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Favorite Five Friday (155th Edition)

28 Oct

Hello! Guys, October is my favorite month, and I’ve been having a blast. Here’s a few of my favs… (with an announcement at the end!)

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. I’ve been dying to go to a Halloween event in LA for the last three years. It’s called DELUSION, and it’s a haunted play. Instead of the usual haunted house where people jump out and scare you, there is a story and you become a part of it. We finally got tickets and braved the spooky villa set up in Downtown LA. It was truly an incredible experience! The actors were so committed, and being involved was so exciting/terrifying. My favorite part was a section set up escape room style, but really… it was all done very well. We left totally exhilarated and impressed. I’m so glad I’ve got friends who are willing to get scared with me.


2. My family came to visit! It’s always nice have loved ones in town. It was a quick trip, but we squeezed in a lot of fun – Delicious food, Universal, manicures with my niece, Griffith Observatory, and Hocus Pocus at the El Capitan! Such a blast with some of my favorite people. I miss you already!


3. All the Halloween movies! We usually reserve this time of year to watch all our favorite scary movies. Honestly, we haven’t had as much time to watch them this year, but we definitely watched our favorites – we love all the Scream movies, Cabin in the Woods, and (of course) Hocus Pocus. If you haven’t seen them, do yourself a favor and check them out. It’s the perfect time of year after all!

4. My birthday was this week! If you know me, you know I love my birthday. And birthdays in general. 🙂 There is just something special about reflecting on the last year of your life and dreaming about the next. I am doing a lot of dreaming these days, and I can’t wait to see what year 28 will hold!

We did some super fun celebrating for my big day! We started the morning with a walk to my favorite bagel shop and kitty snuggles. I treated myself to a face mask and a bath while I read a good book. Then Dan took me to get a massage – totally wonderful. Birthday donuts were also acquired, duh. 😉 Once we were good and relaxed, we met up with friends at one of my favorite restaurants – birthday candle and all. We finished the night by making our own s’more desserts that looked like the spell book (boooooOOOoooook!) from Hocus Pocus (gosh, you’d think I like that movie) and watching a scary movie. It was relaxing and special. Add in all the sweet messages, posts, and phone calls in between and it was totally perfect. I am so thankful for the wonderful people in my life. I can’t wait for another year with all of you.


5. I need to share that this is going to be my last Favorite Five Friday post. #155! It sounds like a good time to retire it. FFF was exactly what I needed when I moved to Los Angeles, and man, it has been a joy to share in this way. My life has changed so much in this time. Thanks for traveling it with me! I am ready to move forward, expand, and grow. I’m hoping my blog can do the same. The Art of Acting Up isn’t going anywhere. I will continue to write, but I haven’t decided what as of yet! For now, I will continue with Speaks To Me Sunday, and then we will just see what happens next. I hope you stick around to find out. 🙂


As always, Happy Friday!!! 

Favorite Five Friday (154th Edition)

23 Sep

There is nothing like an awesome and much-needed vacation! We are recovering from a really wonderful week in Orlando. Here are the highlights…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1.  We started off our trip at Universal Studios Orlando, and it was so exciting to be there for the first time! I loved seeing a sort of parallel universe Universal, and there was so much to see. It was definitely a good time of year to go because the park wasn’t too crowded. We basically got to hop on all the rides we wanted. I liked seeing some of Universal Studios Hollywood rides with a bit of a different spin – Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and, my favorite, Revenge of the Mummy. There were lots of others I had never experienced before like ET, The Hulk, Rip Ride Rocket, Dragon Challenge, and Reign of Kong. It was really neat to explore something so familiar but also brand new at the same time. Universal will always have a soft spot in my heart.


2. The absolute best part of Universal Studios Orlando was Diagon Alley. I can’t even count how many times I teared up while we explored the realization of J.K. Rowling’s creation. It was just so stunning. Every bit of it. From having to find the entrance and hearing the bricks opening up to the dragon that literally breathes fire. We ran around like children exploring every nook and cranny, reading every single sign, finding every spell on the map (and not on the map), and inspecting every item in each shop. We especially loved the shows they put on. Watching WADA (the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts) perform the tales of Beedle the Bard was completely amazing and so well done. I totally want their job. Escape From Gringotts was an excellent ride – we went on it three times. Honestly, we spent the majority of our time in Diagon Alley, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. It might sound crazy, but it was such an emotional experience for me. I love these stories and these characters. Being immersed in this Wizarding World is like finally getting my Hogwarts letter. And it was every bit as magical as I’d dreamed. 

3. Relaxation is certainly a key component in any worthwhile vacation. People thought we were crazy for spending our trip at two theme parks because you know… We work at one. Believe me, I wondered the same thing. But we gave ourselves time to relax. We didn’t bother rushing from place to place because we knew we had time. We stopped to look in stores, we saw shows, we went to the pool, we had long, delicious meals. For us, it was a perfect mix of adventure and unwind.

4. Dan had a birthday while we were away! It was strange not to be with other friends and family, but also exciting to be at Walt Disney World! I tried to make it special by bringing candles (that I couldn’t light) for our meals – I ended up making him blow out candles through an app on my phone! Haha. We spent the day at Epcot enjoying their Food & Wine festival. The day was so hot, but we trekked through all the different countries eating and drinking as we went. I think Dan enjoyed South Korea and Poland the most, but Belgium was my favorite. It was a lot of fun trying so many different things. 35 will always be the year we traveled the world to celebrate Dan’s birthday. Oh, and we finished off with reservations at Coral Reef for dinner. Dining in the aquarium was really cool. And for the grand finale – The Mainstreet Electrical Parade! There was a lot of nostalgia there for both of us. A perfect way to end the day celebrating my favorite person. ❤️

5. If you are ever at Walt Disney World, do yourself a favor and take one their guided tours! They have several fantastic options that explore the history of Walt, Mickey, and their kingdom. We took the Marceline tour (named for an influential and inspirational place Walt lived in his childhood), and learned so much about Walt Disney – his life, his dreams, his failures, his successes. He was clearly a man ahead of his time and truly a world changer. On the tour we got to explore my favorite ride – the Haunted Mansion! Our guide, Michael, gave us tons of great info while we are on the ride (man, their headsets are awesome), and then we got to go into the attraction to see how it works. I was literally underneath the doom buggies as they rolled through the ballroom scene. It was so cool! That alone was worth the price of the tour. I loved every minute, and couldn’t recommend it more.

Those were my favorites, but I didn’t even get to touch on other amazing things like delicious food, how much we loved staying at Cabana Bay, drinks by the pool, bowling and mini golf, super cool magic bands, fast passes, picking out gifts, breakfast with our favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Woods, and so much more. I certainly have many memories to treasure for years to come. 

We are already having vacation withdrawals. Mostly we need another vacation where we can just sleep. 😉 Orlando, thanks for being awesome! Can’t wait to pick our next adventure!

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (153rd Edition)

2 Sep

Friday! The week is coming to an end and so is summer. That definitely brings a mix of emotions for me. That nostalgia for back to school days and the relief that a busy peak season is winding down at work. We are certainly trying to enjoy the last weeks of summer…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. Dan and I have become such homebodies over the last year. I blame our cats. They are just so cuddle-able. 🙂 But we’ve decided we need to get out more. So, we have been running around LA and exploring the city. In the last couple weeks we’ve gone to Echo Park for picnicking and pedal boating, we adventured downtown for some delicious coffee at Philz and to check out Skyspace LA (a great exhibit in LA’s tallest building including an outdoor glass sided slide!), and we’ve eaten at many delicious restaurants – my favorite was The Griddle Cafe and their delicious pancakes! It’s safe to say we are having a great time, and we’ve got plenty more stops on our list.

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2.  Because of all our outings, we have been going on so many more dates, and it’s been awesome. I think that sometimes when you are married you do things together for habit, convenience, etc. It’s been great to set specific time aside to go on real dates, to intentionally spend time together. It really makes a difference. So happy he’s my forever date.


3.  The Giving Keys is a fantastic company with an inspiring story. I’ve long been a fan of the gorgeous jewelry they make and the reasons behind it. I’ve been wearing their “Brave” necklace for more than a year, but I just added another to my collection. I’ve been experiencing some worries and anxiety about the future lately. Something my mom well knows! She had The Giving Keys make a special necklace for me – “Peace.” It’s exactly what I needed. Aren’t moms the best?

4.  It’s almost vacation time! (And not a moment too soon. We have been seeing pictures of our Europe trip last year pop up, and it’s making us anxious for adventure.) This year we are headed to Orlando for Universal and Disney! Because as you know, we not only work at a theme park, we also love visiting them. We might be crazy. Haha. But we are so excited to go explore, ride all the rides, eat delicious food, and enjoy some much needed time away and time with each other. The countdown is on!

5. Lemon and Jack are still here. And still the cutest. It’s absurd how much I love them.


Happy Friday, y’all!

Favorite Five Friday (153rd Edition)

19 Aug

Friday again 🙂 How was your week? I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks here in sunny southern California…

1.  Anyone who knows me understands that I am not a sports person (go Sportsball and all that jazz.). But when my friends want me to go to the Dodgers game, I will go. And, surprisingly, I will have fun! Live sporting events can be a great time, and we had a blast. My favorite part of going to games is always the food and socializing. We had delicious pizza and had  great timing hanging out together. Thanks for making me a sports fan, Petersens!


2.  Y’all, I had a rough couple weeks. I got sick, I had no voice, I was stuck at home, and I sliced my hand open trying to pit an avocado (so embarrassing). The only redeeming part of that time was my champ of a husband. He took such good care of me, rushed home to drive me to urgent care for my hand (shout out to our management and co-workers for making that possible!), and made sure that I had what I needed at all times. Man, I felt terrible last week, but I also felt super lucky.


3. Time with friends is always important to us. Over the last few weeks we’ve gotten to spend time with some friends from Nashville, and it was just a breath of fresh air. So thankful for the people who continue to show up in our lives… Acquaintances who be come friends, old friendships that get renewed, the people who become our chosen family.


4. I have officially decided to grow my hair back out! It’s been fun to be a short haired girl for a little while, but I miss my long locks. Truth be told, it was easier to manage (is that weird?) and it feels more like me. It’s nice to have the choice! And starting from where it is (just about to my shoulders) will give me length options to choose from. I’m excited.


5.  I am also super excited to share that a short film Dan and I are in is an official selection for for the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival! Can’t wait to share Before I Met you.

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (152nd Edition)

5 Aug

Oh hi! It’s been an incredibly busy summer… Which means I haven’t been able to write a Friday post in a couple weeks. Don’t worry, I’m still here! I hope you are too. 🙂 Here’s what we’ve been up to…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1.  We officially completed Whole30 AND our reintroduction phase. We added in off plan food groups one at a time to see how they make us feel. Neither of us experienced any issues. Now, our challenge is figuring out how and when to incorporate foods that we know aren’t super healthy. We have both felt so good on Whole30, and we don’t want to give that up. But we would like to add back in a little more variety! So, we are taking it day at a time. So far, so good. We have learned so much by focusing on this experience and what we eat. It’s safe to say we are better for it and we will continue this journey.

2.  We wrapped our fantastic commericial class with Laurie Records. Talk about a learning experience! I thought I was pretty savvy about commercials having been cast in a few and auditioning quite a bit, but this opened my eyes to a whole new level of commercial acting. (Yeah, it is definitely different than for TV and film.) Each week we got to “audition” and then watch our tape afterward. As an actor, it’s so beneficial to be able to see what you look like on camera. It’s certainly helped me remedy (or at least make a start) a few bad habits. I’m also hoping to focus more on confidence and fun in the audition room. I think it will make a world of difference. Thank you, Laurie!

3.  Time with friends and having a community is such an important thing for us. We’ve loved hanging out with awesome people over the last few weeks – some visiting from out of town, some our regular pals. This quality time is everything.

4.  Dan started up softball again! It’s so fun to watch he and our coworkers battle it out on the field. (That works for sports, right?) It makes it even better knowing how much Dan loves it.

5.  We’ve been getting out of the house more often, and it feels great. Dan and I can be serious  homebodies. During the summer, we are pretty exhausted after our work week. Plus, we love snuggling in at home with our kitties. But there is a whole big world out there! We’ve been trying to be a little more adventurous and exciting. It actually seems to make us a little more energized than staying in. Cheers to more adventures!


Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (151st Edition)

15 Jul

I have some catching up to do this week. There’s a lot of good things happening…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. I didn’t post last Friday because there was so much happening in the world… Posting about the little moments in my life didn’t seem important while there was so much tragedy. But I’ve also come to realize there are always going to be hard things happening in the world. That doesn’t mean we stop living. But it does mean we take a look around and see what we can do to help. I’m still looking for ways to step up, but here’s a few of my thoughts on current events in a post from earlier this week: Speaks To Me Sunday.

2. We had a magical time at the Hollywood Bowl last week! The LA Philharmonic gorgeously played the orchestration along to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It was such a fun way to watch the film! The live music was perfection, and the night was only made better by sharing it with our friends. Definitely an evening for the memory books.


3. We started a new acting class this month! We are focusing on commercial for the next few weeks with the fabulous Laurie Records. One class in, and I’ve already learned so much. I can’t wait to get out there and apply my newly acquired knowledge.

4.  My big brother turned 30 last week! I wish we could have been there to celebrate with him, but I am totally proud of the gift I sent. Remember the old view finders where you could see little pictures through the lense? Usually from a Disney movie. Jeremy and I loved those as kids. Recently a friend told me about a place where I could have one made from my own pictures. I loved putting together a few of my favorite photos of us to make this a really special gift. Jer, you have worked so hard to get to where you are! You deserve every special and good thing coming your way.

5. We completed the Whole30! 30 days of eating only the good stuff, and we feel great. (From my Instagram:) Here are a few of the benefits we’ve experienced: we are using our time more wisely, we are spending more time together, we are successful meal planners, we are not reliant on coffee or sugar, we are learning lots about the foods we do and don’t want to consume, we are trying new things, we are becoming better cooks, we are saving money by not going out to eat, we are fitting better in our clothes, we are feeling more alert and more energized, and yep, we lost weight too. It’s been an amazing experience, but it’s not over yet. Yes, I’m excited to try adding back in a glass of wine, some cheese, and delicious bread… But all in good time. And all in moderation and in control. We are heading into reintroduction feeling empowered, and we cannot recommend the Whole30 enough.

Before (L) & After (R)

Together we lost a total of 20.6 pounds & 22 1/2 inches.

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (150th Edition)

1 Jul

Hiya Friday! This week we’ve been taking it nice and easy…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. I married a man who is just as OCD as me. We both love things to be neat, clean, and organized. All of our belongings have a specific place they go. I love that we are on the same page about it. Recently we have turned to a more minimalist page. We are focusing on having things that we need and that make us really happy… Everything else has gotta go! We started with our bedroom, and the progress we’ve made has been awesome. It feels so good to just declutter, be able to donate, and feel happy to have the things we do.

2. This week called for us to press the pause button and take some time for rest. Dan wasn’t feeling well, we were both tired… So we took a little time for ourselves. We’ve been rewatching LOST – we got to snuggle up in the couch for several episodes. We even went and got massages to feel more relaxed. It was definitely what we needed. I think it’s so important to be able to tune into your body/mind and give yourself a break when you need one.

3. We have passed the halfway point for our Whole30! I can’t even believe it. I’m feeling really proud of all we’ve accomplished… We have made great strides with meal planning/shopping and food prep. Both things I plan to continue once 30 days is up. We have both been feeling really good, and we aren’t even done! During the 30 days we are not weighing or measuring ourselves, but we can already see a difference. While we worked on our closet minimalizing, we tried on clothes. It was so wonderful to have so many things fitting better than they had in months. Feeling pretty victorious.

4. We have been missing time with our friends – everyone has been so busy with life lately. Us included! This week we were able to get together, grill our food, play games, and generally catch up. Some much needed socializing with some of my favorite people.

5. Because they are cute and I can’t help myself…

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (149th Edition)

24 Jun

Friday is here again! It’s been a good week…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. We have successfully reached Day 12 of Whole 30! Whew. We have stayed strong. Both of us are feeling good, learning a lot, and enjoying cooking together. I’ve actually found that we are more productive in all areas because we have to be so on top of things with our meal planning. I’m certainly liking that side effect. More updates to come!

this is the kind of food we eat!

meal planning with a little help.

2. It was a million degrees in Los Angeles this week. Okay, it was 108, but it was mighty toasty spending seven hours outside giving a VIP tour. We survived it , and had a little fun by getting to do our tour together!

snapchat didn’t get it quite right, but close!

3. Beach day! I don’t get to go to the beach as often as I like, but I got to go this week. And to make it better, I got to try out a new beach AND spend the day with one of my favorite people. Cammie has lived in L.A. for the last year, but she and her husband are moving to Texas so he can finish his medical residency. I’m sad (slash excited for them) to see them go, but so happy I got to spend Cammie’s last day with her. We went to Manhattan Beach, got some sun, walked in the ocean, window shopped, and talked about all the adventures coming our way. I love friends that leave you feeling refreshed and happy. Love you, Cam!

4. One year ago we brought a tiny tortico home, and we named her Liz Lemon. She has been a source of joy and laughter for us ever since. She puts up with her brothers hijinks, sneaks into the fridge, sleeps in the sink, chases me while I work out, obsessively stares out the windows, and literally hugs our arms when she wants to snuggle. Lemon, you would do your namesake proud.


5. Phase one of Project Refresh is complete! We’ve done so many fun things to make our apartment feel more special, more unique to us. I’m loving what we’ve done so far…

a little Harry Potter love.

 

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painted the shelf myself. the postcards are from our visit to the Churchill War Rooms in London.

LOVE our gallery wall!!

 

gorgeous print made just for us by my friend Elise!

wedding photos for June – love that we can switch them out so easily.

crazy Dr. Who loving cat lady.

Happy Friday!

Favorite Five Friday (148th Edition)

17 Jun

Friday is has arrived. How was your week? You doing okay? I hope so! There’s been some wonderful things happening as well as some truly awful things. Regardless, I am always trying to find the good…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. When you’re celebrating, you go to Disneyland! Where else?! 😉 We were able to take a mini Staycation in Anaheim to celebrate our anniversary. The evening we arrived, we hit Downtown Disney for dinner. We had never tried the full Jazz Kitchen restaurant, so we decided to treat ourselves. The service was great (I love places that bring you champagne when you’re celebrating) and the food was delicious. We had such a wonderful time. We followed that up with a few rides before heading back to our AirBnB. The next morning we got to Disneyland fairly early, and we really hit all the rides we wanted just after noon. A great part of being an annual passholder is the ability to call it a day and head home to relax. Which ended up being good since it turned out that I was very sunburned. Whoops! We had a really wonderful time. You can’t go wrong with Disney!


2. We celebrated our SIXTH anniversary this week! Six years of adventures with my favorite human. 5 apartments, dozens of jobs, a move across the country, 2 kitties, and countless memories. My husband is always the one I want to snuggle with for an evening in, cry with when things are hard, laugh with…uncontrollably, and experience all life has to offer. We’ve been through so much. Together. Always together. I can’t wait to see what year seven holds.


3. I’m fairly certain that Dan gave me the best anniversary gift ever. Season tickets to the Pantages!! Which also means we’ll be seeing Hamilton! Not until August of 2017, but we are going! So excited. And just as excited about the rest of the season lineup. It’s going to be a blast. Well played, Hackman.


4. This week we started a food experiment called the Whole30. For 30 days we eat nothing but whole foods. No additives, no preservatives. Just whole, delicious food. It’s a lot of prepping and planning, but we are doing it! At the end of the 30 days, we will slowly introduce off plan foods to see how they affect us. I get chronic headaches and my allergies are always bad… If I can prevent these things by controlling the food I eat, I will. I’m interested to learn more about the food we consume and how it makes us feel. Of course, an added bonus would be losing a little weight. But the main goal is just to be healthy.  I’ll keep you updated on how we are doing!


5. The tough stuff. My heart has been so heavy these last few weeks… The media has been flooded with stories about a rapist getting off with a punishment far too lenient for his crime, a toddler lost to his family after an alligator attack, and a senseless shooting in Orlando where people lost their lives for being who they are. I want to weep. I can’t even begin to share how I feel. So many others have done it so eloquently already, but I can’t say nothing. I can’t allow silence to be mistaken for a lack of feeling. To those directly affected, I may not fully understand what you are going through, but I cry with you. I stand with you. I love you. And I will continue to look for the good, the heroes, the helpers in these dark situations… The bicyclists who stopped Brock Allen Turner from continuing to harm his victim, this victimThis woman who showed tremendous courage by sharing her story and standing up for herself (and women everywhere), watching as my theme park family has come together to honor the 49 lives lost in Orlando – the 6 who were our own in particular. I’m so glad to have been able to stand with more than 1,000 of Universal Studios Hollywood team members last night as we connected with our team members from Beijing, Singapore, Osaka, and Orlando to celebrate the lives we lost. Every shared story, every post, every shout into the darkness… They are seen, they are heard. Keep speaking your truth, keep spreading love. Oh, how we need it.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter.

Happy Friday, friends.

Favorite Five Friday (147th Edition)

3 Jun

Lookin’ good, Friday. A perfect addition to the week, really. And I can’t believe we’ve made it to June – one of my favorite months. I feel like I’m celebrating a LOT of milestones these days. It’s an exciting time…

FAVORITE FIVE FRIDAY

1. Four years ago we packed all of our belongings and moved across the country to a place where we essentially knew no one. Leaving Nashville was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m pretty sure we only got through it because we had each other, our dreams, and what we felt was God’s calling on our lives. Of course, I still miss Nashville and my community there. They will always hold a truly special place in my heart. But I am also incredibly proud of the life we have built in L.A. and all we have accomplished in our time here so far. It’s also pretty neat to have loved ones and family all across the country. Four years ago we said see ya later. Never goodbye.


2. Project Refresh continues in the Hackman Household… a couple months ago I decided I wanted to redo pretty much everything in our apartment. But it takes time! We are making progress. My favorite thing this week was putting up our gallery wall. We are still gathering photos and prints to put in the frames, but we finally found all the pieces we wanted. So we decided to just go for it! I’ll post more pictures once it’s complete, but here’s how it looks on our wall!


3. This week was the TEN year anniversary of my High School Graduation. WHAT?! I feel like that means I am supposed to be a real grown up, but I still find myself looking around for an adultier adult when times get tough. Maybe we all are? Getting older is challenging yet inevitable, ya know? We all do it. But I guess growing up is something else. As for me, I think I’ll choose to keep at least a little of my childishness. 😉 Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on all that’s happened since commencement, and it’s pretty amazing to see how far I’ve come. I toured across the country performing for nine months, moved to Nashville, got married(!), acted in dozens of shows, worked hard and received my BFA in Acting, moved to Los Angeles, found a job I love where I’ve been a part of some once in a lifetime moments, been in commercials and on TV, never stopped pursuing my dreams. Through it all, I’ve met wonderful people, cultivated incredible relationships, dared myself to dream bigger and be braver. And there is still more to do and further to go. Looking back makes me nostalgic, proud, and excited for the next ten years. I think I’ll get the hang of this adulting thing after all.

4. More milestones… One year ago Dan and I wandered into the NKLA animal shelter, and a little gray tabby wandered into our hearts. As soon as he saw Jack, Dan knew we had to have him. It was only made more clear when Jack was handed to us and he immediately started purring. There was no way we were leaving without him. I can’t explain it, but over the last year Jack has made our lives happier just by being in it. I love being a crazy cat lady Cat Mom.



5.  It’s National Donut Day! Oh Those Hackmans could not help but celebrate. Donuts are kind of our thing. 🙂

Happy Friday! Go eat a donut!