Learning

Italy Travel Tips, according to Only You

I wish I could take a cooking course in Italy, I thought to myself last year. Not one to wish idly, I am currently in possession of a round-trip plane ticket for June. The logical next step? Consulting the infallible wisdom of every film ever set in Italy for travel tips.

I began my research this week with a careful viewing of the venerable 90’s rom com, Only You – lauded by the New York Times as “frankly touristy.”  With close study, I was able to learn that driving from Venice to Rome can be very taxing on female friendships, losing a shoe in Rome is the best way to find your destiny, and Italian airport employees will instantly bend all security rules to get you on a plane if they believe that you are in love with someone on-board.

Most usefully though, I was able to begin my packing list:

1) Red kerchief. Nothing says “I’m ready for my Venetian gondola ride” like a red piece of cloth tied around your neck.

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2) Red dress, red shawl, red heels, and red rose. Head-to-toe monochrome is the only way to go if you’re planning to wander the streets of Rome with a shoe salesman, saying things like “I was born to kiss you” with a straight face.

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3) Sunglasses. Preferably the type that lend themselves to dramatic lowering if/when you spot a be-wigged, be-necklaced Billy Zane emerging shirtless from a pool in Positano.

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4) White, mock-turtleneck, floor-length dress with triangular side cut-outs. Ideal for those Amalfi Coast evenings when you reject Robert Downey Jr.  because your brother did not spell his name on a Ouija board when you were 11.

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5) The puff-sleeved wedding dress you will never wear again now that you are dumping your fiance for a man you met two days ago, who loves you enough to lie about his name, send you on a wild goose-chase through the Italian countryside, and pay a friend to take you on a terrible date so he’ll look like relationship material by comparison.

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Learning

The 4×4 Yoga Awards

After 4 weeks of yoga 4 times a week, I am prepared to announce the winners of the 4×4 Yoga Awards:

1) Most ubiquitous accessory: The Lulumon lunch bag, which is apparently the only acceptable way to carry your Lulumon water bottle, Lulumon hair ties, and deep sense of inner peace (purchased separately).

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2) Least tactful acknowledgement of my hyper-extended elbows: “Yikes. Oh sweetie. No, no, no.”

3) Least helpful assist: My cat interpreting lotus position as an open invitation to jump on my back.

4) Most incomprehensible instruction: “Gaze inwardly through your third eye and greet yourself.”

5) Instruction most irksomely reminiscent of street harassment: “Smile softly!”

6) Fanciest man-braid: Tamal Dodge, Elemant.

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7) Most aggressive half-moon encouragement: “Do it, mami! Do it, do it, DO IT!” – Jillian Michaels, Yoga Meltdown.

9) Low Point: Flying too close to the sun for several beats in crow position before toppling to kick the girl besides me and land directly on my head.

10) High point: Realizing that the reason I’m so often short of breath is because I’ve been breathing wrong my whole life – and it’s fixable.

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The 30 Day Shred Awards

My antagonistic relationship with physical fitness began at the tender age of 5 when I attempted to play softball for the first time and was promptly knocked unconscious by a stray pitch. In 2nd grade gym, I dangled, mortified, before the the eyes of my classmates, unable to lift my chin beyond the pull-up bar and inwardly deciding that I would die as I was born: without upper body strength. In college, I was the kind of jogger who took occasional half mile runs to 7/11 then strolled back to the dorm eating a pint of double fudge ice cream. I’ve never said no to a glass of wine with dinner.  I’ve never met a carb I didn’t love. I’ve never worked out for longer than a month consecutively.

And I’ve always wondered why I’m often too exhausted at the end of the day to do anything other than crash on the couch with my DVR.

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Top 10 Recipes of #50NewRecipesIn2014

Much as I love to cook, I’ve always been pretty lazy about it. Since college, I’ve known how to make 10-15 meals. I’ve rarely ventured outside my recipe box.  If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?

But last year was about fixing things that I may not have realized were broken. It was about eliminating all excuses not to be happy. It was about taking writing workshops and meditation classes and spontaneous road-trips; joining a gym and starting a new job and volunteering to cuddle with kittens at the Anti-Cruelty Society; attending philosophy lectures and off Broadway musicals and indie film festivals and outdoor concerts. And it was about cooking.

I set a goal to finally open up all those untouched cookbooks on my bookshelf and make 50 new recipes. And, almost to my own amazement, I did it.  I remembered how happy cooking makes me. I made 50 new recipes last year. And I’ve chosen my top 10 favorites to share with you here.

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