Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Celebrities, Hot Dogs, and A Time For Heroes

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the A Time For Heroes Celebrity Picnic put on by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. What a great day, filled with activities, games and celebrities -- David Duchovney, Billy Crystal, Joel McHale, Dick Van Dyke and Carmen Electra were just a few that I saw. I was invited by my friends at Kodak, who were one of the sponsors of the event and hosted a booth tricked out in a safari theme -- all the celebs were flocking to it for the chance to take a photo in front of their cool backdrop. I heard I just missed Olympian Evan Lysacek showing off his impressive hardware. Of course, I'm talking about his Gold Medal.

The Kodak booth was definitely the big celeb hangout, and I would have just stayed there all day if it weren't for my 12-year-old and this weird thing she wanted to do called eating. I was like, "Hey, I just know Mark Wahlberg is going to be coming through here any minute and I just want to feel his arm," and she was all, "But we've been here for two hours and all I've had is an old mint from your purse." Sometimes kids and their weird priorities make me sad.

But speaking of priorities, the real celebrity of the event is Elizabeth Glaser, the late wife of actor Paul Michael Glaser. Here's her story:

I've heard and even written about the picnic, which is now in its 21st year, so it was an honor to be among the guests. As you may have guessed, celebrity picnics are way more blinged out than anything you or I might have. For example, forget about lugging a rusty hibachi and cooler filled with Costco hot dogs to the park -- this picnic had a Pink's Hot Dogs booth serving up their famous chili dogs. Wanna do an activity with the kids but are tired of collecting rocks and cigarette butts? How about sitting down and making a drum while sitting next to Joseph Lawrence? Yes it's true -- I was getting crafty with Joey from 'Blossom.'

Definitely one of the highlights for my daughter was getting to take a photo with Erika Christensen, who stars in one of our favorite shows, Parenthood. She couldn't have been sweeter, and most of the celebrities were pretty accommodating given that they were being stopped every two seconds to pose for a photo. Joel McHale even called my 14-year-old on her cell phone to say 'hi,' which was very nice of him even if he did say to her, "Hey, your mom's very cool and maybe a little bit creepy." Who knew he could see that perfumed letter balled up in my hand?

I heard they raised $1.3 million that day to help the Foundation fight pediatric AIDS. It was an amazing day, but in spite of all the games, food, music and activity, the real reason for the event was always in the forefront, especially when Jake Glaser got up to speak and thanked the crowd for coming out to support a cause that so greatly impacted his life and meant so much to his mother.

I do have lots of photos from the event, but as guests of Kodak and out of respect for the Foundation rules we were asked not to post any non-approved photos publicly. I'll have some photos from Kodak's photographer up soon.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summertime And The Livin' Is (Fresh &) Easy

Last weekend was a momentous occasion, one of great beginnings and the promise of hope. One that lifted my spirits and helped me look to the future with a renewed sense of well being.

No, I'm not referring to my 14-year-old graduating from middle school, I'm talking about the start of grilling season!

Not that it wasn't great seeing my beautiful daughter walk across that stage and into the next phase of her life. I'm just saying this 'next phase' might be just a little bit better with juicy steaks, ribs and burgers grilled to perfection and served on the patio.

And to get me started, Fresh & Easy sent over a box of grilling and cookout essentials. As you know I'm a F&E devotee so a package from them is always an exciting day. Okay I admit, not quite as exciting as my daughter graduating from middle school.

But check out what I got!

  • The Vine Yard Pinot Gris This citrus-y wine goes perfectly with chicken and fish and is a bargain at $6.99. I'm becoming a huge fan of The Vine Yard label -- I just recently had their Riesling, and it's become one of my favorite wines. (Fresh & Easy has a huge selection of wines for under $10. Go see for yourself. And bring me a bottle.) 
  • Condiments Fresh & Easy has their own line of Organic Ketchup, Mustard and Barbecue sauce and they're all under $3. This leaves more money to pick up several bags of...
  • Fresh & Easy Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt Kettle Chips Trust me, you'll need more than one bag. Moments after the photo above was taken that bag was mercilessly ripped to shreds and the contents ingested in mere minutes. And no I didn't share but I did let the kids have the entire bottle of mustard.
  • Fresh & Easy Gourmet Wheat Hamburger Buns These are baked daily by Il Fornaio. These taste great, but my only complaint is that they're a little big for the average sized hamburger patty. Or maybe I need to start making my burgers bigger?
  • Fresh & Easy Soft Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies Like the chips, these were gone pretty quickly. I set the bowl down a few feet from where my girls and their friends were sitting on the couch so they had to get up to reach them. It's the most I've seen them move all summer.
If you're planning on grilling this 4th of July weekend, Check out Fresh & Easy's famous Mixed Grill Pack, a variety of beef, sausages and chicken. And if I sound freakishly excited about that it's because I am.

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