Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lazily in your Skin

I had the great honor, pleasure, delight to live in Paris my junior year of college. It was fairly spectacular on many levels. I always say I learned to love my own company in Paris. This is not to say that at 21 I was totally together by any means. Nor does it mean that I was comfortable in my own skin. The phrase in French is "Bien Dans Sa Peau" which just sounds like something you want to aspire to, doesn't it? Getting there took me another 15 to 20, I'd say. But, before my boyfriend at the time moved to Paris from Florence (where he was studying) I spent a lot of days wandering Paris, and learning the city, by myself.

I had tons of really dear friends studying in Paris at the same time. But, I was the only one that lived in the Marais. More than that, though, somehow we were all just instantly busy with our studies and setting up our lives. We all lived in apartments spread all over the city. I remember feeling lonely for the very first time in my life one of my first days in Paris. I was thinking "What is this feeling? I've never felt this before...." I was very lonely, the pain of which was accentuated by dearly missing my boyfriend. There were no cellphones then, of course, just painfully short international calls made at the local post office in cramped smokey booths.

One of my first days there I got home after a long day, and realized that I had spent my entire adventure alone, and hadn't spoken to one friend. I was shocked by how much I had enjoyed myself. Thus began my year of learning to love my own company. Even when Tom, said Italian-studying boyfriend, arrived in Paris to live with me half-way through the year, I still had many a long day alone, and I really learned to love these times. I learned to be more "bien dans ma peau" than ever before.

The other thing I learned about in Paris, of course, was fashion. How can you not when in Paris, right? And, while I have never been, nor will I ever be, a fashionista, I really was blown away by the exquisite style of women of every age, and wanted to imbibe it, make it my own.

I found my soul's store: Agnes B. which is particularly lovely when uttered in French. It's AHN-YES-BAY. Lovely, elegant, just to say the name. I look at photos of myself upon my arrival in Paris and then toward the end of my year, and I see that my sense of style truly did evolve, and that I have kept some of what I learned. I need a refresher course, though, that's for sure.

I was reminded of this today when I visited a blog my friend Salle Redfield recommended a while back. Today's entry sent me right back to the streets of Paris. You simply must check out the link I posted if you have any fascination with the simple elegance of women's fashion in Paris.

As I read the blog I remembered that my Parisian women friends really were pretty Lazy about their fashion. They did the minimum, and they didn't, in general, fret about it at all. They simply did the minimum with a Lazy touch of genius. The blog has some great Lazy Parisian Woman tips.

Bonne Chance Mes Amies!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trader Joe's Tuesday - Summerlicious Salad!

Summertime and the livin' is laaaaaaazy....or at least it should be in the kitchen. This is a delicious little ditty I made up last night:

A + B = C (
Avocado + Beets = Culinarilicious) Salad

Trader Joe's has two fairly amazing products on their shelves that can go overlooked. One is the pre-cooked whole beets that you find in the veggie section in a little green cardboard wrapping (which nearly obscures the fact that it holds beets).

The other amazing find is the Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce (which, by the way, is fantastic when lightly spread on a sliced baguette with thin slices of Gruyere cheese on top!). This sauce makes a delicious vinaigrette with a special little kick.

The two TJ finds combine to make the A+B = C Salad, which is colorful, delicious and refreshing!

TJ's Shopping List

Veggie Section
Fresh Chives

Cheese Section
Parmigiano Reggiano (or your alternate favorite cheese)

Canned Foods Section
Aoili Garlice Mustard Sauce
Red Wine Vinegar (or Balsamic, if you prefer)
Olive Oil (if you don't have)
Course Salt if you don't have)

What to do:

  1. As always, walk into your kitchen!
  2. Get out two (2) avocados and the package of beets and slice it all up in even slices.
  3. Arrange avocado and beets on a plate.
  4. Mix about 1/2 teaspoon of the mustard sauce with vinegar and oil to taste. Mix well and drizzle over salad.
  5. Chop up the chives and sprinkle over the salad.
  6. Grate a wee bit o' parmigiano over the salad.
  7. Sprinkle with course salt.
  8. ENJOY!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When it's Right it's Right

A few months ago when I was complaining about yet another hideous online date to my friend, Melissa, who has been exquisitely happily married for many years now, she told me that she and her husband had just recently been talking about how crazy their past relationships were, and her husband wisely said "Yeah, they were ALL crazy...until YOU."

There really was something slightly off about every single relationship I have been in up to now, and it was slightly off from the very beginning. The energy flow between us wasn't equal, one of us was always pursuing the other, and somehow feeling a loss of power in the pursuit.

I confess that I had a very un-Lazy attitude toward relationships. I thought "If I just work hard enough, I can make this all OK." I can't believe I let myself get away with that unbecoming for a Lazy Woman!

When I had my Angel Store in Old Town Pasadena, a few times people came in and with a little hostility in their voices would say "I don't believe in angels!" I think they thought it would upset me. I always said "I get it! Why should you? Until you have an experience yourself, it's all a bunch of hooey, conjecture, pictures in your head!"

I think it's kind of like that for me with love. I don't think I really believed it could be easy, that it wasn't always going to be a struggle of sorts. Part of me thought I was just a difficult person to match. A few times I thought "This is probably as good as it gets." Other times I was alone thinking "Maybe I'm just not the marrying kind."

The bottom line is I couldn't really have believed this could happen for me until it happened. It was comforting hearing from all my friends that it had happened to them and they were certain it would happen for me, but keeping the faith even amidst the reinforcement was sometimes difficult.

Life really does not have to be hard. There is a way to handle EVERYTHING with less stress and more joy. And, sometimes finding the Lazy Solution is in the waiting, pausing, sitting on hold for a little while ....hopefully with an open heart.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Trader Joe's Tuesday on Monday

I know I'm supposed to wait until tomorrow but I can't cause I just made the best incredibly fast impromptu al fresco dinner. Yummy.

My new love can't eat garlic. So, I made a tasty alternative to a tomato sauce without garlic, and a simple salad to precede it!

Summery Al Fresco Salad & Pasta -- Perfect for a Warm Evening
(Enough for Two with a little leftover Pasta for the next day)

Trader Joe's Shopping List

Veggie Section
Tomatoes - I use the ones still on the vine
Fresh Chives

Cheese Section
Reggiano Parmigiano (or the parmesan of your choice...)

Canned Goods Section
Artichoke Hearts (not marinated)
Chopped Olives
Pappardella/Egg Noodle Pasta
Olive Oil (if you don't have)

  1. Walk in the Kitchen!
  2. Start boiling water - salted and a dash of olive oil.
  3. Slice avocado and tomato and arrange on salad plates. (I use one small avocado and two tomatoes for each person)
  4. Drizzle with lemon and course salt. Set aside the salad plates while you...
  5. Sautee olive oil, chopped tomatoes, the can of artichoke hearts and can of olives.
  6. Add salt, pepper, etc. to taste.
  7. When water boiling, add entire package of Pappardelle/Egg Noodles.
  8. Chop chives
  9. Pasta should be done now! So drain it, for the love of God!
  10. Toss everything together!
  11. Serve the avocado & tomato salad first.
  12. Then serve the pasta! It's OK that it cools to room temperature while you eat the salad.
  13. Grate a little parmesan over the pasta just before serving.
  14. [and if appropriate, kiss the love for whom you made the meal!]

Buon Appetito!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lazy Love v. Unlazy Fear

I'm trying to figure out how I can turn talking about the new love in my life into a Lazy Woman tip. Hmmmmmmm..... I know. It's a tip I learned from him. So, it's a Lazy Man Tip on the Lazy Woman blog for something new and different.

He pointed out this little tendency I have -- that I know I have and that my friends know I have -- to expect negative things to happen. When I start falling in love I am always waiting for the proverbial other love shoe to drop, looking for trouble. He just keeps patiently pointing out that it's just my FEAR running the show in those moments.

I have been contemplating how darned un-lazy fear is. It takes up time and energy, makes you feel like crap, and worst of all it leaks. It leaks into conversations, rooms, events, and it tends to spread like wild fire. Luckily I have a little fire tender who is following me around with a bucket of water, dousing the sparks before they ignite into anything bigger.

When we were having a very simple, quiet moment he said "Remember this..." I, of course, assumed he was breaking up with me right then and there! LOL! "Remember this...when you are afraid." He's right. And, that is a tool I can actually use when I dip into fear.

Years ago when I was going through a tough time -- a breakup, of course (due to fear most likely!) -- I had someone tell me to imagine a STOP sign every time I wanted to go into those dark, yearning thoughts. That too was helpful. This one, though, is much more fun, to think of a loving moment.

The bottom line is that fear is never real. It's never the present. It's never the truth. It's just thoughts, made up to appeal to the insecure mind and heart. He's right: I need to focus on what is real, and what I know is the truth.

So, the tip for myself today and for you, should you choose to accept it, is that the lazy way to deal with fear is to 1) snap out of the un-reality and 2) focus on what we know, the truth, the present.

Yippee! I got to talk about my love and give a Lazy Man/Woman tip too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lazy Health Scare Cured by Acupuncture

It's all good now but I had the most bizarre health scare this week. I had a cold, which brought a bunch of head congestion. Nothing too annoying, no sinus pain even, no ear pain, just a bad cold. Then on Tuesday when I was writing all of a sudden I felt dizzy, just sitting in bed typing. The room started spinning for no gosh darn good reason.

So, I did the stupidest thing I could do: I stood up. What's that instinct about? I think I must have felt like the bed was causing the problem and my instinct was to get out of it! Hilarious and stupid, because of course immediately I started falling. I grabbed the phone and started to call 911 and just then I caught myself and the symptoms started subsiding. I hung up and called my dad instead. He had had a stroke a couple years ago and had described the start of the stroke exactly as what I had just experienced. He told me to take an aspirin and talked me down from the fear. Later I was diagnosed with "benign positional vertigo" which was all due to my silly cold.

I was told to take some things, but after a couple of days it wasn't getting better. So, I was delighted that my first appointment with my new acupuncturist was synchronistically scheduled for Day 3 of my vertigo. I've been to many acupuncturists since I was a kid, but Marsha Connor was the most amazing I've ever experienced. She has this air about her that is the perfect combination of sweet, gentle mother earth and scientist. And, she's hilariously funny. I'll admit, I started it, but she was right there with me the whole way, culminating in the moment she came back in the room to take the needles out: "Are you still here?" The laughter gave the needles one final jiggle and voila I was done.

I had two very bad episodes within two hours of the treatment (which is actually typical in my experience with acupuncture) and was gone. Completely and utterly gone. Now, come on, that is one Lazy Cure!

Years ago I had the pleasure of falling off a horse in the middle of a friend's 10,000 acre ranch. I dislocated my elbow about six inches out of its socket. It took over 10 hours to get to a hospital that could set it straight again. When they brought me to and told me it was done, the circle of awestruck doctors around my bed (it was one of the worst dislocations they had seen) said that my arm would never be the same again. I'd never have full use of the arm, and I might need surgery.

I flew back to LA and checked in right away with the orthopedic surgeon per the hospital's instructions. He concurred with the hospital doctors' dim outlook. From there I went straight to the acupuncturist who within weeks had my arm as good as new. I went back just to show it off to the surgeon and he was blown away, and slightly hostile to boot! La di da, la di da!

I'll never get used to or bored with acupuncture miracles. Acupuncture was clearly invented by one very Lazy Woman or Man...thank God!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trader Joe's Tuesday: Quickie Lemony Dinner

I have been obsessed with lemons since reading about food combining in the early 80's. We were told then that the best way to start your day is hot water with lemon. Also, we learned that vinegar isn't the best thing for our bodies for a variety of reasons. So, I changed my regular salad dressing from balsamic vinegar and olive oil to lemon and olive oil. I became immediately addicted because I found that it did a far better job highlighting the flavors of the greens, let alone the reds and yellows!

So, coming up with menus that are based on lemons is easy, and one of my favorite things to do. You can imagine my excitement when Trader Joe's started carrying Lemon Pepper pasta. This is one of the most flavorful pastas I've ever tasted. Literally, eating it with just olive oil or butter is very satisfying, but my favorite way to serve this pasta is how I prepared it for a recent five course Lazy Lemony Dinner Party. I'll share the full dinner party menu later, but for now wanted to give you a good Springy (or Summery) dinner recipe:

Shopping List (Enough for 2)

Dry Goods Aisle
Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta
Olive Oil (if you don't already have)

Veggie Section
Bag o' lemons
Two (2) bags o' sliced mushrooms
Fresh Chives
Bag o' your favorite lettuce

Cheese Section
Parmigiano Reggiano

Variations -- I like it plain and simple because I think the flavor of the pasta is best accented by the simplest of additions, so I suggest only one or two additions, but feel free to be creative according to your own tastes:
  • Grate Parmigiano Reggiano (from the CHEESE SECTION) -- on top when complete.
  • Add precooked sliced chicken (from REFRIGERATOR/PREPARED FOODS Section) -- throw into the sautee for the final couple of minutes to warm.
  • Add fresh or frozen shrimp (from the FROZEN FOOD SECTION) -- add frozen to sautee at the beginning, fresh after a minute or two.
  • Add asparagus, sliced zucchini or anything you love in the VEGGIE SECTION
  • Add artichoke hearts (from the CANNED FOOD SECTION)
What to do -- In about 10 minutes and you'll have a lovely light springy meal! You might think it's way too simple to be delicious. You will be amazed how the simplest combination of fresh ingredients can excite your taste buds the most!
  1. Walk in the kitchen!
  2. Get a pot of water boiling.
  3. Add salt and a dash of olive oil to the water.
  4. While it comes to a boil...Get out a sautee pan and turn on the heat.
  5. Add olive oil.
  6. When oil is warm, add mushrooms and sautee.
  7. Add juice from 1/2 lemon and salt to taste.
  8. When the water is boiling, add pasta. (NOTE:The package says it takes 8 to 10 minutes, but if the water is at a rolling boil I find it only takes 5 minutes.)
  9. Chop the chives.
  10. Put the lettuce in a bowl, put some large gratings of Parmigiano Reggiano - even thin slices are good. You just want to give it some texture.
  11. Squeeze 1/2 lemon, drizzle some olive oil on the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Drain pasta. Toss in a bowl with the mushrooms and fresh chives. Add some grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top, if you wish.
Have a Lazy Lemony Yum-fest!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lazy Belly Dancing

For a while I was addicted to working out to Beyonce's latest album, and I particularly liked doing crunches to the song "All the Single Ladies." I now know the lyrics she accidentally dropped off of the chorus to this song:

All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies,
Don't you belly dance!
Oh my god, it is hard to be single and belly dancing. It's very sensual, it turns out, even when you suck at it. Tonight, we were finally doing something where I didn't suck as profoundly as normal and it was quite erotic in feel. Must o' opened up some o' dem chakras tonight!
There are so many things I like about belly dancing, which is utterly surprising to me, because actually I don't like to watch belly dancing. It's embarassing somehow. But, I do a lot of male type working out and was looking for something to make me feel more feminine. Belly dancing is definitely opening up the feminine side of me.
As a beginning belly dancer, you are completely focused on getting it right. You don't have time to look at the people around you, so you feel absolutely no sense of competition in the room. Luckily, the advanced class comes in after us, and like our beginner class, the class is full of all different shapes and size, and we get to watch them really go for it. The most heart-warming thing about belly dancing is that it is absolutely a fact that the skinniest women -- no matter how good they are -- simply don't look as good doing it as the heavier women. And, the heaviest women are just so elegant and lovely, and look to be absolutely "in their skin" and loving their bodies when they are belly dancing. It's womankind at her very best. I'm glad I tried belly dancing even if only for this lovely glimpse at my sisters at a moment of truly loving their bodies, their curves, and the way they just get to move as only women can.
I'm off to go practice my tap now. As much joy as that brings to my heart and body, it somehow does not prove to be a turn on! Phew! Later I shall pray that the man I'm going to be going on a date with this weekend turns out to be the one, so I can continue belly dancing. But, for now the lyrics are:
All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies, all the single ladies
All the single ladies,
Get your taps on!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Trader Joe's Tuesday -- Lazy PB&J

There are still some very well-kept secrets at Trader Joe's. One item that I am always turning people onto is the frozen french toast. At only 110 calories a slice, and unbelievably easy and fast to make, it's a groovy little breakfast item.

I am not a big egg fan, so I prefer french toast that is not heavy on the egg. If you are a heavy egg lover these might not do it for you, but they still might be worth a shot as they are very tasty AND they have more protein that a normal ol' piece of toast. You just take them out of the freezer, pop them in the toaster and a couple minutes later you have toast that as much mimics a grilled fresh piece of french toast as any I have tasted.

I was recently asked to come up with a creative solution to the traditional PB&J by someone who adores PB&J's who was looking for a twist on the recipe. This was easy for me because before I got on my oatmeal addiction, my breakfast every morning which got me through active mornings, including workouts was this:

Lazy PB&J a la Trader Joe's
serving size: 1

  1. Go into the kitchen. (I refuse to not start recipes with that, because what if you find yourself in the living room and you forget you need to change rooms to cook? Especially when dealing with Lazy recipes, it's a good reminder, eh?)
  2. Open the freezer and get out two slices of Trader Joe's Frozen French Toast (I'm in Kansas City as I write this so if they actually have a different title, you'll need to forgive me!)
  3. Pop the french toast in the toaster.
  4. While you wait, get out your favorite peanut butter. I use Trader Joe's Smooth & Salty.
  5. Get out your favorit jelly, jam, preserve, honey or whatever your pleasure. I use the fruit only preserves with no sugar that they have in several flavors at TJ's. Current favorite: raspberry.
  6. Get out the toasted sliced almonds you got in that very same aisle as the peanut butter and jelly at TJ's.
  7. By now the toast is done.
  8. Spread however much of whatever you want on there. I'm counting calories so I put very little of everything, but very little goes a long way because the toast itself isn't too dry.
  9. And...just before you smush the two slices together, sprinkle a few toasted almonds OR a few thin slices of banana OR sprinkle some cornflakes (or other crunchy cereal) on the spreads.
  10. Close.
  11. Eat.
  12. Potentially, crunch, if indeed you chose to add nuts or cereal bits.
  13. Enjoy.

A yummy, lazy day to all!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Have a Lazy Twitter With Me

I'm obsessed with tap these days, probably largely because I'm not good and I'd like to be good. The better you are, the more you can rock 'n roll. Delightfully my teacher actually has us tap to rock 'n roll, which makes me have exponentially more fun than I might, because I'm so very retarded as a dancer. Part of my obsession is due to the genuine joy I feel when I hear my shoes tap. Just walking in them is damn fun. Click-click, click-click. I've started hearing the rhythms, too, everywhere! Even in the silent world of Twitter.

I hear tweet-tweet, twitter-twitter-tweet-tweet, tweet-twitter-tweet-twitter, tweet-tweet. And, then I start hearing twitter-blog-twitter-blog, tweet-blog, tweet-blog, twitter-twitter-blog and I make my way over to this blogspot! It's like it's sending out morse code asking me to post.

Tweeting has recently become my second most favorite obsession. I love to tweet, though I'm hesitent since it still seems slightly ridiculous to me. Mostly I love following other tweeters. For instance, you sort of have to follow Ashton Kutcher, since he really is the King of Twitterville, so that's fun, and he tweets very cool stuff like this from earlier today: "aplusksending love to the twitterverse." Following Sanjay Gupta is truly informative, particularly in these flu-filled news days. I like George Stephanopoulos' brain and the company he keeps, so he's great. And, Oprah, when she tweets, well that's just cool to feel like you are part of her universe. And, then I follow the people that I follow follow. I culled some of Tina Fey's peeps -- because frankly anything Tina Fey does, says, reads, or sees, I'd like a little bit o' that.

My most hilarious friend, Chase Winton, an extraordinary comedienne and actress is newly arrived on the twitter seen and because no one knows she's on there, she only has four followers. She wrote this to the loyal four yesterday: "Good morning my four followers! Today we begin building our cult will be a pyramid -everyone OK with that ?" Give me a break -- with only 140 characters at her disposal she has incited laughter in me at least a bijillion times since I first read that tweet. Every time I think of it I can't stop laughing. Good times. Good times due to the Chase-ster.

I have purposely not allowed the Twitterverse onto my Blackberry for fear I would never live life, but it's fun for now. The only slightly creepy thing is people are following me who couldn't have any interest in who I am or what the hell I'm doing. Some of them would like to sell me their services. But there are a couple teenage girls. My only hope there is that they wanna grow up to be Lazy Women.

Let's let that hopeful thought take us out on a Lazy Tweet Tweet Twitter Tweet!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy Lazy Flower May Day!

It's May! It's May! And, I was literally just staring at the flowers on my desk, mesmerized, just appreciating Spring when I realized "It's May Day!"

I love Trader Joe's for oh so many bijillions of reasons, but one big reason is that I buy fresh flowers for just a little more than the price I pay at the wholesale flower district, with no drive and no hassle. I always have fresh flowers in every single room of the house. It's a tiny house, so it's easy to do, but still you will literally always find fresh flowers in my house because they bring me consistent, undying joy every single time I look at them.

Hence, my moment just minutes ago of staring into the face of the flowers on my desk, which were bringing me even more joy because they are from my garden...the most glorious white roses, big, juicy lavender and chocolate mint geranium. Yummy to look at, yummy to smell, just all around yumminess in the form of flora.

Wherever I have lived I have fairly immediately planted several different kinds of lavender, and at least a few scented geraniums, because I am a Lazy Woman! What's lazy about that? Because in California that means I have something to put in a vase year round that smells really good. Because even when these plants don't have flowers on them, they are lovely to look at and have glorious scents year round.

I also like arrangements that are all different textures of green as well, so while I usually add flowers to the green mix, sometimes in the winter I'm in a "just greens" mood and I cull all different colored and textured greens from the garden to make an interesting mix.

But, today we honor flowers, and I am taking a moment to just acknowledge the unbelievable bounty of my garden, and from all the gardens I've been passing in my travels around town these is a Spring Wonderland right now for our So Cal gardens.

I know that there is mixed weather across the country. Just heard this morning that Chicago is still rainy. But, Kathy who just got some pots of lavender will have an easier time digging to get them in, right?!!!

Happy planting, happy cutting, happy enjoying the flora and fauna of live everyone! And, don't forget to plant hearty flowering herbs like lavender, rosemary,and scented geraniums! They love to offer themselves up for our pleasure!

Happy May Day!