PBS Kids gives the Green message to kids

Published on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

To help you and your kids get in the spirit of Earth Day, PBS KIDS is saluting “green” with 15 eco-friendly episodes from favorites like Curious George, Super Why!, and Dinosaur Train (check your local listings for times). Online, the PBS KIDS Player is also featuring lots of Earth Day content for kids to enjoy any time.

Earth Day is also Double Points Day on Eekoworld, the recently-launched interactive website designed to introduce children to the basics of ecosystems, conservation and pollution. My Critter loves to play with Cheek-o, the eek-O world spokesman!

Love your Earth, y’all! xoxo


Diggin it at Henson Studios with PBS

Published on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I was delighted to receive an invitation to screen the latest offering of PBS Kids at the Jim Hensen Studios, so this afternoon I put the Critter down for a nap, got Uncle Robert to oversee the napping, and headed over to Hollywood. Wilson and Ditch is the new web series that the two titans of educational kids’ programming have put together to satisfy ever growing need for online kids’ content. My interest was trifold – it’s incredible education for me as a person who is developing an illustrated character myself (and knowing nothing about it), to see the historic studio lot on LaBrea, which was originally erected by Charlie Chaplin 1918, and to be in the prescence of Jim Hensen’s own kids, Brian and Lisa.

As Halle Stanford told us, “We’re excited to bring an innovative series like this to the web, where a variety of online and offline activities will help inspire kids’ interest in learning more about he United States. As they travel the country with these lovable gopher guides, our audience will gain a greater understanding of their national citizenship that extends beyond their own community”.

After viewing a few of the hilarious episodes which take two brother gophers who miss their mom and their “homeland”(go to France and take a left) all over the United States, I can see how the grade school crowd will love to learn with them . The web site will see the furry faces through their hijinks and will eventually have webisodes with all fifty states including the top three destinations for families to travel. There are games, video and a blog from each brother. This is content that will be emblazoned on the minds of kids in the same way that Schoolhouse Rock taught my generation, as I mentioned to the group during the Q and A. I can still sing the preamble!

After viewing the new show, we were given a studio tour of the grounds and had the unexpected treat of seeing inside “The Loft” where we had access to Brian Henson (son of Jim, genius of all things puppet and muppet) and the former A&M Records soundstage where production for the Critter’s favorite show Sid the Science Kid was happening. If I wasn’t overjoyed enough to have all this wonderful perspective, a very smart mom asked Brian “What was it like?” to grow with the creator of creatures that every child in the world loves – I wondered this too, as everything I think about these days is what it is like for my little Critter. You can see his response in the video – I’m sure his dad is smiling from heaven.


Princess Johnson Ensures Molly of Denali’s Accurate Native American Portrayal

Published on Friday, February 1st, 2019

After one hour of being made aware of Princess Daazhraii Johnson by attending the PBS KIDS press event for the groundbreaking new program Molly of Denali, I learned a surprising number of facts about Alaska. Princess is from the Gwich’in Native Alaskan tribe and is the Creative Producer of the new show that airs July 15th on your local PBS station. She taught me more about Alaska in a ten minute chat than I have learned in a lifetime. Her influence on the new series is sure to get kids excited about the exciting modern life with nature that ten year old Molly lives. The tattoo Princess wears is to pay respects to her people and to teach her daughters, who think mom is extra cool now that she has made a show with characters like them on PBS Kids. Note: they do not live in igloos!


Summer Goals Met: Art + Tech with KUBO and Splash & Bubbles

Published on Friday, September 16th, 2016


We are already in school for a month, Labor Day has come and gone, but the fun memories linger on from what felt like a super lazy summer. I didn’t make The Critter do summer camp, but secretly made a pact with myself that we would do some fun, stealthily educational and creative things to keep us sharp while we lolled in the pool or the freezing air conditioning that I love when it’s scorching heat. He told me that he had a GREAT summer, which comes to light in these photos taken from the last month(ish) of our break.

The entire month of June until June 26th, we were dealing with the loss of my wonderful father in law Harry, and tried to keep busy. He was truly one of the best people I have ever had the privilege to know.

It was quite fortunate that there was plenty of busy work getting ready for Woofstock 90210, which we worked on steadily until the event finally happened after its reschedule from the usual springtime date. It was SUCH a fun community event – we met hundreds of new dog lovers, and they all loved on the Lou. Since then, I have been minding the little store, and planning the next two Louis XIV of Beverly Hills books. The Critter learned a bit about having a paying job – he bought a ton of new Skyanders for his XBox360 with the money he makes helping me get prints mailed out and stuffing greeting cards into cellophane. We had a great Mommy and Critter lunch with my BFF Debra, where we learned to truly appreciate craft cocktails with video games for the kid and UBER. The journey to find the perfect publisher and agent continues – it’s learning a whole new set of rules and creating an entirely new network. Part of this learning was that I took a great webinar from literary agent Maria Vicente, and I feel like with each bit of information I glean, I am closer. I will probably write about this process more in the future, because it has truly blown my mind.

On two of the hottest days of the year, we trekked down to The Broad. The first trip was The Critter and me, because we did not have the impossible to get reservations and I knew that the no reservation line wait could be uncomfortably lengthy. This would be recon to assess what the absolute easiest way to handle wrangling kids, which involves eating, peeing, taking shelter from the heat, and doing a quick visit to Pershing Square to see Shard, the kinetic sculpture on display with an impending ending limited engagement. Post recon strategy worked really well! Elise and Lola joined in this time (yay they’re back for a while!), too. We valet parked ($15) at the Broad, then walked down to Pershing Square, which was really great; a flea market and live jazz, but we were completely scorched from the heat. We took a short respite at The Biltmore to cool down and rest stop, then lunch, then the Broad. My advice to non reservation line peeps: buy a ticket to Cindy Sherman (or whatever the featured exhibit is) and your two hour line wait becomes fifteen minutes. If you have the time to wait, it’s free. Check out MOCA across the street and Disney Music Hall while you’re at it. Kids love downtown – Lola and the Critter took on a whole different “city” vibe.

KUBO and the Two Strings was not a film that was on my radar this summer, but now it’s one of my all time favorites! A huge thanks to Focus Features and Laika for the invitation to screen the movie, tour the Magic of Laika exhibit at The Globe Theater and attend the premiere afterparty. I have to say that each of these invitations could have stood alone as a creative’s feast, so we were in heaven, experiencing the stop motion animated film and the exhibit of the making of KUBO, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Coraline. Beautiful Japanese folklore and the art of Origami were themes throughout, and we were able to talk to the filmmakers, including Travis Knight, the Oscar nominated CEO of Laika and director of the film. The party was a fabulous fete complete with cool activities and gifts like origami and lollipops that look like blown glass. The best part of this entire scene was the ease the filmmakers had with the open sharing of the creative process and being able to look at how digital printing and technology open new worlds for this art form. Laika is clearly at the top of the game in stop motion in the way that The Jim Henson Company paved the way for puppetry. They all are highly talented artists who love sharing their craft. As you’ll see from the photos, I could have written a book about all I learned that day, and The Critter may have discovered his future livelihood. If you haven’t seen KUBO, do it immediately. It’s that good!

Bringing up the Henson Company, I am VERY excited about the newest PBS Kids program for the little bitties, called Splash and Bubbles, which will air on PBS Kids November 23rd. Headlining the talented cast and crew are Sesame Street alums John Tartaglia and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph. The show incorporates not only the unparalleled voice and puppetry talent of the duo who performed as Oscar the Grouch and Abby Cadaby, but the puppetry has been taken to an entirely new level, using a tech board that incorporates puppetry with digital technology, creating a beautiful, hilarious animated program with STEM lessons in oceanography. Splash and Bubbles are modeled after actual fish, the series is based in real marine biology, and there are plans to work with local aquariums to create more ways to learn. I visited with Leslie and Lisa Henson about the wonderful ways that the technology gives new methods to practice the craft of puppetry. You may recall when I was first introduced to the digital artistry coming out of Henson for Sid the Science Kid by Lisa’s brother Brian – even more techniques have been created, and the result is sure to entrance your preschooler and cause them to say things like “Look! There’s a mandarin dragonette!”

When school commenced, I decided to join my creative bff’s Jeannine and Shannon at The Entrepreneur Edge Live (#TEELALive), as Jeannine would speak on one of the panel that would address branding. The event was organized by Joanna A. Turner, a globally known Advanced EFT & Master NLP Practitioner, Motivational speaker, and author, and promised to be “An EXCLUSIVE fun, TRANSFORMATIONAL and inspiring event for Female entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, healers and thought-leaders who are on a mission to change the world!” As someone who is open to trying new things on the front of self motivation but a good fifteen to twenty years older than the average age of the 150 attendees, I can honestly say that I walked away from the event HIGHLY motivated and secure in my process and progress. The other really big message I took away from the three days of meeting relatable, intelligent, empathetic, strong, and successful women is how wonderful it is that now young women who are ready to face up to their life goals, challenges, obstacles, failures, and successes have events and a group like TEELALive to turn to for connecting and support. In my late twenties, a group like these women would have given me SOOOOOOO much courage that mere group therapy could never provide. I thought Joanna and her team did a great job of bringing out the best of a new whole new breed of entrepreneur willing to break it down and work it out to get the quality life they envision. I’ve made new connections with women I like for all different reasons who bring fresh perspective to my life and I’m so happy to have this infusion of energy. When your life’s work is all about creating things out of nothing, that energy is precious.

The Critter has also kicked off fourth grade with his Cub Scout Troop as a Webelo 1. My Perfect Husband and I have the agreement that I do the gathering of stuff for the meetings and activities, and he’s the one to take the boy to said events. So far we’ve served homemade desserts to the second shift of the Beverly Hills Police Department, rocked the annual Water Splat, and gone on a geocaching expedition. My two men spent Labor Day weekend at Mammoth, while I celebrated Elise’s birthday with Jamie and Danny at PUMP, the recovery from which took the entire weekend…er week. This gave me the perfect excuse to finish binge watching the entire Gilmore Girls seven season series on Netflix. I SO love that show, and I actually miss the characters and wonder what they’ve been doing. I cant wait to see the new season – Hooray for the revival!

Coming soon – fun photos from two awesome events for Nintendo and YoKaiWatch, and more of my new affair with old school publishing.


Time to READY JET GO!

Published on Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Tomorrow morning PBS Kids will premiere Ready Jet Go!, its rocking new show from the creators of Dinosaur Train, complete with songs that make you want to dance and cool science facts from a real FEMALE NASA scientist. I first became aware of the show last spring when I attended PBS Annual Meeting in Austin. I was thrilled to meet creator Craig Bartlett, because Dinosaur Train was The Critter’s favorite for two years of his eight year life. I can recall Critter and I snuggling up to watch and singing the songs that didn’t bore or irritate me. I marveled at how he actually would retain the knowledge that I would have had a hard time grasping in college, due to the great writing and the interstitials with Dr. Scott the paleontologist. It was obvious to me that Ready Jet Go! would have the same effect, as I could not get the theme song out of my head. This is a good thing, because it may have FINALLY taught me all the planets in the solar system.

During our visit to NASA last summer we met up with Amy Mainzer, an actual rocket scientist who performs experiments on Ready Jet Go!, and were amazed at how cool (and un-selfconsciously gorgeous) she is. I am now always thinking that if I had known Amy and Craig back in my barely-passing-Astronomy college days, I probably would have aced the class. I have now watched Amy create a comet with her own two (heavily gloved) hands with every day materials, and listened to Craig perform new songs from the show that made me want to party down, even if it was 8:30 AM with no alcohol involved.

Produced by Wind Dancer Films, “READY JET GO! follows two neighborhood kids: Sean, who has an all-consuming drive for science facts, and Sydney, who has a passion for science fiction and imagination. They both befriend the new kid on their street, Jet Propulsion, whose family members happen to be aliens from the planet Bortron 7. Together, they explore our solar system and the effects it has on the science of our planet, all while learning about friendship and teamwork along the way.”

Speaking with Executive Producer Dete Meserve at PBS Press Tour where the comet making and booty shaking was instigated, I find that she also is all about bringing science experiments into real life. She shared that at a recent dinner party in her home a question about gravity prompted moving the party outside to test theories. I confessed to her that my college GPA was dragged waaaaay down by the fact that I could never pass a science, causing my friends to band together to drag me through Astronomy 101 and 102 so I could finally graduate. If only I’d been taught to think about science as fun early on the way The Critter is being taught, I’d have been spared all that stress!

Be sure to check your local PBS station’s for air times, and if you’d like to catch up on Dinosaur Train, watch full episodes on PBS Kids, or Netflix!

Amy Mainzer creates a Comet at the PBS Winter Press Tour  2016
Amy makes a Comet!


Golden Globe Memory at the Scout House (or, Only in Beverly Hills…)

Published on Monday, January 11th, 2016

Yesterday was truly a shining example of how business as usual in our town created a surreal-is-this-really-happening? type experience. That we might get a lesson on the technology of fighting terrorism and that I would be introduced to a Golden Globe winner shortly before the win was far from what occurred to me as I was putting together an activity for the Bear Pack and worrying about how we would get to the Scout House, a mere half mile away. The Scout House is a block from the Beverly Hilton, which meant that block was included in a concerted effort to foil any terrorist nonsense that could negatively affect the Globes. In fact the driveway of the house had become a tactical staging post for the FBI, the LA County Sheriff’s Hazmat team, bomb detection personnel, the DEA and the actual check in point for attendee entrance was right smack in front of our Scout House

After much figuring and irritating the BHPD’s non emergency operator, we decided to park at Dr. Leila’s house, then walk the block and a half to the Scout House. This was to be a particularly bittersweet meeting at our Scout House, because it was to be the last. The Los Angeles Country Club wants their plot of land back, and though the club’s Board has decided to allow us to move the house rather than demolish it, we will have to find a new site to move the house, not to mention fund it.

We really had to make that meeting, whether or not the Golden Globes were happening. Eighty years of history are being shoved aside, moved along, and we needed to pay homage by making necklaces with each Scout’s name spelled out in Morse Code, and for the Pack to keep going.

It wasn’t exactly easy to hold the attention of boys with Morse Code when there are tactical weapons and bomb detecting jeeps to explore, but we made a deal that if they behaved through the meeting then we would allow the gracious offer of the LA County Sheriff to give the Scouts a tour of the Hazmat vehicle and that they could commence crawling all over the jeep too. They paid rapt attention to every word from Detective Seibel and Captain Ewell – there was actual glee going on, so much that we forgot that the red carpet for the Golden Globes was happening, even though hundreds of black SUVs and limos were stop-starting a few feet away, the last checkpoint before their destination.

I looked up and saw that Rebecca Eaton of PBS had asked her driver to stop so that she could ask what the bomb detecting jeep was. I explained to her and briefly explained that life in Beverly Hills puts us in these funny situations, that BeverlyHillsMom advocates PBS Kids, and she introduced me to Wolf Hall producer Mark Pybus, I said “See you at Press Tour” then they went and won!

I am going to take this as a good omen for the Scout House, and for everything I need to do this year. Just get up and do it – you will be glad you did.


“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!