I’m a Little Bit Country…

I bet you’d never guess that a Jewish girl from Brooklyn loves country music but I have to admit, I have been a fan for more than 25 years and counting. It all started a long time ago when I was a junior publicist for “The Maury Povich Show.” Before the show became a “Who’s Your Daddy Fest,” Maury would feature entertainment guests and one of my favorite memories was the time our staff was flown to Nashville to produce a few shows while the CMA Awards were taking place.

I’ll never forget our talent booker Tricia Daniels attempting to hunt down Billy Ray Cyrus with a golf cart during the height of his “Achy, Breaky, Heart” fame. While she never did book Billy Ray, Tricia was able to land Clint Black and many more country stars on the show that week and I got to take Maury to his interviews on a few local Nashville TV stations.  I remember having an amazing group photo somewhere in my house and wish I could find it now because we all looked so young! Plus, so many of those hard working production team members went on to incredible careers and I am always blown away when I get to see them pop up on my Facebook feed.

A few years later, I landed a job at CBS and eventually got the chance to be the publicist for the CMA Awards. The team that I worked with at the CMA’s were nothing short of stupendous. Two of my favorite people in Nashville are Wendy Pearl and Scott Stem who led the public relations efforts on behalf the Country Music Association. Wendy and Scott are two of the nicest people I have ever met and no matter how stressful things got during the show, we always managed to laugh  the entire week and I couldn’t wait to come back year after year for more music, mayhem and excitement. 

One of the best moments ever was the year I brought my dad to Nashville and he helped out on the red carpet, handing water to Brad Paisley and many more country music stars. Dad even wrote a poem that he shared with Wendy and Scott called “The Jewish Cowboy.” Meanwhile, I invited legendary TV writer Jay Bobbin to spend the week with us in Nashville too and he got to experience what it was like to be a seat filler. Plus, thanks to Jack Sussman, one of my favorite television executives at CBS, Jay was able to get a one on one interview with the legendary Dolly Parton.

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I'm ready to see you all! #cmaawards50

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There’s one thing I can say about country music artists. They are some of the most talented and nicest people you will ever meet. During rehearsals, I was always mesmerized by their effortless performances and when the show was live, it was amazing to watch the intricate stage movements and changes that took place throughout the telecast. There really isn’t anything that compares to being in the audience at the CMA Awards and I highly recommend a visit to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry house so you can experience it yourself.

Enough of my trip down memory lane. Time to get back to watching the CMA’s. Even though it’s on a different TV network and my dear friends Wendy and Scott have since moved on to even bigger and brighter careers, I’m sure they are somewhere in the audience or backstage tonight reminiscing, smiling and laughing. My two Nashville friends have both figured out the secret to a great career. Do what you love with people you admire and respect and success and happiness are sure to follow.

Back to Blogging…

A long time ago before I even became a mom, I began reading books about what it was like going through pregnancy, childbirth and eventually child rearing. Like everyone else I know from back then, I initially bought a book called What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and truthfully, it scared the sh*t out of me. Every time I had a cramp, I thought something was going wrong. I freaked out about every stage of my pregnancy and when my daughter finally did arrive, I was one of those jumpy parents who would hover over her bassinet to make sure she was still breathing.

One time, during my first few weeks of motherhood, I was so dazed and confused after breastfeeding at 2am, I carried my daughter back into her room and accidentally bumped her tiny little head on the door frame. I was convinced I had knocked her unconscious and so, my husband grabbed a washcloth, drenched it in water and wiped her face with it. In an instant, she turned beet red and woke up crying. Crisis averted.

When it came to child #2, I loosened up a lot. I bought a new book, The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, and finally, I knew I had found my tribe. Spare me the fear, I was all about the funny. After that delicious read, I jumped into The Three Martini Playdate by Christie Mellor and realized that I loved this sarcastic take on motherhood so much that I was going to start writing about my life too.

From there, I began writing with a friend and we decided we were going to publish a book. Sure we didn’t know anyone who could actually publish it, but we were determined. We spent a summer in my basement, writing and laughing and eventually, Peeing in Peace was born. While it took us about nine months to actually find a publisher who would take a chance on us (thank you Sourcebooks), we eventually did while launching Role Mommy along the way.

Role Mommy has become a place where I have shared embarrassing stories about my kids when they were little (footnote: by the time they were 12, I was forbidden to share anything funny about them on my blog). I posted reviews of TV shows, films and products and also featured guest content from other parenting writers from around the web. And I produced dozens of incredibly memorable events. These days, my little site that could is serving up a dose of stories and sarcasm again. I’m back to doing what I love most – making people laugh, think and maybe even shed some tears along the way. And I’m working on some fun events again too.

So welcome back to Role Mommy if you haven’t been here in a while. And if this is your first time visiting, then hope you like what you see. I’m writing again from the heart about work, life and everything in between. Even though I’m practically an empty nester and I no longer have funny tales to tell about my kids, it definitely feels great to be doing what I love again.

Melancholy Mondays

This past weekend, I found out that our friends lost someone very close to them, their lifelong friend Tom. I was lucky enough to have met Tom when our family tagged along on their annual summer vacation to Block Island. For the last three decades, they reunite with their high school friends where they relax at the beach, gather around a bonfire, shoot off fireworks, shop at the farmer’s markets in town and enjoy amazing lobster and lots of drinks.

But there’s even more to this picturesque New England beach island than the quaint stores, the sunshine and the ghosts (don’t even get me started on that one) some of the most memorable times we had on Block Island were because of Tom – or shall I say Pirate Tom for those of us who were lucky enough to see him in action.

Each summer, Tom would visit with his friends on Block Island and during that weekend, would transform into his stage persona, Pirate Tom. Dozens of kids and parents would gather around Pirate Tom as he embarked on a trek across Mansion Beach that would eventually lead to finding a buried treasure. With his booming voice, kerchief on his head, scraggly beard and white flowy shirt, Tom embodied the spirit of someone who had just stepped out from another time period. The moment he began to speak, we all became part of the adventure as he made us laugh and we cheered him on as he fought off another swashbuckler who attempted to steal the treasure trove of beads that were buried somewhere along the beach.

It was so much fun to see Tom entertain those kids and the group seemed to grow year after year to a point where some kids didn’t even know Pirate Tom but knew they definitely wanted to be a part of the action. No matter your age, if you witnessed a Pirate Tom performance, you walked away with a priceless summer memory.

There are not many people in this world who can touch people’s lives at any age but Tom had that magical gift. He was a bartender, a voice over artist and actor who relished the opportunity to tell stories while making people laugh and brightening their lives.

And that, my dear readers is what life is truly about. It’s not about having a fancy title next to your name or driving an expensive car or having a spectacular home. Life is about the people who make your days fuller and richer with love, laughter and adventure. Tom was that person and while he is gone, his legend will absolutely live on for generations to come. In fact, I think we’re going to take a trip to Block Island this summer to retrace those magical steps along the beach. While we may not find that buried treasure again, what I’ve come to realize is that Pirate Tom was the treasure all along. 

Pirate Tom – Legends are never forgotten

10 Hilarious Halloween Babies & Kids Costumes

When I was a little kid, I used to love Halloween. Back in the 70’s and 80’s our costumes were pretty primitive. One of my earliest memories was of me and my brother wearing an Underdog and Polly Purebread costumes. Back then, we wore these horrible masks that made it hard to breathe. I’m sure they’d probably be banned today but way back when, our parents did a lot of things that were pretty questionable. For me, it really didn’t matter what costume I wore. I just cared about all the candy we were collecting that day in our neighborhood. If I could snatch about 20 Bazooka Joes and a few boxes of Dots, I was a happy camper.

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🎃🍬🍬

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Yup. That was pretty much me and my brother circa 1975.

When  my kids were little, I always had a blast dressing them up for Halloween and I have some great photos of them throughout the years of the store bought costumes I put them in each year. But these days, parents have seriously upped their Halloween costume game. From DIY costumes, to incredible makeup to facial hair on babies, there is something to be said about parents who put their all into making Halloween  as hilarious as ever whether their kids realize it or not.

This week, I’ve been scrolling Instagram and Twitter for a little Halloween inspiration and was blown away by some of the inventive and adorable babies and kids costumes that little ones are wearing this year. Here’s my top 10…hope it makes you smile as much as I did after seeing them!

10. Life is a Cabaret…

Can this baby be any cuter?

9. The Mouse Trap

This parent is seriously a genius. Baby as a mouse that gets wheeled around the neighborhood. Priceless.

8.  Crazy Rich Asians…

I just can’t. Beyond adorable and I haven’t even seen the movie yet.

7. Kid Pilot

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Graham Hodson the pilot …. 🚁

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Love that this parent used regular clothes but this little kid is still so ridiculously cute!

6.  Watch Out for Police Girl!

The hand on that hip is everything.

5. Fred Sanford…the baby edition

OMG. Loved Sanford & Son and this is costume is on point. 

4. UFC MMA Fighter Tot

Facial hair and a tattoo – and that expression…fantastic!

3.  Because You Can Never Get Enough of Sanford & Son…

Had to give this mom a second shout out because seriously, this video is beyond hysterical!!!! Genius!

2. The Headless Trick or Treater

Okay – this is beyond creepy, hysterical and genius all at the same time.
  1. Lady Liberty for the Win!
We all need a little bit of inspiration in our lives and this costume truly brings it home! Well done!

Outlier Parenting with Gavin Doyle

It’s Back to School so we are back with our Outlier Parenting podcast! This week we are featuring Gavin Doyle, a best selling author and Disney guru who started his business as a teen and is now a college student who is continuing to build his media brand. Find out the secrets behind Gavin’s success and learn how to save on your next Disney vacation!

 

Q&A With Timeless Star Abigail Spencer and Costume Designer Mari-An Ceo

Prior to the People Magazine Q&A with the talented women behind “Timeless,” I got to participate in  Q&A session with the executive producers, Abigail and the show’s incredibly talented costume designer Mari-an Ceo. Here are some of the highlights…

Q&A with Abigail Spencer and Mari-An Ceo

Question: How has it been like being back shooting the show?:

Abigail Spencer: I don’t feel more pressure, I feel very grateful. I mean we got cancelled, I don’t know if you guys know about it and then three days later we got picked up, We moved the production from Vancouver to Los Angeles, so we’re all home. I have a nine year old, Mari-An has a 13 year old. We’re all parents so it’s nice to be home so our kids now come and see us at work. I feel grateful for being given another go at it and we are so grateful to the fans. It was really their love and their rabid appetite for the show that brought us back.

Question: Do you outsource or make all the costumes on the show?

Mari-An Ceo: For our principal actors, because they have to have multiple outfits – it’s hard enough to make one but it’s really hard to make three in a couple of days. For background players we go to costume houses and sometimes we’ll buy things depending upon what we need but with principals, we pretty much make everything.

Abigail Spencer: They make it in front of my eyes, there’s this guy named Carlos who pretty makes Ihem in front of our eyes.

Mari An – She (Abigail) asked for a dress for a photo shoot and we pretty much designed the dress together in like five minutes and Carlos draped it on her and you look down and he made it within a few hours.

Question: What are your feelings on gender issues and gender equality?

Abigail Spencer: I will say that Frances McDormand, dovetailing what she said in her speech let’s talk about an inclusion rider. If we just level the playing field across the board, because there are so many talented women in every department that are just not getting the opportunities because they haven’t been able to have enough stuff to be hired. So I am very curious about that statement, the inclusion rider. If we just reset the standard, reset the tone as actors, as artists and make those requests, I think things could really change. We have to over correct in order to achieve balance.

Question: What time period is your favorite?

Mari-an Ceo: All of them! I have this amazing experience where I go in and read a script and have to quickly learn about that era. We have to do it very quickly – I may know that part of history but then when you get into these scripts you really have to know. You really have to know where the hemline is. During certain periods in history, women held onto their clothes for 15 years – you have to make sure that you know what they were truly wearing during that time or you aren’t staying true to the clothing worn during that period.

Abigail: If I had my druthers the whole show would be about why the costumes are they way they are. It would be one long runway show!

Abigail: The best day of production is when we are in a brand new time period. We are dressed to the nines our hair and makeup department are just so great this year. It’s really funny. We shoot right next to “This is Us” and they’re all with their jeans and t-shirts and we all look like we’re really doing something. And they’re like “Oh look at them, the “Timeless” crew they always look like they’re working so hard.” We take over the whole lot, the New York streets, Milo sees me in a different outfit every time. I actually visited their set in my suffragettes outfit and Chrissy Metz was doing her scene and they were rolling and I almost accidentally walked into the frame. And I thought how funny would it be if I was sneaking behind her in the scene. It’s so nice to be right next to them because they are so lovely.

Question: As an actress, what character would you one day want to play?

Abigail Spencer: I want to play Katherine Hepburn before it’s too late. As an actor, I’m really not super into playing real people but she’s someone I would love to play. I can definitely sound like her and I can look just like her and Mari-An made one of my dreams come true this year because she actually made the Philadelphia Story dress for Lucy to wear in our Hollywood 1940’s episode and it was my dream. I’d like to play her while she was making “Philadelphia Story.” Here’s a little history on her. She was box office poison before this movie was made. She actually could not get hired – every movie she made was a total bomb and she was a total diva. She ended up doing Philadelphia Story on Broadway and her boyfriend was Howard Hughes at the time and he bought the rights to the play and gave it to her as a gift and told her, this is how you’re going to make money. So she became the producer of the movie. She made that movie happen and then the movie was so successful and that movie turned the tide for her and she became one of the most famous actresses of all time.

Question: Do you think the Times Up Movement has had an impact on your career path?

Abigail Spencer: I’ve always said no to a lot of stuff. I always protect my characters and how I represent women. Especially as a mother I was more conscious of it when my son was born. I now have a community behind me where that’s not even a conversation. I think we are really intentional with Lucy on Timeless in how she looks and we are careful not to sexualize her. She’s beautiful but she’s brilliant. The producers pitched it to me that way – her superpower is her brain. I wanted her to start out that way. I wanted her to feel very normal so when she’s having to do these extraordinary things.

TIMELESS – 2018 – EVENT – “NY Premiere Event”

 

A “Timeless” Experience at the New York Historical Society

TIMELESS – 2018 – EVENT – “NY Premiere Event”

When it comes to winter in New York, it truly is a mixed bag. Sometimes, you can spend the week facing sunny skies and freezing temperatures, while other days it’s 70 degrees and you can peel off the layers and take a leisurely stroll through Central Park. This past week, included one of those days where I didn’t quite know what to make of the weather. A huge Nor’easter was predicted and I was attending an event in New York City and brought my daughter along because her personal dream is to pursue a career as a costume designer and lucky for us, we were getting the chance to meet the top costume designer for the NBC show “Timeless.” Sometimes, I just love how work and life seem to intersect seamlessly.

In celebration of Women’s History Month and Timeless’ return to NBC on Sunday, March 11th, PEOPLE & Sony Pictures Television hosted a premiere event at the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS) in conjunction with the Center for Women’s History. The first such initiative of its kind in the country dedicated to spotlighting female contributions to history, N-YHS’ Center for Women’s History provided the perfect venue to highlight the important and powerful females throughout history and showcase the women of Timeless, both in-front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Just as the event was supposed to get underway, the heavy flakes started coming down but thankfully, we made it – braving the elements and stepping inside the New York Historical Society.  While I grew up in New York City and even lived on the upper west side – just five blocks away from this fascinating place –  I had never visited before. From the moment I entered the building, I was so impressed with all the exhibits that were on display especially in celebration of International Women’s History Month.

As we entered the lobby, we were able to see an authentic costumes from the NBC series “Timeless” and guess who was standing right in the middle of them? None other than the show’s star, Abigail Spencer!

TIMELESS – 2018 – EVENT – “NY Premiere Event”/Courtesy Credit: NBC

If you haven’t seen “Timeless” yet, here’s the premise in a nutshell. A beautiful historian named Lucy (played by Spencer) teams up with a group of time traveling good guys who need her help to catch some really bad people who keep manipulating history and screwing up the present and future. The group zaps themselves into pivotal moments in history – from the Hindenburg blowing up to World War I, to the suffragette movement, and more, racing back in time to catch the bad guys who are determined to change history for the worse.

After we checked out a few exhibits — including Billie Jean King’s tennis whites that she competed in at Wimbledon and a Tiffany lamp display created entirely by women, we then met in a private room with the executive producers of the show, Marney Hochman and Arika Lisanne Mittman who talked about how excited they were about the show’s return to NBC this season. They also shared some of their favorite storylines and gave us a preview of some of the incredible women in history they will be featuring this season on the show. Arika is a writer on “Timeless” and was the genius behind the second season premiere episode where Lucy is taken by her mom and evil sister (they’re both with the bad guys) back to World War I where she meets the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie. Take a look at this sneak peek clip…

Following a private blogger Q&A with the incredibly talented women behind “Timeless,” we got to see an advanced screening the premiere episode.  Editor in Chief of PEOPLE Jess Cagle then moderated a Q&A with Timeless star Abigail Spencer, co-showrunner Arika Lisanne Mittman, executive producer Marney Hochman, costume designer Mari-An Ceo, and Vice President, Chief Historian & Director of the N-YHS’ Center for Women’s History Valerie Paley who discussed the importance of highlighting women in history, the impact they have on today’s culture, and how these trailblazers are illustrated in Timeless. Take a look…

Don’t forget to tune in this Sunday, March 11 to Timeless on NBC 10pm/9c – from the intriguing storylines to the gorgeous costumes, honestly, it’s definitely must see TV!

 

The Diet Chronicles: Week 1 of Nutrisystem

Well, here you go again.  It’s the summer and that can only mean one thing.  I have to lose weight…and since I’ll be putting on a bathing suit next month, I need to do it fast.  So what am I going to try this time?  Thanks to Marie Osmond, I’ve decided to try Nutrisystem.  I may not have to lose 40 pounds, but hopefully 20 can come off easily.

Take a look at my story and I’ll fill you in each week on how I’m doing with the plan!

A Night Out with Amelie on Broadway

AmelieBway1164r.jpg (Photo credit: JOAN MARCUS). When I was a little girl, I dreamt of performing on Broadway. In fact, I’d spend most of my time singing in front of my mirror daydreaming about where my life would lead and all the exciting things I was going to do on the road to stardom.
Fast forward to today and I’m now a wife, mother and business owner and while I never did make my Broadway debut, I recently got to daydream again when I slipped away to a show that brought me right back to where it all began for me. And that’s where Amelie on Broadway comes in…
While I watched the story unfold in this new musical, I found myself thinking about my eight year old self again who dreamed that anything was possible. And that’s what little Amelie does when we meet her. While her parents are ridiculously over protective – forcing her to be home schooled because they’re afraid something bad will happen to her, we realize instantly the dangerous effect that helicopter parenting can have on a child. While her mom passes away when she’s still a young girl, Amelie thrives in her dream world but seems fearful of ever taking a chance and daring to live her life fully.
We then see Amelie as a young adult who works in a cafe and returns home where she continues to daydream until a tragedy convinces her to finally act on her dreams, go out into the city and make the world a better place one good deed at a time. Of course, this journey leads her to finally discover love but the only thing that holds her back is her fear of taking chances.
Amelie is played by the incredibly talented Phillipa Soo who most recently appeared in “Hamilton.” Soo is perfect for the role of the flighty young woman who is hoping her good deeds will make the world a better place. Listening to her sing is like watching a champion figure skater – you know she’s going to nail every note and her performances are simply flawless. I also really loved Savvy Crawford who portrays Amelie as a young girl. While this was her first role on Broadway, I’m sure we’ll be seeing Savvy for many years to come!
I think this charming musical is perfect for mothers and daughters or a girls night out like I did with one of my closest friends. If you’re like me and still find yourself daydreaming about what you’d love to do with your life, then Amelie is a perfect way to spend an evening or a matinee.
To find out more about Amelie on Broadway or to purchase tickets, visit their website.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to see Amelie on Broadway. However all opinions are 100% my own.