Friday, January 28, 2011

Making an Apartment a Home

When I first moved into my apartment, my bedroom looked like this.
After about three weeks I couldn't take it anymore and I spent a whole weekend painting, so it looked like this.

Since then I've added little touches here and there that have taken my room from four walls were I can hang my hat and crash at night, to a space that is homey, inviting, and - dare I say it? - stylish.

My room is completely a reflection of me. My tastes, my preferences. My personality. The process of transforming this big empty space into a physical expression of who I am has been so much fun, and I'm nowhere near done yet!
I thought I'd share some of my favorite parts of my room with you here:

Amazing lamp I bought in Perugia. On my way to meet my friends at a bar one night, and already three sheets to the wind, I passed a street vendor selling these lamps. The best 20 euro I ever spent.

Pretty candles!

Candle, sketches, a tin from Barcelona filled with (fake) peonies, amazing vase with peacock feathers all sitting pretty on top of my bookcase.

And in my bookcase? My babies. This is only half of one shelf.

Amazing family photos. Both of my grandfathers on the left, and my parents when they were my age on the right.

A ridiculous and disturbing picture Hannah drew me of a dream she had once.

Fabulous ottoman I bought for about 30 dollars that I use as a seat at my desk rather than a traditional chair.

My favorite quotes written on colorful paper fluttering on the wall above my desk.

Put it all together and the effect is quite lovely, no?

I still have a ways to go. First on the list is to find something to fill that big empty space between my dresser and my bookcase! But, all in all, I'm very happy with what I've done so far.

How did you turn your bedroom/apartment/house from a blank canvas into a home?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Asparagus & Poached Eggs

You know those nights were you're just not hungry? Its dinner time, and you know you should eat something, but you're not really that hungry and the only thing that sounds remotely appealing to you is ice cream. That was my night tonight.

And then I thought instead of eating 4,000 calories worth of Ben & Jerry's, why not make a simple yet delicious dinner that's actually good for me? One that's elegant and not too filling. Oh, and that will photograph beautifully.
Done aaaaand done.

Put a pot of water on to boil with a splash of white vinegar in it.* Then take some fresh asparagus spears and coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw those bad boys on your George Foreman and let them grill.

When the water has reached a rolling boil, turn the temperature down so it's more gentle. Crack in two eggs and leave them be. Do not touch them. Do not stir the water. For Three. Whole. Minutes. It's hard, trust me, but I know you can do it.

Arrange those beautiful asparagus spears on a pretty plate, and use a slotted spoon to gently take your eggs out of the water and place on top of the asparagus. Top with a little more salt and pepper and perhaps some shaved Parmesan.

I mean can we just take a moment to admire this little beauty?

Delicious, nutricious, and oh so gorgeous.
I can't wait to make this as a salad for a dinner party or ladies luncheon (because, you know, I do those kinds of things all the time).

What's your easy, go-to weekday dinner?

*I never really knew why you had to put vinegar in the water when you make poached eggs. My mom and my grandmothers always did it, and I just thought it was one of those things you did - like throwing salt over your shoulder or not leaving a loaf of bread upside down on your counter. Turns out it actually serves a purpose. The vinegar helps the egg keep its shape by causing the outer layer to congeal more quickly. Who knew!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Bachelor: Week IV

First off, I'd just like to give a shout out to Mr. Chris Harrison. You looked so spiffy in your flannel and cardigan!

Now down to business.
Week four and we've already got a tight race.

This week Chantal joined Emily has a front runner for Mr. Womack's divided attention. I thought their one-on-one date was great. I'm jealous they got to walk on the ocean floor - how cool! They're very real with each other and she definitely keeps him on his toes. I love love love that she apologized for the slap. I like anyone who will readily admit when they know they're wrong. It was also adorable how excited Brad was by her - "This is crazy!" - It's like he can't believe how strong their connection is. But will it last? Dun, dun, dun...

This week the Preying Mantis brought the crazy, and I have a feeling this is just the beginning. There is no way in hell she just happened to wake up with a black eye. There is also no way in hell a real black eye would fade in a matter of 24 hours. I know. I had a black eye once and I looked like Frankenstein for almost 3 weeks. I digress. Other than the fact they repelled down the side of a sky scraper, their one-on-one was typical. Let's be honest - Brad wants to bang her. She's hot, and I'll give her that. But there's no way she's going to around for even the final four.

The group dates are hysterical. The desperation is palpable as these women throw themselves at Brad, trying to delude themselves into thinking they formed a deep soulful connection in the 5 minutes they've spent together. I literally cringed when Ashley stole Brad away from Alli after 20 seconds and then, in her very best 12 year old baby voice, reached her arms out and said, "Hug! Hug!" so Alli wouldn't be mad. Yeah, that'll take care of it.

One of the highlights this week was watching The Dentist lose her shit. The woman is self-destructing. I can hear the air horns going off and see the red lights flashing and I. Love. It. What a creepy stalker showing up out of nowhere and watching him kiss another girl. She's also showed that she's ready to bail at the first sign of difficulty, and that's definitely not something you want in a partner. When Brad was about to give out his rose and she groaned about how awkward it was, I literally clapped my hands with glee. Leave it to Brad to call her out on her BS. And then she just sat there silent and embarrassed. No, bitch, now it's awkward.

Kudos are in order for Miss. Britt. You can tell how shy she is and I admire her for putting herself out there the way she did. I also love that she didn't say she was falling for him or even that really liked him, but that she was interested in him. This is a much more realistic response given the time they've spent together. She definitely deserved her rose. Get it, girl!

My favorite moment(s) of the night: Michelle almost losing it when Chantal mentions her date card doesn't have the word love in it. Michelle actually losing it when Brad chooses to talk with The Dentist for 30 minutes on their date day.
And now, so we can all see why our Preying Mantis is actually on this show, I leave you with this little gem.

Until next week!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In the last week or so I have watched this video more times than I can count.
This is the stuff happiness is made of.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bachelor: Week III

No big surprises here this week, kids. It's alright. Can't be drama drama drama every single week.

The first one-on-one date was with Pollyanna (Ashley S). She's such a sweetheart. I like her. I want to be friends with her. But what the fuck is going on here? I feel so uncomfortable watching them together. She looks so young compared to him. Not quite father-daughter, but maybe older uncle and young niece. It really freaks me out. Also, her favorite song is "Kiss From a Rose?" How convenient!

ANOTHER movie date?! Be still my heart. I can't lie - I would love to film a bad ass action movie. How fun! Other than that, the group date was boring and predictable. The Preying Mantis was crazy, the other girls cried, and everyone has Daddy issues. Same old, same old.

Miss Emily O'Hara got the other one-on-one and I realized an undeniable truth about our southern belle - she has Chiclet teeth. Moving on. I found it moving when she told the girls her story. I think that's the most real we've seen her yet and it was refreshing. How awful and unintentionally hilarious was it that Brad took her up in a private plane?! Oooohhh the irony! Their date went well and I'm glad she told him her story too. Brad was right, you could literally see the weight lift off her shoulders. It was sweet how breathless Brad sounded after he kissed her! But did anyone else notice they were sitting in a barn full of hay and lit candles?

Fangs. I'd love to think she was being sincere. That she meant what she said: "How can I take a man I want from someone who needs him?" But I can't help but think she just realized there was nothing there and would rather go out with a bang than simply get eliminated.

What surprised me the most was Brad's little therapy session. And while I felt mostly disgusted (because I know how intensely personal those sessions can be - ABC really will stop at nothing, huh?), I was also captivated by what they were discussing. About the walls he puts up, how he needs to unlock space within himself for a women to be comfortable, how he has to be vulnerable if he ever wants to be truly happy. About how scared he is to do all of these things.
And so I leave you with a question - do you think that is possible?
Do you think it's possible to be so scared of something good, potentially wonderful, that you'll close up and run in the other direction?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Golden Globes!

It's my second favorite time of year - Awards Season!

The Golden Globes were earlier tonight. My roommates and game day food - buffalo chicken dip, guacamole, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
is the playoffs, people.

There were no big surprises. Many of the performances I was rooting for won and I, for one, thought Ricky Gervais was fantastic. But let's focus on the most important part. The fashion. Here are the
women that left a lasting impression on me in all the right, and wrong, ways.

Ugh. No. NO. This is actually kind of sad to me.
I feel like I'm looking at a bride who got left at the altar.

I love this dress. Love. It's ethereal and so romantic. I wish Sandra's hair was up, maybe curled a little bit, a little softer. But over all I think she looks stunning.

I want to like this dress, I really do. But I think it's awful. The color is great, but I think the fact that it's made of all those little ropes is gimmicky. I also think her breasts look terrible. They look kind of saggy, flattened down and smushed together in the center.

Love this dress. Love the cut. Love the color. Claire Dane's hair and makeup are perfect, as are her accessories. Love everything about this look.

This monstrosity speaks for itself.
Worst dressed of the evening by far.
Also, does Xtina have a bun in the oven? But, really?

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
I die.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a girl crush on Anne Hathaway, but this takes it to a whole new level. She is perfection here. The side swept hair, natural makeup, the cut of the gown on her frame. Flawless.

I can't wait until they bring out the big guns for the Academy Awards next month!

(All photos lovingly borrowed from Perez Hilton'z CocoPerez)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Little Jaunt to Littly Italy

I had a doctor's appointment the other day. Doctor's appointments aren't normally that fun. Except when your doctor's office is on Hanover Street in the North End and you get to hang out with little old Italians in the waiting room.

My conversation with the receptionist went a little something like this:
Me: I have an appointment with at 11 am with Doctor ****.
Receptionist: *Looks at the computer and then eyes me suspiciously* What's you name?
Me: Domenica
Receptionist: You have a very old name. Very old. Where you get a name like that?
Me: *Tells the whole story*
Receptionist: I see you name on the schedule and I expect an old woman, not a young lady. We have two other patients with that name - one is 87, the other? 94. Old maids.


My appointment was just a quick check-up, so I had a little bit of time to walk around and get some lunch. I love the North End. It's probably over stating the point to say that it's one of my favorite places on earth, but it's true. I love it. When I was walking around, I noticed that everyone I passed on the sidewalk nodded at me. Perhaps it was Italian men being, well, Italian men. But I like to think that they recognize me as part of their unique cultural tribe. A kindred spirit in our shared ancestry.

For lunch I got a sandwich from a little shop on a side street. Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil on ciabatta. All drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. I ate half for lunch and saved the other half for dinner.

It reminded me of a sandwich I used to get for lunch Perugia every other day from a place on via dei Priori called Parma. I have dreams about those sandwiches.

And I want to go back.
So I'm going to.

I've decided that before this year is out, I am going to make it back to Italy. Back to Perugia. And to Anagni. City of Popes and home to my family. I need to find some birth certificates after all...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just Dance

Best thing I've seen all week.

Sometimes, when no one is home, or even when they are, I pump up my 90s dance mix and shake it just like this. SO FUN.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Bachelor: Week II

Alright, kids. Week two of our favorite reality show, and the drama is already reaching new heights. The dates have begun and the claws have come out.

Let's start with the very first one on one date with Ashley the Dentist. She didn't make much of an impression on me last week. There's something about her that rubs me the wrong way. She is a dentist so she's obviously a very intelligent woman, and I see glimpses of that, but for the most part she talks like a valley girl and acts like a child. It's irritating. Also, WHAT was she wearing? I'm all for girly sparkly clothes, but she looked ridiculous. All in all I thought their date looked like a lot of fun, and it was nice to see Brad really open up and bond with her over their relationships with their fathers. Best moment = when Brad admitted that he really liked her. Adorable!

The next day was the first group date. You know, the ones where they film scenes where half the people make out and the other half cries because nobody loves them. Usually this kind of group date is saved for episode three or four when the the Bachelor is a little more comfortable with the contestants, but I LOVE that ABC decided they don't give a fuck anymore. Why not? Let's do it on day 1! I also thought it was hilarious that they pretended that this was some kind of PSA for donating blood. Excuse me? Who do you think you're fooling ABC?

We also found out a lot of interesting things about the girls on this date:
  • Melissa of the Droopy Boobs quit her job, sold her car, and bought a closet full of hideous juvenile dresses to come on this show. CHEMS when she barged into the scene and awkwardly kissed Brad. I've never seen someone cry so much over nothing. She also gave us one of the best lines of the evening: "If Raichel gets a rose and I go home, it would be a tragic shame." And the way she looked at Raichel right before Final Rose? What a shame he let that girl go.
  • Raichel the Manscaper? HOLY TITS.
  • Now I'm not sure if you guys noticed this, because no one really talked about it, but it was someone's birthday the SAME DAY as the group date!!!?!?!?!?!?!? *facepalm* That bitch is crazy. And insincere. And Crazy. Michelle is a Praying Mantis. You know about their post-coital rituals, yes? I feel really nervous for Brad.
  • Madison Cullen got really excited when she realized they were doing a PSA about blood.
  • Miss Emily O'Hara looked flawless as ever. It's pretty adorable how nervous Brad gets around her. He really likes and I think that's great. On paper they're perfect, but in real life I have a feeling something is missing.
  • Poor RocKeltie had to be "Butch Girl in Neck Brace" Hahaha poor thing!
  • Brit the Gymnast is a food writer?! How did I not catch that? She's beautiful. Like seriously beautiful. She is just hiding under all of that hair. I love that she said she's a big old prude and then slutted it up in her soon. Get it girl.
Jackie the Artiste's one on one date was incredible. Minus when they had to listen to the band Train. But seriously? I. Would. DIE. if a man did that for me. DIE. I love how straight forward she is and how much she unsettles Brad. Also, I love slow dancing. Why don't people do it any more? One thing that bothered me was that Brad was bothered that she'd only had two relationships in her whole life. I was left sitting here thinking, "....So?" Isn't that a good thing? It shows how seriously she takes her relationships. I think it's pretty admirable.

Southie Stacey - I have no idea if she's right for Brad, or if she's actually from Southie, but the more I see her the more I'm convincing myself that I know her just because she's from Boston. Chantal the Slapper is really growing on me.

Words can't describe how much I LOVE the fact that they brought in Ali and Roberto. Roberto? I die. Handsome as ever. Ali? Holy shit. The girl looked awful. Awful. Not so cute without the hair extensions, wardrobe and makeup that ABC paid for. I'm not sure what kind of advice they could possibly give to Brad seeing as they don't know this guy at all, but I love that they pretended they could. I was definitely glad to see the two drama queens go. It makes me feel like Brad is taking this very seriously.

Final thoughts? Brad said irregardless.
We're done.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Comfort Food

Lately I have been feeling a bit melancholy (more on that later. maybe.) and I just did not feel like doing a damn thing this weekend. I stayed in my adorable Coolidge Corner apartment, watched wedding shows (I'm addicted), and drank some vino. Oh, and I saw Black Swan. Amazing.

I digress.

Last night I decided to stay in and watch movies and I was craving something filling and comforting, full of carbs and a little sweet. Perfect solution: Blueberry Pancakes!

Oooooh baby. Fluffy pancakes, plump berries, all smothered in maple syrup. Major comfort food.

What's your favorite comfort foods when you're feeling blue?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

TJW Class of 1994

You guys know how Melanie and I met, right? One day in Mrs. Archer's first grade class our eyes met across the rows of desks, we bonded over our love of barbies, and we've been best friends ever since. Her edgy, blunt bangs and my insane curly afro - we made the perfect pair. Fast forward 17 years and now we're roommates! Interestingly enough, another Mrs. Archer's class alum has been added to the mix. Check out Melanie's post on her blog:

True Life: I’m living with my first grade class.

It’s true! This should probably be a reality TV show. Kind of like that show “High School Reunion” (total fail), but better, because the last time most of us saw each other we had just learned how to read and add 2-digit numbers.

I’ve been living with Domenica – first grade BFFL – since September. Our other roommate, Fina, got a job in Denver and had to move out – SAD. But, a fellow Mrs. Archer’s class alum, Allison, needed a place to live in Boston – HAPPY! So, Allison moved in and now we can relive a first-grade reunion every day.

Here’s proof of our 17-year friendship:

My 7th birthday party: there’s Allison on the right, and that spot on my arm that looks like I have a tiny bit of gorilla hair growing on me is actually Domenica. This was prior to her gorgeous hair days.

Here we are again. This was the tea party portion of my party…what a life. Allison, I truly love your hat.
Domenica is on the right. Proof.

Unfortunately I don’t yet have a picture of the three of us nowadays, but I can assure you we all look slightly better than we did at age 7.

Welcome to the apartment, Allison!

I'd like to add a photo of my own to the mix:

Welcome, indeed. Now let's party like it's 1994!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Bachelor

You all know how I feel about reality TV. It's a mild obsession. Let's be honest - mild is putting it nicely. And on the top of this list is The Bachelor.

I'm the first to admit that women are totally insane. So when you have 30 of them locked in a house for 8 weeks competing for the affection of one man...
The drama, the absurdity of it all... It's fantastic! So for the next 6 weeks or so, I'm going to share my thoughts with you on this season of The Bachelor.

This season is better than ever because the guy in question is a previous Bachelor contestant. Remember Brad Womack? Yes, the one who didn't choose either of his final two and left all alone.
Within the first 60 seconds of last night's show Brad was crying, and I knew it was going to be phenomenal. The women competing for Brad's affections this time around were not exactly pleased to see him when they got out of the limo. One woman even slapped him across the face.* I'll be honest, I wasn't very impressed with ABC's casting this season. The women are, to be frank, pretty trashy looking. I saw a lot of cheap hair extensions, dresses from their local Mandee's and way too much makeup. Here's my first impression of the ladies that I jotted down during the first rose ceremony:

Emily - Perfect Southern belle. Dead fiancee and a baby. Match made in heaven on paper, but I don't know about real life.

Raichel - Manscaper. Reminds me of a woman truck driver. Brad saying, "That is shockingly bare." Her saying, "The undercarriage and bat wings." Thank you Brad for letting us know you never want your package waxed.

Keltie - Rocket. Looks like she's 45 acts like she's 11. What kind of self-respecting woman says, "I'm bendy"??

Ashley S. - Gold one-shoulder dress. Says like every other word. I'm honestly concerned that she is 12, and am waiting for Chris Hanson to come out instead of Chris Harris. First impression rose?! I felt like I was watching a dad with his daughter.

Jackie - Artist. Yellow dress. She sang. Not well. And it was awkward. But kind of charming. I like her, but I don't think he'll pick her.

Alli - Green dress. BOOBS. Can you handle my big ass?

Madison - Hayden Panettiere, Fangs. Freak.

Michelle - COUGAR. Dress with a slit up to her nana. "I am a woman. Not a little girl, I'm a woman." Gold digger. Manipulative. Lady MacBeth.
I literally cannot wait to see what happens when things don't go exactly her way.

Ashley H. - Dentist. Possible the tiniest human being ever? So far has no personality.

Meghan - Ugly. Ass. Shoes. I really like this girl, but there is no excuse for that footwear.

Lisa M. - Kansas. Ruby red slippers
. Forgettable.

Lindsay - Big Red. Might actually be a man.
No but really. There is a drag queen she looks like and I've been racking my brain trying to figure out which one it is.

Sarah P. - Black strapless dress. Nothing
. Even as I'm writing this I can't remember who she is.

Marissa - Sports fanatic. Gorgeous dress. But that faccia
... ugh, poor thing.

Brit - Mop head. Her hair reminds me of Samantha James
from Just Friends.

Stacey - BOSTON!

Shawntel N. - Mortician. Yikes. She actually seems like a normal girl though.

Melissa - May also be a man. What's going on with her boobs
? They're so droopy!

Kimberly - Blonde. Nothing.

Chantal O. - The slapper. I guess slapping guys upon first meeting pays off. I may have to try it from now on

Final Thoughts: Crazy bitches, crying, whining, waking up with black eyes, Kiss from a Rose playing in the background, sweet smell of desperation in the air, the most shocking season of The Bachelor EVER.

*Note: Am I the only woman in American who doesn't hate Brad Womack?
I can't be the only one who thinks what he did is admirable - not settling, not leading these women on even further, even when everyone at ABC and the rest of America were pressuring him to make a decision that he wasn't ready to make. That takes guts. If I got out of that limo and saw him, he would have gotten a big high five, not a slap across the face.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Not just any red velvet cupcakes.
Ina's Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Yes, I used the recipe from my new Ina Garten "How Easy is That?" cookbook. And honestly, they really were easy! And delicious. And pretty.
Oh, and did I mention delicious?

Sift together all the dry ingredients.

Mix together the wet ingredients - look at that pretty red! - and then add the dry and wet ingredients alternatively into the butter and sugar you've already beaten.

Would ya look at that?!

Fill up the cupcakes and pop them in the oven...

Ta daaa!

Once they cooled, I topped them off with Ina's ah.MAY.zing cream cheese frosting.
Because I made these to bring to a New Year's Eve party, I decided these babies needed to look their best.

They're wearing their pearls.
How. Adorable.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

Can you believe it's 2011?

Me either.

One year ago I posted my new year's resolutions for 2010. Confession: I didn't do most of the things on this list. Didn't run in a 5k, didn't perform in a musical, didn't speak that much more Italian. Kind of disappointing. The good news is that I am adopting these same resolutions for 2011 and adding in a few more:

Host a Dinner Party
My friend Kristen and I have been talking about this for a few weeks. I love cooking for other people, I love entertaining, and I love getting dressed up. A small dinner party is the perfect combination! Plus I just got this for Christmas and I want to make, oh, everything in it.

A few days ago I watched the movie The Town for the first time. Great film, but that's not what struck me. One of the cops looked familiar but I couldn't place him. Then he had a speaking scene and it all clicked - I used to take acting classes with this guy at the Boston Center for the Arts. What?! Time for me to get my audition on.

Dream Job

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the job I have now, but I don't love it. I feel like it is a god job for someone like me, right out of college and deciding what their next move is. The thing is, I feel like I am ready to make that next move. I'm not 100% sure what it's going to be, but I know I'll never find out unless I take a chance. And there's no time better than the present.

My best friend from college, Hannah, is moving to Wales in 10 days. I've never been and this is obviously my perfect opportunity to go. My brother is looking at med schools out west and I'm going to visit him wherever he ends up. And just last night my friend James was talking to me about his parents' time share in Hawaii. Gotta get my suitcases out and ready!

Be more open
More open to new people, new experiences, new everything. I want to live and love every moment, every word, to the point that it's absurd.


Bring it on, 2011. I am so ready.