SmelltheRoses EveryDay.

“A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” – Gertrude Stein

Roses are the quintessential flower.  They are classic and timeless.  Messengers of adoration, infatuation, friendship and LOVE.  What often takes a backseat to their visual beauty is their soft, romantic bouquet.

rosewater champagne cocktail ingredients


Rosewater Champagne Cocktail


-organic rosewater (make sure suitable for consumption)

-sparkling wine, I recommend a dry prosecco (as it is borderline blaspheme to add anything to true champagne!)

-raspberries or rose petals for garnish


I found this delicious rosewater on ETSY, and love that it came from a little family who takes such pride in offering quality products.  Since it came in a spritzer it made the drink a cinch.  First I rinsed my raspberries and spritzed with rose water, letting them marinate in the refridgerator for about an hour.  When my guests arrived I simply sprayed the coupe with the rose water, added an infused berry, and topped with prosecco.  The floral notes are transcendent!    Truly a unique and delicate cocktail experience.  Cheers!  Drink it all IN!

rosewater champagne cocktail

”Into her dream he melted, as the rose 

Blendeth its odor with the violet— 

Solution sweet.” – John Keats


Transcend EveryDay.

Sparkle EveryDay.

SmelltheRoses EveryDAY.


PlayintheDirt EveryDay.

“Plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom.” -Ken Kesey

Is there anything more satisfying than getting your hands dirty?  Such a simple sensation really…..but it is incredibly gratifying to DIG IN.  To be coated in something that makes you messy, or sticky, or grimy, or grubby.  It recalls moments of childhood when we would cover ourselves with chocolate, sand, finger paint, frosting, glue, marinara sauce…..whatever we could get our hands on, we’d get IN it.  That was the point.  To FEEL it.  Why did we ever stop?  What’s so unacceptable about it……..

Last weekend I went to the Farmer’s Market at Grand Army Plaza and stocked up for my fire escape garden.  It can be challenging in the big city to cultivate a garden, but I’m satisfied with my little patch of flowers & herbs.  It turned out quite Parisian, don’t you think?  I went ahead and tossed the old gardening gloves, letting the dirt dig deep under my fingernails.  Ahh, yes- that’s what I needed.

fire escape farmers market garden DIY

How will you get messy this weekend?

A couple thoughts to get you going-

Get down with your ice cream cone.  Let it drip from your chin.

Go to the beach.  Let the sand into every crevice of your toes.

Bake a cake.  Let the batter splatter wherever you like.

Paint a picture.  Let your fingers be the brush.

Eat pasta.  Let the linguini slurp.


Feels GOOOOOD?  Doesn’t it?

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” -Marilyn Monroe

Ridiculous EveryDay.

ChildlikeAbandon EveryDay.

PlayintheDIRT EveryDay.


DIY HERB garden



BigHeart Every Day.

“What do girls do who haven’t any mothers to help them through their troubles?” -Louisa May Alcott

With Mother’s Day fast approaching I wanted to make something to show my Mama how much I appreciate and admire her.  There have been many occasions over the years I have given my Mother a present, yet I can’t help but think the things I made as a child are her favorites.  There was such a purity behind the workmanship, such a devotion to getting it “just right.”

My Mother is a woman who never stops giving of herself.  She is a fountain of joy, exuberance, and gratitude for the many gifts of life.  My Mother is a beloved wife, a Gramie, a teacher, a volunteer, and an inspiration to the community.  It is extraordinary how many lives she has touched in her commitment to live her life in the service of the greater good.  When I say she has touched lives what I really mean is that she has touched hearts.  Countless hearts.  A magnificent constellation of hearts connected because of her.

DIY Mother’s Day Heart Watercolor

Mothers day DIY watercolor sea salt


-Watercolor paint, I got a Winsor & Newton Cotman Set at Blick along with a couple extra tubes for variation in my hues(the amazingly helpful salesgirl told me pinks are most potent when in tube form!)

-Watercolor brushes

-Watercolor paper

-sea salt

-masking/washi tape

-glass of rosé and Billie Holiday on the record player(optional)

Watercolor Materials Mothers Day

Begin by taping your watercolor paper to the table with masking tape, this helps keep your paper in place as it tends to curl when wet.  Then make 4-6 hues on your palette in a color family pleasing to your Mother.  The obvious choice for mine is pinks and purples.  Take your round brush and draw two connecting lines one from the left then the right to create small hearts, continue down a vertical line in this way.  Switch colors and repeat.  The great thing about his project is the diversity of heart size and little imperfections actually add to the charm!  If you feel another image is more appropriate for your Mother-change it up!  Flowers for her Beauty?  Arrows for her guidance?  Stars for her light?  Smiles for her joy?

When finished, while the paint is still wet sprinkle with sea salt.

DIY Sea Salt Watercolor

When paint is completely dry gingerly chip off the salt to reveal texture in the dried watercolor.

Write a note on the back.  Frame it.  Or simply hand it over.

DIY Watercolor Hearts Sea Salt

Look at all those grateful HEARTS.

One BIG HEART made all the difference.

There is no greater compliment than when someone tells me “You are just like your Mother.”

MotherDaughterLOVE EveryDay.



Cherish Every Day.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one.”  -C.S.Lewis

Remember how giddy it made you to make a new friend in grammar school.  It was such a joy (and relief) to connect with another person, be heard & feel a mutual understanding- whether it be over the tribulations of unrequited crushes or agreement in detesting your biology teacher.  Remember passing notes?  Or writing in yearbooks?

Write BACK!  Top Secret!


My best friend of over twenty years covered three pages of my yearbook in the 8th grade(and I hers.)  We were going to attend different high schools and therefore we were the friendship equivalent of Romeo and Juliet.  We gushed over each other- the testaments of friendship we had withstood, our inside jokes, our memories of junior high.  It was dramatic and excessive and totally wonderful to behold- the lavish praise and over the top adoration.

We can learn something from our tween selves.

Whether we are 13 or 80 friends serve as foundations, barometers, advocates and beacons to us.

Let’s take the lead from our formative years.

Gush.  Ramble if you must.  But let there be no doubt of your utter admiration and complete appreciation.

I love creating new school applications to old school ideas…..there is a lot to be said for nostalgia.


DIY embroidery thread friendship bracelet


-embroidery thread

-waxed cotton cord

-jewelry findings, lots to choose from at Michael’s

-glue, I used E-6000 for its superior hold


DIY Friendship Bracelet Materials

Begin by picking your thread colors and giving yourself enough length on each thread-about 2 feet and measuring your wax cord for desired bracelet length.  Dab a bit of glue on wax cord (leaving 3 inches at end for tying) and secure threads with a knot.  Clip threads as close as possible to knot or tie a tassel.  Next wrap a single color around the entire group(the other threads go along for the ride inside the wrap.)  Switch up colors at random or in a pattern.  When finished, dab a little more glue on end of wax cord, tie knot and snip ends of thread.  Tie the jewelry findings to the bracelet using a slip knot- go through the finding wrap around three times and pull the end through.

DIY Friendship Bracelet Anagram Old School

 “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.” – Marlene Dietrich

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anaïs Nin

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”― Jane Austen

Connect Every Day.

Make New Friends Every Day.

Keep the Old Every Day.

Cherish Every Day.

Gather Every Day.

“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal……..we must never lose sight of a beautifully-conceived meal.” -Julia Child

As the spring holidays are upon us it is my favourite thing to gather at the table and share a long meal with dear ones.  Growing up in an Italian-American household meant a large pot simmering on the stovetop for hours preparing for these occasions…. filling the house with aromas of fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions, garlic…….that is home.  For Easter I wanted to make a twist on a traditional meal that would create an atmosphere of warmth and comfort at the table.  It is so satisfying to fill your dinner guests with lovingly crafted food.  Full bellies.  Full hearts.

Lamb Ragu over Papardelle with Fresh Ricotta and Mint

Lamb Ragu Ricotta Mint Papardelle

Adapted from Chef Andrew Carmellini’s Recipe-

Serves 6-8


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 carrot, finely diced

1 onion, finely diced

1 celery rib, finely diced- Lidia Bastianich recommends blending the vegetables in the food processor, I was hesitant at first, thinking it was cheating- but it makes a sort of paste that melts evenly into the sauce.

3 cloves garlic

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb- preferably organic/pasture- raised

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds- I used elbow grease to grind whole coriander & fennel seeds in my mortar and pestle!

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup dry red wine – I used Sangiovese

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes- I’m partial to San Marzano Tomatoes

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1  cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

2 pounds pappardelle

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta cheese

chopped mint

1.  Coat the bottom of a large cast-iron casserole with olive oil and heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Add the lamb, coriander, fennel, cumin, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the liquid is slightly reduced, 25 to 30 minutes minimum.  The longer the simmer, the richer the flavor- I simmered for 3 hours.

Simmer Lamb Ragu sauce

2.In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, shaking well.  Add the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to lightly coat pasta so that it doesn’t stick together. Plate the pasta topped with ragu and finished with  ricotta and mint. I used two teaspoons with the ricotta to make quenelle and I rolled a stack of mint and finely chopped to create a chiffonade.  I liked the way these two techniques added a touch of elegance to a rustic dish.  This ragu works great prepared the day before, simply simmer a bit before serving.  The smell upon entering your home will make your guests swoon!

Bon Appetito!  Buona Pasqua!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”  – Federico Fellini

Feast Every Day.
Simmer Every Day.
Gather Every Day.

ROCKStar Every Day.

“I got nasty habits.  I take tea at three.” – Mick Jagger

“You have to go on and be crazy. Craziness is like heaven. ” ― Jimi Hendrix

“Where’s your will to be weird?” – Jim Morrison

Lately I could use a bit more attitude.   A little more edge.

I feel compelled to exalt my misfit.  And ROCK it.

Unapologetically ME.

What are your ROCKStar desires, dreams, habits?

INDULGE them.  Walk on the WILD side.

Work hard, Play hard, Party hard…….Rest hard.

What does this look like for us (extra)ordinary folks without record deals and millions of screaming fans?

1. Do something new that scares you.  And don’t give up.

2. Sleep the day away and take no calls.

3. Live on the edge (of greatness.)

4. Be ferocious and defiant in the face of old and tired ideas.

5. Strut.

6. LIVE LARGE……..Luxuriate.

7. Be COOL.  (you, just as you are.)

8. Follow your whims…..your gut and your instincts are speaking to you.  LISTEN.

9. Demand what you want, the way you want it.

10. Write a power ballad.  (we all need a theme song)

Perhaps a costume change could assist in the taking on of this new personna.

As a child of the ’80s, nothing says rockstar to me like neon.  (And Madonna.)

DIY ROCK Star Sweatshirt


-Sweatshirt (or t-shirt)

-neon embroidery thread


-skull decal (or any other emblem/talisman that empowers)

-straight pins

Begin by cutting the neckline of the sweatshirt- I simply cut out the ribbing and that worked perfectly for this.  You may want to cut more, but I suggest going slowly as the knit stretches.

Pin the decal into place so that it doesn’t shift while sewing.  Sew the skull to the sweatshirt using neon thread.   I used the buttonhole stitch aka, the blanket stitch.

Buttonhole Stitch DIY

Tutorial available at

This sweatshirt is a POWER tee.  I can’t help but feel  WILD & FREE when I wear it.

DIY Rock star Sweatshirt Skull

“Keep your head in the clouds but your feet firmly on earth.” – Patti Smith

Be invincible.  Create your reality and live within your dreams.

Indulge Every Day.

Swagger Every Day.

Misfit Every Day.


Luck Every Day.

“I’ve been lucky.  I’ll be lucky again.” – Bette Davis

There are countless adages and proverbs from every corner of the world regarding luck.

“Luck follows the hopeful, ill luck the fearful.”

“Luck stops at the door and inquires whether prudence is within.”

“There is no one luckier than he who thinks himself so.”

“A man does not seek his luck, his luck seeks its man.”

But what is LUCK anyhow?  The word “luck” is said to be derived from an old Anglo-Saxon verb meaning “to catch.”  Is it possible that fleeting opportunities must be seized in order to derive happiness and prosperity?  Or is luck out of our hands entirely?……a magicial, unexplainable, intangible entity tied to our destiny?

I tend to believe that luck, like most things in life, is directly related to perception.  So then, if we decide we are lucky do we view the world through more fortunate lens?  I’m not one for superstitions, but I wonder- can we endow objects with luck?  It certainly worked for the rabbit’s foot.  (I’m not sure why anyone would want one otherwise.)  Can lucky objects bring more fortune, success or joy into your life, your home, your experience?

It’s worth a try.

Let’s manifest the pot of gold, the four leaf clover and all the LUCK that comes along.

DIY Shamrock Pot of Gold





















-Gold Glitter Paint (I used Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Paint)

-Tin or terracotta pot

-paint brush

Paint as many coats of glitter paint as you desire (I did 4) onto pot and your transform the dull container into a fortuitous vessel to charm your home.

Objects can have special powers afterall.  Shoes alone!  Elvis had his blue suede shoes.  Dorothy had her ruby slippers.

How about lucky four leaf clover flats?

diy lucky clover flats


-emerald ballet flats Old Navy has a ton!

-gold fabric paint

-fine tip paint brush

Begin forming four clover shape by drawing 4 hearts.  Then fill in with gold fabric paint and add a stem.  It can be helpful to sketch out with a pencil first or to use a heart shaped stamp for consistency.

Look out, I’m walking with a spring in my step and LUCK under my feet!

I can’t resist sharing a few more quotes on LUCK-

“Luck is believing you’re lucky.” – Tennessee Williams “A Streetcar Named Desire”

“Luck affects everything; let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” – Ovid

“It never occurs to fools, that merit and good fortune are closely united.”  – Goethe

Are you feeling LUCKY?

PotofGold Every Day.

FourLeafClover Every Day.

Luck Every Day.



SpringFever Every Day.

“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.”-Victor Hugo

Somehow we are still deep in the thick of the gloomy, hard winter days in Brooklyn.  The glimmer of sunshine yesterday was a tease as another cold front heads our way sending chills up my spine and making me miss my California days.  I don’t know about you, but I am desperately craving springtime.  I’m tired of holding tight, my hands in fists dug deep into my pockets, my head down, body clenched as I battle the wind.  I yearn to let go, give in, relax, release.

Prime for the flowers to bloom, for the light to burst, for the colors to shine bright…….SUNSHINE, sunglasses, flowing dresses & reading in the park.

So until we get nature’s response to the changing of the seasons, perhaps we can decide in our hearts that spring has already arrived.

daffodils & cyclamen springtime


-Wear pink, and orange, and yellow, and green.  (Pack the grey and charcoal under your bed.)

– Paint your nails hot orange or turquoise.  (Outlaw blackberry and gunmetal!)

-Wear a shocking pink lipstick.   (Red is everywhere anyways.)

– Don a scarf with happy flowers on it.  (Your black one is tired.)

-Surround yourself with the spring you live in.  (If there aren’t any flowers outside, buy a bouquet of tulips or a daffodil plant for inside.)

To embrace this notion, I’m getting my VanGogh on.  I haven’t used oil pastels before, but come hell or high water- I’m gonna cultivate some flowers.



-oil pastels, I got mine at Michael’s in the Artist’s Loft section for a song, I can only imagine the gorgeous results if you have art store pastels

-pastel paper or canvas, also purchased at Michael’s

Basic Techniques:


I began by practicing some of the pastel techniques on paper and blending.  There are TONS of tutorials on youtube.  This was so tactically enjoyable.  Feeling the medium move and change beneath my fingertips.  Getting messy and throwing caution to the wind.  It is incredibly satisfying seeing how the pastels change as they blend.  The pressure used against the canvas and degree of blending make such a difference in the final look.


Next I started working with my flower composition, incorporating the strokes I had learned.  I gave the piece a rough outline and then just followed by instinct.  When was the last time you colored outside the lines?

flower oil pastel

As you work try to silence that judgemental side of your brain and just enjoy.  I found the pastels to be wonderfully forgiving.  And you can always go back to add more color, blend more, create more texture.  When looking at your artwork treat it as you would a child’s masterpiece.  Put it on the fridge.  Hang it on the wall.  You are an artist.

diy oil pastels beginner

 “You must draw first, to cultivate the spirit and to be able to lead color into spiritual paths.” – Henri Matisse

Matisse Every Day.

Krasner Every Day.

ArtClass Every Day.

SpringFever Every Day.

Baci Every Day.

“A kiss was a kiss- to be enjoyed to the utmost for its short moment.”  -F. Scott Fitzgerald “The Beautiful and the Damned”

Kisses are delicious.  Chocolate kisses.  Mmmmm….  What could be better?  Italian chocolate kisses.  Perhaps I’m biased with my handsome italian husband, but move over Hershey’s because BACI are the real deal.  And like any good lip-lock, BACI are best enjoyed with your eyes closed.

If you are not familiar with BACI, they are hazelnut and chocolate candies packaged with a little love note.  Here is my recipe for a homemade version of this sweet concept.

I know Valentine’s day has come and gone, but how about we celebrate love every day?  This will, of course, necessitate eating chocolate every day.  We are victims of circumstance.


Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut BACI

To make the BACI we first make the nutella base of the candy.  The reward for this is that you will have left over homemade nutella to spread on a toasty baguette.

Homemade Nutella



2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder * Scharffen Berger is fantastic
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon sea salt (*I used fleur de sel)

* as with all cooking, the quality of your ingredients directly affects the distinctive character of your food.


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Roast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and until toasted brown and fragrant, 70-75 minutes, shaking the sheet every 20 mins or so to re-situate the nuts. Low and slow is the way to go here.

Transfer the hazelnuts to a medium-sized bowl to cool.  The nuts will crackle and sizzle as they start to seperate from their skins.

Once the hazelnuts have cooled, place a second bowl upside-down on top of the bowl with the hazelnuts. Shake the bowls to help remove the skins of the hazelnuts.  Then, in small batches rub the hazelnuts against one another in a clean kitchen towel to remove the peskier skins.  Some of the nuts won’t want to “get naked” and that’s ok.

Blend the hazelnuts in a food processor until their oil is released and they form a smooth paste.

Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, hazelnut oil, vanilla extract and salt and process until fully uniform and glossy. You may have to coax the ingredients with a rubber spatula off the sides of the processor.

Transfer the spread to a jar with a tight lid. Homemade Nutella may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Yields about 2 cups.

Homemade BACI



1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips *Callebaut Chocolate is divine

1 1/2 tablespoon hazelnut oil

3/4 cup roasted/shelled hazelnuts

3/4 cup homemade nutella

22-26 hazelnuts for garnish

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

0ptional-  sprinkles of fleur de sel


In a double boiler over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup of chocolate and hazelnut oil.  Remove from heat and add the chopped hazelnuts and homemade nutella. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Roll between your palms into 1″ balls, press a hazelnut on top, and place back into the freezer for a few more minutes to harden.



Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 cup chocolate in a double boiler over low heat.

When melted, take the bowl of the boiler off the heat, take the chocolate balls out of the freezer, and dip in the melted chocolate. I found it best to focus on dipping the top and then swirling the candy upside down to remove excess and create a pretty “kiss” top.  Place the BACI on waxed paper, sprinkle with fleur de sel and let cool.  Yields 26, give or take.

BACI can be stored at room temperature for a couple weeks, but consume sooner rather than later for fullest flavor.  It won’t be difficult.

I love packaging almost as much as I love cooking, so I printed onto these kraft bags from Paper Source “tanti baci.”  Its how Nonna signs off on all her letters.  I was also able to feed a sheet of kitchen waxed paper through my inkjet printer to make the love notes.  Wrap the baci in foil along with a love note and give to whomever you wish to share a kiss!


Chocolate & Kisses Every Day.

BACI Every Day.



ShowerLove Every Day.

Grown ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.  – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry  “The Little Prince”

When my first niece was born five years ago I was totally overwhelmed by the intensity of love that filled my heart.  How could something so small make me feel so much?  I am now the proud auntie of three nieces and two nephews, also known as the Princesses and Princes of my existence.  Every time I see them I am in awe of these tiny beings and how they have changed my world.  Being in the presence of these little people is my greatest reminder of how to live and how to love.

Play.  Nap.  Giggle.  Jump.  Scream.  Hug.  Dance.  Climb.  Eat.  Learn.  Dream.  Cuddle.  Grow.

We grown-ups tend to lose sight of these simple truths the more revolutions we take around the sun.  The remedy?  Spend more time with children!!!  The bad news for me- I live across the country from my nieces and nephews.  The bright side- I found a way to shower them with love every day.



DIY LoveCloud


-pillow, mine is a 12×12 square

-fun fabric, half a yard for good measure


-felt hearts


-embroidery thread

-OPTIONAL:  sewing machine, glue gun


CircleFINAL CUTFinalOpenpillowFinal



Begin by tracing a circle around your pillow with pencil, leaving a little extra space for seam allowance.



Then cut the circle.


Match together the “right” sides of the fabric and sew together leaving enough space to fit pillow through.  You can sew by hand or save time by using a sewing machine.  Right out the fabric and stuff with pillow.  Sew up the seam.






Next start making your heart strings!

Sandwich the ribbon between the hearts and affix the end of the ribbon by making an X.

I cut my ribbons in varying lengths from 18 inches to 10 inches.

When you have finished attaching the hearts at the ends of the ribbons sew the ribbons to the pillow and create puffs in your cloud by holding the tension in the stitches.  Make sure your knots are tight and secure!

Hearts AttachHearts



After sewing ribbons to base of pillow add one more ribbon to top of your “cloud” and hang in the room of the child you wish to shower with your affection!



Let the rain fall down.

Let the love drench us all.

ShowerLOVE Every Day.