Monday, June 24, 2013

Conquering Your Fears

Back in the saddle and conquering your fears

I have had a love affair with horses as long as I can remember. I have also had some wild experiences with them as well. Growing up in England, I rode at the Royal Riding Academy when I was about 8 years old. This was particularly interesting, as, not only did we ride in a ring but also through the parks. One day I was riding in the main ring and there was a huge jump in the middle, I hadn’t started jumping yet, so the exercise was to make a figure 8 around the jump, well my horse took one look at the very high jump and went right for it. Before I knew what was happening, my hard hat fell in front of my face and I missed not only the jump, but also my mother seeing her life flash in front of her. Supposedly, I took the jump perfectly! And that’s when it was decided I could start jumping, only this time I wanted to be able to see it! When we moved to the States, my grandmother had rented me my first horse for the summer. Bubbles and I fell instantly in love and I couldn’t believe she had to go back to her real home when the summertime was over.  After Bubbles, my other horses were Corky and then a beautiful bay named Butterscotch Morsh, who was blind in one eye. One day I was working with my teacher in the ring, when a bunch of kids in a pick up truck drove by, screaming out the window and honking their horn repeatedly. Butterscotch’s blind eye was turned to the road and she took off heading straight for a huge cement wall, this time I could “see” and I could see we would never be able to jump it. Truly, things went in slow motion and I was wondering how this was going to turn out. Again, my poor mom saw her life flash in front of her as Butterscotch stopped on a dime and put her head down to the ground. I bumped out of the saddle and slid down her neck. I was completely safe! 

I started riding with my friends, Erika Shaevitz (now Huggins and co-president of production for Imagine) and Elizabeth and Claudia Winkelman every Saturday from 5th to 6th grade. We spent all day taking-riding classes, learning about horses and their care and rescuing birds. It was an incredible time for me. I started to compete and my first time out, I won 2nd place!

    When my oldest son, Austin was born and was old enough to hold a toy, he always held a horse. NO cars, just horses. As he became older, his love of horses and his knowledge became greater and greater. In fact, whenever I would leave for work, he would hand me a little horse to keep in my pocket so, we were always connected. I still have them and every now and then I will put on an old jacket and find a little horse stashed away.  Austin really wanted to learn how to ride and I found out the stables where I competed was still open and could teach all of us. Landon came too. We had been taking lessons for a while and my boys were loving it but I was starting to get fearful every time I got on a horse and then my friend, Elizabeth, Now Dr. Elizabeth Winkelman explained the ratio difference between the size of a horse brain compared to the size of it’s body, not good odds. Hmmm, this wasn’t feeling good for the first time since I started riding. I had a beautiful young trainer. She was 24 years old and her name was Amanda. One day during one of my lessons, I was talking to her about my fears and how it was interfering with joy of riding. She felt as I did that it was connected to being a mom. We talked about not having any regrets in life and to do what makes you happy and comfortable.  I thought to myself as we said good-bye and told each other, “See you next Saturday!” What a beautiful soul she was and even though she was young, she had tremendous insight and compassion. The following Saturday, the boys and I drove into the stables but there were baby blue balloons everywhere. I figured someone was having a big party, I had never seen the ranch decorated like that before. I saw the owner of the stable walk over to my car and give me a strange look; I rolled down my window and she said, “Didn’t anyone call you? Amanda was killed while training a young horse. This is her funeral” I was completely taken aback. I couldn’t fathom that that beautiful, sweet amazing girl was not part of this earth anymore. I tried weeks later to get back on a horse with a new trainer but I just couldn’t do it. The fear was so great, that there was not even a modicum of happiness associated with my ride. So, I gave up riding.

   It’s been 10 years since that happened, and I’m taking  my first dressage lesson today with Austin. His passion has only gotten stronger and now that he has come back from college wanting to do dressage. I finally agreed to go take lessons with him and strangely, out of nowhere, he found ALL my old riding gear. Everything still fits like I bought it yesterday and my boots still smell of fine English leather and fit perfectly, I’m waiting to see if they are as uncomfortable as I remember them.

I’m also waiting to see how I’ll feel. I’m taking personal inventory of my emotions because I will never be able to get on a horse and not say a prayer for Amanda. It will never cease to make me well up just to think of her. But I believe in passion and I believe in joy and this is what my son has for horses. What a gift it is to share that with him. So today, I throw on my hard hat, my breeches and boots and I do this for Austin.

Many years ago, I was at a dinner party and I sat next to a monk. We started to talk and the subject of fear came up. My friend, actress Roma Downey always says, “When you feel fear, just replace it with love.” I said this to the monk and he said, “I prefer to see it as, when you feel fear, you know you are in the right place!” Now, I don’t mean the dark alley kind of fear but the kind of fear that can stop you from taking a step into the unknown that can change your life. The monk said to me, “What do you fear the most?” I told him and then he said, “Then, do it!!” And guess what? I did! There were two things at that time, that gave me a fright and you know what? I did it. I did what I feared the most and walked thru it and it became a game changer for me. It was not easy and sometimes I didn’t think I could continue but as hard as it was, I will NEVER forget what he said to me and I will always be grateful that I was able to do it!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Emmy Time!

Emmy night has always been a great night. Not just because of all of the nominations
 ( although that's awesome too ), but because we get to see everyone who works so hard year round to put all the shows on the air.

Soaps are like being in a big family - even if we haven't met one other. We are down to four daytime dramas and two on the web.

We are grateful that we are still going strong and the passion and work that goes into putting one hour of television on the air still floors me.

Our crew, our production staff, our producers Jill Farren Phelps, John Fisher, Tony Moring, Mary O'Leary. Our writers and head writer Josh Griffith, our actors, Sony's Steve Kent and CBS's Angelica Mc Daniel go to the mat everyday to put on the best show possible. We all know none of this would be possible without our fans who watch us. 

Congrats also to our winners, Doug Davidson, Billy Miller, make-up headed by Patty Denney. Art direction, lighting and music Jack Allocco and David Kurtz. David also one best song!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Being Gluten Free

I have been gluten free for years, I mean, way before people were even talking about it. Believe me, it was very difficult when I first started. Difficult to find anything resembling bread or anything that didn’t feel like lead in your stomach after eating it. I have spent all these years researching my favorite products and when any of my friends say they want to try going gluten-free, I’m the first to say, “Let’s go to the market together.” I’m always the 411 call from most of my friends but it is always my joy to share my favorite things with the people I care about most. So I am taking you all shopping with me! Let’s go to my favorite market P.C. Greens, the local health food store in my neighborhood and I’m going to show you what I always have on hand at home. My kids love my gluten free products and don’t even notice a difference in the taste. In fact, we have found that some of the gluten free products taste better than the wheat ones! I always say, I do the 80%/20% diet. I’m good 80% of the time and 20%, I eat what I want. Sometimes, I just can’t resist the crunchy bread that comes with the house dip at one of my favorite restaurants, Taverna Tony’s here in Malibu. Tony knows I love my bread extra crispy and keeps it in the oven longer than usual but those are rare occasions for me. I’m not celiac but eat as if I am. My boyfriend, Aaron is gluten free, My T.V. son, Max Erlich is gluten free ,My sons are about 50% Gluten free and I have finally converted my 80 year old mom and that was a tough one, let me tell you.

 Here are my favorites: Growing up in London, I have been having toast and tea for breakfast or breakie since I was a little girl. I am a stickler for good bread. My favorite is from Canyon Bakehouse, the 7 Grain Bread. I buy it in 10 loaf boxes at a time and keep it in the freezer. Remember, without Gluten, the bread will fall apart.  The bread can go from the freezer to the toaster and it tastes amazing. I use pure French butter, no more than 2-3 ingredients and raw honey.

I also love to make my own gluten free bread in my bread machine. I use coconut palm sugar to sweeten and love to add shredded zucchini and a banana.

 Aaron made the best gluten free pizza the other night with a ready made Gluten free crust. I was a little suspect as I am a huge pizza snob. It’s possibly the BEST pizza I have ever had and the crust was flaky, perfect and not over powering. 

For snacks, I’m big on Glutino Pretzels. Huge fan! They are the perfect snack but they are so good, I try to only buy the tiny snack bags as I can kill a huge bag of these in no time at all.

My other fav’s are- Hummus chip and avocado and lime oil chips...

 and Guacamole Bites by Nature Box.

 Aaron discovered Canyon Bakehouse hamburger buns for his hamburgers and I had one the other night for dinner, toasted with butter and tomato soup. Simple yet delicious!

Gluten is found in places I never would have thought, licorice, mints and soy sauce. I like to go to Sushi restaurants and I ask for Tamari and always have some at home. I happen to love the taste of Tamari better than soy sauce. It’s a little richer and is fabulous to cook with.

And now on to my favorite meal, dessert!!

I have served Tate’s gluten free chocolate chip cookies and brownies at dinner parties for awhile now and while my guest were all moaning about how good they were, I then said, they were Gluten free. 

Everyone usually looks at me like I’ve said I made them with cardboard! They can’t believe they are so good! Tate’s products are better than any gluten free cookies or brownie’s I’ve ever had.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Beautiful Beginning to a Beautiful End

It was a beautiful birthday week from beginning to end. Last night I celebrated with my closest girlfriends at the new Malibu hot spot Duck Dive.

My deepest gratitude to all of you who celebrated with me in person and virtually. I am so appreciative of every single one of you!

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