Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What To Expect

How did I end up in front of this plate of fries? I had just been bragging on the phone about my healthy food cravings. I ate an apple an hour ago and felt smug. I heard myself say I'd get a sandwich for lunch. Robert said, "try and avoid Subway again."

I settled on Olive and Thyme, but when I hung up, I couldn't remember the directions. Sure, I could've googled the address. It was only a block or two away. But the Umami Burger sign was staring me in the face and I drove into the parking lot and found myself sitting here. Since I've become pregnant, I have no guilt. There's a moment of pause and I carry on.

A few months ago, I'd order a glass of wine and check Instagram before picking up the menu. These days, I have my order memorized and try not to stare too earnestly at the busy waiter.

Full order of fries, extra ketchup and a side of mustard. You can bring it out first with an iced tea. I will be finishing my fries by the time you bring out the burger, thank you very much.

Make it a black bean burger and a side salad for my conscience.

My senses are in overdrive. I'm too hungry, too full, too tired, too congested, too itchy, too cold, or too hot, like right now.

I dip my napkin into my ice water and drape it around my neck. It's winter in LA. It's not even warm outside. How do pregnant women survive in the summer? I'm only four months along and I feel like a living incubator, which I suppose I am.

My feelings are heightened. I haven't had bouts of crying, though I'm sure that's around the corner. It's a feeling I'd compare to the glass of wine I so enjoyed just a few months ago. I sure sound like a lush. I don't even miss wine. Okay, yet.

I have a feeling of contentment I can only assume comes naturally when you're growing life. The jumble of concerns that used to rattle around in my mind are now in order, making it easy to let go of minor stresses and worries. I know it's easier because I have support from a partner whose main priority is making our family happy. Him, me, our baby and his cravings, which are never ending, let me tell you.

More mustard and ketchup please. These fries are going fast.

The reasons for my happiness are the simplest of things, yet they are not easy to come by. I am keenly aware of it. 

This didn't just fall in my lap. I feel like I fought and tried and failed and suffered and tried again. For most of my life, I've been trying to make things happen, to achieve something, to prove something.

I was the girl who sought out palm readers at 17, clenching my jaw and asking about my future. I remember being so proud when they'd tell me I'd never get married or have children. I was determined to make something of myself, pursue my dreams, and live a life worth remembering. Those palm readers knew what a teenage girl needed to hear.

Nearly ten years later, I was the first of my friends to get married at 26. I lived across the country from my husband, trying to succeed in my reporting career, never imagining I could have and should have asked him to move with me, to pursue our dreams together.

Ah, to be 26 again!

Slugging it out solo on opposite coasts didn't build a strong foundation. We became the first of our friends to divorce.

For a time, I wondered if I would ever have kids. I wanted them, and I almost married someone who had children. That relationship helped me realize my deep desire to be a mother.

After the breakup, my ex husband became a shoulder to cry on. Four years after our divorce, we had worked through every emotion imaginable and we were friends again.

When I shared my frustrations, he would laugh with knowing. You know the look of understanding you get from friends who have known you for years? That look. Isn't it great?

It didn't take long to realize the husband who had disappointed me years ago had grown into the man I needed.

I wasted no time embracing my life, our life, and the future. I laugh to myself and think of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Liz and Dick. 'Le Scandale!'

round one
round two

Sure, she had a few more marriages under her belt, but she married the love of her life twice. 

It's all so juicy and thrilling. I'm just so happy.

I've finished my french fries. I force down the salad and box up the burger.

I'll have it for dinner, or more likely, in an hour.

My last birthday in New York. A few weeks later I learned I was pregnant!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

You Missed Me.

I spent the weekend at a Bachelorette party.

Years ago, it would've involved shots, faux bridal veils, strippers, singles, catcalls, and inappropriate flesh-colored straws. Instead, we lounged poolside in a cabana, sipped champagne, wore sunscreen, and took naps.

The bride opened gifts of beautiful lingerie that made me envy her new lacy wardrobe. Someone gifted  her a leather whip and a Michael Jackson red leather glove. I didn't even ask. A whipping glove for the bedroom? Someone means business and is stuck in the 80's.

Our bride gave a heartfelt speech telling everyone how much they meant to her. The closest we got to men was a group of guys who presented the bride a shot of Patron Silver, which we shared while discussing how to appropriately remember the groom's mother at the wedding. She passed away several years ago. On her deathbed, she told her son if he's smart, he'd marry this girl. The woman deserves a shrine.

What's great about spending time with friends you've known for a lifetime is the conversations that remind you of who you were before life got serious. It's easy to get caught up in the present moment, fixing the current problem, achieving the next goal. It's refreshing to talk about simpler times when we were kids. And also to vent about life with people who remember us as teenagers and don't know everything that's happened in between.

I don't know why I bothered to download a sweet 90's playlist on Spotify. I thought we'd sing along and recall memories of high school dances and dates. We didn't listen to a single song during the drive to Palm Springs or the way back. The four of us jousted verbally, one-upping each other with something truly horrifying or awesome, but more often horrifying. When one girl took a breath, another jumped in with a piece of advice or a snarky joke or highjacked the conversation with her own sordid tale. In the end, it was like an episode of Dr. Phil. Not Maury Povich. Nobody's worried about who's the father. What kind of people do you people think I associate with?

It was one of those conversations that inspired me to click back on this blog. The last time was September of 2011. Nearly three years ago. It's about time.

I was talking to my girlfriend Melisa about my father's Parkinson's disease and she said to cherish every moment I have with my father. When we were kids, she lived around the corner from me, so I would always run away to her house when my parents and I had a fight. When they couldn't find me, they'd call her mom to send me home, but at least I had made my point. Life sucks without me! I also spent a few afternoons hiding in my closet hoping my mom would look for me and call the cops to report a missing child and I'd come out acting all sleepy and say, mom, I fell asleep in the closet because I was cleaning it and she'd cry tears of relief and feel proud that her daughter was practically Cinderella, exhausted from cleaning so much. Nevermind the rest of my room was a disaster. She never did come looking for me. I'd get bored of waiting and pretend-sleeping in my closet and come out for a sandwich.

Melisa says she remembered waking up at my house and instead of watching TV I'd be at the kitchen table reading the newspaper next to my dad. She says she thought it was strange, but remembered it fondly, like I was trying to be just like my dad. She didn't realize I wasn't copying my dad, I just loved to read. So did my dad and that's why we were fighting over sections of the newspaper. My little brother also started drinking coffee as a toddler. Black, like my parents drank it. We were little adults, or just wanting to show our parents we were just as smart as they were. Two against two.

Still, that memory triggered all sorts of memories of loving to read, which I still love to do, but it also reminded me that I love to write.

I am a romantic writer at heart. I love passionate, dramatic, sometimes scary and wistful stories and observing people and acting like I know what they're thinking and making up a story about it. I write about what excites me. A friend once said it's like I have a marching band playing in my head. That's why writing about challenges has always been easier for me on the other side of the journey, because then I can act wise and give advice to everyone else after I've learned through my own crappy experiences.

Spending the weekend with lifelong friends made me feel renewed and reminded me of something that makes me happy. And clicking on this site and seeing that people still visit it everyday to find a photo from three years ago put a fire under me to do a little writing this morning. 

I also got blonder and Instagram happened. Thanks filters!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Try My Dish at The Beverly Wilshire

I entered a recipe contest at The Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and WON! I can't believe my recipe is available at this chic hotel at the corner of Wilshire Blvd and across from Via Rodeo, where Presidents have stayed and where Pretty Woman was filmed. Hello!

The task was to create a recipe with blueberries because July is blueberry month. I created pork tenderloin with basil mashed potatoes and blueberry sauce. They brought it to me as a pairing with the chef's dish for the month, a decadent Bison steak with blueberry reduction and diced carrots.

Don't they look incredible?  

I spy a little blue menu...

 Check it out, my name up top. Squeal!

Akon was at the table next to us, so I couldn't resist turning into the world's biggest fan and begging him for a picture.

If you'd like my recipe CLICK HERE!

My recipe will be on the menu for the remainder of July.

The Blvd at Beverly Wilshire
9500 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA

Thursday, June 09, 2011

7 Steps To the Perfect Staycation!

It's cheap. It's fun. It's creative and it's all yours!
Click here for the best staycation to kick off summer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Hangover II

We don't just go to watch a film. We live it. Plus my review! Click here for more.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hair Tutorial: Crazy/Beautiful Bun

A simple and chic hairstyle. Click here for the the step by step tutorial!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My New Fave Breakfast Spot

Check out this strawberry crostada with fresh whipped cream.

Prosecco in a big ol' juice glass.

A spread fit for a king!

Click here for my eating adventures at Huckleberry!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sick Song For Summer

Do you love Calvin Harris like me? Kelis (of Milkshake fame) is incredible on this song.

If you can't dance to this, you may have no soul.

PLEASE do yourself a favor and watch the official video HERE!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

If you like lemon meringue pie, lemon bars and cake, you just might die for these cupcakes!

Click here for the recipe!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mexican Lolitas

The Lolita culture isn't just in Tokyo, Japan anymore! These adorable ladies are in Tijuana!
Click here for the full story.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Prayers For Japan

I went to bed last night in NYC and woke up to the devastating news in Japan. The 8.9 earthquake is one of the biggest in history and resulting tsunami.  Prayers for everyone around the world.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Zsa Zsa & Her Furs!

I did a fab segment for Inside Edition that allowed me the chance to try on Zsa Zsa Gabor's fur coast.  While I don't buy or own fur, it was a dream trying on pieces of Hollywood history.  I took a few photos of her fabulous home.  READ MORE.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

LA Woman Launches Valentine's Day!

A peek at the new logo and countdown to the new site!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Countdown Is On!

I am giddy with excitement and can't wait to share the new website with everyone!  It's SO CLOSE to being ready, but in the meantime, I'll give you a few hints... there's a new, lustworthy logo... a bunch of incredible ladies sharing their expertise... and a bunch of fantastic giveaways.

It will be a fabulous spot to check out wonderful things in and around LA and will feature things that the most glam Los Angelistas love from all over the place as well.

In the meantime, pardon the lag in posting.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Statement Necklace For a Steal

Don't you love a statement necklace?  They're the best with a simple dress, but the ones I love usually cost over $100.  When I spied this one, I saw the olive stones, the lucite and the crystals hanging like a little chandelier.  I snatched it up and marched to the counter, not even checking the price, just knowing I needed to own it. 

Can you believe this stunner was...

drumroll please...


Run, don't walk to Banana Republic. 

P.S. I don't know the name, the tag wasn't even on it. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!

Christine's 30th birthday party was ultra girly, with a pink and silver theme and four courses of desserts!

Mini cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. The banana pudding arrived later in the evening.

Caught!  Picking out our karaoke playlist.

Stacks of cream puffs and apricot tarts from Maison Richard.

Making a wish...

Briefly considered hijacking these and making two wishes for myself.

Let's get this party started.

Yes, that's @negativenatalie reading the lyrics from an iphone.

Singing... um, can't remember. 

Nice photobomb @SadaoTurner.

These gorgeous cream puffs remind me of the naughty Italian treat, Nipples of Venus.

Never met a candy bar I could resist.

Giving and getting some sugar.

Some sweets to go! The bags are 37 cents at Party City. The red parts are glittered. Love.

Group shot!

Quite the sweet evening.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cooking with Cactus

Earlier this week, I visited a tiny market on Indiana Avenue right off the 101 freeway that not only had the heartiest meaty tamales, they sold huge bags 2lb bags of fresh cactus for $1.50.  I've never cooked with cactus (aka nopales) before, I put the call out and you answered!  I whipped up a little omelet with grilled onion and yellow bell peppers topped with lots of tapatio.  The only thing missing?  Thin slices of jalapeno or serrano chiles to complement the tart, almost pickled flavor of the cactus.

I boiled the cactus in salted water for ten minutes.  It kind of looks like green beans, but its slippery like okra.

I sauteed the cactus with the onion and bell pepper in some Pam and a healthy squeeze of lime.  I added 3 scrambled egg whites with one whole egg.  Quick and easy!

So Spicy!

A shoutout on the homepage of CBS!  I die for the title.

By the way, I had so much leftover pork, I made some yummy open faced pork sandwiches on toasted buns with grilled red onions and the charred pineapple.  They were so good I ate two.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spicy Pineapple Pork Chops

Inspired by a recipe by Rick Bayless for pork tacos (get it here!) I created a meal of pork chops with grilled red onion and pineapple and a side of my grandma's rice.
The marinade is full of chipotle, paprika, and lots of other flavorful ingredients. I bought pork chops and grilled them, but pork loin would be scrumptious too.  The recipe calls for achiote paste.  I only had seeds, so I made it myself.  It wore me out.  Get the paste if you can.  I'm still scouring supermercados for it.
I marinated the pork chops in the fridge for an hour, but you can marinate overnight for a cured flavor.
I spread out the chops, thick slices of red onion and pineapple on the grill. They cooked for a few minutes on each side and they were done.  Easy.  I chopped the onion and pineapple on the cutting board before serving, placing the pineapple right on top of the pork
Here is Grandma Ethel's recipe for rice.  My little 4'11" grandma grew up in Guaymas Mexico, but we've always called it Spanish rice.  Go figure.
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups rice
4 cups water
1 tbs caldo de pollo
1 tbs salsa
Heat a pot with two tbs of vegetable oil.  Add the rice.  Stir until toasted.  The rice will starts to turn opaque and a little light brown on the edges.  Add 4 cups water with the the caldo de pollo.  Stir.  Add the salsa.  Cook the water down until the water nearly meets the rice.  Stirring occasionally so the rice doesn't stick.
Cover, turn down the heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes.  After 20 min, take a wooden spoon and turn the rice.  If it's not fluffy, recover with the lid and cook for a few more minutes.
Let me show you why you need Caldo de Pollo and why regular chicken bouillon doesn't give you the same result.  (Because I ran out of it and was forced to use bouillon and it just wasn't the same!)
Check out the rich, reddish brown color to your left.  The flavors are that much richer too.  The yellow bouillon to the right just doesn't cut it.
But I'm never one to turn down a home cooked meal!  A handful of cilantro made up for my sins.  Enjoy!


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