Archive for the ‘Helen Colella, Author’ Category

Wall Street Revisited

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

A lifetime ago, my husband started his business career working for a now defunct brokerage company called Eastman Dillon. Young, ambitious, gregarious and good at what he did, he did himself and the company proud.

The original Wall Street movie brought back many memories of his co-workers/friends, brokerage procedures and business practices and the good that life we led. It is one of my favorite films.

Yesterday I went to see Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (title is a Gekko-ism from the first film). I was not only whisked back to another time and place but kept in the todayís-world-of-the-investment-game when Gekko says; ìSomeone reminded me I once said greed is good. Now it seems itís legal.î

Writers, Allan Loeb & Stephen Schiff, spun a tale of deceit, corporate thievery, financial doom and gloom, and the business and love struggles of a smart, young, ambitious investment broker. They wove the back-story of the original Wall Street into the filmóusing subtle and not so subtle techniques, and exposed the mess behind the recent bank bailouts we just experiencedóvery clever.

It's thorough, fast paced and engaging. I think director Oliver Stoneís work is impressive and the talented actors are well chosen for their parts.

Itís a good film and I suggest you go see it.

Love those Italians!

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

When my NJ friend, Rosemary Di Giovine Vaccaro posted on Facebook: ìI love being Italian.î I had to respond. With respect to my late husband and childrenís heritage, who also love being Italian, hereís what I wrote:

Italians immigrated to Colorado in the 19th century. They found work in Denver, Pueblo, Trinidad, Colorado Springs and Louisville. My late husbandís Grandpa Roma was part of this immigration (wonder if, in some strange way, destiny directed us to the wild, wild, west).

For years we have celebrated Festival Italiano ñ A Food & Wine Festival in Belmar, Colorado and as in the past the family will again enjoy this fun filled Italian celebration.

Weíll get in the mood as soon as we see the colorful flag decorated streets and mingle with the crowds of Italian Americans and others who come to enjoy the authentic atmosphere, aromas and amora of Italy.

Weíll stroll along the mall admiring the handmade imported wares of Italian artisans, vendors who sell novelty items and perhaps buy a trinket or two to take home.

Weíll enjoy the special festivities: flag throwers from Florence, Italy, sample regional Italian wine, watch chef demonstrations, try to learn Italian, laugh at the grape stomping vat for children, cheer at gamers at the bocce ball tournament, and listen to the Italian music as we sing along and dance.

Weíll sample local and imported Italian wines and down a few beers to quench our thirst.

Weíll graze at the many food stands tasting traditional dishes like sausage & peppers, calzones, pizza, ravioli and other pasta dishes to satisfy our ethnic appetites.

Weíll take pleasure in the homemade pastriesóNapoleons, Cannoli, Cheesecake and more just because these delicious and sinful temptations are there.

Weíll nibble the traditional cookies like your grandmother made; the ones that are hard to resist óBiscotti, Spizzele, Cannoli, Zeppole, Macaroons, fig, almond, hazelnut and more, then wash it down with a cup of Esspresso.

If youíre inclined, check this out the site of last yearís gala event: Enjoy the photos & music.

And just to let you know, Ro, this Irish girl from Downneck, has become a pretty good Italian cook! After years of being Italian via osmosis, collecting recipes from the whole Colella clan and cooking it all, how could I not be???

P.S. For anyone with plans of being in Colorado this Fall, Festival Italiano will take place September 11-12. Two fantastic days of Italian goodness!

Tasty Treat

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Summer heat has sent me in search of a cool, refreshing, low calorie dessert.

To my surprise I recently rediscovered an old favorite that seemed to disappear. Right here in townóTCBYóThe Countryís Best Yogurt.

Iíve been taking the three minute drive at least twice a week these days.

And believe me itís oh, oh, oh sooo yummy.

This soft serve yogurt is creamy, delicious and good for you too.

Itís loaded with probiotics; the live active cultures that enhance your immune system and help regulate digestion.

They even have sugar free for those on special diets or with diabetes.

Now take a minuteÖThink yogurt at its best:

White Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate sprinkles.

A swirl of Vanilla & Chocolate in a nut-dipped waffle cone.

Canít you taste the goodness?

What's your favorite?

Traditions Must Go Forth

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Checking out a suggested add-a-friend on Facebook I found a post linked to one my childrenís favorite eating establishments when they were growing up. None other then Coloradoís legendary tourist attraction, Casa Bonita.

Itís been years since Iíve patronized this Mexican- themed restaurant located in the town of Lakewood, a suburb of Denver. But as soon as I saw its name in printÖoh, how the memories returnedÖ

The pink and gold, fairyland-like facade on the building made to resemble a hacienda, †blaring Mexican music that greets you as you cross the parking lot on your way in, the colorful lights leading to the entrance and the a massive wooden door with wrought iron hardware.

Once you step inside youíre instantly transported back in time to old Mexico where replicas of the main house of a hacienda with antiques, rustic furniture, hand hewn doors and beamed ceilings amaze and delight. After you soak up the initial ambiance you find yourself following long, twisting and turning cobblestone path toward the restaurant.

The journey takes you past blossoming gardens, hidden courtyards, posters of Mexican activities, and a window that shows the tortilla making crew hard at work.

After you order your food, perhaps an all you can eat menu selection, you move along in a cafeteria type line for pickup and seating. A hostess greets you and leads you to your table in surprise location. You may be led to the middle of a plaza in small village during a festival where the palm trees, mini lights and colorful lanterns emphasize the atmosphere of the town that includes a church, general store, post office, other business buildings, homes of the local residents and a 30 foot waterfall. You may be seated in the town square, a gold or silver mine, a cave or cavern with stalactites and stalagmites nearby.

Your no sooner settle down to enjoy your meal when the fun begins with a whirlwind of entertainment including live cliff divers, flame jugglers, Mariachi bands, authentic dancers in colorful costumes, a wild gorilla chase and a shoot out between the Sheriff and Black Bart.

All this comes before the hot servings (all you can eat) of Sopapillas and honey.

After the dessert itís time to explore the haunted tunnel known as Black Bartís Cave, watch a puppet show, visit the magic theatre, play games in the arcade to earn tickets for prizes and peruse the souvenir shop.

Casa Bonita is a family attraction that has drawn children of all ages since 1974. Itís where many birthdays are celebrated, end of the school year parties are held, out of town guests are entertained or where you go just to have a good time.

Right now Iím thinking about reliving that experience and taking my grandson when he comes to town. After all, itís a tradition that must go forth.

Conference Update & Surprise

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Thanks to the generosity of a dear friend, today I had the pleasure of attending the 5th Northern Colorado Writers Conference.Writers, both published and pre-published (Mike Beflerís clever tag), joined in welcoming award winning novelist and creator of more than forty television shows, Stephen Cannell. His keynote presentation kept the audience enthralled.

Stephen had several outstanding points in his presentation:

1. ìDyslexia never stopped me and I was never afraid to bet on myself.î Translation: believe in yourself and your work.

2. He suggested you think like an agent. Do research to find out what the agent has done, mention a favorite or two then instead of asking for representation, ask for help to improve your work to get to the caliber of present clients. Translation: Flattery will get you everythingÖwell at least it'll get you in the door. The rest is up to you.

3. Stephen discussed his relationship with actors. He claimed his ìI owe you my best opinion,î and ìwe can work it out,î set the scene for developing successful professional relationships.† Translation: cooperation and compromise work hand in hand for the most effective results.

I also attended three other inspiring workshops:

1. †Colorado author, Page Lambert who addressed the importance of place in writing through the use of atmosphere, symbolism, imagery, and metaphor through readings from classic novels and her own work.

2. Mike Befeler, another Colorado author, concentrated on the tools and techniques used to help an author establish a marketing platform.

3. Agents Rachelle Gardner (WordServe Literary GroupóCO ), Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman and Associates Literary AgencyóCA), Joe Monti (Barry Goldblatt Literary AgencyóNY), and editor Ben Barnhardt (Milkweed Editions) shared their personal and professional insights via a Q&A-Agent/Editor Panel. Their presentation was informative, candid, lighthearted and encouraging.

Then to top off the evening, after a tasty buffet dinner, YA author Todd Mitchell gave a spirited presentation on why weíre called to writing, introduced us to a top-ten list of why we should never stop writing and, in a most charming way, challenged us all to keep the words alive.

My own surprise came when I mentioned to the editor from Milkweed Editions my story: A Poppiní Tale. Seems I had contributed to one of their anthologies -† Stories From Where We Live: The Great North American Prairie and he recognized it. WOW!

When I came home I looked up the copyright date...weíre talking 2001. WOW!

I was also pleased to tell him the story had been used in the NV School Literacy tests for several years. He smiled at that tidbit of info; obviously impressed. After a brief chat, he said heíd be open to any query I think heíd be interest in taking a look-see for Milkweed. WOW!

Yes, fellow wordsmiths, I will follow up.