Monday, May 21, 2018

Meghan Markle's Wedding Tiara

Although I didn't get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to watch the Royal Wedding, I have been reading about it all weekend. The bride's dress was indeed beautiful, but I was much more fascinated with her tiara! Here's the scoop from People.com:
Meghan Markle‘s royal wedding tiara holds as much — if not more — significance as the gown she wore down the aisle. While some speculated that Meghan might skip the tradition altogether, Prince Harry‘s bride followed royal protocol and paid homage to her new family through the meaningful, sparkling accessory which has been in the British royal family for decades.
According to Kensington Palace, the English tiara, which features diamonds set in platinum, was made in 1932 and features a center detachable brooch made of ten diamonds dating back to 1893.
The tiara is “formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant diamonds.”
The palace confirms that the diamond bandeau was a present to the then Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York, who would become King George V. The bandeau and the brooch were passed down by Queen Mary to The Queen in 1953. The queen’s sister Princess Margaret famously wore the piece to events.
To read the entire article, click here. Did you watch the wedding live? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Balsamic Chicken with Capers


I've been experimenting with Mediterranean cooking and recently ordered The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. I love this book! Here's a healthy recipe I made last week and served with rice and a salad. It's really delicious and Hubby gave it two thumbs up. Did I mention that it's really easy to make? That's my favorite part. Enjoy!

Balsamic Chicken with Capers

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T Dijon Mustard
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I used 1 t garlic powder)
1 T chopped fresh rosemary (I used 1 t dried rosemary)
2 T drained capers, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper (I used 1 t of each)
4 pounds of bone-in chicken breasts, legs and thighs (I used 3 lbs of boneless, skinless thighs)

Spray the insert of a large slow cooke rwith non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, rosemary, capers, 1/2 t salt and pepper to taste. Dip the chicken pieces into the mixture, turning to coat on all sides. Place the chicken in the cooker and pour on any remaining sauce.

Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours, or until the chicken is very tender and coming away from the bone.  Serve hot.

Do you like Mediterranean food? Thanks for  visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Korla Pandit — Disguising Identity: From Black to Indian

http://www.nwasianweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/34_43/ae_korla.jpg
Korla Pandit
In searching the Internet for something interesting to blog about, I stumbled upon this fascinating celebrity named Korla Pandit. I'll start by saying before there was Liberace, there was Korla Pandit. Check out this captivating article by Andrew Hamlin from Northwest Asian Weekly
Two hands hold a large censer.  A voice speaks of wisdom and rubies.  A deep, slightly scraggly voice.  The action fades-in to a man in a turban with a jewel mounted between his eyes.  Fixing his eyes upon the camera, Korla Pandit begins his act.
And his act was the Hammond Organ, augmented with a Steinway piano to his right.  Playing mostly organ, occasionally piano, sometimes one with each hand, Pandit played for fifteen minutes on Los Angeles’ KTLA-TV from 1949 until 1951.  He did not rock and roll and he did not get down and dirty with the blues, but he flitted easily between all other types of music, playing popular tunes, show tunes, traditional, and ethnic music from around the world. He was one of the first television stars, but he never spoke on camera.  The narrator off-screen was someone else.
And Korla Pandit had reason to never speak.  Speaking might have given away his secret.
John Turner’s film “Korla” covers the organist’s life from start to finish, but not in that order.  He starts with the censer, the myth, the exotica (for Korla Pandit was a pioneer of “exotica”) and goes considerably into Pandit’s keyboard skills combined with his elegance and mystery, his easy way of wining over an audience.  Pandit’s work grew popular with folks who ironically were into tiki torches and vintage cocktails, folks who wanted to overlook rock and roll or step into a time machine and come out back before rock and roll first rolled.
But Pandit’s work, cheesy as it could get, transcended kitsch. He knew how to play to the camera and reach his audience through the camera, with his galvanizing eyes bolstered with the glinting jewel, the white of the turban combined with the milk chocolate of his skin.  He hammered down Hammond keys with the heel of his hand, his palms, and even his forearms. He took chestnuts such as “Over The Rainbow” and gave them fresh illumination with rapid runs, melancholy swells, double-time breaks, and piano intermezzos.
Pandit never admitted to anyone that he was not actually Indian—not from India or elsewhere.  He was not from the Far East or the Near East.  He was born John Roland Redd, in St. Louis in 1921.
The “exotic” persona came partially from his wife, a white lady Beryl June DeBeeson, and partially from a film the future Pandit’s sister appeared in—a film featuring a black man disguised as an Indian.  With a turban and a jewel.
And the fascinating, damnable thing was that passing for Indian worked wonders for him.  He was no longer a black man, but he was one of the first black men to have his own TV show.  His birth certificate lists him as “colored”; his death certificate asserts he was “white.”  His family appears to have gone along with his fake background, although his wife and older son have since died, and his younger son, for whatever reason, does not appear in the film.
He exploited the exotic background story for his own ends and to that extent must be deemed selfish.  But not solely selfish.  Many black people who could, passed for white.  And as Pandit/Redd demonstrated, passing as anything was preferable to being black.
He preached the universal language of music.  He was a fraud, but he was a spiritual optimist.  And as Carlos Santana remarks, he opened vortexes.  Anything seemed possible when he pressed the keys.  Any dimension, any identity.  Any form.  Any triumph.
I had never heard of Kora Pandit. Had you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 30, 2018

West Side Story: How it All Began


Yesterday, hubby took me to see what we thought would be a theatrical production of West Side Story. I've actually seen it onstage before, but I prefer the motion picture. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out what we'd be seeing was the movie with live orchestral accompaniment! There's a new technology that strips the music from the vocals of the film, so a live orchestra (in this case The Cincinnati Pops) can play the score. Needless to say, it was quite an enjoyable experience! But something I learned from our program was that West Side Story was originally conceived as East Side Story and the two conflicting sides were Catholics and Jews. I had to find out more, so here's what I discovered in Wikipedia:
In 1947, Jerome Robbins approached Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents about collaborating on a contemporary musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. He proposed that the plot focus on the conflict between an Irish Catholic family and a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, during the Easter–Passover season. The girl has survived the Holocaust and emigrated from Israel; the conflict was to be centered around anti-Semitism of the Catholic "Jets" towards the Jewish "Emeralds" (a name that made its way into the script as a reference). 
Eager to write his first musical, Laurents immediately agreed. Bernstein wanted to present the material in operatic form, but Robbins and Laurents resisted the suggestion. They described the project as "lyric theater", and Laurents wrote a first draft he called East Side Story. Only after he completed it did the group realize it was little more than a musicalization of themes that had already been covered in plays like Abie's Irish Rose. When he opted to drop out, the three men went their separate ways, and the piece was shelved for almost five years.
In 1955, theatrical producer Martin Gabel was working on a stage adaptation of the James M. Cain novel Serenade, about an opera singer who comes to the realization he is homosexual, and he invited Laurents to write the book. Laurents accepted and suggested Bernstein and Robbins join the creative team. Robbins felt if the three were going to join forces, they should return to East Side Story, and Bernstein agreed. Laurents, however, was committed to Gabel, who introduced him to the young composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim auditioned by playing the score for Saturday Night, his musical that was scheduled to open in the fall. Laurents liked the lyrics but was not impressed with the music. Sondheim did not care for Laurents' opinion. Serenade ultimately was shelved.
Laurents was soon hired to write the screenplay for a remake of the 1934 Greta Garbo film The Painted Veil for Ava Gardner. While in Hollywood, he contacted Bernstein, who was in town conducting at the Hollywood Bowl. The two met at The Beverly Hills Hotel, and the conversation turned to juvenile delinquent gangs, a fairly recent social phenomenon that had received major coverage on the front pages of the morning newspapers due to a Chicano turf war. Bernstein suggested they rework East Side Story and set it in Los Angeles, but Laurents felt he was more familiar with Puerto Rican immigrants and Harlem than he was with Mexican Americans and Olvera Street. 
The two contacted Robbins, who was enthusiastic about a musical with a Latin beat. He arrived in Hollywood to choreograph the dance sequences for The King and I, and he and Laurents began developing the musical while working on their respective projects, keeping in touch with Bernstein, who had returned to New York. When the producer of The Painted Veil replaced Gardner with Eleanor Parker and asked Laurents to revise his script with her in mind, he backed out of the film, freeing him to devote all his time to the stage musical.

And the rest is history! For more on the story, click here. Have you seen the movie version or a stage production of West Side Story? It's one of my favorite movies! Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ava Gardner: Beauty Privilege

 I love old movies and reading about Hollywood's Golden Era. I lived in North Carolina for a number of years and regret that I never made it to Smithfield to visit the Ava Gardner Museum.

Although I admire her work, I'm not a huge Ava Gardner fan and I haven't seen too many of her movies, but there's certainly no doubt she was a superstar and a true beauty! Nowadays people talk about certain types of "privilege." Ava had what I'll refer to as beauty privilege. 

Wikipedia says: Gardner was visiting her sister Beatrice in New York in 1941 when Beatrice's husband Larry Tarr, a professional photographer, offered to take her portrait. He was so pleased with the results that he displayed the finished product in the front window of his Tarr Photography Studio on Fifth Avenue.


A Loews Theatres legal clerk, Barnard Duhan, spotted Gardner's photo in Tarr's studio. At the time, Duhan often posed as an MGM talent scout to meet girls, using the fact that MGM was a subsidiary of Loews. Duhan entered Tarr's and tried to get Gardner's number, but was rebuffed by the receptionist. Duhan made the offhand comment, "Somebody should send her info to MGM", and the Tarrs did so immediately. Shortly after, Gardner, who at the time was a student at Atlantic Christian College, traveled to New York to be interviewed at MGM's New York office by Al Altman, head of MGM's New York talent department.

With cameras rolling, he directed the 18-year-old to walk towards the camera, turn and walk away, then rearrange some flowers in a vase. He did not attempt to record her voice because her Southern accent made it almost impossible for him to understand her. Louis B. Mayer, head of the studio, however, sent a telegram to Altman: "She can't sing, she can't act, she can't talk, She's terrific!" She was offered a standard contract by MGM, and left school for Hollywood in 1941 with her sister Beatrice accompanying her. MGM's first order of business was to provide her with a speech coach, as her Carolina drawl was nearly incomprehensible to them.
There was certainly more to Ava Gardner than her sultry good looks, so to read more about her, click here.
Are you an Ava Gardner fan? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 16, 2018

The History of the Avengers

My kids are looking forward to seeing Avengers: Infinity War and I am too! I've lost track of all the Avengers movies that have been released and I haven't seen them all, but I would like to better understand the history of the series.  Here's what I found at Desertnews.com:
In order to help get you started on your Avengers history, here is a brief introduction to the Avengers comics and some of the important changes that have taken place in the team over the past 50 years.
The Avengers were first assembled late in 1963. In the previous two decades, superhero comics had fallen out of favor with audiences, being replaced instead by Westerns, horror, sci-fi and World War II series (including one of particular significance to the Avengers titled “Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos”).

In 1960, though, rival publisher DC had found huge success with an all-star superhero group called “Justice League of America” — a book that featured the combined selling power of pre-World War II icons Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. The Fantastic Four and the Avengers were created as Marvel’s responses to DC’s superhero revival.
The original lineup of the Avengers, though, was a hodgepodge of recent characters co-created by the legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (and in some cases, Lee’s brother, Larry Lieber).
Issue No. 1 might sound a little familiar to anyone who has seen the new movie. The disenfranchised Loki plots revenge on his brother Thor, but this time by tricking the hammer-wielding demigod into battling the Hulk. Thanks to the fortuitous appearances of Iron Man, Wasp and Ant-Man, Loki is defeated, and after the dust settles, the five heroes decide to band together and call themselves, at Wasp’s suggestion, “something colorful and dramatic, like … the Avengers!”

Notably absent in all of this, however, is the star-spangled super soldier himself. Although Captain America has become the heart and soul of the Avengers more than any other character, he didn’t actually make an appearance until issue No. 4, when the existing team (minus the Hulk, who had already left for PR reasons) found him trapped in a layer of ice.
Another Kirby creation (together with Joe Simon), Captain America’s origins date back to 1941 and the pre-Marvel days of Timely Comics. It’s hard to not see the symbolic significance of thawing out a relic of America’s more patriotic past (both Kirby and Lee were war veterans) so that he could lead Earth’s mightiest heroes at the height of the Cold War.
From the beginning, though, the Avengers team has been characterized by its rotating roster of heroes. In 1965, the original members were disbanded, leaving Captain America to start a new team with one particularly important new recruit: Clint Barton (aka “Hawkeye”).

In the years following, literally dozens of characters have cycled through the Avengers and its spinoff teams (including the West Coast Avengers and the Great Lakes Avengers). Everyone from Spider-Man and Spider-Woman to Wolverine and about seven different versions of the Hulk (including “Nerd Hulk”) have all at one time or another been major players in loosely related super groups.
Teams have been disbanded, killed off, sent to other dimensions and reassembled countless times.
One of the only heroes to ever turn down the offer of membership in the Avengers, in fact, is the man without fear himself, Daredevil.
If you’re looking for a decent place to hop onboard the speeding locomotive that is the Avengers, don’t worry. In the early 2000s, Marvel launched the Ultimate line of comics, which was intended to restart all of the major titles from scratch to attract new readership. The Utlimate comics also significantly alter many of the origin stories and characters to make them feel more modern.
One of the most successful updates has actually been to the character of Nick Fury. In an odd bit of life imitating art, the Ultimate version was actually modeled on Samuel L. Jackson before the actor was ever cast in any of the movies.
For those interested, many of the current movies, including “The Avengers,” are based to some extent on the Ultimate comics. Specifically, Joss Whedon’s film bears a noticeable resemblance to the first volume of the Ultimate version of the Avengers (simply called “The Ultimates”). Although its main story (in an homage to the original 1963 comic) involves a team brought together by Nick Fury to fight a rampaging Hulk, the heroes also encounter a race of shape-shifting aliens known as the Chitauri.
That's a lot of history and it's all new to me! Is any of it new to you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork Chops

I was looking for something easy to make this week and found this over at Creme de la Crumb. Looks simple to throw together and sounds delicious! Enjoy.
Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork Chops
  • 2 pounds pork chops (see note)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 15-ounce can pineapple slices (including the liquid), divided.
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup cold water + 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • cooked rice and chopped cilantro for serving


  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, the liquid from the can of pineapple slices (save the pineapple, you'll use it in step 2), rice vinegar, and minced garlic. Whisk together the cold water and corn starch til dissolved. Stir into the sauce mixture.
  2. Lightly grease your slow cooker. Pour half of the sauce mixture into the slow cooker. Place pork chops in the slow cooker along with the pineapple slices. Pour the remaining sauce over the top. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low 6 hours.
  3. Serve pork chops over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

I've never been to Hawaii. If you have, does this sound authentic? Just wondering. Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Jane Russell: More Than Just a Sex Symbol

I saw a fascinating biography the other day entitled Jane Russell: Body and Soul. If I weren't an old movie buff, the only thing I'd know about Jane Russell was that she was the spokeswoman for the Playtex 18 hour bra back in the 1970s. Since I do know a thing or two about old movies, I knew that Jane was known as a sex symbol,discovered by Howard Hughes and featured in  a starring role in his movie The Outlaw, her bust line being the main attraction.  

However, the documentary I watched told me so much more about Jane Russell and what an amazing woman she really was! Below I have excerpts from an article featured in Lifesupernatural.com.  Be sure to click on the link for the entire article! 


“I love the Lord”  is a beautiful statement that summed up Jane Russell’s philosophy.  While she was  best known for musicals, Westerns, and adventure films, too little has been said about her strong belief in God and how she has practiced her faith.


Jane Russell was raised by a devoted Christian Bible teaching mother who had been a stage actress before she was married (so she wasn’t worried when her daughter later became an actress).  Her husband died at 47 years of age, leaving her with Jane and four younger brothers, an eight-acre ranch, four horses and a cow.

Jane gave her heart to the Lord at age 6, received her baptism at the age of 12, and in her late teens discovered the wiles of what she calls “the world, the flesh, and the devil”.  But the Lord was faithful, never left her side through thick and thin and opened many controversial doors that led to things He wanted her ultimately to accomplish, through the motion picture business, the stage, recordings, and night clubs.  (“All things work together for good…”)
Though Jane  was known for her tall beauty, she would never compromise her Christian moral standards to please  a  studio.   She  says,“   In  those  days  there was a decency code that kept us safe.”  She speaks fondly of her mother who was a “fabulous” bible teacher.  “Mom made the Word come alive,” remembers Jane.  “That stayed with me forever.”
It was when Jane was modeling, that an agent came by the photo studio and “swiped” a head shot of her.  It was shown to movie studios and Jane was called to test for an upcoming movie that needed a half Irish/half Mexican actress.  Soon she was contacted to be awarded the leading role in The Outlaw.  There was a three year publicity campaign that touted Jane Russell in particular and it was a  “smash in the box-office.”

Jane went  on to star in a string of popular movies working with Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Robert Mitchum, and others.  Two of her most famous films were Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe and Paleface with Bob Hope.
Jane Russell was  a strong believer in prayer and knew that more than once it saved her life including one night when she was attacked in her own home. One thing she especially prayed for was children.  She had no idea that God would answer that prayer thousands and thousands of times.
During the war years Jane married football star Robert Waterfield  and during that twenty three years she and her husband adopted three children. Her second husband, Roger Barrett, died three months after her marriage, and finally she married John Peoples, to whom she stayed married for twenty-five years until his death in 1999.  Between the two of them, Jane remarks with amazement, they had eight children, fifteen grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.
Jane created her own special organization called WAIF in 1955.  The name referred to children without homes.  This organization placed about 51,000 children with adoptive families.  She went all over the nation and overseas as a fundraiser and spokesperson putting her faith to work.   The chapters for the original program have closed with the exception of the one in Los Angeles now known as “Operation Children”.  This group holds four parties a year for four different groups of children and prospective children.  Adults and children intermingle, eat, play games, and get to know each other in a park.  This approach has helped new families to be formed.
Jane also championed the passage of the Federal Orphan Adoption Amendment of 1953, which allowed children of American  servicemen born overseas to be placed for adoption in the United States.
According to some critics, Jane devoted more energy to WAIF than to maintaining her movie stardom.   At various points of her career, she took years off of movies to attend to family and ministry matters.  Her priorities were clear and often very public.

There's much more to the article. I've only scratched the surface here. Had you ever heard of Jane Russell? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Black Panther Origins

I finally saw Black Panther over the weekend! I usually wait until movies are available on DVD before I see them. But my mom wanted to see this one because all her friends have and can't stop talking about it. So I went with her and my youngest son. My oldest saw it opening weekend with a friend.

I do enjoy the Avengers movies and I must say Black Panther was pretty spectacular! I'm glad I got to see it on the big screen. However, before hearing about the movie, I had no idea Black Panther was a Marvel character. Yet I admit, I'm really not familiar with any of the characters, other than Spider Man because of the cartoon series way back when.

Now that I've seen the movie. I thought I'd share its Marvel origins, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Black Panther is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby, first appearing in Fantastic Four#52 (cover-dated July 1966) in the Silver Age of Comic Books. Black Panther's real name is T'Challa, king and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Along with possessing enhanced abilities achieved through ancient Wakandan rituals of drinking the heart shaped herb, T'Challa also relies on his proficiency in science, rigorous physical training, hand-to-hand combat skills, and access to wealth and advanced technology to combat his enemies.


Black Panther is the first superhero of African descent in mainstream American comics, having debuted years before early African American superheroes such as Marvel Comics' the Falcon (1969), Luke Cage (1972) and Blade (1973), or DC Comics' John Stewart in the role of Green Lantern (1971). In one comic book storyline, the Black Panther mantle is handled by Kasper Cole, a multiracial New York City police officer. Beginning as an impersonator, Cole would later take on the moniker of White Tiger and become an ally to T'Challa. The role of Black Panther and leadership of Wakanda is also given to T'Challa's sister Shuri for a time when he is left recovering from critical injuries.

All that was new to me! Had you ever heard of Marvel's Black Panther before the movie? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Lana Turner and the Death of a Thug

I've been watching episodes of E's Mysteries and Scandals and the other day I saw the one involving actress Lana Turner. I'd heard about this scandal from my mom when I was a kid, but it happened a few years before I was born. True crime junkie that I am, I read Detour, written by Cheryl Crane, the assailant of the thug, and she was only fourteen at the time of the crime.
Lana Turner

Here's the gist of the story: Lana Turner, one of Hollywood's most glamorous stars of the Golden Age, began dating and then living with Johnny Stompanato, a small time gangster with mob connections. Turns out Lana was rather fickle when it came to men, and when she decided to break things off, Stompanato became violent. Apparently the mob had wanted Stompanato to eventually become Mr. Lana Turner so that the mob would have access to her money.
Lana with daughter Cheryl Crane

Stompanato became physically abusive to Lana on several occasions and refused to leave the home he shared with her. Ms. Turner began to fear for her life, as Stompanato had held a gun to her head more than once. Desperate, she told her 14 year-old daughter Cheryl that she was afraid and needed her help. Most likely she meant, call the police if things get out of hand with that monster.

On one particular evening while Stopananto was beating Ms. Turner, he threatened her by saying,"If you were a man I'd cut off your hands, but since you make a living with your face, I'll cut that up instead!" Cheryl woke up upon hearing the beating and her mother's screams. She went to the kitchen and got a butcher knife, then went upstairs terrified, holding the knife and stood outside her mother's bedroom.
Lana with Johnny Stompanato

When Stompanato had had enough of beating and threatening Ms. Turner, he left the bedroom, only to walk straight into Cheryl's knife, which plunged straight through his abdomen. Needless to say, he died. A heinous thug brought down unintentionally by a frightened 14 year-old girl.

Cheryl Crane says she doesn't even remember going to the kitchen for the knife. Then she stood frightened outside her mother's bedroom unsure of what to do, but she knew her mother needed her.

If you enjoy true crime check out Detour, and for more on the case of Johnny Stompanato's death, click here. Were you familiar with this story?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Save the Cat: A Great Resource for Any Writer!

Save the Cat is a great book for any writer! Even though the subtitle is The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need, it's a helpful tool for any writer!  Check out what writer editor Tim Stout says: 

The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet is the best plot structure template I’ve come across.
It breaks down the three-act structure into bite-size, manageable sections, each with a specific goal for your overall story. It’s a great resource! 

Below is an explanation of each beat:

THE BLAKE SNYDER BEAT SHEET (aka BS2)

Opening Image – A visual that represents the struggle & tone of the story. A snapshot of the main character’s problem, before the adventure begins.
Set-up – Expand on the “before” snapshot. Present the main character’s world as it is, and what is missing in their life.
Theme Stated (happens during the Set-up) – What your story is about; the message, the truth. Usually, it is spoken to the main character or in their presence, but they don’t understand the truth…not until they have some personal experience and context to support it.
Catalyst – The moment where life as it is changes. It is the telegram, the act of catching your loved-one cheating, allowing a monster onboard the ship, meeting the true love of your life, etc. The “before” world is no more, change is underway.
Debate – But change is scary and for a moment, or a brief number of moments, the main character doubts the journey they must take. Can I face this challenge? Do I have what it takes? Should I go at all? It is the last chance for the hero to chicken out.
Break Into Two (Choosing Act Two) – The main character makes a choice and the journey begins. We leave the “Thesis” world and enter the upside-down, opposite world of Act Two.
B Story – This is when there’s a discussion about the Theme – the nugget of truth. Usually, this discussion is between the main character and the love interest. So, the B Story is usually called the “love story”.
The Promise of the Premise – This is when Craig Thompson’s relationship with Raina blooms, when Indiana Jones tries to beat the Nazis to the Lost Ark, when the detective finds the most clues and dodges the most bullets. This is when the main character explores the new world and the audience is entertained by the premise they have been promised.
Midpoint – Dependent upon the story, this moment is when everything is “great” or everything is “awful”. The main character either gets everything they think they want (“great”) or doesn’t get what they think they want at all (“awful”). But not everything we think we want is what we actually need in the end.
Bad Guys Close In – Doubt, jealousy, fear, foes both physical and emotional regroup to defeat the main character’s goal, and the main character’s “great”/“awful” situation disintegrates.
All is Lost – The opposite moment from the Midpoint: “awful”/“great”. The moment that the main character realizes they’ve lost everything they gained, or everything they now have has no meaning. The initial goal now looks even more impossible than before. And here, something or someone dies. It can be physical or emotional, but the death of something old makes way for something new to be born.
Dark Night of the Soul – The main character hits bottom, and wallows in hopelessness. The Why hast thou forsaken me, Lord? moment. Mourning the loss of what has “died” – the dream, the goal, the mentor character, the love of your life, etc. But, you must fall completely before you can pick yourself back up and try again.
Break Into Three (Choosing Act Three) – Thanks to a fresh idea, new inspiration, or last-minute Thematic advice from the B Story (usually the love interest), the main character chooses to try again.
Finale – This time around, the main character incorporates the Theme – the nugget of truth that now makes sense to them – into their fight for the goal because they have experience from the A Story and context from the B Story. Act Three is about Synthesis!
Final Image – opposite of Opening Image, proving, visually, that a change has occurred within the character.
THE END

I used the Beat Sheet method in writing my last novel and it was a big help! Are you familiar with Save the Cat? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Easy Crock Pot Beef Burgundy

I was planning meals for the week and found this incredibly easy recipe for Beef Burgundy over at FamilyFreshMeals.com.  I've never made this dish because the name sounds too intimidating for me to even try. However, when I found this three-step crock pot version, I decided that I could make it after all! Enjoy!

Easy Crock Pot Beef Burgundy

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs boneless beef round steak, cubed
1 (1 oz) package dry onion soup mix
2 cups mushrooms sliced
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2-3 cloves of ga
rlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 (10 .75 0z) can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 package of egg noodles, prepared


Directions:

1. In a 5-6 qt crock pot, add in your cubed steak.
2. Sprinkle with dry onions soup mix. And the mushrooms, onion and garlic.
3. Pour wine, broth and Worcestershire sauce into crock pot. Top every thing with cream of mushroom soup. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours. Serve over egg noodles.

Have you ever made Beef Burgundy? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Insight From Frederick Douglass

As we close out Black History Month, I wanted to share this article about Frederick Douglass form PBS.org:

"Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference," wrote Frederick Douglass, a leading American abolitionist and former slave. Douglass rejected all biblical justifications of slavery after living under the cruel institution himself. Born in Maryland in 1818, his master's wife taught Douglass to read at a young age, and Douglass shared this knowledge with other slaves, encouraging them to read the New Testament and interpret Jesus Christ's message of equality. But Douglass rejected all Biblical justifications of slavery.

After escaping slavery, Douglass settled in New Bedford, Mass., and joined an integrated Methodist church where he attended anti-slavery meetings and befriended fellow abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison encouraged the young Douglass to become an anti-slavery lecturer, and in 1845, Douglass published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. The book quickly became a best seller, reprinted nine times and translated into French and Dutch.

Douglass started a weekly journal, The North Star, where he challenged his readers to question the contradiction between America's Christianity and the institution of slavery. Speaking before packed houses in Great Britain and America, Douglass attacked Christianity for not only permitting the continuation of slavery but also encouraging its expansion: "The church and the slave prison stand next to each other. ... [T]he church-going bell and the auctioneer's bell chime in with each other; the pulpit and the auctioneer's block stand in the same neighborhood."

Though Douglass was initially disappointed that Abraham Lincoln did not advocate for an end to slavery at the beginning of the Civil War, he was overjoyed when the president issued the Emancipation Proclamation. After Lincoln's Second Inaugural the president welcomed Douglass into the White House and was pleased to learn that Douglass approved of his speech.

After Lincoln's assassination, Douglass said of the late president: "Can any colored man, or any white man friendly to the freedom of all men, ever forget the night which followed the first day of January 1863, when the world was to see if Abraham Lincoln would prove to be as good as his word?"

Both of my kids have read the Narrative of the Life of  Frederick Douglass for their English classes, but I'm ashamed to admit I haven't, but it is on my to read list! Have you read it?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The History of Presidents' Day


Happy Presidents' Day! Hope you're enjoying a day off. My high school student is, but not my college student.

If you've ever wondered about the history of Presidents' Day, here's some information from History.com:

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

For more on the history of Presidents' Day, click here.

Are you off for Presidents' Day? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!