Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I've finished a hat! (Or... a musical...)

"The Real Housekeepers of Studio City," a new musical comedy by Joe Green, Heidi Powers & Tom Moore, has been accepted to the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2013!

In a fantasy version of Studio City where all television characters live, a family's Craigslist ad draws famous maids from the sitcoms of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

Come watch your favorite maids sing and dance! We will be having a staged reading on March 24, so let me know if you're interested in watching and giving feedback. Our full production will have its world premiere at Theatre Asylum for three weeks in June - final dates and times to be announced soon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Time, time, time. See what's become of me...

I have SO MUCH I could talk about!  I could...

...give you the full run-down on my decision to go gluten-free for a six month trial, including the tribulations of gluten withdrawal, adventures in gluten-free shopping, and tales of a gluten-free kitchen.

...discus the challenges of exercising with an overflowing schedule, and my new favorite yoga moves for curvy bodies.

...share a bunch of crazy-tasty new recipes that we've been cooking so far in 2013.

...weigh in on weighing in while eating at a slightly higher calorie rate (12 pounds since January, at between 1450 and 1600 calories daily).

...talk about our wonderful trip to Joshua Tree with friends, and talk about the challenges of staying on plan when others are providing the meals (it's all about supplementing with your own healthy snacks so you're not starving come mealtime.) I could also share a whole slew of awesome pictures taken by my photographer friend Roger Fojas, but for now I'll just share one.

...give a sneak-peek of the upcoming Supper Club 600 we'll be hosting in the near-future!

But alas. I have been SO busy the last few weeks that I have zero time to blog. It's a good-busy, though. Exciting things are happening with our writing (and with our writing career!) Tom and I are in a whirlwind of creative projects, with some very fun announcements coming your way soon.

So for now, I have to blog a little less frequently than I'd like. I'll do my best to keep it up as much as possible, but it seems like every day there's new news for us on the writing front, and I have to budget my creative juices carefully.

In the meanwhile, here's a glimpse of the fun that's happening in the Moore-Powers kitchen. When we're not cooking up stories, we're cooking up a storm. This is my menu for today. Everything is homemade, gluten-free and adds up to a total of 1460 calories.

Fat-free greek yogurt with berries
An egg and an egg-white
"Carrot cake" oatmeal

Mexican veggie "lasagna"
Jicama citrus salad with chili-lime dressing

Tomato-basil salmon roulade
1 oz unripened brie
4 rice crackers
Skim milk + vitamins

Mulligatawny soup
Roasted lemon-rosemary chicken breast

Wish you were here! And hope you are enjoying some lovely, healthy, tasty food too - and taking care of you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

On Inspiration

Inspiration is a tricky little bastard.

When it finds me, it sticks on and hitches a ride like some errant burr. When I lose it, it disappears almost completely, like Aaron Burr. Heh. I didn't plan that one, folks. Plus ten points for spontaneity, minus ten for bad punnery.  Nothing gained, nothing lost.  Like my scale this week.

I have a hard time finding inspiration to take care of myself when I'm sick. The process of planning, of staying in motion, of mindfulness doesn't feel difficult when I'm in the groove. It feels nice, even. But when the fog of cold meds and sinus headaches creep in, the machinery I've put in place to help me find balance in my life seems to steer off-course all on its own. All I want is a warm blanket and a bowl of soup delivered to my door.

Luckily, this bug seems to be passing relatively quickly, so by yesterday I was able to assemble a week's worth of lunches in one go. Now, even if my symptoms get in my way, it won't be too hard to grab a healthy midday meal - my Super Jar.

I got the inspiration for this recipe from Trader Joe's ready-made Spinach Super Salad:

It is a very tasty combination of ingredients, and has a great balance of protein and carbs to fuel an afternoon swim or yoga sesson. It is also a little more processed/preserved/pricy than if I made my own version, so thus the Super Jar was born.

From bottom-to-top, this one has three tablespoons of carrot-ginger dressing (recipe from Self magazine, here), quinoa (1/4 cup dry, though it expands considerably after cooking) and 1/4 cup of edamame. It is crazy-tasty, especially with two cups of mixed greens and a handful of dried cranberries. If you want to go crazy, you could add some chickpeas, grated carrot and roasted pepitas like the Trader Joe's salad, but I'm enjoying this as-is.

Jar salads have been popping up all over the internet for the past year, and if you - like me - hadn't read the instructions before, you might think the jar's purpose is for shaking up a salad, like one of those McSalad Shakers that were so trendy ten (twelve? fifteen? Eek, I'm old) years ago. But no, in fact, the purpose of the salad jar is to do the exact opposite - to keep your salad elements separate, so that they stay fresh longer.  The joy of salad jars, for me, is that I can make five days of salad and they'll still be tasty on the fifth day.

There are plenty of guides to jar salad preparation, so you can check out the specifics at those links, and I'll just cover a quick list of tips I've found helpful.
  • I stack mine from bottom-to-top, dressing/heavy grain or beans/heartiest veggie/less hearty veggie/most likely to wilt.  
  • I tend not to include the greens on top - I just plop them in the bottom of the bowl before I dump the salad out.
  • I don't mix the veggies, I only put them in layers so that they can stay as crisp as possible.
  • Nuts and dried fruit should be added in the bowl, not in the jar. I feel the same way about animal protein, but others disagree.
  • The mason jars I use are super-portable and easily storable in the refrigerator, without the troubling effects of BPA in plastic. 
Here's a shot of me dumping my Super Jar into my lunch bowl today:

You'll notice that I'm at the table. It's our new thing in the household. Tom and I gifted each other with new dining chairs for Christmas, and now that they've arrived and we've assembled them, we've committed to eating each meal at the table instead of in front of the TV, as was our habit. It's a way to be more mindful about our meal and help us feel more sated. It's important, as studies have shown that multitasking while eating may be bad for our health. So table-dining it is... and we get to enjoy our new chairs and my recently-started collection vintage tablecloth collection. (My first non-Christmas acquisition, this sunny yellow number with strawberries, is currently on display.)

While I'm taking care of myself, inspiration seems to come more easily. I feel inspired to try new recipes. I feel inspired to stay accountable. I feel especially inspired to write.

At the beginning of the year, Tom and I laid out our writing goals and created a general schedule for 2013. It's jam-packed, but the more we write, the more we... write. It has a snowball effect on us. We have a main project and a supporting project for each month of the year.  Currently, our main project is the mini-musical we're working on with our composer friend Joe, and our supporting project is preparing our horror script to take the main slot next month.

I'm glad that even when I was feeling too sick to string two words together, I was at least inspired to look for visual inspiration for the horror (which is all outlined, and ready to go.)  This week, I worked on a collage of that inspiration, and hoo boy, did it creep me out to assemble it. (You can click it for a larger version.)

 It was fun, though, and really whet my appetite to write the script. I like how creativity whets my appetite more often than food does these days.

May you find inspiration for your own creativity, and for taking care of yourself!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Negative Space

On Wednesday, following a productive morning, an afternoon meeting and a therapy appointment, I took a side trip on my way home to one of the nicer furniture stores I've visited, H. D. Buttercup in Culver City.  It reminded me of a less immense and overwhelming ABC Home (which is a mecca of design in New York City. If you like nesting - particularly window-shop nesting, because it's very expensive - and you haven't been to ABC, you should go.)

Buttercup was advertising a big sale, and since we're in the market (or, rather, just outside the market) for a new couch to replace our dying IKEA Flüptorküglir (or whatever it's really called) I thought I'd check out what they had to offer.

Tom and I are in the process of changing our downstairs neutral shade from brown to gray, so I fell for several of their excellent couches, including this little beauty:

It, as well as everything else they stock, is clearly a well-made investment piece. The sale knocked a hefty chunk off the top, but it was still out of our price range for the moment. As freelancers, we never like to spend much money until the replacements for our current gigs are in place, and even then we tend toward saving over spending.

I knew that we couldn't swing a couch. I pretty much knew it going in. But while texting with Tom, I realized how much I wanted one. My grown-up budgeteer has a louder voice than my childish id, so I left the store couchless, but nevertheless feeling bummed.

Let me paint you a picture. It's 6:30 PM, and I'm an hour from home and I'm about to drive through evening traffic past every fast food joint known to Southern California. I'm hungry from three days of unknowingly logging this week's lentil stew lunch incorrectly. (Someone else had entered the Smitten Kitchen recipe - so delicious, by the way - as four servings, and I had divided it into six meals.) And I'm aching.  Not physically, mind you - not that the previous night's wonderful Curvy Yoga class hadn't worked my body every which way. I'm aching mentally. I'm yearning. 

This, friends, is a perfect storm for throwing me off-course.

But before I took off in the car, I sat on one of those beautiful not-mine couches, and worked on being mindful. I am, as you can probably tell by the very existence of a blog entry, working hard on being mindful.

I sat and considered my situation. I'd like a couch. I don't need a couch to survive. I'm hungry. But I have homemade pumpkin chili awaiting me at home. I don't need to stop and eat some unhealthy "food-like substances," as Michael Pollen calls them, to comfort me because I don't have a couch.

I wondered why the lack of a couch would even relate to food. And then I thought about the concept of "filling a hole." The idea is - figuratively - that everyone has a hole in their heart.

And people try and try and try to fill that hole, with any number of things, healthy or unhealthy. With another person. With spirituality. With the internet. With exercise. With alcohol. With drugs. With sex. With shopping. With gambling. With couches. With food.

But the truth is, no matter what you try to put in that hole, it doesn't ever fully fill. It's just there. What is it? Is it yearning? Passion? Self-esteem? Need?  Perhaps each of us has a different cocktail that makes up our particular negative space. And certainly, that gaping spot in each of us can seem negative, can lead us to negative actions and consequences.

"Negative space," however, is an interesting concept. In design, negative space is a good thing. Refreshing to the eye. If something is too busy, it isn't pleasant when you look at it. Negative space is, in fact, a positive.

Perhaps if we look at the negative space in our hearts that way, we can see the good that can come from yearning. We can take positive action, reap better consequences.  My negative space tells me, when I give it a good hard look, that I want to live better. And to live better, I need to take better care. So I'm working on it, every day.

I hope you'll work on taking care of you, too. 'Til next Friday, my friends.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Where I've been... and a new plan for FtH

Long time, lovely people. 

But a good one. A series of many good ones (and a share of challenging ones) strung together. 

This year, Tom and I have spent the better part of our time focusing on our writing career.  "But Heidi," you might ask, "if you were working on your writing, why were you not working on the blog?"  And it's a fair question. 

The answer is that while we were working on our screenwriting and my freelancing, I didn't feel like I had the time to devote to my health-and-lifestyle-and-healthy-lifestyle blog. But that was good, right? I was devoted to self-improvement of my chosen avocation.

Yes, it was good.  In many ways.  Except for the ways where my health and lifestyle and healthy lifestyle was put on the back burner along with my blog.  I didn't backslide completely, but over the past several months, it's become clear to me that if I want to keep focusing on taking care of myself, if I want to continue improving my strength and expanding my culinary skills and finding balance, I have to keep it a major priority. I have to learn to balance my writing with my self-care.

So about a month ago - when you last saw hide or hair of me, posting a photo of spa-water - I decided to make a conscious effort to juggle my scribe duties with my healthy goals.  So far it's been working.  I had gained back about 30 pounds of the 70 I lost.  I'm down 6 of those so far.

Things that I have focused on over the last eight months:
  • Writing a spec episode of Modern Family.
  • Holding a table reading of our Modern Family episode.
  • Submitting the episode to several television fellowship programs. (We hear back between September and December.)
  • Developing on a spec episode of Louie.
  • Working with my freelance clients on a variety of projects
  • Building my humor chops, in various ways - including watching great comedy, doing writing exercises, writing jokes, posting more on Twitter, and recently, starting a humor blog that mocks the follies of Pinterest. (Warning: it's definitely rated PG-13 for inappropriate humor.)
  • Being hired to write the first season of a web series. (Underway... more on that to come!)
  • Being chosen to write the book and lyrics of a mini musical (Also underway, also more to come!)
  • Hosting and hanging out with my niece and nephews for three weeks this summer in an epic bid for Coolest Aunt Ever. 
Things I have added to my focus over the last month:
  • Balancing meals between 1400 and 1600 calories daily 
  • Menu-planning at the beginning of each week
  • Grocery-shopping (and farm-market-shopping) for only the items on the menu
  • Reducing any negative self-talk
  • Working out at Slimmons 3 times a week (health issues being the only exceptions)
  • Swimming 2-3 times a week
  • Journaling every morning
  • Making sure that I'm social at least once a week
What I've rediscovered over the last month is that I am absolutely capable of putting my self-care first, and when I do, the rest falls in line even better than if I were prioritizing it.  And I've also rediscovered that no person working on a healthy lifestyle is an island.  Yes, I propel myself forward.  But also... my relationship with Tom propels me forward, my trusted friends propel me forward, my community at Slimmons propels me forward, and... my blog and my blog readers propel me forward.

So here I am, blogging again.  But with adjustments.

I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to do things half-assedly.  If I'm going to write a blog, I'm going to make the entries regular, I'm going to theme the days, I'm going to edit the shit out of the photos, I'm going to make it as creative as I can. And then I'm going to burn out.

Blogging (as I did last year) takes an incredible amount of time and energy. And, if I'm going to be focusing on my self-care and my writing in equal balance, I just don't have that time and energy to devote to every entry every day.

So I'll be taking a cue from my friend David (of Keep It Up, David) and reducing (or, heh, increasing) my blog to a once-weekly event.  Some weeks, I'll try to include a recipe, or an adventure, maybe even some photos of recipes or adventures.  Some weeks I might take a picture of a particularly cute outfit.  Some weeks it'll just be me typing.  Maybe not even very much. But for right now, I'm committed to staying accountable to myself - and this blog is a great way to do that. And a great way to interact with all of you.

And... a great way to take care of me.  And to remind you all to take care of you.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A photo post from Hermitville

Is it homemade strawberry-mint spa water? Or... is it a step in the right direction?

Answers coming soon. In the meanwhile, let me know: are you taking care of you?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Adventures in Zombieland... Or, Leap Day at Disney!

Good morning! For those readers in the Eastern time zone, you may just have woken up. For those who share my Pacific time, you're undoubtedly still asleep. With good reason! It's 4 am as I write this.

"What are you doing up?" you may be asking. Or, possibly, "what are you doing blogging at this hour?"

And to that, I say: Happy Leap Day! It isn't usually celebrated (except by pirates from Penzance and 30 Rockians)... but this year, Disney is throwing an unusual celebration called "One More Disney Day," keeping Disneyland open for an unusual 24 hours - an extra park day for an extra day of the year.

Now, I was born into a Disney-lovin' family, and my husband Tom is a convert (so to speak.) So I was surprised when Tom suggested that we not only attend the park today, but we attend the park for the entire 24 hour period. And that, my friends, sounded like an adventure!

So for today's Adventure Wednesday post, I'll be liveblogging our journey through the day, at least once an hour (barring nap time at Snoozy Moments With Mr. Lincoln.)

Check back with me today for my adventures in zombie Disneyland! And take good care of you!

5:35 AM, February 29
After some oatmeal, banana and a shower, we've made it to Pumbaa parking lot and found our spot in line to get in. Lucky we got our wristbands earlier - there's a lot of early birds today!

5:48 AM
Bag check! And the Disneyland Band is playing nearby! Man, the overnight line reminds me of the "tent city" at DCA, 3 AM before the 50th anniversary!

6:08 AM
In the gates! Yay!

Caught in the crush for free ears. Fluster cluck! Helped find a list girl and finally got my free ears!

In line for Pan, both of us feeling excited about the day. Tom is taking one photo every 10 minutes to commemorate the day. I'll post a link when he uploads in a few days.

We've already found friends!

Beautiful morning. So beautiful. I just added a few photos, though I'm not sure how they're integrated from the Blogger app.

Oh my gosh!!! Modern Family is filming here! We're rubbernecking at Rivers of America... Can see Claire, Alex, Haley, Jay, Gloria, and Manny!!

Stopped in for a spot of breakfast since we've been up and at 'em since 4. Our friend got a cinnamon roll, and we watched as they used an ice cream scoop of frosting - whoa!

We seem to be an hour early for a traditional noon meet... But we're all mostly here!

First yawn. Bad sign?

Warm enough that I'm down to my coolest single layer! I just got a personal best score on Buzz Lightyear, but only cause we were paused mid-ride.

Another Modern Family shoot - this time, Cameron, Mitchell and Lily! Just Phil and Luke left to spot. Wish us luck!

I'm on a boat! The Sailing Ship Columbia. It is not technically a pirate ship, but it sure looks like one.

Rode Haunted Mansion with my head resting on the side and my eyes closed. The sensory deprivation is sublime. I couldn't tell where I was or what direction I was moving. You should try it sometime!

Breaking with our gang for the Afternoon Nap portion of the day. On the hunt for best in-park napping locations! Turning my phone off to preserve battery for the time being. Back online in a few hours when I'm rested!

Couldn't resist popping back online to note that we just saw the cutest marriage proposal. Groom and bride stood by the Rivers of America as their friends and family went by on the Sailing Ship Columbia, holding a huge "will you marry me" banner. She said yes! Tom's ten-minute photo alarm went off just in time to get a photo for his series today. OK, back to napping.

I'm officially a No Nap Harry Cat. Not for lack of trying... on the train, in Lincoln... I couldn't fall asleep! In line for coffee now, with the promise of free refills later. Just gonna ride this night out!

Sitting with friends and having a mock meta-argument about Victorian versus Edwardian architecture and how it should or should not be used for the Jolly Holiday Bakery.

Back online after running out of phone charge! We are having such a fantastic time. So many of our friends are here, and we haven't had a big old-fashioned Disneyland meet in so long that it's a genuine joyfest!

6:47 AM, March 1
We. Did. It.

Despite mobile network failure and drained batteries preventing all updates... With the fuel of coffee and the support of our friends, we made it through 24 hours, riding Pan one last time on the way out to bookend the amazing experience.

We have Tom's pictures, plus my missing nighttime commentary, coming soon. For now...