Archives – October, 2009

UrbanTravelGirl dishes about her ‘Inner Italian’ on 'Simple Italy' blog, a love letter to bella Italia

My former newspaper colleague and friend Sharon Sanders writes a gorgeous, award-winning blog called “Simple Italy: Italian Food, Culture, Lifestyle and Travel.” Years ago, she and I developed a tight bond over our fascination with all things Italian. Today, Sharon—who spent several years living and working in beautiful Florence—was kind enough to feature me and my “Inner Italian” persona in a recent post.

She writes a periodic question-and-answer feature with “wannabe Italians or expatriate Italians –who try to ‘live Italian’ wherever they are.” I would certainly qualify, as I remain obsessed with the place, its food and wine, its beautiful people — the list goes on. So read all about my “Inner Italian” ( and you’ll understand why, as Sharon says, “Even if we don’t live in Italy, Italy lives inside of us.”

Continue 6 Comments October 29, 2009

Traveling abroad through film often the next best thing to being there

I’m not usually a big moviegoer, but I am a sucker for a good foreign-language film. Yes, I’m a bit of a snob – I feel a bit smarter sitting and watching some artsy independent film rather than, say, “The Transformers” (not that there’s anything wrong with that if you liked it!). But since I don’t get overseas nearly as often as I’d like, I figure forking over $10 or $11 for a two-hour onscreen journey into another culture is a fair price to pay.

Knowing how passionate I am about overseas travel, friends and colleagues constantly quiz me: “So where’s your next foreign trip? I know you’re on your way somewhere.” For the first time in a long time, I’m staying put—mostly because I’m out of vacation time and am forcing myself to stick to a serious budget (for reasons I will share in this blog before too long, I hope). But that doesn’t mean I’m willing to give up globetrotting. Instead, I’m doing it right here in Chicago—no passport, visas or trips to O’Hare International Airport required—and am traveling by way of the big screen.

Just this week, I checked out “Paris,” a lovely, wonderfully written film starring Juliette Binoche that was shot—of course—in Paris, my absolute FAVORITE city in the entire world and the one place I’d happily live if told I could never go anywhere else for the rest of my life….

Continue 10 Comments October 15, 2009

Olympic dreams dashed, but Chicago’s still a world-class city

It’s been a tough weekend for those of us Chicagoans who dreamed of bringing the 2016 Olympic Games to our fair city. Friday, we found out that years of preparation came to naught when the International Olympic Committee ousted Chicago in the first round of voting, along with Tokyo. We longed to share our Midwestern American city—one filled with incredible architecture, home to people from dozens of nationalities and languages, not to mention innovative cuisine that rivals anything Los Angeles or New York City have to offer. But alas—the Olympic dream wasn’t to be, despite the passionate presentations of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle in Copenhagen last week….

Continue 2 Comments October 5, 2009

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