Archive for July, 2008

FavoriteCousin invited me to a show coming up in September at Bimbo’s in SF. I was intrigued by the performer – Carmen Consoli – who is a Sicilian singing sensation. Apparently she’s won a lot of Italian MTV awards, as well as their version of the Grammys.

I love going to shows at Bimbo’s and even though I don’t understand Italian, I love this woman’s voice, so I’m looking forward to the show.

I’m trying to convince LC to go, because she could actually understand the words to the songs. It’s hard for her to go to a weeknight show, with the kids and work and everything, so I decided to entice her a bit. I bought three of Carmen Consoli’s albums from iTunes, burned copies, and sent them to LC in the mail. Hopefully she’ll love her voice so much that she’ll agree to go to the show. See, I’m good at persuasion.

I think Carmen’s voice sounds like Natalie Merchant on some of the songs. There’s a haunting quality to it. Very beautiful. Or as my Sicilian relatives would say, “beda.”

See what you think for yourself: The song is called “Eco di sirene.” It’s a bit more “pop” than some of the songs I really love that she sings, but I love how she looks in this live clip.


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This post is long overdue – LC (my sister) and I had our sister day/John Mayer concert last Saturday, but I haven’t had time to write this post until now.

The best part about the day was that LC and I got to spend it together. Because we each have such full, rich lives and we live in cities that are 50 miles from each other, it’s not too often that we get together, just the two of us. I was looking forward to our “sister day” for weeks.

We started out in downtown Mt. View, with 2PM reservations at Cascal, a very trendy tapas restaurant. I’d heard quite a few good reviews of the restaurant and had been wanting to try it out for some time. Right away we ordered a pitcher of sangria – what sister day lunch is complete without lots of alcohol in the afternoon? We ordered lots of delicious dishes: warm rabbit salad, ahi tuna, a potato and chile gratin, eggplant tian, and Albondigas (spicy Moroccan style lamb meatballs in a paprika sauce). We were stuffed by the time we were through, but enjoyed every bite.

After lunch, we walked around and perused the shops in the downtown area, which were few and far between. Lots of restaurants but hardly any interesting shops. Plus the weather was over 90 degrees that day, so we chose some of the shops just for the fact that they had A/C. We did walk into Therapy, which is an adorable boutique-style shop filled with everything from Paul Frank kids’ bathrobes to cocktail napkins. I found a small, dark brown, retro-looking clutch that was way too cute. It’s a Lauren clutch from Hobo International (mine is a lot darker than the picture shown on the website). It was expensive, but it’s so classic that I think it was worth it. It’s going to go perfectly well with my dress for the wedding and for any other nighttime events that will no doubt pop up in the future.

After dropping way too much money at the stores, LC and I headed to Shoreline Amphitheatre to see the John Mayer concert. He was playing with Brett Dennen and Colbie Caillat. I have to say, I was extremely unimpressed with both of them. Brett Dennen sounds whiny and Colbie Caillat sounded so muffled and low energy. I usually like her cute, lighthearted pop music, but that night it was just tiresome.

As we impatiently waited for John Mayer to come onstage, LC and I unpacked a little picnic we had brought with us, which included: blackberries grown from her yard, nectarines, a variety of cheeses, pretzel chips and crackers, cashews, and some other nibbles. I gave LC a bad time because she only brought two paper towels. Two! I asked her if we were in the rationing times of WWII. She said she didn’t think we’d need more. I told her next time to let me take care of the napkins and that I’d bring a whole roll of paper towels to her house, so she can use as many as she wants. It was all in good fun, but I am still laughing about it as I sit here writing this. We had to entertain ourselves, since the singers on stage leaved quite a bit to be desired.

John Mayer, on the other hand, is a sexy beast! He had newly-shorn hair that gave him a much edgier vibe than I’ve seen before. Yum!

I can honestly say that this concert was one of the best I’ve been to in at least 3 years. John Mayer is soulful, sexy, sincere, sexy, and sexy. (Did I mention sexy?) He is an amazing guitar player, which I had no idea about. I mean, sure the guitar sounds great on the albums of his that I have, but having never seen him perform life, I had no idea the depth of his talent. He is a true musician who loves music and as I was watching him, I felt connected to something bigger. I sat there on the lawn feeling so in awe of him and his performance.

Here’s a bit of his performance from that night (I’m so glad I found it on YouTube!):

A bit of guitar solo on “Gravity”:

The entire day was wonderful, little silly sister-fights and all. LC bought me the tickets to the concert, but the real present she gave me that day was spending time with me. I told her I hope we can plan sister days more often than we have been able to, because I miss hanging out with her like this. She agreed, so we’re definitely checking our calendars and figuring out fun new places to go.

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Geggie gave me the Smile Award.  I was completely surprised, and I have to say, when I read her blog and saw that she’d given it to me, I did smile from ear to ear.  So sweet!  I have learned so many things from reading Geggie’s blog – I found Goodreads.com, a simple way to make homemade body scrubs, and too many scrumptious recipes to count.  

These are the characteristics of the Smile Award, and I feel so great knowing that Geggie thinks this about me.  

1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times–we are all human)
2. Must love one another
3. Must make mistakes
4. Must learn from others
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world
6. Must love life
7. Must love kids

And, now I get to pass it on!!

These are the rules:

1. The recipient must link back to the award’s creator (http://www.geggieblog.blogspot.com/)
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

And the Smile Award goes to…

Joy because she is a friend, not just a blogging buddy.  She remembers my birthday with e-cards, and we’ve always enjoyed a special bond.  When I get to NYC someday, I definitely want to meet up with Joy for coffee or a drink!

Cammy because she is one of the most positive bloggers out there.  She shares so many wonderful tips, and always checks in to my Bella on the Beach blog to check out my weight loss progress.  She’s a great cheerleader to have on your side!

Jen Lancaster because she is sassy, amazing, hilarious, and I can relate to so much of what she writes about.  I know she and I would be friends if we lived near each other.  (On a side note, the other night DRMK told me that Jen Lancaster’s writing style reminds her so much of mine.  I was blown away and very flattered by the thought, although I think Jen is a much better writer than I am.  Still DRMK’s comment inspired me).

Kalyn is an amazing cook, and an inspiration to me as I take on this weigh loss journey.  Her site offers so many cooking tips and delicious recipes, whether you’re following the South Beach Diet or not.  I look at her site several times a week to figure out new ideas for dinner.  

Michelle because I think it’s so cool that she moved to Italy and lives with Italian man whom she met when she moved there.  Plus, she always posts such interesting stories, beautiful pictures, and just seems like a wonderful person.  And the name, Bleeding Espresso?  How can I not love her blog?!!!

So, go check out these bloggers, because once you do, you’ll be hooked!

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(I got the title for this post from this charming little book, which I have displayed in my bathroom: )

I knew I needed to get some sort of spectacular necklace for the dress that I bought for CTLB’s wedding, but I wasn’t sure which direction to go in.  I talked it over with my mom, and she said she thought pearls would be great with it, plus they’re so versatile, and I could wear them with lots of things.  

Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of pearls because I always thought they were too conservative.  I didn’t think that I was the type of girl who would wear pearls. (not that I’m sure what type of girl would wear pearls, but I think I pictured someone named Muffy who lives in the suburbs and drives her kids to soccer three times a week).

But yesterday when my mom mentioned pearls, I decided to be a bit more open-minded and give them a try.  Pearls are really gorgeous, and they do go with everything.  Plus, I think they look awesome on tanned skin.  I told my mom that I would look around to see if I could find a necklace of faux pearls.  Then she was really sweet and told me that she was going shopping, and she would look around. 

It turns out that one of the stores she went to was having a major sale on cultured pearls, and she found the most unique, highest quality pearl necklace I’ve ever seen, and it was 1/3 its normal price.  Talk about a steal.  And I’ll have these pearls forever.

I love the necklace and think it’s going to look beautiful and classy with the dress I’m wearing to CTLB’s wedding.  I like the pearls so much that I decided to wear the necklace to work today:


I love the 3 different sized pearls, and how each is individually knotted.

I love the 3 different sized pearls, and how each is individually knotted.

Does my mom know how to shop, or what?  Now you know where I get it!

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I thought I was going to wear the Cabi dress to CTLB’s wedding. It was my inspiration outfit, after all. I knew that if I could fit into that dress, which is a size 16, I would have lost a significant amount of weight. Well, I tried the dress on and it fits…but it doesn’t really fit. It gaps in the back at the small of my back because my hips are still too wide for it. I could wear it, but I want to look really nice for the wedding, and that dress simply wasn’t working for me.

So, I’ve put off shopping for a dress for the wedding because I wanted to wait to lose a bit more weight. Finally tonight, I knew that it was time to go shopping. I’d perused the racks at Lane Bryant, Torrid, and Avenue, all to no avail. All of the dresses were way too boxy for my hourglass shape. I looked a bit at Macy’s, but most of the plus-sized dresses I saw there were a bit too matronly.

And then I remembered where I always seemed to find cute dresses – Dress Barn. Say what you will about it, but Dress Barn always seems to have dresses that fit me well. Yes, it’s hit or miss in the store and a lot of their plus-sized items are for the senior set, but they do have quite a few cute and sassy dresses for a woman my age who still feels young, even if she is in her late thirties.

So, DRMK agreed to go dress shopping with me. Of all of my friends, I love going shopping with DRMK because she will give me her honest opinion, is ridiculously patient with me, and is completely supportive. She loves going shopping for other people, which is so great. I like to think I’m like that, too, and I am for the most part, but my patience sometimes wears thin when it takes people a while to make up their minds. Or, if they’re like my mom who “just wants to look.” To me, if I’m going shopping, I’m going to buy something. Plus, I’m a quick shopper. No hemming and hawing from me – I know if I like it or not from the moment I put it on. I’m a quick decision maker.

I knew I didn’t want another black or black & white dress, since I seem to have a lot of those. I wanted something different. I also wanted to find a few cute brown-colored tops, because I had bought a great pair of brown capri pants, but didn’t have too many tops that would go with them. We found all of this, and then some.***

I tried on 5-6 dresses, but this one was the very first I saw and the one that looked the best on me:

I love this dress because it looks great on me, shows off my curves, and isn’t black & white. I love the rich, chocolate brown paired with the deep turquoise and green. It’s silky & satiny, and I think it’s going to be perfect for an evening wedding in Connecticut in August. It’s fancy enough for nighttime but it’s cool enough for the humidity. (I hope). I do need to get it taken in on top, because it’s a bit too big. The straps are too long and the back is too lose, but it fits really well everywhere else (re: my hips and butt). My mom knows a seamstress who is really reasonable, so it shouldn’t be a problem getting it done in the next week (crossing my fingers). Plus, the dress was only $50, so if I have to spend a bit more on the alterations, it’s still a steal.

I also have the greatest pair of Franco Sarto shoes to go with it:

Granted, these aren’t the most comfortable shoes in the world, because after a few hours the balls of my feet start to ache, but I figure that after a few wedding toasts (or 10!) I shouldn’t feel any pain.

Now all I need is a cute little dark brown purse. I think my mom may have one I can borrow, but I’m also going to keep on the lookout, just in case.

I’ve been looking forward to this wedding for so long, and now I feel I have a dress that truly marks the occasion and shows off my 48 pound weight loss!


*** I also bought 2 tops that have brown prints that fit amazingly well, show off my shape, and will look great with jeans or my brown capri pants.  Then DRMK made me try on a sleeveless, polka-dot, brown and cappuccino colored dress.  I wasn’t sure about it, because it looked sort of conservative, but when I tried it on and saw how it fit, I knew I should get it.  It will be a really nice Back-To-School-Night dress, and I have the perfect shoes to match it (I just need to find them from the darkened depths of my closet).

The tops (which look a lot better on me than they do on the hanger):

The cute, yet conservative polka dot dress:

$180 later, I think I got some really good deals, and nice clothes, on this little shopping excursion.

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This week’s bouquet is a mix of astremeria and roses, all in a sunset hue. I think they’re gorgeous, and it only cost $5.99 – what a bargain.

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Via iPhone

I just found out that WordPress now has an application for the iPhone!

This is so cool because it means I can blog while I’m in Boston. Almost like a travel log.

That’s all for now. I just wanted to test this feature out.

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