Tag Archives: prepared

A Shorter Workout Week (or Doing Some 5K Prep)

This past week of workouts was a 3 workout week, but that was for a good reason. I had the Hollywood Half 5K on Saturday so I couldn’t do a Friday or Saturday workout this week. I don’t do workouts the day before a race so I did a Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday workout and it seemed like each of these workouts were designed to help me get ready for the race.

Monday’s workout was an endurance day with a 5K challenge. The idea was to be on the treadmill for 23 minutes and get as close to a 5K as possible. I know there is no way I could do a 5K that fast, but I knew I would be able to get at least 1/2 of a 5K. There were intervals that were given to us, but I didn’t follow that guide. Instead, I stuck with 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking intervals since that was what I wanted to do at the race. I’m getting more comfortable with that interval set and it made me feel more confident about the upcoming race after knowing I could do that for 23 minutes. I did 1.616 miles, which isn’t the best I’ve done, but it felt good and that’s what was most important to me.

For the second half of class, each block started with a 1 minute row sprint. In the past, I know I’ve been able to row 300 meters in a minute but I just can’t seem to get back to that. This time, I did 233, 260, and 280 meters. Those aren’t bad at all, but I’m still working on breaking that 300 meter mark again. After those sprint rows, each block was 2 moves that were timed by the coach. Each thing was 45 seconds and we switched back and forth between each move. It was interesting to not have count my reps for any moves in the entire class and I could just work on my form and making sure I was doing everything right.

Wednesday’s class was a strength day and I figured that would be perfect since I wanted to get ready for the hills at the 5K. I tried to run at 3% for the first push pace, but I could only do that for a minute. It was really frustrating that I couldn’t do more and I was starting to feel nervous about the race, but I didn’t let it get to me. I ended up running all the all out paces which were on a flat incline but walked all my push paces at 8-10% incline. I told myself that I was still training for the hills even if I wasn’t running them.

The floor work was mainly arm work that day. We did rows with the weights, biceps on the straps, and triceps with weights. But the last block had an interesting row challenge. We were trying to do 100 meters with as few pulls of the rower as we could. That meant leaning back as far as we could on the rower and pausing while at the back. It seemed easy when it was explained to us, but it was actually very tough. The first attempt I did was 12 pulls of the rower, but I eventually made my way down to 7 pulls of the rower. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get under 7 pulls, but that was one of the lower numbers of the day so I was very happy with myself.

Thursday was my last pre-5K workout and it was a power and strength day which was kind of the perfect combination for me. We had push to all out paces on inclines plus stand alone all outs on inclines. I ended up walking the longer push paces but I did run all the all outs. And I even was able to run for 30 seconds at 9% incline! I have looked up the incline of the big since this workout and it claims to be about 3.5% incline, but it really feels more like that 9% run that I did! Either way, doing some running on inclines really made me feel prepared for whatever Saturday’s race was going to bring.

For the floor work, it was a lot more upper body and core work than anything else. I was grateful for that because I was starting to feel a bit nervous that my legs would be overworked in the workout and I would struggle at the race. So not focusing on lower body work helped me mentally feel ok. We did also have some rowing in the first block with a 500 and 400 meter row. I have been wanting to get my 500 meter row under 2 minutes, and I did it in 2:00.2. I’m so close, but just not there yet. But I think I’ll be there soon enough!

For a pre-5K workout week, I think this was pretty ideal. It challenged me but it also helped me build confidence going into the race. My last 5K was so spectacular that I was worried that this one might be a bit of a let down. I wasn’t trying to get my hopes up with getting a PR since there are the hills, but I also know that I’m running more than before. But this workout helped me focus back on the work and not as much on the results and that’s exactly what I needed.

And coming up tomorrow, my race recap of the Hollywood Half 5K!

It’s Taxes Time (or Seeing My Hard Work Pay Off)

I don’t think that anyone is excited to do their taxes and owe money. Because of my jobs, I know I will owe money each year. None of my jobs take my taxes out for me, and even though I do my estimated payments like I need to they are usually not enough to cover what I owe. I know this is the situation I’m in so I am as prepared as possible for tax time. I save all my work related receipts (and there are a ton of them) and I save money out of every paycheck to use at tax time. But even with that, I’m always nervous that the news is going to be bad when I get my taxes done.

I went to Daphne at Chuck Sloan and Associates again and I’m so glad I did! First of all, everyone at Chuck Sloan understands actor and creative type taxes and the unique situations we are all in. They aren’t scared by dozens of jobs and the forms and all the weird deductions we need to do. And they understand how stressful tax time can be for us all. But I’m so happy that I have Daphne doing my taxes because she’s extra awesome! We bonded the last time she did my taxes over Disneyland and since I was going to Disneyland after doing my taxes with her I knew we’d talk about that.

Last year, Daphne showed me the worst case scenario with my taxes before she put in all my deductions so that I would feel better about how much I had saved up. I had asked her to do that for me again and once again it was less than what I had saved for my taxes. That’s always a huge relief because I know that no matter what I will have enough money to pay what I owe. But since now I’m feeling more comfortable with that, it was all about how well I tracked my work spending and tracked my deductions.

I like to think that I’m a pretty organized person and that I did a good job tracking expenses in 2016. Since I had my taxes done by Daphne once already, I knew what I should be aware of and what can be deducted. There are so many accountants that let you deduct things that aren’t totally on the up and up, so I’m glad Daphne is very careful in her work and tells me when things look weird (like how I accidentally tracked buying my new computer twice). I’m sure that there is more that I can deduct, but I’m still learning how to do the best that I can.

And even though I thought I had done all my tracking without missing things, there were a few things that I totally forgot about and I’m so glad we went over any other expenses I might have had in the year. I forgot that I got a new phone (which I do have to use for acting and my research job) and for some reason I never tracked the money that I spent to produce “Single Parent Date Night”. This is another reason I love having Daphne do my taxes. She knew to ask about these sort of things just in case I didn’t remember to track them on my paperwork (I’m sure anyone at Chuck Sloan would do the same since they know to look for these things).

In the end, I owed less than half of what I had saved for my taxes. This is so much better than I ever could have imagined! The money left over is going to be saved for another trip to New York that my sister-in-law and I are hoping to take next year. I still have more time to save more money, but I think what I have left over from my taxes savings should be able to cover pretty much the entire trip! I was only hoping that I would have about half of what I needed for that trip leftover so having this much is a big surprise to me and it making me relax a bit about how I will be able to afford that trip.

I’ve already written my checks to the IRS and sent them off so I’m now totally done with doing my 2016 taxes. It’s nice to get them done early enough so there isn’t a huge rush to do them at the last minute. And I’ve already started planning on what I can do this year to make the taxes easier next year. I will be paying more in estimated taxes, so that will help how much I owe. But I also now will be tracking my expenses even better because I learned where I was slacking last year that caused me to miss out on some potential deductions.

While it was nice in the past to be very uninvolved in my taxes, that’s not a luxury I can afford anymore. I know that with my current jobs that I will always owe money at the end of the year and I like being able to sit down with Daphne and go over everything so I understand why I owe what I do. I can see what deductions took off what and where I could have done better. I guess being more involved with all of this is just something that is required when you want to be more responsible and acting more like an adult.

Upgrading My Self-Tape Set Up (or 2 Auditions In 30 Minutes)

I’ve done self-taping in the past, but I’ve always kind of figured out last-minute how to set things up at my house. I’ve used a towel or blanket as my backdrop and just had a friend come and run the camera for me. Most of the time, casting directors understand that when you self-tape, it’s not going to look as nice as when you go into a casting office so it’s ok if it’s not perfect.

But this week I had 2 different self-tape auditions that I needed to do so I decided that this was the time to take things a bit more seriously.

First step was getting a nice backdrop for my auditions. I knew that I wanted a blue backdrop (it’s a nice flattering color) and I figured getting a king sized sheet would be the easiest way to do it. So I headed to Bed Bath & Beyond (with a 20% off coupon) and went hunting for the cheapest blue sheet I could find.

Self-Tape Backdrop

I’ll admit that it wasn’t as easy as I thought to find just a flat sheet and not a sheet set. I looked at curtains as well, but those were pretty pricey and weren’t that wide. But I ended up finding the perfect king flat sheet and got that (and saved my receipt since this is a tax write-off).

My two auditions were pretty different. One was for a web series and had 4 different scenes each with a line or two. I submitted for that role through Actors Access (an online casting service) and instead of getting an audition request they sent me a self-tape request.

The second audition was for the ABC Diversity Showcase. This was similar to the NBC Showcase I self-taped for last year. This time, they had a couple of different scene options online and we could do whatever scene we felt best represented us.

I put a request online to my friends to see who would be able to help me self-tape, and my friend (and fellow mentee) Melissa was happy to help. She had just done her audition for the ABC Showcase as well and had a nice camera that we could use.

I ended up wearing the same outfit for both auditions (I didn’t plan on that but it ended up working out that way) and I think my outfit looked great against my new backdrop.

Self-Tape

Melissa helped me with the web series audition first. We did 2 different takes and I was very happy with the second one.

The ABC Diversity Showcase audition took a few more takes. First, we did the introduction part of the audition. I had to say my first name, hometown, and answer one of the questions they posted on the website (I answered what superpower I’d like to have).

Then we moved on to the audition. As much as I tried to be memorized, having 2 totally different auditions in the same day threw me a bit. I wasn’t totally memorized, but I was pretty close. The audition was about 4 pages long and we went through it quite a few times. Many times, I didn’t get through the entire scene before I decided to stop. I think we only made it through the entire scene twice before I felt good about it.

We managed to knock out 2 auditions in just under 30 minutes. My brain was working overtime and as soon as we finished I relaxed and was able to think about what I just did. I was still feeling happy about my auditions so we decided that we were done.

Melissa took the memory card home with her and she emailed me the edited auditions pretty soon after we finished recording. And I was able to email both of my auditions to the respective casting directors that evening.

I’m pretty happy with the new backdrop I bought for self-taping auditions. It will be much nicer to use than a towel or blanket. And hopefully I’ll have more self-tape auditions in the future. They are becoming more common since you could even use your phone to record an audition. I will still use my regular camera or have a friend use their nicer camera for any auditions I have to do on my own. It’s nicer than an iPhone and I’d rather try to have things look as nice as possible without going crazy.

But having things more ready for self-taping (and having friends who are willing and able to help) are great steps toward being prepared for having more and more auditions come my way!

Upgrading My Kitchen (or Time To Organize)

After my day of bulk cooking, I realized that I don’t have some things that I can really use in the kitchen. And I have a lot of things that I definitely don’t need (or are expired and I never noticed it).

So on Monday (my day off from my main day job), I set out to remedy this problem. The first thing I did was go through all of my cabinets and throw out any things that had expired. I had a lot of oils, sauces, and dry goods that I don’t use that often and many of them had expiration dates of a year or 2 ago! While some of it I know I will be replacing, many things in my cabinet were things that I bought for just one recipe and never used it again. That’s such a waste of money (and cabinet space for me). I’m really going to work on only restocking things that are more than one-time-use items.

My next clean out was my storage containers. As pretty much everyone does, I had a ton of storage containers that didn’t really go together. I had a lot of lids without containers and visa versa. And while I do like the “disposable” storage containers you can get at the store, I wanted to make sure that if I was going to bulk cook that I had good quality containers.

I got rid of many of the disposable ones (since I pretty much never use them) and saved all of my Snapware. I have the plastic Snapware that I got a long time ago and have always liked how they sealed so tightly.

My last clean out stage in my kitchen was to move things around to be in more convenient places for me. Until this week, I stored several pans in my oven because I didn’t know where else to put them. I almost always remembered to take them out before heating my oven, but on the occasions that I didn’t, it was always a pain to lift super hot pans out of my oven and find a place to store them (usually on the top of my stove). After moving some pantry items around and having more space since I got rid of expired things, I found a new home for those pans.

Then, it was time to add a few things to my kitchen to make sure I’m prepared to bulk cook again.

The first was to get more storage containers. I didn’t have that many to begin with and I wanted to get some more Snapware since I know I like those containers. I know many people don’t like plastic containers, but since I do not plan to microwave in them I figured that they would be ok. I looked online for prices and found that Costco had a great deal on them. So I headed over there and ended up arriving even before the store opened (am I the only one who didn’t know Costco didn’t open until 10am?).

I found exactly what I wanted pretty quickly.

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I also was looking to get a second cutting board for my house. I only had one and during the bulk cooking I had to wash and dry it multiple times. It’s not the easiest thing to wash and it was slowing me down a lot. But while I was looking at cutting boards, I found something pretty awesome.

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This bamboo cutting board has a groove cut out in the middle to place different liners in. There are 7 different ones to be used for different food products. While I might not always use the meat liner for meat, this basically gives me 7 cutting boards to use when I’m cooking!

While I got rid of more things than I added in my kitchen, I think that I am now more prepared to do more cooking at home. I’m made my tiny kitchen space as efficient as I can be and I’m looking forward to seeing what other things I can cook and store in my bulk cooking.

It’s so weird. I’ve never enjoyed cooking that much. I’ve tried to force myself to like it because my mom is an awesome cook and I see what can be created at home. But it never really clicked with me. I don’t want to say that I’m been completely transformed, but I’ve never felt this way about cooking or meal planning before. I’m excited to see where my food journey goes next!

The New TV Season (or Starting My Research Early This Year)

It’s upfronts time!

For those of you that don’t know what the upfronts are, it’s the time that the tv networks reveal their fall tv schedules to advertisers (and the public). This is when you know what new tv shows will be on the air in the fall and what old shows will have another season.

Sometimes, the new tv shows or old tv show renewals are announced earlier, but everything is revealed at the upfronts. All the networks will be revealing their schedules next week (here’s a schedule and guide to the networks).

Why does this matter to me? Because this is when my preparation for my fall tv research begins!

I’ve previously talked about how I watch everything on tv to know what shows might be good ones for me to target. Normally, I start doing my tv research then. The only thing I did after the upfronts was send the casting directors of the new tv shows a quick congratulations note.

But this year, I’ve decided to do things a bit different.

There are a bunch of websites with information on the new tv shows (I like TVLine for the summary and IMDb for the production information). I’m going to start my notes right away. I can figure out who the casting directors are for the new shows and which ones I have a relationship with (good information for my agents to know). I can get most of my notes done early so when the tv shows premier in the fall, I can focus on watching the shows and understanding the tone and plot points.

Also, once the networks announce the new tv shows, they typically release a 3-5 minute trailer with highlights of the show. I’m going to take notes on those so I have something in case I get an audition for a show before it premieres (it’s happened before).

I think these are all positive steps forward that I’m making with my acting career. It might seem a bit overkill when I don’t get a ton of auditions compared to some of my friends (which I don’t mind since most of my auditions are for series regulars or guest stars), but when I do get that chance with that audition, I want to go into the room the best and most prepared that I can be!

Setting Myself Up To Win (or More Preparation)

I do a lot of things to try to make my life easier. When I have late shifts at work, I try to get some extra sleep (because I really do function better on more than 5 hours a night). I know that when I don’t remember to prepare a lunch or a dinner one day, I can always find something at Subway or some salad places near my house. And I try to get things done on my day off so I don’t have to try to squeeze them in before or after an 8 hour work day.

But just because these things are easier doesn’t mean that they are good for me. I’m trying to look at things now as better options, not easier options.

One thing that I’ve been able to do is figure out when I can fit in spin class into my work schedule. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a shift that starts at noon. In the past, I used the late start to catch up on sleep. On Monday nights, there are times that I don’t get home until 10pm and then I still need to have dinner and get work done. But now I’m making going to an 8:30am spin class a priority. I know that this won’t happen every Tuesday/Thursday (yet), but I’m working towards it.

Also, I’m trying (again) to be better at having food prepared so I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do for lunch or dinner. I’ll admit that this week I haven’t been good. I’m going out-of-town this weekend and didn’t want to go to the grocery store if I didn’t have to before my trip. But no matter what I eat, I am tracking all my calories on my app on my phone. I’m holding myself accountable for my good and bad choices.

Finally, I’m allowing myself to make mistakes. I really am an all or nothing sort of person. I didn’t want to start this blog until I knew I could maintain doing it 5 days a week (there’s no way to get yourself ready for that). So when I’ve had slip ups in the past, I’ve allowed myself then to continue slipping up until a determined date/time that I was going to “start over”. There’s no starting over in this now, just continuing on. I’m not letting a speed bump stop me completely.

I’m hoping with this new mindset not only will I be moving towards my goals a bit faster, but I’m hoping that I will not feel so over worked and stressed about being at my day job 6 days a week. I need to allow myself time to have a life and do things that are good for me and I enjoy. I didn’t allow myself that freedom last year.

Of course, I could completely change my mind about all of this next month, but I’m giving it a shot for now.

Trip Prep (or Guess I’ll Find Out Who Reads My Blog Soon)

It’s almost time for my Thanksgiving trip! Thanksgiving is a big holiday for my mom’s side of the family. We all get together every year. It rotates whose house it’s at, and this year it’s at my parents’ place.

I’ve been busy getting all my clothes and stuff ready for the trip (Thanksgiving is casual but we also have a fancy dinner for my grandma’s birthday another night). I’m also helping out my mom a bit by doing the place cards, so I’m bringing those in my suitcase. And I also have Hanukkah presents for my mom, dad, brother and his fiancée (it’s cheaper than shipping it all to them).

There will be 15 members of my family over 4 generations at Thanksgiving this year. I personally thinks that’s awesome and I feel lucky that we are all able to gather every year.

I’m so excited to see my relatives. My cousin is expecting her 3rd baby and we are going to find out the gender tomorrow! My cousin’s son and I have a super special bond and I can’t wait to see him and hear all about his adventures in school. And there’s one aunt that I’m super close to (we speak every week), and I’m happy to see her in person to discuss all of our favorite TV shows.

But I’m also a little nervous this year. I know that there are some of my relatives who read this because they’ve mentioned something to me. But then there are other relatives who I have no idea if they’ve read any posts or even know that I have this blog. I have revealed things on here that I’ve never discussed with my family, and I really don’t necessarily want it brought up at dinner.

Obviously, all of my family has known for years that I have a problem with my weight, but I don’t think anyone really knew that I have an eating disorder (and have been through some treatment for it). And I can guarantee that nobody in my family outside of my parents knew that I had any credit card debit.

I don’t want Thanksgiving to be any different this year know that I’ve made this information about my life public. I’m hoping that either we will casually discuss this blog or it doesn’t come up at all.

Just want dinner to be filled with our old traditions. Which include someone making a big announcement at dinner (it’s usually my cousin announcing she’s pregnant but I wonder what it will be this year), watching a kid’s movie at some point (this year, it’s “The Brave Little Toaster”), and something making us laugh so hard that we cry.

All of us (minus my cousin John) at Thanksgiving last year.

 

Work Lunches (or Prepping for The Week)

I’ve set a mini-goal for myself this week: I’m going to remember to bring my lunch to work all week this week. There have been too many days where I make a lunch and then it ends up getting left on my kitchen counter to spoil while I’m at work. And then I either have to not eat anything until after I’m out of work at 9pm or I have to spend my 30 minute lunch running around finding something to eat.

Part of remembering my lunch involves cutting down my lunch prep time. For some reason, the longer I spend getting my lunch ready in the morning, the more likely I am to forget it (I don’t know why, it just is). So I wanted to make something on Monday (when I had the day off) that would last me throughout the week and would taste yummy.

I decided on making a pasta salad, and while doing a search, I found Greek Pasta Salad from EatingWell (you can click on the link for the recipe). I’ve had one of the 4 servings already, and this is a delicious pasta salad! And I’m sure the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it’s going to get!

So now, my fridge looks like this:

 

I’m ready for my week, and hopefully I’ll meet my mini-goal!

My Preparation Works (or Why I’m Glad I Watch Everything on TV)

I’ve previously blogged about how I watch everything on TV just in case I get an audition for a show that I don’t watch regularly. And yesterday, that came in handy!

On Tuesday afternoon, I got a text message from my agent letting me know that I had an audition the next morning for a network TV show (sorry, but I don’t want to say what show). The show I got an audition for is not one that I watch normally, but I had watched two episodes of it earlier and had my notes to look back on. So I knew who the characters were and the tone of the show pretty quickly. And this was important because the part I was auditioning for has a very specific relationship to one of the regular characters on the show.

It was nice not to have to spend too much time on the research part of preparation because I wanted to watch the debate and then I was going to go to the LA Actors Tweetup afterwards.

The audition yesterday was at one of my favorite studio lots to go to, but I had to rush straight to my day job afterwards so I didn’t have time to wander around.

I have no idea how I did. The part is mainly based on a look, so I don’t have a ton of control over that. I look exactly how I look right now.

But one thing that is a positive and is sometimes hard for non-actors to understand is the fact that I’ve gone in for this same casting director multiple times. I went in for a pilot with her, then a couple of co-stars for that same show, and now this co-star for another show she’s working on. In the audition, it is far more important to book that office then it is to book the job. You want that casting director to like you and want to bring you back. And I feel so lucky that this particular casting director feels that way about me.

So whether or not I book this part isn’t important (well it is, but I’m not focused on that). I’m making sure that this casting director remembers me as a good actress and when there is a part that is exactly right for me, I know I’ll book that one.

But of course, if I do book this job, I’ll totally blog about it. 😉