2012 Year-In-Review!

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Can you believe we are already at the end of 2012? And what a year it’s been! A definite mixture of highs and lows…not an easy year, for sure…but a completely blessed one nonetheless. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in…it was a busy year! LOL

To begin with, Ron and I were BOTH incredibly blessed with many new opportunities to continue doing what we LOVE: there were several NEW VENUES for me to sing jazz (Elara Grand Vacations Resort, The Dispensary Lounge, Blue Fire Supper Club, Kelly’s Prime Steak & Seafood) and a couple of NEW SHOWS for Ron (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas & The Grand Ole Vegas Revue at The Plaza) in addition to all his emcee and hosting work (you can read all about my gorgeous hubby at www.RonSmithLasVegas.com)! PLUS, we had lots of opportunities this year to perform TOGETHER, which we love the MOST (Sun City Anthem, Starbright Theater, Wild Horse Country Club, Hit Parade, Toast of the Town, Showstoppers, Barbra Streisand Concert, etc.)!

Facebook ProfileOne of the “lows” this year was losing my older brother, Jeff. He passed away on March 26th, following a very long, painful struggle with alcoholism and all the various and numerous health problems he had because of it. Jeff and I had our difficulties over the years. Alcoholism is such a progressive, all-encompassing disease, and it literally takes over your life…and the lives of everyone around you. I had a hard time understanding what I believed to be his “choices” in life…I realize now they weren’t choices for him, he did the best that he could. My brother is finally at peace, and he will always be remembered as a good and kind man who adored his children and just wanted his family to be proud of him. And we are so grateful that we have his wonderful children, Tyler (15) and Sara (13), living here in town now…they are truly a blessing in our lives. You can read his full story on the memorial website we set up for him here: www.jeffreywaynerogers.com.

Trubble Smith: RIP 1993-2012

Trubble Smith: RIP 1993-2012

We also lost our dear, sweet Trubble this past year…my “bestest” friend and kitty of 19 years. She was such a joy in our life and such a wonderful companion through the years. I miss her so much….

Yes, a definite mixture of highs and lows…but thankfully, the highs totally outweighed the lows…again, fortunate and blessed. :)

My vocal trio, DANGEROUS CURVES, had a particularly incredible year. Here’s a little tidbit from our latest BLOG post, just to catch you up:

Dangerous Curves, 2012…it has truly been one of the most sensational years in Dangerous Curves history. And, while our history is rather short (should we simply say new?), it has been filled with the love and support of family and friends. However, we never dreamed just how much support we would literally see and feel than when we did our first Dangerous Curves, Indiegogo campaign. Crowd-funding?! That’s for big stars and artists with HUGE email lists and…well, you know…right? NO! We really didn’t know the depth and scope of your huge and generous hearts!

CD Artwork Composite

The above pictures show the fruition of that generosity in our sophomore CD called “Star of Wonder”, now available on iTunesAmazon MP3 and of course, physical copies available by simply emailing us at dangerouscurves@cox.net.

If that wasn’t enough, we have been nominated for “2012 Best Cabaret Artist – Female” on Broadway World Los Angeles! WHAT?! We couldn’t be happier! If you have a moment, would you go and vote for us? Here’s the link to vote on BroadwayWorld.com (you must first enter your email address and then complete the entire voting process in order for your vote to count). BUT PLEASE HURRY: Voting ends Dec 31, 2012.

Wow, 2012. A year filled with new fans and friends, performances, nominations, our newest CD and best of all, the absolute knowledge, that someone is listening. Someone really cares about us and knows us and loves us. Friends, we love you, too. Enjoy your holidays and we wish you a most happy and joyous New Year!

Shades of SinatraAs for SHADES OF SINATRA, we are still performing at the Clarion Hotel & Casino 3 nights a week, but we are now in the BIG 300-seat Wolf Theater Showroom (and beginning in June of this year, we moved to Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday nights at 9:00pm)!!! We continue to get wonderful crowds and so many positive comments and reviews about the show (you can read a few of them HERE on TripAdvisor.com).

Looking toward 2013, we are planning to start booking some out-of-town shows in addition to continuing our shows at the Clarion Hotel… lots of plans, lots of dreams, lots of great things ahead!

stick_figure_drawing_goalsOn a personal note, 2012 was a definite year of change and self-improvement for me. After watching a video of myself in the Valentine’s Show that Ron and I performed at the Starbright Theater (“Love is a Many Complicated Thing”), I sadly realized that the past 10 years of being married and living in Las Vegas had brought not only tremendous JOY and LOVE to my life, but also an additional 30 or so pounds!!! What?!?!? How did that happen? I mean, I knew I had gained a few pounds over the years…marriage does that to you, right? But 30?!?! Holy COW (pun intended)…I honestly had no idea. SOOOO, I decided that day to DO something about it.

I had just finished reading Jennifer Hudson’s book, “I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down” and immediately got online and signed up for Weight Watchers. Yes, THAT Weight Watchers! It was exactly what I needed. I’ve never been a person who does well with “meetings” of any kind (maybe I just don’t like people that much???), but I LOVE gadgets and tech stuff, and I LOVE being in charge and making my OWN decisions…I definitely don’t respond to someone else telling me what to do. So after reading through a few of the options, I decided to sign up for the ONLINE PLAN and track everything using my iPhone. PERFECT for me! I signed up for a 3-month plan to start with (about $18 a month for ALL the tools I would need) and figured I’d try it for 3 months and see how it went. What did I have to lose, right (besides the obvious lbs)? Well guess what? In those 3 months I lost 16 pounds!!!!! And I am not exaggerating when I tell you it was WAY easier than I thought it would be. All I did was stick to the plan and the weight literally fell off! I was EATING AND LOSING WEIGHT. I felt great. THIS was something I could actually do the rest of my life…yeah, I became a “believer”. Thanks Jennifer… ;-)

Weight Watchers

So, I decided I would keep going and lose ALL the weight I had gained since moving to Vegas…all 30 pounds of it. But I also decided AFTER that initial 3 months that I really did need to start getting some regular exercise. Not so much for the weight loss (Weight Watchers was taking care of that part), but for my own health. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger (as much as I would like to think I am), and it was finally time to start an exercise plan that I would STICK with. But finding something that I could get excited about…now that was the kicker. Hmmmm….what to do?

184999497163930721_j8k2MhS1_bWell, over the years I have had several friends who were runners, and I always remember them talking about the “high” they would get, and the amazing feeling of “accomplishment” they would have when they’d finish a “LONG run” (which for them was, like, 8 miles, and for me would be 8 minutes!). And then I read a Facebook post from a friend where she talked about running 10 miles that day, and I thought to myself, “That’s insane…that would take 2 hours to do!!!” I wrote her and told her that she was my hero, and I could NEVER do that, and guess what she wrote back? That a year ago, she couldn’t either. But she did a program called “Couch-to-5K” and went from not being able to run 2 minutes without feeling like she was going to die, to being able to RUN a 5K in only 9 weeks. Wow, really??? Okay, again…what have I got to lose??? Let’s give it a shot!

So I purchased the “Couch-to-5K” app for my iPhone and went for my first RUN! Okay, not really a run…it was a slow jog for 30 seconds, then a walk for 2 minutes, then another 30-second jog, then walk, then…you get the idea. Each day I did the program, the time of the jog interval increased slightly, and the walking time decreased. It was not easy, but it also was COMPLETELY doable. So I did it, and continued to do it 3 times a week for the next 9 weeks, and at the end of that 9 weeks I ran in my first 5K RACE!!! Since then I have run in 2 more 5K’s, ran my first 10K in November (hubby’s 1st 5K), and have already signed up for my first HALF MARATHON next April. Yep, I am officially HOOKED!

Running Photos

So, that’s where we are. I reached my goal weight in September and have now kept it off for 3 months! I feel better than I have in my entire life! SO WHAT’S NEXT for Lisa Smith?!?!? New goals? New performing possibilities? Yes, and YES! But you’re just gonna have to wait till the next BLOG post to find out what they are…so stay-tuned! :)

In the meantime, if you’re not busy this Monday night, New Year’s Eve, come on down to Bootlegger Bistro, 7700 Las Vegas Blvd S, and celebrate with us! Gary Peterson and I will be there from 9:30pm-12:30am…LIVE JAZZ, GOURMET ITALIAN CUISINE, CHAMPAGNE….what more could you want?!?

Bootlegger NYE WEB

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE….see ya in 2013!!!

My SEXY Husband Starring in “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” – Opens TOMORROW!

Ron Smith: Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd

My fabulous, talented and sexy husband, Ron Smith, opens tomorrow in a brand new production at the historic Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas tomorrow night, March 31st at 7:00pm. He will be playing the role of Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd…from everything I’ve heard, it’s going to be a great show! Can’t wait to see it…congrats honey!

Claiming its spot as one of the sexiest production shows in Las Vegas, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” will open at the Plaza Hotel and Casino on Saturday, March 31.

“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” is based on the book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson, with music and lyrics by Carol Hallis. The musical is based on the true story of the legendary Texas brothel known as the Chicken Ranch. The risqué musical chronicles how the town’s sheriff and regular patron of the brothel fights to keep the historical whorehouse open as a crusading do-gooder television commentator seeks to close its doors.

The full production show at the Plaza will take audience members on a trip through history while watching some of the sexiest girls in Las Vegas sing, dance and act.

“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” will debut in the Plaza’s classic showroom with live performances every evening at 7pm.

Ticket prices start at $59.95 for general admission. Tickets are available at the Plaza Hotel and Casino box office, ONLINE HERE or by phone at 702-946-8934 or 800-793-9332.

ADDITIONAL CAST MEMBERS INCLUDE: Kellie Wright, Jacqueline Holland Wright, Jay Joseph, Audrei-Kairen, Skye Dee Miles, Bruce Block, Quentin Walters, John Ivanoff, Chris Rogers, Roland August, Ryan Bobbett, Joelle Jensen, Amanda Kaiser, Brittany Nance, Claudia Cervenka, Anita Bean, Brittani Egizii, Diana Osborn, Darci Bender Hubber, Robin Vincent, Elijah Duncan O’Connell, Ace Gilliam, Geoffrey Tough, Lysander Abadia, LeMichael Curry & Paris Lo.

Directed by Betty Sullivan Cleary
Choreographed by Eddie Otero
Musical Direction by Dan Ellis
Company Manager Darlene Ryan
Music Editing by Phillip Wiker
Costuming by Deborah Scott

Happy Holidays and NEW Recording/Video!

Ron & Lisa Smith, Christmas 2011

I absolutely cannot believe that tomorrow is Christmas day…this past year has gone by SOOOO quickly!!!!! Ron and I spent the day at my folks’ house (that’s where this picture was taken), and had a WONDERFUL day with them and our niece & nephew catching up, exchanging gifts, and eating WAY too much food (glazed ham, jambalaya rice & sausage, sauteed green beans, potato salad…yum, yum, YUM!!!!). Thankfully there are lots of left-overs, so I may not have to cook for a week. :)

In honor of the Holiday season, I have included a video below that my vocal trio “Dangerous Curves” put together. It is our tribute to our Military troops and their homecoming from Iraq, this Holiday Season 2011 (the recording of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is from our upcoming Christmas EP). The video montage we put together is our THANK YOU to them, and their families, for all they have done and continue to do for our country on a daily basis (PS> grab a box of tissues BEFORE you watch…you’re gonna need it!).

Both Ron and I would like to wish you a VERY Merry Christmas (or Happy Hanukkah, or whatever special Holiday you celebrate this time of year) and an ever BETTER 2012! I have a feeling this next year is going to be FAB-U-LOUS!!!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Love,
Lisa and Ron Smith
Las Vegas, Nevada

Many thanks to Rob Hyatt & E3 Recording Studios, Dan Ellis (piano accompaniment on the recording), Rascal Flatts (for the amazing inspiration & arrangement) and the MANY video editors (like JDS773) and various uploaders on YouTube.com who gave us SO MANY incredible & touching video clips to use! We are grateful that so many of our troops have been able to come home for Christmas, and we look forward to the continued return of our other Military personnel around the world who are STILL fighting for our freedom.

Best Resources for Learning Acoustic Guitar!

As some of you know, I’ve been trying to learn the acoustic guitar (you know, in all that spare time I have…lol) so I thought I would take a moment to write a quick post regarding a few of the BEST online resources and iPad/iPhone apps out there for the beginner.  Now, let me preface this by saying that I am obviously no expert on the subject of guitar…hence, the first sentence saying that I am LEARNING the guitar…but the “tools” I’ll be recommending have helped me, and I thought they might help you too. So here they are, along with a description of each app from the iTunes app store page:

GUITAR TOOLKIT (iPhone & iPad): Essential guitar utilities, including an amazingly accurate tuner and a library of over 500,000 chords, all on your iPhone or iPod touch. One of the highest rated applications in the App Store.
FEATURES
– Direct support for 6- and 12-string guitar, 4-, 5- and 6-string bass, banjo, mandolin, and ukulele with a full chord library, standard and alternate tunings for each instrument.
– Highly accurate chromatic tuner using the iPhone microphone (or iPod touch with microphone headset).
– Precisely accurate metronome with a visible flash option, tempo tap pad, 13 sound effects and 12 time signatures.
– Massive chord library (over 500,000 chords) for quick and easy reference: strum chords to hear what they sound like. Includes chords for alternate tunings.
– Chord finder: simply touch the notes on the fretboard that make up a chord, and GuitarToolkit tells you what that chord is! This is a lot of fun and a great way to learn about those great-sounding chords you’ve been playing.
– Scales references in standard or alternate tunings: use the interactive fretboard to touch each note and hear what it sounds like.
– Supports “lefty mode” which adjusts chords and scales to reflect a left-handed instrument.

SONGBOOK CHORDPRO (iPhone & iPad): SongBook manages your song collections (free song downloads available via Chordie.com) complete with lyrics and chords.
FEATURES
– Tap on any chord name to see its definitions.
– Comes with comprehensive, extensible chord libraries for guitar, ukulele and mandolin.
– Transpose songs on the fly.
– Define playlists (sets) for performances or practicing.
– Auto-scrolling, metronome and much more.
– Based on the popular chordpro format. Automatic conversion of tab/crd files.
– Songbook has a simple Internet search for chordpro files built-in. You can use one of the two main search providers, or type a URL of your own. If the displayed page contains a pre-formatted song, the Import button in the lower right will become active and open the song editor. You can then save the song in the song list or cancel the edit and get back to the search view.

YOUTUBE (Web, iPhone, iPad): This has been one of my FAVORITE online resources for learning the guitar. There are literally HUNDREDS of free lessons and tutorials on there…tons of different styles, from beginner to advanced…did I mention it’s TOTALLY FREE?!?! Just do a YouTube search for the name of the song you want, along with “acoustic guitar” or “tutorial” next to it. Some of them only teach you a portion of the song, but they are a great way to get you started!

Here are a few of my favorite songs that I learned on YouTube:

“I Hope You Dance” – http://youtu.be/8j9Tx40rQN4
“You Were Meant For Me” – http://youtu.be/vz1_WPZwyXQ
“Mad World” – http://youtu.be/HZ8tIClSuGk

MY SONG LIST: Here’s a list of some of the songs I am currently working on using my Songbook Chordpro app…easy songs that for the most part ANYONE can play using the following EASY chords: A, Am, Amaj7, C, D, Dm, D7, E, Em, Em7, F, G, G7…learn those chords (and if you want to sing along, simply use a capo to put it in your key) and you can play virtually ANYTHING!

  • Ain’t no Sunshine
  • Amazing Grace
  • Before He Cheats
  • Big Yellow Taxi
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Bubbly
  • California Dreamin’
  • Colors of the Wind
  • Country Roads
  • Cowboy Take Me Away
  • Danny Boy
  • Forget You
  • Gravity
  • Have You Ever Seen the Rain
  • Here Comes the Sun
  • House of the Rising Sun
  • I Can See Clearly Now
  • I Hope You Dance
  • I’m Yours
  • Jambalaya
  • Johnny B Goode
  • Landslide
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
  • Lesson in Leavin’
  • Love Song
  • Lucky
  • Mad World
  • Margaritaville
  • Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
  • Soak Up the Sun
  • Stand By Me
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Up On the Roof
  • What’s Up
  • Wonderwall
  • You Were Meant For Me

HAVE FUN!!!!!!!

For my dad…

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would take a few moments this weekend to say “thank you” to my father, the greatest daddy a little girl could ever have. My dad has been my “hero” since that first day I looked into his reassuring eyes…I knew instantly that I could count on him forever, and that he would never let me down…and he never has.

I am not exaggerating when I say that my daddy is one of the sweetest, most generous people you will EVER meet, and that I wanted to be just like him for as long as I can remember… particularly in regards to how patient and easy-going he always seems to be, no matter what (it takes a LOT to get my dad upset in ANY way…wow, what must that be like???). I have done my best over the years to learn from him as he seems to take everything in stride…I’m getting better, but I admit that I still have a ways to go.  So I will keep watching…keep learning.

In addition, my father’s strong work ethic and keen attention to detail and quality have inspired me through the years to always do my absolute BEST at whatever I take on. His example has taught me that anything worth doing, is worth doing well.

And TOGETHER we have learned that it is also okay not to be good at everything. That some things are fun to do “just for the heck of it”  – that it’s okay not to be “perfect” all the time (although we’re BOTH still working on this one…).

I found this “Father’s Day” poem a few years ago…it pretty much says it all:

WHAT IS A DAD?

A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall,
but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes,
but instead lets you find your own way, even though his heart
breaks in silence when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you, even when you fail…

Thank you, dad, for always being there for me, for believing in me, and for being proud of me no matter what. I love you so much…

Love, “Tiny”

Leticia’s Mexican Cocina – Good for Gluten-Free!

As many of you know, I am always on the look-out for FANTASTIC new restaurants who are able to safely accommodate those who need to eat Gluten-Free. Well, I am SO happy to announce that I have found a new one and, after eating there 3 times now, I can ABSOLUTELY recommend it! It’s Leticia’s Mexican Cocina, located in the Centennial area of North Las Vegas. Truly delicious, AUTHENTIC, Mexican food…amazing Margaritas (1/2 price at the bar during Happy Hour, 2-6pm Monday – Thursday)…VERY accommodating & friendly wait staff…in short, a GREAT restaurant all around and PERFECT for those who need to eat gluten-free!

Here’s a description of the restaurant from their website:

“The experience begins at the door as a warm, personal, and sincere welcome is offered to each patron.  Indoor dining or al fresco on our stunning patio will define your experience and bring you back to the warm family experiences of your youth. Enjoy the outdoor air on our charming patio while the sounds of mariachi music flows from above. Our Mexican Restaurant is dedicated to making your experience one you will want to enjoy time and time again. Located in an attractive, picturesque village, Leticia ’s Cocina will create a sense of family, fun, entertainment, and community…our dining experience reflects the age-old tradition of Tu Casa, being treated like you were part of the family. Your table service and wait team pay special attention to your dining experience as if you were in old Mexico.  Your salsa and sauces are made each day with fresh produce which is roasted and blended with the perfect combination of ingredients that will send your senses for a journey through Mexico.  You will smell the aromas through-out our Mexican Restaurant as our hot delicious tortillas and chips are served to your table….the only restaurant in the Centennial area whose menu reflects the rich and deep authentic family style Mexican food and service of traditional Mexico. Our Mexican Restaurant offers a fully stocked bar which serves Margaritas that are made to order with fresh squeezed limes and other top ingredients that will compliment any meal. For you beer lovers we also have a wide range to choose from served with your choice of a chilled glass or mug. Tequila! Yes our bar boasts over 50 types (and growing) of tequila. Ask about our tequila club! With a capacity of over 200, old Mexican Colonial decor, music, weekend entertainment, sports, and cultural events scheduled throughout the year, you will soon define Leticia’s Cocina as the location to celebrate special days in your life.”

Our Yummy MARGARITAS!

Keep in mind, obviously, that everything on their menu is NOT gluten-free…however, I would say that you could safely eat at least 50% of the items on the menu, provided you talk with your server and/or the manager about your needs prior to ordering. Each time I went, the wait staff was EXTREMELY helpful in going through the menu with me and discussing my various options. Unfortunately, any of the fried items are off limits, as they don’t have a dedicated fryer as of yet. However, there are TONS of other “safe” items on the menu, and their fresh tortilla chips are cooked at a close by, off-site location so there is no risk of cross-contamination there.

I would like to say that I have tried LOTS of different items, but the gluten-free version (make sure you ask for it “gluten-free”…they alter the sauce slightly) of their Grilled Top Sirloin Steak Fajitas with Corn Tortillas was SO GOOD that I have ordered it EVERY TIME!!!! Absolutely yummmmmmmmy!

So I would LOVE for you to check out this great, little restaurant and let me know what YOUR favorites are! Let me know which gluten-free items you’d recommend and I will absolutely add your recommendations to this blog post!!!!

Leticia’s Mexican Cocina
http://leticiascocina.com/
7585 Norman Rockwell Lane, Suite #1
Las Vegas, NV 89143
(702) 445-7722

“Music Success in Nine Weeks”

Um, okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted…like 5 months!!!!!!! OMG, I am so sorry. While part of the reason I have been so horrible about posting is that I’ve been really busy, I realize that’s not a good excuse. Everyone is busy, right? So, no excuses…here we go…again:

I am reading a new book, “Music Success in Nine Weeks” by Ariel Hyatt, and I am getting SO MUCH out of it that I just HAD to take a quick moment to share about it. Here’s a brief description from the website:

Music Success in Nine Weeks is a guide for musicians to define their brand, grow their fan-base, earn more income, and achieve success in the digital environment, whether they are new to the industry or longtime artists. Music Success in Nine Weeks provides the missing manual for musicians trying to make sense of the social media revolution and explains step-by-step how to create a profitable and sustainable business from their music. Just released in its second edition, the book can easily be deemed the “what to do next” bible for both new and established artists. Structured like a workbook, with room for exercises and notes, the book takes all of the guesswork out of where to start and how to achieve success as a musician in today’s world.

The first chapter is all about GOAL SETTING, getting things DONE, and celebrating your SUCCESSES. After writing out all of my goals by hand, I purchased a great little iPhone app (for my iTouch) call 2Do and transferred them all into there. In the two weeks I’ve been using it, it has proven to be an absolute God-send for helping me follow through on the goals and tasks that I set for myself each day (which in turn helps get me that much closer to all of my short-term, 12-month and lifetime goals!). Highly recommend checking it out.

The second chapter is about creating your PERFECT PITCH…the idea being that you need a succinct way to explain to someone who has never heard your music what’s it’s like. Here’s  what I came up with: “Classic Jazz, Contemporary Edge.” Took me a few days to settle on that, but I think it sums up what I do pretty well. Any thoughts???? Then I went through all of my various websites, social networks, and added that “tagline” to the top of every page.

Chapter 3 is about OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITES! Making sure they load quickly, giving them a consistent feel (using the same colors/photos on all of your various profile pages across the net, so that you can begin to establish a “branding look” of your own), linking all of your sites together, etc. TONS of great info there! Still working on this chapter, but I’ve gotten quite a bit done. Check out my website, www.lisasmithjazz.com, and my NEW twitter page, www.twitter.com/lovinazz! Let’s just say I’ve been having a lot of FUN in Photoshop this week!!! Let me know what you think???

I still have several chapters to go, but I am absolutely LOVING everything I have gotten out of the book so far…thanks Ariel!!!!!!

OMG! A Delicious Gluten-Free Pizza! No way!!!!

The BEST Gluten-Free Pizza I've Ever Had!

So last week my hubby and I FINALLY had the chance to head over to Marc Rich’s N.Y. Pizza & Pasta to try out that famous Gluten-Free Pizza that we keep hearing so much about. Seriously, I think I have heard from at least 20 different people in the past few months that I needed to check this place out! Unfortunately, every time we planned on going, something always came up.

Well, we finally did it…and WOW, am I ever glad we did!!! It was absolutely DELICIOUS! In fact, I have been craving it every day since we went…really! And I am NOT normally a pizza-person. My husband, however, (the non-Celiac of the family) is a complete and utter fanatic when it comes to pizza…it is his absolute FAVORITE food! So if HE even liked it, you KNOW it had to be good.

Their Gluten-Free Pizza is 14 inches (a good size for 2 people to share), has a fabulously thin and crispy crust, comes with your choice of 2 toppings, and is $17.99.  Maybe not the cheapest pizza in town, but SOOOOO worth the money. We will absolutely be going back!!! We went to the location in Summerlin (just West of the 215) but discovered that they also have a location a bit closer to us in the Centennial Shopping Center…yippee! Just a quick note…they do recommend that you call ahead before you go, just to make sure they have enough of their gluten-free crust in stock (apparently it’s becoming so popular that they occasionally run out…AGH!!!!).

I DEFINITELY recommend checking this place out…I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Mark Rich’s New York Pizza & Pasta

http://www.markrichnypizza.com/index.html

Centennial Center Shopping Center
7930 W. Tropical Parkway Suite 130
Las Vegas, Nevada 89149
Phone: 702-645-3337

Albertson’s Shopping Center – Vista Commons
11710 W. Charleston Boulevard Suite 150
Las Vegas, Nevada 89135
Phone: 702-898-7424 or 702-363-7272

Winner of 2009 RISING STAR AWARD!!!

I am SO excited because I just found out that I was awarded the 2009 Rising Star Award from www.GigMasters.com, an online booking site where I am listed…apparently, I am ranked the #1 Jazz Singer in all of the United States AND Canada! Really?!?!?! How cool is that? Yeah baby!!!!

On Monday, March 22, they will be distributing a nationwide press release to all of their press & industry contacts announcing the winners. If you’d like to see my GigMasters profile, you can view it here: http://www.gigmasters.com/singer/LisaSmith/

I know it’s not like winning a Tony or Grammy Award, or anything even remotely similar…but to me it’s a big deal. I’ve worked really hard this past year, and it’s nice to get noticed a little in return. So, thank you to GigMasters for this honor, and thank you to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me to live my dreams and do what I love!!! I am very grateful…

DISNEYLAND Great for Gluten-Free!

A couple of weeks ago, Ron and I headed down to California to celebrate our friend Dennis’ birthday at “the happiest place on earth,” Disneyland! I’d heard recently that Disney had been making some changes to their menu offerings in order to accommodate their Gluten-Free guests, but I had no idea just how MUCH they were doing. Boy, were we ever impressed!!!

To begin with, we met Dennis and his family at Downtown Disney for dinner on Sunday evening. As I usually do, I called ahead to the restaurant to check on the menu and make sure there would be something I could eat, and I was told by the hostess that all I needed to do was inform our server that I needed to eat gluten-free and that they would absolutely be able to accommodate me. Good answer! When we arrived at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, we were seated in a FABULOUS little private dining room upstairs (there were about 15 of us in the party) and I talked with our server about my options. There were a TON of choices for me! I decided on the Barbecue Gulf Shrimp (minus the French bread croutons) appetizer and the Seafood Jambalaya for dinner. Wow….talk about delicious! The Jambalaya was absolutely AMAZING!!!  I highly recommend this restaurant.

Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen: Located in the Downtown Disney® District, our two story replica of traditional French Quarter architecture includes a ground floor, interior, open-air courtyard flanked by a quick service dining facility (Creole Cafe) and a New Orleans-style jazz club (Flambeaux’s) Upstairs in the Carnival Club you’ll find traditional New Orleans dining rooms and an outdoor ‘Jazz balcony’ with seating that overlooks the revelry of Downtown Disney. For over fifty years, Ralph Brennan and his family have proudly served the finest Louisiana ingredients and our Chef, Darrin Finkel, has peppered those celebrated flavors throughout our menus. The Jazz Kitchen boasts festive, ‘Big Easy themed’ private party facilities and comprehensive event planning services. From our mouthwatering Louisiana cuisine to the live jazz played at Flambeaux’s every night, every detail of the Jazz Kitchen delivers on the promise of New Orleans. Pricing is moderate with entrees at lunch in the $7 – $15 dollar range and at dinner in the $13 – $25 dollar range. A full wine list, wine by the glass and a full bar are available throughout the day.

The next morning we caught the shuttle from our hotel (got a GREAT deal, once again, from Priceline.com…had a fabulous SUITE, with microwave and refrigerator included, at the Hilton Suites Anaheim/Orange for only $60 per night!) to the Disneyland resort. After picking up our 1-Day Park Hopper tickets from will-call (a BIG thank you to Dave Overcash for the tickets!!!!), we stopped by the Disneyland City Hall to pick up our complimentary Gluten-Free Guide to the Disneyland Parks & Resorts (an 11 page print-out describing all of the places you can eat gluten-free at Disneyland, California Adventure, and their 3 hotels!) and met up with our friends for a fabulously FUN day!

Oh my goodness, I can’t even begin to describe how many restaurants and vendors at Disneyland and California Adventure offer gluten-free options now…it was amazing! I was actually able to get a Hamburger with a DELICIOUS Gluten-Free Bun and French Fries (cooked in a separate fryer) at the Village Haus Restaurant in Adventureland. To be honest, I can’t even REMEMBER how long it’s been since I’ve had a hamburger WITH bun! I felt just like a “regular” person!!! :) Some of the other options available at different restaurants were Gluten-Free Cheese & Pepperoni Pizza and Gluten-Free Pasta (at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Tomorrowland), Quesadillas made with Corn Tortillas (Rancho Del Zocalo in Frontierland), Gluten-Free Waffles (Plaza Inn), Hot-Dogs with Gluten-Free Buns (Coke Corner) and SO MUCH MORE!

Kudos to Disneyland for all they are doing to accommodate their guests with dietary issues, like those of us with Celiac Disease. It’s so wonderful to know that we can enjoy a vacation somewhere without having to worry if there’s going to something to eat! Thanks Disney!!!!!!!