Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bon Apetit!

My friends and family used to be stunned by the number of movies I saw at the theatre. At one point I was going to the movies at least once a week and I saw all the new releases the minute they came out. But over the last year a serious lack of time and funds have prevented me from staying on top of my movie watching. Which is why I just this morning saw Julie & Julia. FINALLY! With my love of cooking (and blogging!) I cannot believe it took me this long to see this movie. And I seriously loved it.

I thought Amy Adams as Julie Powell was charming. A little whiney, but charming nonetheless. Meryl Streep. What else can you say but her name? She was fantastic, as always. While I know who Julia Child is, she was a little before my time, and Streep brought her to life with such vivacity and spirit that I couldn't help but love her. She made Julia real and accessible to me. And how great was Stanley Tucci as her husband? I absolutely loved their relationship. They were beyond adorable, and from what I've read Julia and Paul Child's relationship was really that wonderful. I think the whole Julie/Julia Project was such a great idea. I would love to do something like that! But I have a feeling it would get a little expensive. Also - best line of the movie - "These damn things are hotter than a stiff cock!" Hilarious!

But let's talk about the real star of the film - THE FOOD. I will not lie, I found myself salivating more than once while watching Julie & Julia. There's a scene towards the beginning of the movie where Julie and her husband are talking about her starting her own blog, and during the entire scene they are chowing down on the most incredible looking homemade bruschetta on piece of thick, crusty, toasted bread. I was dying. Also - that chocolate cake with the almonds? Gorgeous.

I was definitely inspired to do some serious cooking. Well...not today...I have no groceries, haha. But I have a TON of recipes that I've been meaning to make and after watching Julie & Julia I can't wait to get in the kitchen and get cooking. Bon Apetit!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Kiss

Let's talk about art. Now trust me, I'm no art buff, not at all, but I think I have pretty good taste and I know what I like. So I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite (if not the favorite) paintings.
The Kiss
Gustav Klimt

I will never forget the first time I saw this painting. While I was studying abroad, my friends and I spent a few days in Paris over fall break. We stayed with an old family acquaintance of my friend Claire's who was a little...neurotic, to say the least. She was absolutely convinced that we were going to miss our bus to the airport in the morning, so
she made us hop on the Metro at 11 pm (talk about an odyssey...she got us lost, 3 times) and pawned us off on her friend. (side note -- who drops 4 American girls who don't speak a word of French off a friend's that they don't know and just leaves? we were very lucky that this woman and her husband ended up being SO wonderful and kind) I should mention that Claire had gotten some kind of 24-hr stomach bug that she was just getting over, meanwhile I was just getting the same bug. By the time we got to The Friend's apartment around midnight, I was running a fever, my body ached and I was sweating through my shirt, I was exhausted and beyond irritated. We walked into her apartment, I let my bags drop off my arms, let out a big sigh, turned to my left and there it was. The most beautiful painting I'd ever seen.

I literally stood there in a daze, staring at it and not even realizing I was doing so, until The Friend put her arm around me and said, "It's beautiful. Kind of breaks your heart, doesn't it?" She said she'd stumbled across the Klimt Museum when she was in Vienna and had fallen deeply, deeply in love. She brought me over to her bookcase and pulled a book about the Austrian painter, featuring all of his work, off her shelf and handed it to me to look at while I fell asleep. The man is a GENIUS. All of his paintings are stunning, but this one is definitely my favorite.

The colors are so vibrant, but even more than the stunning hues I love the feeling of intimacy the painting invokes. Look at the way he's holding her, like she is the most precious thing on the face of the earth. He's so much bigger than she is and yet you can feel the tenderness in him. The way her hands are curled around him you can tell there's no where else in the world she'd rather be. I love the the strength of the two of them together, united as a team, and the fact that you can tell they would do anything for each other. He is hers and she is his. And her face. That absolute serenity and happiness. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

As I mentioned, The Friend had a gorgeous canvas replica of the painting hanging in her living room. She said her husband bought it for her for their anniversary one year. I would absolutely LOVE to have one just like that. Someday. For now I'll settle for a small image of the painting I bought when I was in Barcelona. It's actually an oversized postcard, but hey! It works. I have it hanging in my room near my bed. I see that picture about a hundred times every day and I still find myself being mesmerized by it. I guess that's the power of beautiful artwork.

Who is your favorite painter? And what's your favorite painting?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I am a huge nerd. HUGE. I'm a nerd in a lot of ways, but let's just focus on one for today. Harry Potter! I was the biggest critic of the Harry Potter books for the first few years they came out and I made fun of my friends relentlessly for reading them. And then my best friend Melanie showed me the light. Seven books later and I'm one of the biggest Harry Potter nerds going. On top of that, I think J.K. Rowling is a genius and a woman whom I truly admire.

Since there are no more books to look forward to (so sad) and the next movie won't be out until November (should we start a countdown?), us Potter fans have to get our fix somehow. That's why I was beyond excited when I found out Harry Potter: The Exhibition was coming to the Museum of Science. Luckily for me Melanie - the friend who turned me on to HP - lives in Boston and was more than willing to go with me.

Now, technically, we were not allowed to take pictures. Does that stop MelButt? No, no, no. And does that stop me from stealing those pictures from her? Nope!

The Sorting Hat!
They only let little kids get sorted :(

Buckbeak and costumes from The Prisoner of Azkaban

The Maurauder's Map

The Great Hall!

With details as tiny as the jewelry the characters wear to pieces as big as Harry and Ron's complete bedroom in Gryffindor Tower, the entire world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts is vividly brought to life. For anyone who's a fan of the Harry Potter books or movies, I highly recommend this exhibit!

P.S. 289 days until Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows comes out!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Rainy Afternoon

"Don't you just love these long rainy afternoons when an hour isn't just an hour - but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands - and who knows what to do with it?"
- Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire

Here in Boston it was a long, grey, dreary day. Rain, rain, rain. And then more rain. But you know what? Sometimes I just love days like this. I admit it, I stayed home from class today. One look out my window and I knew I wasn't going to leave the apartment any time soon. On days like this, I like to cuddle under a blanket on the couch, read a good book, watch a good movie, and cook some good food. Talk about a mental health day! The only thing that could have made it better would have been having someone to play hooky and cuddle under the blanket with.. Alas, that's not in the cards for right now, and I had a nice day regardless. Here are a few of my favorite rainy day books and movies:
  • I Capture the Castle - Both the novel and the movie are FABULOUS. Written by Dodie Smith, it's the diary of a precocious teenager, Cassandra Mortmain, and her eccentric family living in a run down castle in the English countryside in the 1930s. It's a beautiful coming of age tale that transports you right to the time and place that is being written about.
  • Harry Potter - I really only prefer the more recent movies, but the novels are all fantastic. So ANY Harry Potter book. (I'm a huge nerd...more on that later!)
  • Love Walked In - (by Marisa De Los Santos) One of my favorite books. The point of view changes from thirty-something Cornelia and 11 year old Claire and the remarkable way in which their stories intertwine. I especially love Cornelia and her references to other pieces of literature and classic movies. Totally a me book.
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Probably my favorite author. I absolutely adore the way he writes. His novels are kind of like grown-up fairy tales and have this incredible lyrical poetic quality about them.
  • Mad Men - Great TV show! Aside from being extremely well-written, having interesting, complex characters, and an outstanding cast...hello!? THE CLOTHES! I swear I could just watch it with my TV on mute. Oh, and, Don Draper. The end.
  • Gangs of New York - Fantastic Scorsese movie and despite the fact that I've seen it more times than I can count, I never cease to be dumbfounded by Daniel Day Lewis' performance as Bill the Butcher. He. Is. Incredible.
  • Pride & Prejudice - Ah, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Perhaps the best love story EVER. Yes, I've read the novel. More than once. But it's not the type of book that I would just sit down and read for fun. This is one case (rare as it may be) where I'd rather watch the film version. Despite my deep hatred for Kiera Knightly as an actress, I love love love the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice.
  • Something's Gotta Give - I'll admit it, the first time I saw this movie I didn't really care for it. A few years later I watched it again and now it's one of my favorite movies. I love it! It's funny, well written, and Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson are wonderful together. And they can teach all of us a thing or two about what to do on long, rainy afternoons ;)
  • Moonstruck - OK. This is my all time favorite movie. Ever. EVER! I really can't even explain why or what it is about this film, but it's tops in my book. I've seen it so many times I can (and often do) recite the dialogue along with the actors. It's smart, sweet, witty, and is one of the few movies that captures what it's really like to be part of an Italian American family. "La bella luna! The moon brings the woman to the man. Capisce?"
How do you guys feel about rainy days? What's your favorite thing to read/watch/do on a long rainy afternoon?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blue Skies Smilin' At Me

Over the last year I've discovered that I am more aware of the colors I choose when it comes to my clothes. I'm not sure if it's because I'm just getting picky, or if I'm just becoming more aware of what I'm actually putting on my body and why I'm choosing the shades I am. Either way, I've decided to do a series of posts about clothes and COLOR! I know it would make sense to start with red and work my way through the color spectrum, but I can't make things easy for myself now can I? Let's start with blue.

I don't what it is, but lately I find myself more and more drawn to this shade. It's a very calming color, and more saturated shades of blue have a rich quality to them. I love navy as an alternative to black, especially because I'm pretty pale year round (I swear, my skin just rejects the sun) and navy is much softer - great for us fair-skinned gals!

Some people associate blue with sadness or isolation, but I find it to be a very peaceful color, one that inspires a feeling of serenity and grace. Blue is also the color for loyalty and I feel that it projects an understated confidence. I read somewhere that because blue does not occur organically in nature it is the least pleasing to the eye when you're looking at food. This may be true, but when it comes to clothes I say bring it on!
(All photos from Anthropologie, ModCloth, and Forever21)

If a lot of blue isn't really your thing, add a pop of color with a blue accessory!

Even an adorable blue telephone!

What's your favorite way to wear blue?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Alright, so photo credit (and cute little drawn on comments) for these images goes to PerezHilton. I had to share them. There's no story with this one.

He's delicious. That's all.


Ciao, ciao! I made one of my favorite dinners last week and I thought I'd share it with you guys. During the winter months, I crave cheesy, starchy foods. All the time. Any kind of pasta, grilled cheese, pizza, mac & cheese, you name it! Which is why risotto is so perfect. Creamy, cheesy, and delicious. I started calling it sorisotto because in Italian sorriso means smile, and that's what I do when I'm eating it. How cute am I!

Besides being delicious, I love risotto because it's pretty inexpensive and it makes a LOT of food! That is spectacular news for a student on a budget such as myself. One cup of dry rice makes about 3 cups of cooked risotto, so there is always plenty left over. I like to keep the flavors in the actual risotto pretty simple just for that reason. That way when I have my leftover risotto over the next few days, I can make a fresh side dish to go with it and I don't have to be eating the exact same thing three days in a row.

First I melt about a table spoon of butter in a pot, an add in some finely chopped onion and one clove of garlic. Sauté on medium heat and when the onions start to look translucent add in one cup of risotto. I typically use Arborio rice to make risotto, but Carnaroli and Vialone rice are popular as well. Really any short grained rice will do. Toast the rice for about 5 minutes - you will know it's ready when it's slightly translucent. At this point add in one cup of dry white wine. Stir the risotto constantly until all of the liquid is absorbed. Once it is, add in a cup of hot water. For extra flavor you can add hot chicken or vegetable stock, but if you don't have any on hand (like moi) then hot water is just fine. Once that liquid is absorbed, add another cup of hot water and another and another until the ricsotto is done.

It may sound
difficult to gage when the risotto is finished, but it's really not. After 3 cups of hot water have been absorbed, I taste the risotto to see how much more it has to cook. Risottoe, like pasta should be a bit al dente, but if it's still very hard then it needs more water. Easy as that! Once the risotto is finished I add pepper and lots and lots of grated Parmesan cheese. The cheese has a lot of salt in it, so make sure you taste your risotto before you add any additional salt. I also add some dried, crushed basil to mine for a little extra flavor.

Now! Risotto does need to be stirred almost constantly, but almost is the key word. You can easily make something to go with your risotto while it's cooking. I cut up some chicken and sautéd it in a pan with quartered artichoke hearts, a little olive oil, white wine, salt, pepper, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. I'll tell you what - my kitchen smelled awesome, my roommates were drooling, and this dinner totally hit the spot.
Risotto and chicken and artchoke hearts with white wine & lemon sauce
Buon Apetito!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Playing Catch-up

Hi everyone! Happy MLK Day. For those of you that have the day off (like me!), I hope you're enjoying yourself and getting a chance to relax. For those of you that have to work...I'll be thinking of you fondly as I lounge on my couch.

Sorry I've been pretty absent this past week - things were crazy! Last week was my first week of class. I haven't been in classes since last spring, and being back in the swing of things is definitely taking some getting used to. It was also the first week that I had both classes and work. It wasn't very difficult going straight from class to The Improper but, again, it was an adjustment. I made it through the week though, and now that I've got my schedule all figured out I know I'll be able to prioritize my time accordingly, making room for work, school work, BLOGGING, friends, etc.

In other news, Ashley and I finished our bartending course yesterday and are now certified bartenders! Look out, Boston. I had an absolute blast and I really cannot say enough about DrinkMasters. I learned so much and left feeling confident about my abilities as a bartender. I'm excited to go out and find a job!

Since I have the day off, my plan is to catch up on all of the things I let slide last week. I have a little bit of work to do for school, my room and apartment need cleaning, I need to do some grocery shopping, and - most important of all - my blog needs tending to! So sit tight and I'll have some fun new posts up soon. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's the Little Things

I had a super busy day today. I had two classes this morning and then power-walked (I would have been late otherwise!) to Berkeley St. to work until 5:30pm. On top of that I knew I had to come home and read for a couple of my classes. Not very fun. It's not that my day was bad, it just wasn't good. It was one of those weird, kind of blah days that you just try to get through. UNTIL! I was flipping through the most current issue of the magazine where I'm interning and discovered that my name is already on the masthead!
I know, it's not that big of a deal. While I did work on the current issue, I didn't write anything for it so none of my work is in there. But still! My name is in the magazine! I can't even tell you how cool it was to see my name in print along with the other editors. I've wanted to work at The Improper for the longest time and the fact that I'm even there now still seems a little surreal, but to see my name in the magazine was a fantastic little dose of reality. Looking at the masthead I felt so happy and so proud of myself. It was something so little, but it definitely made my day.

The next issue comes hits stands on January 20th, and my writing (and my name!) will be in there, so be sure to check it out!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Beginning of the End of an Era

Today was the first day of my last semester of college. It's actually the beginning of the beginning of a new era, but... I don't know, it's a weird feeling! I thought going to a 5 year school was the smart thing to do, but now that I'm almost done I sometimes wonder if it was. It seemed like it would give me more time to figure out what I want to do with my life...WRONG. It just gave me more time to put off figuring out what I want to do with my life!

One of the hardest things for me has been this extra fifth year. If I had doubled-up on my classes last spring, I could have graduated in 2009. Because the economy and the job market were so awful at this time last year, I opted to do a second co-op, finish classes this spring and graduate in May 2010. In this way I was able to get more work experience, make a little bit o
f money, but still be considered a full-time student. All of my friends that graduated last spring kept telling me how lucky I was to have an extra year, but it didn't always feel that way. In addition to working at the co-op from hell, I also struggled with the fact that the majority of my friends had already graduated from college. While they've been working, making money, and starting the rest of their lives, I've been in this weird limbo for the better part of a year. There have been a lot of times that I've just felt stuck.

Another difficulty I'm facing now is that I haven't been in classes since the middle of April. Last year! I've been in work mode for the last 8-9 months and I do NOT want to go back to classes now. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy learning and some of the discussions that take place in class, but all of the reading, projects, and thanks!

Even so, I'm so happy this last semester is finally underway. I feel like I'm finally moving forward with my life, which is always a great thing. Although I will admit it - I do have some anxiety about what comes next. I know I'll figure it out, but until I do I'll be a little stressed about it. My roommates and I are all graduating this spring, so that's something special we'll be able to share. Since I'm back on campus for the first time in a what seems like forever, I look forward to rekindling friendships and doing a lot of senior activities (and by activiti
es I mean PARTIES!). Plus it's the start of a new year and, like I said in one of my previous posts, I have feeling that 2010 is going to be an absolutely fantastic year.

Now off to read 17th Century British Poetry... yikes!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Adventures of Little Domey Wallbanger

Sorry I've been MIA the past few days! This weekend I did something that I've always wanted to do... I'm taking a bar tending class! The classes are normally $445, but my friend Ashley and I found an amazing deal (we're talking like 75% off) so we decided to do it.

We're taking the course at DrinkMaster. It's only been two days (our course just started yesterday), but I am seriously impressed with this company. The staff is so knowledgeable and they have put all of us completely at ease. They have a full bar totally set up and we're able to get tons of hands on experience. You can tell that they really want us to learn and they're very enthusiastic about what their teaching. All in all, it's a great learning environment.

I've learned to make a lot of mixed drinks and what's even more interesting to me is to find out that there really is a science behind all of it. Once you learn the proper ratios, you can make anything. I spent half of yesterday and almost all of today behind the bar making drinks. Not real drinks. All of the bottles are filled with water, some have dye to make them look like the actual liquor. At first I thought that was can you learn to be a bartender without any booze?! But I realized pretty quickly that it would be insane to use to use real liquor. The minute we finish making one drink, we dump it down the drain and make it again. Practice makes perfect! And I'm pretty sure it's one of the 7 deadly sins to waste alcohol like that.

As we were flipping through our coursebook, we noticed one drink in particular - a Harvey Wallbanger. I just burst out laughing. The drink itself is not something I want to drink - it sounds awful - but come on! That name is hilarious! Ash immediately said it was my new nickname and from there it turned into Little Domey Wallbanger. And Ashley is now Little Flashy Wallbanger. Haha, I love it - so funny!

The Wallbanger Sisters

We have two more classes left next weekend, and then Ashley and I will be certified bartenders. Look out Boston!

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Celebrity Doppelgänger

It all started a little over two years ago at a company holiday party. During dinner I was seated next to my co-worker's wife, Corrinne. We had met briefly before, but that night was the first time we'd ever talked in depth. All throughout the cocktail hour I kept noticing her giving me these strange, sideways glances. It was making me paranoid! I couldn't figure out what she was looking at. Did I have something on my face or in my teeth? Maybe my bra was peeking out of my dress or something?

Finally, half way through dinner, she posed the question that has come to be infamous in my life: "Do you ever watch The Sopranos?" She proceeded to go on for about 5 minutes about how much I look like Meadow Soprano (played by Jamie Lynn Sigler). Never having watched The Sopranos before, I just nodded and smiled and said thanks, thinking, "I need to remember to google her tomorrow!" Google her I did and while I was happy with the comparison (come on, the girl is GORGEOUS!), I didn't really see the resemblance.

That little conversation somehow set off a chain reaction in my universe because since that day I have been approached more times than I can count (we're talking once a month, on average), with "Do you ever watch...", "Have you ever seen...", "Has anyone ever told you...", "Do you know who Jamie Lynn Sigler is
?" People will go out of their way to come up to me and tell me how much I look like her. I've gotten double and tripple takes, followed by laughter and, "Oh my god! I thought you were Meadow Soprano!"

Last night was one of the funniest occurrences of the Jamie Lynn Effect I've had in a while. Walking home after grabbing a few beers with my roommates, we decided to stop in our neighborhood pizza joint for a couple slices. We started chatting with the three guys behind us when suddenly, out of nowhere, the guy standing next to me snapped his head towards me and said abruptly, "So how many Sopranos references do you get?" LOVE IT! There wasn't even any build up to the question! To him, I look so much like her that it was just assumed that people ask me about it all the time. What's even funnier is that my first th
ought was, "How does he know I'm Italian? And why is he associating my family with the mafia?"

Obviously I'm an albino compared to her, but what do you think?
Are Jamie and I long lost sisters?
And has anyone ever stopped you to tell you how much you look like a celebrity?