Launching #TheJoyWriterStudio apparel line of #T-shirts, #Hoodies & #Sweatshirts and more

By Joy A. Kennelly

I wanted to introduce you to some of my latest designs on my new Etsy shop, The Joy Writer Studio. I have a degree in Fashion Merchandising, have worked retail for many years and it's been a natural transition into designing unisex T-shirts, Hoodies and Sweatshirts. 

I find inspiration through what I'm reading, what I find on Instagram from the many varied psychologists and fashion influencers I follow, from friends and personal connections, as well as, what I find funny. I hope you do too! 

My shop is broken down into a variety of themes: 1) Love Languages based loosely on the New York Times Best Selling book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman; 2) Embrace Your Inner Child and Loving Life  based on how I feel right now; 3) Travel because that's in my blood and what I've immersed myself in for many years; 4) Political Humor because I find this entire election season a joke; and 5) Texas/Western Inspired because I live in Austin now; and lastly, 5) Instragram Inspired because I find humor and inspiration everywhere. I've linked each section to the area in the shop you can find what you like and hope you'll check it out! 

Here's some of my latest designs for your viewing pleasure. I try to offer a variety of colors, and sizes up to 5XL as much as possible too. I'm working on more designs and will be launching an entire Western-themed shop down the road. I have to get this one where I want it first.:) 

I think some of the Loving Life designs would be perfect for Mother's Day. I also included some insider entertainment themes in the Love Languages section. Lastly, I tried to keep the political ones non-partisan to open it up to more people. I hope you will take a peek and find something you decide to make your own! 

Enjoy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheJoyWriterStudio

Spring Collection2


Be cautious when moving to Austin, TX due to negligent & fraudulent property management companies

By Joy A. Kennelly

I keep reading Yelp reviews and Google reviews and now listening to my friend relay his awful apartment issues, and experiencing my apartment hassles when I first moved down here, I've decided to share some resources I've been pursuing to allow more people to protect themselves and raise awareness to stop this.

The most important thing is to document everything. Keep emails, take pictures, and mark when you spoke to management on your calendar and what they said. This will help if/when you have to go to court.

It also helps when you file with the following agencies. There are a few free legal services in Austin, TX, but they're so inundated, that they can't help you in a timely fashion and sometimes don't cover what you're dealing with.

However, you can start with them and reach them here:  Tenant Legal Help: 512-474-1961 and TX Rio Grande Legal Aid: 512-374-2700, and Austin Alternative Dispute Resolution: 512-371-0033. Once you've explored these and/or started a case with them, then begin filing with these agencies to put the screws on the companies you're dealing with. 

STEPS TO FOLLOW

1. If you experience negative or illegal apartment issues and are getting nowhere with your property management company, the first formal step is to contact the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint. I've provided a direct link to the complaint form.

2. I also highly recommend you file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I have found success with other issues with AAA and others in the past. And the great thing is, it's a federal agency and they don't mess around. Again, the link is directly to the complaint form.

3. I also recommend filing a complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission because they're supposed to oversee this and haven't done a very good job regulating this which is why it's so out of control with so many properties. Make sure you get the company's license with them because then they will realize you're smart and they can't play games with you. Include that in your complaint and all the other documentation you've been keeping - do this for every complaint you file. 

4. Once you've filed these, then apply to the Texas Attorney General and include your complaints with other agencies because they will follow up directly with them to make sure something is happening. At least that's been my experience. They can't fight an individual case, but what they look out for are patterns across many issues and if they feel there's probable cause to win, they will pursue it on behalf of the state of TX against an entity. 

From what I've seen, Paxton usually wins and wins big. That's why I suggest filing with him too because then you're part of the building up of a case against an entity. The more that people take action and complain, the more resolution we will see as residents of Austin.

I have complained about issues to 311 and seen some responses, but it's frustrating because the police are understaffed, not supported due to the types of people in office and often have so many more pressing issues, that they can't take time to deal with other minor issues. 

I also suggest complaining to whomever your city council representative is. You can find that out here by entering your address and county: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home

Lastly, perhaps consider starting a Neighborhood Watch among your neighbors if it's a crime you're concerned about. I've started it 3 times in various places I've lived and it's a great way to feel part of a community and know your neighbors. And it helps alert criminals you're not playing around. They mess with you, they're going to get caught, or in the case of TX, shot.:)

Also, when you sign up for a Neighborhood Watch, you will have a District Representative from the police department to assist you with issues. The District Representative Program was established in 1998 to create a liaison between neighborhood communities and the police department’s regional commands. Click the link to find out who you can reach out to for help starting one.

Last resort, begin contacting the local media as a news story if you're willing to go on camera because people don't like negative publicity, especially when it affects their bottom line. When I lived in LA and had a bad landlord who wouldn't fix a leaking ceiling in my first floor apartment, I contacted the LA Times who wrote a story with an image of me with buckets around and me holding an umbrella. Once a publicist, always a publicist.:)

I won't bore you with the details of what I'm still experiencing with an illegal property management firm here, but just know, I'm not the only one to have issues, and it's across the board here in Austin, TX which is why I feel it needs to be addressed. 

Now to begin pursuing the media to cover this. TTYL.

 

 


Thoughts on #TheArtist'sWay, #Trauma, #Brainspotting and #EMDR this President's Day

By Joy A. Kennelly

I've started doing The Artist's Way book by Julia Cameron again with an online group of 400 other people (which each week drops lower fortunately) and I have to say, after running these types of groups myself years back, this go-round I find more resistance to actually doing the reading and exercises than I ever did before.

Julia says that's a good thing because it means it will have a deeper impact on your creativity, but after two weeks of not wanting to take myself on an "artist date" I find I finally want to do it. Today, the Zilker Botanical Garden has free admission and since I've never been, I thought that would be a nice treat. The weather is brisk, but sunny and clear too. 

I'm still big on researching the brain and how trauma affects our lives. I listened to a Harvard expert discuss stress and trauma's effects on the brain on the Good Life Project Podcast which I enjoyed. You can listen too on Spotify here. Here's the episode blurb for reference.

"Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, author of The Five Resets: Rewire Your Brain and Body for Less Stress and More Resilience, shares how to reframe our relationship with stress. She explains why feeling overwhelmed is a common human experience, not a personal failure. Simple, science-backed techniques like breathing, social connection, journaling, and eliminating multitasking can help our minds and bodies reset.

Dr. Nerurkar offers realistic ways to introduce ease into our days through small, sustainable steps. Learn how to "do better" so you can start to "feel better" and thrive."

I've been practicing some of the things she discussed and have seen my blood pressure slowly lower. It's still high, but I have reason to believe once I've addressed and healed all the trauma in my brain, it might go down too. 

Last week with my trained EMDR & Brain spotting Therapist, I learned that we have 3 parts to our brain, the frontal lobe, a middle section, and the cortex. When we have trauma, our frontal lobe where we have rational thinking, is short-circuited and prevented from acting properly because the trauma is blocking our middle brain from reaching the rational part of our brain.

(I'm putting this in very simple terms, but if you click the links I've provided above, those go into much more detail.)

People have 4 different responses to trauma which divides into 2 forces - Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Fawn. Fight or Flight is one type of response and Freeze or Fawn is another example of how people choose to deal with their trauma.

Fight reaction is where you blow up or react in a way that is highly exaggerated in comparison to the actual incident. One of my former therapists described it as reacting at a level 10 to an incident that people who aren't traumatized might react at a much lower level. The goal of therapy is to reduce the reaction to a more normal level.

Flight is commonly seen in leaving jobs, places you live, and other situations because you need to escape because you're emotionally unable or unaware of how to deal with stressful situations. It's something I've done a lot, moving from state to state and job to job because I haven't been aware of this being a reaction to stress and trauma.

Now that I'm aware, I can work on it. 

What I find interesting is observing how many other people live with trauma unaware of how it's affecting their lives because nobody has ever shared with them that these patterns are caused by trauma. What you don't know, you can't heal. 

I'm reading Miss Independent A Simple 12-Step Plan to Start Investing and Grow Your Own Wealth by Nicole Lapin and she had a very traumatic upbringing. As soon as she mentioned in the book that she had moved numerous times, I understood trauma was her life experience even before she shared a horrifying story from her childhood.

The book is really easy to read and I highly recommend it if you want to understand finances through a female perspective. (I'm not just saying this because I get credit if you buy her book or any of the books I'm mentioning too.:)

The other two reactions Fawn or Freeze I've never really experienced. Fawn would be telling someone nice things about them to get them to leave you alone. I watched this in a video of a girl trapped in an Uber with a creepy guy who wanted to date her. She kept telling him he was a nice guy and she was flattered, but she needed to get out now. That just made my skin crawl.

Freeze is pretty self-explanatory. If something bad is happening, you just freeze and are unable to say or do anything or leave because your body's response to this danger is to freeze.

I look back at my life and I can see so many times where I just ran away from situations in my home life. When I was very young like 10 years old or less, I was mad at my Mom and packed up a bag to run away leaving the house crying. I got to the end of the block of our home in Hermosa Beach before turning around and coming home. LOL

Another time, we were living in Kenya, Africa at a missionary boarding school while my Dad taught school back in the 80s and I decided to run away for some reason. I distinctly remember walking on the dirt road out of the compound and seeing huge black and white Colobus monkeys swinging from the trees as I walked. Here's what they look like because it's hard to describe. Aren't they amazing?

 I eventually returned home and ironically, when my African friends learned of my running way, they all thought I was shab, a slang term at the time for cool, or at least that's what I remember. LOL

As I grew older, I remember running away on holidays. My Dad would want the house to be perfect when my youngest sister would come to visit with her family and inevitably, he would take out his stress on me and demand I leave.

I still remember driving to Santa Barbara one Thanksgiving because I had asked if we could have something other than water at the dinner table for once. Real stupid stuff, but it would cause stress and my Dad's way to deal with it was to tell me to leave.

We've had a very complicated relationship my entire life and it's a miracle how far we've come. Not perfect now by any means, but much closer since my Mom died. You always love your parents even when it's not a good relationship because it's what you've grown up with and you don't know anything else. 

As I've grown and healed through therapy, the way I've dealt with situations and people has also grown and changed. Behaviors that I would normally put up with, I don't anymore. Gaslighting, negating my feelings, blaming, and other normal activities for a narcissist, just don't sit well and I've begun to narrow my circle more and more.

What I am beginning to realize and welcome living in Austin, TX is that sometimes God pulls you away from everything and everyone you've ever known so you learn about yourself and draw closer to God because He's all you have.

Boundaries become firmer on what you will or will not accept in a friendship or relationship. What used to be acceptable because it was familiar or comfortable, becomes uncomfortable and not acceptable. I recently told a "friend" that our "friendship" had run it's course after one last especially hurtful situation. I'm done pretending something feels good when it doesn't. 

I'm at the point in my life where I'd rather be all alone without friends or family than have toxicity in my life. I'm enjoying my peaceful life right now. I feel more creative than I have in years. And I feel that I'm focusing on what makes me happy, not what makes others happy. It's strange to be promoting my work vs my client's work, but it's also really exciting to hear positive responses and have supportive friends encourage me to keep going. 

When you are surrounded by noise, distractions, or political unrest that consumes your attention, it's hard to listen to your own still small voice whispering what you need, want, and desire. As the noise, distractions, and politics fade away, then the voice becomes louder and if you listen to it, ultimately, it replaces all the others.

I felt compelled to write after spending a few unsettling minutes on Twitter reading. I wanted to get back to my thoughts and back into my body. Writing does that for me. Other forms of self-expression might do it for you - baking, painting, sculpting, swimming, etc. 

All I know is, as the popular song on TikTok says, I think I like my little life.

Not much going on at the moment, but I feel that's going to change as I continue to pursue The Artist's Way course and reading. And pursue my therapy with brain spotting and EMDR.  I'll keep you posted.:)

Now to get ready to enjoy the botanical garden and explore Austin


Taking a deeper dive into trauma, relationships and how these inform each other

By Joy A. Kennelly

I will admit, perhaps I watch too many TikToks, Instagram reels and videos on Facebook and YouTube, so shoot me. Just realized I shouldn't say that now that I live in Texas! People might take me up on it. lol

I am an info addict and those feed my curiosity immensely. Little bits of knowledge and wisdom parsed out in quick bites is perfect for the way my mind processes things. Then, if I'm really curious, I'll dig a little deeper or go down the rabbit hole in that person's feed to see what else they say about a subject. 

Am I alone in this? Or are you a consumer of social media the way I am?

In any case, lately, I've been enjoying watching male comedians because for some reason a lot of female comedians come across as too shrill or bitter for me or too intent on bashing men, and I like men.

I learn a lot about the male psyche watching guys like Tom Segura, Joe Rogan, Bert the bear (can't spell or remember his last name.:), Gary Owen, Theo (whatever his last name is), Bobby and Andrew (I'm really bad with last names and too lazy to look them up so bear with me), John Crist, Ali Sidik (sp?:) and others whose names escape me because I haven't had coffee yet.

Why am I awake so early!? Did you know your brain is most plastic and open to new concepts right when you wake up? Learned that listening to a neuroscientist. I have to wonder if that's why as Christians, we're encouraged to read our Bible when we first wake up to make what we read stick more.

 And did you know if you don't turn your phone on right when you wake up and do other things like see the sun for 15 minutes first thing, you will reset your body clock to help break insomnia? I'm putting this in layman's terms, but I've heard it repeatedly by people who study human motivation and the brain. 

I think the way God made us as humans is fascinating. I recently learned of a book called The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and plan to read it. Here's an excerpt to explain why:

"A pioneering researcher transforms our understanding of trauma and offers a bold new paradigm for healing in this New York Times bestseller

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.

He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives."

Doesn't that sound fascinating? I've included my affiliate link above if you want to buy it. (Sorry, this is a new way of blogging for me so excuse the crass money plugs, but why shouldn't I get compensated when I refer someone to something good?:)

In any case, listening to these comedians, they're extremely vulnerable in sharing their lives and I think that's why I'm so drawn to listening right now. Joe Rogan, not as much, but I like him because he's always sharing extremely obscure bits of information and then shows the video to back it up. I didn't use to like him because he swore so much, but lately, he's been more respectful, or else I'm immune now.

I hate when people use the F-word as a crutch in comedy. It's why I stopped watching Kevin Hart. I used to LOVE Kevin too, but after a while, the swearing is desensitizing and dehumanizing. I feel it demeans our society and reduces language to the lowest common denominator when there are so many more words in the English dictionary and the world of language in general.

My favorite from old times is hurly-burly. Dictionary Definitions from Oxford Languages hurl·y-burl·y /ˌhərlēˈbərlē/ noun busy, boisterous activity. "the hurly-burly of school life"

But I digress as my other favorite gay comedian, Greg, always says. He likes to share what his students say to him in drama class and it always cracks me up to hear what children think in this day and age. But sometimes all the bodily fluid jokes become too much.

Where was I? Oh yes, trauma in the body. I was fascinated to learn that there is so much trauma in the world among common folks. I always thought PTSD was confined to veterans, rape victims, and other victims of violence or horrible things, but the deeper I dive, the more I learn it really can affect all of us as explained above.

And I don't know about you, but I feel relieved to know that certain patterns of behavior like moving a lot, having lots of jobs, or on the flip side, being a workaholic, having difficulty with being emotionally trusting in relationships, not liking loud noises, and other things are a reflection of trauma.

I'm listening to a bird sing outside my window and it's so pleasant. I rarely hear them so let's all take a pause on trauma and enjoy the quiet moments in life that we experience when we wake up super early and live in a peaceful environment.

Doesn't that feel calming? Now do you see why I love living in Texas? I listened to my favorite original podcast recently, This American Life by Ira Glass, and his Russian producer was sharing the story of her mother coming to America as an immigrant and having difficulty adjusting to New York.

Listening to her share, I realized I'm going through something similar living here in Texas. It's a HUGE adjustment because everything is new. The way people interact interpersonally, the way the streets are set up, how people socialize, what there is to do here, and a very different way of life overall. 

What I find ironic is that it's been 6 months plus since I've been living in Austin, TX and there are times I hate it so much if I didn't have a lease that penalizes you $2,000 if you terminate it early, I would already have moved on. However, since I'm stuck because I don't feel like wasting that money, I'm going to attempt to stay in one place and make the best of it and dig in like my Texas friends encourage me to do.

Such a novel concept. 

I think trauma has affected society overall when I observe dating now that I'm open to it again. I see so many men liking my profile, and wanting to be friends, or more, then when you match, they don't reach out. And if they do, they are younger men who like older women for their sexual prowess, or they have a thing for voluptuous women because they think we're more accepting of them and that's why they reach out. But what I find most fascinating is when you provide your number, they hide behind texting. 

If I wanted a pen pal, I would find a child in a foreign country and sponsor them. LOL 

I'm at the stage of my life where I want a man to be a man and allow me to be in my feminine. Just pick up the phone, call, and see if you connect already!:)

I saw one of my TikTok faves, Scott D Henry, duet with a girl who was explaining why she didn't want to date a guy after her first date and I agreed with her. Scott was mocking her for wanting the guy to be the one to make plans, set a time, confirm, and then meet vs letting the girl make all the decisions on where to meet, the guy not making any reservations, and then just planning to wing it the day of by calling to confirm day of.

I think because so many women have been so easy to get into bed lately, men think they don't have to earn it anymore or put in any effort and I think that is also a reflection of trauma. 

When you're not raised to value yourself or trust yourself, when you're young, you feel giving yourself away quickly will cause a guy to fall in love with you, but it doesn't work like that ladies. And men, stop taking advantage of this and start respecting yourself too. Sure you can sleep with tons of women, but is it fulfilling? Is this really how you want to spend your life? Or do you want to be loved and love back? Think about it.

Relationships are worth it. 

Men fall in love with women who are their friends first, whereas women fall in love through physical connection. Here's an oldie, but goodie book in case you're interested in becoming better at relationships: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex

 
I read this book years ago and it was very interesting to learn how men are so different! I think that's why I enjoy listening to my male comedian rotation so much. Even though they're crass and sometimes dirty, at least with videos, I can just click past until I find one I like better. And you learn how guys think in an unfiltered, honest way.
 
Comedian Neal Brennan is one guy I don't particularly find that funny, sorry Neal, but I enjoy his podcast where he interviews other comedians. I find him too intellectualizing in his humor and when I want to laugh, I don't want to have to think that hard. I think so much about so many other things, comedy is where I relax and enjoy. So nothing personal Neal, just not my style.
 
He interviewed Gary Owen and he had a lot of trauma growing up in a trailer park with an absent dad who barely loves him even now, a mother whose constantly changing lovers were required to take him to school, and other things that were really sad to hear. But because he's a comedian and tells it funnily, I was laughing.
 
I noticed too a pattern of people who have endured trauma is they hide it under laughter or joke about it. I remember one time a group of us went to the Aspen Comedy Festival together for fun and we arrived early because the one girl had a beautiful mansion we were able to stay in. And I do mean mansion. It was one of the best vacations I think I've ever had. Comedy for a week, a beautiful mansion, and having fun? Sign me up again!

We went to hear all the comedians and I'll never forget one guy who had been pursuing comedy as a career for a very long time who just went off on a furious rant that he wasn't being selected to have a sitcom or agent even. He was so angry I was worried he might hurt someone. His trauma was in our faces that day.
 
I often wonder how many famous people wouldn't have become famous if they didn't have a trauma wound pushing them to find love and validation from society because they didn't receive it from home or their relationships or whatever. 
 
I enjoy reading memoirs because of the real stories of how hard it was to climb the ladder of success and how they overcame a lot to achieve the level of success they had. It's never, look at me, my life is great! It is more like, these were the hard things I went through, this is how I've overcome it, and here are the results.
 
Just recently John Stamos wrote his biography, If You Would Have Told Me  An Audible Best of the Year 2023 Celebrity Memoir Selection This program is read by the author.

“...I love him, and I respect him, and I need him. We all do.” —from the foreword, written and read by Jamie Lee Curtis

It's comforting to hear famous people struggle because then I realize that even though I don't want to be famous, as long as I keep plugging away, one day I will achieve my goals too. It never happens overnight.
 
That's why it bothers me that Kat Williams would tear other guys down so hard. And if it's true what he's said about sexual favors, then I wish those comedians would speak up to help change the entertainment industry rather than hide behind their success and pretend it never happened. If this is prevalent, bring it to the light so it can be cleaned up!
 
Sexual abuse isn't limited to one gender. And I feel the entertainment industry in particular is a breeding ground for that due to unresolved trauma in the people who perpetuate it. The more I learn about trauma, the more I realize how negatively it's affected all aspects of our lives in society and how much healing is needed.
 
I heard someone say recently that looking back into your trauma and healing it, is similar to a slingshot. You pull back and back and back all the layers of your truth, and once you're healed, you spring farther ahead even farther because now nothing is holding you back. 
 
I hope what I've shared has made sense and you will consider your trauma if you're carrying any. Do you want to continue to live a life that is shadowed by past wounds? Or do you want to be free to live a life that is fully lived and happy? 

I look at friends who have had loving, supportive childhoods and their life experiences and expectations are drastically different than mine. I have difficulty trusting, they don't. I want what they have and I'm going to do everything in my power to achieve it even if it's painful and difficult. 
 
I believe healing is powerful and worth fighting for. I hope you will too.
 
Take care. The birds have stopped, I have lots to do, but it's been nice to share what's been on my heart with you. I hope you have a wonderful day! 
 
And remember, it's never too late to have a happy childhood.:)
 
 

 

 

 


By Joy A. Kennelly

I am listening to Comedian Kevin James Thornton's podcast, This Ends in Paris Podcast, and I'm deeply moved by all the people calling in to share deep personal stories and him sharing his life story as he evolves into the mainstream comedian he is today.

I've been a fan of Kevin James' funny auto-tune Instagram stories It Was The 90's as a fundamental Christian who later came out gay and just discovered his podcast today when he's almost completed the final episode. It's like peeling back the covers to see what lies beneath this funny, complex person in a whole new way. Or like discovering your "friend" has this whole other secret life you never knew existed!

Listening also makes me realize that maybe it's time to reconnect with this part of my life too. 

I love blogging. I love writing. And I stopped because I wasn't making money spending 4-5 hours crafting the perfect blog except for the satisfaction of creating something that mattered to me and ironically, sometimes other people.

Then I hid. I had taken a lot of grief from people in the South Bay where I grew up when I fought back against all the underage drinking in my beach communities in my blog and got tired of dragging that persona around with me whenever I would go anywhere there. It was a blessing and a curse.

Because I campaigned against so much of the debauchery, we made the news (print and radio), and things calmed down. You could walk Downtown Manhattan Beach and not see 19-year-old kids lying on the sidewalk drunk out of their minds. Or homeless people scavenging on the beach for all the cans left from the wild volleyball tournaments that many people were attempting to turn into a stateside Ibiza.

But it was also a lonely time and I eventually outgrew the need to attempt to change a culture that didn't want to be changed and focused on other things. Like cleaning up my new ghetto neighborhood. That went over well too, but at least we didn't have mattresses, furniture, trash, and other gross things, just lying around so much.

You could say I'm a fixer of sorts.

Although I don't drink and can't stay out in the sun too long without risk of skin cancer, the beach was home for many years and I still have lifelong friends there, but it's not my life anymore and hasn't been for many years.

Once the pandemic hit and Governor Newsom decided we should all be locked down like caged animals I almost lost my mind from deep loneliness and isolation. Although I'm an introvert inherently, I still enjoy being around people, and when the only people you're allowed to see are a Dad who is emotionally unavailable and no one else, I quickly became suicidal.

It didn't help that I had had a hysterectomy before covid hit which kept me laid up for a few mos. even before the shutdown. It was during that recovery time I realized that the friends I thought would be there for me were so busy trying to survive in LA that they didn't have time to visit and spend time with me when I was bedridden.

They're my going out, going to church, having fun friends, not my hey, let me bring you a meal, let me spend time with you friends. The friends I used to have who were the let's go to dinner and talk, let's spend quality, deep time together died and my world has become much smaller after they left this earth.

And there's a time and place for those social friends too, but not when you're lonely and hurting. That's when you need the ride or die, I'm here for you friends. Fortunately, I still have a few I love dearly who are helping me survive my lonely time here in Austin. 

After my partial hysterectomy, I recovered enough to start working again but then caught an early strain of COVID-19 after doing a music video where I was covered in blue paint and pretended to be the mother of an alien. Weird I know, but we had fun creating it. I still stay in touch with Jerry, the guy who played the Dad via Instagram. Ah, the things we do for money...

I went to my gay Vietnamese Dr who reminded me of the crazy rich uncle in the over-the-top Asian movie because he was so funny. Crazy, Rich Asians, remember that movie?

My Dr worked at the Venice clinic filled with crazy homeless people I was forced to visit due to not having insurance or low-income insurance and even he was baffled by my COVID symptoms. That was until he caught it from me and later on told me that was what it was.

Sorry, Doc.

But when you can't breathe, you cough so much you crack 3 ribs, and you don't see an end in sight, you go to the doctor. I survived the first bout of COVID without many people understanding how awful it was because it hadn't hit the general population when I had it, and again, to my recollection, nobody came to see me then either except my dear 'ole Dad.

He's not the most empathetic, sympathetic person although he tries in his way so basically, I was on my own through this horrible ordeal. He tries to be supportive and has gotten better over the years after I've bawled him out a few times for his lack of empathy and support, but when I read about other Dads or watch certain celebrities with their children I can see how much love I've missed out on.

The only thing that ultimately helped me recover covid was my friend Susanna, who is very into homeopathic medicine, sending me her bottle of OregaResp and it cleared my lungs out within days when nothing else helped, including a steroid breathalyzer (or whatever those things are called.)

This is a natural remedy with oregano and black pepper which loosens up the gunk to expel it. I've since turned numerous people on to it who can't stop coughing and have difficulty breathing because it really works and they're always so happy for the healing. 

Anyway, back to my story. 

So imagine how stir-crazy I was after being locked up in my single apartment for almost 5 months before the lockdown that turned out to have no kitchen that somehow I didn't see when I rented it! LOL All I saw when I looked at it initially was the huge space with a fireplace and great price, my kind landlords, who turned out to know my Dad from years ago when the husband used to clean my Dad's apartment carpets, and because normally I was out all the time, the crappy neighborhood didn't bother me.

However, once the lockdown happened I realized my next-door neighbor had a huge pot plant growing in the backyard next to my kitchen area window with strange people yelling at him in the alley at weird times indicating he "allegedly" could be a drug dealer. The other neighbor, an older East Indian man separated from his wife, had a major crush on me making it uncomfortable sometimes to be in the front yard although he was harmless, and everywhere I looked in this neighborhood were old mattresses, garbage, and other furniture people just abandoned on the streets when they moved out.

I'll never forget seeing a Mexican guy all bloodied up walking down the street and asking if I could help only to be told he'd been jumped by black guys at a nearby bar. I had to force him to get medical treatment and when the ambulance came I was so relieved because he had major head injuries and he could barely stand up. 

Seeing parties going off and hearing gunfire was a common occurrence in Hawthorne, CA and it was no wonder that it was ranked as one of the most crime-ridden communities in the nation. 

Nothing more so describes the experience than during the 4th of July because in lower-income areas, for some reason they enjoy shooting off fireworks 3 months before and a month after. I've recently been diagnosed with PTSD which I'm working on healing from all my life traumas, but back then I didn't know why I was so triggered and it felt like my nervous system would implode out of my body the cacophony of noise from the random cherry bombs, dogs barking and car alarms going off on a non-stop basis was enough to drive me insane. 

I can remember standing in the middle of my street after calling my district representative and just recording all the loud firecracker noise going off and demanding she do something to make it stop. But if you know Maxine Waters, she was only a politician for the political goodies she could get for herself and her cronies and despite people complaining about her not doing anything for them, once they got their free turkeys and other handouts, they forgot and voted her back in again.

Sometimes I think certain demographics deserve to stay living in poverty because of their bad decisions based on simply voting by the color of their politician's skin and free handouts rather than character and how the politician helps them achieve a better life. There was one black politician I admired and wished she had been my representative because she cared about her community above and beyond hand-outs and she got things accomplished.

Unlike Maxine. 

I also was so stressed out about all the firework noise another year, I drove 45 minutes up to Hancock Park and parked outside the Mayor's home to demand in person he do something about it. I was only talked out of it by calling my therapist at the time who recommended I not do that. Couple that with the police officers who came by to ask me what I was doing parked there, which convinced me to drive away. I think it's funny now, but I was furious back then. I didn't feel safe anywhere.

I began to dislike my neighborhood and California more and more because I had to face it constantly and there was no relief from the onslaught of stupid policy decisions. Even when people began getting better, the LA Health woman with no medical degree still forced people to stay masked and inside because she wanted there to be parity in all races.

However, my demographic wasn't the one holding massive quinceañera parties, or massive birthday parties during the lockdown, but it probably saved a lot of them because your immune system gets stronger once you've had an illness and I'm sure they exposed each other over and over again.

However, I know many probably died, including one of my best friends. She had many underlying health issues and refused to get the vaccine which I think in her weakened condition she probably should have. But I think the main thing that killed her was Fauci's protocol with the ventilators because her lungs flooded and she drowned in her body fluids after they did certain things to her. If it was me, I would have sued, but the family isn't me so... I miss that friend a lot, but her sister is a lot like her so I enjoy speaking to her still. 

But I digress. 

So after I recovered from Covid I went to probably my last startup tech event which was held in Downtown LA surrounded by tons of homeless encampments and in a warehouse-style building where everyone was shilling their startups. I popped into a lecture between a Delta Airlines executive and a funny charismatic tech investor/entrepreneur whose name escapes me now. I wanted to hear the Delta guy because I used to work for Delta and was curious to hear what he had to say about how they're incorporating tech into their airline operations.

There was a raffle and I won the free Delta Airline tickets to attend SXSW in March of 2020. Yeah, that year. Lucky me. The tech investor guy was upset I won and made some stupid remark from the stage, but I had been involved in that tech scene for 4 years by then and was used to the misogyny of these types of guys.

I was happy because my sister lived in Austin, TX with my niece and I'd always wanted to visit to see if Austin was where I was going to move next. I had hated living in CA long before the pandemic and had been plotting my escape for a long time, but since none of my sisters were taking care of my Dad regularly, I kind of felt obligated to stick around. 

My Mom died in 2016 and I cared for my Dad while living there for years until I moved away and then bounced back. He's very independent, but I helped him by making meals (since he didn't cook), handling tech issues, and setting his bills up on auto-pay to make it easier for him. I also handled any other issues he couldn't figure out on his own. I was his main "caregiver" and my sisters would visit when they could, but it wasn't very often. I have since learned this is the way in many families.

I listened to Brené Brown speak once about a relative, I forget who, who had something catastrophic happen so the whole family ran to the hospital. She jumped into her bossy caregiver role to avoid feeling and the other family members fell into their familiar roles. As she described the familial roles, I realized she was describing me and my sisters to a T. I had done so much, and it relieved my sisters of doing as much or more because they felt I was caring for him. They may disagree, but this is my story and I'm sticking to it. I have the receipts too.

I stuck out the pandemic as long as I could by developing a fascination with John Mayer and his music because I found when I listened to it, my mind finally relaxed and I was able to sleep. Do you remember during the pandemic when you had no motivation to do anything, but then couldn't sleep at night wondering if the world was going to end? That was my daily experience and somehow listening to all John Mayer's entire alumbography (is that even a word?:) I was soothed.

I also continued to have the delusion that I was communicating with Dwayne the Rock Johnson via Instagram and held many a sexy time via the internet with who I thought was him. LOL However, no sexy pictures because I learned the hard way earlier on in my life that men don't always keep things like that to themselves. And I'm not that kind of girl anymore.:)

Whoever he was, thank you for helping me get through the pandemic and so much of the craziness I experienced until then. I must have communicated with that person for almost 4 years and know whoever he was he helped me handle a lot of bad stuff. Same with John Mayer who I still listen to when I can't sleep and other times because his Instagram posts make me laugh or smile more often than not. Same with Dwayne.

My therapist and I used to laugh whenever I brought both of these guys up in session because I knew it couldn't be real and she knew for a fact it wasn't. But a girl can dream, right?:) I like encouraging celebrities because I feel they get so isolated by fame there's no one real around them and it's nice to hear a female who doesn't want anything from them, but friendship.

So once I knew I wasn't going to make it through more time in California without real live people, not internet fantasies when a friend said she had a back room in her Georgia house for rent in Savannah, I jumped at the chance to flee because as I told my Dad, if I stay here, I will commit suicide I can't take it any longer. I hated to leave him and he hated to see me go, but we knew I needed out of this awful situation more than most people.

I found a luxury van that fit all my worldly belongings remaining after I had sold off a bunch of things including my bed and car, drove cross country to Savannah, and settled in for probably 2 months before her boyfriend began saying inappropriate things occasionally and she felt jealous of him helping me out so much. He helped me buy a car which was a total junker but I loved it until I didn't. It also helped me make friends with another Honda Element owner when I asked for a good mechanic and we still stay in touch to this day, years later.

I was able to trade my car in for my current Kia and even though I didn't think I'd like it, I have grown to love it over the years. It's sturdy, runs well, and holds a lot of stuff when I need to buy a piece of furniture or move something.

When my Savannah living situation became untenable, I packed up everything into a U-Haul truck and drove up to live in Atlanta with an old church friend who turned out to have major hoarding issues and OCD issues in addition to being verbally abusive. He was so awful to me even though the rent was super low, I moved out as fast as I could, threw my things in storage, and began staying in hotels around the area. The friends I used to have when I lived in Atlanta the first time weren't there for me when I came back and I got back into acting where I developed more friends. 

I'll never forget renting a hotel room in Motel 6 which must have had about 600 rooms because it was 6 floors high or so and hearing fire alarms going off. Everyone was out on the balconies looking, but I packed up my room, went down to the front desk demanded my money back, and tore out of there after hearing that the room above me had been creating meth and it got out of control causing a fire.

The whole place seemed like there were drug addicts, drug dealers, prostitutes, and others. I wasn't making much catering at the Georgia Aquarium and spending money on hotels so learned my lesson the hard way.  Don't be cheap if it means your safety is in danger.

I ended up finding a great rate at a gorgeous Downtown Atlanta Marriott where they often film due to its iconic architecture. But what I forgot was parking and it was $40/night. I ended up finding a place across the street for $10 and would see people filming around the neighborhood as I walked to and from the hotel and inside too. That was a lot of fun and so was acting on the Atlanta shoots because so many of the big Hollywood films had escaped Governor Newsom to work there. 

What I found maddening was that despite Georgia not having the same Covid restrictions as California, due to SAG, PGA, DGA, etc being located in Los Angeles, all the productions began to have to follow the archaic, non-scientific rules even though everyone in GA had been free before. I hated wearing masks because I couldn't breathe and it raised my blood pressure too high.

So when I was working at the Georgia Aquarium, we had to wear long-sleeve shirts, a tie, AND a vest with a mask I began to experience really serious side effects after all the running around and not breathing properly. It got so bad, I went to urgent care and the doctor told me I couldn't do the job anymore because I would have a stroke. My blood pressure had shot so high it was dangerous. I had been slurring my words, staggering and that's when I knew something was drastically wrong.

Then, I stayed at an Airbnb near the airport and the guy running it began coming on to me wanting to give me a foot massage to calm me down, asking me all kinds of sexually oriented questions and I began to freak out. My health was failing, I didn't feel safe where I was staying and I learned that streets I was driving through to get to work, the very next day in the paper online it would say someone had been shot the night before. I also learned that a Chicago gang was trying to take over Atlanta and that's why murders were up. They're still up and crime is still high according to a DJ I still stay in touch with, again via Instagram.:)

After the gruesome murder of a lesbian whose breasts were cut off and her dog killed when she was walking late at night in the park everyone goes to I knew that was it. I didn't feel safe anywhere. I wanted out. I had a small extra role in Shazam filming there and knew the park well. It was shocking to everyone and the Mayor was called out for allowing crime to increase so quickly.

I called my Dad and even though he was initially against it, he relented and I was able to move back in with him. I left my car with a friend and my things in storage in GA and just flew home. I was with my Dad helping him again and taking care of my health too for almost a year. I never really felt like I was meant to stay in California though because it was still bad.

I remember driving anywhere in CA and everywhere there were huge homeless encampments similar to what I see every so often in South Austin. But far worse. It was every street, every overpass, everywhere. You couldn't escape it. Governor Newsom had decided all homeless were welcome so they came for the warm weather and never got off the streets. I broke the story of downtown LA being so overrun with homeless by filming as I drove and then more news coverage came as a result.

But it's never changed. Only got worse.

The money that's been thrown at the issue is eaten up by crooked people, and people charging exorbitant amounts to build simple structures. That's why when I see the City Council in Austin thinking throwing more money at the problem is going to fix it, all I see is more problems and no resolution.

I was homeless briefly and survived by couch surfing with friends all over the Northwest I attended Bible college together with and took advantage of government assistance to get into an apartment with 2 black women who were also coming off being homeless.

One was nice although she would steal my food and use her money to buy weed, whereas the other was racist against me in ways I've never experienced before or since. We almost came to blows once, but I decided it wasn't worth going to jail over. I ultimately helped the nice one get into another apartment away from the racist bitch because she hated all of us equally and helped her also begin to reconcile with her family which was nice to see.

However, that experience was at a major cost emotionally and I will never allow it to happen again. From there, I built my life back and that's why I know it can happen, but not without a determination to never live that life again. Drug addicts and those making more money begging on the corner than holding a real job don't want to do it and oftentimes, can't due to their addictions. That's why I believe mental health assistance, and drug rehabilitation centers are more needed and places to live, not more money thrown at them.

But I digress. Where was I?

Oh yeah, anyway, I'm getting tired so I'm going to stick a pin in this for now. But I wanted to share my story a little because there's so much animosity online against Californians who have moved to Texas, but we don't all have a ton of money or want to screw up the cool culture that makes Austin weird.

Some of us just want to live in peace, breathe freely, not see homeless drug addicts everywhere, and feel like we can have a little bit more safety than was provided in California. I have more peace living in Austin, although it has had its own rough experiences, but I feel like this is where I've come to heal.

The nature and deer I see regularly feed my soul. I enjoy not hearing gunshots or other craziness where I live. I like my neighbors and my landlord. My apartment is huge compared to what I used to live in in Los Angeles and I even have a patio that I haven't done anything with because I enjoy hanging out near the pool more.

I've found a therapist who has experience in brain spotting and EMDR, two unique ways to heal trauma faster and/or in conjunction with talk therapy. I'm hopeful this will be the year I can heal the trauma I've carried all my life and begin to really live. Thank you for being there for my journey thus far. The best is yet to come!

(Please note, I'm providing my affiliate links above so click away as it helps me while making life easier for you! But seriously, thank you.)


8th Annual Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival big success #Italy #film #festival

Filming Italy honored beloved Oscar-nominated star Giancarlo Giannini at the 8th Annual Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival, held March 1-3, 2023. My client, Actor Aaron Anastasi, was in attendance. 

Tiziana Rocca, CEO of Filming Italy held the 8th edition of Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival on March 1, 2023 with a red carpet evening gala at the Harmony Gold Theater, honoring Oscar-nominated Giancarlo Giannini with the Lifetime Achievement Award during closing night lineup on March 3rd. Giancarlo is also slated to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 6th. 

Filming Italy Los Angeles was created and organized by Tiziana Rocca, Agnus Dei, and the Italian Cultural Institute Los Angeles under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage "MiC", auspices of the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles and in collaboration with APA - Audiovisual Producers Association.

Honorary president of the festival is double Oscar-winning Nick Vallelonga (Green Book) with additional stars including Patricia Arquette, Danny Huston, and others. “For the eighth year in a row, we are honored to further fuel this partnership,” says Lucia Borgonzoni, Italian Undersecretary of Culture about Filming Italy Los Angeles.

During the festival, Italian actress Matilda De Angelis received the Women Power Award/Best Movie Award; Italian singer Nina Zilli, the PERFORMANCE - Music Award; Tom Ellis was honored with the Best Actor Award shared with actor Tomas Arana; screenwriter Tembi Locke won this year’s Creativity Award; and young actress/model Nida Khurshid was highlighted with the Spotlight Award launching the opening night tributes.

Filming Italy Los Angeles’ Friday March 3rd  Closing Night ceremonies were dedicated to Giancarlo Giannini and actor Dolph Lundgren, actor Salvatore EspositoJeremy Piven, Matilda De Angelis and Nina Zilli showed up as well.

The opening night also featured the Industry Panel: WOMEN IN ENTERTAINMENT: HOW FAR WE HAVE GOTTEN  and celebrity guests and honorees listed below. 

Panelists/Guests:

  • Matilda De Angelis - Filming Italy Best Movie Award, Filming Italy Women Power Award
  • Margherita Mazzucco - Filming Italy Los Angeles International Award
  • Chiara Tilesi, producer
  • Sandra Stern (President Lionsgate TV)
  • Sabrina Impacciatore, actress
  • Matilda De Angelis, talented Italian actress
  • Nina Zilli, great Italian singer - PERFORMANCE - Filming Italy Los Angeles Music Award
  • Tom Ellis, actor  -  Filming Italy Los Angeles Best Actor Award
  • Tomas Arana, actor 
  • Tembi Locke, screenwriter  -  Filming Italy Los Angeles Creativity Award
  • Nida Khurshid, young actress, and model -  Filming Italy Los Angeles Spotlight Award
  • Caterina Scorsone, actress Filming Italy Los Angeles International Award
  • Michael Madsen, actorFilming Italy Los Angeles Lifetime Achievement

For pictures from the event, please click here.


Bootsy Bellows Bash for Healthy Humor Huge Hit! @DavidArquette @officialdannyt

By Joy A. Kennelly

Healthy Humor Co-Chairs, David Arquette and his wife Christina McLarty Arquette were happy with this year’s Bash at Bootsy’s held at David’s West Hollywood nightclub, Bootsy Bellows.  Many other celebrities attended including Amy Yasbeck, Danny Trejo, Kyle Allen, Comedian Gabriel Iglesias, aka Fluffy, and award-winning actress Patricia Arquette.

CLU17736David Arquette’s work with Healthy Humor has shown him how truly remarkable their efforts are. Seeing the magic of Healthy Humor’s work firsthand has encouraged him to develop his own clown persona to help spread laughter, kindness, and fun to kids worldwide. Here's an article in People to elaborate: David Arquette Reveals He's 'Studying to Be a Clown': 'It Takes a Lot of Training'

CLU17986Healthy Humor is a non-profit arts organization that uses laughter, joy, and humor to aid in the healing of sick children and others who are suffering, relying on the magic of “healthcare clowning.” Healthcare clowns go out to hospitals and use their professional skills to alleviate the stress, sadness, and loneliness of a hospital stay. They understand how damaging the isolation of a hospital environment can be to a person's mental and emotional state and therefore help to reintroduce laughter and play to bring back the natural parts of life. 

For behind-the-scenes activity, review my client, Aaron Anastasi's Instagram: www.instagram.com/aaronanastasi


Today's message and prayer during Church of the Highlands 21 Days of Prayer is on fire!

Romans 12:1-2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

WOW WOW WOW!

Today's message and prayer at the Church of the Highlands was on fire! Here's the link if you want to hear and watch and see how thousands of people around the country are lifting up prayer requests for things that matter to you and society right now:

https://21days.churchofthehighlands.com/media/ce65242a-7a76-496a-a4c7-83a20f0f15ec

Today's 21 days of prayer is all about spiritual attacks on the family and encouraging us to put on the full armor of God. We need to step into our place of authority and fight the devil.

Ephesians 6:10 - 13  

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 

Be encouraged! Do not shrink back and be destroyed, stand in your purpose and your calling. Do not flee, Nehemiah 4:14  “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
 
Focus on the home and believe God can do great things. This is what the pastor was preaching and praying for today and encouraged all of us to pray too. That we would have: 
 
1. Homes built on the Word of God
2. Homes will have a spirit of unity, established in prayer
3. Homes filled with children in love with God. 
 
I have been so blessed and encouraged as I follow along daily I just had to share and encourage others to join me. Prayer-bible-verse-8
It's been really amazing to see what I'm praying for manifest in real life too. I've been praying for our government officials, our country, my alma mater, my friends and their families, my family, my favorite celebrities, Hollywood, and whoever and whatever God brings to mind as I'm lifting up these prayers to Him.
 
Prayer-bible-verse-11lI believe in the power of prayer. I believe in God's goodness. I believe in the power of God's truth. love and ability to change lives and circumstances.
 
I see it in my own life and in certain things happening in the country today which is why I have to write and share this with you to encourage you to join me in the final days of this amazing experience.
Prayer-bible-verse-6There's so much evil and darkness in the world right now. Wouldn't it be nice to have some light and encouragement in the midst of it? That's why I'm doing this. It changes my whole perspective and gives me encouragement that God is in control and He wins over the evil going on right now.
Prayer-bible-verse-10
I think of this shocking story which you can read in full detail by clicking the link... Madonna Accused of Pornography and Child Trafficking in Southern Africa – Ethiopian World Federation Urges President of Malawi to Conduct Investigation  By Jim Hoft Published January 18, 2023 
 
 
I can't help but wonder if people praying for those caught in sex trafficking, human trafficking, and other abuses against children haven't caused these to come out now. I know I pray for that to end.
 
 
When I think about it, all I can do is pray for our borders, for the people caught in the crosshairs and that God will intervene, give our government officials wisdom in handling it, and that we will have law and order once again. It's out of my hands...
Prayer-bible-verse-5
And on the flip side, I see positive news happening that makes me feel good: 
 
 
I know some may not think Alec being charged is positive, but I've been praying there will be justice in the world and I think it IS manslaughter when someone deliberately points a gun at someone and shoots it, fake or not.
 
I'm also tired of celebrities literally getting away with murder as Bruce Jenner did in that fatal car crash. I also feel sometimes we have to go through hard times to trust in God, not ourselves. Perhaps Alec will turn to God now?

Prayer-bible-verse-9

 
But enough of me and my opinions of what's happening in the world, let's get back to God and his will for our lives.:)
 
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and I hope it encourages you too: Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
 
And here's a musical version with sign language!

So! I hope this encourages and challenges you to join me as we continue our journey through the 21 Days of Prayer with the Church of the Highlands!
 
They have a great app for pray called Pray First which you can find in both iPhone and Android stores. And I like having the church app too because it makes it easier to find the message. You can also just watch on your computer. Whatever works! Just pray! 
 
Prayer-bible-verse-1lGod bless your day as my friend Ashley always says. If you'd like some worship music to play in the background as you go about your day, here's some I just found. 

Have a great week! I plan to!
 
 
 

 


Quick Thanksgiving Home-Cooked Meal Anyone with a Little Cooking Skills can Make!

By Joy A. Kennelly

If you're like me, visiting a new city and unsure where to go out for Thanksgiving dinner, your friends are going out of town, your sister is slammed working two jobs, and you're not sure you want to be the only single person at a restaurant, then maybe this recipe will solve your holiday dilemma. What's great is you can make it with a turkey breast and use the same rubs too.

But if you're not in the mood for turkey, then just follow this recipe from a Lifestyle and Nutrition Expert whom you may recognize from Food Network, Chef Mareya Ibrahim, who wrote a cookbook called, Eat Like You Give A Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive.

She understands the stress that comes with preparing a Thanksgiving meal.  She also understands the need for a delicious offering!

One-pot meals are easy to prepare and clean up, and they also offer the same nutritional value as a more complicated dinner. Preparing everything in one dish makes it easier to ensure that several food groups are included on everyone's plate. Chef Mareya has prepared the PERFECT Thanksgiving one-pan meal for everyone this week. 

Thanksgiving sheet pan meal 3

Garlic & Herb Roasted Young Chicken with sides of Brussels sprouts, Carrots, Wild Rice Stuffed Delicata Squash & Cinnamon Spice Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

Young chicken (4 lbs)

Fresh garlic

Fresh Thyme

Sea Salt, Pepper & EVOO

Brussels sprouts 

Balsamic Vinegar

Baby Carrots

Delicata squash

Wild rice blend

Sweet potatoes

Ghee

Cinnamon spice 

Directions

Prepare the Chicken by mixing fresh garlic, thyme, sea salt, oregano, pepper, and EVOO and rub it on the chicken breast (under the skin) and on top of the skin.

Toss veggies with EVOO and balsamic, salt and pepper.

Stuff delicata squash with Wild rice blend (She used a Far East packet blend and pre-cooked in the microwave until al dente; finished in the oven.)

Slice sweet potatoes and pat with a small amount of ghee and a dusting of cinnamon/pumpkin spice.

Place all on a large roasting tray.

Roast in the oven at 400F for 50 min, then turn up the heat to 450 for the last 10 minutes.  

And maybe while you're cooking, consider playing this new feel-good Thanksgiving song by Crowder!

But if that doesn't rock your boat, then check out Matthew West's Thanksgiving offering. If this doesn't make  you crack a smile...

But seriously, music does calm the nerves so try this jazz collection which plays for 3 hours and should do the trick:

And the best part, here's a bunch of recipes to create an awesome Thanksgiving dessert because is it really Thanksgiving without a fall-inspired dessert? And because watching a video makes it easier, check these delicious choices here:

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Enjoy your day whatever you end up doing!


5th Annual Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival May 14 and 15, Riverfront Plaza

I am a huge fan of foodie festivals, especially when there's fun music attached which is why I have to share my friend's fun 5th Annual Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival happening on May 14 and 15, at the Riverfront Plaza in Baton Rouge, LA. 


Marcia 2022 IIMarcia and I have known each other forever and often collaborated on all my short film festivals and other events I produced. So naturally, I have to return the favor now that she and her friends are hosting such an amazing event. She moved to Louisiana a few years ago and never looked back. She's surrounded by amazing musicians, delicious food, interesting scenery and the band she publicizes has an amazing listening room where she can hear live music nightly. What's not to love?

Now back to the 5th Annual Soul Food Festival Baton Rouge, LA

Three days of Fabulous Southern Cuisine and Live Music

Smoke and MamieA Sneak Peek of the Festival Talent Lineup on Thursday and

 A Vendor’s Village, Pioneer Award and Soul Food Cooking Contest with judges 

The 5th Annual Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15 at Riverfront Plaza located at 300 River Road South, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.

If you're dying to get out town, then pop on over to Baton Rouge and get your soul on. For travel arrangements, contact Dee at Deech Global Travel 225-747-0057,  [email protected]. She's local and comes recommended.

Festival hours are 11:00am to 8:00pm on Saturday and 11:00am to 8:00pm on Sunday. The family friendly event is free to the public. It features blues, soul, R&B and gospel music, a Vendor’s Village, a Pioneer Award and judged soul food cooking contest. Lawn seating so bring your chairs. 

The Pioneer Award was established by the Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the soul food industry.​ Do fried chicken, chicken wings, greens, cornbread, chitterlings, smothered liver, oxtails short ribs, fried fish, mac and cheese, potato salad, and barbecue baked beans all sound good to you? Then you know your southern cooking!

image from images.app.goo.gl
This years’ Pioneer Award Recipient is Deborah Dickerson of D’s “Southern Soul” Café in Plaquemine, Louisiana. The award was established to honor outstanding contributions to the soul food industry. Miss D, as she’s called, founded the café in 2015. In addition to serving great food, it also provides a safe haven for youth, providing free meals and tutoring. Some of her most requested dishes are Chitterlings, Smothered Liver and the only place you can get Peppergrass in the world. For more information call 225-238-5044 or visit https://m.facebook.com/Ds-Soulfood-397787393757131.  

Soul Foodie tickets include two food and soft drinks and photo ops for $25.00 per person. Soul Food-RFP II VIP tickets for two that include four food and drink tickets, T-shirts, CD’s and additional perks are $100.00. For additional information call 225-802-9681 or visit www.brsoulfoodfest.com.

A Pre-Party will be held Thursday, May 12 at Henry Turner Jr.s’ Listening Room from 8pm to midnight. Here's a sneak peek.

The venue is located at 2733 North Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. Tickets are $25.00 and include a buffet and soft drinks. The show is a sneak peek of the talent lineup for the festival.

KB & Turmpet (2)Some of the talent lineup includes bands and solo artists like the blues, soul, funk reggae band Henry Turner, Jr. & Flavor and the Listening Room All-Stars featuring singer/songwriter Larry “LZ” Dillon, spoken word artist ‘Nspire and the Inspiration band, comedian Eddie “Cool” Deemer's ability to string movie titles, candy and household products into stories always make people laugh; gospel/soul singer Pastor Leon Hutchins  is also known for his upbeat personality and comedy songs; guitarist and singer Owen Scott, R&B singer/songwriter and crooner Xavie Shorts crosses the charts with musical outlets that include R&B, Pop and Hip Hop. One of his classic songs and often requested songs is “Blocked List.” He is guaranteed to make the girls smile with his heartfelt delivery and suave style.  KB & the Backbeat (featured) is a New Orleans influenced Soul Band founded by horn player Kasey Ball. 

The Soul Food Cooking Contest, highlighting regional favorites from Louisiana, Texas, Food Judges TableMississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida include Meats, Vegetable and Side Dishes, Breads and Desserts, Appetizers and Soups, Beverage and Ices. Criteria includes Presentation, Taste, and the Story or History behind each dish. Ten entrants in each category will be pre-selected by the Soul Food screening committee.

Cooking David Hatcher (2)Upon acceptance the entry fee is $20.00, $30.00 for walk-ups, if slots are available. Contestants need to bring enough food for six people the day of their judging. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each category. The contest is now open and downloadable forms and additional instructions are available on the website. Vendor slots are also still available.

Soul Food Plain Logo JPeg (3)So get ready for three days of great food from Louisiana and its surrounding southern neighbors, incredible music from local and national touring acts and lots of fun on May 12 at Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room and next to the USS Kidd on Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15 at the 5th Annual Baton Rouge Soul Food Festival!