Writing about Picky Eaters


One of my food aversions: brussel sprouts

One of my food aversions: brussel sprouts

Today I got an assignment from a Every Day with Rachael Ray to write about how to help people overcome food aversions.  I’ve been doing research to find some food experts to interview and I found an overwhelming number of articles about helping kids who are picky eaters, but hardly any adults who are picky eaters.  It leads me to believe that we emphasis changing a child’s eating habits, but not an adult’s.  Fascinating.  


Here’s what I found in an article from Psychologytoday.com about adult picky eaters:

The adult picky eater was almost always a choosy child, Pelchat’s research shows. Parents excessively concerned with food—whether positively or negatively—are more likely to have picky eaters, she says. And those who harshly punish non-plate-cleaning children, or, at the other extreme, cater to the child by fixing them exactly what they request, exacerbate the situation.

For full disclosure, I only dislike two food items: brussel sprouts and grapefruit.  I’d be willing to eat brussel sprouts if they were prepared well.  I’ve given grapefruit a chance multiple times and I still hate it.  If I poured sugar over it, I’d be eat it, but that defeats the purpose of fruit.  On Food Networks’ show Food Detectives, they talked about miracle fruit, a berry that if you chew on it before eating something sour, then it will make the sour food taste sweet.  So maybe that would work for me.

So what are your food aversions?  And I already know Brendan is going to write olives (Olives are delish!).

Link:   Article about Adult Picky Eaters


My other food aversion: grapefruit

My other food aversion: grapefruit

Korto vs. Daniel Project Runway All-Stars

I love Project Runway and watched the All-Stars Challenge last night.  Now, I love Daniel.  Loved his work in Season 2 but seriously Korto rocked that challenge.  All four of her looks were something I would LOVE to wear.  And she made a dress out of restaurant placemats, a tablecloth, and small rocks from a vase.  Seriously!  I’m really disappointed in Project Runway’s decision.  Korto made pieces that any woman would love to wear and she made a dress out of placemats.  Placemats!  Daniel’s was OK but his restaurant dress looked like bubble wrap stuck on a dress with tires on the front.  

I’m a little worried about Project Runway on Lifetime.  The show’s production is not the same.  This used to be my favorite show but now Top Chef is looking better and better.  But Tim Gunn will always be my favorite mentor.  He’s just the best.


Legally Blonde: The Musical

OMG, you guys!  That’s the opening number of Legally Blonde: The Musical and it captures the fun and charm of the show entirely.  I loved Legally Blonde the movie and Reese Witherspoon was perfect as Elle Woods. As a reviewer for the gay entertainment and news website, Edge Los Angeles, I went to the opening night of the Los Angeles premiere of Legally Blonde: The Musical.  It was fun, tons of pink, and surprisingly, “Omigod You Guys” is quite a catchy song.  My review is listed below.  As a dog lover, I loved that Bruiser Woods and Rufus made an appearance.  Rufus the bulldog was actually chomping on treats—that’s how they got him to come out on the stage!  Overall, if you love the movie, the musical is just as fun and charming.  To quote Elle Woods, “Snaps for everyone!” On a side note, Danica McKellar from The Wonder Years was there and she looked just as cute as she did on the show all those years back.  Go Winnie Cooper!

Links:  Legally Blonde:  The Musical (EDGE Los Angeles)

Legally Blonde: The Musical

Becky Gulsvig as Elle Woods and Frankie as Bruiser in the National Tour of Legally Blonde the Musical. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

Love for The Moth Podcasts

I was excited to learn from my friend Celena that The Moth got a nice shout out in The New York Times.  The Moth is a nonprofit organization that has open mic nights where storytellers come and tell their best stories.  I started listening to The Moth as a free iTunes podcast and I fell in love.  There are beginning writers, experienced writers and everyone in between telling intimate, personal, often hilarious stories.  I listen to them on my ride home from work (my hour-long commute on the 405) and I often find myself laughing or crying.  I love that everyone has a great story to tell and how writing can transform so many people, no matter who they are.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say:

Since they began in 1997, storytelling nights hosted by the Moth, a nonprofit, have helped aspiring writers try out new material in a nurturing environment. But lately, storytelling has exploded into a thriving genre all its own, a new avenue to prominence for writers and, increasingly, for actors and comedians. In a sense, storytelling has become the new stand-up — a way to be noticed by the literary agents, actors and directors who increasingly populate the audiences.

So check out The Moth podcasts and if you’re a storyteller, do an open mic.

Links: NY Times article on The Moth, The Moth

Moving Forward with Sissy

I had a great conversation with my agent Michelle Andleman today.  We discussed my rewrite #3 of my first 50 pages of Sissy, my young adult novel.  Previously she had suggested cutting out one narrative voice (Ethan) and streamlining it to just the two girls, June and Manny.  I struggled with that.  But I gave it go and it really opened me up.  The girls’ voices are much stronger and now I see Ethan in a new light.  So we talked about me moving forward with Sissy today and finishing the novel.  Yes! 

Now comes the hard work of finishing it but I’m really happy with the new beginning.  

Excerpt from my Nigel Barker Interview

Tonight, I taught myself how to use Apple’s GarageBand to make a podcast and turn it into an MP3. Really cool stuff. At first, it took me awhile to get a hang of how to use the program (a lot of trial & error), but like all Apple programs, it’s pretty self-explanatory, and there are online videos to show you how to get started.  I must profess, learning techie things and figuring out how to use new software fascinates me, and that makes me a geek.

My first audio file on my blog is an 3-minute-plus excerpt of my 40-minute interview with Nigel Barker, photographer and judge on America’s Next Top Model (ANTM). Here Nigel is discussing his recent photo exhibit, A Sealed Fate, a journey to document the seal hunt in Canada as well as talking about how ANTM has helped him as a photographer. I picked these particular sections to show how dedicated Nigel is to documenting the seals and hard it was to photograph in the freezing cold, 35 miles off the coast of Canada, as well as what ANTM affords him as a photographer.  

Listen to the MP3 file here using QuickTime player or other audio program:  
Excerpt of my Nigel Barker interview for Rangefinder magazine

Here’s a portion of the interview that’s not in the recorded excerpt.  I asked Nigel what his dream assignment was and here’s his answer from my transcribed interview:  To be honest, I have my dream assignment.  I’m doing my dream assignment every day.  I have a job that most people would be lucky to call a hobby.  I’m passionate about it and get to travel the world and meet extraordinary people—everyone from presidents to young kids who have big issues.  I’m constantly inspired and it’s constantly a changing landscape for me.  I couldn’t ask for much more.”

Links: Nigel Barker’s Blog, Rangefinder magazine

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The Debate over Courtney O’Connell of Columbus, Nebraska :: EDGE Los Angeles

Here is my review of the new play by new Chalk Repertory Theatre play The Debate Over Courtney O’Connell of Columbus, Nebraska. Brendan and I had a great time.  It was a fun evening of theater and we grabbed dinner beforehand at Wurstkutche, a fantastic sausage and beer joint.  I got a delish veggie Italian sausage topped with grilled peppers and onions.

If you ever broke up with someone and had to watch them get together with a new boyfriend or girlfriend right after you break up (and who hasn’t?), then this play is up your alley.  Imagine challenging your ex’s current lover to a debate in front of your ex.  That’s right, like a political debate.  That’s this play, and it’s worth it.

The Debate over Courtney O’Connell of Columbus, Nebraska :: EDGE Los Angeles

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Interviewing Nigel Barker

Today I spoke with Nigel Barker, photographer and America’s Next Top Model judge, about his photography exhibit, A Sealed Fate, photographs of baby harp seals who are still hunted in Canada.  I was a bit nervous before we chatted but once we started talking, I was completely comfortable.  He was really nice and passionate about photography.  Here are some highlights from our talk:

  • As a kid, Nigel marched in a protest in England against killing seals for their fur
  • When photographing the baby seals, he said some of them came right up to him.
  • He used the same equipment to photograph the seals as he does with fashion models.
  • Before he opened his official studio in 1988, he used his New York studio apartment as a photography studio by day and his home at night.  Every day, he would move his furniture around and cover it with a backdrop to make it look like a professional photography studio and at night, he would rearrange it live in it.

What was clear to me is how passionate he is about photography and using his celebrity status to make a difference.  And that is refreshing to know.

Links:  Nigel Barker, A Sealed Fate

Handmade Japanese Notebooks

I just read my friend David’s blog post about these handmade Japanese notebooks I made for him.  I had forgotten all about them!  David and I became friends after working together in NYC.  One of our bosses used to get these great gifts from Japan, including this wonderful Japanese calendar.  It was truly too cute for words.  We saved each month and I turned the calendar pages into covers for notebooks for him.  I think I still owe him a few more notebooks.  Sorry David!  

As I’m diligently working on rewrite #3 of pages 1-50 of Sissy (yes, I’ve rewritten the beginning 3 times now), I’m trying to remember that I love the craft of writing, even during the times when I want my Mac laptop to type out the rest of the pages for me.  So thanks, David, for the inspiration of Japanese notebooks to kick myself into gear to finish the rest of those pages.

Here’s a little except from his blog A Life’s Work, also the name of the documentary he’s working on:

This notebook was made by my friend Jenn Chen, a talented writer who loves her crafts.  The front and back cover was  taken from a page from a Japanese calendar (Jenn and I share a love for things Japanese and Prince). A Life’s Work is very much about the long haul and starting small and growing big–how fitting that on the back cover there is, in the middle of the dates of the month, two acorns.


Links:  A Life’s Work

A Day in the ‘Dena


Beautiful cherry blossoms at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, CA.

Beautiful cherry blossoms at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, CA.

I wrote an article in the spring for VegNews magazine for their Staycation feature in the July+August 2009 issue that just hit newsstands.  I visited Pasadena, CA and had a blast visiting Alternative Outfitters, a vegan shopping boutique; Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade nonprofit shop with goods from all over the world; The Soap Kitchen, a handmade soap shop; My Vegan, a Thai restaurant; Orean’s The Health Express, a veggie fast food joint with an amazing Philly “Cheese Steak” and fantastic soy shakes; and the Huntington Botanical Gardens, a beautiful and big botanical garden.  


I am so excited that VegNews used a photo I took of the cherry blossoms at the Huntington Gardens!  As a photography magazine features editor, it feels great to have one of my images in a magazine.  Especially landing in a 2009 Maggie award winner for Best Lifestyle Magazine (Go VegNews!).  Can’t do much better than that!


I had a great time in Pasadena.  What a lovely city.  I highly recommend anyone visiting LA to go there.  I need to go back.  I need more of that Philly “Cheese Steak.”

A special thanks to all the veggie businesses I spoke to who had a moment to share about their work.


Links: VegNews, Alternative Outfitters, Ten Thousand Villages, The Soap Kitchen, My Vegan, Huntington Botanical Gardens

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