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Lost the Contest but Found The Miracle

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by lisabell 9 Comments

Part 2 – The Journey

My husband Steve and I mapped out our trip to NY to include a stop there and back in St. Louis where his aging parents live. Both have been diagnosed with forms of dementia and it had been nearly three years since he had seen them. We got the house ready for the renters and left Sunday morning on our journey.

At the last minute, my 18-year-old stepson Will decided to join us and we were off. Here is our first video:

Kona and Joey Leaving

It took us 15 grueling hours with many stops for us and the dogs along the way. Here we are at the Colby KS Prairie Museum. It was hard to find because just about everything looks like a giant prairie museum out there, but the big sign was a dead giveaway!

Kona and Joey Colby

Around Midnight we stopped in Kansas City for something to eat. The fast food was NOT fast and it left me with some time to think. It was hot, humid, and both dogs looked pretty miserable. I had an overwhelming feeling come over me that “this just isn’t right.”

Are we really going to drive all the way to NY? I tried my best to push the thoughts aside and get back to “why not me?” But it was nagging at me for sure.

Dog vs. dog

We finally arrived in St. Louis at 3am and took a quick nap until Good Morning America was on first thing in the morning! To my delight, Kona’s video was aired Monday morning, pitted against “Happy Jack” who jumps through hoops. Game on! I realized right then that I was in a home with no WiFi and was at a big disadvantage for trying to get the word out for votes. I posted a quick Facebook post with the link and got to a café as soon as I could.

Good Morning America Contest Footage

I sent out Facebook posts, e-newsletters and lots of individual emails. I tried to help people find the right link for voting and work through their frustrations of not being able to vote with a phone.

We even went to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to film one final push for votes!

Kona and Joey St. Louis

But Kona continued to lose in the online pole and by 3:30pm, I knew for sure that we were not moving on to NY. I was initially heartbroken. “What could I have done to make this go the other way?” There were many things I could have done differently for sure, but there were so many mitigating factors that I knew in my heart that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Losing the Contest… And Finding the Miracle

As I returned to my in-law’s home I realized why we were there and just what this journey was all about. Three years is far too long to not see your parents, especially when they may not remember you the next time you see them. It was great to watch my husband interact with his mom and dad, taking them on errands, and repairing things around the house. They won’t be able to live on their own much longer, and this was more apparent to us than ever as we spent time with them.

St. Louis FamilyIt was fantastic to take walks, reminisce about the past and just slow down for once. We had let life get in the way, preventing us from making the effort to really connect with family the way we should. Had we not promised a journey to NY to my stepson, I seriously doubt he would have made the journey to grandma and grandpa’s house in St. Louis. But he was fantastic with his grandparents, and we connected with him ourselves more than we have in many years.

As my friend Jana Stanfield says, “A dream is a direction, not a destination.” “It’s like a carrot on a stick.”

At first I was really disappointed, feeling as though the Universe had once again dangled that carrot in front of me, only to snatch it away. But in reality, the Universe had another miracle in mind. I had good intentions for getting Kona on Good Morning America, and hoped that somehow it would lead to more awareness for adopted dogs and allow me to give back to those agencies I believe in.

But what if, as Jana pointed out, Steve’s parents had unwittingly been manifesting a true, connecting visit from us all this time?

While we should always follow that bright shining object of attraction, in the direction of our dreams, the Universe may help us to correct that course to enable us to manifest the true miracles. If it hadn’t been for the Good Morning America contest, we may have never discovered that true gift, so for that I am grateful. Kona may have lost the contest (and of course HE doesn’t know that!) but we gained a priceless piece of our family back in the process.

New York Here We Come!

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by lisabell 3 Comments

I have been doing a lot of manifestation work over the past few months, culminating with a 10-week class I just finished called “Prosperity Plus” which I highly recommend! We have learned all about how to manifest big dreams, coming FROM the dream, as if it has already happened. I had the opportunity to apply the principals to a real life situation and I can’t believe the results!

If you’ve been following me and my music for awhile, you probably know that I released a new CD in 2013, and a music video for the song Walk With Me that features my adopted dogs Kona and Joey. Here is the link in case you just can’t get enough of it!

Walk With Me - Video

Walk With Me – Video

Smaller Joey & KonaThe song is all about the really cool “trick” that my dog Kona does which is taking his brother for a walk! I get so much positive feedback on the trick from the video and from people around town that I sought out dog trick contests. The biggest one out there is ABC Good Morning America “Dog Vs. Dog Contest.”  So I entered the contest with excerpts from the video of Kona leading his brother Joey around our beautiful trails of Boulder.

My ego kept saying things like: “That’s a less than spectacular trick.” “There will be hundreds of entrants so why bother?” “There’s no way to get the dogs to NY even if you bed one a finalist!” But in the class we learned to “correct” those thoughts, keeping positive and then taking action. So I asked myself “what would I be doing if I knew we were semi-finalists in the contest?”

I knew that the initial four semi-finalists would be notified this Friday June 27, voting would be conducted Monday and Tuesday of  next week, and that the final two contestants would appear live on Thursday, July 3. So I started making plans with that in mind. I decided that because the dogs are big, 11 years old and Kona especially has anxiety when he’s not with me, that flying would not be the best option. So I mapped out a driving route from Boulder to NYC-all 1800 miles of it! I knew we would need to leave Monday in order to arrive by Wed afternoon. I checked for all of the fun stops we could make along the way so we could have a fun video diary of the trip to share as we drove.

As we got closer, I talked with my husband and kids about taking the time off from work so we could make the drive.  My husband’s boss and co-workers thought it was a really fun idea!  I and recently listed my house to rent while we are on vacation during the year on VRBO. I had forgotten to manage the calendar when I first posted it, and out of the blue got a phone call from a family wanting to rent the house for Monday-Sunday-exactly when we would be driving to NY! The rental would pay for the gas and hotels along the way!

Just for fun, I looked up dog friendly hotels and restaurants in NYC, as well as fun things to do with the dogs while we were there. My husband and I did a visualization meditation about walking with the dogs in Central Park! I cleared my schedule the best I could, made arrangements in my head to fly back in time for the big performance at Cherry Creek Arts Festival on Friday, and waited for today to arrive!

I woke up this morning excited but those thoughts of doubt kept creeping in. But every time a negative thought reared it’s ugly head, my comeback was “why not us?” I knew that the trick brought so many people joy and regales of laughter that surely this would come across to the producer. As the morning went by I talked with my Web site consultant about what to do if we made it into the finals “a blog post!” So here we are!

I got the call at 11:15 as I was getting ready to record a new song with one of the co-writers of Walk With Me, Bob Story. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience! I knew in my heart that they would call, when when it actually happened I just about fell over. She asked if we had any additional video and loved the idea of a music video when I told her about that. So fingers crossed, a part of that might be aired as well! A portion of the proceeds for that song go to the animal adoption agencies and I would so love to be able to make a large donation!

So this is the first of many blog posts that you will see in the next week as we make our way to NYC! Wish us luck and thanks in advance for voting for Kona!! I will post the voting page when that goes live, but here are the details that I know right now:

There are four semi-finalists, and each will have the videos of their “tricks” aired on the national television program next Monday and Tuesday. Viewers will cast their votes for their favorite two dogs from those videos. I won’t know which day the video airs until Monday, but we’ll know for sure on Wednesday if they make it to the finals. The final two contestants will appear live on Good Morning America in Times Square in NYC on Thursday, July 3. There should be a link on Monday on their Web site which is


End of the World Playlist

Posted on: December 21st, 2012 by lisabell 1 Comment

While I don’t really think the world is ending today, maybe we’ll all wake up tomorrow with a new and more aware attitude toward life! We all need to take care of one another, respect or fellow men, women and especially children; and take care of preserving our environment while we’re at it!

But just for fun, and for any of you having “End of the World As We Know It” parties tonight, here is Paste Magazine’s Songs for the End of the World Playlist. Rock on!

Getting to the Heart of the Music

Posted on: September 25th, 2012 by lisabell Click to Comment

I performed at Columbine Unity here in Boulder on Sunday, working with the amazing music director Ron Troester and the house band, along with Bob Story. We were performing a couple of tunes from our last CD, Dancing on the Moon. And the oddest thing happened. We did a full sound check before the first service and all seemed well. But when it came time to sing the first song, “poof!” the sound system was no longer working.

The frantic sound technician tried everything to get it working again and we had some better luck with the 2nd song, but I was still barely audible, even though I was on stage singing at full voice. We did a sound check before the 2nd service and learned that their whole new sound system had to be rebooted and that now it seemed to be back online. The sound check was great, we’re ready for the 2nd service!

All was going well until I got up to sing the first song again. “Poof!” the amplification was minimal. Again I sang from stage at full voice but the congregation kept craning their necks toward the sound booth in the back so I knew they couldn’t hear me. After a frustrated visit to the poor sound man who was by then pulling out his hair, I returned to my seat and let Spirit take over.

“What shall I do? What is the lesson here?” I asked. The answer was “Get to the heart of the music. This is an a capella moment! Join the congregation and get intimate with the song.”

And so I did. I immediately found the sweet spot acoustically in the church smack dab in the middle of the aisle. The band played behind me and my voice soared above.  It sounded beautiful, and I was able to connect with the congregation in a way that isn’t possible from the stage. The lesson? Get to the heart of the music, of the passion, why I do what I do.

I am so grateful to be able to share my inspiring music with the world, and am thankful for the “Divine Intervention” that made me get real with the song and the people around me.

My fundraising campaign for our 4th CD, The Italian Project, has taught me a lot about getting to the heart of why I do what I do. It’s not about performing in front of thousands of people, its about connecting with each and every person, with the goal of creating positive change through the music.

Every song on the new CD was written with that goal in mind. The songs are about hope, trust in the Universe, and most of all belief in ourselves that we can do anything we put our minds to.

I’ll take the lesson from Sunday as a reminder to never lose track of the bigger reason that I create music. If you want to help me in that mission, please pre-order your CD and more by visiting the Indie GoGo Page I have set up. Thank you to my supportive community and thank you for the life lessons we live every day.





Community Supported Music

Posted on: August 20th, 2012 by lisabell Click to Comment

I am thrilled to be in production of my 4th CD called The Italian Project! The music was all written by me and Bob Story here in Boulder, along with Lisa Simmons in Italy, mostly via Skype, over the past two years. Here is a photo of the three of us finishing the writing in person in Boulder in April:

I recently launched a “crowd funding” campaign through a site called IndieGoGo to help fund the project. So just what is crowd funding you may ask? I like to think of it as “Community Supported Music.” It’s a lot like a CSA-Community Supported Agriculture.

In a CSA, you pre-pay for shares of a farm’s crops for a growing season. I belong to the Cultiva CSA in Boulder. I pre-paid for my share in the spring, then each week, for 20 weeks, I get to pick up fresh, local, certified organic produce at the Cultiva plot in Boulder. By pre-paying, I helped Cultiva to purchase the seeds, pay for the labor to plant and harvest the crops (in this case it includes the wonderful teens who get paid to work as they learn there during the summer), and supported a very worthy non-profit in the process. There are whole shares and half shares available, depending on how much you can afford up front and how much you can consume each week. The produce has been amazing throughout the summer and has allowed me to prepare some wonderful, healthy meals for my family.

In my newly named system of  “Community Supported Music,” independent musicians reach out to their fans, friends and family in a similar way. As an independent musician, we have to front all the money it takes to produce a music project. In recent years, the concept of “fan funding” or “crowd funding” has come onto the arts scene, especially for music and film. Companies including IndieGoGo allow artists to create a website where they can pre-sell their music and other “perks” in order to help defray the costs of the production up front. A large group can each contribute a little bit and fund the project. You can contribute anywhere from $10 to $10,000 to my project, and receive anything from a pre-release download of the CD when its complete, to a couple of amazing Italian adventures with me and my dear friends in that amazing country.

Very few independent musicians ever get the opportunity to have a “record deal” for their projects, and many times those deals turn sour long before the CD is completed. Community Supported Music is a DIY way for the musician to take control of the creative process and allow their fan base to help on the ground floor of the project.

As an independent musician, it’s difficult to sell enough “product” to ever make back the money that goes into the production. We can always hope that over time one of the songs on our albums will become a “hit” and make us loads of money, but the reality is that we just want to share our music and messages with the world.

The Italian Project is my first attempt at an entire CD of original songs that will inspire, uplift, empower and change the listener for the better. All of the songs were written with that mission in mind, and I am really excited for those messages to reach a wide audience.

Please take a look at the short video at the top of my IndieGoGo page to get the entire back story of the CD. On the site you can contribute any amount to my Community Supported Music project. In return, you’ll get the benefit of some exclusive “musical harvest” before the rest of the world, and you’ll be helping to sow the seeds of hope and change in the process.

If nothing else, please help me spread the word about this relatively new way of helping to bring new music to the world by sharing my post.

I’ll be posting more stories and background about the CD over the next few weeks. Thanks for your ongoing love and support!

An Amazing Austin Adventure

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 by lisabell Click to Comment

What a fantastic tour in Austin! Bob Story and I headed there for four days where we made many new friends, played fantastic music, ate great food, heard some amazing musicians across the city and spread some positive messages to a host of new audience members. Last summer, I put the intention into the Universe to go to Austin to play during the annual SXSW music festival and the results couldn’t have been better!

It all started with a discussion with a friend Diane Beerline who I met through a women’s networking group called Tobi Hunt Events. I mentioned I wanted to go to SXSW not knowing that she used to live in Austin. She mentioned a friend Riki Rushing who still lives there and that she might have a place to stay if we went. When I asked if she also might be willing to host a house concert she was hopeful. Several months went by and one night in November I attended Diane’s Private Quarters sales event. “You’ll never guess who’s here visiting me from Austin!”  Riki and I talked for a few minutes and she said she would love to host a house concert at her home, so the tour was on!

With help from Carla Currie at Journey Mates, we were also booked for a Sunday morning church service at Unity of Wimberly, Texas and we started putting together a concert with three other artists. We also ended up with a daytime gig at one of Austin’s infamous “Food Truck Courts.” No official SXSW showcase, but actual gigs where we would make money!

On Friday afternoon we checked out the SXSW madness for the first time. 2,000 bands (not a typo!) and anywhere between 250-350,000 audience members descend upon the city for the annual event. I have never seen anything like it. For several miles, it was non-stop music in every imaginable venue. From the rooftop of Whole Foods to tents in every open space and endless clubs, there was every type of music to be found. I would best describe it as Memphis meets the French Quarter during Mardi Gras! Let’s just say we felt a little old as we walked around. We walked for miles and enjoyed the free music. We didn’t have a badge or wristband, but we were still having a great time!

Our first concert was at the home of Riki Rushing and Allen Gilmer and what an amazing house it was! The glass walls paired with the Bose stick PA system we rented equaled and amazing sound! Brad Taylor from Austin on bass was an amazing person and player! The audience who was our age and older really seemed to appreciate an event over the SXSW weekend that was out of the fray of the 6th Street madness.

We had a beautiful place to play, and amazing place to stay and a host of new friends and fans all thanks to Riki and Allen (and of course Diane who first introduced us!). We had a surprise visit by Allana and Marsh Lavenue who I know from Boulder (Andrea Ganley’s sister!) and had a fantastic evening. My manifesting skills were becoming quite apparent! This was going to be a fantastic weekend overall!

Me with the Lavenues

Bob and I with the amazing Brad Taylor on bass

We headed to the South First Food Court the next day for a fun lunchtime gig with Kit Holmes and Alan Peterson. Thanks to Shawn Madden for inviting us to SXSO1st and putting the whole event together! I had Facebook friended my cousin Clint Welden who lives in Austin a few days before and he showed up with his family. I hadn’t seen him in many years so it was really fun to reconnect. Fun music and food-as everywhere in the city! It was great to be a part of it all.

Next up our hosts for the next two days, Kit Holmes and Cynthia Millonzi gave us a tour of their house where we would perform the next night. We were to perform in the backyard, which was completely set up for a concert! It had a built in deck to serve as a stage, and huge sound and lights system. Amazing!

That night we headed down to SXSW again along with Alan Peterson who would play with us the next day. We made an appearance at the Copycats Showcase event on 6th Street and ran into Ed Bonach who I had met at the Empower Music Conference and Posi Awards in January. OK, so it was very deliberate on my part! I wanted to see a showcase put on by someone I knew so that we could learn how to go about doing that next time. We had to park a couple miles away and had 15 minutes to get there, so we hired a bike taxi to take us. I walked in and found Ed right away, even though I didn’t even know for sure that he would be there. He gave us the inside scoop and now we know! Good manifesting!

We ended the evening by attending the Cult concert, which was on a massive stage in the park across the river. Actor Matthew McConaughey made a guest appearance on bongos. He lives in Austin and apparently plays bongos regularly on his back porch, naked. Locally this has earned him the nickname “Bongo Boy.” Pretty funny and he was pretty good!

Sunday morning found us performing at the Unity Wimberly where the amazing Kit Holmes is the music director. Wimberly is about 45 minutes north of Austin in the hill country. It reminded me and Bob of Northern Italy. The church is on 43 acres of lush rolling hills and used to be a retreat center. We were surprised that morning by a video crew from MTV who were on hand to film a baby being baptized for a documentary. In return for the synch license to use our original music in the piece, we will receive a DVD of the completed footage including the music. Not a bad deal seeing as they had three cameras and it was MTV filming!

The concert that night featured Bob and me along with Kit, Alan Peterson from Baltimore and Martha Hall Bowman from Indiana. We had a great time swapping songs and singing and playing on each other’s original music. It was a fantastic evening of music and fellowship and again we gained a host of new friends and fans.

Overall it was an amazing trip and I really could not have imagined it going any better. We even saw amazing music at the airport where Blues artist Carolyn Wonderland was playing, for free! That was some of the best music we heard all weekend!

My key takeaways:

-Manifestation really works! It took a lot of trust and faith that I would be able to put all the pieces together, but as soon as I stopped worrying about the details they all fell into place.

-I would “do” SXSW this same way again, but next year I am going to manifest an official showcase slot so we can get badges to attend the conferences and network with more musicians and industry people. The fact that we have now played in Austin to actual crowds will help us to secure a slot. I also have an idea of the venues in which our music would work.

-Even if we don’t get an official slot, there are many ancillary “festivals” going on at the same time that are hosted by various companies so there are ample ways to play-for free. None of the showcases pay, and in fact some of them ask the artists to pay to play. And for what? The remote chance that some music exec or label will hear them. From what I could see, it’s a huge long shot. I’ll stick with the paying house concerts and try to get a few free things thrown in as well.

-Having places to stay was key. All of the thousands of bands who flew in from around the world and stayed at a hotel and played for free were spending huge amounts of money in the quest to get discovered. I’m sure for some it worked out, but not many.

-The best part of our tour was the people. We went on pure faith, I having only met out two hosts once and very briefly. We had never met Brad the bass player either. But in talking with everyone on the phone, I knew we were all on the same beautiful page in life. I trusted completely that everything would fall into place for a great weekend, and it did.

Next up for me is my show in Boulder called MMMMMBoulder on April 6 featuring my band, Rebecca Folsom and Ash Ganley along with a host of short films, art and food. Then I am joined by my friends Lisa Simmons and Marco Cremaschini of Hippie Tendencies for a show at Shine in Boulder on April 28-fun!!

Touring wise I’m headed to Lawrence, Kansas with Shawn Madden for a concert on June 2, and I am working to manifest the same in Indiana with Martha Hall Bowman and San Diego with Teri Wilder. This is my year to tour the US and I’m off to a great start. If you want to see me in your city, say the word and I will manifest it into reality!


What a Fine BIFF Weekend it Was!

Posted on: February 23rd, 2012 by lisabell 3 Comments

Once again at this year’s Boulder International Film Festival I had the pleasure (and the stress!) of coordinating the filmmaker liaisons and managing the VIP guests.

One of my many VIP driving trips in the car generously loaned by Flatirons Subaru

This photo and most on the page were taken by Randy Malone (

Husband Steve Aldridge serves as the bodyguard and this year we even had a 3-man security team which I also managed. Nothing went awry and we work hard to make sure our celebrity guests and VIPs feel comfortable and secure at the same time.

Lisa's Angels

My week started off with getting to know writer, director and producer Lawrence Kasdan and his co-writer and wife Meg as well as producer Anthony Bregman who were all behind the opening night film “Darling Companion.” Lawrence wrote “The Big Chill” and Meg compiled the soundtrack for that film. Lawrence also wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark among many others. They were both impressive and ever so nice. I took them on a driving tour of Boulder and they had nothing but great things to say about our beautiful city. Too bad the tax credits and rebates aren’t as good in Colorado for filmmakers as they are in Utah. “Darling Companions” was set in Colorado, but primarily filmed in Utah for that reason. Mayor Hickenlooper and the Colorado Film Commission are trying to change that. Even guest Pam Grier (Foxy Brown-more on her later) told Steve and I that she’s been working hard over the past 5 years to change the program. Read the pros and cons of a new proposal in this article from Westword.

Anthony Bregman, who’s credits include “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” among many others, was quite charming and he received the “Excellence in Producing” award. He has four kids, who all ski, on the East Coast where there isn’t much snow, mostly ice. His oldest kids are ski racers which makes a lot of sense! I offered to take him for some real powder skiing next time he was in Colorado. He mentioned that he is afraid to take his kids skiing anywhere else as they might find out what they’ve been missing and never go back!

Anthony Bregman, Meg and Lawrence Kasdan

Me and my very dapper hubby on opening night!

Friday night featured an interview with William H Macy. Ahead of his appearance at Boulder Theater, he stopped by the Bitter Bar for a VIP Filmmaker Reception. He graciously shook hands and posed for pictures and had a good time. As we walked him back to his hotel for a couple of media interviews, I asked one of the security guys to “take the back.” William H Macy said “Why would you do that?” I said “Oh, so we don’t have all of the women of Boulder pawing and groping at you.” “Why not?!” he said.

He then went on to tell me a funny story about a motorcycle trip he had taken with his buddies a few years ago, in January in Northern California. None of them were prepared for the cold and rainy weather the experienced, none had any rain gear at all. He had on full leather gear but was soaked in short order. As they pulled up the the five-start Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, he pulled up the visor on his helmet and was instantly recognized by a wild group of women. They proceeded to jump all over him and the rest of the guys, putting lipstick prints on his helmet and elsewhere. The women were curious though why the men didn’t move after the initial crush. It turned out they were literally all frozen to their bikes and it took a bit to thaw out enough to even move. I told Macy that I was glad I had security at the back!

As we drove him to the Boulder Theater for his sold out Conversation with Ron Bostwick and to receive the Vanguard Award, was blown away by the line of people around the block. He was truly humbled by the attendance and the attention he received. He said he didn’t know what to expect from BIFF, but that it exceeded all of his expectations. He had commented earlier in the evening at how well run the festival is and how calm we all were-or if we weren’t we were great actors! I took that as a huge compliment, knowing how far we have all come and especially our ability to work with top-level celebrities in making them feel comfortable and welcome in our down home way that can only be found at BIFF. He even hung out in the Filmmakers Lounge after the Boulder Theater event to get to know some of the filmmakers in attendance.

Ron, William H Macy, Lisa & Steve hanging out backstage

I happened to be in the hotel lobby the next morning with his wife Felicity Huffman came in the door. The two embraced as if they hadn’t seen each other in weeks, though it had only been the day before. It was so fantastic to see such a loving moment of two Hollywood stars who are truly in love. It was really one of my favorite moments of the weekend.

Next up on Saturday was Martin Sheen. Steve and I had recently seen his most recent movie “The Way,” (now available on Blue Ray & DVD as Mr. Sheen kept saying all day!) which was written and produced by his son Emilio Estevez. It was a fabulous film about a father who takes a journey in his son’s memory on the spectacular Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain.

Mr. Sheen, 71 years young, was only in town for a day, but he gave us his all. I had him sign a few VIP posters and he made a point of jokingly saying “Look at that William H Macy autograph, hogging up all the room, I’ll make mine that much bigger!” He later asked us in the car as we picked him up if that “Macy scoundrel behaved himself” while he was here and “was he at least sober some of the time?” Again he was joking, referring to Macy’s character in the Showtime series “Shamless” (which is a must-see show if you haven’t see it yet).

Mr. Sheen was at BIFF to also have a sold-out conversation with Ron and to receive the Master of Cinema Award. Again, as we pulled up to the Boulder Theater on a bright sunny Saturday afternoon, he said “what are all these people doing here?” When we told him they were all there to see him, he too was blown away.

Martin Sheen does a little dance before stepping over a puddle at the Boulder Theater (courtesy of the Daily Camera)

After the event, as I drove Mr. Sheen out the back alley with Steve, Robin and Kathy Beeck also in the car, we came across a women who was very distraught on her cell phone. He asked me to stop the car and proceeded to roll down his window. “Are you OK?” The women who was still crying looked a bit stunned as she realized that it was Martin Sheen who was trying to console her. “I’ll be OK” she said. “Well can we give you a ride or something.” “No thank you though I’ll be alright.” It was quite a touching moment and really spoke to his genuine care for everyone, which came across in every moment with him. Later that night, Ashley from registration came up to me at the Biff After Dark party, telling me a story about a BIFF volunteer who came in to get her credentials, telling the amazing story of Mr. Sheen seeing her in the alley and offering his kind words. It was her turn to be blown away by the kindness.

After a visit at the VIP party in Centro, I had the pleasure of taking Mr. Sheen back to the airport.

We talked about how hard it has been for Emilio to get “The Way” out in distribution.” The film was self-produced by Emilio and family funded, with Charlie kicking in the last of the production costs so they could finish the project. He and Emilio then embarked on a 7-week bus tour to self-promote the film. It never really got picked up by a major studio, which is truly a shame. I encourage everyone to buy it or rent it when you can (it just came out this week so probably not yet on Netflix). It blew my mind that two major stars could not get funding for such a fabulous film and that it is languishing out there while such crappy movies get major distribution. As Mr. Sheen said, that is the reason that film festivals are so important. A father-son memoir with he and Emilio is also about to be released and I for one can’t wait to read it.

The rest of our drive was spent talking about the Camino. I have wanted to do the 800 kilometer trek for a few years after hearing about it from a colleague. The journey takes anywhere from 1-3 months if traveling on foot, and is a life-changing spiritual pilgrimage. I talked about wanting to do the journey with our sons when they graduate from high school and he kept telling me what an amazing family journey it would be. His biggest piece of advice was “lubricate your feet every day” or else you will suffer with sore feet and blistars! I thoroughly enjoyed our talk and as I handed him off to the DIA escort, he gave me a big hug and said “you take your lads on the Camino, you won’t regret it.” I drove away, thinking “this is why I love this job.”

The last VIP for the weekend was in town for the International Film Series, but Steve was assigned to coordinate her transportation to and from her showing and to take her to the BAD party at the end of the night. We met her at her hotel and she looked amazing! I commented on her fabulous leopard shoes and she jokingly said “they are yours at the end of the night.” She asked Steve who the VIPs were still at the festival and Steve said “It’s all about you tonight.” She said “Get out! If I had known that I would have worn my fro!” It was after 11 p.m. when they finally made it to the BAD party and it was really rocking by then. I asked if I could get her a drink and she said “Oh no honey, if I drink after 11:30 I start throwing shoes, and I know you really wanted mine!” Very funny and gracious as they all were.

BIFF Director of Digital Communications Brad Weismann meets superstar and his lifelong crush Pam Grier! He can die happy now.

Speaking of the lads, my son Brendan and Steve’s son Will also volunteered for BIFF over the weekend, helping out as ushers etc. at the venues. Both had a great time.

My son Brendan helping out on closing night

I did actually get to sneak in viewing a few films, though not many as you might imagine, but every one that I saw was outstanding as always. I heard nothing but fantastic comments from filmgoers and filmmakers alike, and it appeared to me anyway that more shows sold out this year than ever before. Job well done all BIFF staff! Every person is integral in making the festival happen and we all have such a great time with each other. That enthusiasm and friendly vibe comes across to everyone involved, from the filmmakers to the VIPs to the festival attendees. Here’s looking forward to another “Best BIFF Ever” in 2013.

Carrot Cake Recipe & Happy Holidays!

Posted on: December 11th, 2011 by lisabell Click to Comment

Thanks to everyone who attended last night’s sold-out Holiday House Concert! It was great fun to perform for everyone and we also raised nearly $400 (with tickets and gin sales) for my favorite non-profit Growing Gardens.

I am so very blessed to be able to share my music, and carrot cake, with all of you! As promised, here is the recipe for my mom Carole’s famous gluten-free carrot cake. Happy Holidays!!!

Carole (& Lisa’s) Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free baking mix (I use the mix from Boulder-based Bella Gluten-Free-available at both Boulder King Sooper’s and online at
2 cups sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple (1 small can), drained
2 cups grated carrots
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil (canola or similar)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Sift the dry ingredients together (very important!)
Beat the 4 eggs in a large mixer or bowl with the oil and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and blend. Then add the carrots and pineapple.
Pour into a greased and gluten-free baking mix floured 9×13 pan.
Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool, then frost with:

1 8 oz block of cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
1/2-1 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Let the cream cheese and butter sit at room temperature (while making the cake) to get soft. Blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together in a large mixer or bowl with hand mixer. Sift the powdered sugar (to remove lumps) and add according to your taste. I use about 1/2 cup per 8 oz cream cheese. Frost and top with pecans if you like. Enjoy!!!!

Full Moon & Lunar Eclipse = Big Change!

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 by lisabell Click to Comment

I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling a major shift happening for quite a few months! There is a major shift in the energy of the universe happening at this time, and for some, that can mean that things feel in flux. I know that’s true for me! I was sent this update from Power Path in Santa Fe today and I thought I would share it:

“The Full Moon is Saturday, December 10 at 7:38 AM Mountain Standard Time. This full moon is accompanied by a total eclipse of the moon visible in North America. Needless to say it is a very powerful time and serves as the bookend to an intense time of change and acceleration that began on the New Moon on November 24. Definitely do something to acknowledge this day. Make an inventory of what has changed for you and spend some time dreaming big and thinking outside the box regarding your intentions. Stay away from anything negative and set your boundaries against what does not feel congruent with you. If people are melting down around you, hold them in compassion but do not join in the drama. Your actions speak louder than words at this time and the universe will take note of any fully committed action you take towards your intentions. Be sincere and know what you want. Take some action that indicates you really mean it.”

One way to take inventory of the things you no longer want and those things you do want to accomplish is to write them out. My friend Tessa Michaels at Living Through Spirit suggests examining at all aspects of your life from physical to mental, career to relationships. Take two pieces of paper for each category and on one piece write those things you want and on the other those things you no longer want. Be detailed and specific. Take the pages of the things you do not want and burn them, releasing them into the Universe and taking away the worry and burden behind them. Concentrate on the lists of the things that you do want and begin to work toward manifesting only those realities. Take action! Doing this on Saturday sounds like perfect timing. May all of your wildest dreams come true in 2012!

Italy Tour Final Days

Posted on: August 4th, 2011 by lisabell 8 Comments

We ended our tour with a couple of gigs without the entire HT crew. Bob and I did a duo at the Can e Gatto (dog and cat) bar in Garde. It was a fun night playing in a very small but packed bar to an international audience.

We then were joined by Cesare and Massimo again for a gig outside a bar in the beautiful town of Peschiera. We have never seen so many beautiful cars and beautiful people! There was lots of dancing in the streets by the young and old, and it was a great final gig in Italy.


We also had a great deal of fun our last few days there. We were given a private boat tour and tour of the archeological dig of Sirmione by the amazing Mario Pagiaro (owner of Caffe Grande Italia where we also played) who’s family has lived in Sirmione for centuries. It was amazing to hear his stories of growing up in such a historical place.


That same night we attend a traditional Italian festival called a “Sagra” and had some amazing grilled meats, lots of vino and dancing to fun music!


We had an amazing 24 mile bike trek to the midevil town of Borghetto, followed by a fantastic lunch at a restuarnt by the river. To my surprise, no one gave me the evil eye in this 4 star white table cloth establishment when I came in wearing stinky bike clothes!


We ended our trip with a fantastic day at a huge Terma in the country, then a final dinner at QB-Quanto Basta in Colombare, Sirmione with Sylvia and Mateo who outdid themselves again!! I have never had such amazing, diverse food than at their restaurant.


Chef Mateo & co-owner wife Sylvia-“She is my dessert!”

Now back at home, here is my reflection on the trip (wrtten in the airport back home):
What an adventure it has been! 3 weeks with 8 gigs in 8 different Italian cities, from large to small venues, all to appreciative crowds who appreciated all of our music, from originals to funky cover tunes. The area in which we mostly played, Lago de Garda, is an international tourist destination, we often played to an audience made up of people primarily from Italy, Germany and the UK. It was a thrill for me to watch people of all ages and ethnicities dancing and grooving to our original music. While they may not have understood every word, they got the general feeling for the music and appreciated our musicianship and enthusiasm.

One song that was especially popular with every crowd was the Boomba Boomba Song or Set It Free. It’s all about our love for our dear Italian friends and the joy we felt both when they were here and when we were there. As Cesare likes to say when he loves something so much “It’s very boomba boomba!” thus the title of the song! Check out a live performance of Boomba Boomba here.

 Our hosts, Lisa Simmons and Marco Cremaschini of Hippie Tendencies, along with their dear friend and super fan Laura Giardina, bent over backwards to book us (grazie mille Lisa!) house us, feed us, show us their country and share their love. We will be forever grateful for their generosity and support, as without it we could not have made the tour possible.

Our musical partnership that began last September has been incredible. Lisa, Bob and I have written 7 songs together and we worked them up with the entire band and performed the majority of them during our Grande Tour d’Italia. All of the new songs I am using in my show have a common theme: Passione. I am living proof that it’s possible to live a passionate, full life and to manifest your wildest dreams. I started my professional musical journey ten years ago, and knew then that touring Europe would someday be an important milestone. The universe let me take the time to grow and become the musician I am today in order to be ready for this big step. I know that this is only the beginning of a long-term amazing musical partnership.

 Next up for me: writing a few more new songs together with Lisa and Bob, then recording them with the Hippie Tendencies band. It will be an international, virtual CD project, recorded in Italy and the US and mixed and mastered in Italy. Stay tuned for more on this exciting project and how you can be involved!

Future manifestation plans include touring different parts of Europe and the US with the new CDs (Hippie Tendencies is also working on a new CD project and both should be done around the same time). And, of course, spending more time together with our dear Italian friends. Thanks to everyone for their generosity and support during our three-week visit and for helping me to make my dreams a reality. Addio per ora alla mia amata Italia e gli amici (goodbye for now my beloved Italy and friends!).