Marilu Henner talks about life, work and her husband’s battle with bladder cancer

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Marilu Henner

Did you know that May is May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month?

Well, not enough people do. Bladder cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the U.S. and there are 79,000 new cases to be diagnosed just this year.  Actress, author, radio host, memory expert and bladder cancer care taker Marilu Henner has a lot to say on this matter.

Henner is from the Chicago area has been a staple of screen, film and stage since the 1970s. Originally trained as a dancer, she got her start in musical theater. She became known by her portrayal of Elaine O’Connor Nardo on the sitcom Taxi from 1978 to 1983.  Henner has a special gift called hyperthymesia or highly superior autobiographical memory.  She remembers nearly everything that has happened to her in her life.  In 2013, she was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice and in 2016 she was on Dancing with the Stars.  She has written ten books on her life, memory, health, diet and wellness.  Her most recent book Changing Normal – How I Helped My Husband Beat Cancer is available on Amazon and is also out on paperback.

Marilu Henner spoke with TheCelebrityCafe.com about her career, keeping up with old castmates, her favorite thing about being on The Celebrity Apprentice, explained her gift of memory, and then she spoke candidly about her personal experience with her husband’s successful battle with bladder cancer and Dr. Arjun Balar from NYU Langone Medical Center joins her to offer tips to early detection, treatment options, how Tecentriq via Genentech is helping patients with this and more.

You can learn more about Marilu Henner here and get additional information about bladder cancer and treatments via Genentech here.

Getting to know ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Everything, Everything’ star Ana de la Reguera

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Ana de la Reguera

Over the past few years the stunning Ana de la Reguera has played a nun, a powerful drug dealer, a secretary to a mean girl and much much more.  Not a bad start from someone now considered to be one of the most influential Latinas along with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor.

Originally from Veracruz, Mexico, performing has always been in her blood.  She got her start in telenovelas and was first seen by most American audiences in Nacho Libre. She was in HBO’s Eastbound & Down, Netflix’s hit crime-drama and Golden Globe-nominated series Narcos, Cowboys & Aliens and more.

Her beauty and elegance has been noted by audiences and the media.  She was dubbed one of Vogue’s “33 Most Elegant Women in the World” and by People Magazine as one of the “50 Most Beautiful.” She has been featured on the covers of many international magazines including Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Marie Claire, Mujer, Esquire, and Elle.

Ana de la Reguera has three projects out now or coming soon:  Everything, Everything, based on the New York Times’ Bestselling YA novel by Nicola Yoon of the same name, a role on 50 Cent executive produced Starz series Power and the much anticipated Twin Peaks return on Showtime.

The lovely, socially conscious, elegant and hard-working Ana de la Reguera spoke with TheCelebrityCafé.com about her early work, what is her must-have item in her makeup bag, who are her celebrity crushes, how she prepares for roles, how she defies stereotypes, what she knows about the new Twin Peaks, her charity work, what she does for fun and more.

Ana de la Reguera

TheCelebrityCafe.com:  Can you please tell me a little bit about yourself? Where are you from?

Ana de la Reguera:  I’m from Veracruz, Mexico. It’s in the southeast part of Mexico. It’s a port. It’s by the water. That’s where I’m from.

TCC:  And can you tell me a little bit about your family?

AR:  Well, my mom actually was a beauty queen and a carnival queen and Miss Veracruz.

We have carnival in Veracruz, so she was carnival queen, and then she also was Miss Veracruz and was fourth place in Miss Mexico or something like that. Yeah, I think it was fourth place. And her whole life, she has a charm school and she’s been doing that for 30 years. And she had also a segment. She had her own show, all these, locally, in my hometown. And she writes in the newspaper. And she also wrote a book. So she’s very active. And my dad is an accountant. He was an accountant and then he worked for different in companies and she’s retired now. And they are divorced. But, yeah, my dad was more like a normal guy [laughter].

TCC:  How did your family influence you to become a performer?

AR:  They were fine. Like fortunately for me and my sister, because my sister is also like she is in the music and she also studied to be a film director, so they were very supportive with us since we were very young. Like my mom really, you know, really could tell what we were good at. And she just put us in classes and she was always supportive of what we wanted to do. So it wasn’t like a big deal. Like when I said I wanted to be an actress, my mom was okay. She was like, “This is going to pass,” like every girl wanted to be an actress at some point or they say that. But it didn’t happen. So, but she was fine with it.

TCC:  Now, which languages do you speak?

AR:  Just Spanish and English.

TCC:  Well, that’s better than most people.

AR:  That’s better. Yeah. I want to learn other languages. I want to go, at some point. I have this dream of going to Europe for a year and then go to Italy because Spanish and Italian is very, very similar, so I think I’ll be okay with like four months living there. And then I want to go and speak French, so I want to go to France for like eight months because it’s a little harder. And yeah, at some point I’ll do that, but for now, I just speak two languages.

TCC:  It sounds like fun that you have the travel plans. I think that’s a great goal.

AR:  Yeah, I want to do that once in my life. I am going to do that.

TCC:  And have you always been interested in fashion?

AR:  I have, actually, because of my mom, because I grew up in a house where she taught me— oh, she teaches still how to— she changes your image, and she tells you what colors will look best for you, and what type of clothes, and gives you your type of body. So I grew up around magazines. And that was my whole house. So yeah, I was into fashion since I was very little. Even though it was my personality, because I remember that it was like— you know how kids are. I would not want to be dressed in something I didn’t like or for example, I would go on vacations and they would want me to dress with my cousin’s clothes because I would run out of clothes. Or there was something that I had to borrow some clothes. I didn’t like that. I was like, “No, I don’t like her clothes.” I wanted to do my thing since I was very, very young. So my whole life was very— I remember when I was a kid and I remember not having what I wanted to wear and feeling uncomfortable, and I remember also at one of my birthdays, the first thing I would always think was what was I going to wear? So it was very— it’s been very present in my life.

TCC:  And how would you describe your style now?

AR:  I don’t know. I think I don’t know if my style—it’s difficult to describe. It’s always feminine with a touch of something a little masculine in it.

TCC:  What do you like to wear when you’re not on a red carpet?

AR:  Depends. To be honest, I’m always what looks good on me. I love fashion, but at the same time, I kind of always go with the same lines, and with the same style because I know what works for me. So it depends on the occasion, but let’s see. Yeah, it’s strong feminine style. I don’t know.

TCC:  Well, you were named one of Vogue’s most elegant women so it’s working for you [laughter].

AR:  Thank you. Yeah. Well, it’s also classic. I like to have things that are on trend, but I don’t want to be wearing the whole thing or everything that everyone’s wearing. I always want to do— it’s not wearing my own stuff, I just know what works for me and with that, I just add something that I like right now. But I do shop, and I keep track with what’s new and what the new designers are and when I want to wear wear and— yeah.

TCC:  Now, do you still model?

AR:  I’ve never modeled in my life.

TCC:  Oh, really?

AR:  Yeah, no. I have always been an actress.

TCC:  Okay. But you have so many covers of magazines. I think that’s good because they all come from your acting career.

AR:  Yes, yes. Exactly.

 

Image result for ana dela reguera

TCC:  Okay. Who are some of your favorite designers?

AR:  My favorite designers, right now I’m obsessed with Jacquemus. I really like their stuff right now. But Dolce always works for me. Carolina Herrera, because she’s amazing and she’s very classic. Who else? I love Balenciaga. And who else do I like? Celine. Yeah.

TCC:  Now, what is your one must-have item for your beauty bag? So if you couldn’t have any other kind of makeup, what’s something you would need to have with you?

AR:  I pretty much use a bar that is for your cheeks and your lips. So sometimes, if I really don’t have time for anything, I just put it in my bag and leave, and then I just put it in the car a little bit so I have some color in my face. So a lot of the times I just have that with me.  I have at least one lipstick does the same thing. So I would say lipstick, for sure.

TCC:  That would be mine, too [laughter].

AR:  Yeah, yeah. A red lipstick. I always have some red lipstick because whatever happens, you can make big changes just with glasses and red lipstick and– some shades and red lipstick, and you’re okay.

TCC:  I always feel a little bit better with a little red lipstick on. I agree with you.

AR:  Yeah, definitely.

TCC:  And what was your first professional role?

AR:  Well, more like in– I did little things, but my first first one was soap opera where I had a very beautiful role. I had one in a soap opera that I was like 15 episodes, because soap operas in Mexico are like 200 episodes. So 15 episodes is very little. So I was a secretary for the mean girl, the mean woman. She was an older woman. And I was just passing messages, but that was very, very little. And then after that, I got a big break with a very– it was a period show. And it was kind of like a Romeo and Juliet story, where I was in love with my cousin, and they didn’t let us get married, and I would kill myself, and blah-blah. That role, it was important for me because it was with big stars in that moment. It was one of the biggest soap opera starts starting and it was big for me. So, yeah.

TCC:  Well, telenovelas are a lot of fun. I think they’re great. And what was the name of the one that was your star-making role?

AR:  It was called Pueblo Chico Infierno Grande, which means small town, big hell. Something like that [laughter].

TCC:  Telenovelas are a lot of fun. And they always have either a Cinderella, or Romeo and Juliet, or some sort of princessy kind of theme. I love them. One thing I just— I think there’s something different about telenovelas is that they seem to have a beginning, middle, and an end. You kind of know it’s going to be short, usually just one season. Is that correct or has that changed?

AR:  Well, novelas in Mexico, they only last for six or seven months, and that’s it. It’s not like in the US that it is the same soap opera forever. I did 10 telenovelas in my career.

TCC:  Oh, wow.

AR:  Yeah. So they last six or seven months. If they become a hit here, they can be for a year, but that’s the most, I know. I think the record of one novela in Mexico was two years, but generally, even if they do it really, really good, it’s six, seven months. And now they’re shorter because of the new trend with the shows and the series. Now they’re three, four months. So it has changed. But when I was doing them, it was between six and seven months.

TCC:  What have you learned the most by being in them?

AR:  Well, I was surrounded by great actors, so I was just learning from them and regularly you do 30 scenes, but you really have to— it gives you a lot of technique, because you have to learn the lines, you have to learn the stage directions, and it’s 30 scenes a day. So it’s a lot of work. It’s too much. But it gives you— it’s a great school, at the same time. You should not be there too much, because it’s difficult to walk away from that, so that’s why I stopped. And it was like mixing novella with theater and with movies at the same time. But that’s why I stopped because I just didn’t want to be very comfortable in that world.

TCC:  And what was your first role in an American movie or TV show?

AR:  My first role was Nacho Libre in an American film, so that was my big break.

TCC:  Who did you play?

AR:  I played Sister Encarnación, who’s Jack Black’s love interest [laughter]. Yeah, I was playing a nun. So it was a beautiful role and that was my first role.

TCC:  Now, how did you hear about the role in Eastbound & Down?

AR:  I just went to the audition, and I got it. It was good because I thought it was only for one episode, so I didn’t thought it was such a big deal, and I saw one episode, and I loved it. And I was like, “Oh, that’d be great.” And then they told me I was going to go an entire season, so I was really, really excited. But it was good because I went to the audition with no—sometimes when you know something’s big or something’s important you’re more nervous about it. So that was the way it was.

TCC:  What was the process of the audition like?

AR:  I actually just went once. Just did one thing and—I got it.

TCC:  Oh, only one?  That’s great and unusual.

AR:  Yeah. Yeah. With Nacho Libre I did come in three times, and I was living in Mexico and then they flew me to LA to be with Jack, but for this one it was quick.

TCC:  How do you celebrate when you get a role?

AR:  How I do celebrate. It depends. Sometimes it’s weird how you get the role. Sometimes you get the offer fast, like that. And sometimes you’re waiting and waiting and you get it, and that’s the best part. Every time you get a role, it’s weird. For example, I remember when I got Nacho Libre, I went to the audition, and I thought I was going to get another movie that I really wanted to get and I remember the day that I got Nacho Libre, the director of this other movie called me saying that I didn’t get that. So it was like a mixed feeling. So it was really weird because I wasn’t expecting it, and then what I was expecting I didn’t get.

And sometimes the same just happened with me with everything that is about to come out in May, that I was I never thought I was going to get it because they already told me I wasn’t going to get it. And I started to do a film a couple of weeks later and when they told me I got it, I was like, “Oh, shit. Now I have to deal with this other movie that I was going to do.”

And sometimes you stress, but sometimes you are just waiting for that news to — you’re just waiting for the phone to ring and when that happens, it’s the most amazing feeling, and you scream, but most of the time I just go for lunch with my friends and just celebrate.

TCC:  A lot of the performers I’ve asked that question to say that alcohol is usually involved [laughter].

AR:  I don’t drink, so for me, it’s mostly food. I really treat myself and go to an amazing restaurant and get all the desserts and all the pasta, whatever. That’s what I do.

TCC:  Now, how do you prepare for your roles?

AR:  Depends on the role, but most of the time it’s I guess what every actor does. I just read the script, break down the script and scenes and do the analysis of the character, and after that, obviously, it depends on what the character does. I do the research too. And it depends if we had to have some physicality. Or some of the characters, sometimes, starts from the inside of the character. Sometimes, it starts from the outside. It’s just really weird and depends on how the character speaks to you. Sometimes, just the first thing I think about is how she’s going to be dressed. Or sometimes I feel like, “What happened to her when she was little?” It depends on the role, so it changes. But I try to do as much homework as possible, so I just read about whatever profession she is or whatever, if it’s in a period of time, about what’s happening there, or the whole thing.

TCC:  And what was your favorite thing about being in Cowboys & Aliens?

AR:  Well, it was a lot of things. And first of all, getting to meet— first of all, one of my few, few crushes in life was Daniel Craig, so [laughter] I couldn’t believe I was going to work with him. So I was blown away and I still—I was never over being next to him. I was really nervous all the time. But at the same time, most of my films were with Sam Rockwell, who he’s an amazing actor, so I was really, really happy and blessed to be next to him. And Jon Favreau is amazing. He still there was producing the movie. So the whole thing with the aliens— and I love New Mexico, so we shot in Santa Fe. So the whole thing— Olivia Wilde, she’s been a great girl, too. So just me and the whole cast and being in such a big budget film, it was a lot of fun.

TCC:  Now, how do you try to defy stereotypes of Latina women?

AR:  Well, I don’t know. I’ve been kind of lucky to have different roles. But at the same time, that’s what I am. That’s who I am. I’m a Latina, so it’s tricky when you are like, “Yeah, I’m going for the Latina role because why would I go for the Irish role [laughter]?” It’s strange, why would I ask for that? But what I do ask sometimes is, when I read a script or something, and something’s written for a girl who’s not Latina but a Latina could play that role, I always ask, “Oh, yeah. This could also be played by a Latina.”

But I’m not trying to be American or I’m not trying to get rid of my accent and become someone else. I’m just trying to be different Latina. I’m trying to be unpredictable. I play a nun. I play a singer or a girl who was caught in the immigration line. I just played a nurse. So I’ve been playing different stuff. I’ve played the hot Latina, too. So it’s just different cases. I’ve played a revolutionary. So I’ve been playing different things. But I just don’t want to play the same role that’s also the same. Sometimes we complain a lot. Like the drug dealers, I’m playing one right now in power, but it’s the first time I’m doing it. And it’s a very powerful woman. So if I get another role that is similar, then I won’t do it. But I’m just doing different roles. I’m happy about it. I don’t complain about that.

TCC:  Can you please tell me about your role in Narcos?

AR:  Yeah, she’s a girl from— the M-19 was a movement in the late 1970s and 1980s. And she’s a communist guerilla girl. And she has all these—what is it? How do you call it in English? Well, she’s an idealist. And she wants the best for her country. And that’s what my character is in Narcos. And she was part of this movement that, it was important because they wanted to fight the government, who was being really corrupt. And, at the same time, they got with the guerilla and involved with the Narcos. It was a very tricky moment for them. But it was interesting to know their stories about these women who, they left everything. They left even their family, their child, to fight for their country.

TCC:  I haven’t got around to seeing Narcos yet, but it seems like a good one. I look forward to seeing that one sometime soon.

AR: Yeah. Yeah, it was.

TCC:  Now what is Everything, Everything?

AR:  Everything, Everything is, it’s a movie and my latest film that I did. It’s a young adult movie. It’s based on a novel, a New York Times best-selling novel called Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon. And it’s about a girl called Maddie who’s allergic to everything, so this girl has never left the house in 18 years. So the movie starts when she turns 18. And pretty much her world, it’s me, her nurse, who’s me, and her mom. And everything changes when a very cute guy who is played by Nick Robinson moved next door, and they fall in love and pretty much she will risk everything for love. It’s a very beautiful story.

TCC:  Now, here what we get to talk about what I’m most excited about. You’re in the remake of Twin Peaks?

Twin Peaks official trailer

AR:  Yes [laughter].

TCC:  Are you allowed to talk about that at all?

AR: I am allowed, but to be really, really honest, I don’t know much about it because what I know – what I can tell you – is that when I did it, even Showtime who’s producing the show had no idea— David Lynch never showed anyone the episodes or anything. I have no idea which episode am I in. I have no idea what’s the story about. I just know my scenes, and that’s all I know. Even when I went to the audition, I just stayed there on a couch and they just filmed me. I had no material. Nothing and I just went in, sat down, and then, a couple weeks later, they told me that I got the part. I didn’t have to do anything. It was really strange, but I got to work with David Lynch. He wrote, directed and did the whole thing. So that was really, really exciting. But even when I went for wardrobe, wardrobe wasn’t allowed to read my scenes, so [laughter]. Yeah, so they just told me, “What is it about?” And, “We can’t read it.” And I’m like, well, it goes like this and that. And they were like, “Okay.” So they put me in the wardrobe, but that’s the way it worked. So I don’t know. That’s all I know. I’m just being really honest. That’s all I know.

TCC:  So you’ll be watching along with everyone else, “When am I in? What’s going to happen next?”

AR:  I know. I guess. I’m going to be like, “Oh,” waiting for me to appear at some point. I have no idea so, yeah. But it’s a great— it was an amazing experience.

TCC:  Now, who are some performers that you want to work with?

AR:  Annette Bening is one of my favorites. Who else? Louis CK, that would be my dream. And who else would I be super excited to be with? Cate Blanchett and Jeff Bridges. I don’t know, I’m just naming a few.

TCC:  Yeah, there are a lot to choose from.

AR:  There’s so many good actors.

TCC:  Would you care to say who are your celebrity crushes?

AR:  Well, it’s still Daniel Craig. Also Oscar Isaac. And who else is my celebrity crush? I have a lot. I don’t have that many. I have one, but I don’t want to say it. He’s a singer, but I’m shy to say because he’s very young.  I feel bad. I’m like, “I shouldn’t.” I look bad saying that I have a crush. He could be my son.

TCC:  I felt that way when I saw a Harry Potter movie once. I felt a little bit like a dirty old lady.

AR:  Exactly. That’s why I won’t say it.

TCC:  So is there a type of character that you haven’t played yet but you wish to play?

AR:  Well, there is a couple of characters that I would like– there’s a biopic that I’ve been trying to produce but I haven’t been able to because it’s a period film. And it’s about the first Latina actress who made it in Hollywood. And in the 1920s, she went from silent movies to talkies. So that’s a character that I would love to play. And there’s another character that I’m actually kind of attached to this movie called— it’s like a biggest role model in Mexico. She was a nun in the 1300s, and she was the first feminist that we had. So those characters are the ones that I really want to play at some point, and I also would like to do more comedy too.

TCC:  Now, do you live in Los Angeles right now or do you still live in Mexico?

AR:  I live in LA, yeah.

TCC:  And when you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun?

AR:  I’m very simple. I pretty much like to stay home. I love my house. I love my place. I just stay home, invite friends. We watch movies or we can play cards. I just bought a karaoke, and so we do that. Sometimes I go out and dance, but I don’t really do that. I love to dance, but I just don’t like clubs, but very normal stuff.

TCC:  Now, what are some charities that you support?

AR:  I have my own charity back in Mexico. I’ve been doing this for seven years and it’s called VeracruzANA. I am from Veracruz, I am from that place, and because my name is Ana, that’s why it’s called VeracruzAna. And I support a lot of communities, and everything started after a big hurricane that hit my hometown and destroyed many small communities, especially one that is very important historically. So that community lives out of the tourism. So after the hurricane passed, no one was visiting. So I kind of rebuild the whole town. And I’ve been very focused on that. And then after that, I did a museum and book, and I have residence for artists. So it’s a charity that– I did a  lot for kids. So it’s a really big charity that I’m proud of.

TCC:  What is something in life that you really want to do but haven’t gotten around to doing yet?

AR:  I love to, at some point, get a year off and have the luxury of— go to Europe and live there at least six, seven months in— say like seven, eight months in France. I would like to learn French and then go to Italy and learn how to speak Italian and have that experience.

TCC:  Now, how do you like your fans to connect with you?

AR:  I do it a lot on social media. I do it a lot through Instagram, and mostly I use Instagram, and from there reply to my Twitter account and my Facebook account. And I do see the comments and reply to them.  I like it. Also, for example, my charity, how I started it, everything I started through social media and it’s a great tool for public figures to be close to your fans or close to— and also be able to share whatever your interests are because you have a voice. So I think it’s, for me, I respect very much also the people who don’t have it, because I love that, too. But I like it, and at the same time, it’s very helpful.

TCC:  So your next projects that people can see you in are Everything, Everything and Twin Peaks, both seem exciting.

AR:  Yes. Yes, and Power, which I just finished the fourth season. And we’re in talks to see if I do some more with them for the next season, too.

TCC:  Now where is Power? Where is that shown?

AR:  Power is on Starz. And, yeah, it’s on Starz. It’s a show which is by 50 Cent.

TCC:  Is there something you’d like to add?

AR:  No, just thank you so much for the interview. And, yeah, everyone can follow me on Instagram which is @adelareguera, which is my first initial and de la Reguera. And it’s the same one for Twitter and Instagram. And they can check it out, the charity and everything we do. And I hope people like it and like the projects that I’m involved.

TCC:  So they are. And I think the cult following of Twin Peaks is going to get you even more fans, too.

AR:  I hope so. I hope so.

TCC:  Thank you again for everything. And I wish you luck in all your endeavors. And I’ll look forward to not only seeing you in more movies and TV shows but also on the covers of more magazines.

AR:  I hope so, too [laughter].

Follow Ana de la Reguera on Instagram at @adelareguera and catch her in Power on Starz, Everything Everything and Twin Peaks on Showime.

Twin Peaks Trailer

Celebrity chef and nutritionist Ellie Krieger enlightens us on olive oil

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ellie krieger

Olive oil is one of the favorite ingredients for chefs and home cooks.  The varieties are as vast as are the recipe uses.  Chef and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger has a lot to say about olive oil and healthy eating.

The New York native was a fashion model and that helped her discover that food and healthy living were her passions.  She earned her BA in clinical nutrition from Cornell University and got her masters in nutrition from Columbia University.  She contributes to many publications and has a weekly column in The Washington Post.  She is actively involved in the “Let’s Move” campaign.

Krieger is also the host of the Food Network’s Healthy Appetite and PBS’s Ellie’s Real Good Food and has written five books including So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.

Krieger spoke with TheCelebrityCafe.com about what the difference is between olive oil, light-tasting olive oil and extra virgin olive oil, how to properly store it, what The North American Olive Oil Association is, how olive oil can be used as a healthy substitute for butter and more, all while demonstrating a few recipes.

You can find out more about Ellie Krieger here and learn about the North American Olive Oil Association here.

‘Celebrity Apprentice’ winner Leeza Gibbons talks about her partnership with Senior Helpers

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Leeza Gibbons

When one speaks to a talk show host who is known for being friendly and engaging, what was supposed to be an interview quickly turns into a delightful conversation. That is exactly what happened with the lovely, compassionate and accomplished Leeza Gibbons.

Gibbons comes from Hartsville, South Carolina and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina’s school of journalism and mass communication.  She began working as a journalist and joined the team of Entertainment Tonight in 1984 and she remained correspondent and co-host until 2000.  At about the same time from 1993 to 2000, she hosted her own talk show Leeza on NBC.  Her 2013 book Take 2 was a New York Times bestseller and she earned an Emmy for My Generation.  In February 2015, she was the winner of Celebrity Apprentice and raised $714,000 for her charity Leeza’s Care Connection.

She continues to work in television, radio, entrepreneurial actions and other areas of interest.  Charitable pursuits are important to Gibbons.  In fact, the mom of three has received the Congressional Horizon Award for her work on children’s issues.

While she is involved in many charitable endeavors, she has a soft spot for topics related to seniors, especially memory issues. In 2009 she published Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss, her personal story of her family’s personal struggle with Alzheimer’s disease after her mother’s diagnosis and eventual passing from the disease in 2008.  Her dad, Carlos had some recent health issues and she and her siblings took turns helping with his care taking needs.  She has partnered with Senior Helpers to help and educate people on new ways to care for aged parents.

Leeza Gibbons
Leeza Gibbons with volunteers from Leeza’s Care Connection

Leeza Gibbons spoke with TheCelebrityCafe.com about her life, work, her thoughts on current entertainment journalism, the must-have item in her makeup bag, offers tips on how people can take care of themselves while taking care of loved ones, why Senior Helpers is important, what she likes to do for fun, how she succeeded on The Celebrity Apprentice, what’s next for her and more.

TheCelebrityCafe.com:  Thank you so much. How are you doing today?

Leeza Gibbons:  I’m fantastic. How are you?

TCC:  Very well. Thank you. I’m so happy to be talking to you. What are you up to these days?

LG:  Oh, my goodness. I’m up to my real passion project, which is one of those unexpected turns. You know they always say, it’s not the end of the road; it’s the bend in the road that kind of takes you down the most interesting, gives you the most interesting vistas. That’s really been true for me. When my mother had Alzheimer’s disease I took a look at the things that were no longer working in my life because it just didn’t make sense, it brought me to some really unexpected and very fulfilling places that I would have never imagined. That’s been, I think the most surprising part of my life’s journey so far.

TCC:  Where did this journey begin? Where did you grow up?

LG:  I grew up in South Carolina in a small town called Irmo. It was really one of those idyllic upbringings. You know, the kind of place where you rode your bike, hung out with your friends and your mom would holler out the back door when it was time to come in for dinner. That kind of place. So, that’s where all my dreams were hatched and where I really first became interested in storytelling.

We had a talent show at school, I was very upset because I had no talent — I can’t whistle, I can’t jump rope. I have no talent. And my mother said, you know, “Don’t worry about it honey.” I was crying over this and she goes, “You do have a talent,” — She completely made it up, she goes “you’re a storyteller.” I’m like “what?” She goes “you’re a storyteller. Go back to school and stand up in front of the class and say I’m using my talents to tell stories.”

And I totally bought it. I was like 11 or 12 years old at the time. And that’s really when I first became a journalist. That’s why I went to broadcast journalism school and that’s why I became a reporter. And it’s been such a magnificent journey. I just never expected that the most important story I would tell is the story of my family’s journey with her disease, my grandmother’s disease and with my dad’s heart attack and our journey with caregiving with him. And that I would ultimately run a non-profit dedicated to help and tell other people’s stories of thriving and surviving through caregiving.

TCC:  Can you tell me a little bit about your journey, please?

Leeza Gibbons
Leeza Gibbons with her parents

LG:  We created what we wished we had in the world when my mom got sick. Even though we watched my mother take care of her mother, my granny, we still felt frustrated and alone and isolated and misunderstood and depleted and depressed and all those things that people feel. So we created an organization really to care for the family caregiver.And along the way, I’ve learned so much about how to really help family caregivers cope and how to provide resources.

Recently I’ve formed a partnership with Senior Helpers. They’re one of the largest providers of in-home care and I realize that the one thing I’ve learned from our communities is the way that we become strong is really when we learn to ask for help. And when my dad had a heart attack, we asked for help and hired someone from Senior Helpers to become part of our care team and help my dad recover. So we have my brother, my sister, and me. They live nearby. I live in LA, they’re in South Carolina, and then we hired a care companion from Senior Helpers to come in and help daddy with his rehabilitation, help him stay on his medications properly, help him communicate with the doctors and run errands, help him communicate with us and make sure that he was getting his healthy meals, and just that everything was going well.

It was such an advantage for him ultimately becoming strong. And, now, almost a year later, he is still in a great friendship with her, but also still working with her for his rehabilitation and running errands. So I’m always telling families to explore the resources that are out there for you.

There are a lot of people that just need a peace of mind visit. They may live a distance away from mom or dad and maybe they just need somebody to check in once or twice a week or maybe once a month to say, “Is there food in the refrigerator. Are mom or dad do they seem like the mail is piling up?”

Or maybe they need somebody 24/7 to take care of what they believe is someone with a cognitive issue. The thing that really attracted me with Senior Helpers is they’re the experts with cognitive issues, with Alzheimer’s and dementia. And we know that so many seniors, it’s like one in three, are dealing with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment, so if you’re bringing someone in to help you and really help educate the family and care for your loved one, you want somebody that actually speaks that language, that has that expertise, that’s a very important differentiator.

TCC:  It sounds great. My mom is recovering from brain surgery and I’m in California right now to kind of tend to things, make sure her people are taking care of her. And she’s doing magnificently. No one would believe she’s the same person from last year to now. But the caregiving team is really important. It’s made my dad’s job a lot easier other than financially. It’s hard for him to pay for it but he’s very lucky to have these three caregivers who love and take care of my mom.

LG:  Wow. You know it’s a very unique relationship. And I always tell people to begin to explore those conversations, because it’s such a customizable option. If you’re bringing someone into your home, that has to be the right kind of relationship. You have to have those discussions and that’s part of what you need to be looking for when you’re exploring whether this is right for you or not. And that’s part of what I think makes a decision the right one. It’s when you know that you’re ready to make that choice if you’re doing it. If you’ve got the right company or not, if they’re really listening to what’s important to you and what’s meaningful to you, then you know okay great, “Here’s who we need to go with because they care about that.”

TCC:  True. How often do you get back to South Carolina?

LG:  I’m so lucky I get to go back often. I’m back about five times a year. And my family is also there, I have really close friends there. We have Leeza’s Care Connection there, and so I have lots of reasons to stay extremely involved with my community. And a big part of my heart will always be there. I haven’t lived there since I left college I haven’t lived there, but I still feel like I belong.

TCC:  It sounds like you had such a great upbringing, I’d want to be there too.

LG:  Yeah, it’s a pretty cool place to be from and it’s a welcoming place where the doors are open, the coffee’s on, everybody’s got outstretched arms to just take you in.  There’s a lot to be said for it, there really is.

TCC:  I miss you on Entertainment Tonight. How is entertainment journalism different now than when you were on the show?

LG:  I think it’s a lot harder to compete now. I’m glad I don’t have to be in the day to day world because I think it’s tough. I think that we as a culture, not just in entertainment journalism, but in general the boundaries have become extreme. You know, all bets are off and it seems that there’s not much that we consider off limits. I’m just glad that I was in it at the time when I was, which just seemed like—maybe everybody feels that way then they do a look back on their life and career. And I always think for me, my motto is ‘ever forward’ and I think that’s the best way to live your life.

The people working in it now, I really give them credit. They have to be self-promoters, they have to really understand marketing, they have to compete on a much different level, and I’m sure it’s still such a great industry. I think it’s still a really exciting arena in which to express your professional chops.  But I think that it has become exceedingly more difficult to do it, to keep a taste level and compete.

TCC:  Then what do you miss the most about hosting your own show?

LG:  You know what I miss? The energy of live audiences, because there’s no substitute for that exchange that you get in real time when you’re sharing a moment, a same with people who are in that same time and space with you. I really just love that. I enjoy it when I get to travel and make speeches now. I like that a lot too. But that’s probably the thing that I miss the most.

TCC:  Well you’ve been incredibly personable. You seem to like people. And hearing about that, it is a perfect balance between being storyteller and a listener.

LG:  Thank you for that. Well, that’s a very lovely compliment. I really have been honored, and I feel that it has been an honor and a position of great trust and value when someone allows you to tell their story. When you get to be the vessel that holds that information. And then, you get to be the way that it makes its way to the marketplace. That’s really amazing. That’s extraordinary. And I’ve always been very indiscriminate about the kinds of stories. I love all kinds of stories and love to just be wide open to receive them and spit them back out. That’s just always to me, the greatest thrill.

TCC:  Well, you won 2015 Celebrity Apprentice. What would you say was the secret to your success on that show?

LG:  I had a burning desire. I think in life we get what we focus on and I knew what I wanted. I was passionate about having an opportunity to get to the finish line and bring attention to family caregivers, to my family’s journey, and the other millions of people who battle chronic illness and disease and their caregivers. So I really wanted that opportunity, and it gave me an awful lot of stamina.

I believe that optimism is a real driver of success because it allows us to be so resilient. If you’re optimistic, it really just means that you have the ability to bounce back and fight back and rebound from anything. So, on the show, just as in life, when things go wrong and when things distract you and when things disappoint you or you disappoint yourself, the successful person will get that lesson, receive that information, and get back on track quickly. And it’s your ability to reset I think that moves us forward. What I was able to do on Celebrity Apprentice was stay focused on my end game and not get sucked into and distracted by the drama. And I think people who get where they want to go in life are able to stay in their lane and not get distracted by the other races that are going on in the lanes on either side of them.

TCC: What do you like best about working with Dr. Denese?

LG:  I have great respect for women who have charted their own destiny and Dr. Denese has certainly done that. I think she is so smart, and so passionate, and such a good communicator, and she has a great product. So again for me it’s another great story to tell. It’s another way to empower women to be the best that they can be. So those are really wonderful things.

TCC:  I also think their concealer’s one of the best things on the market. My sister’s a huge fan of it.

LG:  There you go. Right.

TCC:  Now here’s a little lighter question and then we’ll go on to a couple more questions about Senior Helpers. What do you like to do for fun?

LG:  I love to hike. We live in California which offers some of the greatest hiking of all time, I think. And I live near one of the canyons that offers some really beautiful vistas. It’s something that I like to do actually alone often, but I drag my husband occasionally and he reluctantly goes with me because he considers a hike like a walk around the block. He’s like, “Okay, that’s fine. We’re done.” So I like to do that. I like to write, I like to express things with old school things like paper and use crafty things. It’s not that I’m incredibly crafty, but I love to relax by pulling out that box of ribbons, and buttons, and embellishments, and lace, and making cards and personal messages. I like to make people a box of hope or a box of wisdom and silly little things like that because I’m into quotes and aspirations.

TCC:  Your kids must like getting those.

LG:  Oh my gosh they roll their eyes. They can’t stand it. Some day they may appreciate it but now they just say, “Oh, it’s a mom-ism. Not another mom-ism.”

TCC:  If you were only allowed one makeup product, what would it be? Or item, not necessarily a brand, but just a…

LG:  Sunscreen.

TCC:  Sunscreen? Wow. That’s interesting, I wasn’t expecting that, but that’s a good one.

LG:  Yeah, it’s a basic and, you know, I grew up just brutalizing my skin with the cocoa butter and all of those awful things that we used to do, and I used to be really, really bronzed every summer and I look back on that now and it’s so gorgeous, but I think I would’ve backed away from the sun and worn some more sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat more often.

TCC:  So why are you so committed to helping other people working with older people?

LG:  I think that, in our culture, we find older people to be almost invisible, and it’s such a shame. The one thing, the one condition that we all suffer from, and that we all benefit from, is ageing. It starts at zero and we’re all going in the same direction, and I always try to see the young person underneath the older person and that’s all of us. We all feel the same way inside, and I think that there are so many ways for us to age well and to help our senior population get to the golden years with more dignity more independent and more enjoyment.

And it doesn’t need to be as burdensome and have as much dread factor as we assign to it. I think that we are strongest when we can see our limits and we can open up and ask for help. So that’s why I really value my partnership with Senior Helpers. I really appreciate the education that they offer families. I appreciate the fact that many families feel that they can exhale and feel some support for the first time, look at options in their care plans, look at ways to be more present with their seniors. Ways to just value day to day living. Besides they can manage it more.

Now we have three times more adult children than ever in our history looking for ways to find care for their senior parents. It used to be that the child care is the big issue in the ’80s. But now it’s family care. And there are options, there are things that we can do, there are ways that we could be more present in the workforce because we know we’ve got things taken care of with mum or dad. And it’s worth the time to investigate and explore. The kinds of services that places like Senior Helpers can offer. So seniorhelpers.com is where you can begin to take a look and see if this is right for you, view up kinds of things they offer, and start exploring that conversation for your family.

Leeza Gibbons
Leeza Gibbons and dad Carlos

TCC:  But how do you deal with guilt if you live faraway and don’t think you can give your loved ones enough time?

LG:  Guilt is kind of that constant companion that most caregivers judge themselves by job performance and not by attendance. But here’s the deal. You’re showing up, and mom always said, “Show up, do your best, let go of the rest.” All you can do every day is try. And when we try, and when we make an effort, that’s your best. Some days you’re not going to do as well as maybe you thought you could’ve, or as well as you wanted to, that means you get to try again tomorrow. So, release that try again and move forward. The reality is, if you are telling your loved one your intention and showing your intention of wanting to do the best you can, then that’s it. We miss opportunities to show the people in our lives how much we care, and that’s all there is. All we can do is try.

TCC:  That’s all any of us can do.

LG:  Exactly, amen.

TCC:  What’s next for you?

LG:  Oh, gosh, I’m just so happy. Things that fall into my life have always been so wonderfully surprising, I think that the things always show up for our greater good, whether we recognize it or not. But I, like everybody, have those secret things that I’d love to do. I’d love to be a voice in an animated movie, I think that’d be super cool, and I’d love to get my contractor’s license and get an all-girl team together and remodel houses. I’ve got lots of things on the horizon that I’d like to explore, but right now I’m happy being an advocate for healthcare and running my non-profit and keeping my toe in the TV business, it’s sure been good to me.

TCC:  What is the name of your not-for-profit?

LG:  Leeza’s Care Connection.

TCC:  Now, how do you like your fans to connect with you?

LG:  I am on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and love to have conversations with fans and followers, so I’m @leezagibbons, and leezagibbons.com.

TCC:  And is there anything else you’d like to add?

LG:  I’m so glad we got a chance to connect, it’s really lovely to talk to you, Michelle, thank you.

TCC:  I am, too, thank you very much. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I wish you success in everything you do, Leeza, you sound like a wonderful person.

LG:  Same to you, and I’m glad your mom’s doing well.

TCC:  She is, thank you. And I hope your dad continues to do well, too.

Learn more about Leeza Gibbons at her website here and check out www.seniorhelpers.com for help with your loved ones.

Ben & Jerry’s launches ice cream inspired by Bob Marley

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Ben & Jerry's, Bob Marley flavor
Credit: YouTube

Ben & Jerry’s just dropped an ice cream flavor in honor of Bob Marley and it’ll definitely be the hit flavor of the summer!

Aptly coined “One Love” after the musician’s iconic song, the flavor has a banana base with caramel swirls and textures of graham crackers, not to mention chocolate peace signs.

The flavor first hit freezer aisles over in the U.K. before making waves Stateside.

RELATED: Angelenos get a taste of the Museum of Ice Cream

Proceeds from the ice cream will benefit One Love Youth Camp, an organization headed by the Bob Marley Foundation and Partners for Youth Empowerment. The annual camp would benefit kids in Jamaica to instill that “one love” message Bob Marley held so dear. By partaking in workshops and activities in the creative fields, fifty students get to immerse themselves in the arts.

“Bob Marley stood for more than just music – he advocated for social change and inspired millions to think about peace, love, and equality,” said Jerry Greenfield, the co-founder of the brand. “Ben & Jerry’s has long strived to champion love and social justice, and by partnering with the Marley family we’re happy to play a small role in supporting Marley’s vision for a sweeter world.”

On May 22, Bob Marley’s eldest son, Ziggy Marley, will host a party in honor of the partnership and the flavor launch at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood.

Be sure to grab the ice cream flavor before it’s gone from the ice cream aisle.

‘Survivor’ winner Adam Klein talks winning strategies and lung cancer treatment

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Adam Klein

In 2016, Adam Klein was crowned the winner of CBS Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.  Within an hour of his homecoming from Fiji, his beloved mother Susie passed away from a short, but hard-fought battle with lung cancer.  As he promised, he donated $100,000 to lung cancer research and has raised an additional $300,000 to further the cause.  With this being National Women’s Lung Health Week, he had a lot to say on this matter.

Klein had always been a fan of Survivor.  In fact, he planned to compete in an earlier season of the show with his mother, but sadly she received her diagnosis despite never having been a smoker and being a person who lived a healthy lifestyle.  Klein grew up in Burlingame, California and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in International Relations.  He resides in San Francisco and is the manager of a homeless shelter.

Here are a few facts about lung cancer:

  • Every eight minutes a woman loses her battle with lung cancer.
  • Only 18 percent of lung cancer cases among women are diagnosed early, when the disease is most treatable. Survival rates are five times higher when lung cancer is detected early.
  • While anyone can get lung cancer, smoking is the leading risk factor of the disease, along with radon, air pollution and secondhand smoke exposure.

Adam Klein spoke with TheCelebrityCafe.com about his interest in Survivor, dished on his relationships with other contestants, discussed challenges, what he likes to do for fun and he was joined by Addison Meth, NP, Senior Practice Manager, CVS Minute Clinic to talk about his role with American Lung Association’s “Lung Force,” what it means to #LiveLikeSusie, what are some tips to early detection of Lung Cancer, what CVS is doing to help and more.

Tech expert Katie Linendoll talks tips about Amazon smart home options

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Katie Linendoll

Many of us love our smart home devices so much so that we cannot stop talking about them, like me and my Amazon Alexa Dot. Some people may gripe that their smart home device is a little too chatty, but many are curious as to how to make the most of these tools. Katie Linendoll knows the ways you can make the best use of your device and smarten up your space.

Smart devices are revolutionizing the way we interact with technology.  These voice controlled virtual assistants are bringing artificial intelligence into our lives and homes.  A recent report projects the smart home market to grow to a nearly $122 billion dollar business by 2022.

Linendoll is an Emmy Award-winning tech expert & TV personality who has been seen on the Today show, Fox News, Popular Science and more. She spoke with TheCelebrityCafe.com about ways to make your home smarter, dispelled some rumors about surveillance, how Amazon can help make the transition easier, what are some of the new skills to enable, offered easy set up tips and more.

Learn more about Katie Linendoll here and check out Amazon for more information.

Ageism experts discuss damage to seniors with inaccurate portrayals on television and in film

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ageism

Ageism in Hollywood

When you watch TV, do you ever wonder if people are portrayed accurately?  Many moms are a little too perfect.  Some kids are a little too precocious. Elderly people are not shown as often as the younger counterparts and when they are they are often depicted as being slow, weak, reclusive or despondent. Finding a vibrant, active senior who is actually acknowledged as a senior, is rare unless you count Diane Keaton chick flicks. Ageism flows in TV and movies and many people don’t care, or even worse, don’t notice it.

However, the way older people are shown on screen may impact how seniors are regarded in society.  This could lead to disparate treatment of a large part of the population.

Dr. Stacy Smith, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications and Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for the Care Delivery Organization at Humana, Inc. spoke with TheCelebrityCafe.com about key research on age in Hollywood, how damaging it can be when older people are disregarded, how Humana aids in this research, what are the consequences of inaccurate portrayals of seniors on screen and more.

Visit Killer Shrimp for National Shrimp Day on May 10

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killer shrimp, california, national shrimp day

Killer Shrimp is the place to be on National Shrimp Day

When someone goes into a restaurant multiple times within a week, while always ordering the same thing and carrying a notepad; it is a safe bet that they are up to no good.  Sure, the person could be writing, studying or working, but more often than not, this scenario means someone is trying to figure out a recipe.  That’s what I was doing at Killer Shrimp.

 

The first time I went to Killer Shrimp restaurant was in the ’90s.  I went with my family to this chic hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the second floor of a mini-shopping center.  Technically, they only had two food items on the menu:  Killer Shrimp and Pecan Pie.  Now, some may call this a shrimp boil, but there is more to it than that.  It is one of the best tasting slow cooked concoctions ever created and I wanted to know what it was!

In the twentysomething years that have followed since my two year stint living in LA, and the subsequent 2-4 visits per year since, try as I may, the folks at Killer Shrimp in Marina Del Rey, California will not divulge the recipe.  The Pecan Pie is a secret too.

killer shrimp
Kevin Michaels, CEO Killer Shrimp

Dammit.

This recipe is a closely guarded secret.  Famed musician Lee Michaels would return from life on the road and make huge vats of spicy broth cooked shrimp and his son Kevin Michaels (CEO of the Killer Shrimp), would invite family, friends and neighbors to join in the feast of what is now known as Killer Shrimp.  Only Lee and his son Kevin know this 30-year-old secret recipe and they won’t share it.  Believe me, I have tried.

When I first tried Killer Shrimp I was a wuss when it came to heat.  For younger me, spice levels were always kept on the low-to-medium side of things—and that was with a vat of milk or huge dabs of sour cream or blue cheese nearby and tears flowed even with those accoutrements.  These days, my tolerance for heat is greatly improved.  I can even do the massively “Thai spicy” heat indicator when ordering my Sweet Basil Chicken lunch specials.  Back then, I found Killer Shrimp to burn my face off. But between the superb herby balance, perfectly cooked shrimp and exquisite spice blend, I couldn’t give up on eating it, powering through the delicious pain.

You could order Killer Shrimp “Original,” either shelled or unshelled (the latter is a better, albeit messier experience, but it should be tried authentically at least once) with plenty of bread for sopping up the broth or over rice or noodles.  I found the rice and noodle options to be a travesty. Why mess with perfection?

killer shrimp
Killer Shrimp

I wasn’t the only one who loved Killer Shrimp; they expanded.  Then in 2011, they made some huge changes to the menu and moved to a still local, but bigger, more beautiful waterfront location.  I was originally annoyed, perhaps even heartbroken, with this change. However, when I tasted their Grilled Hanger Steak, complete with bone marrow griddle cake, wilted spinach, roasted shallots, smoked bacon bordelaise and I almost changed my mind.  Their other offerings were all amazing and I dream of the bone marrow griddle cake, but the Killer Shrimp still remains in a class by itself.

killer shrimp
Grilled Hanger Steak with bone marrow griddle cake

I attempted to revisit the restaurant and not get any Killer Shrimp, but I was weak.  I couldn’t do it even though amazing Killer Crab Claws, Lobster Mac n’ Cheese, Asian Pork Drumsticks (an unbelievably perfect blend of sweetness and spice), Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, Seared Ahi Tuna Szechuan and Killer Paella were on the table.

People who don’t like shrimp or vegetarians will also find delicious and original offerings on the menu.

In addition to great Happy Hour specials, cocktail lovers will have a ball at Killer Shrimp.  The full bar has something for everyone and their signature cocktails menu has a happy mix of classics and new favorites such as Pieces of Eight, Shrimp Killa, Smoky Paloma, Dark ‘n Stormy, The Westside, Killer Mai Tai and more offer some festive boozy fun and even the fruity frou frou drinks aren’t too sweet and have some nuance.

killer shrimp
Killer Shrimp Cocktails

So, what’s in the sauce?  I’m not sure.  I think it is tomato-based, either seafood or chicken stock is used.  There are lots of ingredients including:  herbs, garlic, peppers and spices—fennel seed, butter? Maybe a little citrus.

As my notetaking wasn’t truly successful, I created my own version of the recipe. It is my one family’s favorite dishes that I make for them.  I probably will never learn the actual recipe for Killer Shrimp, and while I am happy with my own, I will never stop going to Killer Shrimp in Marina Del Rey to taste their delicious offerings and hope to improve my own recipe.

Shrimp lovers should make Killer Shrimp in Southern California a destination location for some of the best food the world has ever known.

Find more information on Killer Shrimp in Marina del Rey, California go here.

 

Start to enjoy cooking again while spring cleaning your kitchen

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Credit: UnSplash, Naomi Herbert

Spring is a time of year known for cleaning. What that usually means is pulling the couches and fridge away from the wall, scrubbing and dusting in, over and through everything in the house. Or it means lots of time in the yard, raking leaves, pulling weeds, mowing the lawn and generally getting sweaty, dirty and sunburnt. But when you’re done with all those chores you still have to make dinner.

I know! Exhausting! But maybe this year instead of putting so much effort into cleaning you can spend some time shopping for new and improved kitchen products that will make your life easier all year round.

Pots and Pans

When was the last time you replaced any of them or added to your set? Technology, especially for saute pans has exploded in the past couple years. Here are two brands that are affordable and easy to use.

Hexclad

From stovetop to oven to dishwasher the Hexclad pan is amazing for a quick sear or caramelizing veggies. Did we mention it’s virtually non-stick stainless steel? Plus their patented HexClad pattern allows you to get that great stainless steel sear with little or no oil, keeping your meals healthy and light.

T-Fal

Also dishwasher and oven safe, the T-Fal  ProGrade Titanium Nonstick Thermo-Spot is constructed to not only heat evenly, but the dot in the center tells you when the pan is hot enough! I love this for eggs and pancakes.

Knives

Someday you’re going to cut your finger off with those dull blades. Not sure what you need? Chef Ivan Flowers tells you about what you need and what to use them on in his cooking class on knives.

But what brand do you get? I have had my Henkel’s forever and got a secondary set when the style was on clearance last winter. But for the casual chef something simple and sharp can cut through any kitchen task.

We got to try the Ergo Chef SHINZUI Chefs Knife 8 Inch and instantly fell in love. The superior Japanese steel -vg10 Japanese super steel core is combined a 67 layer Damascus pattern, which makes each knife pattern slightly different, therefore one of a kind. The triple riveted handle is angled for comfort and precision. It comes in a beautiful box, which makes it great for gifting too! 

Countertop Electrics

So many gadgets so little space! If you don’t have a lot of storage there are two items that should be at the top of your list – a crock pot and a griddle. Crux Kitchen and Bella Housewares both have amazing lines of products to suite any space and lifestyle.

What you probably need most is a new toaster or toaster oven though. Once you start pushing the button twice or finding it easier to turn on the actual oven, it’s time to upgrade.

But if you do have a bit more space, I highly recommend a waffle iron. I got my first one over 20 years ago from my husband, then fiance, who was incredulous that that was what I wanted for Christmas. Just like the pans, technology has changed quite a bit with waffle irons, so it’s a great item to update.

Still have some space? A deep fryer, an espresso machine are great additions to any kitchen!

 

Grill

Even when you’re just grilling some hot dogs and burgers at the end of a long day, it’s a royal pain to scrub the crusties off the grates. That’s where the GrillBot comes in with their set it and forget it auto grill cleaner.

Pack your lunch again

Let’s be honest, as much as we try to reduce, reuse and recycle the plastic bags and old Rubbermaids are just that easy to use. I know I use baggies when I am pretty sure leftovers are going to get tossed – saves me some time, but totally not landfill friendly. Plus, let’s be honest, it can cost a lot to get reusable products, many of which don’t seal right.

Russbe saves the day with reusable bags and truly leak-free Bento lunch box. The 4-pack of bags is just $7.99 and the Bento box is $8.99. The slide grip technology on the Bento ensures even the kids can seal it up and the bags have expandable bottoms so they hold things like grapes and strawberries without the squish.

 

Don’t forget to bring your water! With the Puritii portable water filtration bottle you can refill anywhere and stay hydrated. Free of BPA/BPS or any other bisphenols and EA free the 25 oz. bottle is actually leak proof as well as dishwasher safe.