I must say I am still on a high from my so-called social media life!
I do love being a blogger, and I love living in Los Angeles. Many of my readers are my friends and have asked me why I get to do fun things and how I find out about them. My answer is usually, “Social Media.” ” I found out online.” “I heard about it on Facebook.” “I just got lucky, I guess.” It’s true, I hear about events or get invited to them many times because of my role as a blogger. I am asked to review something or Tweet about it. This is often in return for free food, a goody bag, or a movie pass. Mostly I would Tweet or Blog about it anyway because I like to share my experiences. I love to write about what is happening in my life. Of course that would include my activities. As I hope I have proven, it is possible to create your own adventures. Anyone can make an adventure out of any outing. Just make it fun and enjoy yourself!
Now and then I find myself in a somewhat surreal position.
All the attendees were asked to use the “hashtag” #GettySocial which makes it so nice to search for all things related to the event on Instagram and Twitter. Take a look, you will find participants and instigators alike hamming it up and enjoying the fruits of their labor. . . you will even find a jingle a la @youtoocanbeguru Bridget Willard!
The highlight for us was hearing the guest speaker, an admired Hollywood business owner, Nic Adler of The Roxy.
Even more exciting was getting to meet him and talk with him. On our way there we discussed what we would ask him if we had the opportunity. He was so approachable and easy to talk with that we soon found ourselves forgetting our prepared questions and just talking about our favorite bands. We talked about how fast tickets sell out these days and Nic gave me a great piece of advice. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before, but it is a great way to use what I consider to be an integral part of social media – Google Alerts! Just set an alert and get an email every time that topic hits the news. Problem solved! Another feature that I discovered . . . You can personalize the freakin’ news in “your world!” http://youtu.be/JmxL5BlVzZQ Just make your own News Channels. Why not?
How do you modify and personalize your Google Platform? Have you been building your own Social Community?
Evan Sanders’ book, The Better Man Project like his blog, successfully enlightens the reader and shares the scope of a brilliant ‘man in progress’ as he discovers himself and learns the valuable lessons of life. What better way to document one’s process of becoming a man than through journal writing and blogging? Devote yourself to becoming a better one! Sanders unlocks the door of each aspect of a man’s world as he breaks through the boundaries of life’s disappointments, anguish, pain, and hostility. He uncovers the mysteries of love, honesty, integrity and respect. His acute sense of understanding the world around him and his ability to relate to all people enables him to share his philosophies and he gifts his inspiration to us in this book. It is not his story. It is not the answer. It is the beginning and the now of a great man and his unique insights to how we can all become better every day.
I learned so much about what it takes for one to proclaim himself a “better man” when I had the opportunity to meet Evan Sandersin person and interview him. He is a delightful young man, wise beyond his years, and I am grateful to have had the chance to get to know him in real life after over a year of “reading into it” on his blog and on Facebook.
Evan is a quote hound. He quotes Churchill and Gandhi with the same admiration as he quotes Will Smith and JayZ! He not only uses quotes, as many of us bloggers do on our posts, he speaks and lives the quotes he knows. He knows them by heart and he breathes their meaning from his soul.
Reading Evan’s book is like getting a series of pep talks for the soul. His purpose is to inspire others to live a bold and powerful life. He believes in protecting women and living a life of passion and purpose. He stands for honesty, loyalty, integrity and respect. He strikes me as a social butterfly on fire, like a sweet fire breathing dragon whose heart shines, ready to conquer the world and help mankind. He is a prophetic poet and writer. He practices acceptance and perseverance.
Will Evan Sanders be the next Tony Robbins? We shall see as he develops himself as a motivational speaker and life coach. Evan is a wonderful and engaging speaker. He is an amazing story teller. When he started answering questions everyone in the room listened intently to the stories and quotes. Sometimes it seemed like he would never get to the point! I was waiting to hear evidence, details of his experience, proof of his understanding and how he came to own his beliefs. I felt this way as I was reading his book. But soon I realized that it doesn’t matter what the details are that brought him to the conclusion, but the fact remains he does understand and has a brilliant gift that brings the reader (or the listener) to a point of confidence.
Evan is careful not to name people and go in to personal descriptions about his life when writing about his experiences in his blog, as most bloggers do. He told me that when he writes about the way he feels about a situation he is going through he believes it might actually change the way things are in his life. If he names the instances and gives details, it most likely won’t change for him. Not having the details makes it more relatable to everyone who reads it. One can use their own life’s experiences or their imagination to fill in the details. Once I opened my mind to the fact that this book wasn’t telling a single story, it was not going to have a beginning, middle and end; I realized how enlightening it is.
This book is a beginning of a journey. It is what is happening right now in a man’s life. You can pick it up and read it from any point and be uplifted and inspired. It will never end because our journey never ends. I have already started re-reading it and enjoying it even more!
It was so enjoyable talking to Evan that I wanted to hear what he had to say on any topic. As he elaborated eloquently on each subject I imagined myself to be a follower of a modern day prophet. He has barely lived yet he has a very deep understanding of life, love, relationships, and hope. As in the book The Prophet by Khalil Gibran when the man who’s ship had come in was about to embark on his great journey he turned to speak to the people and gift them with his lasting impressions. Rather than asking specific questions, I found myself entranced asking Evan to “speak to us about never quitting, speak to us about love, speak to us about passion.” I loved listening to his stories as I do many of the men I admire in my own life. He is bright and energetic, smart and hopeful, deep in his understanding of life and the importance of love. He cares about other people and wants to make a difference in the world.
I believe a man isn’t a man unless he has a good fish story. Evan puts life into perspective through all of his tales but his tale of his deep sea fishing experience is what made me believe he has become a better man. He had me in tears as I was reminiscing about my father, my brother, husband and sons telling their tales as I read his. I remember being with my dad when I saw him catch a rainbow trout with his bare hands over the side of a boat in Chama, New Mexico. A man can relate so much about the achievements and anguish of his life through a fish story. All the men I admire in my life have the ability to relate that message at the very base of who they are. If you value life and appreciate love as much as you do with all the effort it takes to catch a big fish then you have learned what it takes to be a real man. Especially if you can appreciate the value of the lesson learned when one gets away. Evan is such a man. He uses fishing as an example of never quitting.
“Keep fishing for the big one and don’t mind if it hurts or takes a long time. Take risks and keep on fishing.”
It’s not a book about fishing, body building, working out or baseball – but Sanders translates what he has learned about perseverance in the gym and on the field into relevant terms to motivate you in all areas of life’s struggles. I encourage you to read The Better Man Project. Get to know Evan Sanders and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. We should all be so lucky as to have a friend like Evan. We should all strive to be a friend like him.
“I will keep my focus on turning darkness into light and then encouraging others to do the same. Love. Passion. Never quit.” – Evan Sanders
I had such a wonderful adventure over the weekend!! I shared it with my So Cal Lady Blogger friend, Mary, from Along Comes Mary. She just posted this fantastic and detailed overview of our experience! I asked Mary if it was okay to invite you over to her blog to check it out. So, c’mon now! Don’t be shy! All you have to do is click on the link and you will get the skinny on our super fun trip to San Francisco! Enjoy! Please let me know what you think!
Step it up Grab your phone Get your suitcase There is no time to waste A big adventure awaits (Tori Amos, 500 Miles)
Did you miss me?! I have been AWOL for afew days. It was not planned, but what happens when one of your friends from SoCal Lady Bloggers, Melissa of Miz Meliz, is searching for a partner in crime to drive up the coast with in order to attend the book launch party for Evan of Better Man Project? Well, if you’re me, & in need of a getaway, you say YES. We left last Friday & returned Sunday, but within that time frame, we: Got pea soup, wine tasted in Solvang, searched for garlic ice cream, got amazing food in the Castro district, saw Golden Gate Bridge, Went to The Walt Disney Family Museum, The Snow White Exhibit, met up with Susan Cooper from Finding…
In order to express myself, I must first accept myself.
One of my biggest fears about expressing myself and sharing my creativity and talents has always been the fear of being laughed at or dismissed. I have so many defense mechanisms in place to avoid being laughed at and ridiculed. I don’t want to place blame. That doesn’t change things now. Heck, I don’t even want to explore the reasons why I am the way I am. It won’t really matter. I already know. I am the way I am. I accept myself the way I am. I have fears and I handle them.
I am at a point in my life that I have accepted myself and now I am ready to express myself. I began doing that when I began blogging. Sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences with the “world” – with you – has been the key that unlocked my true self and set me free! That freedom has fueled the flame that keeps my desire for love, joy and happiness burning in my heart.
It’s my time to shine!
This week I had the opportunity to share one of my poems at a performance of spoken word alongside some very talented musicians, poets, and artists. When I was asked if I wanted to read a poem I said, “Yes!” without hesitation. When I was asked if I was nervous, I said, “Yes!” but it was the excitement kind of nerves, not the sick or stage fright kind. The fears that came to mind were brief fleeting moments of panic. What if I mess up? What if they laugh at me? What if no one likes my poem. What if I get sick to my stomach? What if I have an anxiety attack? What if I get a migraine or vertigo and can’t go on? These things have happened before.
The thoughts of my biggest fears did not remain in my consciousness for very long. I have always wanted to get to a point in my life where the things I enjoy doing are not a challenge. They are just a part of me. I want to show the world that I can do these things well. I have always wanted to be able to share my talents without concern for what others think, without fear of judgement. This was significant in my life’s journey because I have now become more confident in myself and my abilities than ever before. It was because of that confidence that I did not get nervous or sick. And you know what? I rocked it! It was great! Not just because I did not get ill. Not just because my friends said I was good. Not just because I didn’t mess it up. I enjoyed the experience. I shared my talent with my friends and family. And – no one laughed! I did great because I believed in myself.
The Urban Desert Cabaret
Thursday night’s performance of The Urban Desert Cabaret was a show that my cousin, Joe City Garcia arranged. The show takes place about once a month and if you like folk music, art, and poetry – you should definitely see it. Most of the performers have a few things in common, they either know Joe City and/or have some connection to Joshua Tree – a community of artists who live or work in the desert. These men and women all have a soulful camaraderie and connection to the earth, to light and to love. Even if you just appreciate great music and song – this show is for you! You can read more about UDC in my previous posts: Hollywood Nights and Urban Desert Cabaret.
I don’t want to forget anyone, so here is the line up from the January 31st show: Guest artists: Billy Gill (songs), Paul McCarty (songs) Monique Caruso (songs), Cari Banke (art/spoken word), Lalo Kikiriki (song/spoken word), Laura Anne Lacy (songs), Miz Meliz (Melissa Reyes) (spoken word) and more TBA! Plus songs and jams with the UDC combo: Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia. First, Joe City and the Urban Desert Cabaret combo band started off the show with a few songs. Their music is transfixing. It brings me to a place of soulful reflection. Have you ever driven through the desert and listened to the album by U2, Joshua Tree? It opens up your horizons. That is how Joe’s music is to me! He is a rock star that I have admired my whole life.
Joe thanked everyone for coming and explained a bit about UDC. Then, he said something like “who wants to go first?” and at that moment, I had just stood up. He looked at me and said, “Miz Meliz – are you ready?” I had told myself ahead of time that whenever he asked me I would say, “I am ready!” and I did. And I was! I didn’t expect to go first, but I was happy to because then I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show. It was a bit of a bummer because some of my friends missed it, but it was good for me.
Next up was a great performer who played accordion and sang, her name is Lalo. . . her songs were light and fun and she told her stories in a way that made me smile. She was a bit of a crack up and brought some humor to the scene. After Lalo, Billy Gill came up and performed a few songs. His guitar playing is remarkable and his singing is impressive! I enjoyed the guitarist Monique Caruso and was impressed that one of the pieces she performed had just been written the night before! (I wrote the poem that I read over a decade before!! Some people cant help but share their talent, it precedes them.) Then we had the pleasure of a performance by the Wicked Saints with Paul McCarty and Retro Rob Thomas. They were awesome!
Cari Banke spoke about her art that donned the walls all evening and shared some introspective poetry that she wrote to accompany her pieces. When she took the stage, she said, “Are you all in a good mood? Having a good time? Well, I am about to bring you down.” Her art and poetry was about genocide and survival. She was very insightful and did manage to leave everyone on an upbeat note! There was more singing and guitar playing, more poems were shared and the UDC combo wrapped up the evening with more tunes. It’s surprising that all of this is put together and performed without rehearsals or much else in the way of planning. It always comes off flawlessly, because of the spirit and expertise of Joe City – all the performers make a commitment to be there and they bring their best to share for that moment. It was an honor to be a part of it!
Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with some very creative friends that shared their unique talents with others too! I have recently shared some of my humor with Fazel Huts and I always say that laughter is the best medicine but a true comedienne is a hot commodity! It is not easy to be a woman and be funny. That’s why I love the Two Funny Brains!
I had the unique opportunity to visit Jessica Bern and attend a “girly clothes party” at her home. Debbie Anderson was there, too. I couldn’t believe how lucky I am! I asked Jessica, “You know who I am, right?” when she invited me to this intimate setting. She was surprised by my question. I know we are friendly on Facebook and have “talked” late into the night via instant message on many occasions. But to me, she is a total rock star and I am a total groupie! (I met Jessica for the first time when I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This.)
To me being “a total rock star” is being able to show off your talents in a big way. I admire everyone who does that and makes it look so easy. I know it is not easy.
The Poetry Salon
After hanging out with the ladies at Jessica’s house, I headed over to The Fat Dog Fairfax, a fun eatery in Hollywood. I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a special event hosted by Jennifer Styperk, poet and CEO of Poetry Salon. It was their annual Valentine’s Day event to kick off this season of love. What better way to celebrate your love for someone than by getting them a bespoke poem for the occasion. (A bespoke poem is a custom crafted work of art based on stories you provide, inspired by an individual muse whom you want to honor.) I was thrilled to meet this amazing entrepreneur rock star poet! I was impressed that Jennifer took her talent as a poet and made it into a business that is thriving and employs and engages other poets to use their craft to help others. (See this great blog post with an interview of Jennifer Styperk for more about Poetry Salon and Bespoke Poems: http://mngirlinla.com/2013/02/04/looking-for-a-personalized-gift-try-out-poetry-salon/#comment-22702)
Creativity and rocking a special talent comes naturally to some people and it is a difficult journey for most. No matter what, keep at it! Don’t ever give up hope! Face your fears. Find ways of making it work. It’s your time to shine!
Behind the scenes busy at work at all the above events are the bloggers that I know that help to promote and in doing so are encouraging and supporting one another constantly. Please check out their blogs, Like them on Facebook, and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Carolyn,Jamie,AJ, and Deanna. I had a blast sharing these experiences with them and I am glad to have their friendship!
Fazel Huts are things that make you laugh out loud.
We all know laughter is the best medicine. A good chuckle is a wonderful way to lighten things up. It is especially nice when we can laugh at ourselves.
This is where I will share things that crack me up, tickle my funny bone, and gives me the giggles.
What are Fazel Huts, you want to know? Well, let me tell you! One day my husband, son, and I were up extra early to take my other son to a lacrosse tournament. After an hour drive at day break we dropped him off and then we went through McDonalds to get a bite and some much needed coffee.
I asked my hubby to get me a non-fat hazelnut latte. He said sure and repeated it, “non-fat hazelnut latte.”
When he gave the order he said, “a hazel fat latte please” which totally cracked us up. It took him a few times before he got it right and he was a little embarrassed.
My son and I were quiet until we drove off. Then I said, “Hazel fat latte? What”s that?”
My husband began laughing so hard he could barely see to drive! All three of us got the giggles. We said it wrong trying to repeat the story. I couldn’t get it right when I read it back after posting the quip on Facebook. It finally evolved to Fazel Hut.
A Fazel Hut Latte is now what my drink is called in my family. It’s one of those “you had to be there” kind of stories, I know. But you get the idea!
For now on, things that make me laugh until I cry and that make my family laugh out loud will be known to me as Fazel Huts. And I hope to share them with you, too!
We are lucky to have some good restaurants in Northridge and most of them are near or at the Northridge Fashion Center. This week marks the opening of a wonderful chain restaurant at the mall. It is located where the Cost Plus World Market has been for the past several years. I was saddened by the closing of that store and many others in the “new” section of the mall which is adjacent to the movie theaters. I am now hopeful that having the Yard House there will bring more new stores and restaurants to that part of town.
The Yard House is on the Plummer Street side of the mall and the closest parking is near the movie theaters. Parking is free, but they do provide valet parking.
YARD HOUSE NORTHRIDGE
9301 Tampa Avenue
Northridge, CA 91324
The Yard House has a Facebook Page that has pictures and events posted. It seems like a great place to work and the staff appear to enjoy being part of a community. Their online presence makes you feel like a part of something and I liked that.
The service is very good. I have eaten at the one in Lancaster, CA and I enjoyed it. I went there for a late dinner with my nephew after a photo shoot. We drove out of our way to eat there and I was so hungry. I thought it might be out of my price range that evening and they had a huge menu. I just wanted a quick bite! I was pleasantly surprised that they had a late night happy hour! We ordered and appetizer and sliders. We also did a sampler of their brews. Everything was terrific and very affordable!
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a VIP party at the Yard House in Northridge which preceded a “Soft Opening.” What does all that mean? It means free food and drinks! I had the unique opportunity to try samples of many of the menu items as well as awesome full size cocktails from the bar. I want to thank the Yard House and their marketing team for having this event. I was so pleased to be able to share with my online community by Tweeting and posting pictures to Instagram about the event. This is why bloggers are invited and a friend from my So Cal Lady Bloggers group on Facebook was nice enough to include me.
As soon as I walked in the door, servers were offering me samples of food which were served in bite sized portions on small plates. Here is what I got to try:
FIRECRACKER WINGS boneless chicken, tossed in a spicy sesame garlic plum glaze garnished with green onions, the
BLUE CRAB CAKES with mango papaya chutney, passion fruit beurre blanc and tomato oil
SHIITAKE GARLIC NOODLES tossed with butter, garlic & shiitake mushrooms, topped with parmesan & chives
GINGER CRUSTED NORWEGIAN SALMON wasabi mashed potatoes, snow peas, carrots and spicy peanut vinaigrette topped with fried carrot strings
MINI CREME BRULEE with vanilla bean custard and chocolate topped with caramelized bananas
My son (who was graciously my “plus one”) and I made our way through the very large restaurant and found an open table outside on the spacious patio. It was drizzling but there were large umbrellas over all the tables and powerful heaters so we were very comfortable outside. Our server, Sean, came by and asked if he could bring us anything and took our drink orders. He answered our questions and made us feel right at home. He brought me my first of the two free drinks that were included for the VIP event.
Here are the drinks that I tried from the Specialty Drink Menu:
SOUTHERN BELLE jeremiah weed sweet tea vodka, lemonade, fresh strawberries and pineapple
MOJITO cruzan citrus rum or traditional | mango • pomegranate • strawberry
I give the Yard House in Northridge an A+! Everything was wonderful! I really liked the Margarita. I didn’t finish the Southern Belle because it was too fruity and sweet for me. Sean offered me something else to try and I asked for the Mojito. Also a bit sweet, I added some water and ice and it was perfect.
The music they played was fantastic, I loved it because it was mostly 80’s music and I thought I must fit the demographic for this place perfectly! My teenage son enjoyed the TV screens all around (yes, even on the patio.) When the event was over and we had finished our second serving of the Banana Creme Brulee, Sean told us that we could stay and were welcome to order off the menu if we wanted to pay for a meal or any more drinks. We decided to take a look at the menu.
Confession #1, I ate too much! I tried all of those samples and because they were mini versions I felt like I had eaten a small amount. I realized that I was full just about the time our entrees arrived!
Confession #2, I drank too much! I didn’t drink all three drinks, but they were full size drinks with a lot of alcohol and fruit. Too sweet for me being a Diabetic. My bad! Slap my hand, please! I should have had a glass of wine. The Yard House has a great big menu with lots of choices, an extensive wine list and a beer menu. They also have a FRESH & SKINNY drink menu! The next time I go there, I will be sure to try a cocktail from that menu. The Yard House caters to an eclectic crowd and has specialty menues to serve any taste. In addition to the “skinny” drink choices, there are full menues for the vegan, the gluten sensitive, the health conscious, the gourmet and even kids!
My son and I enjoyed the foods we tried. Here is what we ordered from the menu:
(MAC + CHEESE)2 chicken breast, applewood bacon, wild mushrooms, cheddar, parmesan, campanelle pasta and truffle oil
CHICKEN ENCHILADA STACK pasilla peppers, garlic cream, jack cheese, corn tortillas, pinto beans, tomatillo, red chili sauce and sour cream
Luckily, Dan (our second awesome server, yes we were there for a long time!) brought us a “doggie bag” to take home our left overs!
Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dennis Quaid star in “Playing For Keeps,” a romantic comedy about a charming, down-on-his luck former soccer star (Butler) who returns home to put his life back together. Looking for a way to rebuild his relationship with his son, he gets roped into coaching the boy’s soccer team. But his attempts to finally become an “adult” are met with hilarious challenges from the attractive “soccer moms” who pursue him at every turn.
“Playing For Keeps” is directed by Gabriele Muccino, the director of “The Pursuit of Happynesss.”
This sounds like a great flick! Maybe a Date Night or Girl’s Night Out Movie. I can’t wait to see it! AND I want to offer you a chance to see an advance screening!
Join me at a special advance screening of Film District’s new movie, PLAYING FOR KEEPS in Los Angeles on Thursday, December 6th. The screening will take place at AMC Century City at 7:30 PM.
Here is how it works: the first ten people who reply in the comments with the correct answer to my Miz Meliz Movie Question will get the code to access the free pass!
You should arrive by 7:00PM to redeem your screening passes.
The Miz Meliz Movie Question is:
What is a movie or TV series that Dennis Quaid is in? Put your answer to the question in the comments. (That is it! It’s so easy! I know!)
Just respond in the comments with a correct answer and you are a winner!
I will send you a confirmation email with instructions on how to get your movie passes. Just be sure that before you answer, you can actually attend the screening. You must provide your own transportation. You must be available to go to the screening in Los Angeles, CA on December 6th and you and your guest must be able to arrive by 7:00 PM.
Good luck! I can’t wait to review this movie and get your reactions to it!
Even if you can’t see the movie on the 6th, let me know what you think of the film if you see it. I can’t wait to hear from you!