Sunday, May 31, 2009

Party Down

Happy Birthday, Miss B!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Housekeeping

Do you have a cat?

Is your cat particular about their cat food?

Can your cat tell when their dry food is about to go stale?

Have you ever noticed that a cat can pretty much barf at will?

All of these things led me to wash my entire sectional over the weekend.

It all started with just one well placed bit of cat-yak right on the main cushion of one part of the sectional. It was mostly intact dry bits of Fancy Feast (which, apparently, had come from the almost bottom of the bag). Miss Kitty tends to rebel against being fed Fancy Feast that is too close to the bottom of the bag. I think she gets it from me. I never like to finish bottled drinks, but I digress.

It was one of those things where a spot cleaning wouldn't work and I could have just washed the entire cushion cover but for some reason I got it in my head that I would wash all three cushion covers (you know, to neutralize the effects of "wash wear"). Then, I find myself taking all of the covers off of the throw pillows and finally, I figured what the hell, I'll just wash the slip covers for the actual frame of the sectional too. This took approximately three days and a multitude of washer/dryer cycles. It's a big sectional. Happily, nothing shrunk! We were able to reassemble it quite easily and it looks fab. I'm glad to know that I can just wash the whole damn thing if the need arises, but I hope to not have to do this again anytime soon. Memorial Day weekend was really not meant for washing three cushion covers, three slip covers and twenty pillow covers because of cat vomit.


You know the old saying about when pigs fly... well, apparently in China there is a cat that's "grown wings". Is it just me, or does something sound a little fishy here?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Tonight I finally finished the curtains for the library! And I also finally made a curtain for our master bathroom (aka the smallest bathroom in Middlesex County). I had remnant fabric from Pierre Deux for over a year now and finally got around to finishing! It wasn't until I actually put up the first curtain in the library that the Husband pointed out that the toile pattern seemed to include a woman spanking a cherub. I totally hadn't noticed that. I guess that may explain why it was on sale.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Tonight we had burgers and fries for dinner, in order to kick off summer grilling season (though they weren't technically grilled). I also made yogurt potato salad with dill. Yum!


So we started watching the HBO series "Rome" on DVD. Since we're geeks we've turned on the "pop-up" video function where factoids about Rome pop up on the screen during the show. It's pretty cool, I have to say.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kid Friendly Restaurants!

Gwyneth's blog had a great post about Kid Friendly Restaurants, including a nice selection of places in New York. I've been thinking about trying Sweetiepie with Miss B. Who's with me? :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009


How often do you hear the phrase: "The bees were being taken to hives upstate." Sure they were, just like how Chris Ruffner's old English Sheep Dog Dusty was taken to live "on the farm" back in the fifth grade.

Bent Spoon!

Tonight we had a lovely dinner at the Witherspoon Grill with Melanie, Mike, Tiffany and Andrew followed by ice cream at the Bent Spoon! Yummy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Craft Mania!

Like Wrestle-Mania, but different...

Here are some chocolate chip cookies...

And pizza!

I also found these great iron-ons at Michaels by Simplicity. I picked up some t-shirts in matching colors at Target and voila! Decorated tees for Miss B.!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Avedon Fashion

Today Miss B. and I visted the Richard Avedon fashion photography exhibition at The International Center of Photography on Sixth Avenue. If you have any interest in photography (and especially if you have an interest in fashion photography) I highly recommend a visit to the exhibition (which will be showing until September). Many of Avedon's iconic images (such as Dovima with the Elephants) are in the collection. It's not to be missed!!


For tonight's dinner we had the gazpacho (garnished with some croutons and a touch of sour cream... yummy!) and baked turbot (with tomatoes and red onions), couscous and pepper/citrus salsa. I dipped the turbot in buttermilk and breaded it with lemon/almond panko, then I drizzled a bit of olive oil and lemon juice on it and baked it at 450 until it was done. The pepper/citrus salsa had pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, slices of red, orange and yellow peppers, garlic and cilantro. All in all everything was very tasty and easy to put together!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Today, while Miss B. napped I made Gazpacho! The recipe is in this month's Bon Apetite magazine and I thought it might be a good accompainment for some baked white fish. The recipe suggests that you let the Gazpacho sit in the fridge from 4 hours to up to one day, in order for the flavors to meld. I figured I'd make it today and we will have it for dinner tomorrow. The recipe calls for, among other things, anchovy paste. Neither Wegman's nor Whole Foods had anchovy paste, so I improvised by whizzing up (as Jamie Oliver would say) a can of anchovies in the ye old Chef's prep.

So, that left tonight open for dinner... we had chicken fajitas (with yellow peppers, red onion, vidalia onion, jalepeno and a serrano pepper). Using some of the Whole Foods Santa Fe Marinade it was pretty tasty!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shout Out!

Today we visited in the city with David, Emily and Max! We had a great time at MoMA (though I will say that Miss B. got awfully close to touching a Picasso!) and then we had dinner at Sarabeths! Can I just say that tomato soup is soooo filling! There was a good consensus that all you really need to eat is the soup. But, we didn't just eat the soup! The entrees were tasty too, but the double chocolate pudding was definitely a winner!

Free Cell Phones!?!

I keep seeing these commercials for free government supported cell phones. I'm sorry, but I'm a bit confused. Does the government pay people to get landlines? I guess you could use your welfare benefits to pay for a landline, but why is it that a cell phone is seen as a "necessity"? Sure, on the commercials they show a woman who's car has broken down "on the road" to pick up the kids from school and she of course needs the government cell phone to place a call for help... (a) where's the school bus? (b) what if this were 1976 before portable cell phones were commonplace, would we expect the government to pay for you to place a call when your car is broken down? Cell phones are great but why do we think people can't live without them? Is there going to be a special program to subsidize people's cable bills? (I know, we've already got the government paying for people's upgrades to digital!) Do people who are on welfare get free driver's licenses, free car registrations and/or free car insurance? Isn't being able to drive (in order, presumably to get to a job) more important that being able to make a call? Food stamps, subsidized housing-- those are things people need to live. It seems that human beings have needed food and shelter for thousands of years. Cell phones and digital cable? Not so much.

Last Chance Harvey

The Mom had recommended this as a cute movie, and I have to agree. Dustin Hoffman has been more entertaining these days since his role as Master Shifu.

A Lovely Day Out!

Today we met Miss Melanie and Andrew in the city for a visit. We hit up the Saks Cafe (always a good bet!) nothing beats their half sandwich and soup combo-- love that corn and crab chowder! and then visited the Posh Sale at the Lighthouse. Miss B. ran around quite a good bit in the ladies department, but with Mel's help we double teamed her. I managed to snag a great Missoni skirt, a Chanel skirt and a wacky skirt suit. After the sale we walked over to the newly opened Melt Cafe and Gelato Bar on Second Ave. The gelato was really yummy and the staff was super-kid friendly, so it was a nice place to hang out and chat! All in all a lovely day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today's Maclaren Adventure

I love our Maclaren Stroller. After I rolled over our Maclaren Triumph stroller with the car last year I upgraded us to the Maclaren Quest (it's big advantage is a convenient storage pocket and four point reclining seat!) and it has served us well, travelling twice to Europe (and thoroughly having the crap knocked out of it on the cobblestones of Rome).

The Maclaren is great. It's super light and easy to open/fold. I love our Bugaboo but for daily use in and out of the wagon the Maclaren is a breeze. That being said there are a few design flaws. First, it flips. Now I think all strollers will do this depending on the weight of the load which one inevitably straps on to the handles, but the Maclarens are so light that even just the diaper bag will cause it to capsize once baby is no longer acting as ballast.

Okay, we can live with that as a consequence for the lightweight nature. Fine.

Problem two: While Maclaren does provide you with a lovely plastic cover for use during rainstorms (or what we like to call the oxygen tent), in the event of a rain storm rain water may be kicked up from the tires to the underside of the stroller (and thus directly soaking the seat and your baby's bottom). We learned this the hard way. Can we not add some sort of a flexible plastic/rubber coating on the underside of the seat to prevent this??

Finally, Problem Three(aside from no cupholders): Another consequence of the lightweight nature of the Maclaren is that it tends to (when baby is not in the stroller) get blown away very easily. Yes, I said blown away. Case in point: Today it was a bit breezy. When Miss B. and I were packing it in after hitting up the Woolly Lamb in Pennington I hit the breaks on the Maclaren and left it next to the side of the car while I got Miss B. into her car seat. After a few moments in the back with Miss B. getting her settled, I straighten up and turn to the stroller to fold it and put it in the trunk.

What ho, there is no stroller. So I look to the back of the car and think maybe it just rolled a little bit. No Stroller. I step around to the back of the car to get a better glimpse on where it could be and what do I see? Our Stroller rolling down a hill and heading towards the Dunkin' Donuts two buildings away from where we're parked. Clearly the Roman cobblestones must not have affected the alignment because the Stroller was making a nice straight beeline down the roadway. A man in a bicycle passed it and stared. People in a car stopped since it was heading straight for them. Finally it bottomed out at the bottom of the hill and came to rest up against a curb. I just shook my head and laughed out loud. I thought to myself, "no problem, we'll just drive down there and get it". Then I remembered that my car keys were still in the aforementioned convenient storage pocket attached to the back of the stroller.

Yup. Since we must not have had enough exercise today, I had to get Miss B. back out of the car and then I carried her down to get the stroller. And that was with the break on!

You Know You're Up For An Exciting Evening When...

you find yourself saying that all you need is a glob of polyfill and a wooden skewer!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Note to Bravo!

Okay, totally love the fact that the Real Housewives of New York Reunion Special had to be split into two parts. It looks like the ladies are just getting warmed up-- so looking to tune in on Thursday.

But, that being said, big thumbs down on "The Fashion Show". Sorry, it's just not Project Runway.


I don't think the Mom every blogged this, so I'm going to go ahead and share.

The Monday after we got back from Italy (and while the Mom and Dad were still visiting) the season finale of Heroes aired. The four of us ate dinner at the island in the kitchen and when we were finished, the Mom proceeded to begin the clean up process while the Husband, Dad and I sat and watched Heroes on the flat screen.

In the middle of the show, Dr. Suresh was talking with Hiro and Ando and the Mom started running water in the sink to wash off some dishes. The Husband turned the volume up. Right after he did this and just as Suresh was about to explain to Hiro the source of all of his powers we hear:


Yup. Right at the pivitol point in the episode, and quite possibly the pivitol point in the entire series up till that time and the Mom turns on the Garbage Disposal.

It was truly comical.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Goings On in Philly

Yesterday we went to the Philadelphia Zoo with some friends from Gymboree. The Zoo was great, the weather was good and all in all we had a very nice time. On the way home, we realized that the next exit on 676 was the one you can take to get to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Philly Museum of Art is currently having an exhibition called "Cezanne and Beyond" which catalogues a number of Cezanne's works and puts them together with the works of other artists for which Cezanne was an inspiration. Sounds neat, right? Well, that's what I thought anyway. I tried to call the Museum on my way there to find out the hours but they just direct you to their website and all of the "membership representatives" were busy with other calls. When we show up in front of the Museum the sign on the exterior indicates that it's closed on Mondays, but people were coming out from inside and the parking lot had cars in it. So I drove over to the parking attendant's booth and he confirmed that yes the museum was open.

We park the wagon and head inside... we're told that it will be $24 for admission to the museum and the special exhibit and that we'll have to check the stroller before going in to the Cezanne exhibit (but we could use it throughout the rest of the museum). We had entered on the ground floor and we then made our way up to the main floor to check out the exhibit. While walking through the main lobby I spotted a neat statute of Diana (which may or may not be the one which was on top of the original Madison Square Garden... but that is what it looked like) and I saw a guard eyeing me so I asked him if I could take a picture so long as I wasn't using a flash. He said that I could and I took a couple of pictures in the lobby.

Then we walked over to the Cezanne exhibition where there were four museum employees at the entrance. I peeked inside and there were really very few people at the exhibit, so since there were no signs up regarding stroller check I asked the ticket taker whether I could bring the stroller in. *** THIS IS THE TIME IN OUR STORY WHERE A DOSE OF COMMON SENSE WOULD HAVE BEEN USEFUL*** Despite the fact that there were very few people in the exhibition and that the exhibition rooms were themselves rather large and despite the fact that Miss B. was clearly about to enter nap mode, we were not permitted to bring in the stroller. Note to the folks at the museum: I can understand you not wanting strollers where there are a) lots of statutary littering the exhibition space or b) lots of people at the exhibit and it's crowded but, when it's not crowded, when you don't have a specific policy posted, when there are no other people with children anywhere near the exhibit, sometimes its best to use a little common sense and let the woman with the sleepy toddler bring her stroller into the exhibition.

Fine, so we check the stroller. Now I've got Miss B. (and her singing Bunny) in tow. I've also got my purse and my camera. We walk through the entrance, past four museum workers, give them our tickets, decline the audio tour and head in. We look through the first gallery space, move into the second and I saw a Matisse that I wanted to take a picture of. Heeding the prior advice from the lobby guard, I wasn't using a flash and Snap! I took my picture. It was blurry (low light conditions). Immediately a guard runs up to me and in a stressed out and harried voice tells me: "No photos! No PHOTOS!" To which I respond, "okay, okay, I'm putting my camera away" Now mind you-- there were no conspicuous signs (or signs any where, that I saw, for that matter) which would have led one to the conclusion that photos were not permitted. Then the guard tells me that I have to delete the picture.


Delete the picture?

Who are you, Brad and Angelina?

I'm not a commercial photographer. I'm not going to be selling this image not to mention it's blurry, so it shouldn't even matter!

Yeah, okay. So the guard proceeds to tell me that its their policy and that I have to delete the photo. I tell them that I'm a lawyer and I don't have to do anything. Then the proceed to sequester me and Miss B. while they get another security guard. I tell that person that there were no signs about the photos and their response is "Well, we're supposed to be the signs" she then asks the other guard whether she saw the camera when I walked in (as if I was trying to hide it from them-- it's a D200 with a big-ass lens on it-- I had it over my shoulder! In plain view!) The guard says she didn't see it and the second guard tells me it was their mistake but regardless it's the policy and I have to delete the photo. I again say no. Then they want to call over "the Captain"! (The captain of the guards! sounds so formal!).

Miss B. and I have now been escorted to the outside of the exhibit and we're standing there, patiently, while the guards make another harried radio call to the captain (as if they had just caught some Al Quaida or something). The captain runs over, consults with the Guard and asks "what, where are they?" We're right here! Yes, that's right, the five foot tall woman carrying a child, I'm the big threat to your licensing agreement with whomever loaned you guys the Geranium painting.

At this point I tell them that I'll gladly delete my photo so long as I get my $24 back. This requires the museum director! (And, on the way to the museum director, the Captain of the Guard points to a small paragraph in the museum guidebook which indicates that no photos are permitted in special exhibitions--- you're kidding, right? I'm supposed to read the boilerplate in the map?? PUT UP A SIGN!)

Then, a man named David comes over and takes us back to the admissions desk and begins to work with the cashier to refund our money. He asks me whether I'm leaving the museum because I couldn't take the photos, to which I reply, of course not! I said that I had no problem with the policy but that I did have a problem with how the security staff treated us and the fact that they kept insisting that I delete my photo. Again-- another dose of common sense needed to be applied to this situation! Clearly I'm not in their with loads of camera equipment-- I'm not looking to "release" these images for personal gain or otherwise, not to mention the picture is blurry anyway! Once I tell you that I won't take any more pictures and that I only took the picture because I thought it was permitted after I had asked the other guard and I put my camera away, leave me alone! I don't really care what your "agreement" is with the people who lent you the image! That's you're problem! If you don't want people taking photos clearly post that. Not to mention that before I took the picture I had walked past 6 museum employees with the camera on my shoulder! So, I also told David that between having to do stroller check and then going through the whole paparazzi-esque photo debacle I just had no interest in continuing my visit to their museum! I let him know that at the Sistine chapel, the Swiss Guard did not attempt to make me delete my photos!!! Geesh.

Moral of the story? We like the Met better.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Angels & Demons, Decoded!

Is what I'm watching on History HD... I know the book was kind of lame, but you know how much we love the Da Vinci Code... now Angels & Demons is even better with the addition of Ewan McGregor! Woo-hoo! (And, let's not forget that Dan Brown's latest Robert Langdon book will be out in September!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Outing!

Today we had a lovely Mother's Day outing in New York City! Our day started off with a lovely brunch buffet at Brasserie 8 1/2. I've been to Brasserie, but had never been to Brasserie 8 1/2-- and it was a really nice surprise! I will say, buffets are always a little bit stressful (it always seems like a bit of a shark feeding frenzy) but the staff was wonderful and they made sure the tables were full of goodies! Some of the stuff included: little take out containers filled with Chinese chicken salad, mini pulled pork sandwiches on Cinnamon biscuits, carving stations, an omelet/crepe station (where the Husband and Miss B scored a chocolate/banana/strawberry crepe), shrimp, bagels and lox, fabulous garlic fingerling roasted potatoes, an assortment of salads, pastries, and other breakfast items including eggs Benedict, sausage and bacon. Let's not even discuss the dessert buffet! It included little hostess-cupcake like mini cupcakes with ganache frosting, peanut butter pie, espresso pie, all sorts of petite fours, strawberry cheesecake bites, chocolate/pistachio cannoli, etc., etc.

After brunch we walked up to the Central Park Zoo and went to the Children's Zoo and the regular zoo. The Children's Zoo is always a lot of fun... as for the regular Zoo... on our map it said: "Snow Leopards! New!" When we walked over? The Snow Leopard habitat is still under construction. The Snow Leopards are in Queens, or someplace, because they're not at the Zoo! After that I wanted a discount! But, all was well after the Zoo when we hit up a Mister Softee truck and got a swirl cone. That made up for the absentee Snow Leopards!

Then, while Miss B. napped in the stroller, we walked around midtown since it was such a nice day. We headed over to 52nd Street and went to Mario Badescu so I could pick up some of their Vitamin E Hand Cream. I had gotten a sample at Christmas time and it really does a great job on dry hands... What a nice surprise when I said I'd take the regular size container and it was all of $8.32! How can you beat that?

Then, we walked back and picked up the car and headed home. On the way to the Holland Tunnel we saw Jon Stewart with his daughter walking on Hudson Street... I submitted it via blackberry on Gawker Stalker so we'll have to see if it makes the cut as an update! While waiting in traffic on Hudson Street the Husband decided to call in to 511 and find out about traffic info. The call was over the bluetooth so it was on speakerphone in the car. The traffic update system through the turnpike and the bridge/tunnel authority is an automated system. The man on the automated system kept asking us to clarify what bridge or tunnel we wanted information about. Every time the Husband would shout "Holland Tunnel" Miss B. would follow immediately with "No-no!" (or it could have been Nonna, we're not sure) so the conversation was something like this:

Automated Attendant: "What Bridge or Tunnel do you want to find out information about?"

Husband: "H-OLL-AND-TUN-NEL!"

Baby: "NO-NO!"

Automated Attendant: "I'm sorry, I didn't get that, what bridge or tunnel do you want to find out information about?"

Husband: "H-OLL-AND-TUN-NEL!"

Baby: "NO-NO!"

AA: "I'm sorry, I didn't get that, did you say 'Holland Tunnel'?"

Baby: "No-No!"

This went on for a few minutes. With the Automated Attendant occasionally varying its response and/or kicking us out of the queue... with things like: "If you want to return to the main menu, press star!"

Finally, the Husband started hitting the mute button on his phone quickly before Miss B. could utter out her response and we eventually got the automated man to tell us that there were no traffic problems in the tunnel. By that time we were at the merge to enter the tunnel.

On the way home we stopped at Stewart's drive-in in Rahway (but not before our beloved Garmin sent us off of the Turnpike on to Route 9 South and over the bridge to South Amboy). Nothing says Mother's Day like a chili cheese dog, California cheeseburger and a bunch of crinkle cut french fries!!

All in all, it was a good day!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Eccles Cakes!

I'm not sure what an Eccles Cakes is (other than to know that it is some sort of English baked good) but it's also the internet name of a woman in England who sells yarn. I've been buying yarn from Eccles Cakes for years and years, and even bought my first (and so far, only) Colinette Ab Fab afghan kit. Well, the other day I was at TJ Maxx and I found a great knitting pattern book for $3.99! How can you beat that? And in it was a pattern for a little knitted vest in a Rowan yarn. I go on the internet and of course the yarn is discontinued and the remaining skeins are retailing for between $11.99-$13.99 each. Then I checked out Ebay and low and behold! Ecclescakes has 10 skein bags for $24.99 with free shipping from England! How cool is that? With that much yarn I can make *two* vests! Yay, Eccles Cakes! (Not to mention that when I went in to use Buy It Now I realized that I still had a Pay Pal balance, so I didn't even have to send any money... I just used money from my PayPal account! Score!)

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Saturday was our last full day in Rome.

The Husband took the rental car back to Avis, where he debated and debated with the Avis people regarding the extent of our "no deductible" coverage and finally agreed to a 25 Euro "administrative fee" regarding the scratch and dent to the Wagon. Once that was done he joined us back at the Villa for breakfast. Breakfast at the Villa included a whole Viennese table filled with all sorts of pastry and cakes (including two kinds of chocolate cakes and sundry other items covered in confectioner's sugar). There was also pudding, yogurt, various cereals, rolls and chartucerie, coffees, teas and a whole bunch of juices.

Afterwards we headed over towards the Capitoline Museum. Making our first stop at Trajan's Forum (where, in the gift shop, we picked up "My First Latin Words Sticker Book" for Miss B.! Sure it will be a few years before she uses it but how often do you find Latin word sticker books??)
Then we climbed the hill and went into the Capitoline Museum where we got to see a lot of neat statuary, including this giant foot...

The Capitoline also had a lovely terrace which we spent some time on and we also had a snack at the cafe (which, was not very easy to find... we had to ask about four different security guards how to get to the damn elevator to get to it!)

After the museum we walked down back into the Forum and checked out the Senate House.

After that we headed over to the Piazza Navona (on the way to which, we stopped in at Cinque Luna a great pastry shop and got some cannoli and other goodies).

In the Piazza Navona we stopped at Al Sogno and Berte (both toy stores) to pick up some new goodies for Miss B. to have on the plane ride home. Then we headed to the Pantheon, which, while it was supposed to be open was mysteriously closed. Instead, we got quite a show by watching all the tourists huddled around the door trying to peer into the key hole.

Never to be deterred, we decided to stop for a while and sit at the Aureli Cafe and have Gelato and French Fries!!! (Cooked in olive oil, no less)

After our snack we continued our walk down to the Campo de Fiori (stopping at a local Despar grocery store along the way to pick up snacks for the plane ride... since, even though we had tickets in first class the folks at Continental wouldn't give Miss B. any food since she was a "lap child"...) Once near the Campo de Fiori we walked through some side streets including the Via dei Chiavari. I had wanted to go to Ibiz because I had read about it in a few of the travel guides, but thought it was closed on Saturdays. We saw the street it was on and the Husband insisted that, since it was Italy, "supposed to be closed" (or "supposed to be open" for that matter) meant little and we should go by and see if it was open... Much to my happy surprise Ibiz was very much open! The whole shop smelled like fine leather and they had a small, but lovely selection of hand made handbags, belts and other small accessories. I picked out a beautiful purple bag for me and a red one for the Mom. We got a little leather flower pin for Miss B. and the shop owner couldn't have been nicer. He threw in a lovely canvas tote bag with natural leather handles and a leather key chain for the Husband. I've been using my new purse since I've been home and its just great!! I highly recommend paying a visit to Ibiz if you're in Rome!

After our shopping spree we kept walking and decided to go to the Trastevere for dinner. The Husband picked out a place with "traditional" Neapolitan cooking. It was one of those places where the owner comes over and talks to you and regardless of what you actually want to order they tell you that they have something you'd like better. Unfortunately, in this place it meant that what they're telling you they'll give you is what they had on hand. You want lasagna? No, really, you want spaghetti with eggplant! You want to sit outside? No, you want to sit inside!
I was facing the inside of the restaurant and I could just see the "chef" going back and forth to the bathroom all night. I don't even want to know why that was happening. Then they had us try "fresh made" mozzarella... which the Husband just kept saying tasted like parmalat. All I know is that it was warm and tasted about as "fresh" as the stuff that Hot Truck Bob used to use when making a PMP! (Ugh!) Then, just as we were finishing up our main course the table adjacent to us suddenly filled up with 10 smoking Spaniards. The Husband noted to me that the man sitting behind me was a dead ringer for Cortez in a windbreaker. This of course led me to remind the Husband that no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition. The Husband's assessment throughout dinner was that if nothing else, it was good "blog fodder". I'd have to agree.

When that excitement was over we started walking back again visiting the fountains in the Piazza Navona. Finally, we caught a cab back to the Villa and before going to bed we managed to put on at least one channel on the SkyTV... it just happened to be MTV. During "Yo! MTV Raps" Miss B. rocked out to a selection from the Black Eyed Peas while we packed for the flight home.

Here's Trajan's column. Can I just say, there were more frickin' columns and obelisks in Rome than I've ever seen anywhere. It was truly a case of the Obelisk Factory Outlet. (Or perhaps, some body's brother-in-law was in the column business...)

This woman was drawing up by the Forum...
In the Capitoline

Book Stall near the Campo dei Fiori

Star Trek!

Okay, who's with me? Who else is excited about the new Star Trek?


So last night we had a dinner adventure.

Ina Garten's Roasted chicken with lemon, red potatoes and croutons, Ina's roasted pears with walnuts, cranberries and blue cheese and chicken flavored rice pilaf (Uncle Ben's...)

The chicken came out great-- I basted it with white wine, apple cider and chicken broth. The pears were wonderful! Though they are more of a fall/winter taste-- the pears are cooked in an apple cider, port and brown sugar mixture which makes for a very tasty, but very strong flavor.

All in all it was a tasty meal!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Miss B. loves Crocs. Ever since 5280 Mommy sent her a pair for her first birthday she's been in crazy love with them. Every time we go to Wegman's we have to dodge the Crocs display in the atrium and all throughout Italy, every time she would see a display of Crocs (including the ones in Positano which were 45 Euro a pair (!)) she would shout "Cwo-cks! Cwo-cks!"

I'm not really a fan, myself, and I didn't want to be one of those Moms who wears the crocs and look like Mario Batali. Then I was at WF one day and Bam! they had a bucket full of half price Crocs, including croc flip-flops in a fun orange and hot pink combination.

Well, I tried them on right there in the refrigerated foods section and thought for $12.99 I'd give them a try. Can I say, to quote Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum, these things are "Fricking Awesome!" They're super comfy-- mostly because the footbed is uber-padded. And, they don't look like your traditional clog-crocs-- they're a more standard thong/flip-flop design. After trying on mine, the Mom also got herself a pair! I highly recommend them!

Real Time Cinqo de Mayo Blogging...

Much to the dismay of my parents I love Mexican food! Sure, as my mom notes it always seems like its just the same three ingredients over and over (beef, beans and cheese, or some combination thereof...) So, in order to celebrate this year's Cinqo de Mayo I decided to make some Mexican food for ourselves!

I'm making Stacked Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde and Cheese from Bon Appetite. I've also made the Salsa Verde myself with fresh tomatillos. The Salsa Verde recipe is from Gourmet and I substituted lime juice for water (I also used a whole serrano chile) and added cumin.

Photos to be uploaded later!

I had also planned on making blood orange sorbet, but alas I forgot to put the ice cream maker freezer bowl in the freezer until I got home from the grocery store... we'll see if it's frozen enough later otherwise our sorbet will have to wait until tomorrow!

I've got the enchiladas set aside and will bake them when the Husband is on the way home. I plan to serve them with lime cilantro rice and pinto beans! Here's to Cinqo de Mayo without leaving the house! Woo-hoo!!


So, Friday was the day that we left the Costieria Amalfitana and headed back to Rome.
Boo Boo was sad to be leaving the Hotel Santa Caterina, especially since "cat" is in its name. He felt very at home.

But, before making the drive back we did decide to stop off in Positano for a quick jaunt while the weather was cooperating...

It was a beautiful day, and Positano is lovely. Not only is the village scenic, but it's also a great place to do a little shopping! I picked up a fab hat for the Mom and I also scored a handmade pair of ballet flats!

After leaving Positano we hit the A1 and started our journey back. Unfortunately it rained most of the way, but that didn't stop the Husband from trying to get the Mondeo wagon up to Le Mans speeds. Thankfully, I was asleep for most of that.

Once we managed to navigate back in to Rome we had to find our way to our new hotel, the Villa Spaletti Trivelli. Yowzers. It's a nice place, but its in kind of a weird location on the Via Piacenza. Apparently (near the President's house in the Quirinale) this is a nice neighborhood... as one of our cab drivers sighed "Mamma Mia!" when we gave him the address, it is a bit out of the way. I liked the location of the Inn at the Spanish Steps better.

But, more on the hotel. Okay, so it's in this palazzo. The building, rooms and furnishings are all gorgeous. You really do feel like your staying in someone's home. Someone's very fancy home, where being made to "feel at home" feels more like you're going to get in trouble before your stay is over for having broken something or left a drink ring on the nightstand.

When we arrived we were running late... we had a 4pm meeting with our tour guide from Context Tours (for our private guided tour of the Colosseum and Forum) well, we arrive and we attempt to communicate this to the girl at the reception desk (noting that, the Husband SPEAKS ITALIAN)... yeah, she was having none of it. We're trying to get her to call Context for us while we go up to our room to freshen up (and raid the mini-bar since we hadn't had lunch...) and she just is focused on taking away our passports, filing out some sort of paperwork because we brought the rental car into the "restricted" traffic zone and some other such nonsense. She tells us, "yes, you can call your appointment once you get to your room".... thanks! We know, but we want you to call our appointment NOW! Okay, finally we get to our room, wolf down a bag of potato chips, jar of biscotti and two cokes (the mini bar is complementary...) we're ready to get to the forum. Well... easier said than done. Will the receptionist order us a taxi? Not until we park our own car. Apparently, the folks at the Villa will only direct you to their parking lot (which is in the garden of the villa), they won't actually park your car. Why? Well, because the gate to the garden is a bit too small for most cars. I found this out the hard way.

While the Husband was talking to Context on the phone, I go outside to the car. The receptionist and the bellman are both trying to tell me how I have to go around the block to get to the car park. I'm thinking... the gate to the car park is 10 feet behind where my car is and I'm on a one way street with no traffic. I'm not going around the block! I've lived in Manhattan! I'm backing this piece-of-crap up!! Fine. The two Italians wave me backwards. I go to pull through the gate. I've got the bellman trying to give me directions.... and then I hear the scraping sound. Most of the Mondeo made it through the gate. It was the back passenger door and wheel well that didn't fare as well. All I can say is...That's why we get the zero deductible!

The bellman directs me to put the car in the corner of the garden... done, and off we are in a cab to the forum.

At the forum we met Saskia, our tour guide from Context. Saskia had just finished her PhD in Archaeology and she had even done work at Pompei! She was very knowledgeable and she gave a great tour. The Forum is a really neat place, but without doing major research on your own, or visiting with someone who knows the site you really are just standing and staring at a big pile of rubble. I highly recommend Context. The tours can be a bit pricey but it's great to get to visit these types of sites with someone who really knows their stuff and can actually cater the tour to your interests and answer detailed questions (in advance of our visit the Husband had sent many detailed questions...) and more than a couple of times during our two hours there were other people trying to listen in! :)

After our tour was done we walked around a bit and even caught sight of a couple of brides/wedding parties doing their wedding photos at the Colosseum.
Then it was back to the Villa to freshen up before dinner.
Again, it was an adventure with the rental car. This time, upon entering the hotel... (which, by the way, you have to ring a bell in order to be let in.... a bit too exclusive for my tastes!) the Husband was taken aside and asked to MOVE the rental car! (Yes, we need to move it from where they told me to put it because another guest was expected to arrive later that evening and they wanted our parking space). Okay, I really don't care where the hell the Mondeo is parked, but can you explain to me why the hotel staff didn't retain our car keys and just move the damn car as they needed? (Yes, I'm sure it has to do with their level of liability insurance, but COME ON! When we were in Amalfi Antonio at the hotel had our car keys and would pull the car up for us whenever we needed it-- even if he only had to move it like 5 feet each time! Not to mention that there our car was the lamest one-- there were Maserati, BMWs, Porsche... but still, Antonio didn't seem to mind... we were never once asked to move our own car! Once we gave it to them it was like it didn't exist until we asked for it again! They even laundered the car seat after the wild-boar-mcnugget vomit incident (god knows how much that cost us!)) ANYWAY!
After the Husband moved the car we chilled out for a bit and then went down to the Campo dei Fiori for dinner. It was a lovely evening, after which we strolled around to the Piazza Navona to check out the fountains and finally cabbed it back to the Villa.

Monday, May 04, 2009


On Thursday we decided to take the high speed ferry to Capri!

On the way, the ferry stopped at Positano, and I have to say, all agreed that this was the best way to travel to Positano! For future reference, avoid the coast drive and take a boat!

After a little over an hour we arrived on Capri! We saw the funiculare, but didn't know whether it took us to Capri town or whatnot (and, ironically, we had left our guide book behind) so we started out walking!

We ended up walking all the way to the top of the island and beyond! (Thus, we had no guilt about having a little snack at the top of the Island, some gelato and later lunch!)

Once you get away from the port, Capri is really beautiful... and the shopping! Wow! They have TWO Prada stores, a TODs, Malo, Ferragamo, Missoni, Dolce & Gabbana, etc., etc. and tons and tons of jewelry stores and of course, hand made shoes! The Husband and Miss B. treated me to a lovely lapis and gold bracelet that we found in a little shop off of the main street. I also got a great little sundress that I ended up wearing out of the shop!

Miss B. also had her first ice cream CONE! With lemon and strawberry gelato

On our way back to wait for the ferry we met up with two very nice couples who were staying in our hotel and who were visiting from Atlanta. Having grandchildren themselves, they of course loved Miss B! They also had almost the same itinerary as us, having spent the first few days of their trip in Rome and then in the Amalfi coast... they even had visited Pompei on the same day as we did! It's always fun to run in to other Americans while traveling...

Blow Out.

So, today we got a flat tire. It was my fault. I have a very bad relationship with the blue stone curbs that are very popular in and around the 'hood. This time it was the curb at Kinko's. I got out and looked at the tire and everything looked fine. We then proceeded to go to Target, Panera and Wegman's. Everything was fine until I go to drive away from Wegman's and I realize that the car seems to be pulling to the right.... I head home and then I start to hear a funny sound and I think: "Yeah, that's not normal!" I stopped the car near the battlefield and alas, the tire was Flat. F-L-A-T. This wouldn't have been too bad, but for the whole trunk full of groceries and the "raining" thing. I called the Husband who rescued our perishables and called BMW Roadside assistance who sent a Russian man in a Hyundai to change my tire. We'll be visiting the dealer tomorrow. Ugh!

Saturday, May 02, 2009


After our successful visit to Pompei we decided to head to Paestum on Wednesday. We made arrangements with the hotel to have pack lunches made for us and off we went! Unfortunately, we started off by taking the semi-coast road through Salerno, rather than taking the A3. This turned what should have been an hour to an hour and a half drive into at least a two hour drive, and, unfortunately, Salerno isn't particularly scenic, but we had a good time anyway!

Paestum is a really neat site and after having visited Pompei it was easier to picture what the layout of the town would have been and what areas of the ruins were probably homes versus stores/shops, etc.

The best thing is by far the temples at the site! Paestum was originally a Greek colony and the temple ruins are really impressive. So impressive, in fact, that now we feel like we never have to actually visit Greece! (Sorry, Leda). Just kidding, there still is Santorini, after all!

There were few tourists (and only a few tour groups) visiting while we were there, mostly it was us and some lizards! It was a nice day and a lot of fun getting to wander around admist the ruins.

Afterwards we headed back to Amalfi and in the evening we drove to Positano for dinner at La Sponda, the restaurant at Le Sirenuse. The terrace at Le Sirenuse is gorgeous and the food was terrific! I had never had escargot before... and there was caviar involved (and not just as a garnish!)

On to Pompei!

On Tuesday we had our first breakfast at the terrace restaurant at the Hotel Santa Caterina

It was really good. Italians don't really do breakfast like Americans (or the French, for that matter), but they did put out an awfully nice spread for us including lots and lots of sweet pastries, eggs (which were really good), bacon, rolls and cold cuts, etc., etc.

After Miss B, browsed our guidebook we decided to head to Pompei despite some rainy weather.

Although we did have a bit of difficulty getting to Pompei, once there we really enjoyed it.

Apparently, some people don't share our feelings.

Pompei is really neat.

You can really get a feel for what life was like in the town of Pompei.

And it is amazing to see how decorated with frescos and detailed tile work so many of the homes were.

Afterwards, we hit up a small pastry shop and had some cannoli. On our way back to the Amalfi Coast we decided to go up over the mountains, rather than driving back around on the coast road.

On our way, we encountered a local goat herder!

That evening it was room service back in our suite!