Posted in Humor

Twins Separated at Birth?

We have more than just being blondes in common!

Sometimes I wonder if comedian and actress Ali Wentworth and I are twin sisters? Hey! It could’ve happened!

Growing up

full-moon-2135225__480Ali and I were born in Washington D.C. Our mother was Nancy Reagan’s social secretary and our father a political journalist who were both well known in the capitol social circles. We were both always fun loving, and our mother had trouble keeping straight who was who. I remember one time I heard her say, “Alexandra Elliot, why did you eat the entire box of Twinkies?” when she actually should’ve said, “Amelia Sue, why did you eat all the Twinkies?” By now everyone knows I am the sister with the death-defying love of sugar. Ali is more into salty snacks.
Ali likes to tell about the time she tap-danced for Henry Kissinger at one of our mother’s parties. That was nothing compared to the time I ordered a “Realistic Flying Bat” from an ad in the back of a comic book. It was a stupid rubber bat with an invisible string tied to each wing. (There was no such thing as online reviews back then!) But I scared the crap out of Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger and his wife at a garden gala by tying one string to a tree and hiding behind a fence while I made the bat fly up and down!
Even though Ali and I are twins, I am a teensy bit older than she is and a little shorter. I am a tad jealous of her being the taller one of us as it’s easier for her to look svelte than it is for me. When it comes to vanity, I’m the one way ahead! I’ve always been the vainer of the two of us. A few years ago Ali recorded a series of video blogs documenting her recuperation after plastic surgery on her eyes. Of course, I’m not old enough that I need to have any work done, but when I do, I won’t be posting any recovery pics online!

College and Love

Ali and I both went to private colleges. Ali stayed out east whereas I, wanting to be a veterinarian, headed to the Midwest. Although I did not end up going to veterinary school, I ended up with a career in that field as an x-ray tech and instructor at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary School. My life revolved around wrestling dogs, picking up horse feet, and scooping poop. Hers was being a Fly Girl and doing sketch comedy on “Living Color,” and appearing on TV with Jerry Seinfeld and in “Jerry Maguire” with Tom Cruise. My Tom Cruise claim to fame was that I was the only person in the U.S. who still liked him after his couch-crazy Katie Holmes antics.
Ali met George Stephanopoulos on a blind date, and they fell in love and got married two months later. As everyone knows, he is a political commentator and co-anchor of Good Morning America. My hubby was a legend too—in his own mind as he’s an expert on everything! Ali is still happily married to her famous hubster. I am deliriously single although I am in a wonderful relationship with a not-famous sound engineer and musician.

Ali and I both like to make funny faces!
Ali and I both like to make funny faces!

Comedy Brands

Ali’s brand of comedy is more physical than mine as she does crazy stunts on-stage like the time she flashed Miley Cyrus on Jimmy Kimmel. Although I have a “no fear” policy for myself when it comes to a lot of things, you won’t catch me doing anything like that! I have a relatively dry and sometimes sarcastic side. My specialty is playing April Fools jokes on my son (I haven’t missed a year) and coming up with ingenious Halloween costumes.
Did I mention we’re both writers? Ali writes books (“The WASP Cookbook,” “Ali in Wonderland,” and “Happily Ali After”). I embellish songs for the rock band Randolph Star and am an aspiring blogger honing my skills in a social media writing class.

Ali in "Nightcap" and me and my "Bass face"Current Lives

Ali and I don’t see each other much—not ever actually. She’s busy creating and starring in a comedy series while I’ll be showcased at Love & Laughs Comedy Club. We will have a standup comedy club at my daughter’s wedding in September instead of a dance, and I’m hoping Aunt Ali will be one of the performers!
So check out us sisters! Ali, who has already done a lot of noteworthy work, on her show Nightcap (available on Amazon Prime and iTunes) and me, rocketing to rock stardom with my band at the Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wisconsin on August 12, 2018! You never know who’ll show up—Ali, George, Tom Cruise?
Who is your celebrity twin? Share pics of the two of you!

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Posted in Happiness, Music

“No” Does Not Mean “Never”!

It’s Never Too Late to Be a Rockstar!

As a kid, it was important to my mother that I participate in choir
and take piano and flute lessons. I was not a fan of all
that as those obligations got in the way of coming home from
school, raiding the kitchen cupboards, and ruining my
appetite for dinner by chowing down on snacks while my
siblings and I watched television after school. piano keyboardMy piano
playing was marginal at best. I lived in the shadow of two
cousins who were better than I was. One even went on to a
career as a professional pianist with the Milwaukee
symphony! At family gatherings when they showcased their
talents, I found ways to avoid it. My flute teacher had recitals
during the year that required me to play a solo in front of of an
audience. After each performance, I immediately started
getting stressed about about the next recital even though it was months away.

Guitar Lessons?

There was one musical endeavor I did inquire about—learning to play the guitar. One of my illustrious piano playing cousins got to take guitar lessons and it looked like fun! She played an acoustic guitar so it wasn’t as awesome as playing an electric guitar, but it was cool in a Don McClean’s “American Pie” kind of way. When I inquired about taking guitar lessons my mother said only people who can sing should play the guitar. Hmmmm, what was she implying? Since I didn’t like singing in front of people, I let it go. “No” was her answer. The next decades were filled with a career, marriage, and kids. Any singing I did was with kids to the Wiggles, Disney songs, or at Christmas.

Tommy didn’t take “No” for an Answer

You may be familiar with a person named Tommy Wiseau. He had aspirations to be an actor and moved to Los Angeles but no one would take him seriously or give him an acting job. Not to be deterred; Tommy wrote, acted in, produced, and promoted his own movie. He even paid for it to stay in a theater for two weeks so it could qualify for the Oscars! For a long time “The Room” was known as one of the worst movies ever made. Not many people knew who Tommy was until James Franco made a movie about the making of “The Room” and starred in it as Tommy. Franco’s movie, “The Disaster Artist” was my favorite movie of 2017 not only because I found it highly entertaining, but also inspiring. Tommy didn’t take “no” for an answer. Thanks to “The Disaster Artist” Wiseau’s movie has attained cult status and although people go to it for different reasons than he originally intended, he has gotten the notoriety he craved. In this fun clip of Tommy and James on the Jimmy Kimmel show, Tommy’s unique style and great sense-of-self shows through: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=aT1gOazMMm8.

Pursuing My Dream

Four years ago a small group of musicians at Natural Sound Studio in St. Paul needed an occasional fill-in bass player for Sunday afternoon jam sessions. I asked my sweetheart, Steve, who owns the studio and played in the group if he could teach me how to
play the bass guitar. Bass guitarThanks to his help and online tutorials I have put to rest the paradigm I lived with much of my life. Although thinking I couldn’t play the guitar didn’t haunt me every day of my life, overcoming a fear of performing in front of people was real. Now it has become a thing of the past. It was something I desired enough to overlook and overcome the genuine possibility that I wouldn’t be good at it. Now I’m the bass player in Randolph Star and I help write and arrange our original music. Those choir practices I hated so much help me harmonize and the flute recitals that paralyzed me with fear are a thing of the past as I enjoy bringing our band’s music to audiences.

Did anyone ever tell you that you couldn’t do something and you later proved them to be wrong? I’d love it if you shared your inspiring story in the comments below!

Posted in Happiness, Law of Attraction

How to Find Your Prince!

Meghan Markle found her prince. Here is how we can find ours!

I have always loved the show “Suits,” and as we know, Meghan Markle not only got to marry her love interest on the show but also found a prince in real life! I don’t fit into teensy sized clothes as she does and I look silly in hats, but I already have a prince of my very own, and you might have one already too. Sometimes we just need a little help realizing it and treating our real-life princes with love and respect.

We’re all flawed individuals. Sometimes I have been a little too critical of my kids, my coworkers, and the person I’m in a relationship with. Every so often I need to take a step back and look at how I treat the people I love.  I have written about my affinity for The Secret and The Law of Attraction in other posts. Wouldn’t you know–this is another area where it has served me well!

Say “Thank you!” instead of “What the…?!”

What we focus on expands. When I see my sweetheart washing dishes, and it’s not the way I do it, the fact that he keeps the faucet running the entire time could drive me crazy if I let it! Worse yet, it could cause me to criticize him and turn something he does to help into a wedge between us. So instead, I put how he does the dishes out of my mind (it’s not always easy!) and instead say, “Thank you, my sweetheart, for doing those dishes!”

Saying the words “thank you” goes a long way. Say it to your very own prince or princess. Smile and make them know you’re sincere. While we’re at it–say “thank you” to yourself for doing something positive that can make an impact in your life!

Notice the Wonderful Things

Do you find yourself taking the nice things your significant other does for you for granted?  No matter how small they are, they mean a lot. If we take note of the little things and are truly grateful for them and the person who does them, there will be more–many more! Expressing gratitude in our heads and hearts is as important as saying “thank you” out loud. Make a list (mental or actual) of the day-to-day things your sweetheart does for you and love them for it.

Love the Person Inside

Princes and princesses come in many sizes. Meghan Markel and Prince Harry look like a fairytale couple. My sweetheart and I don’t have the glamorous looks they have, but we each see things in each other that other people don’t, and we love each other for who we are.  “You’re so snuggly!” and “I love that shirt on you! It looks terrific!” or “The way you baste that chicken really turns me on!” is so much better than noticing a few extra pounds or finding fault. Sometimes we get too hung up on imperfections instead of looking for and making the most of the great attributes everyone has.

Terms of Endearment

My sweetheart calls me his “princess”! Having pet names for each other can sound a little corny, but being loving to someone else can bring out the best in people. “Hey my darling, would you have a minute to take out the trash?” or “I could really use a hand carrying this, my lovebug.” gets their attention and can be the start of helping or doing things together.

What if?

What do you do if you are alone or are in a relationship where the other person is not likely to ever be your prince or princess? What if you make the efforts above and they don’t embrace your efforts–or worse yet they make fun of or express anger at them? I will always be a student of The Law of Attraction–never an expert. But, I know each person can only change their own way of thinking. You can’t change what other people think and how they behave. What if it means making significant changes and taking positive steps toward a different life. It takes courage, and it is never easy.

Have you found your very own prince or princess? How do you make him or her feel special?

Posted in Health, Law of Attraction

Gymspiration

Inspiration for the gym: Mental tricks I use—and you can use too—to get myself into to the health club!

When the going rate for memberships at my health club is $49 per month, I pay $15. Why? I’ve been a member for over 25 years! In that time, I’ve done an excellent job of getting myself there on a regular basis. These are some of the ways I’ve done it.

Consistency

Doing something on a consistent basis is the best way to see results over time. I talk about consistency and using it to achieve things in another post I wrote. It works exceptionally well for exercise and eating right. Here’s a great blog about consistency and how and why it drives success. Continue reading “Gymspiration”

Posted in Recipes

Seven Layer Mini-Cheesecakes

With a caramel coconut cookie crust, these couldn’t be easier and yummier!

There’s been a trend for quite awhile of combining two desserts into one.  We’ve all seen pumpkin pecan pie, carrot cake cheesecake, and brownies made with chocolate chip cookie dough in addition to the traditional brownie batter.  As far as I know, I am the only one to combine Seven Layer bar toppings with mini-cheesecakes and bake them together. My crust of choice is a caramel and coconut cookie.  They are a lot of deliciousness in a small package!

The Recipe

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 24 caramel coconut cookies (Caramel deLites®, Keebler™ or Benton™)

Cheesecake:

  • 2-8oz pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature

Top layer:

  • 3/4  cup sweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 7oz sweetened condensed milk (half of a 14oz can)

Continue reading “Seven Layer Mini-Cheesecakes”

Posted in Happiness, Law of Attraction

How to Achieve What You Want!

 

Acting “as if” can change something that is iffy to a reality!

As someone who successfully made significant midlife changes, I can speak to the amount of effort it takes and how scary it can be! In less than a five year period

  • I left a long, and somewhat happy marriage
  • got a daughter through four fun years of college
  • retired from a successful career
  • went back to school
  • met my sweetheart
  • started playing the bass guitar and performing in front of people
  • I am about to have a son start collegeDecide that you want it more than you are afraid of it!

No Fear

One of the things that has served me well is having a “no fear” policy. Granted, I have a “Don’t do anything stupid” policy Continue reading “How to Achieve What You Want!”

Posted in Crafts, Decor

Crafting a Felt Leaf Wreath

How to make an inexpensive, custom-colored knockoff of a beautiful wreath from Target.

The Target version of the wreath I wanted to make.
                              The Target Version                                 

Last fall I saw a beautiful wreath made of felt leaves with accent stitching at Target. I try to conserve money when I can and have enough seasonal fall decor so instead of impulse buying it, I took a picture of it. A couple months later I wanted to decorate my daughter’s very plain washroom at her condo for her birthday. A similar wreath in the chosen colors for her decor would be a perfect touch! Continue reading “Crafting a Felt Leaf Wreath”