How To Be Alone

I might be a hippie at heart. I mean, like a trendy hippie. Who still likes to drink my Starbucks (Trenta, black iced tea with whole milk instead of H2O and raspberry instead of classic), still likes to get massages and facials, who prefers girls weekends to Sedona or Prescott while sleeping in uber comfy beds that envelop me like clouds, and someone who loves her pineapple bun in her hair and a mimosa at brunch on Sunday.

I am a trendy hippie. Which is probably why I like Tanya Davis and her spoken word artsy music. I was introduced to her piece “How To Be Alone” and I totally fell in love.
I first heard of this lovely little ditty on FB. Someone posted it and I clicked on it.

I watched it over and over and over again.
The words washing over me in some sort of verbal, hypnotic absolution.
A concept so simple, so pure and so freeing.
How to be alone.

How to be alone. How to move through life without the buffer of a cell phone, a friend, a book, a newspaper. How to instead to look life in the eye as you walk among the throngs of everyone. The moving, vibrating pulse of life. How to disconnect yourself enough from that overwhelming,  interwoven, living breathing, suffocating, mass of humanity to appreciate each single being that makes up the rush.
I get lost in trying to fill my mind all day. I work at trying to keep up with everything, involved with everything, a part of everything.

I am a marinater. I take something in, I let it sit in my brain, I marinate on it. Let it really soak in.

I saw this clip over a year ago. And it took root. It started slowly, I bought her cd. I liked, still like, the rhythm of her music. The way it slips into your head and reverberates around it. Its like a really comfortable sweater.

I’ve lived in LA by myself. So I assumed that I knew how to be alone, how to be comfortable in public alone. But I wasnt. I hate being alone. I’m fine running to the store or the library or a bookstore. I’m ok but uncomfortable going to the gym by myself. I guess the whole point is that right now, I am learning how to be alone.

How to be ok with walking streets by myself or perhaps (like the artist suggests) going to dinner by myself.
Looking at the families around me, the people, the dates. All that life moving forward to an unseen end.
An unknown conclusion.

I am learning how to be comfortable that there is no one next to me. No one that I can text at 3am when I wake with a bad dream. No one that will kiss my cheek before bed and tell me that they love me.

I am learning to be ok that I am almost (ahem older than you think) and have yet to experience the great adventure that great love and marriage is. And I’m getting to be ok with that. I am getting to be truly, deeply happy with a state of singlehood that I am in.

Sometimes, when I go to the market after work and I pick up my wine and some gourmet nonsense that I want for dinner and maybe a pint of that really amazing gelato, I get behind in line with a stay at home mom. She has two kids screaming in the basket and a mixture of cheap mac and cheese, milk, cheerios, and other homey family style items. I look at her and I wonder if she wishes she were me. I know that beyond that stupid gelato I have, is a desire to fill a hole. The stay at home mom will later cook dinner for two kids while they play. She will watch them and adore them and they adore her, even if they are embarrassing her by screaming about gummy bears right now. Later, she will crawl into bed with her husband and watch some news channel. And she will sleep. I am a little jealous of her. I know this sounds selfish maybe self serving and vapid. But I wonder do we all secretly wish to be on that “greener” grass?

I guess the point is, I am leaning to love where I am. The road that I am on. I will love it, no matter where it takes me. I have no idea what is in store. But I am going someplace.
Alone or with someone.

For your viewing pleasure…..

Hot Chef Friday – Michael Voltaggio

_MG_5566Listen….I am a sucker for a hot chef. Like… I am straight up a fan girl. I used to work in Hollywood and was lucky enough to meet some celebs but there wasn’t really any fan girling that I did. But when I meet a celeb chef I turn positively pre-pubesent! And the one that I would seriously love to spend some alone time with is Chef Michael Voltaggio.

This bad ass Chef won season six of the Bravo reality series Top Chef. Arguably the best season of Top Chef yet. He went mano a mano with his equally as talented brother. Taking sibling rivalry to a mother level.

His restaurant is so close that I could hop a flight after work one night to the Burbank airport and take a quick car ride to it. Is that too much to do in hopes of running into him? Like I would literally like to bump into him.

He named his brainchild  ‘ink.well’ so I automatically love it…along with those arms of his. I like a tattooed up guy. I’m not going to be ashamed of it.

What can I say? I’m an arms girl.

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Agh! Look at this bad boy!

Not only do his muscular appendages fit the bill but he’s covered in tattoos. Both something that could wrap around me AND that I can play color by numbers to! I love when things are multifunctional. But my ability to multitask pales in comparison to his.

While he was working on opening his first restaurant ‘ink’ in West Hollywood, he also opened a small sandwich standing room only sandwich counter a few doors down from his restaurant. WHA?!! I barely have time to blog and here this amazing hunky chef opens 2 business ventures!! How amazing is that?? Regardless of how you felt about him when he was doing his massive trash talking on Top Chef you have to hand it to this culinary genius, he can back it up yo!

Oh, did I mention that he also has a hot brother?

Don’t worry, I’ll cover you too Mr. Bryan Voltaggio. But I would offer to babysit for you. Your kiddos are freakin’ adorbs and your wife is a hottie! This whole family is genetically and gastronomically blessed.

And yes….I am following them both on twitter. I do love posts on delicious food porn. Love love love… sigh. Excuse me, I’m going to float away on thoughts of Michael’s butternut squash risotto consisting of chicken wings, egg yolk, toasted wild rice, aromatic broth. Yes, I pulled that description from his website. Yes, there is drool on my keyboard. No, I’m not sure if its from his food or from him!

What do I have to do to get an invite for Thanksgiving? Or Sunday Supper? Or Breakfast?? Fuck, I’d even take you just making me a sandwich!

**Yea, its Hot Chef Friday on a Sunday. Do you want to know why? Because I drank too much Rose and forgot to hit ‘post’ like the bad ass that I am. Don’t judge me.**

One For My Baby 

Happy Saturday! If you’re like 99.99% of the population you’re pretty jazzed that today is Saturday. Which if you work the M-F, 8-5 segment Saturday is the BEST! You get to sleep in and stay up late without any reprisals. Ugh, remember when we didn’t have to worry about “adulating”? When you could just say you were something and then you were that thing? Mine was actress. I even moved to LA to pursue it until I let some smooth talking idiot man convince me that moving to middle America and support his dream was better than what I wanted to do. That went over really well. Lesson here kids- don’t ever let someone replace your dreams with their’s. Be positively selfish in the pursuit of your goals. (btw, it worked out in my favor. He married the girl he cheated on me with but I don’t have to live in a town so small they only sell liquor in liquor stores THAT ARE CLOSED ON SUNDAYS! #winning)

Moving on…..I do miss LA though. It’s special blend of vanity, self promotion, and eye twitching insecurity.Nothing personifies Los Angeles for me than a certain song. Every time the strains of strains of the lazy piano start and Frank’s easy voice comes on with the first words “It’s a quarter to three, there’s no one in the place cept you and me..” I drift off to almost two years ago when I lived in the city of plastics and people. Where kids with stars in their eyes got off a bus with nothing but sneakers, sunglasses and reckless courage hoping to be the next big thing in film. There’s magic in the air in LA along with the pollution and loneliness. There’s something that once you breath it in, you’re hooked. That pull is greater than any drug and no matter what you tell yourself, no matter how far away you get from that world….a little voice inside your heart will always crave it. It won’t go away…those feelings you have, you’ll have forever.

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I can usually stuff those cravings for something bigger than myself deep down. But every once in a while something tries to crawl up out of inside me and assert its right to dream. For me, its this song….”One for My Baby”. It reminds me of LA so much that I can taste the champagne and dreams on my tongue.

My good friend used to sing in this little steakhouse in Burbank. Some dark, classy, 1950’s place that a group of us would meet up at and listen to. My roommates and I would dress to the 9’s and head over for some cocktails in the lounge on the weekend. I would actually shop for dresses specifically for this place. Flowy fun dresses that when I would dance, I could feel the skirt shift and move like the starlets in the musicals of the 50’s. The steakhouse had a lounge where my friend would set up and do his act. It was all dim lighting, dark wooden tables with crisp white clothes and this fancy Dale Chihuly looking chandelier. Of course they had the requisite dark cherry wood bar and they served little plates of food with a lot of flavor. It was the kind of place that the last thing you wanted to order was a beer. You’d get a gin and tonic instead, or a sidecar, or a Manhattan.

A lot of really bizarre moments happened in that place. There was this really old guy that everyone called ‘Papa Joe’. This harmless, funny guy who personified 1950’s charm, came in and sat at the corner table every Friday and Saturday. Once my roommates and I started coming in, he used to hold court with us at his table, telling us fun stories of what Hollywood used to be like. You never know who you were going to run into. The mom from the Brady Bunch, a guy who worked on Leno, a villain from a popular nighttime show, and the smattering of people who made LA the diverse, colorful city that it was.

Once, a Koren General (at least that what his driver told us he was. He didn’t speak any English) tried to pay my roommate and I to go back to his hotel. I think he thought we were ..ahem…ladies of the night. Honestly I was far from being offended. There are worse things in life to be thought of than a high end escort. There was the waitress that used to give me free drinks because she had done a line of coke just before she came to work so she would forget to charge me. There was the gay waiter that made you feel like a princess every time you set a stilettoed foot into the door. My friend loved to say “Its great to see all the beautiful people come out tonight.”And Mr. Fabulous would reply  “Thank god the ugly people stayed home.”It was magical in that place.

The first time I heard One For My Baby, I fell in love. Not just the, ‘let’s go to dinner and play footsie under the table’ kind of love. The ‘I want to grow old with you and keep you on every Ipod I will ever own, please put this on my gravestone’ kind of musical love. Frank’s sinful voice caressing each word and the piano dancing it’s slow half stoned pace in the background takes me back to that place where the lights were dim, the people were colorful and my glass was half empty in my manicured hand while I sat at ‘Papa Joe’s’ table holding court with my roommates and my friend sang this song. When it comes on, I will always have such a powerful nostalgic moment that I will almost be able to smell the candles that were flickering on the table, threatening to go out.

itunes this song and have an LA kind of weekend………

Throwback Thursday- Chicken

It’s throwback Thursday!

Do you know what this means?

No you asshole, don’t call that jerk off who made you split the check and all you ordered was grilled cheese when he had ordered prime rib. (True story. Someday soon I’ll make a grilled cheese and share that with you…) What this actually means in my world is that I make something from your past. Chicken Cordon Bleu was literally the first thing I learned to cook on my own. I mean besides simple stuff. It was this sweet little recipe that I learned in Home Ec class way back when Alanis Morissette was blowing Uncle Joey in the back of a movie theatre then getting pissed off that he broke up with her. Side note- Jagged Little Pill will always and forever remain the best breakup album. Don’t @ me in the comments, I stand by my opinion!

Anywhoo….something you should know about me since we’re getting all fucking cosy here is that I don’t cook for guys.

I know! Shocking right??

Food is important, cooking is personal. I put a piece of myself in every dish I create. Some men just don’t respect that. I’ve made a fancy dinner only to be canceled on mere hours before he was supposed to come over. I’ve made dinner for someone who made stupid faces because he didn’t recognize an ingredient. I’ve cooked for someone who thought that I was a short order cook. No! You can’t substitute an ingredient in my food if I can’t substitute a trait in your personality! It’s no wonder I don’t cook for guys. You just don’t deserve it! Anyhow. This classic recipe was the first time I cooked for someone (and his roommate no less).

True to what would become classic “me cooking for men”, the first time I cooked for a guy it didn’t go that well. He didn’t even really seem to like what I made.

Thank god I’m a pain in the ass and resolved to rarely cook for men. I can count on one hand the number of times I put knife to board and butter to skillet to make food for men.

Shit, at least this chicken is good! This combines all things that I love. Meat and cheese. And bread. All you need is butter, wine, and life is good. This one is a good one for when the dates have sucked, you need both some emotional release and comnfotrmt food.

I’ll tell you, pounding chicken out is a great stress reliever! Once you master this little gem, there’s a LOT of different ways you can make it! Enjoy!


Chicken Cordon Bleu
What you need
 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
 6 slices Swiss cheese
 4 slices cooked ham
 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

What you do
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Coat a 7×11 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.
Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast.
Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick.
Place in baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast.
Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.
**For reals though, listen to ‘You Oughta Know’, while eating this, and drinking wine. You’ll thank me.

Greek Balls…Meatballs, That Is

IMG_6509You know you came here for the balls. Meatballs. (See what I did there? I love a good pun) I love Mediterranean food! Like eat it everyday if I could love it. Like hide in its bushes and MAKE it love me if I could! Like follow it to work love it! Yea that got creepy. I’m far too lazy to love anything that much (insert eye roll).

Except for Hallmark movies, especially if I’ve been drinking. You know what I mean!

Back to my balls. These balls. Your balls. Shut up! I’m not drunk! You’re drunk!

Mediterranean food is so fucking good! There’s the hummus and the tzatzki and the mint and the garlic….all such a delicious melding of flavors designed to dance and delight the tongue! I ran across a recipe for Greek Meatballs and I had to try them. I made them with turkey but you can try beef or lamb. I usually make a massive batch so I can just heat and serve whenever I feel like.

I will tell you though….I do like turkey best. The meat is so moist and tender that the meatball almost melts in your mouth!

What you need:
1 lbs Ground Turkey
1 Red Onion (grated)
3 Tbl freshly chopped mint
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 Tbl minced basil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used organic whole wheat)
Salt and Pepper
 
What you do:

Mix seasonings, eggs and onion together.

Add ground turkey and breadcrumbs. Mix. You might have to do this with your hands.

Roll meatballs, approximately 1 inch in diameter

Heat 1/4 of a cup of oil in a saute pan, over medium heat.

**The Trick To a Tantalizing Meatball**

The first time I made these, I was left with a meatball that was pretty loosely held together. (I seriously have so many jokes about balls right now that I’m like a teenage boy) I wanted something a bit more sturdy (no one likes loose balls). So, I upped the original amount of breadcrumbs and added an additional egg. Now… if you want a meatball that looks delicious and holds it’s playful ball shape (oh…my…god…I am not able to hold it together) here is what you need to do.

The oil MUST be really hot. If you’re wondering how to tell this, olive oil has a very distinctive look when its reached optimal frying temp. When its cool its more dense, when is hot, its more liquid. Also, this kind of nutty scent will lightly waft up.

If you’re still not sure… run your hands under water, shake the loose droplets off over the pan. If it pops and sizzles…you’ve got hot oil! (NOTE: Never under any circumstances should you put a finger in the hot oil. Duh. That makes you an idiot.) 

Drop the balls of joy (note that not all balls are joyful. Some are sad. Never get involved with those balls) into the pan and then using the handle of the saute pan move it back and forth so the meatballs are rolling around in the hot oil. You want to not just let the meatball sit in the oil, instead you want to get all sides of the meatball to brown and firm up.

The meat should get all nice and caramelized, the outside of the meatball cooking firmly to hold the inside together.

Now, your heat should be on medium so once the meat is that delicious light brown color, cover the pan with a lid. This will sort of steam the meatball to cook it all the way through.

Every few minutes, check on the balls and do the quick saute movement. You don’t want them to stick to the pan.

The meatball is done when its firm to the touch. Firm balls are always best. (I hope my mom doesn’t read this)

This picture is literally not my fav but I wanted to prove I can actually put a plate of food together and not stand at the counter and eat like a heathen. I’m fancy. Plus this plate is pink!!!

There’s a few ways to eat these balls but I always like mine with tzatziki sauce and some pita. Always make sure to have your meatball wrapped. (PSA)

I serve it with baked brussel sprouts, homemade pita chips with hummus and a salad. The salad was super easy  with cucumber, black olive, hearts of palm, avocado and goat cheese. I squeezed fresh lemon juice and salt and peper into it and then just mixed! Or you know, just pick a pre-med one up from Trader Joes.

Yes, when I re-read this I knew that it said pre-med and should say *pre-made* but if you can pick up wine, pre-made, AND pre-med (wink wink) I’m not going to stop you…..

F*ckin’ Hot Yoga Bitches

No, no this is not me. There is no way on God’s green earth that I could do this.  When I do yoga I get hot and sweaty and gross. But I also get some well needed clarity.

Have you ever had ‘one of those’ days?
You know the day that I mean.

It seems as if all the cosmos are against you. Everything in the world is conspiring to make you lose it? That was my day today. I swear that it felt everything in this world wanted to slap me upside the head.
I faced setback after setback today. Nothing seemed to be going my way. I was Rocky getting pummeled by Apollo Creed. I was Kristin Wiig in ‘Bridesmaids’ getting kicked out of my apartment. I was Emily in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ getting hit by a cab. I don’t know why the universe wanted to pick on me today, I was wearing yellow for pete’s sake! Yellow is a happy color! From the moment I set foot into work, I knew that it was going to be me pushing up hill. By 11:30, I had hit my limit. It took every ounce of my will power to finish out my day.
I was so frustrated. I was so over it all. I wasn’t zen. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t wanting to do anything but curl up in bed and cry. And cry.
I don’t know about you but days like that make me fill utterly and completely defeated.

The last thing I wanted was to drive halfway across town, change into gym clothes and sit in a hot room. But I did it anyway. I drug myself there.

And I found my safe space.
Seriously.
I found my zen, my freedom.

It was the first time that I was able to do all 26 postures.
From Pranayama all the way to Khapalbhati.
It was the first class I had taken alone. The other few times I had gone with my cousin and once with my friend. But this time I went alone.

There was a freedom in picking where I wanted to practice, I chose by the window. I wish I could tell you it was because I felt the need to stare out the big windows at the barren desert landscape beyond. But it was actually so I could watch my car. Cause I am that paranoid.

But from the moment I clasped my hands under my chin and began the first pose, I felt the day melt away. During the Savasana I found myself watching the sun streak the sky a brilliant pink and then slowly fade to purple and then black. I wasn’t concerned about anything but breathing in the hot air and breathing out the negativity that had settled someplace in my heart. Ridding myself of that anger that had snaked around my ankles and held on tight.

I left feeling like I always do, a touch shell shocked and really sweaty. But clean. Somehow refreshed. I knew that tomorrow would bring more challenges, that I could not always be happy but that if I could do 90 minutes of poses in a class all by myself I could do anything.

Life is made up of moments, some good,some bad, some sad, some happy. But just like happiness is fleeting, so is sadness and joy is right around the corner.

Nameste bitches.

Last Great Kiss…

I am totally obsessed with Art Deco. Like, I’m fucking Pinterest board, clothing, champagne pouring, one step away from committed, OBSESSED. I was honestly about to post something about food, like the apple crumble that I am mulling over right at this moment (and eating all by myself…don’t judge me. You know you’d take a spoon if I offered it to you.)  But nope! I opened up Pinterest and I fell into my little world of pictures. I then popped on The Great Gatsby soundtrack and felt myself drift into my own little word of 1920’s heaven. And don’t @ me mo one does it better than Baz Lutherman. Hello! Romeo and Juliet?! Moulin Rouge?! You are killing me with auditory pleasure! So here I sit with the Andre 3000/Beyonce version of ‘Back to Black’ on repeat. I am seriously having an affair with the whole thing. Amy Winehouse did a fab version, lets give credit where credit is due, but the smoky, sexy, drugged version in Gatsby has me inspired.
In order to truly help myself immerse myself in my own little world, I popped champagne (the cheap shit because I sadly have not overnight become a Rockefeller).
The whole album has a deliciously melancholy feeling to it. I feel like slipping on this flapper dress and throwing this party below.

Like, can we please just talk about the love that Gatsby had for Daisy for a second? Who saw the movie? Raise your hand! Unless of course you’re in a coffee shop or at work reading this. Because then you would be sitting with me in a looney bin. But honestly, you and I would be great friends I think. Sippin’ on our champs (that’s bougie talk for champagne) eating our tea sandwiches, and talking about the riff raff.

That kiss between Daisy and Gatsby….*swoon*. No but for real, when was the last time someone kissed you like that?? Oh…take a moment….think about it. I’ll tell you. I can pluck the top five kisses of my life out of my memory at any given time.

Tell me…when was your last great kiss? The one that you felt from your lips, down your spine, and through your legs? The one that lingers…that pulses in your blood. The breath shared between two people that’s so intimate, so personal.

I did a search, do you know how many cocktails have the word ‘kiss’ in them? A lot. So I have a challenge for you. Make your favorite, throw on a song that reminds your heart of an innocent time when you had a kiss that shocked your whole system. Your whole being. And drink your cocktail and think about that kiss.

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