Christmas Salad

We were eating brussel sprouts before they were a trend. My mom always made this salad around the holidays and it was always one of my favorites. So I decided to make it this past weekend, so of course Read more

I'm not male. I'm not big, large or threatening...But

Yes! It has been a while, so much going on. Good news- the college process is OVER, my son did an early decision application to Bard College and was accepted. It was his first choice and we are happy Read more

18 on the 18th...Happy Birthday to my Son

Today my son turned 18. A milestone birthday. I know everyone says this but time really has gone by to fast. He arrived on his "due" date, I remember I dropped Amani off at school, she was in the Read more

Gathering of the Readers: Book Club

Every other month I meet with my book club to discuss a title. It's a ritual that started over 15 years ago: eat a decadent meal, sip a little bubbly, and gossip about fictional characters. Some of us go Read more

Sometimes I Really Do Feel Old...

Sometimes I really do feel old. It's not everyday, but sometimes I will glance at my reflection in the mirror and I will see a woman that I don't recognize. A woman who has hyperpigmentation on a complexion that Read more

Christmas Salad

Posted on by Gigi in Recipes 2 Comments
Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad

We were eating brussel sprouts before they were a trend. My mom always made this salad around the holidays and it was always one of my favorites. So I decided to make it this past weekend, so of course I called my mom for the recipe and she told me that she lost it…or that one of my sisters borrowed it and she never got it back. So of course I was disappointed. I knew the main ingredients were brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes and a really good vinaigrette dressing.

So I decided to make it from memory of what I thought it tasted like. So here is what I came up with, and I must say it was better than what I recalled.

Gigi’s Christmas Salad

1 package of brussel sprouts (I got mine from Trader Joes)

1 basket of cherry tomatoes (I had a basket from the farmers market- you want tomatoes that taste really good- I can’t wait to replant mine)

 

farmers market tomatoes

farmers market tomatoes

tomatoes

tomatoes

1 bunch of green onions chopped

green onions

green onions

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

garlic

garlic

sea salt & pepper

Make dressing first so flavors can blend and set aside. Trim brussel sprouts of dead leaves, and snip the little ends off. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add brussel sprouts and cook for about 10 minutes, test one, you don’t want to over cook and make them mushy. Drain brussel sprouts and add ice to stop the cooking process, blanching makes the sprouts crisp and the green color “pop”, I’m into the appearance of food and I want it to look good.  Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half, chop the “green” of the green onions, and finely chop the garlic, mix everything in a large bowl with dressing and gently toss, careful not to destroy the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. You can make this salad early, because the brussel sprouts are firm and will not get soft.

Dressing

1/2 cup of honey

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

juice of one lemon

1 shallot minced

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In small bowl, whisk together honey, vinegar, lemon juice, and shallots. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form dressing. Season with salt and pepper. I double the recipe so that I can have a batch ready for another salad. The dressing is sweet and tangy.

Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad

I served this salad twice this weekend and it was a hit both times.

The main Tree...

Entry Way Tree…

Friday evening I hosted my book club holiday party and I was pleasantly surprised, Robin Alexis one of our newest members shared some yuletide cheer. I looooove Christmas music and this was a treat. Robin and I met on Facebook a couple of years ago, she was living in Chicago and we connected via our interest in healthy living, and then about a year ago at a house party in LA she recognized me and we immediately hit it off. So take a moment and listen.

 

So my friends Happy Monday,

XOXO, GIGI

 


I’m not male. I’m not big, large or threatening…But

Posted on by Gigi in American Life 2 Comments

Yes! It has been a while, so much going on. Good news- the college process is OVER, my son did an early decision application to Bard College and was accepted. It was his first choice and we are happy that it came through for him, we found out the day before Thanksgiving and have been celebrating ever since. So both my children will be in New York, and I will have an excuse to pop in for some sponteneous long weekends.

Gigi's son

Gigi’s son

My daughter was home for the holiday, my in-laws were visiting as well, I finished my film class, and I have been busy doing last minute family shoots. I’m finally coming up for air and like the rest of the country I’ve been saddened by the events that have been taking place. Of course having an 18 year old son, I can’t help but to think about Michael Brown’s mother who will not be sending her son to college, or the image of Eric Garner in a choke hold by the officer that has played countless times on all of the networks.

I thought about  my 55 years on the planet, I too have had negative encounters with law enforcement. I’m not male. I’m not big, large or threatening, but it has happened to me, 5 TIMES. 5 negative situations is too many, I know there are good police who care and really do protect, but do to my experiences, I am fearful of police and my heart rate goes up at the thought of being stopped. I associate being stopped by the police with something negative, which is sad. My feelings have been shaped by an adult life that has been sprinkled one to many times with these encounters.

Incidence # 1

I was about 22 and I was stopped for expired tags, while driving in LA. During the stop and not being able to show valid registration the conversation deteriorated to being asked had I been to a hot tub club. For those of you to young to know about these, back in the 80’s there were these places where you could go and “rent” a hot tub room by the hour. I remember being uncomfortable with the conversation and telling the officer that I was not familiar with those places. I did not get a ticket, but I felt sick after being talked to like that from a figure of authority.

Incidence # 2

I was about 23 and I was “stopped” while sitting at a bus stop. I was living in Fox Hills at the time and I was sitting at the bus stop on Slauson and Overhill waiting for the bus. It was about 9 pm and I was on my way home from work, when a black and white car with 2 officers pulled over and questioned me as to why I was sitting there. Being a smart mouth at the time, I remember my response, “Officer read the sign, B-U-S- S-T-O-P that spells bus stop and that is why I am sitting here” that did not go over to well, and as a result he emptied my purse and my gym bag on the ground. I remember at that point being frightened and I remained quiet until they left, I picked up my stuff and to this day I don’t know why I was questioned or “stopped”.

Incidence # 3

I was 28, it was October and I had just met Reggie a month prior to this incidence. I was driving to the area that is now Universal City Walk, back in the day there were popular restaurants there, and that particular evening my roommate was having a party at a place called Victoria Station. So I’m driving, almost there and I am pulled over, the officer checked my license and a warrant from expired tags from some years back was discovered, I was petrified. I’m dressed for the party and the officer told me that I was going to JAIL, so I pleaded and he cuffed me anyway and put me in the back of the police car and THEN drove to the party and put down the window, and asked me “Do you see any of your friends? Maybe they can help you…”  it gets worse, I’m then taken to the station to be booked, so after being questioned, I was finally able to make a call, and mind you this was before cell phones, and I am unable to reach anybody who could have bailed me out. So time was going by and I am panicking, and I don’t want to call Reggie, because I had just met him, so finally I’m told that in the morning I was going to be traferred to Sybil Brand where I woule be “eaten and beaten” no joke, that was what the officer told me happily. So to make a long story short I called Reggie about 4AM and he came and bailed me out…all this for expired tags.

Incidence # 4

I was 49 and taking my daughter to look at colleges in upstate New York, this particular evening we were looking for a B&B we were staying at, when out of no where the lights came on and of course I pulled over right away. I’m questioned as to what I am doing, and I answered very respectful, because it was dark and there are no other cars around and I was with my daughter. So after showing him my reservation confirmation, along with my license and the rental car contract he finally left and I cautiously checked in to the B&B of course still to this day not knowing why I was stopped.

Incidence # 5

A few years ago, I was “stopped” while parked, by a sheriff in Hollywood. I was never given a reason, but I showed my registration and my insurance card, which annoyed the officer because I had the insurance card from my other car, and I proceeded to tell him all my cars were insured by the same agent. He continued to interrogate me, until he noticed my white friend was in the car with me, ( I was in a little car and the way he was standing he could not see the passenger) once she spoke up and asked him why he was treating me like that, he then backed off…

My son does not have a drivers license yet, and there is a part of me that is frightened for him to drive and the thought of him being stopped by the police really scares me. I pride myself as always seeing the good in people, but we are living in challenging times. I will continue to embrace each day and live it to the fullest, finding joy in simply things and spending times with those that I love.

Happy Monday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

fresh highlights

fresh highlights


18 on the 18th…Happy Birthday to my Son

Posted on by Gigi in Family Leave a comment
Nov 18 1996 Gigi with dark tresses

Nov 18 1996 Gigi with dark tresses

Today my son turned 18. A milestone birthday. I know everyone says this but time really has gone by to fast. He arrived on his “due” date, I remember I dropped Amani off at school, she was in the first grade, and she said, “My brother is coming today.” I didn’t have any signs of labor that morning, so I started my day as usual, I love music, so like most days I would find a reason to stop into blockbuster music and I would listen to new releases. So I’m doing my thing and my water breaks in the store- so I ask to go to the bathroom and they tell me that there is no public restroom. I tell the clerk as water is streaming down my leg that I REALLY need to do to the bathroom or else there is going to be a mess on this floor.

So of course I picked up Amani from school like normal, called Reggie at work, this was the pre text era and went to the hospital and I birthed Reggie at 9 30ish PM and my life has never been the same.

Gigi and baby Reggie

Gigi and baby Reggie

Yes, even with being the “Olivia Pope” of the college application process, worrying about him ALL THE TIME, getting MAD at   some of  a lot of the things he does, I love this kid uncondistionally. He is far from perfect, but he is my son, and he is really more like me than I admit…

Reggie

Reggie

One of my fatal flaws is doing for my kids, I can’t help it…I think about all the things  I wish I could have done when I was growing up and I GO overboard…I could only dream about the traveling to the places my kids have gone. I hope for the best for my son, and I will do all I can to keep him on a path to some sort of happiness, cause at the end of the day that is what is important in this short life we all have on this planet.

Little Reggie

Little Reggie

Today I will be driving to Santa Barbara to take my young man to dinner, 2 hours there and 2 hours back, but so worth it to see my 18 year old “man”.

Happy Tuesday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

Gigi's son

Gigi’s son

Reggie

Reggie

Reggie @ 16

Reggie @ 16

Reggie feeding the Ele

Reggie feeding the Ele

 

 


Gathering of the Readers: Book Club

Posted on by Gigi in book club Leave a comment
The ladies of Round Table

The ladies of Round Table

Every other month I meet with my book club to discuss a title. It’s a ritual that started over 15 years ago: eat a decadent meal, sip a little bubbly, and gossip about fictional characters. Some of us go way back and some of us are new acquaintances. We come from all over the south land and each of us bring a wealth of experience that contribute to lively conversations. The readings take place in solitary, but when we come together,  some emotionally charged discussions ensue.

This months selection was Gone Girl, which we tied in with the release of the blockbuster film. It provided lots of a material for a lively chat that was chaotic at times. We all were wondering about our own inner “gone girl” potential, if you have seen the film you know what I’m talking about.

Our hostess Aquinas, prepared a delicious feast, tomatoe bisque, an assortment of salads, and a potent pomegranate margarita. As we laughed and shared our own stories we celebrated the end of another club year and a commitment to our literary journey in 2015.
Do you belong to a book club ? Do you make time to read for pleasure?

I’ll share our next selection here, in case you want to read what we are reading…

Happy Monday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

 


Sometimes I Really Do Feel Old…

Posted on by Gigi in Aging 1 Comment

Sometimes I really do feel old. It’s not everyday, but sometimes I will glance at my reflection in the mirror and I will see a woman that I don’t recognize. A woman who has hyperpigmentation on a complexion that for 40 plus years was flawless, who now reaches for concealer before venturing outside. A woman who now takes a second glance at those “filler” and botox ads that grace some of her favorite magazines. A woman who has to spend more time at the gym just to maintain some sort of figure that can still fit into her clothes. A woman who sometimes answers the phone and the caller is talking, the voice is familiar, but the woman has no clue who she is speaking to. A woman who is among the oldest in her workout classes, but is still sporting her lululemon.

Yes, age is just a number, but there is no denying this aging thing, it can be brutal and unfair in our youth obsessed society. I don’t wish for a younger “me”, I just don’t want the aches and pains of the older “me”. I want to be the best that I can be, but that is becoming increasingly more difficult. Everything takes more time, gone are the days of quickly pulling myself together and looking like a million bucks. It is a process now with numerous steps and formulas.

The other day of friend of mine made an observation that she noticed that young women who are half our age were sporting the same clothes that we used to wear we we were their age and they are looking like we used to “look”. The cycle just repeats itself all over, I remember wearing crop pants and my mom telling me that she used to wear those when she was my age and they were called peddle pushers and clam diggers. Perhaps that is why the shopping bug is not as exciting, because nothing seems fresh anymore…

Just as I am aging, my hubby is as well, but it seems different for him. His concerns are longevity, maintaining his business and being healthy. His only cosmetic issue is his grey mustache that he regularly colors. It’s nice to be on this “age” ride together and I am fortunate to have a partner that is accepting of me and all my vintage parts. One that I don’t have to explain the constant need for my reading glasses and the panic that sets in when I can’t find them. One I can call on the phone and he will talk to me and is not expecting me to text exclusively.

Starting my family later in life also has its disadvantages, many of my friends have grandchildren already, I think about by the time I have a grandchild I’m really going to be old. But I can’t worry about that right now…just gotta keep doing me and embrace each day to the fullest.

What are your thoughts on the aging process? Please share and tell me I’m not the only one with these feelings.

Happy Friday,

XOXO,

GIGI

Gigi

Gigi

 

 

 


Everyday is the first day of the rest of your life…

Posted on by Gigi in Thoughts 1 Comment

Everyday is the first day of the rest of your life. I’m going to be very honest here…since my mom and 2 of my sisters are currently battling cancer and my brother lost his battle with cancer- almost daily I think about “getting” cancer. I can’t help it most days, I try to ignore it , but like a bad allergy it rarely goes away and can flare up in moment with no notice.

And the worst is when some well meaning person who hears my bleak history says to me “oh nooooo, you’re getting checked…right?” as they look at me giving me a compassionate half smile, that is really saying “you’re jacked sister girl.” The odds are not in my favor, I cringe at the thought of my upcoming check up, but I know whatever happens whatever results I am given,  I have watched my 83 year old mom kick cancers ASS, literally. All I have to do is think about her and I know I am from a strong, resilient gene pool that can deal with a lot of stuff…

Yes. I do all I can, but I know sometimes there is no reason for some of these crazy diseases. So I am purposing to live each day as the first day of the rest of my life, embracing and exploring new things and places and not wasting precious life on trivia things that at the end of the day don’t matter…such as “if you like me or not” or “Is college “A” going to accept my son” or “does my hair look Okay?” or “am I fat?” or “should I have a piece of cake or another glass of champagne.”

I’m going to have the glass of champagne…

Do you worry about getting a horrific disease? Are you embracing your life every day? What gives you peace?

Happy Tuesday!

Xoxo,

Gigi

fresh highlights

fresh highlights


Weekend Meanderings: Palm Desert

Posted on by Gigi in Weekend, Weekend Observations Leave a comment

We spent the weekend at our timeshare in Palm Desert. We decided to check out the land of cactus and sun and use the remaining days on our account so we would not lose the credit. These time shares can be such a pain at times with all the rules and restrictions. The weather was perfect, the Westin property was nice , not plush at all, but all the basics were covered. One of the things I love about living in California, is that you can drive an hour in any direction and be in a totally different climate.

Westin desert willow

Westin desert willow

I arrived a day before Reggie, so I took advantage of the “me” time and made a pit stop out to the Cabazon outlet mall and that evening met up with a couple of girlfriends who were staying at the Ritz Carlton for dinner. My excursion to the outlets was interesting, I’m at a point in my life where I have accumulated a lot of things and really, for my current life style I don’t need much so I don’t get excited about shopping like I used to, so that being said I walked the mall for a little pre-holiday shopping. I saw a lot of stuff, some of it nice, some of old and none of it really cheap. A few more designers have joined the outlet mall bandwagon, Valentino , Calypso, Frette, Gucci child, Rag and Bone, Moncler ski wear. I did pick up a nice Dolce Gabbana animal print dress and a few pieces from Allsaints store, but that was it.

dolce gabbana dress

dolce gabbana dress

Being out in the desert I was surrounded by retired people, I could not help but to think about what “retirement” looks like for me. I know how old I am, but I don’t feel like I am close to retiring any time soon, perhaps it is because I have for the most part always worked for myself and never put in time at a company where I could “retire” from. I could see the allure of the desert, especially for golfers, which we are not, it is pretty, my alma mater, UCR has a campus out there and there are health facilities everywhere. There are lots of shops and restaurants with lots of mature people working in them, yoga studios, Costco, Whole foods, Nordstrom Rack, a Bentley dealership and even an Apple store. Maybe a second home out there would be nice, considering it is only an hour away, but I don’t see us out there anytime soon on a permanent basis, I’m not even sure we would like living in a community with all mature peeps…

pretty arrangement

pretty arrangement at the newly reopened Ritz Carlton

Saturday we had a marathon driving day. Reggie had to see a patient that he did surgery on Friday, and we had a party to go to in Tarzana. Although it was a lot of driving I have no regrets, the party was for the Indian New Year celebration Diwali, festival of lights which is celebrated in autumn. Diwali signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. The food was delicious, Bollywood music, dancing, the decor was beautiful, and every one had a good time. It was nice going to a house party, it seems that people don’t entertain at their homes to often so it was a treat going and my friend Jasmine and her husband were lovely hosts.

Gigi at Diwali Party

Gigi at Diwali Party

Always with my camera

Always with my camera

girlie girl table with henna tattos, nose rings, bracelets etc.

girlie girl table with henna tattos, nose rings, bracelets etc.

After driving back to the desert, we slept in, thank goodness for black out shades, I need to get those in my bedroom. After a late breakfast, we decided to do the tourist thing and go to the tram. Reggie insisted that he took me there when we were dating, he said he took all his “dates” there, I assured him that I had never been there–EVER. If you have not been go- it reminded me of the tram in South Africa that we took up to Table Mountain.

So 27 years later we had our tram date.

Tram date

Tram date

 

How was your weekend? I hope you had a good one as well.

Happy Monday!

Xoxo,

Gigi

Gigi in Palm Desert

Gigi in Palm Desert

 

 

 

 


Quote

Posted on by Gigi in Quotes Leave a comment
quote

quote

I think about this everyday…

Happy Tuesday,

Xoxo,

Gigi


Weekend Meanderings…

Posted on by Gigi in Weekend Observations Leave a comment

This weekend was a welcome break from a stressful week, I was looking forward to a low key weekend, if there is even such a thing in my world. Halloween started out wet, and I’m not talking about the much needed rain we got, there is a leak in my garage that had flooded one car stall. I called our plumber right away, and of course as luck would have it,  we need a “leak specialist” to come out and locate the pipe that is broken and of course that person is not available until Monday morning, hence no running water for the weekend. So instead of moving out for the weekend, we decided we would go to the gym and use the bathroom there. Thank goodness for gym memberships.

My son finished his early decision college apps! I was happy to give up the credit card numbers in exchange for pressing submit before the November 1 deadline. Now the waiting begins. It is an exciting time for our family.

So moving into Halloween evening, we decided to go to dinner, since we have no running water so I made a reservation at a place I had been wanting to try, Alma. I had read lots of reviews, in 2013 they were voted one of the top new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine, so I was excited to finally go, and they have a prix fixe vegetarian menu. So we ventured out of our safety zone of our regular DTLA spots. BIG MISTAKE- Big Expensive mistake- I should have know when I was able to get a table on a Friday night on the same day that something was up. I don’t like to bash anybody or any place, but this was not a connect for us. ;(. It was the kind of meal, that you have and you wonder “hmmmmmm what was the chef thinking?” And talk about SMALL portions…

Reggie at Alma

Reggie at Alma

itty bitty salad

itty bitty salad

not sure what this was...

not sure what this was…

itty bitty carrot something...

itty bitty carrot something…

Perhaps it was an off night, but so sorry- we won’t be going back.

Saturday I went to my film class that I am so enjoying. I have a lot to learn and it is confusing for me, the concept of movement instead of stills, is coming slowly. I made my first short tonight and I mean short 35 seconds and you all are going to be the first to see it…the premiere right here on Gigi’s Meanderings. It is about wanting to take a “shower” when you have no running water and you don’t want to go out again…

Saturday evening we had our first “gala” of the holiday season. It was a nice event for a good cause. We have a lot of doctor friends that are from Sri Lanka, and they raise money so they can help with the medical services in Sri Lanka. There are so many famers dying from kidney disease, due to the pesticides  that are used in the fields-so horrific. So many things in our environment that are causing so many diseases all over the world. The event was held at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Sira Lander

Sri Lanka Medical Association fundraiser gala

Gigi

Gigi

Husband

Husband

beautiful flowers

beautiful flowers

When the time was right, we exited and made it to a late showing of “Gone Girl” and it was really really good. We are reading the book for my book club, so I know we will have a lively discussion about this one. Yes. I went to the movie in my gown, but I guess since was Halloween weekend, no one even noticed. So the movie was over about 1:30 we came home to an electrical outage, so now no water or electricity, nothing to do but go to sleep.

Sunday I woke up to power, but no internet, I needed to work, so I camped out at my local Starbucks. We headed out to Riverside to visit my Mom and I am happy to report she is doing well. God is GOOD.

I am looking forward to a productive week, so many things I want to do and complete before 2014 is behind us.

Happy Monday!

XOXO,

GIGI

 

 


When in Rome…

Posted on by Gigi in Family 3 Comments
Reggie & Reggie

Reggie & Reggie

My son is a senior in high school at CATE a boarding school in Carpinteria, a little sleepy beach town 20 min south of Santa Barbara. We are in the throws of the college application process, early apps are due November 1, he is doing the last of the last so we can press “submit”. So everything was going smooth until we get to the “disciplinary history” prompt.

disciplinary history prompt

disciplinary history prompt

Yes. My sweet angel has to answer this question. I feel bad for him, but at the same time, I’m happy that he made a poor decision at 17 as opposed to 37. I think about in this competitive college admission game how will admissions evaluate him. He is a good student, that could be stellar if he worked a little harder and a talented artist. So I know at the end of this process there will be a school for him.

So as he is struggling trying to come up with an explanation for his actions, I think about how do you explain a wrong doing? Should you be apologetic? Or matter of fact? Or just tell the story? As a mom, always trying the find the good in everything, I rationalize to myself that at least it was not stealing or cheating, just a little recreational drinking. Basically while my son was in Italy in the school year abroad program he had a drinking situation one evening and got caught. The drinking was bad enough, complicated by sneaking out and over sleeping the next morning so hence the call to us and the “disciplinary action”. Italy is very liberal when it comes to drinking, so I guess my son decided “when in Rome…”. All is well now, I know he has grown from that experience and the mere fact that he now has to explain it on his college app is a reminder to think about what you are doing.

quote

quote

When I look back at my high school years some 30 + years ago, nothing was different- kids were drinking and doing all sorts of things, my crew was really careful  and never got caught or perhaps we/they were lucky ; ).

Happy Tuesday!

Xoxo,

Gigi

Gigi and Family in Carp

Gigi and Family in Carp


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