Michael Phelps – am I the only person who doesn’t think it’s a big deal?

OK, so Michael Phelps, the golden boy, was caught smoking a bong at a party in South Carolina in November and the photograph was published in some tab called “News of the World”. Why don’t I think this is a huge deal? I am not a drug user, not even recreationally, (plus what does that matter) and I understand he’s a role model for kids – I had to explain to my little one what he was doing, oh boy. But I am thinking there’s a whole lot of nothing here.

That said, our new President (and past two) admits to recreational drug use when younger. How is this much different? Surely, in the eyes of the sponsorships, it seems problematic on the surface, but he is 23 and didn’t touch a child or murder someone. I don’t mean to minimize it, but he should be careful if he wants to go out and do “hoodrat stuff”. Perhaps take along a trusted advisor and beware of camera phones and people who want to cash in on his bad judgements and fame.

As a society, we love to tear down our icons, build them back up. It’s sort of troubling. He seems a little lost and hellbent on enjoying his post-Olympic glow. Maybe it’s time he just focus a little more and concentrate on his next steps.

Besides, I am told that cereal endorsements are the perfect fit for a pot smoker. Synergies, people! Sound off.

UPDATE: some swaggery Sheriff is thinking of charging Phelps. Um, don’t you need more than a photo? I think he should lay off. That said, Phelps best have his defense attorney ready just in case.

UPDATE: Kellogg’s has dropped Phelps as a spokesman for their products.

Saturday Recipes – Heirloom Tomato Sandwich!

I obviously have a split personality today for a blogger – but I really missed doing Saturday recipes and I am now happily settled into our new family/media room and can blog and write at will. I am clearly behind on my manuscript for reasons of comfort and stress but I think this helps!

If you’re like me and you have even 12″ diameter, you can grow tomatoes! I grow all sorts of heirloom tomatoes and eat them daily. They were a little slow to come in this year in the Northeast, but they’ve been bountiful and gorgeous. For this recipe, just eyeball it and use any kind – plum, Beefsteak, green zebra, chocolate, etc. – yellow, red, orange, green, brown, purple, etc. In the South, we use plain old white bread like – gasp! – Wonder, but you can put a more chic spin by using a ciabatta or sourdough. Whatever you like – some folks add basil or goat cheese, but I am a purist and use only 4 ingredients. The goal is to enjoy the burst of tomato flavor. PS – NEVER refrigerate a ‘mater. It kills it!

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

– slices of heirloom or fresh tomatoes from market (organic preferred)
– sea or Kosher salt
– one teaspoon good Mayonnaise, either homemade or Hellmann’s
– 2 slices of the bread of your choice
– 2 turns of a cracked pepper mill

To assemble: simple smear mayonnaise on each of the two bread slices (if using a whole grain white, use a double rocks glass or round cookie cutter to make a child’s perfect circular sandwich – they love it!), arrange tomato slices on the “bottom” half of the sandwich, sprinkly liberally with salt and dust with fresh cracked pepper). Put other slice of bread on top, slice and enjoy the best of summer.

Well, that made my week – thank you, E Street Band.

So I went to see Bruce Springsteen last night and it was a barn-burner. The set list was all over the map, the arrangements were surprising, Bruce was in top form and the audience was fantastic. It was dark and brooding, wild and lighthearted, filled with longing and a summery spirit. I loved that they didn’t perform a whole lot of “Magic” – he culled the set list heavily from the past – “Growing Up”, “Tenth Avenue Freezeout”, “Spirit in the Night” and a lot of great stuff he doesn’t do normally, like “Janey Don’t You Lose Heart”, “Atlantic City”, “Mary’s Place” and a great cover of “Summertime Blues”. He played at least a three hour show, ran, flipped, did backbends over the crowd, preached, sprayed water on the crowd, collected requests, mugged for the cameras, flirted and played his heart out, as did each band member. PS – who knew Max Weinberg had so much hair?

That will probably be his last show at the old Giants’ Stadium. As a season ticket holder, I’ll miss the old clamshell. I’ll miss seeing Bruce and the band there as well.

Living in post-9/11 New York, I still shiver watching them do “The Rising” live. Those of you who think Bruce is all about “Born in the USA” (in my opinion, his weakest yet very popular album), try to listen to the older stuff (first three albums) and go to a live show. It’s a wonderful thing – it’s a religious experience. Thanks for giving this incredibly pregnant “superfan” a special night – and thanks to all of the really great Jersey fans seated with us who were so careful to give me space, dance with me and not drop beers on me. You were all so much fun.

If you didn’t make it, click here to watch the first three songs! – and here’s the set list, for those who care:

Tenth Avenue Freezeout, Radio Nowhere, Lonesome Day, No Surrender, Adam Raised a Cain, Spirit in the Night, Summertime Blues, Brilliant Disguise, Atlantic City, Growin’ Up, Janey, Don’t You Lose Heart, I’ll Work for Your Love, Youngstown, Murder Incorporated, The Promised Land, Livin’ in the Future, Mary’s Place, Working on the Highway, Tunnel of Love, The Rising, Last to Die, Long Walk Home, Badlands

Girls in Their Summer Clothes, Jungleland, Born to Run, Bobby Jean, Dancing in the Dark, American Land, Rosalita

Photos courtesy of Backstreets.com – the ultimate fansite.

Saturday Recipes – totally belated – Agua Fresca.

Agua Fresca is a cooling, satisfying summer drink I like to make in the summer – somewhat healthy, somewhat sweet (but not sugary – ewww to high fructose corn syrup), always fun and colorful. I’ve craved nothing but fruit this entire pregnancy and this drink in particular. It’s origins lie in Latin America (I am part Mexican and Cuban – yep, that’s correct) but never learned the foods and traditions of my culture, really. More on that some other time.

Anyway – this can be done with cantaloupe, raspberries, strawberries, cucumber (my fave!) or here, with watermelon. It’s simple. In its native lands, one makes agua fresca by muddling the fruit and sugar with a mortar and pestle. I am short on time and use my blender or food processor. Stay cool – it’s crazy hot everywhere!

Agua Fresca – Watermelon

2 cups cold water
2 cups chunked watermelon
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
juice of 1 lime
fresh mint
ice (optional)

Combine the cold water, melon, sugar and lime juice in a blender or processor and pulse until smooth and drinkable, not too frothy. Pour into a chilled glass over ice or not. Garnish with fresh mint.

Makes two large coolers. PS – for “adult swim”, add vodka!

3D imaging – one day available for all?

This pregnancy, after three miscarriages, I did not have an amniocentisis, so seeing the baby this detailed was a thrill, a relief, and, I believe, reserved for high risk patients. The baby’s skin is not lumpy (I know, he looks likethe surface of the Moon here, but this was over a month ago), it just captures the image quickly as he’s constantly moving, but how cool if insurance covered this for everyone?

PS – he looks just like Ava. Worth every pukey moment, every failed attempt, every ache and pain, every wish and dream. Just in love. It’s not like me to share something so personal, but I felt the need to put happy energy into the world today. I may take it down if I start feeling oddly about it.

Retail Spotlight Friday – summer beauty indulgences.

Being knocked up during the summer is a little challenging in the looking good department – especially when you are a) high risk and feeling run down, b) living in an area that gets really hot and humid, c) still need to pull it together and look polished for meetings and events. As such, retail spotlight Friday focuses on the beauty lifesavers that we are currently obsessed with at home and in the office, regardless of your situation. Not to mention, this blog can be downright depressing if not taken with the message that each and every one of us can affect change. To that point, sometimes we need a break from the realities and to indulge in some frippery. So, we love:

Body Bling Platinum by Scott Barnes – adds a touch of color and shimmer in a body lotion that gives serious glow. Cellulite disappears and limbs look long and skinny!
DiorShow Mascara in Blackout – best mascara, hands down. Perfection and worth it.
Sephora Brand Super Supreme Body Butter – smells like a dream, comes in a giant tub (wait til you have a bump!)and is made with all-natural ingredients. Great texture.
Essie Nail Polish in Bermuda Shorts – garish in the bottle, perfect on toes. I finally have broken from my pale milky pinks – everyone in the office wears this one!
The Body Shop White Musk – cheap, crisp, around for 20 years, still fresh
Korres Quince Lip Balm – so great and tastes divine. The whole line rocks.
Nars cream blush in Penny Lane – for the perfect flush, you need a cream.
Cargo Eyelighter in Gold – for the corners of your eyes, makes you look awake!
Tricia Sawyer Eye Slept balm – lacking sleep? Here’s the cure.
The Fit Flop – need we say more? Loving these!
Ted Gibson Hair Sheets – genius. I have a ‘fro unless I carry these around.
Stila Silk Eye Shadow Wash in Kitten – the perfect neutral, great on everyone
Boots No. 7 makeup remover towelettes – so cheap, anti-aging, deep cleansing

What’s Your Soundtrack Tuesday?

Aha! You thought I had forgotten. Nope, just on a little bedrest today. I have completely overextended myself and The Little One to be needs some calm and safety. But everyone knows that balance is practically unattainable in today’s society. Music helps you balance and gives you a sense of calm, energy or whatever you need to fill your soul. That said, my soundtrack today was a total mixed bag of old/new/completely geeky/melancholy.

The Killers: “When You Were Young” – searing, painful yet anthemic.
Bruce Springsteen: “Thunder Road” – for Tim Russert, of course, as The Boss dedicated it to him the other night. “Come take my hand; we’re riding out tonight to case the Promised Land…”
Tonic: “If You Could Only See” – seems like a love song; actually stalker-ish, no?
Minnie Riperton: “Loving You” – spoofed all the time, it’s an amazing song (pre-Mariah octaves) that for some reason, reminds me of soaking in the tub when I was a 9-year-old ballet student with sore muscles. Did you know she’s Maya Rudolph of SNL fame’s mama?
Bush: “Letting the Cables Sleep” – Sexiest. Song. Ever. Mr. Rossdale was never “Mr. Stefani” to me. And yowza, that video!
Brook Benton: “Rainy Night in Georgia”. Just like the title, reminds me of that very thing.
What’s in your ear today?

Retail Spotlight Friday – a tad belated – Little Boy Blue

As I am expecing a little boy soon, I have become enamored with all things that do not have trucks, airplanes or baseball motifs. Of course, if I had it my way, poor Baby Boy Seccuro would probably have wayyyy too much girlie stuff. Terrible!

I found the most darling cotton/cashmere blend hoodies, baby gowns and blankets for him by Lucky Jade Baby Cashmere – feather, twig and owl have become part of our collection and I just can’t stop. I’ve balanced the sweetness with lots of vintage rocker and skull tees, just in case his father freaks out!

Check out this site, Jen Klair Kids, for other gorgeous baby gifts. Yum!

My favorite beach named #6 beach in U.S.

You all mayhave noticed the shot of East Hampton Main Beach at the bottom of this blog. As I try to not post many pictures of Ava, you have to take my word that I have literally hundreds of pics of her frolicking in the foamy surf there, too. It’s my favorite spot to chill, watch the waves, the sunset and just breathe. In the summer, it’s a mob scene, but off season, it’s where so many walks have been taken. It’s my peace, my soul, my cup that runneth over.

Anyway, “Dr. Beach” named my EH beach the #6 best in the U.S. Yay! #3 Coopers Beach is not bad either. If you make it in the summer, try the clam chowder at the snack shack.

“What’s Your Soundtrack” Tuesday?

Today was little funky, a lot old school cheese, a little blues-y, a little morose, a little uplifting and very well edited. I loved today’s playlist and have decided to include links so you can listen right away. What’s in yours today?

“Strawberry Letter 23” – The Brothers Johnson. Cold jam. It’s the 70s and I’m at the beach, eating a sticky popsicle. Trippy and gorgeous.
“Strong Persuader” – Robert Cray – genius guitar and lyrics. Where is he now? The whole album is perfect.
“Hurt” – The Man in Black. No words for this. “…to see if I still feel.” The swan song, courtesy of Trent.
“As” – Stevie Wonder – most romantic and joyous song. Ever. Dance with your love or swing a baby on your hip.
“Message in a Bottle” – John Mayer acoustic version only as Beebe likes Sting, according to his emails. “Rescue me before I fall into despair…”
“Beth” – Kiss. Comforts me when the man is on the road. Which he is.
“Driver’s Seat” – Sniff’n’ the Tears – just an amazing,sublime song. Take the top down.
“Caruso” – Josh Groban. Don’t hate me. Love that voice. From “Betten Das”, I believe.
“Easy” – the Commodores. Doesn’t get prettier. Just Lionel in the vid.
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” – Gus, not B.O.C. Oddly calming and creepily beautiful track. Doesn’t need more cowbell. Totally disturbing “Heroes” vid. Do not watch if you like the cheerleader!
“Trigger Hippies” – Morcheeba. They do no wrong.