Fresh and Easy markets have been opening to mixed
reviews in California, but I for one, really like them. They are a
cross between Costco and Trader Joe's, a no frills market with
fabulously low prices. They don't have a lot of the unusual/
interesting products that Trader Joe's is famous for, but they do have
good meats, cheeses, fresh produce and frozen products at great
discounts. Since they are an English company, known as Tesco in the
UK, they carry many British products. I like the self checkout and the
fact that they always give you a coupon for five dollars off,
no matter when you go.
I have always hated to go grocery shopping because it is isle
after isle of all the same products, only different labels. Do we
really need to have five hundred choices of cereal when they all
basically taste the same? As food prices continue to rise, I imagine
that Fresh and Easy will become more and more popular to the cash-strapped American public.
The fact that it is small in size, has limited
quantities, with wide, easy to maneuver isles, guarantees that you will
be in and out in half the time it takes you to walk miles around the
local Von's. If you are a Walmart fan, and like dirty, messy stores, filled with screaming kids adults and getting hit with carts left and right, you probably won't like Fresh
A friend of mine is the pastry chef at Madeleine's restaurant in Pasadena (I can't figure out how she can stay so skinny) and she makes the best Madeleine cookies ever. I have tried so many recipes for these, trying to duplicate the ones they make in Paris and have never found one that was even close. They are very hard to make, and of course you have to have a special pan. My children loved these cookies growing up, and called them seashell cookies. Her's are pretty good, but you don't ask a pastry chef for a recipe. If anyone has a good one, please let me know.
I was at the book store today, standing in front of the magazines, when I heard a woman scream in my ear and practically knock me over to get the new issue of People magazine with Jennifer Lopez and her twins on the cover. (I swear to God I am not making this up.) Even though I hate to admit it, I myself grabbed a copy and started to read the article and check out the pictures. Her first month of motherhood, sure looked a lot different from what I remember of my first month. First of all, I didn't want to be in front of a camera for at least the first year, and I never put makeup on for the same amount of time. I can't remember ever feeding my children in a 50 thousand dollar designer gown, but then I breast fed them, so I was lucky to be wearing anything. In all honesty she and Marc, even though they were dressed like they were going to a fancy event that evening, were bare-footed, just to prove that they can hang out like everyone else.
Then I saw the pictures of the nursery. Holy shit, I couldn't believe the crystal chandelier. My babies just had a mobile made out of felt animals (which I made myself) that played a lullaby when wound up and I thought that was quite a statement. The cribs probably cost more than my house, and I didn't see any stuffed animals from Target lying around.
I had to laugh when I saw pictures of them all sitting in the living room and I thought to myself, I sure hope she baby-proofs that coffee table before they start walking. If not, there is going to be some serious damage done. I have no doubt that they will be excellent parents and it was reassuring to read that although they do have an entourage of assistants, two nurses and a butler, the new parents do most of the baby care themselves. I was lucky to get a baby sitter the first couple of years.
Then I saw the picture of them taking the babies for a walk. Even though you couldn't see the babies, the parents were stylishly dressed, Jen in her high heels, with make-up and hair that had actually been shampooed and combed within the last week. The babies were in a carriage that cost more than most cars, I'm sure. Jennifer looked great, the babies are darling and Marc looked like Marc. I'm sure they will make great parents, but I can see a problem with future play dates. Once a child comes over to play, they will never want to leave. I can see them wanting to trade in their own parents to live with Jlo instead!
I have been seeing signs all over Los Angeles that say Sarah Marshall sucks and I hate Sarah Marshall. At first I didn't pay too much attention, but since they are everywhere, I started to get a little curious. Tonight while I was checking out Drudge Report, I saw a link to a "I hate Sarah Marshall" site, so I had to go there. The site was a blog supposedly written by a recently dumped ex-boyfriend of Sarah's who had taken the money he had saved for her engagement ring to buy billboards all over the country to embarrass her. Since I didn't particularly want to waste my time reading yet another blog, and American Idol was calling me, I googled Sarah Marshall. Turns out that it is a soon to be released movie. What a shock that they would promote a movie in this town in such a deceitful way. The last time they went this crazy was for Snakes on a Plane and we know how well that ended.
Anyway the movie is going to be released April 18th and the producer is Judd Apatow, who was also responsible for Knocked Up, 40-Year-Old Virgin and Super Bad, so it's pretty much going to be:
a. funny b. crude c. contain many inappropriate sex scenes
In other words, it will be an instant box-office hit. The least I can do is provide a link to the trailer, since I will now get a million hits by people googling the name Sarah Marshall.
I am giving notice today that I want to break up with you and want you to pack your bags and move out of the space in my head that you have been living rent free, for most of my life. Maybe it's all the ego adverse buzz that generates from Oprah to Eckhart Tolle and every single person since Freud who has written a self help book, but lately it has all been making sense to me. I am determined to end this toxic relationship here and now.
I am longing for the days when you no longer wrestle with my self esteem, bitch slap me with self doubt and insecurities, and tell me that I would be better off dead, because I have no purpose in life. You are a jealous lover who gets angry when I flirt with happiness, make friends with self confidence and consider not letting you run my life. I have been a prisoner for too long in this dark abyss that you convince me is my home. I want to leave the past behind, and stop worrying about the future. I want a world free from arguing with you about anything and everything and to be able to convince myself that I am not what you have me believe I am.
I know it's going to be hard to live without you, but I will not miss the late night calls that awaken me from my sleep and fill my mind with hopelessness, doubt and fear. You have bullied me into a accepting a lesser role in life, by forcing me to be stuck in the dredges of the pity pot, instead of following my dreams. You were very convincing by telling me you had my best interests at heart. That I deserved to eat a whole pint of Haagen Dazs at night because I had a bad day, spend money on foolish things because no one else would buy them for me, and to blame everyone else for my shortcomings because I look good in victim attire. The whole time you were planning my spiritual demise, and holding me hostage in a world I don't deserve. You shouted while I whispered, marring my peace and leaving emotional scars.
I already feel better knowing that when you surface, I have the strength to replace you with thoughts that are the opposite of what you are telling me, and I will be fighting you till my last breath doing damage control to the reputation you have ruined. I would hope that we could be friends, but right now, I just want to be with my new friends - acceptance, forgiveness, peace, faith and love. It's going to be an uphill battle, but my life depends on my new awareness. By the way, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
I never could understand this holiday. Maybe because I don't like drinking green beer till I turn green. But I must be in the minority, as the whole town seems to be getting drunk. St. Patrick must have been one hell of a Saint!
By the looks of it, Pinkberry will soon be as ubiquitous as Starbucks in Southern California. I personally love the stuff and don't care if it's legally yogurt or not, all I care about is the taste (tangy without overbearing sweetness) only 20 calories an ounce, and completely fat free. Add a fresh fruit topping, and it becomes my favorite low calorie dessert.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding it, but the fact that people claim it's not real yogurt or even good for you, doesn't seem to effect it's popularity. Tonight I went to the new store on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and at 9 o'clock at night it was packed. I can hardly wait till summer when the line will probably be around the block as people debate whether it's yogurt or just another great marketing scam.
Tonight I met some girlfriends (think Geriatric Sex in the City) for dinner at a local bar/restaurant. Since it was crowded, we sat at the bar which was 100% men, who were age appropriate, unfortunately. One of our friends was late because she went out for drinks with her boss, so we sat there drinking iced tea before ordering dinner. The men were a little disappointed that we weren't drinking because there is nothing more enjoyable than getting into a philosophical conversation with drunk, single women. They proceeded to tell us we were as boring and about as much fun as the wives they left sitting at home, by themselves, watching Lifetime television. The fact that most of them were 50 lbs overweight and had yellow teeth to match their yellow eyeballs had nothing to do with the fact that we were ignoring them. We reassured them that our one friend who would be joining us shortly, would likely have a drink and probably add some excitement to their otherwise dull, testosterone laden, neighborhood bar. To everyone's amazement, when she arrived, she ordered an iced tea. The disappointment that permeated the room was earth shattering. When the iced tea arrived, she took a competitive gulp, only to proclaim "that is one STRONG ICED TEA". Turns out, one of the guys had the bartender substitute the tea with a Long Island Iced Tea, much to her surprise delight. For anyone who doesn't know, a Long Island iced tea consists of vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple sec and a splash of coke. Even thought it doesn't contain any tea, it supposedly tastes exactly like it! I know you had to have been there, but it was pretty funny.
Not to disappoint anyone, she begrudgingly drank it, but added no excitement or entertainment to the otherwise dull, uneventful evening and everyone went back to watching the college basketball game, which was the excuse for them being there in the first place. The bar cleared out, leaving us ladies to enjoy our dinner in peace while discussing why most men are like Gov. Spitzer and the many suggestions we had for his afterlife. We took control of the bar, and changed the channel to American Idol and then the real fun began.
On Monday morning, I went with a friend to the Adamson House in Malibu for a walk through for her upcoming wedding. It was a beautiful day, highlighting all that is right with Southern California. The sky was blue, the ocean blue and the smog at a distance on the horizon. Her wedding is in a month, and hopefully it will be as beautiful a day as it was yesterday, as the wedding in on the grounds, not indoors. The nice part about this wedding, is that there is little need for decorations as the scenery stands alone, and the bride is a mellow as they come.
Some days when I get caught up with all the things that are going wrong in my life, I have to step back and take time to think of all the good things that sustain me. My gratitude list for this week includes:
Receiving some beautiful gift cards from Kim for her give away last month. Thanks Kim, they are so appreciated.
A phone call from my dear old college roommate from Mexico and being able to chat thanks to Skype.
Friends that pick me up when I fall down.
Having the best two daughters and son-in-law in the whole world.
Beautiful sunny days and temperatures in the eighties.
Daylight savings time this weekend which means longer days.
My new gig as a wedding coordinator for a friend who is getting married in 5 weeks.
Right now my life feels like one big junk drawer. I can't get organized and I have so many things going on that I can't keep my days straight. My whole life is one big hamster on a wheel metaphor. The more I try to get done, the more overwhelmed I become. On top of everything, the cost of gas is going out of control, causing me to be more efficient so I don't end up driving my life savings away in the next few months. I don't know anyone who isn't scared to death about the economy and more and more people are being pink slipped. Rents are rising, companies are downsizing and today I heard on the news that we have a flour shortage which means the cost of bread, pizza and baked goods are rising (no pun intended). The bad news is that I won't be able to afford all of the foods that sustain me on a daily basis, but the good news is that I will probably loose a lot of weight in the interim.
Tonight I tried to log on to Oprah's save the world with Eckhart Tolle, but even that didn't work so I gave up after ten minutes (I later heard that the whole world had the same problem, so it was not just me getting zapped with bad karma). Being the optimist that I am, I plan on downloading it tomorrow and listening to it on my ipod. I seriously need all the help I can get, and if anyone can help me, Oprah can. Maybe she can send me a pair of the Christian Louboutin shoes she wears every day cause Lord knows, a seven hundred dollar pair of shoes would really lift my spirits.
I went to a baby shower this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the cakes someone had made. They took the logo I had designed for the invitations and put them on the cake. There were so many people at the shower, they needed not one, but two cakes. Not only did they look fabulous, they were good enough to eat. One was carrot, the other chocolate. As a graphic designer, it is always fun to see your design in another medium, especially if it's edible!