Tag Archives: shopping

Time For Some Refocusing (or I Need To Do Some Follow Through)

My life has been getting a bit crazy lately, but crazy in a good way. I’m back to my normal routine without the worry about medical issues in my head. I’m back in the dating game and while I’ve had some negative experiences I’m having fun. I’m going out with my friends and doing so much stuff that I love. Honestly, this is close to the happiest I’ve been as an adult. I think a lot of it is because I don’t care as much about what other’s think, but I also think I’m just making an effort to make me happy.

Not everything in my life is going great, but it’s pretty awesome right now. I’m taking more time to focus on the positives in my life than the negatives that might come up. But because I’m not focusing on the negatives, I’m slacking off on some things and I know that I need to work on that balance.

Some of the slacking off has been cleaning and organizing. This has been something on my to-do list for a while and I’m just not taking the time out to do the work that I need to do. And looking at my calendar for the coming days, I honestly don’t know when I’ll have the chance to do it. And because I want to do more than just a basic cleaning, I know that this is something I need to set aside the time to do.

My desk has been getting a bit out of control because I’m sitting at it so many hours a day. When I start working on stuff and don’t get to finish, I just set it to the side on my desk thinking I’ll pick it up later. But later doesn’t seem to come and some of these things have been on my desk for too long. One of the things that’s been on my desk forever has been the dry erase board that I used for my Oscars costume. When I got it, I assumed that I would be using it at my desk or somewhere else. But I haven’t done anything with it and I don’t know now if I will be using it. I just need to make a decision and do something with it.

My closet is another trap right now for me. I really need to go through all my clothes and figure out what I want to keep and what I need to toss. There are several things in my closet that are now too big for me and I don’t want to keep them around anymore. But sometimes it’s hard to let those things go because I justify in my head that maybe I could get it tailored smaller or that I might wear it baggy. But I know I won’t and I just have to let it go. There are also things that have gotten torn or just not my style anymore and I need to get rid of it. But again, this is a major cleaning and I know I’ll need to set aside lots of time to do it. I probably will need to try on a lot of stuff from my closet to do this and when I do this cleaning I also am looking at making a list of what I own so I don’t feel like I’m missing something in my closet and go out and buy it (I’ve done that before and have had to make trips to return duplicates).

And as always, I just want to clean up some of the clutter that is in my house. I keep a lot of stuff for sentiment value and I know that I don’t need to do that. I want to work on digitizing more stuff that I keep and finding new and clever ways to organize and store what I want to have. It’s a bit overwhelming to think about how much I want to get done, but I also know in the long run that this will be an awesome thing for me to do and I will probably be really happy when I feel like I have a cleaner, more organized, and happier space.

I know a lot of people who have gone through major cleanings like this have been inspired by the book “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up”. I actually have this book. I bought it almost 2 years ago and for some reason I haven’t really started to read it. I know that I always get distracted by other books that I have, but now that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the work I want to get done I think this might be a good time to start reading it. I’m in the middle of one book right now so I probably won’t be able to read it until next week, but I honestly forgot that I owned the book until I started to feel as overwhelmed as I am now.

I’m tired of setting a goal to work on cleaning my space and not following through with it. I need to just get my butt in gear and do it. But it’s not always easy to make a change like this when you’ve been putting it off. But hopefully soon I will find the motivation and time to get this done and I can feel calmer in my space so that my home will make me as happy as my social life is making me.

Surgery Shopping (or How To Prep For The Unexpected)

I know I’ve posted a lot about my liver surgery lately (and I will be posting more about it over the next few weeks). I’m now 2 weeks away from surgery and there is so much that I’ve been trying to get done or need to do. I’m still trying to have a lot of fun, but surgery stuff is taking up a lot of my time.

I have the stuff I expected like various doctor appointments and tests. I’ve already done some blood work and today is my MRI. I’ve got my official pre-op appointment next week and that will consist of multiple doctor appointments at one time so I can meet with the surgeon, the anesthesia team, and possibly the inpatient team. I’ve also been working more than normal because I’m banking hours at work. I can’t afford to take time off (I don’t get paid time off at any of my jobs), so I’ve been working extra hours unpaid to cover the time I won’t be working coming up. I’ve got all the hours banked that I think I’ll need, but that has taken a lot of time in the mornings that I usually do other work.

I’ve also been trying to get things ready to be in the hospital for a while. I’ve been getting ideas of things to have with me from friends who have been in the hospital for a while before. I’m hoping the hospital has decent wifi because I have a feeling I’ll be watching a lot of Netflix or Hulu there (also, if I feel up for it then I could even work from the hospital). I’ve also gotten some dresses that are easy to put on and are cheap to wear after surgery. There’s a chance that things with waistbands won’t work for a little bit for me so dresses seemed to be the easiest solution. I also know I might have surgical drains when I go home, so I found these awesome sticky pockets to put in my clothes if I need them.

I still have a pretty decent list of things I still need to get for my time in the hospital and while I’m recovering with my parents. Some things I expected to be easy, like getting some slippers to have with me, but somehow they haven’t been easy to find in stores. I’m guessing I’ll be doing a big Amazon order soon. I might wait until after my pre-op appointment so I know what else I might need. Thank goodness for fast shipping with Amazon Prime! I’ve been told I might get a list when I go in for the pre-op appointment, but if any of you have been through any type of abdominal surgery and have suggestions for things I should have please let me know!

And then of course there is getting my house ready for this all. I will be doing some big cleaning because I don’t want things cluttered when my parents are here and I don’t want things to feel dirty when I am back home. After I’m out of the hospital, I will be recovering with my parents so they can help me out with things or buy things I forgot about. But I still want to try to get as much done now as I can. One thing I was trying to do but have been slacking on is getting some food made and frozen so it’s easy for me to eat at home even if I’m tired. I don’t want to go back to ordering delivery food (plus I’m guessing I’ll be on a restricted diet so I want to have food that I made and know what’s in it).

I know it sounds like I’ve got a handle on things and seem really prepared, but I don’t feel that way at all. There are still so many unknowns with this entire thing and a lot of the answers won’t be things I can really know in advance. I have no idea how my body will react to this all and I can’t prepare for what I don’t know will happen. It has been giving me a pretty steady level of anxiety lately, but nothing as bad as a regular panic attack. And I have had a few minor attacks but fortunately my friends and family have been able to calm me down.

When things were 2 months away or even 1 month away it seemed like I had unlimited time to get ready and that it wasn’t going to be soon. I think it really hit me when I had 3 weeks left how soon this was all going to be. I’m very lucky that I’ve had time to prep for this and it wasn’t an emergency surgery where nothing could be done ahead of time. But sometimes having prep time is the worst because I can analyze things to death. I’m trying to stay as calm as I can be which is why I set my monthly challenge to be being calm and taking more deep breaths.

Over the next 2 weeks, there will be posts about preparing for surgery but I will also have some fun posts in there too. And I am hoping to keep this blog going regularly while I’m recovering, but of course I don’t know how I’ll feel. But I do promise that if there are some days I can’t blog I will get back to writing regularly. I’ve been doing this every weekday for so long, and the idea that I might miss a day does stress me out a bit. But I hope that you all will stick with me while I get through all of this and hopefully I can find some fun things to write about while I’m recovering!

Working On Being A Warrior (or Something To Remind Me)

I had set my word for the year to be warrior. I’m really proud of choosing that to be my word. It has a really strong meaning to me and there is a good visual in my head when I think about being a warrior. And it has a lot of different meanings as well so I can apply it to so many parts of my life. I know I’ve been a warrior in the past, but I really wanted to focus on it this year because I know I have a couple of tough things coming up. And being a warrior will help me get through it all.

As I have each year that I’ve picked a word of the year, I made the word the background on my computer. I also have set the background to my phone and iPad to be a similar pattern so it reminds me of the word as well. But even though I have those as reminders on a daily basis, I don’t think I’ve been applying myself to be a warrior as much as I could be. I don’t always see the background of my computer since I’m working so much. I usually have a ton of windows open so I’m not getting the reminder as often as I have in the past.

When I’ve been going through tough times, I’ve been starting to look at myself as a victim which I really want to try to avoid. I know I’m not a victim. I’m very lucky with so many things in my life. When things are bad, I do need to focus on the good and to remember how hard I’ve been working for everything that I have. And that is a big part of what a warrior is all about.

In the membership group for the Inside Acting Podcast, we have a forum about our words of the year and someone had sent me a link to some necklaces that had some words I was considering but didn’t pick for this year. I liked them, but it got me thinking that I should find something that says warrior on it to remind me of what I am trying to be this year.

And that search got me to the Mantra Band website and seeing their warrior bracelet! It’s a pretty simple bracelet and will go nicely with the jewelry that I wear on a regular basis (which is a necklace and a watch). I got the bracelet in silver which matches my other jewelry, but I love so many of the other sayings on other bracelets that I might get one of the other ones in rose gold.

It is such a simple and beautiful bracelet and I know that I will remember to try to be a warrior at all times when I’m wearing it. It will be a nice reminder for me to work on what I set out to do this year and to not let myself feel too down about things when there are so many other things going my way. I’ve had one other motivational bracelet before (it says positivity on it), but this one has a very strong meaning to me.

I’m really glad that I found this bracelet and ordered it (and it got to me 2 days after I ordered it online!). I’ve needed something to remind me more often of my word for the year, and this is the perfect way to do it!

I’m sure this sounds like I was paid to say all these nice things about Mantra Band, but I really did just randomly find them online and placed an order. I didn’t get my bracelet for free or with any discount and they didn’t ask me to write a blog post about them. But when I find a company I love, I have to share all about them!

If you want to order a warrior bracelet or one of their other items, you can go to this link to get 5% off an order (full disclosure, I get points towards earning discounts in the future if you use my link). Hopefully you can find something that motivates you to be the best, most positive, and most productive person! I know that my warrior bracelet has given me that boost and I am so grateful for that!

Working On Cleaning (or Time To Declutter)

I try not to clutter up my house since I live in such a small place, but somehow it seems like all of a sudden from time to time that I feel like my space is too cluttered. I seem to acquire new things in batches, so it quickly feels like I have too much stuff in my house. For some reason, even though I didn’t really buy too much for myself during the holidays, it started to feel like I needed to do a big cleaning after the holidays. But for some reason, this time I’m struggling with getting rid of stuff.

A lot of the stuff I want to get rid of are clothes. I have a lot of clothes that I don’t wear anymore. Most of it is due to it being too large on me now (a good problem to have) but some stuff I just don’t like or it has started to show wear and tear. But despite the clothes not being worn that often, for some reason I don’t want to let go of them. Even the clothes that are too big are tough to bring to donate. All of the clothes I needed to get rid of still fit in my closet, but I wanted them gone. So I ended up taking out everything that I’m not wearing and putting them into bags. I haven’t been able to get rid of the bags yet, so they are just living in my utility room for now. I don’t know what the struggle with letting them go is, but I guess baby steps are better than nothing.

I also seemed to get a ton of new stuff on my desk. Part of it was when I got my new computer and I had to work on the transfer between the computers. Since the cables for the new computer are different from the old computer, I do need to buy some converters to make everything work the way I want it to. But my desk has also become a catchall for things that I need to deal with. I’m starting to organize my 2016 taxes and that’s all over my desk. I also have cards and paperwork that needs to be finished on my printer. My desk drawers are full, but not unbearable so. My focus is just cleaning the desk since that’s what looks cluttered. I want to get this done, but I also know that this stuff is still in process so I can’t just get rid of them.

And finally, I feel like I just have too much stuff in general around the house. I don’t have a ton of things, but the space has felt smaller to me lately. I do only have about 400 square feet, but it never felt too small before. And I haven’t really added too much that takes up floor space (I did get a robot vacuum during a flash sale on Amazon that is on the floor). I’m wondering if I’m feeling this way because things have been organized the same way in my house for years and I haven’t moved around furniture or switched things up in a while. My last big change was when I got a new couch. And that was over 2 years ago. Maybe I just need to rearrange things and it will feel better.

I don’t keep a dirty or cluttered house, but for some reason it’s just been getting to me. I know I need to do something to fix this or it’s just going to keep bugging me. I’m trying to take steps where I can to make things better but I know I need to do more. I do have motivation to do more this weekend because I’m supposed to be having people over on Sunday (having people come over is always a good motivation to do a major cleaning). But just cleaning might not be good enough because I don’t just want to move things around or hide them in drawers. I do want to get things out of the house that aren’t useful to me so that I can make sure my space is as functional and productive for me as possible.

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!

Unexpected Car Shopping (or New Year New Car)

As I mentioned in my New Year’s Eve post, my car died as I was leaving the party I went to. It was a really weird situation with what happened. I was driving home and I started to hear a ticking or clicking noise coming from the front of my car. Maybe 10 or 15 seconds later my car completely shut down and died. All the warning things were flashing in the front of my car and alarms were going off and then everything shut down. White smoke started to come out of my engine and I could smell something that smelled like it was burning. I had no power, no electricity, no lights. It was so scary but fortunately the freeway hadn’t gotten too crowded yet so I was able to drift over to the side of the freeway.

I got my car as far to the side as I could (there wasn’t a full shoulder for me to pull over into) and immediately called AAA. I told them I wasn’t in a safe situation because I couldn’t get the lights on in my car and I was still a bit into the slow lane and they promised to get a tow truck out to me as soon as possible. After being in a dead car for about 20 minutes, I could finally get my emergency flashers on and my lights would occasionally turn on. I just sat in my car with my seatbelt on (I was worried someone would hit me and I wanted to try to stay safe) and tried to stay warm as it was cold out and the heater in my car was dead too.

The tow truck got to me and I was towed home. The next day, even though my mechanic is open on Sundays, the mechanic was closed for New Year’s Day. I took Ubers to and from Orangetheory and limited my errands to stuff I could walk to and stuff I could carry home. I told my parents what happened and they were feeling hopeful that maybe this would just be another repair and it would be ok. But because I was in the car when it happened, I felt pretty certain that this was a bad sign and that there was no way we could repair my car for a reasonable cost. I started looking at used cars online and seeing what types of car I would consider. When I told my parents about that, they told me to look at Subaru Crosstreks because they are a good car, not too expensive, and while they are smaller and shorter than my Escape they still have a decent amount of room.

On Monday, I took an Uber to and from the gym again and once I was home and showered I called for another tow truck so I could get my car towed to my mechanic. I had warned my mechanic I’d be coming by and he warned me that this might be the end of my car. But I still wanted him to see it just in case I was overreacting and there was some hope left.

And as I expected, the car was done. In order to get it to work again, I would need to buy a new engine for it. And even doing that doesn’t mean I won’t have more problems in the next year or so. I called my parents to run things by them and they agreed that I needed to just get a different car. I’m so lucky that they were able to help me with buying a car so I didn’t have to get something that was super cheap and might not last that long.

I had called the Subaru dealership and they were able to meet with me that day. And even though my Escape wasn’t working anymore, they could give me a little bit of money as a trade in (it was more of a courtesy so I could get the car off of my hands). While I was waiting for a tow truck to bring me and my car to the dealership, I texted a couple of friends to see if anyone could meet me at the dealership to help me with car buying. I’m not great at making huge decisions like that and I wanted a friend with me. Fortunately, my friend Dani was free and was happy to help me out.

I had looked at the dealership’s used cars online the day before, so I knew what options I really had. I wanted to look at a few different cars and try a couple of types of cars as well, but Dani was willing to make sure I asked all the right questions and didn’t get taken advantage of by the salespeople. The first car I drove was a 2014 Crosstrek that was a really cool bright blue color. It was a nice car to drive and had some really nice features. It had about 40,000 miles on it so it was a used car but not super used. There was another 2014 Crosstrek on the lot, but I didn’t drive it because I didn’t realize that the technology in the car was the lowest end and was pretty outdated by then.

There was one 2016 Crosstrek on the lot and that was the next car I drove. It was much sportier than I’m used to, but it was really fun to drive. It didn’t have all the features I was looking for, but that was ok. Dani helped me to realize that having a GPS built into the car isn’t that important when I can just use my phone. And Dani (who rode in the backseat during the test drives), told me that the 2016 was a much nicer ride for her back there. And while this car was used, it was pretty close to new. It only had 5,000 miles on it and was only owned for a few months by the previous owner (they got into a situation where they didn’t need a car anymore which is why they sold it back to the dealership).

The last car I checked out was a Forester, which is closer in size to what my Escape was like. I love being able to sit up high, but the Forester was just too much car for me. I don’t need that huge of a car right now. And if I do end up needing a huge car later down the line, then I’ll look at them then. But for now, I needed a car that worked and wanted something that was fun to drive and perfect for me getting around town.

After some conversation with my parents (since they were funding the purchase I wanted their opinion and approval) and debating back and forth with Dani who was a great voice of reason for me, I ended up going with the 2016 Crosstrek. It is the better deal considering that it is basically a new car. I got a really great deal on it because there are some scratches on the car. But I don’t mind the damage because as my dad put it, I’d probably get scratches on it eventually. It’s a city car and it’s not meant to look perfect.

After deciding on the car, Dani had to leave and I was there for another few hours doing all the paperwork involved with a car purchase. We had to do the release of liability for the Escape and there were dozens of pages for me to sign for the Crosstrek. But about 8 hours after calling for the tow truck to bring my Escape to the mechanic to find out if it’s dead, I was leaving the Subaru dealership with my new used car!

This was not at all how I thought the beginning of my year would go. Even a week later, I’m still a little overwhelmed by the entire situation and what happened. I don’t believe it at times. My Escape was a great car for me for so long and I’m still sad that it died. But I’m so happy with my Crosstrek and how nice it is! I have personalized plates that have been on every car I’ve had and I did get them off of my Escape when I left it as a trade-in. I can’t put them on my Crosstrek yet, but once I do I think the car will feel more like mine and that I will finally be able to wrap my head around the entire situation.

A New Computer (or Out With The Old And In With The New)

I’ve been writing about wanting to get a new computer for a pretty long time (my computer frustrations have been happening almost as long as I’ve had this blog). And the day that the new MacBook Pros were announced, I knew that I’d be getting one. I didn’t have the money at the time of the announcement, but I knew that between what I was able to save and the check I was going to get from my grandma for Hanukkah that I would have enough. So I immediately started to plan for the new computer.

The first thing I had to figure out was which one I was going to get. I knew I’d do the smaller size since I do like to bring my computer with me when I travel or to different events. And since the Touch Bar was the new thing they were introducing with the MacBook Pro, I figured I should splurge on that as well. And because the main problem I had with my old computer was that I ran out of storage space, I wanted to max out on storage (the maximum was going to be 4 times what I had on my current computer).

Since I wanted to upgrade the storage, I wasn’t totally sure that I would be able to just go to the Apple Store and get my new computer. So I sent a quick text to a friend who works at the Apple Store to find out. And since I was doing this the day they announced the new computers, I started my text with “don’t worry, I’m not asking you for a discount on the new MacBook Pro”. My friend answered my question (I would have to order it online), but then he also offered to let me use his friends and family discount! I wasn’t expecting that at all, but since it is a better discount than my educational one, I was so grateful that he was going to let me do that.

It ended up being an easy enough process to order the computer once I had the money together  (I was on the phone with my friend while he was online typing in the information) and according to my order it would be arriving at the Apple Store the first week of January. So I figured that I would spend most of December preparing my old computer to transfer my data over and that in January I’d be able to get everything set up super quickly.

Of course, I didn’t get time in December to work on the transfer stuff and then this past week I got a message that my computer was ready to pick up at the store! I couldn’t go the day it arrived so I planned on going to the Apple Store in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve (when I had free time). I knew the store would be insane, but it would be ok.

Then, on Christmas Eve I logged into work only to find out that we were given the day off! I still had other obligations in the afternoon, but since I didn’t have to work I had 3 hours free and figured it would be the perfect time to get to the Apple Store and deal with the crowds. But I discovered that 8am (when they opened) at the Apple Store on Christmas Eve is pretty empty! There were maybe 20 employees there and only 3 customers if you include me. And since all they had to do was go into the back and grab my laptop, it was a pretty speedy process.

Once I got my computer home and unpacked it, I was shocked at how thin and light it was! It feels like a kiddie toy compared to my old one! And when I set the computers up side by side (to help make sure I’m transferring all that I need to), the size difference was really obvious.

I’ll eventually get a protective case for the new computer once they start making them since it makes it easier to travel with the computer and it makes it stand out more when I’m in a room where a ton of people have the same computer. And I managed to spend some time over the weekend and the beginning of the week getting stuff transferred over to the new one (I’m typing this on the new computer). My game plan is to try to work on the new computer with the old one nearby in case I figure out something that I need that I didn’t transfer yet. And once I feel comfortable enough with the new computer only, I’ll wipe my old computer clean so it can go to its new home (a friend of mine will be buying it from me).

While it would have been nice to have a new computer sooner, I’m so glad I finally could get a new one! I’m still getting used to things so it feels a bit weird to work on it, but I know that this is going to make my life easier. It will be much faster to work on it, especially at the box office job where I need dozens of windows open at once to work. And I’m hoping that this will also make my blogging better as well (I can start doing more stuff with my blog that the old computer couldn’t handle).

I know I’m incredibly lucky that I got money that helped me pay for this. The fact that I got it on Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah really made it the perfect gift! And I’m so grateful to my friend who let me use his discount. The money I saved helped to pay for unexpected expenses I had recently (like the new power steering I had to get for my car).

My old computer made it about 7 years, so here’s to making this computer last for the next 7!

Splurging On Technology (or I Guess I Had To Get A New Phone)

I’ve written recently about how my phone had been dying. When I wrote that post, my phone was lasting between 3-6 hours in a charge and I was finding tricks to make that ok with me. I had no plans on getting a new phone, mainly because I hate the new giant phones and I didn’t want something that wouldn’t be easy for me to use.

When I went to Tahoe, my phone got even worse. The battery was lasting maybe an hour if I was lucky. I was carrying 2 external batteries with me and I was charging my phone every chance I had (thankfully my mom has a charger in her car). Again, I was really not wanting to get a new phone, but I was starting to realize that I probably had to take some of my savings to invest in a new one.

I started to do some research on iPhones and discovered that there was a lower version of them called the SE. Basically, it is the same technical stuff as the 6S, but it is the small size like my 5S. It’s not the latest and greatest phone, but that was ok with me. Usually I only want to get the newest stuff since technology becomes outdated quickly, but I was willing to change it up for the phone. Plus, the lower version phone was half the cost of the new ones and that was worth it to me.

When I got home from Tahoe, I had a few more days before I had a free afternoon to get a new phone. My phone was getting worse and worse and by the time I was off to get my new phone, my old one could almost not hold a charge unless it was plugged in.

Getting the new phone was a bit of a bigger ordeal than I thought it would be. I really thought I would go to the Verizon store, get my phone, pay, and be done with it. But there were issues with my account that had to be figured out first. Then there was a lot of confusion about what I was paying for (they kept telling me the accessory bundle was included with my new phone, but to them included meant I pay for it with the phone). And after a few hours at the store, they finally said they didn’t have the phone I wanted there and sent me to another store to buy it (not sure why they didn’t do that sooner).

I drove over to the other store in rush hour traffic, but fortunately the other store had my new phone waiting for me. I stayed in the new store to make sure my backup from my old phone made it to my new phone and after several hours, I was finally on my way back home to play with my new phone.

Even though this was an expense I wasn’t really ready for, it ended up being worth it. I do a lot of day job work on my phone, so I need to have a working phone. And having a new phone is pretty nice. Things are working better and faster. And this new phone has significantly more storage on it so I’m not always deleting stuff to find room on my phone for what I need.

I’m still going to be waiting for the new MacBook Pro to be released before I make that splurge. My computer isn’t dying like how my phone was. If I had to make it another 6 months with my computer, I think it would be tough but doable. But at least now I know when I get the new computer that I have a phone that will be able to work very nicely with it.

Bikini Audition (or Finding My Confidence)

Last week I got a text from my agents. They typically only text me when I have an audition, so I immediately took a look at my phone to see what audition they had gotten for me! But instead of the text saying I have an audition, it said that I had a potential audition but before they confirmed me for it they wanted to double-check about one thing. They wanted to make sure I was ok being in a bikini. As an actor, you feel like you have to say yes to whatever (unless it’s something not safe like they ask you to ride a horse and you are terrified of horses), so I said yes right away.

The only problem was I didn’t have a bikini.

I have the bathing suit that I wore in Hawaii, but that was a tankini and this audition notice said specifically that the actor must be comfortable in a 2 piece bikini. I had a couple of days before the audition, so I figured I had time to find a bikini top and figure out a way to feel confident in it.

I’ll be honest, shopping for the bikini top sucked. I had to go to multiple stores with no luck. It seems like no place carried bikini tops in my size. I was able to find a ton of skirted one pieces or baggy suits, but nothing fun or cute. And it was too close to order something I could find online. Finally I had to realize that I was going to have to spend a decent amount of money on the top and I figured I could keep the tag inside and return it after the audition.

I eventually found a top that worked at Torrid (and had a coupon to save some money on it). I didn’t hate it too much when I bought it and I was planning on using the bottoms I wore in Hawaii (I didn’t need the matching bottoms).

I spent my weekend preparing for my audition and didn’t really think too much about having to wear the bikini. It was only going to be a minute of my time wearing it so I was trying not to worry about it. I focused on learning my lines and being as ready as possible for the audition.

The day of the audition, I worked my usual work shift (my audition was after work so I didn’t need to ask for time off). But since I didn’t feel like getting dressed for work and then dressed for the audition, I worked in the bikini with some yoga pants. I passed myself in a mirror a couple of times while I was walking between my desk and kitchen, and I have to say that I didn’t feel like I looked that bad. In fact, I was pretty happy with how the bikini looked on me!

Bikini Audition

I liked how I looked so much that I ended up taking the tag out of the top because I knew I had to keep it!

All of the sudden, I was no longer nervous about the bikini part of the audition. My only nerves were the normal audition nerves and I tried to get those out of my system when I was driving to the valley to the studio where the audition was held.

I personally think the audition went great! The casting directors and I made jokes about me stripping down when I was taking off the yoga pants and tank that I wore on top of the bikini. And they loved the bikini so much that they had me turn around so they could check it out (and they commented that they would totally buy that for themselves too). They laughed at the scene I read and I had no confidence issues at all. Who would have thought that being half-naked in front of a camera was the best way to get my nerves to go away?

In the lobby of the casting office, they had a selfie station. I didn’t have time to take a photo before the audition (and we all were focusing on our lines), but a friend who was there auditioning too took a picture with me after we were both done auditioning.

Selfie Station

On the drive home, I just felt so great. I had a weight lifted from my shoulders that I never knew was there. I know that I’ve heard that every body is a bikini body so many times. But I honestly never believed it until this audition. But now I’m excited to figure out when I can wear the bikini this summer. I’ll be going back east for a family reunion and I think there is either a pool or hot tub where we are staying, so I’ll bring it then. And I want to figure out some fun beach adventures to go on in LA too.

All my confidence issues aren’t gone now. I’m sure I’ll still feel a bit insecure when I wear the bikini in public where I’m the only heavy person (it helped that all the ladies at my audition who were auditioning were heavy too). There may be people who make fun or me or laugh and point at me in public. And if that happens that it going to suck and I’m sure I’ll feel down about it.

But for now, I’m just so excited that I’ve found even the smallest amount of confidence and that I’m ready to rock a bikini for the first time as an adult (and possibly the first time ever in my life)!

 

Working On Money Priorities (or What’s Worth The Splurge)

I’ve really been working lately on spending less. I know it’s important for me to do this because I need to use that extra money toward my credit card debt (and not creating more debt). And obviously, there are some costs that I can’t avoid (bills and stuff), but I’ve gotten more serious at taking a look at my fun expenses.

I’m sure it sounds like I spend a ton because I go to Disneyland pretty often and now I have a pass to Universal Studios as well. This Disneyland pass was pretty much half paid for by recycling ink. That option won’t work for me in the future (the loophole that let me do that was fixed), but pretty much what I paid out of pocket was the same as 2 days at Disneyland. And my pass has the parking so I’m not paying $18 each time to park. I know I’ll go more than 2 times in a year so it’s easily worth it. And my Universal Studios pass was something I got at Costco for almost the same price as a 1 day ticket. The issue with my pass is that you can’t use it on weekends at all, but since I will probably only go on Mondays that isn’t an issue for me as well.

I am still spending money on other fun things, but I’m really trying to limit them to fun experiences like my season tickets to the Pantages or other shows (I just got tickets to see “The Little Mermaid” live at the Hollywood Bowl soon!). And when I do tickets like those, I’m working hard at finding good deals or making sure what I’m paying is a good value (like the season tickets being about $300 for all 7 shows). Part of why I love going to so many shows is it keeps me busy. And when I’m busy I’m not focusing on food.

And speaking of food, one of the biggest savings I’ve had lately is food related. I set the monthly challenge not to order any delivery food in March, and I’ve been able to keep that up so far this month too! I’m not doing as great about cooking from scratch, but even getting microwave food from the grocery store is cheaper than delivery food. When I’m not cooking, I’m going out to eat and that tends to be with friends so it makes it more of an outing than just eating. My grocery bills have gone up a bit since I’m eating at home more, but the amount they have gone up is significantly less than what I was spending on delivery food so that is a win for me.

But I think the biggest savings for me as been shopping. Mainly buying books, but I’m trying to be better about shopping in general. I used to buy a lot more stuff. Now, if I’m buying things online it tends to be household stuff I need or workout clothes. I’m not buying as much “normal” clothes because honestly I’m not in “normal” clothes that often. And even on non-workout days I usually wear my workout pants because they are more comfortable to work in.

But my book spending was pretty bad in the past. I used to be a huge library person, then there was an ordeal with my library card not working (I don’t know what happened and neither do they). Instead of doing the easy thing and just registering for a new card, I took advantage of how easy it is to get books on my Kindle. My old e-reader was much more difficult to get books on so just being able to press a button and order a book was so fun! But the spending was adding up. And while most of the books I buy I love and read over and over again, there were some that I got because they were on sale for $0.99 that I’ve read once and that’s it.

So recently I finally got a new library card and I’ve been taking advantage of it so much!

Library Card

It is so easy to get books on my Kindle from the library. Yes, I have to use my computer to get them. But then they are sent wirelessly to my Kindle and are on the device for 21 days. So most of the time I can read them more than once if I want to. I actually went a little overboard with putting Kindle books on hold from the library and had to delay a couple of holds (I had gotten 8 library books available at once). But I’m starting to find my groove with the library again and I feel like an idiot that I waited so long and spent so much money. I can’t go back and change it, but I’m glad I’ve changed now.

I know that there are still a few more places I can save money in my monthly spending. I want to get my grocery bills down a bit more as well as my household stuff (cleaning supplies, paper goods, and those things). I’m going to do some price checking between stores near me and Amazon and hopefully I can figure out the best options for me to maximize my money.

I’ve got a lot of fun things coming up this summer and a lot of them will involve money. But hopefully with the cutting back that I’ve been able to do I will not put myself into more debt just to do them.