Memorial Weekend is fast approaching which means summer is almost here. If you live in New York City that means upcoming weekends of trying to find fun outdoor things to do . Why not try going to a street festival .You will be pleasantly surprised.
Two weekends ago I happened by chance upon the best street festival ever. It was the 9th Avenue International Food Festival, an annual foodies paradise where thousands of people chow into a plethora of international food dishes and drinks.
Minutes into starting my trek up 9th avenue at 42nd street I bump into a man holding a plate filled with the most delicious smelling curry chicken with rice and peas.In the other hand he held a roasted corn dripping in butter with parmigiana cheese and red pepper seeds . Saying sorry, I ask where he got the food and then I was off to get my own.
Finding the roasted corn I jumped on the long line and
wasted no time, sinking my teeth into its sweetness.
As I looked around there are so many food choices it becomes hard to choose ! Can you say Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Colombian BBQ, Asian Pot Stickers, Fried Oreos, Korean Food, Pulled pork, Spanish Paella, Fried Mac n’ Cheese, Zeppoles, Japanese Oyaki, Irish Pub Food, Authentic Greek Food, Louisiana Creole Cooking, Vietnamese Food, Curry Chicken, Italian Sausage, Thai Noodles, Southern Desserts, Indonesian Food, German Sausages and more.
There was a food dish for everyone’s taste palate.My plan then became –try and sample as many dishes as possible .
If you missed this street festival don’t fret. You can see the wonderful pics of the fun day all along the 15-block long smorgasburg avenue filled with food offerings. Spanning from 42nd to 57th streets it was a feast of a festival that would have food connoisseur Chef Ramsey going “#@$%*!.”.
If you didn’t get to be there this year don’t worry There is always next year, plus you can sit back and read my post because I have the perfect recipe for you to feast and salivate through.
Grabbing my first plate of the day I opted for vegetable fried rice andPad Thai which I devoured while walking and enjoying the great weather . With temperatures hitting above 73 degrees walking the full stretch was a great idea and added to my upbeat feeling.Plus the idea burning off the calories of all I was eating and drinking was a win-win in my eyes. Feeling great I headed up to 57th street then turned around walking on the right side to see what merchants were selling, then walking over to the left side, I headed back to 42nd street. I was definitely not trying to miss anything, especially any food and drink options.
In my opinion this street festival literally takes a bite out of the Big Apple—- offering up savory bites, desserts and drinks from practically every country on the planet. Well, maybe not every country, but you catch my drift.
Soon after walking and everyone having so much fun eating, laughing drinking and getting free giveaways it didn’t take me long to dig in to my second plate of the day. This time it was an offering of fried ice cream. When I tell you I died and went to heaven after eating these treats. Guys! These desserts should be outlawed for being so darn good. Oh myyy!
We all know that food and music goes hand in hand. So, of course, as I approached 53rd street a live band was performing the classic Frank Sinatra New York, New York anthem. I immediately joined in and began belting out the song with gusto.
Start spreading the news/I am leaving today
I want to be a part of it/New York, New York
………..If I can make it there/I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you/ New York, New York
There was also a merchant selling old school soul music cds .A huge crowd packed the street outside the stall with people singing and getting down to the the old school jams. It was wonderful to see young and old enjoying the 70’s and 80’s throwbacks.
I too was getting my dance on and enjoying the joy of what music does
Minutes after dancing in place and flexing my singing chops I spotted Alfie’s Bar, Kitchen & Craft Beer. I ordered a sangria and it was DA BOMB!
Other food standouts for me included oysters at Medi . It was also a great idea that they had a chef on hand outside preparing them for customers.
I have to note that whether it was a gyro being freshly made, chicken jerking in a smoke drum or corn-on the-cob roasting —many of the faces behind the merchants represented the city’s vast immigrant population. The array of foods and drinks from various countries made it even more evident that NYC is indeed a melting pot for all.
The 9th Avenue International Food Festival wasn’t just about the food. It is also a place to connect with those you love. For example all around young love was spotted on display. Couples were out in numbers.One such couple was Steve and Meghan . These two I met while standing by watching families and friends jump onto this huge chair to take selfies and pics. They waited rather excitedly to have a picture taken on this big comfy chair.
After attending this fest there is no doubt how much I love NYC! There is no other city like it . I am glad no “walls” will be going up in the Big Apple to keep people out.What makes the Big Apple attractive is its diversity and in a nutshell this is also what brings thousands of people year after year to the 9th Avenue International Food Festival . It is where everyone can come and eat, drink, make friends with people from all over the world, get free stuff , listen to great music and then go home with a full satisfied tummy.There is something to eat for every faith, kosher and non-kosher, vegetarian and meat eaters. I love it!
Here’s to good food, drinks and my satisfied tummy…..by Debra Lewis-Boothman
For two weekends in a row ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘s slay at the box office continued. Crushing its competition the film threw down like the Broncos but by weekend 3, and now this past weekend, its fourth week out, competition got tougher for our cuddly hero Po as he went up against the super hottie-hero, Ryan Reynolds in ‘Deadpool‘.
Coming in second for two weekends since Deadpool’s arrival our Kung Fu fighting Panda bear fought hard to retain a top spot even beating out newcomers ” How To Be Single’ and ‘Zoolander.’
Pat on the back to me for taking the kids over the weekend, thuds counting ourselves amongst those helping Po to stay on top at the box office-
I have a confession and will admit that seeing the movie on Saturday was my second helping of KFP3 . Need I say more! It was so nice, I saw it twice!!
For families who haven’t seen this latest installment of the Kung Fu Panda franchise, a trip to the cinema is definitely in order. In this version our dumpling popping Kung Fu hero’s long-lost poppa-Panda materializes. Reunited, he takes Po to a secret Panda village to meet scores of other cute Panda characters. Looming though, to wreck the happy family reunion is the appearance of Kai (J.K. Simmons), an evil villain who has returned from the spirit world to steal the powers of all living Kung Fu Masters. Po’s mission? He must master his chi thus find the secret to his own powers within,in order to stop Kai.
Raking in over $294 mil worldwide thus far, it is obvious to all that this third installment of the cuddly warrior-hero Panda and his posse of kick-butt pals including Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu) and newcomer Mei Mei ( Kate Hudson) is destined like its sister installments —Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 to be a family favorite. A breakdown of the franchise and its box office numbers can be seen here at Box Office Mojo.
Crownheightsmom aloing with a number of other mom bloggers caught up with stars Lucy Liu and Kate Hudson during the stars’ press stop in New York to promote KFP3 earlier this month . The actors, both parents popped in together to chat with Melissa Gerstein of the MOMS after a screening of the movie at the Regal Union Square theater. Liu, dressed in an elegant knee high black dress and Hudson in a baby pink pantsuit paired with a grey cashmere sweater were all smiles and excited to be chatting it up about the movie and their involvement.
Hudson sitting crossed legged shared with the audience, “when I saw the character she was so fun and funny.” Hudson voices the girl diva Panda,, Mei Mei.
“I got a call from Jeffrey Katzenberg who said ‘we would you like you to come play the part of Mei Mei.’ It all kinda happened last minute and having known Jeffrey forever I said yeah sure, why not! “
“To get one [character] that is so funny, I got really excited because she is so adorable.”
The conversations with the two mom stars ventured from the movie and onto parenting. When Gerstein touched upon mom regrets in parenting, Hudson shared about the time she took her now 11 year old son Ryder–he was 5 or 6 at the time —along with her to see American Idiot, the Green Day play on Broadway.
“When Ryder was younger he loved Green Day .So I took him to the play.” Recalls Hudson , “as I enter the theater everyone is looking at me like, ‘why does Kate Hudson have her young child at this play? ”
“So a few minutes into the play and here I am with my sweatshirt over his [Ryder’s] head and I am like ‘I am out! ” she tells us laughing.
Lui didn’t share any parenting faux pas but she did dish on why she loves doing animation flicks. KFP3 is Liu’s third ride alongside Jack Black and Angelina Jolie .
For Liu, she shared , there is comfort in doing animation. “You get to show up in your sweatpants.”
“You are also in a room by yourself and I was in NYC so I would do skype and facetime session with the director, [Jennifer Yu Nelson] and that is how she directed me. ” Adds Liu, “you really have a limited idea of what they want in terms of the visual aspect because the film isn’t done at that point .so they were very flexible.
Liu also talked a bit about her ethnicity telling the audience. “Everybody is always asking me how is it to be an Asian American actress. I am like, I really don’t know! I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. I can talk about being an actress .I can talk about being an artist. About being someone in the industry but I do not want to talk about the fact that I am Asian American and an actress because it is the same thing .”In the end it is about talent and that is what really stands out.”
Are you searching for a new book to inspire you? One that will motivate you to make a change, in you! Then, look no more because crownheightsmom has the perfect book for you.Trust me, there is no better time than now, to start reading a book like this. Let me present, best-selling author and TV host Hoda Kotb’s newest book,Where We Belong : Journeys That Show Us The Way . It is a definite must-read that will leave you inspired, motivated and possibly rethinking your life path and and where you belong.
I just got through reading this book which I received recently at a MOMS and Secret Resorts & Spa luncheon and book signing with Kotb. The event, held at Manhattan’s Hunt and Fish restaurant in mid January made for an wonderful afternoon that was filled with laughter, tears , the sharing of personal stories and a delicious meal amongst a group of mom bloggers—all fans and cheerleaders, of Hoda Kotb .
The book, released on Jan 5 is filled with inspiring stories of individuals who answered “the call” from within. Individuals, whom were able to the answer the questions each of us will ultimately ask ourself one day. The questions of what is your life purpose and where do you belong?
Hoda explains it best when she writes in the book—-Most of us wonder what we’re doing. We float around in the glass half-empty, gaze out into the world of possibilities, and wonder if we should get off of our raft and climb out. Maybe even today you asked yourself: Is it too late to do that thing that made me so happy when I was young? Could what matters most to me finally be the center of my life? Can I really trust this yearning voice in my head and longing in my heart? Do I feel like I’m where I belong?
In person, Kotb is very much what you see daily on Kathie Lee & Hoda. During the fourth hour of Today alongside Kathie Lee Giffords she is witty, fun and full of big smiles. In person she is the same way.
The mom bloggers chewed down on delicious eats from Hunt and Fish including servings of salmon, chicken, pasta , salad and even french fries . To wash it down they sipped on speciality fruit drinks .Midway through the luncheon Hoda walked in dressed in a vibrant fuchsia and purple dress that popped against her tanned skin tone . Greeting the more than 30 moms in the room she took out her cell phone and started takings pics of everyone in the room before sitting down with MOMS co-creators Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein for a frank 20-minute girl chat about the new book, surviving cancer, getting divorced and her wish to have children.They were joined by her co-writer Jane Lorenzini.
The breast cancer survivor and former Dateline correspondent really impressed the bloggers .She shared so much of herself and even gave out hugs in addition to signing books for everyone.
About surviving breast cancer she shared. “I wrote in my journal every day.” Adding, “at the bottom I would write one word . That one word everyday was FORWARD, because I wanted to keep moving . I wanted to move forward . Kotb would have that word written on a ring which she wears daily . Says the journalist, “whenever I get scared, I look down.”
On regrets she tells the group, “all of a sudden life gets away from you and you ask, what happened? I look at my life now and every time I see a baby carriage or a baby stroller I melt. It happens every single time and it is hard,” Kotb shares about not having kids of her own. She goes on to say, “I feel like something is missing but what do you do when you can’t fill that space? How do you do it?”The answer she says can be seen with a family in the book who adopted late in life or as Kotb recalls from personal experience when, ” I looked at PEOPLE magazine and I saw Sandra Bullock, [adopted ] and you go look what she did . I always thought about maybe starting a summer camp for kids. I thought that would help or that I wanted to be a school teacher.”
So adoption just might be an answer for Kotb. Says the journalist, “Something is missing! And you know, the people in the book did say often you don’t know what is missing until you find it. All of a sudden you go ‘How have I lived this long without X. So there are a lot of things I am thinking about.”
Kotb uses her life path as a teaching tool .”I got married late in life. ….. I had a failed marriage ….and I had breast cancer.” Adds the on air personality, ” If I didn’t get sick I wouldn’t have had the guts to go in and ask for this job.”
Hoda couldn’t agree more that the book comes at a great time of the year as people make their New Years resolutions and self reflect. “Now around the first of the year people are rethinking their lives and wondering what they should be doing. ” Or ,as she also puts it quite eloquently, “suddenly you feel like, am I just taking the path of least resistance, just sorta hopping on the train and letting it go or am I choosing? ” Adds Kotb, “the thing about this book is everybody chose.They put their hands on the steering wheels and they drove!”
Part of the reason I love what I am doing now [with Kathie Lee] is for the first time in my life we get to bring JOY.–HODA KOTB
Kotb is in the drivers seat .Joining the fourth hour of Today alongside Kathie Lee in 2008 she says she loves it there but can still remembers to that time when she did not find her purpose. She tells the story of covering Hurricane Katrina and the effect it had on her [She used to live in New Orleans]. “When you cover something that is personal you really feel it. Covering Katrina made me think about all the other stories I’d covered that weren’t personal to me but were personal to somebody and I wished I had handled it differently because sometimes as journalist you go in and you go out because you don’t have time to put your whole heart into it . It hurts your heart to do it over and over and part of the reason is that you kinda get hardened .”
I love what I am doing now ( with Kathie Lee)because for the first time in my life we get to bring joy.We get to lift people up and it is cool.”
Even with two New York Times bestsellers behind her– Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives and Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee she continues to be the genuine no-airs-about-me, lovable and approachable on-air personality viewers are drawn to.
Hoda says it best when she says, “There is something to be said for being exactly who you are authentically, because if you are not, people sense it.” .
So true Hoda…..so true .Continue to stay exactly who you are. This is why we love you! ———by Debra Lewis-Boothman
Brooklyn residents looking to spice up their menu servings on Superbowl Sunday, need look no more. Problem solved! King of Tandoor Indian restaurant is the answer to finding delicious, affordable bang-for-the-buck Indian cuisine in Brooklyn when you don’t want to take that trek to Manhattan’s Curry Row.
Nestled right in the heart of Brooklyn, King of Tandoor is a cozy spot offering up some of the best Indian food crownheightsmom has sampled . So if you are a curry lover like myself or you are having a hard time finding that curry-in-a-hurry spot that’s easy to get to, then pop over to the Prospect Lefferts Garden section of Brooklyn –just a hop-skip and jump from Prospect Park, along Flatbush Avenue and not far from –Crown Heights, Park Slope, Bed-Sty or Downtown Brooklyn. Not in the mood to come out, no worries, forego the walk, pull out the cell phone and dial them up for delivery.
The family owned 32-seat restaurant has been in the neighborhood just over eight years says Naz who greeted me as I entered to grab takeout on Friday night.
“Most of our revenue comes from deliveries,” he says as the phone rang-off-the-hook while offering me a cool delicious glass of mango juice as I waited on my order.
Located in what was once a predominately Caribbean-American neighborhood where the lively sound of soca and reggae music echoes through speakers of small business ranging from —barber shops, Jamaican bakeries, Korean fruit markets, African hair braiding salons, Dominican bodegas and international fashion shops –the neighborhood is experiencing a boom in new businesses as high-rise buildings go up every few months and gentrification prices out many of the moms-and-pops businesses that once lined the avenue. These changes though says Naz, “is bringing an influx of new families and we are welcoming it.”
The restaurant is looking to expand later this year . “Our kitchen isn’t that big but we have two persons on every station, ” Naz lets me know about keeping up with filling orders for seated customers, takeout and delivery . As customers come in and out of the A-graded restaurant Naz engages them in small talk and a smile.
“We know everyone that comes in or we at least get to know them,” he adds as another customer enters the restaurant after jumping out of one of the many Dollar Vans swooping down the avenue -the sounds of reggae music echoing from the speakers as the door slams shut. “If ever there is an issue that our customers have, they can talk to us, ” adds Naz . “We love the people in the neighborhood . They are are very friendly and we like that.”
Adorning the walls of the restaurant are traditional Indian pictures of palaces in Bombay while the tables are outfitted with red and white tabletop settings. “We are planning on making the restaurant bigger so we will be renovating soon, ” he says.
As the winter season gears up Naz says they are excited. “Winter is one of our best and busiest seasons for deliveries especially Fridays and Saturdays.” In fact when the snow blizzard hit New York City a week ago the restaurant closed just on Friday but by the next day they were open and filling orders around the clock . They experienced one of their busiest days of 2016 thus far . “We were very busy, ” says Naz, adding “the phone rang non-stop with orders and a lot of customers came in.”
basmati rice with lamb Do-Piaz curry
For local residents dining and getting takeout King of Tandoor has become their own little piece of India, especially when they get to chow down on favorites like vegetable samosas and thandoori appetizers or curry specialities like Vindaloo Curry or Do-Piaz Curry with a choice of lamb, chicken, beef or keema cooked with onions and tomatoes in a spice flavored sauce. Washing it down one has the choice of a soft drink or a delicious mango drink.
Mango Juice (crownheightsmom.com)
For one customer who lives in the neighbor the restaurant is definitely King! Says Kate who lives nearby. “I have lived in this neighborhood for two years now and it is just amazing. It is the best Indian food I have found in Brooklyn thus far.” Kate insist that “next to Indian food from restaurants in London, King of Tandoor on Flatbush Ave takes a close second.”
So spice things up with a few servings from King of Tandoor as you celebrate 50 years of the big game on Superbowl Sunday . We certainly will!
Crownheightsmom give Brooklyn’s King of Tandoor restaurant opened daily noon -11pm 7 days a week a rating of 5 out of 5 Serving Spoons for delicious food and great customer service.
Disclousure : No monies were exchanged for this review.—CrownHeightsMom ordered her food, picked it up and paid for it. This review is a result of the food being so darn good! Loved it!
Pumping through my beatsbydre pill was that deep 50s and 60s’ soul sound harkening back to the height of the civil rights era when R&B music had a major significance on the movement and integration across the country. Bridges’ throwback singing style puts one in mind of Otis Redding and Sam Cooke . I pumped the volume up on high and noted to myself that a chat with this young star was in order . I wanted to meet him to find out more about his Grammy nod and his inspiration for this album.
I met the 26-year old when he made a stop in New York just before the Christmas holiday. The newcomer was in town attending the Concussion Movie premiere along with lead star, Will Smith. Spotting Bridges ahead of Smith as they walked the red carpet outside AMC Lincoln Center movie theater I snagged the opportunity to get a few questions answered .
So whom does the humble Bridges look up to musically? “I like a lot of 1950’s and 1960’s gospel and country,” the 26-year old tells CrownHeightsMom exclusively as Will Smith, Liam Neeson, Kevin Lyles, Elew and others descend the red carpet to the screams and flashes of photographers begging them to “turn this way”. Adds the newcomer who is quickly becoming a household. “I love Bobby Womack, Townes Van Zandt,Jesse Belvin, and Johnnie Taylor. “All that different type of stuff.”
I did not think that my album would be worthy enough to be nominated in the R&B category—-Leon Bridges
The singer counts his mother Lisa Sawyer as his biggest cheerleader. “Even when I was playing at open mics with five people in the crowd, she was supportive,” he tells me . The soul and gospel crooner even dedicates the track “Lisa Sawyer ” on the album to his dear mom.
I wonder what mom thinks of his current success. “Says the former dishwasher from Fort Worth Texas, “She said to me, ‘ It is all God ‘ and she is just totally blown away by the Grammy nomination and with everything that has been happening,” he adds.
Not just his music reminds one of the 50s and 60’s. So does his fashion style. He’s a sharp dresser who loves 1950’s style suits and putting together a look that is smart and GQ-ed out to the max.
With the new success and the new gear Bridges says he does not forget from whence he came. As he says to me he knows a thing or two of living the “struggling artist” life. Before success hit he made ends meet being a dishwasher but he never gave up on his music and making it. “You have to be in love with yourself and in love with your art,” Bridges tells tell CrownHeightsMom is one of the messages he wants to share with struggling artists out there.
If you always think about making it, then you are going to get disappointed…………—-Leon Bridges
The main thing, Bridges says artist should remember is, “If you always think about making it, then you are going to get disappointed and you are going to get impatient .” He says, “It is all about patience, being in love with yourself and using that time and the small platform for the better.”
With the holidays now over the young artist is preparing for a busy 2016. He was looking forward seeing him mom over the Christmas holiday exclaiming, “I am going home! I am going to see my momma and to eat her gumbo for sure. My momma is from New Orleans.”
So how does the future look for Leon Bridges ? The blueprint so far looks great for this young recording artist and Crownheightsmom plans on following his progress . He hits the road in March, heading overseas on a tour that will last through mid-June . This may seem quite a busy schedule so soon for a newcomer, but Bridges says, he loves performing and this is a “life long dream.”
Dreams do become reality and Bridges says that he isn’t quite finished yet on achieving his. One dream he has his heart set on achieving he says is a life goal of helping others. “I want to provide ways for kids to go to college, ” he shares, adding “and I also want to provide ways to help out single mothers.”
Way to go Leon Bridges!……Way to go! We here at Crownheightsmom.com have no doubts that you will achieve these dreams and more.
That was quick! Yup, the lazy days of summer has begun and with it comes the task of choosing books that will get you through lots of hot days by the pool and at the lake. I’ve already planned a weekend trip to the legendary family-owned bookstore the Strand. If I am lucky I might even bump into Nancy who runs the store with her dad Fred. I haven’t seen Nancy since our kids attended nursery school together.
I put my summer reading list together weeks ago . It’s an eclectic list ranging from Chick Lit to memoirs, poetry books to a few DIY-ers – learning how to Code and even one on how to build a doghouse .
In just a few days the family and I will head to Pennsylvania to officially start our summer vacation. I’ve made the necessary stops at the library to pick up the kids’ books for their required summer reading, With reading materials put on reserve for pickup our evenings for reading are squared away and will be filled with adventures, laughs and visits to far off lands thanks in part to our books.
One title I am looking forward to curling up with is the Melissa Rivers bestselling memoir, ‘The Book of Joan.’
I’ve had this book a few weeks now but have held off reading saving it for my summer reading. Having only skimmed over the first chapter I am besides myself to just dig in and read it all in one non-stop go.
After meeting and and hearing Melissa speak about her mom at a luncheon during her NYC press tour I grew to like her even more than before. I was even lucky enough to have my copy of her memoir personally signed by her. So this book is a define keepsake.
Since its release, the book has been climbing the bestseller charts and is currently sitting on the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times’ and USA Todays’ Bestsellers books lists.
A quick sneak peek in Chapter One already has me in stitches. I can already tell this is going to be lots of laughs-out-loud. I am literally rolling on the floor as Melissa retells events from her life with her mum. Joan truly shines through each pages and at every mention .
I am pleased that Melissa was able to take readers into the world she shared with her mother, giving readers a first class, front row seats into their wacky, funny and loving family life. I can’t wait to read even more.
When Melissa arrived at the MOMS event held at Juniper Bar in Midtown Manhattan, I half expected to see Joan following directly behind her.Smiling, she greeted everyone with a wide smile and an excited “Hello everybody.” Dressed in a fun floral swing dress to the knees and copper pumps she quickly took her seat next to hosts Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein the co-creators of The MOMS . The trio chatted about everything Joan and family life.
I left the event feeling that Melissa Rivers is funny as hell. It was clearly visible how alike in personalities she and mom Joan really are.
Writing the book gave me permission to laugh.-—Melissa Rivers
Melissa looked happy and everyone present noticed it. It was good to see that 8 months after her mother’s passing the single mom was looking healthy and happy.
“I don’t come from a family where you sit in a puddle and fall apart,” Rivers said off the bat in dealing with the loss of her mum, Joan’s death in 2014 she says plainly, ” You get up and you go forward.”
Readers will come away knowing how kind my mother was and how real she was.” – Melissa Rivers
Melissa Rivers poses with The MOMS, CrownHeightsMom and other mom bloggers at Juniper Bar in NYC
After Joan was buried Melissa jumped head first into writing her memoir. Thanks to her editor whom she she recalled meeting the day of the funeral when, as Melissa tells the story “this lady walked up to me extended her condolences and proceeded to kindly place a business card into my hands.” The rest is history – the result a well written and oh so funny memoir that will make Joan proud.
This book gives you a moment to laugh.”–Melissa Rivers
Writing the book say Melissa brought comfort as well as a flurry of emotions– joy and tears. “I sat for a few hours every day and a couple of times every week with my writing partner and I remembered funny stories and it allowed me to laugh. It gave me permission where nobody can judge me. It’s a funny book.Writing the book gave me permission to laugh. Melissa adds that these feelings and memories spawned a bigger mission for her—preserving her mother’s legacy.
On June 8 the GRAMMY Museum debuted its latest exhibit, Joan Rivers: Can We Talk? to commemorate the comedian’s life . Joan won a posthumous Grammy in February for Best Spoken Word for her Diary of a Mad Diva. The current Grammy exhibit showcases various stage costumes worn by Joan during her career. It also features family photos, her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star award, her hardcover book collection- including several of her New York Times bestsellers, the 1984 Harvard Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award, her 1990 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk/Service Show Host and one of her Louis Vuitton travel trunks. The exhibit runs through September 20th.
Going it alone without both parents, Melissa says she misses them (her dad passed away when she was almost 18) but, she has kept going for her only child, Cooper 14. “Having kids changes the dynamics of how you get through grief” says Melissa . “You get up and you move forward,” she says, adding, “That is how we have lived our whole live. There are days that are angry days, some that are painful days and that’s fine. ” Adds the proud mom, “My son needs to see that there is light at the end of every tunnel. Yes, there are days that are horrible and it sucks, but we are going through it. The example has to be that life continues and it does. That is what your parents would want you to show your children.”
“There was such a realness to our relationship [ it ] that everyone could see a little bit of themselves.”-Melissa Rivers on the relationship she shared with mum Joan.
On working with her mum for so long. Melissa says, ” In creating a career with my mom, it was hard and it was difficult and it was frustrating. It was coming to peace and terms with a lot of certain things and understanding that there are preconceived notions,” she notes, adding,” For me it was having to work harder than everybody else to prove that I am my own person.”
Coming from a showbiz family she says of going into the biz.”If you are going where your parents went and your parents were successful, you are going to have to work harder. You might get the interview but you are not going to get the job because of it.” If you get the job everybody will say you only got it because of your parents, so you have to work ten times harder just to be considered to be as good as everybody else and you know that and it doesn’t make it fair and it doesn’t make it less frustrating.
“We never let her drive! The worst words to hear at home from my mom was, ‘Melissa get in the car!'”-Melissa Rivers on mom Joan’s driving.
Melissa admits that growing up as the daughter of Joan Rivers wasn’t easy. “I wrestled control over certain things by the time I was 17.” In facts she says, “We never let her drive! The worst words to hear at home from my mom was, ‘Melissa get in the car'”. Other things say Melissa included Joan hiding money around the house. ” She was also not good with her Blackberry and she could not deal with the iPhone, at all,”adds Melissa.
Writing the book made it ok to laugh and ok to say we are all a little crazy.”—Melissa Rivers
Melissa says she hopes that the take away from reading “The Book of Joan” will be that, “readers will come away knowing how kind my mother was and how real she was.” She adds that she hopes that it gives readers a moment to stop and laugh. ” About that special thing her and mom Joan shared she says, “What resonated with us is that people related to us. Everyone could see a little bit of themselves with us and admitted it was ok to laugh.My mother’s personality was so big and she was so well known and was such a character you are hearing about it in her voice but from my point of view, which is different from her point of view. ”
I want people to know that even though our lives were crazy we took moments to laugh.- Melissa Rivers
“I want people to know how kind my mother was and how real she was and that even though our lives were crazy we took moments to laugh.
“One of the things that always resonated with my business partnership with my mother and our performing together and her being her and me being me is that people related to us because of the mother daughter relationship. There was such a realness to it that everyone could see a little bit of themselves. It made it ok to laugh and say ok, we are all a little crazy,” says the Fashion Police co-host.
If you would like your own copy of Melissa River’s memoir “The Book Of Joan” you can grab it at the Strand Bookstore in NYC or at their website here.
Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Bill Hader), Joy (Amy Poehler), Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith)
While sitting inside the Dolby Screening Room at a recent MOMS screening of Disney Pixar’s animated movie ‘Inside Out‘ three pairs of eyes looked over at me to see if I was crying. I had taken my 9-year old daughter, Kameko, my 7-year old son Kai and his friend Lexi Anne also 7, along to the screening.
Lexi Anne 7, Kai 7 and Kameko 9 are over-the-moon happy after seeing the MOMS’ screening of “Inside Out”at the Dolby Screening Room on June 12
At a particular point in the movie Kai and Lexi Anne began whispering to each .I then noticed that they were staring intently at me to see if I had tears streaming down. I quickly said before they could say anything, “Hey, guys are those tears…
While sitting inside the Dolby Screening Room at a recent MOMS screening of Disney Pixar’s animated movie ‘Inside Out‘ three pairs of eyes looked over at me to see if I was crying. I had taken my 9-year old daughter, Kameko, my 7-year old son Kai and his friend Lexi Anne also 7, along to the screening.
At a particular point in the movie Kai and Lexi Anne began whispering to each .I then noticed that they were staring intently at me to see if I had tears streaming down. I quickly said before they could say anything, “Hey, guys are those tears I see in YOUR eyes? ” They each quickly replied “No”, with Kai admitting soon after with, “Oh just a little. That was a sad part.” I in turn replied, “Yes that was a sad part and I did cry just a little.” My daughter Kameko hearing our whispers chose then to announce matter-of-factly, with Kai in the background nodding, “Mommy cries a lot at movies. She likes to let her feelings out. She also cried during [Rihanna’s movie] Home, and at [ Michael Rapaport’s] Little Boy.
” Shhh, don’t tell anyone, I say to Kameko as Lexi Anne looks on and a mom sitting in earshot turns around and smiles at me.
I learned then that kids are always paying full attention and especially taking in our emotions. Yup, my kids are definitely paying attention to mine.Which gets me back to Inside Out.
I truly enjoyed this film and so did the kids. They have already asked to see it again and I have promised a movie night over the summer break. I definitely see it becoming one of our Pixar family faves the same way, Toy Story and Wall-E has become. I also already know that this movie including all its merchandising products will be on their Xmas lists this year.
About the movie if you haven’t seen it yet. The movie centers around pre-teen Riley, an 11-year-old girl who is uprooted from her Midwest home and life as she knows it -to now reside in the urban city landscape of San Francisco when her dad takes a new job transplanting the family almost 2,000 miles away.
For Riley this couldn’t come at a worst life stage- the pre-teen years – a ball of emotions . Her feelings of being taken away from life-long friends, from ice-hockey games on the lake — to now being the new kid having to make new friends and at a new school .Overwhelming? To her , it’s the end of the world.
But this is where it gets interesting – Yes , Inside Out is about 11-year-old Riley, but behind the scenes the real stars that take center stage are her emotions that are wrecking havoc in her brain — enter the five brightly colored characters that represent joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust . Riley’s emotions.
These five conflicting emotions literally take over the pre-teen’s life as she attempts to try to fit in to her new surroundings but her emotional “headquarters ” where these five characters reside is full of non stop activity. Joy ( voice of Poehler ) the mother hen, leader and voice of reason tries to keep Riley happy and positive while the other emotions each vying to be the “top-dog emotion ” to dominate Riley’s inner life, they just seem to complicate matters sending everything into a tailspin and lending to a movie that is laugh-out-loud, funny, exciting, colorful and splashed with traces of sadness mixed in.
It will definitely be a walk down childhood’s memory lane and filled with nostalgia for most adults .
Seeming to be at the forefront though is the message that sadness and joy can work hand in hand for an outcome of happiness and good. In reality, we do go through sadness or loss in order to encounter happiness at the end of the rainbow. This message though, might go over kids’ heads as they are watching the movie with it brightly colored and cute as ever characters. So the take-away lesson of, “it may take sadness before you get happy” may be a bit too much for them to take in –older ones will get it – but this is one of the messages I found to be recurring.
Stopping by just before the start of the screening for a quick Q&A with the MOMS’ co-creators, Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein was actor Bill Hader. The actor plays the voice of Fear in the movie.
Speaking to the kids Hader says , “When you see Fear come in , thats my voice, ” adding “Do you know that this ( movie) is from the same guys that made “Toy Story ” and “Monsters Inc” and “Up?”
On how he snagged his role Hader recently told PEOPLE he “stalked” Pixar execs . He did say at the screening, “I was such a fan of Pixar [their] movies that I went to where they worked and I asked, ‘Can you please put me in one if your movies’. I wouldn’t leave and now because of my persistence, I play Fear in the movie.”
The actor also told the kids that he’s done some other well known kid movies. ” I have been in “Cloudy and a Chance of Meatballs,” I played Lachlan,” he says.
On his favorite character in the movie and no, it is not his character! Hader declares, “My favorite character is a character by the name of Bing Bong.” Adds the former SNL star, “When Bing Bong shows up just brace yourselves. He’s the best character in the movie!”
The movie took a few years to make . ” It took five years . I’m not kidding, says Hader of the making of Inside Out. Adds Hader, “Back in 2011, I went to Pixar and I started recording with Amy Poehler who plays Joy and Mindy Palin who play Disgust and others. So five years of recording. That’s how long it takes to make one of these movies.”
To finally see it Hader says, “It is a beautiful, beautiful film and we are so happy.” Say the father of three, “The cast and film-makers all got to see the finished product three months ago. We all went to Skywalker Ranch, that’s George Lucas’ ranch where all the Star Wars stuff is. We got to watch the movie in a room(screening room) like this and we were laughing and crying.”
Yes the movie will make you laugh and cry.
I recommend that families go together to see Inside Out. I loved that the movie in a special way lets both children and adults know feelings of joy, sadness, anger disgust, or even fear do work harmoniously together inside of us .
The kids gives their ratings. Inside Out gets 5 out of 5 POPCORN STARS! .
The kids summed up their feelings in this pic below:
Also read what they had to say about the movie below:
I loved that sadness and joy worked as a team even though they are opposites— KAMEKO, 9
Anger always made me laugh…KAI, 7
I loved that Joy was alway happy and never gave up on Riley and holding on to her happy memories.–KAMEKO, 9
Joy is always happy. I like when people are happy. LEXI ANNE, 7
Even though Sadness is always sad, she has courage.–KAI, 7
It was a very emotional movie and it was about emotions. It actually made me feel sad at some places.—-KAI, 7
My favorite part of the movie was when Riley was a little girl and she had an imaginary friend named Bing Bong. I liked how Riley made up a song about her imaginary friend.—LEXI ANNE, 7
The Lyrics to Riley’s and Bing Bong’s song….
Who’s your friend who likes to play?
Bing Bong, Bing Bong
His rocket makes you want to yell hooray
Bing Bong, Bing Bong
Who’s the best at every way, and wants to sing this song to say
Bing Bong, Bing BONG!
Check out the trailer below and go see ‘Inside Out’ at your nearest movie theater in your city ,See Fandango for listings
INSIDE OUT is now playing WITH THE VOICES OF: Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Richard Kind (Bing Bong), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger), Mindy Kaling (Disgust), Kaitlyn Dias (Riley), Diane Lane (Mom), Kyle MacLachlan (Dad).
It was lots of skipping, jumping, frolicking and dancing with the Mark Lamb Dance company amongst real life butterflies and Spring flowers this past weekend if you were in Brooklyn and experienced the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s FROLIC festival and grand opening of its new Discovery Garden.
Talk about a whale of a good time! My kids and I have not had this much fun discovering, smelling, touching and cavorting through the many gardens within the Garden as we did on Saturday. What a thrill! Making this Frolic even more special was the numerous activities and events planned around the new Discovery Garden’s grand opening located just inside of the Flatbush Avenue entrance.
The new Discovery Garden is a child’s outdoor dream of discovery —-designed by the award-winning firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. It encourages children to touch, examine and explore nature through hands-on experiences. From toddler to adult one can investigate plants and animals to uncover their mysteries or learn about the Garden and plant wildlife at many of the fun hand-on exhibits while also exploring the meadow, marsh, or the woodlands habitats throughout the Gardens.
Activities across the Garden that kept the kids excited included crafting their own butterfly antennae, going on a wondrous sonic scavenger hunt with stops in Brazil, India, Indonesia, West Africa and Australia. We then pranced across the Cherry Esplanade and bumped into all sorts of out-of-this-world larger than life moths and dragonflies all members of a clutch of fantastical creatures courtesy of Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Theater Company who seamlessly cavorted amongst the Garden goers and through the bare cherry blossom trees and pathways. The excitement and looks of awe on people’s faces was addicting..
Have you ever sat down and tried to put your family tree together? You know, sit with pen and paper in hand, draw a tree and branch by branch add individual family members . Not easy is it? In fact, it’s quite laborious. I have tried a few times and always end up quitting because it is just too tedious of a task, usually ending in frustration because I have again left off family member names I knew nothing of until pointed out , by one of my elder relatives.
With genealogy websites like Ancestry.com, My Heritage.com and Geni readily available for anyone to start their own family tree the once tedious task of creating a family tree has become a lighter one which can now be shared and built upon by family members spread across the globe .
With everyone on earth now 4 degrees of separation thanks to Facebook and social media Author A.J. Jacobs sees us all as being related to each other in some way . The aim of his Global Family Reunion ? To connect the human race. Why?, We Are all Family!
The TED Talks speaker with over 18K Twitter followers and TED views of over a million is the founder of the Global Family Reunion. He is also the best-selling author of The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy and is an editor at large at Esquire and a NPR commentator. Crownheightsmom sought out AJ after hearing that he is planning the MOTHER OF ALL FAMILY REUNIONS in New York on June 6 Crownheightsmom needed to know just how he is going to pull it all off and more so where is he going to fit all of his darn family members. I mean seriously he has invited YOU and seven billion members of the human family. AJ says, “Those with a proven connection to the world’s biggest family tree (currently at 77 million people) get a bracelet and take part of the largest family photo in history.”
It has gotten easier with DNA testing and the internet to connect to long lost family members. AJ’s Global Family Reunion will be one more opportunity to connect . Global Family Reunions will be happening all over the world simultaneously and across the US at places like the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Clayton Library Center in Houston, Texas, Allen County Public Library in Wayne, Indiana and the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri
Added to this global excitement are invited celebrities and experts helping to pull it all off. So expect to see featured talks and presentations by known figures including filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, magician, David Blaine,Former President, George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush (via video), Comedy Central star Nick Kroll, NPR host Ophira Eisenberg and former Obama administration member Cass Sunstein and more.
The day promises to be fun says the Global Family Reunion’s website with lots of activities including taking the world’s largest family pic, a talent contest, lots of info and exhibitions about family history and genealogy.and of course with the event being held at the New York Hall of Science, there will be over 450 interactive museum exhibits.
An Epic Family Festival
Music! Talks! Comedy! Genealogy! Contests! Potato sack races! Crafts! LOTS of celebrity cousins!
CrownHeightsMom talked with A.J about the big day. Below is what he shared.
CrownHeightsMOM: June 6 is a BIG day for you. I would love for you to share a bit about that date and the event you are having called the Global Family Reunion. What exactly is it ? A.J. Jacobs: The Family Reunion is a World’s Fair meets a music festival meets a TED conference. It’s fun for every generation. There are more than 50 entertainers and more than 400 activities – music, exhibits, food from around the world, trivia quizzes, scavenger hunts, you name it.
CrownHeightsMOM: Why did you start the Global Family Reunion? A.J. Jacobs: About a year ago, I got a surprise email from a stranger that said, “I am your twelfth cousin.” At first, I figured the guy wanted to me to wire $10,000 to a Nigerian bank. But as it turned out, the man was part of a team of scientists and researchers helping to build a Family Tree of the entire human race. But it’s not even a tree anymore. It’s an Amazonian forest. The Global Family Tree is now at 270 million people. It’s unprecedented, and I saw this as proof we are part of something larger than our individual selves. And here’s the cool thing: If you come to the Global Family Reunion, we have a team of genealogists who will try to connect you to the Big Tree so you can see how you’re related to Nelson Mandela and Lady Gaga and everyone in between.
CrownHeightsMOM: Why is such an event important? A.J. Jacobs: For one, all the proceeds after expenses go towards Alzheimer’s research and education. But I also think the event is important, because once we see how we are all connected, hopefully we’ll treat each other with more kindness. Which sounds optimistic, I know.
CrownHeightsMOM: How can families get involved? A.J. Jacobs: They can sign up on our website to volunteer at the event.Of course, I also encourage anyone interested to buy a ticket online or make a donation
CrownHeightsMOM: I see lots of celebs seem to be involved . Whom exactly will be there? A.J. Jacobs: Presenters will include Morgan Spurlock, David Blaine and Henry Louis Gates. We’ll also have Sister Sledge singing “We Are Family.” And hopefully you’ll be there too!
CrownHeightsMOM: Sooo, after the reunion, then what? A.J. Jacobs: I’d like a nice peaceful break from the madness where I can spend a week or two eating takeout with my wife and watching movies with my kids while not having to worry about getting event permits or lining up vendors. But I also have to finish the manuscript for my next book, It’s All Relative, which is about my journey through all this genealogy research and organizing the Global Family Reunion, so my break will likely be short-lived.
CrownHeightsMOM: Btw, are you prepared to deal with the “drama-filled ” or bad behaved far flung relatives because as you know You know there is bound to be a few in attendance. A.J Jacobs: I just nod my head, smile, and listen reflectively. That’s about all you can do in those situations.
CrownHeightsMOM: Did you by any chance contact Madea aka Tyler Perry for any tips on throwing a family reunion. A.J Jacobs: : I have not, but that’s a great idea! I wish I had thought of contacting Madea months ago, now.
CrownHeightsMOM: What will the money raised go towards? A.J. Jacobs: Fighting Alzheimer’s. We’ve partnered with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association New York Chapter who will use the proceeds for Alzheimer’s research, education.
CrownHeightsMOM: What have you told your wife and kids to expect out of the Reunion? A.J. Jacobs: I think they can expect a fun, wild, exciting, and educational experience. My 8-year-old said he wants to be head of security, but I’m afraid we’re hiring some bigger people for the job.
CrownHeightsMOM: You chose the New York Hall of Science, home of the 1964 World’s Fair as the location for this event. Is there a significance ? A.J. Jacobs: It’s a beautiful location with a lot of space, which is hard to find in NYC. And the museum’s hands-on exhibits are really cool.
CrownHeightsMOM: You have gotten such a positive response to this event and so many celebs have come aboard. Why do you think this is? A.J. Jacobs :I think it’s the ultimate social network. We are all part of the global family, and there’s something appealing about that. Also, they’re my cousins so they have to be enthusiastic.