I Heart Gwyneth

I know, the Gwyneth love/hate fest is so old news.  But I’m going to go ahead and profess my love.  I am a fan.  I get the newsletter.  I have the latest cookbook.  I follow her advice if I can afford it.  I like her. Mostly because she knows how to enjoy life.  She indulges… but then works out like a maniac and eats clean to make up for it.  I’ll never work out like she does but, we DO share the moderation mantra.

She says she gives great advice to her girlfriends:
“I think that women, especially women in my job, come to me because they know I’m very loving and nonjudgmental and I’m not competitive, and I’ve been through a lot. And so they come round to talk about their stuff. I’m a bit of a mother hen. Everyone wants a home-cooked meal and to come over and talk about where they are in their life,” she says.

That said, I would love to come round for a chit char over a couple of martinis like Kyle and Jackie O got to do.  It would start out pretty standard…

What roles are you drawn to?

What’s your typical day like when you’re regularly in London, L.A.,  NYC, and Amagansett?

Should I reeeeallly make Luna’s babyfood?  Is it more trouble than it’s worth?  Isn’t Plum Organics good enough?  I don’t have a nanny, btw.

Do you want to invent something with me?  Tracy could help, too.  I mean, if she wants and isn’t busy.

Let’s see if Beyonce wants to go out next week.  The boys could watch the kids.

Speaking of Beyonce, do you think I could rock the blonde hair like she does?  We have pretty much the same skin tone but I would love to get your opinion.

Do you have a guilt-free/detox/clean recipe (or substitute) for sea salt caramel, monkey bread, and lasagna?

In an emergency, 911-sort of situation, what would you serve to guests from a can or box?

Can I work at GOOP?

Could I mayyyybeeee borrow your kitchen on Friday night?

Does Chris leave his clothes on the floor after he takes them off?

Does Chris fall asleep on the sofa 5 out of 7 nights week and crawl into bed at 3am?

I kinda have a feeling Ernie and Chris is a bromance waiting to happen.

Notice the progression of quality in my questions.  The vodka is working.

Here are some favorite bits from the world’s most beautiful woman:

“[I]f [Chris Martin] isn’t at home, I turn on the hip-hop—I’m like a bad mutha rapping along to every word as I cook.”

“I am who I am.  I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.”

“I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.”

“Some days I feel like everyone in my world has plugged themselves into my kidneys. I’m so tired.”

“We have great dinner parties at which everyone sits around talking about politics, history, art, and literature — all this peppered with really funny jokes. But back in America, I was at a party and a girl looked at me and said, ‘Oh, my God! Are those Juicy jeans that you’re wearing?’ and I thought, I can’t stay here. I have to get back to Europe.”

“Murray’s cheese shop. That store is my heaven. I love it. I’m obsessed with it. I go every time I’m in New York. They’re like, ‘Where’s the stinkiest cheese we have? She’s here!'”

“It’s hard being married. You go through great times, you go through terrible times. We’re the same as any couple . . . I asked my dad once, ‘How did you and mom stay married for 33 years?’ And he said, ‘Well, we never wanted to get divorced at the same time’. And I think that’s what happens. . . .When two people throw in the towel at the same time, then you break up, but if one person’s saying, ‘come on, we can do this,’ you carry on.”

“I think it’s a mix,” she says honestly. “You know, I use organic products, but I get lasers. It’s what makes life interesting, finding the balance between cigarettes and tofu.”

“I don’t hold on to fear as much as I used to, because I’ve learned a lot about genuinely not caring what strangers think about me,” she says. “It’s very liberating. It’s very empowering, and I’ve learned a lot of that from Jay—Shawn Carter—Z, because his approach to life is very internal. It’s a very good lesson to learn.”

‘We all think “Urgh, I don;t want to go back to diapers,”‘ she admitted. ‘But my best friend’s mom once said “don’t do your planning around the pain in the a** of infancy, because it’s so finite. Plan it around how many people you want at Thanksgiving.”


I’m Not An Alcoholic


As I was thinking about what to write about next, I realized that my last post makes me sound like an alcoholic.  So, to clarify, I’ve made a list of other beverages I thoroughly and regularly enjoy.  As a side note, I compiled this list at a cozy little cafe located within the Tom’s shoe store on Abbot Kinney.  I love love love this place!  It has a very international travel vibe with plenty of nooks to get comfy in.  Free wi-fi, great people watching and inadvertent outfit ideas (which ultimately distracts me from writing), yummy coffee and a really good muti-grain muffin.  Caveat: It’s near impossible to walk out without a new pair of shoes.

In addition to wine, these liquids are frequently in my body:

Coffee in all varieties — cafe au lait, latte, iced coffee… always in rotation

Root beer — the neatest soda flavor ever (just discovered Zevia’s ginger root beer and it’s pretty darn good for sugarfree soda)

Matcha green tea — the velvety chalkiness of matcha is addictive

PG Tips or Lipton with milk because I grew up drinking tea with milk.  It’s in my blood!

Boba tea — I cannot resist those big balls of tapioca making their journey up a jumbo straw

Freshly squeezed OJ — yes, I drink it without the champagne, too

Overpriced pressed juices in most flavors — gone in under a minute but oh so good


LeZinque is also a lovely and cozy cafe/restaurant on Abbot Kinney & Washington in Venice.  Wi-fi, nooks, natural light galore, distracting people watching, snacks, caffeine, and happy hour specials (not that I’m concerned with that at all).  One annoying thing is all the tables are elevated so it’s hard to bring Miss Luna unless she’s sleeping in her stroller.

One day I’ll get around to writing up my favorite cozy cafes in L.A., not just in Venice!

10 Reasons To Mix Wine And Milk


No, I haven’t written in a while…and I love how Amy Vachon addresses taking a break from writing on one’s blog.  As an aside, I love her blog and information on sharing parenting responsibilities.  There’s plenty to write on that subject but, for now, we’ll stick to wine…

I could list 20 reasons not to take a baby wine tasting, however, I prefer to see the glass half full…of a delicious pinot!!  That said, I came up with good reasons, tips, and suggestions to fully support a trip to wine country.

1. You get to drink wine.
2. You get to drink wine.
3. You get to drink wine.
4. A change of scenery does a body good. Even a little baby body.  Firstly,  find a nice place to stay — a charming B & B, funky boutique hotel, or rent a sweet house.  My friend found this house and it was perfect!  Going to sleep and waking up in a new place is refreshing. You don’t have to look at the pile of laundry in the corner for two whole days or unload the dishwasher, yay!! We had a COZY guestroom in a barn all to ourselves. The house even had a pony and goat for Luna to familiarize herself with for future interactions.  Even if you have a “difficult” baby, this just might be the thing they need.  Worst case scenario, you leave the winery and head back to wherever you’re staying. And drink a bottle (or three) there.  At least you’re dealing with it against a beautiful backdrop with a slight buzz.
5. You get to picnic. Many wineries have big grassy areas and, if you’re lucky, there’s a band playing so you can get your groove back (or visualize yourself doing that anyway).  Either way, you can throw down a blanket and have some cheese and crackers to go with that lovely bottle of vino. Any excuse to eat more cheese…
6. You get to be chauffeured around for a day or two. My friend rented a stretch SUV for the group (he knows how to plan a trip!).  We debated it like the responsible people we are and decided to ride along.  The car seat fit just fine in the back of the limo.  Just sayin’.
7. You get a break from holding your baby because other people want to hold him/her.
8. It made us reconnect with who we were BL (an era of time we like to address as “Before Luna”).  It’s nice to break out the old you sometimes.
9. Life is short.  Don’t over think it — just pack your bags, car, baby, and GO.
10. You get to drink wine.


–We chose Santa Ynez, just outside of Santa Barbara.  A not-so-bad 2.5 hours away from L.A. with a generous sprinkling of wineries to choose from.
–Wineries usually don’t have hot water unless there is a restaurant on site. I couldn’t warm up Luna’s bottle so she drank it cold for the first time. She was totally fine with it but, if your baby only takes warm milk, you might want to schedule your stops accordingly.

How to Navigate Your Soul Boat

Taken by my talented husband Ernie Bovenizer

Taken by my talented husband, Ernie Bovenizer , in Kerala, India

How comfortable are you with how you spend your days in this life? I read this article some time ago and got so much out of it.  It instantly gave me a soulful guidebook on how I can navigate life’s waters.  Most of the time I’m comfortable with how I spend my time.  The other 49% is forever striving for more.  More knowledge, more peace, more fun, more meaning, more money, more spirituality, more time, more energy, more fulfillment…and the list goes on.  This article questions the balance of four components in one’s life: dharma (duty, ethics), artha (prosperity, wealth), kama (pleasure, sensual gratification), and moksha (the pursuit of liberation). These are also called purusharthas, which roughly means “the purpose of the soul.”  Here are some Cliffsnotes from the article (although I highly suggest you grab a cuppa something delicious, sit your butt down on a comfy chair, quiet your mind, and read this article).


“It’s about that which gives life order—about stepping up to your own responsibilities, about working within the structure to serve yourself and society.”  It “involves honoring your ethics—doing right by yourself, your family, your community, the world.”  Staying late at work when I don’t have to, paying taxes, being a mom…those are things I manage to do.  I definitely have a hole that needs to be filled by doing work (paid and/or unpaid) for the causes that I’m passionate about.


“Artha is the material comfort you need to live in the world with ease. Moreover, artha is the stuff—the capital, the computer, the business suit—you need to get your dharma done. Artha is, simply put, that which supports your life’s mission. Just don’t get carried away by the notion that artha is everything, or that more is always better—easy traps to fall into in a culture like ours, which tends to measure success in terms of material gain only.”  The article talks about how there is dignity in being able to take care of one’s family.  Let’s face it, it IS important.  The question is HOW important and that’s different for everyone. I’ve always said that if I can provide a good education for my kids and be able to take epic trips while they’re still under our roof, then I’m good to go.  A sprinkling of fancy dinners and the ability to continue my handbag “collection” (more like pile), to grow, then I am really, really good to go.


According to Rod Stryker, kama, or the desire for pleasure, is what makes the world go ’round. “Desire for pleasure is what drives all human behavior,” he says. “Kama relates to pleasure, and that can be sensuality,” he says. “But it’s also art, beauty, intimacy, fellowship, and kindness—it’s what brings a sense of delight to our lives. Every accomplishment has been sought for the pleasure that it provides. We live in service to a higher purpose, but along that path there is the pleasure we take from family and friends, art, love, and harmony in the world around us.”  I’m a fun-lover.  I love hanging out with friends and family and am constantly brainstorming ways to make this happen in my daily life.  I take most of my relationships pretty seriously — a good conversation with someone is worth so much to me. I’m doing pretty good here, but could use a lot more one-on-one time with my hubby.  And maybe more movie-watching.


“Moksha, or liberation, is widely considered to be the pinnacle of the purusharthas. “The whole game is that you want to be free,” explains John Friend. “You want ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to.’ Freedom from suffering and from that which is blocking you from realizing your own power and connection to life. And you want freedom to express your own creativity as fully as possible, freedom to live fully and be happy.” I used to have a ton of time to do whatever I wanted BL (Before Luna).  It’s not just about time, though.  I’m continually trying to find the freedom to reach my full potential, both personally and professionally.  I try to be open to life and the universe — hopefully this will lead me to that freedom I’m craving!

“The key to working with the purusharthas paradigm is to constantly examine not only the essential concepts and their role in your life, but also how well-balanced they are. Are you working so hard to put your kids through school that your life feels like an endless grind? (That’s too much dharma, not enough kama.) Are you so trapped in pleasure that you’re neglecting your duty to your friends and family? (Too much kama, not enough dharma.) Have you become so focused on making money that you have no time to meditate? (Too much artha, not enough moksha.) Are you spending so much time getting blissed out at the yoga studio that you can’t swing this month’s rent? (Too much moksha, not enough artha.) The balance between them will constantly shift—by stage of life, by month, by week, even by the minute. The work of balance isn’t literal—it’s an effort to face the world with all of your pieces intact, to live in a conscious way that leaves no part of your Self behind.”

Take some time to parse out how your world is balanced!

Lena Dunham is Cozy


There is no doubt that “GIRLS” star Lena Dunham is comfy in her own skin.  I just watched this episode (I know I’m behind but at least I’m still watching the show)…and wow.  WOW.  Even if you hate it you almost have to watch it just so you can join the discussion.  I’m not going to dissect the show but, I will say that I have mixed emotions.  I’m not sure how much sex I want to watch her have, or anyone for that matter.  Dunham just might have secret exhibitionist tendencies she gets to play out in the form of Hannah.  Some would say she gets to have her cake and eat it, too.  I could be totally wrong but you can’t help to think about the connection.  Either way, whatever she’s doing is working because people tune in. Sex scenes in general have gotten really out of hand.  I’m no prude and while I appreciate the portrayal of sex and intimacy as art, blah, blah, blah, do I really want to see vampires (“True Blood,” hello) do it in every which way possible?  Nope.  What about the ABC show “Scandal?”  Geez!!!  The president (played by Tony Goldwyn, who I love) and Kerri Washington get way, way, way down.  It’s so gratuitous.  What about a good old-fashioned silhouette? romantic_couple_silhouette_shower_curtainYou’re probably thinking NERD but, seriously, I think I get the point with a long lip lock and maybe a little dry humping.  No need to go much further.  Actually, go further.  Just don’t make it about a condom’s reach from being a soft porn. “Sex & the City” was even tolerable… and entertaining to top it all off.  It didn’t feel like a horror flick where I’m halfway covering my eyes before a stabbing.  That is what “GIRLS” does to me time and again. I’ve really come into some new facial expressions during the sex scenes on this show.  I’d like to know what happened to love scenes like the ones between Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke in “Reality Bites?” Those movies didn’t go the porn route and you still felt the intimacy.  Not the best example, but I’ll use any excuse to bring up “Reality Bites.”  I guess that’s not what “GIRLS” is going for.  They’re 95% into raw, uncomfortable, and awkward sex.  Not beautiful, intimate moments.  Either way, I’m pretty confident they can convey the darkness of relationships, sex, and intimacy without having sex on ping pong tables.

Cozy Essentials For Da Beach

Just got back from our first vacay in Hawaii with Miss Luna.  She was a dream and was meant to travel, just like her mom and dad.  We loved seeing her appreciate the flowers, trees, fresh ocean air, sounds of waves crashing, smells of delicious seafood, tastes of fresh fruit, tastes of cold beer, tastes of mai tais…wait, that might just be me and Ernie.  Either way, we do sincerely believe she felt like she was on vacay.  Afterall, she’s been working hard on those dexterity and motor skills and deserves to kick back, too!  In order to promote ultimate relaxation, we decided to visit a handful of different beaches around the island.  Unfortunately, it was unusually windy on our trip and had I known this I probably would’ve been more prepared.  Anyway, here are my suggestions to stay comfy and cozy in the sand on the beach:

1. Bring a pop-up tent or something like this. I would have loved to be in a cocoon with Miss Luna and some toys while Ernie bodysurfed and snorkeled. You’re totally protected from the sun, but still have a great view of the ocean.

2. If you can’t get a hold of a tent, bring an umbrella. That’s what we had to work with and it was good enough (we bought it at a local grocery store). Get one with bright colors and your baby will be shielded from the sun and wind and be entertained all at the same time.

3. I would have applied sunscreen to Miss Luna had I read this.  A little sunscreen is much is better than a baby sunburn. By the way, Indian people don’t sunburn so this is all a new concern for me.  I almost immediately turn a charred, third-world brown (not the attractive goldeny-bronzy-caramely brown) in the sun. Nothing more, nothing less.  However, babies are extra sensitive to the sun so I have to start thinking about this stuff.

4. Dry wash cloth(s) if you’re nursing.  Sand gets in all kinds of crevices.  Add some wind and who knows if you’ll ever get all the sand out. I’ll just say that it’s a bitch to wipe sand off of your boobs with your half wet hands while trying to control a flailing bamboo blanket, aka hooter-hider and baby burka (alternative to sunscreen), all while battling wind gusting in your face and an umbrella on the brink of flying away and injuring the sweet, babyless couple laying out 10 feet behind you.  Plan B: let your baby have some grit in his/her milk.

5. Snacks and water. Seems obvious because it is.  Even if you think “We’ll grab a big lunch after the beach,” go ahead and buy that bag of chips staring at you earlier in the day.  And some fruit, something sweet, a big ol’ water, and gum for when you are somewhere in between.

6. Magazines. I rarely have time to read mags w/ Miss Luna and I figured I’d be entertaining her on the beach so didn’t bother to bring any. I could’ve kicked myself to another island (probably the Big Island because it’s the furthest away) for not bringing the 300-page InStyle I bought at the airport, you know, just in case I had some free time on the plane.  Luna actually took a 45 minute nap on the beach and I could’ve been reading what Mila Kunis thinks is sexy and what Michelle Williams considers home, plus so much more, of course.  It remains unopened.

7. A camping chair.  This is AWESOME if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and have no choice but to sit on the ground, in this case, the sand.  It saved my back at a concert when I was pregnant and I wished we had thought of it for the beach.  I leaned up against my diaper bag this time around, but the camping chair would’ve been heaven!!

8. Plastic bags for trash and dirty diapers. Again, obvious, but I somehow forgot them.

Grocery Store Comfort

My mom has been in town for a few weeks.  She’s very Indian and very nostalgic.  She came to America in 73′ when she was 28 years old.  She definitely left a huge part of her heart in India.  Since my mom loves a good Indian grocery store (as do I — I have a HUGE love of grocery stores, especially of the ethnic variety), I decided to take her to India Sweets & Spices in Los Feliz, one of the biggest Indian grocery stores in SOCAL.  We walk in and there’s that smell — of food, spices, incense, and a miscellaneous scent that is not exactly pleasant, but not entirely offensive.  There’s something deeply comforting about it all, especially doing this with my mom.  She’s in her element and commands the aisles.  Plus, she’s a huge haggler and feels like she can get away with it in a setting like this.  For example, she picks up two heads of cauliflower at $1.50 each, but when we get to the register they ring up at $1.50 per pound.  This is shocking and unacceptable to my mom.  She repeats the information as if he’ll reduce the price and give her a special deal. He doesn’t give in and neither does she, even though I say to just buy it because…well, just because.  Nope, she makes him take if off the bill.  I enjoy watching my mom do her thing, even though it used to bother me.  After buying a few things that did meet her standard, we decided to eat lunch in the store’s restaurant.  There is zero ambiance, but again, something comforting in the straightforwardness of it all. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to so many of these types of restaurants growing up.  Order at the counter and then go sit at the most basic of tables and chairs.  This particular establishment serves both North and South Indian food, it’s super cheap and some dishes were much tastier than others.  My fave was the papdi chat, which is basically fried crispy bread topped with a variety of chutneys, chickpeas, yogurt, and cilantro.  It’s cold, saucy, spicy, sweet, crunchy, and refreshing.  I would definitely recommend it if you’re on that side of town.  Or if it’s a holiday like President’s Day when the the drive from somewhere like Westchester (no, not in New York but close to LAX) to Los Feliz is only about an invigorating and atypical, done-before-you-know-it 20 minutes.  We ate for about 13 bucks and were stuffed.

My favorite part of the trip is the paan, a betel nut leaf stuffed with rose petal preserves, candy coated fennel seeds, and other unknown (by me) spices. It’s like an after dinner mint, but heartier and chewier. It also helps with digestion, which is what I tell myself when I feel guilty for all the sticky sweet sugaryness of it.  It’s hard to find so when I see it I get very excited and the salivating begins. Ernie has a strong dislike for it and thinks it tastes like perfume.  It’s comforting because it takes me back to roadside paan stands in India, but most of all it reminds me of my dad.  He’s always loved paan and even used it make it at home from his betel nut vine.  At the end of the day I realized that I love having a 2nd culture to fall back on.  It’s like having another layer of comfort in this big world.

I’m a Junkie

I have addiction to magazines. Always have, always will.  They just plain make me happy.   I am tempted by their colorful covers, glossy pages, and enticing headlines like “10 Trips That Will Change Your Life” and “A New and Affordable Miracle Breakthrough in Hair Removal.”  I am a grocery line flipper. I’ll never spend a dime on USWeekly or Life & Style, but I sure will stand there mesmerized for a good half hour turning page after page until at least 10 people have asked me if I’m in line.  I would love to multiply my subscriptions by 20, but I kind of like having a husband. I do, however, have piles and piles of magazines around the house at all times.  Ernie prefers to live clutter free, while I don’t mind the lived -in look (a strong characteristic of coziness).  They take up space under the coffee table, on the bedside table, and in the bathroom. I also have a stack of Marie Claires on our bookshelf from a two year career with them back when I lived in New York.  Can’t get rid of those, as they contain various pieces I wrote and a handful of cameo appearances in the fashion/beauty columns (all of them favors to editors, I’m no model). Basically, I’m not going to rehab. I’ll eventually make my way through the old issues only to make room for new ones. I’ve also been known to tear out the articles I want to read and discard the rest.  As you can imagine, I also have a growing pile of articles I need to plow through. If anyone has any creative ideas on how to wrangle this issue, please share!  Here are some of my faves when I need a fix:

Afar — LOVE the off-the-beaten path and fresh take on travel journalism.  Spin the Globe is the best: they pick a destination at random and send a writer there with as little notice as possible.

Budget Travel Magazine — my go-to for realistic trip ideas.  Reader tips and real deals are what I read first.

ELLE — packed with vitamins. I flip to the back first to see which dude they’ve chosen to interview for the one-pager Q & A.  Highlights: interviews with interesting women, astrology page, features with new designers, and must-do check list.

ELLE DECOR — a fantasy island in the world of decor magazines, here’s where I get ideas of how I’d decorate my house if I won the lottery. They also give a peek inside fabulous celebrity homes.

Marie Claire — more than just fashion spreads, I love and respect that they delve into serious women’s issues around the world.

Los Angeles Magazine — their neighborhood guides inspire me to day-trip it out to a new part of town.

Anthology — can I please jump into the pages and live here??  Gorgeous photography and loads of ideas for decor, food, lifestyle, etc.

Lonny — another fantastic home decor mag that is filled with inspiration.

Lucky Peach — love this off-the-beaten path and quirky food mag.  Illustrations are so fun.

The WEEK — it’s like a shot of current events when you don’t have time to savor a cocktail. There’s something for everyone, but my faves are the real estate column and the television show suggestions.

Vanity Fair — keeps me up to date on the zeitgeist and can’t live without the Proust Questionnaire.



The Opposite of Nesting


I’m a new mom to a baby girl named Luna. Originally, I was going to start this blog at the end of my pregnancy (rewind to my first entry is below).  But, I was ummmm… too busy doing the opposite of nesting, which is odd because I am such a cozy freak. Let me explain.

September 2011— Research says women nest toward the end of their pregnancy. Not me.  Maybe it’s because it’s hot as hell in my house, or because I suffer from FOMO.  I’m driven by how many things I can check off my list to make me feel like a cool chick, belly and all.  These days not being at home sounds more appealing than organizing closets and scrubbing floors.  I know that once this baby comes, there will be almost zero opportunities to go to hear a band, indulge in an underground dinner party at a loft downtown, or meet peeps for a glass of vino on a whim.  I almost feel like I have to store up NOW on cultural fat for the baby hibernation that is to come.  Me + fun go together, afterall!  The one nesty thing I have gotten into is decorating her room.  Making her room cozy is a no-brainer. Duh.  I have all these crazy ideas, most of which come to me in a half-sleep daze at 4am between a desperate pee and a dream (nightmare, really) about having a boy instead of a girl.

Don’t get me wrong – I look forward to life with baby… but I compare it to going on a trip. I can pump myself up for it, but there’s nothing like being on the tarmac to really believe it’s happening.  Same with this baby girl – once I see her all I’ll want to do is snuggle.  I don’t think I’m going to care about getting reservations at the newest restaurant or going to nerdy q&a film screenings.  I wonder, will those urges truly go away or will the same girl wanna come out and play? I used to worry about “losing” myself, but I’m excited about becoming a new version of me.  I understand that life will change – on what level I don’t know – but I’m open and waiting and curious.

My version of nesting might just happen post baby.


Me and my husband on my due date…Didn’t want to miss a local street festival even though I was ready to pop. If only that iced coffee was a cold beer.