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Author: camparigirl

Trying to make sense of the world and life through food and words.

Screw that – Andrew Myers and “painting” faces: one screw at a time.

Posted in Things We Love

 

andrewmyers12My Tudor period is still in full swing, although I am running out of additional reading material to explore. Whenever I go on a history binge, I like to put faces to the names of people I am reading about and, last time I was in London, I took a jaunt through the National Portrait Gallery, tucked to the back of the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, with a list of Tudor subjects I wanted to check out up close and personal. Sure, my iPad satisfies my immediate visual cravings, but there is nothing like looking at a painting face to face.

The mixed emotions of watching our parents change

Posted in Life & Love, Relationships, Uncategorized, and Women's issues

Growing old in Venice
Growing old in Venice

My father has never seen where I live. I have been in the States for the past 18 years and, besides a few photographs I showed him, he has no idea of what my house looks like, or Los Angeles for that matter. I am not sure what he imagines but, whatever it is, it’s been pieced together with the bits of my unhelpful descriptions and what my sister might have told him. My dad had a stroke 14 years ago that left him weakened and unable to travel long-distance. 

When it’s impossible to look away – a journey through Tyler Hick’s photos

Posted in Things We Love

Tyler Hicks
Tyler Hicks

The last couple of years must have been rough for Tyler Hicks. The Pulitzer prize-winning photographer, who has covered wars from Kosovo to Afghanistan, and has done extensive photo reporting all over Africa, was abducted for four days in March 2011, in Libya, with three other colleagues. And, while crossing the border from Turkey to Syria,  his friend and uber-talented correspondent Anthony Shadid died in his arms.

It takes a tribe – Surviving our 50s with a sense of humour

Posted in Aging, Life & Love, Relationships, and Women's issues

walking-women-silhouettes

This post first appeared on the Huffington Post Blog on March 19

I stepped off the plane, late in the evening, exhausted but in a chatty mood, energizer- bunny style. I still felt energized on the following days too, rushing about, brimming with writing ideas and even eager to tackle projects typically left untouched for years, like cleaning the window screens and the silver. I attributed this new-found vigor, that replaced the sluggishness and apathy that had enveloped me of recent, to the change of scenery, to flying across country to spend a few days of R&R in Miami, visiting an Italian childhood friend I hadn’t seen in three decades. We had found each other again just a short few weeks before – I am the lazy Facebook user with nothing of interest on my page nor do I bother to look up old acquaintances – and, after a few e-mail exchanges, I impulsively suggested I visit her in Miami where she would be vacationing with some friends. A bit of a gamble as, not only was I going to meet up with a woman I last saw when we were in our teens and who could turn out to be a complete stranger, but I would also be staying in a condo, without the privacy of a hotel room if things took a turn for the awkward or the unpredictable.

A perfect blow (dry)

Posted in Style & Travel

dry barWhen it comes to doing my hair, my routine hasn’t changed in 50 years: a wash  in the shower every other day and three minutes under the hairdryer. I couldn’t style my hair even with a gun to my head. Nor  am I not very good at articulating what I want done with it – my ever patient hairdresser, Maxime, who has known me for 15 years, has learnt to interpret my “do whatever you want as long as I can pull it in some sort of ponytail”. I don’t even bother to bring pictures from magazines because my frame of reference on what looks good on Jennifer Aniston doesn’t allow me to imagine if it would look on me.

From my mother’s kitchen: potato gnocchi

Posted in Food, and Food & Entertaining

IMG_1133Tonight, on my dinner table, there will be an Indian Passover chicken dish, the way the Jews in Cochin have been making for generations. A Chinese shrimp stir-fry is planned for Sunday. I grew up snooping around  my mother’s very Italian kitchen – with duck a l’orange being one of the very few exceptions – and I didn’t really discover other cuisines until I started travelling. My first forays into the food from Austria, Germany and the Netherlands as a child didn’t me impress me much and even my first French lobster, at age 13, left me baffled. It took a while to train my palate but once different tastes, flavors and combinations were discovered, I was up running. Now, I love researching recipes, from all kinds of sources: vintage cookbooks, magazines, friends and other bloggers.

Reality Shopping – making fantasy work at the mall…part II

Posted in fashion, and Style & Travel

I don't normally go for animal prints but I love these shoes $350
I don’t normally go for animal prints but I love these shoes $350

When I drew my first (and miserly) paycheck, I made the promise that, once I earned enough, I would treat myself to a real Chanel two piece suit. Even when I could have conceivable given up a vacation and shelled out on a couture Chanel suit, I never did. Chances are, I never will. Sofagirl and I fantasize and exchange e-mails filled with haute couture collection pictures that we know are doomed to remain just that, fantasies. I really do believe that a $5,000 Valentino cocktail dress would make me feel like a million bucks – and spare me the cheap psychology of self-esteem and feeling good about our bodies being what makes us feel on top of the world. A perfectly cut and sewed prime piece of fabric can work magic.

Three days in Miami

Posted in Style & Travel, and Uncategorized

The inviting Atlantic Ocean on South Beach
The inviting Atlantic Ocean on South Beach

More than a city, to the visitor’s naked eye, Miami is a state of mind: balmy weather, endless beaches, cheerful pastel colours and all night partying. Two Miami-bred friends, who headed west and ended up settling in LA, both said the same thing when I mentioned I would be visiting: there is nothing to see. True – Miami is not a cultural center, Art Basel notwithstanding.  And for a tourist looking for the conventional cultural landmarks, the pickings are slim: no world-class museums, interesting architecture limited to the Deco district and disjointed neighbourhoods that do require a car rental for exploring.

But the beaches are indeed glorious, the water warm and inviting, the dining options plentiful and sophisticated and, if it’s nightlife and shopping one has in mind, Miami is your destination. And the one of very many Italians and assorted Europeans who are either relocating or buying second homes – the city, right now, feels like a giant construction site.

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