Archive for Oct 2012


Happy Halloween y’all!   For me, this finally feels like the beginning of fall.  Except that we’re still seeing 90 degree weather.  Blargh!  I’ve broken out the sweaters and boots though, because I’ve missed them.  I’m craving soups instead of salads.  And I’m moving away from the fruity cocktails of summer into the more savory concoctions for fall.  And Campari is definitely one of those flavors that has me thinking about sweater weather.  So bitter, with just a hint of summer sweetness, perfect for this transition into winter.

And because it’s Halloween, I doctored it up a teeny bit.  You know, to be scary and whanot.  EYEBALLS!

Halloween 034 Cocktail Hour: Campari Carnage

Campari Carnage

2 oz Vodka

2 oz Campari

2 oz Orange Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

Red food coloring

Mix together Vodka, Campari, Orange Juice and Simple Syrup with ice in a shaker.  Shake and strain into glass with one large ice cube.  Add a few drops of red food coloring and stir.

October 30, 2012 Flipping Pages: Vlad


Every year it seems to sneak up on me more quickly.  It’s Halloween time y’all!   I’m not a huge Halloween fan… I don’t really go to the parties and I haven’t dressed up in years.  Actually, it seems this year that I’ll be heading to the other side and going trick-or-treating with the little ones.  As an adult type figure.  What!?

So, as I head away from the parties and the slutty costumes and into the suburban neighborhood festivities, looks like I’ll have to start getting my kicks from the literary circle.  So glad I have friends like Jess to recommend books of absolutely any variety!   Thanks darling!

51clDv dGCL. SL500 AA300  Flipping Pages: Vlad



Vlad by Carlos Fuentes

You guys…it’s Halloween! And I have a terrifying little book to recommend in the spirit of this spookiest of holidays. The whole vampire thing is pretty tired at this point, so I was surprised to read a book about a vampire that feels fresh. The vampire in question here, Vlad the Impaler, isn’t a sparkly, smoldering hunk of burning love. In short, this vampire book is actually scary.

The book is barely 100 pages, so it makes for a quick, completely engrossing read. Yves Navarro, the narrator, is a lawyer in modern day Mexico City. His boss persuades him, in tandem with Yves’ real estate agent wife, to help a foreign friend of his relocate from Eastern Europe to Mexico City. The foreigner’s qualifications for his new home are beyond odd. It needs to have access to a ravine, a tunnel must be dug through the backyard, leading to the ravine, each room needs to be outfitted with several drains in the floors, and all the windows in the house must be completely sealed. Yves finds this strange, but proceeds with the plan because he wants to impress his boss. Even after he meets this eccentric new client, who introduces himself as Vladimir Radu and says increasingly creepy stuff, like, “Tell your wife that I am breathing her scent,” he remains clueless. We know, of course, what’s going on and we marvel at Yves’ blithe attitude.

Yves’ feelings toward his wife are beyond sweet. His love and physical attraction to her seem fresh, even after years of marriage and the loss of their son, who drowned in the sea only a short time ago. Their relationship seems stronger than ever, as they enjoy their daily routine of dropping their daughter off at school and breakfasting alone together. The memory of their passionate love-making lingers with him throughout his workday.

Before long, Vlad begins to torment our poor, daft Yves. I won’t say more than that, but I will say that what happens is sublimely terrifying. The book manages to get beyond traditional “horror” and takes us to a place we never knew we needed to be afraid of.


49510004 The Macaron Taste Off: Laduree vs Pierre Herme

Macarons might be my favorite treat in the world.  So light & fluffy & creamy.  So colorful and so many flavors.   So decadent.  So heavenly.  My favorites in Los Angeles are Bottega Louie and I’ve amassed quite the collection of those beautiful pink boxes.  I’ve even tried my own hand at them before, and it was pretty delicious.

But when we were in France, I knew that we would get some of the best in the world!  My Aunt suggested a taste off and it was the most delicious way to spend an afternoon!  We picked up a half dozen from Laduree and a half dozen from Pierre Herme, then headed to a lovely little square to drown ourselves in the sugary deliciousness.

I was really surprised at how different they were.  I mean, it’s cookie and it’s cream… very simple!

Laduree is a little slice of girly heaven.  The cases are beautiful, the colors are bright and you feel so luxurious.  Pierre Herme is darker and much more modern.  The purchasing process doesn’t feel quite as exciting!  Laduree has a much prettier box and a more diverse selection of flavors.  They have less cream than the Pierre Herme, so I feel there’s a better balance between cookie & cream.  If you’re going to bring some home, definitely buy the Laduree.  Because they have less cream, they definitely keep better.   The Pierre Herme macarons got really soft after the first day.  Laduree has a much longer line though and they’re more expensive than Pierre Herme (2.48 vs 1.78).  If you really love the insides of a macaron though, Pierre Herme has a lot of cream and it’s much silkier than Laduree.  The display is also much easier to read through at Pierre Herme as each macaron is labeled.  Laduree just has a few large “maps”, so it’s really a guessing game.

At the end of the day, I think I’ll consider myself a Laduree girl.  Something about those beautiful and intricate little boxes just get me every single time!

October 25, 2012 I ran. I ran a lot!


Remember how I don’t run?  Well, how I never considered myself a runner?  Turns out I am.  I am a runner.  And I a little bit like it.  I just ran a 20K.  20K?!  I’m going to go ahead and consider it a half-marathon, because, well, it’s close enough.

My aunt and I went to Paris to run the 20 Kilometres de Paris. I am now a firm believer that this is the way to run your first long distance race.  You spend more time thinking “Holy Crap I’m running in Paris” that you think “Holy Crap I have to run another 10 miles.”  It’s so different, just enough that you’re not really thinking about your legs.  You’re thinking about how beautiful it is.  You’re thinking about how the rain in your face is actually kind of nice.   You’re looking at what people are wearing, what people are eating, laughing at the orange peels on the ground and wondering if there will be baguettes at the 15 km stop (there weren’t, but in Paris, you just never know!)

For the first 15 km, I felt so good.  Incredible even!  In the 16th km it suddenly dawned on me that I was an athlete.  Something that I had never even considered for myself.  I was on a mid-run super high!  Then, just as quickly as I decided I was awesome, I decided I was over it.  From 17-19 I wanted it to be done.  Over.  Blargh.  And then it was so close to being over I pushed as hard as I could and then the finish line came into sight and then it was OVER!  And it was incredible!  2:12:47.  Holy crap.  I ran for over two hours straight and loved it!  Really loved it!

The race actually starts just underneath the Eiffel Tower, runs through town, through the park and then up & down the Seine.  It’s so beautiful!

Run 001 I ran.  I ran a lot!

As I’ve never run in the cold, or the rain for that matter, I had no idea that this would happen!  Apparently people wear more layers for while you’re standing around waiting for the race to start.  Then, when the gun sounds, you just take it all off and throw it on the ground. Shirts, trash bags, rain jackets, food wrappers, water bottles, all of it!

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This race was nearly 30,000 people.  So.Many.People.  But my favorite was this guy… he ran 12.4 miles with an old school boom box strapped to his back.  WHAT!?

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Run 004 I ran.  I ran a lot!

Done!  And then back to the hotel to climb into my pajamas, my robe and my bed.  I was soaked all the way into my bones and freezing!  My Aunt & I shared a bottle of champagne & macarons in bed while our bones warmed up.  It was the most perfect recovery meal icon smile I ran.  I ran a lot!

Run 005 I ran.  I ran a lot!

October 10, 2012 The Jolly Oyster


There are things that I will always love about living in a city.  Culture & food & people & so many interesting things to do.  And I guess the Jolly Oyster would qualify as the latter.  But, it reminds me more of living in the country, of back home.  Of small towns and the smell of the ocean.  Heading up the coast to buy oysters & clams from a little truck is so perfectly small town.  It makes me so happy!

When Chris’ parents were in town, we did just that.  With a tablecloth, vegetables, cookware and a cooler full of beer, we headed up to Ventura to the Jolly Oyster.   The Jolly Oyster only sells oysters & clams, but there are grills in the area where you can cook for yourself.  We grilled, we boiled, we ate some raw… it was absolute perfection!  A wonderful little Sunday if I do say so myself!

Oyster 001 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 002 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 003 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 004 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 005 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 006 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 007 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 008 The Jolly Oyster

Oyster 009 The Jolly Oyster