Category: Nat’s Upcoming Events & Tips

Halloween, as we know it today, is an American tradition, but it actually originated in Ireland.

It was the celebration of, “Samhain”, the transition between summer and winter. The Celtic people felt that October 31st was a time to honor the dead and try to communicate with beloved ones that died.

During the period when the Catholic Church coerced the Celtics into Christianity, it combined it with “All Saints Day” (November 1st) but also heavily encouraged prayer and religious festivities the night before.

So October 31st previously known as “Samhain”, became “All Hallows Eve”. The church even supported “All Hallows Eve” by including it on all calendars, which increased the number of people celebrating it, and soon it became a holiday commonly referred to as Halloween.

Halloween came to America only in the 1800’s, when Ireland suffered many potato famines, and Irish Catholics came to the country. Their traditions changed to accommodate their new land, so the turnips that were used for lanterns became pumpkins and evolved as a “Jack-O-Lantern.”

Halloween became very popular during the 20’s, when American cities began sponsoring costume parties and parades. Finally in the 30’s Halloween became one distinct holiday.

It was first only an adult holiday, but after World War II ended, the population exploded with the “Baby-Boom”, and the holiday extended to children.

In the 90s, “Baby-Boom” children became parents and have truly embraced Halloween. This holiday became one of the most popular holidays in America.



Now that we know the origins of Halloween. Let’s talk about what it became today.

You will think Halloween became a children holiday, where they go from house to house, to “trick or treat” and collect candies.

In the States, adults get a kick out of it, as well. They love to get dressed and party. Besides few people who gets scary or funny costumes, most of the women get sexy ones.

So every Halloween, women fight to find the sexiest costume. The streets are full of slutty nurses, slutty police officers, slutty witch, and slutty pirates. Name the costume and they will make a sexy version.

I personally don’t like to dress up, so when I am in NY, my friends have to drag me to buy a costume. First I thought it was sweet that everybody wanted to get dressed up. Then I understood why it is such a big holiday. Halloween is simply a one night stand holiday without the remorse (as you are dressed up as someone else).

I have to admit the biggest pleasure is to sit at a coffee shop the following morning, and watch all the walk of shames. The sexy bumbling bee walking without one wing and broken antennas or the slutty baby who looks like crashed baby with her make up half gone…

So tell me who regrets most last night?
The kids who ate way too much candy and have stomach aches?
Or adults who drank too much with a massive hangover and basically don’t remember the end of their night?!?!

I am so luck to be in Europe where Halloween isn’t really celebrated, I spent my night on my couch watching TV ;)

In my family, we celebrate Easter twice; once with everyone and again with the Orthodox. This year, it was a week apart. It can be the same week-end or even five weeks apart, depending on the year.

The first Easter week-end, we spent the bunny day at my brothers. Hid the eggs for the kids to find, did the egg tapping and as usual over ate.

I want to talk about the Orthodox Easter.

As you know Easter is a Christian holiday that starts on the Good Friday by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and ends with his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In the orthodox church, in Mersin, (my hometown located in south of Turkey) on Good Friday morning all the ladies go to church and bring flowers to decorate Jesus tomb.

It is a tradition that I love. Everybody is involved. The adults prepare the flowers and the kids put the colored eggs in bags; some ladies stay in the kitchen and prepare a giant tabbouleh.

A tabbouleh is a middle eastern salad made of bulgur (wheat), tomato, onion, and finely chopped parsley and mint, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

Once it is ready, the priest invites us in, and we all share the tabbouleh with bread and salad leaves.

This year was the first time that we brought my niece and nephew with us. While I was getting rid of the thorns, they were assisting me on taking out the extra leaves of roses. Later I put them in duty with the eggs. Once all the eggs in bags, the priest blessed them.

After all the tasks, we went inside the church and passed three times under Jesus tomb to represent the three days of Easter and prayed.

The cutest thing was my nephew who asked me in which language he should pray: Turkish or French. I have answered he can choose the language he wanted.

I think it is always important to keep some traditions. Even though, the kids are too young to understand the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection, they understand getting together and praying for Jesus Christ.

Sure, they prayer can be basic, such as for the sick dog or to have a special dish for lunch… but it still brings them to church and enjoy it…

Happy Easter everyone!!!

When you live in Geneva, you keep complaining that there is nothing to do. Geneva is not a big city like Paris, Milan, London or New York, so you cannot expect the city to have the same attractions.

It is true that at 6 – 7pm in winter the roads are deserted, and when the temperature goes below 0 degrees Celsius, it becomes a Ghost town.

Let me tell you, life doesn’t stop after work, you can find several things to do. For example, going to the theater.

The Swiss Arthur prod is a company that brings Parisian shows to our city. They even offer you a season pass where you can purchase in advance 8 shows, and they offer you the ninth one.

The price varies between 250 chf to 810 chf according to your seat.

All the shows are at Theatre du Leman, just under the Hotel Kempinsky, Geneva.

My sister, who is a smart cookie, bought a season ticket for two. Due to my traveling, I managed to catch only two shows. I can tell you that they were very well chosen. She told me that all the selected theater shows were fun and worth every penny.

Last night we went to see a one man show, the comedian name is Olivier de Benoist. I have personally never heard about him, but I guess I was the only one (shame on me). He is one of the funniest men I have seen lately. And the public loves him.

I encourage all my French speaking peeps to give him a shot.

I know that we cannot compare Geneva Theater life to Broadway or Paris, but it is still great. I had a sneak peak of next season’s program; it is really worth it.

What can I say about Beauty & Essex, besides Chris Santos found the best formula to attract people? He took the great Stanton Social concept and put it in a bigger and a better environment.

The formula is simple: great décor, great food and a great crowd.

This beautiful two level restaurant is hidden behind a fake pawn shop. When you enter, your right away gets excited about the atmosphere. Leather coaches with wooden tables, great bar, and a big chandelier that connects the two floors.

Add to the early 60s décor beautiful people, then you just do your best to get a table. Unfortunately, it is one of those restaurants where you have to fight or book way in advance to get a table… unless you agree to eat dinner at 5pm ;)

I went to Beauty & Essex, at their opening week-end (how can I miss that) with my best friend. We of course didn’t have a table so after few drinks at the bar, crashed a couple’s table.

The menu is the same idea than Stanton Social (Chris Santos other restaurant). You have small dishes, tapas style, from all around the world. We chose few dishes to share and taste: the kobe beef carpaccio, the tomato tartare, the lobster tacos, and heritage baby back ribs.

They were all good, not exceptional but very good. The service was also great.

The crowd was composed of a bit of everything. Couples, groups and of course the weekend “bridge and tunnel”. For the “starstruck”, this is a great place to see your favorite stars.

And if you are thirsty for a glass of bubbles; you can simply go to the ladies room, where they celebrate you leaving the place with a glass of bubbles.

To sum it up, Beauty & Essex is a place not to miss. I maybe prefer the food at Stanton Social, but the décor and the crowd makes you forget about it, and makes you an addict ;)

We all have hectic lives, between kids, work, traffic, tv, internet, blackberry, or i-phones each of us try to find a moment of peace for ourselves.

I first discovered Insens with my friend “disco girl”, we went for lunch. The minute the elevator opens, and you enter you feel great. Coming from the city noises, traffic and chaos… suddenly you find yourself in silence and calm.

They offer massages, Yoga and Pilates classes also lunch.

I have never tried the massages as I have the best massage therapist, who comes home; but my mom did, and she loved it.

I had lunch there few times. When you book for lunch, you have to choose between the vegetarian and the protein dish (the only two options). This time, we have opted for the protein dish. It was a tuna cooked black and blue with its vegetables, a tomato soup and black rice.

The presentation was as good as its taste; simply delicious.

It was so silent, that we had to talk with our inside voices; you know the voice you use when you want to chat in church, lol.

It was just a perfect moment to relax, eat well and feel just great. After lunch, we were ready to attack the afternoon with full of energies.

So if, you also need to escape your daily life chaos for a little moment, I highly advise you to go to Insens. You won’t be disappointed!!!!

In our days, everybody is addicted to their phones.

I personally sleep with my blackberry; some people even asked me if my phone was surgically attached to my hand… Who can blame me? Between the calls, the bbm, the whats app, the sms, the emails and facebook, my phone is irresistible. All my business and private data are stored in it.

I even thought to create a BAA, “Blackberry Addicts Anonymous” for myself and my friends who have the same illness.

So when I overloaded my poor blackberry with too much information, it started to get tired and freeze. That was a sign to change it and get a better version.

For the ones who don’t live in Switzerland, Swisscom is the biggest telecom company in the country. It is our T-Mobile, Verizon, Vodafon or Turkcell. You will think that they are the best… well I have my doubts.

There are few Swisscom shops in town, I went to the biggest one in the rue du Marche to get my phone. When you enter you take a ticket, like in a post office to wait your turn. When your turn arrives, you just hope to have a qualified person to help you, which is not the case most of the time.

After my purchase that cost me an arm, they have sent me to the “pro” to transfer all my data from one phone to the other. I had already backed up my phone in my computer, but I said what the hell it will make my life easier.

The pro exported all my contacts, the challenge was to start my internet and mails. You will think they are used to that, well wrong again.

After 3hours and 45 minutes, 3 calls to the expert, higher expert and highest expert they failed in the task. I have asked them if they have WIFI access, so I could get connected and make it work. They told they only have cable access… which is quite suspicious, as it is their main job.

It will be like being in a shoe store, without any shoes on shelves; you could only order them through a catalog!!!!

So, after losing my whole afternoon, they finally declared forfeit; and told me a top expert will call me for support.

I came back home frustrated, and thought let me try with the home WIFI connection.

Funnily, it took me only 7 minutes to make it work and function my phone….

I don’t even know if I need to add anything, besides I highly advise you to avoid the Swisscom shop for help. They are useless.

I know it has been a while I haven’t updated my blog… so sorry about that. Good news! Now I am back!!!!

So let me talk about my catering discovery in Geneva. When I decided to organize a party for my birthday, I just wanted to enjoy and not be bothered by the cooking and serving.

You have several catering services available in Geneva, but I wanted something different, more personal than a hotel catering.

Fusion des Sens is exactly what I looked for. After a first meeting with the owner and chef, we have decided to make a menu composed with bite size foods with all the flavors of the season.

Let me tell you, Fusions des Sens (fusion of senses) is the correct name of this catering service. We had a menu composed of 14 different dishes, where you could savor an explosion of flavors in your mouth. We had a sampling of everything: salmon tartar, burbot carpaccio, shrimps, beef, duck, foie gras, risotto, chicken and many more.

Thinking about it, I am hungry again.

They came with their staff, so I had 3 chefs working in my kitchen, delivering a show, while 3 waiters passing around with drinks and food. Every time food came out of the kitchen; it was a game to discover its components. The waiters were very sweet and funny. The owner had given them the instruction to feed me; so if I was busy talking (which we know never happens) and not eating, I was reprimanded.

Good thing that my mom was off duty and party mode that day;)

What can a girl expect more: amazing food, great service and a show that could make blush the show “Top Chef”.

With the Holiday season around the corner, if you are planning a party, don’t think twice, contact Fusions des Sens… and don’t forget to invite me ;)

Have you ever been to Madrid Airport? Especially Terminal 4? It is the 11th biggest of the world and the 4th in Europe.

Well if you haven’t been, let me advise you something; arrive 3 hours in prior to your flight.

Cause it takes 30 minutes to check in, 45 minutes to pass the security control, and an hour and a half to reach your gate….

Sure there are nice stores, but that is not the reason, cause you don’t have time to shop. The reason is you need to walk, take the train, get lost, and walk again to catch your flight. In such big airport, you expect to have stores near your gate, well they exist, but they are closed, I guess hiring so many people will cost a lot….

Don’t get me wrong, beautiful airport…. But here are few problems….

As I have mentioned before they have an underground train to bring you to the gates; so instead of walking 45 minutes you walk 20 minutes before and after the train.

On the other hand, they don’t have a train station to bring you to the city or to other destinations… even our little Geneva airport has that….

And you better be sure about your Terminal before arriving at the airport, there are no indications on the road about companies and their Terminal. Once you arrive, there is no one who really tells you what to do… you are basically on your own.

My friend who traveled with us, after asking few people learned that she should take the bus shuttle between Terminals… these buses are supposed to pass every 5 minutes, but actually it was every 20 minutes.

Basically, she was stuck in the wrong Terminal and the cabs refused to take her as it wasn’t far enough, so she barely made to her flight.

I am telling you Madrid airport is beautiful and big. But if you want to enjoy your trip and not miss your flight, you have to arrive 3 hours in advance, wear comfortable shoes, know your terminal… and have a little picnic (drinks and a little snack) with you. Because from the moment you leave your cab, to the moment you arrive to your gate, it is a journey in itself ;)

Since I arrived to NY, I have been quite lucky with the weather. Normally I am in search of great terraces in Geneva, who will think I will be doing the same in NY… especially when some terraces are not allowed to be open on specific dates.

Thanks God NY is full of Italian restaurants, and they don’t follow those official rules ;) So with this beautiful sunny day, Lady Fleur and I have decided to check Da Silvano.

This restaurant that opened 36 years ago, is serving Tuscan food and attracts not only the locals but lots of celebrities. The secret? Well to start with delicious food, great service and an amazing terrace.

We were lucky cause we found right away a nice breezy spot to sit. We decided to share an artichoke salad, then we both took pastas. I had the Penne Integrali al Pesto, which is whole wheat penne with basil pesto (trying to be healthy, lol). Lady Fleur took the Spaghettini Puttanesca, described on the menu as Spaghettini “whore style”, tomato, garlic, black olives, capers, anchovies.

They were both incredibly tasty and we finished with my favorite “Torta della Nonna”… miam.

The crowd was a mixture of the hip youth of Greenwich Village, some tourists, some “wannabes” and off course us, the hungry ones.

Let’s take a minute to describe the Greenwich crowd. The boys are young, with hats that look like condoms (but I guess it is stylish) and the girls are even younger, with very long legs and daisy dukes and ankle boots.

One thing is sure they are not eating pastas; or the water in the village has a special power to make them thin and tall… not very sure.

But one thing is sure, fashion or not, they should all wash their hair, and iron their clothes. I thought the grunge look was so last year, what happened? Did I miss the memo?

The service was great. Da Silvano himself came to check if we enjoyed our lunch. He fell in love with my bag hook, proposed me 100 usd for it. Then later when I tried to give him back his money, he wanted to purchase my necklace for 200 usd.

So maybe that is the secret of Da Silvano, you go there, you eat and you leave with money… especially when the hook and the necklace cost in total 55 usd, and almost left the restaurant with 300…

What can I say, besides, will go back and this time bring more accessories to be able to pay my rent;)

This year I have spent Easter in NY. Lack of my niece and nephew no egg fight, no egg hunt… but guess what? Easter brunch!!!!

To keep the good habits we decided to go to Westville, my favorite brunch spot in NY. This restaurant has two locations. I only go to the one in Chelsea. It is our spot with my boyzzzz. This time lady fleur joined us, as well.

As usual we shared the yummy dishes from the market. Grilled artichokes and fennels, brussel sprouts (don’t say “beurk”, I became addicted), and grilled zucchini with tomatoes and mozzarella.

Then I ordered my usual Sunday brunch fix: eggs benedicts with a side of crispy bacon. I am sure you all know this dish, but for the ones in the unknown of this dish, it is poached eggs on bread with hollandaise sauce on top. Everybody can do poached eggs; the secret is the hollandaise sauce. I think at this point I can write a “Zagat” of good and bad hollandaise sauce in NY. And the one at Westville is simply delicious.

No need to say it is very light… But believe me, it is worth every calorie of it.

The pictures will be added next week, as I forgot to take them, oops… I guess I was really hungry.

After our lunch, we hit the J&R Terrace (the amazing roof terrace of my boys) to play cards under the sun. Did u ever hear of this game called Americano? In Turkey everybody knows, for the rest of the world it is a kind of rummy, but to be able to open your hand each game has a different rule.

I think from far it is the most addictive card game… ask lady fleur who is infected and dreams about playing again.

We played for 4 straight hours, with some white wine and vodka, some food to nibble, and a helicopter in the sky. I guess it was there to film the NY Easter parade… or they were curious about our game, and stayed there to understand the game, lol.

Between you and me, they must have been confused, because of the weather changing we started at the terrace, continued inside to finish at the terrace…

Overall, best way to spend the Easter Sunday, no egg hunt, just tanning, playing cards and drinking with my peeps!!! And I am the Spring Bunny, so who needs the Easter Bunny anyway ;) ))))