Sunday, February 28, 2010

And the Gold Medal Goes To...

I LOVE the Olympics. Winter or summer - doesn't matter, I love it all. And I've really enjoyed watching all the events over the last two weeks and seeing our country come together behind something positive for once. I really wanted team USA to win the gold in men's hockey. I really did. But I have to be honest, I'm OK with Canada winning. Over the last few years I've developed a real affinity for all things Canadian because one of my best friends/roommates is from Vancouver. Well, Vancouver Island...Mill Bay to be exact. I visited her a few summers ago and my god is that country beautiful! Anyways, she is a hardcore hockey fan, as are most Canadians, and she wanted Canada to win so badly. So I'm happy for you and your team, Han! It was an amazing game and I loved watching it.

I'm sad the Olympics are over - it'll be two years before we have them again! - but I'm proud of my country and all of our athletes. We kicked some serious ass this year. But that's not really what I wanted to talk to you about. Because I have a gold medal of my own to give out and I think it's totally deserved.

What I really want to talk about are commercials. Advertisers must have had a friggin' field day this winter between the Super Bowl and then the Olympics just a week later. But over the last two weeks one company has stood out to more than any other. And as much I love those E*Trade commercials with the talking babies ("A milk-a-what?!"), I've gotta hand it to P&G. Your mom commercials are the shit. I don't have any kids and don't plan on having any for several years, but I can't watch these commercials without getting all choked up. So the gold medal goes to you, P&G, for excellence in television advertising.

And, my personal favorite:

Now I need a tissue.

When Green Is All There Is To Be

I can't believe February is over. I feel like just yesterday I was staring open-mouthed at my roommates exclaiming, "I can't believe it's already February!" And now it's come and gone and tomorrow begins the month of March. In like a lion, out like a lamb - I hope. And since March marks the official beginning of springtime (and is host to that famously green holiday, St. Patrick's day), I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite green fashion finds.

Green is, obviously, the color of nature, and it symbolizes growth, harmony, and fertility. It's no wonder that this shade is so refreshing! I've also read that green is believed to have great healing power because it's the most restful color to the human eye. While green is sometimes used to denote naivety or inexperience (as in a "greenhorn") or jealousy (as in "green with envy"), I prefer to think of it as a youthful and determined color.

I'm not one to wear pastels; I really prefer more saturated, bold shades and green is no exception. There is such richness in a deep emerald or a bright, cheery kelly green. Green jewel tones can be quite eye-catching. The more subdued shades, like olive or moss, are perfect for a picnic on a pretty spring afternoon.

I absolutely adore this sea-foam slip from Anthropologie! I have visions of myself padding around my apartment barefoot, eating scones, and reading...I don't know...Jane Austin in this slip.

I love colorful coats! So many times people just stick to basic black or brown and in the middle of a dreary winter like this it's great to see a pop of color. I actually have a jacket very similar to the one above on the left. And I just love the little checkered trim on the sage trench coat. If an entire green dress, shirt, or jacket is too much, then go for a great green accessory like the ones below. I am seriously drooling over that necklace - how gorgeous is that?!

I had to include this chair - it's just too fabulous. I don't know where I would put it or what I'd use it for (well...sitting, obviously), but I want it!

How will you be incorporating green into your wardrobe (or home!) this spring?

(All photos courtesy of Anthropologie, Forever21, and Modcloth)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Via Piantarose 7, or My Life in Perugia

As many of you know, I studied abroad in Italy in the fall of 2008. It was hands down the best experience of my life, thus far. I had the most amazing time, had some incredible experiences, and met some truly fantastic people. I lived for fourth months in a city called Perugia in a little apartment at via Piantarose 7.

Perugia is the capital of Umbria and is smackdab in the center of the country. It's home to the Perugina chocolate factory, Fontanna Maggiore, a Roman Aqueduct, Dempsey's Irish Pub, and Pizzeria Pompeii. And, as you can see, it's absolutely gorgeous. I think I'm going to do a series about Perugia and my life there, because there's way too much to include in just one post. For now, I'll start with soup.

For anyone who's been to Perugia during the winter, you know just how miserable it can be. It d
oesn't really snow in Perugia. It rains - A LOT. It doesn't actually get that cold in Perugia, but the cold it does's that wet cold that seeps into your bones. That damp cold where no matter what you do you just can't seem to get warm. Two of my roommates, Krystal and Erica, shared a huge bedroom that became like our little living room. I can't even tell you how many times I wandered in there wearing sweatpants, two pairs of socks with slippers, multiple sweatshirts, a scarf, a hat, and mittens, and curled up on Krystal's bed, moaning, "I can't get warm!" We lucked out on our apartment (more on that later!) and had the greatest kitchen where we cooked every night and ate dinner together around our little table.

One of the ways we tried to combat the damp, Perugian winter was by making vast amounts of homemade soup.My adventure into soup-making began when I had a hard time finding canned soups at the markets and grocery stores, and the soup that I did find I didn't really like.
I LOVE soup - I went through a phase as a child where it's literally all I ate - so you can imagine my frustration. One particularly cold, rainy day I got home from class and decided, what the hell? I'm making my own! I ran to a little market and bought all the fresh veggies I could find and set out to make my first batch of soup. And it was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. We made soup about once a week and over time I perfect the recipe for what I've started calling "Perugian Vegetable Soup."

I wasn't feeling that great earlier in the week (and the cold, rainy weather here in Boston was very reminiscent of a Perugian winter), so I decided to make a big batch of soup. I start with potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
Then I throw everyone into the pot with some butter and lots of salt and pepper.
I saute them until they're tender, then I add in whatever other veggies I want (corn, peas, mushrooms, etc.) and my secret ingredients :)

Add in about 8 cups of water, and more salt and pepper to taste.

Then I let it simmer for about 10 minutes so all of the flavors can blend together. Sometimes I add chicken, but I just didn't have handy this time. I should mention the fact that I only know how to make this soup in huge quantities, but I separate into Tupperware containers and it keeps great in the fridge. I end up eating soup for like a week! I boiled some plain egg noodles and added them in the soup to make the perfect dinner. I also toasted up some ciabatta in a pan with some olive oil to dip in the soup. YUM!

The perfect comforting - and nostalgic - meal for a cold, rainy day. Buon appetito!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Apology

Dear D*Tales readers ('cause there are oh so many of you...),

Please forgive me. I did not forget about you, I promise. I owe you guys an apology and believe me, I am sorry! I'm throwing myself at your mercy. I know, I know... I've been promising that I would update the blog with more posts and I haven't kept up my end of the deal. Last week I did have a legitimate reason, my whole computer fiasco, but this week... Well, this week all I can offer you is this picture as an explanation:

Yes, that is my workspace. And yes, all of these books need to be read and analyzed and reported on by the end of the week. YIKES! Don't worry - it looks worse than it is. I'm actually in great shape right now. The last week or so my brain has been completely in school-mode, and unfortunately it's going to stay there until about Thursday afternoon. After that though, look out! D*Tales, my love, you will have my undivided attention.

Love, love, love,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Computer!

Hey guys! So sorry for the absence this past week. As I mentioned before, I was having a lot of problems with my laptop last week. I took it to a computer place and they determined that while the hard drive is fine, the LCD screen is busted. After much deliberation and discussion with my parents (hey, Dad was forking over the money for this one)... I got a new laptop!!!!

My old laptop was great and it lasted me a solid five years, but its age was really starting to show. Since it lasted so long and I had so few problems, I decided to stick with HP again this time around. I haven't had a new technological gadget in the longest time and I've been totally occupied all afternoon setting everything up and playing with my new toy.

I still need to transfer all of my files from my old computer to this one and install Microsoft Office, so it will be a couple days before I'm totally up and running like normal, but I'm off to a great start. I'll have some new posts up in the next few days - promise!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love, Actually

"There must be millions of people all over the world who've never gotten a Valentine. I could be their leader." - Charlie Brown

Alright kids, it's almost Valentine's Day. I decided to write this post today because on February 14th I'll more than likely be having a cooking/baking/wine drinking extravaganza with my friend Ashley over at Bottoms Up!

Yes, it's true -- I've never had a Valentine. Now I'm not talking about a Valentine's card from my grandmother or my parents. And I'm not talking about elementary school when your 4th grade class has an ice cream sundae party and your teacher passes out a list of all the students in your class so you can address each one of them a Barbie valentine with a lollipop attached to it and everyone drops them in their little Valentine's Day mailboxes on top of their desks...although, seriously, how
great was that? Can we bring that back??

I'm talking about a real Valentine. The kind that includes flowers and maybe a card and dozens of kisses. The kind that catches you by surprise, even if you're dating the person. The kind that gives you butterflies, even when you're just thinking about it weeks later. And would I like to get a real Valentine? You betcha. While I can be pragmatic, and sometimes downright cynical, I am truly a hopeless romantic at heart and on the list of things I believe in, love is tops. Considering Valentine's Day is in 3 days, I don't think 2010 will be my year. There is still time, anything can happen I suppose, but you know what? I'm not worried about it.

"The love of my life is the love I feel between me and my best friends."

I read that quote somewhere once and it just stuck with me. As many jokes as I've made this past week about being alone on Valentine's Day, I'm really not. I seriously have the best friends (and family) in the entire world. Would it be nice to have someone to spend a romantic Valentine's Day with? Absolutely. But that's not something I can rush or just snap my fingers and have. Remember that episode of Sex & the City where Carrie talks about how the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself? And how what you need to do is find someone to love the you that you love? BINGO. So that, my friends, is why I'm happy spending Valentine's day with my friends, or even by myself. Because I love the me that I am, and my friends do too.  Some good food and a bottle (or two...or three!) of vino with my friends sounds like the perfect little Sunday to me. And if someone does end up surprising me...well, wouldn't that be just fabulous?

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! :)

P.S. On the off chance that there actually is someone out there planning to surprise me on Sunday, I love conversation hearts. Love them. Seriously.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Poor, Poor PC

Alright you guys, this might be it. I've been dreading this day for the last...oh, year and a half? But I'm honestly afraid that it might actually be here. I think my computer is dying.

I've had my laptop for almost 5 years now, and as my brother kindly pointed out this afternoon, "That's like 20 years in computer time." It's held help really well over the years, made it all the way to Italy and back with me, but over the last year or so a lot of funny little (and not so little) things have been happening that have had me worried. Lately it's been doing this cute little trick where the screen goes black. Not totally black, but almost completely black... like someone lowered the contrast to the lowest it can go before the screen is totally black. I can make out some things on the screen, anything that's white I can kind of see, but not enough to be able to operate the computer.

Now normally all I have to do is turn the computer off and back on again, and it's fine. Everything is normal and I don't have any other problems. Until today, that is. This morning I was using my computer before work and it was great. When I got home from work, however, I turned it on and the screen began flickering back and forth between the almost-black screen and normal and then just stayed at almost-black. At it's stayed there ever since. I've restarted the computer several times, left it off for a while and tried turning it back on, tried adjusting the contrast settings... I don't know what to do!

Has anything like this ever happened to anyone else before? Any advice on how to fix it? I'm taking it to a computer store tomorrow and hopefully they'll be able to sort it out. I really cannot afford to buy a new laptop right now, and I cannot afford to live without a computer. Until then, I'll be mooching off my roommates and using their computers. Keep your fingers crossed for me and my little PC!

EDIT: So I brought my computer to the IT guys on campus and they ran a bunch of tests on it and were able to diagnose the problem. Luckily, the hard drive/computer itself is actually fine. No viruses, no problems, no nothing. The problem is that the screen itself is broken. So I either 1) get the screen replaced, 2) buy a monitor to attach to my laptop and work from that, or 3) buy a new laptop. After 5 years it's definitely time to get a new computer, but I really don't have the money right now. This weekend I'm going to do some research and figure out what to do!

Monday, February 8, 2010

And the Saints Go Marching In


Alright, I cannot tell a lie... I could have car
ed less who won the Superbowl. I'm not the biggest football fan. I was born and raised in New York to die-hard Giants fans and now live Patriot territory. Since neither of these teams were in the big game, I really didn't have a preference for who won. All of my friends were rooting for the Saints, so I rooted for the Colts just to give them a hard time. It also boiled down to the battle of reality TV boyfriends -- Hank Baskett Jr. all the way!

I spent the evening at Melanie's house with her and her roommates and since we all felt the same way about the game, the focus of the night was more on the food than anything else. Her roommates made this adorable little schedule so we could plan the oven usage accordingly. Since we all feasted last night, I'll let you feast with your eyes now. The feast in all its glory.

Mike's 7 Layer Dip
Homemade Guac.
Pepperoni & Cheeze Calzone
Fresh Veggie Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Bites, Calzone,
and Fresh Veggie Pizza
Paula Deen's Gooey Butter Cake
(THANK YOU, Fina!)
Homemade Blueberry Pie
and Vanilla Ice Cream

I'll be going to the gym first thing tomorrow morning.

Studio 54, Revisited.

I love musical theatre. I spent the majority of my adolescence/teenage years on stage or at rehearsals of some kind, and I love love loved every second of it. As I mentioned in a previous post, it's something that I'm seriously ready to get back into but for now I'm OK with just being a part of the audience.

One of my best friends, James, works for an amazing theatre company in Cambridge called The A.R.T. (American Repertory Theatre), headed by the amazing Dia
ne Paulus. For those of you who aren't theatre geeks, Diane is an incredible force. She directed the broadway revival of Hair (which I am still DYING to see) and was nominated for a Tony Award for best director. She's taking The A.R.T. in an extremely exciting, innovative direction with productions like Sleep No More and Gatz. She is also the creative genius behind a little something called The Donkey Show.

I had been hearing about The Donkey Show from James for months before it even opened, and I knew it would be amazing, even then. I finally got around to seeing it in November and I was NOT disappointe
d. The plot is based around Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and set in a Studio 54 style dance club. AMAZING! I know it may sound bizarre, but this glitter covered, polyester wearing extravaganza is seriously a match made in disco heaven. There are no seats at this show. You stand on the dance floor, throw back your drinks, and boogy to an incredible soundtrack of the best that disco had to offer while the show unfolds around you. It's hilarious, sexy, a little avant-garde, definitely rated R, and - best of all - FUN! I went to see the show again this past Saturday night with two friends who were going for the first time and they both had a blast.

The show was supposed to close in the beginning of January, but it's been extended through the summer due to popular demand. I highly recommend The Donkey Show. Can't recommend it enough, actually. I've been twice and I had a ball both times. Take a look at The Donkey Show's website for dates, ticket information, and a gallery of photos to whet your appetite. It's hedonistically fabulous and divine disco at its very best. Break out your platform pumps and best polyester jumpsuit and make your way down to Harvard Square to see The Donkey Show the first chance you get. Afterwards, you can do like my friends and I did - head on over to The Hong Kong and slurp down some scorpion bowls and get hit on my inappropriate men. Groovy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Young Love

So today's post actually comes from a blog called Domestic which just so happens to be written by my best friend in the whole wide world, Melanie.
Me and Melanie (and our good friend Erin) circa 1994

Mel is a preschool teacher with a class full of 3-4 year olds and she comes home with the best stories from work. Stories that inevitably end with me exclaiming, "I can't believe this is your job!" Her most recent work related tale, one about young love and the little diva who's apparently the toast of the town, was too adorable not to share. Melanie writes:

Today, Little Miss Sunshine entered the classroom and announced that she had asked Billy to be her valentine. "He said yes, because I am going to give him looooots of valentine's cards next week." They proceeded to hold hands during circle and story time. Then, one of the other classes knocked on our door, because Small British Child had something to give to Little Miss Sunshine. Their interaction went something like this...
Small British Child: I have something for you. *hands over ziploc bag with small package inside* Be careful, it MIGHT have an egg in it!
Little Miss Sunshine: Oh, thank you. *opens package, decorated hardboiled egg emerges* Um, what is this?
Small British Child: Will you join me for a play date?

Little Miss Sunshine: Of course!
*class leaves*
Me: LMS, do you and SBC hang out often?

Little Miss Sunshine: No, we've never talked before. But I think he likes my yoga poses."

This is the egg. No one can figure out the story behind it. I think its better that way.
There was also a note, that said:
"Please join me for a play date because I am very sweet."
Ahh, young love.

How freakin' cute is that?! Not to mention hysterical. I love the way children think. Now you understand my jealousy over the fact that Melanie gets to play with these little people all day long. Valentine's Day is definitely in the air. And, apparently, men my age can stand to take a few notes from the kids at Melanie's school!