Sunday, January 8, 2017

random thoughts on the golden globes

Tonight kicks off Hollywood Awards season with the not-to-be-taken-too-seriously Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globes. I'll be live blogging the show live tonight with my random thoughts so keep refreshing the page if you care...

For once, I've seen almost all* of the nominated films way in advance of tonight. (Thanks bacterial throat infection that knocked me out for three days before Christmas!) And as I have cut down on TV the last two seasons, I've seen almost none of the nominated TV shows except OJ and Game of Thrones, so that should be interesting.
(*Still need to watch Hacksaw Ridge and I've never heard of Sing Street so...)

I'm making no predictions before the show starts ... other than that La La Land will win Best Musical or Comedy Film, and The People vs. OJ Simpson will win for Best Limited Series.

I am making a disclaimer though: Jimmy Fallon really annoys me lately, so my patience with him will be thin.
  • Okay.. I liked Jimmy's opening number.. pretty clever flip of La La Land's opening number to the red carpet traffic jam. And big star power included in the taped piece (Hi JT!), although I kept waiting for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone to appear. 
  • Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds - most beautiful presenting team ever. 
  • Okay, no one from Nocturnal Animals should win anything. Hated that film. Mahershala Ali from Moonlight should have won.
  • Billy Bob Thornton just won Best Actor in a TV Drama over Rami Malik and Matthew Rys for a show I've never heard of. 
  • Gee I wonder if Julia Louis Dreyfus will win Best Actress in a TV Comedy for Veep again?
  • Nope! Yay! Tracee Ellis Ross for Black-ish. I watch that show sometimes.. 
  • I've seen none of the nominated comedies except Mozart in the Jungle. Which reminds me, I still need to watch Season 3 of Mozart in the Jungle. 
  • PEOPLE! The Electric Light Parade is coming back to Disneyland! I'm SO excited (And now I have that song in my head instead of "City of Stars" - yes!)
  • Yeah, Hacksaw Ridge looks too violent. I can't deal with another Saving Private Ryan right now. That's why I haven't watched it yet.
  • I WILL be watching Big Little Lies on HBO because I love Reese Witherspoon, who's now presenting with Nicole Kidman. Reese does the cutest Instagram stories. 
  • Sarah Paulson won for People vs. OJ Simpson. Shocker. I wonder how this compares to her Emmy. (That's sarcasm people.) And she thanked Marcia Clark, instead of OJ like Jimmy Fallon suggested... because she's smart. 
  • Look! The People vs. OJ Simpson won for Best Limited Series. Thank you. Thank you very much. 
  • Bad comedy bit from Sofia Vergara intro-ing Sly Stallone's daughters as Miss Golden Globe.
  • Yes Jimmy. Don't even try to imitate Sting. You will never even come close to succeeding because he is eons cooler, more talented and better looking than you, even though he's 25+ years older than you.
  • Wow. La La Land won for Best Score. I agree with this choice. 
  • Best Original Song. Rooting for JT. Fear that "City of Stars" will win.. then it will be back in my head again. 
  • Dammit! It's not that I don't like "City of Stars." It's lovely. It will also stick in your head forEVER like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." But the composers were super cute. "This is for musical theatre nerds everywhere!"

Commercial break.. when in Rome... (but it's Prosecco, not Champagne. All the bubbles, no headache!) 

  • Yeah, with the Michael Keaton intro, I'm now officially done with Jimmy Fallon. Wonder how much champagne he's had already tonight...
  • Best Supporting Actress Drama. This is a tough category. Viola was great, but I would have given it to Michelle Williams. She was heartbreaking in Manchester by the Sea.
  • Oh good! The Electric Parade commercial is back! Stick in my head Electric Parade theme, stick in my head!! Get that other thing OUT!
  • Awww. The cute little kid from Lion. He was so good in that movie! If you haven't seen Lion yet, go see it. Such a good, true story! 
  • I really hope this Goldie Hawn bit is a bit....
  • Which Ryan will win Best Actor Musical or Comedy?
  • Gosling! And thank you producers for not playing you know what!
  • If anyone has ever wondered, day-old leftover Spicy Tuna rolls are still good. 
  • Oh Felicity Jones. What are you wearing? This is not a 1960s prom...
  • Best Animated Film...This is between Moana and Zootopia, IMHO. (But I'm rooting for Moana.)
  • BTW, have you all seen this? Mind blown by this today!
  • Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell should be hosting the Golden Globes. 
  • Hmm.. Zootopia. AKA The USA in 2017. 
  • We lost Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds within ONE day, Jimmy. Not "a couple of days." 
  • Nice tribute video though....
  • If you see Manchester by the Sea, be prepared to ball your eyes out. It's really good. But the most heartbreaking movie I've seen in a really long time. You've been warned. 
  • So, anyone watching The Night Manager? Is it binge worthy?
  • New Beauty and the Beast trailer? I'm really excited for that movie. I loved the animated version, and I think Emma Watson is so excellent at everything. 
  • I feel like I should start watching The Crown. And I know I need to start watching Stranger Things. And I will no longer be watching Westworld....
  • TV Series Drama. Come on GOT!! 
  • Okay, I am now finally going to add a Streaming Plan to my Netflix. I hope my wifi can now handle it (although it crashed my Tivo watching Amazon Prime yesterday... but I made it through an entire 6 season re-watch of GOT on HBO Go in June.)
  • Meryl Streep Lifetime Achievement time. 
  • Love you Meryl.. great speech on the (not my) President Elect, the bully, and the role of the press going forward, and the role of all of us to act with empathy. "Take your broken heart. Make it into art" - the dear departed Princess Leia. :*(
  • Best Director - Damien Chazelle for La La Land.... does this make it the Oscar front-runner? (And again, thank you GG producers for playing the opening number song instead of you know what.)
  • There are a lot of actresses with small chests wearing very V-dipped-in-front dresses. Note Amy Schumer had to have a nude panel there on her V-dipped dress holding her girls in... yay for real-sized girls being famous too! 
  • Yay Ben Affleck trimmed his beard from when I saw him before Christmas at a "Live by Night" screening. 
  • So the new Lando Calrissian's show is cleaning up at the Globes this year....
  • Matt Damon is here! If the good Jimmy (Kimmel) was hosting this show instead of annoying Jimmy (Fallon), there'd be a bit here. (Other than his comment on him winning Best Actor Musical or Comedy last year for... The Martian.)
  • Think Emma Stone will win for Best Actress Musical or Comedy??
  • YEP. 
  • Brad Pitt looks GOOD for someone who's rep is being raked over the coals by a crazy anorexic lady. 
  • Okay.. I just have to make it through this win without them playing you know what.. please producers, don't let me down!
  • YES! "Another Day of Sun" again! Oh, and another correct prediction from me. La La Land = Best Musical or Comedy.
  • Um, you have 15 minutes left for like 2 categories. That play off of the La La Land team was just rude!
  • Love Bree Larson's dress!
  • Ooh Viggo got nominated for Captain Fantastic. That was a great movie that no one is talking about! Go see that one too!
  • Wow. They gave Best Actor Drama to Casey Affleck despite his personal controversy... Maybe the HFPA doesn't read US Press. (Casey needs to follow Ben's lead in the facial hair -- and normal hair -- trimming department though.) Despite all that, he was pretty amazing in this film. As I mentioned, it's a heartbreaking film and he was great. 
  • Best Actress Drama -- aka who will compete against Emma Stone for the Oscar -- is....who? Isabelle Huppert? Um.. okay. A foreign film winner? I'm going to assume that Natalie Portman, Ruth Negga and Amy Adams cancelled each other out and she snuck in.  (OH! Or based on her speech, she's really good at kissing the HFPA's asses...)
  • Yay, now I have the Rocky theme in my head.
  • Moonlight is Best Picture Drama..... VERY interesting. I liked it. Didn't love it. Probably need to watch it again now. 
Well, that concludes the show. Can Amy and Tina come back next year please? Kthxbai. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

the 2017 vision blog

First up.. this! (Posted by FB Friend Stacy last night.) Love it!


So to that end, the "be healthier" challenges:

  • Cut out the sweets I've become addicted to this holiday season (after I finish eating my cookie tin... hey, I'm trying to be realistic here ;)
  • Drink more water 
  • Go back to the "wake up early and work out on the Wii Fit" routine that helped me so much six years ago. To accomplish that I will need to..
  • Go to bed earlier than current midnight-ish.


I want to do at least one new thing a week. 
  • I started today by -- for the first time in 8 years at my house -- walking to Lake Balboa park from my house and walking the entire perimeter of the lake for the first time ever. It was a gorgeous day after all the rain yesterday and I felt so refreshed. I realized I need to spend more time at that lake -- it's so close and very peaceful (when not near the playground ;). Perhaps I will take my beach chair and books there on Saturday afternoons...


Speaking of books, here's my reading pile for the year.. a little less ambitious than last year (it's actually just what I didn't even start last year). So hopefully I will finish it (although that Nora Ephron book is thick!)


The hope behind the choices in that book pile is to inspire me to write more. To that end, I am toying with the idea of starting a trendy bullet journal... it's a way to write and be crafty and organized all at the same time. We shall see... I have a hard enough time remembering to write in my normal journal. But this Buzzfeed article makes it look more fun than the official site does :)


Speaking of crafty, I think I have finally saved enough wine corks the last year to make a small version of this, which I saved off Drew Barrymore's instragram around Valentine's Day last year. I think it's pretty (and it's all recycled!). And it represents Love ... I'd like more of that in my life in 2017 too. :)


I hope to remember this each day...


And... the holdovers from last year:

Two weeks split between here....

... and here


For a certain twosome who love complaining about my crappy front door, I will get a new one, sort of like this...

With that front door, I hope to kickstart other items on my home improvement list too.... anyone know a good handyman? 

my joys of 2016

Back at the start of 2015, I started keeping a Happiness Jar, inspired by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. I tried to keep it going this year, but there are full months I apparently had no joys :( Oh well. LOL.

Here are what all the little pieces of paper I folded up throughout the year and put in my jar said.. Here's hoping I find more joy (or at least more time to write them on little pieces of paper) in 2017!

  • 1/1/16: Lazy day of magazines and movies.
  • 2/13/16: Massage in Santa Barbara + room service with wine
  • 2/14/16: Walked 5 miles in gorgeous Santa Barbara and sat looking at the blue Pacific for three hours
  • 3/18/16: Amazing dinner at The Little Door with James, Daryl and Karen
  • 3/26/16: DTLA Adventure Day with Daryl, James and Karen. Random run-in with R2D2 :)
  • 5/27/16: Baby Kaden Michael is born!!! I'm an aunt! :)
  • 5/29/16: GNO Dinner at Mo's with La Lizzzz and Susie. 
  • 6/4/16: Finished "Wild" ... Book #5 this year!
  • 6/4/16: 1st Summer Grillin' Saturday with Susie and Mo
  • 6/5/16: GDO (That's a Girls Day Out) to see "Me Before You" with Linda, Ingrid and Nicole at the fancy theatre in Westlake with waiter service and reclining chairs. 
  • 6/6/16: First Hollywood Bowl show of the summer - "The Little Mermaid Live" with Katharine
  • 6/11/16: Bought new MacBook Pro (after 6.5 years of the old slow Mac)
  • 6/14/16: Bought a Pantages Theatre season package to guarantee seats to "Hamilton"... 14.5 months from now. :p
  • 6/16/16: Met Kaden for the first time. LOVE.
  • 7/17/16: Sting and Peter Gabriel at the Bowl!
  • 8/10/16: Adele at Staples Center - AMAZING!!!!
  • 8/19/16: Weekend with Kaden! Yay!
  • 8/28/16: Beautiful day in nature on Santa Rosa Island. Saw a dolphin pod swimming free on the way there! 
  • 9/4/16: DTLA Adventure Day with James and Diana
  • 9/11/6: Found out I'm going to be an auntie again!!! Ryan and Brittany are having a baby girl in January. 
  • 9/22/16: Vancouver weekend with QBall! 
  • 9/24/16: Beautiful Vancouver day at Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park :)
  • 10/2/16: Fun day unpacking with Hayden and Mackenzee :)
  • 10/8/16: Kaden's first trip to the pumpkin patch! 
  • 10/17/16: Wizarding Wold of Harry Potter with Ruthie, Jen and Leslie!
  • 10/19/16: Kari sent the cutest video of Kaden singing in his bouncy seat
  • 10/26/16: Kaden makes his TV debut on Fox 5 News in Vegas with his pumpkin patch photo
  • 11/11/16: Cousin Josh texted adorable pic of Baby Ava in her "Cute" hoodie I sent her
  • 11/12/16: Lucky's roses are finally blooming in the garden
  • 11/24/16: Thanksgiving dinner at my house with Mom, Dad, Ryan, Brittany, Hayden and Mackenzee
  • 12/10/16: Christmas Cocktails! Fun. No stress for Year #2. Yay for Joan's Mac & Cheese :)
  • 12/23/16: Dad's bday dinner with the whole family!
  • 12/24/16: Christmas lights walk with Kaden in his cute Santa hat and 1st Christmas onesie 
  • 12/25/16: Kaden's 1st Christmas
  • 12/27/16: Discovered that the pizza place near my house that used to suck is now AMAZEBALLS. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

goodbye 2016

So 2016 ends in a few hours.... while most people are under the impression it was a totally suck-ass year overall based on all the amazing people who died this year and the election insanity, in retrospect, my own life was actually okay.

One part of it was, in fact, AWESOME -- I became a real auntie for the first time (I will be one for the second time in January when my new niece is born!) and it's been amazing, because this little guy is the absolute light of our family and my life right now. Seeing Kaden grow, and now starting to babble and roll over and recognize and understand things is so fun. I can't imagine my life without him!

I also had a bunch of great adventures and accomplished an altered version of about a third of my 2016 Vision Blog (hey, better than nothing!) ... 

I finished these books, which included four from my original "to read" list + two new ones....

+ I also read Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, by Mara Wilson, who I had the pleasure of interviewing back in the day when she was a child actor starring in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda. She even fondly mentions one of our Disney Adventures photo shoots in the book, which was an awesome surprise! (The book is now being borrowed by my Disney Adventures wrangler La Lizzz, thus it's MIA in this photo ;)

I didn't go to Hawaii or another "tropical" locale like I wanted to, but I did go to Santa Barbara for my birthday weekend and finished 2.5 of the books above (finished The Interestings, started and finished Best Year of Your Life, and started John Taylor's auto-biography).. and I got my gorgeous view!

I also got a ton of gorgeous views on my Sunday Funday adventure to Santa Rosa Island with Linda and James. The Channel Islands are right in our backyard here in Southern California, and they are beautiful! Can't wait to visit more of them in 2017!

And while, I didn't make it to Europe, I did travel Internationally... to Vancouver. It was a relaxing, fun trip with my fave positive person Cwennen. The city was BEAUTIFUL and its food delicious!

On the "did not accomplish" side of the "vision blog" to do list, I only wrote (soon-to-be) 30 blog posts this year, and did not order my new front door yet. January 2017 - I swear! 

And on the sad suck-ass side, a lot of bad stuff did happen this year. One of my best friends has been dealing with an inner ear issue since June that affects her vision and makes her dizzy and exhausted. Four of my friends lost a parent this year. My childhood friend lost her son. And there seemed to be more and more senseless acts of violence taking innocent people too soon...

The one that hurt the most was the murder of Christina Grimmie, who was shot by a deranged "fan" while signing autographs after a show in Orlando on June 10th, the night before the massacre at Pulse nightclub, also in Orlando. Most of you probably knew her from being on Season 6 of The Voice. I knew her from the YouTube video game show she hosted for my team at in 2014. I met her twice, and she was so sweet and full of life. She loved video games and she loved making music. The fact that some guy could walk into her show with a gun and shoot her four times still makes me SO MAD. This world is just insane...

Then there was the fact that entertainers who have been part of my life forever have started dying... cancer, drugs, heart problems. It was just so sad... the music world was hit hard first - David Bowie, Glenn Fry, then Prince, Leonard Cohen and shockingly George Michael on Christmas Day at the age of just 53. And in the last half of the year, actors I grew up watching on TV and in movies - Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke and Carrie Fisher - passed away as well, all shockingly without any advance warning or time to prepare. So, so sad...

A few days ago, I decided to make what I'm calling my "FU2016" playlist, filled with my favorite songs from the musicians I loved that we lost this year. (Note: I love Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"... I just don't love his voice, thus the Justin Timberlake/Charlie Sexton version below. They are both still alive and well. #knockonwood)

Some of my playlist is sad but a lot of it makes me want to dance, which brings me to this video that my sister posted a link to today. It will also make you want to dance, and is a loving, positive tribute to all these great people and the joy their talents brought to the world... enjoy!

And now it's on to 2017... I'll talk about that tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to go get a cocktail, because I just saw this and really need one. God help us all in the New Year... we're gonna need it! (And @alexandergold, you're my new hero!)

wizards, minions and drunk little green aliens

The impetus behind last October's Girls weekend with the Portland crew (aka Jen, Ruthie and Leslie) was visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since it was on my 2014 trip to Portland that Leslie and I convinced/bribed Ruthie into reading the books, which she was adamantly opposed to reading and now LOVES and has read multiple times.

So on the Monday following Sunday Funday, we headed up the hill to Universal Studios and entered the Wizarding World, which (with the exception of the 3D on Forbidden Journey, which I hear they are removing now... thank god) was awesome!

Here are some of the photographic highlights....

Hogwarts... aka the exterior of the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" ride
Part of the Forbidden Journey queue... the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, with Harry, Ron and Hermione projections talking to the guests in line. 

Snow-covered buildings in Hogsmeade.
Who knew it snowed in LA? Must be magic ;)
Leslie, Ruthie, Little Green Alien and I pose with the Hogwarts Express conductor (left) and Ruthie with her new Gryffindor scarf (right). Did I mention we did a LOT of shopping in Hogsmeade? :) 

LGA in Honeyduke's trying to guess the number of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans in those tubes.

We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks, where LGA reminded me how much he looooves Butterbeer...

..... a little too much. #drunkalien

After lunch at the Three Broomsticks, we went on the Universal Studios Tour, and walked through Springfield... where the #drunkalien discovered Duff Beer. Oy..

Then we went to Super Silly Funland and hung out with Ruthie's other favorite characters, the Minions on the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, also in 3D (Ugh. I'm getting a headache just typing that... Getting old sucks!)

Little Green Alien considers a new career option after being marketed to in the Minion Mayhem ride queue. Double Oy.

Then we ended our day at the Animal Actor's show, where a certain, fearless kid I know volunteered to go up on stage and help with the dog tricks.

She had a blast! But I have an annoyed auntie comment: Hey Universal Studios, how about when you give kids a "front of line" voucher for participating in the last show of the day, that ends 5 minutes before the park closes, you give them a voucher good for ANY day, not JUST that day?!?!? Kthxbai. #endrant

sunday funday: oak glen apple orchards

Back in October, my dear friend Jenny, her daughter / my eye-rolling mini-me Ruthie and our friend Leslie flew down from Portland for a girls weekend of fun and wizardry. Saturday was catch-up day, Monday was our trek to Universal Studios for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (more on that later), and Sunday was this Funday -- introducing Jen, Ruthie, Leslie, Jen's cool cousin Erin and her daughter Emmie to my "Find Fall" go-to spot, Oak Glen Apple Orchards in Yucaipa, CA.

First stop was Parrish Pioneer Ranch, where I purchased delicious apple butter, peanut brittle and kettle corn. It's also home to a few cute shops (where I did some early Christmas shopping) and a mini-animal farm, home to these colorful guys... who I hope are still there post-Turkey Day. Gobble, gobble, gulp...

Second stop on the Oak Glen loop was Law's Cider Mill, for jugs of fresh apple cider. Then we did some shopping at Oak Tree Village, where Ruthie and I snapped this awesome selfie...

And then I bought a beautiful teal infinity scarf, fingerless purple mittens to wear at Kings games (yet still use my phone), and a cute little doggie baby blanket for my niece-to-be from Shari at Creations by Shari. All so cute/cuddly, and Shari is so nice. Go buy stuff on her Etsy page!

After lunch at the Mexican food restaurant (aka the only place without a 30+ minute wait), we hit the highlight of our adventure.... waiting in line at Snow-Line Orchard for their famous, fresh-made apple donuts

While waiting in the line outside (because it was THAT long), I found Fall -- beautiful, pretty colors!

Then we made it to the door of the store... getting closer...

Once you're inside and around the little corner, you can watch them making the donuts. From there, it's like 5 minutes till you get your own warm, bag (or two!) of mini-apple donuts, which then disappear in about 60 seconds! So good!


Snow-line is also where I always actually buy apples.... this year they had mini-bags of mini-apples, which are great for someone like me who does not eat an apple a day (although after how sick I was two weeks ago, maybe I should!) I purchased mini-Jonagold and mini-Braeburn apples. Yummy!

gratitude: days 12-30

Well.. I started this and never finished or published the rest of it, so here it is. (Better late than never.. Next year my goal is to do it every day!)

#12 - What texture are you grateful for? Soft blankets

#13 - What abilities are you grateful for? Walking, reading, writing, breathing

#14 - What sight are you grateful for today? Fall leaves

#15 - What season are you grateful for? Spring

#16 - What about your body are you grateful for? That it's alive

#17 - What knowledge are you grateful for? All of it

#18 - What piece of art are you grateful for? Monet's Water Lillies

#19 - What touch are you grateful for today? When my nephew Kaden holds my finger in his little fist 

#20 - Who in your life are you grateful for? My family

#21 - What song are you most grateful for? Everlong

#22 - What story are you grateful for? Harry Potter's world

#23 - What tradition are you grateful for? Christmas morning

#24 - What challenge are you grateful for? Trying to be creative when my job is not

#25 - What moment this week are you most grateful for? Thanksgiving dinner with Mom, Dad, Ryan, Brittany, Hayden and Mackenzee.. who watched Rudolph with me! 

#26 - What form of expression are you most grateful for? Writing

#27 - What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for? Toothpaste

#28 - What small thing that happened today are you grateful for? Jury duty was postponed til January (because I'm an idiot and didn't register properly)

#29 - What friend/family member are you grateful for today? Today, my gal pal Lisa, who I had a fun happy hour with on 11/29

#30 - What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for? Writing