Friday, July 30, 2010

Flashback Friday - The Go-Go's "Head Over Heels"

Love this song. It was the last single from the Go-Go's before they broke up.

I'm pretty sure I had a Naf-Naf shirt cut just like Belinda's. And those earrings.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear rude Anonymous Italian,

Clearly you have a problem. I've never even been to Torino, so I have no idea what you're talking about. That you only see ugliness in all Italian cities says more about you than about me.

Why are you constantly coming on my blog and trashing my POV of the country I choose to live in?

I have a French passport. If I wanted to live in France I would do so. You, as an Italian, can live in another EU country. Why are you still living here? Move to France, England, Holland etc. It's obvious you have no intentions of trying to make things better here, so go. Note, my parents are French and trust me the French give the Italians a run for the money when it comes to bureaucracy.

I cannot wrap my head around why you would read an expat's blog who moved to Italy in the first place. Since you hate Italy so much, why the fuck are you reading my blog? What's the point? What are you trying to do? Convince me to see Italy through your POV? I'm not you, so how could I?

Given how much bitterness is in your heart and your lack of a life, I'm glad I'm not.

You must have me confused with someone else. I know and so does anyone who reads a newspaper knows Italy has its problem. As does every single country on the planet. If you're looking for paradise, good luck with that.

You're the one with the rose-colored glasses. You are NOT American and therefore have no idea what it's to live there. Don't you fucking dare tell me, a black first-generation American, how I should feel about the country I grew up in.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Day Trip to Gaeta

Last week in an attempt to escape the heat, I hopped on a train and went to Gaeta.

I had a refund from Trenitalia and I really needed a break from my non-AC apartment. It was a perfect little trip.

I walked around the Historic Center and took a lot of pictures. For lunch I sat on La Cantinella Gaetana's outdoor patio and enjoyed the cool breeze. The restaurant a friend had suggested, Masaniello, was closed for lunch.

I had a conference call, so I headed back to Rome after lunch. I would love to return to Gaeta and explore the area a little more. There are national parks near by, beautiful beaches, historic churches, etc.

The locals were very nice and also very tan. A group of outrageously gorgeous people got on the bus on their way to the beach. It was too much. To paraphrase Zoolander, they were really, really, ridiculously good looking.

There is also a NATO base in the area, where many Americans are stationed.

It's about an hour train ride from Termini to Formia station...30 euros round trip. You catch the local Cotral bus to Gaeta. Buy your ticket (one euro) at the newsstand in the station before getting on the bus. It's approximately 15 minutes to the Historic Center.

Walking around the hills reminded me of St. Martin. I was happy to see the ocean.

It was so quiet. There were hardly any tourists. I saw a few Italian families taking photos.

Gaeta is closer to Naples than it is to Rome. The history (see link above) of this small ancient city is incredible. During WWII the German troops who occupied the city made the locals leave. Those who couldn't, were sent to concentration camps.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flashback Friday - Tu Vo Fa l'Americano from the film "The Talented Mr. Ripley"

Took a quick trip to Gaeta yesterday (pics to come next week) and heard this song on my iPod.

Directed by the late Anthony Minghella, I remember people gasping in the theater when Jude Law first appeared on screen.

I love this film.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What the heck....Doesn't Don Draper know I don't smoke?

I just noticed the vespa. ha

I can't wait for Season Four.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day Trip from Rome: Castel Gandolfo

This little town 40 minutes (by train) outside of Rome is the Pope’s summer residence.

A couple weeks ago I decided to take quick trip out of the city. Unfortunately, it was a Saturday. I had no desire to deal with all the crowds going to Sperlonga, or any other beach, so I headed for the lake instead.

Castel Gandolfo is definitely worth a day trip if you have time. It’s easy to get to and cheap. Only 1.90 euros each way.

The center of town is tiny! On the main square, Piazza della Libertà, there’s a very pretty church, San Tommaso di Villanova. It was designed by one of my favorites, Bernini.

The day I went just happened to be the same weekend as their Sagra. They were setting up dining tables, a stage and music was playing.

There were also tables selling local wines, cheeses, hand made crafts, African jewelry, etc. I saw one table filled with Scientology paraphernalia. It tripped me out to see Hubbard’s Dianetics in Italian. I wanted to take a photo but didn’t want to risk the Scientologists asking me to take a “test”. For a minute I felt like I was back in L.A. on Franklin Blvd. across from the CoS’s Celebrity Center.

For lunch I went to the restaurant, Hosteria La Fraschetta. All the outdoor tables were packed. I ordered the Rigatoni alla Carbonara. My glass of wine was a very full pour.

There were so many photos inside of Pope John Paul II. I can see why the Pope liked La Fraschetta. My pasta was delicious.

I got completely lost walking down to the lake. I should have turned left, not right leaving the train station. On the upside I saw a lot of pretty villas. I talked to a tourist from Toronto as we took photos of two donkeys. I assume they were wild. I wondered where they came from.

It was cooler by the lake. When I arrived it looked like it was going to pour but then it cleared up. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Hosteria La Fraschetta
Corsa della Repubblica, 58
Castel Gandolfo (centro storico)
+(39) 06-936-1312
Closed on Mondays

Random donkey sighting.

View from a restaurant on a side street in the Historic Center.

Get your Sagra on!

Perfectly cooked pasta. I could eat it every single day.

I'm an ocean person but this small lake is very pretty. Lots of green.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Flashback Friday - Bob Marley and The Wailers "Get Up, Stand Up"

I just finished reading Edwidge Danitcat's award winning book, "Brother, I'm Dying". I will post a review once I can get past my anger. What happened to her uncle is inhumane. I'm horrified something like this can take place in America.

The book, along with the six month anniversary of the Haitian earthquake, made me think of this song written by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lo Shopping: There's a Jo Malone in Rome!!!

I was jogging up Via del Babuino on my way to Villa Borghese park last week and saw the brand spanking new store. I couldn't believe it.

A Jo Malone opened in Milan in 2007.

I adore her line. The first time I heard of it was when a co-worker went to London years ago and brought us gifts. No one in the US outside of the fragrance/fashion worlds knew who she was.

Then a few years later she started selling the line at high-end American stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys etc.

Her stand alone store in NYC's Flatiron District is gorgeous. It was very close to my apartment and I spent way too much time and money in there. Excellent place for gifts.

I went to London for my birthday a few years ago and had to check out the flagship store on Sloane Street.

My favorite scents are Lime Basil Mandarin, Wild Fig & Cassis and the Pomegranate Noir.

I stopped by the store yesterday to buy myself a "start gift". Then I met up with with Erica, her friend and her friend's two adorable children at Hotel de Russie's garden for an outrageously expensive mojito. It was delicious.

Jo Malone
Via del Babuino, 42/43

The packaging is so classic and pretty.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I have a feeling there are quite a few people in Holland who want to eat some grilled octopus

Dang. Paul the octopus was 7 for 7. Congrats to Spain.

I can't believe the World Cup is over. I will miss this past month of meeting up with friends to watch the games, cheering for my teams (all of them lost) and, I'm not going to lie, appreciating the beautiful men who play the beautiful game. The after game shirt swap was a highlight.

Will Pedro Pinto cover other sports for CNN International? He knows his stuff.

Kudo to South Africa. There was a lot of negative press about the WC before it started. Now many journalists admit those fears were over the top. The Cup went well.

As far as the short term impact, the better infrastructure and tourism dollars will help the local economy. I was watching CNN Int'l and one of local journalists was saying you can't put a price tag on what this cup meant emotionally for South Africans and the continent in general.

Living in Europe I see a much broader coverage of Africa then I did in the States. I wonder why that is. Is it because it's closer? There isn't a great deal of international news coverage in America in general so that could be the reason right there.

The next WC will be in Brazil. There's going to be a lot of pressure on Brazil to win at home.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Flashback Friday - DeBarge "Love Me In A Special Way"

I'm rewriting a script set in the '80. I've been listening to a LOT of '80s music lately.

I read El DeBarge is making a comeback. Does this mean that Al B. Sure isn't far behind?

I loved this song and played it to death. El had a beautiful voice.

I totally remember the cover art from this album. I wish folks would stop trying to bring back 80's fashion. It wasn't fly the first time around.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

It's Spain vs. Holland in the World Cup finals

So interesting. During the early rounds the European teams (other than Germany) were not looking good at all.

Now an European team will win a World Cup title outside of Europe for the first time.

I will miss Germany's style of play.

I think the Spain/Holland game will be a good match. I wish I could watch the game in St. Maarten. It's going to be so fun.

Any predictions?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Lines down the block for the summer sales in Rome.

The summer sales started on Saturday. It was bananas.

In the States there are sales all the time. Not so here.

In Italy the big sales are in July and January. You might see a small store here or there hold a special but sales here are regulated by the State. They start in Milan and then continue down the boot for about a month.

The air was festive. I would say the crowds were split 50/50 between Italians and tourists.

The markdowns were no joke. Next sale season I will be ready!

The line outside of Gucci went on forever. Even after the store was opened.

Line outside of Burberry before it opened.

I wonder if any classic trench coats were on sale.

Line outside of Fendi. This building is gorgeous inside.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I hope Holland puts a shellacking on Uruguay in the semi-finals

Okay so I get that rules are rules. Strange things happen in sports all the time. It's one thing that makes them fun to play and to watch.

However, after listening to Luis Suarez's post game interviews, I'm hoping his team goes down.

Perhaps he should have kept his mouth shut and let people think it was just instinct that made him touch that ball.

No, he keeps running his mouth and it's as if he's proud of cheating. Really? Talk about poor sportsmanship. He's not hero but a freaking cheater. The goal was in. He was standing behind the goal line. Is he a goalie? No, so he should have keep his damn hands off the ball.

Now he's acting like getting a red card is as bad as being eliminated from the tournament? Is he serious?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The World Cup - the upsets keep coming

Brazil is out?!

The last minutes of the Uruguay vs. Ghana game were too hard to watch. I felt so bad for the Ghanaian team.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Flasback Friday - Martha & the Vandellas - "Heatwave"

Seriously it's about to get very, very hot in Rome starting this weekend.

The Scirocco winds from Africa make L.A.'s Santa Ana winds seem like a cool breeze from the North Pole.

When I heard the forecast, I thought of this song immediately.

A great Motown classic.

Have a fab weekend. Stay cool. And for those Stateside, Happy 4th of July.