Thursday, March 30, 2017

Photos of the Day: Best Views of Los Angeles

Another amazing view near the top of the Griffith Observatory at Griffith Park in LA, California. I can just stay here forever. It's one of my favorite place to be. Just a warning that the location is super busy with traffic as it is a popular destination. We found parking going downhill and hiked up for about 20 minutes. If you are driving uphill (around late afternoon), you'll be most likely get stuck in traffic.

Sunset over Los Angeles

Another place to see the view of downtown LA is at Elysian Park near Angels Point (Angels Point Rd, 90012). It is NW of the Dodgers Stadium. From top of the park, you may be able to see the Dodgers Stadium in front of the DTLA high-rises. Since our flight was delayed that day, we didn't have time to go there. But here's the buildings I was talking about (zoomed view from Griffith Park):

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Vancouver International Autoshow 2017 + New Cars Unveiled

The 97th annual Vancouver International Auto Show kicked off Tuesday morning, March 28th at the Vancouver Convention Centre (West) near the Jacke Poole Plaza. I have just wrapped up on day 1 of the Press Conference that featured vehicle unveils and debuts ranging from regional to national and international.

Congratulatons to Toyota Canada for winning both 2017 Canadian Green Car of the Year (Toyota Prius) and the 2017 Canadian Green Utility Vehicle of the Year (Toyota RAV4 Hybrid) AJAC award.

Kia Canada unveils the 2018 Stinger, presented by Ted Lancaster, Vice President and COO. Kia is also the proud sponsor for the Special Olympics Canada.

Unveiling of the 2017 BMW 540i and M550i
Unveiling of the 2017 BMW 540i and M550i

Unveiling of the 2018 Lexus LS 500h
Presented by Jennifer Barron (Director, Lexus Canada)
Unveiling of the 2018 Lexus LS 500h Unveiling of the 2018 Lexus LS 500h

Unveiling of the 2018 Range Rover Velar
Presented by Wolfgang Hoffmann (President for Jaguar Land Rover Canada)
Unveiling of the 2018 Range Rover Velar Unveiling of the 2018 Range Rover Velar

Unveiling of the first-ever MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid
Presented by Debra Tovell (Product Manager of Mini Canada)
Unveiling of the first-ever MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid Unveiling of the first-ever MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid

For more features (Other makes, models, SUVs, supercars, classics and more), see the Facebook Gallery.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Photo Collage with Canva Design Templates

When I want a simple design just basically for banners, infographics, posters and collages, I use Canva. I've been using their design software for some time now and I really enjoy using it. It's quick and easy and can be accessed online. Canvas also has a wide selection of collage templates to use for free as well.

How it works:

Sign up for an account. It's free! To get started after you've created your account, click on the "Create a design" button and it will bring up a list of templates for different a categories (postcard, banner, invitation, certificate, etc.).

I like to use my own images to promote my photographs. This sunset photo is from my recent travel to Los Angeles, California. It was an amazing view up there at the top of Griffith Park near the Griffith Conservatory.

Here's my finished design using Canva's "Facebook Post" premade template.

California Sunset

If you enjoy sunsets as much as I do, check out my sunset/sunrise photo album in my Facebook gallery.

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SPRING INTO SPRING!! 7 Ways to Be More Optimistic

We set the clocks ahead for daylight savings and many of us woke up to a darker sky feeling sluggish thanks to a one hour loss of sleep. If you hit the snooze, pulled the covers up over your head still feeling bummed out about your waistline, bank account, career or love life, you’re not alone. Despite more daylight our worries will still be there. So how do we spring into spring, a season that’s all about new beginnings and rebirth? For practical ways, to cultivate optimism in our lives we turned to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services who shares these tips and tools.

Spring into Spring!

1. Focus on the good.

“A daily exercise I often have my patients do is keep an appreciation or gratitude journal. When you focus on all the things to be happy for in your life then more great things come. Think generally and use your senses. What do you appreciate seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, listening to? Write it down. Within a few weeks you'll train the mind to pivot to an appreciate thought when a negative thought comes,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

2. Make plans.

Making plans to see relatives, to see a new exhibit a movie or to travel gets our mind moving forward towards something positive that we can be hopeful and optimistic about. Dr. Hafeez suggests making plans to do 3 things per month for the next 3 months. “Choose things that you know will bring you joy and then go do them! Feeling excited about what is coming and talking about how fun it will be keeps us optimistic and forward moving,” says Dr. Hafeez.

3. Control what you can, delegate the rest!

We get pessimistic and worry about the worst possible outcomes when we realize that we cannot control every detail. This leads to anxiety and an even stronger feeling of having to control conditions, and even others. According to Dr. Hafeez, this is a trap. “Figure out what needs to get done. What actions you can take. Then let go of anything else that is beyond your control with faith that everything will turn out fine. Envision the desired outcome,” advises Dr. Hafeez.

4. Limit your news watching and avoid it before bed.

“There is a very common pattern I see people falling into,” says Hafeez. “People awaken and immediately reach for their smartphone for news headlines. They then turn on the TV news as background noise. They listen to news in their cars, have news alerts going off on their phones all day, catch the evening news and then the 11pm news before bed. No wonder they're less optimistic! What you choose to look at will impact your mood. Remember, good news doesn’t get ratings,” she adds.

5. Don’t snooze. Instead just breathe.

When the alarm goes off give yourself a few minutes to just lie there, eyes closed focused on your breathing. Breathe in counting to 4 and then breathe out. Do a mental scan of your entire body from head to toe thanking your cells for restoring you as you slept. “Deep breathing is a form of meditation and in the morning, you have a small window of opportunity to decide what kind of day you want it to be,” says Dr. Hafeez.

6. Distract yourself with something that requires focus.

The key here is to pick something you truly enjoy doing and do it daily. It can be painting, coloring, yoga, a 20-minute walk or jog, listening to music and dancing around your living room. “When you are fully engaged in something, you can’t ruminate which leads to pessimism,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

7. Make feeling good top priority.

When you commit to feeling good you instantly start to think more optimistically. According to Dr. Hafeez, when you’re mindful of your own negativity and shift to a better feeling positive thought you feel powerful. You’ll feel like you can conquer anything when you can master your own mindset.

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens.

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dropprice $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway

Target Gift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the Dropprice $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway!

Dropprice is an innovative startup that rewards moms for being social. Essentially, they empower moms to drop prices of kids & baby products with a click. The price continues dropping as more moms click “Drop the price”. Every week new promotions are launched and moms drop prices by sharing them on social media. See the chart below to understand the power moms have and how important it is to share with other moms.

Target Gift Card Giveaway

In today’s promotion for the Baby Banana Brushes, it started out at $28.00 and for each mom that clicks, the price drops a bit. The price will continue to drop for each mom that participates.

Dropprice $100 Target Gift Card

You can choose to share on social media to get more moms to click “Drop the price”, or you can “Buy Now” at the current price. Keep in mind that when the price gets low, they usually sell out and you will no longer have the chance to buy that item. As an added bonus every item on Dropprice ships for free!

Do you want to give it a try? This is such a fun and exciting way for moms to save lots of money by collaborating with each other. If you would like to have a chance to win a $100 Target gift card, you can experience dropping the price by following the instructions below.


ONE (1) lucky winner will receive a $100 Target Gift Card!

All you have to do is help moms drop the price of the Brushes and you will be entered to win a $100 Target gift card. Just click “Drop the price” on the entry form below for a chance to win. For even more entries, share it on your social media networks via the entry form — every time one of your friends also clicks to drop the price, you’ll automatically receive additional giveaway entries!
Contest is open to US only, 18+ (ends April 4th, 2017 at 11:59pm EST). All entries unless otherwise noted are optional.  Please enter the giveaway form below. The winner will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!
Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook!  If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

{Please wait while entry form loads...}
Click here if you don’t see the entry form below.


Disclosure: Bloggers in this giveaway were not compensated and are not responsible for prize fulfillment.  This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. You are not eligible if you have won a prize from any of the sponsors in the last 12 month. This post may contain affiliate links and I may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Giveaway: Enter to Win a $150 Visa Gift Card

Welcome to the $150 Visa Gift Card giveaway event!

This great group of bloggers have come together to bring one awesome giveaway prize, to one lucky winner! We are very happy to have a $150 Visa gift card up for grabs!

What would you do with the extra $150 if you've won? Would it be buying a gift for someone or for yourself, paying bills, or use it for vacation? Feel free to tell me in the comments. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


One (1) lucky winner will receive a $150 Visa Gift Card!

Contest is open worldwide, 18+ (ends April 21st, 2017 at 11:59pm EST). All entries unless otherwise noted are optional.  Please enter the giveaway form below. The winner will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!
Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook!  If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

{Please wait while entry form loads...}


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Visit to the Petersen Automotive Museum

While in Los Angeles, California during our Spring Break vacation, we had a chance to experience the Petersen Automotive Museum located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd, LA. Since all of us (Hubby, our son, and I) are car enthusiasts, it was worth checking out. We were planning to find free parking along 6th St, but wasn't able to. We decided to park in the museum parking structure which costed $12 (for all day parking). The architecture of the building was fascinating and just learned that it was newly renovated in 2015.

The on-display collection features Hollywood cars, race cars, vintage cars, bikes and more.

Check out the full gallery with descriptions through my Facebook Page below.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Break Vacation: Vancouver to Los Angeles

It's Spring Break for the kids and Hubby and I took some vacation days so we could go to Los Angeles, California. Yes, we went there last year also during Spring Break to visit Disneyland, but this time, I wanted to explore the city a bit more and take in the amazing scenic views. Another reason we went to Los Angeles is because I was the grand prize winner for the California trip from Caliburger Vancouver's grand opening social media contest back in June 2016. We're excited that this was happening.

After booking everything, we realized and remembered the time change for daylight savings so we lost an hour of sleep. Funny thing was that the same thing happened last year as well.

Finally on the plane to LAX! Got some sunshine all week as per the weather forecast. It was 30 degrees C in LA and loving it!

After a week, we were back in chilly Vancouver. So wonderful that CaliBurger mascot came to welcome us home. Thanks to Manager Kelly and Owner Reyaz for arranging this trip. Stay tuned for upcoming photos and experiences in a separate blog post of our California trip.

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Winter Skin Rescue

Happy Spring! Even though it's Spring, Vancouver's weather has been really unpredictable lately, but your skin doesn't have to be! Winter weather has a tendency to dry out our skin, causing chronic problems such as Rosacea, Psoriasis and Eczema to worsen. The good news is, you don’t have to wait for summer to feel the relief!

pHisoderm, Psoriasin, and Procacea Products

pH levels: the key to perfect skin

Have you ever read “pH balanced” on a product and wondered what it meant? From inflammation, dryness, to acne, here’s how pH levels can either fix or cause further discomfort to your skin. pH stands for "potential hydrogen" and is used to describe the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, which is measured on a scale from 0 (the most acidic) to 14 (the most alkaline). Your body’s overall pH level is about 7, which means that the body is basic. However, your skin’s ideal pH should b e lower at a level of 5.5, a slightly acidic value.

pHisoderm’s unique formulas contains pH balancing ingredients that restores the skin’s pH balance for beautiful, healthy looking skin. All of pHisoderm’s formulas are soap free, fragrance free and dermatologist tested.

Types of Skin Problems Explained:

Rosacea: a chronic skin condition that affects mainly the face, causing redness on cheeks, nose, chin and forehead.

Solution: Fight symptoms with Prosacea, a water based gel that calms redness, and reduces bumps and dryness. With active ingredients such as sulphur, known to diminish inflammation, and Chrysarobinus, an agent that helps fight skin irritants, your skin will be smooth and hydrated in no time.

Procacea Procacea


Psoriasis: uncontrolled cell division, causing skin cells to multiply 10x faster than normal, accumulating on the skin’s surface.

Solution: Psoriasin Gel and Psoriasin Ointment relieve itching, flaking, redness, and scaling of psoriasis and helps to prevent recurrence. Both the ointment and gel contain Coal Tar, which is highly effective in interrupting the uncontrolled cell division that result in psoriasis.

Psoriasin Gel Psoriasin Gel
Psoriasin Ointment Psoriasin Ointment


Eczema: condition that causes skin to become inflamed or irritated, resulting in an itchy rash.

Solution: pHisoderm pH Clinical for blemish-prone skin restores pH levels in skin through an exfoliating complex, BHA, which reduces oil and bacteria for an improved complexion. When your skin has a low pH level, your skin tends to be dry; pHisoderm pH Clinical increases pH levels reducing dryness that causes eczema.

pHisoderm Clinical pHisoderm pH Balancer

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products at no charge in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of other consumers. No other compensation was given.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Restaurant Review: Fresh Brothers (Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles)

It was our first day arriving in L.A. We drove up north of LAX airport after arriving. We came to a strip mall for a late lunch and I was really hungry. The place next door had a long wait so pizza at Fresh Brothers (located at 4722 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292) was our next choice.

The pizza was fresh and delicious and friendly servers. One guy offered to clear the table right away for us after ordering a BBQ Chicken Pizza at the counter. We dined in and just enjoyed the food. The server came over and checked in if we needed anything else. I also decided to try the Sweet Knots. It came hot. It was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Gotta be careful because it was really hot. The restaurant space is a bit small inside, but it has a relaxing atmosphere.

My rating: 5

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Sweet Knots

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review: Lala Pettibone’s Act Two by Heidi Mastrogiovanni


 Lala Pettibone’s Act Two by Heidi MastrogiovanniLala Pettibone, a forty-something widow whose outrageous antics befit women half her age, has been imagining her sexy boss Gerard is as smitten with her as she is with him. Enter Gerard’s fabulous girlfriend from Paris.

After spending the rest of the day drinking wine straight from the bottle, Lala attends the monthly meeting of her Greenwich Village co-op, where the residents are informed that a toxic wasteland in the building’s basement requires everyone to pony up forty-grand by the end of the week.

Lala very reluctantly decides to sublet her apartment and make a bundle while visiting her Auntie Geraldine in Los Angeles. But good things come her way in sunny California, including inspiration to finish writing an uproarious novel based on her own ridiculous adventures.

Lala Pettibone’s Act Two is a wonderfully hilarious, second-coming-of-age-novel. Bridget Jones has absolutely nothing on Lala in the Late-Bloomer-With-Maybe-Lots-of-Potential-Department.

Heidi MastrogiovanniABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Mastrogiovanni is a dedicated animal welfare advocate who lives in Los Angeles with her musician husband and their three rescued senior dogs. She loves to read, hike, travel, and do a classic spit-take whenever something is really funny. Heidi is a graduate of Wesleyan University and was chosen as one of ScreenwritingU’s 15 Most Recommended Screenwriters of 2013. The comedy web series she writes and produces, Verdene and Gleneda, was awarded the Hotspot on the Writers Guild of America’s Hotlist.

Interview with Heidi

Q: What inspired you to create Lala Pettibone’s Act Two?
A: I absolutely love to make people laugh. And I love authors who make me laugh. I’m proud and humbled that I share a birthday with P.G. Wodehouse, one of the funniest and most charming writers I have ever had the great pleasure of reading. So a big part of wanting to write Lala’s story was the desire to make people laugh.

And, having lived through great sorrow and having found new happiness (with the wonderful help of my incredible friends and family) after I was widowed at the age of 41, I wanted to write a story that might give people a sense that there is always hope for new beginnings.

The desire to have fun was also a big part of the inspiration to write Lala’s story. I find that, more and more, I treasure making decisions about my professional life that bring me the most joy and fun. I have a good time writing about Lala. It was that way from the beginning. And I’m having such a great time writing the sequel to her story.

Q: There are a few nods to theatrical blocking directions in your book. Do you have a background in theatre? How did it help inspire you?
A: I do, indeed. I majored in Theatre and German in college. I caught the acting bug in second grade, when I played the dormouse in my elementary school’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

I moved to New York City after college to work in the theatre. The only thing I didn’t realize was that apparently you need to have actual acting talent in order to be an actor!

That sounds a little too precious and self-deprecating…

I was part of a wonderful sketch comedy group in New York for many years, and occasionally I was funny in some roles, but they had to be exactly the right roles for me. I didn’t have the ability to make every role I was given real, and that’s my litmus test for the kind of acting I admire. In “Manchester by the Sea,” just as a recent example, the acting was so brilliant, I felt as though I was eavesdropping on real people’s lives.

As an aside, I just have to add that there is film footage somewhere of a show the sketch comedy group did, and on it I answer a question before my partner in the scene finishes asking the question. Trust me, it is not pretty.

But working on stage made me very aware of how dialogue sounds, and I think this is an absolutely essential skill for a writer. Theatre and film and television are all a wonderful part of the storytelling world, and I am always inspired by beautifully written works in the performing arts. I truly think there is nothing more inspiring than seeing and reading stories about relationships and about change.

Q: What initially attracted Lala to Gerard?
A: At the time Lala first met Gerard and had an absolutely instant attraction to him, she managed to bury the fact that Gerard looks like her beloved late husband’s twin very deep in her subconscious. In fact, when her best friend points out the startling similarity to her, Lala thinks she’s crazy…

Lala has excellent taste in men… Gerard is smart and funny and charming and he works in the world of words, Lala’s favorite place to be…and of course there’s also that fabulous French accent…

Q: What made you choose Los Angeles as Lala’s destination of choice?
A: That journey mirrors my own. I moved to Los Angeles after living in New York City for many wonderful years after college. Going from east to west in our vast country seems to me to be the quintessential pioneer’s journey, and Lala’s Act Two involves setting out to discover a new feeling of home for Lala when her tentative feeling of rebirth after the death of her husband is shattered. It was time for her to find a new beginning, and Southern California seemed to me to be the perfect place to turn her face back toward the sunshine.

It’s also a way for Lala to come back to her roots, however reluctantly she does that. She grew up in Santa Monica and went to college on the east coast. She swore she would never go back west…and I enjoyed putting her in a position where she had to make going back “home” work for her.

Q: Do you see yourself in Lala or would you say you're both complete opposites?
A: I very much see myself in Lala. We’re alike in so many ways, both in terms of certain major aspects of our history and in terms of our values and idiosyncrasies. I was also widowed at an early age, and I also found love again, as Lala does. And I love to eat and savor wine and talk a bit too much, just like Lala does! We share a vast love of language and of senior dogs. We both love to take long walks and we love to exercise.

We’re both only children, and we both never wanted to have kids of our own… We both always wanted to be the kind of crazy, fabulous aunt that nieces and nephews treasure. The list goes on…

Oh, and Lala and I both overuse ellipses in our writing…

Really, she’s a younger version of me…with a fabulous apartment in New York, which I don’t currently have, but I’m thinking about shopping for one…

Q: You have a background in screenwriting. How does writing a novel differ from writing a screenplay? Do you have a preference?
A: There are many similarities and many differences. I love writing screenplays because I love writing dialogue. In the case of both forms of storytelling, I always want the journey to be about relationships and about change. And, for me, a story that I want to read or see has to have a hopeful ending, so I always try to put that in my screenplays and novels.

Both novels and screenplays are at their best, I think, when they convey a story that is rich and layered without being convoluted. I think it’s essential to write in a lean style that is still full of nuance. I think anything that is over-written is hard to get through as a reader.

My current preference is novels, because I love what I feel is the freedom in the novel form to convey inner thoughts. Screenplays require a very visual approach and they, to a great extent, rely on what is happening in the moment to convey the story. But I truly do love writing both. I love spending time with words. I’m a voracious reader of novels and of screenplays, and I think any writer has to constantly be absorbing examples of their medium.

Screenplays generally have a three-act structure (though goodness knows there are a lot of screenplays that don’t), and novels don’t require that. But I actually really like the three-act structure as an audience member, so I tend to write prose with that structure in mind. I do think novel writing gives the writer more freedom to experiment because novels can be almost anything, whereas screenplays really do have to follow some kind of classic screenplay format. But I really do love them both! 

Q: Favorite book-to-screen movie adaptation?
A: It has to be “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The actors are brilliant, and they created those unforgettable characters in a way that I can only think of as being like magic. Gregory Peck was incredible as Atticus Finch, and he earned a well-deserved Oscar for that performance. And the young actors who play the kids? Absolutely amazing.

Q: How do you think Lala would do on the big screen?
A: I have to confess that I wrote it with a movie adaptation in mind. So I think and hope that it would do well on the big screen. I think of Lala as a slightly older, American version of Bridget Jones, and I have to say that I really enjoy watching and re-watching all the Bridget Jones movies.

I love romantic comedies that star smart, strong, vulnerable women who take a journey of change and growth. I’d love to think that the role of Lala would be one that brilliant comedic actors like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kristen Wiig, Amy Schumer (and how great is it that we have a growing list of wonderful women starring in films!) would have fun with. Of course, if the always-fabulous Kate Winslet played Lala, it might be a form of revenge for an American actor playing Bridget Jones!

Q: Was there anyone in your life that was the inspiration for Lala or was she completely fictitious?
A: Oh, I hope this doesn’t sound too self-involved… I really was the inspiration for Lala… We have so many similarities.

I feel as though she’s that friend you’ve spent so much time with, you are like twins sometimes. To a great extent, Lala’s values and her outlook are just like mine.

The other female leads in the novel are very much inspired by women I know. Auntie Geraldine is inspired by one of my aunts. Brenda is a lot like my best friend. And several of the men in the book have counterparts in my life. There are a lot of people in Lala’s world who are very dear to me, by association with real life and on their own as characters. I hope that comes through in the writing.

Q: The novel has much humor and wit. How big of a role does comedy play in your daily life?
A: I’m going to be melodramatic and say that comedy is my life. Comedy and kindness…and alliteration…

The classic film “Sullivan’s Travels” really encapsulates my idea of why comedy is so important. Joel McCrea’s character is a successful producer who is mistakenly jailed. While he’s in prison, he sees how much comfort funny movies bring to the prisoners. I think comedy brings solace, and I think it helps carry us through the challenging times.

I love words, and I love when words are put together in a smart and inventive way to make people smile. A great example for me is the Caption Contest in The New Yorker. The magazine prints a cartoon, and people send in caption ideas. I swear, I look at those cartoons, and I got nothing. I mean, no ideas for a funny caption. And then I read the three captions the magazine chooses for us to vote on, and they are brilliant and hilarious. It’s both inspiring and humbling. And it’s comedy. Seeing those captions always makes me smile. Smiling is a wonderful thing to do. Every day. As often as possible.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
A: That it’s never too late to begin again. That there is nothing more important than kindness (especially to those who are most vulnerable, such as children and animals) and generosity. That it’s possible to find new happiness after great sorrow.

That a short-waisted woman can find cute outfits to wear if she goes shopping with the right friends who will tell her the truth about which clothes don’t work on her…

That too much champagne is never enough…

Q: Lala herself turns to writing her own novel in the book. What inspired you to begin writing Lala’s story?
A: Lala made me do it. I have a bit of what might be considered an odd way of coming up with ideas for novels and screenplays. I hear a line of dialogue, or I think of one, or I think of the name of a character, and that’s where the process starts.

I honestly don’t know why, but one day the phrase “Lala Pettibone, journalist to the stars” popped into my head. And we were off and running…

And Lala really did drive the story. She kept putting ideas and situations and dialogue in my mind. Her soapbox is my soapbox. Lala always wants to spread the word of being a caring and generous person, and she wants to remind people of how much those in vulnerable positions need our help…senior dogs being her (and my) primary example of that.

As I wrote Lala’s story, and as I am now working on the sequel to “Lala Pettibone’s Act Two,” I honestly was inspired to write because I like spending time with her and with the people and dogs in her life.

Does that make me sound incredibly arrogant, given that I just wrote that Lala and I are like twins? Yikes; I hope not!

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