Pink Trash Travels

It's officially Friday in Greece so technically this week's edition of Club Fridays isn't early...

Who says Club Fridays needs to feature just one, two or even seven songs? How about two hours of T-dance fun mixed by Jamie J. Sanchez - superstar DJ from San Francisco? Featured on his website, both hours include (as noted on his website) ", uplifting anthems and classic tunes perfect for those sunny summer days." For the link to hour one, go here. And for the link to hour two (and my favorite), go here.

Greece Live! - Manifestation

We didn't see any fires flying over Greece (I tried looking out the window but Chris grew tired of my search). But, we know they're here due to the light, smoky haze in the air (and because of the world's press focused on how poorly the government responded to the tragedy).

In demonstration of the people's frustration, last night they staged a silent protest with everyone dressed in black. I was the oddball as I was wearing red. I wonder what that meant.

Greece Live!

We arrived in Athens just a few hours ago. While I wait for the shower (due to a short but intense cardio workout downstairs), I thought I'd give my initial opinion of this ancient city: it's all shades of brown - the buildings, the vegetation and even (to some extent) the sky (apparently from the fires below). But the Acropolis and the Olympic Stadium, on the other hand, are quite impressive (even from our cab). And that's why we're here. We'll see them up close and personal tomorrow. Today, it's all about lunch, the pool, and possibly bowling and a movie next door at Star City (not really, but it's fun to know it's an option!).

When in Rome...or Greece

Because we're going to Mykonos, I needed to buy a new swimsuit for the occasion. I didn't want the traditional board shorts but something a bit more European. So, when I was out riding my bike and I stumbled across a store with eclectic swimwear, I decided to check it out. 30 minutes later, I walked out with two square cut numbers by ES. Never before would I wear such skimpy things, but knowing what Mykonos is all about, I decided to be adventurous. Besides that, why do I spend almost two hours in the gym six days a week if I'm not going to show it off? I say that now. We'll see if I really wear them or if they're still displaying the tags by Labor Day. To check out the ES website, and the hot models that go along with it, go here.

Miss Teen Goes Blank

It doesn't have much to do with Munich, Europe, music or anything usually featured on PTT. But after watching Miss Teen USA contestant Lauren Caitlin Upton from South Carolina flub her answer (and most poetically try to rebound by adding "For the children" at the end of her response), I had to pass it along.

First the Fires, Now This

This week, first we found out there are massive fires burning Greece. Last night, we learned Xavier fell on Sunday while hanging his new imported blinds and badly hurt his knee. So he's not joining us on Friday. As a result, Chris and I will once again be alone on holiday.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that Chris and I don't want to spend time together. It's just that we're alone ALL THE TIME. So having friends along for this type of vacation (where you hang by the pool, go out for drinks, dinner, etc.) makes it much more enjoyable for both of us.

There is one consolation: our friends Eric and Filippo from Munich will also be in Mykonos, but because their staying with mutual friends in a house, they'll most likely have their own agenda. We'll all make the effort, but it can be challenging sometimes with so many people involved.

Sure, there could be worse things than being alone in Mykonos. After all, we've got the ocean. We've got the sun. We've got a nice hotel (we hope). Besides that, maybe we'll meet another couple with a similar agenda - ones who be our new BFF (at least for the week).

Greece Under Fire

Of course, now that we leave for Athens and Mykonos in a week, raging fires are burning across the southern part of the country - apparently blackening the evening sky in Athens and turning the moon red. Great. Just great.

Please, I Beg U

Why is it most people never express their opinion? If you're in a restaurant, and your meal is cold, say something. If you're shopping and nobody is around to help, find someone and let them know. And, I beg you, if you're in a hot movie theater where the chocolate is actually melting, don't walk away with your tail between your legs after the film ends. Go to the front desk and inform them your M & Ms (the candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hands) was dripping from the package. Please don't use the excuse your opinion won't matter. If you never say anything, it surely won't. If you do, at least there's a chance it might.

Oh Crap!

Because of this, maybe I won't be eating my 1/2 pound chicken come Oktoberfest.

Weather Gone Bad in France

The weather in France this summer is the worst it's been in 30 years. As a result, experts are predicting an increase in depression cases. I'm not sure the weather has anything to do with their attitude. That's just France.

The Road 2 Oktoberfest

Happy Birthday Big Mac!

Considering the Big Mac (in a roundabout way) partly pays for us to be living in Munich, I feel as though I should send birthday wishes to the triple-decker sandwich turning 40. So, "Happy Birthday!" and thanks for everything.

Club Fridays is back on schedule this week - just in time for your weekend party plans. Up first is a new 2007 reworking of Kristine W's Letting Go by Jamie J. Sanchez. Pulled from her CD Fly Again released in 2005, Jamie transforms the somewhat breakbeat original into a tribal floor stomper. For the link, go here. For information on Jamie J. Sanchez, check out his website here. And to read up on Kristine, including touring information, go here.

The second track this week is my favorite of the two (and quite possibly this month). As such, I'm dedicating it to my friend Paddy in Chicago for two reasons: 1) He was quite the generous host during my 10 day stint in the Windy City. He even bought me hair product. 2) Sometimes when I hear a song, I immediately think of friends who will love it. In this case, Plumb's In My Arms (Gomi Extended Version) has that perfect balance of light vocals, smooth guitar and building chorus I know Paddy will enjoy (and you too!). For the link, go here. And to find out all you need to know about the female pop/rock artist Plumb, go to her adorable website, with its cartoon characters and song samples, by clicking here.

And finally, as an added bonus, I'm throwing in a third track by Audio Club. Hot Bangin' Supa Sexy isn't a dance remix, but rather the original radio version. I stumbled across the song on an internet dance station out of the UK. For the link, go here. Visit their MySpace page for additional songs and tour information by clicking here.

Please note: the songs featured on this site are notices to links only (and mostly unavailable for purchase). I do not upload any music - I merely share the links to tracks I find interesting and noteworthy. Should you care to have the material removed, simply send me an email.

I'm Official

After three tries, I finally received my work visa this week from Germany (there always seemed to be some missing document - demonstration of power I guess). So, for the next year, I can legally find employment (who knows what or where that might be). More importantly, I don't have to worry about being busted entering and exiting the UK since they constantly asked what I was doing in Europe for so long. But because my freelance business with McDonald's has slowed to a snail's pace (non-existent actually), I guess that's no longer a concern.

Green Tea Copycats

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So I should feel special that everyone at the gym is starting to drink green tea.

Chris and I place two green tea bags in our liter water bottle every night. The following morning, we take it to the gym and finish it by the end of our workout. The trainers and members always look at us like, "What are they drinking?" Some even ask what's in the bottle.

So I find it funny today that I spotted not only one of those clients drinking green tea but also one of the personal trainers. Ah, don't I feel special. Who knew I was a trendsetter?

Changing Attitudes in St. Petersburg

I can't remember why exactly we chose to go to St. Petersburg. It might have been because the Russian city is listed in one of our Louis Vuitton guidebooks. I didn't even do much homework on the city before leaving as it was mostly Chris who wanted to go. But because I spotted somewhere an engaging picture of St. Petersburg with fountains and colorful buildings, combined with the cache of going to Russia, we thought it was the perfect place to visit in August.

As our driver whisked us away from the small and dated airport to our hotel, my first impression of St. Petersburg wasn't favorable. It seemed harsh. Sure, every other building was in different hues of blue, yellow and pink, but where were the trees? And their flower choices were a bit odd as marigolds and other low lying plants spotted the city landscape (being a lover of nature it's one of the first details I noticed). It didn't help either that we couldn't read a thing. So when we reached the Corinthia Nevskij Palace Hotel, I was a bit disgruntled (flying home from the States a day earlier surely didn't help matters).

But over the next few days, my attitude slowly changed from one with tones of negativity to one that was more favorable. Our tour guide, Helen, was most helpful in winning us over with her commentary of everything St. Petersburg (because without her knowledge, you truly wouldn't digest the city's rich history - such as why the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna never stayed in Mariinskiy Palace due to the palace's direct facing of a horse's behind). We visited churches, souvenir shops, grand palaces and more; all of which had their own special appeal.

So is St. Petersburg tops on our list of vacation hot spots? The "Venice of the North" loses points for being a bit difficult to reach (a Visa is needed). And with the fall of Communism just over 16 years ago, the city itself is still being born. Restaurants are finding their way to the mainstream as well as recognized retailers (what, no Gap?). St. Petersburg does, however, win back some love with must-sees including the Church of Spilled Blood, Peterhof, and our favorite Russian Pie maker Stolle.

In the end, St. Petersburg may not make our top three, four or even five, but the city formerly known as Leningrad (changed in World War I because the original name sounded too German) still has plenty of reasons to visit - even without the opinion of the overpriced luggage maker.

Where to Stay: Grand Hotel Europe
It's not where we slept, but we found this hotel just up the street to be more upscale and worth the additional 50 euros per night (over the Corinthia Nevskij Palace Hotel). And for all the boys who need a workout while on holiday (it always makes me feel better), the Grand Europe had more free weights (so there's less need to be creative with the Nautilus). Go to for more information.

Where to Shop: Red October Art Shop
According to our tour guide Helen, it's rated best souvenir shop by her guests. But don't expect a Stucky's knick knack selection with decorated shells and pecan rolls. Red October houses upscale local arts and crafts. If I had known we were going to drop over 700 euros inside for various Christmas and personal gifts, I might have told the driver to push the metal to the pedal. Located at 6, Konnogvardeisky Avenue. Telephone: +7 812 312 02 81. Email:

Where to Eat: Stolle
We are so grateful Helen introduced us to Stolle for lunch. This chain of six restaurants in St. Petersburg bakes the most delicious Russian pies with various meat and fruit fillings including beef, chicken, salmon, apple and cherry. The crust isn't flaky like traditional pastries, but rather like challah bread (similiar to a Runza for all you from the Midwest). We visited twice and probably would have returned again if time would have allowed. Order my favorite - beef. For locations, go to

Where to Dine: Podvorie
It's a favorite of Vladimir Putin's and will probably be one of your highlights from St. Petersburg too once you absorb the atmosphere of this traditional Russian restaurant. Located near the Pavlovsk Palace and Catherine Palace, Podvorie is reminiscient of someone's home - minus the giant stuffed bear offering vodka inside the entryway. I ordered Venison - which was a mistake as it has a "gamey smell" that evokes bad memories. But the plates ordered by Helen and Chris were delicious - including Beef Stroganoff with mashed potatoes and roasted corn. Located at 16, Filtrovskoe shosse. Phone: 466-85-44. Visit their website at

Where to Sightsee: Peterhof, Catherine Palace, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church of Spilled Blood and Hermitage Museum
With it's naturally working fountains (from May to September) and organized landscaping, Peterhof is most impressive. Catherine's Palace, and its Amber Room, shouldn't be missed. St. Isaac's Catherdral is grand in nature. Church of the Spilled Blood demonstrates traditional Russian architecture with an interior gleaming with tile mosaics. And the Hermitage Museum will keep you walking for hours - or days. I made my way through in a dead heat (with Chris and Helen lagging behind).

How to Sightsee: Farmakovskaya Elena (aka Helen)
Thanks to Helen, I learned Beef Stroganoff was created because Count Stroganoff was having a guest for dinner who couldn't use a knife and fork properly. So, the Count asked his chef to cut the meat into small pieces. And that's just one of many tidbits she offered as she presented St. Petersburg to Chris and I. To contact Helen, send her an email:

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Somewhat New & Notworthy

It's not really new - not for Europe anyway. But I've been humming Natasha Bedingfield's I Wanna Have Your Babies all day as it's on my iTunes "Summer Pop" playlist. The title is somewhat silly, but her, the song and video are all adorable (especially the man driving the car in the clip). Check it out below.

Pointing the Finger

Today, when I walked through the locker room at Leo's, I spotted a man shaving his head with an electric shaver. I'm not sure if the trimming continued further down, but most likely, it did. From this, he left clumps of hair all along the "prep" bar where the hair dryers are located. He didn't even bother to dispose of his black and charcoal gray leftovers. Since my disgusted look obviously didn't penetrate, I informed the front desk of his nasty behavior. I hate to be a tattletale, but I don't want to wade through man hair on my way to the hairdryer - or any other amenity the gym has to offer for that matter.

No Room at the Inn

Now that our friend Dave G. has booked his ticket for Munich, the Lutman/Young household during the first week of October is officially full. With four guests and Chris and I, we're going to need a lot of toilet paper.

New & Noteworthy - Old Man River's La

One of the best parts about traveling through Europe is being able to catch videos on TV (I have no problems staying inside watching the tube). So, while in St. Petersburg, I was happy RTL (an Italian MTV-type channel) introduced me to Old Man River's La. Check out the video below. It's perfect for Monday! And for more information on Old Man River, bounce over to their MySpace page.

Peterhof - The Redeemer

I wasn't looking forward to our last day in St. Petersburg. I realized Saturday night more than three days in a city such as the "Venice of the North" was plenty. Intensified by our rainy day trek through the ghetto last night and the onslaught of marigolds, my attitude grew worse with each passing hour (most likely a result of my constant travels over the past few weeks - ones that had taken a serious toll on the bags under my eyes). But, with our visit to Peterhof on Sunday, the 18th century palace swayed my opinion of the city formerly known as Leningrad.

With over 140 naturally working fountains (from May to September), this summer residence of Peter the Great is a must see - especially for garden lovers. Once again accompanied by our tour guide Helen, we walked through Peterhof's sprawling forest adorned with impressive flora and fauna. And Helen, just as she did on Friday, highlighted just the right amount of historical bits and pieces.

But was Peterhof's appeal, in conjunction with other royal sights, strong enough for me to raise St. Petersburg's ranking amongst our top travel destinations while living in Europe? Quite honestly, I'm still undecided. Maybe once I return to a state of normalcy, I'll be able to better assess the weekend. That, or I'll discover St. Petersburg finally moved beyond marigolds and lined the city street scape with more adventurous flower choices like daylillies.

Look for a full PTT Snapshot article later this week!

PTT Goes to the Ballet

I've never been to a ballet. Now I know why - it's boring. Last night, we saw Swan Lake. I was ready to go by act two. There seemed to be a lot of unneccessary dancing about. It didn't add much to the story - one of which I'm still unsure of what happened. Most hilarious, however, was the fact that after act three, all the tourists started to leave. There appeared to be a curtain call so we all thought it was time to go. But the gentleman at the front door said, "Not finished. Not finished." So, we returned for another 15 minute act.

Will I ever go to the ballet again? Probably not. Unless they do a Xanadu version like what's on Broadway currently. I won't keep my hopes up.

Boy! What a Day Makes

My opinion of St. Petersburg has changed in less than 24 hours. I credit my difference of opinion to our driver and tour guide. Because of their experience, today we saw "The Venice of the North" in all its glory. Their explanations of the sights and sounds of St. Petersburg allows you to fully comprehend what's in front of you (because, as I noted yesterday, my first impression wasn't so grand). It's not until you deep dive into the history of the surroundings that you can appreciate the many palaces and rich history that accompanies them.

Tonight, we're going to the ballet. Yes, Pink Trash will be exposed to some intense culture. I understand we'll be seeing Swan Lake. At least I've heard of that one before. Though, I couldn't tell you what it's about.

St. Petersburg LIVE!

It seems as though we've been traveling all day. It's now 7:30 and we've come in from walking up and down an avenue that is quite "touristy" and to me, slightly "trashy." But that's somewhat my opinion of St. Petersburg so far. It seems very harsh. There are no tree lined boulevards. And the architecture is quite boring - though every building is different (with no two spaces together alike). People stand in diagonal lines. They apparently love short flowers - especially marigolds. And the men are huge (well, that's a generalization but none-the-less quite obvious).

I'm sure my opinion of St. Petersburg will change tomorrow once our tour guide takes us around to show us the true spirit of this Northern Russian city. Stay tunes...

Off 2 C St. Peter

August is a busy traveling month - that's for sure. It seems just like yesterday that I was at the Munich airport. Wait a minute, I was. And today, we leave for St. Petersburg. So, look for photos and more next week once we return on Sunday!

Again, because of our travels this week to St. Petersburg, Russia, Club Fridays is landing on Thursday. Please send all complaints to our customer service department to which I'm sure they'll respond with a smile.

Sometimes it's good to hear those songs you love on the radio as dance mixes - especially in the summer with the windows or top down. And since radio won't usually play these alternative versions, it's up to us to spread the love. Elliot Yamin may have placed third last year on American Idol, but that hasn't stopped him from outselling those who took the top two positions with his slow burning single Wait For You. The song is trying to crack Billboard's top 10. And with the help of Jason Nevins and his "synth edit," it just might do it. For the link, go here. Justin Timberlake doesn't necessarily need any more promotion. He's doing just fine on his own. But for those of you who love his work, and looking for a laid-back chill effect of his latest single Lovestoned, check out the mix by Kaskade. It's smooth. For the link, go here.

To Pooped 2 Party

It finally happened. On my way home from the gym, I ran over a pedestrian on my bike. The dumb tourist stepped back in front of me as she changed her mind on which way she was going. Fortunately, I escaped with only a few scratches and without any body flips over my handlbars.

Maybe I could have avoided her if I wasn't so tired. I didn't sleep on my flight back to Munich from Chicago this morning because my original cozy corner seat's foot rest didn't work (so they had to move me to an aisle five rows back behind a family of three noisy boys and their very exhausted mom). But they say to stay on schedule once you return so I forced myself to workout. And because we leave for St. Petersburg tomorrow, I didn't want to take any naps. I need to go to sleep at a reasonable time tonight. I can't succomb to my usual routine of watching Sex and the City while eating a bowl of cereal.

I've already warned Chris I'm sure I'll be unpleasant come 6:30 a.m. tomorrow. I don't like getting up that early - even worse when it's to catch a plane. But maybe I'll perk up once we hit Russia. If Boris from Paris is any indication of the men we'll see, my mood will change quickly.

New & Noteworthy

The music industry can be a crazy business sometimes. Take Robyn's latest With Every Heartbeat for example. Released two years ago in Sweden, the single was originally credited to Kleerup with Robyn being pushed to a guest vocal contribution. Now the once popular singer (and pre-Britney collaborator with Max Martin on such hits as Do You Know and Show Me Love) is making a big splash across Europe with this self-released and oddly catchy single that has slowly worked its way to the top. Check out the video below along with one of her biggest hits in America from the mid-to-late nineties.

"No Doy!" Is The New "Duh!"

My friend Paddy has been using "Duh!" for years, but now it seems the three letter phrase with a powerful punch has caught on like wildfire. "Duh!" is all over the TV in commercials for cars, foood and phones in America. So this weekend, we decided to replace "Duh" with one of our childhood favorite sass lines, "No Doy!" Just be sure to add some attitude when saying it - a cocked head follwed by a head roll seems to work nicely.

Oops! I Did it Again

There's nothing worse than disappointing your friends. And yesterday, I did it again. The first time was last year when I returned to Chicago and borrowed my friend Tom's car instead of renting a vehicle. I parked the convertible in the wrong parking spot and it was towed. So much for saving money.

This past Sunday, I asked my friend Doug if I could bring over cupcakes, blowers and confetti to celebrate my friend Dave's birthday in the street just below his condo. Doug graciously gave me both the code to his building and his door. But an hour after the party in the street, he came up to me and told me the front door was left open - leaving his sweet pooch Sofie to run free in the hallway with all the drunk homos entering and exiting from Market Days.

I remember shutting the door but apparently I needed to enter the code once more to ensure it was locked (something I didn't know and didn't even think about). I personally believe others may have come by as drinks were to be served just after we left and that they left they door open. But they wouldn't have been able to get in if I had locked the door. So I took full responsbility. Doug says he wasn't mad as nothing happened to Sofie but that didn't erase the sinking feeling I had in my stomach.

So now I'm nervous to ask anyone for anything when I come back to Chicago. My track record hasn't been so good. But with our hopeful move back next year, I guess I won't need many more favors. That, or my friends will have to just say "NO!"

Out of Office

Because of Halsted Market Days, the Pink Trash Traveler will be out and about in boystown. So, don't look for any updates until tomorrow possibly when I've had a chance to recover. Though, I may need a few more days to recoup as my stomach has been upset since Friday night. Let's just say this - I've had to make a couple of pits stop along the way all day yesterday and so far, today, until about 3. Maybe there's something in the water?

Unwanted Road Rage

One thing I don't miss about being back in America is driving. I haven't had to deal with road rage in months. Today, it returned as a black oversized Escalade cut me off. I honked my Kia Spectra but the most the horn could muster was a tiny little "squeek." It's events like this that make me appreciate public transportation - in all its glory.

In celebration of Chicago's Halsted Market Days this weekend, Club Fridays is featuring two artists who will be appearing during the Midwest's largest street fair in the Windy City.

Spinning Saturday, August 11 and Sunday, August 12 around 8 p.m. at the Roscoe's stage is Josh Harris - a renowned producer/remixer on his own right but also part of the former remixing team of Passengerz. One of his latest works is Barbara Tucker's Luv Vibrations. For the link, go here. And once again, Suzanne Palmer makes an appearance on Club Fridays with her latest Luv Drug (Peter Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix). If you're a fan of Peters, you "luv" it. If not, you might want to stick with Barbara's. For the link, go here. Suzanne will be performing at the Addison stage on Sunday, August 12 at 6:00 p.m. For more information on Market Days, including schedules and performances, go here).

Please note: the songs featured on this site are notices to links only (and mostly unavailable for purchase). I do not upload any music - I merely share the links to tracks I find interesting and noteworthy. Should you care to have the material removed, simply send me an email.

Crazy Carrie

Have you seen "Carrie Bradshaw's" crazy commercial for her new perfume? Paris plays a supporting role. Check it out below.

Chaps My Arss!

This morning I walked out to my rental car only to be welcomed by a City of Chicago parking ticket. Apparently, there was street cleaning from 7-9 a.m. As a result, I was fined $50.

I blew a gasket. Not only is the permanent street cleaning sign 1/2 block down and obstructed by trees, there weren't any bright orange signs advising of the work this morning (as there are now educating people of tomorrow's cleaning).

So now I've written a letter to the City advising them of the obvious omission of proper signage and notification to visitors. I included a summary, along with photos, to detail my situation. Here's to hoping they agree. If not, I'm afraid I'm going to have to return some purchases I made this week to make-up for the fine - and that's no fun! I really need those Aveda candles.

What's Up with Munich?

I forget sometimes that the original purpose of this blog was to update friends and family back home about our travels and life in Europe. It's easy to get sidetracked with all the news, gossip, music and tidbits I find interesting and want to share with the world. After all, I am officially media and press don't you know. So, with that being said, consider this a quick blip about our life in Munich. It's easy for me to reflect on the past 60 days in Munich while I'm sweating in Chicago.

In terms of quality of life, Chris and I really enjoy Munich. For starters, it's not as pretentious as Paris. There isn't that "fashion plate" mentality in the air. People are nothing but friendly - even if you don't speak the language. They appreciate you trying, but if you can't, it's not the end of the world. Everyone seems to bike which adds to the "bohemian" quality of the village. Our flat is conveniently located to public transportation (and also a soup kitchen across the street that feeds the homeless). We've met wonderful people including our neighbors Molly and David, Eric and Filippo, Matt and Emily (see Bavarian Days for more information). I actually prefer the food to French - though it can be just as heavy.

How long will we remain in Munich? We're not sure as Chris' contract is through next June. I'm sure, by then, we'll be ready to come home. I'm actually a bit ready to return stateside now. Not that living in Germany is bad, it's just I miss having a home, our friends and family nearby, and the ease and convenience America has to offer.

But, we're trying to live in the moment, not tomorrow, which is very difficult - especially for me. I've always been the type to plan what's next instead of enjoying what's in front of me. Because I'm sure once we do return, we'll look back on the past few years as some of the most adventurous and exciting times in our lives. It's not everyday you get to live in Paris and Munich and travel to Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza, Cannes, Nice, London, Stockholm, Brussels, Rome, Venice, Florence, St. Petersburg, Athens and Mykonos. Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!

Happy Birthday Autobahn!

The road considered to be the first autobahn, the A555 between Cologne and Bonn, opened 75 years ago this week. And although vehicles at the time could barely go 60 kmph, officials set the speed limit at 120 kmph. Now that's forward thinking.

Welcome To Saltville, USA

They say you always want what you can't have. And since there are few good Mexican restaurants in Europe, I've been craving burritos, enchiladas and tacos for months. So last night, after going to the movies (two giant thumbs up for The Bourne Ultimatum), we ventured out for Mexican food. Sadly, eating my combination platter was like dumping a pound of salt down my throat.

I remember Mexican food being a bit heavy on the white stuff. But I don't recall those establishments outside of the fast food category relying so much on it to flavor the food. Apparently, living in Europe has altered my taste buds.

So with Mexican food now off my "must have" list while visiting Chicago, I wonder what's next to fall from grace. Will deep dish pizza take a tumble?

PTT - American Edition

Now that I'm back in America, I'm discovering those treasures I've missed while living in Europe - such as Cinnamon Streusel Frosted Mini Wheats. On Friday, when I went to the Jewel-Osco across the street (open 24 hours for convenience), I stumbled across the new variety. The little shredded wheats are covered in a sweet glaze of cinnamon and vanilla. And, just as noted on the package, they are "inviting and indulgent." I can only imagine what I'll find once I stroll through Target this week!

Fridays is Fixed!

In the words of Britney, "Hey Ya'll!" Apparently, Club Fridays was jumbled this week. That's what I get for trying to pre-plan. Anyway, all the links are fixed! Sorry about the mix-up. Have a great weekend!

Back 2 America

Because I had to return to Chicago for work and what not, I've decided to extend my stay for Market Days (the midwest's largest street fair). As such, I'll be in town just over a week. And honestly, it couldn't have come any sooner. I needed a taste of Americana real bad. So, with checklist in hand, I'm ready to stuff my oversized piece of luggage with everything from Costco Green Tea to Nike gym wear we found at 50% off. Now if I can only avoid the Entenmann's Fudge Cake before the street fair.

Sarkozy Escaping to America

While living in Paris, we met numerous people who wanted to move to America - especially the French. So though they may be a prideful bunch, it's quite interesting how they're ready to jump ship for New York, Los Angeles and Miami at the drop of a hat - all while trying to conceal their desire to move while remaining loyal to France (how can you blame them when a 24 hour Walgreen's is waiting for them on the other side?) As a result, I'm sure it seriously rubs some people the wrong way that the new French President is departing for America just after getting elected., liberty and the pursuit of 24 customer service!

Gay Oktoberfest

Thanks to Matt, we learned last night that Oktoberfest in Munich actually has three "gay days." Not that you need to be surrounded by drunken homos, but sometimes it's nice to feel at "home." For more information on days, times and locations, go here.

Because of my travel schedule over the next week, once again Club Fridays is relocating to Thursday. As a result, look for a bonus track to say "thanks for understanding."

More unknowns this week on Club Fridays. Up first is Valeria ft. Aria and her single Girl I Told Ya' (Dave Aude Mix). Honestly, it's a bit campy. And some may, at first, find it unappealing. But give it a chance. It's one of my favorites this week as it sounds a bit different - not the norm. And of course, Dave Aude ( performs another fine remix. For the track link, go here. And for additional information on Valeria, including video and more, be sure to check out here website here. For those of you who use iTunes (yes, there are still some out there not connected to Apple's money machine), surprisingly, they have available the original mix and additional production by Trent Cantrelle. Both are just as hot!

Next is one of Perez Hilton's favorite bands. He featured them a few months back as someone to watch. Their original mixes are fun, but I prefer the dance versions including Bimbo Jones take on Rainy Monday. For the track link, go here. To find out more about Shiny Toy Guns, visit their website here.

And as promised, let's move it forward and throw it back with Lifelike and Kris Menace's mash-up of TLC's No Scrubs and Discopolis. The latter is a dub track that hit it big last year - especially in France and Ibiza. And of course, No Scrubs stands on its own as one of those we all remember from the early 90s. I appreciate the fact that the remixers left in most of the vocals. For the track link, go here.

Please note: the songs featured on this site are notices to links only (and mostly unavailable for purchase). I do not upload any music - I merely share the links to tracks I find interesting and noteworthy. Should you care to have the material removed, simply send me an email.

Sushi and Snails

We just got back from dinner as Sushi and Soul with our friend Matt (one of the newest cast members to Bavarian Days but unavailable for a photo shoot to include in press clippings). I avoided the raw fish as the last time I consumed sushi the flu set in three hours later forcing the seaweed wrapped morsels back upstream. Instead, I opted for some mixture of teriyaki pork and vegetables.

Thank goodness I did as when we returned home, I spotted the biggest snail I've ever seen consuming one of my marigold flowers outside the front door. And as you can see, it indeed looks like a piece of tuna slapped on a rice bed - which made me a bit queasy. I fortunately avoided another vomit volcano by sticking with an animal that walks on land and that's fully cooked. Boy am I lucky.