Friday, July 3, 2015

Less Talking More Stripping: Magic Mike XXL Review



I saw Magic Mike in theaters not once... but twice (as in I-actually-paid-for-tickets twice to see it - crazy, I know). I've been waiting for the sequel ever since. I was so excited to see Channing Tatum playing with his blow torch to Ginuwine's "Pony" that I went to see the flick at an opening day matinee on Wednesday. It didn't disappoint (much). 

The movie was ridiculously cheesy... I expected nothing less from a movie about male strippers -excuse me... male entertainers - but it was borderline ridiculous. The movie is long and I remember thinking to myself halfway through it: LESS TALKING, MORE STRIPPING (I mean dancing/entertaining). Everything is over the top... I'm talking a security-guarded "Haunted Mansion" looking male stripper brothel; five horny MILFs in another mansion who aren't looking for a par-tay but are happy one showed up on their doorstep in the form of male strippers; and the same strippers packed like sardines in a convertible Rolls Royce rolling into Myrtle Beach for a last-hurrah stripper convention. But hey... Channing and crew did add "XXL" to the title of the movie so I knew it would be over the top.

Fortunately bigger was better in many ways. Moviegoers will not be disappointed by the male "entertaining" scenes... they deliver. The last 15-20 minutes of the movie make the melodrama well worth it - look for Channing's duet with "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and "Ellen" DJ Twitch. It's hot. NFL alum and morning talk show host Michael Strahan makes a guest appearance in the movie and let me put it like this... I will never, ever, ever look at him the same again... ever. And there's a scene with Joe Magnaniello dancing in a convenience store to the Backstreet Boys that is one of the best scenes in a movie I have ever seen. Ever. I was still laughing and crying twenty minutes after it was over. Super hot Matt Bomer's pipes (by that I mean singing voice) are on full display too. These highlights make sitting through the rest of the movie totally worth it.

My verdict: if you liked the first movie, you'll appreciate this one. Get your friends together, have some cocktails and see it. 

c. Warner Bros. Pictures

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Destined for Greatness: Misty Copeland

I audibly shrieked when I came across the social media post last year - Misty Copeland was coming to Dallas to promote her book, "Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina." Who is Misty Copeland? She's a stunningly beautiful ballerina with the body of an athlete. Her Instagram page is full of insane, jaw-dropping powerful pics of athleticism in tutus and leotards. She's kind of a big deal. I bought my VIP ticket to the book signing then texted one of the guest coordinators on The Broadcast to see if she could get Misty in studio for a segment. Shortly thereafter, Misty was confirmed and I'd get to check an interview with this young lady off of my bucket list. 

The day of the interview, Misty walked into the studio all by herself. There was no entourage. No handlers or PR people. Just Misty with her perfect ballerina bun and beautiful smile. I'd read her book in the days leading up to the interview so I felt like I already knew her. We chatted about growing up in California and our shared childhood aspirations of being professional cheerleaders. Then I got a little serious with her - I asked how she felt about discussing race and racism during our interview. Misty is very candid and unapologetic when discussing racism and how it's affected her career. She was game. Nothing was off limits. She kept it real and I love her even more for that. 

The interview was awesome... we even had some adorable little ballerinas join us at the end of the second segment! CUTENESS ALERT! You can check out the interview here:


I knew big things were going to happen for this young lady. Sure enough, Misty was featured in an inspiring Under Armour ad campaign a couple of months after our interview and she BLEW UP! From appearances at Black Girls Rock and the MET Gala, she's become a style icon on red carpets from coast-to-coast. And she continues to do great work with the Boys & Girls Club and inspiring young ballerinas of color. 

Well, Misty made history today when she was promoted and has now become the first African-American principal ballerina of New York's American Ballet Theatre. There will be a mother-daughter trip to NYC soon to catch her on stage. Bravo Misty!


c. Brown Girls Do Ballet

c. Brown Girls Do Ballet

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Broadcast Reunion!

I apologize for the unplanned hiatus - a nasty sinus infection triggered a migraine which triggered back spasms. I was laid up in bed for a good week trying to get better. All's well after a round of antibiotics and some rest... just what the doctor ordered!

And none too soon or I would've missed this fabulous lunch today with my Broadcast family. Our former executive producer Stuart is leaving to take a new job in Jacksonville so we got together for one last group lunch. I miss working with these folks everyday - it was an awesome ride!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Oh Cinderella!

I had the chance to take Bryn to see a musical production of Cinderella presented by Dallas Summer Musicals. I wrote a guest blog about our experience - you can check it out on my girlfriend Cynthia's Oh So Cynthia blog. 


Thursday, June 11, 2015

There's no place like home...

Every once in a while, I get homesick. I'd do anything to click my heels three times and end up on my mom's door step in Los Angeles. Today was one of those days. My nephew graduated from high school! Congrats Corey James!












Friday, June 5, 2015

The last day of school...

We made it!!!!! Another school year is in the books!!!!
 
First day of school/last day of school '14-'15!
 

He's a fifth grader now!

Wrapping up first grade!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Restaurant Review: Kona Grill

We don't cook much... between Will's therapy in the afternoons and Bryn's activities, we usually end up eating out (one can only throw so many meals in the crockpot). For a while, pickings have been slim in the area, but lots of new restaurants are opening up in our neck of the woods. A new chain restaurant opened up in Plano recently and we decided to check it out.
 
So... Kona Grill. Seemed to have an upscale vibe from the outside but I noticed online it had a kids menu... SCORE! We actually managed to get a reservation on a Friday night too... not because it wasn't crowded, but because the place was huge! Parking was a little tough too - the restaurant sits next to an Eatzi's and a new apartment complex. While we found refuge on the restaurant side of the place, the bar and patio were packed with grown folks enjoying the nice weather (we had a quick break from the rain) and happy hour specials.
 
To say this place is kid-friendly is an understatement. From Etch-A-Sketches for each kid and bento boxes complete with orange creatures, Bryn proclaimed it was her favorite restaurant ever! I enjoyed a strawberry basil lemonade (adult) before I munched down on sushi (soft shell crab) and lobster mac-n-cheese. Overall, it was really good. Our sweet server seemed nervous though - he introduced himself four times. And another waiter spilled a glass of water on his table. Eek! Growing pains for sure...

We look forward to going back.

Kona Grill





 
 


Monday, May 25, 2015

10 Shades of Success

I am so honored to be included in one of the most amazing groups of women - and we'll be celebrating this week at the 10 Shades of Success gala. 10 Shades of Success presents a mission to bring forth influential, empowering, and successful women by acknowledging their involvement in the community and excellence in specific areas of expertise. I am so grateful to be included in this year's event.

Yesterday we had our group photo shoot and I did something I've NEVER done before - bring my kids! Lucky for me, I did. Bryn grabbed her iPod touch and started snapping behind-the-scenes pics - she caught this gem. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the shots!
























The event is this Thursday and will be emceed by K104's DeDe Maguire. There will be a seated dinner and silent auction. Here's the info from the official press release and more information about purchasing tickets!

Dallas, TX- Thursday, May 28, 2015 : 10 Shades of Success debuts its 2nd annual event in support of 10 Notable and Influential women in Dallas to celebrate their achievements while donating to Trend Next-What’s Now, What’s New, What’s Next on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at The Space venue located at 2516 Florence, St., Dallas, Texas 75204 at 6:30 p.m 
 
This year's event takes on a special meaning and notoriety as past honoree DeDe McGuire of DeDe in the Morning returns to emcee the celebration of women and charity. Southern is the theme, Chef Richard of Catering by Chef Richard and celebrity Chef Meshelle will serve a surprise  platted meal and a special guest bakery with delectable desserts. Guests can expect a special cocktail hour for photo opportunities with all 10 Honorees and Founder/President, Karen Michelle. “It is my personal and business goal to bring successful women in one room to recognize their achievement’s and to also have all of us join for one common success story of supporting Trend Next," said Karen Michelle. “The idea is to create an atmosphere of leading ladies that will continue to carry their career efforts outside of this event and share the message of being an advocate for charitable causes.” 

10 Shades of Success has an active mission to bring forth influential, empowering, and successful women; utilizing their involvement in the community to generate awareness towards charitable initiatives. The vision is to become one of the most successful, leading example women organizations within the Dallas sector to raise a generous amount of funds to donate to a non-profit organization and impact the message of charity.  
 
“Trend Next”- What’s Now, What’s New, What’s Next’s founder Shamequia Cason said, “It is both humbling and exciting to serve among such an elite group of women and having Trend Next as the recipient organization, to see the recognition of our cause placed on the forefront, serves as a for sure sign that we are going in the right direction with organ donation and transplantation awareness.” Trend Next recently partnered with Donate Life Texas, the national organ donation registry to incorporate their presence with all events to raise the number of registered donors. Trend Next also supports the Baylor Health Care System Foundation where the goal is to give back to an organization that so graciously invested in Shamequia’s life story via printed materials, commercials, billboards, and an aggressive ad campaign to expose the gift of organ transplantation.  
 
Several local influencers from last year’s honorees included DeDe Mcguire, Natalie Tastle, Porsha Kimble, Susy Solis, Veronica Torres Hazley, Meko King, Tiffiny Luong, LeeAnne Locken, and T-sha LeTitia Owens. When over 200 guests filled the room at the Rosewood Crescent Club, Karen knew this would be one of greatest platforms bridging the community together and gaining support for non-profit organizations.  

This year packs a power house of women with a social favorite being Cheryl Action Jackson founder of Minnie’s food pantry, which recently received a visit from recording artist and award winning Rhianna. A Beauty Bar will be in place for guest to enjoy beauty tips, demonstrations sample products and takeaway luxury gift bags. Guests will have the private pleasure of registering to become organ donors with Donate Life Texas. 
 
In 2008, Karen Michelle created a foundation that enabled her to work within creativity an ongoing pursuit and involvement in Fashion. It wasn’t until 2013, when Karen decided that fashion could actually be geared towards something effective and hopeful and charitable.  
 
Tickets: www.10shadesofsuccess.org Media inquiries: Media is invited to attend 6:00pm -6:30pm for photo and interview opportunities featuring the women and charity.  For more information, please direct media inquiries to Karen Michelle, info@fhmpr.com, 972.795.9626.


 


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Wanderlust

Maybe it's the epic Noah-esque floods we've been having in Texas... maybe a little cabin fever... probably a little bit of seeing everyone's vay-cay pics on Facebook... but I'm ready to get out of dodge. I need some R & R so bad I even Googled travel times from Dallas to Phuket, Thailand (yes, it's a real place... and yes, it seems like it's too far unless one is sitting in first class). And naturally, when someone has wanderlust and is trying to figure out which waterfront travel location to check off her bucket list, she has to make sure she has the proper wardrobe. So... swimsuits.
 
I noticed an interesting trend in swimwear this year that has me confused... I've spent decades trying to find the perfect bandeau tops with removable or tuck-able straps so I can avoid crazy tan lines (*Soapbox moment: tanning is bad; wear sunscreen. Carry on). But this year the trend seems to be all about crazy, wacky straps sure to leave one with THE most awkward tan lines... ever. Exhibits A, B, C, D, etc. come straight from one of my go-to swimsuit suppliers - Victoria's Secret (some of you won't read this blog... and you won't have any problem with the straps... dudes).
 






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So clearly chicks buy suits like these to be seen - but when they get home from their 48-hour trip to Vegas where they consumed bottomless Mai Tais, does the awkward sunburnedness phase them? Do they then spend more hours in the sun trying to correct the tan lines? Those tan lines peeking out of a business suit at the office... hot? And they do realize these pics are photoshopped, right? I'm thinking muffin top would be an issue in these suits. What about all of our curves trying to force their way out of all those straps? I shudder at the thought.
 
So what do you think about this trend?
 
And of course, my search for the perfect bandeau this year continues because the Victoria's Secret suits seem to get smaller and smaller every year (or my butt keeps getting bigger - probably a combination of the two?). Then I came across this other website... where one actually has to choose between regular "triangles" and the "perky triangles." Decisions, decisions.
 
 
 


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bryn's First Slumber Party

Little mama was very specific about her birthday plans this year... Chuck E. Cheese's and a slumber party with her closest friends. Either option is daunting... I mean, Chuck's house on a Friday night with kids constantly playing Whack-A-Mole is enough to give you a headache. Throw in five adorable and exuberant 6-and-7-year olds and one might think I was trying to commit parental suicide. But nope... not me... bring it!
 
The first task was to pick a theme. Bryn is all into cats these days... anything "kitten" in this house is a good thing. So when she said she was "cool" with "Hello Kitty," game on. A little embossed glitter and a lot of bling later, these bad boys were ready for the mail!
 
 
It was party time last night. We made our way to Chuck E. Cheese's in Plano and I was pleasantly surprised - the hardest part about this first phase of the party was getting there in rush hour traffic. The party started at 5:30 and we had a wonderful party host who took care of everything. The kids had an absolute blast and it wasn't very crowded at all (surprisingly). The price was right, the kids were full and everyone got prizes! Winning!




Found the perfect icing-rich cake at Target!


 
I had a fun night planned for the girls when we got home...
 
First up - KARAOKE! When I told the girls they'd be able to jam to their favorite tunes from the Frozen soundtrack and Taylor Swift, everyone was excited!!!
After our jam session, we'd have a dance party complete with glow sticks! I mean... is it ever really a party without glow sticks?


 
Finally, they girls would unroll their new Hello Kitty slumber bags and chillax in the media room watching a favorite chick flick before dozing off to sleep. Had it all planned out...





Yeah, right... the birthday girl got hit in the mouth with the karaoke microphone - we were done after the first song; there was a huge fight over the glow sticks - who had more, who had what color... the dance party lasted about two songs; and after the movie, the girls decided the floor in the media room was too hard, so...
 
After a yummy pancake-and-bacon breakfast, we sent all the sleepy-eyed princesses home. Bryn was so sad to see her friends go (they really were great - things sort of went how they should with a bunch of little friends having their first sleepover - they were just over-the-moon excited). We made some memories last night... and that's what it's all about.
 
(P.S. Thank goodness birthdays are only once a year.)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy birthday baby girl...

Bryn's seven. I can't believe it... seems like it happened so fast. The main event is going down tomorrow night - her first sleepover. Lord, help me.
 




Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day 2015


We've been dodging thunderstorms and tornadoes here in Texas the past couple of days... but that didn't keep us from enjoying an incredible Mother's Day. Our go-to mom's day brunch spot is Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty restaurant in Reunion Tower downtown. I was worried that the cloudy skies would make for a so-so view of the skyline but it was perfect!
 
The food at the restaurant is great too - the brunch-staple omelet bar kept everyone happy as waiters bring appetizers directly to your table. We had everything for pork bao tacos to shrimp wantons. Oh... and we can't forget the mimosas!
 
I hope everyone had an awesome day.
 

 


Our view of the infamous Dealey Plaza...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Phoenix House Triumph For Teens Luncheon

Ryan and I had a wonderful time at a luncheon at the downtown Omni featuring actress/director Robin Wright. I love Robin Wright. I have ever since I watched the Princess Bride for the first time. And then Forrest Gump???  I was a captive audience. Robin shared an inspiring chat with WFAA morning anchor Ron Corning. She talked about the magic that happens when you get over the fear of failing (I'm still working on that) and while her career as an actor is her passion, she's discovered a new passion - directing! She joked that it's probably because she likes to be in control.

Mostly though, I appreciated her brief comments about why we were there today. She talked about her relationship with her kids and the conversations they have. They trust their mom. They are open with her. They communicate. Which is good, because she wants to know what's going on with them to keep them safe and steer them clear of alcohol and narcotics. It sounds like she's doing a great job.

The beneficiary of today's luncheon is the Phoenix House - a nonprofit that provides short and long term care options for people struggling with addiction. It was my first time hearing about the organization but one I felt an immediate connection to. I was around a lot of alcohol growing up. I was drunk for the first time at 12 years old. I can see how problems can come out of nowhere when no one's watching. So I appreciate the work Phoenix House is doing and I'm looking forward to supporting them in the future.

For more information about Phoenix House, click here.