Tag Archives: friends

I’m Celebrating (or Healing My Soul At Disneyland)

Like I said in my post about my new monthly challenge, I’m working on reconnecting with myself since my medical miracle. And I think it comes as no surprise that one way I wanted to get back to normal is to go to Disneyland! I was so sad when I was there the last time thinking that it was almost like a goodbye to the parks. So this time I was celebrating coming back to the parks and not having surgery!

Of course, since it was a celebration about my liver, I had to wear my liver shirt. I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll have to wear it, so I have to take advantage of each time that I can.

I went with Michelle and Lauren and all 3 of us were in agreement that we wanted to just have a fun day at Disneyland. There was nothing that we really felt like we had to do, so we decided to take our time and get on one of the Main Street vehicles to get down toward the castle. As we entered the park, the fire truck was getting ready to go so we hopped on board and enjoyed not having to walk through all the crowds.

We heard that the regular Space Mountain is coming back soon we wanted to go on HyperSpace Mountain to enjoy the ride while it was still here. Again, I tried to get my shirt in the photo but I think I just have to accept that this is a tough shirt to read on ride photos.

Right after riding that ride, I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. It took me by surprise, but I realized that being at Disneyland was healing my soul. I’ve been working on getting back to being me and not thinking of the surgery and tumors but it’s been something in the back of my mind for so long now. And when the surgery was cancelled it was so weird that this feeling didn’t go away. I didn’t know what would make me feel like me again and I guess Disneyland was what I needed. When we were done with that ride I turned to Michelle and said that I thought that my soul was just healed. It’s so weird that this is what I needed but I’m so glad that it was! I feel so much better now and I was happy to get on with the rest of my day and enjoy Disneyland!

Our next stop was to get lunch and we had made reservations at one of the sit down restaurants in New Orleans Square. We wanted to be able to relax and enjoy ourselves and it was awesome sitting in the shade (it was a hot and sunny day) and having some good food. I got a steak sandwich which was the special they had and it was delicious!

And since it was so hot out, I was convinced to go on Splash Mountain. I don’t like water rides and I haven’t been on Splash Mountain in a long time, but it seemed like the perfect thing to go on that day. Lauren and Michelle told me that sitting in the back was where I had the lowest chance of getting soaked and I trusted them and hoped for the best.

And they were right! I got a bit wet, but nothing too horrible. And Lauren gave me some great tips on how to keep my shoes from getting soaked (I hate having wet shoes for the rest of the day). We tried to do a “hear no evil, say no evil, see no evil” photo, but itls a bit tough to see us with how we were sitting.

After Splash Mountain we decided to do the other New Orleans Square rides that we love and went on Haunted Mansion and Pirates Of The Caribbean (Johnny Depp was not performing live on the ride that day). And then we headed back to Tomorrowland for another ride on HyperSpace Mountain.

That may be the last time I ride it as HyperSpace Mountain (unless they bring it back again another time), but it was a great ride that time and I was pretty happy knowing it might be the last time on that version of the ride.

And of course, since Michelle and I have a year-long battle on Buzz Lightyear happening right now, we had to go on that. Michelle is catching up to me so I need to work on improving my game!

It was about rush hour then so we decided to do a few more rides before leaving. And then Lauren surprised me with a button that she had gotten from a Cast Member after we went on Buzz Lightyear.

I was so touched that she got that for me! We are new friends and the only other time she was at Disneyland with us was when it was thought to be my last trip before surgery. And when we met up this time she was so excited to be able to celebrate me not having surgery. It’s fun being able to celebrate this (and I keep celebrating since I keep seeing different people) and getting an “I’m Celebrating” button was just awesome!

Our next to last ride was Small World. I don’t usually go on Small World, but the line wasn’t too bad and it is a fun one to go on. I know that many people didn’t like when they added Disney characters into the ride, but I like it and think they blend in pretty nicely. And I love seeing the topiaries in the front of the ride and how pretty it looks on the outside.

And for the final ride of the day, we went on another one that I don’t do too often: The Matterhorn. I think the last time I went on it was with my parents. I love the yeti on the ride, but it’s such a bumpy ride and I always seem to hurt after it.

But we all agreed we would go on it and it would be the last ride of the day so if we hurt too much that we would be able to go home right after. I think that the ride cars have been changed since the last time I went on it because they felt more padded than I’m used to. But I was still worried about how I would feel after the ride was done.

And as I expected, I loved the ride except how bumpy it was. It wasn’t as bad as before, but still not something that I would want to do every time I’m at Disneyland. But I’m glad I rode on it and now I can wait another year or so before doing it again.

Considering that we got to the parks at about 1pm and had a sit down lunch, I think we got so much done in our day! The benefit of being a pass holder is not needing to rush around to do everything and I love that we can just have fun and not stress about getting in too many rides. But somehow we did get in a bunch and that made the day even better!

And having my soul healed by Disneyland (or whatever you want to call it) really was an added bonus. I wasn’t expecting that at all but looking back at it I think it makes sense. While I’ve been working on getting back to normal life to feel normal, Disneyland is a big part of my life and going there does give me a sense of normalcy. I feel like I can move on and focus on doing everything that I was doing before and not thinking about my next MRI and the possibility of needing surgery in the future. I want to have fun now and enjoy life and that’s exactly what my day at Disneyland accomplished!

 

Friends and Family Workouts (or Getting Pushed To Do Better)

This past week of workouts was awesome! And it’s not just because I had thought for so long that I wouldn’t be able to work out. I really had some great things happen in my workouts and in each workout I had someone with me to cheer me on! I was planning on doing 4 workouts once I knew that I wouldn’t be having surgery, but it ended up being a 3 workout week. But that’s ok because I think I got more out of each workout than a normal workout day!

Monday’s workout was while my parents were still in town. One day I’ll get my mom to take class with me, but this time it was just my dad. He’s done a couple of Orangetheory workouts before so he knew what he was in for. And since he reads this blog (hi Dad!) he knows what some of the workouts consist of so he can try doing things at his gym. Since going to Orangetheory he has started to use inclines on the treadmill and he pushes himself harder in his workouts. But he always says that he works hardest when he’s in a class with me because there is a coach pushing him on (plus, he and I are competitive).

The workout on Monday was endurance, strength, and power and we didn’t switch between blocks. My dad and I started on the treadmill and the first block was endurance based. We had some longer push paces and I was able to run all of them (I really did want to impress my dad with my running). The second block was a mix of strength and power and we had only short all outs but they were all on hills (3, 5, and 7% incline). I usually don’t run at those higher inclines, but again I wanted to impress my dad so I did it! It wasn’t too bad doing the 7% incline for only 45 seconds, but I don’t think I’m ready for longer running at that incline. So with the last block, it was longer hill time so I spent that block walking all my inclines. But even with the walking, I got to about 2 miles on the treadmill in class.

On the floor, each block started with rowing. Rowing is where my dad and I are most competitive. He easily beats me with running and I almost always beat him with weights. But rowing is where we challenge a lot. He still tends to beat me, but I’ve had some great rowing workouts lately and he doesn’t usually get to row at his gym. So I was happy to see what we were going to do. Between each of the floor blocks we had a 300 meter row (I did it in 1:03.3 and my dad did it in 1:03.1), a 90 second timed row (I got 384 meters and my dad got 387 meters), and a 15 stroke pull test (I don’t remember the exact numbers but I beat my dad that time). This was the closest I’ve been to beating my dad on the rower and that was awesome! I’m even more excited to see what I will be able to do by Thanksgiving!

While we were rowing, another friend in class took a photo of me and my dad getting our rowers set up. It is a super cute photo and I loved seeing that the official Instagram account for my Orangetheory location put it up in their Instagram story!

I think my dad was super excited to see us on there (and he doesn’t use social media so for him to be excited about it means it’s that much more awesome). For the rest of the workout that day we had squats, chest presses, lunges, triceps using the straps, plank work, and ab work. I think my dad had a great time working out with me and he said he was a bit sore the next day.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and my friend Dani was in class with me! It was a switch day, but we did 2 treadmill blocks back to back before switching the first time. The running was mainly very short segments (either push to all out paces or just all out paces) and I ran all of those and then walked my base paces. It was a pretty good speed running day for me but I didn’t hit any new records with my speeds. But to me, I’m still so happy that I can run so I’m always impressed with running days. I did end up walking the last treadmill block, but that’s because of what I did on the floor.

When we moved to the floor, we mainly had squats with shoulder work and then sprint rows in-between the sets. The sprint rows were 100, 150, and 200 meters and Dani and I decided to race. Dani is insanely good at rowing and I knew that she could always beat me, but the idea of racing her would probably help me get my sprint rows done faster. And while Dani did beat me each time, I managed to do some PRs and almost PRs with my rowing! The downside to that was that I was starting to hurt pretty badly after the rowing. My hip was killing me and I was starting to get some stomach cramps. So because of that, I had to take it easy for a lot of the workout (which is why I walked on the treadmill).

My last workout of the week was on Friday and my friend Elizabeth joined me! She’s a new member of Orangetheory and we aren’t always able to be in the same classes. But she might be able to start going to the same time on Fridays as me. And our workout this day was a run/row that had endurance, strength, and power elements to it. I was excited for a run/row and this one seemed pretty awesome for me. The running segments that I got to were .5 miles, .4 miles at 2%, and .3 miles at 3%. I was able to run all of them (not run/walk, just run) and it’s still so amazing to me that I can run for .5 miles without stopping!

For the rowing, I only got to 2 rowing segments which were 100 meters and 200 meters. My 200 meter row was good, but nothing special (I was also pretty tired by that point). But for my 100 meter row I decided to see what I could do. My PR for that distance is 17.7 seconds and I had done 17.8 seconds on Wednesday. I was going as fast and as hard as I could on the rower and I managed to get it down to 17.6 seconds! At the speed I’m going on that row, there isn’t a ton of room for improvement so just taking that .1 seconds off is a huge accomplishment! I didn’t get that far down the run/row plan, but that’s because my running is still on the slower end of things.

On the floor, each block was 3 moves and then we were supposed to hold a plank until time was called. We had a nice mix of things including hop overs, lunges, squats, burpees, chest presses, and bicep work I only made it to the point that I had to hold a plank once and holding the plank was tough. I don’t think I hold plank too often in my workouts and that got me thinking (more on that tomorrow).

I’m so glad that I was able to work out this week and that I’m already back to my normal workout schedule. I had been so worried about how much time I was going to have to take off and I’m glad that I didn’t have to experience that. I’ve made so much progress lately because I was worried about the time off, and I’m thinking that pushing myself all that time was perfect. I’ve proven to myself that I can do more than I thought and I have the intention to keep that momentum going.

Another Actor Night (or A Diversity Panel)

Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’ve been trying to get back into acting any way that I can right now. While auditions are hard for me to get, there are so many opportunities in other ways and I’m really working on making myself more available to them. When I was at the Next Gen Performers mixer, they mentioned the event that would be happening in April. I assumed I couldn’t go, but it ended up working out perfectly for me to be there!

I spent the day with my parents (this was on their last day in LA) and then after we were done hanging out I got into my car and drove to downtown LA. The event that was happening was more than just a mixer, it was a panel on diversity in the entertainment industry and I was super excited to hear what the panelists had to say.

A lot of times people think of diversity as just ethnicity, but it really is so much more. There is diversity in ages (so not everyone is in their 20’s), diversity in appearance (so not everyone is beautiful and thin), and diversity in abilities (so deaf characters aren’t only played by hearing actors). And of course diversity in ethnicity is a big deal too and that was discussed by the panel a lot.

I haven’t experienced too much discrimination except with my weight, so I don’t always understand the struggle others have due to lack of diversity in roles. But being at this panel and listening to the stories really got me thinking about how I can help and what I want to see in the future with projects that I want to support. I love being able to learn about the industry and the issues that other actors experience and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

The panel was about 2 hours long (I was a bit late but I was able to be there for most of it and just took a seat in the back so I didn’t disturb people) and when it was done we all headed around the corner to the Far Bar for the post-panel reception.

I had never been to the Far Bar, but it was a pretty great place! The space was reserved for our group but we were a pretty big group. Every seat was taken by the time I got there and I found some of my friends and we just hung around the bar to wait for the food that was being served to come by us. We spent time just catching up (again, I was around people who wanted to learn more about how I was able to not need surgery) and then I noticed that the Next Gen Performer signs were out for people to take photos with.

Then I volunteered to help get some fun photos with the signs. I walked around helping to encourage others to take photos and then I had a weird idea. The bar had a balcony/loft area and I thought it would be cool to have a picture of the party from above with the signs being held up in the background. I recruited my friend Woody to help me and I think the photo ended up looking pretty fun!

I was just having such a great night out being around other creative people and feeling the positive energy that was in the room. I’ve realized lately how much I’ve missed doing this and how I’ve forgotten how much it makes me happy. It’s so easy for me to be in my normal routine and to not do too much at night, especially if it’s an evening after I workout at Orangetheory. Usually when I get home from a workout I shower, eat dinner, and just relax the rest of the night. But I could make more of an effort to go out after to do things that make me happy and help me network and make more connections to help advance my acting.

Sometimes you need a kick in the butt to take some action that you really should have been doing. And for me, I guess I needed the idea that I would be out of the acting game for a while and then not have that happen to make me realize that I needed to make more efforts to get out there. I haven’t been slacking on my acting career, but I haven’t been doing everything I should be and I know that I can’t just relax and let my career happen to me. I need to get out and make things happen for myself and see what is possible.

I’m not sure what the next actor event will be that I can attend. I need to look at the SAG-AFTRA calendar and see what I can attend and see what other groups might interest me. But my motivation is so strong now to be out there more and I think that this is going to be a really great thing for me!

Tweetup Time (or Back To Acting)

I took a bit of a break from acting recently. This wasn’t by choice, however. When I thought I needed surgery, I had to book out with my agents. I knew there would be time that I wouldn’t be able to work which also meant I couldn’t audition for projects. I hate having to book out time, but it was necessary. And as soon as I knew surgery was cancelled, I booked back in but there was still going to be a bit of time before I knew I could get an audition. I don’t get a ton of auditions, plus now is a bit of a slow time for the entertainment industry.

So I am working on getting back into the game whatever way I can. Even though my parents were in town, I knew that they usually don’t want to be busy too late in the evenings. So when I remembered that the LA Actors Tweetup was going to be while my parents were here, I realized the timing was pretty perfect! I could spend the day with my family and then go to the Tweetup at night.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Tweetup, so I was glad that I could finally make it to one. A lot of the people who I used to see at the Tweetups either don’t usually go anymore or they aren’t in LA or actors so they don’t attend. But I know that there are always great people at the Tweetup and was excited to get to meet new people. So after hanging out with my parents for the day I drove to the Tweetup and was ready to get back into the Tweetup world!

One of the newer things that the Tweetup has been doing is having guest speakers. It’s nice that it’s not just a hangout at a bar anymore and that it’s a more educational evening. This time, it was a casting session director who was speaking and we were encouraged to bring our commercial headshots with us for a game. I forgot to bring my headshots in with me from the car, but I had my business cards on me so I put that in the pile.

The idea of the game was to have someone who doesn’t know us look at our photos and see if we really look like our headshot. It’s so important to look like your photo so they aren’t surprised or disappointed when you walk into the audition. I’ve lost some weight since my last photos and know I need to take some new ones, but I was still hoping to get some good feedback.

At first, I got amazing feedback. The guest thought my photos were great and had a lot of personality. But later he told me that once he looked at me in better light he didn’t think I looked like one of my photos anymore. He felt like my headshot made me look ethnic when I’m not. That’s not the best thing and it’s something that I’m going to think about when I do my photos the next time. But at least he liked the other photo on my card and felt that it looked like me.

After the speaker, it was time to chat with everyone at the Tweetup. I think that I only knew about 4 people who were there, so it was nice to get to meet a lot of new people. And the people who I already knew were excited to see me because none of them had seen me in person since I got my good medical news. It makes me so happy that everyone is so happy for me. And any time I get to celebrate something good in my life is a plus for me! I sometimes feel like I don’t have as much to celebrate, so I’m taking advantage of this.

As with most events I go to, I had every intention of trying to leave at a decent hour so I could get home and go to bed. But I kept getting sucked into really great conversations and before I knew it a few hours had passed since I originally said I was going to leave. But the time I spent there was so worth it. I’ve felt a bit disconnected in the past week or so from my acting life and this was a great way to jump right back into it.

Hopefully the momentum I felt from attending the Tweetup will continue and will help me get back into the normal swing of things quickly. With the tv season being over and a potential writers strike happening I know that acting opportunities are going to be limited. But I need to do whatever I can on my own to get back into whatever I can and to be as prepared as possible for all opportunities that may come my way.

LA Staycation (or Hanging Out With Family and Friends)

Normally, I try to keep myself pretty busy. Between work, workouts, acting, and having a social life my calendar can get full. And when I have downtime, sometimes I stress out that I should be doing more and I don’t feel like I’m really enjoying some free time. I don’t get to take vacations that often because I don’t have the money to do it and I don’t have paid time off. So I’m pretty much in a routine in my life in LA.

I’ve been joking for a while that my vacation this year was going to be the time in the hospital after surgery. I knew that while I was in the hospital I would have no responsibilities and wouldn’t have to worry about what I should be doing. And then when surgery got cancelled, I started to look at my schedule again to try to get things back to normal. I’m not taking that much time off of work because I want to save the banked hours for future things. But I did take a few days off since my parents are here in LA for the week (they couldn’t cancel their trip when my surgery was cancelled so they decided to have a low-key trip here).

Most of the time that my parents have been here, we’ve been doing a lot of lazy stuff. And honestly, all that lazy stuff has been perfect with me. I’m not working most of the days they are here (I did work on Saturday since my shift was done at 11am) so we have the entire day free. And we did try to make some plans with family and friends so my parents could take advantage of their time in LA. They usually aren’t here for more than a day or two so this was a rare trip for them as well.

On Thursday (what would have been surgery day), we drove out to the valley to see my dad’s friend. He and my dad have been friends since they were kids and my dad tries to see him when he’s in LA but he doesn’t always have time. My dad’s friend is very into gardening and succulent plants and has been getting ready to various garden clubs to come over to his house for a plant tour. So we got to see the rehearsal for the tour and check out all the amazing plants that he has in his yard. His garden is almost nicer than some of the huge ones around LA so it’s pretty incredible.

My dad’s friend also has a dog that Tucker loves. I don’t think their dog, Sunshine, loves Tucker as much as Tucker loves her. But that seems to be the case with a lot of dogs. Tucker just wants everyone to love him at all times and doesn’t understand why other dogs or people aren’t the same. But the dogs get along enough so we took them out for a walk and to a park so they could run around a bit. And when they both got tired, they were relaxing near each other nicely and seemed to be getting along more than they were at the beginning of the visit.

On Friday, we had lunch with some of my mom’s cousins. I hadn’t seen these cousins since I went to Passover a few years ago so it was great to get to see them again. We went to a restaurant near the rental house my parents were staying in, and while the food was ok the service was pretty awful. Servers were bringing food over to our table before we even ordered and nobody could remember what drinks went to which table. I think we were offered drinks every few minutes and they were never ours (it also took them like 15 minutes to get my mom an iced tea). I’m glad that we had a nice visit with family and that the bad service at lunch didn’t bring us down.

Most of the rest of the time on Friday was spent with taking the dog to a few different dog parks. He loves going to dog parks and there are some really nice ones in LA. We have been really liking the ones in Playa Vista because they aren’t just dirt like the one near my house. There’s one dog park that is bark and the other is fake grass. Both were really nice and had some fun dogs for Tucker to play with. I don’t get to hang out with Tucker that often, so just watching him at a dog park is a nice treat for me.

I’ll write more about what we did on the second half of their time here in another post, but I’m glad the time that I was expecting to be in the hospital were spent doing much more fun things. We didn’t have anything planned at first but we were lucky that we were able to get some plans organized pretty quickly so we could do some nice things while my parents are here. I know that they probably won’t do a long LA trip again soon unless there is a specific reason (like if I do have surgery eventually), so I’m taking advantage of having them here for a while without anything that we have to do.

Dancing With The Stars (or A Workout Friends Hangout)

I haven’t watched “Dancing With The Stars” since the beginning, but I have been interested in this current season. The son of my late acting coach is one of the stars this season and I was so excited to get to see him on the show. And as soon as the cast for the current season was announced, I went online to try to get tickets. I was put on a wait list for tickets and was hoping I’d get tickets in time to see Chris on the show. Sadly, he was eliminated after the first week and right after that I got the email that I could now get tickets.

Even though Chris was eliminated, I figured it could be really fun to go to a taping. I’ve been to many tv tapings before, but I never had been to a live show. I knew that it would be really cool to see how everything happens during the commercial breaks and decided to get the tickets and then just enjoy whatever stars were still in the competition at that point. I asked around to a couple of friends to see who could come with me, and 2 of my Orangetheory friends were able to go! So it was Orangetheory night at “Dancing With The Stars”!

The way that all tv tapings work is that they give out more free tickets than there are seats. They assume there will be no shows (or in my case I ordered 4 tickets and only needed 3) so they ask you to get there early to try to get in. We got there about an hour before we were supposed to be there by, and that ended up being perfect for us. Even though we heard the speech multiple times that not everyone would be let inside the studio, the 3 of us ended up being the last 3 who got in! It’s so crazy that we were the cut off point, but I’m so glad we made it!

There were no phones allowed inside the studio so I don’t really have that many photos from the taping. We were in the first balcony toward the side behind the judges. We had some moments where the view was blocked, but we could see most of the stage. And when we couldn’t see things there was a tv monitor that we could look at so we could see what it looked like on live tv. I know so people want to be seen on tv when they go to tapings like this, but I didn’t care to be on tv. The only time you could almost see us is when they showed the entire audience. But unless you knew where to look, you’d never see us.

Yeah, you can barely see the 3 of us between those red arrows.

When I got my tickets, I didn’t know what the theme for the show would be. But it ended up being Disney night and that seemed so perfect to me! Each of us had Glow with the Show Mickey ears to wear during various parts of the taping. I was so excited about that because I never had those ears before. But when the taping was done we were told that we didn’t get to take them with us. Oh well. I only wish that I didn’t have to turn my phone in to security before going into the taping so I could have taken photos with the ear. They were super cute!

The advantage of going to a live taping is that you know exactly how long it would be (unlike going to a sitcom taping where it can be 5 hours for a 22 minute show). Neither of my friends watch “Dancing With The Stars” and I think they were a bit worried that being there for 2 hours would feel like a long time. But it really flew by! All the dances were so amazing and there were a couple of live singing performances at the show as well. And of course, I loved the music because they were all Disney songs. I knew pretty much all the songs and was excited to see how the dances matched with the songs.

And while the dances were awesome, I did love watching the crew during the commercial breaks to see how quickly they changed over the set. There was a big clock on the screens during the commercial breaks so they knew exactly how much longer they had to do everything. They were super efficient and you can tell that they practice a lot to do the set changes in the time they had. And while the show was live, it was neat to see the choreography that the cameras had to do. There was a lot of work with a steady cam, but it was also interesting to see how the stable cameras worked with the steady cam and to see the camera work on the floor and then look up at the tv screen to see how it looked for tv. I know that I’m a bit of a nerd with the behind the scenes stuff like that, but it really is amazing how much work the crew does to make everything look as perfect as it does on tv.

Once the live taping was done, we were excused from the studio pretty quickly. It took a bit of time to get our phones back (the security team was super organized but there were so many of us in line to get phones) but we were quickly on our way out of the studio. Even though we were only in the taping for 2 hours the entire time including being in line was about 5.5 hours. It was still a shorter day than most tv tapings, but it was still a good chunk of time.

Even though Chris isn’t a part of the “Dancing With The Stars” season anymore, I have been watching the show this season and will continue to watch this season to see who wins. There are a lot of amazing dancers and stars on the show still and I’m excited to see what dances come up next! And if I get another opportunity to go to another live taping, I’d probably do it. It was a fun thing to do and I know I have other friends who couldn’t go this time but would love to go with me!

Podcast Nerd (or Celebrating At NPR)

After I found out I wasn’t going to have surgery, so many of my friends asked me how I was going to celebrate the news. So many people asked if I was going to go out to dinner or something, but I already had plans that night. I was going to NPR West! And for a total podcast nerd like me, this was the perfect way to celebrate!

I can’t talk too many specifics about what I got to see at NPR West, but I can explain a little bit. I listen to dozens of podcasts and I follow many of them on social media. One of those podcasts, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, posted on their Facebook page that there was a new podcast being workshopped and they needed an audience to be there. This workshop was actually supposed to be at the beginning of the month but got postponed until the 11th (which is when I got the good news). And I signed up as soon as I heard about it because I have never had the chance to see an NPR podcast done live before!

My friend AJ (who is one of the hosts of the podcast I work for) came with me and he is probably almost as much of a podcast/NPR nerd as I am. And when we were outside the studio building, we were both in awe. It’s something I’ve gone by dozens of times because it’s near my house, but I’ve never been lucky enough to go inside.

We waited outside to get checked in for the workshop and once we were allowed inside I was totally geeking out. This was so incredibly cool and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be there. We got some pretty great seats for the workshop, but the studio space was so intimate that every seat was amazing and up close to the action.

Because this was a workshop of a new podcast that may or may not happen, we were told we aren’t allowed to say much about it online. But I can tell you that I was laughing so hard that I was crying and that it was one of the coolest things I’ve been able to see in a while. I have a feeling this will become a podcast and when it does I know I’ll want to get tickets to be in the audience again. It really was the best way to celebrate a day that had such great news!

After the workshop was done, AJ and I were still geeking out about everything at NPR. We wanted to see what type of recording equipment they have because one day we will hopefully be able to upgrade our podcast to have similar equipment. And while we were checking out everything, one of the AV guys from NPR asked us if we were interested in learning more about NPR. Without any hesitation we said yes, and we ended up getting a private tour of the NPR studios!

I’m sure I sound like a total nerd, but this was seriously so amazing! We got to go into different recording studios to see where different NPR podcasts are recorded, see the main newsroom area, and learn about how NPR West works along with the other NPR offices to make sure that everything is up and running smoothly. I knew that being at NPR would be incredible, but I had no idea how awesome it was going to be and how much I was going to get to experience. I know that AJ and I were so lucky that we were able to go on the tour of the studios and that this really was just one of those opportunities where we were in the right place at the right time talking to the right person.

Once our tour was done, AJ and I headed back out to go to our cars. But I think we both were still on cloud nine geeking out over everything that happened that night. Getting to be in the audience for the podcast workshop would have been enough of a celebration for me, but getting that tour was above and beyond what I expected I would get to do that night. I’m sure that going to NPR as a celebration isn’t right for everyone, but it really was the perfect night for me to top off a day that was already incredible!

One More Universal Day (or Getting In All My Rides)

It’s almost been one year since I got my Universal Studios annual pass. I’ve totally gotten my money’s worth with my pass since I only had to go 2 times to make it worth it. But I wanted to get in one more day before my pass expired. Also, when I went, I still thought I needed surgery so I wanted to ride all my favorite rides before I couldn’t go on them for a while (like what I did at Disneyland).

I went to Disneyland with my friend David and he and I were both in agreement that we wanted to try to get as many rides done as possible. What we didn’t think about was that the park was going to be a bit more crowded than we expected with it being spring break for a lot of schools. But we managed to really time things out right and I think the we kind of killed it with getting in all of our favorites.

Our first stop was the tram tour. I love the tram and there are also so many fun little theme park elements to the tram that is just fun to experience each time. And this time, I really liked seeing King Kong since David and I had recently gone to see the new King Kong movie. I still miss the old King Kong, but the new one is still awesome. I don’t know if it was because the park was so crowded or if there was something else going on, but there seemed to be a couple of places where the tram was stopped for a pretty long time. Our tour guide tried to keep us entertained with as many facts as he could think of, but you could tell that he was hoping that we would start moving again soon.

And for me, the highlight of the tram tour every time is to go past the Bates Motel where I used to work during Halloween Horror Nights. Even though I don’t want to work there again, I miss the good times that I did have there. And every time the tram goes by my old workplace, I can’t help but smile at the memories of me scaring so many people there.

After the tram tour, we headed down to the lower lot to ride the rides down there. I usually don’t seem to make it down to the lower lot, so I was glad that we did that. We ended up riding the Transformers ride twice and The Mummy roller coaster once. Those are both pretty great rides and it made me wonder why I didn’t make the effort to go on them more often in my visits over the past year. But at least we fit them in this time.

We then headed back up to the upper lot to ride The Simpsons ride (another one that I don’t seem to go on that often) before heading over to the Harry Potter section of the park.

First, we rode the Forbidden Journey ride. That is one of the best rides in the entire park and since the last time I was there they changed the ride from being 3D to 2D. I have to say that the 2D version was much better for me and I felt more into the ride than I had the previous times riding it. I would have gone on it again, but I think we were both feeling a bit tired by that point.

But before we left the park, we had one more stop to make. David also has an annual pass to Universal but he had never tried Butterbeer before. That is one of my favorite treats in the park and I couldn’t end our day without getting one so David could finally try it.

Even though I really enjoyed the hot Butterbeer when I had it, I think the frozen one is really the way to go. And I think David liked it too so I’m glad that we made the stop to get them before we left the park for the day.

When we left, it was pretty much during rush hour so we decided to get some dinner at CityWalk. I’ve had dinner there a few times, but we went to Karl Strauss which I hadn’t been to since I worked at Universal Studios. I used to go there all the time for a late lunch before my shift started because it always has good food and they were always so nice to all of us who worked there. This time, I got a burger that had a blue cheese sauce on the side. That was awesome and I was so full when I was done.

I think that this was the perfect last Universal day with my pass. I’m thinking about getting another annual pass since they are pretty inexpensive (only about $20 more than a 1 day ticket), but I probably won’t do it until after the summer is done since most of the summer is blacked out for the pass level I would get. There aren’t as many rides at Universal as there are at Disneyland, but it’s still a fun park to go to and I love having awesome places to go for a fun day adventure!

I didn’t know at the time that the surgery was going to be canceled, but I still totally consider this a way that I was able to celebrate not needing surgery this week and it really was a great celebration. But how I celebrated only hours after I heard the news will be in tomorrow’s post. And I think it was the perfect nerdy way to celebrate!

Another Brunch Check In (or Wishing I Had Done More)

This past weekend was time for another brunch with my Women In Film mentoring group. We’ve been really good at meeting every other month and it’s now feeling like a part of my regular routine and I look forward to it. Like I’ve said before, these meetings have become much more social than business, but we still spend time supporting each other and giving advice when needed.

Our regular meeting place has become Rush St. and since that is pretty much my favorite brunch place I’m very happy to meet there. It’s pretty close to where all of us live (it’s so crazy how we were randomly placed in a group together and most of us live in the same neighborhood) and the food has always been great. So not only do I get to look forward to seeing these awesome women who have become my friends, I get to have a great meal too!

While I was excited to get to see everyone who could make this most recent meeting, it gave me time to reflect on what career things I could share with them at brunch. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the past 2 months have not been that focused on my career. I didn’t have much I could share with everyone and that got to me a bit.

At the time of our meeting, I still thought I needed to have surgery. So most of my updates to everyone was about surgery and the prep I’ve been doing to get ready for it. Since so many women in my group live right by my house, many of them offered to help me when I would have been recovering so we talked about that as well. I wish I had known that surgery had been cancelled by our meeting so I could have shared that news, but I did get to email them all as soon as I knew and everyone was pretty excited for me.

I did get to tell them about the steps I’ve been taking to be more involved in SAG-AFTRA. And I told them how the elections are coming up again this summer and that I’m hoping that I’ll be elected as a delegate this year so I can attend the National Convention. Those are all really exciting things, but compared to what everyone else had as an update they were pretty low-key.

Since I believed that I was going to have surgery next week, I had booked out with my agents. I told them the dates I couldn’t work because of surgery and what I was thinking my recovery time would be. By booking out, they knew I couldn’t attend auditions or have booked work during that time. Now I’ve sent them an update letting them know I don’t need to book out, but there is a good chance I missed out on multiple auditions because we thought I wouldn’t be able to work. It’s frustrating, but there was no way to know that I wouldn’t have surgery so I can’t be too hard on myself.

Not Drinking At A Bar (or A Birthday Party At Neat)

After doing my 5K race (and getting almost no sleep that night), I was ready to be at my house the rest of the day and being pretty lazy. When I got home around 11am after the race, that’s pretty much exactly what I did. I showered and got into comfortable clothes and then pretty much didn’t move from my couch for several hours. But I did have to move eventually because one of my workout friends was having a birthday party that night!

I don’t get to see many of my Orangetheory friends outside of workouts. Even though I really enjoy hanging out with them at the workouts, we don’t always get to socialize outside of class. So when I get a chance to see someone in normal clothes, I totally take advantage of that! And since they don’t usually see me in something other than workout clothes with my hair in a top knot, I decided to make a bit more effort than normal in picking my outfit.

I don’t usually wear red, but the theme of the party was to wear something red and I found that belt on Amazon. The way I dressed was pretty different from what I’m used to, but I was feeling pretty confident and now I’m looking at ways to dress more like that more often!

I was a little nervous going to the party since the only person I would know there was the birthday girl. I’m a bit shy in situations like that and always feel so awkward going up to people I don’t know to join in on a conversation. But thankfully, my friend was awesome and was introducing me to a bunch of people that night. She knew that I didn’t know anyone else there and I appreciate the effort she made to make sure everyone was having fun and not feeling left out!

The party was held at a new bar called Neat. In full disclosure, the manager is the brother of a friend of mine (who I hadn’t met until that night), but I have to say that this is such an amazing bar! I don’t have a ton of bars that I love because so many bars in LA are either super fancy or are just too showy. I like being able to go somewhere and not stress too much about how I’m dressed or if I’m making a good impression on others. That’s one reason why I also love Bodega Wine Bar. But to find a bar like that is tough to find and it seems like when I find one they end up closing down.

But Neat was pretty awesome. There was a semi-private space in the back that was reserved for the birthday party that still was a part of the action. And in the main room most of the tables are on the edges of the room so there is a lot of space in the room that makes it not feel too crowded. There were a ton of people there, but since I didn’t have to keep going around chairs or tables it didn’t feel that bad.

And they do have a pretty epic drink menu too! I would have loved to have tried a drink or two, but I can’t really drink right now. But that didn’t matter since the staff at Neat was so cool. I talked to my friend’s brother and he asked me what sort of flavors I liked. I told him I liked citrus and then he got to work. I don’t know everything that he used in my drink, but there was some lime in it and before I knew it I had a custom non-alcoholic drink just for me!

It was so nice to have a festive drink at the party since it can feel a bit weird only ordering water at a bar. But I felt like I was included in the fun because I had a drink that I really liked! It was pretty tasty and reminded me a bit of a margarita. Even when I can drink again, I would totally consider getting this again because it was so nice and refreshing.

I really had a great time at the party, but I was getting pretty exhausted right after the birthday cake was brought out. I had been up so long that day and my legs were starting to feel a bit like cement. It’s not easy to wear heels a few hours after doing a 5K race! So I decided that it was time for me to go home and get some needed rest.

I’m so glad that I went to the party. Not only is it fun to get to see someone outside of Orangetheory and get to meet new friends, I got to check out a bar that I have a feeling I’ll be going to from now on. It’s always great to find new places in LA that I love because I do get stuck in ruts from time to time. But I busted out of that rut at this party and now I’m excited to get to go back to Neat again in the future!