Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last year my son performed in his first grade school play: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. He learned firsthand about theatre and how important the supporting cast can be to a production. He played the Menu in the “Be Our Guest” spectacle. (He was adorable, of course). Anyways, when we heard “Beauty and the Beast” was coming to the Orange County Performing Arts Center, I was looking forward to watching his comparison of his grade school experience to that of the professional touring show.

We met for a pre show dinner at Maggiano’s in South Coast Plaza. The decor of casual elegance, the friendly vibe of the place, along with good food and family conversation took me out of my long work-through-lunch stress mode and got me relaxed and ready for a wonderful evening of theater with my loved ones. My son loved the flat bread cheese pizza and Bob’s seared pork chops were too good not to steal bites from his plate. I could have relaxed there all evening (try the house Chianti – it’s delish), but we had a show to see, so we took the short stroll from South Coast Plaza over to OCPAC for the 7:30 curtain (hint: a great way to save the co$t of using the parking structure).

The excitement in the theater was palpable. Children were chirping their excitement and I spied several little girls donning their Belle gowns of yellow and crowns of gold. OCPAC’s family series surely is one of OC’s best bets for sneaking culture into your child’s life. We’re loving both the Family Friendly and Broadway series this year.

The lights go down, the orchestra swells with the familiar melody “Tale as old time…” and the audience cheers with anticipation. While the packed house full of families and young children loved every bit of the show, I was puzzled. Something was missing, not quite right. While everything was in place as far as the characters, award winning songs, book (both of which I know by heart after years of raising my now college age daughter on the Beauty and the Beast movie and soundtrack)…. The production seemed not of the caliber of the other touring productions that have come to town. The orchestra sound was thin (26 instruments cut down to 11), the set was a bit wobbly, the grandeur was gone and it took a while to get used to this more down scaled version of the musical I expected. The design was more storybook drawn and quaint; more civic light opera than big budget Broadway…which is fine. I just hadn’t expected it and it took a bit of time to change my perspective. Perhaps, just like it took time for Belle to get to know the endearing qualities of the Beast.

Don’t expect opulence with this NETworks touring production. This company puts together a storybook version and the story is told well. Director Rob Roth says “The theme of ‘Beauty’ is about seeing past the exterior into the heart of someone, and this is reflected in the design for the show, which is about transparency and layers, seeing past one thing and into another.”

Liz Shivener's Belle is pluckier version of the classic Belle, and her singing voice misses the crystal clear beauty of past Broadway and movie performances. Shivener’s character development is surely her strong suit.

Justin Glaser's Beast was commendable and, just like Shivener, hits the mark with adequate talent, but lacks that indefinable “something special”.

Just like my nepotistic view of my son’s grade school performance, the supporting roles hold the gold for standout performances.

Nathaniel Hackmann’s Gaston was silky smooth as the narcissistic town hunk/bully, and the comic timing with his battered sidekick, Lefou, (Michael Fatica) gave some of the best moments in the show. Fatica’s Lefou had the kids in stitches with all the pratfalls and silliness the character warrants.

Liz Merritt David Jane as Lumiere and Keith Kirkwood as Cogworth are perfect as the castle’s odd couple, one all about amour and hospitality, the other about time management and rules.

Mrs. Potts was a bit bland for my taste. Good but not memorable, even with the show’s most well known song all to herself. It went down fine, but I wouldn’t think to ask for seconds.

My favorite number wasn’t one of the famous song, but rather Nathaniel Hackmann and Liz Shivener performing “Me!”. The number had the magic mix of perfectly timed and funny choreography, a catchy tempo with humorous lyrics. You won’t get this in the DVD, so the only way to catch a bit of theatrical perfection is to come watch tonight’s and Sunday’s final performance before it leaves town.

So what’s my verdict? Hey, I’m a theater geek and I’m picky. All in all, this show is a wonderful event for parents, grandparents, and kids to laugh and sing along with a famous family standard. It’s a timeless love story with solid lessons: look past appearances, for they are only skin deep. Kindness, self sacrifice, protection and caring are the qualities to admire. Take your kids, they’ll love it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein is a Lovely Roll in ze Hay

One of my favorite Halloween traditions is watching the campy cult classic flick Young Frankenstein. I keep it on while the kiddies ring the doorbell for trick-or-treats. In fact, Young Frankenstein is a big part of my son’s solid foundation for everything silly. As a toddler he would belly laugh while pointing at the tv screen, “Hah HA HA!! Funny man wif da big eyes! EYEgor! HA HA HAH!”

So when we heard that the national touring company of YF was rolling into town, we marked the date in bold letters on the family calendar as a MUST DO event. We kept ourselves in stitches on the drive to OCPAC remembering all our favorite lines from the flick: “Put…the candle….BACK!” “Walk this way. No….THIS way.” “Whose brain did you get? Abby somebody. Abby Who? Abby Normal.”

Okay, I’m cracking up as I type this. That stuff is comedy gold.

As excited as I was to see the live stage version of one of my all time favorite movies, in the back of my brain, I wondered if it would be as good as I hoped and I have to say, “Yes!! It’s ALIIIVE with side splitting laughs and does justice to the original film. Adding musical numbers such as “Roll in ze Hay” featuring Anne Horak as Inga (my favorite number), with the horses bopping along to the infectious tune added to the campiness.

I’m the type of director who likes to cut and trim scripts to make them lean and mean…let’s get to the point and keep a brisk pace, especially in the second act, so I thought the play ran a bit long. One place I’d trim YF would be the lonely blind hermit’s song. His musical soliloquy could’ve had a stanza or two nipped. We get it; he’s lonely. Get to the site gags and let’s keep the show moving.

I didn’t think an all out comedy would give me pause and something to contemplate, but it did. There’s a point in the movie and play where Frederick Frankenstein screams the famous line “Destiny! Destiny! No escaping that for me.”, as he succumbs to his family bloodline of mad scientists. Destiny. I chose to give up the quest of a professional acting career and set down roots with my little family. I tip my hat to the amazing actors – leads, cast and chorus who’ve dedicated their lives to achieve their destiny by living on the road, traveling the nation to bring people a night of frivolity and franken-fun.

This touring company is an amazingly solid cast, and I give kudos to those professionals who make their living performing on the road. I live vicariously through them and quietly envy their lives, just a tiny bit.

There were a few moments where I had to cover up my son’s eyes for the sexiness of some of the choreography and luckily most of the phallic punch lines and schoolboy smuttiness went over his head. One lyric made quite an impression on my pre-pubescent boy: …your genitalia will fail ya. The audience laughed and my son cracked up and said, “I dunno what it means but that sure is funny!” Yes, the whole evening was a crack up. I guess I could be one of those moms who throw a hissy and rush my son out of the theater, but I know he’s going to learn about sex in the near future. He could learn it on the street or from Mel Brooks.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our PLAYcation in Arizona

It’s an overcast morning in OC and I’m reminiscing about my summer fling. It was hot and brief and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  As I mentioned at the onset of summer, this was the year of the staycation.  We did fun family things in Orange County with the goal of keeping the travel budget in tight rein, but when the time came for my 20 year old daughter to move into her very first apartment at Arizona State University, I knew I had to pack our bags to go witness such a momentous occasion - and help stock her fridge with groceries.  

August in Arizona is no day at the beach, so my trip planning needed an emergency ingredient to keep me from melting into the desert landscaping.  Enter my hero:  The Oasis Water Park at the Arizona Grand Resort.  This place was perfect. Minutes from campus, a newly redecorated family suite with living room,  comfy beds, bar area for my morning coffee and sunset cocktail…I was finally on a real live vacation!

Now don’t get me wrong - I really do love my OC, but I was ready to forget my faithful STAY for a fling with the VAY, baby. As i researched the best options, I found The Arizona Grand's PLAYcation, and jumped at the deal.

I ironed my cotton pool cover up, packed my sunscreen, floppy sun hat and all that goes with it, loaded up my son, his DS with his favorite Indian Jones Lego game and drove 6 hours through the desert to our destination, and let me tell you, after hours driving through 113 degree heat, seeing the Grand fountain as the sun was setting was a glorious welcome and sign that my driving was at an end.

Our room was a welcomed sight and after a good night’s sleep, we made a mad dash to The Oasis Water Park while we waited for Courtney to finish her college classes for the day. My favorite part of the water park is the Zuni River where you kick back in the cool waters, floating along under the shade of desert trees while listening music piped in throughout the water park. My son wasn’t thrilled with hanging with his ol’ mom on the river float:  I wanted to relax, float and talk while he wanted to use his inner tube as a race craft for weaving in & out of the crowed as he headed for some imaginary finish line. I nagged for a bit, then decided to be like the river and just go with the flow. Amazing that as soon as I did that and stopped demanding my son to stay with me, he suddenly wanted to be my floating companion. Lesson learned: go with the flow.

The majority of our Arizona Grand Itinerary consisted of : sun, sunscreen, visit from the drink lady, swim and repeat…add poolside munchies, and repeat. May I just say the poolside drink creations were a highlight?  Look how pretty my drink was:

I think it was called a Guppy Tank. Personally after one of these you won’t care what it’s called or what your boss’s name is or that he’s calling you on your cell phone.  I think that’s the perfect definition of a VAYcation.

Okay, so you know my favorite things were the Zuni River and relaxing in my floppy hat w/ Guppy Tank in hand.  My son’s favorite place in the park was the water slide tower. I was brave enough to do the twirly slide - once.  My son did the slides over and over and ..repeat - while mom sunned at the base of the slide’s pools.  And that was just day one. Check out my skilled video tape of the boy going down the big slide. I swear the sun was so bright I couldn’t see through my view finder - the Guppy Tank was not to blame.

That night we drove over to Courtney’s on campus apartment. Talk about luxury. Her apartment complex for ASU upper classmen is almost as luxurious as The AZ Grand.  My dorm never looked this good!

It can be a bit overwhelming to see your children begin new levels toward adulthood. Yes, I know she legally became an adult at age 18, but at 20, she's still my little girl I remember clutching the same teddy that now rests on her apartment bedspread.  She may stumble or falter as she experiences living on her own for the first time, but I have faith that she'll be the smart, strong, giving soul i've known all her life, who will pick a good path filled with new friends and experiences.    **dabs eyes w/ tissue**

We met her roommates then headed over to the big W for groceries and dorm room necessities (Van Morrison poster), then back to the Grand for the evening festivities. We missed the dancing girls (seriously) but we were in time for the best part:  movie night in the pool.  Get out your floaties and watch a family flick under the stars and in the water. We got to see Johnny Depp in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  Being in the water made his barnacle breath dad even creepier!

For those of you who are dying to know, the Grand Resort has an award winning golf course, new Tommy Bahamas inspired bar and restaurant, excellent gelato, gorgeous spa, gym and lap pool. I could just live there. And guess what: you can. Yep, they have villas for purchase. They’ve thought of everything.

When the Angels travel to AZ for spring training, guess where I’m wanna stay? Yep, the same place Scioscia stays.  The Arizona Grand. 

A big thank you to GM, Paul Gray, for giving my son a ride in your golf cart. 

We both got a kick out of the tour and we loved our resort PLAYcation deal.  My son is a certified Lego Maniac, so he’s chopping at the bit to be heading to San Diego's Lego Land in the near future.  Thank you for helping this mom stretch her family dollars.

The Grand Playcation package partners with the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, SEA LIFE™ Arizona Aquarium and LEGOLAND® California. (Over $375 in family attraction tickets included!) Offered for stays through December 1, 2010.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Drama Momma Ticket Give Away!

Drama Momma Ticket Giveaway!
South Coast Rep is letting Drama Momma give away FOUR tickets for an opening weekend performance of Cinderella! Performance times are 1pm and 4pm on August 7th and 8th
To enter:  leave a comment telling why you’re excited to see Cinderella at South Coast Rep.  Extra entries can be obtained by
1.      Tweeting the following:  @Terry_tkw is giving away 4 tix to see Cinderella @SouthCoastRep over at her Drama Momma blog @OCFamily  (include link)
2.      Follow @terry_tkw on twitter

Everyone loves this story of a servant girl who’s transformed into a princess!   The fairy tale from long ago has been an opera, a pantomime, a ballet, an ice show, a comic book, a video game, many movies and plays.  But this is the most fun—a song-filled show for all ages.  Cinderella’s only friends are a cat named Charles, a dove and four white mice.  But add a pumpkin, a hip fairy godmother without wand or tu-tu (“Been there, done that!”) and a little magic, and you know what happens!  And don’t forget the handsome prince who finds—and then loses—his own true love.  He’ll find her again, in spite of those mean step-sisters with feet too big for the glass slipper!
SCR’s Summer Players (chosen by audition after at least one year in the Theatre Conservatory) bring all the characters to life in this glorious musical by America’s greatest songwriting team.
Regardless of age, everyone must have a ticket, sit in a seat and sit quietly throughout the performance. No children under age 4; no babes in arms.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach

This is the summer of the Staycation.  Finances are tight so I'm doing day trips around Southern California for our family summer fun.  One of the events I've been waiting years to do with my son is Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach.  It sounds strange to describe on paper, but it's magical to witness first hand.  Originally entitled The Living Pictures in 1932, the tableaus were created by vaudevillain Lolita Perine for the Laguna Festivals of Arts.  She dressed local residents in costumes and seated them behind a makeshift frame, creating a life size tableau.  The models within the frame would freeze in their tableau, fascinating viewers of all ages.

It was the summer of 1983 when I became a volunteer model at the pageant. I worked at the famous La Brisas restaurant on the cliffs of Laguna, overlooking the Pacific during the day and would perform in the pageant each night.  It was the 50th anniversary of the pageant and my painting was entitled Empress Eugenie and the Ladies of her Court. I've looked all over for the actual slide of our tableau. It's somewhere in my garage full of memorabilia and I'm sure it will turn up someday.  Here's a look at the painting we honored:
(I portrayed the lady-in-waiting in the blue gown touching the flowers)

Many years have passed and now I'm attending the pageant once more; not as a model, but as an audience member thrilled to be sharing this live art experience with my son. We had dinner at my old haunt, Las Brisas, then took the free trolly to the pageant entrance.

My son's a bit of an artist (he creates his own comic books) so I basked in the glow of his persuing the children' artwork gracing the festival courtyard.

 The secret here is to save your POM ticket.  It will gain you admittance to the festival courtyard all summer long for viewing the artwork and listening to the concerts on the grass. Bring your picnic basket of wine and cheese, lawn chairs and enjoy.

We had a few minutes before the lights went down.  I snapped a photo of the amphitheatre as we were sitting down and an usher immediately came and informed me that photography in the amphitheater was forbidden (Perhaps they don't want people to know about all the ghosts haunting the grounds.  Look closely at the photo...see the orbs? Ghost hunters say these are supernatural energies.  With so much history on these grounds, it makes sense for lost souls to dwell in such a magical place).

The lights go down and the audience settles under the open air.  Music and stars fill the night as the Narrator weaves a spell of the year's theme: Eat, Drink & Be Merry.  My son was mesmerized as paintings, tapestries and sculptures were revealed under the evening stars. I hope he remembers this night forever. I know I will.  

Pageant of the Masters - where art comes to life is an internationally acclaimed 'living pictures' production that combines the worlds of theater and art. Under the guidance of an experienced and talented staff, volunteers are magically transformed into life-sized re-creations of classical and contemporary painting, sculptures and other works of art.  Presentations are accompanied by the music of a full orchestra and live narration in a beautiful starlit amphitheater in Laguna Beach. Eat, Drink & Be Merry, the 2010 Pageant of the Masters will devote its uniquely theatrical celebration of the art of tableaux vivants to share that sense of exuberant joy reflected in breathtaking re-creations of inspirational artworks.  Performances are held nightly at 8:30 p.m. through August 31, 2010. Tickets for Pageant of the Masters are $15-$100.  Pageant of the Masters ticket holders can present their stub at The Festival of Arts front gate for free admission all summer long. For general information, call 949-494-1145 or visit the website at  The event is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA.  Proceeds support the arts and art education in and about Laguna Beach.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jammie Cullum Sings my favorite ballad, Gran Torino

share the beauty i witnessed the other night. Jamie Cullum is my favorite jazz artist.  his talent is superb.   

if you've never been to the Ford Anson Theatre, across the freeway from the Hollywood Bowl, find an event you like and go. soon. Between you and me, this intimate amphitheater is one of the best venues in southern california.

Monday, July 19, 2010

guess the celeb.

Can you name this  hollywood celebrity?

this one?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Two Nostalgic Date Night HITS and one big MISS for July

Lately I’ve been searching out theaters I’ve never visited to learn more about all OC theater has to offer. Here are two hole in the wall venues, both offering up a bit of nostalgia for your entertainment:

If you know anything about being a Baby Boomer, Boomers, produced by the American Coast Theater Company at the Lyceum Theater on the Vanguard University Campus in Costa Mesa will take you down memory lane. You may not be a Boomer, but maybe your crazy Aunt Dolores was a hippy who always smelled funky in an herbal sorta way …or maybe you’re like me: a tail end Boomer, prone to wearing corporate casual and stuck in corporate bondage. Boomers is a musical medley which weaves together television theme songs and top 40 hits from the past 50 years, illustrating the journey of the Baby Boomer generation. Even if you’re a whipper-snapper in your 30’s, you’ll still get a kick out of the musical journey of our past decades set to music. 

Television hits like Glee and American Idol with overproduced musical soundboard mixing might make the musical quality of Boomers seem a bit thin, but there’s quality to be found in the script and the ensemble cast, especially Tameca DeVant’s ability to belt out some soulful riffs. A bit young to be a boomer, she was definitely cast for her strong singing chops and not her birth year. Take your Signif Other, take your Mom or Dad. You’ll have a good time. Boomers gets a nice warm fuzzy HIT from Drama Momma.  Shows run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through July 18.  Check Vanguard University's website for ticket information.

Stages Theater in Fullerton has another trip into the past with a late-night 10pm adaptation of The Twilight Zone television show that’s worth the drive over to Fullerton for a unique date night night-cap. Getting back past midnight too late for you and the babysitter? Tell your son to take his hot date there. He’ll thank you in the morning. Several Twilight Zone episodes rotate performances and you’ll be treated to two episodes with no intermission. I saw Five Characters in Search of an Exit and Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? Both had excellent ensemble casts and the adaptations remained true to the original tv scripts, if memory serves. I was taken back in time to when I was a little kid sitting in front of my family’s black & white Zenith, where I really was afraid to touch that dial as the announcer said my tv had been taken into another dimension. Stages gets a Drama Momma HIT for their Twilight Zone adaptations. I hope they keep doing more TZ adaptations as an ongoing late night offering. It’s like  going back to a favorite restaurant over and over for the most awesome desserts.

I also saw Stages’ 8pm show, Spring's Awakening, which would be considered their main course on the menu. Suffice to say if it was a meal, I’d send it back. Stages Theatre leans towards theater pieces not normally part of the OC fare, and I pride them for their experimental nature, but when choosing pieces for their season this adaptation of the 1890’s German play should have been skipped. What was a controversial and shocking play in the late 1800’s bears no relevance in today’s society. Productions of Shakespeare’s works are still successful today because the scripts hold a depth of human truth that still ring true and directors can use their individual visions, tweaking Shakespeare’s concepts to help it speak to today’s audiences. Stages’ Spring's Awakening isn’t a world famous piece and even though I researched the historical aspects of the script I still felt like I needed my old high school Cliff’s Notes to understand the symbolism being used. The Ingénue, Wendla, is the only character who’s in her thigh high pantaloons with layers of slips and skirts being pantomimed. At first I thought we were witnessing a costume malfunction, which is every actor’s nightmare: being on stage in one’s underwear. Call me stoopid, but if a theater is going to do an obscure experimental adaptation, I think it would be wise to use some space in the program for the director to share his vision and give the audience a bit of a heads up. Is it to be a modern piece, perhaps with today's insane teen sexual pressures and cutting, like the promo picture implies or a period piece as the on stage mixed bag of costumes suggest? None of it gelled into a cohesive product. I was left confused and frustrated (Not sexually. Theatrically).

I must give kudos to three young actors who successfully tread through a horrendous script. Samantha Aneson successfully gave Wendla the naiveté and sweetness of a pure spirit trying to understand the complexities of life while being kept in the dark. Aneson’s Wendla truly was the little lamb being offered up to the lion. Adam Evans’ Moriz Stiefel was a joy to watch. He gave 110% commitment to his character and I became invested in watching his journey into oblivion. Ashley Bravo as Mrs. Gabor, although miscast in age to play a mother, had commitment of character to successfully pull the audience along the precarious path of the play’s story line. If nothing else, Stages’ Spring Awakening gave some experimental stage time to young performers working on their craft, which is never a bad thing. 

Drama Momma rates Stages Theater's Spring's Awakening as a MISS, but still recommends you visit them for their Twilight Zone late night shows. I’ll be interested to see how this theater group handles an iconic piece of American theater, Our Town, opening in August. I bet I can leave my Cliff's Notes at home.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jamie Cullum takes me for a spin

ever have a song stick with you and become a part of who you are?  Gran Torino is one of those songs for me. its melancholy minor chords hit my soul and make me stop what i'm doing, close my eyes, breath in slowly and set my mind to float in the solo existence of a divorced woman.

i can relate to the theme of loneliness, so i feel this song gets me.

i spent several years in a mental cave of solitude after my apocalyptic divorce several years ago.  now i've emerged from the cave, i'm out and about meeting new people and experiencing lots of new things.  it's good to be in this new place outside the cave, checking out the surroundings.

this song reminds me of my past. i look back on my loneliness and understand where i was and how i got there. i'm continually resolved to looking forward with a positive outlook, enjoy life and be a good role model for my kids. 

some people say don't look back. i say, "Look back and learn from your past, then close that book and make new chapters in your life with better choices, filled with better people who are uplifting, encouraging, and possess a solid moral compass.  Because if you're traveling with good people, your road is bound to be a happier journey, no matter what bumps come along the way."

now, all that being said, i'm tickled pink because i just bought tickets to go see this talented artist, Jamie Cullum, perform at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in a few weeks. don't know who i'm taking yet, but you know it'll be a good soul.

Rock on!

Friday, July 2, 2010

soup for the funked out soul

I found myself in a bit of a funk today.
My son hugged me goodbye then waved as the car pulled away.
His smile through the windshield both warmed and broke my heart.
Holidays alone tear a mother apart.
                                                        Rocky Road 7.1.10 

I found myself alone and I was aching for being surrounded by family. I missed my daughter away at college and my son away with his dad. Some moms vocally crave their alone time, but I feel an emptiness when they’re both gone. I’m experiencing empty nest syndrome every other weekend. Divorce does that to me, but I won’t let it keep me down for long. 

I cried a few hot, unexpected tears in the bathroom at work, put on my game face, walked out of the stall and decided to snap out of it the best way I know how: Distraction. Humor. Farce. Bowling for Soup. 

I turned on Pandora and let the lovely lunacy of their lyrics seep into my being. I was cleansed by their unique brand of irreverence. I laughed to myself as i listened and did the work of an office drone.
When this song came on I knew I'd found the perfect tool to kick my gloomy mood to the curb.

“…I’m gonna feel sorry for myself
I want to blame it on everyone else
I want to be self centered
And make everybody feel sorry for me.”

Rock on.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free Movie Mondays @ OCPAC

Orange County of the Performing Arts Center
kicks off 

Guests encouraged to dress as their favorite character; prizes will be given for the best costumes

The Orange County Performing Arts Center’s enormously popular FREE Movie Mondays on the community plaza returns this summer beginning July 12 with the timeless classic The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland.

    The Center will again hold fun and entertaining pre-performance theme contests for this summer’s film screenings. For The Wizard of Oz, guests are invited to dress as their favorite character from the film. The best costumes will win prizes such as tickets to the Orange County Fair, goodies from Broadway shows scheduled to appear in the Center’s 2010-11 season and other fun-filled prizes. The contest is open to all moviegoers and will start at approximately 7:30 p.m.

    The alfresco film series is held on the Center’s community plaza with the films projected on the side of Segerstrom Hall. Guests are encouraged to bring beach chairs or other easily portable seating items. Set-up begins at 5:30 p.m. with the movie starting at dusk (approximately 8 p.m.). Guests may bring their own snacks and picnic suppers. Barbecues and similar food preparation will not be permitted.

    The rest of the summer’s Movie Mondays line-up includes:
July 19 - Some Like it Hot 
July 26  - Oliver!
    August 2 - Dirty Dancing
    August 9 - Mad Hot Ballroom
Orange County Performing Arts Center community plaza
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa 92626
Monday, July 12, 2010
        Set-up begins at 5:30 with the contest scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
        Movie starts at dusk (approximately 8 p.m.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

when sensuality blooms

In Bloom by Reese Witherspoon
Eau de Parfum Spray

Sensual and elegant, it entices the senses with a bouquet of gardenia blossoms and lush florals, enveloped in amber wood and peach tea leaves. 1.7 fl. oz.
Item#: 442-134
Price: $34.00 exclusive limited time offer $25.00
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receive a blogger discount on your first order when you sign up on my web store. Just say "blogger"!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Letting Go and Making Smart New Choices

Let’s face it. We all like to look our best. When I was a little girl I would watch my mom perform her daily beauty routine: wash, moisturize and dress her face with makeup as she prepared to take on the day. I would play & practice with her powders and mascaras and when I was allowed to start wearing makeup I bought the same brands my mom used, because I knew she trusted them and I trusted her. As she grew older, my mom’s makeup taste changed from drug store brands to high end department store brands like Lancôme and Elizabeth Arden. Me, I was mesmerized by the beauty of Princess Diana – we were born in the same year, so I kinda felt like we were something like soul sisters. I started using what the magazines reported she used: Cinique and Chanel, which I’ve used faithfully for years….until Avon came into my life. It was time to let go of using my designer brand. Seeing that signature lipstick tube in my purse just seemed to say, "Hey, you're spending too much on a lipstick, you dipstick."

I decided to sell Avon as a little side business in addition to my full time job. Being a divorced mom with kids, mortgage and uber bills, I wanted to find a way to provide for my family on my terms, setting my own hours and expectations. Reese Witherspoon is a classy spokeswoman, Avon is philanthropic and I won’t ever have to drive a pink cadillac. I knew I’d like the Avon products, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much money I’ve been saving by stepping away from department store brands like Clinique. As I run out of makeup, I’ve been slowly replacing it the Avon line. 

Check out my purchases this week:

My all used up Clinique lip liner cost $14.00. My old C lipstick also cost $14.00. My new Avon lip liner cost $6.00 and my new Avon lipstick in a summery Apricot Glow (regularly $8.00) is on sale for a huge savings: two for $9.98….and get this: Avon always has these great deals, so by buying two lipsticks I got the lip liner for $1.99. I was never good at math, but if I carry the 1…buying the equivalent in Clinique products of two lipsticks and one lip liner would cost $42.00.  I only paid $11.97 for my Avon even before any rep discount. That’s a savings of $30.03. ca-CHING!

 Be brave. Be smart. Click on the beautiful Reese Witherspoon  button on my sidebar to check out the Summer savings.  Bloggers who mention this post when trying Avon for the first time will receive a blogger discount!

Avon products are always 100% money back guaranteed. Free shipping is available. Ask me for the secret code ;0)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

what a mom does for love

the things i do for my boy....instead of paying bills, and doing laundry, i find myself brushing up on my Super Mario trivia. i can only impress him with burps and potty humor for so long.

i've never been a gamer. using the thumb controls to make pixelated characters jump forward and run through worlds has always given me a headache. in fact, i'm surprised i ever got a smart phone with a keypad.  i only did that as an emergency measure to keep in contact with my teen daughter.  
trust me on this, you young mothers of toddlers and tweens.  when they hit puberty and are given deoderant and a cell phone, your life will change.  the kids will text you from the other room instead of coming to ask what's for dinner.
but i digress. time to go learn more about Luigi and Mario while i practice my Italian accent.  
saying, "Luuuuuuigi" and "Maaaaario" in a long, drawn out fake Italian accent is almost as fun as burping to make my kid giggle.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Justin Bieber & Usher "Somebody to Love" Remix

if you're a mom with a young daughter, i bet dollars to donuts that you have Justin Bieber music playing in your home. here's his new video with Usher. i want to hate it, but i just can't. i know if i were a young girl, i'd be crushing on him something fierce. i'm just sayin'.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Circus is Coming to Town!

When I was a child I dreamed of being one of those lovely ladies in a pink ballet outfit standing on the back of a silvery gray circus pony, both of us wearing fluffy pink marabou feathers atop our heads. We’d prance and leap, with me pointing my ballet slippered toes with long pink ribbons crisscrossed up my legs.

Some people love the elephants, or the tigers, or the stunt motorcycles that whirl in circles within a huge metal ball. Me, my favorite circus act will always be the ponies. I'd imagine myself with beautiful hair, makeup and performing the most graceful of tricks that would win the audience's applause and adoration. It’s a fantasy I’ll still have in my head when I take my son to the circus for the very first time, and I can’t wait to see which circus star he’ll become in his dreams.

Coming to the OC and LA this Summer:
The World Famous Barnum and Baily Circus!

MOM Ticket Discount!!!
Get a very special MOM discount: There's a Four-Pack Offer on select performances or $4 off single ticket prices on select shows. The discount can be redeemed online at or by calling (800) 745-3000 . To redeem, use the discount code “MOM” .

Los Angeles - Staples Center: Wednesday, July 14 – Sunday, July 18
1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles 90015
- Wednesday, July 14 – 7:30pm
- Thursday, July 15 – 12:00pm; 7:30pm
- Friday, July 16 – 12:00pm, 7:30pm
- Saturday, July 17 – 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm
- Sunday, July 18 – 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm

Inland Empire - Citizens Business Bank Arena: Wednesday, July 21 – Sunday, July 25
4000 Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764
- Wednesday, July 21 – 7:30pm
- Thursday, July 22 – 7:30pm
- Friday, July 23 – 12:00pm, 7:30pm
- Saturday, July 24 – 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm
- Sunday, July 25 – 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm

Orange County - Honda Center: Wednesday, July 28 – Sunday, August 8
2695 E. Katella, Anaheim, CA 92806
- Wednesday, July 28 – 7:30pm
- Thursday, July 29 – 1:00pm; 7:30pm
- Friday, July 30 – 10:30am; 7:30pm
- Saturday, July 31 – 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm
- Sunday, August 1 – 1:30pm; 5:30pm
- Tuesday, August 3 – 7:30pm
- Wednesday, August 4 – 1:00pm; 7:30pm
- Thursday, August 5 - 10:30am; 7:30pm
- Friday, August 6 – 1:00pm; 7:30pm
- Saturday, August 7 – 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm
- Sunday, August 8 – 1:30pm; 5:30pm

Enjoy the circus with your family.
It's another wonderful way to create memories and inspire dreams.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

man, i needed this mani-pedi

i got a mani-pedi on my lunch break today (maybe in anticipation of a possible date in my future?).  every time i go to the salon and go through the ritual of turning down the $65.00 luxury pedicure, and politely declining the little flower and rhinestone added to my big toe, it reminds me of this comedy clip. have you seen it?

i like taking in my own color when i get my nails done, so this is what i used on my toes.  It's OPI's Dress to Empress. OPI's website says it's a Japanese red, but to me, i see shades of deep coral, which is my favorite shade of summer.  Coral is the new Pink...or rather, the grown up version of Pink. Pink is for newborn babies, girl bikes with streamers on the handles and preteen bedroom walls.

Coral is for women of style, ladies of class and drama. It's for women who love wearing sandals and being outdoors.  i'm just sayin' that i think this stuff rocks my rocky road and my toes will look glam as i make my journey in style.

rock on.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My New Nikon

Apparantly my new Nikon is a Dutch girl.  I was going to give her the nickname Nike, so I thought she'd be more of a Greek Goddess.

Now I've got to learn enough Dutch to figure out how to get it back to English.


i got it at Best Buy

so, i'm kinda excited about my new purchase and i hope it's going to be something that i love, like and use religiously for years.  

friday i bought myself a new camera!  i was thrown off guard by life a while ago when i had my camera stolen at the happiest place on earth.  i was so disappointed in humanity - especially someone who had the desire to go to Disneyland and commune with Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear and Tinkerbell.  Come on, those are my peeps and a friend of theirs should be a friend of mine!

anyways, you can read the whole dramatic story over on my other blog called Drama Momma at, where i'm privileged to be in the company of some of OC's finest, funniest and most influential bloggers (how did i get in with this group?!)  

so i've mourned the loss of my faithful old Kodak and have brought a new gadget into my life:  meet my new Nikon s8000!

i know she's not  a huge, fancey DSLR or whatever, but i can throw her in my purse and capture frames of life as it happens.  i'm looking forward to figuring her out and getting to know all her bells, whistles and f-stops (do digital camera's even have f-stops anymore?)  I'll post more later as i start taking pics.
it's early on a Monday morning, so i've got to step away from the blog and go get ready to pay my weekday dues to the man. damn.

join in the fun over at  Kara Noel's carnival!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What 4:53am looks like at my house

Chippy has the best sleeping sounds. His steady breathing is rythmic, deep chested, powerful, yet peaceful. He's the most mellow dog I've ever known and having him around has been a blessing. It can get lonely when I'm on my own on weekends when the boy is away with his dad, so I'm thankful he's around.

Good dog.

p.s. the book i just started reading is say everything - How Blogging began, what it's becoming and why it matters by Scott Rosenberg.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Take on Tanaka Farms

Last weekend my boy and I spent a few hours with the bloggers getting all natury at Tanaka Farms in Irvine. We were invited to come check out their new Cookout Tours, and I've gotta say, I had a blast. maybe even more than the kids. i think it goes back....way back to my ancestry...or my roots, if you get my farming drift. I'm from hearty, big boned Scottish farmers who immigrated to America (legally) just a few generations ago (think of the young Mel Gibson or Collin Farrel wearing a Scottish kilt. Go ahead. I'll wait.)

So, there's a big part of me that's very comfortable out in the garden and I was kinda in heaven being on an actual working farm. We got to take a short tracker ride out to the farm where we were given lots of farming trivia and instructions on how to harvest our veggies. the kids were itching to run out to the fields and pick their veggies (chard, zucchini and sun golden tomatoes)

After picking the veggies that were to become our lunch, we took a short hike past rows and rows of corn, a humongous Agave plant (just now getting into the 'Agave syrup instead of sugar' craze) and some avocado trees where we weren't supposed to do any harvesting, we were in the dining camp. Yep, it's basic, so don't be expecting it to be like dining alfresco at Fashion Island. There's shade, water, a makeshift kitchen prep area and lots of tables & chairs for relaxing with your bountiful harvest.

There are also port-a-potties. Tip: go to the bathroom before your daytrip and careful how much you pre-hydrate. The port-a-potties were clean, but who wants to have to use one?

Once your veggies with added tofu have been steamed on the open Bar-B-Q, you get to relax and enjoy your meal. Me, I loved it, since I've been trying to buy more fresh veggies and eat healthier these days. The boy was game for eating most of his lunch (passed on the tofu) and went off to play with the other kids on the bails of hay.

After lunch, we got to harvest our dessert straight from the strawberry fields. Now this was fun! We were given a luxurious 15 minutes to pick out the most succulent orbs of the crop, fill our little strawberry basket and eat as many juicy berries as we could stuff into our bellies. You've never seen so many kids with strawberry stained faces, shirts and pants!

 We got back into our limo (tracker haul) for another short ride back to civilization that is OC. The boy's review: thumbs up. My two cents: the day wasn't suited for families with babies or folks who aren't prepared to do some walking, but if you want to get your kids out of the urban sprawl and have a couple of hours to kill before heading off to the beach, then Tanaka Farms is definitely for you. let your kids pick the veggies and watch them actually enjoy eating them. Who knows, maybe you'll go all green and plant some veggies in your own backyard.