Robin Williams, Smile, Mother Teresa’s Kindness, Internet Over Share

Welcome to Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® with your hosts Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany on the Voice America Empowerment Channel.  Our goal is to seed, stimulate, and support space for positive, meaningful conversations that will get you talking around the dinner table.

The death of actor and comedian Robin Williams sent a shock wave throughout the world.  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany worked with him on Mrs. Doubtfire and Jack. Together they recall the joy and laughter he brought to everyone he met.

The 104th anniversary of Mother Teresa is August 26th. What acts of kindness are you performing on a daily basis?

Can your emotions secretly age you?  In Health Matters, Heather Brittany finds out how we can look and feel younger by adjusting our attitudes and facial language. Wear a smile!

When you post on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, are you over expressing? Cynthia Brian investigates how the internet contributes to the over sharing of personal information. 

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Congrats to everyone who volunteers and supports Be the Star You Are!®. BTSYA has been named a 2014 TOP NON PROFIT for the 6th straight year and is one of the first to be awarded this honor by Guidestar and Great Non Profits. Visit Read more:

The award winning positive talk radio program, StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® broadcasts on the Voice America Empowerment Channel LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5pm Pt/7-8pm ET.  Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany are the Mother/Daughter dynamic duo who have been co-hosting this program live weekly since 1998 bringing upbeat, life enhancing conversation to the world. With Cynthia’s expertise in interviewing the trailblazers, authors, and experts and Heather’s healthy living segments, these Goddess Gals are your personal growth coaches helping you to jumpstart your life while igniting your flame of greatness. 

Brought to the airwaves under the auspices of the literacy and positive media charity, Be the Star You Are!®, ( each program will pump your energy to help you live, love, laugh, learn, and lead.

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Congratulations to Cynthia Brian and Heather Brittany for 12 years of weekly LIVE broadcasting of StarStyle®-Be the Star you Are!® on Voice America/World Talk Radio. Tune in Wednesdays 4-5pm PT/7-8pm ET. Archives, photos, descriptions and more are available at all times from The program is brought to the airwaves as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are!® charity. Lend us your ears!

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Save water & direct winter’s flow by bu

Save water & direct winter’s flow by building an arroyo seco. Digging Deep with Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener

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Energy with Author Tracy Clark & Singer Temara Melek

Express Yourself Teens 

With the on-air Be the Star You Are!® youth reporters.

Produced by Cynthia Brian

As Eleanor Roosevelt commented, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  We are positively or negatively affected by the people around us. It makes sense to choose our friends wisely so that we maintain a high energy level. Hosts Henna Hundal and Ryan Sim interview Social Responsibility reporter, Asya Gonzalez for a riveting report on the importance of upbeat, life affirming relationships. Recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work in Progress Grant and a two-time participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, author Tracy Clark unveils her mystical magical book, Scintillate. Dubbed the teen Katy Perry by the UK press, Temara Melek debuts her hit single and video, “Fingerprints” . Temara opened for Demi Lovato’s “Neon Lights Experience.” For a buoyant, empowering, optimistic, yes I can program, tune in to value your worth.

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Remembering Robin Williams, Mother Teres

Remembering Robin Williams, Mother Teresa, Emotional Aging, Internet Share LIVE 4-5pmPT on StarStyle

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Romancing the Stone

Digging Deep-Gardening with Cynthia Brian

By Cynthia Brian

“When all the water has gone, only the largest stones will still remain in the riverbed.” African

The lack of water wasn’t a major issue back in 1999 when I was cast as the wife of a star named “Steve” on the TV series, Nash Bridges. At our rehearsal, this big bear of man walked up to me and exclaimed, “So, you are my wife. Hi, I’m Stone Cold!” Not recognizing him and thinking he was toying with me, I retorted, “And, you are my husband. Hi, I’m Hot Rocks!”  His bewildered look told me that my introduction was confusing. Little did I realize that Stone Cold was his name in the ring and that “Steve” was champion Steve Austin, hailed as one of the biggest stars of the World Wrestling Federation. After our first pebble parlay, we got along famously and I joked with him that one day I’d write about our “rocky” beginning. 

Today, we are wrestling with the drought. There is not enough water to subsidize our landscapes and many people are wondering how we can win the fight to minimize our usage of H2O and still have an attractive garden. One solution is to romance the stone. I’m not talking about replacing your landscaping with the tacky white gravel of the 70’s, but instead installing an arroyo seco or dry creek which works not only as an alternative to a water feature, but becomes a useable water way when winter rains finally fall. Also called a rain garden, a dry brook will absorb and filter storm water preventing flooding, contamination, and soil erosion in winter while looking beautiful in the dry summer months.

Building a Dry Creek or Arroyo Seco.

To be effective, a completed arroyo seco needs to mimic a small flowing river so that it is not only esthetically pleasing but can structurally channel run off water to an area where you need it.  The finished goal is to have it look as natural as possible.  In nature, streams twist, turn, and curve, formed by a mixture of large river rocks, big boulders, smaller pebbles, driftwood, and plants.  

Before you begin, ask yourself a few questions:

Why do you want an arroyo seco?

What are your expectations for the results?

Where is the optimum location?

How long and how wide will it be?

Will it work with the overall style of your home and current landscaping?

Will it have to be engineered or is this a DIY project?

How much can you budget?

Steps for DIY

Building a dry creek is remarkably simple. You may need some help with labor and lifting, but the rest is a pleasurable do-it-yourself project.

  1. 1. Observe natural creeks or streams. Take lots of photos. You’ll notice that they don’t follow any pattern, but meander.
  2. 2. Begin and end in an area that could realistically be a creek bed.
  3. 3. Determine the size, making sure to make some areas are wider and that the flow is sloping downhill.
  4. 4. Remove any lawn and other vegetation. (Check with EBMUD if you are removing grass as you may qualify for a rebate by replacing your lawn with the new dry creek.)
  5. 5. Mark your design with landscape paint, flour, or spray paint.
  6. 6. Dig the creek bed twice as deep as it is wide. It’s easiest to shovel the dirt from the middle to build up the sides of the banks.
  7. 7. Tap the soil down firmly several times until it is solid.
  8. 8. Line the channel and sides with landscape clothe. You can purchase landscape cloth in rolls that are four feet by fifty feet for about $30.00 at hardware and garden centers. Attach the cloth to the dirt with inexpensive landscape pins, which cost about $6.00 a bag.
  9. 9. Cover the cloth with pea gravel and/or sand.  I use sand as a base, then gravel on top as it doesn’t wash away easily.
  10. 10. Visit a local quarry, masonry supplier, or landscape center that carries rocks and boulders to choose the various sizes to add to your creek. You will need to walk around and decide on the color and types of rocks you want. Again, think natural looking.
  11. 11. Order gravel, sand, rounded river rocks, lava rocks, and boulders for delivery. There is normally a delivery charge, but check around. 
  12. 12. Fill the channel and sides with the various sizes of rounded river rocks. Add a few boulders randomly throughout.
  13. 13. Finish the installation with the creek ending in a spillway of gravel and rocks that segue to your landscape naturally or if you have a pond, end your creek here.
  14. 14. Tuck reeds, grasses, bulbs, flowers into crevices on the topsides and add whatever other plants fit your design and color desires.
  15. 15. If appropriate, add a flagstone bridge, or large stepping stones to walk across the stream.
  16. 16. Solar lights are a terrific enhancement for nightscaping.


The plants you choose will depend on your sun and shade exposure, water needs, size of your creek, location, and landscape design. You can make your dry creek elegant, woodsy, wild, or a combination. Slip a fern between the rocks and allow for cascading blossoms from lobelia or lantana to soften the system.  Choose specimens of interest from this minimal selection.


Ornamental grasses



Wild Strawberry







Baby roses



Society Garlic

Trailing Rosemary

Shasta Daisy

Pussy Willow


Cat Tails

Mexican Bush Sage

Calla Lilies





Bleeding Heart

Lamb’s Ear

Sago Palm



Annuals (petunias, zinnia, cosmos, etc)

Trees that complement a dry creek may include willow, Japanese Maple, Birch, and Weeping Cherry. 

Fifty eight percent of California is now experiencing exceptional drought conditions considered by experts to be worse than the droughts of 1924 and 1977. If we have learned anything from our state history, it is that water is a precious commodity. By improving our water conservation, water use efficiency, and getting creative with our water recycling, landscaping, and runoff prevention techniques, we will be able to weather the storm. Installing an arroyo seco addresses many of these sustainable strategies while beautifying our environment. 

History repeated itself this month, inspiring me to write this article when I was cast in the earthquake film, San Andreas, with the second highest grossing actor in Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson, known as former pro wrestler in the WWF as The Rock. Stone Cold, The Rock…Mother Nature’s not so subtle hint that it is time to romance and rock it! 

Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!

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Cynthia Brian

StarStyle® Productions, llc

I am available as a speaker, designer, and consultant.  

Cynthia Brian, Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 literacy and positive media charity is also the producer and host of Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio heard live every Wednesday 4-5pm PT on the Voice America Network as well as creator/producer of the teen show, Express Yourself!™ broadcasting Tuesdays at NOON PT on voice America Kids. Visit for more information.

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Energy giver or taker? Author Tracy Clar

Energy giver or taker? Author Tracy Clark & singer Temara Melek shine with our Express Yourself Teens. Noon PT Listen

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Having a positive outlook is a powerful

Having a positive outlook is a powerful choice in success. Read Teen Scene to learn how teens embrace positivity.

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