Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes
Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes at Madison Square Gardens N’ Sync concert
I felt trapped in an episode of the Twilight Zone as I suggested the unimaginable to Tatjana – that the frenzied throngs of screaming girls surrounding us at the N’ Sync concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in August of 1999, was exactly what her own father’s gigs were like in Duran Duran’s heyday. “Really… not my dad?” she replied incredulously.

IMG_0008
Tatjana back stage during DD’s Big Thing Tour
She must have been too young to remember. I don’t think she really got it until the original five members of the band reformed a few years later, and subsequently won lifetime achievement awards from both sides of the pond.
MTV Lifetime Achievement Award
Tatjana with the band at the MTV Awards, 2003
Plus the Brit Award was presented to them by none other than Justin Timberlake himself, so dad was way cool by then! However, I’m getting ahead of myself, back in the year 2000…
Tatjana Rhodes & Justin Timberlake
Tatjana with Justin Timberlake at the Brit Awards
My little tween was an avid N’ Sync fan with her bedroom walls covered in their photos. For her thirteenth birthday I surprised Tatjana with a trip to New York. She had her make-up done professionally for the first time by Brad Boles, I hired a limo, asked Nick to get us tickets for N’ Sync at Madison Square Gardens, and took her to a meet and greet with her idols. An ode to the past, and rights of passage all in one.
Rihanna
Rihanna at Staples Center last night
Ten years later Tatjana returned the favor by surprising me with tickets to see Rihanna. This time I was the frenzied screaming fan. The show was sheer brilliance – from watching her performance to the spectacular staging of lights, special effects, pop art imagery, costumes, and awesome dancers. Her band is tighter than Fort Knox as well. Trust me, I’m jaded when it comes to concerts after all the years on the road, but this show is not to be missed!
Rihanna
Still seeing Keith Haring everywhere
The ex scored big time brownie points with both of us for the front and center seats, and of course the homage to Keith Haring was not wasted on the two of us. Notice the cameras and jackets the dancers are wearing.
The screams could have lifted the roof off Staples Center when Eminem made a surprise appearance doing their duet, Love The Way You Lie.It was an electrifying performance! What a great way to spend our last evening together.
Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes
Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes, July 21st, 2010
It made Dr. Seuss’s quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened,” that much easier to keep in perspective when I had to put Tatjana on a plane back to London today. Thanks for reminding me how to let loose and have fun again Tatjana. I miss you so much already!
Here’s my Eggplant Parmesan recipe as promised. You can make it for your vegetarian father as a thank you for the fab seats.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Servings: 4
Ingredients:
Eggplant
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • olive oil spray
Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of dry red wine, optional
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
Directions:
1). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a sheet pan with olive oil spray
2). Mix bread crumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Mix eggs and milk in a small bowl.
3). Cut eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices across. Dip each slice into egg mixture, then bread crumb mixture to coat evenly all over. Place on sprayed pan, and repeat until all pieces are coated, and placed in a single layer on the pan (you might need to use two pans). Spray top side of eggplant with olive oil spray and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, turning once.
4). While eggplant is baking, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, then minced garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and wine, simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in fresh herbs. Season to taste.
5). Spray a casserole dish with olive oil spray, then add one layer of eggplant, 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1 cup of mozzarella sprinkled on top, and spoon half of the sauce over. Then repeat with a second layer of eggplant, pour the rest of the sauce over, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and mozzarella.
6). May be cooled, covered, and refrigerated or frozen at this point. When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake casserole for 25-30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly, and cheese begins to brown.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with spaghetti (or low carb option of spaghetti squash), and a green vegetable of your choice.
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  • July 23, 2010
    2:48 am

    You two look so cute in this pic :)MariFer Cruz Ortega

  • July 23, 2010
    3:28 am

    Thanks for this blog! My daughter still talks about the last time I saw Duran Duran in Melbourne 2007. I didnt have a voice for 3 days!!! She finally understood when she got to see Pink with Her cool Dad last year!!! Dads are pretty good to their little girls sometimes!! :) I still love going to concerts, my next one is Simply Red although I will be 36 weeks pregnant (hope I dont go into labour early!!!)Colleen xx

  • July 23, 2010
    3:49 am

    Ah fandom … each generation have their faves AND the best part, if you're lucky, is that you get to GROW with the band, not grow OUT of them.Justine Owls

  • July 23, 2010
    3:52 am

    I bet the Rhianna show was AMAZING. And how cool to share fandom with her. My girls are 8 and 10, and I took them last year to see The Jonas Brothers. OH. MY.GOODNESS. I totally related to their tears and excitement. I can't wait for other concerts to share with them. I feel it is a wonderful way to really connect. :-)Rhonda Davis Crombie

  • July 23, 2010
    3:52 am

    That's just awesome! Thanks for sharing!!!Alison Sherman

  • July 23, 2010
    3:59 am

    What Justine said is so true! So happy that you and Tatjana had a wonderful visit. Don't be blue, you can start planning for her next visit and scrapbook your pictures and thoughts about this visit.Love the eggplant recipe! Back to the grocery store Friday or Saturday for the ingredients. I think this just might perk up my appetite and perk me up in a healthy way. Many thanks!

  • July 23, 2010
    4:02 am

    Hey Colleen – I want to see my all time favorite, Prince, when I was 36 weeks pregnant. Every time I took a breather from dancing they would race over thinking I'd gone into labor. Sheesh, not before the encore!Thanks MariFer – I like that the pics are almost identical at beginning and end (except with no make-up artist present). Justine – if you're lucky you can enjoy every generation. Great music transcends generational boundaries. Having said that – I'll NEVER outgrow Prince. Ask Tatjana – we went to see him in Vegas a few years ago. She'd never seen her mother dance on tabletops before.Rhonda she was beyond AMAZING! One of the best shows I've seen in many years.

  • July 23, 2010
    4:38 am

    Fantastic Blog….I still cannot get over the '99 pic and now…..no change whatsoever.Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.Great to hear that you both had a fantastic time….it certainly brings back many memories of my own, having seen my favourites in the last few years. Last one I saw was in April 2008 when Duran Duran were in Melbourne OZ. I was in the early stages of my own pregnancy (I had no idea at the time) and was like a crazed teenager.So Colleen, I totally understand where you are coming from. I almost lost my voice but I tell you one thing, I would certainly do it again.My husband thought I was mad. It was a night that brought back not only wonderful memories of my teenage years but one that brought an old friend of mine back in my life after 23 years. She turns 40 this week and I am so pleased to be back in her life.Julie Anne, I LOVE Prince too. When I first started working I went to a show he did here in Melbourne (at a nightclub). I waited until just past midnight to see him and got home in the early hours of the morning only to go straight to work. I was in my early twenties and I could have sworn I slept all day in front of the computer. But boy….it was all worth it.Aussie Mum

  • July 23, 2010
    6:27 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! My boys are still to young to go to a concert..but my almost 12 yr. old would LOOOVE to see Eminem… Julie Anne he has Eminem clothes he wore in his newest viedo he just shot with Lil Wayne!! He died when a friend who worked on it brought them home for him…He tryed to get Miah on set but couldn't!! They are hanging in his room on his wall!! I just showed him this viedo he was like MOM why didn't we go!!Josie Elder- Chow

  • July 23, 2010
    6:28 am

    LOL … that's what's so FUN about BEING a fan!! ENJOYING the music, plays, acting, etc. that makes you feel excited and good!Justine Owls

  • July 23, 2010
    6:28 am

    Josie – He's not too young, my first concert was Aerosmith when I was 10. I got straight A's on my report card, so mom took me as a reward. Great memory, especially since my mom hates their music. At least Tatjana and I have similar taste in music.

  • July 23, 2010
    6:29 am

    Going to a great concert is probably my all time favorite thing to do. Of course I have a firm rule that my kids and husband are NOT allowed to see DD with me… :) Any other band is fair game though… I'm looking forward to taking my 12 yr old to see her favorite band, Paramour, this Sept. You're right Julie Anne – Love IS a concert! :) I enjoyed that story a lot. Thanks!Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • July 23, 2010
    6:30 am

    Julie Anne, do you ever get tired of us "fans" following you, etc? I mean, you must get asked about Nick ALL the time. From what I've seen though, most people are genuinely interested in your blogs and recipies — which, BTW, are wonderful. Those red velvet waffles have become a fave of ours — but I use beet juice for colouring.Shawn Gordon-Crane

  • July 23, 2010
    9:39 am

    Gosh!The eggplant parmesan!Aaaargh, I really, really love it!I do it in a easier way but next time I'll try your version.In any case my husband will be happier than he was when I dragged him to Bryan Adams' concert and there I left him to fall in love as a teenager with Bryan :-) Poor fellow! (my husband, not Bryan Adams,of course:-) )Carmen R.

  • July 23, 2010
    3:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Not really listened to much of Rihanna but maybe that will change now. I still love going to concerts and I admit to still screaming at Duran Duran even if I am on a slippery slope to 42! Music brings so many people and generations together, I don't get the person who once said to me that at 25 I was far too old to go to a concert!! Load of nonsense that.Prince I saw once in 92 and it was a dreadful gig, he really was not on form BUT I saw him at the London 02 and he rocked. He really did produce once of the classiest energetic shows I have ever seen.I haven't a child to share concerts with but hopefully my nephew and niece will share auntie's love for live music

  • July 23, 2010
    5:20 pm

    Love the beet juice for red velvet coloring idea Shawn – I'm going to try that next time! As for DD fans – for the most part they have all been lovely, enthusiastic, support for me as I venture out into the blogasphere, so I'm grateful for everyone!Carmen- if you want an easier way – just find a brand of marinara sauce you love, and skip making fresh. The pasta police will not arrest you.Little Amanda – don't ever stop screaming- it might make you old instead of a sprightly 42. I hate people that try to put age limits on anyone for anything. You are as young as you feel, and enjoying a great show reminds you of that!

  • July 23, 2010
    5:20 pm

    YOU ARE ENJOYING A WONDERFUL SUMMER!!!!XXXAlfredo Lemos Suarez

  • July 23, 2010
    5:21 pm

    Aw, I love this pic!!Jodi Silverman Zulueta

  • July 23, 2010
    5:21 pm

    awwww…what a great blog! So glad you had a great last night together! ;)Tracy Williams Walls

  • July 23, 2010
    5:22 pm

    I LOVE baked eggplant parmesan… The bomb!Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • July 23, 2010
    5:22 pm

    That looks really good I will have to try your recipe out, love your blog thanks for sharing your pictures of your daughter and you together.Lisa Buckles-Onsurez

  • July 23, 2010
    5:27 pm

    "Love is a Concert"…you got that right!!! ♥ And I'm ALL about the love!!! I don't have any children like you but if I did, I'd cherish any interest & bond that we'd have through music. I'm so blessed to have met so many of my incredible and precious friends through music & concerts the past several years!! ♥Rita LuckyOne

  • July 23, 2010
    5:33 pm

    Great story as always!!Allison Coia

  • July 23, 2010
    9:12 pm

    I make this every couple months and it is sooooo good baked instead of pan friedCarly Guerrero

  • July 23, 2010
    9:13 pm

    I love concerts too (always going). Kelli's 1st concert was when I won tix to N*Sync, was a treat when few yrs later got to go to Justin T. LoveSexy Tour (something like that). My favorite concert was last July 5th though when I got onstage at Duran and got to meet Nick. Sad when a 36 yr old jumps onstage desperate to meet her favorite band member after almost 30 yrs, lol. What's your fave concert?Carly Guerrero

  • July 24, 2010
    2:28 am

    Prince in Vegas, again with Tatjana, and again thanks to the ex, but this show was hot on it's heels.

  • July 24, 2010
    2:29 am

    Always love seeing the Stones live too.

  • July 24, 2010
    2:29 am

    OMG — I find it interesting how you keep switching back and forth from "the ex" to "Nick" … LOL Mood swings in your writing or just an interesting habit?Justine Owls

  • July 24, 2010
    2:30 am

    Habit.

  • July 24, 2010
    2:30 am

    My husband and I saw Prince a few years ago when he came here to Bakersfield, Ca. For one I was shocked that he came to Bakersfield but I have to say that was one of the best concerts I had ever been too, he puts on an AMAZING show.Lisa Buckles-Onsurez

  • July 24, 2010
    2:31 am

    I wish that Prince would come back to Australia…it seems like everyone else are touring this year!!!Colleen Moffatt

  • July 24, 2010
    3:00 am

    I wish that too Colleen….it has been a while since I last saw Prince in OZ. Fingers crossed!Aussie Mum

  • July 24, 2010
    7:58 am

    Ahahah, I'm Italian, the pasta police may be very severe to me:-)Have a nice week end:-)Carmen R.

  • July 24, 2010
    4:02 pm

    I LOVE Tatjana's beautiful hair colour and the style in this pic…..such a lovely young lady! She reminds me of the Hollywood starlets of yore.Brittany Shai Harper

  • July 24, 2010
    4:49 pm

    I just love hearing your stories. I have found that I really look forward to them, and your yummy recipes. Thanks so much for sharing with us.Suzanne Voelker

  • July 24, 2010
    4:49 pm

    Again girl I love that pic of you too,you look really cute,and it's always amazing to enjoy time with our kids and parents!!!Aww that pic of Tatjana in the back stage of Big Thing tour is so adorable….the other one with the whole band in 2003 is very nice too,a very special one without doubt.MariFer Cruz Ortega

  • July 24, 2010
    4:53 pm

    Thanks Brittany – she is much more adventurous and stylish than her momma when it comes to hair.MariFer – the band knew nothing about the lifetime achievement award. They thought they were just there to present an award to someone else. I had to persuade Nick to let Tatjana come, but I'm sure he was glad he did when they won! I know Tatjana was proud (and so was I).

  • July 24, 2010
    5:39 pm

    Well, I've been to some DD concerts in recent years that were still pretty crazy! LOLLara Coker Hayes

  • July 24, 2010
    5:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing this =)Ankh Márcia Abud

  • July 24, 2010
    5:48 pm

    I'm with you on that, Jewels. I think the atmosphere of club shows is far more enjoyable. My first concert was Adam Ant (gasp!). What was yours?Jodi Silverman Zulueta

  • July 24, 2010
    5:49 pm

    Aerosmith with my mom when I was 10.

  • July 24, 2010
    5:56 pm

    I love seeing DD fans bringing their kids to shows, and they know a lot of the words! A whole new generation of Duranies! The guys enjoy it too, I think, because they talk about it a lot. DD crowds are definitely a mix of young and old(er) these days!

  • July 25, 2010
    12:46 am

    I loved this post,and the comments all brought back memories of concerts past. Being from detroit, of course my first concert (and most frequent concert) was Ted Nugent. My first solo (sans parents) concert was Prince…and my favorite concert was, oddly, the Cowboy Junkies (who knew such a boring group could put on such an awesome show?), which I was forced to attended while working as a Music Journalist. The next CJ concert, I went willingly :-). I've always preferred the small cozy concerts to the arena shows because the sound is way better. I can stay home and not hear or see a thing for cheaper. :PThat dr. seuss quote is awesome.Those were some awesome seats ya'll had! I don't know that I was ever (legitimately) that close to the stage.

  • July 25, 2010
    1:41 am

    I loved reading that! I can't wait until I can bring my now 4 yr old daughter to her first concert of her favorite band. I didn't get to see DD until 87 so I missed out the first time around. Has Tatjana seen the Sing Blue Silver documentary with the fans being pulled from the crowd and the girls falling to the floor? LOL!Michelle Gordon Noon

  • July 25, 2010
    1:42 am

    Sing Blue Silver captures the maDDness well!Lara Coker Hayes

  • July 25, 2010
    9:25 pm

    Oh, my, N'SYNC! Wish I'd had your kind of pull when my oldest wanted to see them at the Superdome in '99. I spent the night in my car with all 3 kids, 10, 5 & 3, waiting for the record store to open to get tickets! I got to go with her, though and we had a ball. I even picked 1 guy to scream over (Joey) because I'm a born fangirl, & while all the other moms around us just looked bored, I lost my voice & bonded with my daughter. It was a great show & I wouldn't have missed it for anything.My first concert with my younger ones, you'll be happy to know, was Sam Bradley last year in Birmingham, AL. It was beyond magical for us, and Sam became a friend for life. Ask him about Edward. He'll tell you!Morgan (aka Bandmum1)

  • July 26, 2010
    2:34 pm

    What a wonderful story Julie Anne. You know you really ought to consider writing some type of novel. I'm sure you'd be very good at it and you have a wealth of experiences to write about. I can't wait to try this dish. I had something similar in Ireland once when we were staying in a friend's house that resembled something like an international house of pancakes since all of her guests were foreigners. Hahaha! Anyways the lovely Italian lady from Turino made us a very simple eggplant parmesian dish placed under the grill. It was delicious and we ate it all!

  • July 31, 2010
    2:11 am

    Another great blog, Jewels! I'm wishing my mom was remotely as cool as yours. I saw Aerosmith when I was about 14, but couldn't have gotten my mother there for all the tea in China! Dream On!My dad's out visiting from CA and is planning on making your baked eggplant parm recipe. He's really into cooking (and admittedly very good.) I've now got him hooked on your blogs and recipes :-) I'm trying to diet but he's not helping my muffin-top! Nice to be spoiled, though!

  • November 17, 2010
    6:20 pm

    this dish looks sooooooo yummy, i can't wait to make it for my parents!!

  • June 28, 2011
    7:56 am

    cara julie anne, tu sei una persona meravigliosa, ed intelligente, tua figlia e’ stata fortunata ad averti come mamma, e a me piacerebbe diventare tua amica,io ho 35anni che compiero’in agosto, sono italiana e vivo a roma. sei una cuoca eccezzionale! ciao