NYC, LONG ISLAND AND A FILM FESTIVAL:

Hellooooo!  It's embarrassing how long this post has been sitting unedited in my que! So finally it's posted ✓.... Mixing business with pleasure is always a win~win for me. Especially when it involves travel, family, friends and the honor to be an official selection at a pretty awesome Film Festival. My little film 'WAITING TO DIE IN BAYSIDE QUEENS' is a short film about my life at age 15 as an overly dramatic hypochondriac growing up in Queens, NY. Yes, it's a comedy.  Writing this story was actually my daughter's idea, seems I've told her some very colorful stories over the years about me and the 1970's. Oh and she happens to be an actress, so she played me, that's pretty surreal. We filmed it in only one weekend. The crew were friends of hers and friends of friends who read the script and thought is was really funny, which made me really happy! And they were all completely amazing and talented and amazing. I know I said that twice, but they deserve it. And also my husband, handsome, as I like to call him, who Executive Produced with me and stepped in to play my Uncle the Dr. which he now considers his claim to fame and is waiting for his Oscar

That's us down there, looking like ants. Me, my Daughter and our Director doing Q & A after the screening. We've done a lot of these but never in such a large theater, 800 people! It was really fun having people come up to me after telling me that they grew up in Bayside or their parents are from Queens, or just that they could relate in general. The film is an Official Selection in 9 festivals so far! EKKKK! We've won a Best Screenplay Award, Best Actress Award, a Best Overhaul Short Form and a Best Editor Award. And that's so exciting but the Stony Brook Festival on Long Island holds a special place in my heart. We were told we were their first locked film and chosen out of thousands of entries. I cried. My family came, my dear friends came, and my best friends from Jr. High and High School, one of whom I have not seen in 40 years came! I cannot express how much that meant to me, I cried, again.
                   Love everyone in this row!
Me & my daughter Dana, who plays the main character Jordyn Sherman.
Dana and our talented director Garrett Trip.

This festival was extremely generous and put us in a lovely hotel called Danford's at the Marina in Port Jefferson Long Island. Such a quaint little town with historic homes dating back to the 1800's.

                 
                                    
We came in a day early to play and spend the day in the city with our favorite peeps. And we did, 16 hours of the day to be exact! I like this picture of me below because you can't tell how much I am dripping with sweat, seriously dripping, and it was taken right before my hair went to the dark side. I moved to the west coast to avoid humidity. In spite of that, it was a fabulous day.
Made a pilgrimage to the lower east side, Orchard Street to be exact, I hadn't been in years. It holds many memories for me as the place my parents would take me and my sister every September to buy school clothes directly from the manufacturers' showrooms and then we'd eat at Katz's Deli and my Dad would point to the salamis and tell us that his uncle used to send him salamis from Katz's when he was in the Army. He told us the same story every time, and we never got tired of hearing it. It's been gentrified and is apparently now a chic place to live. In those days it was pretty slummy and full of tenements and you only went there for bargains and Katz's. Buildings have been remodeled, chic boutique hotels have sprung up and the only slums left are housed in an actual Tenement Museum. We found a new favorite restaurant (new to us) on this trip called Russ and Daughters on Orchard Street seriously amazing.


At the end of the day we headed uptown to one of our favorite restaurants Aria, in Hell's Kitchen, another neighborhood that was off limits when I was growing up. When I was in college at FIT on West 27th Street between 7th & 8th Ave., we were only supposed to go toward 7th Ave., never, ever the other way towards 8th, 9th or 10th. And heaven forbid 11th which has turned into a great neighborhood full of restaurants and co-ops that now no one can afford. Joined at Aria by friends who have a stunning apartment in Hell's Kitchen, check out the pics from their roof top after dinner.
I've become an expert at quick trip packing. I used to say I needed choices, now I choose carry on.  My packing advice is mix and match everything, chose on outfit for each day and wear the same thing to travel to and from. Easy, unless we're talking about shoes and that's another story.
Next up for 'Waiting To Die In Bayside Queens' we set sail for Catalina Island then off to North Carolina and St. Louis. 



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MOTIVATION MONDAY: OCTOBER

Hellooo,

Happy Motivation Monday on this first beautiful Monday of October! I love October, the crisp air,(finally in Los Angeles), the blooming sunflowers, and of course the pumpkins!!! I love decorating with pumpkins. Truth is I'm obsessed, really, I have a pumpkin problem. I can't get enough of them. I decorate with them for fall, then for Halloween and then transform them back for Thanksgiving. And no matter how old I get or how old my daughter gets we will never give up the tradition of going to a pumpkin patch. And so we did. We checked out pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, the petting zoo and we bought some fruits and veggies from the fresh farm stand but I have to admit we went to Trader Joe's after to actually buy our pumpkins, the difference between $10 - $20 and $2.99. I'm obsessed but I'm not stupid :O

Fall is a good reminder to shed the things that no longer serve us, watch the trees, they show us the way.
HELLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOO



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HEALTHY UP YOUR HOLIDAY FOOD:

I decided to healthy up Rosh Hashanah dinner yesterday. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and if you know anything about Jewish in general, every holiday is about food.  Food, food and more food. Delicious, artery clogging, fattening, bloat inducing food. Oh, and guilt if you don't eat the food.
Traditionally on the new year you are supposed to eat sweet things, so you'll have a sweet year. Makes sense, very practical. Unless like me, sugar is your nemesis. I love it, it hates me. Once the holiday season starts to roll around it's a real challenge to stay away from the white poison, as I call it. Even at Thanksgiving my husbands amazing, (made from scratch), creamed corn has a secret crunchy topping on it that everyone loves. Here's the secret, (sorry handsome), it's ground up Captain Crunch cereal. Captain Crunch!!!! We can't blame him, he's from the Midwest.

My memories of Jewish Holidays often revolve around some of my favorites, Matzo Ball soup, Matzo Bri, Matzo Pudding and Matzo Kugel. You get the picture. Matzo is made out of flour and water. That's it. Kind of like paste running through your veins. Matzo, I love it, it hates me. Also, the famous meat of all Jewish Holidays ~ the Brisket. A big slab of meat smothered with sweet gravy.  

Since I no longer eat red meat, and being the rebel that I am, I decided to make a turkey. I went to three markets and no one had any turkeys. The first meat dept. manager looked at me like I was crazy and felt the need to tell me that Thanksgiving is in November.  The second offered me a pre-cooked pre-wrapped turkey breast that looked like a big bald bunch of jellied meat substitute and the third meat dept. manager showed me to the packages of turkey legs and wings and said that's all they had. I asked him what they did with the rest of the turkey???

So I bought a chicken. Since we have chicken a lot I took to my trusty Pinterest food board to try and find a fabulous recipe for a chicken. And I did. Chicken rosemary (from our garden) stuffed with apple with new potatoes, sweet potatoes and garlic cloves that caramelized just thrown in the pan and were so delicious. The apple was the sweet part, for the new year. I used a little chicken broth in the pan instead of the wine it called for. The house smelled heavenly, and the chicken was amazing. Find the recipe here.
As a side dish I made Tzimmes. I had never made this traditional Jewish dish before. It called for brown sugar, that's a no, so I used honey. I couldn't really find one good recipe I liked so I read a few and then made up my own. I do that. I cut up carrots and dried fruit, cranberries, apricots, even a prune, and used the juice on an orange that mixed with the honey to form a glaze that was really delicious. And I put in a cinnamon stick too. Dried fruit naturally has a lot of sugar so I did not add any other except the honey.
The Moist Apple Cake was a random recipe I saw on line from Egglands Best, I couldn't pin it so here it is, very easy.


  • 4 cups of diced apple
  • 2 cups of flour (I used gluten free)
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar (I used a little honey, you could also use stevia)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 large beaten eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine eggs, sweetener, applesauce and diced apples. Mix in egg and nuts. In another bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt cinnamon and nutmeg (I must confess I never sift). Add to apple/egg mixture and stir until mixed well. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. I used two small bunt pans instead. Bake for 1 hour.
Whatever your traditional foods are, remember there is always a way to make them healthier. You can still have your cake and eat it too :)

Here are some common and healthy ingredient swaps;

  • One banana = two eggs
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce = 1/2 cup of butter
  • One cup of Greek yogurt = one cup of sour cream 
  • One cup of crushed nuts = one cup of bread crumbs
  • One cup mashed avocado = one cup of mayo
  • Substitute dates for sugar 
  • Substitute nut flour for 1/2 all purpose flour


MOTIVATION MONDAY:

Happy September!  Not much motivation needed on this Monday if you're off for the holiday :)  Hard to believe it's the beginning of fall! September's the slow down month, our body clocks are ready to sip apple cider, buy new boots and throw the first log on the fire. And I look forward to all of those things, but probably not until November! Here in Southern Cali we're having a heat wave so it's sandals, shift dresses and oodles of ice tea. Yesterday when I got in the car it was 124 global warming degrees. I'm not complaining, I had a great weekend floating on my pool raft, gardening with my family and making plans for fall because it always shows up eventually.
I took this picture on Tuesday at the opening of this beautiful new park by my office. It looks a little like fall but in reality it was broiling. You'd never know it by looking at these Mounties on horseback, calm, cool and collected. How do they do that!?!
Tea makes everything better.
Good things to remember.