Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Something Mystic This Way Comes

Last week, my colleague Daisy, and I, were assigned to get psychic readings done for our cover story. I was totally stoked on this idea. I love the metaphysical and learning about energies and things that go beyond our earthly realm and into the unknown. It is because of this love that I assumed my reading would be a fun experience that had me bonding with the psychic. My experience was quite opposite of what I imagined it to be. I had two readings done and the first one left me on-edge and feeling completely drained. The second one was a much different experience and had me feeling drained but in a good way. My parts of the article are below along with the introduction that I wrote. Read the full story, which includes the details of Daisy's readings here.

Many psychics have said that the veil between the spirit world and the earth is thin this time of year, and because of that, even the skeptics sometimes seek out readers to test the metaphysical waters. The thin veil means that communication with spirit guides and the deceased is easier to achieve and if you are looking to get some guidance from the beyond, now is the time to do it. We sent two Now In Salt Lake writers to sit down with three different psychics and then discuss their personal experiences to give you an idea of what a psychic reading can be like and find out just how thin that veil is.

Golden Braids Books, Jade Moser
I knew before we event went to The Golden Braid that I was heading for trouble. I was not worried about my psychic reading but whether or not I would be able to resist spending money while there.

I have had tarot readings before and even dabble in the cards myself. I am very open to all things metaphysical and because of this, I assumed that I was going to have a fun reading where Jade and I ended up joyously connecting on all sorts of levels. That was far from what actually happened.

I was worried about my reading with Jade as soon as I met her because while Daisy laughed and chatted, I kept glancing over at Jade and caught her staring at me intensely. It was then that I knew that my reading was going to be anything but light.

With Daisy by my side, Jade had me go first and asked me to put the hand that I don’t write with on the cards. She then laid the cards out on the table and told me that she is not a card reader but rather a channeler. She does not care what the cards have to say, but she does tell you what your guides want you to know based on what is turned over. My guides wanted me to know that I need to have more sex. When I heard that, I was a bit perplexed but knew my fiance would be overjoyed. Apparently, there is no such thing as too much lovin’ in the sack.

After that, I learned that I have four guides watching over me. Two are male and two are female and the stronger presence is a female guide who Jade says is Egyptian with eyes so blue that they are almost violet. She told me that I should wear more gold to create a better connection with this guide and if I did this, I would be more open to hearing what she wants me to know.

I was stoked about my Egyptian guide. I have always been fascinated with Egyptian history and symbolism and one of my first tattoos was of the Egyptian Ankh (for any skeptics reading this, that tattoo was not visible).

The beginning part of the reading had me smiling on the inside, but I soon hit a wall of emotion when Jade said that there was something bothering me from my past that I needed to work through in order to move forward. She then asked me to try and remember something from my childhood that we could discuss to see if it is related to some of my issues now.

It was at that moment that my reading turned in to what felt like an intense therapy session. My smile faded when I was asked to go into detail about the memory that came to mind and suddenly, issues that I have spent years working on surfaced right there in front of Daisy and a stranger I had just met.

Jade walked me through her Quantum Neuro Linguistics Programming, where we take a bad memory and imprint it with a new memory. Psychologically, we are creating a new memory in the past that will help us move forward in the present. I liked the idea of NLP and plan to discuss it with my best friend who would totally be in to this but overall, by the end of my nearly 30-minute reading I was emotionally drained, tired, angry and slightly embarrassed.

Later, Daisy admitted that my reading was intensely personal and that there were moments where she wondered if she should get up and wander around while I worked with Jade. I did a lot of thinking and that night I processed everything that we had discussed.

I guess I still have a lot of issues from my past to work through but what I realized through Jade is that my past does not need to hold me down nor does it determine who I am today.

I was fascinated by Jade and though I am grateful for the bonding that Daisy and I were able to experience through our readings, I plan to make my next trip to Jade a solo one.

The Pamela Michaels Healing Center, Pamela Michaels

If I had my way, I would hang out at the Pamela Michaels Healing Center every day. The Pamela Michaels Healing Center calms you before you even meet its creator, Pamela Michaels, and if ever you doubted the power of the universe and its energies, then the PMHC will make those doubts disappear in an instant.

Each room is beautiful and unique, and themed for different chakras. My favorite room was the sound room, a room filled with different crystals such as Rose and Smoky Quartz, all of which balance your chakras. The best part were the tables that held on them Sound Energy Healing bowls. The beautiful bowls are used to create sounds to center you and help with meditation and balance.

Pamela and Tawnia played the bowls and suddenly, Pamela stopped and placed her hand in front of my forehead and said, “I am just centering you real quick. You have a lot of family energy coming off of you.” I smiled and mulled over the past 24 hours, which consisted of processing my previous reading with Jade. Pamela then told me that I needed to stop multi-tasking and just focus. I was taken aback by how she seemed to know exactly what was going through my mind and I began to wonder if my aura was just screaming “issues!”

Because of my intense reading the day before, I asked if Daisy and I should do personal readings. The plan was that because there were two psychics, we would spend a little bit of time with each. The plan was a good one, but Daisy and I connected so well with our individual psychics that there was not enough time to do two readings.

My reading was with Pamela in the Hindu room, which Pamela refers to as the “relationship room.” It is in this room framed by paintings of Hindu gods and lovers that Pamela has given readings to couples about their relationships. What Pamela has read for some of these couples is anything but happy and so I was very pleased to discover that according to the cards and my guides, I have a great relationship.

Pamela and Jade both commented on how good my relationship is and how well Daveed and I work together and how happy we will be. I don’t doubt my relationship so that part of my reading was fun more than anything else.

Pamela spoke to me about my relationship and mentioned characteristics of Daveed and I that were dead on but that she couldn’t have possibly known unless I told her, and I didn’t. She talked about some things that we would work through before our wedding and even said that she would be shocked if we waited until next October to get married. She said that she sees a spring or summer wedding, but I would personally be shocked if it was any earlier than our original plan.

Pamela then moved on to talk about my career and my artistic side, and said I would reconnect with my musical side, which I found interesting because I have been considering returning to singing and playing the violin for the past couple of months, but have not really mentioned it to anyone. She told me that I have a very strong psychic energy and that I had a gift that I should explore further.

We talked about my reading with Jade and the stuff from my childhood and it was weird to me that she said, “you don’t remember your childhood much, do you?” Because Jade and I had just discussed that yesterday.

My conversations with Pamela were more comforting than with Jade but this is neither better nor worse, only a nice change of pace from what the day before had been like for me.

The part of the reading that gave me goosebumps was when Pamela got quiet and looked past me and then told me that there was an older woman who came into the room and stood behind me when we were talking about my dad. She assumed it was a grandmother but since both of mine were alive, that wasn’t the case. It was pretty weird and I am still wondering who the old lady watching over me was. Maybe it was Daisy’s grandmother popping in to check on who her granddaughter is hanging out with these days. Hopefully, she approved.

I had so much fun talking with Pamela about her gifts, how to delve deeper into mine and how to let my creative side loose. The time flew by and before you knew it, it was time for Daisy and I to go. I didn’t want to leave. I felt like I had met a kindred spirit who could teach me so much.

The best thing about that experience is knowing that I can go back. And I cannot wait to take my mom to meet Pamela and Tawnia, and maybe one day, Pamela will let me have a sleepover there. We can do tarot readings and hang out with the ghosts that haunt the neighborhood.

(This article originally written for Now in Salt Lake, Oct. 27, 2011, issue)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Parlotones Win My Heart

I like many things in this world and two of these things are men who wear makeup (if they wear it right) and accents. I recently interviewed South Africa-based band The Parlotones and got to listen to guitarist Paul Hodgson talk with an awesome accent and when they play in Salt Lake on Oct. 26, I will get to watch a great show performed by a hot band consisting of a lead singer who ... you guessed it, wears makeup. Sigh.

The interview with Hodgson was really cool. I first saw The Parlotones last year when they opened up for Blue October, a band that I have grown to deeply appreciate. Opening acts are always hit and miss. Most of the people in the audience are impatiently awaiting their headliner band to take the stage and a lot of fans are not that interested in hearing an opener. I am that fan often enough, but on the night of this show, I could not help but pay attention to The Parlotones.

On stage, the group wears all black framed by a red neck tie and of course, lead singer Kahn Morbee draws lines of black under his eyes. Their music is pretty addictive. Once you start listening you don't want to stop.

The group is HUGE in South Africa and has sold more albums in their home country than Coldplay and The Killers. U.S. publications have cited them as the next Muse. I think you get the point.

I was stoked to be able to talk to this band at a time where they are trying to create a fanbase in the states like what they have done in South Africa. Check out my article here.

And then go take a listen on their website. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Ran a 5k!

I have hated running my entire life. In high school I consistently failed the mile run test and though I wanted to do better, I just could not run the way that some of my peers could and I did not have the motivation to get out on the track and work on my endurance.

After coming on as a full-time writer for Now in Salt Lake, I somehow began gravitating towards the Healthy and Fit section. It started with features on local yoga experts and the next thing I knew I was talking to cyclists, runners, 5k organizers, Zumba instructors, belly dancers ... the list goes on. I have never been an athletic person and the closest that I ever came to being an athlete was dedicating two nights a week to yoga practice.

After talking to so many athletes in various genres, I became interested in branching out. A close friend of mine suggested that we run a 5k together and after talking to the organizer for Salt Lake's "Night of the Running Dead" 5k, I decided that October 15, 2011, would be my first-ever 5k. I did not give myself very much time to train for this. I had a total of 3 1/2 weeks to go from not being able to jog for more than a minute to jogging three miles. Daveed told me that I was ambitious with my goals but he couldn't have been prouder when I told him three days before the official 5k that I made it to my three-mile mark.

I was incredibly proud of myself and the day of the race I got decked out in zombie makeup and a cute little skirt, put my running shoes on and hit the Utah Fairground to compete.

There were over 2,000 people there to run and it was a really exciting moment. When the horn blew I took off and with my friend Natalie, by my side, we jogged our way through the course.

There were some set-backs. The heat was pretty daunting for my first time running especially because I had been training in the morning or twilight hours, so it has been much cooler. At nearly 90 degrees, there was no shade over the fairgrounds. There were a few problems with the markers on the course and some runners ended up running nearly four miles while others ran less than three. Natalie and I felt like we did run more than three miles but there is no way for us to be certain since there were no mile markers and we did not have our MapMyRun programs turned on on our phones.

Regardless, I did it. I finished in like 505th place or something like that and I am totally fine with that. My goal was to finish and I did. Somehow, I ran at least three miles and that is a pretty incredible feeling.

My next 5k is on Nov. 5, and I am working on improving my time and my posture. I noticed in a photo that Daveed took of me that I am slouching and that would explain my sore back after I jog.

My experience was pretty great and the hardwork paid off. I am looking forward to the next 5k. And I am still a little weirded out that I not only "like" running, but I am looking for more opportunities to do it.

Take that, high school gym class!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Looking Back: Blogs That I Have Written

Due to the changes that are being made to our publication, our old website, is no longer accessible. We knew that the website was going to be taken down but we did not have any warning as to when it would happen. It went something like this...

The new website is up.

Holy shit, the old website is gone! How are we going to get all of our articles?

Luckily, I have access to an archive of that old website, for which I wrote a large amount of blogs and nearly five years of my work is published on. So, I am going to start adding some of my favorite blogs and articles to this site so that my work is not lost forever.

I will include the original posting date at the end of each blog and hopefully some of the older stuff will still be entertaining to readers.

Let's start with this one:

"Kendra's Reality Woes"
When former playmate Kendra Wilkinson was one of the three Girls Next Door living in Hugh Hefner's mansion, she was more of a Sporty Spice to me than a Playmate, and quite honestly, she annoyed the hell out of me. I am not sure if it was after she found love with Hank Baskett Jr., or after she became pregnant and had a baby, but somewhere along the way, Wilkinson became more tolerable to me. I would stumble upon her show, "Kendra", on E!, and would find myself stopping on the channel, and actually staying there until the show was over. This usually resulted in marathon episodes of "Kendra" in one sitting because it seemed to be my luck that every time I stumbled upon E! it would be during one of their reality marathons.

Nowadays, I find myself an avid "Kendra" watcher. How this happened I have yet to figure out. But Kendra somehow became not-so-annoying to me and even though I am still not a fan of her laugh, I watch her post-pregnancy and find myself not only feeling sorry for her, but actually identifiying with her!

My newfound television connection with Kendra is not because I have had a child, because that is definitely not the case, but more so because the former Playmate goes through an extremely hard time dealing with her new body, which she reveals is now at a size 27, and was a size 23 before becoming pregnant.

With my hips and a bootie that just won't quit, I can only dream of what being a size 23 would be like. But, I can sympathize with gaining unwanted weight, and looking at yourself in the mirror with sadness and disgust. No matter how you look to other people, it's the person in the mirror that judges the hardest. It's Kendra's vulnerability in this season's episodes that I connect with. When watching her cry to her husband over her big belly (that really still looks like there is a baby in it), while her hot and thin Playmate friends are in the other room, I found myself getting emotional and my eyes tearing up a bit. She actually appeared human. Yeah, she is married to a hot NFL player, and lived in the Playboy mansion and is making more money off of one episode of "Kendra" than I will probably ever make in my entire life, but by god the woman is human. No amount of money could make her look at her new figure and feel comfortable.

So, Kendra hires a trainer and works her ass off. All the while, I am rooting for her from my couch while sometimes eating those 100 calorie bags of popcorn. As I find myself looking forward to the next new "Kendra" episode, I decide that I will work out the free way, and pretend that this Hollywood charmer is my workout buddy. With weekly updates on her weightloss progress, I feel like I can compare my progress to her. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear Kendra somehow wrapped me around her finger and I decided that since I can relate to how she is feeling with the whole bigger body thing, I don't want to be getting bigger while she slims back down.

Way to go E!, you have done the impossible and I now call myself a Kendra fan. Dear god, reality TV strikes again.

(this blog was originally written for on April 15, 2010)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mission Accomplished: Interviewing Annie Clark

Last weekend I wrote about the Spin magazine feature on Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent. After reading that article, I wanted desperately to interview St. Vincent. In the piece that I had read, Clark was articulate, thought-provoking and insightful and the writer of that piece did an excellent job of allowing those characteristics to come through in the story.

Today, I got my chance to delve into the world of Annie Clark.

Before I describe this interview, I want to discuss the journey to getting it.

When I met with my editor last week to go over our assignments for this week's issue, I had three music articles planned. The one that I wanted to do the most was St. Vincent, and that was the only one of the three that I had not heard back from the publicist on. The other two interviews were nearly ready to go. Just waiting to hear back from tour management.

My deadline is every Monday and by Friday, I still did not have an interview with not only Annie Clark, but neither of the other two bands that I had been assured I would speak with. I started to get really nervous. I reached out to all three publicists and one by one realized that the interviews were not going to happen.

I was soon hit with dread as I realized that come Monday, I would not have a music story for the section that I am in charge of. And then it happened. On Saturday, I was confirmed for an interview with Annie Clark.

I found it both odd and incredibly wonderful that the one interview I was pretty sure wasn't going to happen actually did.

So, here we are at the end of today and I am still buzzing off of my interview with Clark. Listening to her talk is almost as mesmerizing as listening to her sing, maybe more so. She has a very calm and soothing voice that emanates wisdom, maturity and a little bit of uncertainty. Clark is relentlessly curious about the world around her and expresses this in our interview.

She spoke to me about her newest album, "Strange Mercy," about her love of touring and her theories on creativity.

When it was time for me to get off of the phone, I felt like I had just stepped away from real life for the last 15 minutes and traveled off to the strange and inspiring world of Annie Clark.

I am even more excited than before to see her play in Salt Lake. Thanks, Spin, for introducing me to such an interesting artist.

And thanks to her publicists for following through when the other two failed me.

Read my article here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Unexpected Flashbacks

It's weird how random things can trigger an emotional response that you don't see coming. Mine happened on Thursday.

My 5 1/2 month old kitten was going in to get neutered on Friday and the night before I reminded Daveed that we needed to remove his food and water so that he didn't eat anything too close to his surgery. Soon after saying this I began to feel really sad and anxious. I was dreading having to be the one to take Lestat in and leaving him at the vet the next day.

I later remembered that the last time I had been to the vet's office was with my last cat, Charlie. Charlie had been my pet for over ten years and she meant the world to me. She had been there with me through some of the hardest moments in my life. My first real broken heart, the divorce of my parents, a drug addict boyfriend and more. There were many days and nights throughout those ten years that I would be curled up in a ball crying and Charlie would always come and lay next to me, comfort me and sometimes lick my tears and lay her head on me. She was my companion and made my life more enjoyable.

In May of this year, Daveed and I went on a six-day road trip and it was on that trip that he proposed. I was so excited to come home and tell people but more than than, I was excited to come home to my Charlie and Dylan. When we finally got home, I walked in and saw Charlie and burst in to tears.

In the six days that we had been gone she lost nearly six pounds. She could hardly walk and was emaciated. Her back legs basically gave out and I knew that if we had come home any later she would not have been here.

Charlie had started to have medical problems in October of 2010 I had taken her in for X-rays, ultrasounds, blood work and more. The vet could not find anything wrong with her but it was obvious that there was something because she was slowly losing weight over short periods of time.

I am thinking that Charlie had hung in there for me because she loved me and knew how much I loved her. When we left, Charlie finally gave in to her illness. She perked up when I came home and I was able to spend two nights with her before it was time to permanently say goodbye. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done.

The Monday after I came home from that trip my sister went with me to the vet and it was there that he told me that there was nothing that we could do at this point to save her. She was on her way out and it was only a matter of time. I did not want to let her go, but I knew that her quality of life was gone. I cried and held her and cried some more and I was there when she took her last breath. I had to leave the vet and later that day Daveed picked her up and we buried her in our yard. I was devastated.

A few weeks after that experience one of my friends told me that he had found some feral kittens and told me that I needed one. I thought it was too soon and I didn't want to do it but I had always wanted a black cat and my mom thought that it would help me heal. I gave in and after Lestat stopped nursing I brought him home.

He has been a wonderful addition to our little family. He and Dylan are best of friends and Daveed and I are so happy with our little prince. He really did help me heal. But I have not forgotten Charlie and it was taking Lestat to the vet that triggered an emotional response that had me laying in bed crying over my beloved Charlie.

Lestat's surgery went fine of course, and he is back at home making us smile and loving his family unconditionally. I am glad I have him. But I will always miss my Charlie.

R.I.P. Charlie. I love you.