AM I THE STRANGE ONE IN WAL-MART?

Okay, so growing up we didn’t have Wal-Mart in Southern California! Wal-Mart in my area in California opened in 2014 and there were none within 20 miles of my neighborhood so it’s still an exciting thing for me every time I go. Where I live now there is a Wal-Mart every 5 miles or so.

I’ve never had a wild time in Wal-Mart just like I’ve never had a wild time in Vegas. I don’t get it. I always see these strange Wal-Mart encounters on the internet. People doing rap videos, folks in their pajamas, just strange shit. As I’m walking down the aisles today it dawned on me, “Cherie, maybe you’re the strange one in Wal-Mart.” I looked down and I had on a summer dress and flip flops. I don’t think I look weird but who knows. I looked around at everyone else and laughed, they all look normal to me. I asked my daughter, “Babe, have you ever seen strange things while we are here?” She pointed and said, “Mom look. If you buy that you don’t have to work so hard to put icing on a cupcake. Cute, it’s only a dollar.” I laughed and in the cart it went. Yup, it’s probably me…Wal-Mart is like Disneyland. I run in for 1 little thing that I usually forget and come out with 60 other things I didn’t need and because I forgot toilet paper, I am back in there tomorrow to get 60 more things, smh.

Maybe I better watch what I ask for, huh? Cuz manifestation in my life is real. Please share with me your wild Walmart stories.

FOOD OR MEDICINE

Only a small percentage of Americans (any groupings by age, sex or skin color) actually consume the recommended minimum of five daily servings of fruit and vegetables to maintain health. The National Cancer Institute now suggests nine servings of fresh plant foods per day to reduce health risks, a goal which is not likely to be achieved by a significant percentage of the population, let alone among minority groups in society. Blacks with low intake of folic acid (green leafy vegetables) have higher homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an undesirable protein in the blood circulation, which is linked with cardiovascular disease and brain dementia.

It is amazing when they estimate the impact of poor nutrition upon Blacks. It is encouraging to realize that nutritional strategies could be employed to eradicate or reduce common health risks in Black American families at very little cost.

There is a connection to skin color, nutrition and disease as exemplified by the role of vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” among Blacks. Dark melanin skin pigment slows the natural production of vitamin D upon exposure to the sun. Blacks may require as much as ten times more sun exposure to produce the same vitamin D as Caucasians. Shortages of vitamin D are causally linked to high blood pressure, stroke, cancer (colon, breast, prostate, ovarian, lymphoma), Crohn’s disease, immune problems and osteoporosis, all health problems that are common in the black community.

Hypertension, stroke, colon cancer and obesity, and claims that “a low intake of dairy food nutrients”, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, may contribute to the high risk of hypertension seen in African Americans. Milk is a very poor source of magnesium and potassium. Blacks notoriously exhibit intolerance to milk products. In one study, abnormal lactose tolerance was found among 81% of Blacks and only 12% of Whites. This explains our avoidance of dairy.

It is obvious Blacks are genetically different (not inferior) and due to their melanin skin pigmentation exhibit special health and nutritional needs that are not being adequately addressed by the medical community nor the food industry.

WE HAVE A BLUE BELT

7 minutes and 14 seconds: I felt like I held my breath while my 4-year-old took her test to move onto her little champion blue belt. I was nervous for her, but she was full of smooth confident moves. Her Master was standing 6’6” inches tall over her little 3’8’’ self with a smile on his face as he asked her to do different stances and kicks and she was nailing each one. After she was honored with a blue belt, he sat her down and explained to her, “With this Blue Belt comes great responsibility. Blue Belt is considered advanced in little champions. I ask that you are a leader, so I need you to always be a leader. As a Blue Belt, you come to class focused and are ready to go. The other kids will now follow you. You now have more responsibilities in class and at home. You have to help your mom out more and do better with your schoolwork.” Then, she jumped up and hugged him and said, “Deal!”

This is the perfect example of it takes a village. Her Master is a huge part of her village! He truly cares and takes extra time out to show her daily.

My daughter is determined she will get her little champion black belt by the time she is 6 years old. (I pray she does.) She started TaeKwonDo at 3 years old. Her master told her that only 2 other children in his 26 years of teaching have ever received their little champion blackbelts. The children happen to be her Jr. Instructors, whom she adores. That day he gave her a goal. She doesn’t want to miss a class for any reason. My family was planning a trip to Disney World and she wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be during the days she has class. She cried, expressing how important it was for her not to miss class. So, we made sure she wouldn’t miss a day. Disney World and the child was worried about TaeKwonDo. What a wonderful lesson in making a commitment and sticking to it, I couldn’t have planned a lesson like this.

I knew nothing about martial arts before fostering my daughter’s interest but I am truly thankful I trusted her to make a choice for herself so young.

Blue Belt

HOW TO HAVE A BETTER AUDITION EXPERIENCE

Since so few actors get a chance to sit where producers and directors sit, here are my 10 tips on how to have a better audition experience.

1. Always bring a picture and resume.

I don’t care if you have an agent or a manager, who all promised to send it over. You’re the one that won’t be remembered if you don’t have one.

2. Haven’t memorized the material? Don’t pretend you have.

If you have sides, try to memorize them. But if you can’t, it’s ok. We’d rather hear the material as written with the papers in your hand than hear you make up stuff just to prove that you tried (and failed).

3. Don’t make excuses.

I don’t want to hear that you have a cold, or that you have bedhead, or that your printer is broken. Do your best.

4. If I ask you to make a choice, make one.

I commonly ask the people auditioning for me to choose between two monologues, or I ask them to give me three song choices from their book and then I say, “Which would you like to do?” I want to learn what YOU are attracted to, and I also want to see you make a choice. Don’t say, “It doesn’t matter. What do you want?” Actors have to make strong, clear choices when developing characters. I want to see that side of you in everything you do.

5. Make your first 15 seconds count.

6. Be the 3 Cs.

Be comfortable, charismatic and confident. Actors have to command attention.

7. If you can, be the 1st or the last to audition.

Often everyone in-between is just that unless they are great, and they really stand out. We always remember the 1st and the last.

8. Let us know where to find you.

Even if you have an agent, put an email address where you can be reached directly on your resume.

9. Don’t start over and don’t apologize.

Screw up? Fight through it. And it probably wasn’t as bad as you thought.

10. Always audition.

The best way to master auditioning is just like everything else. Do it over and over. You’ll get numb to the nerves. You’ll be able to be yourself. And you’ll get free practice! I used to go to dance calls, because learning a dance combination at an audition is a free dance class (and I needed them). Actors who get to work on sides with directors at an audition get a free coaching.

 

If you are interested in learning more, check out my Audition Techniques online class.

KOOL-AID

Grandma gives Kool-Aid in a Goblet. Let’s first start with the goblet.  Mom’s gonna kill me but the truth is in my mom’s house as a kid, it was paper or plastic. You did not dare touch a good glass or some crystal. I dunno what’s going on with my mother but now the kids are given glass, crystal and real plates to eat on. NOT everything has changed. All I can do is shake my head and laugh. I grew up on Kool-Aid but it’s not something I give my children. Shit, it’s not something I drink myself. Sugar water as we call it. Her father said, “Look how she leans back and turns her foot in, that’s how you know it’s good! She got that from me.” It’s true when he drinks something he likes, he leans back and turns his foot in. All I could do is laugh. She closed her eyes every time she took a sip. Mouth bright red with a huge smile on her face. How could I not just smile back at her?

Yes, I hear you granola moms cringing. As a certified nutritionist myself, part of me cringes as well and another part of me giggles and says, “Oh, let her be a kid and live.” If it wasn’t sugar, it could be dirt. Yes, I’ve seen my kid eat dirt too. Do I freak out every time? NO, I just encourage her to drink water and brush her teeth just like I will after she finishes this goblet of Kool-Aid. LOL.

Often childhood memories revolve around what we drank and ate as children. Because we are using all 5 senses. Right now, if I close my eyes I can smell and taste my grandmother’s spaghetti. Now that my grandma is gone, the memories are all I have to hold onto. Food memories are so nostalgic because there’s all the context of when you were preparing to eat this food, so the food becomes symbolic of other meanings. Life is about memories, make the best of them. 40 years from now our daughter may be sitting around talking about Kool-Aid at Grandma’s house. Who am I to stand in the way of that?

SAVING FOR COLLEGE

This day and age, we know it is important for our children to go to college, so why do we wait until their junior year of high school and wonder where we are going to get the money from to send them to school.  From day one you need to start saving, even if you don’t have the money, it’s your duty as a parent. Think of all the change you find in your pockets at the end of the day, or in the bottom of your purse. As soon as your baby is born, start setting aside money. Start a savings account for your child. Open a mutual fund, pick a conservative (maybe a C share) and watch the interest grow. Holidays, birthdays, maybe every payday invest 10 dollars in your child’s future. Even just save the interest from your accounts at the end of the year and invest that into the mutual fund. Or your tax returns, invest them, watch them grow and you will give your child such a head start. Even the cost for community colleges is going up. If you start now, it won’t be such an overwhelming thing when it is time for them to go.

Some financial terms you need to know:

Investment – the total of cash and asset invested in a business enterprise. Investment is the use of saving to produce future income.

Mutual fund – a financial organization that pools the money of its members to invest it in a variety of securities. The fund doesn’t have a fixed amount of capital stock but sells additional shares to investors as they demand.

Life insurance – a system in which a person pays a small sum of money on a regular basis to have a large sum paid to family upon death. You can cash it in after a certain amount of time.  It can just be in place of a savings account, that way you don’t have quick access to the money so you can’t pull it out when you see those shoes you need.

Property – the equity in a home can also be used. Equity is the amount that a property is worth beyond what is owed on it.

 

College is one of the biggest things you will ever have to save for. Here are 3 things you can do before your child’s fifth birthday.

First is to set a goal

Financial planners are always preaching the importance of setting a goal first. There are benefits to doing this: it will be easier to maintain the savings discipline if you know what you’re shooting for, and you’ll know early on if you and your partner have different ideas about paying for college. Here are some issues you should sort out:

-How much of the bill are we willing to pay? Should parent pay the entire college education or perhaps you feel your child will only truly value an education if they have to pay a chunk of it themselves.

-Will you pay for private school? Some parents pay college cost up to the level of tuition and room and board at the local State U. If your child has his heart set on a pricey private school, you might have him to make up the difference.

– Will you pay for graduate school? Medical or law school can double or triple college expenses.

Crunch The Numbers

Now that you agree on what you’re willing to pay for, you’ll need to figure out how much it will cost. Some evening fire up the computer and run the numbers. There are several college calculators that will guide you through the process. Try a few different scenarios: public school vs. private school, having more children (if it’s part of your plan) If you plan to fund four years at a public university, you’ll need to save about $200 a month– equivalent to a $2,000 IRA each year plus an extra $50 a month. If you plan to foot the whole bill at a private college (on average $21,000 a year today) you’ll need to put aside about $500 a month.

If those numbers seem out of reach, don’t give up. Delaying will only make it worse. Waiting just four years will increase your monthly savings amount by 50 percent, and if you don’t start until your child is in eighth grade, you’ll have to save three times as much.

On the other hand, there’s no rule that you have to save the entire amount before your child can set foot in a university. Most parents pay for college through a patchwork-quilt approach: some savings, some current income, student loans, a home equity line of credit and summer saving. Figure out a monthly amount you can work into your budget and move on to the next step.

Start Saving

The smart saver ruler is to accumulate money in the most efficient place and then pull it out in the most efficient way. Usually this means taking advantage of tax breaks that will help your money grow more quickly. Your 401(k) plan at work is a great place to save, but chances are you’ll need every penny of that for your own retirement. A terrific runner-up is the Roth IRA.

If you and your spouse make less than $150,000 and you file joint tax returns you can each fund a $2,000 Roth IRA each year. You don’t get a tax break when you invest, but you can pull out your $2,000 contribution whenever you wish, tax-free. If you use the earnings for college costs, you pay regular taxes with no penalty. If you are older than 59 ½ when your child is in college, you can pull out the earnings tax-free as well. Plus, Roth IRAs are not currently counted for figuring financial aid under the federal rules. If you save $4,000 a year and earn 9% per year, you’ll have $56,000 tax free in 14 years plus $48,000 in earnings (about $32,000 after taxes).

When you invest in a Roth IRA, you choose where your money goes. Shop for a growth oriented no-load stock mutual fund. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index will spread your investment over the whole U.S. stock market. The minimum investment is $1,000 for an IRA. The T. Rowe Price family of mutual funds will let you get started in a Roth IRA for as little as $50 a month if you have the money taken out of your bank account. The Equity Index fund is a great choice.

 

There are also a few other alternatives:

State-Sponsored College Savings (529) Plans

-Advantages: Tax-deferred asset growth. Contributions allowed up to about $100,000 a year. Some states allow residents to deduct contributions from state taxes. When withdrawn to pay for higher education, gains are taxed at the lower child’s rate (some state levy no state taxes on gains).

-Disadvantage: plan administrators, not you, decide investment strategy. Investments may not be aggressive enough for risk-tolerant investors who think they can earn more than enough to balance the tax advantage.

Prepaid Tuition Plans

-Advantage: Pay current tuition rates for an education far in the future. No worry about investment returns.

-Disadvantages: Full tuition is only covered if your child decides to go to an in-state college. Prepaid plans replace financial aid, so they may not be a good deal for a child who will qualify for substantial aid. If your child decides on a private college– or none at all– the plan will pay according to how much your investment have earned

Grandparent “Plan”

This is not a tax-advantage college saving plan in the strict sense, but it can be a neat trick. Grandparents with money to spare can pay tuition bills directly to a college without incurring a gift tax. Funds owned by grandparents do not show up on the family financial aid application, so this is one legitimate way to “hide” assets.

I CAN’T WRITE ON DEMAND

Yes, I love to write. It’s my favorite relaxation tool but the truth is…I can’t write on demand. I need to have inspiration and be motivated. Writer’s block is real, especially when other people try to give me subjects to write about and the pay isn’t according to my motivation.

I find my words flow easier in the middle of the night or early in the morning when everyone else is asleep. From what I’ve learned, this seems to be true for most creative beings and that’s why the 9-5 thing never works for us. It’s all about energy. Energy transfers and when others are awake, I think the energy is high, so it suppresses our true creativity. But when everyone else is asleep, we no longer are carrying the burden of others’ energy and the ambiance of creativity is abundantly ours to do what we want.

So, if you are having trouble finishing up a piece you have thought about writing for a while now, don’t be so hard on yourself. Create a space that’s all yours at a time when others’ energy has a low impact on your creativity. Spend some time day dreaming about the piece and how you want it to go. Don’t try to write it just then, just think. Sleep on it. Even if you go to bed at your normal time and set your alarm for 4:30 a.m., waking up just a little earlier than usual. You may be surprised what you are able to accomplish with just a few extra hours added onto your day. Watch the words flow…

Happy Writing!

DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE HEALTH BENEFITS FROM RECEIVING A BREAST MASSAGE?

I know a lot of women feel weird about exploring their own bodies. So, let me give you a few reasons to either start or find yourself a boob man and let them rub on your breasts. Therapeutic breast massage loosens the tissues of the chest, shoulders, and neck, using a combination of deep-tissue massage techniques like breathing, movement, and stretching.

The top 4 things on my list that massaging breasts can do:

  1. Helps Prevent Cancer. Malignant cells can often form a knot in your breast, that leads to lumps. When light external pressure is applied during early stages of development, it can force the cells to go back to their original form, helping reduce the risk of cancer.
  2. Treats Stress. Oxytocin is released when breasts are stimulated on a regular basis. Oxytocin is a hormone associated with love. It aids in alleviating stress and depression.
  3. Can Enlarge Them. The breasts are basically fat storing tissue. By increasing the blood circulation, a breast enlarging hormone prolactin is also secreted. Warm coconut oil does wonders with size increasing.
  4. Firmer, Tighter Breasts. As we age the firmness in our breasts change, due to gravity and breastfeeding. Don’t worry there is hope. If you are struggling with sagging breasts, massaging can do wonders. It helps tone up the tissues in your breasts and lead them to become firmer.

Fellas, warm your hands by rubbing them together with or without a natural oil. Stay away from lotions. Adding essential oils to your massage oil can make the process even more potent. Cinnamon, frankincense, thyme, citrus, roman chamomile, and turmeric are some of the oils recommended for breast health. Gradually rub both breasts in a circular motion. This should be done in an upward and outwards motion. You should be rubbing her breasts going towards her face and then towards the outline of her breast. Maintain light pressure otherwise it will lead to pain. Do this for 36 repetitions in both directions upwards.

Men, please keep in mind breasts are sensitive so forcefulness and tugging is not what I am describing. If you don’t want it done to your balls, don’t do it to the breasts!

*Ladies save your breasts by switching to an all-natural deodorant! My favorite is made by www.going2natural.com

SHE GOT HER 1ST TROPHY AND IT’S 1ST PLACE

2 months ago, my daughter went to her instructor and asked could she be in the tournament. She overheard the older kids talking about it. He looked up at me not knowing how to respond. I smiled at him. He had a long talk with her about how she would have to learn a form and perform it in front of judges. He asked her if she was committed to doing it. That day I signed her up by her request and she was then taught a form. She practiced every day for 2 months. Her Master, the other instructors and her two favorite junior teachers also were big helps to her these 2 months prior to the tournament making sure she knew exactly what she needed to do and prepare.

The day came and we woke up early in the morning to head to some rec center downtown. When we arrived 2 of her instructors were outside greeting people and giving them directions to the registration desk. She walked up like a big girl and handed them her slip. After being signed in, we walked inside and got a front row seat on the bleachers right behind the ring she was going to be in. This was my first tournament I had ever been to, but it reminded me very much of the original Karate Kid. (I haven’t seen the remake but it’s on my to do list with my children).

We put on her uniform and she began to rehearse her form in the ring she would be preforming in, with her Jr. Instructors right there assisting her. Her whole school was there, and she was the baby. I didn’t realize so many adults took class and would be competing. Not in her division but still…I was overwhelmed. She was the most focused I had ever seen her and in her zone. She was comfortable and in her element. She wasn’t looking back at the bleachers looking for me, she was concentrating on her goal.

Tae Kwon Do is an individual sport but her whole school was there to support and encourage her and they really made sure she was ready. When they called all competitors to the floor to go over the rules she was right there listening. I was majorly impressed and thankful how her fellow schoolmates all kept an eye on her and with the group, so she didn’t get lost in between all the people there. I was proud, I knew she was exactly where she was supposed to be.

When it was time for the competition to start, 15 kids lined up in her ring. I started to feel panicked because they were all bigger than her and only one other boy was her size. It was supposed to be 5 years old and younger but NO WAY IN HELL WERE THESE KIDS 5. One boy was damn near 5 feet tall.  No, she wasn’t sparring but I was still nervous as can be. I was thankful they were white belts. I was trying my best to be calm. There was a whole conversation going on between the judges and some coaches. It took them 15 minutes to start. It felt like an hour and a half for me. My mom leaned over and said, “They are taking too long, she’s not going to be focused anymore.”  I looked at her sitting in first position perfectly posed and smiled. She was meditating. Her father and I had a conversation with her about envisioning her performance of her form in her head. We both told her if she could picture herself doing it perfectly, she would. I knew that’s what she was doing.

Finally, they started. One after one, I was starting to relax. These children were going up 2 at a time so they could copy each other. They may have been 9 years old, but they had no idea what they were doing. She was called up second to last. She marched front and center introduced herself, her style, her school name and then asked for permission to start. The judge smiled at her because none of the other competitors had done this. I was so thankful to her coaches. I knew right then she had it in the bag. She got in her zone and did her thang. The 3 judges all gave her a 9.9. score. Her Master was beaming and her whole school and parents erupted with cheers. I was so thankful and proud I couldn’t even feel myself breathing. I looked over and saw tears flowing down my mother’s face. She sat back down with such grace. She did not gloat as the other child went. I don’t even know if she understood what happened. When they called her back up with 2 other children, she stood there at attention. I couldn’t see her face just the back of her, but she was holding so still. The other children were handed their trophy’s and she was given hers last. That’s when we saw excitement as she jumped up and down. Her coach picked her up and gave her a big hug and brought her over to us so we could all take pictures. 1st PLACE! MY LITTLE BABY TOOK 1st PLACE! She held onto her trophy all the way home. I am shocked she didn’t sleep with it! I love the fact she knows her family is proud of her, but I am elated she is proud of herself.

I don’t know if I have ever been so excited in my life. April 20, 2019 will always be special day in my house. It’s the day my little ninja won her first trophy!

I FAIL A LOT!

I fail a lot, but it doesn’t mean I give up! Sure, it can be discouraging but I have 2 choices.

  1. Sit around and feel sorry for myself.
  2. Get my ass up and try harder. I do not mind hard work.

1 thing entertainment taught me is to get back up. See statistics say you get 1 job outa 100 auditions. So, the world never gets to see all the no’s, the failures or the hard work, all they see are your victories! Sure, the victories are cool, but they are not what builds the character. I can’t even count how many times I have failed but I can count my wins!

As an actor I have 42 credits, 12 producer credits, 2 writer credits, 5 casting department credits and 20 TV appearance credits as myself. Not too shabby for 36 years.

Also, the failed businesses… I started a shoe line…it was cute but short lived. I opened a restaurant. Yeah, pretty much the same story. Cute ideas, neither were my ideas or my passions but I tried it. It didn’t make me any money, both actually cost me money, but they taught me great lessons! I went into business with people who had ideas but lacked passion. I have passion so I became engulfed with how to make their visions work. See you can’t want more for others than they want for themselves, it’s a waste of your time and energy. For me, it was a waste of my name and a brand I built without them. So, when the businesses failed, I was the one who took the ” L”. And that’s okay because I tried. If I never tried, I would have never learned. Never let anyone use your brand when they are lacking passion. If it’s their idea, they need to be bringing more to the table than you and working twice as hard.

The people who are most successful at business are those who are passionate about it.

Find your passion and never be afraid to fail.

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