Bar mitzvah #2 in the books!

Hey kids– remember me??

It’s good to be back! I’m finally coming up for air after a few months of nuttiness. I like the full-time job but it’s kicking my ass– lots of hours and intense focus required. I was producing our local “Listen to Your Mother,” show in May, and Aden became a bar mitzvah this past weekend.

Lots of planning, hours on the computer, and stress. I’d like to say I took it well, but I was a frazzled mess for much of the last month. I’d work 10 hours a day and read emails on the train home.

Aden practicing torah reading with our cantor

Aden practicing torah reading with our cantor

After dinner and getting the kids to bed, I’d be up til the wee hours working on the bar mitzvah video invitation, montage, invite list, and general party planning.

The invitation came out great, thanks to Aden’s swagger. You can watch it here.

We’re taking a trip to Israel with two sets of grandparents and my cousin and her boyfriend in August to celebrate Aden’s bar mitzvah. We’re going for 10 days with a guide and chose lots of outdoorsy activities seeing animals and sights, which Aden should love.

Because of the trip, we were trying to keep the local celebration low-key. But all of our family is out-of-town so we knew we’d be hosting meals and events all weekend, and low-key is hard for me when it comes to parties.

I like things to look a certain way. I wanted the celebration to be personal and make Aden feel special, without the dancers and a photo booth.

Bar mitzvah logo on cake

Thanks to the one and only Able Baker for the delicious and beautiful cake!

I think we accomplished all of this, but it required a lot of work and angst to get there. I’m happy with how it all turned out. But let’s just say I needed the help of my dutiful mother,  a lot of friends, and Ambien. Even with the sleeping pill, I didn’t sleep more than 5-6 hours a night for weeks!

Aden was wonderful on the bimah, and our kiddush lunch was intimate and fun. We had some friends and family over for a backyard party Saturday night– which closely resembled a college keg party– and turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend.

At the end of the day, of course it’s really about the people and love in the room and we are so lucky to have amazing friends and family to share in our pride and joy in Aden.

I’ll blog again when I get the official photographer’s pix– my one regret from the weekend is that I did not take one photo. ACK! I was trying to be ‘in the moment’ and too distracted by all the people and planning.

But my mom took a few at the kiddush during the speeches.

Bar mitzvah candle lighting

Bar mitzvah candle lighting

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my speech to Aden… who was poised and charming through it all. Unlike my other two boys, Aden doesn’t like so much attention– which is why we planned the Israel trip– but he rose to the occasion in a big way– rocking a bow tie.

Aden’s independent thinking and self-confidence from a very young age has always left me envious and made my heart swell with love and pride.
 
He’s a complicated dude.  

He’s quiet and poker faced… extremely sensitive, thoughtful and sweet. He can be icy cold and pissed off one minute, and hugging and kissing you an hour later. He is my most challenging child– often stubborn, sometimes obstinate– and yet I know with unshakable certainty that he’s the one who will take care of me when I’m old.
 
He’ll play NBA on PS 4 all day, and read poetry in bed at night. Aden can tell you more about the two-toed sloth than you ever needed to know and play you ”Ode to Joy” on his guitar.

He’s a talented athlete, but always takes the field or court on his own terms. He plays hard and as a pitcher and point guard, handles pressure with ease and grace. While he may be hard on himself at times, he always supports his teammates and cheers them on.

He’s our own little Renaissance Man.

Jand E gave a short congrats speech to Aden.

Jand E gave a short congrats speech to Aden.

One of the best parts of throwing a bar mitzvah and going through all the angst and stress is to celebrate your child at an important time in his life. We know who Aden is to us in our family, but now he’s a teenager and has his own place in the world and life outside of home that we sometimes know little about.
 
The teen years are a challenging time for kids – everyone’s trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be.  I love the opportunity to take a moment to recognize every part of Aden and celebrate what makes him special to so many people here today.  

Anyone who’s planned one of these events knows how much time and energy it requires, and there may have been moments when I questioned why it’s necessary to have a big party to celebrate this milestone. 
 
But then I saw Aden on the bimah working with the rabbi and cantor, reading Hebrew– focused, committed and unafraid. I listened to the words of friends and family describing him for the montage: compassionate, smart, funny. I watched him try on a suit, choose a bow tie, lace up man shoes, and nod approvingly in the mirror. 
 
And I realized what we are celebrating is Aden growing, maturing, and becoming his own person. 

Today– at least in Jewish tradition– he became a man. I can’t wait to see what kind of man he’ll be. I feel so lucky to be a small part of this Renaissance Man’s journey. I hope he carries the sweetness of this day throughout his life….and I hope his confidence and talents help him realize all his dreams.”

Mazel tov kid!

I survived month 1 of my new full-time job

Oh it truly feels good to be back on this page. I’ve not had a moment to sit down at the computer since I started my new job at the AP at the end of February. I’ve been working beaucoup hours trying to get up to speed.

My duties include managing a team of 11 producers and 3 cameramen in several cities– including LA, NY, and Nashville — who help cover entertainment news for hundreds of TV clients all over the world. It’s a lot of masters to serve. While I have many years of TV news experience and a solid understanding of entertainment, every shop is different and it takes a while to adjust.

Work pass

But there’s barely time to adjust and get to know the staff because I have to keep up with breaking news– everything from celebrity deaths, divorces and babies to the latest album drop and show opening on Broadway — while receiving literally hundreds of emails a day– sometimes 1 per minute!– of pitches for coverage.

I’m not complaining– I love it! But as a colleague told me last week, coming into this job is a little like building a plane that’s already in flight. It doesn’t stop and I’m constantly worried we’re gonna crash. Miss the wrong email and you lose your spot on the red carpet for Nicole Kidman’s new movie or the deadline for credentials for the MTV Movie Awards. (These are hypotheticals of course…we should be good on both of these….but I’ll double-check now just in case.)

I know everything takes time and I’m hoping in a few months it will all be easier and I’ll look back on this time and laugh. Can’t wait!

In the meantime, some other thoughts on the big change.

How is the family adjusting?-– You know which family member had the hardest time with me going back full-time? Kids are great and Wilson has been extra helpful. It’s Brady! That lonely pup didn’t eat for two days and freaked out when I would walk in the door, chasing his tail and barking like a lunatic. Major separation anxiety! He’s alone more hours during the day now, but my sitter walks him and he’ll be fine. Poor pooch.

Brady needs a lot of extra attention and often has personal space issues.

Brady needs a lot of extra attention and often has personal space issues.

Commuting — I’m working 5 days in the city and take the train. Luckily I can walk from home and work to the station so it’s really a pleasant experience. I like to say I don’t hate the commute, I resent it. It’s nice to have some alone time to gear up, read in and decompress after work, or meet a friend to talk on the way home. But it’s just another 2 hours I’m not with my kids.

I’m crazy tired-– I was always tired– for the brief time I was not working and when I was working part-time– but this is a different kind of tired. It’s like 4pm 9 months pregnant tired. Like just got off a flight from Hong Kong tired. I think this will get easier too. When you’re new you have to be “on” for 9 hours a day. Good news is I sleep well and have been good about getting to bed at a decent hour– which is new for me.

Random celeb sightings– Yes, we have all kinds of actors, writers, reality stars and even celebrity pets prancing into the office. I have yet to make it to a red carpet, but in the office I met the legendary David Hasselhoff (don’t hassle the Hoff,) comedian George Lopez, and Colman Domingo (from Selma and Fear of the Walking Dead.) Jeremy Piven came in and I snuck a photo because Jacob’s a huge Entourage fan. I could have asked Piven for a real photo but we’re the press, not fans, and we should be better than that.

Piven picI thought showing Ari Gold live and in person in my office might impress the kids and let them know what Mom does all day.  I texted Jacob the sly pic and with typical teenaged disdain he texted back “Ayo.”

I don’t even know what that means.  Sigh.

One of the highlights was XMen’s Nicholas Hoult who has a British accent and is easy on the eyes. Nuff said.

Associated Press

Associated Press

 I miss writing– I had one last book review to get out so I wrote it this week and it felt good to be writing again. Right now, I haven’t had any time to write in my job, and at home I’m with the kids and trying to get stuff done. I hope in a  few months I’ll be able to make more time for it.

So keep watching this space– don’t give up on me just yet!

Visiting the grandparents’ Florida gated community: Top 7 observations

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

I took Aden and Eli to West Palm Beach last week to see their grandparents at the posh gated community where they live for six months of the year. It’s an annual tradition that’s always fun and relaxing.

It’s also pretty predictable. Visiting their community– which shall remain nameless so I don’t sully my mother’s good name and reputation, perhaps resulting in her losing the best tennis court on Round Robin days– is like Groundhog Day meets Edward Scissorhands.

After so many years of visiting I’ve gathered some notes on life in the land of roses and retirees…

The grounds are stunning, but all the same. There’s not a blade of grass out of turn. The roads are perfectly paved (potholes probably filled under the cover of night when all residents are tucked into their 1500 threadcount Egyptian cotton sheets)…the landscaping is rich with palm trees, exotic plants and animals, and lush ever-blooming flowers compliment meticulously manicured lawns.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

All exactly the same

But every street in the property of 1600 homes looks basically the same. They aren’t permitted to personalize their homes or landscaping. On the plus side, no one has to think about upkeep or aesthetics, and it looks beautiful and feels calmingly familiar. But after a week, I find myself longing for my overgrown bushes, chipping window panes, and cracked driveway.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Bike riding in the hood

There’s always something to do. I can’t imagine anyone ever suffering a moment of boredom, especially if they’re seeking activities. In the week we were there, the boys played basketball, swam in the pool, soaked in the hot tub, hunted alligators on the golf course, rode bikes, and played pickle ball. They could have also played tennis, golf, bridge, canasta, or Mah jongg. There are book clubs, charity events and wine tastings. It’s like college with no homework. Not a bad way to live.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

No less than 5 different rules signs in the pool area.

So. Many.Rules. It’s probably most apparent to parents of young children– especially mine– who enjoy testing boundaries and resisting anything that restricts a good time.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Within the week, there were kids kicked out of the hot tub for being too young, turned away from the clubhouse dining room for wearing jeans or short shorts, and scolded for climbing on a waterfall in the pool.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

I have adventurous boys. How can they see that waterfall and not want to climb in and jump off??

The pool takes strict to the extreme.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

You can’t throw a ball, float on a raft, or give your kid a snack on the lounges. I heard someone call it the “no fun” pool! Though my kids stayed in the water til the sun went down so there is fun to be had.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

More food than an Elizabethan banquet. It’s a constant feast– like cruise ship amounts.

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Only one third of the buffet line.

My kids love the overflowing bread baskets they bring at every meal and indulging in the buffet, where you can eat yourself silly. Hot gourmet, cold sandwiches, a salad bar with someone to chop it up if you like. Desserts are plentiful– the most popular being piles of large fresh-baked cookies and all you can eat soft serve yogurt with sundae toppings. Heaven!

No need unmet. On a bike ride with Eli, he got very overheated and tired and we were far from home. Within 2 minutes I found a water station near the golf course that not only had ice-cold water but a fridge packed with cold wet neck towels. Eli had an instant recovery. There are several water and “free” Gatorade stations near the tennis and golf club. Every locker room is stocked with every imaginable amenity and plastic bags for your wet clothes.  Many afternoons there’s an ice cream freezer by the pool loaded with tempting treats. (Of course you can’t eat them by the pool, but still!)

Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Chipwich near the pool

We took a tour of the card rooms and there was a counter full of snacks, including M&M’s, and yogurt covered raisins and filling their fists with free goodies may have been the highlight of the boys’ trip.

Baci at Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Learning to play baci

No shortage of competition. Besides the aforementioned sports and card games, my boys discovered Baci– allegedly the fastest growing sport in America– shuffleboard and Pickle Ball–

Pickle ball at Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

— a combination of tennis and ping-pong played on a hard court with small wooden paddles and a wiffle ball. We got hooked.

Pickle ball at Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

It has its own subculture. There are certain customs you learn when spending time at grandma’s gated community. Seats at the clubhouse pool are coveted, but can only be saved for an hour, so don’t linger at lunch!

Pool at Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

It’s ok to cram as many bodies as possible into a golf cart with no seat belts because you’re only going 20 mph with little traffic.

Golf cart at Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Most golf carts here have the owner’s name painted on the sides.

You need to stop and say hello to every one of your mother’s acquaintances because she’s been telling them intimate details of your life over coffee all season. The friends need to check you out and mom needs to show you off. It’s a grandparent’s sacred rite!

I tease because it’s fun but in all honesty it’s a pretty fabulous place to vacation with kids and we are lucky to be invited every year.

Thanks Nan and Papa Pat! Can’t wait til next year…..

Pool at Florida gated community grandparents visit on carpoolcandy.com

Big news! I’m back in showbiz!! (I got a new job)

I have exciting news!!!

You may have noticed I’ve been laying low on the blogging front lately. Much of my energy has been focused on interviewing for a job that seemed so well-suited for me, I was worried if I thought about anything else or spoke too much about it I would jinx it forever and be doomed to live the rest of my days wondering what could have been.

I had FIVE– count ’em five– interviews, and a few restless nights and hand- wringing days waiting to find out if I got the job. And I did!

Photo credit: Kathryn Huang photography

Photo credit: Kathryn Huang photography

You’re looking at the new Editor of Entertainment video for the Associated Press!

A former colleague who works at the AP told me about the position a few months ago and it seemed too good to be true. I’ve been looking for the right job for several years but like Goldilocks, could never seem to find the right fit.

I was working part-time at Fox News as a news editor for the World and U.S. pages and freelance writing for several websites. It gave me great digital experience, but I found writing about Islamic extremist bombings in the Middle East and Africa and the refugee crisis in Syria draining. I was always peeking over at the Entertainment page and pitching feature stories.

In this new job, I’ll be managing producers covering TV, movies, music and arts with no agenda– just straight entertainment news. During the interview process I was warned there might be some travel…. to help cover awards shows like the Golden Globes and Oscars.

oscars 2016 promo

That’s a sacrifice I’m eager to make!

As the interview process continued and the job became more real, I started to feel  drawn to it and realized it’s the gig I’ve been building towards for many years. It combines my TV and management experience with my love of entertainment and pop culture. And it’s at one of the most well-known and respected media companies in the world. The world, people!

During one interview, an editor told me one of the best parts of working for the AP is that when news breaks anywhere– from Capetown to Nashville– they have a bureau and contacts there to cover it. AP has reps on red carpets all over the globe. And someday soon I could be one of them.

ap logo

It’s also the right time to go back to working full-time in the city. My boys are older and more self-sufficient, and college tuition fees loom large. Jacob will be leaving in two years!

I’m thrilled to be going to work every day to talk about entertainment with people who love it as much as I do. I always wanted to be a journalist– you get paid to know what’s going on in the world and every day is a new opportunity to learn and tell a story. I’m excited for a new challenge.

And since I mentioned the Oscars, I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone who helped me get to this place….

Mom and me

My mother has been the Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith) to my Rocky: always in my corner, wiping sweat and tears off my face, pumping me up with encouraging words and loving support, even when I was bruised and beaten down by life’s disappointments.

My aunt Jane was my very own Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) — an inspiration ever since I was a little girl. She was the first journalist I ever knew (ironically she worked for AP’s rival, Reuters, for more than 30 years) and made the career seem fascinating, educating… and most importantly possible, even while raising a family.

Family friend, Anne Rosenbaum who gave me the best professional advice I’ve probably ever received. She had quit her high-profile TV job at ABC several years prior and told me– when I quit my full-time job in TV at Fox– to always keep my resume alive. I’ve been a freelance writer, digital editor, live show producer, blogger, essay writing tutor, and book reviewer.  I’ve kept busy and current in the changing media world and that helped tremendously when the time was right. She’s my Glenda the Good Witch.

thelma and louise

My girlfriends. Like Thelma and Louise…Violet, Doralee and Judy in 9 to 5, the southern belles of Steel Magnolias, and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants …… I love my gal pals. If I start to mention names I’ll surely forget and offend so I’ll just say you know who you are. Thanks for listening to the minute-by minute drama of each job opportunity, for the calls and texts of encouragement, and for sharing wine and making me laugh when I needed it.

My former (and future!) colleague, Alicia, who alerted me to the job and showed me how my past experience had prepared me for it. I promise never to encase your stapler in Jello mold.

And no, I won’t pull a Reese Witherspoon/Hilary Swank and forget to thank my loving husband, Wilson. That guy has put up with more worrying, complaining, frustration, and indulgence than anyone, and took on the responsibility of primary breadwinning while I tried to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. You’re the best honey. Even better than Clooney.

ap logo

If you want to read more about the job, you can check out the AP announcement today here.

I start next week. Expect several posts about the transition back to full-time and my first celebrity sightings!

 

Springsteen never gets old

Before Bruce began playing all 20 songs from The River last night, he told the sold-out crowd at The Garden, “I wanted to make a big record that felt like life.”

I never feel more alive than when I’m at a Springsteen show.

Bruce Springsteen River Tour at MSG 2016

This t-shirt is 30 years old! From my first Bruce show in 1985.

Part of it is the emotional storytelling he does in every song– with poetic, often haunting lyrics that stick in your mind for decades because they trigger memories and touch your soul.

The River was one of the first albums I owned and I listened to it over and over again, always finding new nuances. Bruce creates characters in a world where work is hard, love is tangled and uncertain, and freedom and dreams are what save us.

Bruce Springsteen River Tour at MSG 2016

Playing my River cassette tape on my Sony boom box,  I loved rock classics like “Hungry Heart,” “Sherry Darling,” and “Out on the Street.” (What teenager doesn’t want to belt out “When I’m out on the street. I talk the way I want to talk!”?)

I was thrilled by the 1980’s technological advancement that allowed me to listen to the same song on repeat as many times as I wanted. I went through a “Drive All Night” phase and must have played that song a thousand times, dreaming of whichever boy I liked, wishing anyone would ever love me like that.

Bruce Springsteen The River tour 2016 at MSG

I also connected with the ballads. The tragic emptiness of “The River,” the brutal dose of reality and family strife in “Independence Day,” and the desperate longing of “Fade Away,” all came back to me. I was back in my high school bedroom with the blue shag carpet and flowered sheets, earnestly singing every word.

Bruce Springsteen River Tour at MSG 2016

Bruce played every song with energy and heart, like he was rediscovering the lyrics for himself, with more life experience to change his lens.

You would never know the guy is 66 from the spark and endurance onstage. I’m sure he gears up for days for a show now. He clearly takes care of his body and must treat his voice with gingerly care.  It’s still strong and gravelly and sexy as shit.

What other sexagenarian jumps into a standing crowd backwards and bodysurfs across a room?

Bruce Springsteen The River tour 2016 at MSG

Wilson balked at the hefty ticket price but he loved the show too. We went with old friends, David and Dana, which made the night even sweeter. If you’ve been to a Bruce concert, you know he’s like the bartender at Cheers, bringing together the E Street Band and thousands of screaming fans in one place to have a beer, sing songs and tell old stories.

Bruce Springsteen The River tour 2016 at MSG

Never disappointing his devoted fans, he played for more than three hours straight, and after The River, treated us to two of my favs: “She’s the One,” and “Candy’s Room.”

Bruce Springsteen The River tour 2016 at MSG

Forever fascinated by their marriage. What’s it like to live with The Boss?

He also pulled out ” The Rising” before going into the classic encores and a fun ending with “Shout.” For a complete set list click here.

Bruce Springsteen The River tour 2016 at MSG

So yeah, it was a terrific night with Bruce and the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, hard-rocking, booty-shaking, love-making, earth-quaking, Viagra-taking, justifying, death-defying, legendary E Street Band!

Who knows how long they’ll be rocking the house?  Each show feels like a moment in history to savor.

Why is my 12 year old so pissed off?

It starts in the morning. Aden never wants to get out of bed, and pre-teen hormones and angst have not improved the situation.

I quietly pad into his room and gently sit down next to him on his bed, careful not to get too close. (DON’T POKE THE BEAR!!)

I stroke his still soft cheeks and whisper, “It’s time to wake up….” and then cringe inside. He usually pretends he doesn’t hear me the first time and after several soothing prods, I might get a guttural groan that translates to “GO AWAY!”

Always wary with a hint of a smile

Always wary with a hint of a smile

I’m not allowed to turn on the light or open the shades. I can’t say too much, and God forbid I ask what he wants for breakfast or lunch. It’s a delicate dance on eggshells each day.

He takes his sweet time to get ready– like, longer than Sofia Vergara on her wedding day, with the same attention to his hair — and often screams downstairs at me if one of the only two pairs of sweatpants he deems worthy, is dirty.

There are no smiles, just snarls and eye rolls galore as he rushes through his cereal (Life with carefully sliced strawberries,)  grabs his backpack and slams the door behind him.

Despite kind requests, pleading, scolding, and groundings he often doesn’t text me when he gets out of school, lingering in town with friends, and making me worry. When he strolls in and I ask him about homework, he hisses at me “I did it already!” or  “I don’t have any!” If I dare follow up with a question on what he did have, he throws his head back in disgust.

“OH MY GOD MOM!!”

Not totally sure of the subtext. Could be “Leave me the hell alone,” “Why do you care?” or “”It’s none of your damn business lady!”

Hard to know.

What I do know is that every word out of my mouth is the most annoying  ever uttered in the history of parenthood. I am useless, irritating and an obstacle he must remove to get to his room, where he will slam the door (once so hard the knob fell off and remains broken.)

funny teen cartoon

He lies on his bed staring at his phone– participating in a group chat, spying on friends on Instagram or obsessively playing his STOP app.

He’s 12. Middle school. I get it.

But wow is he hard to live with sometimes.

12 seems to be the worst age because they’re certain they know everything, but the one thing they know nothing about is themselves. How they appear and sound to people who aren’t 12 seems  inconsequential. Every thought they have is the most important and must be expressed, no matter how nasty it is.

London with kids on carpoolcandy.com

Sometimes he likes me

Of course Jacob went through this too. I went back to the blog archives and found this excerpt from when Jacob turned 13…. sounds very familiar…..

Jacob has slipped into the inevitable yet loathsome phase of believing that every member of his family is a dunce. He barely listens to our conversations, unless they’re about him– because we are clearly not worth his time. When he does grab a detail he deems worthy of his attention, if he doesn’t approve, he snarls his lip, squints his eyes, and cocks his head.

He stares incredulously with contempt and I can only think he’s wondering how he could be related to people so moronic. When we tell him to do something– anything, really– from flipping a light switch to completing a term paper– he sighs loudly and shrugs so deeply I’m surprised he hasn’t injured his shoulders. We’re such a burden, I don’t know how he tolerates us.

So yes, it’s a phase they all go through. But Aden has always been more moody and internal so he’s teenish times ten, and his contempt for me (and poor Eli, his other target) seems more visceral and intense.

But what choice does a mother have but to bite her tongue to resist the temptation to put him in his place…. and maybe even laugh at his remarkably consistent overreactions to anything that offends his fragile sensibility.

Some day– sooner than I think or want to admit– I’ll wish I had a 12-year-old home to frustrate me. So I’ll tiptoe into his room again tomorrow, and be happy he’s still waiting for me under the covers.

 

Golden Globes 2016: a forgettable year

Variety

Variety

The 73rd Golden Globes ceremony was a bit lackluster, even for this TV and movie fan. The film that swept was one I’m not sure I can endure, and many of the TV winners were for shows I’d never heard of (Mr. Robot, Mozart in the Jungle, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend )?!

Makes it harder to get excited when you don’t have horses in the race.

One ongoing theme was the seemingly genuine surprise of winners, apparently convinced someone else would take home a Globe. (“I can’t believe this! Wait. am I really up here? I was not expecting this!”)  Perhaps that speaks to the talent level in every category.

Let’s get to the deets…..

The show:

Ricky Gervais was back as host. Many stars looked terrified as he took the stage and started spewing insults. His indiscriminate barbs spared no one, including the show’s network NBC, which he gleefully pointed out did not get one nomination.

He was wry, sarcastic, and funny…but kind of an anti-host. Not deeming the event worthy of a tux, he went with a blazer and no tie. No one felt welcome or comfortable when he was on the stage, and he often spoke some hard-to-hear truths about Hollywood, quipping “it’s funny cuz it’s true!”

Ricky-Gervais-hosts-the-73rd-Annual-Golden-Globe-Awards-on-Sunday-January-10-2016

When introducing presenter Matt Damon, he called him “the only person Ben Affleck hasn’t been unfaithful to.”  Midway through the show, he came on and said with disgust that the ceremony was “waaaay too long. Let’s get through it!”

But the one-note “I’m so over you people and you need to get over yourselves” routine got old after a while, and I was yearning for the creative and playful Amy and Tina.

–Happy to see Jon Hamm win for best actor for playing the miserable Don Draper for seven seasons, on “Mad Men.”

Lady Gaga won for a guest role in American Horror Story: Hotel. I don’t watch that show and don’t doubt her talent but find it hard to believe she was actually the best actress? Holding back tears, she gave a very, very dramatic acceptance speech so maybe she is.

Mr Robot poster

–This Mr. Robot show has now intrigued me,  after it won for best TV drama and Christian Slater won for best supporting actor in the series.

Standout moments:

–The crowd went nuts when Sylvester Stallone won for reprising his Rocky role as best supporting actor in Creed. 

Denzel Washington winning the Cecil B Demille award. Man, watching that clip reel was incredible. So many great movies and he brings gravitas to every role. I was a little disappointed by his speech. I like that he brought his whole family on stage but he seemed overwhelmed and too off the cuff to say what he really meant. He stumbled around on his speech and realized aloud he should have brought his glasses. Not as inspiring and strong as I expected.

–Taraji P Henson gave out cookies on her way to the stage after winning best actress for playing Cookie on “Empire.” When they tried to wrap her up she wasn’t having any of it: “No, no, I waited 20 years to be here you’re going to wait!”

The Revanent poster

Leonardo DiCaprio got a standing O after winning for growing a long, fuzzy snot-filled beard in “The Revenant.”  Seriously, that movie also won best picture and best director for Alejandro González Iñárritu— but it looks hard to watch: cold, violent and not a woman or laugh in sight. Not sure I can do it. Leo was the only winner who got political, saying we have to “protect indigenous lands from corporate interests and protect this planet for future generations.”

Moments that made my kids laugh:

Jonah Hill donning a furry hat and pretending to be the bear from The Revenant, doing an insulting bit so foul-mouthed  and inappropriate he got bleeped and started a “what did he say” frenzy on Twitter.

Jamie Foxx did a spoof of Steve Harvey‘s Miss Universe gaffe by claiming that “Straight Outta Compton” won for Best Original Score … before admitting he didn’t “read the card right” and it was really “The Hateful Eight.”

Full list of winners here.

The clothes:

I noticed that the always reliable and smooth Ryan Seacrest was specifically not asking women who they were wearing as often as usual and sometimes not at all. This must be due to the #AskHerMore campaign from last year that demanded actresses be asked more about their work than their fashion choices. Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls started their own campaign on Twitter #SmartGirlsAsk where fans could pose substantive questions on social media to ask stars on the red carpet. Definitely made for more interesting chatter.

I’ve been doing these awards wrap-up posts for years and I sometimes feel like a broken record picking the same gals as best-dressed, but when you know what looks good on you, you make good decisions. Perhaps some of my winners may sound familiar….

Vogue victors:

My three favorite looks of the night were:

julianne-moore

Julianne Moore never disappoints. This year she brought designer Tom Ford and wore his custom navy sequined sheath with a sleek design and subtle details. She wore her red tresses long and slightly messy to complete the look. Glamorous, modern, perfect.

Kate Hudson has become more known for her style than her acting, no? She definitely made a statement in a light pink Michael Kors beaded sheath that from the front looked like a bandeau top was separate from the long skirt but was actually attached in a sexy twisted back. The cutouts were accentuated by her unbelievable body. She topped off the look with messy bed hair and jewels.

attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.

attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.

The ever svelte Olivia Wilde in a burgundy sequined sheath with deep halter top: Beautiful, lustrous yet with old Hollywood flair.

Amy Adams usually does it right and her long, tight orange Versace dress with an interesting sequined pattern at the belt line popped on the carpet and off the stage. Also loved her long loose wavy red hair- like a fiery sunset.

Also liked Kirsten Dunst’s black velvet Versace sheath with very risqué, cleavage-bearing cutouts and a delicate strappy back, accentuated with a messy bun and diamonds.

And speaking of big-time cleavage, Jaime Alexander ( from “Blindspot”) had a memorable emerald green and black gown that was tight and open on top and flowing on the bottom. Her updo added to the striking look.

It’s hard to talk about a red carpet and not mention JLo but frankly it was not one of my favorite looks for her. The mustard yellow skin-tight Giambattista Valli sheath had beautiful texture and lines, balanced by an attached cape on top. She went with very minimal makeup and flat hair so it wasn’t a wow. Don’t get me wrong– she still looked good, just not a standout.

Taraji P. Henson stood out in a sexy, sleek white strapless Stella McCartney sheath and long dangle giant emerald earrings.

Helen Mirren looked elegant in a black velvet sheath with a sweetheart top and sexy diamond necklace that seemed to be paving a path right to her ample cleavage.

Best dressed men for my money were Rob Lowe– aging well  with salt and pepper coiffed hair and a gray tux that fit snugly and perfectly….Jason Sudeikis in a handsome tux and Air Jordans, with socks to match wife Olivia Wilde’s gown….and Will Smith who knows how to wear a suit.

Fashion fails: 

I love Jane Fonda, but she made a fashion faux pax in a white dress with some kind of dust ruffle clown costume on top. It was a risk that did not pay off and overshadowed how great and real she looks in her own skin.

Variety

Variety

Rooney Mara had a rather severe hair look with a tightly pulled braid, which she coupled with a pale pink dress crowded with tassels and fringe that was more Spanish dancer than young starlet. I don’t think dressing up is her thing.

Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) looked like she was going to a 19th century funeral all buttoned up and lacy in black.

Lady Gaga had a nice frock but for her, it was rather ho-hum. The look was channeling Marilyn Monroe with platinum blond bob hair and a black velvet Versace 40’s style dress with a sweetheart tip. Snore.

Melissa McCarthy may be hilarious but she really needs a new stylist.  She lost weight and her face was glowing but the silver, drapy garbage bag of a dress was not doing her any favors.

I know I say this every time, but seriously, Giulianna Rancic looks not well. She made the mistake of wearing a dress with cutouts and standing sideways on camera and 1) you could almost see through her and 2) her head looks so large teetering on those bony shoulders and that frail body, if she keeled over and face planted into the red carpet I would not be surprised. Hope she’s ok!

To see all the red carpet looks click here.

That’s a wrap kids. I need some sleep!