Monday, 30 June 2008

Book Review : Cherry Bomb

The entire title Reads - Cherry Bomb : The Ultimate Guide to becoming a Better Flirt, a Tougher Chick and a Hotter Girlfriend, And to Living Life like a Rockstar

I don't read "how-to" books, but the title for this one by Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna had me intrigued and itching to get my hands on it, to read more.

Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna has been a music and entertainment journalist since the last 20 years and is best known for her books on Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, her sex and relationship advice column “Dr. Love” for the Gene Simmons Tongue magazine and her music related articles in People, Billboard, Spin, and Alternative Press magazines.

The title "Cherry Bomb" comes from the song by Joan Jett of The Runaways. Carrie says "Joan Jett's attitude, style and music has always inspired me so I'm happy to reference the Runaways song (in the title) even if some younger people won't know what it means right away. That's ok because cherries are sweet and bombs are badass and the book is all about being a sweet badass! To me, those two words, sum up the book nicely and it's a killer song to boot!"

Cherry Bomb is an alphabetized reference from Absinthe (the new Drink of Choice for the Rock and roll set) to Zig Zags (The Cool Way to Roll a Joint) with Celebrity Pick-up tips, Fetishes, Infidelity Pacts, Orgasms, Piercings, Strip Tease and Tour Bus Etiquette in between .

The tips and techniques are invaluable to a rock chick. There are tips and detailed instructions on how to tie a cherry stem into a knot (using just your mouth- no hands), how to get backstage without being a whore, using bottle service to buy VIP status at the hottest nightclubs, how to perform a striptease (by Burlesque star - Ditta Von Teese) The tips are practical and easily doable, no matter who you are or what kind of budget you are on.

Being in the music industry as a writer and as a wife to a Grammy winning Rockstar - Chris Vrenna who plays keyboards with Marilyn Manson and drums with Gnarls Barkley- Carrie is more than qualified to write this guide. Most of the tips come from her own real life experiences. For the few areas that she did not have first hand experience with when she started writing, she enlisted the help of her celebrity friends including
Cherie Currie of THE RUNAWAYS (on "Cherry Bomb," the song that influenced the book)
Tori Amos (Life Advice)
Betsey Johnson (Breast Cancer Awareness and Personal Style)
Anna Sui (Fashion Inspiration)
Dancing with the Stars' Cheryl Burke (Dancing Tips)
Celeb hairstylist Dean Banowetz (Rockin' Up 'Dos)
Master Chef Dave Rubell (Black Vodka Recipes)
and Stylist Cynthia Freund (Rock Chick Style Tips) among others.

My favorite guest how-to chapter is the one by Peaches' drummer Samantha Maloney on how to play the Drums. It re-ignited an old flame and I just might be inspired enough to go out and get myself into classes and buy myself a drum set. My favorite chapters by Carrie are Jet Setting, Jobs, Money and Networking.

I always thought I had a more than fair knowledge about rock music and rock stars, but on reading Carrie's book, I know I have a lot more to learn and a lot more musicians that I need to listen to at least once. Her list of songs at the end of some chapters seems to be a good place to start. The lists are mood based - songs to Vacuum fast To (the Anger Stage), songs to Eat a Pint of Ice Cream to (the Depression Stage), Funk Fixers etc.

For the Relationship kinda quiz addicts, there are a couple of quizzes as well, to check if you are rockstar girlfriend material and which rock chick you are most like.

The illustrations by Liz Adams are apt and cute (not a word you would associate with rock, but thats truly what they are.)

There is something for everyone in this book. Men can find a lot of the chapters interesting and relevant too. The title hooked my husband and he browsed through the book and loved what he read.

You don't need to be in the rock industry or dating a rock star to use these tips. These tips are great for any independent, confident woman who is comfortable with herself and who she is. From a gangly pre-teen to a grandmother in her 60's, any woman with self assurance can find something of value in this guide and for someone who lacks self assurance, Cherry Bomb is a great place to start.

This book is due for release on the 5th of August 2008 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. For anyone who has ever been interested in the lives of Rock Stars and been envious of their lifestyle, this book is a definite must-buy as it shows you step by simple step how to lead their life with panache and confidence. Cherry Bomb delivers on all its promises and does impart relevant and easy to follow tips on how to become a better flirt, tougher chick and hotter girlfriend.

Published on

Thursday, 26 June 2008

BCA Chronicle - My 7 Favourite Magazines in Egypt

Appeared in June 2008 Issue.

There are tons of magazines that are printed in Egypt in Arabic & English. Many new printing companies start up a new publication every day & an equal number of them shut shop everyday.

Magazines that are printed in Egypt are frequently distributed free of charge at coffee shops and other "youth hangout" locations, feel free to pick up a copy at these places.

The ones that I love and personally recommend (in no particular order) are :

1. Egypt Today: A well written magazine to let you know what is going on in town. Lots of current events, well researched articles, profiles of locals who are great at their fields of interest but not very well known. You can expect all this and more from this magazine.
You can view the latest online copy & archives at
You can subscribe to the magazine online or pick them up individually from a variety of bookstores. It costs 15LE per copy or 135 LE for an annual subscription.

2. Business Today: A sister publication of Egypt Today. This covers the Business developments in Egypt. Reviews into existing businesses, interviews with the movers and shakers in the corporate world among others. They also have an Annual bt100 ranking of companies based in Egypt.
You can view the latest online copy & archives at
You can subscribe to the magazine online or pick them up individually from a variety of bookstores. It costs 15LE per copy or 135 LE for an annual subscription.

3. Business Monthly: A free magazine brought out by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. The insight is American Oriented and the articles are extremely thoroughly researched. This is a more technical magazine than Business Today.
You can check the archives online at
You can also sign up for your free subscription at It will be delivered to you free of charge into the comfort of your home.

4. Community Times : A lovely fun magazine to read. Although they have been advertising their website for over a year, it still isn't functional :) But the magazine is very good. It covers a wide variety of subjects that anyone living in Cairo would be interested in. It has a huge event listing at the back along with a restaurant listing etc.
It used to be available on sale for 10LE at the big supermarkets, but now it seems to be restricted to some major bookshops (refer 7 Favorite bookshops in BCA Chronicle – April 2008, page 105) & some restaurants. It is available free of charge at some of the bigger cafes in town. But I would recommend that you subscribe to it to ensure you get your monthly dose.

5. The Croc: Available free of charge at multiple locations around the city including cafes & BCA. It gives you a brief on the events coming up in the month. A nice list of restaurants, cafes & bars with recommendations on what to eat there and little notes about the ambiance at times.
Its tiny- pocket size, so its worth carrying around in your purse for those moments when you are hungry in a different part of town and can't decide where to eat or suddenly find yourself with a free evening & longing for a dose of culture!

6. The Oasis: a free magazine published by the CSA (Community Services Association) in Maadi. The article content isn’t high but it has a lot of ads for services in Maadi that can be extremely helpful, especially to expats. Pick up your free copy at the CSA centre on Road 21.

7. The BCA Chronicle: An excellent resource for expats. Lots of relevant articles to life in Egypt and travel around the world. More articles than ads, unlike the Oasis. Pick up your free copy from the BCA clubhouses among other locations.

Karishma Pais (Kim) is an expat trailing wife in Cairo. She has a Masters Degree in Human Resources and Behaviour. She consults on HR projects, delivers intercultural training at the CSA, counsels new and experienced expats, writes for several magazines – online and offline, she runs and among other activities. Her Social Commentary and blog about life in Egypt can be read at

Oasis - Summer Coolers

Appeared in Summer 2008 Issue.

Summer Coolers

Karishma Pais (Kim)

Now that the temperatures are regularly crossing 40C, maybe most of you like me are more interested in consuming cooling liquids and eating light salads.

While the aerated beverages are easy and seem convenient, they are most definitely not the best thing for your family’s health. There are the easy options available like the fresh orange juice sold at Metro (clean & healthy) and the many bottled fruit juices from Isis. I find the Isis juices a little strong and like to dilute them a bit with water.

Options with a little work involved are milkshakes with Nesquick or Vitrac’s flavored syrups. The almond one is especially yum.

But if you don’t mind putting in a little effort, then there is a vast mouth watering and thirst quenching range of drinks that you can prepare by yourself at home, with ingredients easily available in Egypt. The advantage is that you know that you have prepared them from healthy ingredients without any additives, artificial colors or preservatives. You can easily substitute the sugar in any of these recipes with Stevia or Splenda. Please note that the quantities mentioned are indicative. You can adjust them to your own taste.

Fresh Lime Juice/Lemonade

Squeeze the juice of 5-8 lemons (depending on size) into a pitcher. Discard the seeds. Add sugar and salt to taste. Fill with water. This can be kept chilling in the fridge and consumed over a 24 hour period.

Fresh Orange Juice

Squeeze 2 oranges and strain the juice. Add sugar to taste. Cool in the refrigerator before serving. If you want to drink it really fresh – store the oranges in the refrigerator before squeezing.

Almond Sherbet

Blanch half a kilo of almonds and skin them. Make a thin puree of the nuts in a blender/liquidizer adding a little water if necessary. (You can do this in multiple lots depending on the capacity of your blender)

Make a syrup with quarter kilo sugar (1.25 cups) and one liter water, cooking till it reaches single thread consistency.

Pour the almond puree into the syrup and cook till thickened, taking care to keep stirring.

The syrup should be thick but of pouring consistency.

You can add a teaspoon of rose water at this stage if you like.

Cool and fill into bottles.

It can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.

Serve diluted with water or milk and crushed ice.

Tamarind Juice

Very refreshing in the summers.

Clean 1/4 kg of tamarind, cover it with water (about 1.5 liters) and boil for 5 minutes. Then let it soak in that water for at least 6 hours.

Strain the liquid of any solid pieces. Add 2 cups of sugar.

Bottle & refrigerate.

Dilute with chilled water when you want to drink it.

Home made Karkadih

Rinse ¼ kg dried karkadih. Add one liter water and boil for 5 minutes.

Let it soak in that water for at least 1 hour.

Strain and sweeten with 1 cup sugar.

Bottle and refrigerate.

Dilute with chilled water when you want to drink it.


This is a staple in most Indian households during the hot summer months. It cools down the body completely and can be had in sweet or salty versions. There are so many flavors that you can add to the basic lassi. Below are a few versions to get you started.

Whisk together 450ml yoghurt (plain) with 300ml cold water. The consistency should be that of full cream milk. This is your basic lassi.

Flavor with a pinch of ginger or 1 sliced green chilli or cumin powder or a teaspoon of shredded mint or a teaspoon of chopped cilantro. Stir well. You can add salt to taste.

For a sweet version, add sugar to taste (about 1 teaspoon) to the yoghurt and water blend. You can flavor it with a dash of rose essence or orange blossom water.

For a really fancy lassi, garnish the sweet version with a tablespoon of crushed almonds or pistachios.

For a healthy lassi, whisk the mixture with 2 tablespoons of pureed fruit.

Amar al Din- Apricot juice

Get those pressed Apricot sheets from the grocery store (they are normally sold in yellow cellophane paper and are widely available during Ramadan, but even now you can find them)

Cut the Apricot sheets into thin strips and cover with cold water. Soak them until the strips dissolve.

Strain away the solid pieces and sweeten the juice to taste.

Bottle and refrigerate.

Dilute with chilled water when you want to drink it.

Watermelon Cocktail

Cut watermelon into small cubes and deseed.

Sprinkle some lemon juice and sugar on top.

Add a few shredded mint leaves.

Cover and chill.

Serve in cocktail glasses as is or after pureeing the mix.

Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Fresh Juices

There are a wide variety of fruits available in the market. You can prepare fresh juices by pureeing the flesh of these fruits, adding sugar to taste and diluting with water or milk.

Remember : Citrus fruits don’t go very well with milk.

Try out some combinations on your own and maybe next year, you could be writing your recipes for the Oasis J

Kim has a background in HR and freelances as an Intercultural Trainer, Writer and HR Consultant. Currently she is a trailing wife in Egypt and uses her training, counseling and empathy skills to help other expats adjust to the move. She blogs about Egypt at

Sunday, 15 June 2008

WhazzupEgypt Blog recognised by Culture Crossing

The good folks at have recognised the relevance of the posts on my WhazzupEgypt blog and included it in their list of blogs for travelers/expats to Egypt.

The link is here


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