Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Experience as a Movie Extra

Last Friday, I experienced being a movie extra for the first time. I've always enjoyed acting and in fact, since I was a kid, I dreamed of being in the entertainment industry. When other kids were dreaming of becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or a dinosaur, i dreamed of becoming a singer or an actress. But little by little, as i grew up, I started to believe that i could never achieve that. That, people in the entertainment industry are a different breed, a special kind of talent, and that wasn't me.

I went on to go the "normal" route of finishing school, going to post-secondary school and finding a good paying job. I eventually did what I had long wanted to do, which was to quit my job in pursuit of an entrepreneurial dream. I love being an entrepreneur, but through the years, opportunities to be in front of people or in front of the camera just started presenting itself to me without me looking for it. News interviews, hosting gigs, speaking engagements, and eventually a commercial. My husband encouraged me to continue pursuing that childhood dream, but i brushed it off, putting up my own limitations... "nah, i'm not good enough for that.", i would say again and again. After being in a slump for most of 2014, I finally just said "screw it! i may not be good enough, but i'll at least give it a shot" so I went online to start looking for opportunities and landed on one that said "looking for young asian adults, aged 17-25". I am past 25 now but being in the "screw it!" mindset, i decided to submit my photo and resume anyway and see what they say. Immediately, they said yes.

I wasn't going to get paid for this extra gig but there was promise of LOTS of free food so I was definitely down for that! Besides, I wanted to get more experience in the industry to see if it was really something I wanted to pursue further.

The movie was going to be directed by someone who had worked on films such as Avengers, Ender's Game, and Sin City so I knew it was legit and didn't have to be afraid it was some kind of scam and I would end up on the 5 o' clock news. It was a Japanese film and we were instructed to come dressed as people going to a party during Fall season so I put together my best party outfit and went on my way.

When i got there, there was a tent full of Japanese people and another tent full of food. I got nervous as 99% of them were Japanese (with Japanese as a first language) and they all either came with a friend or a group of friends, I was alone. It didn't take long though before the ice was broken and everyone started to form friendships. Trying to get a non-Japanese person to memorize and recite a tent full of Japanese names can definitely break the ice.

After an hour of waiting, chatting, and eating - we were told that we would be called in, in groups of 5, for costume fitting. Costume fitting? I thought what I was wearing WAS going to be my costume. We eventually found out that this Japanese party was going to be set in the 90's. When it was my turn to get fitted, the costume designer ran her hands through each outfit hanging on the rack and paused at an outfit involving a furry bright green coat. She started to move on as I sensed that she thought "there's no way she'll want to wear this" so i quickly piped in and said "i'll wear it!" and with a happily surprised look on her face, she handed me the full costume which involved a patterned orange crop top, a jean/leather mini skirt, a neon green see-through plastic backpack, and the furry green coat. She asked for my shoe size and handed me a pair of really high heels and asked if I was wearing white socks underneath. I told her that unfortunately I was wearing pink socks with donuts all over it, to which she responded, "perfect! the tackier the better" Ha!

Call time was 7pm but by 11pm, we were still waiting outside in the cold and by this time I had probably consumed 3 pizzas, 50 gummy bears, coffee, 2 cheese strings, chips, and trail mix so I wasn't complaining. Finally, we were called to the party scene which was outside, under a tent that was decorated with lanterns, balloons and lights.

We were instructed to dance (with no music) and talk amongst ourselves but with no sound. It felt awkward at first but it didn't take long to get used to the pretend dancing and talking. We had to do a few other fun scenes and for the last scene, they wanted us to talk amongst ourselves again but this time with sound and ONLY in Japanese. Uh-oh, i thought. Thankfully, my new Japanese friends were quick to give me training and taught me a few easy words that I could just say in between pretend laughing. 

Me and my fellow pretend party-goers / Japanese instructors :)

6 hours later, we wrapped things up, i exchanged contact information with new friends, and said my goodbyes. I couldn't stop grinning and was on such a high that I could hardly sleep that night. The following day, I was to host our church's 14th anniversary party and I couldn't wait. It made me think about why I was feeling this way. While it would be my husbands worst nightmare to stand in front of hundreds of people and speak, it made me excited. While most people would complain about sitting around in the cold for 6 hours and mingling with strangers only to be put in front of the camera to do the same thing over and over again, i couldn't get enough. I'm nowhere near a superstar, my gigs are very humble and "small time" but by the end of all the festivities this weekend, I turned to my husband and said "i've never felt so alive." Perhaps this is what they say about loving what you're doing, even when you're not being paid. I don't get paid to host, I don't get paid to be interviewed, heck, I didn't even get paid to be an extra in that movie but... I just can't seem to stop smiling.

What would you keep doing, even if you weren't paid? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Low Carb Starbucks Drinks

Being an officeless entrepreneur, I often hop around to different coffee shops to get work done for a few hours. 4 hours is usually my max before the staff starts glancing my way and I start feeling obligated to buy something else, but i digress. Not wanting to consume my carb allowance for the day in one drink, I usually go to Starbucks since they are one of the only coffee shops in my area that provide nutritional information.

Here's how many carbs some of the most mouthwatering Starbucks drinks contain:

based on grande sized drinks. source: starbucks nutrition guide app

Those perfect swirls, artful squirts of sugary syrup, and angelic sprinkles of the most perfect amount of topping. *drool* but then I snap back to reality once I realize one drink is pretty much half of what I should be consuming for the day. I'd rather have something more filling like rice, pasta, or dessert. 

Instead, here is a list of my favorite low carb drinks from Starbucks. Each is based on grande sized cups and are all under 20g of carbs each: 

I love having this especially now that it's starting to get cold! It's not overly sweet and has a nice cinnamon flavor. It tastes like something sinful but it's not! 

CAFFE LATTE (19g carbs) 
Nice to have for early mornings when you need a low carb cup of awakeness. 

CAPPUCCINO (12g carbs)
Same as above. 

Iced black tea with 4 pumps of sugar free vanilla, light ice. Boom. 

This is my ultimate favorite especially closer to Christmas! Unfortunately, they don't carry sugar free peppermint syrup until closer to red-cup season.

I know, i know - the sugar free stuff they use isn't the healthiest so don't be having multiple cups of this each day. It's painful on your health and painful on your wallet. 

What's your favorite low carb Starbucks drink?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hey Guys, I'm Fat Again.

With my last post being from 5 months ago, it's probably no surprise to you that this post is titled the way it is. I've been struggling for a long time trying to figure out how I'm going to write this post. My husband told me to simply be honest. To which i responded with "how? just say... 'hey guys! i'm fat again!'?" ... and that's how the title came to be.

Before you jump to conclusions and think that i'm just another one of those annoying skinny people who thinks she's fat, let me explain. Yes, i gained weight but more than that, the honesty in this post comes from a place much deeper than just weight loss or weight gain. Let's start from the beginning.

In 2013, At the peak of my fitness and my career, i was down 4 jean sizes and making more money in a weekend than I ever did in a month in the corporate world. I was on top of my game and I felt on top of the world.

no excuses... ha!

In August of the same year, I felt I had plateaued and wanted a change in my diet and my routine. I'd been hearing a lot of buzz at that time about "reverse dieting" and knew a lot of friends who found success with it so i didn't hesitate to give it a shot. For those of you who are unfamiliar with reverse dieting, it's a method of steadily adding more calories back to your diet while still remaining around the same weight. Sounds magical right? You're supposed to keep up with your workout routine if not add more intensity but what happened with me is that..... life happened. 

Excuse: I got too busy. 
The truth was, i was busy trying to think and justify that i was busy. The truth was, I got too comfortable in my career. The truth was, I got lazy. My workouts started becoming less intense while the excuses started to become more intense. 

Sure enough, the 300g of carbs I was ingesting per day started to catch up with me fast. Because of the weight gain, I got in to the mindset of "well, i'm gaining weight anyway, what's another whole pizza going to do" *nom nom nom* At the peak of my weight gain, i was heavier than when I started my journey back in 2012. The instagram posting slowed down, the before and after shots became non-existent, and blogging became a thing of the past. I was ashamed.

I welcomed 2014 as a fresh start but it was not the fresh start i was expecting. 

In all honesty, 2014 has been the darkest year of my life

The weight gain took a shot at my confidence and while I had hit rock bottom weight wise, I was hitting an even deeper rock bottom emotionally and mentally. Remember all the success I spoke about with my career in 2013? It was the complete opposite in 2014. The things I expected and assumed would happen, did not happen. The goals I set out to hit? I missed. This resulted in changes on the inside. It was when my husband said one line that I knew.... something serious was going on with me. He said "you're not yourself anymore." 

I did not want to go out. I did not want to socialize. I did not want to catch up with old friends because what would they think of me? I thought and saw myself as a big. fat. failure. Those thoughts really got engraved in my heart and my mind because I started to believe it and I started to live it. And when you start to think it, live it and believe it, it starts to manifest itself in other areas of your life. First i injured my thumb and felt helpless. Then i injured my knee. Then, at the peak of rock bottom, I got into a car accident. My car was totalled. Now both my knees and my lower back feel constant pain and discomfort. I was so angry at God and blamed him for why everything wrong in my life was happening all in the same year.

Days would pass where I didn't leave the house. I found myself breaking down and crying while doing simple things like washing the dishes.... if I even got to the dishes because I preferred to just stay curled up in a ball on the couch and think about how much I had failed in life. Much of my weekend would be spent trying to make my eyes look less puffy from all the crying I had done all week so that I could pretend I was happy and ok in front of every one else. I was depressed. And I was in denial about being depressed. And I was embarrassed about being depressed. I come from a happy family and a supportive circle of friends, i'm not supposed to be depressed! But i was and it was getting harder and harder to mask. 

"The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem..."

The start of my healing began when I decided to open up about my situation to one of the people i consider a mentor... My dad. On this night, with my tear and snot stained t-shirt on, I knocked on my parents door and with 5 words, i fell apart. "Pa, i think i'm depressed."

After talking things through, I came to understand that failure happens but failure is not WHO i am. I guess that's why i struggled so much because I thought my weight gain defined me, what other people thought of me defined me, my career success and failure defined me. 

Today, i still have bad days, i'm still struggling and i've only just recently started to get serious about working out again. But it feels like a weight being lifted off my shoulders to finally stop hiding and just be able to admit that hey guys, i fell down and i fell down HARD but i'm picking myself up again. They say it's not your obstacles that define you but how you deal with those obstacles. 

I'm not sure what you believe but I believe that God rocks your world in a crazy way to get rid of the old and make way for the new. This year has been a year of major change, lots of learning, and lots of growth. Just as gold goes through fire to get rid of the junk, perhaps this year was my year of getting rid of the junk in life. Pride, anger, jealousy. I'm not going to wait for another new year for a fresh start, i'm starting now.

If you are going through or have gone through similar situations or thoughts, talk to someone about it. Most of all, don't let the negative situations in your life define you. CHOOSE to see the negative as an opportunity that can be turned into something positive. It's not over yet.