learn something new every day:


I love love love the new Beauty and the Beast movie. One of the best parts, of course, is the Beast’s library, so I wrote “Belle Would Be Enchanted by These 10 Lovely Libraries in Hotels” for USA Today 10Best.

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stevie nicks, sarah polley and bergdorf goodman

Posted on May 19, 2013

It may seem like action heroes are taking over at the movie theaters this summer but, if you’re craving some real human drama, consider taking the road less traveled and check out these new documentaries:


Sarah Polley, who directed the beautiful and powerful Away From Her, turns the camera on her own family in this fascinating documentary about the truth – and its many versions. The film revolves around Sarah’s mother, Diane, an actress who died of cancer when Sarah was just 11 years old. As Sarah interviews her family members and her mother’s friends, secrets begin to surface and the plot keeps twisting. Because these are real people whose real lives are affected by the events that occurred – or didn’t occur – the film becomes more and more riveting, building to a conclusion that will blindside you. Ultimately, Sarah has the most at stake here, both personally and professionally, but the way she puts the pieces together and presents them to her audience is masterful storytelling in itself. more »

anna, katie and edith: a week with my role models

Posted on May 5, 2013

Last week was amazing. I got a chance to see two fascinating movies, Arthur Newman and Mud, participate in World Book Night, have lunch with some of my local blogging friends, take a pizza-making class and meet two of my all-time favorite role models – Anna Quindlen and Katie Couric. I did most of these things with my other favorite role model, Edith Alter — my mom — who is better known to my readers as “The Cute Tomato.” more »

my favorite (camera) shots from the lpga kia classic

Posted on March 25, 2013

Because I am not a golfer and can’t dissect every inch of every swing, every hole, every shot the way my husband can — and does — I thought it would be better for me to share my own photo shots from this weekend’s LPGA Kia Classic. Even if you’re not a golfer, it’s amazing to watch these athletes while basking in the beauty of the Aviara Golf Club at the Park Hyatt Aviara.

And let’s all send a big congratulations to Beatriz Recari on her well-deserved win after a nail-biting finish! more »

kia presents lois and michael: a marriage in parallel texts

Posted on March 25, 2013

Michael and I have been married so long, we often finish each other’s sentences. Apparently, though, that doesn’t mean either one of us has any idea what the other one is talking about — as we were dumbfounded to discover today.

Kia had given us a 2014 Sorento to test drive, and invited us to take it on a road trip up to the LPGA Kia Classic Golf Tournament at the Park Hyatt Aviara for the weekend.

Because Michael was so inspired by the pros, he decided to leave and play a round himself while I watched the matches from the comfort of the Kia Skybox. It was the first time he got to drive the Sorento, because I had been hogging it since it was delivered.

Now, Michael is an avid golfer and has tried, for years, to get me more interested in the game. I thought it would make him happy to hear that I was having such a good time at the tournament and was really paying attention to the shots and the greens, so I decided to text him and share my enthusiasm.

This is the ridiculous conversation that ensued. (My texts are in white, Michael’s are in green.) more »

“greedy lying bastards” and the sadness card

Posted on March 11, 2013

My great friend, Kim LePiane, does a card reading for me almost every time we get together (trust me, you should call her to do one for you – she is amazing) and recently I turned over the Sadness card. I couldn’t imagine why I was getting it since I really wasn’t feeling sad about anything.

I went down the list of everyone I love to make sure there was nothing I should be feeling sad about, and then Kim – who knows me very well – said, quietly, “You know, this doesn’t have to mean there’s sadness in your personal life. It could be more of a global sadness.” more »

tina fey, paul rudd and paul weitz on “admission”

Posted on March 11, 2013

Anyone who has been through the college admissions process knows how harrowing it can be. But what’s it like when you’re the one making the decision rather than waiting for it? In Admission, which opens Friday, March 22, Tiny Fey’s character gets a rare opportunity to experience the stress on both sides of the application.

Portia, an unmarried Princeton admissions officer, reconnects with John (Paul Rudd), an old classmate who now teaches at an alternative high school. He introduces her to a student who just may be the son she gave up for adoption years ago, and informs her that he is applying to Princeton.

I had such a good time at the press junket for Admission, where my fellow bloggers and I got to meet stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, and director Paul Weitz. As a fan of everyone involved – plus the book itself – I looked forward to hearing what words of wisdom they would impart about parenting and the college admissions process. Here are some snippets from our press conference:

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The Best Documentaries at the Oscars: “How to Survive a Plague” and “The Invisible War”

Posted on February 27, 2013

One of the most thought-provoking categories of the Oscars – and one that’s filled with fantastic movies not enough people usually get to see – is Best Documentary Feature. So far, I’ve only seen three out of the five but I was so blown away by a couple of them, I can’t stop thinking about them.

Although I liked Searching for Sugar Man, I just don’t think it should have won the Academy Award. Yes, it’s a fascinating story about Rodriguez, a ‘70s rock phenomenon most of us have never heard of, and it’s amazing that it’s true. But, to me, an Oscar-winning documentary should be more than that.

How to Survive a Plague, now available on DVD, is way more than that. In fact, it’s one of the most inspiring movies I’ve ever seen, telling a story that will forever change the way I look at the world and my own role in it.

Writer/director David France beautifully captures the bravery, persistence and determination of a group of activists trying desperately to save their own lives – and those of their friends – during the AIDS epidemic. As years pass and millions of deaths continue to tick away, these men and women never give up. They relentless pursue the attention of the media, the government and the pharmaceutical industry, bucking the bureaucracy, researching treatments and medications on their own, and risking everything. more »

Why the Oscars Left Me Feeling Like a Grouch

Posted on February 25, 2013

Watching the Oscars has always been one of my favorite TV nights of the year. Until last night.

I was just going to chalk up my disgust over last night’s show to my raging hormones and decreasing tolerance for mean-spirited humor, but then The Onion sent out a jaw-dropping Tweet calling 9-year-old nominee Quvenzhane Wallis the “c” word (you can read it here but I’m not posting it on our site).

The Onion, which is usually very clever and on-target, totally crossed the line there and, although it’s absolutely inexcusable and they’ve since apologized, it’s easy to see how the writer could have considered it “humor,” given the sexist, misogynistic tone of the night. more »

My 2013 Academy Awards Predictions!

Posted on February 22, 2013

It’s that time of year again — awards season! I’ve already watched the Golden Globes (the most fun), the SAG Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards, and I can’t wait for the Oscars on Sunday.

Academy Awards 2013

As usual, my whole family will be making their predictions from around the country and someone will win bragging rights. Even though, as the Flicks for Kids Editor at NickJr.com and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society, I am considered a professional moviegoer, that probably won’t be me. My mom will eenie-meenie-miney-mo someone like Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose (“Ooh, I love that song”) and walk away the big winner. So, with fair warning not to mortgage your house on them, here are my predictions: more »

omg, i’ve got bieber fever!

Posted on February 10, 2013

Frampton sign

It’s Blog Hop time again! This month it’s all about celebrity crushes, past and present, so I’m re-posting my piece inspired by my experience at the screening of the Justin Bieber movie. Don’t be embarrassed to share your own crush in the Comments below! I’d love to know who graced the walls of your teenage bedroom! more »

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