Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dream On

Everyone has a dream. If you've been following this blog, you know mine is to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime in Paris. Ali Handal, a talented singer, songwriter, and musician, I met while working on a Pledge Drive at KCRW years ago, dreams of recording her next record with Slash, courtesy of a musical contest. If you would like to receive a free MP3 download of Ali's next CD, which hasn't even been released yet, vote for her on the Famecast website. She's a cross between Sarah McLachlin, Suzanne Vega, and Joni Mitchell with a rock edge. According to Ali, "In order to vote, you'll need to register as a FAN on the Famecast website (FYI: you can opt out of receiving emails from the contest sponsors). After you register, you'll receive an email from 'Your Next Record,' and then you'll need to verify your email address on their website. Once you're verified, you can vote for me once a day, every day, until the contest ends on April 30. Just email me letting me know that you voted for me, and I'll send you a new song every time you vote." So, if you want to receive some stellar new tunes for free, get busy!

When I was in France, my favorite female rocker was Jeanne Mas. At the time, she reminded me of a French Madonna. Like Madonna, she's still playing sold out shows at the Olympia Theatre in Paris with her band - Mike Pachelli and Willis Clow (guitars), Todd Connelly (bass), Matt Lesser (drums) and Balint Sapszon (keyboards). I suppose it's no surprise I would be thrilled to see either of them perform in Paris today.

Whatever your wish is, Hormel Foods is giving away $25,000 (awarded as cash) in their Home Renovation Sweepstakes. That's a good chunk of change to help make any dream to happen. Make it real and enter.

Voilà - the link to the Hormel Foods Home Renovation Sweepstakes:

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Thanks to The Liquid Muse, I had the pleasure of attending an underground cocktail event at a sizzling new Spanish restaurant called La Vida in Hollywood, where yes, the food is loco yummy. Founder and mixology maven Natalie Bovis-Nelsen launched the underground Liquid Muse Cocktail Club to introduce some of the finest concoctions in an array of intriguing southern California venues. La Vida's house sangria was the perfect accompaniment for their cool combo of pineapple shrimp salsa and tarot root on purple Peruvian potato chips. Veev's refreshing Treetini, a martini made with the hot new acai spirit, paired well with delicious skewers of black pepper beef served on cute mini wood-burning grills. Sound tempting? Currently, membership in the Liquid Muse Cocktail Club is complimentary, so register here! These exclusive events -- including the drinks and appetizers -- are free, but you'll have to RSVP promptly if you would like to attend. With only room for about 40 people, they fill up fast!

Natalie revealed one of her favorite bars in Paris is the intimate Expérimental Cocktail Club. "It hits the right note of mixology parlor meets neighborhood bar with intriguing decor (taxidermy and the like)," she says. "It takes a bit of savvy to find it, but once inside, it's worth the adventure." So wander down the quiet alley to this rustic-chic, neo Baroque watering hole, and search for the discreetly marked door. Woman's Day is giving away $1,000 for a Super Spring Break, which ought to cover a plane ticket and drinks. Raise your glass to toast and enter.

Voilà - the link to the Woman's Day Super Spring Break Sweepstakes:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Café Society

People-watching at a Paris café is how I prefer to start the day when I'm in France. If you're feeling artsy, grab a table on the terrace outside Le Sélect in Montparnasse. Hemingway, Picasso, Henry Miller, Emma Goldman, and Luis Buñuel used to hang out here in the 20s. Brassaï, the photographer who gave us many bird's eye views of Parisian streets lived above it. Aside from the prices, the place hasn't changed much since this Left Bank institution opened. Want more dish on this famous Montparnasse café? Read Noël Riley Fitch's entertaining portrait, Paris Cafe: The Select Crowd, which is illustrated by Rick Tulka. Dreaming of visiting it? An American café, Mimi's, is giving away a trip to Paris. Included are roundtrip airfare for two, 4 nights in a hotel, a Bateaux Parisiens Dinner Cruise for 2 on the Seine, and more! Put down the coffee and enter.

Voilà - the link to Win a Trip to France from Mimi's Cafe Sweepstakes:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Entertaining Ile St. Louis

Entertaining the notion of a short-term flat rental in Paris, my first choice of arrondissements would be Ile St. Louis. Named for a popular king who read poetry to the animals of the island, this charming enclave was developed in the late 1500s and is still lined with 17th century townhouses. I bumped into Kenneth Branagh in a brasserie the last time I visited, but other celebs such as Joni Mitchell, Johnny Depp, and Ingrid Bergman have also resided here.

The first order of business is faire du lèche-vitrine, better known as window shopping. Plenty of establishments will assail your senses, including Berthillon, which sells the richest, creamiest ice cream in the city. You can duck out at La Petite Scierie, which serves all kinds of farm fresh ducky delicacies. Or, get cheesy at La Ferme Saint-Aubin. After night falls, kick back in a vaulted stone cellar better known as Franc Pinot and listen to some jazz. Now that's entertainment.

And speaking of entertainment, Fox Home Entertainment is giving away a prize a day in honor of their 75th anniversary. The biggest prize of all? $75,000, which will buy you some time on this enchanted island. Jazz up your life and enter.

Voilà - the link to the Fox Home Entertainment 75th Anniversary Sweepstakes:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Show Time!

I was raised that it's always better to give than receive. When you can do both, even better! Showtime (You know, the crazy network: United States of Tara, Diary of a Call Girl, Californication) is running a Nurse Jackie sweepstakes. No, they aren't giving away prescription drugs. More like $5,000, plus up to $20,000 for your favorite charity. (If you need some help choosing one, I'm partial to the Starlight Children's Foundation and Food Forward. Nurse your addiction to Paris with a creative trip while being charitable. Check into the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre (or ring the bell and mention the words "boire un verre" to enter the incredible secret garden) for an artful stay. Slip into the World of Yves St. Laurent exhibit at the Petit Palais and discover this couturier's eye-catching retrospective. Then, pay homage to Jim Morrison at Pere Lachaise, where someone is bound to be singing People Are Strange by his graveside. For supper? Tuck into an underground dinner, with a small group of like-minded foodies, thrown by Hidden Kitchen. Doctor's orders: march on over and enter.

- the link to the Nurse Jackie Sweepstakes:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pitt Country

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been photographed on numerous vaporettos in Venice since she started shooting the new film, The Tourist, which co-stars, Johnny Depp. The steamy movie is reportedly about an American tourist (Depp), who escapes to Italy to mend a broken heart. Jolie, who plays an Interpol agent, draws Depp's character into a dangerous web of intrigue when she tries to find a criminal who was once her lover. If all those pix of the Pitt-Jolie clan have whet your appetite for Italian life, you'll be hungry to hear that Olive Garden is giving away 4 culinary tours of Italy. The grand prize includes roundtrip airfare for two to Italy, 7 nights in a hotel, all guided tours, 2 meals per day, all ground transportation in Italy, and excursions to Florence, Rome, San Gimignano, and Riserva di Fizzano, near Castellina in Chianti to visit Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany. Want to be more than a tourist? Bone up on Italy before you go by reading these enchanting memoirs: The Olive Farm, The Olive Tree, and The Olive Harvest. Give Italy the boot and head to Paris when you're done. O-live and enter.

Voilà - the link to the Olive Garden's Win a Culinary Tour of Italy sweepstakes: