Tag Archives: creativity

Meet Second Time Performer, Krista Knott

Krista Knott
Krista Knott

Southern California native, Krista Knott is putting her feet on the Expressing Motherhood stage for the second time in our next show, opening May 10th. Krista had heard about the show originally through a friend and decided to submit when the next round opened. She performed in Burbank, having only to walk down the street from her house to the theatre.

She is a free lance writer who works from home and says she is up late most nights. Her “day job” is mom. Her “paying job” is as the Managing Editor for The Bright Side Project, although if she could stay home and eat bon bons and watch soaps, it would actually be “a marathon of The Walking Dead and a bucket of high quality chocolate bars.”

When I asked her about her first time on the EM stage, she said “the first time I performed was a bit of a game changer for me. I spent years as a struggling actress/unpublished writer and to take these two aspects of myself (coupled with the inextricable role of mother) and mash them together helped me work from feeling like I somehow failed in my past life since I didn’t “accomplish” anything before having kids to reconciling that I am exactly where I need to be. And that I am worthy.”

Krista, Bryan, Finn & Dash
Krista, Bryan, Finn & Dash

Krista and her fiance Bryan have been together since 2006 and have two children, Finn (5) and Dash (1 1/2). She also has a 13 year old step-son who lives out of state but spends the summers with them here in SoCal. “His sister has full blown hero worship and his visits here even trump the excitement of Disneyland.”

Krista and Bryan have been engaged since 2010 and are pleased to announce they will be getting married on May 20th….the day after Expressing Motherhood closes in Los Angeles!

“We finally realized that, with two kids, we were never going to be able justify spending money on a wedding so we are taking our parents and heading to the courthouse on our 7 year anniversary. Our five year old daughter is, by far, the most excited about this. She is obsessed with brides and grooms and can’t wait to wear her own fancy dress.”

Krista says she walked away from her first performance in EM with confidence, friendship, camaraderie and validation. “I realized it was much easier to perform as an actress because I wasn’t having to completely be myself, you know? To stand up on a stage and tell my own stories, in my own words, was absolutely terrifying. And honestly the most liberating experience I’ve ever had.”

Handmade with Love
Handmade with Love

We’re so happy Krista is going to be back on stage at The Lillian in May.

She says “this time is a little scary for me because I’m sharing something personal, something with weight. And that’s exactly why I am doing it. I believe in sharing our scary truths. I’m just a little shaky about doing it while standing in front of a group of people and not from behind the safety of a keyboard…

…I’m looking forward to looking my fear in the eye and doing it anyway.”

The Burbank Fall 2012 Cast
The Burbank Fall 2012 Cast

Two Time Performer, Sarah Maizes, Has My Children Obsessed

Sarah and her children
Sarah and her children

Sarah Maizes is a two time performer in Expressing Motherhood. She’s the mother of three, a writer, performer and now children’s book author. Last year, Sarah offered to give us a copy of one of her recently published books for giveaway in Expressing Motherhood.

She sent me two copies….so, naturally, I kept one for myself. That’s natural, right?

On My Way To The Bath is a very fun book indeed. I would venture to say that the hilarious antics of the child in the book can hit close to home for most of us when attempting to give a child a bath or anything else, really.



Sarah has had great success with this book, and I can see why. My children have been obsessed with it for weeks. We read it over and over and over, in the same night.





What has been saving us (Or me) from the redundancy of reading the same book over and over again is my 5 year old son. First of all, he can read, so we take turns being the child and the mom in the book…and we get animated…we don’t just read the book, we perform the book for each other. It’s a lot of fun!

My son’s obsession is performing this book for us.




Last night, however, my son read the entire book to us on his own before bed.

Those are truly spectacular moments.

OdysseyO And The Visionary Behind It

I love Burbank….most anyone who knows me, knows this fact about me.

I love The Valley…whew.. There, I said it out loud. I love The Valley.

Ok, now, that that’s out of the way, I want to tell you something about Burbank. The skyline of the city is changing this week. The show, Cavalia is back with a new performance called OdysseyO and by Monday afternoon, the 110 foot, 10 story White Big Top will be up and ready for their opening night, Wednesday February 27th.

logo_odysseo_couleurOdysseyO is a show…an amazing show, featuring the connection between horse and man, envisioned by one of the creators of Cirque Du Soleil, Normand Latourelle.

This week, Mr. Latourelle gave me 30 minutes of his time to ask him anything I wanted.

Normand Latourelle



So, I looked at all of the press materials for the show and decided I didn’t want to ask him about the details of the show that were all laid out before me. I could read that information anywhere.

I wanted to know about creativity. His inspiration and how it works for him.

Grand Cavalia

Mr. Latourelle is from Montreal, Quebec and is a visionary leader in the performing arts world in Canada, wrangling up many accomplished accolades. As I mentioned before, he actually helped CREATE Cirque Du Soleil. Even if you’ve never seen a Cirque show, I’m just going to assume you know the awesomeness that I’m talking about.

I asked him where his inspiration comes from and he said “I don’t know. I just get an idea and I do it.” He explained that most of his ideas come while he’s sleeping, kind of like dreams, but somewhere between sleeping and waking.

He explained “When an idea comes back to me over and over, I know I have to do it.”

I get that. I suppose what makes the difference between staying a dreamer and becoming a visionary is acting on those ideas and not letting them stay dreams.

Les voyageurs III

Let me tell you about OdysseyO for a minute and you can see where the dreamer becomes a visionary:

“OdysseyO will take the audience around the word as 67 horses and an international cast of 45 artists play and demonstrate their intimate bond. The 15,000 square foot stage features a real carousel and an 80,000 gallon lake in front of a stunning video

backdrop the size of 3 IMAX screens.”

“It’s an Odyssey—you’re going to travel throughout the world.” he stated as he explained all of the places you’ll travel in the duration of the show. “(You can have)..nice discussion with the kids after… Where have we been?”
Visionary indeed.

The last time Cavalia was in Los Angeles was in 2010 and he says, “This one is more accomplished. I had the experience of the first one. I’ve created a bigger stage and more sophisticated technical grid that allowed us to do more. We have gone as far as a touring show can go.”

A bigger stage indeed. The main tent is twice the size of the last one we saw here in the same location. The infrastructure is capable of supporting 80 tons, including that full sized merry-go-round as its lowered to the stage during the show.

The Tribe

“We have a real forest…the stage gets filled with water. We’re not Universal Studios, but its pretty close.” he said chuckling.

When I was asking him about what he’s most proud of in his life, he immediately said his family. Nothing compares to that and as a matter of fact he left Cirque Du Soleil to stay home and help raise his two boys, fully “understanding how important that was.”

Another thing Mr. Latourelle said struck me, something else he’s proud of…
“(It makes me proud) to see how many people are making their life out of my idea…my small ideas and they get good life.”

I love it.

This quite brilliant man said one more thing to me before our conversation was over..quite possibly a new motto I may just have to remind myself of over and over,

“Nothing is more satisfying than bringing happiness to this planet, that’s what creation is all about. If you’ve got something to give…give it.”

Amen to that.


OdysseyO opens Wednesday, February 27th in Downtown Burbank. For all details and how to purchase tickets, visit www.Cavalia.net

Courageous Women

I am always personally drawn to the stories of tragedy and triumph in our Expressing Motherhood shows. I suppose I feel connected to them, in a way. We have had so many women share such deep, emotional and often times very raw pieces on stage, I’m left with them for weeks…with a literal feeling of exhaustion…experiencing them over and over through our many shows. I can hardly imagine how our performers feel when sharing these same stories night after night. (Look up Courage in the dictionary and you’ll find any of our performers listed there.)

Kim Hamer shared with us her experience of losing her husband to cancer while leading her three young children through it. She performed her piece perfectly on stage and lived the emotions all over again after stepping off stage.

Kim Hamer

Andrea Meyer read to us her experience through a somewhat late term miscarriage. Andrea is so gifted with her words, her pain felt like your pain…as if you were actually going through this yourself.

Andrea Meyer

Angela Alexander lost two children in a car accident…while she was out of the country on active duty in the military. She turned her tragedy into a ministry and is inspiring many, many other people to keep putting one foot in front of the other when all seems hopeless.

Angela Alexander

Mona King not only has sung about the craziness of driving a mini-van and leading a life of a marriage and three children, she sang a song during one run of our show about raising a child with severe disabilities. You would have to be inhuman to not feel the insane love she has for that child.

Mona King

Anissa Mayhew wrote a letter to two of her three children apologizing to them about the attention her third one got so often due to that child’s cancer. Anissa suffered a stroke shortly before our show and was unable to fly to Los Angeles to perform. I had the privilege of reading her letter onstage. Anissa is as strong as she is hilarious.

“Team Anissa.” They traveled to LA for the show.

And don’t forget Dana Bell….

Dana Bell

These mothers and so many more I’ve been blessed to meet through Expressing Motherhood, are amazing testimonies to strong, courageous, women.

There is one woman, however, that holds a story that I will truly never forget.

That story belongs to Beth Littleford.

Beth is a two time performer in EM. The first time she stood on our stage, she shared a little piece she called “Letter To My Son’s Future Therapist.” It was as funny as it sounds…but with a serious subject behind it…Postpartum Depression.

Beth and I after our closing night in her first EM show.

It was during that show Beth and I talked a lot back stage. We talked about grief, really. My own mothers death was not too far behind me at that point. She said she knew grief very well, but couldn’t talk about it…not because she didn’t want to but because she couldn’t.

When she came back to perform in the show again..she had found the courage, through healing, to talk about it. Beth lost her father and 12 year old younger brother in a terrible accident while the two of them were off to Alaska on an outdoors trip. Beth recalled detailed memories of the last few times she talked with her brother. At that point, her own son was approaching her brothers age when he died and the conflict of joy and sorrow was still overwhelming.

Beth was dealing with the grief as part a healing process. She was moving forward, sharing and indeed, healing. This is part of the reason why she decided to talk about it on our stage. And we are so glad she did.

I get it. The “sharing in order to heal” part of it.

There are so very many sides to all of the shows we’ve had to pleasure to put up. They are always filled with so many different women with hilarious stories of motherhood that have you rolling in the aisles to somber, humbling experiences like the ones above.

No matter which ones I’m identifying with at the time, I’m always glad we’re Expressing Motherhood.

Expressing Motherhood……The Reviews Are In!

Posted by  Co-creator, Jessica Cribbs

Well, another run is over.

But not without AMAZING things being said about it!

Our Fall 2012 Cast

“One of the most entertaining poinegnt evenings I’ve had in a long time. The stories made me feel like I’m not alone in my odd world of motherhood.”
– Nicole Sullivan, MADTv, Cougar Town

“I saw this production last night. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to share my story too. Thanks, ladies. You are beautiful women and moms.”
– Louise Post, Audience Member

“I LOVED IT. It felt like a delicious gift. Best evening in ages.”
– Gayle Cole, Audience Member

”Please don’t ever stop doing this. I always take away so much from your show. Thank you for putting so much time in to it!”
– Jennifer Lindman Lovold, Audience Member

“I loved this show. I laughed out loud. I openly cried… The women reminded me of everything that I had feared about becoming a mother….I felt it. The camaraderie of motherhood. The camaraderie of women.”
-Tommie Vaughn, TheWallsOfTom.com

Great job ladies. I’m sad to see this run end, but completely satisfied in the content shared and the bonds created. Bravo!

Gutzy Gear…and other giveaways!

Posted by Co-Creator & Producer, Jessica Cribbs

My daughter joined Girl Scouts about a year ago. Girl Scouts is great..she’s graduated from a Daisy to a Brownie and Girl Scouts is great…no, really. I adore this organization.

Ok, except for maybe the patch thing.

She started earning patches left and right and I was ironing them all on….because I think all patches should be IRON ON….so I was making it work.

One of the scout leaders commented to me… “They may fall off eventually…you’ll have to sew them.”

“Oh no I wont”, I would think, as I nodded in agreement with them. Oh No I Wont…..willing those patches never to move, or so help me I’d iron them back on with a round of heat nothing would survive.

But when the patches started peeling off one at a time, the brand new sewing machine I had purchased at Target seven years ago…started screaming at me. From the closet, I could hear it.

I had bought it on sale nearly a decade ago. It had been sitting unopened in a box for SEVEN years, for one very good reason…I had no clue how to use it. So, I finally sucked it up and asked one of my dear friends who sews to come show me how to use a sewing machine. We stayed up until midnight sewing on that machine, and I loved every minute of it. Of course I went sewing crazy for the next month and made pillowcases and bags…sewed on my daughters friends Girl Scout patches…and then I was over it.

So, imagine my absolute delight when I was in New York this summer at BlogHer and came face to face with a product for my children that solely consist of patches. And they are NOT sew on. Actually, they aren’t even iron on.
They use velcro. The kind of velcro that doesn’t budge…unless you really want it to.
I was sold. It was attractive, the patches were super fun and creative and as a mom, I did not have to get that machine out of my closet…where it should stay pending an emergency case of hemming.

My babes decked out in Gutzy Gear on the first day of school.

The product is called Gutzy Gear. And I’m in love. Handing out sample products to BlogHer attendees this past summer (Which are now proudly sported on both my sons’ and daughters’ backpacks) was Lauren Bass, one of the creators of Gutzy Gear and her mother.

Lauren doesn’t even look old enough to have kids! She’s young, energetic and an obvious go-getter. I’d say they are having great success as Lauren and her partner in this product, Wendy Koolik, are watching Gutzy Gear take off. I was seriously impressed and my kids loved the Gutzy Gear patches I came home with.

I emailed Gutzy Gear when getting ready for this Expressing Motherhood show, which opens tomorrow night in Burbank. I asked them if they would be interested in sharing their product with our theatre goers. It took them no time at all to oblige and I’m happy to say that every ticket holder tomorrow night, opening night, will receive a full set of Gutzy Gear!

Gear at my house ready for our opening night patrons!

The best part of this business, I think, are the creators behind it. Isn’t that always the case? Lauren Bass and Wendy Koolik are cousins who developed Gutzy Gear after discovering their grandmother’s old golf sweater full of patches. Every patch represented a golf course she had visited in her life.

I had the chance to chat with these two lovely ladies this morning and I am thoroughly impressed with their work ethic. Wendy and Lauren knew they wanted to start a business together and literally “took a walk until they figured it out.”

They are both mothers and made sure they did everything “on their own time….when kids were in school and before they woke up”
Lauren says, “when the baby goes to bed, I go to work.” “We couldn’t have imagined what has happened to us.” she continued.

They have been creating Gutzy Gear since 2008 and even Wendy says “I’m in shock we did this.” She went on to share with me that there were “100 times when we wanted to give up, but having a partner was key. She keeps me accountable” and ultimately, they “had a desire to keep it going.”

Co-creators of Gutzy Gear, Wendy Koolik (Left) and Lauren Bass (Right)

These creative moms started Gutzy Gear to help kids express themselves and spruce up their personal belongings with patches…..that DO NOT NEED TO BE IRONED ON! Seriously, can you hear my excitement over that….hey Girl Scouts..did you hear that?!

The thought never crossed their minds that they would be labeled a “Back To School” brand, but that seems to be the unexpected case. Wendy and Lauren are developing a lifestyle brand with Gutzy Gear and you can expect to see more than just backpack straps very soon. 

The fun thing about these patches is that you can change them out any time and kids can trade them. Their product was picked up in national stores in August of 2011 and the sky is the limit, really.

I am so happy to be able to share this product with you. My kids are loving them and I have no doubt yours will too.

Never underestimate what women can do….especially family.

Opening night is just about sold out…if not already sold out. But we have 7 more shows after that and we have great things to giveaway to our audience at every show. Gutzy Gear isn’t the only business sharing their love with our audience over the next two weekends. You can see here, what we’ve got scheduled! Included in your ticket price is a raffle ticket to win any of these items listed below, depending on the night you choose to attend!

Hope to see you in the next two weekends!

Friday, September 28th
$100 Gift Certificate to Unique Vintage
$40 Gift Certificate to MindfulNest
Gutzy Gear product for every ticket holder

Saturday, September 29th
Facial donated by Skincare By Andrea..value of $120
Copy of Healing Hearts by former EM cast member, Dr. Kathy E. Magliato

Sunday, September 30th, 2:30pm Matinee
Gift Certificate from LaLaLand Indoor PlayLand in Burbank
Sleep Sack donated by Baby Dee Dee
Copy of Healing Hearts by former EM cast member, Dr. Kathy E. Magliato

Sunday, September 30th, 7pm Show
Rose Run Gift Basket
Quizno’s Coupons
Sleep Sack donated by Baby Dee Dee
Copy of Healing Hearts by former EM cast member, Dr. Kathy E. Magliato

Friday, October 5th
Porto’s Night – Every ticket holder will enjoy food from Porto’s!

Saturday, October 6th
$50 Gift Certificate to Bellies, Babies & Bosoms
Signed copy of “On My Way To The Bath” by Sarah Maizes (former EM Castmember)

Sunday, October 7th 2:30pm Matinee & 7pm Show
Chocolate Tastings provided by Johnnie Kent of Dove Specialties
Including..chocolate martinis, fondue, truffle fudge brownies & more!
She will also be raffling off a home chocolate party!

Reflection on a conversation with Candace Cameron-Bure

Posted by co-creator Jessica Cribbs

I was fortunate enough to have the chance to meet and talk a bit with Candace Cameron-Bure. Can I just tell you how stunning this woman is in real life?! She was beautiful and obviously takes good care of herself.
That’s beside the point….you can read my post here on my personal blog about our conversation.

Thank you Lisa Robertson of BabesInDisneyland.com for taking this photo!

Surely not the craziest idea I’ve ever had…

Posted by co-creator Jessica Cribbs

Life is busy. Very, very busy. So, when an idea came to my head prior to the start of the school year, I thought I was crazy. Very, very crazy.

No Television.

Even typing that makes me fearful that my world will explode.

I love television. Always have. Always will.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was surrounded by moms who said things like  “I’m not going to let my child watch television until they’re 2.” And even then, I knew mothers who weren’t letting their children watch T.V. at 5. And it’s ALL FINE…I am not judging.
I just knew this would not be the kind of mother I was. I just don’t see what’s wrong with programming, when supervised on content and time.


Ok, so now I have children in school…2 out of 3 are gone all day working hard and coming home to do the rat race of homework, dinner and bedtime. Last year and this summer felt so darn busy and hectic to me that when I had this idea of eliminating television (only during the school week), I really had no reservations about it…well, unless you count me freaking out about how I’m going to keep kids occupied while making dinner or keeping the little one busy so I can do homework with the older two. I was sure this was going to be more painful for me than them.

But, I talked to my husband and it was settled. No television during the school week.

So, I let the kids in on it.

And they were just fine. They whined for 3.45 seconds and moved on.

They are genuinely playing, and getting along better…not that it should surprise me.

School started August 21st…we are now going on week 4 of school and we have not once turned on the television during the week. Before or after school. The world did not explode, the homework is getting done and bedtime is approached with a little more organization.

Courtney in protest. She’s at my feet while I make dinner. Not wanting to play.
Barbie is the central figure of playtime, almost always.

The kids fight just a little bit when trying to settle in to play together or figure out what they’re going to do to occupy their time while I’m busy or with another child.
But they are doing it.

And here is the real kicker. They have not once…NOT ONCE…asked me to watch television.
Either they don’t really care as much as I thought they did or they are so fearful of me, the torture of no television would still be easier than the wrath of mom coming unglued.
Either way, we are all just fine with it…but you bet your bottom dollar, I am…I mean we are geeked for Friday nights.

Creativity…on hold….on purpose?

I have talked to  many moms over the years as I’ve been putting on Expressing Motherhood who tell me they just can only give so much time right now to their creative endeavors. They are currently finding that they want to give more time to their kids. A lot of these moms are smart and have promising projects they are working on but find the call of motherhood  beckons them.

I find that I vacillate like that as well.

A lot of time I fill my well with creativity and then I need to step back and focus on my family. It’s such a fine balance. This show brings me immense joy because it allows me that. But once again I feel like I need to focus on mis ninos.

How about you?

Hey at least I feel like a tortured artist, right? 😉

I love this song “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae and have played it at our show before. Because mamas, we are really walking on that aren’t we?  What a cool video to boot, I hadn’t watched it until now. Listening to music after the kids have gone to sleep always re-connects me to my creative  self.