Friday, August 27, 2010

Girl On The Go Challenge: 30 Days Without Facebook

The world has become addicted to social networks.  Well, I know I have and I'm sure we are all in the same boat.  I challenge you to take 30 days off from facebook.  Use the time you spend each day on this social networking site to do something kind for another person.  I will participate along with you- my facebook account is already down.  I will blog about the kind thing that I do each day.  What better gift to give to another person, to yourself, than just be nice? 

One kind thing per day, for 30 days.  Take a hiatus from your computer (or your cell phone) and participate in LIFE! Real life- full of beautiful weather, clean air, smiling faces, not a blue and white computer screen.  Let's do one random act of kindness per day with the time we would usually spend on Facebook. 

Today: I bought candy from 2 sweet little girls trying to raise money for their youth group.  Even little things count! 

Good luck!

(For those of you who need to reach me about my blog, or need to reach me because Facebook has become our main means of communication- email!) 

"Skinny Italian" by Teresa Giudice: A Cookbook Wouldn't Be Complete Without A Scandal
(from The Real Housewives of New Jersey)

"Using the pomace (and lots of chemicals) to create some olive oil is like using the hair caught in your vacuum cleaner to make your own extensions....Nasty." While this book is infested with Jersey slang- the recipes are good.  They're simple, but who needs complicated?  Who can cook from cookbooks like "The French Laundry"? 

There are a lot of fun facts in this book about the different types of Olive Oils, facts on herbs and spices (their history, what to use them in, how to store them, etc).  I really love that all of her recipes are named after her kids or a trendy word.  For instance, "Sexy Swordfish with Lemon", "Gorgeous Garlic Shrimp" or "Milania's Marinara Sauce" (her daughter).

Along with the quote from above, here is another one worth highlighting (because it is so outrageous):  "Avoid stripper food:  Want an easy way to remind yourself what food is healthy for you or not?  Never eat food that is a stripper's name: Cookie, Candy, Cupcake..."

I was surprised to read in this book about topics that I SUPPORT FULLY, like The Slow Food Movement & how important Farmers' Markets are.  She even gives you a lesson on canning!  Along with how to host a party. 

Scandal Alert: Teresa names her Puttanesca Sauce , "Danielle's Puttanesca Sauce".  She says her and her family love the sauce, but she couldn't name it after one of her "darling daughters" (because Puttana means Prostitute, or worse,  in Italian)....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Girl on the Go's Guide to Wine & Cheese

You can pretty much pair your wine with any cheese YOU like, but tradionally, wine experts have agreed on some pairs that arouse your tastebuds.  Some of these are from a wine tasting I did with my boss, Carey Palenchar (a wine expert) and some are my own! (Recommended by experts, of course).  So, the next time you feel like entertaining some guests or just experimenting with wine and cheese on your own, grab this list and go!


Sauvignon Blanc paired with Goat Cheese (France)

Chardonnay paired with Parmesan Cheese (Italy)

Champagne paired with Cheddar (England)

Reisling paired with Gouda (Holland)


Rose paired with Swiss (Switzerland)


Merlot paired with Brie (France)

Pinot Noir paired with Gouda (Holland)

Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Camembert (France)

Port paired with Stilton Cheese (England) Also, pair this with chocolate of your choice!

Mad Dog 20/20 paired with Kraft Singles (Artificial, Cheap Production Companies across America) Also, pair this with a paper bag of your choice! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Find some time to EAT, to PRAY and to discover LOVE
and go see Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts is the "it" actress, as always.  Based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love follows Gilbert's journey, one year, three different countries. 

The book was both loved and hated.  Many claimed it was a true tale of finding who you are and many called Gilbert selfish.  She ended her marriage, took off a year of work.  How many people actually get to do that?  But, I would like to say that as a writer, that's what you do.  You do stuff to write about later.  Even if you don't plan on writing about it, you probably will.  William Faulkner once said that a writer learns from everything he (or she) experiences.  So, she was working. 

Now, enough with the book, let's get to the movie.  I saw this movie right before bed; I saw a 10pm showing of it. Immediately after it was over, I wasn't really sure if I liked it or not. The next morning, however, I realized I loved it.  I LOVED it.

The theme question of this story is "If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?  Would it be what you are currently doing?  If not, how do you find out what you want to do?"

It's a beautiful question: it hits us all at some point in our life.  In Gilbert's case, it hits her a year into her first marriage.  Her life looks perfect, with the perfect house, the perfect husband and a perfect job, but she isn't truly happy.  So, she sets off on a journey. 

I can really relate to this story because I wrote a book about relatively the same "journey".  Maybe that is why I didn't always like this story: I mean, it is a huge hit of something so close in nature to a project I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into.  However, I think the important message of Gilbert's story is that the journey to finding who you are, what you want in this life, what you think you deserve, is different for everyone! 

Gilbert's first destination is Italy.  This is the "Eat" section of the book and movie.  There were so many delicious quotes to pull from this section and it really made you want to go to an Italy, or just a fabulous Italian restaurant and order the biggest, baddest and best pasta dish on the menu.  AND... not worry about the caloried consequences.  One of the things that she discovers, from one of the people she meets in Rome, is the concept of relaxing.  Or, "the sweetness of doing nothing."  In Italy, everyone knows they deserve a break, a very sweet break.  Yet, in America, we think we have to work hard to deserve a sweet break. 

"Every word in Italian is like a truffle, a magic trick."

Next up, Gilbert travels to India to "Pray".  "If you could just elimate all of the space in your head that you are using to obsess over this guy, the whole universe, God, could rush in.  You would find more love than you ever imagined."  I love this line! Gilbert meets an American man at the ashram she stays at for three months.  He has a story of his own, but he influences her to forgive herself. 

Finally, to find love, she goes to Bali.  She falls in love again, this time, with the right guy.  Julia Roberts did a fantastic job in this movie, absolutely fantastic.  It is a powerful story that shows you that you have to explore who you are before you ever find love.  Isn't it more important to invest in yourself first before you can fully invest in someone else?  Isn't happiness something worth exploring the world for?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Think for yourself.
Don't let bitches guide your actions.
Sometimes it's easy to follow the patterns of mindless sheep, to allow someone to make your decisions for you, but when you do that, your life is not your own. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"I want women, and men, to feel empowered by a deeper and more psychotic part of themselves. The part they're always trying desperately to hide. I want that to become something that they cherish."

— Lady Gaga

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Angelcots: A Taste of Heaven

Apricots are amazing little fruits.  They are low in calories and high in delicious flavor.  But, wait, have you tried Angelcots? 

Angelcots are a hybrid of Iranian and Morrocan apricots.  They have a mellow sweetness to them similar to the lightness of angel food cake.  The texture is almost creamy.  They are absolutely fanatastic. 

They are only grown on 2 acres of this entire country, by a guy in Brentwood, California.  I bought some today and I got a pound for about four dollars.  They come in a plastic container and are only sold at specialty grocery stores like Market District, Whole Foods & Trader Joe's. 

Go out and buy some Angelcots today!  They are a lovely surprise of a fruit!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Praise for Fede Pasta

We all know that pasta is not exactly healthy for you.  However, if you're Italian like me, you're willing to splurge for it.  A fun fact about me:  In January, I was getting my hair done by an over-the-top Italian woman.  When I told her I had a bit of Italian in my blood, she asked me if I knew how to make my own pasta.  Nope, I told her.  I felt almost embarassed.  Anyways, now I know (it's the EASIEST thing EVER).  Simply said, it is flour and eggs.  That's it!

The only tough part is getting your hands on a pasta maker (if you don't own one).  Which, I'm sure the hairstylist has had one since she was ten.  I have found something that is TWENTY times better than fresh pasta.  Well, fresh pasta from your own kitchen.  It is:  FEDE PASTA.  Bundles are available at Market District.  Also, at

Just last night, I made a late-night dinner of Chicken Alfredo and I used Garlic & Chive Tagliatelle.  (Of course, I used hormone-free chicken).  I did not use organic heavy cream (shh, don't tell anyone). 

Fede Pasta is something to be raved over.  First of all, it's local food. This is the BEST pasta in Pittsburgh.  Without a doubt. (Slow Food Movement).  Fede does have pasta classes (which I don't know about you, but I am totally signing up for!).  Don't worry, I will blog about the class.  Also, Chef Steve Salvi does occasionally do a cooking class for Market District.  (Ladies....)

You'll never, ever, want to eat icky boxed pasta again.  In fact, you will probably be inspired to go buy a pasta maker and start making your own pasta.  Fresh pasta only takes about 4 minutes to cook, so it's a time-saver in that area.  Fede Pasta offers Short Cuts, Long Cuts (the tagliatelle that I had last night is one of the many), Ravioli and Gnocchi. 

On a final note, fede means faith, or to have faith, in Italian.  How beautiful is that? 

*photo courtesy of Fede Pasta

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

girl on the go:
Need Inspiration?
Artwork by Rosedart

Beauty comes from the inside.  Eat healthy and it will inspire you to live healthy.  Smile and it will trick your body into thinking you're happy...and then you will be. 

Perserverence is essential... because you'll get everything you want.  I promise you.  Just keep trying.  Your talent runs wild within you, just show it every day.  Show it to someone.  Show it to yourself.  And it will show you that anything is possible.

Need Inspiration? Look inside. 

You are your key.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beet Me Up

Beet Me Up
Beets are a nutritional gem!

Beets are one of the best foods for your liver around. If you like to drink, then you should learn to like beets! They are almost a restoring device for your liver (which is good for excessive drinkers). Foods that are good for your liver are good for your skin (your complexion!). Along with that, they contain carbs, so they energize your body. They contain sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, Vitamin A, Vitamin C. They contain beta carotene, potassium and fiber. Fiber is great for your heart!

Beets contain folate- if you happen to be preggers, this is great for the development of the baby’s spinal cord.  Folate is a water soluable B vitamin which is naturally found in foods, such as beets. 

I always found beets to be a little intimidating because they look so un-cookable. How do you cook them? How do you eat them? A simple way to cook beets is to roast them in your oven. Someone showed me a nifty trick, which is that the skin of the beet (the nasty skin that looks like it probably won’t even come off with a veg peeler) peels right off once the beet is roasted. I’ll admit that I never really ate beets until I had a roasted beet. I was always a little freaked out by them, but now, I can eat them plain. Personally, canned beets are not as good. Pickled Beets are definitely not as good.  Roasted beets are quite tasty! Who knew?

If you are looking for a new type of greens for your beet salad, use the greens of the beet! You can even buy bagged beet greens (I found them at Whole Foods) that are pre-cut and pre-washed for you. They are very sweet and a little more to work with (the leaves are thicker) than most other greens like spinach or romaine.

Along with the idea of Slow Food and eating locally, beets are best from farmers markets!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mellow Monday

Vintage Ring, "Love the One You're With" by Emily Giffin & a Zen Green Tea from Starbucks. 

Vintage Ring- I found in a little shop in the South Side of Pittsburgh yesterday. 

Emily Giffin- I am obsessed with this author because everything she writes is so trendy, well put together, and about heart-breaking topics.  So far, I have read "Something Borrowed" and "Something Blue".  I am now reading "Love the One You're With".  Her other two are "Baby Proof" and "Heart of the Matter."

Zen Tea- I go to Starbucks almost every day to write.  Usually, I prefer tiny little coffee shops with an artsy vibe, but lately, Starbucks is my go-to place to write.  Today, while sipping my tea, I had an epiphany about writing.  Particularly, self censorship and why it is terrible. 

Censorship can be a real bitch. Censoring yourself can be an even bigger bitch. We, as writers, want to be able to write without limits. We want to expose stuff and shine lights on new topics. However, if you want other people to read what you're writing, you have to deal with their opinions. Or, you at least, are going to hear their opinions. Whether or not you choose to deal with them is up to you.

Being burned by people who don't understand what you're writing can be almost cripling, even to the most badass of writers. Well, maybe badass writers really don't care. The important thing is to get back out there and write what you want to be writing about. Someone once told me that it really isn't about what you're writing, it's how you are writing it.

Unfortunetly, there will always be a crowd of judgmental people waiting to rip your work to shreds. If you are smart, though, you'll see that's a good thing. Because even if those peeps are judging it, throwing you under busses, or praying for you and your work, they read it.

If you are going to give up that easy and censor your own words to please other people, you have no business being a writer. ;)

Also, drinking 3 cups of green tea per day reduces the risk of breast cancer by 50 %! So, drink up, ladies!

ALICE + OLIVIA Fall 2010
ALICE + OLIVIA by Stacey Bendet is another line that I absolutely cannot get enough of!  It has a real "pixie" feel to it.  It is entirely cute and feminine. Here are some of my favorites from Alice + Olivia Fall 2010.  (Thanks to Elle for the photos!)

Slow, Slow, Slow
The Slow Food Movement.

Fast food is a disease that has taken over America.  It has not only become a way of eating, but a way of living.  It seems like everyone wants to take the simple, convenient route.  It's safe to say that people want easy relationships. Especially, with their food.  I was grocery shopping a few days ago and I saw a guy, about my age, "grocery shopping." His cart was loaded up with boxed items like granola bars, Pop-tarts and Cheez-Its.  All of it made in laboratories.  Is it okay to say that men have a problem with convenience?  A girl can only hope not. 

The idea that "dinner" is at a drive through at Wendy's has inspired people to want things right away and as cheap as possible.  Good food should cost a little bit of money.  Meals should be made in a kitchen, from scratch. 

Last week, someone told me about the book, "Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town".  While researching what the book was about, I stumbled across something amazing, The Slow Food Movement.  The concept is pretty basic and is very popular right now, but it's always good to reiterate how important it is to ditch fast food.  Eat locally, from local farms.  When you buy produce, or eggs or meat, from local farms, you aren't only keeping those farms in business, you are eating the freshest food available to you!  It was grown in your region of the world, the animals were raised in your region of the world.  If that isn't beautiful to you, I don't what would be. 

Basically, Slow Food pushes the idea that eating foods that take time to cook or cultivate, such as a plant (which takes time to grow) is much healthier for your body.  It also promotes a slower way of life.  The Slow Food Movement was started by a man, Carlo Petrini, in Italy. It was started to resist a McDonalds from being built in Rome. 

"Slow food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment."- Slow Food USA

"Slow Food aims to be everything that fast food is not"- USA Today

"Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town" by Douglas Gayeton

Sunday, August 1, 2010

much love for the winter kate line

If there are two things that I have grown to love: they are health food (that tastes good) and fashion. I'll admit that I am a little intimidated by the hardness of most high fashion designers, I mean, who really likes to do mundane, every day activities in couture?

I really love Winter Kate by Nicole Richie. Nicole Richie has great personal style, so I was desperately eager to see what she had in store for the Winter Kate line (especially since House of Harlow did so well). All of her clothing is comfortably, very stylish. It's very mellow, almost borderline hippie. I love all of it! (In case you were wondering, Nicole has a daughter, Harlow Winter Kate, hence the name for her clothing line!)

*All photos courtesy of Winter Kate

"I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible."

-Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft)
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