Category: Geneva

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 ;)

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.

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 ;)

Off course after all my NY Food festival; I need to do some damage control. A friend of mine told me about this remarkable coach who transformed her.

I did every health club in Geneva; Holmes Places was the worst for me. I paid a huge amount of money, and went twice I think. The classes are worthless, and I really don’t like the atmosphere. Silhoutte was another club that I stopped going because of parking issues.

The last couple of years I started to go to Plaza Sport. I had excellent classes with great teachers; unfortunately, they fired those teachers… so I only go for Zumba classes.

So when my friend told me about “Palestra”, I was really excited to start. It is a more private gym, where you have 3 trainers who help you shred the weight and build your body.

I am working out with the boyz; each of them in their own way tortures you. After the first session, I didn’t manage to walk. I had to literally roll out of bed. After the second session, I was limping…. You will think that it gets easier with time; but no… they stimulate new muscles at every session. In other words after each session I discover a new muscle in my body.

Next to the workout, the big persecutor gives you a diet. This diet is to eat protein and vegetables (hmmm, never heard of that, lol).
The good news is you can have dark chocolate at night (a little, not the full bar!!!), and can drink max 6 glasses of bubbles per week. Not tempting yet? well what about this one: “once a week you eat whatever you want!!!!”

There is however one big rule: don’t eat any fruit or salad after 6pm.

When I heard that rule, I started to laugh, thinking of “The Gremlins” and asked him, what will happen if I eat after 6pm? Will I become a monster? Or like in the movie, be the cute Gizmo that gives birth to naughty gremlins…

Not sure if he got it….

Anyway, so far I love the challenge, I just wish I had less pain in my muscles….And I have already started to see the results (no kidding I work out 4 to 5 times a week)

Don’t worry though it won’t stop me to try new restaurants and criticize them ;)

This year I decided to cook a Thanksgiving dinner and told some friends to join me.

In the states Thanksgiving is a big deal. The reason is simple: the country is composed of so many religions, colors or beliefs that while some celebrate Christmas, others celebrate Diwali or Rosh Hashanah. One thing for sure, everybody celebrates Thanksgiving Day.
All the kids travel to their parent’s home to spend that day with the family.

For me Thanksgiving means: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which consists of 25 enormous air balloons, a turkey that nobody really loves but eats anyways and busy airports with long cab lines. The best part of it? The following day… they call it “Black Friday”, where you have incredible sales on everything. Believe me it is worth it :)

As in Geneva, we don’t have any of this and some people don’t even know Thanksgiving, it was fun to organize it. The dinner is made up of a turkey and lots of side dishes such as yams (sweet potatoes), cranberry jelly, cornbread, sweet corns and a pecan pie as a dessert.

I didn’t find a fresh American turkey in Geneva, so I ordered a French one from “Boucherie du Molard”. The good news is that they deliver so I didn’t need to walk around with my heavy bird.
For the stuffing, I decided to put aside all the recipes that I had and created a homemade one, with rice, foie gras, dry raisins, ground veal and grated green apples..
For the side dishes thank god we have a few American stores and I discovered a great one in Cologny called “American Avenue Market”. No need to say I emptied the store.
And thank god I have my mom and sis who took care of the dessert: pecan pie and pumpkin pie…. yummy.

The big challenges of Thanksgiving when you are not in the states? Well to start with we don’t have big ovens…. And my turkey of roughly 15 pounds felt a little tight in my oven. I called him Romeo as we spent the whole day together, from cleaning him to filling him up and taking care of him so he wasn’t too dry. This special bond didn’t help my back pain, but it was worth it.
Romeo was delicious and moist… He delivered every expectations I had of him. It was a perfect vacation fling ;)

For Thanksgiving we are supposed to say why we are thankful. Well, I am thankful for my mom and sis to help me and my friends to join us…. And I am thankful for Romeo to be there for us;)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

This week-end my jeweler from Istanbul came to Geneva for a private sale with his new Fall Collection.
Last year the expo was held at the hotel Cygogne, but this year they wanted a more prestigious hotel, so we picked Hotel President Wilson. They took the luxury suite and transformed it to a cozy living room, where the clients could come, admire the beautiful pieces while sipping their bubbles or wines.

The Fancy Jewelry has several stores in Istanbul, and a clientele from all over the world. This week-end was about their clients who live in Geneva, as well as the newbies.
The pieces were so beautiful, and I can proudly say, I tried all of them. Let me put you some pictures, so you would understand what I am talking about ;)

I was really impressed with Hotel President Wilson, and their services. It is already a beautiful hotel and their policy goes with Nat & The City policy: make the client feel special.

I just wished they would do more events to bring the crowd. The hotel is really beautiful, the flower arrangements would make blush Four Season… but it seems like someone who has a brand new home and is afraid that “the guests” would ruin the new and shiny furniture.
They have to do a Sunday Brunch to start with, everybody goes to la Reserve, cause it is the hotel hip for brunch. The Bar at President could be more hip, and they even have a DJ booth!!!

Anyway, now that the jewelry left, I have less bling bling during my days… And with this non-stop rain, I would need some sparkle to brighten my day.
Thanks god they left me some pieces, so contact me if you need some of my bling bling…. here are the pictures

Money Lisa 2009 - acrilique on 12 American original banknotes

Money Lisa 2009 - acrilique on 12 American original banknotes

My friend, who owns Minerva Fine Arts, organized a great exposition of one of her artists, “Antonio Natale”. He is known to paint on banknotes that are not in circulation anymore, and I love every single piece of it. And after seeing his success, I guess I am not the only one who likes this talented artist from Puglia.

We decided that after the exposition we would all go and have dinner at “Luigia”.

As you all know by now, Luigia is the new happening restaurant of Geneva. You can find from teenagers to jeweled up Geneva ladies, passing by the hip crowd having dinner side by side. You will think that not being able to book for a table (so sometimes even waiting for 45 minutes), would stop the flow… in the contrary it seems that every time I go, there are more people waiting for a table.
I guess the great food and ambiance helps a lot; as some people would say: “you have the feeling to be in Italy”.
Some complains about the noise, but again… although it is the “to go” place, it remains a pizzeria. If you want a quit spot, go to an Auberge.

As we were going to be around 20, I booked upstairs, the private section. So this time we didn’t wait long, just the time to set the table.
Before everybody has decided for their main plates, we ordered some “Chiacchiere” (fried pizza dough) for the middle with cold cuts and buffalo; unfortunately they were out of mozzarella, so they replaced with other yummy cheese.
As main course, some took pasta with aubergines that looked to die for, some went for pizzas, and I took the “Veal Marsala” (sweet wine from Sicily). The veal was tender and the Marsala sauce was really delicious.

Although we were upstairs (so easy to be forgotten), we had an amazing service. My only complaint would be that we had to leave around midnight; I wish Luigia had an annex for after dinner… because everybody was in a great mood, and we would have stayed longer.

So my Italian evening was a success, great expo, great food, great service, and beside some people who were on a bad mood, amazing company!!!!

Since I am back from New York, days past so quickly in Geneva.

The first week-end of my arrival I went to the wedding of a friend. The church was in Veyrier (a small village by Geneva) and off course in the middle of the ceremony I had an urge to visit the bathroom.

No one wanted to lend me his/her children, so I could use him as an excuse to leave and search for a bathroom. Finally decided that I was on my own and discretely left the church. You have to know something; in Veyrier, there are no cafes or restaurants open Saturday morning, only a small market. After walking around for a hope and considering to relieve myself behind a tree…. The grocery store told me that there was a public bathroom.

Yes Nat went to a public “alaturca bathroom” (squat toilet)…. I have to say it is a challenge when you have pants and a coat, and a bag… so you need to get creative. Thanks god nobody wanted to pass me their kid after all; I wouldn’t know what to do with him or her.

Anyway, my tip of the day, before entering the church in Veyrier on Saturday make a deal with a coffee shop so they can be open for emergencies … or pray that the grocery stores’ have been repaired ;)