Tag Archives: friends

Another Disney Monday (or Fantasyland and Parade Time)

Even though I was just at Disneyland last week, this week I went back! I usually don’t go to Disneyland 2 weeks in a row, but it was fun to do it. My friend Dani missed going to Disneyland last week and she was jealous that we got to see the parade. So she asked me if I could go to the park this past Monday, and I had some free time so I said yes!

I had a doctor appointment around lunchtime so we didn’t get to head down to Anaheim until almost 3pm. We hit a bit of traffic getting down there, but because we didn’t care too much about riding a ton of rides (I just did a bunch of rides last week and Dani is about to head to Disney World) it didn’t matter too much that we were getting off to a late start. When we got there, it did seem a bit more crowded than it was last week, but nothing too bad.

Again, the main reason we went to Disneyland was to watch the parade. But since I knew what areas were good to be sitting in for it we didn’t feel rushed to get a spot to watch. So in the car ride down, Dani and I discussed any rides that we wanted to go on. I mentioned something about Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (I think I was talking about how the ride has you end up in hell) and Dani mentioned she had never been on it. So I knew we had to go on it!

I think Dani agreed with me that it’s a pretty interesting ride since you do end up in hell, and I mentioned how so many of the kid rides at Disneyland are pretty scary and weird. Dani realized that she hadn’t really been on any other ride in Fantasyland besides Peter Pan, so we made it our mission that day to go on the rides she hadn’t been on!

Most of the crowd was in line for Peter Pan, so we were able to get on Pinocchio and Snow White pretty quickly. Both are good rides that I don’t go on that often since the lines for them can be really bad. But it’s nice to get to go on them and revisit rides that are classics. And when we were done with those rides, we noticed that there was a band playing while riding on the carousel!

Our next stop was to get some dinner and we went over to the bakery with a nice view of Main Street and the castle. And as we were eating, we had a perfect cotton candy sky!

As soon as we were done eating, we headed over to where we were going to watch the parade from. The bench I got to sit on last week was already taken, as were all the benches in that area. But we found a bit of sidewalk between benches that were free and we made ourselves comfortable while we waited for it to be parade time. Fortunately, it was warmer than it was the week before and even though sitting on the ground isn’t fun we had plenty of room to stretch our legs. And after waiting about an hour, the parade started!

I enjoyed it just as much as I had the week before. And this was the first time Dani had ever seen it! And on the bench next to us was a family with a lot of kids so many of the characters were turning our way to wave at the kids. It was nice to see how excited the kids were to see a character and it gave me a slightly different view than last week.

Once the parade was done, we had to go the opposite way that everyone else was walking so we could get back to Fantasyland (we were totally salmon swimming upstream). We had one more Fantasyland ride that Dani had never been on that we wanted to check out: Alice in Wonderland. While I miss how the ride used to have a slightly more fun outdoor section, I like all the upgrades that were made recently to enhance the ride.

After doing those 4 rides (plus dinner and the parade), we were getting close to feeling ready to head back. We did walk around Fantasyland a bit just admiring how pretty everything is lit up at nighttime.

We noticed at the front of the castle there wasn’t that big of a line for photos by the Photo Pass photographers, so we decided to get some fun photos in front of the castle. Sorry for the watermark on the photos, but these are so much better than anything my phone could take at nighttime!

After our photo shoot, we did some window shopping in the various stores on Main Street. There is so much stuff that I want to get, but since I had to renew my annual pass on this trip (and my recycling ink thing doesn’t work for gift cards anymore) my spending money was extremely limited. But there’s a bunch of stuff that if I had the money I would get and would love to maybe save up to get sometime in the future.

I’m not exactly sure when my next Disneyland adventure will be. There’s a chance I’ll go later this month and there’s a chance I’ll go in March. But I do want to get at least one or two more trips there before I have my surgery since I don’t know how long I’ll be restricted on rides after surgery. I’ll be able to probably ride the slow and calm rides as soon as I can walk around enough, but there may be a while before I can go on the roller coasters again after April (it’s on my list of questions to ask my surgeon when I see him again). But also when I have my surgery is when my pass will be blacked out more often so that might work out well for my recovery too! But no matter what, I now have at least another year of Disney outings ahead for me!

Enjoying The Lack Of Rain At Disneyland (or Buzz Lightyear and Electrical Parade)

It hasn’t been that long since I was at Disneyland last, but I went back this week! Going to Disneyland this past Monday was actually in my calendar for a while since I had to go to the dentist that day. I figured that going to the dentist isn’t fun so having Disneyland as my reward after would be perfect! But as the weekend happened, LA had a pretty epic rainstorm. It was so bad that Disneyland actually closed several hours early on Sunday.

With the threat of rain, my friend Michelle and I were cautiously optimistic about going to Disneyland. We figured that worst case, we’d do a few rides, get wet in the rain, and then go to a movie or something. We both watched the weather reports carefully and it seemed like we might manage to miss the rain at Disneyland, but we still both packed rain gear with us and prepared for the worst.

After my dentist appointment (which was one of the most low-key and relaxed dentist appointments I’ve had in years), I went over to Michelle’s house and we were on our way to the park. We had some trouble on our drive with getting stuck behind a police stop, but we weren’t there too late. Originally, our plan was to not go on any rides because we wanted to get the most amazing seats for the Main Street Electrical Parade (which just came back this past weekend). But when we got into the park, we realized that it was so empty that we could do some rides before claiming our seats!

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Disneyland as empty as it was when we arrived! We did have rain for maybe 5 minutes when we arrived, but that was it for the entire day! But the crowds seemed to stay away the entire time. I think both Michelle and I couldn’t stop giggling about how awesome it was to have an empty park. And with the park being so empty, it seemed like every character was out and about that day! We didn’t do any character photos, but we did catch a really cute little show with Chip and Dale doing a dance by the Disneyland fire station (including a kick line).

Since we knew the rain was done (and the Electrical Parade was going to happen), we didn’t want to do a ton of rides since we wanted to claim a good bench seat for the parade. But we still did some of our favorites including going on HyperSpace Mountain where we were showing off our sweaters with thumb holes in the photo.

We also rode Haunted Mansion (which was finally back to normally after the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion) and Big Thunder Railroad. And we went on Star Tours where we could take our usual crazy photo with the 3-D glasses.

And Michelle and I have been very competitive since we met on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We’ve decided to keep an official store tally on our games starting now. For some reason, the photo doesn’t show Michelle’s score for this time, but we were almost tied (and we were both shocked by how awesome our scores were!).

We had a quick dinner break and then we took advantage of the castle being pretty empty for a fun castle photo with the Photopass photographers. They took some photos with their camera, but they are also nice enough to take really nice ones on my phone too.

I think that photo looks so good and it’s so weird to see so few people behind us! After our photo break, we decided to go over to the bench that we picked out for parade viewing. It was on the path next to the castle and because of the space we knew that nobody would be sitting in front of us. We got there over 2 hours before the parade, but since watching the parade was so important to us, it was worth it. We did take turns going on popcorn or Starbucks runs (it was 50 degrees out and we both wanted warm drinks), but as soon as it was parade time we were ready to watch!

I loved where we were for the parade. We had the perfect view, and with the castle in the background of the photos it just is so perfectly Disneyland!

When the parade ended, we had about 15 minutes before the park was going to close for the day and we headed back to Buzz Lightyear to continue our battle for the year. We got onto the ride again and it seemed really weird right away. Michelle was racking up the points and I couldn’t seem to get any. Then the ride stopped briefly (as it does often) and our game stopped. Everyone else was able to keep hitting targets when we were stopped, but we couldn’t do anything. Since we couldn’t keep playing, we did manage to take a funny selfie on the ride plus we could pose for the ride photo.

When we got to the end of the ride, we told the cast members what happened and they let us go right back onto the ride. And that last ride ended up being one of the most epic rides on Buzz Lightyear that either of us had! The ride got stopped in front of the best target on there and we both kept getting it! Our scores were so insanely high and we couldn’t believe it! And at the end, we both got our best scores ever and I ranked 26th place for all riders of the day!

I’ve never placed on Buzz Lightyear before and I’ve only seen someone place once before (when I went with my friend Justin) so I was shocked when it happened to me! It was such an epic end to an epic day! We took our time going through the shops and checking out the new Disney merchandise before heading back home.

I’m so glad that we took the risk with the threat of rain to go to Disneyland. It ended up being such a great day and I know that it will be tough to top this day. I know I say that a lot with my Disney days, but it’s so true that we just keep making our adventures better and better.

 

Lunch And Shopping (or Proof My Work Is Paying Off)

I’ve been trying to keep up with staying social with my friends when I have free time. It is one of the things I’m focusing on this year so I don’t go too long without seeing friends (which can happen pretty easily). I used to see my friend Lindsay all the time because we would go to the same classes at Orangetheory. But since her schedule changed, we have to make more of an effort to see each other. We did run into each other at Orangetheory when she was taking a class after mine, but that’s not really enough time to catch up. So when she asked if I wanted to get some lunch this past weekend, I said yes right away!

We ended up meeting at 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which I usually avoid since it’s so touristy. But for a nice Saturday afternoon, it ended up being not too bad. We met up in front of a store and immediately walked to figure out where we wanted to get some lunch. We went to Steak ‘n Shake since it was a place that neither of us had been to before. Sadly, it ended up being a bad choice (we waited over 20 minutes for our burgers to be brought to our table and the food was cold when we did get it), but since the focus of our hangout was catching up and not the food, it was fine.

After eating, Lindsay had some shopping she wanted to do and I’m always happy to join a friend for shopping. I’ve gotten so used to not being able to try things on at the stores that my friends shop at, so I’m just happy to be the person who shares her opinion on the stuff others try on. Lindsay was on the hunt for some shoes and we checked out a couple of stores. She wasn’t able to find what she wanted, but it was fun checking out a bunch of different stores since so many places were having sales.

Toward the end of 3rd Street, there is an Athleta store. I’ve never shopped there before, but I’ve gotten their catalog before and knew that their clothes wouldn’t fit me based on their size guide. They do sell some plus size clothes, but I don’t believe they carry those in the store (so many companies only carry the plus size section on the website). But I do love shopping for workout clothes so I was happy just to see what they had and maybe I would find things that I would want to get when I was able to fit in them.

When we went into the store, someone greeted us immediately and told us that all sale things were discounted even further, and we decided to see what there was since you can’t do much better than sale items being on sale. The sale section was organized by size and I was looking at the XL stuff to see if there was anything that looked big enough to fit me. I found a zip up shirt that looked cute and realized that it might be something perfect to wear when I have liver surgery (I’ve read online that since my stomach will be very sore, it might be tough to lift my arms up to pull shirts on). I decided to try it on over my shirt to see how it fit and it was a little baggy on me.

I found the same shirt in L and tried it on. It was a bit snug, but Lindsay had me try both the XL and L on and she agreed that the L was the way to go. I was so shocked to fit into a L! I know that there is vanity sizing and all that, but Athleta is owned by the same parent company as Old Navy (where I have been getting all my workout stuff) and I’ve been wearing XXL in those. I’ve been wearing those shirts for a while and I started to think that maybe I could fit into smaller clothes than I’ve been wearing.

I looked through the rest of the sale stuff in L (the non-sale stuff is out of my budget for now) and found a cute sweater that I wanted to try on. And I was shocked to see that it fit too! It’s a little tighter than it shows on the model online, but it fits and I feel really cute in it!

I know that I shouldn’t buy stuff just because I like what the size on the table says, but it was pretty amazing to know that I was buying 2 shirts that are not a plus size but just a regular L. I’ve plateaued lately with my weight loss and even though I’m still down quite a bit from even a few months ago, it can feel like I haven’t changed at all in the last year. So getting shirts that prove me otherwise is a really nice thing!

After that shopping stop, it was time for Lindsay and I to each head back to our cars to head home. I’m so glad that she and I were able to get together. Obviously I love getting to catch up with friends, especially friends that I was so used to seeing twice a week before. But I’m also so happy that she convinced me to try on some clothes when I was so sure that there was no way they could fit me. She pushed me out of my comfort zone and it ended up being a great thing for me!

A Calm Disney Day (or Enjoying An Empty Park)

Since I average going to Disneyland almost once a month (except in the summer when my pass is blacked out), it seemed perfect timing to go to Disneyland this week! And not only had it been almost a month since the last time I was there, it seemed like a lot of other things were saying it was the perfect time to go. It was supposed to rain on Monday, which usually means the parks aren’t that crowded. And, this past Monday was the first day of school for many schools in the area which also usually means the parks might be on the empty side.

I went with Michelle and Dani (as usual) and we took my new car. Dani was with me when I bought the car, but Michelle really wanted to see it. Plus, I need to drive more so I get used to the car! Usually Michelle or Dani drive, so it was my turn to be the driver for the day. And since we went down around lunchtime, there wasn’t too much traffic that we had to deal with.

When we got to Disneyland, we were very happy to see that the parks were empty! It was exactly what we wanted and the rain had already stopped so we were pretty excited to have a great day! We didn’t have a bunch of rides that we wanted to get done, so we decided to take things easy and just go on whatever seems fun to us at the time.

We went into California Adventure and our first stop was Toy Story Mania, where I’m hoping that I can get back to having great scores on the game. I’m not that good at it anymore so I need to remember to read up on the tricks to the various games on the ride to hopefully get the high score in my car. Next, we went right next to Toy Story Mania to ride on California Screamin. All of us were going to go on the ride, but Dani got a phone call she needed to take so she had to skip out on the ride. Michelle and I were able to sit in the front of the roller coaster and even though we didn’t plan our photo together, we had similar poses.

I wish we could have gotten a better photo, but there was a ton of glare on the screens and we didn’t want to spend $39 on the photo. So I used the photo I could access from my phone and that has the writing on it.

After that ride, Dani was off the phone and we headed over to Soarin’ Around the World and realized when we were done it was the perfect time to check out the Frozen show. I hadn’t seen it yet and when it opened you had to get a Fastpass for the show as soon as the gates opened. But now, you could walk in and get into the show. So we decided to take a show break in our day.

We wanted to sit in the orchestra section because I don’t like to do stairs, and we were toward the back of the line. But it ended up being perfect because even though we were in the back of the theater, we were in the center and it was a great view of the stage.

The Frozen show was pretty good! I’m still sad that the Aladdin show is gone (and I loved getting to see my friend in it), but this is a fun show too. The cast was very good and while the sets were almost all digital ones they helped to transform the space. The show is a bit long (over an hour), but it was a nice break for us in our day.

Continuing on with our leisurely pace in a pretty empty park, we had dinner in Cars Land before heading over to Radiator Springs Racers. Since the cars seat 3, we fit perfectly in the front row of our car. The sun had set right before we rode and that’s my favorite time to ride the ride. The outside portion of the ride is so beautiful and we had so much fun.

We walked over to Disneyland after that to ride a few more rides for the night. HyperSpace Mountain is still one of the best roller coasters and we were able to get on the ride quickly. We were trying to think of a good pose for the photo, and we decided on Michelle doing the Darth Vader death grip trying to kill me and Dani. I’m not sure if that’s what the picture ended up looking like, but I love the ride photo either way!

We went over to the Tiki Room for some Dole Whips for dessert and we were just in so much shock about how empty the park was! We could have walked down Main Street with our arms out and not hit anyone! It was a nice change over the past few visits where it was so crowded that I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I know that having it so empty is a rare treat, so I was just trying to enjoy it.

We got our Dole Whips quickly (no line!) and went into the Tiki Room to eat them.

The last ride for the night for us was Indiana Jones and we were all just being really silly during the ride and jokingly yelling at Dani since she was in the driver’s seat. Fortunately, the other people on the ride with us didn’t mind that and we just had a fun time being weird.

On our way out of the park, we went through the stores just to see what they had in stock. We all have different things we have been looking for at Disneyland and Michelle was able to find the mug that she had been wanting. And after our shopping, it was time to get back into my car to head home.

We didn’t get a ton of rides done, but it was the perfect Disney day. My next Disney adventure might be later this month and there’s a chance that there will be no rides that day. But I’ll write about that if that ends up happening!

Welcoming 2017 (or The Start To My New Year’s Eve)

As I have done for so many past New Year’s Eves, I got to ring in the new year with so many friends at the party that my friends Marie and Chris threw. The parties are really such a great way to celebrate the new year since I really don’t care to go out to a bar where it is overpriced and way too crowded. Being at a house party with awesome people is perfect for me and I’m always so grateful that Marie and Chris open their house up to all of us.

I got to the party this year a bit earlier than normal. Since New Year’s Eve was also the last night of Hanukkah, I promised to bring a menorah and candles with me. A lot of people at the party don’t celebrate Hanukkah, so this was the first chance they were going to have seeing a menorah lit and I wanted to make sure I got there before it got too crazy with people. I managed to find a pretty cheap menorah on Amazon (after shipping it was only $4) and brought that and some candles with me. I think it ended up looking pretty nice and everyone appreciated getting to see a little bit of Hanukkah.

There was a lot of really great food at the party that I got to enjoy, but I didn’t have any of the drinks. I’m allowed to drink right now, but I’m not doing it since I don’t think it’s necessary. But with everyone else drinking, we did get a couple of fun photos of everyone a bit loosened up.

I was having a lot of fun hanging out with everyone (most of whom I hadn’t seen since the Halloween party). I was eating more than normal, but I also figured that I had worked out earlier that day was going to be working out the next morning so it was fine to splurge. Also, like I’ve said before I have to get used to having occasional treats from time to time as that is normal eating. So I enjoyed myself and knew that I should be able to get back to my regular food the next day.

It was a pretty cold night outside so most of us ended up inside for a lot of the party. Typically I hang out outside, but after going back and forth a few times, I gave up on being cold and hung out inside where I was comfortable and warm. Marie and Chris got a disco light for their living room and there was a ton of open space in there, so they started up a dance party. I’m not a huge dancer, but the fun was infectious and I had to join in after a while. We were all jumping around and being crazy and it was perfect.

We all were hanging out in the living room after the dance party and for the last 45 minutes of 2016 we were watching the NYE shows on TV (we had heard about Mariah Carey and wanted to see what really happened). And just before the new year, we all got cups of champagne to ring in the new year in a festive manner. I had a tiny sip of the champagne because it seemed like the right thing to do, but then I passed my drink on to a friend since they were drinking that night.

I know that several friends are always sad that they are spending NYE without a significant other, but to me it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a boyfriend. There is so much love at that party with my friends that I don’t feel alone or sad at all. To me, it is most important to spend NYE with people who you love and who make you happy and that’s exactly what I did.

Since I had an early workout the next morning and because I want to get on the freeway before the bars close and dangerous drivers get on the road, I left pretty soon after midnight. Things are still fun at the party after that, but I’m never able to stay up that late (plus, since NYE was a Saturday I had to work starting at 8am that day). So by 12:15am I was on the road and headed back to my side of town.

I know a lot of us said that we were hoping that all the sadness and bad luck that they encountered in 2016 would end on NYE, but for me it wasn’t exactly that way. I’ll write more about this next week, but at about 12:30am while I was driving home my car completely died. This wasn’t like any other time that my car died, this time actually scared me and there was no way to pull over somewhere that felt totally safe to me. So I ended my NYE by sitting in a dead car on the side of the 405 with no power or heat waiting for a tow truck. I’m grateful that AAA got to me in about an hour and I had a safe way to get home. That wasn’t at all how I planned on ending my night, but it ended up being ok.

So while technically my car died 30 minutes into 2017, I’m not thinking about it that way. Someone said that even though it was already the new year, I hadn’t gone to bed so my car died in 2016 and it counted toward the bad luck of last year. I like that and I want to think of this year as the year that good things are coming my way and happening to me. And because of the dead car, that did end up happening. But that’s a story for next week!

A Christmas Lunch (or The Levin-Levin-Levine Summit)

I hope that you all had a really nice Christmas! I knew my day was going to be pretty low-key, and it was exactly that and perfect! Not everything went the way I was expecting, but I think overall I had the exact day that I needed.

It’s tradition to watch movies and eat Chinese food on Christmas for me. I love the tradition and I was looking forward to it again this year. The only thing that was slightly stressing me out was getting delivery food. I set it as a monthly challenge earlier this year to stop getting delivery food. And with the exception of getting Chipotle delivered from Postmates a few times (which to me is more about being too lazy to go to Chipotle than it is about delivery food), I haven’t had delivery food since February.

I was ok with breaking that streak for Christmas and was planning on doing just that. But then my friend Sarah Levin (technically we aren’t related but there is a study out there that says all people named Levin are 30th cousins or something) asked me what I was doing on Christmas. I invited her over to watch movies and get Chinese food, but she asked if we could go out for food instead. She had a friend (named Sara Levine) with her and wanted to go out for lunch. That sounded perfect to me and we all met up for Christmas lunch!

The restaurant we went to ended up not being too crowded. It wasn’t one of the restaurants that does Jewish comics on Christmas (those were all booked up), but it had good Chinese food and had a large vegan selection since Sarah is vegan. We ordered several dishes to share (some vegan and some not) and it ended up being a really great selection for us all.

And besides great food, we had great conversation! We had so much random stuff we talked about (somehow the conversation took a dark turn, but that was fine with us all) and since the restaurant wasn’t too crowded, we didn’t feel rushed out or that we needed to hurry up. It was a relaxing lunch and all the food was so delicious!

And of course, with Chinese food you get fortunes and I think we all got some pretty awesome ones.

And because we thought it was so funny that 3 Jewish girls (2 named Levin and 1 named Levine) were together for Christmas lunch, we had to get a photo together. We took some normal ones, but I think the silly ones were best!

After lunch, I was planning on going home and resting for a bit before another friend was going to come over to watch movies with me for the evening. I felt fine at lunch, but after getting home I started to have some bad cramps. I thought at first it could have been from indulging at lunch, but sadly they ended up being menstrual cramps. I haven’t had to deal with those in forever because I was on the pill, but now I get to have them again. One of the reasons I was on the pill and took it continuously was because of the horrible cramps I used to get. Now I don’t have a way of avoiding them.

I texted my friend to let him know of the situation and ended up cancelling our plans. I was taking painkillers, but I was still feeling awful (the cramps ended up lasting about a day and a half so I’m doing better now). My afternoon and evening were spent on my couch with a heating pad on my abdomen, fake fire on my tv, and a good book on my Kindle.

I would have liked to have been able to be social on Christmas evening (I was invited to several parties that night), but my body needed me to rest. I’m working on listening to my body even though sometimes I do push through things because I’m stubborn. And my body said that my evening was going to be low-key and that’s exactly what I did.

It really was a nice way to spend Christmas. I have never really celebrated Christmas so all I care about it the few traditions I have been doing that day. Chinese food is only one part of that, but spending it with friends is important. And getting to combine the food and friends that day made things so much better. I didn’t order delivery food, which is a big risk for me to have a binge episode, so I’m glad I found another way to continue the traditions and to make them even better.

Another Grove Adventure (or Dinner And Not A Screening)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burgers And Broadway (or Another Musical)

I’ve seen so many musicals lately, but I still get so excited for each one I get to see! It feels like such an indulgence, but with a lot of shows I go to they are pretty affordable. With my season tickets at Pantages, they average about $40 a show. And considering I’m still not ordering delivery food, I think I’ve got the money to spend on shows since I’m not spending it on food (although I might be getting delivery food for Christmas but that will be the first time since the beginning of 2016).

My second show in the current season at Pantages was this past weekend and we got to see “The King And I”. Since our shows are at 6:30pm on Sundays, we try to meet up for dinner before the show. There are a bunch of places to check out right by the theater, but the last time we were there we noticed there was a Shake Shack now open and we said then that it would be our dinner before the next show.

I had never been to Shake Shack, but I was excited to check it out. I knew it would be a splurge meal and I had my brunch earlier that day. Fortunately the brunch was late enough that I was able to eat that for my morning meal and then have Shake Shack for dinner. We all got burgers and fries and of course we each had to get a shake. They had a bunch of options, but the sugar cookie one seemed fun and that’s what I got.

It was a pretty good dinner! I think my favorite part was the shake (the fries were a bit too salty for my taste and the burger was good), but it was too much food. I felt pretty full after eating and I was so glad I planned my food around the meal so it wasn’t a sickening feeling of being full.

After dinner, we walked down the street to get to the theater. It’s always pretty at nighttime there, but having a Christmas tree on the top of the marquee made it even prettier.

We got there a bit before the show was going to start, so we ended up taking a group photo by the step and repeat backdrop they had in the lobby. We tried to take a selfie, but there was no way to get all 4 of us in the photo. Thankfully, a woman saw us struggling with the photo and offered to take it for us!

I really love the group we have for season tickets this year. And we originally thought it would be just fine to have our seats in 2 separate rows (2 seats in front of the other), but it has actually turned out to be a pretty ideal situation! It’s easy to talk among the 4 of us before the show and during intermission. And we are loving where our seats are! Even though we are on the side, there is very little that is obstructed and we feel so close to the stage!

I’ve seen “The King And I” before and I’ve even helped to produce a production of it at a kid summer camp (that was an interesting adventure), so I know the story pretty well. But this was still such a magical production! The cast was very talented and the staging was really nice. I always find it interesting how touring companies do the staging for shows since they have to be able to move them from city to city. But this was a minimalist set that worked perfectly.

The show was just as amazing as I remembered it from the previous productions I’ve seen. It’s not a show that I have seen that many times, but it’s familiar enough that I can just sit back and enjoy the show and not need to think too much about it. And the entire audience seemed to be the same way because whenever super familiar songs were starting, everyone was swaying with the music (and fortunately nobody was singing and making it tough to hear the performers).

Our next Pantages show was originally scheduled to be on Oscar Sunday, but since we all have places to be that day (plus the theater is close to where the Oscars are held so we don’t want to deal with traffic) we switched our date for the show. It will be 2 months before our next show, but I’m ok with that. I’ve got lots of other awesome stuff happening and there’s always a chance I’ll find another musical that isn’t a part of my season with discounted tickets to check out.

I know I’ve said this so many times, but I’m so grateful that I have my season tickets this year and that I have amazing friends who are joining me for the shows. Before doing season tickets, I didn’t realize that I was missing out on so much happiness in my life. And I have a feeling I’ll be doing season tickets for so many more seasons in the future.

A Casual Brunch (or More Hangout And Less Catchup)

Even thought I haven’t been too active with Women In Film lately, I’m still a member and still so happy that I joined with I did. They recently were taking applications for new mentoring circles and I thought about signing up to see if I could get in. But I did have some negative experiences with my 2 previous groups so I decided to take a break from it for 2017.

I might rejoin a mentoring circle the next time they do applications, but it really felt right to step back from it this year. I have a lot of other things that will be taking my focus (that are not acting related) so I don’t want to join a mentoring circle and not be able to dedicate myself to it completely. That’s the issue we had with my first group. Out of the 10 women who started in it, only 2 or 3 of us would attend the meetings. I don’t want to be a flake when someone else more deserving could take that spot.

But with my last mentoring group, the negative things had nothing to do with my fellow mentees. So it makes me so happy whenever we can get together. We were supposed to have our brunch in November, but the month was just too busy for us all and we decided to push things back a month. And this past weekend was our brunch where we were supposed to have 5 of us there, but even though only 3 of us could make it there it was still awesome!

We met at Rush St. (I think that will be our official brunch place) and since there was only 3 of us the catchup time was pretty short. I had run into one of my fellow mentees at Target recently so she was pretty up to date on the tumor situation. But I filled them in on the rest of the updates which is pretty much down to now we wait to see if the tumors shrink. I also updated them on how the premiere of my short film went and how there are a few other projects I’m looking at working on.

The other two women both had fun updates. One of them is currently writing a Hallmark movie and the other has been shooting a bunch of short films. And one of the mentees who wasn’t able to make it had emailed her update to us and she’s been doing so much as well. It’s always so inspiring to hear all the incredible things that everyone else is doing and they are so supportive no matter how much I have to share or if I got no acting related things done since I had seen them last.

Since there was only 3 of us there and we all had pretty short updates, we got to spend the rest of our brunch just having fun. Since we’ve been a group for so long now, many of us have become really good friends and that’s just so much fun. We were talking about the holidays and upcoming trips that they would be going on. We also joked about how the timing of when my liver surgery will likely be will mean that one of our meetings would be at the same time. So we were saying we should totally have a mentoring circle meeting from my hospital room! If I have to be in the hospital for a few days, I know I’ll need some entertainment and having our meeting then would be pretty awesome!

I do wish that more people could attend our brunch, but with us all having crazy schedules plus with the holidays happening we knew that it was going to be a tough month to figure out when everyone could make it. Our next brunch will be in February and I’m hoping that we can get everyone together for brunch to be a great way to kick of the mentoring circle meetings for 2017!

Movies And Christmas Lights (or A Busy Movie Week)

I recently had a week where I got to see 3 musicals in one week. And this week, I’m going to have a week where I see 3 movies in a week! Fortunately, 2 of those movies will be free (thanks to the SAG-AFTRA Film Society) so it’s not an expensive week. Movies are really expensive now! And while I’ve only seen 2 movies so far this week (the last one will be “Star Wars” on Saturday), it’s been pretty great.

The first movie this week was “Patriots Day” and that was a screening at the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. If you haven’t heard of this movie, it is about the Boston Marathon bombing. I had recently seen a documentary about the bombing so I was very familiar with the timeline and story going into the movie, but it was still a great movie. I think the woman sitting next to me didn’t know the timeline because she was in shock each time something happened.

It’s not an easy movie to watch, but that’s part of the reason I think people need to see it. This is a part of recent history and it shouldn’t be ignored. I know some people don’t love recent history movies, but I think this one was reported about in a censored way so many people don’t realize everything that happened. I think the movie doesn’t get released for most of the country until January, but I recommend being on the lookout for it.

The day after seeing “Patriots Day”, I went to another movie. This time, I went to see “Dr. Strange” with my friend David. David is the person I see all superhero movies with since he knows the story from reading the comics and he tolerates all the questions I ask after the movie is done. I enjoy the movies, but since I don’t know the back story so I tend to get confused.

This movie was the one we had to pay for and we went to the Grove to see it. I usually stay away from the Grove because it is very crowded and touristy. But it was the closest place that the movie was playing and had a time that worked out well for both of us.

We found parking quickly there (which is almost unheard of) and went straight to the movie. It was a good movie and I think the superhero movie that confused me the least. All the things that I thought would be questions for David ended up being answered in the movie! I’m sure that over the next week or so I will think of random questions like I always do, but after the movie nothing seemed that confusing to me. So after the movie was done, we decided to walk around the Grove a bit.

David hadn’t been to the Grove at Christmastime before so I said we had to check out the tree. It’s a pretty giant tree and while they were doing some filming stuff around the tree it wasn’t too crowded over there. We did our best attempt to get a selfie with the tree, but the only way to do it was to hold the camera below us which is really the least flattering angle.

We walked around for a bit longer after that and then headed back to the car. It was a bit crowded there and a ton of families in line to get pictures with Santa (who is in a giant house in the middle of the shopping area) and I didn’t feel like trying to walk through the crowds to see more of the Christmas lights and stuff around.

I’ll possibly be at the Grove again before all the lights and decorations are down, but if not I’m glad I got to check it out this time. I do enjoy seeing Christmas displays even though I don’t really celebrate Christmas myself. And even though seeing 3 movies in a week sounds pretty indulgent, it’s the holiday season so I figure anything goes!