The next dress was the short dress that Jane loved. It was a fun dress, but as soon as she had it on she knew it wasn’t right for her wedding. And it wasn’t able to beat the previous dress. And the last dress she tried on was one that the consultant picked that was similar to the dress I loved. And when Jane walked out in that one, I knew she was going to have a tough time picking a dress. It was beautiful and she looked amazing in it. She was so confused on which one to get so she decided to try the one we all loved again to see if she still loved it.

And when she got that dress back on, I knew that it was the dress for her! She was just glowing and couldn’t stop smiling. She looked like a bride and looked like herself which is exactly what you want. She mentioned how it was so funny that I picked her dress and how it wasn’t what she was planning on trying on and how it ended up being exactly what she wanted. I would have been happy with whatever dress she got as long as she loved it, but I feel so special that she got a dress that I picked out!

I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the dress (even though she said I could), so I’m only going to share a little bit of the detail on the train.

I wish I could share more of the dress without giving it away because it is just so amazing! And she looks amazing in it! It was so fun to get to watch her find her perfect dress and she kept saying after she picked it out how painless and easy it all was. I’m glad that that’s the experience she had because I am sure that wedding stuff can be insanely stressful and I wanted this to be fun for her.

I feel so lucky that Jane invited me to go shopping with her and that I got to see what her dress looks like! It was such a fun afternoon with her and I feel so special that I got to be a part of that day!

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More Musicals (or Back To A Fun Routine)

It’s crazy to think that my last show at the Pantages was 5 months ago! It doesn’t feel like it was that long but I guess it has been almost half a year since I was at a show there. But the new season of shows just started and my group went to the first show of the year for us!

My entire group has renewed our tickets for this season, so it’s me and my 3 friends at the shows (the next season is announced soon and we are all thinking of renewing again). Every time we go to a show, I realize how lucky I am to have friends who go to shows with me. I had so many years of not going to a show because I didn’t want to go alone and now I’ve had a few years of seeing a ton of shows each year!

Going to our shows have become a fun routine for us. We almost always will meet up for dinner before the show and I love that we make it a full night out instead of just going to a show and going home. There are a couple of places we seem to rotate through for dinner before the show. This time, we decided to go to Shake Shack. I’ve discovered that I enjoy Shake Shack a lot more when I don’t have the bun on the burger, so I get my burgers in a lettuce wrap. And I figured after my tough workout a few hours earlier that day, I earned a shake too.

It was a lot of food and I wasn’t able to finish it all, but it was a nice splurge to have. We did realize that it would be much better in the future if we order on the app than wait in line. Even if we used the app right when we got in line, the food would have been ready first from the app. I guess you live and learn.

We took our time eating (plus the line took about 30 minutes) and walked across the street to the Pantages about 15 minutes before the show was going to start. The first show of the season is Aladdin and we are all big Disney fans. Our only concerns were about how close this show would be to the one we used to see at Disneyland. But we also knew the Disneyland show was pretty short compared to this musical and they had different musical numbers.

I really enjoyed this show! I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorite musicals, but it’s good. There are a lot of classic Aladdin moments that are in the musical, but it’s also its own show. The cast was very talented and the leads were the actors who originated the roles on Broadway. We saw the understudy for Aladdin, but he was very good (I was a bit disappointed not to see the main actor as I was excited to watch him perform).

I think my favorite was the actor who played the Genie. That part is an actor’s dream because you do get to be fun and creative with it a bit. You can change things up with some of the joke and it is such a beloved character. And the actor was so talented and was just a joy to watch! Also, I think he is the funniest character in the show.

And not only were the actors great, we all agreed that the staging and costumes were incredible. The cave of wonders set was probably the best set I’ve ever seen with all the shows I have seen at the Pantages. And the costumes had so many sparkles and we were all mesmerized by them. It’s fun to see a show that is so detailed and elaborate because that’s not always how touring shows are.

It’s so nice to have a full year of musicals coming up. Our next musical isn’t for about 2 months (Aladdin is in LA for a while), but after that we pretty much have something every single month. And with the exception of seeing Cinderella again, every show this season will be a new show for me! And many of them have been shows I’ve been wanting to see. I have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing year of musicals and I’m so happy to get to do this!

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New Year More Brunches (or Awesome Company, Not So Awesome Restaurant Service)

It’s been a while since I’ve had a brunch hangout with my WIF mentoring group. We’ve been meaning to do one, but with our schedules and the holidays it seemed like we couldn’t find a time that most of us could go. We had to keep putting it off, but we finally found time in January to schedule a brunch so we could have our overdue hangout.

So many of our brunches have been at the same place, but we have been wanting to try a new place. I’m not going to name the place we went to (because I’m not trying to publicly shame them), but we went somewhere new for us that was still pretty close to my house so I was happy about that.

Even though our last brunch was a few months ago, I was pretty limited in what my updates were about. I shared about the SAG-AFTRA convention and how I was getting ready for the upcoming pilot season. And since most of the women in the group are friends with me on Facebook, they have seen some of my random posts about online dating and were asking me about what was happening with that. I used to feel pretty bad about my lack of updates, but I’m more comfortable about it now. I know that I am not in total control of when I will have fun and exciting updates but that when I do everyone in the group will be so excited for me!

But for me, the highlight of our meetings is getting to hear what everyone else has been up to. I think that we all had a bit of a slow time because of the holidays so there weren’t as many updates as normal. But we were all understanding with each other and ended up chatting about more social things than business things.

While our hangout was fun, the brunch part wasn’t as good. We ended up having some pretty bad service. When we arrived, it took a while before we got water (the restaurant maybe had 3 other tables with customers) and then another 30 minutes before we could order. When they brought out the food, they brought everyone’s food but mine at first. I assumed that my food would be coming soon, but after 10 minutes I was still waiting. I told everyone else to start eating, but one of the women in the group got mad and tried to figure out where my food was. Finally they brought it out so we could all eat.

I got the pork belly hash and it was pretty delicious. While we were annoyed by the service, the food was at least pretty good. But the service kept being weird. It took about another 30 minutes from the time they took our empty plates to the time we got our checks. And then I experienced something that was the weirdest service thing.

My bill was about $14 and I put a $20 bill in and expected to get change. I was going to leave some of the change as the tip and when I got my change I took out some money to leave. But then I counted what I had left and it didn’t add up. It took me a minute to realize that the server didn’t take money for the bill. All she did was break my $20 into smaller bills and give it back to me. If I hadn’t noticed that, I would have left only paying a fraction of my bill and not leaving a tip at all. Even with not-so-great service, I still wanted to leave a tip. And if I had underpaid, I would have felt horrible. I’m glad I noticed it before I walked out, but I thought it was so strange.

But even with the odd service issues, the brunch was still a great one. I love getting together with the group and having some time to reflect back on what I’ve done and celebrate everyone else’s victories. I know that the rest of the group feels the same way and it was actually something we talked about at our brunch. We know that most of the mentoring groups don’t meet after their mentoring circle is done or on their own during the year of the mentoring circle. I had that experience in my first group. But with this group, we lucked out because we just clicked. There are 2 members of the original group that don’t participate anymore but a majority of us really do our best to make these brunches.

Even though we missed the last few months of last year, I think we are back on schedule for doing these every other month. We might run into the same problem again at the end of the year with the holidays again, but even if we only meet 4 or 5 times over the year instead of the 6 that we try to that is a lot. And I get so much out of each of these meetings so I will take whatever I can get in a year!

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Holiday Cheesecake (or Birthday Twins and Twinkle Lights)

The last few years it has been a tradition for my birthday twin, Joanna, and I to get cheesecake around the holidays. We haven’t always been successful with our timing, but we have been pretty good about at least doing it eventually between our birthday adventures. But this time, I wanted to make sure we were on top of it and I texted Joanna before around Christmas to find out when we could get cheesecake. Somehow, we both ended up being free right before NYE so we made a date for our cheesecake outing.

I was totally looking forward our hangout and then of course it ended up happening right as I was starting to feel my worst. But I wasn’t going to miss this tradition so I took some painkillers and hoped for the best. Fortunately, Joanna is such an amazing friend and understood that I wasn’t feeling so great. So she probably took charge more often in the conversation and I’m so grateful for her for that! We knew that it was going to be crowded and that there would be a wait for a table, but normally when they tell us it will be an hour it’s really just a fraction of that. But this time, we ended up waiting almost 90 minutes for a table. But we were determined to get our cheesecake and figured this just gave us more time to catch up.

We both have been having adventures in online dating so we were sharing stories about that. And she had just been to visit her family so she was updating me on how everyone in her family are doing. It was a pretty chill hangout and catch up but I’m always so grateful that we get to spend this time together. She and I both have weird and sometimes crazy schedules so we don’t get to see each other that often. More often than not, the only times we see each other are for our birthday and for the cheesecake. So we need to maximize each hangout.

Once we finally got a table, we ordered pretty quickly. We’ve both been to Cheesecake Factory enough to know what we want (although the flatbread that Joanna likes was just taken off the menu) and we got to looking at the menu at the cheesecake which was the most important part of the meal to us. I ordered a salad for my dinner and we decided on red velvet and tres leches cheesecake to have. We’ve learned that we can ask the server to split each piece of cheesecake in half, so we each get half of each slice.

Somehow I always have room for dessert even though I was still feeling pretty awful. But I knew I ate too much so we decided to walk around a bit after dinner. All of the Christmas lights were still up at the Grove and it really was beautiful. It was the first time this season that I had seen the lights and I’m glad I didn’t miss my chance to check them out!

We also went to check out the tree, but it’s so big that it’s almost impossible to get a photo of the entire tree!

But we decided that the tree was the perfect background for us to take a photo together!

It wasn’t as crowded by the tree and decorations as it was near dinner, so it was nice to be able to walk around and not feel totally squished. The crowds are the main reason why I rarely go to the Grove, but whenever I go there I’m reminded about how nice it is there and how fun the holiday decorations are. But I think that it will probably be a once a year type of adventure. Plus, most of the stores and restaurants there are places I can go to somewhere else so I’m not always that motivated to drive over there. But it makes a perfect place to meet for our annual cheesecake dinner!

After checking out the decorations, it was time for us to head back to our cars. I really was trying to keep a smile on my face and ignore the pain I was in, but I knew I needed to get home to get some more painkillers in me (I ended up missing a party I was supposed to go to after dinner because I was feeling so horrible). But even though I wasn’t feeling that great, I’m so glad that I went out for cheesecake. It’s an important tradition for us and also it was a nice distraction from how I was feeling!

While I know that Joanna and I have good intentions to try to hang out again before our birthday, I know that there’s a good chance that the next time we will see each other will be for our birthday dinner. But at least we both know that we try to hang out more often and when we do get together we maximize the time that we have!

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Ringing In 2018 (or Being Festive While Being Lazy On The Couch)

I had been looking forward to New Year’s Eve for a while. It’s always a great party and I knew that I’d be seeing a bunch of my friends there. And I was hoping for a much easier time getting home after the party compared to the year before (that’s when my car died). Everything seemed to be going my way until the week of New Year’s Eve.

That’s when I started dealing with the nausea and pain from hormones and I started to question if I was even going to make it to the party. I felt so horrible and wasn’t sure if I’d be a good party guest. But then I realized that not going to the party wasn’t going to make me feel better and I wanted to see my friends no matter what. So I took all my medications to try to help me get through the evening and headed to the party.

I did accessorize with my bracelets with my words of 2017 and 2018 on them because it felt like a fun way to celebrate a new year.

When I got to the party, I wasn’t feeling too bad. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat anything, but I was able to hang out outside and be social with my friends. It was a smaller party than it has been in the past so it was easier to talk to people and catch up.

But after about an hour, I felt like my medications weren’t working anymore and the pain and nausea were getting to me again. I wasn’t going to leave the party, but I decided to go lay down on a couch in their living room to try to feel better. For a little while, I was by myself in there and that was fine with me. But slowly people started joining me in the living room to hang out and dance. I stayed on the couch being lazy and trying to feel better but it was nice to feel like I was still involved a bit.

Pretty much everyone at the party knew the situation with how I was feeling, so nobody was making a big deal out of me not doing much at the party. And people seemed to be making a bit of an effort to come over to hang out with me since they knew I wasn’t going to be getting up from the couch. And while I was feeling bad most of the time, there were moments that I felt like myself again and I managed to take a fun photo with some of my friends.

I was at the party for a few hours, and for a majority of that time I was on the couch not feeling so great. It was nice to have the distractions of my friends, but it was a bit frustrating to not feel like myself and to not be participating as much as I would have liked. Everyone seemed so happy and at times I worried that I was being a downer and bringing the party down (I know in reality I wasn’t, I just felt that way).

Right before midnight we turned on the tv to watch the ball drop (even though it was technically a 3 hour delay from when it happened in New York). I fortunately was feeling slightly better as midnight approached so I got off the couch and joined everyone to celebrate the new year. Even though I don’t drink that much now, I would have had some of the champagne if I was feeling ok. But I didn’t think mixing pain and anti-nausea meds with even a little bit of alcohol was a smart idea. So I toasted the new year with water instead.

I was happy that I made it to midnight with my friends, but right after I decided it was time to head home and get to bed. The party was going strong when I was leaving, but everyone knows that I like to leave before it gets too late because I don’t want to have to deal with crazy drivers on the road. I was also a bit paranoid that something would happen on my drive back like last year. Fortunately, I got home without any issues and was in bed before 1am.

While this wasn’t the New Year’s Eve that I had been looking forward to, it still ended up being a fun time. I think that just being around my friends is what makes these parties so great for me. The next party will be the Oscar party and I’ve already started to work on my costume for it. I’ve got a fun idea for the costume and I think it shouldn’t be too tough for me to do!

Childhood Friend Hangout (or I Don’t Think We Look 18 Years Older)

I’ve always considered myself lucky that I make friends easily. When I go to a party where I know nobody, somehow I will leave that party with a new friend. But the problem with fast friends like that is that the friendship can be fast too. I’ve had so many instant friends who aren’t really my friends a few months later. That’s fine, but it’s always nice when you have a friend that you’ve known for a long time.

My friend Abby is one of my first friends. We met when we were 2 or 3 years old and even though we weren’t in school together growing up we still saw each other from time to time. Abby is the friend who introduced me to my friend Kate (and it’s weird to think of a 9-year-old introducing other 9 year olds to each other). While we weren’t friends who saw each other every day or every week, we were always friends.

We aren’t 100% sure of this, but we think the last time we saw each other in person was when Abby came to my high school homecoming dance my sophomore year. We went as a group that year and she was a party of it. That would have been when we were 15 and we looked like this.

I don’t exactly know how we stayed in touch during college (social media wasn’t a thing then) but somehow we did. And since social media existed we’ve stayed in touch mainly through Facebook. We’ll message each other from time to time. I got her hooked on Old Navy workout clothes and whenever we see a good sale we’ll let the other know about it. And we’ve said that we wanted to get together but it never worked out (she lives in the Bay Area near where we grew up).

But this past week, she was in Southern California for a work convention and she ended up having a little bit of free time during a dinner break on Saturday evening. So I got into my car and drove down to the Anaheim Convention Center (which is so close to Disneyland but my pass was blacked out) to meet up with her. I was so excited to get to see Abby again and realized that we had gone over half of our lives without seeing each other!

We went to dinner at a restaurant near the convention center (but not too close since all of those were so crowded with convention attendees) and finally got a chance to catch up in person! We both remarked about how amazing it is that our friendship has stood the test of time even though we hadn’t seen each other in 18 years. It takes a really special friendship to accomplish that. And it wasn’t weird at all catching up. I think that being in touch on social media helps so we knew what each other had been up to.

She told me about the house that she and her husband bought earlier this year and caught me up on what her family is up to. I told her more of my crazy online dating stories and other bits of randomness that has been going on in my life. But what was the greatest thing about this dinner was how totally normal this was. It felt like we were catching up after not seeing each other for a few months, not years!

Unfortunately, our dinner was quick because Abby had to get back to the last session of the conference she was attending. But of course, we had to get a photo to prove that we hung out together!

But when I put the last photo I know we were in together with this new one, I really can’t believe that there is an 18 year difference in them! I don’t think I look 18 years older in the photo than the old one and neither does Abby. Maybe I’m not a good judge of how old we look, but it doesn’t look that different to me.

When I dropped Abby off at the convention center again, we told each other that we couldn’t let 18 years go by before we see each other again. I know that we can’t promise that it won’t, but we are both really going to make an effort to make sure that doesn’t happen. But if somehow that does happen, I know that our friendship will last and when we do hang out again that it’s not going to seem like that much time has passed (but seriously Abby, we can’t let 18 years go by!).

I feel so lucky to have amazing friends like Abby in my life. I know that not everyone is as lucky as this and don’t have friends that have known them for over 30 years. While it’s nice to be able to make friends quickly like I can, I am so much more grateful for the lifetime friends (or the new friends who will last a lifetime).

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Union Holiday Party (or Seeing A Lot Of People In A Little Time)

This seems to have been the week of parties. On Monday I had the 300th episode party for the podcast. On Tuesday I was supposed to go to a holiday party but I ended up being too tired to go (I was still recovering from Monday). And Wednesday was the SAG-AFTRA holiday party!

I’ve gone to the holiday party before and knew it would be pretty crowded. But I think I kind of forgot how overwhelming the entire party could be. I was still feeling tired from the week and had spent Wednesday working and working out. As soon as I was showered from my workout, I got into my car to go to the party. I knew I was missing the beginning of the party, but I wasn’t too worried about that. Last time they were running low on food toward the end of the party, but I was feeling a bit off besides being tired and didn’t feel like eating. So lack of food at the party wasn’t a concern for me.

As soon as I arrived and got in line, I started to see friends of mine. That is one of the great things about being more involved in the union. The more events I go to the more I recognize people at other events. It’s still a bit much going to a party like this alone and I had wished a friend could have come with me. But at least I knew I’d be seeing a lot of friends.

Once I was in the party, I started to try to make a lap around the room the best that I could to see who else I knew there. It seemed like everywhere I looked I knew at least one person so that was pretty awesome. Some of my friends there had been up since 3am that day because the SAG Awards nominations were announced that morning. That put my tiredness into perspective for me!

It was nice to have a fun social event to catch up with actor friends. We didn’t really discuss union issues, there was no need to talk about election season, and everyone was in a fun and festive mood. I didn’t take any pictures, but fortunately I had friends who took pictures with me so there is some evidence that I was at the party!

Since I got there late, I wanted to stay until the end of the party. But things just weren’t working for me that night. I was having a great time catching up with my friends and wanted to do more of that, but I knew I needed to get back home. I didn’t want to drive and feel tired so I wanted to leave before the tiredness started to feel worse. And my body was just feeling worse. I have a tendency to get stress sick (where you get sick right after something that was stressing you out) and I think I got that from worrying about the podcast party. I knew that I could potentially stay longer, but I would be paying for that later and I didn’t want to have to worry about that.

I only ended up being at the party for about an hour or so and I wish I could have been there longer. But at least in that hour I saw so many people who I knew. There were a few people who I saw in photos later that I didn’t get to see in person, but I think I saw a majority of my friends there. I felt like I had been pretty social and got to catch up on life with people. I think a lot of people were feeling tired and stressed so at least I wasn’t alone in that feeling. And my friends understood when I wasn’t acting like my normal bubbly self.

Of course after this crazy party week I don’t have any more big holiday parties that I can think of besides NYE parties. It would have been nice to have all the parties spread out so I could have enjoyed each one (and attended all of them), but things don’t normally go like that. I’m just glad that I didn’t feel too tired or sick to get to the union holiday party and that I did have a great time in the limited time that I spent there!

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Celebrating 300 Episodes (or We Had Another Amazing Party)

I’ve shared on here before when the podcast I work for celebrated 100 and 200 episodes. And this week, we celebrated 300 episodes! I’ve been with the podcast for a long time, but it’s still pretty crazy to me on how many episodes we’ve done. And I couldn’t be more proud of our hosts, Trevor and AJ, for everything they’ve done.

This time, we didn’t do a live recording. Instead, we did a week in the life of a series regular with Chelsey Crisp. We had been working on interviews for a few months and Chelsey even did some interviews for us so we could hear from cast members who weren’t available when we were on set! This interview (or I guess series of interviews) ended up being so incredible and I am very proud of it.

But just because we didn’t do a live recording didn’t mean we didn’t want to have a party and celebrate this milestone episode! It actually ended up being easier not having the recording because we only had 1 location to worry about. I wasn’t stressing out about getting back and forth and was able to focus completely on the party. And I wasn’t doing the planning alone. The podcast community manager, Deb, was the co-planner (and honestly did more than I did).

Since we were only focused on the party, we tried to make it as amazing as possible. We wanted to have a step and repeat again with photo booth props. Adam Emperor Southard (who did my headshots in the past) was able to be our photographer and Deb and I did some shopping and creating for some fun photo booth props. We did have a lot of things on our own, but we also found an awesome 99 Cents store that had so many costumes and props for us to buy! But one of my favorite things we had was an Instagram photo frame that Deb made. It looked so good and everyone loved taking photos with it!

(BTW, all photos in my post were taken by Adam and I highly recommend using him for any headshots or photo shoots you might have)

I didn’t take as many photos this year as I had in the past, but I still tried to get some good ones. I wanted to get one with Grace, who is the podcast PR manager and my Orangetheory buddy!

And I got one with my friend Nick. But him being at the party is a bit of a cool and crazy story. Nick and I were in improv class together 2 years ago. We became Facebook friends while we were in class together but hadn’t seen each other since the class. But the morning of the party, he messaged me on Facebook to say that he just started listening to Inside Acting and heard that the production coordinator had the same name as me and he wanted to know if it was me. I told him it was and that we were having our 300th episode party that night. He happened to be free and made it to support us! It’s so crazy how perfect the timing was with that all because if he started listening to the podcast one day later he would have missed the party and I would have missed getting to see him again!

And of course, we had to get a team photo of the entire Inside Acting team. It’s rare for us all to be together so we wanted to take advantage of this moment!

But we also needed to get a fun team photo to take advantage of all the props we had! Besides the Instagram frame, I loved our speech bubbles. Many of them had phrases that the hosts say often on the podcast and they thought it was hysterical that we had those speech bubbles.

But we didn’t just have a party with photos, we wanted to make it seem more like an event. Since our 300th episode was focused around one episode of “Fresh Off The Boat” that Chelsey was filming, we decided to screen the episode at the party. But what the guys didn’t know was that Deb and I planned a surprise for them before the screening.

I reached out to all of our past guests, past team members, and current team members asking for anyone who was interested to send us a video of telling the guys congrats on reaching 300 episodes. We got several videos back and I worked on editing it down so it was a more manageable length to watch. They had no idea that we did this and I was terrified that the surprise would be spoiled by someone. But it wasn’t (even when it started to play without sound and we had to start over) and it was obvious from looking at the guys that they were so touched that we did this and they had no clue that we were planning any sort of surprise like this.

And if you are interested in watching the video we made for them, you can check it out here:

We also had a raffle where we gave away a lot of fun prizes. Everyone seemed really into the raffle and I think we will have to do it when we have our party for the 400th episode in about 2 years. We were giving away headshot sessions, coaching sessions, demo reel editing, and other fun things.

And while I was stressed out for pretty much the entire party (I just wanted everything to go perfectly), I did try to take some time to sit back and reflect on this milestone episode and the incredible community that this podcast has created. I loved seeing listeners meet each other for the first time, talk to the guys about how they loved one episode or another, and just have a fun time at a party that we were throwing. It was a really special night and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it.

I told both Trevor and AJ how proud I am of them at the party, but there are seriously no words to express how I feel about these guys. They created this podcast that has turned into a resource that so many actors use to educate themselves about the industry. We get the best guests and we are so lucky that guests are now reaching out to us instead of us always reaching out to them. I know that this podcast is going to continue to grow and it will only be getting better. Saying that I love them both and that I’m so grateful to them only scratches the surface of how I feel. I am just so incredibly lucky that they are my friends and that I get to help them with the podcast.

Now that we finished our 300th episode, I’m already trying to plan how we can top it when we have our 400th episode. Fortunately, I’ve got about 2 years to work on that and I’ve already got some ideas of what I want to do. I know that I don’t have to keep topping myself with these milestone podcast events, but I like to have something to work toward. And I know that Trevor and AJ deserve only the best when we have these milestones.

If you are a listener to Inside Acting, thank you so much for your support! I am so grateful to all of our listeners because there would be no podcast without them! And I just want to make sure that I keep the podcast as great as our listeners expect it to be and I hope that I can keep that up!

Bonfire At The Beach (or A Winter Birthday That Feels Like Summer)

My friend Dani had a  birthday celebration at Disneyland last week, but she was celebrating a milestone birthday so she had to do multiple birthday parties (which I totally support!). She had been trying to figure out what to do for her birthday and she finally decided on a beach bonfire! I hadn’t done one of those in a while, so I was super excited to get to celebrate with her that way.

I had a few things to do before meeting everyone at the beach and the sun was setting as I arrived. It was a gorgeous sunset and I’m glad I didn’t miss it!

And since we’ve been having a bit of a heat wave lately, it wasn’t that cool on the beach when the sun set. Dani and her friends had gotten there much earlier so they already claimed a bonfire pit and had everything set up. It was a much better setup than when I’ve gone before. They had chairs, blankets, and a table for all the food. And the fire was going by the time I joined them all.

It was just a good old-fashioned classic beach bonfire. They had hot dogs that we roasted over the fire and lots of snacks to have with them. And we also had s’mores. Dani recently got nice roasting skewers so we didn’t have to search the beach for sticks or anything. And all the food was so good, even if I did burn a hot dog or two. There were a few hot dogs and hot dog buns that fell into the fire, but it just added to the flames. But watching everyone have random fails with trying to cook the food gave us all a good laugh.

From the beach, we were actually able to see the glow from the fire in Ventura County. It was weird to see that and it reminded me how close the fires are to us. The fire closest to me is not as bad as it used to be, but the fires that are a bit further are still not contained and houses are burning down. And we also saw fireworks from Marina Del Rey from our beach. It was a weird juxtaposition to see the glow from flames plus fireworks and having a bonfire on the beach. I think we were all a bit weirded out by that, but we tried to not think about it too much.

But what was best about Dani’s birthday party was just getting to have a fun nice relaxing on the beach with awesome people. I didn’t know a lot of the people who were at the party so it was nice to get to meet new people. And Dani was just so happy to see people from different parts of her life joined together and having a good time. I can totally relate to that feeling because that’s what makes me so happy when I’m hosting a party too.

I had a date about a month ago where I was telling the guy I was with that I never made it out to the beach during the summer and I figured it would be a while until I made it out there. I never thought I’d have a bonfire on the beach during the winter but it really was awesome and I’m glad I got to get to the beach. I know I need to take advantage of being so close to the beach more often but it’s not something I think of doing on my own. So I’m glad that Dani wanted a beach bonfire birthday so I got out to the beach at some point this year!

Another Disney Birthday (or Eating All The Foods Again)

I love getting to celebrate my friend’s birthdays at Disneyland. I don’t really get to do it since my birthday is during the summer blackout for my annual pass. But celebrating someone else’s birthday at Disneyland makes me as happy as if it were my birthday. And this week, I was at Disneyland to celebrate my friend Dani’s birthday!

And not only was it an adventure to celebrate Dani’s birthday, we also wanted to go and try more of the foods at the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. I had gotten to try several things the last time I was there, but there was so much that I wanted to try. And I still had a lot of tickets left of my Sip and Savor pass and this was possibly the last chance I would have to use it.

When we got to the parks, we immediately headed to the annual pass area for the Festival of Holidays so Dani could get her Sip and Savor pass. We all knew we’d be trying a bunch of food, and the pass really was the best option for us.

Over the time that we were in the parks, we all got to try a lot of food. I personally got the brisket, a eggnog macron, crab salad on polenta, a pretzel, and chocolate pot de creme. It was all delicious and the serving sizes were pretty good. I ate a bit too much, but I couldn’t help myself!

And between the eating, we did get some rides in. We let Dani pick the rides since it was her birthday. She wanted to check out California Screamin’ before it goes down for refurbishment.

And we went on Guardians of the Galaxy where we finally had a new song on the ride! I have now heard 4 of the 6 songs so I’ll hopefully complete that list soon.

And we went on Dani’s favorite ride, Toy Story Mania. It took 2 tries to get on that ride because it broke down right before we rode it, but we returned later that night and we were able to get on before we left.

We usually have a plan when we go to Disneyland, but this time we didn’t. So we ended up doing a lot of walking and going back and forth a lot. It was great because we all got a ton of steps in (we figured we walked about 7 miles that day), but I was feeling some pain.

But when we went over to the Disneyland side, I had a chance to rest. My friend Christopher was at Disneyland with his wife and kids. They were hanging out on a bench waiting to watch the castle light up at night. So we decided to join them and check out the castle. It was a very windy day so we knew the fireworks would be canceled, so this was our only chance for nighttime entertainment while we were there. It was awesome getting to catch up with a friend and we all loved seeing the castle change to the winter look. And while the castle was undergoing its transformation, fake snow was falling which just seemed magical!

The last ride that we went on at Disneyland was Small World Holiday. It’s always so pretty to see all the lights on the facade of the ride.

And the ride is fun during the holidays too. It’s different from the version during the rest of the year and I’m always happy to ride it. I don’t mind the regular version, but the holiday one is much better in my opinion. Maybe it’s all the extra lights that they add inside the ride!

After our ride, we decided to get a nice photo in front of the castle. Michelle’s annual pass includes Photopass photos now, so it’s nice to be able to take advantage of the photographers that Disneyland has. There was a line for the photos, but it went pretty quickly so we were able to get our nice group photo without too much of a wait.

By that point, we had walked back and forth quite a bit between the parks and it was starting to get cold. The temperature wasn’t too bad, but the wind made it feel much worse. We all decided that even though we would have loved to have gone on a few more rides that night, we were ready to head back (and to get into a nice warm car!).

My pass is good for part of next week and then I’m blacked out until the new year. I don’t think I’ll be making it next week but I know I’ll be back in January when my pass is good again. It’s almost time to renew my Disneyland pass and there is no question that I’ll be doing it. I get so much happiness out of my Disney days and I can’t imagine not having them anymore!