Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a Choice

Sunday, February 28, 2010

16th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala

Last night I attended the 16th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala to benefit the Palm Springs based Desert Aids Project. I've written about it in prior years; the DAP is a non-profit organization that provides medical care and comprehensive support services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the desert community. They offer free, confidential, rapid-result HIV testing, as well as counseling, home health services, legal assistance and assistance with housing, medications, food, re-employment. My friend Jim Casey's company Integrated Wealth Management was the presenting sponsor for the evening and also pledged one million dollars in support over several years. During his remarks to the audience, he said last night's event was expected to raise more than $1.2 million. In a tough economy, the organizers managed to increase corporate sponsorships by 50 percent. The success of this fundraiser was critical, due to cutbacks in state and federal grants.
Star Power and Glamor turn out to Help the Desert Aids Project

above: Co-hosts of the evening were actors Richard Chamberlain and Stephanie Powers

above: Entertainment was provided by three legends of stage: Linda Eder, Jennifer Holiday and Roslyn Kind. The evening also attracted a plethora of stars to lend their support such as Linda Gray, Morgan Fairchild, Donna Mills, Michelle Lee, Elliott Gould, Diahann Carroll, Jimmy Van Patten, Rose McGowan and Kaye Ballard. The stunningly beautiful and talented Ann-Margaret was scheduled to appear to receive the Arts and Activism Award but was snowed in in New York and couldn't make the event in time.
I was especially excited to spend a lot of time with actress Stephanie Powers. She is a local favorite here in Palm Springs but I've liked her since her popular Hart to Hart TV series, a show I never missed. She looks as beautiful today as she did in the 80's. We both attended a private dinner the prior evening; she was asking about my opinion on dog foods, knowing I now work for Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods. She has the cutest little dog (who was quietly sitting in a little bag under the table). One of the things she told me was how much she liked being able to lend her support and name to help organizations like the DAP. She is grateful for having a successful career and felt it was important to give back. Some celebrities may not be able to write huge checks on their own, but by attending these events, they help sell tickets for these gala events and get people who might not otherwise planned to make a donation to open their wallets. Stephanie Powers is someone who is easy to like because she is quite genuine and glamorous at the same time.

above: Singer Roslyn Kind, award honoree Bob Mackie and actress Donna Mills

above: Co-hosts Stefanie Powers and Richard Chamberlain pose here with Elliott Gould who was a presenter to Ann-Margaret for the awards ceremony.


above: Celebrities Galore! These lovely ladies all posed for photos with the press in the "green room". From left to right: Rose McGowan, Linda Gray, Donna Mills, Jennifer Holiday, Michelle Lee, Morgan Fairchild, & Roslyn Kind. The photographers kept calling each of their names, so it was hard to figure out when to snap my own photo. I spent most of the evening chatting with friend Linda Gray, one of my favorite TV actresses. I like Linda from her role as Sue Ellen on "Dallas" all those years, but also from her recent work, including the soon to be released Expecting Mary film.
The Height of Style and Glamour


above: Pink was the theme, with beautiful fresh floral arrangements throughout the convention center.

above: the lobby of the convention center had these tall towers swathed in pink fabric, illuminated to create a dramatic glow in the hall.

above: the main stage, with the Pat Rizzo Orchestra

above: the tables were beautifully set...

above: a different camera setting enabled me to capture the glow of the wine glass stems, which changed colors all evening.

above: the floral centerpieces on each table were orchids, roses and some other pretty white flowers.

above: I thought the salads were a work of art, but I was hungry and they tasted delicious too.

above: Regular readers know I love chocolate cake. This dessert was really good, and not too rich either.

above: Sitting with actor Richard Chamberlain, we shared a few laughs in between courses.

above: Looking lean and incredible, Jennifer Holiday performed her legendary rendition of “And I'm Telling You (I'm Not Going)" of“Dreamgirls”.

above: Roslyn Kind sang “How Do You Keep the Music Playing”. You may not know that she is the sister of Barbra Streisand and shares the same looks and voice.

above: Broadway star Linda Eder sang “Something to Believe In" which was uplifting and had everyone swaying to the beat.

above: the amazing Miss Diahann Carroll returned to the Steve Chase Awards this year to present an award to her longtime friend, designer Bob Mackie. He was really nice and down to earth.

above: Here with actress Michelle Lee. At a private dinner the night before, I sat between Michelle Lee and Morgan Fairchild, they were both so sweet. Michelle is a lovely woman and cozied up to me for this photo. (I always liked her on Knots Landing)

above: another legend of the stage and screen, Miss Lorna Luft (daughter of Judy Garland and half sister of Liza Minelli). She is a real hoot. It was a fun evening that I won't soon forget.
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cupcake Quest: Joans on Third

You may recall a prior post about some cupcakes from Starbucks that disappointed me- or should I say fell short of my expectations. I've now embarked on what I am calling the Cupcake Quest, a search for the best cupcakes. Like my friend Bee, I love cake. In my case, cupcakes are the subject of my fascination. It goes back to childhood when I used to buy those Hostess chocolate cupcakes with the white swirls on the top that sort of looked like the cursive letter "e" written multiple times. In fact I always called them "e's" instead of Hostess Cupcakes. Well anyway the point is that was where my love affair began with cupcakes. As I matured I discovered that wholesome, home-made baked goods were better than mass-produced junk with artificial ingredients, and suddenly those e's didn't taste good anymore. Add to that the growing popularity of "gourmet cupcakes" in many cities, and voila! my interest in finding delicious cupcakes was intensified. A few years back I was in Los Angeles and discovered a wonderful little bakery/cafe/deli restaurant called Joan's on Third. I saw their bakery case of cupcakes and decided I must have found Heaven on Earth. Being a chocolate fiend, I sampled the varieties with chocolate anything. They have always been on my mind, so whenever I have the opportunity I go back and treat myself. This one in the photo above top left is called "Cloud". It is dreamy.

above: I tore into the "Cloud" cupcake and remembered to take this photo to show you what was inside the pointy swirl, resting on top of the rich chocolate cupcake. The white stuff is an delicious marshmallow egg-white fluffy something or other. It is incredible!

above: I decided I needed to buy some to take home. Here is the bunch I bought. Mind you, they make lots of other flavors, but if it isn't chocolate I'm not interested.

above: another view of the pedestal cake dish I have at home. It enables me to "worship" them and drool while I decide which one to enjoy next. From this perspective you can see that the one with the white vanilla buttercream frosting is actually a chocolate cake, so it meets my chocolate criteria. So I'd say that Joan's cupcakes do meet my Cupcake Quest quality standard, but the true Quest goes on...I shall continue to seek out the best cupcakes and feature them here. As a reminder, this is not a paid post, just me writing about what I love...
-Rick Rockhill

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nitwits, Ninnies & Nincompoops

How silly of me. I realized yesterday that I've been overlooking pure comedy from someone who leaves comments that typically just get deleted. This person is what I would consider a Nitwit. A Ninny, or a Nincompoop. In case you are wondering, here is how dictionary.com defines each of those terms:
Nitwit a slow-witted, stupid, or foolish person. Synonyms: fool, blockhead, dolt, dunce, booby.
Ninny: a fool or simpleton.
Nincompoop: a fool or simpleton.
Doubtless some of you have your share of such witless wonders. In the case of this blog, it is one fool who is either so enamored by me or secretly loves the content of this blog that they visit regularly and leave foolish comments. Or should I say hateful comments. I think they are quite amusing actually, but I delete them none-the-less. As I delete them I wonder to myself, doesn't this person have anything better to do in their life than read blogs they dislike? It reminds me of those ultra left wing nut jobs who listen to Rush Limbaugh and scream and yell- when in fact they should just change the channel. Even my friend Cher agrees with me on that. With all the millions of blogs out there I am flattered that anyone even takes the time to read this blog- especially those who claim to hate me. In fact it means even more that someone who hates me continues to read this blog. So for those of you who are friends of this blog, thank for your continued support and friendship. And for that nitwit/ninny/nincompoop who likes to leave negative comments, I sincerely thank you for the continued visits here, I always welcome visitors, they help drive site traffic metrics.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Diahann Carroll Coming to Palm Springs

I've written about the Palm Springs Art Museum here on this blog many times. In its class of mid-size museums, it has an impressive collection of permanent and touring exhibitions, which I highly recommend should you visit the desert. Perhaps unknown to many is that onsite there is the state-of-the-art Annenberg Theatre, a 433 seat facility with terrific acoustics. Each season they feature music, comedy, and off-Broadway performances. This season, award winning performer Diahann Carroll will bring her acclaimed one woman show to Palm Springs, for one night only, on Wednesday April 21st to benefit the Annenberg Theater. Undoubtedly you recall Miss Carroll's career; an Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe and Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee. Diahann Carroll was also the first black actress to star in her own TV series, “Julia”, and also co-starred in the TV series “Dynasty”. She is currently appearing in the USA TV Network series “White Collar”, as well as performing in concert across the US. For information about tickets, call the Annenberg box office at 760-325-4490 or online at annenbergtheater.org
Tickets are $100 (which include post concert party) and $50 (for the performance only).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Palm Springs Savant & Co. Radio Show

My new weekly radio show premiered on Blog Talk Radio today. Listen here below, or on podcast from iTunes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meeting Fellow Blogger Friend "Odat" in New York

Last week while in New York I squeezed in some personal time to meet a fellow Blogger friend for lunch. Some of you may know "Odat" as she is known from her Odat's Mumbling blog. (We're also friends on Facebook, where she reveals her real name, but here in the Blogger world, I'll just call her Odat). We first spoke via telephone a few months ago, to share a few tips before her cruise to Greece. I had just returned from my Aegean Sea cruise, so it was still fresh in my mind. I was staying in mid-town Manhattan and Odat traveled in from another part of the city, so I am appreciative for her efforts. We had a nice lunch at the Waldorf and had an easy time talking; in fact I felt as though I had known her much longer. But then again, that's the way it is in the Blogger world. We feel as though we get to know each other because we follow someone's life and times on their blog. Anyway it was a special treat for me, and I'm grateful that we had the opportunity to meet.
-Rick Rockhill

Friday, February 19, 2010

Food For Thought With Dear Friends

Enjoying a good meal with friends is one of my favorite hobbies. I'm especially fortunate to have some dear friends who share my passion for food. I generally like most types of cuisine, although I readily admit I am somewhat of a traditionalist- French, Italian, Chinese & "California-cuisine" (whatever that is) are among my favorites. Whether dining out or cooking at home, sharing a meal together is a wonderful experience. In this photo above, I enjoyed a meal with some dear friends at Chef Lidia Bastianich's Becco in New York. According to their website, the name Becco is from the Italian verb "beccare", which means to "peck, nibble or savor something in a discriminating way". The restaurant was very understated, but the food was delicious and the servers were very friendly.

above: look at this incredible Pork Chop. Wow.

above: Fresh pasta with shaved Truffles, and a truffle oil sauce. It was life-changing good food.

above: A really nice serving of veal parmagiana.
A few other fun dining experiences this past week...


above: Chefs at the Waldorf bring more desserts to the buffet table

above: this buffet included a wonderful chocolate fountain. I really need one of those at home.

above: fresh made crepes, cupcakes, strawberries and a piece of pound cake dipped in chocolate!

above: more little pastries from the buffet...and some fresh berries, for something healthy!

above: the dining room at Le Perigord, a wonderful French restaurant in New York.

above: an incredible Boeuf Bourguignon, a wonderful French Beef stew of sorts.

above: Le Perigord's fabulous chocolate souffle, with creme anglaise.

above: "Floating Islands", which are Meringue floating in a pool of Creme Anglaise. Oh My Gosh so good.

above: And finally, a slice of heaven. I mean five-layer chocolate cake. Such wonderful creations. I should have been a chef instead of a pet food guru.
-Rick Rockhill

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Westminster Dog Show 2010

For the past few days I've been attending and participating in the events around the Westminster Dog Show. I've been a regular here for a number of years and just love being around all these terrific dogs. The show itself was broadcast live on the USA network Monday and Tuesday nights, for the Best in Group judging, with the Best in Show as the big finale on the second night's broadcast. What you don't see on TV is all the individual Best in Breed judging that takes place during the daytime. There, in Madison Square Garden are the champion show dogs within each breed standing around waiting for their moment to strut their stuff. It's actually pretty cool to walk around and spend time with the various breeds and watching their personalities.

above: Madison Square Garden is where all the action takes place!

above: I took this close up photo from the jumbo-tron of the Yorkie, she was cute.

above: here is "Walker" the toy poodle who won Best In Group for Toy dogs.

above: within the Non-Sporting Group, both the Miniature and Standard poodles were in competition, but did not take the Best in Group.

above: on the second night, an aerial view of the final round of judging for Best in Show. These are the seven best in group dogs lined up for the final moment...

above: the lights in the garden were dimmed for the dramatic moment. Spot lights swirled around the show floor as the announcer's voice boomed....

above: Sadie the Scottish Terrier who won Best In Show. She was favored to win from the start. Sadie not only won the Westminster top award, she also racked up Best in Show at the National Dog Show back in November and the AKC/Eukanuba Championship in December, making her a Triple Crown Winner!
I met her owners and handlers at the Show Dogs Awards the Saturday prior. Sadie is a really sweet dog, she looked so happy when the realized she had been picked! It was another great Westminster Show, I'm glad I was here to experience it once again.
-Rick Rockhill

Disclaimers...

This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients or business colleagues.