Friday, January 16, 2015

Monday, July 28, 2014

Passing of the Greats...

Elaine Stritch passed away July 17 this year. She was the last of the old school broadway kids. 

About 10 years ago I went to the opening of a broadway play and I was standing on a small red carpet being photographed. Suddenly the paparazzi started flashing more fervently than before and I smiled, proudly holding my pose. Just then I felt a tap on my shoulder and a deep, brassy voice said "Excuse me, Honey." I looked behind me to see who I was blocking and came face to face with an expectant Elaine Stritch. I'm sure I went fully flush as I dutifully put my tail between my legs and scurried out of her way. The photographers were NOT hastily popping their lights at me. They were trying to see her. They were there to see the Queen, the Grand Dame. And I watched, embarrassed and in awe of a theatre idol of mine as she took her well-earned time with the cameras.   If you're unfamiliar with Stritch, please watch the trailer for her documentary, below.  There is also a great article on her from the Hollywood Reporter, HERE

The Great White Way lost a true legend and an artist of uncanny capacity to access raw, dirty emotion, and could turn drama to comedy on a dime. Stritch could never be accused of being polite, and I think she liked it that way.

In 1954 or so, as the story goes, my Grandfather George was performing in a broadway musical called WISH YOU WERE HERE (the namesake of my blog).  In a nearby theatre, a smaller play was running called THE CAINE MUTINY COURT-MARTIAL starring Henry Fonda and featuring an unknown James Garner.  One of those days between a matinee and evening performance, my Grandpa was having a smoke with his friend James who said "I think I'm gonna move to Hollywood-- give that a try."  George encouraged him to do it, among others, and well... he gave it a try.

I'm so glad he did.

James Garner was certainly a national treasure of talent.  His work inspired so many (and for those of you who know nothing about old hollywood... Garner was the aged Noah Calhoun -Ryan Gosling- in The Notebook).  CLICK HERE to read the obit article on him from the New York Times.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Calamity Jane

Hey everyone!  Calamity Jane made it to No. 1 on the Country charts in France, No. 2 in the UK, and No. 10 in Australia!  Thank you to everyone keeping me on the charts, and thank you for your support of my music!  Sending love!  xo 

Click pic to download!  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Happiest Place on Earth

Amidst the heat, the crowds, and the occasional Grumpypants Grownup, the MAGIC remains in Disneyland.

I took my daughter, my best friend and her daughter for an overnight stay in Disneyland/California Adventure last week.  Both me and my friend badly needed the getaway and the girls had been begging for months to go.  My daughter didn't even know what Disneyland was, she just kept saying, "There's a Castle there!  And Princesses!  I want to go to Disneyland!"

How could I refuse?  A Castle AND Princesses!

I was delighted to find that there was so much more.  I haven't been to Disneyland in over 10 years and I'd never stepped foot into California Adventure.  What a treat to drive 45 minutes from my house and find, truly, a Magic Kingdom.

Our tour guide, Cheryl, greeted us at the hotel and helped us get situated and make a plan to hit all the spots we wanted to see in 2 days.

The girls met the Princesses first.  Look, I'll be honest, as a feminist I'm on the fence about Disney princesses in general (minus the bad-asses like Merida & Elsa and my favorite, Rapunzel... I guess Ariel's pretty cool too, but a little obsessed over the dude.  And let's get real about Belle, people.  Sista has Stockholm Syndrome, ok?  Pocohontas & Mulan rock my socks, but they totally get the shaft from everyone).  Anyway, my kid has all the princess dresses, but we do boxing lessons while she wears them, so I feel like I'm balancing it out, lol.

The Princesses in Disneyland are rad.  They're so good with the kids.  For some reason Snow White was scary for the girls, but this actress decided to play hide & seek with them and totally won them over!  The Faeries in Pixie Hollow spent a nice chunk of time with all the kids that came through the line (usually because the line there is shorter than others, I don't know why).  Meeting Tinkerbell was a total highlight for our girls.  We also caught the Beauty & the Beast show at the little Royal theatre.  It's a Small World is nice and cold inside and there's SOOOO much to look at-- most things have some element of glitter on them.  That makes me happy :)

FYI there's also a brunch you can do where you meet 5 princesses and have breakfast with them.  We didn't get in on it, but if you plan your trip with little girls, you'll want to know about that.

Other points not to miss in Disneyland were Toontown where Minnie & Mickey "live" and you can tour their hilarious homes.  There is also a mini roller-coaster with some surprising d-force but not too much.  It's a great way to introduce toddlers to coasters.  The cafe on the Rivers of America is a really relaxing place to stop in the midst of the hot, busy day.  I really liked the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich.  And in that area, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is fun, as is just sitting by the train station and listening to the seriously talented musicians play some dirty, old fashioned, New Orleans jazz.   If we'd had time I would have loved to take the canoe tour on the river.  It's so beautiful.  And in that area, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is fun, as is just sitting by the train station and listening to the seriously talented musicians play some dirty, old fashioned, New Orleans jazz. (Also, if we'd had time, we would have gone into Tomorrowland, but it was a little mature for them).

Instead, we took the train (which is it's own ride- giving you a private, prehistoric tour!) to the front of the park and made our way back to the Grand Californian Hotel.  We took a little rest, a dip in the hot tub and had a glass of wine before walking over to California Adventure for the evening waterlight show called "World of Color".  You guys.  I've never seen anything like this in my life.  I'm not even sure how to describe it except that it includes water fountains orchestrated to grew disney music-- oh, and watching movie clips that are projected onto water.  It's.... unbelievable.  Chills.

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks in downtown Disney and then Cheryl met up with us again to hit a few more spots in Disneyland before landing back in California Adventure where we spent the rest of our day.

California Adventure reminded me of the Empire that is Disney.  They own everything.  Pixar, LucasFilms, Marvel, ESPN, Maker Studios... it's insane.   First we took the kiddos to Monsters Inc. ride which was really like actually being in the movie... I'm not sure how else to explain that....  Then to CARS land and to A Bug's Life.  Bugs Life section was great-- giant "leaky faucets" to run and play under, a Caterpiller "chew-chew" train that goes through all the food the caterpillar has eaten, complete with scent explosions (like"cupcake" scent when you drive through the cupcake), and some ladybug bumper cars.

Don't miss the Ariel's Grotto ride in California Adventure, too.  I could have done this one 3 times over.  There was NO line.  Literally.  And it was so pretty.

After watching the Sophia the 1st/Doc McStuffins/Jake & Neverland Pirate's marionette show in stage, we had a relaxing meal at the Wine Country Trattoria (pictured below - click on photo for a little song).  Make reservations ahead of time.

The most fun for grownups there is the boardwalk where we got the best view in the house atop the Ferris Wheel at night.  It took the girls all of 2 minutes to fall asleep in their strollers as we walked back to our hotel to get our bags and put the sleeping beauties into the car to drive them home.

Thank you Disneyland for coming through, big time. if I can only figure out a way to explain to my adamant daughter that we can't go there every day...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Calamity Jane


While I'm reworking my album, here's a little teaser.  This song will sound totally different on the new record, but I thought you'd enjoy hearing this version, which was released on my special edition printed record that I sold on Etsy last winter.  "Calamity Jane" is up on iTunes NOW!

The Gypsy dances in circles and beckons your ear
She knows your fancy, divines how to play to you fear
She's lost and she's lonesome and wounds everyone that she's near
But I love her just the same, wicked Calamity Jane

Sparkling eyes are so tender and so terrified
She bites you before you can love her, before you can even try
She's up and she's down and she'll leave you the second you fight
But I miss her just the same, wicked Calamity Jane

Come on, come out to the fire, the fire burns with or without you
Come on come out from the Alamo, you know it doesn't protect you
Hide in the shadows too long the whole world's gonna forget you
So lay down, lay down, lay down, lay down your gun

She stares at the ghosts because power can make you anything (well, many things)
She listens intently to voices that make her emotions sing
But she can't be that far gone, I'm not that far behind
No I can't be that far gone, she's not that far behind

Come on, come out to the fire, the fire burns with or without you
Come on come out from the Alamo, you know it doesn't protect you
Hide in the shadows too long the whole world's gonna forget you
So lay down, lay down, lay down, lay down your gun

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Everything's Coming Up Roses!

Ahh the joie de vivre in one whiff of a Rose!  

My daughter and I can oft be found, of late, exploring the lush Rose Garden's in Pasadena's Huntington Gardens & Library where my membership is one of the best purchases of the year.

In the spirit of the elegant flower, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favorite Rose products, so you can basically feel like you've rolled around and bathed in roses all summer long.

Before anything else, we need to pick a song.  Here are four songs in the theme for you to choose from while you (as Jack Kelly would say) "Peruse da moichandise"

Let's start with the shower...

For Hair... a great shampoo is from L'Occitane, Rose Pearlescent Shampoo and a Rose Dry shampoo by SKINNY SKINNY makes it easier to go longer stretches without washing my hair-- preserving color and conditioning.

Speaking of conditioning, here are two options: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner (great for heat damaged hair) and Christophe Robin Volumizing Conditioner with Rose extract (good for volume and color-treated hair).

Also, for a special treatment on your ends (or scalp) this is an incredible rose product, Valmont Repairing Scalp & Hair Oil.  Valmont is no joke-- their face moisturizer is powerful... but it's one of the most expensive beauty lines available.   Great results but a huge LUST item!  :)

L'Occitane comes through for a great Rose Body Wash Duo as does the unconquerable Jo Malone with RED ROSES Hand & Body Wash.

Dr. Hauschka makes two Rose-scented products I use every day.  After a shower I religiously use The body oil, and especially before I walk out the door on bare legs/arms to give a little shine.

After body oil, Fragrance gets locked in.  Two great Rose scents are Rose Absolue by Annick Goutal 

and STELLA ABSOLUTE by Stella McCartney.  I can't wear it anymore because it reminds me of an old boyfriend, but it's really yummy.

Moving onto the Face, Dr. Hauschka's Rose Day Moisturizer is my other favorite product from this line.  The cream may be a bit heavy for some in the summer but I like it as a night cream especially.  I used to cringe at putting thick cream on at night until my friend, Shantel Van Santen (who has some of the best skin I've ever seen) told me she uses an intensely heavy, drug store brand cream on her face every night.  I won't divulge her secret, but I can tell you this Dr. Hauschka is the one I use and its wonderful.  It's also made in a "light" version, so you have the option...

Before you slather on the moisturizer, get a clean start with ROBERTS Acqua Alle ROSE gel detergente from Florence, Italy.  It's a gentle, gel facewash as light as air, but gets the job done.  Follow up with THAYER'S Rose Witch Hazel toner.

For a deeper brightening and hydrating of skin, here are two masque options.  FRESH makes a lovely Rose Face Mask, but my personal favorite is by Annick Goutal Paris.

An on-set staple for almost every actress I know is Smith's ROSEBUD SALVE.  It's available in most drug stores and every beauty supply store.  Very light, sheer with a tint of pink.  Also carried at Urban Outfitters in Rose and other scents.

For home fragrance, there's no where else to go but Diptyque!  My favorite winter candle is Feu du bois, which smells flawlessly like a wood burning fireplace.  Their Roses candle is lovely for spring & summer.

Here's a little something I took home from the Mad Men series wrap party.  Did I mention I went to the Mad Men series wrap party.  I did, I went to the Mad Men series wrap party with a friend.  I geeked out inside while acting mostly calm and collected on the outside.  I did a card trick for Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks is insanely beautiful in person and lovely to talk to -- smart girl.  I died and went to heaven that night, and brought home two gorgeous, velvety, red roses.  I'll leave them with you...

La vie en Rose!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Mix

Here are some great summer mixes!

I'm calling this cocktail...

The Sparkly Author
Basement Bitters "Bitter Frost" gives this champagne cocktail a surprising warmth & woodsy taste
Scrappy's Bitters "Aromatic" brings out the spice (not hot spice... like, leathery holiday spice)
St. Germain Liqueur instantly makes summer in your glass.  It's an elderflower liqueur and though it's brought to life many an autumn & winter drink, I think St. Germain's home is in a summer cocktail.

I like to keep drinks, like food, simple.  The more you add, the muddier it gets.  These items are all great bar basics for the amateur (or professional) mixologist.  Having that gorgeous St. Germain bottle sitting by my old record player just inspires me to drink! (is that bad?) lol, you know what I mean... :)

My other summer mix is a little music for you:

Billy Joel, Turnstiles - "Summer, Highland Falls"
Milo Greene - "1957"
30 Seconds to Mars: MTV Unplugged - "Where the Streets Have No Name" (I'm sorry-- how can it be fair that Jared Leto is THAT beautiful and sings like this!?  Living proof God does give with both hands in very special cases.)
Robyn, Body Talk - "Get Myself Together"
Angie Stone, Mahogony Soul - "Wish I Didn't Miss You"
Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball - "Easy Money"
Kimbra, Vows - "Something In the Way You Move"
Drake, Nothing Was The Same - "Hold On" (puh-lease, don't act like you don't JAM to this song)