Transitioning into the best part of my life.

•July 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

What a difference life has been these past 10 months making the big move from Los Angeles to Austin Texas for my day job. It was blessing from God cause it helped me find a way to move my life forward from a broken marriage but trust me it hasn’t come without any challenges.

sunclouds

 

Some of the big ones include leaving my home that I helped create and having to give up one of my dogs was one of the most hardest things I ever had to do in my life. Leaving my friends behind and the creative networks that I had built up over the past 23 years. In addition moving to a city that I had never visited created an initial shock. With a lifestyle and environment different than what I was used to; Always on the go, lots of time spent in traffic, daily gym visits, music rehearsals, red carpet events, weekly massages and dinner with friends, using my creative talents for community service, and working at the Grove where celebrity sightings, Hermes bags, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce cars parked in the valet area became the norm.breastcancer

And I will have to admit that being a 47 yr old single and sober woman makes it a little bit harder to date in a city that has been voted one of the drunkest America. city of austin

But before you jump to conclusions, I’m not bashing Austin, I’m actually starting to feel more comfortable here every day. Whether or not  I will ever call Austin home, time can only tell.  But in living here these past few months, my pace has slowed down quite a bit and its introducing me to some beautiful gems hidden within the city such as restaurants, music and hiking. And now living alone for the first time in my life in a one bedroom apartment, is giving me lots of reflection time.  In addition my dog Bruschi  has  become the priority, so time spent inside the gym has now turned into discovering and exploring new trails.

Bruschiswimminghiking path

 

 

My passion for singing and design have taken a back seat to focus on managing and growing the vision of  the fashion company I work for here in Austinmusic

design

And many nights are spent alone in front of my computer having conversations with my friends all over the world. But I’ve been blessed to be able to see friends visiting from LA and re-connecting with Nebraska friends who I haven’t seen since High School.Tami

And as the  saying goes, “some people cross your path and change our whole direction.”changeyourdirectionheart

I will have to agree cause I did meet someone pretty special when I first move to Austin, and that brief introduction turned me in to a writer and gave me appreciation for my roots which In all honesty I’ve been trying to run a way from most of my life.farm

As I’m still trying to figure out what my purpose in Austin is, maybe it’s just as simple as what I’m doing daily, living in the present, reflecting and growing.  So I just wake every day, give gratitude and ask for guidance,  and I look forward to transitioning into the best part of my life. besomebodydancebe happy

 

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“Dance With Me” A feel good workout with Billy Blanks Jr. and Sharon Catherine Blanks.

•June 22, 2010 • 7 Comments

“Dance With Me”  A feel good workout with Billy Blanks Jr. and Sharon Catherine Blanks.

Trying to stay fit is something that I have strived for throughout my life. I was very athletic in my youth and early twenties but as I got older gravity started to take over and I started to gain so many pounds per year.  I’ve had a gym membership since 1992 but over the years, developed a love/hate relationship with it after attending classes for a few weeks, and would stop out of boredom.  I even tried Bikram Yoga for a year only to pull muscles that I didn’t realize I had.   And summers were spent doing exercises in my pool or walking around the park however, I was not seeing that big of a change to my body.  I was convinced that I would just be pleasantly plump the rest of my life and it wasn’t until I had seen a picture of myself  from a baby shower I hosted for a friend, that I had to make some drastic changes.  I had put on about 40 extra lbs over the years and although it didn’t slow me down physically, I looked like I was expecting and even asked on several occasions if I was pregnant.  The very next day after I saw the pictures I went back to the gym and focused on the cardio machines but needed to kick it up a notch. I decided to try out another TKB (Turbo Kickboxing class) only to be reminded that at my age the knees, back and ankles make you pay for the consequences afterwards.  While checking the schedule of classes, I came across a class called “Dance With Me” so I decided to give a try. 

When I arrived to the class there were a bunch of people already in the room waiting for class to start and I found a spot in the very back of the room.  Billy Blanks Jr. and his wife Sharon Catherine Blanks entered the room and said hello to the group then asked if there was anyone new to the class.  About 10 other people and I held up our hands and the group gave us all a very supportive welcome.  After a short introduction about the class by the duo, Sharon then started to talk about breath control and how important it was to help build stamina.  We also did breathing exercises before the actual work out began.  Being a trained singer, I knew the importance of breathing correctly but it was never brought up in any of the other workout classes or dance classes I had taken over the previous years.

After we attempted to count to 60 on one breath, the warm-up began with “I’ve got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas playing in the background.  The warm-up included moves  like Chasses’ to the left and right, triple steps, walking  from side to side and jumping up in the air, body rolls, and other movements that helped wake up the body.  Another upbeat song followed while the group stretched and then the ‘Party Like It’s Friday Night’ began.    

Billy asked the group to form a square and as he announced each side, everyone cheered and took a turn doing a variety of moves demonstrated by Billy. While Billy was leading the group with his free-style moves, Sharon would pump up the crowd with fun bantering and assisted with the competitive moves. While this continued, dancers were selected from the group to come to the center of the square and dance.  If you are a little shy it’s ok, you have up to three opportunities to back out but rarely does that happen.  The one thing that I noticed during class was that everyone was having a good time and unlike other classes I had taken before; there were actual smiles on the group’s faces.  After the free-style activity ended we were then asked to go back to the floor where Sharon Blanks brought our heart rates up another level leading us with variety of high cardio moves such as running into place,  double punched knees, jumping jacks, etc, and continuing to remind the group to “Breath”!   After the cardio burst ended, the group was then taught a variety of dances by Billy Blanks Jr.  These dances vary from class to class including:  Salsa (Mambo, Volte, Samba, Shimmy Shake, and the Latin Lover), Flamenco (Planta, Tacone, and the Gulpe step), Country, Modern, Ballet, African, Tap, Bollywood, just to name a few and we even learned the actual choreography to “All That Jazz” from Chicago, a Janet Jackson video and Paula Abdul’s video “Opposites Attract”.   Many people in the class ranged from children to adults over 60 and were NOT trained dancers however, with Billy’s amazing teaching style and experience as a choreographer, the group was able to easily pick up the dance steps and follow along.  About 10 to 15 minutes before the one hour class ended there was another cardio burst, followed by another salsa style dance and cool down where Sharon Catherine Blanks whose amazing voice has been heard from NYC to Los Angeles sang her original song “You Are Enough”.   All the stress  that had built up inside of me lifted up off my shoulders and I even got goose bumps while the group cheered and clapped at the very end.  It’s now been about seven months since my first “Dance with me Class” however my enthusiasm has not changed a bit and I am not only  attending  3-4 classes a week but have also participated in 2 different 4 –hour workouts  hosted by the Blanks.  Because you are able to burn 800-1000 calories in just one hour class, my body has shrunk down 2 sizes and I have lost about 20 lbs.  Billy and Sharon Catherine Blanks have designed a feel good workout that not only helps you lose weight but helps you get into the best shape you can be.  Per Sharon: We have to tell our bodies what we want it to do and we are working out hard not for just that special occasion or to fit into that bikini in the summer time, but FOR Life.  

This isn’t  the first time The Blanks http://www.meettheblanks.com   have had notoriety for their mega talents, Billy who was raised in entertainment and fitness environment and often led and taught fitness classes on behalf of his father (Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks) as early as the age of 12.  He starred as “Tyrone Jackson” in the US tour, FAME and untrained dancer he earned roles in music videos with Madonna, Crystal Method, Quincy Jones, Babyface, and Paula Abdul.  Billy’s first program Cardioke created a worldwide media frenzy after an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and since then Billy has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, MTV, VH1, Fox, Endemol UK, Entertainment Tonight, E!, People Magazine, Shape, Style Network, AOL, Yahoo, and Ruby. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byGk5_HhnBo 

Sharon Catherine Blanks, the daughter of comedic actor, Johnny Brown, aka Mr. Bookman on the series “Good Times”   has been an many productions such as the “Seasons of Love” anthem in the West Coast Premiere of “Rent” and was handpicked by Frank Wildhorn as the first and only African American woman to play “Lucy” in his Broadway tour of “Jekyll and Hyde”.   In addition to stage productions, Sharon played the role of “Etta Jones” in HBO’s “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” starring Halle Berry and is best known on television for playing the snooty opera diva on “A Different World”.  On Broadway Sharon starred as “Effie” in “Dreamgirls” and “The Narrator” in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”,   the drug addicted Sara in “The Playground”, Bogus Moran in “One City” and the title role of “Tymothy” a rock musical written by her and Billy.

As a dancer Sharon has worked with such legends as Michael Peters, Jerry Mitchell, Debbie Allen, and Michael Bennet.  And was a singer for various projects by Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner.  Her Other film and TV credits include; Sister Act II, What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and American Dreams.

Being hailed as The fitness industry’s only power duo, Billy and his wife Sharon have taught together since the year 2000 and due to the excitement and high demand for their newest workout Billy Blanks Jr.’s “Dance With Me”  they are in the process creating their official certification program so that people across the US can experience what everyone is talking about. And are in partnership with Lionsgate and are proud to be Exercise TV’s first official DVD for nationwide retail release towards the end of 2010.  Also Stay tuned for the release of their most anticipated work out DVD’s BILLY BLANKS JR.’s “DANCE WITH ME- CARDIO FIT” and “DANCE WITH ME- GROOVE & BURN”.  Billy and Sharon are also in the process of launching their two TV shows “Meet The Blanks” a lifestyle reality show and their own original show “America’s Fit Party.  Even with all of this on their plate, their greatest  gift of all is being wonderful parents to adorable son Elijah and proud  aunt and uncle to nephew Levi Brown and Rocco and Titus Cimarosti.  Here is an example of what you will see in class http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5w2hr661Gw&feature=related  and If you would like to take a “Dance With Me Class” here in the Los Angeles area, you can check out their schedule at http://www.meettheblanks.com or for a schedule of classes at 24 hour fitness, go to http://www.24hourfitness.com. Here is an example of what you will see

References: Professional Photos  of Billy Blanks Jr. and Sharon Catherine Blanks taken by Candace Colbert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5w2hr661Gw&feature=related Video filmed and Edited by Heather Tucci Flores

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byGk5_HhnBo  from http://www.exercise.tv

Gina Venturini Designs worn to the Tony Awards, Darci Monet, Angels Over Nashville Event.

•June 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I was given the opportunity to design a necklace and earrings for my friend Singer/Songwriter Darci Monet.  She attended the Tony Awards to support her long time friend and Co-writer Levi Kreis who was nominated and won a Tony for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Broadway show, “Million Dollar Quartet”.   Darci had worn a full length black dress designed by Alex Evenings that she purchased at the Abundance Boutique in Sherman Oaks. http://www.abundanceplussizes.com    It was accented around the waist and top part of the dress with black pear and oval-shaped beads so I searched for black agate beads in the same shapes that were on the dress and accented them with Peridot crystals and Peridot crystal disc shaped beads.  I also designed a matching pair of earrings.

 I’m very honored to have had this opportunity to design for Darci and a big event and  since as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Darci Monet http://www.darcimonet.com  is a very talented classically and commercially trained singer and award winning  songwriter who’s voice has been compared to a Kelly Clarkson, Eva Cassidy and Ann Wilson sandwich with a side of Aretha Franklin.  Her first professional performance was at the age eleven in a local production of Annie in Upstate NY, and then she began her professional career while attending Belmont University in Nashville as a studio singer and performing and recording with major label artists such as Dolly Parton, Steve Winwood, Amy Grant, The Judds, etc.  Now living in the Los Angeles area she continues to make her mark on the music world with principle performances in film and television and writing songs that have also been featured in indie movies and major network television shows.  And If that isn’t enough she also runs her own vocal studio training and mentoring upcoming singers, Blogs for the American Idol season, sings backing vocals for Debby Holiday, and just recently wrapped up a two-year residence as head judge for “Fame,” a weekly singing competition held at Oil Can Harry’s in Studio City, CA.

Although Darci no longer lives in Nashville she hasn’t forgotten what  living there did for her career and all of the friends she made, so in light  of the recent tragic flood that hit Nashville a couple of months ago, Darci Monet  will be hosting “Angels Over Nashville”,  a benefit  concert  and raffle to help raise funds for Music Cares http://www.musiccares.org  and the Scoggins family who had about $40,000 worth of damage to their home and don’t qualify for Fema assistance.  Darci went to college with Chance Scoggins who is also a musician and he and his wife Jennifer have two little girls.  The outdoor concert will be held  on Saturday, June 26th at the Riverton Bowl,  5613-5615 Riverton Avenue, North Hollywood CA at 6pm.  And will be via webcast starting at 7pm PCT, 9pm Central and 10pm Eastern.   There is a suggested $15 donation however all donations will be accepted.  Food and beverages are not provided by the venue so be sure to pack a picnic and bring your favorite beverages.  Alcohol is also allowed.  

The  Music Artists that will be performing for the benefit concert are: Darci Monet, http://www.darcimonet.com,  Melissa Collins http://www.melissacollins.org,  Hitplay (Jo Jo Ho and Seany P) http://www.reverbnation.com/hitplay,  Illusionary http://www.illusionaryonline.com , Kelly’s Lot http://www.kellyslot.com ,  and  Marie Pettit  http://www.mariepettit.com  Raffle donations include:  Jewelry by Gina Venturini Designs http://www.ginaventurinidesigns.com , makeup session and mini-tutorial with Aristotle Rector, photo session with Terri Johnson of TripleFire Photography, photo session with Tami Bahat http://www.tamibahatphotography.com, original artwork by Lori Kreis Bowen, original artwork by Gene-Manuel http://www.gene-manual.com, autographed CDs from 2010 Tony winner Levi Kreis, http://www.levikreis.com, free voice lessons at Darci Monet Vocal Style Studio http://www.darcimonet.com , gift certificate to Annie’s Scandal Boutique, free tickets to a comedy show at L.A. Connection, Kelly’s lot sponsor Widmer Brewery will also be donating beer for the event http://www.widmer.com, and for you Twilight fans, autographed photos from BooBoo Stewart with more donations each day.

LACMA, Scott Martin Latin Soul Band, Lauren Adams Trio, Malibu Family Wines.

•June 15, 2010 • 1 Comment

I’ve lived in Southern California for 20 yrs now and in the San Fernando Valley for 10 yrs and realized that there is so much culture in the Los Angeles metro area that I have not taken advantage of yet.  A friend suggested I check out LACMA  http://www.lacma.org  the largest museum in the Western United States housing 100,000 pieces of art dating from ancient times to present displayed between 7 buildings on 20,000 acres in the heart of Los Angeles. In addition to LACMA’s Vast collection, exhibitions, public programs and research, they also offer in the summer months free music entertainment open to the public on Friday and Saturday evenings.  So I called my friend Katie to join me and we put together a picnic of grapes, hummus, pita chips, rainier  cherries, and a bottle of Trinity Oaks Pinot Noir and with blanket headed to the museum.  Just driving  down the 101, by the Hollywood Bowl where the Playboy Jazz festival was taking place and down Wilshire Avenue we encountered many photo opportunities and took in some of the amazing architecture that surrounds the LA area.  We finally reached our destination, Valet the car and right out front of  LACMA was this enormous display of street lamps in a maze formation and a large black cat that was made out of a spongy tar substance.  We had originally came for the music entertainment but the attendant also gave us free tickets to go inside the museum and with a few minutes to spare before the music started, we took the escalator up to the 3rd floor to check it out.  As we reached the 3rd floor,  and walked inside, to the right were these enormous pieces of metal work by Jeff Koons, A candy apple red cracked egg and this bright blue balloon dog.  (The pic to the right shows the same piece that Artist Jeff Koons had previously made for the Seagram Building in NYC but in a different color).  In addition we saw collections by Andy Warhol and Joseph Buyes, an European artist who challenged art domination in the 1950s and 1960s with his art on recent German  history.  We then headed back down the elevator and walked a few hundred feet  to Hancock Park where Scott Martin’s Latin Soul band was playing.  Scott  Martin,   http://www.scottmartinjazz.com  saxophonist and vocalist who toured and was a big influence in the Grammy nominated Poncho Sanchez band, has put together a group of  very talented musicians to create a musical hybrid of Latin, Soul and Jazz.  In addition to the LACMA performance, the band has also toured many festivals in Japan, Canada, Hawaii, and the US.  Juliana Munoz the former lead singer of LA  salsa band Son Mayor,  joined the band for a set with her rendition of  a couple of Celia Cruz songs.  The atmosphere was electric and funky and there were people of all ages, and from different walks of life and even their four-legged furry friends enjoying the music and dancing on the pavement and grass. If you didn’t have time to put together your own picnic, there was tacos at 2 for $5 including pork, chicken, and carne asada and they also had a bar that offered beer, wine, and hard liquor. The music went from 5-7 pm and on our way out, we got to see the terrace area with Greek statues and a planter that housed the beginnings of blue potato and cow horn in it which we will be coming back to see the progress of  their growth.  LACMA who survives solely on donations can offer a family a full day of entertainment. For info on upcoming events or how to donate please visit http://www.lacma.org.

On our drive home from the LACMA event we drove by the Petersen automobile museum and other venues of entertainment and Katie and I decided we were going to find  the time and resources to visit these places.  So this Saturday, June 19th we will be attending a music performance by the Lauren Adams Trio  http://www.laurenadams.com/ at the Malibu Winery starting at 6:30 pm. http://www.malibufamilywines.com/

 If you live near the area come out and join us. Taste wine from the Winery, you can bring your own picnic or purchased food there. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and listen to some wonderful music while watching the sun set over the ocean.

References: Malibu photo: http://smap.jpl.nasa.gov/news/

Street Lamp and building photo: http://www.lacma.org

Jeff Koons blue balloon dog: http://www.artknowledgenews.com/files/JeffKoonsBalloon

Photo of Lauren Adams: http://www.laurenadams.com

Photo of Malibu Family Wines Logo: http://www.malibufamilywines.com

Other websites for Scott Martin Soul band: http://www.LatinSoulJazz.com, http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/scottmartin5

June Gem Stone, Fabulous Flying, Fabulous Grocery Shopping.

•May 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The gemstone for the month of June is The Pearl, an organic gem that is formed inside Oysters and muscles.  A shiny and gleaming substance called nacre spreads throughout the shell when a tiny stone or sand gets inside the shell and causes irritation.  The protecting Nacre surrounds the soft internal surface of the Mollusk and the layers of Nacre coating around the irritant, cause a pearl to form.  The light that is reflected through these layers produce an iridescent luster.  This process can take sometimes up to 7 or 8 years.

Pearls can come in many variations of color, white, pink, brown, and even black depending on what type of Mollusk it came from and what water the Mollusk live in.  The most expensive pearls are perfectly symmetrical, large, and have an iridescence called Orient Luster.

Cultured or Freshwater Pearls are known to give power of love, money, protection, and luck. They are also thought to give wisdom through experience, bring good karma secure engagements and love relationships as well keep children safe.  Ancient Legend says that pearls are tears of the Gods and the Greek believed that if a woman wore pearls it would help her have a happy marriage and pearls also prevented a newlywed from crying.

Fabulous flying

These days the airline industry is starting to get a bad reputation from all of the crazy incidences taking place on planes to their extravagant costs for flying and amenities that their customers might request. I recently took a trip back to the Midwest for Graduation/family reunion and I will have to be honest, I had a bit of anxiety going into it. I am not a frequent flyer and in order to get to my home town, I have to fly into Denver or Omaha, rent a car, and drive 4/12 to 5 hours to my hometown however, because my husband’s previous position had him traveling a lot, he earned frequent flyer miles so I was able to fly to Nebraska for $7.50 via Southwest.  I decided to fly out on a Thursday evening flight so that I wouldn’t have to spend my entire day flying then driving the 5 hours on top of it. The flight was supposed to be  straight through flight arriving into Omaha around 11:35pm. My husband took me to a restaurant right outside of the airport to get a quick bite to eat, but as I was eating, he had received a text from Southwest stating the flight had been delayed about an hour.  I started to panic a bit because that meant the flight  wouldn’t get into Omaha until around 1 am and  I wasn’t sure what time Alamo where I rented the car from  closed in Omaha. Would I be able to get to my hotel?  When I got to the Burbank airport, I went up to the desk near the waiting area to see if they could get me in touch w/ Alamo  and there was no hesitation, the flight assistant picked up the phone and started calling around for the number, although the first couple of attempts were wrong numbers I was finally able to get in touch with  Alamo and the nicest lady, Jean Atkins assured me there was no need for concern because she was there until the very last plane landed.  We all got loaded on the plane only to have the guy sitting next to me asked to grab his bag and head to the front.  Apparently  he must have been a standby and when the original customer showed up  Paul was asked to give up his seat. Paul might have left, but was  not forgotten thanks to a few guys who kept toasting to him and even Pilot Kent dedicated the landing in Arizona to Paul.  With a quick stop in Arizona where we had most passengers get off and filled the plane with more passengers, we were on our way to Omaha.  Thanks to flight attendants Jason and Karen, the flight was fun and went very smoothly.  And even with an hour delay, stopping in AZ for a few minutes, pilot Kent got us to Omaha at 11:33pm. Then it was off to Alamo to pick up the car where I got to meet Jean Atkins in person and she hooked me up  by upgrading my original car to a Ford Escape with Sirius Radio.  Coming back  to California I was able to catch an earlier flight and again had a very nice experience so  Thank you   to Southwest, Alamo and all of your wonderful employees for making  my trip back to Nebraska a memorable one and stress free.

Fabulous grocery shopping in the Valley.

I was driving down the road the other day coming back from the gym and noticed that there seems to be a grocery store every corner here in the San Fernando Valley.  Growing up in the Midwest and living in Minneapolis, Ontario Ca, Brea, San Diego, and Carlsbad, there was maybe one or 2 grocery chain stores and a Wal-Mart to buy food in however, in the San Fernando Valley you can choose from: Big Chain Grocery stores like Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Jon’s and Gelsons, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and Fresh and Easy. There are also the bulk stores like Costco, Sam’s, Smart and Final, and Food For Less.  And if that isn’t enough,  There are grocery stores for every different culture, Farmers Markets and even stores like Target, Kmart, and Wal-Mart have started carrying food and let’s not forget the Drug Store chains such as Rite Aid, Sav-On, and CVS that carry some items like beverages, lunch meat, and eggs. With all of these different stores available how do you choose where to shop?  I do a lot of my shopping between Jon’s, Trader Joes, Fresh and Easy, Costco, and CVS. Trader Joes and Fresh and Easy have fresh produce that costs a lot less than you would pay in a big chain store.  In addition, they have individually wrapped meals that work great for single people or a couple.  Trader Joe’s also makes specialty stuff just for their stores, great tasting wines and beer.   There is no membership  card needed in Trader Joes or Fresh and Easy to take advantage of their daily discounts.

Costco on the other hand has a membership card that you pay an annual fee for and offers everything from bulk produce, cleaning supplies and everything needed for your home from mattresses to dishwashers. Costco also has a pharmacy and optical center on site.  You can even get Electronics at a better rate than you can at a Best Buy, Frye’s or other specialty stores. It’s a great store but be prepared to spend some money.  And finally CVS is good for the last minute makeup items, beverages and also has good prices on alcohol.  Grocery shopping in the Valley can be a very creative experience but if you put the time in to do your research, You should be able to narrow your choices down to at least 2.

The Hollywoodland Homeowners Association (HHA) is holding its Annual Art Fair & Flea Market to raise funds to Restore and Maintain Hollywoodland’s Historic-Cultural Monuments and Gina Venturini Designs is going to be a Vendor at the Hollywoodland Flea Market/Art Fair on Sunday, June 6th, 8 am -3pm. 2690 Beachwood Drive across from the Village Coffee shop. There will also be music, homebaked goods, and hot dogs.

References for June Gemstone provided by http://www.bernardine.com/birthstone/pearl.htm

Everything Fabulous/Graduation

•May 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

 

The Month of May brings us many good things.

 This is the time of year where we start to see the first signs of spring and the first 3 day weekend of the year.  Most who work in the education field look forward to May bringing another end of a school year and start of a 3 month vacation.  But to some youthful minds, May signifies a lot more, Graduation from High School or College.  And although, it’s been many years since I’ve graduated from college, I will be taking part in the events this year because for the first time in our family history, there are 4 high school graduates. So with that, I thought I’d share a few facts about graduation that I got from Wikipedia.  

  1. Before the graduation on what is called “Degree Day”,  Candidates are referred to as Graduands
  2. T he ceremony itself is also called commencement, Convocation, and invocation however,  at the University of Cambridge at which graduands receive their  Bachelor’s degree is known as general admission and Durham University’s graduation ceremony is called, Congregation.
  3. The ceremonies usually include a procession by the academic staff and candidates and in the beginning at the secondary level in the United States, candidates will almost always wear academic dress, and most faculty will do the same.
  4. A Diploma is what is given out on the day of graduation however; it’s become more common for candidates instead to receive a certificate indicating they participated in the ceremony or portfolio to hold the diploma. Doing this allows for the academic administrators to withhold diplomas from students who might become unruly during the ceremony or gives the opportunity for College students who need an additional quarter or semester to complete their academic requirements the opportunity to participate in the official ceremony.  Also when you have a very large group of Graduands and no specific order to walk in, it’s extremely difficult for them to receive their actual diplomas but instead are handed a blank one to be filled in at a later date.

For Advanced degrees such as a doctorate, many colleges include a “Hooding Ceremony” in which the students get to wear a hood that is draped around the neck and over the shoulders. The hood’s length signifies the degree; with the institution’s colors in the lining and a velvet trim in a color that signifies the scholar’s fields.  The hood has grown from a practical garment to a symbolic one and at Fordham University graduates put on the hood by themselves en mass which after the president presents them with their degree. This is called “Self Hood”.

  1. The graduation or commencement speech is usually give by the Valedictorian at the high school level and a student or alumni at the college level  commonly  “Wishing the students well out in the Real World”.  Most recently the trend has been to have a celebrity or a politician give the commencement speech with the exceptions being Columbia University, Davidson College, and Belmont University where it has always been tradition that only the Current University President delivers the commencement address.

Graduation ends and it’s time to celebrate either by having your own individual open house event, formal family dinner, or themed party which is great for honoring several graduates at once. And of course we don’t want to forget about the gifts so here is a list of gift ideas that will make any graduate at the high school or college level happy.

A trip, Car, Laptop computer, CD or Stock, Furniture (for those moving out of mom and dad’s house), or a small refrigerator is great for those students who are moving into a college dorm.

If your budget is a bit smaller, these are also great gifts: Briefcase, watch, clothing gift card, Paid phone card, house wares, toaster oven, hire a resume writing service or resume writing books, Desk accessories, organizer or planner, DVD Player, IPod, engraved jewelry, toolbox with basic tools, or a laundry basket filled with detergent, fabric softener, a roll of quarters, and instructions on how to separate clothes.

Whether you are graduating from High School, Community College or a University, I want to take this moment to say Congratulations!   And to My family members Sam, Kendall, Verna, and Orlando, I want to say that I’m very proud of you.  Your hard work has paid off and new and bright beginnings await you. As you take the next step either in your education or workforce, know that there will be successes and  failures throughout your life but never lose the courage to go after what you want.

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graduation

http://parentingteens.about.com/od/graduation/a/graduation_gift.htm

Everything Fabulous -Mother’s Day/ My Mother/Kelly Zirbes, Evewine 101/Mamapoolooza/art/gift ideas

•May 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Mother’s Day Blog

Sunday May 8th is Mother’s Day and Everything Fabulous would like to honor a few fabulous ladies that are not only successful in their industries but also use their talents to bring awareness to many causes.  Because this is Mother’s Day, I would like to first start out by honoring the woman who has helped shape me in to the person I am today, My mother.

As the second youngest of 9 siblings (4 boys and 5 girls) my mother grew up in a very modest house in North Platte Nebraska. Her family made their living by working in the beat and potato fields.  She says it was her father that taught them about having a strong work ethic.   My mother was a very talented dancer and beauty queen but when I was born, she sacrificed her dreams to make sure that our family was taken care of by working six days a week cleaning rooms at the local Holiday Inn.  At the age of 50 my mother decided to go back to school and got her teaching degree and by the age 60, she got her  master’s degree in education and teaches children who have learning disabilities. In addition to working, my mother also takes on an active role in her church and is always helping out others who are less fortunate.   Although my mother and I may not always agree on certain things, I will always be grateful for all of her sacrifices she made, the love she gave me, and for teaching me that you have to work hard for what you want and never give up on your dreams.  

Fabulous Musician

Kelly’s Lot has been a huge part of the Los Angeles Music Scene for many years whose music weaves bluesy folk influence with a blues Rock foundation and has a sound that is upbeat, heartfelt, and fun.   This band has played many venues and Blues Festivals all over the US including the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Oregon, Big Fish Blues Festival, Maxson Roadhouse and the Pasadena Blues Festival. Kelly’s Lot has also been featured on many media outlets including ABC perspectives, Good Morning Texas, La Times, Rock City news just to name a few.  And although the music of Kelly’s lot had been heard on traditional, college, and Internet radio stations, It was the releases titled “Come To This” and “The Light” that played on European internet radio stations and not only earned them an  European fan base, but also a tour through Belgium and France.  The tour was so successful, that an agent came calling and they will be touring France in September 2010 promoting their latest release, “Pastrami and Jam”.  Founded by Singer/Songwriter Kelly Zirbes who after years of being a solo artist, recorded her first “Kelly’s Lot” demo with composer and keyboard player for Phil Collins and the J Geils Band, J Peter  Robinson . Since then the band has had many lifetime members that have accompanied  singer/songwriter, Kelly Zirbes who also takes on the role as spokesperson for Hepatitus C.  In 2000, Kelly’s friend Gioa lost her battle to the disease of Hepatitis C and since then Kelly Zirbes has taken on a very active role in spreading the awareness of Hep C through her concerts, running in the Boston, Long Beach, and Los Angeles Marathons, and community events.  Not only does Kelly run the marathon but also performs with her band right after. By doing this, it helped get the attention to the press and the message was heard loud and clear.  Kelly has also started the Hep C Postcard Campaign by building a coalition of musicians and street teams to bring about the awareness of Hep C on a larger scale. This brought about different events including 3 telethons over the internet.  Working alone trying to spread the awareness of Hepatitis C would be a lot to take on but not for Kelly Zirbes who also donates a portion of CD sales and T-shirt sales to additional charities such as the American Liver Foundation, Children’s Hospital, Red Cross, and many more.   If you would like to learn more about Hepatitis C or help out with the Postcard Campaign, go to http://www.hepcaware.org. And to  find out where Kelly’s Lot will be playing next in the Us, France, or to purchase Kelly’s Lot music including their latest release “Pastrami and Jam” go to http://www.kellyslot.com/testpin.html

Fabulous Wine Lady

The internet brought a wave of a different type of advertising  called websites  and in 1999 the world was introduced  us to a more personal, interactive website where individuals could talk about news going on in the world or a specific subject,  this became the beginning of the “Blog”. Our next fabulous lady has turned her passion for writing and passion for the grape into a successful Wine Blog called “Eve wine 101” http://evewine101.blogspot.com

Eve was not always a wine blogger, she got her start by writing press releases and features on non-profits for free and was also an unpaid community columnist for her local newspaper for 14 years.  One day a Blue Star Mother asked Eve to attend and cover her event and from that point on, Eve became an influential representative of her community.

Not only does Eve write about her community but also takes great care in volunteering  her time to different charities like The Hunger Defense Fund (now called Feed the Children, a food bank in Santa Clarita) and the Betty Ferguson Foundation (that empowers women to achieve).

When the Local newspaper asked Eve to write about wine, it again morphed into discovering that most non-profits held many wine-themed fundraisers – so she could continue to help them out.

 After 15 years as a successful writer, and a successful wine blog, Eve still enjoys writing press releases and features out of the pure enjoyment and love for her community.  In addition to Eve’s Wine 101 She also writes for:  http://westranchbeacon.com/blog and http://scvelitemagazine.com.

Fabulous Mother’s Day Event

Mamapooloza –http://www.mamapooloza.com is one of the largest Coast to Coast Mother’s Day celebration and on May 8th  they will be bringing the Party to Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood Ca and also via webcast at http://www.kulakswoodshed/webcast.

This event will be Mc’d by Janeane Bernstein, http://www.janeanebernstein.com/, a DJ/Host of the Momz Rock House Radio Show who guest have included Kathy Valentine of the Go Go’s, Meredith Brooks, Emme, Taylor Dayne and many other women in the arts. She is also the  Orange County Regional Coordinator of Mamapalooza, and emcee of this year’s Taste of Ladera and OC’s “Bet You Can’t Do That Talent Show.”
Janeane has emceed and hosted numerous events throughout Orange County , including Parenting Magazine’s Family Expo’s, Pampered Lady Cruises, her own Mamapalooza festivals and Momz Rock the House Music events. Currently, her radio show, Momz Rock the House, can be heard on momzrockthehouse.com and 90.1fm KBPK and on http://www.kbpk-fm.com, Saturday’s 6-7pm PST and Celebrates the Mind, Body & Spirit in Association with the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Lupus foundation of America. http://www.momzrockthehouse.com

These Talented  Mom acts will be providing the entertainment.

THE MamaEarth Band   www.stacyrobin.com 

 
Stacy Robin appearing with Donna Eveland & Lisa Barbee, aka the MamaEarth Band
Stacy Robin is an accomplished singer, songwriter, percussionist and engaging front woman who creates a colorful musical palette with a fusion of pop, rock, folk & world music, lush vocals and intimate lyrical style.  Her music takes you on a journey from playful odes to painful laments, from infectious hooks to deep introspection, and touches every emotion in between. Stacy is a masterful songwriter with several acclaimed commercial releases and her songs havebeen on TV and in film including the movie “The Stranger Beside Me” starring Mark Harmon, the CBS drama “The Unit” and TV ads for Gateway Computers and Toyota as well as radio ads for Wal-Mart. She has also donated the use of her music to non-profit organizations such as Step-Up Women’s Network, Americans for Medical Progress, and Cedars-Sinai.

WOMEN ON THE MOVE    www.reverbnation/womenonethemove 
 
Three indie artists have joined forces to become WOMEN ON THE MOVE.  Joan Enguita, Linda Geleris and Trish Lester have released original music on their solo CDs. All have toured the Southern California area.  Performing as an acoustic trio, they returned recently from their Portland tour. They were recently heard on KPFK in a one hour interview and performance on the legendary FolkScene radio show with host Roz Larman.   Styles vary from blues to soft rock, contemporary folk to modern country.  Instrumentation includes guitar, mandolin, djembe drum. Some of their Joni Mitchell tribute songs include the dulcimer.  The group is currently recording a trio CD to be released later this year.  June 13 they will be heard on the nationally syndicated radio show “River City Folk” in a one hour performance and interview, hosted by Tom May.  www.rivercityfolk.com    www.tommay.com   www.reverbnation/womenonthemove  www.sonicbids.com/womenonthemove

Jewelry provided by Gina Venturini Designs http://www.ginaventurinidesigns.com


Gina Venturini Designs travels easily from the board room to the ballroom, from the business lunch to the serious date dinner. You may have to change your outfit, but not your jewelry. In unconventional pairings, Gina Venturini Designs jewelry uses a smart combination of down-to-earth semi-precious stones and brilliant Swarovski crystal crystals with silver findings in unusual color schemes. While elegant and comfortably chic, these pieces incorporate classical lines with funky edges and sculptural, three-dimensional elements.

And Chair Massage by Debby Johnson. The Festivities are from 8-10pm.  Email from anywhere in the world to Kulakswebcast@yahoo.com  during the webcast and your sentiments will be shared LIVE with the audience.

Fabulous Mother’s Day projects

Here are a couple of Mother’s Day projects that my art classes did this week. Tissue Paper flower http://video.kaboose.com/crafts.html  and a bracelet made out of a cardboard tube.  

Fabulous Mother’s Day Gifts ideas

Are you still having a hard time deciding what to get your mother for Mother’s Day?

Here are a few ideas: Pamper her with a Spa Treatment, treat her at her favorite restaurant, jewelry is alwasy special or if your mother has a hobby, a gift card from the store she purchase her supplies will suffice.  If you are on a budget  go the homemade route.   Homemade Cards, Frames, and artwork will always touch her heart.

 All information for  Mamapooloza provided by Paul Kulak http://www.kulakswoodshed.com