Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I sit here in my apartment ready to part tomorrow for home. What do I have so far? Well for starters, an over-flowing suitcase, various contemplation piles of clothes and nothing really that important, books that I know I wont read on the plane, my passport, bottles of various amazing Italian wines and olive oil and of course my, well, lets just call them "thoughts" about flying. As much of a bitch traveling might be, I think there can be a sort of glamor and chic to it, which I love to play up. Since I DESPISE most airports with a passion, I try to make them entertaining (also because I'm alone and bored) so I play pretend. I go into the boutiques as if I have a purpose being in them, like a rich women waltzing into the Chanel boutique on Fifth Ave. Wearing the best effort of an elegant comfy outfit, I browse the shelves of perfume, designer bags, make-up and jewelry as if I could throw a couple hundred euro like that (most of the time I can't even by the 4 euro bottles of water). It's almost like playing dress-up, none of the people will ever see me again and I can just play with everything! Although sometimes I can take it a bit too far and often leave the boutique as if I bathed for an hour in pure perfume with the potential of suffocating the person next to me on my next flight. Anyways, this is just me venting my nerves because like before every flight, I always have that last minute vision of the plane exploding during take off, but truly I do in fact do this and it is fun. So next time your in JFK or better yet PARIS, i highly advise this little game to entertain yourself during your lay-over, but don't be disappointed when you realize that your life really isn't that luxurious and you will be returning to crappy apartment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In France it's out, in Italy it's "in", and it's a cultural trend that I think should be done in the States. In Italy, the gesture of getting an aperitivo(which is actually what you call the drink) is the cultural way of cooling off the past weeks steam and relaxing with friends, sharing laughs over a glass of wine (or two) or rather with a spritz ( Northern Italian cocktail). Someone could easily say, "well, hey, we do the same thing too, it's called Happy Hour", yeah, but the only difference between the States' "happy hour" and an Italian aperitivo is that an italian aperitivo isn't going to have pitchers of beer, deep friend cheese and nachos while having a game on in the background. Rather it's going to be at a chic restaurant or a bar where there will be a few munchies, such as, local cheeses and meats, olives, and sometimes if you're lucky like on Sunday's, a nice little taste of pasta prepared by the locale (restaurant). Bottom line, the purpose is not about the food (in fact, sometimes there isn't much food being served) it's rather about enjoying a glass of wine with company and then going after to get an actual meal, which can be enjoyed and not enhailed. Since being back and forth between the two countries, the Italian aperitivo has always been something that I've wanted to start in the States, like a new trend or something. Unfortunately it's an idea that seems brilliant while I'm in Italy, like one of those super-successful money maker ideas where I would be the owner of "the cute and elegant European-style bar, the hot-spot to be on Friday nights". But once I'm back in the States and see how people are so fixed in their ways of "bigger is better", time is money, and Franzia, my wonderful trendy idea is shot and I'm back to drinking wine in my kitchen with a bowl of olives and stinky cheese.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Joy of Baking

Recently I have discovered the joy in baking. With a little bit of reading and research, plus numerous trial and errors, I have been able to break away from the "just cooking" category to now the plus baker. This past-time of baking might also have to do with the fact that my handsome Valentine is a much more experienced cook than I, which sadly can end up pushing me out of the kitchen a bit. However, with my self-taught baking lessons, I've surprisingly enjoyed the satisfaction of knocking out a delicious piece of rich chocolate cake or a nice refreshing fluffy yogurt tart. This is not only because of my personal sweet tooth, but more so the reward in seeing people jam a nice big piece of chocolate cake in their mouth and the returns of seconds and thirds, all of which keep me motivated in conquering the next challenge. Dessert is also just plain sexy and almost necessary if you ask me. I can almost NEVER go out to dinner or even after dinner at home and not have something sweet. Whether it be an actual baked dessert or a simple piece of fruit, something sweet on the taste buds is always satisfying. Next challenge: mastering the PERFECT pastry dough (trust me it's not as easy as it looks).

Friday, February 12, 2010


I absolutely HATE being cliche, which is why it's hard for me to actually post this little food for thought with Valentine's Day just around the corner, but due to a friends situation made me realize how powerful the notion of love really is. We love our parents, our friends, our siblings, our neighbors, our teachers, our hairdresser, our lovers, anyone who's anyone that is a part of our daily life/routine. What we don't realize is if these people really know it. How often do you tell your dad that you love him or your closest friend that you've known since middle school? Obviously it might be weird to say "I love you" to your hairdresser, but I think between your-monthly visits and (hopefully) nice tip they comprehend that they are important. So no matter how busy or chaotic your life may be, take a moment to appreciate those around you, those who make you happy, those who would give anything for you to succeed, just say "I love you."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Roomy 178 Square Feet

While browsing around the NY Time website (like I do every morning), reading article after article about war, politics, Obama, fore-closure, Alzheimer's, etc., I stubbled across an article that for a change truly left me a bit perplexed, but in a good way. Inspiration, jealousy, hope, empowerment were all feelings that this simple, short article gave me, which at the time made me want to gather anything I had collected over the years, quickly put together a room, send off a photograph to an elite design firm, wait and pray for a call. Since such an impulsive act would rather counter act any dream of mine, making me look like an ass rather than a qualified person, I rather share this story to you who could possibly use a bit of inspiration in your life. Obviously one doesn't have to care about design to understand the point of this article, but to rather identify the message of it: if you got talent, use it. So, happy read.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Oh, Bessy

Some might call me an animal killer, but I can't seem to get enough of cow skin rugs! Having grandparents who gave these rugs as gifts (grandma used to wear animal print skirts until she was in her 70's!) left my parents' house decked out in every different design, shape and color of these cow skins (in fact we were known as the people with the cow rugs). Whether they were large or small, checkered, caramel, or a nice dark chocolate brown with white marble, the Bessy rugs always took guests by surprise. I wish we had a camera for all the hilarious facial expressions people made and also unfortunately a log book for all the rather idiotic comments such as, "you know you have a cow on your floor right?" "um, yes thank you, I'm quite aware". Virtually everywhere in our house from the porch to the front door, under the piano, in the living room, dining room, we had a nice soft Bessy just kickin' it and joining the party. When it was time for me to leave home and head out on my own (Chicago), I had to snag one of the beauties (of course my mom gave me the beat up one, which honestly was fine with me . . . "it's more vintage" I kept telling myself). Anyways, all of this came to my mind while I was wasting countless hours looking through Design*Sponge's billion different pages of sneak peak's (peaks into designer and artist's homes . . . amazing!) and came across the beautiful cow rugs! It made me quite nostalgic since I tried thinking of every way possible to bring mine here to Italy, and unfortunately attempting to hunt one down in the middle of the night just to make my house pretty isn't an option. So, again, before judging, take a second to look at how nicely cow rugs accompany a room by bringing a certain dynamic in such a subtle way, a hell of a little better I must say than any left over piece of crappy carpet could.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Scrap booking

Call me an old lady, but I have to say, scrap booking kicks ass! Yeah, I might be doing it because I have quite a bit of down time right now, but I remember even in my most hectic of times, my best friend Jules and I would look forward to sitting down and work in our books. It's surprisingly therapeutic, exercising your mind and thoughts while being creative at the same time. Not only is it fun to create these journals or books, but really half the fun is hunting for unique books to use, like this one from Anthropologie. They don't (and honestly shouldn't) be like those over-sized one's that you always need a ladder to retrieve and spread out across a whole kitchen table to show to people. The point is to have these journals for your own keep-sake and not necessarily to display to the whole world, but at the same time have out for display looking nice and pretty. So try it out, you'll be pleasantly surprised the tranquility it will bring you.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ms. Professional

Lately I've been catching myself gazing at leather women brief cases. Whether they be made of newly bound leather, purchased from a high-fashion boutique, or a banged up (yet still intact) hand-me down from dad or grandpa, or better yet, an awesome vintage find, women briefcases hands down are probably the most classy/elegant/chic way for any woman to tote around any piece of paper. So next time you're downtown and you spot a "successful" man carrying one of these classic brief cases thinking he's hot shit, keep in the back of your head that you could pull it off better . . . and some day you will, with you're kick ass Jimmy Choo's and all.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I know this sounds really cheesy, but I absolutely love waking up to the sound of birds chirping in the morning, especially in the spring. For me it's a sign that the dark months of winter are coming to an end and the warming days of spring are upon arrival. Having grown up with a nest outside my window, I've learned to appreciate the earlier bird chirper convo's telling me to get up!; whereas for others, might instead initiate the serious consideration in investing in either a small shotgun or sling-shot. However one may feel about the little birdies, to me there says nothing more than spring is on its way.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Love You Mirror

One thing that I can't get enough of is mirrored furniture, it probably is the coolest thing out there. It's chic, elegant, fun, creative, and just beautiful to look at. Why wouldn't someone want to have this beautiful piece in their home?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

OK just made the BEST cookies ever! I don't want to call them necessarily "healthy" cookies, but I guess due to the fact that there is no butter, no flour and no eggs in the recipe, and by first glance look as if someone wearing Birkenstock's made them, then they might be considered on the "healthier" side. I stumbled across the recipe on the wonderful website of (best website ever!) under "Nikki's Healthy Cookies". I did a little tweekin', such as substituting dates for the chocolate (didn't have good chocolate on hand ) and added more banana to make them a bit thicker I guess. Fresh out of the oven, I put them in my yogurt like granola and had a mouth dancing with fantastic goodness. They're wonderful because they can be used for any craving, even just for a simple snack, but for those who are picky about "altered" sweets than these might not be for you. But those like me who love experimenting than enjoy!

You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit - enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Reuse, Recycle

Sitting at my desk and with it being over a month of Christmas being done, I still manage to have christmas ornaments hanging in my apt. My mom, probably being one of the most creative people I know, gives us each christmas really funky christmas tree ornaments from Anthro, which are usually decked out in gold, feathers, or some other funky material. They usually have nothing to do with christmas, meaning birds, butterflies, various other animals and sometimes stars or pretty shapes. Now with the holiday's being long gone, I don't want to put them away.... so rather I've decided to just hang them up all over. They make me happy and add something different to the room; plus it's a pretty economical way of decorating I'd say.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Love...

waking up under a wonderfully warm feathered comforter with one of my grandma's hand-made quilts drowning in pillows
amazingly scented soy candles (which unfortunately cost the price of someone's arm here in Italy)
silk robes and pajamas
french soap
hand-blown glass
parfume (no woman should ever leave the house without it)
a nice cup of herbal tea, but better yet, the perfect cup of coffee
a bowl of grapes
a good stinky cheese
a fresh, crisp, yet dry glass of champagne
. . . I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but this is what rolled off my finger tips