Every year, I resolve to keep the resolutions I make come January 1, and every year — usually around January 14 — I break every last one. Well, this year, it’s not even February and already I’ve accomplished three! Granted, some of my turnaround has to be attributed to my job; I’m taking credit for the accomplishments nevertheless!
It’s Teetotal Time
Maybe it was the over-partying I did over the holidays. Or maybe it was Assistant Editor Janice Jann‘s eye-opening feature story in our Winter 2011-12 issue about the dangerous effects of binge drinking on Asian women, but my Ketel One martinis have not been very appealing lately. In fact, it’s been almost an entire month and I have had nary a sip. I feel cleansed, I’m less bloated, my skin isn’t so dry anymore, and I have more energy. We’ll see how long this keeps up — there are a number of birthdays looming on the horizon — but for now, I’m feeling mighty good about myself.
It’s been ages since I’ve gotten my vision checked, which probably explains why I haven’t been able to appreciate our new plasma TV — my glasses were so scratched and so outdated, it was like I was living in a Vaseline-smeared world. So when the opportunity arose to interview an optometrist, let’s just say, my eyes were finally opened to the sharp reality of my existence. Yes, I no longer squint, but yes, I can no longer obscure the fact that the face looking back at me in that mirror is a far cry from 32.
The good news is my new vision prescription allowed me to indulge in some new eyewear, which these days is practically as important an accessory as shoes. My favorite? The Derek Cardigan eyeglasses from Coastal.com. It’s perfectly big but not cartoonishly oversized, and the nerd in me adores the multiplication and division signs at the temples. Another plus? It does a better job at hiding my wrinkles than that $200 tub of eye cream.
You know you’ve devolved into some form of boob tube Neanderthal when a tabloid headline reads “Will Ashley choose JP or Ben?” and you know exactly what they’re talking about. Determined to claw my way out of pop culture purgatory, I bit the bullet and switched over to DirecTV. (Good riddance wretched cable companies!) Essentially, I had about a half dozen weekends of marathon television, but not just any television. Breaking Bad, Dexter, Game of Thrones — my gawd, does entertainment get any better? But the highlight was by far Season 2 of Downton Abbey. Sure, the clothes weren’t as good as in Season 1 (a dreary war will do that), but the mischief and romantic angst (Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley!) rivaled those of any Korean drama. And then there’s the brilliant Maggie Smith who always seems to steal every scene she’s in.
You can buy Downton Abbey, Seasons 1 and 2, here.
Perhaps it’s ’cause I’ve got a serious case of the travel bug, but my feet are itchin’ to move. I mean, I haven’t traveled in more than a year (and Maui for a friend’s wedding last autumn doesn’t count). I’m talking real traveling — India, Marrakesh, Kuala Lumpur. Far-flung destinations to shock the senses and lubricate the mind.
The hubby and I thought Istanbul this spring, but that had to be pushed back. Maybe in the fall? Until then, I’m going to have to be content with travels of the imagination. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to satiate (for now) the wanderlust in me.
FRANCE: Fig + Olive
Now, I haven’t been to Europe since my attorney days, when I used to travel every six months just to get through the next six months of billable hours, endless discovery paperwork and motions galore. Back then, Italy was my destination du jour (everywhere from the Amalfi Coast to Cinque Terre), but I also managed to hit Barcelona, Andalucia, London, the Cotswolds, and even followed the Jane Austen trail from Bath to Rye.
One place I purposely didn’t go, however, was France. Paris I was saving for something — or rather, someone — special. There’s so much romanticism and hype surrounding France, I wanted my first time there to be meaningful.
I’m glad I waited. Not only will I be renting a house in the Latin quarter, shopping at Collette’s, and getting lost in the Louvre, but, thanks to my semi-foodie husband, I’ll now be eating the best France has to offer. And I don’t mean the highest rated or the most to-be-seen-in restaurants. I mean, the local boulangerie, random crepe stands, fresh cheese from anywhere.
I got a taste of what to expect at the Fig + Olive opening two weeks ago. The New York-based restaurant, founded by South of France native Laurent Halasz, opened its first on the West Coast, on the Melrose Place offshoot of famed Melrose Avenue. They officially opened with three big kick-off parties showcasing different regional specialities — Spain, Italy and South of France. We attended the South of France night and we were not disappointed.