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Ciao bella

Welcome to my blog. I like to look for eclectic and chic things. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in balancing motherhood, work, and other good things. I hope my ideas are intriguing to you and you subscribe to my newsletter. If you get that reference, we'll be friends. If not, I'm pretty sure we'll be friends too. Have a great day!

Valentine's Movie Night In

Valentine's Movie Night In

Netflix and Chill

My son is 20 months old and my family’s days and nights are ruled by his schedule. We are lucky to have my mom nearby so she will watch my son when she can. However, we can’t stay out like we used to and rage. Also, my husband and I both work and we’re exhausted all the time. So this is an elevated Netflix and chill, the kind where you can snuggle with your sweetie. It’s inexpensive, it’s lovely, and you can do it with a baby monitor on.


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My favorite things to make that are low stress for viewing parties are really simple. This small menu is chocolate strawberries, my husband’s fave popcorn with M&M’s, Whispering Angel Rose, and Columbus Brewing Company’s Bodhi.

Chocolate covered strawberries are really really easy to make. I like to get both milk chocolate and white chocolate. Basically, the trick to melting chocolate in a microwave is starting out at 30 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, 10 seconds etc. I like to dip the strawberries in the milk chocolate and then while they rest on the wax paper get the white chocolate ready. I get a spoon and drizzle the white chocolate in abstract patterns on the strawberries.  

Here’s how to temper chocolate, if you want to be an overachiever.

Pop your popcorn in the microwave according to directions, place in a bowl, and pour your candy in the bowl. Mix it up with salad mixers. Serve to your loved ones.

popcorn, m&ms

The Film We Chose

Last night, I told my husband about this idea for Valentine’s night in. We originally planned on watching Moonrise Kingdom, which is totally sentimental for us. We saw it when we were dating and to be honest- I had wanted to elope around the time it came out. We had been dating for six months and I wanted a small wedding and then a big reception. I was looking at white sundresses and realized I wanted my family to be there. I am actually a pretty private person in some respects. I’m impulsive and extroverted. A winning combo. We never got a marriage license at that time and it didn’t go past the possibly white sundress. When we saw that movie with the kids who kind of looked like us- the little boy looked just like my hubs, I just wore blue eyeshadow, it really spoke to us. Alas, it was not on Netflix but it suggested another movie and one that actually fits this theme better….

blue hair, green scarf, orange cardigan, black and white sketch

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

My husband and I give this movie 10 popcorns. Hat tip to Gregg Turkington for coining that phrase. My husband and I use it all the time. Also, Gregg Turkington was the first person my husband told that we were pregnant and we talked about how great kids are with him. We saw him perform at a show and when we went up to him afterward my husband was like “we’re having a baby.” At this point, we had known for less than 24 hours. He was really kind, he’s a true movie buff and gentleman. Anyway, we forgot that Eternal Sunshine took place on Valentine’s Day! So this was my first time watching it as a married lady. It came out when I was 19 and I saw it in college in a small theater with a boy I had a crush on. Watching it as a married woman and someone who has experienced deep grief, it takes on a whole different meaning. What would it mean to completely erase someone from your memory? I also have watched friends go through heart-wrenching breakups and divorces. Love is weird and love is hard. If you’ve never cried in your car listening to Beyonce about your partner, have you been in love? Basically, the premise is a future where you can erase memories. Joel, Jim Carrey, is trying to erase all of his memories of Clementine, Kate Winslet. You get to see their relationship and it starts out in the worst parts. There is also a b-plot with the employees of the corporation that does it. He’ll periodically wake up while they are having a party.

Watching the movie again, it is absolutely beautifully shot. It also made me realize that Jim Carrey was an incredible actor because he played an introvert. I saw a really interesting documentary about silent films and one of the historians said Jim Carrey would have been huge back then. It really talks about memory in such a beautiful way. The colors, the music, the lighting, and the scaling just add to a movie that just takes you out of the way. I also found out that the film was shot by a female cinematographer, Ellen Kuras, and edited by another woman Valdis Oskardottir. How awesome is that? Women are still majorly underrepresented in film. One of my dear friends directed a short horror film called Messed Up, and shortly afterward some jagoff horror director said that there aren’t enough women who want to direct horror. He can suck a lemon. In short, support female directors and women in film. This has been my TED talk.  Watching this movie after everything that has happened in 15 years since it’s release is really interesting as well.

In the fifteen years since I saw it in a small theater in my college town, I have gotten married and had a child. I’ve been with my husband for seven years and married for five of them. When I saw this movie, I thought I understood intimacy but I didn’t really. I will say in my life I have only really had chemistry with about five people. I went on a lot of bad dates. I’ve run the gambit with men. But honestly, in my life, about five people have made me get butterflies. It’s like a deep connection with a usual dark sense of humor, resilience, and just plain understanding. When you lose that, it’s hard. I remember when I was dating and went through a break-up that literally ripped my heart in half a friend said: “when someone gets to know the real you they’ll fall instantly in love.” But this person knew the real me and left. To be honest, he knew the real 20-year-old me and 33 years old me is way different than her. So the other challenge is when you meet someone you have chemistry with is to grow with that person. That is really hard to do. Also, you have to enjoy growing this the person. That’s not always fun and a lot of people take a lot of step backs while doing it. The first year and a half of my marriage was the hardest time of my life. We went through all kinds of challenges and really had to rely on each other for support. I will say this, we survived all that, but the biggest challenges in our marriage are the little big things. For example, money-sigh. Simple personality issues and getting over yourself-hey did you know becoming a mother doesn’t automatically make you less selfish? You have to work on your own bad habits and get better. But what gets us through it is we do love each other.

Also being in my thirties, word to the wise, I have seen really strong relationships break up and I want to say that sometimes things just don’t work out no matter how hard you work because of fundamental things. In relationships, you have to know what dealbreakers are. It’s your personal life and the stakes are incredibly high. You know what’s important to you. No one goes into a marriage wanting to end it. Again, this movie is different at different times in your life.

So Joel and Clem have deep deep chemistry that is real and raw and totally rare on screen. They have horrific fights about deep things. They both say things they regret. They have personalities that get in their own ways but they come together because of it. They have adventures and love. The fact they meet in Montauk and re-meet is so beautiful because it does ask a question- how much of our lives is fate and how much do we choose? How do we fall in love and why do we love the people we do? It’s so complicated and fundamental. It’s also not something you can “buy” per say. For example, when I was dating I was with this guy who thought I was really attractive. He once said everything I did was sexy. Then I farted in front of him because he made me laugh so hard. He got really upset about that not being appropriate. Fun fact, this person described themselves as someone who didn’t believe in rules but couldn’t handle that thing. I wish I could say I told him to suck a lemon but I agonized over it. Flash forward, I am with my husband and at the moment I have bronchitis. I have cough farted in front of him. He shrugs. We’ve dealt with diaper blowouts, the flu, odd bleeding, my weird toenails, colonoscopies, vomit both human and feline, etc. That’s the messy stuff of life my friend. Get with someone who can handle it. If you ever read relationship advice about hiding that stuff-don’t listen to it. Our bodily functions make us human. This movie was about that kind of deep love. It’s about being flawed and finding someone who gets it.

Our verdict: watch it, treasure it, snuggle with your loved one. It’s a perfect date night movie and it’s a good way to realize who is important to you. 10 popcorns and a box of hair dye that turns your shower purple.

Good film recs?

Do you have a film you love to watch with your significant other? Is it romantic or is it just goofy? Is it both? Are films more of a relationship thing than songs? Do you and your partner fight over blankets while watching movies? Just asking because my husband and I definitely do. Maybe for V-Day, I should just let him use my favorite one. See I’m already getting more romantic.

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