Who has two thumbs…

…speaks limited French, and just got into graduate school?

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This moi!

I still have a long road ahead of me. I have to figure out finances, funding, and assistantships. It may not ultimately be the full-time occupation I’m looking to make it, but either way, I did it. It took me seven endless, painful, dreary years, but I got dat B.A. and I’m on to the next.

Neither of my parents went to college. In fact, most people in my family didn’t. As I start graduate school, my youngest brother will be starting undergrad. The circle of freaking life. This is a step I never thought I’d take.

Thank you to the handful of folks that read this blog. You guys are amazing, supportive, and are part of what keeps the dream of being a full-time writer alive. This blog started as a creative outlet for me to post my recipes and outfits when I was a bored 23-year-old college student working in retail, but it has turned into a place where I can share my deepest desires and silliest thoughts. I mean, you guys read a thing I wrote about icon and perfect human, Céline Dion. You’ve watched my attempt to review cheap rosés with zero real knowledge about wine. You know all my favorite podcasts. You’ve dealt with the fact that I accidentally deleted almost all of the photos on this blog and have to start from scratch. You are all my heroes. Someday, when I’m the next Tina Fey or Tracey Wigfield (A GIRL CAN DREAM, OKAY), I will think about this little passion project with such fondness.

Holy f***ing sh*t, you guys! I’m going back to school! I never thought I’d sing this song again, but here I am!

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P.S. Watch Tracey Wigfield’s new showGreat News, you filthy animals. It’s the second coming of 30 Rock. Well, the third coming, because Difficult People is actually a perfect show.

 

Eggy Brekkie Tacos

If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself wondering, “How can I incorporate more tacos into my every day life?” Soft or hard, veggie or bean, I love all tacos indiscriminately (get your mind out of the gutter).

Breakfast tacos aren’t exactly a stunning innovation. The breakfast burrito is a restaurant menu staple for good reason—Tex-Mex and breakfast foods are a beautiful marriage of flavors. But it is my life’s mission to eat (specifically cruciferous) vegetables at every meal, and damn it, I will accomplish it!

These tacos are endlessly customizable, and a great way to pack some serious nutrition into your morning. Plus, everything tastes better in a taco shell. It’s literally science.

Cauliflower is my favorite here, but other veggie options include broccoli, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, or zucchini!

Eggy Brekkie Tacos

  • soft corn tortillas, taco size
  • 1-2 eggs (per person), scrambled
  • leftover roasted veggies (I recommend cauliflower)
  • salsa

Optional toppings might include: shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, bean dip, hot sauce, sauerkraut—if you can dream it, you can do it!

If you don’t have any leftover veggies (I seem to always have something in my fridge), toss your chopped veggie of choice in olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and roast until soft and slightly browned.

Scrambled your eggs and heat up as many tortillas as you plan to eat. I like to heat my tortillas over the open flame on the stove, but the microwave or the oven on a very low setting will work just as well. As soon as everything is piping hot, assemble your tacos by dividing the scrambled eggs and vegetables amongst the tortillas. For the less adventurous (read: messy) eaters among us, combine all desired ingredients into a bowl and top with the corn tortillas, chopped. Dig in!

There you have it: every food group before 10 am. Brb—gonna go whip up some more breakfast tacos!

 

This morning’s variation: spinach, black bean dip, salsa, scrambled eggs, beet & red cabbage sauerkraut, hot sauce

 

Oil Vey


I’ve been trying to incorporate more essential oils into my daily life. There are so many amazing, creative ways to make them a part of your routine! I regularly oil-pull with a peppermint essential oil & coconut oil blend, and I use a tea tree & coconut oil blend every night to moisturize and cleanse my face. But I have bunch of bright, spring scents left over from my (ill-fated) idea to make homemade candles for my wedding that I needed to put to good use! Pro-tip: don’t try to make 50 homemade essential oil/ soy candles as wedding favors—planning a wedding is stressful enough! 

After I saw this post last year, I was inspired to make my own linen spray with the lovely scents I had just lying around in my cabinets. But, after an incident involving me lifting this plant mister by the plunger, breaking the mister and spilling oily water all over my bedroom, I briefly set aside my goal of perpetually gorgeous-smelling sheets and pillows.

Well, no more! I was helping a friend shop for an upcoming trip yesterday, and in the travel section of Target I found a cute little pink spray bottle, which reminded me of this awesome DIY! I can’t take any credit for the idea or the basic recipe, but the essential oil blend is something I concocted, based on the amazing cocktail, the Paloma! The Paloma is a tequila-based cocktail with grapefruit and lime—delicious, refreshing, and reminiscent of warm summer nights. I’d found my muse.


“Paloma” Room & Linen Spray

  • water
  • witch hazel
  • grapefruit essential oil
  • eucalyptus essential oil
  • lime essential oil
  • small funnel
  • small spray bottle


Combine 1 part water to one part witch hazel in the small spray bottle of your choosing. My witch hazel has a slight odor, so next time I make this, I’ll use more water than witch hazel. In a 12 oz bottle I used about 30 drops grapefruit, 20 drops eucalyptus, 20 drops lime. How strong you want your scent to be is up to you! Give the bottle a shake and spritz anywhere that needs freshening!* I added a handwritten label with gold Sharpie—paint pens or chalk pens will also do the trick!

*The oil and water will separate, so shake the bottle before each use for best results.

The grapefruit is bright and refreshing, the lime is fruity and mellow, and the eucalyptus adds an almost minty sharpness reminiscent of the fragrance of tequila. All the cocktail love with none of the calories.

Happy spring, happy Passover, and happy Easter! Oh, and blanket apology for the title pun.

—DellaBites

Kool Things IV

Another week for the books! It literally snowed yesterday, because April Fool’s Day is real. I needed my escape, and I found it in memoirs and comedy, by which no one is surprised. These are the things that got me through the hail/sleet/snow hellscape that was this week.

This Show

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Crashing, Pete Holmes

I cannot even believe that I haven’t written about Crashing yet! Crashing, the semi-autobiographical brainchild of brilliant comedian and beautiful human being, Pete Holmes, is HBO’s newest Sunday night series. It tells the (dramatized) story of Pete’s divorce and entry into the New York City stand-up scene. Guest stars have (thus far) included comedy powerhouses like Sarah Silverman, Artie Lang, and TJ Miller, as well as one of my personal favorites, Aparna Nancherla.

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If you don’t yet know the delightful Pete Holmes, well, you should. He briefly hosted his own talk show that aired weeknights after Conan, The Pete Holmes Show, hosts an interview podcast called You Made It Weird that never fails to get spiritual, and landed an HBO special called Faces and Sounds that dropped in December. He’s a hometown hero, hailing, like myself, from Metro Boston (I think Somerville or thereabouts). Pete Holmes truly has one of the most unique voices in comedy—his relentless optimism and winning smile make jokes like calling himself “Lesbian Val Kilmer” all the more powerful. Crashing chronicles Pete’s days as a fresh-faced comedy newbie; now, though, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

*Crashing airs Sunday nights at 10:30 on HBO.

This Book

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Real Artists Have Day Jobs, Sara Benincasa

This week I’ve been devouring this amazing book of essays by comedian and author Sara Benincasa, and it’s been an emotional journey. I finished it on my lunch break today and it took everything I had not to publicly sob. I hesitate to call this book “self-help,” but if you read it, you will help yo’ self. For real. The words of wisdom in this book range from “brush your damn teeth” to “treat your vagina like the magical temple that it is.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get it. Benincasa gets very frank about her own struggles with mental illness but never fails to be disarmingly hilarious. As someone who aspires to a reasonable facsimile of this incredible woman’s career, it is inspiring beyond belief to read of someone rising from the ashes of her own self-destruction and kicking major ass purely through hard work and talent. 10/10, read this f***ing book.

I’ve already ordered one of her other books, Agorafabulous!, which I can’t wait to start reading!

Check out her short film, The Focus Group, on Vimeo.

*The kindle version of Real Artists Have Day Jobs is only $1.99 right now, my dudes! Go forth and read!

This Special

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Pizza Mind, Sasheer Zamata

SNL cast member and jumpsuit messiah Sasheer Zamata just dropped her very first stand-up special on the incredible comedy streaming service, Seeso. The stunning and brilliant Ms. Zamata tackles race, feminism, and being named after Star Trek like a gotdamn professional. Topics of discussion include “resting bitch face,” her brief employment at Disney world, and the (very f***ing true) fact that white girls are constantly shedding hair all over the place. The special is hilarious, but it’s also a thoughtful, educational experience. Sasheer Zamata does not care if her material on race makes you uncomfortable. That’s on you.

Pizza Mind is must-see TV. If you have a spare hour, give it a watch. You will be rewarded with a magical cartoon adventure and a show-stopping finale number #nospoilers.

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DID I GODDAMN MENTION THE JUMPSUIT, THOUGH? My ladies who art in comedy are KILLING it in the wardrobe game lately.

Watch her bit about her tricky-to-pronounce first name here.

Watch her in “Black Jeopardy”, one of SNL’s finest skits. Here she is with Drake, Tom Hanks, Louis CK, and Elizabeth Banks.

*Pizza Mind is now streaming on SeeSo!

Dis Phone

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I upgraded early and got an iPhone 7 this week! I almost went Plus, but I tried out my husband’s 6+ for a little while, and the damn thing’s just too big! I like being able to rock the one-handed text. But don’t text and drive! Do as I say, not as I do! The transition from iPhone 6 to 7 has been like night and day! It’s faster, there are two speakers, and it’s PINK. I know I’m predictable and basic, but the more pink I can get in my life, the better! I also got the 128G model (4 times the storage of my last phone!) so that I could combine the functions of iPhone and iPod (I’ve been using my iPhone 4 from many years ago as an iPod—the thing was begging to be sent to a farm upstate, it was dead and buried). Despite the foolish amount of music I’ve put on it, I still only seem to listen to Hamilton…

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We got a shipment of phone cases from The Casery to my work, so I also treated myself to this amazing case. Kendrick Lamar fans, unite! This isn’t a sales pitch for my work or anything, since y’all don’t know where I work, nor is it an ad for The Casery, but seriously, you guys, these cases are the absolute best. The designs are the cutest I’ve ever seen (donuts! sushi! cacti!) and the cases are super well made. I’m obsessed…I might need to get this one next, in honor of the little cat that started it all—Della!

This Game

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Stump! Trivia

I’ve been playing Stump! Trivia for ten whole years, since way before it was appropriate for me to be hanging out at a bar on a weeknight. I’m not actually sure it’s even appropriate now. But alas, such is my addiction to trivia and other brain puzzles—every Wednesday night for the past year (and many Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in years past), my father and I have ordered a round of drinks and a basket of french fries and challenged ourselves to a battle of wits in the quest for a restaurant gift card.

Stump! is arguably the best trivia game in the Boston area (it was started in Marshfield), but it’s now a nationwide company that offers fun, challenging trivia and Questionnairey (a Family Feud-style game) at bars and private events. Long story short, I am a huge, huge fangirl, and a frequent player. So, the other night, after a particularly exciting win at our local pub, I applied to be a host.

I had applied years and years ago, but was likely much too young to be considered. Doesn’t super make sense to hire an underage girl to work in a bar—I don’t hold the lack of response against them. But this time, I heard back via email almost immediately and set up an audition!

I wasn’t looking for a second job, and the extra few bucks a week won’t make a huge difference to me financially, but the public speaking experience is priceless! The whole gig is essentially an improv performance—something I’ve been anxious about for years! I recently admitted to myself that my dream is actually to be Conan O’Brien (or a reasonable lady approximation)—writer, performer, icon. Okay, I’m joking about the icon part, but in order to achieve even a tiny sliver of my dream, I’m going to need to get better in front of a crowd.

If you’re in the Boston/South Shore area, come support me here!

***

Thanks for letting me blab about my obsessions for a month straight! What are you obsessed with lately?

—DellaBites

*as usual, all of the images via google or the sites linked in each description!

 

But for real, though, we got married.

all photos by Melissa Washburn Photography

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Dapper AF.

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Harpers/Faheys/MacFarlands/Baumhauers/Rufos/Figueiredos/my fam
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Brothers left to right: 17 & 23
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Brothers left to right: gordo 1 & gordo 2
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Buddies.

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My dad is actually Bryan Cranston, though.

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Of course I wore sneakers.

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As you can tell, we tried really hard to make this a thing.

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Date.

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The most me. Hot sauce favors in my bag, swag.
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Portuguese AF. Biscoitos for life.

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Godmother.

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All four Mrs. Figs.

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Pai/sogro/favorite person.

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A huge thank you to everyone who came to our wedding and supported our journey. It was…unusual to say the least. I am humbled by these photos—the evidence of so much love, family, and friendship.

Bit of a day.

 

—Chelsea, DellaBites

Expectations vs. Reality: Wedding Registries

There are about 940 million listicles, articles, and blog posts about what to register for at Bed Bath & Beyond or Williams-Sonoma before you get married. It also seems like every store (Target! Anthropologie!) offers a registry, making the whole process convoluted and time-consuming. Should I go cute or practical? Is this a wish-list or a needs-list? Do I really need 30 kinds of serveware when I’ve never invited a guest over in my life?

Well, both, both, and probably not.

I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. Brides that have been training competitively for this event since grade school, and brides that have lived with their significant other for years and have a fully-functioning household. Some brides need to have the perfect modern-chic flatware (in gold!) and some are totally at a loss with a scanner at Macy’s.

I tiptoe the line between both of these “types”, so I thought I’d share my experiences in the world of registries.

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have your cake and eat it too

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I love to cook. It is my passion. I hate that I don’t have more time for it (and a kitchen crew to clean up after me). When I was a little kid, I remember going into home goods stores and dreaming of the day I’d get to pick out my very own plates (I was very into sunny yellow Southwestern-style pottery then; I’ve become a minimalist in my old age). For me, this dream was not associated in any way with a man or a wedding. Having my own supplies meant freedom, adulthood, and self-sufficiency. I assumed that one day I’d be fabulously wealthy, having published a string of acclaimed YA novels, and I could buy my own damn plates.

How does that Alanis song go? Life has a funny, funny way…

I never became an author, and, at 25, am most-certainly-freaking-not fabulously wealthy. I have lived with my fiancé for 3 years, and we have a fully-functioning household and kitchen. So, when I went to register for gifts, my inner child who wanted all the things did battle with my independent feminist adult self who felt all the guilt about asking for a new colander when the Ikea one she had worked perfectly fine.

So, I did the reasonable thing and asked some other recent brides for their perspectives. When in doubt: ask! Talking to my sister-in-law (who got married in 2014) was the biggest help. She’d already been through it; she knew the etiquette.

Ultimately, my registry & bridal shower experiences were really positive, and I learned a lot. None of my guests went broke spoiling me, but each and every one of them made me very happy and showed me immense generosity.

Tips for a Happy Registry

  1. Be yourself, and be reasonable. Register for things you need and you will use. Ignore the lists that come in the bridal books. If you’re a top-notch baker, get you a KitchenAid, girl. If you did a few-year stint at Starbucks in college, register for that fancy espresso machine! You know how to use it! But if the thought of reading through owner’s manuals and attempting to clean a juicer freaks you out, keep it simple. Get some cute curtains for your living room. Let each choice reflect your actual lifestyle, not your aspirational one.
  2. Cover your bases before you dream big. If you really want a designer duvet, but you don’t even have a ladle, let the practical take priority. Thus, have a good selection of super cheap (salt & pepper shakers) and super expensive (a Dyson). This is a plus for you and your guests! Since your registry items will be hand-picked by you, you’ll appreciate them all. One of my favorite gifts was an $8 creamer shaped like a cow—the cutest!
  3. Consider region when registering. I know the internet has all the things and that physical space and distance no longer matter, but I guarantee that you have older family members that aren’t tech savvy. Make sure at least one of your registries is with an easy-to-get-to store. Targets are everywhere. There is a Bed Bath & Beyond in every state. You can do your dream registry, for sure, but be considerate of your guests’ technological abilities.
  4. Keep an eye on your registry online. If you’re anything like me, you woke up the morning after getting engaged and immediately set up a registry. But things change a lot in a year (or 6 months…or 6 weeks!), so you’ve got to keep it updated! Also, some people will look at your registry and buy you the same items from other stores—make sure you remove these items from your registry to avoid duplicates!
  5. Save every. last. receipt. You’re going to return things! You’ll probably even return things that you wanted! I ended up having to return a super-cute margarita set and 2 sets of martini glasses because I had other more pressing household needs (plus, no storage space for all that glassware). Also, save appliance boxes (or at least the barcodes and serial numbers), because you never know when you’ll be eligible for a rebate!
  6. Have fun. It’s supposed to be fun! What’s more fun than presents? However, if the thought of having to inventory your glassware makes you die inside, then screw the registry altogether! Your wedding is about you, your partner, and exactly no one else—tradition be damned!

Stay tuned for my Top 10 Registry Picks! 

—DellaBites