Tag Archives: hangout

Trivia Night (or An Unexpected Friend Hangout)

Since I’ve been trying to be more involved in SAG-AFTRA events, I’m trying to not say no to things when they fit into my schedule. So when the NextGen Performers committee posted that they’d be doing a trivia night on Tuesday I figured that I should go. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone to an organized trivia night before but it sounded fun. I tried to get some friends to come with me, but nobody seemed to be able to so I planned on just being there on my own.

But right after I arrived, my friend Rayshell walked in! I hadn’t texted her since she lives on the other side of town and usually can’t come over to my side of town after work, but she heard about the trivia night and also wants to be more involved in the union so she made the effort to go. It was so exciting to see each other there when we weren’t expecting it!

And I’m glad she was there (and had a friend with her) because it turned out that this trivia night was a team event. We ended up with a group of 4 and named our group The Misfits. There were lots of really clever names, but we were rushed to come up with a name because we missed that part of the instructions so we didn’t have any funny puns with ours.

At first, the trivia night seemed a bit complicated but I think that’s because we missed some of the instructions. But we picked up the idea pretty quickly. There were 4 rounds that each had 4 questions plus a bonus question. You bet a certain number of points for each question based on how you feel about your answer. And in the first round, we got all the questions right and were in 2nd place!

But after that amazing first round, we hit a slump. Rounds 2 and 3 didn’t go that great for us but it seemed like other groups were struggling too. And after the last round but before the last bonus question, we were all updated on how the scores looked. We were pretty close to the middle of the pack and the last bonus question was one where you could bet up to 20 points, but you risked losing those points if you got the answer wrong.

We figured we had nothing to lose so we bet 20 points and tried hard to think of the answer for the last bonus question. The question was which movie was the only one where Harrison Ford was nominated for an Oscar. All of us immediately thought “The Fugitive” but we weren’t rushing to answer. But then one member of our group remembered that he was in the movie “Witness” and that was probably the answer. So we put that down, turned our answer in, and hoped for the best.

Once everything was done, the MC was announcing the scores starting with last place. Once he got through half the groups we were so excited to know we were in the top half of the groups. Then he announced the 3rd place winner and that still wasn’t us so we knew we were in the top 2! We couldn’t believe it, but somehow we came back from the middle to end up in second place!

There was a basket of prizes to choose from and I got a SAG-AFTRA key chain. A lot of the stuff in the basket was similar to what we got in our swag bags at the convention so I didn’t really care too much on what I got. But just knowing that we got second place was awesome enough for me! I really wasn’t thinking we’d do that well and I think the entire group was shocked when we realized that we were in the top 2.

Even though winning second place in trivia was amazing, what was even better was getting to hang out with Rayshell again. Neither of us knew the other would be there, but fortunately there was a lot of downtime between trivia questions for us to catch up. It was like one of our happy hour hangouts! And this time there was free food since the NextGen Performers events have free food (actors always love free stuff!). We will still do another happy hour hangout soon, but at least we won’t feel as guilty about how much time will pass since we got to see each other this week.

After trivia was done, I had to get home. I’m still getting over being sick and I wanted to get home to get some sleep. But most people were leaving once the winners were announced. This mixer was more of a trivia night than a hangout night, but that was ok with me. It was something new for me and I had a great time. And even though it wasn’t the most actor related event, it was still a great night out with my union friends and that is always a win for me.

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Another Goal Setting Session (or A Quarterly Check In)

The podcast I work for has started to do quarterly check ins/goal setting workshops, and we just had our 3rd quarter check in this past weekend. I hosted it again at my house (even though it means I have to clean it also means I don’t have to worry about getting somewhere) and we had a really great group at the workshop.

A lot of what we did this time was the same as last time, but that’s not a bad thing since we aren’t in the same place now as we were 3 months ago. We started with just chatting together and getting to know each other before we moved on to the more serious work. But since most of us didn’t know each other, getting to chat a bit helped to make us all comfortable since this can be very personal work and we didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable sharing.

The first thing we did was the 4 Tendencies quiz by Gretchen Rubin. This was the same quiz that we did last time and I had the same results that I had the first time. I wasn’t surprised since I was pretty strong in what tendencies I fit into the first time, but it was still cool to take it again to see what happened. And I believe that nobody else in the group had done this quiz before so it was fun watching them discover what each thing meant and what tendencies they fit into.

After that, we worked on our personal reviews of the past 3 months. This was broken down into multiple sections. First, we wrote down what didn’t work. I had a bunch of things to put in that section, but I realized that there was a theme when I was writing. So many things that didn’t work had to do with me not feeling like I deserve something or am worthy of something or that I was letting someone else set the rules and guidelines for the situation. Some of this was related to dating and some of this was related to work. But so many thing fit into those descriptions and I hadn’t realized that until I was writing it down.

Next we wrote down what is important to us right now in life. This was more varied for me than what didn’t work. I had things like being more open and honest, working on union work and my acting career, strengthening my relationships with friends and family, and working on my fitness.

The next section was a two-parter. First, we wrote down what we want. For me, that included having success in my acting career, living within my means, having healthy and happy relationships, and getting into recovery for my eating disorder. The second part was what we wanted to live through ourselves. I want generosity, helpfulness, and being of service to come through me. I know that those are all pretty similar, but I feel like when I can help that I am at my strongest so I want to do that as often as I can.

The final section was what is next for us for the next 3 months to bring us to the end of the year. And mine fell into the ideas that I had written in the previous sections. I want to stop tolerating mediocrity in myself and in others. I don’t want to give up control to others because that doesn’t do anyone any good to just go along with things. I want to be more active in multiple aspects of my life. And I want to work on living a full life and not to forget to have a life outside of the routine I’m already in.

After we went through those sections, everyone had the opportunity to share and everyone did share. All of us are working through very different things, but that didn’t mean we didn’t learn from each other. I was taking notes as everyone else was talking and I got some great ideas that I know I want to use for myself. And after we reviewed what we had written, we all worked on some action steps to take to make sure we work on what we had written. For me, the action steps all boiled down to one main idea: stop taking crap from people and when I want to be involved in something that I should not worry about it and go for it. Obviously that is easier said than done, but it has given me something to think about.

We ended the workshop with some visualization and discussion of affirmations. Even though I use a daily affirmation app, I got some ideas for affirmations that are more specific to me and I’m looking into how to create some sort of affirmation alert for myself that randomizes which one I see. I won’t have time to work on that for a little bit, but hopefully I can do it during this last quarter of the year.

Even though I’m pretty big on goal setting for myself, having these workshops is so amazing and I always learn so much from them. I learn more about myself and what I’m thinking about situations. And I learn how I want to change things and create real action steps that I can take to accomplish them. It’s very empowering and I’m already looking forward to the workshop we have for the first quarter of 2018!

Not Quite Happy Hour (or Making Time For My Friends)

I’ve been busy lately and I know I’ve been neglecting my friendships. While I’ve seen friends at various events a lot lately, those aren’t always conducive to catching up. And even at my birthday party I wasn’t able to catch up properly with most people because I was trying to talk with everyone there.

My friend Rayshell and I have been pretty good about doing happy hour hangouts, but lately we’ve both been bad at trying to schedule them. It had been a while since our last one and we tried several times to schedule one. But finally we both decided we needed to catch up and we figured out when it was a good time for both of us and put it on our calendars. I usually don’t go out after an afternoon workout, but I realized that I need to start doing that in order to make more time for my friends. So after my workout on Wednesday, I went home and showered and got into my car to drive to the valley to meet Rayshell for dinner.

It wasn’t during happy hour since we couldn’t figure out when we could both meet for happy hour, but that’s ok. We met up at MidiCi which is a pizza place that Rayshell had been wanting to try. She said that it was normally crowded when she thought of going, but since we were doing dinner a bit later she thought maybe it wouldn’t be too bad. She got there before I did and got us a table. It wasn’t too crowded, but because you have to go up and order at the counter we wanted to make sure we had a table before ordering.

I had checked out the menu before we met up and everything looked pretty good. And fortunately Rayshell and I like a lot of the same things so it was pretty easy to pick some food for us to share. We ended up ordering some burrata, meatballs, and a truffle pizza to split.

The food all arrived at about the same time which was tough because we had a small table, but we managed. And everything was delicious and I want to go back to try some more of the awesome things they had on their menu.

But obviously, getting good food isn’t the main reason I go out with my friends. It’s a great way to catch up one on one with someone and I know that Rayshell and I were both missing that. We see what each other posts on social media and we text, but it’s never the same as hanging out in person and having a real conversation.

And since it had been about 6 months since our last proper catch up, we both had a lot to share! Rayshell has been working on a lot of different acting projects lately. She’s got a web series that should be coming out in the near future that she’s been working really hard on. I can’t wait to see it because a couple of friends of mine are a part of it and I love having the chance to support their work.

And all of my random online dating adventures happened after the last time Rayshell and I had a hangout so she wanted to know all about that. I wish I had more positive stories to tell her, but at least she found my weird and negative stories funny. I still find it so funny that my friends are getting a kick out of all the craziness I’ve been encountering, but that does help me keep a positive mindset. If I didn’t have a reason to look forward to bad dates, I think I’d be too worried that I was going to have a bad date before even meeting a guy.

We also had general catch up stuff to talk about too. Both of us have been busy with work, acting, and life and it’s always good to talk about that stuff too. And since it had been forever since we had a happy hour hangout, we talked about how we both felt bad that it had been so long since we were able to talk! We know that we are both equally guilty for having busy schedules so we understand how we could have let so many months go by without figuring out when we could go to dinner.

Both of us had busy days the next day and I still had to drive home, so we didn’t stay at dinner too late. But just getting to hang out with Rayshell for an hour or two was awesome. She is such a great friend to me and I want to make my friendships more of a priority. It’s not easy to do that and I’m lucky that my friends understand that it’s not that I don’t want to hang out but I don’t have the time to hang out. But I want to stop using that as an excuse as often as I have and work on building up my friendships with my friends some more.

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Another NextGen Mixer (or A Fun Post-Election Hangout)

Even though the SAG-AFTRA election season is over, there are still so many awesome actor events for me to participate in! I’ve been getting registered for the upcoming convention and submitting interest in various committees. I’m getting so excited about both the convention and the committee opportunities. I know how much I loved the convention last time and I have a feeling that it will be just as amazing this year!

But I’m not just getting ready for future events, I’m going to some. And this past week was the big mixer event for the NextGen Performers Committee. I’ve gone to some of their smaller events, but this one is their biggest. It’s not just a NextGen Performers event, it’s also co-sponsored by New Filmmakers LA. I haven’t been to any of the combined mixers before so I was pretty excited to see what this one would be like.

It was held at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood, so it was a bit of a drive for me. But I was able to get there pretty close to the start time. But I had no idea how big this mixer was since I had only gone to the smaller ones. And when I arrived it was already pretty packed inside! There was a fun step and repeat to take photos at, but I decided to focus on trying to find some of my friends first.

Fortunately, within a few minutes of arriving I found a bunch of friends who were also a part of the slate that I ran on for the recent election. We were all so glad that the election season is over and we can focus on more union work now. And I also ran into some friends from the other slate and it’s nice to know that we are all past the campaigning and political stuff for now and can go back to working hard together.

With the bar being so crowded, I got a bit overwhelmed and when that happens I get a bit shy. So I ended up sticking with my friends for most of the night. I know that we were supposed to be networking, but that’s so difficult to do in a loud bar. It was so much easier to just catch up with people who I already know so I didn’t have to worry about offending them by saying that I can’t hear anything that they are saying. But it was a good mix of people I know through so many different things (even some girls from my Girls Night Out group!). So I wasn’t too isolated in the groups that I was talking to.

Since this was such a bit mixer for the NextGen Performers group, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris was there to speak. I’ve been so fortunate to get to know Gabrielle over the past few years and she is truly incredible. She took over as SAG-AFTRA president after Ken Howard died and that was not an easy thing to do. But she’s done such a wonderful job with the union and I’m so happy that she was reelected. But one of the most amazing things about her is how much she cares about everyone. She is so happy to see people and always asked about how we are doing. When she found out my friend was working on his first union contract, she had the biggest smile and was so proud of him. Having a leader that cares that much is a rare treat.

After the speeches, the official time for the event was coming to an end. We had a reserved section of the bar plus there was some free food and drink tickets. I think we could have stayed there after the official time ended (it just wouldn’t be reserved for our group or have the free stuff), but once it was 9pm I was feeling ready to go. I had a pretty long day that day with working my day job and a doctor appointment, plus the drive to the valley is a bit long. I knew that I was already overwhelmed and adding being tired to that wasn’t going to let me make any good impressions on people. So I started to make my round of goodbyes, which always seems to take forever, and headed back to my car to head home.

I love all the NextGen Performers events. Usually they are much smaller than this one which is nice because I can spend the time getting to know new people and it isn’t as crazy. But having a big event is so fun and festival especially when it comes at the end of what was a bit of a stressful election season.

Birthday Party Adventure! (or Another Traditional Celebration)

I’ve celebrated my birthday at Bodega Wine Bar a couple of times now. It’s such a great place to have a casual birthday hangout so when I was trying to plan what to do for my birthday this year I had going back to Bodega at the top of my list. I looked at having a party at other locations, but I kept coming back to thinking Bodega would be perfect. So I gave them a call and they were able to get me the same section I’ve had in the past for a birthday party this past Saturday! So it was another Bodega birthday adventure!

Before my party, I actually decided to go to DryBar to get a blowout. There is now a DryBar right by my house, so that’s so much easier than having to drive 10-15 minutes to another location. I could walk there, but that day was so hot and humid and I didn’t want to ruin my hairstyle on the walk back. Fortunately there was a meter right in front of the salon for me!

The blowout only took about 30 minutes so that gave me plenty of time to go back home so I could relax a bit before getting ready to go out. I didn’t take a photo of my outfit, but I decided to try to be dressy and casual at the same time so I wore a basic black sundress with some cute heels. And then it was time to head over to Bodega!

And I lucked out with a parking meter again! I found one that was right around the corner and it was free since it was after 6pm! It was perfect and I walked right over to see who was an early bird for the party.

I’m glad I wasn’t the first person to arrive because I always hate waiting for people. And right after I got there more people started to arrive. I’m glad I got a reserved section again because it made things much easier for us. The bar was a bit crowded with some other parties and this way we didn’t have to worry about finding space for everyone. Although at one point there were maybe 15 of us there and it was getting a bit crowded. But I don’t think that anyone really minded that.

I hadn’t had a drink since my birthday party last year, but I knew I’d be ordering one at my party this time. My liver surgeon has told me that I can drink, but I haven’t been drinking since I don’t want to put more stress on my liver than I need to. But this was a special occasion so I figured it was a good time to have my first drink in a year!

I knew my tolerance for alcohol would be down, but I was actually surprised how low it was. I’ve had time without drinking before and it never seemed like I lost too much of my tolerance. This time, I was able to drink maybe about half of it before I felt like it was hitting me. I ordered food to help me feel a bit better, but I ended up not drinking any more of my drink. It was delicious, but I guess I need to realize that I can’t drink the way I could before (at least not for a while).

But I didn’t have my party to be able to drink. I had it so I could hang out with my friends and have fun. And that’s exactly what happened! I love when different groups of friends come together and meet. And this had people from so many different parts of my life there. It was so fun watching my neighbor talk to someone who is part of the leadership of the Unite for Strength slate. Or to see one of my Disney friends talk to someone from my WIF mentoring group. It was just awesome sitting back and watching people get to know each other and have my worlds combine!

I didn’t want any presents (although I did tell people if they wanted to do something they could donate to Unite for Strength) because I wanted this to feel more like a regular fun hangout and not a birthday party. I didn’t want anyone to sing Happy Birthday to me or make anything a big deal. Some of my friends did pay for my food and drink, so that was special and I wasn’t expecting it. All I wanted from my friends was to have them there and get to have fun with them.

We ended up being at Bodega for a pretty long time. It was getting a bit noisy and I think most of us aren’t usually late night people so by 11:30 we were all ready to go. People had been coming and going all night so it was a rotating group of people there, but pretty much everyone who was still there decided to leave when at the same time at the end.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday adventure. It was fun and no-stress. Everyone there seemed to have a great time and that’s what I wanted. I always want everyone else to have fun and that’s what makes me happy!

While this was the main birthday adventure for me, what I have to write about in tomorrow’s post was almost the grand finale of the birthday fun!

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Birthday Twin Tradition (or An Almost Free Meal)

One of my favorite birthday traditions is going to Truxton’s with my birthday twin Joanna for dinner. We’ve been doing this for pretty much as long as we’ve been friends and it’s always a fun night for us. We try to have more catch up hangouts throughout the year and we’ve been getting better at doing that. But our birthday dinner is something we always look forward to.

We were going to try to do our dinner on our actual birthday again this year, but our schedules didn’t quite work out that way. So we ended up going 2 days before our birthday which was a great way to kick off each of us celebrating our birthday week!

We did a later dinner than normal, but that was fine because parking meters in Santa Monica were free! We both found parking pretty easily and walked over to the restaurant together. Because it was a later dinner, the restaurant wasn’t that packed, but that was nice since it wasn’t horribly noisy either.

When we started going to Truxton’s the birthday deal was a free entrĂ©e and free dessert. That made things really simple for us but we also always felt like we didn’t need 2 desserts. Now, the deal is $20 toward the bill. They used to combine the coupons (so we could get $40 total) but now it has to be split onto 2 checks. We decided to try to see if we could make it so when it was split each half would be $20 and we would get our totally free meal again.

We originally wanted to get Monkey Bread as an appetizer (it’s so good there!), but unfortunately they were all out! It was crazy that they were out, but we figured it just wasn’t meant to be. And for our entrees, we both were kind of debating between the same two things: the brisket sandwich and the club sandwich. So we decided that we would order both and would each have half.

It was a bit messy when we tried to cut the sandwiches in half, but it was fine. And it ended up being the perfect thing since we both got to have some of each thing we were craving. We also did one sandwich with garlic fries and one with regular fries so we got to have both options.

And dessert is always the highlight of the meal for us. We decided to go for the giant cookie that has ice cream on top. It’s pretty decadent and seems like one of the more festive desserts they have there.

They brought plates out for us so we could try to split the cookie and ice cream up, but there was no way to really do that. And we are fine sharing a plate so we each grabbed a spoon and pretty much stuck to one half of the pan. And even though we were both full from the sandwiches and fries (it’s probably a good thing we couldn’t get Monkey Bread), somehow we were able to finish the entire dessert!

We really tried to do some planning on what we were going to order to see if there was a way that we could make sure that each half of the bill would be $20 or less. Technically there was a way to do it, but it would have been with the dinners we really weren’t wanting. As much as we want a totally free meal, it’s better to order what we want to eat. And even though we didn’t have our free birthday tradition, it was still a very cheap dinner out.

And even though the bill was super cheap, we like to leave a big tip because we know that servers make most of their income from the tips (we left about $20 on what would have been a $41 bill).

And while the food was awesome, getting to catch up with Joanna was even better! It had been a while since our last catch up meal and we both had so much to share! Joanna has gone on some fun trips and has had some changes in her day jobs. I’ve become a medical miracle and also have had some changes in my day jobs. But I’m lucky because even though it’s been a few months since we had seen each other, when we get together it seems like we can always pick up where we left off.

We ended up hanging out at dinner for about 2 hours before we both had to head back home. The next tradition we have is our cheesecake outing that we do around the new year, but I know that we both are going to keep trying to make an effort to see each other more often (even if it isn’t a free meal that we are meeting up for).

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Another Actor Night (Tweetup And Inside Acting)

In my attempt to be more involved in my acting career and not just sitting around waiting for auditions, I’m trying to go to as many actor events as possible. Fortunately, there are lots of different events always happening around town. My biggest problem is usually finding one that fits into my schedule, but I’m working on getting better with that and making more time for my acting career.

I am lucky that there seem to be a bunch of events that happen on Monday nights (which are usually my free nights) and this week that’s exactly what happened! The LA Actors Tweetup was this Monday at Busby’s East and I was able to make it! As I mentioned before, the Tweetup now has a more structured format with a Q&A with a guest so it’s not just hangout time. I think that makes it even better and makes the night an educational experience and not just catchup time. This time, the special guest was Kabir Akhtar who is an editor/director for the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (which is one of my favorite shows).

I got to the Tweetup pretty close to when it started so I had a lot of time to see my friends and catch up with them. There were some people I hadn’t seen in months and some who I had just seen the week before. But it’s always fun hanging out with your friends at a bar and just talking. A bunch of my friends have seen the random online dating posts I’ve put online and they wanted to hear more about the stories. And before I knew it, the room was getting pretty full!

It was so fun to see all the people at the Tweetup. There were a lot of people who I hadn’t met yet, and I always enjoy meeting new people. And the Inside Acting Podcast team was almost all there! We tried to make an effort to be there for the Tweetup and we had every intention of taking a team photo. That didn’t happen, but we did get a “ladies of IAP” photo.

I love that there are amazing women working on the podcast with me now. For so long, it was just me and the hosts. They never made me feel left out or anything, but there’s something special about women being powerful and working together. And I think we make a pretty amazing team!

Since it was so crowded, I went with some friends to try to find a good spot to sit for the Q&A. I knew I might have to do some work on my phone, so I ended up sitting toward the back in a raised section. It actually was the perfect place to watch the Q&A from because I had a great view. And there was no need to be up close when I wanted to just sit back, listen, and learn.

And there was a lot to learn from. Even though I don’t want to be an editor or a director, there are some universal lessons that anyone (even if they aren’t in the entertainment industry) could take from Kabir’s story. He has worked so hard to get to where he is and so much of his journey was so relatable. Hard work isn’t glamorous, but it’s what you have to do to achieve great things. And when one person says no, that doesn’t mean that everyone will.

One story that he told was one that I was a bit familiar with. When the pilot for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” was made, it was rejected by the network that was going to pick it up. It got rejected from other networks and probably most people on the show thought it was never going to be anything because they were getting all of the rejections. But then the CW decided to pick it up and it’s now an award winning show! They could have felt depressed after all the rejections, but they didn’t and they kept on going. The show just needed one yes to go and it didn’t matter if they had 100 people saying no first.

That story is so relatable to me in both my acting and my personal life. I deal with a lot of rejection and sometimes it’s tough to not take it personally. But I have to just remember that someone at some point will say yes and that can change everything. I just have to be patient and wait for that yes to come and I know it will be worth it.

After the Q&A was done, I tried to start saying my goodbyes to my friends. But somehow that always takes an hour or two to get done. But it’s because we are all having so much fun hanging out and we know that we are all so busy so it can be tough to see each other. There are a few other actor events that I know will be coming up this summer and I’m trying to plan for them the best that I can. But knowing that I can make it to the Tweetups on a somewhat regular basis is making me happy and feel more connected to my acting friends and the community. I’m always reminded about this at each event and I tell myself that I’ll attend more. Hopefully this time I can make that happen.

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.

Overdue Happy Hour (or Trying A Neighborhood Restaurant)

I remember when I was little and hearing how adults felt like time went by so fast. I never understood it then since it seemed like each day would take forever (especially when it was a standardized testing day at school). But now it totally makes sense to me. Sometimes it feels like something wasn’t that long ago when it really was a few months ago. That’s what happened with my hangouts with my friend Rayshell.

We have been making an effort for a while to try to get together for happy hour every month every other month. We both have busy lives that seem to be on opposite schedules, so if we don’t make an effort to hang out a lot of time can slip by. Rayshell was recently on a trip and I had told her than when she got back we had to do a happy hour. But I didn’t realize then that the last time I had seen Rayshell was back in November! So much has changed in both of our lives since then so we quickly got to scheduling a time to meet for dinner.

We try to alternate if we meet on her side of town or my side of town, and Rayshell decided that it was her turn to come to my neighborhood (plus, her job is kind of toward where I live). I was trying to figure out a good place for us to meet that had a fun happy hour menu and I thought of Public School 310. I’ve been to Public School before, but only to the location in the valley. It’s weird that I hadn’t been to the one near me before since it’s walking distance from my house. But somehow it just never happened. So this happy hour seemed like the perfect time to check it out!

Rayshell and I love a good happy hour menu, and this one seemed pretty amazing to us! The drinks were super cheap, but since I can’t drink right now I had to skip that. But Rayshell got a $5 beer that was huge! And we decided to each get one of the little plates and then split something too. I got the meatballs and we split the hummus.

The food was really good and it was all a great deal! Between the beer and the 3 plates, our dinner was under $25! That’s really cheap, even for happy hour! And with this being so close to my house I feel silly that I hadn’t been there before. It’s totally going on my list of great places in my neighborhood.

Besides having great food, it was great conversation. Like I said, it had been a while since I had seen Rayshell. We see each other’s posts on Facebook and text from time to time, so we were a bit caught up on each other’s lives. But it’s very different to catch up in person than it is online. And as we caught up, we both realized how much stuff had happened since we saw each other back in November!

Rayshell was telling me all about her trip, but she has also been working out at Orangetheory! She doesn’t work out at the same location as me since there is a location walking distance from her house (I’m jealous since I have to drive almost an hour home in rush hour traffic from the studio I go to). But she’s been going twice a week for a while so we wanted to talk workout stuff. I love that I have so many friends who work out so we can all talk about our workout wins and totally understand what the other person is talking about.

And even though Rayshell knows about my surgery next month, she wanted to hear about what was happening and what the plan is. I’m sure that hearing that I have a big tumor that will be taken out can be overwhelming for my friends. I don’t feel too worried about it because I’m not in pain and I feel very confident in my surgeon. But since nobody else knows that I’m not in pain and nobody else has met my surgeon, I can see why other people are worried about me. But I do want to make sure all of my friends know that I’m totally ok with everything that is happening so I’m more than happy to explain it all to them.

I also had to update Rayshell about getting a new car! It’s still a bit weird to me that I have a new car, but it is feeling more and more like mine and not like a rental or a temporary car. It helped a lot that I now have my personalized plates on it. I’ve had those plates on every car I’ve ever had and it makes it feel more like mine and not someone else’s. And it is really nice having a car that doesn’t have a bunch of things that I need to fix or that doesn’t want to play my podcasts from my phone. My old car was fine, but this one feels like such an upgrade. And while I wasn’t actively looking for a new car before, I know Rayshell knew all the issues I had with the old car so I think she’s pretty happy for me that I have something that works and doesn’t need thousands of dollars in repairs.

Our happy hour was pretty short because Rayshell had to deal with traffic to get home, but it was the perfect quick catchup for us. I know that she is hoping to come visit me when I’m in the hospital or when I’m recovering with my parents, so I’ll be seeing her again soon. And even though I might be in pain when we hang out then, I know that Rayshell is going to do what she can to make that still a fun hangout and feel like one of our regular happy hour adventures.

Podcast Hangout (or A Quick Coffee Meeting)

I’ve been busy working with Inside Acting Podcast for a while now. We’ve got a lot of really great things coming up, including my planning for our 300th episode this year! It’s going to be tough to top our 200th episode celebration, but I’m trying to do it and there are some really big ideas that we are debating about doing right now.

But while I’m working a lot with the podcast with getting guests, scheduling things, and helping to manage everything; I haven’t gotten to do a lot of events with our listeners. We had our vocal class and headshot sessions last year, but this year we are hoping to have more gatherings so that we don’t always feel like we are putting out the podcast into a void.

Our community manager and I have been working really hard at ideas for events and we have some things that should be able to happen. But because we don’t want to keep putting things off while we schedule fun stuff, we scheduled a casual coffee hangout this past Sunday. We found a coffee shop that is pretty centrally located (since we know everyone is coming from all over LA) and put it out to the listeners that we were organizing a meetup.

We didn’t know how many people would be showing up since we didn’t do any RSVP system. But we hoped it would have a good turnout and figured that if it was a low turnout that at least we would get to know a couple of our listeners a lot better.

When I showed up, a few listeners got there before me which was great since they were able to get a table for the group. And pretty quickly after I got there we had more and more members arriving. And before I knew it, we had more people than our big table could fill and we started to take over the coffee shop with all of us hanging out and meeting each other!

There were so many amazing conversations happening there! A lot of us are members of the podcast (if you aren’t and want to become one, you can sign up for it!), and we are in week 5 of “The Artist’s Way”. Even though we are pretty active in the membership discussing our thoughts about what we are doing and if we are having any victories or setbacks, it’s really nice to discuss it in person. And I think a few people who weren’t doing “The Artist’s Way” with us will be starting it now so we will have more people to discuss this with soon!

We also were talking about some of the events that we are hoping to be doing for the membership and listeners soon. We want to do another headshot day, there are a few classes we are bringing in for everyone, and we have a few fitness classes that will be happening. It’s fun getting everyone else excited about the events because it makes us more excited too!

And some people wanted to know about some of the upcoming guests that we have planned. I wish I could tell people about guests we are working on, but because it takes a long time sometimes to get everything set up and scheduled (there are some guests I’ve been working on for over a year), we don’t usually share too much. But I did mention a few people that we are hoping to get on the show soon and that again gets everyone super excited about what is happening!

I wanted to stay at the hangout as long as possible so I could see as many people as I could, but I was having friends over that evening and needed to get home to clean and get things ready. But I was able to be there for about an hour and a half so I think that wasn’t too short. But it was tough to leave when there were so many people there that I wanted to talk to and so many conversations that I wanted to keep being a part of. Hopefully we can pick up the conversations at the next hangout that we schedule and that this in person momentum keeps going!