Archive for January, 2011

31 Jan 2011

Yelp, “Triple D”, and Me

2 Comments Uncategorized

So, The Boys and I went away for the first time in quite a while. Usually when we go anywhere, it’s to Oregon to see my husband’s family. And, although it’s always extremely enjoyable, we really never go away to just… Go. This was a vacation. We were there for our friend’s father’s 80th birthday party (which was awesome, and an honor), but we tacked on extra days just for fun.

Apparently, “fun” for us is actually “food”. And what has solidified us as people who seek out food for fun? Two things:

YELP

and

DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES.

Where to begin?

Yelp has been an obsession of ours for a couple of years now. It has changed the way we find places to eat, it has made us more adventurous, it has encouraged us to eat at places we never would have tried, and we love it!! We tried, and LOVED, a sushi place in Sherman Oaks that we would have NEVER gone into (it’s attached to a seedy motel and looks like crap from the outside).  When I was working and (my whole family was) staying in Fishkill, NY we spent the weekend in Manhattan and found a lovely, small restaurant called Westville. Their menu was written on a chalkboard and included all kinds of local, organic produce. It was fantastic. On the drive back to Fishkill from Manhattan,  we found a Thai restaurant in the middle of Westchester County when we were STARVING. Before Yelp, we probably would have stopped for some crappy food right off the freeway. But yelp allows us to find new places and read all of the user reviews. It’s been right about 90% of the time. I think that’s a pretty great percentage.

On our trip to New Mexico, we stayed one night in Albuquerque. We had no clue where to eat dinner so we immediately logged on to Yelp. We found a restaurant called Ezra’s Place which was upstairs in a bowling alley. It sounded kitschy and interesting and, according to Yelp, it’s owned by the chef at Sophia’s, which was the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives place we were going to try the next morning. We were not disappointed. The service was fantastic, the food was really good, and the atmosphere was exactly what we were hoping for. Plus, there was a guitar-playing singer who was providing the perfect background music. And after we ate, Garrett bowled a game. It was great.

The next morning was our first “Triple D” breakfast on our trip. I’ll post about all of the great “Triple D” places next.  I’ve been a user of Yelp but not a contributor, until recently. I’m now trying to rate and review the places we eat because it’s only fair. Yelp has been so great for us, and I want others to benefit from my experiences as well.

By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post. No one has ever sponsored any of my posts. Except my husband. He pays me the big bucks to mention him a lot. Like just then, in that last sentence. I just earned five bucks.

29 Jan 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

18 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

How did you meet your spouse or significant other?

If you don’t have one of those, how did you meet your closest friend?

I told the story quite recently, so I won’t go into great detail, but I met my husband when I was acting on a show called Mad TV, and he was in production. The first time we met there were no sparks. Second time? He thought I was kind of a disaster. And vain. But he also thought I was cute. And I thought he was, too. Third time? Sparks. Fireworks. Wedding dresses dancing in my head. After that, we didn’t spend much time apart. Moved in together within five months. He asked me to marry him a year and a half later. The rest is history.

Now, this question is extra special to me because I LOVE STORIES ABOUT HOW PEOPLE MET! So talk slowly. Give me details. GO!

27 Jan 2011

Fear Schmear

18 Comments Family

My son has taken away many of my fears. Fears that I thought were permanently imbedded in my being are all but gone, thanks to my three-year-old boy. This is a benefit of motherhood I was not expecting.

The first fear that I thought I would never lose was my deep, dark, eight-legged fear of spiders. Small, big, black, brown…. It didn’t matter. If it was a spider and I happened to see it, especially if it was crawling, I would break out into a heart-pounding, palm-sweating panic attack.  Seriously.

But something happened the first time Garrett and I saw a spider together. He said it was cute. So I couldn’t kill it. And I couldn’t have a panic attack because then he’d know that I thought spiders were something to fear, instead of something to look at and say, “That’s cute!” So I agreed with him about its utter adorableness and proceeded to save it. I got a plastic cup, a piece of paper, and all of my courage and I took the little bugger outside with a minimum amount of palm sweat.

Since then, I’ve saved at least ten spiders, and I’ve only had one small panic attack which occurred when I saw a HUGE spider, which looked poisonous, hanging out on the door jamb when I was about to walk into the garage. THAT mofo got it’s ass kicked.  Still…

Fear number one: Mostly gone.

My second fear was annoying and inconvenient. The fear of flying. It’s simple, really. Whenever I had to fly anywhere, for anything, I would have severe stomach issues and an inability to sleep. Flying for work? Oof. Stomach pains, gas, possible diarrhea, and nausea. I’d finally get to bed about three hours before I had to wake up, only to lay there staring at the ceiling. When my alarm went off, I’d rush to the bathroom for some more stomach fun and take one of those quick, sad showers where you’re never really standing up straight because you might puke, or faint.

Flying for fun? Only slightly better. All the same symptoms, just a tad less severe. I also have massive packing anxiety, which might be my next post. This anxiety only adds to the stomach problems and sleep issues.  It’s not pretty. And it takes away a lot of my enjoyment of traveling. As a matter of fact, it’s been a major reason for me not wanting to travel much over the years.

Cue the cute, blond boy. Last year, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of work out of town, and doubly fortunate enough to get to take my family along. I wanted it to be a great experience for all of us, and I wanted G’s idea of flying to be that it was fun, wonderful, and the best way to get to anywhere you want to go.

I have found that the best thing to do when I want to show my kid how great everything is, is to pretend everything is great. If it’s pouring outside, it’s THE BEST THING EVER because all of the plants and flowers are finally getting the water they need! If I’m in traffic, it’s THE BEST THING EVER because it gives us more time to look at the sky or listen to songs or talk about dinosaurs. And if I’m on a plane, it’s THE BEST THING EVER because we’re flying up in the sky, above the clouds to get to whatever awesome place we’re going to.  It’s special, and awesome, and people bring us juice and we can open and close the window shades and turn our light off and on. And we can lower our tray table and watch Backyardigan DVD’s!

I pretended that I liked flying. I pretended so well that Garrett believed me. And then this crazy thing happened. I started to believe it, too. And now I still get a tad panicky, but I pretend I don’t. And I don’t have any pooping issues. And I sleep pretty well. And I owe it all to my kid who, by the way, LOVES flying so much it’s INSANE! He even enjoys the whole airport shenanigans, including removing his shoes and jacket to go through security. Yup. He’s made it all much more enjoyable for all of us.

Fear number two: Almost completely gone.

Fear number three: The fear of being silly in public. I used to care what people thought of me when I was out and about in the world. I used to keep my songs inside my head. I’d never skip from the car to the restaurant. I wouldn’t race down the hall of a hotel. And I certainly didn’t blurt out the colors of all the fruits and vegetables at Trader Joes! Now I do all of that and more, without a thought of who’s looking at me or judging me. Garrett has brought out my silly side. I even ran around and around with him in circles at the airport the other day to make the plane come faster. (It totally worked.) And everyone was probably staring. But I didn’t care.

Fear of being silly: GONE GONE GONE.

22 Jan 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

19 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

First allow me to apologize for posting so rarely lately. I don’t want to lose you, my dear readers!!  I will get back on track (or some semblance of it) soon!

Last week I asked you where you live and why you love it. This week, I want to know:

Where in the World have you BEEN and what did you love about it?

I haven’t been many places, but one of my favorite places in the world is Manhattan, NY, which is now tied with Hoboken, NJ. I love the bustling city life, combined with coffee places, book stores, good food, fun shops, easy public transportation, and great people.

The only place outside of the country that I have been is London. I LOVED every second I spent there.  I was there for work, but it turned out to be much more pleasure than work. Every morning, I had tea and croissants in my room. Every day my co-workers and I ate at amazing places. I had tea at a fancy hotel, went to a couple museums, and I spent some time wandering around on my own. I can’t wait to get back there with Russ and G-man who, coincidentally, was conceived the night I got home from London. Te he.

SO tell me where you’ve been and why you love it. Can’t wait to read what you have to say!

17 Jan 2011

How’d You Like a Dutch Oven?

5 Comments Cooking/Baking

About six years ago, I was in a cold reading class in Burbank. One day during break, I was talking to a very sweet guy who was in the class. I can’t remember his name, because I’m TERRIBLE at remembering the names of people who aren’t in my every day life. Anyway, he was lovely, and one day we were chatting about random stuff and he asked what I love to do. I told him I was just really getting into cooking and that I found it to be the most relaxing, zen-like, nourishing thing in the world. (I still feel that way). I asked him what he loved to do, and he told me that he and his partner went flea-marketing every weekend.

He asked if I had a Dutch Oven, and I told him I wasn’t into kinky sex. Then he informed me that a Dutch Oven is an awesome pot for cooking soups and stews, and that he would find one for me at one of his flea markets. I thought that was very sweet and then I forgot about it.

About two weeks later, he came to class with a Dutch Oven for me. It was beautiful, orange, and reminiscent of the Le Creuset line of cookware that I had been drooling over at Williams Sonoma. He informed me that this was the stuff that INSPIRED the Le Creuset cookware and that it was original Descoware from Belgium. I was blown away for so many reasons: 1. I now had this pot that I hadn’t even known existed two weeks earlier, but that would apparently change the way I cook. 2. I had never bought something at a flea market before, so I assumed I was going to be washing the shit out of this pot the second I got home. 3. This man who I barely even KNEW had not only kept his word, but he had so kindly bought someone he barely knew a very special gift. Wow.

Well, I promptly took it home and, as previously mentioned, washed the living shit out of it. Then about a week later, I made beef stew for the first time. It was good, homey and comforting. I had broken in my pot. Since then, I’ve made hundreds of soups, stews, and pasta sauces in my Descoware. And every time I do; honestly every single time, I think of the guy (whose name I can’t remember) who told me he would buy me one… And did. It’s my favorite piece of cooking equipment and I will have it forever.

15 Jan 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

23 Comments Flawless Saturday Question, Uncategorized

Where in the World do you live?  And what do you love about it?

I have always lived in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California.  I love it because it is and always has been my home. I love it because it’s an underdog, always made fun of by those on the “other side” of the hill. I love it because it was once famous for creating the “Valley Girl” which had it’s own song and it’s own movie, and which got me a LOT of attention in the 80’s. I was the ultimate Valley Girl. I still am, actually.

I love it because it’s getting more and more cool restaurants and bars. Not that I go to any of them very much, but I’m glad they’re there because one day I will go to them. I love the trees and the homes and the memories I have here. I love that I know which way is North, and which is South, completely based on Ventura Blvd.  I love that the home I grew up in is here. I love that the home G is growing up in is here.

I love the summers because they’re scorching hot during the day, and absolutely perfect at night. I love how close I am to the beach, and to Hollywood and Downtown L.A. I love it here because it is my home. Why do you love where you live?

12 Jan 2011

No Resolutions

6 Comments Health, Personal Crap

It’s a new year. But that has nothing to do with anything.

It’s been six months since my dad died. That has a lot more to do with it.

Last Monday I stopped stuffing my face with food to stuff down my feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I was feeling what I needed to feel. I still am. But I was using food to make it hurt less, to give me something to do, to give me something else to be frustrated with instead of my loss. But I stopped all of that last Monday.

This isn’t about me losing weight or fitting into my clothes, although I’m looking forward to that. This is about me feeling like myself again and going through what I need to go through without sacrificing my health or too much of my sanity. I’m already feeling like I own my body again. And today I did something I haven’t done in at least a year. I worked out. I walked Bogie for 20 minutes, just to warm up. Then I did Jillian Michaels‘ 30 Day Shred, Level 1. It kicked my ass. It hurt like a bitch. I couldn’t believe how hard it was. And I loved every second of it.

I felt more like myself in the moments after working out, then I have in six months. I felt like I had a little control back. I saw myself in the mirror; my hair up, t-shirt and sweats on. I was sweating like crazy. For the last six months I’ve only had that catharsis after a good cry. And I know I’ll have many more of those. It comes daily, still. I still think about calling him, then remember. I still think to share something with him, then remember. I still pound the steering wheel and curse. And I still will, I’m sure. But today I channeled it all in a way that was so good for me. For ME.

I’m in therapy.

It’s been really good for me.

But it’s also been a lot of hard work, and I’m in the thick of it at this moment. Dealing with shit I would rather run from. I’m not enjoying it all of a sudden. It’s sticky and hard and I resent having to do it. But I’m doing it. For me. And for my husband and son. Because all I honestly want in this lifetime is to feel joy, and to share it with the people I love. And that has never been a hard place for me to get to. And I want to keep it that way.

So I’m working on my brain, and my heart. And now I’m back to working on my muscles, and my heart. And I will do all of this knowing that everything we have here is so fleeting, so temporary. And it doesn’t always come as easily as it usually does for me. It won’t always come as easy.

I’m working on myself now, not for any New Year’s resolutions. But because I love myself and my boys.

Oh, yeah. And abs. I miss my abs.

10 Jan 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things!

3 Comments Toddler

Here are my favorite G quotes from the last two days:

After going #1 in his pants (just a little), he asked me to take him to the potty. “Mom! I peed in my underwear a little!”  Me: “Oh! Did you do it on purpose?” Him: “No. I did it on the couch.”

When I told him he’s a nice person, he said: “I’m not a person! I’m a man!”

“Dad, I’m not having a hard time. I’m having a soft time.”

To the kangaroo at the zoo: “Don’t worry, little kangaroo. I’ll protect you. I’m going to come back later and check on you.”

Upon waking up from his nap: “Mom, we’ve got to go back to the zoo so I can protect the kangaroo!”

“Dad, you can be my age. And I’ll be your age. And then Bogie will be your age and Mommy can be my age!” Us: “That’s a really good movie pitch.”

08 Jan 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

13 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

What are your best diet tips?

It’s January, which means one thing: You’ve gained weight. YES, YOU HAVE! ADMIT IT! And now you’re probably having problems buttoning your pants, or your shirt, or you grimace a little when you see yourself in the mirror. Or, if you’re like me, you started gaining weight in July and now you’ve taken to wearing skinny jeans or leggings, topped with over-sized tunics which give the illusion of you being thinner than you are. And if you haven’t gained weight, you’re some super-human freak who I would rather not associate with. (But I would like your input here!) Or you’ve gained weight, you’re happy with the way you look, and you’re staying that way! Or, last option, you want to take off SOME of the weight you’ve gained, but not all of it, because your husband likes the extra junk in the trunk and boobs in the… Uh… Front seat. And, if you’re one of my male readers, you’ve probably gained 10 or 12 pounds but no one can tell, so you’ve just moved to the next belt loop and you’ve gone on with your year.

With all of that in mind, I’d love to know what tips and tricks have helped you in the past or are helping you now. Is there a program you love? Like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig? I’d also like to know how you made it through the holidays without gaining weight, if you’re one of those people.

And what’s your favorite way to get support? Do you like dieting with friends?  Your spouse? Or are you better off by yourself with no one to answer to?

I am back on LoseIt, which is an iPhone app that helped me lose weight almost two years ago. I was easily keeping it off until my dad passed away, which was apparently an open invitation for me to start shoveling every food I ever wanted into my face, resulting in a nearly 10-pound weight gain. I’m now back on track, tracking my calories, and it was easier to get back to than I thought it would be. I’m only planning to lose 5 of the 10 pounds I gained, and I feel like I’m well on my way.

I haven’t completely started my exercise regimen yet, but I’m doing Wii Fit with my son, and playing a lot of running games with him as well. Soon I’ll start walking again and break out the Jillian Michaels DVD’s I got for Christmas. I’m even considering going back to the gym a few days a week.

And for support? I’m part of a new group on Twitter called Fat to Phat (#fattophat). It’s a group of women (no men yet) who are there to support, laugh and help. I’m loving checking on everyone and having them all check on me. It really is helpful.

Here are the tips that have worked for me in the past, and are working for me now:

Write down what you eat. It’s a huge pain in the butt until you get used to it, but you’d be amazed what it stops you from eating. It’s incredibly helpful to hold yourself accountable like that, and to see it all written down. An app like LoseIt is very good.

Plan ahead whenever you can. If you’re going out to eat, see if there’s a menu online. That way you can plan what you’ll order before you get there, and you won’t be tempted by the rich sauces and cheesy goodness on the menu.

Drink a ton of water. Seriously. A ton.

Fill up on salads, but get the dressing on the side. My parents were in Weight Watchers when I was a kid, and they taught me how to dip my fork in the dressing before each bite, instead of pouring it on the salad. It’s probably saved me thousands of calories over the years.

Don’t obsess. One of the hardest things to do when you’re dieting is to NOT OBSESS. It’s hard to not think and talk about eating and dieting all the time. But try not to for two reasons: 1. You’ll bore everyone around you. (I know. I’ve done it. A lot.)  2. You’ll drive yourself crazy. Better to distract yourself with activities and join a group where it’s safe to talk about your eating habits. (Like #fattophat on Twitter!)

Give yourself a break. If you mess up, don’t go off the deep end because you feel like there’s no fixing it. A mistake is just that: a mistake. And if you have a misstep, you can go right back to doing well. It’s not the end of the world. Just start again.

Please share your tips!! And if you’re on the path to lose weight and get healthier, good luck! Can’t wait to hear from you.

06 Jan 2011

Behind The Scenes Questions, Answered

4 Comments Career

Obviously most of the standups and the questions you ask the homeowner are written, but how much of a show like “Clean House,” for instance, is ad-libbed by the host and clutter crew? There’s a lot of theme-y punning going on, that’s for sure.

Actually, pretty much all of it is ad-lib. There’s a general idea of the information we need to get from the family, or some bit of info that has to come out at some time, but we all just “talk” and get it done. Even the stand-ups are either off the cuff, or written by us, the people saying them. I’d say 90% of what you see is ad-lib. Even the puns! After a while, you just start thinking that way.

How long is a work day? How do you deal with a person who gets mad or rude? Also, please tell me you will be hosting occasionally again! We miss you on tv!

Our work days vary. For Clean House, the host definitely has the shortest work days. There’s usually one 10 to 12 hour day, and two 6 to 8 hour days. The rest of the crew works a lot more. On the other Style show I did, I worked four days that were usually 12 to 16 hours.

When someone gets mad or rude, it’s easy to understand where they’re coming from. This is a stressful situation for them and they’re bound to get a little freaked out. Any time it’s happened, they’ve come back and sincerely apologized. But there’s  really never a need to. We get it.

I don’t know whether or not I’ll be hosting again. I appreciate being missed! I promise I’ll have other stuff coming up. But don’t rush me! I love being with G-Man!! 😉

Forgive me as I am clueless on “Clean House”. Please do explain? Are you not a real mom married to a dude from Eugene? Who would make up Eugene,Oregon of all places?

I am indeed a real mom, married to a real dude from Eugene. I am sometimes on TV playing characters, and other times on TV playing myself. Either way, someone is dressing me and putting on my makeup and doing my hair. But it doesn’t make me any less REAL, damn it! It just makes me cuter.

Do the guys not wear their own clothes either on Clean House?

Without revealing too much, I’ll say this: They are not wearing their own clothes. One of them has a LOT of say in what he does wear, and is very specific right down to the buttons. And he always has on magnificent shoes. The other one pretty much just puts on what’s handed to him, as long as he can button the shirt over his Fabio-esque chest. Guess who’s who.

Keep the questions coming! I love it!


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