Friday, December 31, 2010

Moments from 2010 I Never Want to Forget

Memorial day spent on my friends' roof. Gorgeous weather, gorgeous view of my city. Friends (new and old) lounging, laughing, drinking. A perfect day.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

The first time I saw my name in the masthead of the Improper Bostonian.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

A morning spent with someone who gives me butterflies in my stomach. Lounging around in our t-shirts, talking, laughing, not wanting to leave our little bubble. The way he picked me up and carried me, the way he ran his fingers through my hair. Kisses that made my knees wobbly.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Graduation. The feeling I felt when I opened my diploma and saw my name. Looking up into the crowd and seeing my parents' faces.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Lazy days at 772 spent on the couch, eating Annie's Mac & Cheese, and watching movie after movie and medical mystery shows.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Halloween. A great night with my friends and one of my favorite costumes ever.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Moving out of 772 and into Greenway Court. The end of one era and the beginning of another. Painting and decorating the new place, making it a home.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Best Present Ever

Remember when I confessed my undying love for Ina Garten?

Well lookie here at what my brother got me for Christmas.

This might be my favorite present that I received this year. My kitchen isn't going to know what hit it!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mom's Eggplant Parmesan

As I promised yesterday, here's the word on my mom's eggplant parm. DELICIOUS. Like it's actually ridiculous how good it is. I think she might be sneaking drugs into the bread crumbs and now I'm addicted. It's that good.

Start with with 3 large eggplants, peeled and sliced thin. Dip them first into an egg batter and then a bread crumb mixture (with secret ingredients and said drugs), and fry them in garlic infused olive oil.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Layer the fried eggplant in a 13x9 pan. Start with mom's homemade sauce, a layer of eggplant, more sauce, mozzarella, then more eggplant.

Top off with sauce and lots of mozzarella and back for about 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

I meant to take a picture of a slice of the parm, but everyone (including myself) ate it before I got the chance. YUMMO!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

An Italian Christmas Feast

I am an Italian American. Not the Jersey Shore, obnoxious guido kind. But a real Italian American. Once who knows exactly where her grandparents are from in Italy, who can speak the language, and whose family still celebrates all of the Italian traditions my grandparents and their grandparents grew up with.

I am proud of my heritage and proud of my family.

One of our biggest traditions is Christmas Eve. A lot of people have a low-key Christmas Eve. Maybe they watch a movie and have a quiet dinner with their immediate family. That's great, but that's not how my family does things.

In Italian culture, Christmas Eve - La Vigilia di Natale - is a big
ger deal, more important, than Christmas day. We don't eat any meat on Christmas Eve, because it's a day of penitence, so instead we have a feast of seven different types of fish. Shrimp, scallops, cod, smelt (my grandfather's choice!), tuna, calamari, and tilapia. The first four are fried, the tuna is made into a sauce for fettuccini, the calamari is stuffed with bread crumbs and cheese and cooked in a red wine sauce, and tilapia is baked with butter, lemon, white wine and garlic. We also have homemade polenta and eggplant parmesan (more on that later!). We're up by 8am and frying fish by 9. Everyone helps. Take a look:

Grandpa just oversees everything. And yes, that is my dad's homemade wine in the background.

When everything is cooked, we all shower and get ready for mass at 4. Traditionally you'd go to midnight mass, but when my cousins and I were all little, it was much easier for our parents to go to the earlier mass and it just kind of stuck. Then back to my parents' house to eat and drink and drink and eat. Everyone is dressed to the nines and family photos are taken in front of the Christmas tree. After dinner we change into our Christmas jammies and play games.

And yes, even though I am 23 years old, my dad still
reads me The Polar Express before I go to bed.

Then it's up in the morning for presents, and over to my Aunt Tara and Uncle Cataldo's house for the feast round 2. YUM!

Buon Natale, everyone. :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all my family, friends and readers a very merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Hi folks. I'd like to talk to you about torrone.

What is torrone (yes, you pronounce it toh-ROH-nay), you ask? Well, well, well, aren't you in for a treat!

Torrone is an Italian nougat candy that is traditionally eaten around Christmastime. I love the stuff, can't get enough. But my dad, ohhh my dad LOVES it. We've tried torrone from different bakeries all over the place. But the best, the very best torrone I've ever had, and I mean this with all my heart, comes from Boston's own Modern Pastry.

If you're thinking of the stale, orange flavored candies that come in the little colored boxes, then think again. Because this stuff is the real deal. Chewy, crunchy with the almonds, slightly sweet. And the dipped chocolate cappuccino or the dark chocolate espresso - oh. my. god.

Every year before I head home for Christmas, I have to go to the North End and stop at Modern to get torrone to bring home for my dad. This year he asked me to get 3 dozen. Now they come in bars the size of a king-size Snickers, maybe a little bigger. It ended up weighing almost 13 lbs. THIRTEEN POUNDS of candy. In other words, $187 worth. Of candy. I'll let you visualize that.

But boy oh boy, was it worth the hassle. Mmmmm, buonissimo!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Very ModCloth Christmas Party

Remember when I bought this dress?
Well now you can see how the finished product turned out when I wore it to my company's holiday party.

I styled it with black pantyhose (not tights - little girls wear tights, my friends, women wear pantyhose), black pumps, and an amazing little rhinestone encrusted belt I found at thrift store somewhere. Hair up to so as not to distract from the dress, and no necklace to show off my shoulders/collarbone. Sparkly earrings and festive red lips topped it off.

What do you think? Would you have styled it differently?

p.s. Thank youuuuu, ModCloth!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Remember when you were a little kid and you used to make ornaments for your mom? The kind you rolled out and used cookie cutters for, and then decorated them with glue and glitter once they'd been baked?

I made some.

No, I'm not cheap. And yes, I love giving homemade gifts. But the real reason I made them is because my mom called me sobbing one night because their Christmas tree fell over. A lot of ornaments broke, but the ones that she was most upset about - the ones that made her cry - were the ornaments my brother and I made for her when we were little kids. So obviously I had to make some replacements.

I used this recipe from and stained my hands red and green for about 3 days.

I didn't have cookie cutters (I know, ridiculous), so I had to find another way to shape the ornaments. Guess who traced patterns off her laptop, cut them all out, traced said templates onto the rolled out dough, and cut each individual ornament out with a parring knife? Oh yeah.

But look how great they turned out!

Now shhhh.. don't tell my mom!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Tree Adventure

Oh boy, kids, Christmas is officially here - the Christmas tree is in the house! Melanie, her former roommate Liz and Liz's fiancee Dave went a-hunting for the perfect trees yesterday. Our first stop did not prove to be fruitful. Well, we saw Santa.

BUT the trees were outrageously expensive so we drove about 20 minutes to another farm nearby. It was great and we BOTH found our Christmas trees.

Our very first Christmas tree!

When Mel and I got back home we immediately got into decoration mode. Christmas music blasting from my computer, we whipped that tree into tip-top Christmas shape.

Super cute ornaments for Melanie and Domenica!

The Christmas spirit is in full swing at Greenway Court!

(P.S. Half these photos are courtesy of Miss. Melanie and her amazing new camera.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Rabbit, Rabbit, White Rabbit.

For those of you who don't know what that means, you can read about it here.

How is it December already? I'm definitely not complaining - it's officially Christmastime, my favorite time of year, and the Christmas music is already blaring. But where did this year go?!

So, 'tis the season. For baking and shopping and wrapping and Christmas carols and Christmas miracles and SNOW.

Bring it on, December, bring it on.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pretty Things

I am a happy girl today. Very happy. But more on that later! Right now all I want to share with you is my latest purchase.

Isn't it so pretty? I've been eyeing this dress for weeks, and today the perfect opportunity to wear it presented itself. I couldn't resist!

This gorgeous frock is from one of my favorite sites, I wasn't sure about the sizing of this dress - on the site it said it runs a little small - so I called and spoke to one of their representatives and she gave me the measurements. I ended up getting a size up from what I normally would and I think it's going to work out just fine. The girl I spoke to was super helpful, and the dress is shipping out tomorrow so I should have it by Friday. I can't wait to get my hands on it and try it on!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wasn't able to make it home for Thanksgiving this year. I had to work yesterday and it's back to work for me tomorrow as well, so the trip just wasn't doable. I was away from home for Thanksgiving once before, but it was when I was studying in Italy. Since we were all in the same boat, my group of friends banded together and created an awesome dinner.

This year I felt like I was the only one who wasn't going home to be with my family. Needless to say, I've been a little bummed this week.
Luckily one of my best friends, James, also had to work this week and wasn't able to go home either. We spent the day together and I made a great Thanksgiving dinner for us. Check out the spread!

For all of the blessings in my life, especially my family and my friends (who are also family to me), I am infinitely grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream (Part II)

Remember this post? And how I bragged about how amazing these cupcakes were?

Well, as promised, I made them again. This time for our annual "Friendsgiving" dinner. And I think they may have been even better the second time around!

Flour and spices.

Sugars, eggs and melted butter.

Add the pumpkin and the batter is ready!

Let those little babies bake up for about 20 minutes.

Frost and decorate!
I don't know why I didn't take any photos of the frosting, but I'll sum it up for you - homemade caramel, 2 sticks of butter and lots of powdered sugar. Delish.

The Friendsgiving dinner was great. Lots and lots of great food, even better friends. My friend Kristen made this lovely poster so we could all write what we're thankful for. Take a look:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Style Inspiration: Audrey Hepburn in "Charade"

I know, I know - Audrey is a style icon in her own right. She always has, and probably always will, have a huge influence on me when it comes to fashion. However I recently watched the movie Charade for the first time (thanks for the recommendation, Fina!) and Oh. My. Goodness.

The movie itself was fantastic - great plot, fast paced and slick, and the witty banter between Hepburn and Grant is perfection. But the clothes. The clothes! In the opening credits they proudly proclaim that Ms. Hepburn's clothing was styled and provided entirely by Givenchy, so I knew it would be good. But seriously?
Let's just take a look, shall we?

That yellow coat? I die.

I need to go shopping.