MUCH To Be Thankful For!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Daddy and Me!

Daddy and Me!

We had such a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving gathering at our house on Thursday! Just a small group of friends and family (Karen Murphy and her husband Jim, Wayne Young — who took all those great photographs of “Dangerous Curves” for our CD — and his long-time friend Cheri, my Dad, Ron and myself). First of all, it was so great to finally have my Dad back in town (my Mom will be returning from Delaware next Wednesday). For those who have been following what’s been going on with my brother, all of a sudden in the last week or so Jeff began to make HUGE progress…in fact, they are calling him “The Miracle Man”…so much so that he was actually RELEASED from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving and got to go HOME to his kids!!!  Amazing, considering just two weeks ago they still didn’t think he would make it at all.  Truly, so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

For our Thanksgiving feast, I was in charge of the TURKEY (and of course, making the table look pretty…my favorite part)!  But those who know me, know that cooking is not exactly my “thing” so I was a little nervous as to how the turkey would turn out.  But thanks to some great turkey tips via a long-distance phone call from my mom on the best way to do it, my turkey turned out GREAT!

Wayne, Cheri, Ron, Lisa, Dad, Jim, Karen

Wayne Young and our new friend Cheri, Ron and Me, Daddy, Jim and Karen Murphy

Karen and her husband brought the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberries, Daddy brought some wine, Wayne brought a fabulous artichoke dip and veggie chips, and Ron was in charge of rolls and vegetables.  Talk about a FEAST!  The whole meal was SOOOO good…mmmmm!

thanksgiving-2008-3After dinner, we enjoyed coffee and pumpkin pie sat around the table playing a great game called “A Question of Scruples.”  Oh my goodness….so much fun!  I seriously haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!  Although by the end of the game I think we all knew a bit more about one another than we probably EVER needed to know, it was sure a lot of fun! :) Thank you so much to Karen, Jim, Wayne, Cheri and Daddy for making this Thankgiving such an enjoyable and memorable one for Ron and me!  We love you guys!

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Laugh-A-Long Songs!

I’m so excited to tell you about my friends’ new CD called “Laugh-A-Long Songs” for kids ages 5 to 9!

Laugh-A-Long Songs NEW CD!!!

Laugh-A-Long Songs NEW CD!!!

It was just released this week and it’s amazing!! This CD includes many songs you and your kids already know, as well as eight brand new, original songs written by Jerry Jones and Rob Hyatt (Jerry and Rob are old friends of mine and also sing with jazz quartet Fifth Avenue whom I’ve performed with in the past).  In fact, Dangerous Curves even sang back-up on one of the original songs on the CD called Get Outta Bed Granny. Very FUN!

In addition to featuring their own writing, singing and playing, Rob and Jerry called upon some of their other friends, who also happen to be some of the brightest and most talented stars of the Las Vegas entertainment scene: performers such as legendary headliner Clint Holmes, stage star Tina Walsh (Mama Mia), the amazing Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, Tony Davich, Jamie Hosmer, Judy Lombino, and Karen Merstik-Michaels of “Dangerous Curves” (her song In The Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening is one of my absolute favorites)! The incredible variety of songs and styles make this unlike any children’s CD you have ever heard before.

Seriously, for the several years that I was teaching preschool, I had to listen to COUNTLESS children’s CDs…some good, some not so good, some REALLY terrible.  And THIS CD is by far the BEST children’s CD I have heard yet!  I SO wish it was around when I was still teaching school.  I am absolutely planning to buy it…and you should too!  If you’re looking for the best kid’s songs around, and the perfect gift for the holidays, you’ve found them with “Laugh-A-Long Songs, Volume One: Circles, Squares and Triangles.” You’re gonna love it, and so will your kids!

You’ll want to listen again and again as these infectious melodies, clever lyrics, and stellar performances provide hours and hours of listening fun!

Click on the following link to listen to songs from Rob & Jerry’s new CD: www.laughalongsongs.com/music.php

Latest “Dangerous Curves” News!

Recording Our First CD!

Recording Our First CD!

So, things have been moving along pretty quickly for Dangerous Curves (Lisa Smith, Karen Merstik, Margaret Menzies) lately.  We’ve been busy finishing up the last of our recording sessions for our first CD!  In fact, as of last week we are completely FINISHED recording, and now all that’s left is the mixing, mastering, licensing, printing and duplication.  Okay, so I guess that’s still a lot do. :? But at this point, we are still on track to get everything completed before Christmas….Woohoo!  If you want to hear a preview of some of the tracks, you can visit our website at http://www.DangerousCurvesLasVegas.com (6 of the 10 songs we are doing on the CD are posted on our website).  Just keep in mind that those are VERY preliminary…none of those recordings have been EQ’d or mixed yet…they are very rough.  So listen with a kind ear. :D

Preview of Back Cover

Our CD!

We’ve also been working on the artwork and design of the CD cover and booklet.  Here’s a sneak peak of what the back cover and the CD itself will look like.  We’ve been designing it ourselves (as well as arranging, producing, financing, etc…), so it’s been exhausting, but also a lot of FUN!  Boy, have we been learning a lot in the process though.  You know, there’s a reason the big music companies have TONS of people on their staff…it’s a lot of work (and a lot of money) putting together a CD!  It’ll sure be a relief when it’s all done and we actually have the finished product in our hands…hopefully SOON!  We will keep you all posted on the progress, and of course let you know when it’s available for order.  Ooooh…what a GREAT stocking-stuffer idea!!! Hint Hint :lol:

To learn more about Dangerous Curves and hear rough tracks from their soon-to-be-released CD, please visit their website at: www.DangerousCurvesLasVegas.com

My First Commercial Shoot In Las Vegas!

Cindy Rogers, ME, Dida Clifton

Cindy Rogers (with Fox 5 News), ME, and Dida Clifton (founder of The Office Squad)

On Wednesday, I had my first commercial shoot at the KVVU Fox 5 News Station here in Las Vegas!  VERY FUN!!!  I was the “official” spokesperson in a commercial for this incredible company called “The Office Squad.”  They specialize in providing small businesses, entrepreneurs and associations with assistance in organizing and managing their office, bookkeeping and general administrative tasks. By providing services both on-site (within the Las Vegas area) and anywhere in the world (via an online “virtual office”), The Office Squad can provide the business owner the opportunity to concentrate on what they do best – growing a successful business!  It’s a terrific concept and a truly great company.

The commercial was shot in front of a “green screen” so that they can add graphics and such during post-production…very cool.  Unfortunately, because there was no teleprompter, I did make a few mistakes and had to take one section several times (boy, was my heart racing!), but we got through it relatively unscathed. :) In fact, the whole shoot took less than a half hour…not bad, huh?

Overall, it was a GREAT experience!  Cindy Rogers with Fox 5 was SO sweet and complimentary from the moment we met…and Dida Clifton (founder/owner of The Office Squad) was incredibly laid-back and positive throughout the entire shoot!  In fact, everyone there was nice (even the cameraman, Ty, was great!); they all made me feel completely comfortable right from the start (plus it helped to have Ron there to “cheer me on”).  The whole thing was WAY less scary than I thought it would be!!  Thanks, you guys, for making my first commercial shoot here in Las Vegas so FUN!

I’m not sure yet when or where the commercial will air, or how often, but as soon as I do, I will let you all know so you can watch for me!!!  YAY!!!! :)

To learn more about “The Office Squad” visit their website at www.THEOfficeSquad.com

Exercise and STARBUCKS!

Claudia, Karen and Lisa at STARBUCKS!

Claudia, Karen and Lisa at STARBUCKS following our morning workout!

Thanks to my good friends, Claudia Smith and Karen Murphy, I actually love mornings now!  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:30am Claudia & I go to the local CURVES to workout (30 minutes of seriously fun-filled fitness with friends) and on Tuesday and Thursday mornings I meet Claudia & Karen at Starbucks where we walk for an hour then come back for some well-deserved lattes (Claudia always gets the “Skinny” Vanilla, and Karen and I go for the super-yummy Pumpkin Spice) and much-needed “girlfriend” conversation.  These workouts, walks and coffee time have become a much-needed and much-appreciated part of my daily life now.  While we may never actually “solve all the world’s problems” with our talks, like we always say we do, it definitely helps to keep me grounded, sane, and thinking positively about things. Thanks girls! You mean the world to me…

To find out more about CURVES, and their incredible 30-minute workout, visit the North Las Vegas CURVES website (located at 4588 N. Rancho, Suite 10, N. Las Vegas, NV 89130) at www.CurvesRancho.com

VOTING DAY!

Election day!

Lisa and Ron go to the polls!

On Tuesday morning, Ron and I were very excited to have the opportunity to vote in this incredibly important election for our next President of the United States!  Now don’t get me wrong…EVERY election is historic and important…but with all that our country has been going through lately, and knowing how much worse things could get before they get better, this one seems even more so.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am about as “conservative” as you can get when it comes to certain political issues.  While some of my social views tend to be more middle-of-the-road, even leaning toward liberal at times, my views on the proper role of government are unabashedly conservative.  So it is no secret that I chose to vote for John McCain in the election.

Going into this election, I will be honest that the thought of now President-Elect Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States made me very nervous.  While I certainly liked the “idea” of change, I wasn’t sure that the kind of change he seemed to represent (based on his somewhat limited, but extremely liberal, voting record in the Senate and some of his not-too-smart past associations) would ultimately be best for this country.

President-Elect Barack Obama

President-Elect Barack Obama

HOWEVER, that being said, now that President-Elect Barack Obama IS going to be the next leader of this great country of ours, I am choosing to stand behind him and I will support him.  And I urge everyone else to do the same.  Whatever differences I may have with some of his views politically, I also have great respect for this man.  I sincerely believe that in his heart he wants what’s best for this country, and I think that he is intelligent enough to not try to push through an excessively liberal agenda (at least not for a while) knowing that most people in the country are middle-to-right in their views, regardless of who they voted for.

It’s time for this country to begin to mend…it’s time to heal…and it’s time to move forward.  So I sincerely congratulate President-Elect Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America!  May God bless him, and may God bless our country…

The Beatles’ “LOVE” at MGM-Mirage!

Dad, Mom, Lisa & Ron at "LOVE"

Dad, Mom, Lisa and Ron at "LOVE" MGM-Mirage

On Thursday, October 23rd, we had the opportunity to see “LOVE,” the Beatles themed Cirque du Soleil show at the MGM-Mirage.  Thanks to Katie Berry & Eric Ludacer who got us FREE tickets! Katie and Eric were part of the tech crew when Ron starred in the National Tour of “42nd Street” back in 2004.

We began the evening at my favorite Italian restaurant on the strip, Maggiano’s.  The chef, Darin, always does such a great job of preparing fantastic gluten-free meals for my mom and me (the gluten-free version of Chicken Parmesan with potato chip crust is my absolute FAV!!!).  LOVE that place!!!

Then we headed over to the Mirage to meet Katie and Eric.  I was curious to see how full the audience would be since this was the 2nd show of the evening and it didn’t begin until 10:30pm.  Um…apparently, that’s not an issue.  It was packed!!!  And at an average price of $100-$150 per ticket, you would never know that we were in the middle of an economic “crisis” in our country!  Seriously…packed!  Hardly an empty seat to be found in the 2000-seat theatre (you do the math).  Featuring 360˚ seating around the stage and a surround-sound system comprised of 6,500 speakers, the custom-built theatre is truly amazing!

Eric, Katie, Ron

Eric, Katie, Ron

Following the show, Katie even took us on a special backstage tour of this incredible theatre.  WOW!  So amazing and so much fun!!!  (A BIG “thank you, thank you, thank you” to Katie Berry for making it such a special evening for us.)

As for the show itself, LOVE is not your typical “Cirque” show.  While is does have some of the aerial acts and acrobatics you would expect, it is a much more theatrical and dance-oriented show than any of their others (which I really enjoyed).  And to quote a review from Kristine McKenzie of Vegas.com, “In the end, it’s all about the music…and if you’re a fan of The Beatles, you’ll have nothing but LOVE for this show.”

To find out more or get tickets for Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE at the MGM-Mirage, visit their webpage at www.mirage.com/entertainment/love.aspx

Thanks for your prayers…

As many of you know, my brother Jeff went into the hospital last Tuesday, and was transferred to the ICU in critical condition on Wednesday morning.  On Wednesday night my brother “crashed” and although they were able to resuscitate him, my parents were told by the attending doctor that things “did not look good” and they needed to get out there.  They were able to get an emergency flight out that night and we’ve just been going day-to-day ever since.  As of right now, Jeff is stable, but he’s still on a ventilator and remains in a “medical-induced coma” so that his body can hopefully begin to heal.  As I said, we’re just going day-to-day.

I do remain hopeful that he’ll eventually be able to recover medically (although there are some very tough life-style changes ahead if he doesn’t want to end up right back where he is now), but emotionally there is SO MUCH healing that needs to happen for him and the rest of the family.

So, knowing the road to recovery will be a long one, I am doing my best to slowly get back to my “regular life” stuff…including this blog.  I wanted to say thanks for all the prayers so many of you have said on our behalf this past week.  Although I obviously continue to be scared for my brother, I am more concerned about those two incredible kids and how this is all affecting them (and how everything that has happened this past year between Jeff and Barb has affected them and will continue to affect them).  So I ask that you say a little prayer on their behalf…Tyler and Sara…the two best kids in the world.  Pray that God will continue to watch over them and that everyone involved will do what’s best for THEM.

Sincerely, Lisa