buy cialis once daily

Archive for May, 2010

sashimiFresh sashimi sushi, one of the foods I miss! 

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and there are still many days that I’m smacked upside the head with this realization. It’s been nearly three months since I upped sticks and moved from the urban metropolis of Los Angeles to small-town Ireland, but every day still brings a fresh realization of how different life is compared to the way it used to be.

I’ve mentioned before that living here reminds me of just how entitled I, and a lot of Americans, can be. In America, the customer is king. In Ireland, the customer is…well, just like anyone else. I recently went to Brown Thomas, a high-end department store in Dublin, to return a bottle of makeup foundation I had purchased the week before. Though the sales clerk let me try the makeup before I purchased it, the color of the makeup he put in my bag was much darker (I believe he grabbed the wrong color). When I got home and poured a tiny amount into my hand, I realized this, so I boxed it back up and took it – along with the receipt – back to BT.

(more…)

pork belly Beautiful pork belly by Maire Dufficy

My friends and I are dining at a restaurant, and my starter of grilled tomato atop garlic-rubbed grilled bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil with a dash of sea salt arrives. I say something about the beautifully ripe tomatoes and note the perfect grill marks on the bread before whipping out my camera (cue collective groan from friends) for a close-up shot of the dish. I snap away, taking breaks only to rearrange the food on my plate to get the perfect angle.

This type of pre-dining behavior is not appreciated by my friends. They even have a nickname for me – Nikon (pronounced knee-con here) as I’m hardly ever without my camera. So imagine my absolute glee when I walked into the Bord Bia offices in Dublin last week and saw a room full of camera-toting foodies – I could finally let my freak flag fly! The event, sponsored by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board) and organized by cookbook author and fellow food blogger Donal Skehan was a day of photography, cooking demonstrations, lectures, and – of course – food! Needless to say, I felt I’d finally found “my peeps.”

(more…)

 Irish boysThe next generation: boys around town

I hopped into a taxi in town the other day, and in the back seat was a gigantic bouquet of long-stemmed roses.

“Aw, you shouldn’t have!” I proclaimed. The driver laughed and told me that the flowers were for his wife. He’d been “a bad boy” the evening before and said his wife would certainly forgive him after being presented with such a bouquet. Though he didn’t specify exactly what he did, he mentioned something about a lads’ night out and that he’d been in trouble before. “But if I know my wife, these will do the trick!” he said, with complete confidence.

I notice this dynamic – the misbehaving lad and the nagging wife/girlfriend – is a very common one here in small-town Ireland. In any given group of lads at any given pub, there will be talk of the girlfriend or wife who will inevitably be upset with the boyfriend or husband who is a) drinking too much; b) flirting too much with other women; c) staying out too late; or d) all of the above. If one of the lads gets a text or phone call from his partner, the rest of the group will uproariously pressure him to ignore the call. If he actually takes the call, he will be chastised for the rest of the evening and worse, the girlfriend or wife who is calling will be branded as a nag.

(more…)

jcheesecake

Though I spent most of my life in America, I wasn’t born there. Before Arkansas, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles (all places I’ve lived at one point or another), there was the country of my birth: Japan. Officially I am half-Japanese, half-American, and retain dual citizenship.

This may sound absolutely crazy, but after living here in Ireland for a few months I’m starting to see some striking similarities between the two cultures. The most obvious (to me) is a shared love of alcohol. While the Japanese have a reputation for being quiet and relative conservative, they can drink with the best of them. It’s not unusual to see a drunken salaryman on the first train at 5 a.m., still reeking of liquor and exhausted from a night of post-work drinking with the boss. And while my Irish friends have their fare share of hilarious drunken tales, nothing beats a story from my friend Kayo. She once fell asleep in a ditch on the side of the road; she’d gotten out of the car to get sick then decided to take a cat nap instead (love this type of drunken logic!). I should note that she was not driving, but the driver fell asleep in the car waiting for her to come back. Area residents who could see her from their windows called the police, thinking there was a dead body in the ditch. The only thing she remembers is being poked with a stick by a policeman, who realized she was just intoxicated. He lectured her about being drunk in public before sending her on her way.

(more…)

LA Paris

LA view

 LA sufers  LA 2

My snaps of LA life: View of LA hillside; Paris Hilton waiting for her car; Surfers at the beach; Restaurant opening party in Santa Monica

It’s hard to believe that barely three months ago, I was packing up my life in Los Angeles and preparing for a whole new adventure in small-town Ireland. As I’ve hinted in several previous posts, I decided to move because I wanted to challenge myself and to force a change that felt necessary.

LA can be a strange place. It’s a city where residents get to observe celebrities in their natural habitat. It was perfectly common for me to see Drew Barrymore in the grocery check-out line or Orlando Bloom picking up coffee at Starbucks. Most people in my circle of friends have some connection to the entertainment industry whether it’s through work or social circles. My freelance work with a well-known celebrity magazine frequently placed me right in the center of Hollywood parties, red carpets and celeb-driven charity functions. One of my best friends works for Screen Actors Guild and my sister is a managing editor for a celebrity gossip television show. There are also actors, musicians, chefs, and filmmakers in my social group in Los Angeles.

(more…)

pork cooked

Along with vast greenery and the dark goodness that is Guinness, one of Ireland’s most plentiful resources is the beloved and tasty pig. The pork sausage and thick-cut Irish bacon are staples of the Irish fry-up breakfast (which also includes eggs, black and white puddings, toast and sometimes beans), and there are few meals more Irish than a proper bacon and cabbage dinner.

pork brining 1 big pork brining 2

(more…)

Living in a new country has had its challenges, and not surprisingly my friends here do whatever they can to make the transition as painless as possible. They’ve introduced to me other people who’ve quickly become new friends; they’ve answered endless questions on everything from television licenses and immersion heaters to farm slang and bank holidays. Whatever I may need, they are here for me and I can’t imagine surviving without them.

But part of creating my own life in Ireland is about developing both personal and professional relationships outside my circle of friends. In a very short span of time, I’ve found a supportive and fun group of people within the blogging community here in Ireland. And though I haven’t even met most of them in person, they provide great inspiration and encouragement (often times without even knowing it!). Here are a few of my new blogging friends:

image

The Daily Spud

There is no vegetable or starch as popular here as the potato, and if you want to try something new with the beloved spud, Aoife Cox of The Daily Spud can give you a few [hundred] ideas. From the classics like Champ (a velvety potato mash topped with melted butter) to eye-openers like Fruity Potato Milkshake (don’t knock it ‘til ya tried it!), Aoife has the scoop on Ireland’s favorite veg. But she doesn’t stop there; the blog offers lots of non-spud recipes, restaurant and product write-ups and even a few gardening tips, all written with dead-on dry humor and wit. I will be forever grateful to Aoife for accompanying me to a much-needed sushi night out in Dublin. She may be The Daily Spud but I refer to her as my Sushi Partner in Crime.

 

Imen

I Married an Irish Farmer

Imen McDonnell gave up her fast-paced urban life complete with an exciting entertainment-industry job for the love of an Irish farmer. She now resides with her family in the Irish countryside where she’s more likely to sport Wellies than Manolos. But with her inherent sense of style and natural glamour, Imen has created a fashionably fabulous farm life that resembles something off the pages of Country Living magazine. The best part? She also has a heart of gold. After reading one of my blog entries about a rough day, she reached out to me to offer advice and friendship. A former city-dwelling American herself, she understands how frustrating the transition to small-town Irish life can be and her support is a real gift.

 

(more…)

Dear Stacy,

It’s been two months since I moved here, and though life is quite good and probably even enviable to most of my friends back home, sometimes I wonder what I thought was going to happen here. Well, as my best friend I suppose you probably know more than anyone what I wanted to happen. I had fantasies about living in an apartment overlooking the Boyne River, sipping tea on my balcony, selling lots of fabulous articles to fabulous magazines, and of course falling in love with a dreamy guy.

Here’s the rundown so far: I do have an apartment along the Boyne River, but it faces the street, not the river. The view isn’t bad at all; I can see five church steeples and lots of birds and I don’t even mind the glaring nighttime floodlights of the shopping center across the street. I have a balcony, though due to the moist climate and the lack of a functioning drain, the wood is covered in slippery moss – not exactly what I pictured in my al fresco teatime fantasies. Selling lots of fabulous articles? Not yet, though the local paper has actually written three stories about me and I’ve been on the radio twice. I’m entirely grateful but I’ve yet to figure out how to parlay all this publicity into money-making opportunities. The other day I wrote an article about how to break into professional writing (for a friend’s website) and to be honest I almost felt like a fraud writing it.

(more…)

 

There’s nothing like a dinner party to make a new apartment truly feel like home. And though it’s been two months since I up and left the bustling city of Los Angeles for the quiet adventure of Drogheda, Ireland, it was only last Saturday that I finally hosted friends for a home-cooked meal.

I will admit that I geeked out a bit on the preparations: out came the cloth napkins and napkin rings, matching dishware and candles. I cleaned the apartment top to bottom. I even created a playlist on my iPod specifically for the dinner (major nerd, I know!). But when it came to the meal, I made food that could be cooked in advanced so I could enjoy my friends’ company versus being stuck in the kitchen all night.

(more…)