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Author: camparigirl

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

Right now, this much I know is true – Part II

Posted in About Us, Life & Love, Relationships, and Uncategorized

Venice biennaleWhen sofagirl suggested we compile our own lists of truths we have learnt over the years, I was a bit stumped. Of course I knew I had learnt many lessons, mostly the hard way, but I found I had a difficult time distilling what I thought was of essence.

In the end, the list was longer than just ten items and I realized that some of them were closely linked to my character and to difficulties, big and small, I had to overcome – in short, what I know is true is also the core of who I have become. It’s been an interesting journey, full of peaks and valleys, and I am hoping for a lot more peaks to come.

Play. Pause. Hit play again – a friendship resumed after 30 years

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

The way we were
The way we were

The game was called “the astronauts”. We would pull all the encyclopedias in my study down to the floor and build a spaceship, in which we would then sit,  pushing make-believe buttons until we would finally emerge for a walk on the moon, followed by a jaunt to the kitchen for a snack. At 8, proud children of the sixties and of the first moon landing, we wanted to become astronauts. Neither of us did but, today, it makes us feel good to have aimed that high.

When I heard her voice, after a 30 year hiatus, it was deeper than I remembered. She smokes, I thought. The navigator was telling me I was approaching my destination and Paola said she would be right down. I turned into a short street on North Miami Beach, the house white and shaded by palm trees just the way it looked on Google Earth – the shrills of children playing  in  the schoolyard next door. Miami  uncharacteristically chilly and windswept on this March afternoon.  The moment will probably stay frozen in my memory banks forever: the chill in the air, the children at play and my friend’s slim frame and dark blonde hair appearing from behind the gate – suddenly I abandon the car haphazardly on a curve and we embrace tightly. “I can’t believe it” she murmurs “Would you have recognized me if I passed you by in the street?”

The Perfection of Prada … our dream winter wardrobe.

Posted in Style & Travel

camparigirl's top pick
camparigirl’s top pick

If we have one thing in common with the Devil, aka Anna Wintour, it’s that we, too, love Prada. campariandsofa’s affair with Miuccia Prada is long-standing and runs deep. While our budgets may only stretch to the (very) occasional pair of shoes, a purse or a heavily discounted item from a past collection: we still  revel in Ms. Prada’s vision. Miuccia doesn’t see women as objects of desire (or as objects of any kind): her woman is strong, often uncompromising, but soft around the edges. With clear intent and a healthy dose of self-assurance.

That ever shifting glass ceiling – things we learnt on our way up (and out)

Posted in Life & Love, and Women's issues

working women posterHer name was Catherine and she was after my boss. Had it been my previous boss, I wouldn’t have cared – part of my job was keeping at bay the women he bedded all over Europe , who jammed my phone line trying to reach him. But this time it was different. Catherine was pretty, smart, blonde and full chested. And I was sleeping with my boss. (Sofagirl sent me a postcard once that still hangs in my kitchen – it’s a drawing of a frizzy haired woman stating “I met the enemy and they are thin blondes with big boobs”. As I have always been a flat chested brunette, you can see how the thought hit home).

Whole-wheat Rosemary Focaccia

Posted in Baking, Food, and Food & Entertaining

Wholewheat flatbreadIt’s official: the Mediterranean diet will keep you healthy, it will lower the risks of clogged arteries and their consequences all the while allowing you to eat yummy foods, including chocolate. What it will not do is help you lose weight. I am summing up  in two lines a rigorous study done by the University of Barcelona, Spain, over the course of seven years, a study that has made headlines the world over. As if we didn’t know that eating grains, vegetables, pulses, nuts and fish was good for us. And yes,  I we  also knew dark chocolate is very good for you. And sofagirl we also knew a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away.

Words of wisdom from younger women – Part I

Posted in Life & Love, and Uncategorized

It’s not often that radio reduces me to tears. In fact, the last time was about 16 years ago when, driving to a yoga class, I happened to catch David Sedaris reading, in his trademark whinny high-pitched voice, his essay on being an elf in a large department store at Christmas. It made me laugh so uncontrollably, tears streaming down my cheeks so copiously, I feared for my safety.

Typically, I will turn the radio on while I drive and my attention will wander in and out: the main news at the top of the hour, an occasional song that will draw me in but, mostly, it’s background noise for my thoughts. But a few days ago I experienced a moment of grace, while whizzing down I-10 at 7 am. A 2 minute interview, part of the StoryCorps series, between a mother and  daughter, came on.

Future ancient history – LA graffiti

Posted in Things We Love

She looks at me every time I go to work
She looks at me every time I go to work

During one of our now customary Thursday beach walks, I mentioned to my friend Marie my idea to do a post on LA street art, and that I had to start driving around with a camera. What followed left me slightly speechless: Marie rattled off names and locations of murals all over the city, names  and websites of graffiti artists and I felt I was walking next to a living catalogue of graffiti art. Back in her office, she sent me dozens and dozens of photos she has been taking over the last few months, a compendium on who is “dirtying” LA walls everywhere (for which I am forever grateful, sparing me miles and gas).

The reason I was surprised is that Marie’s job, when she is not snapping around town, is Conservator of Antiquities.

Ten objects of desire – fantasy shopping with Campari & Sofa

Posted in fashion, and Things We Love

“Instinctively , we reach out for attractive things; beauty literally moves us…”

says Lance Hosey in his article “Why we love beautiful things”.  Apparently scientific studies clearly show that our brain is wired to instruct our hands to move towards anything we perceive as beautiful. No surprise there for us … it certainly explains our Prada obsession. But what stops us actually taking everything we see as being beautiful and making it our own? Is it frugality or a lack of finance? And for some people – does this hard-wiring turn into obsession and become compulsive buying?

In our Sunday Skype-chats, sofagirl and I pondered Hosey’s contention. And decided that thought is worth a post of its own another time. Meantime, we wondered;” if money was no issue, what five objects would we each pull from our dreams into our every day?”  And here’s where that thought took us:

Women and Heart disease: what you need to know

Posted in Aging, Health, and Women's issues

heartI wasn’t prepared for the statistics I heard at “Heart Disease and Stroke”, a presentation by St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. What drew me to attend was a piece of information I’d read that women’s symptoms for heart attacks are different from men’s. That surprised me and I wanted to know more.

Let’s get the figures out of the way first:

  • while 40 to 60% of women are concerned about dying of breast cancer, only 4% do,
  • but 53% of us will die from a cardiovascular disease.
  • even more frightening, 63% of women who die of a heart attack had no previous symptoms.
  • plus we tend to suffer from such episodes later in life
  • and, once we do, the effects are more devastating and our subsequent life span shorter than for men.

Gray Matters – is colouring your hair after 50 a smart move?

Posted in Aging, Health, and Style & Travel

Helen Mirren - ever stylish
Helen Mirren – ever stylish

It’s 12: I counted them. Had to assess the strength of the enemy. Right on top of my head, and, against my dark hair, these 12 gray strays are even more noticeable. I didn’t have it in me to be a good sport about it and declared war over a year ago. Armed with tweezers and glasses, I could be found, most nights, in front of the bathroom mirror. Plucking away more than just those 12 hairs. Have you any idea how hard it is to pluck the exact strand while looking in a mirror?

Finally, Maxime, my ever patient hairdresser who has known me for 15 years, asked: “If zey bug you so much, why don’t you have your ‘air colored? Here, let me introduce you to Heide”. And, just like that, beautiful Heide entered my life, and she seems set to stay until I am ready to let go. Or keel over with beautiful, dark tresses.

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