Tag Archives: lunch

A Universal Adventure (or Lunch And A Tram Tour)

This past Monday I was originally going to go to Disneyland. That didn’t end up happening (and I’m glad I did change my plans), but since I had my afternoon free I decided to make some other plans. I thought about it for a minute and realized that it has been a while since I went to Universal Studios. I’ve got about 2 months left on my pass and wanted to make sure I went at least one more time before it expired. So I called my friend Robert and he was free too so we decided to go to the park to hang out!

Since I was coming after my workout and Robert had to go to work at 4pm, we didn’t have a ton of time at the park. But since we both have passes and didn’t really care too much about what rides we went on, this worked out perfectly. We made plans to meet up at the gate at noon and I rushed to get ready to drive over to meet Robert. We ended up having pretty perfect timing and got to the front gate within minutes of each other.

As soon as we went inside, we went to get some lunch. Robert has been working his way through the menu at the Three Broomsticks restaurant in the Harry Potter section of the park, so I was happy to go there so I could help him get a few more things knocked off the list. Plus, the food is pretty good there and isn’t like traditional theme park food. I was pretty hungry after my workout (and it was lunchtime), so I got the bangers and mash for my lunch. It was a bit more food than I normally would eat, but it was perfect!

It wasn’t too crowded at the restaurant so Robert and I had a nice time just relaxing and catching up. He works for the Oscars so he’s about to get really busy with helping out at the show. So I wanted to take advantage of the time we had to hang out before he gets too busy with work. We had just seen each other recently (he came over to watch the SAG Awards at my house), but we both have had a lot of things happening in our lives lately. So it was nice to catch up.

After our lunch, we were debating about if we were going to go on a ride or just walk around the park. We ended up deciding to go on the tram tour since that’s always fun to do and it was a pretty nice day out. I had told Robert a while ago about how it was interesting to sit in the very front of the tram because of the way some of the theme park elements of the tour work, and it was awesome to find out that we were going to sit in the first row of the front car!

We had a nice time going through the tour. It is silly and gimmicky, but it’s always fun. I like to see what the backlot looks like when they are filming different shows, and I really do love the theme park elements and how cheesy they can be sometimes. When we were getting close to the Jaws part of the tour, the guide told us that Jaws was under refurbishment and we could not go through it. I could see that it was all torn up, but the guide told us not to be sad because we were in for a special treat. And as we got closer to the ride, we saw that one the animatronic Jaws was off to the side getting ready to be used!

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen one of the Jaws out of the water so that was a really awesome thing! I do love the Jaws part of the tour so I’m glad they are working on keeping it looking nice so it will be around for a while to come.

One of the last things on the tour that we always see is my old workplace. I love going past the Bates Motel or Bates house. Even though I had some unpleasant experiences with working Halloween there (specifically with guests who decided to hit or attack me or other employees), I do still look back at that time with happy memories and I miss working there. So getting to see where I worked does make me happy.

After the tram tour, Robert had to head home so he could get ready for work. I thought about staying at the park to walk around a bit more, but I decided to head home so I could avoid the worst of the rush hour traffic. We were in the park for a little more than 2 hours, but even though it was a fast visit it was the perfect thing to do that day!

I don’t know if I’ll be back to the park before my pass expires. I am looking at getting another pass for next year if I can find a good deal like I did this time. But if I don’t make it back for a while, I’m glad that I have had a couple of great days at Universal and really got my money’s worth with the pass.

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 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.

A Very Full Disney Day (or Finally Able To Get Back To The Parks)

I haven’t been to Disneyland in a while. Mainly, it’s because the type of annual pass I have doesn’t allow me to go during the summer (which is fine with me). The last time I was there was on Father’s Day so I could ride the new Soarin’ ride, so I was antsy to get back and have a real Disney day.

My pass type was finally able to go back this week so my friend June and I had made plans to get back to the park on Monday. We were discussing that at my birthday party, and my friend Dani wanted to come with us too! Dani is a big Disney person too and she’s never been to the parks with us. Plus, she was going to be getting her first annual pass so she’s getting ready to have a full year of Disney adventures too!

Our day didn’t start super early. I had a workout in the morning and none of us cared to be there as soon as the park opened because we knew we were going to be staying there late. Once we arrived, we got through security and Dani got her pass (she paid in advance and just had to pick up the card at the ticket booth) and we were off to California Adventure.

Our first stop there was Soarin’. Even though I got to ride it twice back when it opened, neither June nor Dani had been on the new version. I was super excited to see what they thought about it and I was ready to see what new things I noticed and saw while watching it for the third time. I think the ride actually got a bit better because the scents that are used are more distinctive and I wasn’t as overwhelmed by the newness of it all. And June and Dani agreed that it was a good new movie and totally worth going on again another time.

We were going to do some more rides at California Adventure, but the Tower of Terror was down that day and we didn’t feel like waiting in the long line for Radiator Springs Racers because we had lunch reservations. So we headed across to Disneyland where we spent the rest of the day.

Our first stop in Disneyland was to ride Indiana Jones. This is always a fun ride for me and this time was no different. I know that other people have mentioned to me that some of the effects have been down in the ride, but I thought pretty much everything seemed to be working. We did have 2 times where the ride stopped (once in the dark and I was feeling a bit panicky when that happened), but other than that it was a pretty good ride.

The next stop was our lunch reservations. Since we heard that the Paint The Night parade and the current fireworks show were going away soon, we wanted to make sure we could see them one more time (and for Dani, for the first time). We decided to splurge and go to the Blue Bayou for the Paint The Night deal where you got a 3 course meal and reserved seating for the parade and fireworks!

Blue Bayou

As soon as we were seated, we experienced what we considered one of the most awesome and magical things we’ve seen at a restaurant lately.

Blue Bayou Menu

The menus had LED lights in them so you could read them! It is pretty dark inside of the restaurant and I was totally ready to use the flashlight on my phone to try to read it. But when we opened the menu and saw that it lit up, we all were so excited and amazed! We may have loved them so much that we had our server take a photo of us with the menus lit up.

Menu Lit

We did have a small problem when we got our menus. They didn’t say they were for the Paint The Night deal and when we brought that up to our server she said that the Paint The Night thing was only for dinner. I was really confused because when I made the reservation I was very specific in what we were trying to do and I guess something got mixed up when the reservation was put into the computer. Fortunately, our server was able to get us the special menu for lunch (just a few items weren’t available) and we were ready to enjoy a very special lunch.

Paint The Night Menu

We each had our 3 courses (I had shrimp for an appetizer, steak for my entrée, and creme brûlée for dessert) and it was really delicious! This wasn’t a cheap meal, but we enjoyed it and I think it was totally worth the cost. Plus, non-alcoholic drinks were included so I decided to get a lemonade with my meal too (I usually only drink water). We relaxed while we ate, and it was a nice grown-up meal!

After a huge meal like that, we decided to go on the Pirates ride since it wouldn’t be too much movement after eating. And it was fun to see where we were just eating lunch from the ride side. We ended up sitting in the front of the boat, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. It was nice with the extra leg room and having an unobstructed view of the ride, but we did get splashed on a lot during the 2 drops.

After Pirates (and our food had settled a bit) we were ready for some more exciting rides. We went over to Tomorrowland and went on Hyperspace Mountain. It’s still one of my favorite rides in the park and I always have so much fun riding it! I love the Star Wars overlay and I’m really hoping that they keep it because I think it adds so much to the ride! And of course, we had to try for a silly ride pose. Since there were 3 of us, we went for “hear no evil, say no evil, see no evil” and I think we really succeeded at it.

Hyperspace Mountain

What ended up being our last ride of the night was Star Tours. Again, none of us were chosen to be the Rebel Spy, but it’s still fun and Dani hadn’t been on it since they changed the ride to be in 3-D. We had originally also planned to go on Big Thunder Railroad after Star Tours, but the ride was down when we got over there and we didn’t want to wait to see how long it would be until it opened again.

Since we had some time before we needed to line up for our reserved seating for Paint The Night, we decided to get some character photos with the Star Wars characters that were out. Our first character stop was Kylo Ren, and I think this may be the greatest character photo I’ve ever been in. When it was taken, none of us knew the photo was being taken. Dani was being silly with Kylo Ren, June was pretty much laughing at Dani, and I was posing for a photo that I thought would be happening soon. I think I look like a total goober in it, but I seriously love this photo so much!

Kylo Ren

As soon as we saw the photo after it was taken, we all laughed so hard. It’s so perfect and completely not posed that we are all doing something totally different.

The other character out was Chewbacca, and we tried to go for a classic Charlie’s Angels thing, but Chewbacca decided he wanted to show off his muscles instead.

Chewy

Finally, it was time to head over to Main Street for our reserved seating for the parade. There was a line when we got there of people who also had reserved seating, but when we were finally let into the section we were able to sit on the sidewalk right behind the people sitting on the curb. We had a pretty great view and I was just so happy that we could sit down to watch the parade. Plus, we had a gorgeous view of the train station while we were waiting.

Train Station

The parade was really fun to watch and I enjoyed it just as much as the other times I had seen it. While I’m sad to see it go because it’s a good parade, I’m glad we are getting the Main Street Electrical Parade back soon! Since this was the last time I’d get to see this parade, I tried to get some great pictures, but I also just focused on enjoying it and having fun.

Paint The Night Belle

As soon as the parade ended, we made a mad dash back toward Main Street to get a great viewpoint to see the fireworks. I loved it when I got to see the fireworks from the castle last year, but I had never seen them from farther back before.

Main Street Viewing

While we couldn’t see the projections on the castle that well from how far back we were, we were able to see all the projections that were on the buildings on Main Street. That was pretty amazing and it was a beautiful show.

Main Street

And as always, the fireworks were great too.

Fireworks

I tried to get some great fireworks pictures, but I think that Dani wins with the one she took that had the Mickey fireworks in it!

Mickey Fireworks

After the fireworks ended, even though we had been at Disneyland for 10 hours already, we weren’t ready to go home. We walked over to the Disneyland Hotel to try to get some food at Trader Sams, but it was just super packed and there were no tables for us to sit at. So we walked back to Downtown Disney and we got some sandwiches at Earl Of Sandwich (even with the big lunch we had, we were all hungry at 10pm).

After our late dinner, we walked back to the car (the tram to the parking lot had already stopped for the night) and headed back home.

It was a full Disney day, even though it wasn’t the most ride-filled day. I had such a great time with June and Dani and I know that we are going to continue to have some amazing Disney days coming up as we don’t have to worry about summer blackout dates anymore!

Castle

Netflix Luncheon (or Rebels and Rule Breakers)

Through both SAG-AFTRA and WIF I got email invites for an event that Netflix was hosting this past weekend that featured the women of Netflix shows. The event was a luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire hotel and since the luncheon technically didn’t start until noon, I figured I should accept the invite because my work shift would be ending at 11am that day (I don’t miss work to attend events so I do miss out on a bunch).

There was free valet for attendees at the hotel, but it was so packed that it almost took me 30 minutes to get into the valet area and get out of my car! Fortunately, the pre-reception was still going on when I arrived so I checked in at the front, got my table number, and headed inside the room where the event was.

Netflix Event Beverly Wilshire

I had never been inside the Beverly Wilshire before, so I was so impressed by the space and the set up in the room. There was a bar for drinks, but I ended up spending my time before the luncheon started looking for friends of mine. Fortunately, since there were invites from a couple of different organizations I ended up knowing quite a few people there. Most of them were people I knew from the SAG-AFTRA convention because they were there representing the union at the luncheon.

At noon we were instructed to go to our tables and sit down so the presentation and lunch could start. At each of our seats, we had a card that on one side had the people who would be speaking and on the other side the menu of the lunch.

Netflix Speakers Neflix Menu

I knew who would be there speaking ahead of time because it was on the invite for the event, but I was still so excited to hear everyone speak. The panel was done in 2 segments and each woman there shared a bit of her story and a bit about how she feels about being a rebel. Being a rebel in the entertainment industry can mean so many things, and each of them had such a wonderful viewpoint. I loved hearing about how women are afraid not to be polite so they don’t try for things or ask things that might be a bit bold. While women shouldn’t worry about always being polite, there’s no need to not be gracious. Being polite and gracious are different things, and I never thought about that.

I’ve always been scared to not be polite, so this was really hitting home for me. I know I’ve been paid less than my co-workers because I didn’t want to see rude or pushy to ask for a raise. I’ve been treated badly at day jobs because I didn’t want to make a fuss and tell HR that I’m being harassed. I’ve tolerated guys saying pretty bad things to be because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t being nice because I’ve heard far too many stories of women being shot or attacked by men after they reject them (because to some men, rejection is rude and women shouldn’t do it).

I had already been making strides to being more bold in the past. More recently, I’ve been very outspoken about friends that I’ve wanted to work on projects with. The short film I’ll be starring in soon is because on a phone call with my friend Christopher I said that I was mad that he and I hadn’t worked on a project yet. He said he didn’t have anything that fit me, but next thing I knew our short film was written and now we are in pre-production. I’m going to be in another short film this year because when a friend mentioned that they were working on getting it to pre-production I asked what part there is for me. That isn’t the nicest way to ask, but it was effective and I’ll be playing a small part in that film now.

This entire luncheon was so empowering and really got me thinking about how I need to work on finding the balance between being polite (which is what I’ve been told I have to be) and being pushy (which is what I need to be to help further my career). I don’t have the answer on what that balance should be, but honestly I hadn’t been working hard enough in the past on this to make it work for me. I’m so inspired by what all these women said at this luncheon. I know that if I make a couple of small changes in how I interact with others (and how I network) that it can be a huge impact in the auditions I’m getting and the parts that are being offered to me.

The panel part of the luncheon was only about an hour or so long and after it was done we all were told to head back up to where the pre-reception was for desserts and drinks. I was able to find more of my friends at that point and I think all of us were equally inspired by what we heard (both men and women were at the event and I only heard very positive things from everyone).

We know that diversity is more than just women, but getting more women filmmakers and having women’s stories told in film and tv is important. Just this week, a pilot for a new tv show was rejected because it skewed too female. That’s is horrible. I’ve never heard of a pilot being rejected because it was too male. There’s also all the hatred that I don’t understand toward the all-female “Ghostbusters” movie. Some people don’t think that women need to look up to other women or are complaining that men have nobody to relate to in that movie (there are male characters and if they have to watch an all-male cast they can watch the original movie). And some people think that while women will watch shows about men, men won’t watch them about women. This has been proven wrong by movies like “Bridesmaids” that have been big successes.

These are all attitudes that need to change in order for more women to be writing projects, directing projects, and playing characters that are no just the girlfriend or the pretty one to look at. I feel like this change has started, but there are so many voices speaking negatively regarding gender diversity in film and tv (who want to keep it male centric) and I hope that those people will see that putting more women in front or behind the camera will not diminish men but will in fact create more projects that everyone can be in.

 

Helping A Friend With Their LA Bucket List (or Hot Dogs, Tar Pits, and Ocean Views)

My blogger buddy Lyndsay is leaving LA soon. She and her boyfriend are moving to Las Vegas at the end of the month and while I’m excited for them, I’m sad she’s leaving the area. Although, I’ll admit that while Lyndsay and I only live about a mile apart, we rarely get to see each other in person. So when I found out that she is leaving, I knew we had to hang out.

So this past Sunday we decided to go on an adventure to help her experience some awesome LA stuff before she moves away. She didn’t have a ton of ideas of places that she wanted to go to (we worked on that while we were hanging out on Sunday), but she did have a few restaurants on her list. And one of those restaurants was Pink’s Hot Dogs. I hadn’t been there for a while, so I was excited to go with her!

The line at Pink’s wasn’t too horrible, but it was still about 45 minutes before we got to order. Lyndsay got a bacon chili dog and I got the Lord of the Rings dog. I get the Lord of the Rings dog every time because it’s so awesome! It’s a hot dog with BBQ sauce and onion rings. Definitely not the best thing to eat, but as a super occasional treat it’s not too bad. We also got some chili fries to split between us.

Pink's Hot Dogs

My hot dog was just as delicious as it was the last time I had it (which was several years ago) and the fries were good, but I was pretty full from the hot dog so we didn’t eat a ton of them. And I think that Lyndsay agreed that even though we had to wait in line, the wait was worth it because the hot dog was so awesome!

After we were done with our hot dogs, we were trying to think of where we should go next. Both of us were lacking in money, so we were trying to think of free things around where we were that were fun to go to and Lyndsay hadn’t seen yet. We finally realized that we were right by the La Brea Tar Pits, and since Lyndsay had never been there we went right over.

We didn’t go into the museum there (they were closing as we arrived plus that costs money), but we walked around the tar pits.

Tar Pits

It was looking more watery than like tar, but it was still a landmark for Lyndsay to see and a check off of the LA bucket list that she was creating as we were going on our adventure!

After the tar pits, we were stuck again for what to do next. It seemed like everything we were thinking of cost money. But after a couple of minutes we decided to take a drive up to the Bird Streets.

If you aren’t too familiar with LA, the Bird Streets are the streets in the Hollywood Hills above the Sunset Strip with some of the most amazing city and ocean views. Homes there are pretty expensive (when we searched online out of curiously, the range was $12-25 million) but they are pretty cool to check out. We knew we wouldn’t get to go into any of the houses there, but we figured we’d drive up to the one that was for sale for $25 million and see what the view was like from the street.

The drive up there was pretty fun. We were checking out cool looking houses on the way and saw some really fun new houses that were being built (it seems like people who spend $12 million might consider it a tear down, which is insane). The $25 million house was at the top of the hills at a dead-end street, but as soon as we turned around to face going back down the hill, we were not disappointed by the view.

Bird Streets

Even though it was an overcast day, we still had an ocean view. And when we looked the other direction, we could see downtown LA. Obviously the house is ridiculously expensive, but that view is really a million dollar view. I had never really explored the Bird Streets before, so going on this drive was a new adventure for me as well. And it was totally worth it.

Our final adventure was going out of the Hollywood Hills and into the hills right next to them. My great-grandparents (my mom’s grandparents) had a house over there and a couple of years ago I was able to go inside the house with my mom to see what it looked like. My mom talked to the guy who owned the house then, and he was happy to let us in to see what it looked like at that point. My mom loved it because so much of the house still looked the same as it did when her grandparents owned it. We had taken some pictures and said goodbye to the owner.

This time, it looks like someone else owns the house. We did a bit of research and it is now a rental house that rents for a lot of money. We actually saw people walking in and out of the house, but I didn’t want to bother them (plus it seemed weird to do that), so I just took a picture of the outside so I could text it to my mom.

Great-Grandparent's House

After that stop, it was getting a bit late and I knew I had to get home. So Lyndsay and I headed back to our part of town and we said goodbye. She’s got a bit more time in LA before she leaves and I promised to help her check off a few more things on her list, so hopefully I’ll have another blog post soon with another of our adventures!

A Lunchtime Meeting (or Feeling Very LA)

I’ve talked about a couple of projects in the works that I’m a part of. Each of them are taking steps forward and hopefully they will be happening at some point this year. The project I’m farthest along with is the short film that my friend Christopher wrote for the two of us to star in.

He’s written 2 drafts of the film so far. The second draft happened after he and I met to read through the script, discuss ideas, and make changes. I’m really happy where the script is now and I think it’s a super cute and funny short film. I think the way it is right now is a finished draft and we are ready to get this project filmed!

Of course, in order to film we need to find a crew and get some money together. The money thing isn’t going to be easy, but we are hoping that the crew part won’t be as tough. We first focused on finding a director and I reached out to my friend Bryan who directed the documentary I produced. I sent Bryan the script and fortunately he really liked it and we set up a lunch meeting to discuss things.

There are times where I have to laugh at how stereotypically LA I am sometimes. And going to a lunch meeting with a writer and director with a script in my hand was really funny to me.

Lunch meeting

We met up at Public School 818 (where I’ve met my Tone It Up friends before) and it was a pretty awesome meeting. I hadn’t seen Bryan since he helped me with my demo reel a while back, so it was great to see him again! We caught up on life (he and his wife had a baby since the last time I saw him) and Bryan and Christopher got to meet for the first time and chat.

Meetings with potential directors kind of feel like first dates. You are feeling each other out and seeing if you can get along. I already knew that Bryan would be an amazing director for this and Bryan was really impressed with Christopher’s past work. So I felt pretty good that the meeting was going to go well.

Honestly, most of our lunch meeting was just chat about almost everything besides the script. Christopher and Bryan are both dads, so they talked a lot about that (and I just listened). We talked about random LA stuff and eventually we got to talking about the film. Bryan has a couple of minor adjustments that he thinks would make things better, and both Christopher and I were totally fine with his suggestions. And we discussed how much of a crew we would need to shoot it. Christopher wrote the script with a minimal crew in mind, so we wouldn’t need a ton of people. But we do still need a crew.

Where we left our meeting was that Bryan seemed pretty enthusiastic about the script. He has a producer friend in mind who might be able to help out and help us find crew members who want experience (and wouldn’t cost a ton of money). And Christopher and I need to try to find some post-production people since Bryan doesn’t really have as many connections there.

Overall, I felt like the meeting went really well. Progress is being made in the project and we have a timeline in mind for when it is best for us all to shoot. Hopefully if things go the way we want them to, by my birthday the film will be done and I’ll have another credit to my name before the fall tv season starts this year. This will also help me refresh my demo reel since I don’t exactly look the same way I did when I shot the scenes I’m using now (my hair is different and I’ve lost weight).

The best thing about this meeting is just how everything came together. This is why it’s so important to meet creative types that aren’t doing the same thing that you do. I met Christopher years ago when a friend of mine was in one of his films and he and I have stayed in touch since then. And Bryan was brought to the documentary by a friend and I’ve stayed in touch with him since we filmed it. Hopefully I’ll have enough connections to help us find our crew. But even if I don’t, I have a feeling that we will be able to figure it out somehow. Things always seem to work out somehow if they are meant to be.

Some Disneyland Goodbyes (or Animation, Rides, and BBQ)

I went to Disneyland this past Monday with my friend June. She and I had this trip planned since our last Disneyland trip because we had a very specific mission. A bunch of things will be closing down starting on the 11th for the construction for the new Star Wars land. Many things are only closing temporarily, but some are closing forever. So we wanted to make our round of goodbyes to some of our Disneyland favorites.

We got to Disneyland around noon and started our day over at California Adventure. We had planned on riding Radiator Springs Racers, but as soon as we got in line the ride broke down. We didn’t really feel like waiting to see how long it would take to reopen, so we headed over to the Animation Academy for some drawing fun. I don’t know if I’ve actually ever done the Animation Academy at California Adventure before (I did it at Disneyworld when I went a long time ago), so I was excited to check it out. We were drawing Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. And I did try my best to draw her, but clearly I have issues drawing circles. June was able to do a pretty great drawing!

Animation Academy

After that, we headed over to Disneyland for what we considered the main event of our trip. We went to the Big Thunder Ranch to get all you can eat BBQ!

Big Thunder Ranch

I’ve actually never been to the BBQ and sadly it’s closing on the 11th because it’s turning into Star Wars Land. June and I tried to go the last time we were at Disneyland, but we couldn’t get a reservation. So we made this one a few weeks in advance and planned our trip around it. It was really good and I’m sad that this trip was my first and last time getting to go. I loved the coleslaw (it was vinegar based) and the cornbread. And the BBQ ribs were messy and yummy.

BBQ

When we were done eating, we made our rounds through Big Thunder Ranch to say our goodbyes. We went over to the petting zoo and said goodbye to the donkeys and goats. All of the animals have been adopted already so we wished them the best in their new homes. I’m sure as a kid my parents took me to the petting zoo at Disneyland, but as an adult I really never went in there.

While we were saying our goodbyes to the goats (a lot of people were doing that and it was really crowded), we saw Pluto and how upset he is that the Big Thunder Ranch was closing.

Sad Pluto

All of Big Thunder Ranch is closing permanently and I think that we spent a decent amount of time admiring what we sadly did not take advantage of for many years. And hopefully Star Wars Land will have some sort of reminder of Big Thunder Ranch inside (many rides that take over other rides have Easter Eggs that are about the original ride).

Goodbye Big Thunder Ranch

After our big lunch, we went over to ride the Haunted Mansion. First, we didn’t want to do an extreme ride on a full stomach and second because we were inspired by drawing Sally earlier in California Adventure. It’s probably the last time I’ll be in the parks before Haunted Mansion changes back from the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, so it was nice to see that one more time before it goes back to the normal Haunted Mansion.

Next on our list was to ride the train around. The Disneyland Railroad will be closed for at least a year to be rerouted during construction, and I really do love the train. We rode around the entire loop to check out the view and see the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas and animatronics. I’m sad that I won’t be able to see those things again for a while and I’m going to miss having the railroad to use as transportation on busy days.

Next on our list was to ride Star Tours. This isn’t going away, but it was the first time I got to ride the ride since seeing the new Star Wars movie! I heard that they had added things to the ride that are from the new movie, and we got to go to Jakku as our first location on the ride and BB-8 was the hologram that appeared in the middle of the ride offering help. That was pretty awesome.

After the Star Tours ride, we decided that we should head over to Innovations where there are some Star Wars photo setups. The lines were too long so we took advantage of both Star Wars photos and the one Avengers one that was still open.

Character Photos

And since we have no idea how long the Hyperspace Mountain overlay will be at Space Mountain (I hope for a long time because I love it!), we rode it again. The ride is so wonderful with the overlay and the new effects that were added for it. We sat in the front row and it felt so fast that for a bit I couldn’t ride with my hands in the air. We tried to do a cute pose, but I almost had a quick wardrobe malfunction so I wasn’t quite into the pose when the photo was taken.

Hyperspace Mountain

By this point, we had been at Disneyland for a long time. But we had 2 more stops to make. First was to ride the Jingle Cruise, which is the holiday overlay for the Jungle Cruise. I had never seen the overlay before and it was really cool at nighttime with a bunch of lights strung around the ride. The jokes were as corny as always, but it was fun to see what they changed for the overlay.

And no trip to Disneyland is complete for me without a Dole Whip. So right after the Jingle Cruise, we got a Dole Whip and enjoyed it right next to the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Dole Whip

It really was a full day at Disneyland. There wasn’t really anything that we missed that we wanted to go on. I would have like to have taken the boat around the Rivers of America because that will also be closed for a year or so, but between riding the train around plus walking all over we got to see a lot of the river.

I know I’ll be at Disneyland again in February and I need to go to the parks soon to renew my pass (I might do a quick trip into the parks when I go to do my renewal). But I don’t think I’ll be there again before things closed down or go back from their holiday overlay so I’m glad that June and I were able to make it on Monday.

Over Scheduled In The Best Way (of Taking Time For My Friends)

While I’ve been a bit over scheduled lately, I’m trying to not let that overwhelm me to the point that all I do is work and chores. So even though I’m still catching up on sleep from not sleeping a ton during ENMNCon, I dedicated this past Saturday to being a friend filled day!

I started my day with my short shift at work. A customer kept me on past the end of the shift, so I was a bit late leaving my house, but it wasn’t too bad.

My first (and technically second) stop was in Hollywood. I was meeting one of my workout friends for lunch at The Counter! I love eating at The Counter (their burgers are really good!) and it was an awesome hangout because this workout friend and I had never hung out outside of a workout before!

We had a nice catch up chat because I haven’t seen her in a while. She is working at a new school and is going to be going to a different Orangetheory location now, so she isn’t going to be working out with me anymore. It was great getting to talk and make some plans for some hangouts in the future.

My next stop was right across the street from The Counter at the DGA. I was going to a screening of “Everest” in 3D there and invited one of the girls from my Women In Film mentoring group to join me.

I’ve read “Into Thin Air” and have seen the TV movie, so I was pretty familiar with the tragedy that happened on Everest. But I really thought that this movie was well done and kept me interested even though I knew who was going to live and who was going to die. And my friend only knew a bit of the story and she thought the movie was great too.

My final hangout for the day was back in Culver City at Rush St. (where my birthday party was) with another workout friend! We had tried to coordinate it so I could hang out with both workout friends at the same time (we are all friends), but schedules never matched up so I got double the workout friend hangouts!

Again, I hadn’t seen this friend in a while. She’s also working out at a different Orangetheory location (I guess that’s what happens when there’s more than one location!) and she’s also been recovering lately. So it was another great catchup chat with each of us filling the other in on our lives and other random stuff.

And since this friend had missed my birthday, she decided that we should celebrate it now even though it was over a month past my birthday!

Extra Birthday

After two meals out and a movie (plus my work in the morning) it was a super full day. But getting to see a bunch of friends and doing lots of fun stuff really did revitalize me. The exhaustion I had been feeling for the past week is gone. And that’s a good thing because the next two weeks are going to be a bit crazy! But I’m ready to take it on!

Continuing The Birthday Fun (or Pie and Makeup)

Even though my birthday had ended, I wasn’t ready to end the celebrating quite yet. I had a couple of other birthday deals I wanted to take advantage of, so I did some of them on Monday (my day off from the day job).

First on the birthday agenda was Marie Callendars for birthday pie. This has been a tradition for a while because they send you a coupon for $5 off an entree plus a free slice of pie. So I went with my friend Emily to the location that we like the most.

I hadn’t seen Emily in a while. Our schedules just haven’t been matching up and we haven’t been attending the same events lately. So it was awesome to get to see her and hear about all the adventures she’s been on lately. She’s got a new gig as a writer for the LA Kings (she’s a super fan) so that was really fun to hear about.

Emily and I both got some yummy food, but we were both saving plenty of room for the pie!

Birthday Pie

We got the chocolate satin pie (which we get every time) and the lemon cream cheese pie. They were both delicious but I was so full after eating!

I had something that I had to attend that evening in the same area as where we got lunch, so I decided to try to stick around there for the afternoon instead of going home. I went through my birthday deals that I had left, and decided to go over to Sephora for my free birthday gift!

I also picked up a few other things while I was there (I had a few things I needed but hadn’t had a chance to go to a Sephora location recently), but I was most excited for the freebie!

Birthday Sephora Gift

I don’t usually wear lipstick because I’m a lip balm addict (I use Natural Ice as my balm of choice), and if I wear lipstick I can’t put on more lip balm. But I’ve also been saying that I’d love to have a great red lipstick to wear for special occasions. So this freebie was perfect! I haven’t had a chance to wear it yet, but I’m sure I will soon. I’m not very good about putting on makeup, but I think that I can do lipstick ok (unlike eyeliner).

After my Sephora run, I had to get to my evening event so I wasn’t able to do any more of the birthday deals on my list. I don’t think I’m going to do them all this year. But there are maybe 1 or 2 more that I know that I want to take advantage of before the month (and the deals are over).

I know I’ve said this every year, but I love how I can just extend my birthday to be the entire month!