How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” —Thomas Merton

    • • Host of Express Yourself! and uber volunteer, Brigitte Jia, was selected to play in an orchestra at Carnegie Hall. How did she get there? Yes, it is the old saying, “Practice, practice, practice,” Tune in to find out about art, ideas, and more. What is art? Do you think of paintings, sculptures, animation, or museums? What about music, dance, acting, cooking, voice, gardening, speaking, writing, or martial arts?  Culinary arts and performing arts are definitely forms of art. Hosts Brigitte Jia and Joven Hundal notice the small things influence what we all consider as art. Brigitte also reads from her chapter, The Gift of Art, from the forthcoming book, Be the Star You Are!® for Boomers and Millennials.  Joven finds that history and art are connected.  Brigitte recounts her phenomenal and unique experiences playing violin with Davies Symphony, touring in the UK and Chicago, playing alongside Ariel Horowitz and Amos Yang, recording for Torchlight, playing at Carnegie Hall, and more exciting artistic adventures.

Appreciate art for what it is: creativity, skill, and expression.  Yes, Express Yourself!

Read more about host Brigitte Jia performing at Carnegie Hall: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1126/Local-students-perform-at-Carnegie-Hall.html

Listen at Voice America Network: https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/105433/the-gift-of-art

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Listen to all broadcasts at ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/express-yourself!/id481894121?mt=2

Express Yourself! Teen Radio is produced by Cynthia Brian of Starstyle Productions, llc as an outreach program of Be the Star You Are! charity. To make a tax-deductible donation to keep this positive youth programming broadcasting weekly to international audiences, visit http://www.bethestaryouare.org. Dare to care!

For all the latest news on what teens are talking about on Express Yourself! Teen Radio embed this code into your blogs and web sites http://www.voiceamerica.com/jwplayer/HostPlayer.html?showid=2014

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As award season winds down, everyone won

As award season winds down, everyone wonders who is making the big or little bucks in Hollywood. Find out with The Business of Show Business as Cynthia Brian and guest Heather Brittany dissect the Oscars. http://ow.ly/Vv8O30ixAol
LIVE 4-5pm PT on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are! http://ow.ly/i/D4p79 http://ow.ly/i/D4p9F http://ow.ly/i/D4pbm

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And the Winner Is…

“People are always in good company when they are doing what they really enjoy.”

~Samuel Butler

In the first three months of the year, we get to be bystanders at numerous red carpet events!  Hello awards season!  The Golden Globes, People’s Choice, Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Grammy’s, and the Oscars are all highlights. Add the Olympics to this year’s line-up and we have a full roster of gold, silver, and bronze. Over the years I’ve been privileged to enjoy my share of walking the red carpet in the entertainment industry and in the plant world, we have our winners, too.

The Perennial Plant Association Plant awarded Allium Millenium the plant of the year. It boasts glossy green leaves with a profusion of large, rosy-purple clusters of flowers that bloom in mid-summer. As a butterfly magnet, alliums are beautiful as well as being deer and rabbit resistant. The Perennial Plant of the Year program showcases outstanding perennials that grow in a variety of climates, are disease free, and are low maintenance.  A few of the past winners over the years have included lavender, which deer and rabbits won’t eat as well as Dianthus, Phlox, Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Echinacea, Salvia, Catmint, Sage, and Coreopsis.

The National Garden Bureau also designates award winners annually. For 2018, the winning bulb is the Tulip, the vegetable is the Beet, the perennial is the Coreopsis, and the star of containers and hanging baskets is the Calibrachoa.

With the unusually warm weather we’ve experienced this February, gardens have exploded into blooms more than a month earlier than in previous years. With the slightest breeze, the sky rains white petals from pear and plum trees while hillsides and paths are lined with dancing daffodils.

The vivid, paint-box colors of tulips are filling our souls with joy. Part of the lily family and relatives of alliums, tulips comprises 150 species with over 3,000 varieties. Although we plant them in fall after four to six weeks of cooling for spring sprouting, they can be forced to bloom in winter. People often ask me why tulip bulbs need to be refrigerated before planting. The answer is that in their native habitats where winters are colder, they would go dormant allowing for the bulbs to sprout roots while the development of the embryonic leaves and flowers inside the bulb occur. I lived in Holland for eighteen months where “tulpen” were the pride of every household, even tough tulips originated in Asia. Did you know that the Netherlands produce most of the world’s annual tulip crop exceeding four billion bulbs annually?  Tulip mania  (tulpenmanie) reached its crescendo in 1637 when the bubble collapsed, and overnight, many rich traders became paupers. One bulb could buy a house on the Amsterdam canal. Folly! According to the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center, the United States is the biggest importer of Dutch bulbs to the tune of $130,000,000 in wholesale prices annually. The colors of the tulip have significant meaning: red equals love, purple represents loyalty, and white whispers, “I’m sorry!”

The winning edible of the year is the beet and I am so thrilled as this is probably my favorite of all of the root vegetables. I planted my seeds directly in the soil last spring and am still harvesting. When I thin, I eat the seedlings. Beets like acidic soil and they withstand cooler temperatures before harvest. Colors are typically red, purple, yellow, or red with white ring stripes. They are consumed in salads, soups, and pickled.  Rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, folic acid, and phosphorus, high in fiber, vitamin A and C, beets have more iron than most other vegetables. The red color comes from the antioxidant betalain, an excellent source of color pigment for natural dyes and coloring agents.

The beauty, resilience, and popularity of Coreopsis was a natural fit for the National Garden Bureau to add this glorious flower to its red carpet line-up.  In the language of flowers, Coreopsis means “always cheerful,” and these delightful natives of the Americas live up to this designation. Equally, at home in naturalized prairie settings or manicured landscapes, Coreopsis provides a lovely sunny presence wherever they make their home. Although typically seen in colors of yellow and gold, many species also contain red, bronze and burgundy colors and have been commonly used as dyes in native fabrics. Before the introduction of coffee to America, Native Americans boiled the flowers into a warming tea.

The newest star in the garden line up is Calibrachoa, with its twenty-eight different varieties. A relative of the petunia, (although now recognized as it’s own genus) Calibrachoa hit the marketplace arriving from Brazil via Japan via Europe in the 1980’s but were considered difficult to cultivate. They are beautiful plants that do well in containers and hanging baskets and this specialized treatment has turned out to be their niche market. They aren’t really mini petunias, yet they are drought tolerant. Plant in well-drained acidic soil and provide six hours of direct sunlight per day. You will be rewarded with brilliant colors, fascinating streaks and stripes, eye-catching stars, and patterns that resemble the strokes of a brush. Your patio will be a floral artwork with Calibrachoa in the honored line-up.

With all of these award winners, my supreme favorite still lies with the exquisite lotus flowers that I enjoyed in Southeast Asia. The deep, rich colors, their versatile expressions, I am deeply, madly in love with lotus.  Alas, I can’t grow it here in my backyard pond.

Speaking of winners, gigantic congratulations to Sal and Susan Captain of Captain Vineyards for being honored as the Moraga Business Persons of the Year! I am personally thrilled to see two stewards of the earth, farmers, gardeners, wine makers, and all around great individuals inducted into this hall of fame. Bravo!

Savor a respite in your landscape for the next few weeks before I offer you a plethora of chores that need attention. Enjoy your own company.

Keep doing what you love and you’ll be a winner too. Roll out the red carpet for your favorite plants and get ready for a rowdy and rousing spring.

Happy Gardening and Happy Growing!

Read at Lamorinda Weekly: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1126/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-And-the-winner-is.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Her new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, is available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Available for hire.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Are you an artist? Do you like to create

Are you an artist? Do you like to create? Art is not just paintings and sculptures. Art encompasses acting, dancing, singing, cooking, music, and more. Hear teens Brigitte Jia and Joven Hundal express themselves on the topic. NOON PT Express Yourself! http://ow.ly/2LBd30ivY8d http://ow.ly/i/D24sK

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Spent the weekend in Moss Landing watchi

Spent the weekend in Moss Landing watching seals, sea lions, otters, riding horses, and reading a fabulous novel by J.Finn Wake called “Cry of the Seals”. If you love the ocean, buy a copy of this book. You won’t put it down until you’ve finished. http://ow.ly/KTan30iuTLX http://ow.ly/i/D0tWe http://ow.ly/i/D0tY2

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Jungle Fever

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.

~Source Unknown

Completely covered by tangles of roots and vines, it is only in recent years that many ancient grandiose brick and sandstone temples were re-discovered in Cambodia. These monumental structures, built on top of one another for over seven centuries as capitals of the Khmer Empire, have survived the passage of time. The jungle swallowed cities and palaces constructed of wood leaving only skeletal remains and inquisitive monkeys. The bustling, colorful life of the Angkor civilization was left to the imagination and research of historians, explorers, archaeologists, and me.

If you ever watched the 1991 film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, you glimpsed the unexcavated and un-restored temple of Ta Prohm completely reclaimed by the jungle. Immense trees grow like magic out of stonewalls and through roofs. Our guide told us that visitors were allowed to explore the ruins only in the past few years because this area was occupied by cobras, many as long as twenty feet. To deter these venomous serpents from continuing to nest here, lemon grass was planted, and it is keeping the poisonous snakes away.

Southeast Asia is uncomfortably hot and humid. The jungles are wild and untamed. The flora is bright, beautiful, and bizarre.  Palm, coconut, banana, mango, papaya, jackfruit, passion fruit, and breadfruit plantations fill the landscape alongside the never-ending fields of rice. Most villagers don’t have running water or indoor plumbing, the banana groves serve as their toilets.  Nothing is wasted. Every part of a plant is used for food, shelter, fire, clothing, furniture, and other life necessities.

Both in Vietnam and Cambodia, water lilies and lotus flowers grow magnificently in the waterways. Although the two are often confused, water lilies have pads and flowers that float on the surface of the water while the lotus flowers and leaves rise a foot to several feet above water. The various colors of the lotus flower retell tales culturally revered. Because lotus flowers grow in murky water, an unfurled white lotus refers to purity of body, mind, and spirit. A red lotus boasts of love and compassion. The favorite pink lotus tells the story of Buddha and the many legends surrounding him. Purple represents mysticism, royality, and spirituality.  Lotus flowers are gathered and made into spectacular art pieces delivering the spirit of enlightenment and good fortune to those who embrace their grace and beauty.

Betel leaves and the areca nut are important symbols of love and marriage in Vietnam.  A groom’s parents will begin the conversation with the potential bride’s parents by offering areca nut chewing. In Vietnamese weddings the leaves and juices are used in the ceremony. Betelnut is a stimulant and mind-altering substance. It is also known as “the scourge of Asia” because it causes oral cancer.

Rich in protein, calcium, potassium, iron, and other nutrients, the leathery, prickly Jackfruit is considered to be a miracle food with the potential to supply an entire family a complete meal. Grown in every garden, mangoes are a main staple of daily diets, considered one of the most important fruits for improved wellness. They are low in calories, filled with vitamin C, A, B6, and beta-carotene, important elements to fighting cancer, regulating diabetes, aiding in better eye sight, digestion, and clear skin.

Golden Shower trees were laden with buttery yellow flowers bringing light and cheerfulness to pathways, hills, and cemeteries. One of the most beautiful, yet prickly plants I witnessed was the Crown of Thorns, an evergreen cactus (Euphorbia Milii) that blooms year round in hot and sunny locations. It requires very little water, has spectacular scarlet, pink, yellow, white, or salmon colored bracts, grows to three feet or more, and is covered in one-inch spiky thorns. We can grow it outdoors or as a houseplant, however, as gorgeous as it is, definitely keep it away from children.

In the Mekong Delta, floating villages and traditional houses on stilts line the banks with residents laboring and living the way they have for centuries, harvesting what the great waters provide to survive and earn a living. Baskets and mats are created from river reeds and water hyacinth, ancient boats advertise their crops for sale with the fruit or vegetable speared on top of a high pole, floating fish farms supply fresh seafood while floating markets sell just picked produce. Sampans are made by hand from felled “Sao” wood, a very water resistant variety of oak.

Discovering the smiling, resilient people and the tranquil lush landscapes untouched by the hands of humans in Southeast Asia, inspired me to pause, breathe deeply, and appreciate this wild, environment once a hotbed of warfare and genocide. Without interruptions from phones and internet, I calmly disconnected from “civilized” chaos to welcome the wonders of essential nature. Spending time meditating in solitude and having a water blessing by monks awakened my sense of gratitude for the gardens of life.

Although I never encountered a tiger, I was consumed by jungle fever.

Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for February

The hills are beginning to turn green, the narcissi and camellias are in full bloom, and daffodils are budding. Trees of magnolia and pear are blossoming with bees busily buzzing. Winter is waning. Here are a few things to check off your garden to-do list.

  • ⎫ GATHER up all fallen camellia blossoms to prevent disease in your soil.
  • ⎫ FORCE bulbs of amaryllis or lily of the valley by adding water to a jar with the bulbs and placing near a sunny window.
  • ⎫ PLACE a stem of Daphne by your bedside to sweeten your dreams.
  • ⎫ Add ferns, hostas, and caladiums to a shady spot as companion fillers.
  • ⎫ APPLY final application of dormant spray to fruit trees.
  • ⎫ PLANT anemone, ranunculus, and freesia for late spring blooming. If you already have freesia growing, blooms will appear in late February.
  • ⎫ BUY copies of my newest garden book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, from www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store for best prices and loads of extra freebies. now what to do in your garden every month! Contact me for fees and scheduling to come speak at your event. Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com
  • ⎫ SHARPEN tools for spring spading.
  • ⎫ BRING the jungle flavor indoors by purchasing cymbidiums with several spikes of flowers.
  • ⎫ GIVE yourself some moments of silence. Use your outdoors as your contemplation and meditation room.
  • ⎫ REMEMBER Valentine’s Days with a potted plant or beautiful bouquet for your sweetie.

Happy Love Day! Happy Gardening! Happy Growing!

Read more at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1125/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-Jungle-fever.html

See PRESS PASS for more photos: https://vapresspass.com/2018/02/15/jungle-fever/

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Her new book, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, is available at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store

Available for hire.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Love, kindness, & special Valentine’s t

Love, kindness, & special Valentine’s treats today LIVE at 4pmPT with best selling author & renowned physician, Dr. Bernie Siegel. Bernie joins Cynthia Brian to discuss Love, Animals & Miracles: Inspiring True Stories Celebrating the Healing Bond. TUNE IN! http://ow.ly/sLBJ30ipnAl http://ow.ly/i/CSFLO http://ow.ly/i/CSFND http://ow.ly/i/CSFOG

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