To This Day Project

 

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Tangierino, Mamma Maria and Improv Asylum

Valentine’s Day was comprised of my boyfriend doing his National Guard duty up in Massachusetts, clearing roads and debris after the blizzard, and me, stuck in a cramped conference room for 14 hours working on yet another audit. To make up for missing the opportunity to be romantic, I drove up to Boston for the weekend to spend some time with my man.

This was our third Valentine’s “together.” To give you a brief history… Our first Valentine’s Day I was still in school and living in the Bronx and he came to visit. I had class for most of the day, but anticipated returning to my apartment to find my boyfriend looking clean and sharp with a bouquet of flowers and ready for a dinner date. Instead he was in boxers, hanging out on the couch with nothing planned. Epic fail. I ended up booking us a dinner reservation at the Capital Grille and we made the best of it. Valentine’s Day #2 was spent home alone while my boyfriend served his country in Afghanistan. It was a tough day to be alone and I missed him terrilbly, but from afar we managed an ,”I love you” and carried on.

This time around my expectations were minimal. I imagined a repeat of V-Day 1. I sent a reminder text to let him know that I wanted flowers and that I was looking forward to seeing him. I figured it would be a normal weekend, nothing too spectacular. Though I did not receive any flowers, the Army Ranger had something even better up his sleeve.

Making up for two lost Valentine’s, he planned an extravagant weekend in Boston with wonderful food, drink and cheer.

Tangierino

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We began our date night at this beautifully decorated hookah and tapas lounge located in Charlestown. It was perfect. I imagine everyone in the restaurant was gagging as we spent the entire time sitting pressed against each other, laughing, sharing drinks and food and the occasional kiss.

We ordered the Merguez (Tangierino spiced ground lamb wrapped in phyllo dough, smoked eggplant, kalamata olives). Heavenly. I adore lamb, it is one of my favorite meats and this was perfectly seasoned.

The other highlight of this restaurant is the Moroccan Mojito made with Blackberry Bacardi, Moroccan mint tea, muddled lime and mint. Heavenly. This was hands down the best spin on a mojito I have ever had.

Mamma Maria

Probably the best restaurant in the North End, Mamma Maria is the only Italian restaurant in Boston to earn the Four Diamond Rating by AAA Travel Guide. It it well worth it.

This was a night for a new experience. I tried the Rabbit Pasta (classic slow-cooked Vermont-raised rabbit, in the Tuscan-style, with homemade pappardelle, crispy pancetta, and fresh rosemary). It was outstanding! The flavor was incredible! The meat was tender and succulent without tasting like strong game. Probably one of the best meals I have ever had.

The place is perfect for dates. Comfortable tables, excellent service and very romantic. I loved it!

Improv Asylum 

After dinner we headed to a midnight show at the Improv Asylum. This was my second time at the asylum and it was as hilarious as the first. The show is run by posing questions to the audience and running wild with the themes and ideas provided. The cast is hilarious and do a wonderful job on taking commonplace topics and giving them a unique and ridiculous twist. I highly recommend this place.

My man surpassed expectations. He planned a wonderful evening for us, full of good food, drink and romance. I had a truly fantastic time.

How to Make a Floral Crown

Never too old to explore meadows barefoot and fill your hair with daisies. 

Following picture and text courtesy of Etsy. See full article here

How to Make a Floral Crown

August 27, 2012

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Amanda Thomsen

Brittany Watson Jepsen

HouseThatLarsBuilt

Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Find her on her blog, The House That Lars Built, and her Etsy shop, where she designs and sells kitchen accessories and all things floral.

Floral crowns are sure having their moment of glory these days. The trend pops into fashion every now and again, but some of the most inspiring versions are those from the Pre-Raphaelites.

I spotted Spring by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (look closely!) last year while at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and ever since I’ve been wanting to make my own version. I finally sat down and experimented with some lovely flowers and wish I had an excuse to wear it around town. Thankfully, a wedding is the perfect excuse to don a floral crown. The beauty of working with real flowers is that you don’t need any materials other than the flowers.

So, let’s go!

Materials:
Flowers of your choice and clippers. The pliable flowers are best to work with for the base of the crown. Try bending the stem first to make sure it doesn’t crack. If it does, consider trying something else. For this floral crown, I used black dahlias, tidsel (the greenery for the base), astilbe (the pink), craspedia (the yellow balls), and virburnum berries (the turquoise and purple).

Step 1:
Cut and line up the first round of flowers for the base of your crown. Ideally, the stems should be 5-9″ long each. You can cut them down but it’s harder to work with shorter stems. I suggest using greenery first and then adding the colors into it.

Step 2:
Lay one stem perpendicular on top of another.

Step 3:
Bend the stem under.

Step 4:
Bring the stem up to the top and then press it down so it lies next to the first.

Step 5:
While holding the two stems in place with your left hand, place another stem on top and bend it under.

Step 6:
Bring the stem up again and then place it parallel with the others.

Step 7:
Repeat the process until it’s the size of the circumference of the head. I added some different greenery into the middle to create more of a focal point when it’s worn.

Step 8:
When you get to the end, wrap the last stem tightly around the others to secure them in place, making sure that it doesn’t break.

Step 9:
To finish off the circle, weave the last stems into the beginning of the crown by tucking them in.

Step 10:
Now you can start adding in other flowers. I added longer pieces first so that the shorter flowers can be seen at the end.

Step 11:
Place your show-stopper flowers evenly around the crown. I used black dahlias as my main piece.

Finishing Touches:
Continue adding in your flowers evenly around the crown. I added in berries at the end for some exclamation marks.

There are several different versions to a floral crown. You can switch off flowers for the base of the crown instead of adding the flowers in at the end, or you can keep it simple and just use one variety.

After completing one, you’ll want to turn every flower you see into a crown.
Good luck!

Photography by Brittany Watson Jepsen and Amanda Thomsen.

Salted Caramel Lava Cakes

The following pictures and text are courtesy of Etsy and the full article can be viewed here

Eatsy: Salted Caramel Lava Cakes

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Adrianna Adarme

acozykitchen

Sure, Valentine’s Day is all about love, Cupid and romantic gestures, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, this holiday’s real lure is the sweets. While I’ll gladly pass on stale conversation hearts, a-bit-too-rich truffles or drugstore chocolates, my world stops for salted caramels. I’ll forever be a sucker for the flavor contrast of salty and sweet.

Many of you might find yourselves needing a quick and easy dessert recipe post work-day. This recipe will make two delicious, gooey salted caramel lava cakes with minimal ingredients, and a speedy assembly and bake time. And if you’re a single lady (or dude) on this Valentine’s Day, please make this —the recipe is easily halved!

Salted Caramel Lava Cakes 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and divided
6 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon large sea salt flakes (such as Maldon), plus more for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 1-inch square good quality sea salt caramels

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottoms of two 6-ounce ramekins with parchment paper. Next, butter the ramekins’ sides with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.

In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water), melt the chocolate and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter; stir until smooth. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool until it’s warm to the touch, and then mix in the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Fold in the flour and combine until the batter is smooth.

Equally divide the batter between the two ramekins. Next, gently nuzzle two caramels into the center of each ramekin, until the batter covers the caramels. Transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and place in the oven to bake for 12-13 minutes. Invert the cakes onto plates and top with a sprinkling of sea salt and a dollop of whipped cream. Or serve with ice cream; that’d be good, too!

All photos by Adrianna Adarme.

Twin Peaks

Weird, bizarre, disturbing, fanatical… Yet considered by some to be the best television show ever written. While it only lasted two seasons, Twin Peaks quickly became a cult classic.

While watching an episode of Psych entitled “Duel Spires,” based off of Twin Peaks, I became intrigued by the strange characters and weird scenarios and Netflix just so happened to have the complete first and second season. The first season began beautifully. It truly was an incredibly well done show. Attention is drawn to this small town when a high school girl is found dead. Investigations are underway and the FBI end up coming on the scene. However, this is not a crime drama. Techniques used by the prime investigator factor in bizarre dreams and visions as well as entering alternative worlds and entertaining a strange theory about owls.

Then things began to get very bizarre in the second season with alternate dimensions, some strange theory about the owls I still don’t fully understand, a twisted concept of good and evil and funny little man with the strangest voice.

I really can’t even begin to explain it. I can just say that it is well worth every moment. Plus these gorgeous women are in it. Can’t miss that.

Monica Voluptuous Lipstick

Those of you who have been following me for a while may remember a post I did on my Top Ten women of all time. You can view it here.

Dolce & Gabbana recently came out with a lipstick in honor of my #1 sexiest woman alive, Monica Bellucci.

Her lipstick:

What it is:
A highly pigmented lipstick that gives medium to full coverage in a radiant, satin finish. 

What it does:
Thanks to an intense skin-conditioning formula, this lipstick leaves lips looking plump, feeling soft, and appearing voluptuous. The colors are rich and luminous, with a smooth and creamy texture that glides easily on the lips for buildable coverage. Inspired by Monica Bellucci, Dolce & Gabbana’s main muse, the Monica Lipstick embodies the sensuality of the Italian woman. 

What else you need to know:
“Apply lip color then blot with a tissue after application to help set the color. Then, reapply lipstick. The result is a significantly more intense color effect. It’s a great method to use when you want to draw attention to the lips.” —Pat McGrath, Global Creative Advisor

I will be making my way to Sephora at a full sprint to purchase this.