Wednesday, February 24, 2010

lost observations

So, I didn't exactly mean to not post about Lost last week. I just got lost (heh) (wow, that was really lame, sorry) - I just got caught up in a whole bunch of other things and by the time I could actually sit down and write about it, it was way after the fact. And anyway, since it was snowing in NY last week, we actually did a virtual Lost part, which wasn't nearly as fun. 

Clean slate. 

This week, although the weather was still crappy (rain, snow, slush...dear summer, please hurry.) we reconvened at John's apartment. I made pasta e fagioli from my grandmother's recipe—which I can post here, actually, if anyone is interested. It turned out really well, which got my hopes up that maybe one day I'll be able to cook somewhat decently and not have to rely on tuna fish sandwiches and Morning Star veggie burgers. 

Here's what we thought throughout: 

- We were talking through the recap, but realized you can absolutely tell who the episode is going to be about by who is focused on during the 30-second catch-up. 

-  This season, the episodes seem to focus on one or two characters, which is totally reminiscent of earlier seasons. 

- Jack has a son! 

- We think the mom is Kate. Although we're not sure if she and Jack have met in non-island universe. But Kate's eyes and David's eyes are super similar. 

- Hurley and Miles are playing Tic, Tac, Toe, which looks just as boring and pointless on the island as it does in real life. No one ever wins! They do get points for creativity in making the board out of tree branches, though. 

- Jacob appears to Hurley and we decide that Jacob looks like someone we know, but we're not sure who. He looks like he could have gone to one of the Catholic schools around here, which would make sense if you're going with the whole Jacob-as-Jesus-scenario.

- David doesn't want to deal with his father, and doesn't want to go to Grandma's house to look for dead Grandfather's will. Our parents would have dragged us in the car and made us go. AND forced us to take off the damn headphones. 

- Jin is stuck in one of Claire's traps—how in the world is his leg not more damaged? Later, when she "stitches" him up, it's just a hole. Really? 

-  Hurley writes Jacob's direction on his arm in blue ink, which gives us immediate high school flashbacks. 

- What exactly is that animal Claire is keeping in the baby crib? 

- Also, her hair totally looks crimped, says Dorna. 

- Claire is in Jack's father's will! 

- Why does David have an answering machine? asks Dorna. Hm, we wonder, no one has answering machines anymore, do they? We later get into a discussion about cell phones and high school and how kids must text answers to other kids from the bathroom. 

- Jack and Hurley arrive at the Lighthouse. Of course there's a 4-story lighthouse! Of course it wouldn't take years to build by who the hell knows who! Of course they never noticed it before! 

- In Claire's tent, we sort of feel bad for the Other guy. Also, to back up for a second, did anyone else notice that when Claire was stitching up Jin's wound, he was totally sweating? 

- Japanese-speaking, Other-leader is at the auditions David ran away to attend! Creepy. 

- Dorna informs us that she played piano for 10 years. John and I think she should have auditioned for Julliard. 

- At the lighthouse, Hurley starts to move the dial. Isn't this how the island moved back in the day? We wonder who's coming to the island. 

- We want screen grabs of the names on the dial. 

- Jack has a lead pipe in his hand - how is Hurley not scared he's going to smash him and not the mirrors? 

- What exactly is Jack contemplating by the ocean? He's still annoying, we think. Too self righteous or something. 

- Ah, but Jacob says some people need to contemplate by the ocean in order to figure it all out. We stand corrected. 

- We think we're going to find out who David's mother is by the end of the episode, but instead, we find out that crazy mother Claire isn't too happy that Kate was taking on her role. We say: Wouldn't she want Aaron off the damn island? It obviously hasn't helped Claire much. 

- I might stop watching this show if the preview credits for "next week's episode" don't stop saying QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED. 

Overall thoughts: Island-Claire is way too Rousseau-like. Mothers suffering for their children, would do anything for them - even hack a guy with an ax and befriend crazy smoke-monster Locke and all that. Meh. I don't know, it's kind of lame. Also, this episode totally made us think back to high school. Which, since we had a pretty decent time in high school, is fine by us.  

Your thoughts? 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

old hangouts and new babies

Before this weekend, I hadn't been to Boston in about two years. There's no real reason why, mostly because the majority of friends have moved away and I've moved on to discovering other cities. But when Joyce mentioned a conference she had to go to this past weekend, and suggested I and whoever else was up for it should tag along, I figured it would be a good a time as any to head back. 

And so mid-afternoon on Friday, after making Joyce wait a good hour while I grabbed some last minute, just-in-case clothes (although I forgot my toothbrush, as usual) and sent some last minute, don't-want-to-look-at-my-computer-for two-days emails, we dumped our weekend bags into the trunk of her Camry and headed east on 84. 

I love car rides where you're so engrossed in conversation that you forget to even turn on the radio. When you don't have to bother pressing Scan in hopes of finding a good song playing somewhere in nowhere Connecticut or settle with "Oh, this must be their version of Z100," and hear Kesha for the 8 millionth time. So thankfully, we amused ourselves with talk of weddings and residencies, future jobs and past boyfriends. 

Four hours later we hit the city, taking note of BU's newest dorm, and confirming that the Student Village will, in fact, be the nicest apartment either of us ever live in. We GPS-ed our way downtown to School St., where we checked into the Omni Parker House Hotel. (We also found out it's where the Boston Cream Pie was first created! Oo, but here's the recipe!) Once we crossed Sunset Cantina off our list of dinner choices, we walked around in the not-as-cold-as-expected night, got shut out by a 2-hour wait at Toro and finally settled into a table by the bar at Masa, where tapas were $1 each. 

On Saturday morning, after an ill-fated 6am wake-up call (proving that Joyce still hasn't learned that she and alarms don't get along very well, no matter the medium or size of pillow being thrown at her face), she headed to the conference while I had a Starbucks and writing session. 

Later that afternoon, I met up with Azalea and her friend Alicia for the prerequisite Anna's visit (they have a new location! in (on?) Beacon Hill! with two floors!). If you went to school, lived or just visit Boston regularly, you're probably familiar with the amazing burritos at Anna's Taqueria - and if you're not, and you're planning a trip there, do yourself a favor and add it to the itinerary. And can I just recommend the $3.99 grilled vegetable burrito? 

The girls went off to study while I wandered up and down Newbury St, in and out of stores, remembering when books from Urban were the ideal birthday present. Later, I made my way through the Commons (in the pic below) to meet up with Joyce, passing a saxophonist playing Disney tunes and a middle-aged couple engaged in a serious make-out session next to him. 

Learning our lesson from the night before, on Saturday we actually picked a restaurant before going out. As we walked down Boylston and into Vlora, I had a feeling I had been here before, although in a completely different context. If you were in Boston circa 2002, let me ask you this: Do you remember Q Vin's? And if so, was there an elevator that took you down to the bar? Because that's what I kept imagining, or that's how my memory preserved it, like some city speakeasy where everyone sang off-key. I remember the karaoke clearly, though, even if everything else is slightly blurry. Even if it's what happened after, through a haze of cold and hands stuffed into too-small pockets that I remember much clearer. 

Joyce and I ended with Finale and a late screening of Dear John, which proved that A. We're not in college anymore and B. I'm a sucker for romances. And Channing Tatum's abs.  

On Sunday morning we left early with Azalea to head to Salem to meet Darius, the darling little boy that our friends Laura and Darryl just had. Tell me he's not the cutest baby ever? Those cheeks are seriously amazing. 

Here's mommy and baby.  Darius turned 1-month old on Sunday and we gave him three Dr. Seuss books to mark the occasion. 

And Azalea with baby - so sweet. The four of us went to high school together and Laura's the first of our group of friends to have a baby.  

After a pizza lunch and a four-hour car ride home, Joyce and I made one last stop to see Melissa and Cheri's new condo, which is super close and makes me quite excited for many dinner parties together. 

The whole weekend was a fun realization that things have changed, but not all that much. That the same people I knew when I left for Boston are the same people that I still see in New York. That people have come and gone along the way. That that's ok. That with new babies and new condos and new experiences, the growing up part doesn't really seem so scary, afterall. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

necklace love

A couple months ago, Dorna and I were shopping at Beehive Co-Op in Mount Kisco, an awesome little shop that sells lots of locally made and handcrafted items, when I spotted Throwing Stars Jewelry. Designer Amy Leff makes such pretty pieces, including earrings, cuffs and rings. But my favorite are the necklaces. I love how they range from sweet  to dressy to funky and statement-making. 

Find more designs and do some shopping here

[photos via Etsy

Saturday, February 13, 2010

so, wanna be my bridesmaid?

I can't believe it's taken me this long to post about the bridesmaid dinner I hosted a whole two weeks ago. But, it wasn't totally my fault as I had to wait until the gifts I made each of them were safely in the hands of my cross-country bridesmaids. (Although, I guess it sort of was my fault since I waited something like four days after the dinner to actually mail them.) 

But, now, I'm so excited because all 10 girls finally know. Oh and yes,  you read that right—10. We're having ten bridesmaids—and that's just the maids, it's not counting the groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, readers etc. etc. that in my mind make up the entire bridal party. At first I thought, wow, that's a big number, but then I realized I have this habit of collecting close friends as I go through life. I've know my maid of honor since kindergarten, half the bridesmaids from high school and the other half since college. Learning to rollerblade, waiting for the ice cream man, throwing a million surprise parties, getting driven by the cops to prom (oh, that deserves a post all its own), surviving Warren Towers, eating at the GSU and drinking in Barbados would never have been the same without them. And with the exception of Jennifer, John's sister—who I'll be spending many holiday dinners with and therefore gets lots of years added to the total by  default—by the time our wedding rolls around next year, I'll have known all of the girls for no less than 10 years each. That seems like a perfect round number, no? 

So two Saturdays ago, I hosted a lovely little dinner in their honor. Since I've been bitten by the prerequisite engagement craft bug, I wanted to make something wherein I would ask each to be in my wedding party. My inspiration came partly from the awesome pieces I saw on Nice Package and partly from this DIY idea on Project Wedding—although I changed it a bit. I found some plain brown boxes and inside I put three pieces of champagne-colored square card stock on top of tissue paper. 

The first card they saw had a small white pouch filled with chocolates on it and it read: "You're so sweet..." 
They lifted up that card and the second had a black picture frame with a photo of us (and other friends) and it read: "And you've been such a good friend, for so many years..." 
Finally, when they lifted up the last one, it read: "That it makes me so happy to ask, Will you be my bridesmaid?" 
I wrapped the whole thing with green ribbon, which is one of the wedding colors. 

The finished boxes looked like this: 

And the end result of them being opened looked like this: 

The whole table, which are in the wedding colors, came together quite nicely. 

Thanks, in part to Karen's vases: 

We started with hummus, cheese and bruschetta and then ate pasta with eggplant and mozzarella, chicken francese, sweet mashed potatoes and peas and mushrooms. Everyone looked happily stuffed at the end, which totally equals success in my world.  

Even though Shannon, Erica and Sabina were too far and too snow-bound to make it, they were totally there in spirit. And overall, I'm just so happy and lucky that I'll have a group of smart, beautiful, talented and amazing girls by my side. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

happy birthday, chris!

I just wanted to wish a very happy 20th birthday to my youngest brother, Chris, an amazing person who sings solo at open mic nights, truly believes the old "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," and seriously makes our family so much fun. 

Happy Birthday!!! xxox 

lost observations

Before we begin this next installment of Observations Made While Watching Lost, can someone please, please, pretty please suggest another name besides "Lost Observations" or the even more verbose "Observations Made While Watching Lost?" Hello, boring. Any thoughts on that would be much appreciated. 

And now, on with it.... 

So last night, Dorna made us an awesome dish that was full of eggplant and tomatoes and garlic and eggs. We ate it with whole wheat pita's, while watching the opening credits and it was so so good. Unfortunately, I kind of forgot to take a photo. Next time! 

Here's what we thought throughout: 

- Sayid is alive! As Jacob! We think. Whatever, we called it. 

- Claire is back! And in LA! Pregnant? 

- Of course Kate is going to bring back Sawyer. And of course, she can be "very convincing." 

- Why does Claire want her suitcase so bad? 

- I wish I could be totally unflinching if someone stuck a gun in my face too, mechanic-guy. 

- John wonders why Kate can steal a cab and leave Claire on the street, but then feels guilty when she sees a stuffed whale? 

- Explains why Claire wanted her suitcase, though. 

- Dorna says that the hippie-looking guy is named Lennon, which is way, way lame. 

- I wonder if, while Sayid is being tortured he's thinking: Karma. 

- Now Claire, why would you get in the car with someone who 2 scenes ago pointed a gun at you? 

- Kate is still way too Joey Potter for me to handle. I don't care if she's a "criminal." 

- Dorna loves the fact that the guy helping Kate and Jin find Sawyer is the creator of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia 

- If Always Sunny in Philadelphia guy was the one who Kate hit before escaping the cages, then does that mean that these guys are Others? So they're NOT new characters, then? Confused. 

- Jack is always trying to save the day. And it's annoying. 

- Sayid really trusts Jack? 

- The pill looks like Ginko Biloba.  

- Honestly, I thought that when Aaron's almost-adoptive mom opened the door, she would be someone we knew. 

- So it made me feel better when Ethan was her doctor. 

- There are lots of creepy-looking people on this show, btw. 

- Also, why does it seem like Ethan's lying when he says that Claire doesn't have to deliver the baby right away? 

- Poor Sawyer, maybe he really loved Juliet. 

- The Ginko Biloba is actually Poison. 

- Why in the world would Claire give Criminal Kate her credit card? 

- Because she's just going to cancel it later, obvs, say John and Dorna. 

-  Maybe Sayid is actually the black-shirted guy (which a friend I talked to this weekend kept calling Esau), and maybe black doesn't mean evil, afterall? 

- Finally they let Jack in on the fact that Claire's his sister. 

- Always Sunny Guy is shot, by Claire!


Overall thoughts: This show felt alot like filler. It seemed to be setting up a few of the subplots and was there for some explanation but mostly to keep moving the show forward. 


What were your thoughts on the episode? 



"If you have a broken heart or a battered soul
Find something to hold on to or to let go
To help you through the hard nights like a flask filled with hope
Darlin' do not fear what you don't really know."
Brett Dennen, "Darlin' Do Not Fear" 

A perfect remedy if you ever need inspiration and/or a reminder that no matter what, life is, in fact, pretty amazing: Brett Dennen on repeat. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

happy world nutella day!

A couple months ago I was on Facebook and I stumbled upon the wonderful fact that February 5 is World Nutella Day! Who knew? Apparently lots of people, actually, as this is the fourth year it's been happening. Four years! How could I have missed this? Especially because in my family almost every day is World Nutella Day—particularly if you're my brother Carmine, who has been known to eat quadruple-decker Nutella sandwiches and is the willing recipient of jars and jars of the stuff from our grandmother. 

It's been a diet staple for as long as I can remember, smeared on bread and pancakes, eaten off a spoon or the end of a knife, served at breakfast and after dinner. Or, if we were really lucky and happened to be in Italy and it happened to be the week of the feast and all the adults just so happened to leave the house earlier than usual, in place of actual dinner. Then, feeling like we had actually gotten away with something, we'd pair Nutella with peanut butter on two slices of PanCarrรจ—the perfect mesh of our Italian and American-ness. 

So, to celebrate this joyous occasion, John and I decided to make crepes with Nutella from an awesome (and easy) recipe provided by his mom. They took us about 15 minutes to make and tasted great, if we do say so ourselves. Now, in keeping with the theme, we're going to round out our night watching Fellini's Roma

Here's what they looked like: 

And here's more evidence that I should never become a food photographer...

What's your favorite way to eat Nutella? 

Oh, and one more thing, while we're on the subject, has anyone heard of anyone making spaghetti with Nutella? I swear I heard this years ago and I never known anyone to do it, but one of these days, I think I'm going to try... 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

and so starts the final season...

I actually remember the first episode of Lost. I was living in Boston, in my senior year of college, and my roommate Erica was sitting on the couch watching it. The rest of us made fun of her for quite some time, citing the sci-fi aspect and who really survives a plane crash in the middle of the ocean? We were much more content with the realistic content in Grey's Anatomy and the O.C. 

But, I apologize now to Erica, on the Internet and everything, because a few summers later, John and I spent way too much time indoors catching up on all the seasons. (I actually sometimes think it was more satisfying watching it on DVD, since we could just go on to the next episode without waiting an entire week and sorting through a whole bunch of speculation to get there.) I realized after watching episode after episode that the show was great and entertaining, even if at times ridiculous. Added bonus: The wonderful Dorna and Pedro were equally obsessed.  

So, last year we started our own little Lost parties on Wednesday nights where  we alternated between eating Greek, pizza, Turkish and sometimes leftovers, consistently trying to figure out what the hell we were missing/forgot/didn't understand. This year, the tradition starts again—although we're down one person, with Pedro moving to Philadelphia and all. 

Last night, we put together the ingredients needed for a proper premiere: 

1. Cooking. Oh, didn't you know? We're all grown up now. 
Oh no, I definitely didn't take this mashed potato mix from my mom's kitchen. 

2. Actual cooked food. Very strategic placement by Dorna, I should add. 

3. Snuggie/Mermaid costume stand-in. 

4. Fire. 

5. Necessary "What, how is that even possible?" face. 

Some observations we made while watching: 
(There might be some spoilers in here, so if you haven't seen the episode yet, get on that. and then come back here and let's talk about it! Oh, and I kind of forgot to write down who said what and when, even though I think, in theory, I meant to.) 

- Last season, the color of Juliet and Sawyer's hair completely clashed. 
- We don't like Evangeline Lily's hair in that L'oreal commercial. We prefer it all unwashed and wavy-like. 
- We are obsessed with hair. Ever notice how Sawyer's always looks wind-blown? 
- Airplane! Is this happening at the same time? Or are we going to see it all meld together in the end? 
- Bad CGI, says Dorna. 
- But Desmond's still cute. 
- The TV is fuzzy already, but now the sound, too? Oh, oops, sorry, now they can hear. 
- Bernard and Rose are so cute. 
- Does anyone else remember how the guy sitting between Locke and Boone is the one from the Aaron Burr peanut butter commercial? 
- Locke's body was inhabited by the black-shirt-wearing guy. But why does he want to kill Jacob? 
- How in the world does Juliet survive beneath all that metal? 
- Charlie's back!! 
- We assume Juliet will die cause she's on that new show. 
- More new characters?! The other others? 
- Kate and Sawyer are totally Joey and Pacey. 
- Sayid is dead. But not for long, we think. 
- If some strangers who just lied to you about killing/not killing your friend, would you really take the food/drink they offered? 
- I liked Locke better pre-smoke monster. 
- We called it halfway through: Jacob is inhabiting Sayid's body. 

Overall thoughts, from Dorna: I feel like we're seeing the most basic and common of themes kinda emerge in the most intricate of TV storylines ever: good, evil, fate, destiny. Funny how, even with a complex show like boils down to that. 

So, what did you think??