Tag Archives: hangout

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!

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 Friend Party (or A Casual Hangout And Catchup)

Even though I’ve had a lot of awesome friend adventures lately, a lot of them have been with the same group of friends. And I realized that I hadn’t seen some of my other friends lately. So when my friend Rayshell sent me an invite to a last minute party that she and her husband were throwing, I knew I had to be there! I was a bit tired from my day, but I knew that even if I could only be there for an hour or two it would be worth it!

I got to their party a little after it started (there was some filming on their street so parking was difficult to find) and I’m glad I got there then. Normally at the beginning of their parties there aren’t a ton of people there yet. So I’m able to focus on the few people who were there and fortunately the people there at the beginning were the people I wanted to see!

Rayshell has been working out at Orangetheory lately, so it was great to catch up with her and hear what has been happening lately in her life. We haven’t been able to work out together yet, but I’m hoping that will happen soon. And we keep saying that we are due for another happy hour hangout, but both of us have been really crazy with our schedules.

Rayshell also was curious to get an update on me with my health situation. I know it can sound scary to hear that someone has a tumor in their liver, but I’m in no pain or discomfort and if I didn’t know I had the tumor nothing would be different in my life. I think letting her know that I’m totally fine reassured her that I really am ok. And I updated her on when I’d have updates so she could know when to expect them.

I also got to see my friend Sarah at the party. Again, we hadn’t seen each other in a while so it was so much fun to catch up! Since both of our last names are Levin, we figured that we must be somewhat related (there is a story that all people named Levin are at least 35th cousins or something). So we were reviewing our family trees to see if we could figure out any overlap. So far, we haven’t figured out where our family trees overlap, but I have a feeling that eventually we will figure it out.

Most of the time I was at the party, I was just catching up on life with my friends. We did discuss other things (mainly politics and the craziness going on right now), but it did feel like everyone wanted this party to be a catch up party. It did make me feel a little less guilty about not seeing my friends lately since it seemed like everyone was feeling the same way. Knowing that a bunch of us felt like this made me so grateful that Rayshell and Paul threw this party so we could all hang out.

I got to see a few other friends at the party, but when it was about 10pm, I needed to head home. I had been up since 6 that morning and I knew I needed to be up at 7 the next morning. As much as I wish I could have stayed later and seen my other friends who I knew were showing up later that night, my sleep has to be a priority for me now (I’m totally turning into an old person!). But before I left, Sarah and I had to get a photo with Rayshell in the middle. It’s a photo we’ve done a bunch of times so it’s become a tradition for us now!

levin-sandwich

Hopefully either Rayshell will have another party soon or I can organize a hangout with my friends soon so I can see them again! I don’t want to go a few months without getting to catch up again!

Happy Birthday Rayshell (or I Love Casual Hangouts!)

This past weekend was pretty busy for me, but that was fun for me! I love when I have a bunch of awesome things to go to and being able to be social with my friends. I can get pretty isolated with just working at home and then going to the gym, so whenever a friend throws a party I really do try to go! It’s good motivation to get out and do things when someone is having a party and I know I need to be more social so this helps.

Rayshell had her birthday recently and she had a casual get-together at her house on Saturday. While I do love big event birthday parties, it’s nice when you have something smaller and more relaxed at times (especially when you are in the middle of a crazy weekend). Rayshell (and her husband Paul) are pretty amazing at having parties at their place so I was pretty excited to get to spend time with them and the rest of my friends. I had a bit of a busy day on Saturday with work and some other things, but I still ended up being at their party pretty much right when it started (I have a reputation for usually being the first guest at their parties).

The party was pretty chill and that is what I feel makes it awesome. There was no pressure to dress up fancy or to have to impress everyone there. It was just a fun hangout with a bunch of friends most of whom I haven’t seen since Rayshell’s wedding. I’m so glad Rayshell does a couple of parties a year because they are great times for me to get to see a bunch of people who live all over LA and it’s not easy to get to see them all the time. Also, Rayshell and Paul’s apartment really is set up well for parties so I think they like hosting them there.

I spent most of my evening talking with my friends on updates on their lives (we all also discussed what we bought or wanted to buy on Amazon Prime Day) and it was just nice to relax around Rayshell and Paul’s apartment and getting to find out what people are up to without it being an update on Facebook. We all feel like we see each other more often because of social media, but then when we get together we realize how it has been a while since we were in person together!

And of course, since this was a birthday party there was cake. And when we were all singing to Rayshell I got this super adorable picture of Rayshell and Paul (seriously, they are the cutest couple!).

Rayshell and Paul

I really wanted to stay later at the party, but my body was getting ready to shut down around 11pm so I had to leave shortly after the cake. Fortunately, most of us aren’t night owls so I think most of the people I knew would be at the party got there on the earlier side so I didn’t miss them by leaving by 11pm. I really was having a great time at the party and talking with everyone, but since I had a 20 minute drive home I really knew I had to leave when I was feeling tired.

So I said goodbye to Rayshell, Paul, and all of my friends there and headed back to my car to head home. It really was a fun hangout with everyone and I think we all appreciated Rayshell and Paul for hosting another great party and giving us all an excuse to hang out again. I think the next hangout opportunity is going to be my birthday! I still need to figure out what to do, but I can’t wait to see everyone again in a few weeks!

A Dinner Hangout (or Seeing My Sister-In-Law in LA)

Even though my schedule the past week was crazy (I haven’t even covered the craziness of my past weekend), I still tried to have fun when I could. So when my sister-in-law Krystle sent me a text saying that she was going to me in LA on Friday, I knew I had to hang out with her! Since she and my brother moved to Santa Barbara, she and I haven’t really hung out in LA too much. She’s come over to my house for a quick visit, but it’s usually just a stop on their drive back from San Diego.

While I couldn’t hang out with Krystle and Ross while they were exploring LA (I was working then), I was able to join Krystle for dinner after she dropped my brother off at a friend’s house and before she and a friend went to a concert.

Since she was dropping my brother off in Brentwood, it worked out really well for me. I was working out at Orangetheory at 4pm, so we made plans to get dinner around 5:30/6. As soon as my workout was done, I showered and changed there (they have really nice shower facilities but I usually go home to shower after class). We were meeting for dinner at a burger place across the street from Orangetheory. But because Orangetheory is valet parking (we get 90 minutes for free), I moved my car across the street to cheaper parking.

I had never been to Barneys Hamburgers before, but I usually don’t hang out in Brentwood. I just go there for my workout and then go home. But this place seemed really cute and the menu seemed awesome when I looked online, so I was excited to check it out.

Krystle and her friend had gotten a table before I arrived, but they only beat me by a few minutes. Of course, she and I tried to catch up right away. But since they had a concert to go to, we knew we needed to order food first so they could leave on time.

I was a bit overwhelmed by the menu at first, and I didn’t want to eat anything too crazy since I had just worked out. But then I realized that it was ok to splurge a bit and found a couple of burgers that looked pretty awesome to me. I figured I’d have to go back another time soon to try another burger, so I chose one that looked good but not too crazy. It had cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce on it. It wasn’t the healthiest thing on the menu, but it was far from the worst. We also ordered truffle fries for the table (even though Krystle doesn’t like truffle fries, her friend and I do so I’m grateful that she let us get something to share even if it isn’t her favorite).

Post Workout Burger

The burger was really great! I don’t eat burgers like most people do. I tend to take the top off of it and then cut into it with a fork and knife. It’s a weird habit that I’ve had for a while, but it works for me and it keeps me from getting hamburger from falling out of the bun and onto my clothes.

While we were eating, Krystle was telling me about some upcoming trips that she and my brother are taking and how her wedding planning business is going. I’ll be seeing her in Santa Barbara next month when I’m there for Rayshell’s wedding, so we also talked about what we want to do while I’m there (my parents are going to be in Santa Barbara then too so it will be lots of family time).

We also got to talk a bit about the next trip that she and I take together. We though it would be a fun weekend in Las Vegas, but life got in the way and if we are going to do that it will have to wait until the fall or winter because we don’t want to be there in the heat of the summer. But this coming winter is when we also thought we’d go back to New York, so we have to decide which trip we want to take. Either one will be awesome and I’m super excited to get to spend more time with Krystle soon on an adventure.

We only got to hang out at dinner for about an hour before Krystle and her friend had to leave to get to the concert. Even though it was a fast hangout, it was seriously so much fun! I hope that Krystle can come down to LA every so often so she and I can do stuff here. There’s so much fun stuff in LA that she hasn’t done, so I’m hoping she can join me when I find out about a cool event.

After I said goodbye to Krystle and her friend, I headed home to get ready for my crazy weekend. But more on that in tomorrow’s post…