Friday, March 26, 2010

Glee Returns April 13, 2010 - Can't Wait!


I may not be in the demographic that is supposed to watch this show, but I love Glee.  It makes me happy.  Yup, I'm a Gleek!  Last September, I had the pleasure of going to the season premiere party for Glee, thanks to an invitation from a friend (this may be a little late, but THANK YOU Kimberly).  This was unlike any Hollywood premiere I have ever been to.  First off, it was held at a small private school in Culver City.  They set up the premiere like you were arriving for a high school event with cheerleaders, free popcorn, red vines and slushies.  The guests all piled into the gymnasium, which was set up like a school assembly with even rows of metal folding chairs and home-made banners on the walls.  After we sat through the introduction of the cast, they lowered a screen and showed the first episode of the series.  I fell in love with the show right then and there.  The dialogue was laugh-out-loud funny.  The cast was likeable and outrageously talented and the music was extremely well produced.  The after-party was just as fun.  They set up the catering like a school cafeteria, where we had to all grab plastic lunch trays and move through a buffet line selecting our food and placing it on the tray.  They we sat down on picnic-style lunch tables outside in the school yard.   After we ate, the DJ started playing some great tunes and the cast and crew hit the dance floor and partied late into the night.  I can't tell you how adorable it was and so unpretentious (just like the show). 

After the premiere, I became a loyal viewer of the show and loved each and every episode.  I think it doesn't matter who you are, you can relate to one of the lovable misfit kids of the glee club at William McKinley High.  The overachieving diva, Rachel (Lea Michelle), the captain of the football team, Finn (Cory Monteith), the head cheerleader and head of the "chastity club" who becomes pregnant, Quinn (Dianna Agron), the gay teen who is too fabulous for words Kurt (Chris Colfer), the disabled kid in a wheelchair, Artie (Kevin McHale), the overweight African American girl, Mercedes (Amber Riley), the socially awkward Asian girl, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and the mohawked jock, Puck (Mark Salling).  For me the two  highlights of the cast are the adult teachers, the boyishly charming glee club director Will Schuester (portrayed by Broadway veteran Matthew Morrison) and his nemesis, the acerbic coach of McKinley's cheerleading squad "The Cheerios", Sue Sylvester (played with gutso by comic veteran Jane Lynch).  Sue's and Will's vicious, verbal banter is both biting and hysterical.  In between the comedy and well produced song and dance numbers, the material is also suprisingly moving.  If you have not yet seen Glee, you can still view my two favorite episodes from the first part of this season at Fox online, "Wheels" (I especially liked Artie's solo to "Dancing with Myself") and the Fall final show entitled "Sectionals" (Rachel's solo to "Don't Rain on My Parade" was frickin' phenomenal). 

The cast of Glee has been asked by First Lady Michelle Obama to perform at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 5th (apparently Sasha and Malia are big fans of the show).  Also tune into the Oprah Winfrey show on April 7th, when Oprah dedicates her entire show to the cast of Glee including an interview with the series creator Ryan Murphy.  Finally, don't forget to catch Glee's return on April 13th, right after American Idol on Fox. 

Copyright 2010 by Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yes We Did Pass Health Care Reform! - A Healthier America


Last August 2009, I wrote a blog post discussing health care reform called a "A Healthy America?".  At the time, I believed that the health care system in this country needed to change, but I feared that we did not have the political commitment to do so. With the death of Senator Kennedy, it seemed that the great moral and social activism that propelled this country to enact Medicare and Civil Rights legislation may have died with him.  I am grateful that it didn't.  I want to applaud President Obama and the United States Congress for living up to your promises and passing the Health Care Reform Bill last night.  Because of your courage, the American people will receive the following benefits:

  • 32 million uninsured American will now have medical coverage;
  • insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions;
  • young adults, up to age 26, would be eligible for coverage under their parents' policies;
  • seniors' prescription drug prices will be lowered;
  • tax credits will be offered to small businesses to purchase coverage;
  • lifetime limits will be eliminated and annual limits on benefits in all plans will be restricted;
  • new plans will be required to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
  • consumers will have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions; and
  • premium rebates to enrollees will be required from insurers with high administrative expenditures and  public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs will also be required.
This Health Care Reform Bill may not be perfect, but it is the most sweeping legislation regarding health care that has been passed in over 40 years.  President Obama you led the chant "Yes We Can" bring about change. With the passage of health care reform, "Yes We Did" make that change happen.  I, and a healthier generation of America, appauld you.  And I'm sure Senator Edward Kennedy is looking down applauding you too.

Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Good Luck LA Marathoners and Vin Scully's Return on Sunday!!



Tomorrow Sunday, March 21, 2010 will be a very exciting day here in Los Angeles. Two important events with take place, the 2010 LA Marathon and the return of Vin Scully to the announcer's booth to call his first Dodger Spring training game of the season.

The LA Marathon has a new route this year starting at the historic Dodger Stadium, running through Chinatown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and ending at the Santa Monica Pier. Click here to view the route.  I actually know two people running this year, my former co-worker Derek and fellow blogger Los Angelista. I will be checking out the route in-person on the corner of Little Santa Monica and Rodeo Drive. I wanted to wish "good luck" to all of the record 25,000 runners participating.

LA's beloved Dodgers announcer Vin Scully gave us all quite a scare last Thursday night after hearing reports that the 82 year old ended up in the hospital after a fall at his home. Vin Scully has been the Dodgers' play-by-play announcer since 1954 and has been inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. To me and many Los Angelenos, Vin Scully is Dodger baseball. I have been listening to him call Dodger games since the 1970's. Just a little girl growing up in the San Fernando Valley, lying on a lounge chair in my backyard in shorts and a t-shirt on a hot August afternoon, listening to Vin on my old transistor radio, scoring the game on a piece of paper along with Vin. The way he describes the batter's stance, the pitcher's wind-up, the crack of the bat, the outfielder's bob and weave to get a line on the ball, the missed catch, the base runners hesitation at first base and acceleration into second, made me feel like I was right there with him in the booth watching the action on the field. I felt like I could actually smell the grass and taste the Dodger dogs.  The boyish enthusiasm in his voice, which is clearly the product of his love he has for the game and the boys that play it, still rings out even 35 yrs after I first heard him call a game. The thought of not hearing Vinny call a Dodger game this season brings me to tears. (Really, I'm that invested in Vin and the Dodgers who both feel like family members). The good news is that Vin Scully was released from the hospital on Friday morning, actually apologized for worrying everyone over a little bump on his head, and vowed to travel to Arizona to the Dodgers training facility to call his first Dodger Spring training game of the season on Sunday at 1:05pm, which will be broadcasted on KCal 9. If you are not running in the Marathon, check out the master Vin Scully and our Boys in Blue.

Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Take a Tour of the World and Support Fair Trade at Ten Thousand Villages


I recently stumbled upon an amazing store that I wanted to share with you called Ten Thousand Villages located at 567 South Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 (located near the corner of Lake and E. California Blvd).  Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit program that provides a vehicle for Third World people to market and sell their handmade crafts in North America.  Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed to provide for themselves income that helps pay for food, education, health care and housing.

The store is amazing and you can spend quite a lot of time looking at the variety of arts represented.  They literally have beautiful handmade objects from all over the world and part of the fun is looking on the tag to find where something is made.  For someone who loves traveling, it's like taking a tour of the world in my own backyard.  The jewlery selection is beautiful, exotic and very affordable.

 

This Rose Pink Pendent necklace was made by Taja-8, a workshop of Tara Projects. Taja-8 is a village workshop in Delhi, India that provides a self-help group for young women, allowing them to organize themselves and use their wages for the collective good.  This necklace is only $20.


This Variegated Serpentine Necklace is made with variegated green serpentine stone in a braided and coiled alpaca silver setting. It's made by the accomplished artisans of Tika Rumi (“flower stone”) workshop in Peru and is only $28.

They also have delicate ceramics that would look fabulous on your table or as a gift.  For example, these sectioned trays. 
                                   Floral Five-Piece Tray                                        Octagonal Basket Tray

This pottery is from the village of Bat Trang, just east of Hanoi, where there are as many kilns as houses. Ceramics skills in Vietnam are passed down through the generations. Each only $44 and $48 respectively. 
Ten Thousand Villages has many other types of hand-made objects for sale including soaps, cards & stationary, planters, tablecloths & placemats, toys, sculptures, vases, rugs, pillows and much, much more.  If you live in So. California, you can stop by the store in Pasadena or you can visit another one of their 155 stores throughout the United States and Canada.  Support Fair Trade in the Third World. 





Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Picks for the Best Dressed at the 2010 Academy Awards



Love the Oscars every year. It's the Super Bowl of Fashion. My best dressed for the 2010 Academy Awards hands down was Sandra Bullock. The fit of her golden, beaded Marchesa gown was perfect as it hugged and sculpted her body from the off the shoulder asymmetrical neckline to the shimmery sleek bodice, which pooled at her feet in a small train. Sandra just looked radiant. Her face reflected the golden sheen of her dress. I love that she wore her long dark hair straight down to one side, slightly covering her bare shoulder to balance out the asymmetrical look of her neckline and framing the paleness of her face. Her hair was sleek like her dress. Her eyebrows were perfectly arched and her eye make-up was smoky which made her eyes pop and darker colored lips. Bravo Sandra, you lead the game from the moment you stepped on the carpet, until the game clock ended the show.


Runner up is Jennifer Lopez. Jenny from the Block rocked the carpet in a pale pink Armani Prive textured strapless gown, with a side slit that showed her legs and a tiered train that starts gathered at one hip. The strapless bust line of the dress was enhanced with folded over fabric of the lining on one side leading down the side of her bodice to the start of the train. The dress has a lot of fabric, but JLo carried it off like a pro. I even liked the dyed-to-match pumps. To counter-balance the volume of the dress; Lopez wore her hair up off her radiant face in a slightly messy up-do. Her make-up was also flawless with a darker eye and a shimmery pink lip.



The second runner up is Queen Latifah, in a lavender custom-made satin gown with a silver beaded embellished one shoulder strap that runs down underneath her breasts and crosses down horizontally in an angle, creating a very flattering waistline. Her Covergirl make-up of course is flawless with a shimmer nude lip and a smoky plum eye, accentuated by her sleek pulled back hair do. The pearl drop earrings offset the severity of her hair and perfectly matched the detail of her dress. Girl you never looked better. Take a picture, frame it and look at it every day. You deserve a standing ovation.


Oh, and I want to give a shout out to Gabourey Sidibe, who had the best line of the night, "If fashion was porn, this dress would be the money shot." Girl, you were money, looking fabulous in a robin egg blue Marchesa Greecen gown with silver beaded leaf accents on the bust-line and waist. I absolutely thought she shined, with a fierce attitude and a genuine sense of joy to be there. This girl is not going away quietly into the night, she will be back again someday and I hope I'm around to see her.
 
And so you see ladies, no matter what size, shape, color or age you are, anyone can look fabulous. 
 
Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Doughboys is Back Open on Third Street in Los Angeles!



 After a 3 year absence, one of my favorite places to eat in L.A., Doughboys Cafe and Bakery is back open in their original location at 8136 West Third Street and I couldn't be more happy.  Doughboys is one of those rare combinations of great quality food in a relaxed, casual location.  Everything on the menu is good, but I am partial to their fantasic home-made soups.  My favorites are Soup au Pistou - delicious French tomato based vegetable soup topped with a big dollop of homemade basil pesto; New England Clam Chowder - chock full o' ocean clams in a creamy clam broth with potatoes, carrots, celery and scallions; Stracciatella -shredded spinach, scallions, slivered steamed egg, and shredded asiago cheese in a flavorful broth and the soup that I dream about at night, their wonderful French Onion Soup - tons of onions in a flavorful broth topped with gooey Swiss cheese and home-made French bread.  YUM!

Dreamy French Onion Soup!

I'm also partial to what they call "The After School Special", which is a grilled cheese sandwich (butter toasted french pan de mie bread, filled with gooey emmanthal, white cheddar, and fontina cheese) and a terrific tomato soup that has chunky fresh tomatoes, basil and a touch of cream.  Under sandwiches, I really like the Prosciutto with Camembert - with wafer thin sliced prosciutto ham with camembert cheese, fresh melon, and arugala on a French baguette and the Grilled Eggplant - with zucchini, roasted onion, roma tomato, and goat cheese drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a pesto coated French baguette.

If you love breakfast, try Doughboys pancakes, which a light and fluffy and HUGE.  If you feel really indulgent try the Almond Crusted Strawberry French Toast - sourdough bread dipped in egg batter and ground almonds, then grilled, served with toasted almonds, fresh strawberries, and a warm honey butter syrup or the P B C & B - a chunky peanut butter, bittersweet chocolate, and banana sandwich on pan de mie bread is dipped in egg batter and grilled and served with raspberry dipping syrup (You'll need napkins!).  They also have a variety of egg dishes, including great Frittatas and Scrambles.  Everything here is hearty, so bring your appetite.
 
Famous Red Velvet Cake

Finally, the pièce de résistance, Doughboys famous (Oprah approved) Red Velvet Cake, which is da Bomb.  It's moist and delicious with creamy frosting.  They serve them in small round individual portions (kinda like big cupcakes) that are so sinful, I suggest you ask for two forks and share them with a friend.  They also have individual portions of Hummingbird Cake (a spiced banana and walnut cake with creamy frosting) and German Chocolate Cake. 

Doughboys Cafe and Bakery is located on 8136 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048.  There is only street parking, which can be challenging on Third Street, but don't give up, Doughboys is worth it!
 
Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved