Onward and Yonward with PBS Kids Nature Cat!

Published on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

You may remember seeing a picture of me with super sibs David and Adam Rudman of Spiffy Pictures from PBS Annual Meeting. We were there talking about their latest gem for PBS Kids called Nature Cat. You may not recognize them right away, because David is usually busy performing as Cookie Monster and Adam is usually writing half of the kids’ shows on television. In fact, they both have had incredible award winning careers steering some of the most beloved children’s entertainment on record. When I first viewed trailers from Nature Cat, I was immediately struck by how the voices were SO hilarious and characterful – something one doesn’t often find in these days of having celebrity voices in animation. I really get aggravated by all the current films that use recognizable straight voices of pop stars and film actors for animated characters while there are those actors who strive to master the voice. While Nature Cat may use some famous talent that you might find on a late Saturday night, including Bobby Moynihan, Kate McKinnon (her Squeeks is my favorite), Taran Killam, Kate Micucci, and Kenan Thompson, these comedic actors have obviously fully embraced their animated manifestations and created characterful voices that make the show absolutely hilarious! I commented to the brothers that I was thrilled by the voice talent, and they seemed so glad that this wasn’t unnoticed, as they grew up on Looneytunes, SchoolHouse Rock, and Fractured Fairy Tales just like I did. The shows were funny because the cartoons were fully developed personae, and we had no idea what the person behind the voice looked like.

My Critter and I just screened the first three episodes of Nature Cat, and we loved it. You can see the show Wednesday November 25th on your local PBS station right after the also brand new and awesome Wild Kratts Christmas Special - LA folks can find it on PBS SoCal. I’ve linked to some really cool activities you can do with your own two legged critters in the thumbnails too. Looking forward to calling this one a classic!

Triple Attraction in ATX – Friends, Fun, and PBS Kids

Published on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

I love that my married life and motherhood have begun to have annual traditions. The springtime months are always a whirlwind – April brings Easter and My Perfect Husband’s birthday with the Critter’s birthday immediately after, then Mother’s Day, and then I travel to a different city every year for the PBS Annual Meeting. I always am energized by the wonderful networking and programming I am able to preview, and the fun I have with my fellow PBS Kids VIPs and friends from PBS SoCal. It’s also become a tradition now that my Mother’s Day gift to myself is to take some extra time off and explore the city after the meeting has ended.

When I discovered that this year’s meeting would take place in Austin, Texas, I immediately thought GIRL TRIP! I had just reconnected with my best best best friend from high school (thank you Facebook), and she lives in Austin. My BFF Debra, who was my first roomie here in LA is now happily married and living in Houston, so I announced we would get together as soon as my meetings ended.

A huge thank you to the folks at PBS and PBS Kids for making our visit completely awesome! In the realm of tradition, our PBS Kids Very Involved Parent group have now attended three Annual Meetings, and now here we were at the fourth – we now have connected as friends and had a terrific time catching all the moments together – the highlights this year included: a special performance at the venerable Austin City Limits by the up and coming Peterson Brothers, hilarious and inspirational breakout sessions with the creators of the latest PBS Kids programming Ready Jet Go! and Nature Cat, and a fun informative cook’s tour of the pristine new Whole Foods Market. I learned (and ate) more in these few days than I have room to share, but stay posted for a more information as the premieres of the new shows come nigh, and a trip to the JPL with the folks from Ready Jet Go!

I hugged goodbye to all my VIPs and before I knew it Bianca was there to pick me up, just like when we were in high school! We talked so much and caught up on the last twenty years, and it was like no time had passed at all. We talked kids, husbands, history, food, drinks, politics, fashion, and I don’t know what else over lots of great food in several different locations. I got to meet her super creative smart kids and see where she lives, and it was all good. She is still a raving beauty who can make me belly laugh, and I can’t wait until our next rendezvous.

Debra rolled in from Houston on Friday afternoon, giving me a chance to lie around binge watching Grace and Frankie, (which was perfect, considering that it’s a show about old friends), and then get my act together, because she was looking fabulous from H-town. We figured out that we have now been friends for twenty years! It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since we were roommates near the Farmers Market for my first summer working for Wilson and Associates – we were instant gal pals and have never wavered in supporting and cheering one another on, and it was so good to be together in this funky fun town to do nothing but gab, eat, drink, and take in local culture. Taking pity on me as a mom who has to keep up with everyone’s schedules, Deb had sussed all the cool stuff to do, so all I had to do was be ready to go, and go we did. She found some terrific hot spots for us to do our apps and cocktails thing, and some fantastic music venues that took me back to my college days of hitting the Subway Lounge and the Delta Blues Festival. We even managed to do a power walk and do a little shopping. I have to say that Austin is a really cool place – great culture, sophisticated quality dining without pretense, and an all around good time, in fact, I really want to go back as soon as I can! Check out my photos to see some of our highlights and for information on the venues – it was a perfect place to have me-time with my girls and come back to Beverly Hills revitalized.

Thank you again to my sweet friends and the wonderful staff at PBS Kids for making this such a special trip – next year: Chicago! I have to get on Facebook and see who I know there…

“Ready Jet Go” Will Teach Your Child the Solar System!

Published on Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Oh hello there – I’m in Austin right now attending PBS Annual Meeting. There’s SO much more great programming  coming this year! I will share more soon, but for now listen to this awesome ditty from the new PBS Kids series Ready Jet Go! performed by the folks who brought you Dinosaur Train. This will stick in little minds like the Schoolhouse Rock of your childhood. I really wish I’d had this to help me through Astronomy 101…

Feeling ODD and Grateful in the ‘Hood

Published on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Fall is my favorite time of year – I’m starting to learn that there’s a certain amount of hullabaloo that the Critter and I have to go through the first month of school and once we get the hang of everything in his new grade, including all his extracurricular activities, teacher meetings, open houses, volunteer scheduling, crafting and wardrobe finessing, it’s time to party. It starts with my birthday and our anniversary at the beginning of October, and then we are back to back holidays until New Year’s Day! When I sat down to write about how excited I am that ODD SQUAD is premiering today on PBS Kids, I realized how much stuff we’ve been up to recent days. It seems like a week ago that I was at the PBS Annual Meeting learning about the new show, thinking that November is so far away, and now it’s here, just before Thanksgiving. Santa sneaked into the ‘hood on Sunday, so it is ON!

Looking over these photos I am incredibly grateful for my life as a wife of a GREAT guy and mother to a force of nature. That my profession led me to Beverly Hills where I could meet people who would invite me to experience amazing things like to work with PBS Kids, to hang out with Tim Minchin before previewing Matilda, to go to THE premiere of Dumb and Dumber to, to be tapped as part of the new Netflix Stream Team, to be able to call fabulous creative people my friends who inspire me like Shannon Colleary and Susan Lambert, spend time with my bffs poolside on a rooftop with a view of the city, to be confident that my child is in a wonderful school with caring awesome teachers who will dress like characters from Alice in Wonderland, and last but not least I am grateful my mom is here to celebrate her birthday and Thanksgiving with us.

Here’s hoping you and yours have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING – I know I am counting my every blessing.

Confession Friday – My New Boobs

Published on Friday, October 24th, 2014

I slid into the pew next to my pal Alfred at church recently and said “I’m not wearing a bra!” Being the old friend and Southern gentleman that he is, he just sort of nodded. I’ve been weirdly expressive that way lately because I’m so happy with my recent cosmetic surgery procedures, I feel compelled to tell everybody.

I have always wanted a breast reduction, as even before I gave birth I had been granted a generous bra size of 34DD which has always created back and neck problems. After pregnancy my whopping size 34gg size breasts were causing some real havoc on my life, including pinched nerves in my neck, migraines, and an inability to exercise. I’ve been stuck in a yoyo kind of situation with weight loss and gain because I couldn’t exercise with any frequency because I’d have neck pain and debilitating migraines. I’ve been entertaining the idea of the procedure by interviewing doctors over the last couple of years and with the big birthday I just celebrated this month, I was at a point where I thought “enough” – I just needed some relief. Then my friend Jennifer told me about Dr. Nikolov. Jennifer is a serious beauty insider, and she said “Just look at his book. He is an artist.”

I booked an appointment immediately. Some of the things that I worried about were complications of anesthesia, post operative infections, scarring, and frankly, disappointing my wonderful husband, who liked things just as they were. The good doctor and his gorgeous staff put my mind at ease and made it simple to make the decision that is been a life changer for me.

On July 9th Dr Nikolov removed 500cc of each breast on the front, and kindly also took away 300cc on each side underneath my arms, and for extra refreshment, he also lifted my seriously sagging upper eyelids. I could not be happier with the results. The doctor and his staff were fantastic – I had a very clear understanding of the procedures beforehand due to the comprehensive preparation by the staff, and my recovery has been SO much less painful than I had imagined. The scarring is already fading and and the shape is perky but very natural. I attended PBS Press Tour two weeks after my surgery! I was so delighted when I didn’t have a horrible neck ache and headache from the weight of bra straps and with how easily I moved around.

It really has been a blessing. My advice to fellow self improvement seekers? Know what you want out of the procedure and ascertain that you and your doctor are on the same page. I had interviewed some highly competent surgeons in my quest for ‘lightenment, but when I met Dr. Nikolov, he understood exactly what I wanted and I could see from his photo book of past surgeries he would be able to deliver. I still have an ample bosom (so my Perfect Husband wouldn’t be disappointed), but they are no longer pressing down on my torso and pulling down my shoulders. I can go without a bra, something I have not been able to do since 6th grade.

Regrets? I only wish I had the procedures sooner. And, for the record, here is a 500cc breast implant that some people have put IN, not taken out…

Happy Birthday Dr. Suess!

Published on Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Who doesn’t remember how exciting it was to read their first Dr. Seuss story? In honor of that spirit, I am joining a crew of kindergarteners on Tuesday to celebrate the good doctor’s birthday with lots of cool activities from PBS Kids. You can have your own party at home while watching the new episodes of The Cat in the Hat knows a Lot About That! starting Monday morning!

The REAL New Year has started, finally…

Published on Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

I can’t ever get my act together in the New Year until I get through the PBS Winter Press Tour, which, for me is a biannual week of joining my fellow PBS Kids VIPs together with the Television Critics Association to review the new season’s offerings from PBS. Yesterday I hugged Abby Cadaby, Count von Count, Elmo, and Cookie Monster, heard about how we are all descended from fish, and enjoyed an amazing panel of TV nostalgia that is still making me smile from ear to ear, including George Takei, Jimmie Walker, Ray Romano, THE Bob Newhart (especially near and dear to my heart, since our chance encounter in the Bel Air Camera parking lot).

As always, the tour inspires me with the collection of what are truly treasures of talent – people who do what they were meant to do, and are the BEST at it. Which brings me to the final session of the day – the inimitable Kristin Chenoweth. I have always loved her in everything she does, but seeing her live is indescribable. It’s hard to believe that this 4′ 11″ beauty could emit the sound that this woman can – she literally blew us away with old standards and a few of her own favorites. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

I’m still basking in the sensory feast, and look forward to seeing all the great new shows – watch your local PBS affiliate listings, and – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

For the Love of Cookie, it’s Season 44 on Sesame Street!

Published on Sunday, September 15th, 2013

I have been saving this fun video I took at the PBS Press Tour in August so I can share it in celebration of the newest season on Sesame Street – welcome number 44! The Critter, Cookie, and I talk about cookies, family, friends, neighbors, and…self control. Noting how quickly we can point to a good bakery, we need a little help in this area.

Counting Blessings at Summer’s End

Published on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Thank you all for all your kindnesses, comforting comments and private messages with regard to my last post. Your support really has helped me to get back to the business of being me and taking care of my family. In loading these photos that might have been posted back in June, I realize how much we pack into a short time, and we have MANY more happy occasions to report on than sad.
I would say that the ultimate highlight of the season was the marriage of my beautiful friend Tammi Jones to the handsome Michael Tanaka of Atlanta. Tammi, being the elegant event planner that she is, hosted one of the most beautiful and FUN weddings I have attended in my life. Beyond the gorgeous setting at he foot of the Hollywood Hills was the kickass DJ, delectable dinner and adorable kids’ table – we danced the night away with some of my bffs and took home memories for a lifetime. Bittersweet is that Mrs. Tanaka has relocated to Atlanta, but we can always visit!

Other gracious invitations we were fortunate to accept were: PBS SoCal hosting us to see Sesame Street Live!, a sexy brunch hosted by Beats by Dre, shopping day at the Children’s Place, Natalee Thai’s hosting of twenty of my bloggy pals to try their summer menu, and an adorable Paris themed birthday party for the Critter’s pal Miss Strawberry.

Coming soon: PBS Press Tour, Steve Songs at the Levitt Pavillion, and whale watching this Thursday. Remember when we went last year? Getting to Long Beach by 8:30 am will be a practice run for what it will be like to have to rise early again in preparation for back to school next week. First grade may be the perfect time to give my Critter a new nickname. More on this later – thanks again for your support xoxo

PBS Annual Meeting – Sultry Breezes and Saucy New Characters

Published on Monday, June 10th, 2013

I am still swooning from all the creative inspiration that I found this year at the PBS Annual Meeting. The PBS Kids VIPS were guests of PBS so that we might bring our readers more information on new AND tried and true programming on our favorite station! Very exciting this year is Mando, the new man (or should I say hombre) on Sesame Street, aka Ismael Cruz Cordova. I feel so lucky to have access to the people who embody these wonderful programs – here’s a clip of a little get to together I had with Rosita and Mando just after Mando’s debut. You can see how bad my Spanish really is.

I also found the introduction of Peg + Cat, a very artful new show with a female heroine that promotes math learning, to be particularly exciting, as I loved the combination of the illustrative aesthetic and mathematical thinking, along with some very fun original songs. We were also able to spend some time with the creators, Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley, who are literally TITANS – their individual bios include such classics as Beavis and Butthead and The Wonder Pets. They were incredibly generous with their time to discuss how the program developed, and I adored how they are so smart AND silly at the same time. Check out this clip of their new show, debuting this fall.

There was more than I can possibly explain, but spending time in Miami was a great way to start the summer – I had some GREAT dinners and terrific conversations with my fellow VIPs and can’t wait to see them (and the Fountainbleu) again.