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Charity Smackdown: Why I Got Involved

I was going to write a blog post about the Charity Smackdown but of course time got away from me this week. So I took a shortcut a made a video. Thank you to Mark Licea for editing and posting! Please take 1:31 minutes to watch this and spread it around as you see fit.

Also, follow me on Twitter to check the progress of the contest! Just go here.

Thank you and namasté.

25 Random Things About Natali Del Conte

I have been ignoring the "25 Random Things" thing on Facebook. It isn't because I don't find it amusing. It is mostly because I haven't found time for it. Today I was asked to do a segment about it for The CBS Early Show. It will likely air on Monday morning in the 8 o'clock hour.

For the sake of "research," I decided to start reading the lists that had been sent to me. I also made one of my own. Strictly for "research," of course. I must admit, it was more fun that I had anticipated. Enjoy and feel free to link me to yours. And anyone who dares violate #10 will be digitally blocked from my life! Don't even try!

  1. I can tie a shoe with my toes;

  2. I have a superhuman tolerance for spicy food;

  3. I am related to the late Don Ho by marriage;

  4. I have an unnatural fear of religious art that depicts violence;

  5. My shoulders are double jointed;

  6. I nearly lost my hearing as a child and therefore can communicate in very basic American Sign Language;

  7. I get my heart broken at least once a year;

  8. I can't stand weddings. If I ever get married, I will NOT have a wedding but rather elope somewhere in Eastern Europe;

  9. I used to teach yoga and have my 200 hour certification from Yoga Alliance;

  10. My parents are the only people on the planet allowed to call me Nat Nat;

  11. I have an addiction to buying shoes, cooking knives, and serving platters;

  12. I truly believe that I could win Dancing with the Stars;

  13. I used to be a competitive tap dancer;

  14. I come from a long line of women who taught hula dancing;

  15. I am a pretty awesome water skier (if I do say so myself);

  16. I stopped snow skiing when my parents stopped paying for it;

  17. I have an intellectual inferiority complex to my best friend Sarra that I cannot ever seem to shake because she is so brilliant;

  18. I know all the words to the following musicals: Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Dreamgirls, and Wicked;

  19. I am afraid of developing bunions;

  20. I have a comedic inferiority complex to my mother, who I like to refer to as the modern day Lucille Ball;

  21. I can change my own oil and tires. My father insisted that I learn those skills before I was allowed to get my drivers license;

  22. I still feel ashamed that I broke a pact with my sister that we would never live more than 15 minutes apart;

  23. I all-too-often lip sync to Shakira songs (en español) while blow drying my hair;

  24. I was on Romper Room in 1984;

  25. I regret not learning to make pasteles and domplines from my grandmother before she passed away.


Moving On Up

I should finish my packing. Instead I'm fooling around online. I was just thinking about the things I will and will not miss about my Lower East Side apartment. For obvious reasons, I'm not going to write about what neighborhood I am moving to, not that anyone really cares. Meanwhile, I'm in the listing mood so here it goes:

Things I will miss:

  1. The guys who work at the front desk. Especially you Daniel! Your smiling face has been a great way to start my day for the past year!

  2. The gym. I hope I can still force myself to go to the gym when it isn't in my building!

  3. My stainless steel stove;

  4. Dry cleaning in the building;

  5. My local wine store, September Wines. Somehow I think they'll miss me too...or at least my credit card;

  6. The statue of Vladimir Lenin on top of the Red Square building. I can see him from my bed so I wake up to him with his right arm in the air every single morning. See it here.

  7. Inoteca

Things I will not miss:

  1. The girls who scream, "Where's my boyfriend!?" at 4 a.m. while leaving the Lower East Side bars on any given day;

  2. The symphony of honking on Houston Street that forces me to sleep with earplugs;

  3. The fresh vomit that I sometimes step over while leaving for the Early Show at 4:30 a.m. on any given day;

  4. The music that my neighbors blast in the middle of the day. Look, I love Duran Duran too but enough is enough!

  5. The loud obnoxious sounds my neighbors make when they are enjoying one another's company in the middle of the day;

  6. The smell of pickles from Katz Deli that I am forced to inhale when walking home every day;

  7. The people who do not clean the lint filters in the laundry room because they think they are too good to clear out their own dead skin cells from shared appliances;

  8. The fact that there is not a close enough Starbucks;

  9. The mural of Kiss on the brick wall on the bar across from my apartment.

See, the bad outweigh the good. It was time to move on.

Happy Anniversary, New York

This week marked the 1 year anniversary of my move to New York from San Francisco. I am moving into a new apartment at the end of the week so I spent my Saturday packing boxes and trying to watch everything on my DVR before I send it back to Verizon. While I packed, I couldn't help revisit this last year in my head and I'll admit that it made me wax just a little nostalgic.

I learned a lot about myself in this apartment. I faced a very big city with nothing more than a few (thousand) online friends and a great job and it didn't kill me. There were many times when I thought it would.

It took me a long time to be able to say this but I think I'm finally ready: I'm so glad I came here! It actually seems to have been the right thing. Funny how life makes you step to the edge of what you think you can handle before you realize that you may just be heading in the right direction.

It is so great to communicate with all of you who read my blog, Facebook page, and Twitters but at the end of the day, it is still just me and a glass of wine in this small studio apartment. It has been scary. I hit many speed bumps and made some decisions that I wish I had approached differently. But if I am feeling sad or alone, I always know that I can reach out online and find someone somewhere who is willing to be supportive in one way or another. If you are reading this, you are one of those people. So thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Who knew that something with such a stupid name as Twitter could be so sustaining?

Now back to my packing. To add some levity to this post, here is a working list of things I cannot for the life of me remember why I packed from San Francisco to New York. These things will not be moving into my new apartment:

  1. A burka I bought in Dubai. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why I bought it in the first place. A friend pointed out that I might want to keep it in case we lose the war on terror. I think I'll chance it. It goes.

  2. The first season of Nip/Tuck. I used to watch this terrible show. I'm embarrassed to admit that.

  3. A Rachael Ray cookbook. It was a gift from an ex-boyfriend, four boyfriends removed.

  4. Stretch mark cream. I swear I didn't buy this. It was in a gift bag at a sample sale I went to 2 years ago.

  5. A three-ring binder punch. I don't see myself needing a three-ring binder any time soon.

I'm sure there will be more.

My Festivus Grievances

So what if Festivus is a silly cultish joke? I'm trying to be an equal opportunity holiday celebrant. My apologies for not wishing you a Happy Hanukkah sooner.

I will not get to spend time with my family this season. I regret that but my family doesn't make a big to-do about the holidays so I'm not missing much other than watching really bad comedies with my mom (like the travesty that was Boat Trip), making Ranger cookies for my brother-in-law, and gossiping with my sister about our crazy relatives.

Despite missing out on those beloved festivities, I am still feeling the holiday spirit. New York is beautiful (although soooooooo insanely cold) this time of year. It is my first Christmas in a proper winter. Plus, I'm excited for 2009 and heading to Las Vegas for CES in just a few weeks. Thank you to everyone who wrote me with encouraging words about 2008. In my last blog post, I mentioned that 2008 was hard. I moved away from my family and friends and had a rough time adjusting to New York. But as I look back, I have very few regrets. I'm glad I came here and I'm glad it was hard. Hard doesn't mean bad. It just means hard. I quote General David Petraeus on this one: "Hard is not hopeless."

Okay, enough optimism. It is Festivus after all. So here is my 2008 airing of grievances. I may add to this throughout the day. Feel free to add yours in the comment section.

  • There is no native landscape keyboard, video capture, or MMS for my iPhone;

  • There is no Mac version of Chrome;

  • The person who found my iPhone in a cab and never returned it is hereby cursed to bad technology karma for the rest of his/her days;

  • MobileMe never really does exactly what I want it to;

  • Any and all browsers on my Curve behave like an absolute puta;

  • The BlackBerry Storm was a big fat letdown;

  • Nokia phones are too darn expensive;

  • HP's press representative won't let me keep this Vivienne Tam netbook for one second longer than I need it for my TV segments;

  • Every single pair of headphones or earbuds that come into my possession break within a fortnight - even the high-end ones;

  • I never have a jump drive on my person when I need one but have about a dozen when I don't;

  • Google's speech recognition search engine still can't understand me;

  • Loaded takes so darn long to encode and upload to CNET TV;

  • The Teleprompter software we use on the Loaded set was developed by demons;

  • Growl likes to freeze my OS;

  • Microsoft Entourage, I hate you more than I've ever hated anything in my entire life. You make my life miserable every single day. Whoever developed you, wrote the program as a big fat "Screw you!" to Mac users. Message communicated. Screw you too!

  • New: Cab drivers who lecture me about paying with credit card.

Yes, they are all mostly tech related. I don't usually carry grievances for people. Except maybe for those responsible for the dismal performance of the San Francisco Giants this year! They know who they are!
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