Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Naples is molto bananas

I will have to write about it tomorrow. I am wiped out. I slept for only 5 hours last night.

I thought we were going to have an early evening last night since I was meeting my friend Ettore, his girlfriend and their 3 months-old baby boy. We went to a local cute place off Piazza Navona. Everyone had to stop and say "bello bambino". Their son is so cute, it's not right.

Around 10 we started to walk back to Ettore's car. He stopped by a bar to see if his brother is there. He is. All his brother's friends came out and checked out the baby. Another friend cames over on his scooter and I noticed he was quite cute and looked familiar. It's because it was the actor Claudio Santa Maria. Very nice guy and he scored major points with me when he complimented me on my italian. We all stood outside and talked for a while.

The music at the bar was great, lots of Prince, Marvin Gaye and the Police. Around midnight my friend's girlfriend said she needed to get home and get ready for work tomorrow. I couldn't believe how many people were out so late on Monday. Ettore said it was very quiet and in the Spring and Summer the streets are packed. I walked home and by the time I went to bed it was 1:00 a.m.

Tomorrow I will try to post about my day in Naples with the one and only Tracie B.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ciao from Roma!

I realized two very important things today:

I really "heart" Roma and my Italian sucks. I swear it's worse than last year. Not taking classes for six months clearly has set me back. I went to Trenitalia at the train station to buy tickets for Napoli. I thought this should be easy enough to say in Italian. The ticket lady busted out laughing. Not in a mean way but more like, "You get an A for effort. Now we are going to switch to English."

I have spent so much time worry about the grammar my vocab is lame. I can conjugate the hell of out of a verb but I'm having trouble stringing together a sentence in italian that makes sense.

Let's see, I have been in the city for less than 24 hours and already have received some very enthusiastic "Ciao Bellas" from a couple male members of the geriatric set. Thanks Gramps. Seriously, a compliment is a compliment.

Woke up to a very nice and sunny day. I like the apartment and neigborhood I'm staying in. I wish it had internet but there is a internet place close by. The apartent only a few blocks away from where I stayed last year. I went to the supermarket (this time I said "si" when the cashier asked me if I wanted a bag. Last year I had no idea what she was saying). I got lost walking to Piazza Navona. Unfortunately Bernini's Four Rivers Fountain is being renovated. While I stood in the Piazza, I thought, "I am just so freaking happy be back."

I walked back to Trastevere, spent some time in Santa Cecilia and "found" a small church not far away that I had not noticed before. It was pretty old and had the tiniest tower. Finally I had lunch at Le Mani in Pasta. Oh. My. God. I have been think about this stupid pasta dish for months (gnocchiette w/fava beans, cherry tomatoes and truffles) and it was as good as I remember. Waiter was very nice, winked alot. lol.

After getting my tickets at Termini, I wanted to go to Santa Vittoria church but it was closed for a couple of hours. I walked the street down past the Capital. It still trips me out to see officers with machine guns. I also think it's weird most of them are gorgeous. Is that a law? Are ugly men not allowed to apply for the academy? I wound not be surprise since employment ads here can state age requirements and that applicants be attractive. In the USA that would be a lawsuit so they don't put it in writing.

I continued on and hit the clusterfuck, aka The Trevi Fountain. Okay, this is supposed to be low season and the whole area was packed. I had to fight through the crowds to throw in my three coins.

I had my first gelato of the week after seeing the fountain. I was too tired to find San Crispino. I must have walked six miles today, therefore I am not concerned about the pasta and wine I had for lunch.

I finally made it back home and now I'm going to walk back over to Campo dei fiori area to meet a friend for dinner.

Tomorrow onto Napoli.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Vado Roma oggi ( I go to Rome today)

Last night I sat on The 10 for almost an hour. I was returning back to my apartment after going to the Spirit Awards party at Shutters in Santa Monica. This is a trip that should take 15 minutes.

I calmed myself down by repeating, "You are going to Rome, You are going to Rome". I have no idea why there was so much traffic at 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. La Cienega was also backed up but that was because of all the pre-Oscar parties.

I am going to try an experiment by dressing a little nicer (by L.A. standards) for my flight. I don't have to be sloppy to be comfortable.

Usually on very long flights I wore these Old Navy cargo pants and my cross trainers (as they were the heavies shoes I traveled with). I think it might be too cold and dark to go walking/jogging at 6:00 a.m. I will be walking alot during the day anyway. I'm leaving the clunky white workout sneakers at home and taking my green and grey Puma sneakers.

Off to the gym, then I have to finish cleaning and packing. I will be spending hours at LAX and six hours at Heathrow. Good thing I have plenty to read.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

YOU on a Diet - Week Four

I have lost 3 and 1/2 inches from my waist. Considering last week's junk food fest this is good news.

I am going to try and maintain this size or maybe even lose another inch or two. That said, there is a plate of Cacio e Pepe (bucatini pasta with cheese, olive oil and cracked black pepper) with my name on at 'Gusto Osteria.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The timing of my Rome trip could not be more perfect

Yesterday as I was leaving the office my co-worker said:

"Please try to have a good trip. You seemed postal the last couple of weeks and I can't run as fast as I used to."

The blinding migranes are gone, so my mood is much better. I know already what I'm going to wear to the Independent Spirit Awards party, no need to stress out about it. I had a pedi yesterday, getting my brows done today and will get my manicure tomorrow morning before the show.

I have to do laundry and clean today. I like coming back to a clean apartment.

I saw Francesco's show on Wednesday. He went to Rome and Naples. He shot in one of my favorite places in the world, the Borghese Galleria. He also spent time in an underground tunnel in Naples that was incredible and kind of creepy. I am so looking forward to my trip. Sometimes I forget I'm going. Then I remember and try not to do a spastic dance, ala Elaine on Seinfeld.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why are people so flakey?

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say they are going to do something then don't it. I was supposed to have a conference call this morning. I left my gym class early so I could be home in time and changed my scheduled. Haven't heard back from the person.

An actor friend in Italy I'm working on a project with, told me the producer of his latest film is interested in our project. Said producer is in L.A. and wants to meet. I call producer, he's says he'll call back in an hour. That was three days ago.

I don't know why after working in this business for 8 years stuff like this still annoys me. I need to take a deep breath and relax.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Secret, The Secret, The Secret

I first heard about "The Secret" at a dinner party back in October. Now everywhere I go I'm hearing about this DVD/Book. Oprah did a show on it (I didn't see it) the other week and the response to her website was so strong it almost crashed her server.

Several friends of mine said it changed their lives. It sounds like it has a lot to do with the laws of attraction. Basically, if you focus is on negative things, negativity is what you will get back in return.

You know I am not a fan of the super "crunchy" stuff I'm subjected to by living in LaLa land, but this is something I am going to check out after my trip. It can't hurt.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rome - one week from today

I just have to make it through a hectic week at work. There are so many things I need to do before getting on a plane.

Speaking of Rome, last night's episode was fantastic.

Friday, February 16, 2007

YOU on a Diet - Week Three

I am not going to measure my waist today. I am bloated and look like I'm in my second trimester. I did break down yesterday and bought some candy from the store across the street from my office. I then went to Trader Joe's and bought a bag of air-popped popcorn and a bottle of blood orange Italian soda.

I had to leave work early. I was sitting at a nice lunch when all of a sudden, I got the worst migrane. It felt like someone threw a vice at my head, then put my head in the vice.

Before the migrane and cramps extravaganza, I was having a great lunch with one of my favorite people. She is a producer at a pretty big company but is very laid back and down to earth. She grew up in L.A. and lived in NYC for a couple of years.

I was feeling a little down about my non-valentine having ass and felt better after talking to her. We were cracking up talking about the whole weird dating scence here.

She met her husband at the valet line at a hotel. He was in town on business and they started dating long distance. They were married within a year and now have a baby girl.

I had a chance to really talk to him at Sfashionista's baby shower a few weeks ago. He's been living in L.A. for about a year now. All his wife's single friends complain about not dating and he can't understand what is going on with the fellas out here. He told his wife I should move to Chicago. I would be "scooped up" in a minute. LOL.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Black Barbie is on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Jennifer Hudson is on the cover of Vogue

LOL. This is too damn funny. If you want to be taken seriously as an actress, you should say "no" to posing for the S.I. Swimsuit issue. The news, yes the news, was breathlessly saying how Beyoncè was the first non-model or non-athlete on the cover, blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, Jennifer, who is not a size 0, is going to be on the cover of one of the most influential magazines in the world. I can't wait to get my copy in the mail. It's the Power Issue and I rather read about smart, powerful women doing interesting things than read yet an another interview where Black Barbie said she had to hold back on her singing so she wouldn't overshadow Jen.

You know Matthew Knowles is salty.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Valentine's Day


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Brambles by Eliza Minot

Despite the abrupt and somewhat strange ending, I really enjoyed this book. It's a funny and at times poignant portrait of the adult Bramble siblings as they deal or not deal with each other and their father's illness. I thought Minot (who lives in Maplewood, NJ) nailed the stress of a former career woman turned overwhelmed suburban mom. I laughed out loud when she described Margaret constantly hearing "Mom, Mom, MOM!"

I'm bringing the following on the plane: TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf, THE NAMESAKE bu Jhumpa Lahiri and THE FARMING OF BONES by Edwidge Danticat. I have been swamped with scripts to read for work, so I haven't had much time to read for pleasure.

Speaking of books, I am waiting for feedback on mine from one writer friend and a freelance editor. I am nervous.

In the meantime, I have an idea for a travel article for solo women travelers and I should start reseaching it, so I can pitch it. Other than my blog, I haven't written anything in two weeks. I do like having my mornings back, but I feel kind of off.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Police

They can stand close to me anytime they want. I watched the first hour of the Grammys. The Police looked great as did Mary J. Blige, Prince and Justin Timberlake. I choked up when Stevie Wonder talked about his mom (I am so PMSing). I am trying to be less snarky in '07, so I will not comment on Black Barbie. I did change the channel when she started singing. T.I. looked very handsome in his tux and I don't know what happened with the chick from the Pussycat Dolls. After 9:00 I switched to ROME which was a great episode.

My sister and I were talking about The Police the other day. My sister is ten years younger than me, but my brother and I played them all the time and she became a fan. I know we did not have cable when the video came out for "Don't Stand So Close To Me." My parents did not want to encourage us to watch TV so we were probably the last family in Verona to get Suburban Cablevision. Anyway, I think I saw the video on Friday Night Videos or whatever the name of that show was. I knew who they were because of "Roxanne". That was a huge single for them and it was one of the few records back then that got played on both Pop and R&B stations.

When I saw the video, I fell in love. Steward Copeland is one of the greatest drummers, ever and Sting, really I mean the man was just incredible. Good singer and very, very handsome. I bought the Zenyatta Mondatta album and played it to death. Every single track on that CD is great.

During college I saw them play at the Carrier Dome during the Synchronicity tour and was very sad when they broke up. "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic", "Message in a Bottle" and "Every Breath You Take" (aka the stalker song) are some of my favorites songs of all time.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith and the diaper wearing astronaut

It's official, people have lost their damn minds. I feel bad for Anna's family. That said, what is with the "Candle in the Wind" references? She was not Marilyn Monroe. Her death is not a "national tragedy". This did not need to be the lead news story during a time of war and the Scooter Libby trial. One of my friends works with a woman who said Anna is a legend. Okay for what? I don't get it.

I do think something is up with her lawyer/"husband" (the marriage is not legal). How is it he was around for two very suspicious deaths within a five month period?

Last week the news was all about a crazy woman wearing a diaper so she didn't have to take a ten minute bathroom break as she drove "to confront" her rival.

If I turn on the TV this weekend, it will be to the Food Network and Travel Channels. So far they have not changed their programming to offer breaking news about either of these women.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Francesco's Italy from Top to Toe

This is a series that was produced by the BBC. The first episode aired last night on the Travel Channel. There are only 4 or 5 episodes.

It is great. Francesco is a good host, very funny and insightful. I think he is a Count or something and lives in Venice.

Last night he went to Padua, Bologna, Verona, Portofino, Milano and Torino. The Giorgio Armani segment was pretty funny when Mr. Armani was trying to help Francesco find a jacket.

I really can't describe how beautiful the art and architecture were.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

YOU on a Diet - week 2

I have lost 2 inches from my waist. I feel so much better. I sleep very well and I don't crave candy. I had two little cookies from the Gelson's bakery on Sunday and it was fine. I didn't feel the need to eat an entire bag.

I tried whole wheat pasta. I know it's better for you but it will take me a minute to get used to the taste. Speaking of pasta, in 20 days I plan to eat some at Le Mani in Pasta. It is one of my favorite places in Rome.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Buon Nutella Day!!!

Yes everyone, a joyous day has arrived. My sister is the one who first introduced me to this fantastic treat. She spent the summer between her junior and senior year in high school at a school in Dijon, France and basically ate it everyday. She also spent alot of time drinking wine and kissing boys but I digress.

I heard the version sold in the U.S. is different (they try to make it more peanut butter-like), so I will be buying a jar to bring back to L.A.

Congrats to
  • shelley

  • sara

  • for organizing this new holiday. Tomorrow they will be posting a round up so check their sites for delicious recipes from all over the world.
  • Monday, February 05, 2007

    Nutella recipe

    Tomorrow is the official World Nutella day. I will post a link to the website tomorrow. It is going to be a crazy day at work tomorrow so I'm posting my choice today. Just looking at it makes my mouth water. Enjoy.

    From the Food Network:

    Banana Nutella Crepes
    Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello
    See this recipe on air Sunday Feb. 18 at 1:30 PM ET/PT.

    For the crepes:
    2 large eggs
    1 cup whole milk
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    Pinch salt, preferable gray salt
    2 tablespoons butter
    4 tablespoons hazelnuts, peeled, toasted, chopped

    For the filling:
    4 bananas
    3 tablespoons butter
    2 fresh bay leaves
    2 lemons, juiced
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1/4 cup tangerine juice
    1 cup fresh raspberries, optional
    1 small jar hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)

    For the sauce:
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 lemons, juiced
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    Confectioners' sugar, for serving

    For the crepes:
    In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a separate bowl mix the flour and salt. In a small sauce pot or saute pan over low heat melt the butter and cook it until it is light brown.

    Add the egg and milk mix to the flour and salt and mix well so that there are no large clumps. Add the browned butter and mix to incorporate, being careful not to overwork batter. The batter should just coat the back of a spoon. If seems too thick, thin it out with a little more milk or water. Let the batter rest for 1 hour prior to cooking crepes.

    For the filling:
    Peel bananas, cut in half lengthwise and then cut 1/2-inch slices widthwise. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat melt the butter and cook until lightly browned, add the bay leaves to the hot butter and cook until it crackles slightly, add the lemon juice and sugar, stirring so that the sugar dissolves. Add the bananas and tangerine juice and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes so the flavors incorporate and the bananas are hot but not mushy. Add the raspberries, if using. Stir gently to combine. Set this mixture aside and let cool slightly.

    After the crepe batter has rested for 1 hour, heat 1 (10-inch) nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 ounces of the crepe batter to the pan, remove pan from heat and tilt slightly to spread the batter over the entire pan. Return to heat and sprinkle the top with 1 teaspoon of the chopped hazelnuts. Cook for about 1 minute until the bottom side is lightly browned. With your fingertips and a spatula, carefully flip crepe and cook the second side for about 15 seconds. Set the cooked crepe on a baking sheet and repeat until you have used all of the batter. You should be able to produce 8 to 10 crepes.

    Lay the crepes out on a flat surface. Spread each crepe with about 1 tablespoon of hazelnut spread. In one fourth of the crepe, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the banana mixture and fold the crepe over in half and in half again so that it has a triangular shape. Repeat this with all of the crepes.

    For the sauce:
    In a small saute pan over medium heat melt the butter and cook until lightly browned, add the lemon juice and brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

    Serve the crepes on a plate with the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with the remaining chopped hazelnuts and confectioners' sugar.

    Recipe Summary
    Difficulty: Medium
    Prep Time: 25 minutes
    Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Yield: about 8 to 10 crepes
    (the user rating on this one was 5 stars...the highest)

    Friday, February 02, 2007

    The Jackson 5 enjoying themselves on VH1 Classics

    I was at the gym this morning on the treadmill going nowhere fast. One of the TV monitors was showing the VH1 Classics channel. After a Peter Frampton song, they showed a video for the song "Enjoy Yourself." It looked it was from a live show like Top of the Pops or something. Michael was so handsome with his huge 'fro and electric blue jumpsuit.

    I am not going to ask again what the hell happened, but I almost teared up seeing that video. I think all his plastic surgeons should be arrested for crimes against nature.

    Later a Journey video came on. Steve Perry's shirt was unfortunate but what a voice. I know people like to talk smack about Journey saying they are cheesy. I think this is unfair. Most videos from the 80's were cheesy. Although special mention goes to Journey's "Separate Ways" video. It's one where they are standing on a shipping dock somewhere.

    Speaking of the 80's one of my college roomates was in town for work. We went to dinner at Angelini Osteria. As always the food was amazing. I had fish instead of pasta, only one glass of wine, no bread or dessert.

    I cannot believe my friend is married with two boys. It seems like only yesterday we met on Boland 8, our dorm freshman year. After dinner I looked at the coffee table book on Impressionism art she gave me one year for Christmas. She signed the book and I cracked up reading her comments. For some reason she name checked Corniela Guest (the daughter of the late, great C.Z. Guest). She also wrote we would be friends forever and twenty years later that is true.

    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    emotional eating per YOU On A Diet

    I am happy to report that I have already dropped an inch from my waist since I started reading the book. Despite the lack of pasta, Jelly Bellys, Swedish Fish, apple pie, popcorn and other things I enjoy have not turned into a cranky, beeatch.

    I am now on the chapter regarding emotional eating. According to zee book, I like to eat the above items because I am depressed and sexually frustrated. Hello, Ray Charles could see that. Well, actually I don't think I'm depressed anymore, but the other reason is cause for alarm. Seriously. The book also points out that the section of the brain that deals with sex also deals with appetite.

    I was at an agency meeting today with my boss and during half the meeting I was thinking about sex. I wondered "why am I stuck in this conference room? I would rather be at L'Ermitage or Chateau Marmont meeting my sexy boyfriend." Then I remembered, oh hell, I don't have a boyfriend, not even a lovah!

    Okay, so post Rome I have to figure something out. I refuse to be "on strike" for all of '07. It just isn't right. I talked to my friends about fix ups. All the decent men they know are married, the others are gay or are single for a reason. Also, in L.A. a major problem is my age. Most of my peers want to date women at least 10 years younger.