Last night MSM took me out for a very special treat. We basically went to France and as you know, J’adore France and anything French!
The night started at The Little Door, A French Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of West Hollywood. This quaint abode is possibly the most enchanting eatery I have ever visited (in America anyways). Upon entering the rustic hideaway ensconced in twinkle lights and foliage, I felt I had literally escaped to a courtyard bistro in Cassis. Even the host was legitimately French. We were seated at an intimate round table mid-courtyard. From the airy music to the way in which the dishes were plated, everything about this place felt both romantic and sexy.
Over cocktails and great conversation MSM and I shared appetizers of baby artichoke salad and a Mezze Mediterranean sampler. I chose a vodka rhubarb cocktail that was well balanced between tart and refreshing. MSM had a Moscow Mule (those are quite in fashion right now) that had just that right amount of ginger bite. Yum! The hummus was the best I’ve ever tasted. Even the pita tasted fresh/made in house! True spanikopita is hard to find in LA (as opposed to the trader joes freezer section spinach wedges in filo), but The Little Door basically must have borrowed the recipe from my grandmother. Devine!
For our main course we shared the lamb stew. Also exquisitely made, this dish was hearty but not too heavy. Small pearl onions with carrot, lamb, chicken, and sausage over quinoa brought the comfort of a home cooked meal. It was nice to be able to converse with MSM and have no vibes of being rushed out for table turn over. That being said, we did not feel like we were waiting forever for anything either. The staff was appropriately polite and attentive.
The Colcoa French Film and Televison Festival
After dinner we were either going to see Christine and the Queens, a french singer that we love, or attend a film at the French Film Festival. Tickets to the former were pretty steep so we opted for the latter and I am SO happy about it because the film we saw, The Wall Crawler, was an adorable tale that only the French could have spun. I adore French films. Honestly, the stories are so good! I can’t put my finger on what the difference is between French and American dramedies that makes them so much better. I feel like the characters in the French variety are just so much more approachable for some reason….
For good measure (and to keep things “french”) we listened to our favorite Christine and the Queens song on the way to the film festival. I’ll include the song here in case ya’ll want to hear something new.
WHAT THE HECK TO WEAR ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN FRANCE:
I wanted to look sexy for MSM but I also needed something appropriate in case we had to walk far. I’m often getting talked to regarding my shoe choices. I decided to pair skinny jeans and a nice blouse with my Valentino Rock-Studs because despite the heel they are INCREDIBLY comfortable.
Thank you MSM for the romantic getaway to France. It was fabulous. And just think, no jet lag or long airplane ride! Who knew France was right here in my back yard?
Its that time of the year again- the time when boxes upon boxes of DVD’s show up at my edit bay door. Sent from a plethora of networks, these DVDs contain TV show episodes and movies that need Emmy nominations from Academy members. I always wonder if most members watch through everything?! I try and watch the ones in the categories for which I’ll vote. It would take a year to get through all the DVDs….maybe more! I don’t necessarily look forward to all the boxes, but I DO look forward to being part of such an exhilarating time in the television season.
I’m so delighted to have launched this pre-Emmy’s season with a bang. Last night I attended my first For Your Consideration (FYC) Academy event at El Portal theater in North Hollywood, exploring one of my favorite shows; Jane The Virgin. (I even blogged about this show here ).
All Academy members are invited to FYC events. Its another opportunity for networks to explain why they feel their show(s) deserve an Emmy nomination. Usually these events start with either a screening of an important episode, or a sizzle reel displaying samples of exemplary work. The screeners are followed by a panel consisting of actors, writers, producers, sometimes editors- moderated by a guest. The moderators ask the creatives/producers questions regarding the creation of the show, the working environment, personal revelations….the list goes on. At the end, questions are opened to the audience (academy members). The panel is followed by a cocktail and appetizer reception where the members and show runners/creatives/producers can mingle. I believe that some members try and attend all of the FYC events during the pre-Emmy season. I tend to only visit the ones covering shows I adore, or shows MSM likes (if I’m allowed to bring a guest).
I was beyond excited when I received my FYC invite to Jane. The crew handled their event a little differently. Rather than a screener, the members all received a script from the show and we watched a table read of Season 2 Ep 1. I was SO relieved that’s as far as they went into season 2 because I only watch shows on Netflix, so I’m a season behind. This way there were no spoilers!
After the table read they had their regular panel, moderated by surprise guest Mario Lopez! Yay! A Saved By The Bell throwback! I’ll take it!
I was impressed with how well the crew got a long and how modest they all were. I can definitely relate to the wonderful and refreshing joy it is to be with a kind and talented crew that is grateful and excited to be part of the team of that particular project. I had fun meeting some of the actors. I wish I could have met them all, but I had to pick my top few because they were getting bombarded and I knew there wasn’t enough time to talk with everyone. I loved meeting Jamie Camil (Rogelio). During the panel presentation I noticed that this man is smart, sassy, and down right hilarious. I also think his acting on the show is superb. While waiting in line I also met a few actors that played reoccurring incidental parts. All very lovely people.
I had to prioritize, so I missed out on meeting “Raphael”, “Petra” and others. I was very exctied to meet head writer and producer Jennie Urnan. I had learned, while waiting in line for the event, that Ms. Urnan has been a writer on pretty much every show I enjoy (Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl, to name a few). I wanted to let her know that I would be excited to cut a show she wrote. I realize writers probably have no say in the hiring of post production editors, but her writing is so smart and funny and so many of her shows, mostly dramadies, have covered subject matter that I dream of cutting. I have learned over the years that the things we do that we feel passionately about 9 times out of ten end up fairly amazing. And the process of creation is even that much more fun. So universe…..I hope one day I can cut a show on CW that Jennie is writing.
Next I met Ivonne Coll. Honestly, she’s the initial reason I gave Jane The Virgin a shot. Ms. Coll also plays the Grandmother in Switched At Birth (I just adore this show. It gets my vote for Drama every year). I was curious to see what other show she picked to collaborate.
I do believe Jane The Virgin should get an Emmy nomination, at least definitely for the writing. The show is smart, funny, and a fresh creative twist on dramedy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, definitely do!
WHAT THE HECK TO WEAR TO A FYC EVENT:
I was freaking out a little about this one because I knew these events tend to be fairly casual (unless its for Mad Men) but I still wanted to appear chic and successful. Here’s my Danielle approved selection:
I feel like I don’t look so great in all the photos, but the lighting in there…..lets just blame that! What a great night. I’m curious to see if Jane gets a nomination and if so, who will the show be up against? There are a lot of good ones out there. There are also a lot of HORRIBLE ones. We shall see…..
I am so blessed to be living with such an amazing Chef. I’m sitting here right now, at my desk, eating the chicken that MSM whipped up last night for my lunches this week. Leave it to him to discover a new way to flavor this overly used protein choice in a new and fantastic way. This time he concocted his own variation of honey-mustard and garlic. I do think there is something to say about adding love or passion into a meal. It does alter the flavor, I’m sure of it. What was that movie where the girl was crying into her pie dough, and when she shared the pie with the townspeople they all started to cry as well? I’m telling you- there’s truth to that.
With spring in full bloom and swim suit season around the corner, I am sure we are all more carefully selecting what we put into our bodies. Cheating a little less with Donut Frenemy and focusing more on a solid relationship with delicious fruits and vegetables. Its funny to me how when I eat “clean” foods (unprocessed), I feel so much more energized, healthy, and dare I say youthful?
MSM has a bunch of friends that are Chefs (hence his amazing ability to cook- he’s learned from the best- and I’m not exaggerating) so I decided to ask his close friend, Chef Danny G, for a list of lean protein options OTHER than that damn white meat I’m sure we’re all sick of! Here’s his response:
Lean proteins are everywhere. You just need to be open to trying them, educating yourself on how to prepare them, and experiment. The most obvious lean protein is chicken breast and rightfully so. Unfortunately, it can be boring regardless of how you prepare it. However, don’t give up on chicken breast, its a good source of protein and it is cheap.
Now, lets explore the other options that I look to cook and share with my family.
To continue with animal protein, lets explore the fish and shellfish family. We eat fish about 3-4 days a week at our house. Here are common fishes that you will find either at Whole Foods or a high quality seafood vendor
Halibut, look for Alaskan Halibut. Its a bit pricey ($16-20 per pound) but well worth it. It takes well to any marinade, but be careful to not overcook it. It will dry it out and not be good. Always look for a thick piece 1-3″ piece. I prefer to pan sear the fish for about 2-3 minutes and finish in a hot oven for about 6-8 minutes. Serve it with some roasted vegetables and a salsa verde
California White Sea Bass, this a great fish, thick, hearty and a bit cheaper ($12-14per#) than halibut. The skin on this fish can get crispy if you sear it hot and finish in a hot oven. Again, look for thick pieces and request the fish monger to remove any bones, if they don’t, don’t worry you can cook it with and remove after. They are big.
MahiMahi, about the same price as sea bass. Great for fish tacos!!! Grill them with a cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno marinade and grill on a very hot and oiled grill.
Local Albacore Tuna, this a great local tuna. Caught from San Diego all the way upto SF. About $14-18 per #. Square off the loin of tuna with no skin, add a spice mixture and sear it on a hot oiled pan on all sides. set aside and chill off and slice and serve on a salad or with soba noodles
Some other fish options: Haddock, Cod, Flounder, Shrimp, Scallops, Lobster and catfish. Keep in mind though that most shellfish is high in cholesterol
OTHER POULTRY AND PORK:
Lean Turkey Breast, is another option. Very cheap, can find frozen $4-5per#. make kabobs, tacos, grilled or even make a soup with it.
Pork Tenderloin, very lean and flavorful. Roast it in the oven with carrots and potatoes and fresh herbs, olive oil and garlic
Tofu, firm or silken. Takes well with any marinade (sesame oil, minced garlic, mirin and soy) and grill the tofu on a hot grill. serve with vegetables and rice or noodles. you can also make a miso soup with the silken tofu
Egg whites are great as well. It takes a bit more creativity but it will work once in a while.
Also don’t forget about legumes, lentils, greek yogurt, soybeans, and cottage cheese
While Chef Danny was explaining all that, I took a minute to look up the movie to which I was referring above. Its called Simply Irresistible, staring Sara Michelle Gellar. I remember it now- totally cheesy. But a fun watch!
Thanks so much, Chef, for your awesome ideas!!
If any of you have some healthy but delicious recipes to share, please send links in the comments below. I’d especially love some ideas for protein packed snacks!
Well, I can’t believe it but I actually managed to pull it off. I stayed up for 24 hours. Not only did I plow through it, I genuinely enjoyed myself. I’ve heard that Vegas hotels pump oxygen into the air, which I am sure aided me in my all night excursion. Too bad most of the positive benefits of all that extra O2 is negated by the amount of cigarette smoke swirling in the atmosphere! I always view Vegas as a great check back to whats really going on in the rest of our country, since LA seems to be a microcosm of attractive actors and rich people who pay a lot of money to look 20 years younger. There are “normal people” here as well- obviously- like me and my friends. But the ratio weighs heavier on the handsome folk. Alternatively, Vegas attracts many different types. Albeit some are gorgeous, but the ratio seems more of an actual representation of the “real world”, and I am just amazed at how many people smoke! Ew. Just gross.
Last weekend we were in Vegas to join 17 of MSM’s closest friends in celebration of Darren’s birthday (Darren as in Ugly Sweater Party. See Ugly Sweater Party ).
was a Nobu catered feast, followed by dancing like rockstars into the vampire hours at the Omnia nightclub in Ceasar’s Palace. Sadly, no sighting of Stefan, Damon, or Edward. But there WAS sighting of Calvin Harris. Right in front of us, in fact, because we were honored with VIP “seating” in the DJ section! Not gonna lie, the view from the top was amazing.
Omnia was nothing short of spectacular. Inside feels like The Fifth Element meets Cirq Du Soliel – except the patrons are actually in it rather than viewing it. Theater of the round is the theme, with the DJ smack in the middle. Gymnasts hang from ropes and dancers stand on columns, inspiring moves for the crowd. Multiple levels and areas allow for plenty of patrons to enjoy themselves. Despite ample space, the place gets PACKED. I didn’t even dare leaving our coveted booth to go to the restroom. The DJ area was comfortable with plenty of space to dance :). If you’ve saved up enough for a bottle service area- I would highly recommend it. The drinks were delicious and they kept them coming- with plenty of water to restore and hydrate. Some shots of the inside:
Love this shot taken by MSM. This club was just so cool.
Dancing the night away in the DJ booth at Omnia night club, Ceaser’s Palace.
was more mellow. Pool and Pizza in Darren’s suite followed by some table play in the casinos. I had never been to a penthouse suite in Vegas before and this did look just like in the movies! Yep, the pool table was in the room and the view was divine from every window. It was FREEZING last weekend, and raining- both rare for the area, which is why we all decided to stay in. After dinner we went down to the MGM casino to play some craps. I made it through one round of the Wheel of Fortune slot machine and was ready for bed by midnight. I guess one night of Vampire is all I can handle. So far….Once bitten I am sure it will get easier ;).
What the heck to wear in Vegas in April:
Okay boys and girls. Enough with the sweat pants and velour jogging suits. We are not 70 years old and Juicy Couture is out of business. I’m not saying we need to dress up like in Pan-Am (the show), but I want to 86 the sweats. Unless they are tailored somehow. On the opposite end, WHY do some women insist on wearing high heels to the airport?! Honey’s, your feet SWELL on planes. Don’t do anymore damage than you need to. Designer sneakers are in now. Take advantage. Also they are easy to slip off and on before and after the security check. AND they are easier to run in – in case you have a connecting flight you have to catch 30 seconds after your delayed premier flight lands. Just saying.
Vegas Night Club
So even if the dress code says “business casual”, in Vegas that is a lie. Cocktail attire. And nothing fit-n-flair unless it has some “vegas umph” to it- meaning sex appeal. Cut outs, spaghetti straps…something. We saw this girl in a gorgeous fit in flair dress with a scoop collar and short sleeves. The top was sequined and the bottom was white and flirty. Very pretty! But more appropriate for her nephew’s bar-mitzvah than a club in Vegas. I have noticed that we can get away with things in Vegas that would feel inappropriate anywhere else (other than the Playboy Mansion, may it RIP). If you wear something that is considered sexy in LA, in Vegas you will feel over dressed. And by over-dressed, I mean too much coverage.
Casual Night in Vegas/Freemont Street ware
We had planned to go to Freemont Street, the “original” strip. I was super excited because I have never been there. Unfortunately it was just too damn cold! But this is what I had planned to wear, and as far as I know- is totally appropriate.
A beauty product addendum
Partying like a rock star takes tolls, one of them being huge under eye baggage. I discovered (in a gift with purchase of all places!) the most AH-MAZING dark circle concealer! Maestro Eraser by Armani. I used #5, which at first I assumed would be too dark but it wasn’t. Its magic ya’ll. Magic! See for yourself.
Party on dudes! Sometimes staying young means fake it til you make it. I was nervous about pulling an energetic all night-er, but prepped my mind to just go with the flow and not only did I have a blast, I realized A. I’m not as old as I thought I was. Age really is mind over matter. B. Its healthy to let loose every so often- no matter what age. C. That armani concealer!!
PS Its taken me all week to recuperate. But I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it again ;).
This weekend I decided to take a trip down memory lane and listen to Julie Andrews belt out songs from The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins- two of my favorite childhood movies. Its funny how we can so easily forget the little hints to happiness that we learned as children. A spoonful of sugar DOES help the medicine go down. Listening to music while doing the dishes always makes the task more enjoyable. Writing my blog during my lunch break makes the more mundane tasks of my job more fun (though most of my job is fun, I’m lucky regarding that). The song I want to really focus on today is My Favorite Things. I’ve been a little anxious about my aging mother, and even just hearing this song made me feel more relaxed. I want to take a moment to create a list of my favorite things, so when the dog bites, or the bee stings, or I’m feeling sad I can simply remember this list and not feel so bad. 😉
Puppy fur. This is the softest thing on earth. Not only that, but its attached to the most adorable thing on earth. A positively surefire way to melt your heart and relax the mind.
Dog faces. So cute and unconditionally loving, a kiss from a four legged friend- another key to “yay”.
Ballet– not watching it, but dancing it. I think its the combo of movement and the music that makes Ballet so Zen for me. Definitely on the top of the list.
Pointe Shoes on my feet. These represent to me utter beauty, elegance, and grace. And the fact that I have finally gotten to put them on and dance in them, takes it to another level. They make me feel proud, excited, and give me a sense of accomplishment but also a sense of the ability to grow. A healthy future.
The coast and the sound of the surf. No explanation necessary.
Aqua blue and teal resplendent waters lapping over soft, clean, white sand.
The feeling of bare feet on cool fresh green grass. This is hard to find in LA, but when I can find it….reunited, it feels so good…..
Peonies, Ranunculus, Green Button Mums, and Chocolate Cosmos. These may sound like cocktails, but they are actually flowers. I adore flowers and hope to one day have a garden FULL of them. Until then, I can close my eyes and imagine.
France. The gardens. The wine. The food. The people. The fashion. The hikes. I love it all. Just France.
Learning a new language. I was learning ASL and desperately wish I could practice it with someone. So if anyone knows anyone that speaks it….let me know.
Music Al Fresco. There’s something magical about the way sound travels outside. Its as if the music fills the air, stirs itself into the trees, permeates the ground, and homogenizes the world around us into one big ball of love and joy. It feels so liberating when I hear a symphony outside. The vibrations of the music literally sooth my soul and calm my nerves.
Drive-In and/or Al Fresco movie theaters. Just so much fun.
Riding in a convertible on a country road- or at least away from traffic. Wind in the hair and nothing but open road means freedom, exploration, and personal growth. Its the antithesis of stifling.
Baking. There’s something so zen about the activity of baking. I love to really put my heart into it, and to add my own little touches to the recipes. Its so much fun and always delicious.
The beautiful glow of Fireflies and the chatter of Crickets and frogs at night (as mimicked on the Pirates of the Carribean ride :)). This should have definitely been higher on the list.
Miniature golf. To bring out our inner child.
Discovering new places with MSM/Traveling on new adventures.
Trying new food.
A great glass of Wine or Bubbly.
Grease. I love that movie.
A hot bubble bath.
A Mani/Pedi. What girl doesn’t love these?
Relaxation massage during a spa day.
Disneyland/Disney World. I can’t go here without being instantly energized and happy. Another surefire way to make this girl feel young and alive.
Malted milk shakes.
Penguins (see above).
Cheesy pop music like this:
What are some of YOUR favorite things? Leave a comment and let me know!
Its weird how a song or a photo or a song with a photo can totally transport a person back in time. It reminds me of those time travel love stories like The Time Travelers Wife or About Time. I wish time travel could be more than in our minds via photos or music or whatever takes us back. I don’t need to stay, nor do I want to stay- though if I went I’m not sure I wouldn’t be mesmerized into staying. Stuck from a strong magnetic-like pull. Like when I visit my dogs. I can’t wait to see them but when I have to leave its so painful and then I’m cranky or sad or both for an entire week. I have a love back in time. If I went back, would I be able to leave him? Maybe it would get easier knowing I could always time travel and go back to visit some more? Its just hard because I have no photos or videos. My mother threw them out. And I had letters and cards but she threw those out too. I’m sure she was trying to help. Figured it would push me to move forward rather than relish on the past but now I only have the memories in my mind to remember him and us. I know that how I feel about MSM feels similar. I remember that from the beginning. Not the day we met, but the day I knew there was something there. It felt beautifully familiar. Different, but something similar. That’s why I could never let it go. I knew it was a gift. Something special that shouldn’t be taken lightly. And I can remember that moment clearly too – as clearly as the moment I am thinking about now with Dave Matthews Satellite playing and the carnival swings photo in the back ground. I remember him sitting on the floor holding the CD with that same cover, telling me how much he loved that song. How his friends were outside but I had had a long day and was resting in bed so he came in to keep me company. He was so young but back then but he seemed so mature, since he was five years my senior. And still, right now, he sits there on the wooden floor of his bedroom in his parent’s house, legs crossed in his brown cotton pants and plaid short sleeved shirt. His brown eyes smiling up at me. Bushy eyebrows and tan skin, he’s 29. More than five years my junior now. When my mind goes back and sees him he’s just a boy and I’m more mature, more experienced, more weathered. I still miss him. It doesn’t hurt as much or as often but sometimes when I hear a song or see a photo there’s a pang. Maybe my mom did me a favor after all, though I’m not sure I can forgive her for throwing those things out. Knowing her she saved everything to give back to me later- when she felt I was healed. But now she’s older and her memory is not so great. I’m sure she may not even remember who he is let alone where my pieces of him have been hidden. I wonder what he would say to me now. What advice would he have for me? How would he handle our life? Is he happy for me or hurt or maybe even angry? He was so kind though. Always saw the best in everyone- just like who I am with now. Gregarious and genuinely kind. Non judgmental. When he left he said he was going to be ok. I know it sounds crazy but I do believe I saw his spirit. And I had a dream in which he told me not to smoke. His last words were my name. I’m not sure if he was telling me he loved me or if he was scared or in pain. I think he knew. I really do. At that last moment. He knew because he said my name. This is the first time I’m writing about this. It certainly isn’t easy. But maybe one day it will be a book. A love story. It will help him live forever.
And speaking of time travel, some time ago my mother and I put some things in a time capsule that will be unburied soon. I must have been something like 5 or 7 years old. Probably five because don’t most things like that happen on a 5 or a zero? I could be wrong….maybe I was 7 or 11. I remember that my mom sent me a box of basically crap a few years ago, but in that box of nothing was the golden ticket. The paperwork for the time capsule. I was excited to see that it was A. going to be opened in California and B. I hadn’t missed it/had quite a few more years to go before it will be opened. I just need to find the papers so I can put it in my calendar. How exciting! I wonder what it will be like? Will I remember or recognize the things we put in there? Will I think “so THATS where that’s been all this time!”? Will it feel like I went back in time? Maybe there’s a note from my mom or dad…..This is definitely something to which I look forward!
What the heck to wear when you travel out of your own place and time?
I suggest something comfortable and classic, so you don’t stick out. I feel like a blazer is one of those closet essentials that will always come in handy. They can dress up an otherwise casual outfit and they can professionalize (is that a word?) a dress. I love this one by Theory. It has leather on the collar to add a touch of interest. It’s worth the extra dollars to spend a bit more on a truly well made blazer. They last forever and never go out of style. Walking boots are another great staple. A little bit of a chunky heel is best, according to my podiatrist. He says flat shoes are actually just as bad for your feet as stilettos. True fact!