Monday, February 28, 2011

Show and Tell Monday - Art (what?!) Opening

For today's show and tell, I wanted to show you photos of all the art and photography from Saturday's exhibit, but there are just so many! We had over 200 guests at the exhibit, sold a bunch of work, and went through countless bottles of champagne. Boy, cleaning up today was rough.  Since there are so many photos to sort through, I am posting my photoshare page for you to peruse, and then will put up a few that are fun to see (they are also on the share).

Please take the time to check out the art and photography by clicking here. KT40's fans (Katy Keuter) will like seeing her work hanging on the walls (in the share album). And to you Katy, your work got lots of compliments!

Here's a few that really made us smile.

Marco Cutrone's beautiful mother, standing amongst the crowd.
Cablevision's own Ruth Gimbel taking a photo of me taking one of her.
A bit of the crowd.
 Daily Record reporter Matt Heinle!, and his friend Amy.
Ghost sister. Mary Vogt and her fiance are a veil of themselves.
The beautiful and talented Andrea DeMorest, owner of Savannah Hope Vintage.
I love how Vlad (center) and Carol (R) both have the same expressions,
and the two women on the left have a patterned pause.
Beautifully, the Brenners.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Did Someone Call You A Local?

It was my 33rd birthday. We were meeting my family at a local restaurant for dinner, a place owned by a guy with whom I went to high school. I happened to share that bitty of information with all at my table, and  my brother, who had gone off to college in Boston and was now back at the table (and apparently eons smarter than all of us -- who knew), chuckled and shook his head.

"What?" I asked. He responded, "Anyone who comes back to the town they grew up in, to live, is a loser." By the way, he was living in the town that we were raised in, while I was a town away. Technically, he was poking fun at himself, which he somehow seemed not to realize.

Aside from being obviously offended, I completely disagreed. His basis for that statement was that people should graduate high school, go to college and move away. "But why move away?" I asked. He just shook his head, once again, no words to back it up.

Being a local is a wonderful thing.  It means living in a town you know inside and out, knowing where to eat, where to shop, and who is pouring your coffee every morning. It doesn't mean locking yourself down and never leaving the town. I live just 25 minutes from New York City. I can get through to the other side of the tunnel in less than a half an hour. Museums, shopping, theater, dining, you name it.  I read the NY Times, the Daily Record, and the local papers, the Neighbor News and The Citizen. All have something to offer. The Times gives me a world view, the Daily Record gives me a countywide clip, and the local papers literally talk about things that my neighbors are doing, and events that are happening within five minutes of my home.

The town I live in has a market, which is a gourmet deli and catering company. That's about all for my town. We do have the main highway that has a couple of places to dine, but in terms of feeling like we are staying in town, that's it. It's a small, affluent area with a library, post office, and five lakes. It wasn't created for strip malls and shopping days out. However, it is flanked by two other towns, Boonton and Denville. Both offer fabulous, independently owned places to eat and shop. Someone I once knew said, "vote with your dollars" which basically means that where you spend your money shows what you support.

In Boonton, there is Roma Pizzeria & Restaurant, which is my favorite place for pizza. When I am in Denville, though, I visit Denville Pizzeria. Boonton has a Mexican restaurant, sushi, Chinese food, and American fare. There are shops that carry furniture, fashion, home goods, and there's even a gourmet doggie shop. Denville has more of the same, and the best diner on the planet, Denville Diner. There's also an ice cream shop, a rice pudding shop, a health food market, two vegetarian dining spots, and bars. W and I normally just stay in the area when going for a drink or dining out. Why drive 30 minutes when everything you need is right under your nose and just as wonderful?

Locals know me; they know my son. At times, when I am rushing or I just don't feel like talking, being so local can be annoying. The ten minute conversation I really don't want to have happens, and if I don't participate, I am perceived as rude. W says that I actually engage the person with whom I am talking. Perhaps that's true. I guess I just don't know how to disengage. Outside of that, being local is a lovely thing. I feel safe knowing that everywhere I go, I will see someone that I know.

It's really important to continue to support local spots. I had to go to the mall for something (God, I hate that place) and while I was there I noticed that four stores had closed. It's a small mall, so four empty stores really stood out. Our economy is kicking us hard in the ass, which is why it's even more important to spend your dollars in your own town. It's our job to support what we love, and to keep our towns thriving so that our kids will have local places to go, and as they get older, places to work after school and on the weekends.

Tonight, I am hosting an art opening in Denville. Nearly all of the artists are local, and showing their art gives me great pride. You know, New York City isn't the only place to experience art and culture. Everywhere you look, in every town, you can find greatness, as long as you are willing to look.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mama Messed Up MoMA (We Got Met) + Art Opening This Weekend

This morning, my son and I got up early, picked up my mother, and went into the city to visit the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). I wanted my son to see Picasso: Guitars exhibit, and the On to Pop exhibit. If we had time, we were even planning on seeing Warhol's films. I thought that today, Tuesday, was the perfect day to go to the museum. It was cold, but dry, and the drive was fairly easy. 

However, when I got close to the MoMA, I checked the exact address, and wanted to know what streets it was between (I'd forgotten). Upon zooming in to see the exact street address, I saw "Closed Tuesdays" on the website. Wait, what? Closed Tuesdays? Oh my God, no. We were literally a block from the museum. How did I not check to make sure the MoMA was open? I thought about going to the Bowery to the New Museum, but we were so far uptown that the trek seemed ridiculous. And I remembered that my friend Shannon had just taken her sons to see a guitar exhibit (three days earlier) at the Met. Off to the Met we went.

I am so glad we did.

The guitar exhibit, called Guitar Heroes, was amazing. My son, who plays guitar, kept taking photos with his cell phone, only to be reprimanded by the guards for doing so. His guitar teacher, Miss Patricia, would have loved this exhibit. I learned a lot, and I am proud to share that nearly all of the guitar makers on exhibit were from Italy. 

My son standing in front of the Guitar Heroes promo sign.
After that, we decided to check out the Greek and Roman galleries. We had passed them to get to the guitar exhibit, and my mother was very excited to return to them. Here are some of my favorites. Sorry for the poor photo quality; I took them with my Blackberry.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa, Antonio Canova.
As we were approaching this statue, my son said, "Mom, look. It's Medusa."
Medusa's head, indeed. A very proud parenting moment for me.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's, Ugolino and His Sons, depicts Ugolino, who was
imprisoned with his sons to starve to death (Dante's Inferno). The sons
offered him their bodies as a meal to prevent him from starving to death. 

There were many more beautiful statues, and I will be going back soon with W to really take the time to experience and enjoy them. Because as much as my son was interested, he is also just ten years old, and after staring up at a ton of naked statues, he'd sort of had it. 

I forget the name of this, and while I took a photo of it's description,
it's too dark and blurry to read. This is an apostle, I believe, holding his
own head. Found in his home after his death.

Cherubs. Too beautiful for words.
I visited some of the Impressionist galleries, and also the Modern Art galleries (ha, they had a Dyson upright vacuum on exhibit).  

Spanish Woman: Harmony in Blue, Henri Matisse.
The Young Sailor, Henri Matisse.

Madonna, Salvador Dali.
Notice the Madonna and child painted within the large ear, done via gray and pink dots.
To the left he's painted a piece of paper and a cherry.

I also saw Chagall, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso. The works were endless and so amazing to experience, especially during the week that is my first group show is opening. This day was absolutely inspirational. Here's one last piece, something with a very different vibe, that I saw in the modern art section, just before leaving the museum.

Title Unknown, 1926, Yves Tanguy. Oddly capturing.

I can only hope that being surrounded by beautiful art may have somehow impacted on my son. Mostly, he seemed unfazed with all of it (even bored), with the exception of the guitar exhibit. Still, experiencing art changes us in a way that we cannot explain, like it or not.

If you'd like a nice art experience this weekend, please come to my group art opening, Love Is. Fine art and photography will be on exhibit, and we will be viewing it amidst champagne and strawberries. We made the cover of Wednesday's Daily Record. I can't find a link for it, so I took BB photos. 

Love the way the art dept at the newspaper used the stackable
LOVE from Love park in Philadelphia. It was my inspiration for this show.
Continued on page 5, with photos of local artists,
shots of their work, and even one of me (the curator)!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making Peace (the ring)

"What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny." -- Robin Sharma

There isn't much about facebook that appeals to me. I used to love it; I was addicted. But like most reformed smokers (drinkers, addicts), when you give up the addiction, you see all the ways in which it was harmful. Last month, a friend's account was hacked and another friend had money stolen, via the hacker. I've had some random folks peek into my account, send uncomfortable emails, and do general stalker-like behavior. Two years ago, someone who claimed to be connected to me through my ex-husband (my ex-husband, to his credit, told me he didn't know the person and to be careful) sent me a friend request, opened a dialogue, and then wouldn't stop harassing me with pop-up chats. However, as I was preparing to shut down my personal account, something really great happened because of il volto libro. It's almost as if the universe was rewarding me for paring down my virtual activity. I found a peace ring.

On facebook, these photos come up in the corner of the page that say something like "people you may know." One of those people was the mother of my son's classmate, Emily. I noticed on her page a link to a peace cuff ring on etsy. I asked her if she was an etsian, and she told me that her dad was, and that it was his shop, Woodside Studios. I immediately fell in love with the peace ring. I've been looking for a big silver ring just like this one, and love that it's a hand hammered peace sign. It reminds me, constantly, to maintain a peaceful existence whenever possible. The ring, however, wasn't my size. Apparently, finding one's own peace requires asking some questions and knowing what you want.

I started a conversation on etsy with her dad, Jer, and asked if he could make me the same ring in my size. He agreed. This was less than a week ago. Not only was he kind to me and easy to do business with, but he was fast. Today (I am writing this on President's Day) the ring came via UPS. I hadn't expected it so quickly!

I unpacked the shipping box, got down to the actual ring box and there it was. To my surprise, it was even more beautiful in person. The silver is hammered and super shiny, it's nice and solid, and wouldn't you know, it fits me perfectly. I normally only get my silver and gold from Tiffany & Co. or Sundance Catalog (W gets me my rings from Sundance, too), and my Woodside Studios ring is that level of quality. I cannot say enough about this ring, and I've got my eye on a hammered rings cuff bracelet that would go really well with it.

Everything is symbolic to me. At the Love Art winter shop, I bought two handmade bracelets from my friend Deb who was selling Designs by Gal Pals. One of them is a green wooden beaded bracelet with a red peace sign on it. That's two peace signs in two days. While I did make the purchases (I mean, it wasn't exactly random), something about me finding them both right around this time makes it feel a little more special. 

Last year was a rough year for me, the year of bad crap, and when it ended I decided that the drama, the health issues, and the sorrow would stay behind, as well. I had heard that this year in the Chinese calendar was going to be a better one, but hadn't seen any predominant evidence of that in my life. I realized that it was because my life had become quite peaceful.  

Ah, peace.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Would You Forgive? (oh Crosby)

The blog on my MoMA mishap has been bumped to a Friday posting. I had to do it. I mean, did you see Parenthood?

From now on, Wednesday's blog posts will now be follow-ups to Parenthood Tuesdays. I mean, they have to be. Every week, so much happens on the show that I want to discuss. But before we go any further, can I please be a Braverman?

Tonight's show was an explosion of emotion, as always. Amber showing raw emotion after her deadbeat dad comes back, stealing her brother away from her, crow barring his way back into the family, trying to get into her life. He's let her down time and again, for years. I cannot imagine the hurt that she must feel, but I know that getting burned over and over again will cause you to keep away from the flames. (And when he said his goodbyes, I forgave him, and prayed that his character would return permanently.)

I have to discuss, though, the most heart-pounding story line for me this week, which was the one that occurred between Crosby, Gaby, and Jasmine. At the start of the series, Crosby was a somewhat irresponsible, fly by the seat of his pants kind of guy . His doorbell rings and before him stands a woman with whom he had a short-lived sexual relationship five years prior. And their son. WHAM! Like that, he finds out that he has a five year old son named Jabbar.

In the following months, he learned what it meant to be a father, to be responsible, and in the process started dating his baby mama, Jasmine, and they fell in love. Keeping up with me? (Watch the show!) Okay, so things progress, he proposes (unplanned), doubts his own proposal and his readiness to get married, but with intense assurance from his family, he keeps moving on. While planning the wedding and raising their son, Jasmine takes the reins. She comes off as controlling. Crosby struggles with her overbearing behavior and the way that she sort of ignores the fact that he has a say in things. Finally he explodes. They have a huge fight, he splits for the night, and after they've both cooled down, they decide to take a break.

After a day or two (?), Crosby begs Jasmine to talk things through with him, to patch things up. She is adamantly against this, and tells him that they should take some time to figure out if getting married is really the best thing for everyone. He tells her he's scared. She says she's scared too.

Hurt and feeling lost, Crosby finds solace in his nephew's behaviorist, Gaby. He sees her kindness and her soft side, the things that he's been missing in his relationship with Jasmine. One thing leads to another and ultimately he sleeps with Gaby (which is pretty hot, by the way).

Was he wrong? Jasmine suddenly comes to her senses and realizes that she wants to work on the relationship, but now Crosby has to fess up about his sleeping with someone else. And when he does, she is shocked. She swears that she will never forgive him. 

I don't know if I would forgive him. I don't know if he should want her to, either. I mean, why pursue a relationship that hasn't worked anyhow (or has it)? I think that if I pushed and pushed my boyfriend away, and we took some time to figure things out, well, I'd be miserable if I found out he'd slept with someone else. But if he apologized, as Crosby did, and wanted to make things work, I think I'd be thankful. When you make a choice to take time apart and figure things out, its like walking a tightrope without a net. To know that the processing part involved sex outside the relationship is horrible, but the fact that he realized what he was losing and wanted to fix it seemed like a good thing. I mean at least that's what I think.

I have never been one to forgive infidelity. Never. But in this case I felt that they were broken up, and that his infidelity helped him to realize what he was throwing away. Am I wrong here, really wrong? I don't know, but I am dying to hear what you think. Please comment.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Styling Your Fridge. Yes, Your Fridge

Today is National Margarita Day. Too bad I don't drink margaritas... 

As a blogger with a domestic focus, I am often writing about decorating the home, ways to keep it clean, and storage. At times, it's a struggle for me to keep up with the work. Having almost all hardwood floors, dust bunnies are birthed daily, requiring lots of vacuuming. Add to that the fact that my son travels between two homes and I travel between two homes (three homes in total), I am always loading or unloading some sort of duffel bag. It's a lot of mess to wrangle.

Now I'm supposed to style my fridge?

I just finished reading the article A Curator of Food Curiosities by Jen Murphy (Food and Wine, March 2011). Centering around artist J. Morgan Puett and her artist's retreat, we learn that everything is art, especially food and it's containers. Explains Murphy, "Puett treats her fridge as an installation space. She removes food from it's packaging and transfers it to pretty glassware or vintage dishes."

Now, there is nothing more draining than looking at a mess and not tackling it. Currently, I am looking under my son's brown leather ottoman, and I have noticed an empty Valentine's box. Until it's thrown out, and the popcorn that's missed his mouth (again, always) is vacuumed up off the floor, I will not be able to relax. And while it's not often that I gaze into my fridge looking for inspiration, I do get a glimpse of what's inside the ice box on the occasion that I go in for some milk, or the makings of a salad. It is not a pretty sight. Plastic containers (oh, how I hate them) holding onto a few rogue strawberries that are on their last, moldy legs. Random wrapped cheeses, aging bagels that I hated to waste but never served, and brown paper bags full of unsalted nuts. Rough.

I've decided to start thinking about reorganizing the things that I eat and store, and the ways in which I can do that a little better. My plans are to do a daily end of day edit, first and foremost, and to think of cool storage options so that I am able to repackage foods in an aesthetically pleasing way, like Puett has done at her retreat.

I've already done this with my dry food storage. Marshmallows have a big vintage tin for the unopened bags (we store bulk marshmallows, for roasting by the fire and for hot cocoa year round), and a Ball jar with small ones readily available. My rice crackers are stored in old salsa jars, cocoa is stored in a vintage Hershey's tin. I even store my coffee in a small counter top tin that's about 60 years old.

As I plan my fridge redo, I welcome any ideas and comments you have. I will be scouring through my glassware, and bouncing ideas around in my head. I will keep you posted as to how it goes.

Oh, and tonight is Parenthood! Excellent. So maybe I will start thinking about my fridge redo tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Show and Tell Monday - Return of the Gym Goddess

Today I am showing and telling a little bit about me. I have somehow allowed myself to get lost, and the girl that I used to be is begging to come back out again. It's not so much about getting older as it is about me letting myself go. Look, I am a certified personal trainer. I haven't trained anyone in two years, but still. I know better, I know how I've gotten here, and I know how to get out.

Here's me, just a few years ago...

My hair was a little flat, but the thing that's most striking
about this photo is that I remember feeling fat and I wasn't. 
Now, there just aren't excuses for what happened, yet I feel the need to defend my position. During this time, I worked out about an hour a day, and didn't do any cardio. (Cardio made me hungry, made me eat more, and didn't do much for my appearances, and while it is great for the heart and lungs, it wasn't on my agenda.) It was all lifting heavy and eating light. Clean, not much fat, even less bread. Somehow, I managed to drink all the beers in the world, but then again, I was dancing four nights a week.

In the past two years, some physical issues that later amounted to nothing, set me off course. I started getting sloppy with my eating, sloppier still with my workouts. Growing out of my size 4 pants was a small shot to the ego, but when the size 6 jeans started getting tight, I knew I was in trouble.  It doesn't sound like a big deal, a tight size 6, but it looks like a big deal. At 5' 4", the added pounds are noticeable and uncomfortable. I hate getting dressed in the morning and feel icky. I am thankful for my health, and all that I have, but I still want to improve on my body's structure.

I've gotten lost in a bigger waistline, and I don't like it. I am only 'showing and telling' because I've finally committed to change, and have proven (to myself) that I am taking this seriously. For the past two weeks, I've committed to hour long workouts five days per week. And while I am not eating as clean as I should be eating, I am heading in that direction. My boyfriend W has been so supportive (and he tells me that he thinks I'm beautiful just the way that I am) and has been working out with me, which makes it so much nicer. It's always more enjoyable working out with someone you are incredibly attracted to; it's sexy.

Once I've gotten my gym routine down to a science, which I am thinking will be after the school's winter break, I am going to add yoga back into the mix. Yoga has helped me to focus inward, to breathe, and greatly improved my total body image. 

So here are two more photos to inspire me, because I still need the reminder that I used to look pretty tight, and can do it again... (the before photos)

We be former gym rats. Pat drinks a beer, and Jabbar gives me a squeeze. Circa 2005
and then, in Rhode Island, I took a typical (then myspace) photo of myself in the bathroom. I cropped out my then 5 year old, who was peeing on the potty.

I loved that outfit. I've hung onto the jeans,
and I'm hoping to rock them this summer.
W sent me an old video of myself, something funny, me casually bellydancing at a (country) club but dressed in Christmas party attire. The video was just silly, but I looked and saw sculpted legs, and a small waistline. I had it! I can have it again!

Now, here's me, a bit more Rubenesque, if you will. I searched high and low for the best of the worst photos. I was unable to find a full body shot, most probably because I don't let people take full body shots anymore. This was Labor Day weekend, after a day of boating. Big change.

Older, wiser, and 15 lbs. heavier.
Not a proud moment.
Giving up on vanity has allowed me to spiral to a place where all of my clothes are tight. Both frugality and a giant ego will not allow me to buy bigger jeans (okay, maybe I bought a pair or two, but I refuse to wear them). 

I avow to continue my new programs, with both exercise and food in check, and will plow on until I get back (or at least close) to where I was before. To Louis CK, who says you won't look better at 48 than you did at 40, I say, "Watch me."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And In the End... (weekend in review)

I am so tired. Happy... happily tired. After months of planning, and a very long weekend, both the hanging of the art show and the Love Art Handmade and Homespun Craft Fair are complete. The handmade and home spun craft show was a complete success. It was very well-attended and all the vendors had amazing, unique stuff. I think we raised a good amount of money for the Denville schools.

This was in Friday's paper -- a preview for the sale (click here to read it online).

I took this with my cell phone, but you get the picture. Oh, and
the Boonton shop being referred to is Savannah Hope Vintage.

I bought a bunch of hand-bound journals from Jillian Zoltner, jewelry from Gal Pals and from Susan Buteau (including evil eye bracelets for the girls), and a cute crocheted kitty shaped purse for W's niece, and a little purse and fingerless gloves from Cat's Crochet Corner. I snacked on some really, really good cookies by Sugar Lips Bakery (and plan on ordering more), and also picked up a revamped comic book necklace and a pair of OMG! So cool! plastic navy handgun earrings by Red Delicious Things. I want to wear them every day.

My favorite blog reader, crafter, and good friend, ADeM was there selling her stuff from her shop, Savannah Hope Vintage. She carries the most inspirational handmade, repurposed items; I ordered a Frida Kahlo doll from her. She had her awesome handbags, soaps (that I adore), and a bunch of fun new stuff. (More to come (big stuff) on Savannah Hope Vintage, so keep posted.) Retro Rocket Girl was there with a rolling rack full of vintage dresses, tops, all sorts of clothing. Shoes, too, and really cute flowers for your hair.

W and I were there selling our Denville note cards. Lots of our friends came to visit, and some brought their children, which we always enjoy. We even made plans with our friend to go see the George Condo exhibit at the New Museum. Such a great day.

Last night, I hung the art for the Love Is show that opens on Saturday night. I was hanging the work from all day, until near bedtime, and all that time in the gallery was really interesting. W came to help me hang the bigger pieces, and his help was invaluable. One of the artists, Marco, who was there to simply pick up one of his paintings, ended up helping another artist who came into the gallery upset over getting a flat tire. He'd never met her before, but immediately went outside to her car (in below freezing temps) to put on her spare. The night was an interesting one, to say the least. Ultimately, I went home to W and within hours, in the comfort of his presence, I fell fast asleep. It's been a long but successful weekend.

The Love Is Opening Reception will be held on Saturday, from 5 - 8 p.m. at The Gallery at River's Edge and is open to the public. The Gallery at River's Edge is located at 106 Broadway, Denville, NJ 07834.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hello, Goodbye, and a Weekend of Love (Art)

I am so excited for this day. It kicks off a two weekend love fest that I've been anticipating for months. Now, now, it's not what you think (my God people, I'd never divulge that much). I am referring to two weekends of celebrating love at the gallery.

You all know that I am a fool for all things love, and the "goddess" part of domestic goddess is what keeps love going. Love and the things that make it incredible needs to be tended to, in every aspect, in all ways. Living a life that allows the everyday to be romanticized is the best way to keep love strong.

I will spend the first part of the weekend hanging beautiful works of art, both paintings and photography, for our show that opens the following weekend. I will then spend Sunday at our handmade and home spun winter shop. There will be vendors selling handmade accessories and home goods, crocheted blankets and scarves, original note cards, and vintage items. Sweets, too. It's going to be fun, and 10% of the sales are going back to the local school system. Pretty cool.

The weekend following, my group show Love Is will have it's opening reception. I cannot tell you how exciting this is for me. All of the artists will be at the opening, save for two; Katy Keuter, who lives in Italy, and Shane Srogi, who is in Florida. We will have champagne and strawberries, and a night filled with conversation about art. The thing about art, as with writing, theater, all that, is that the discussion around it is often creative, expressive and non-judgemental. There's something very lovely about that.

During the week between the winter shop and the art opening, I will be taking my son into the city to the Museum of Modern Art, specifically to see the Picasso: Guitars exhibit (he is a guitar player, after all) and On to Pop featuring Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. Later in the week, perhaps I will take him to see George Condo: Mental States at the New Museum. Check it out by clicking here

But before all this, I am die cutting my grandfather's old music sheets (love songs) into hearts to make a mobile for my bedroom. Hearts, and the word love, will dangle from thin string sent to me from Italy (from Katy Keuter) so that every morning when I wake up and look out the window, my first thought will be LOVE.

And regarding the Hello, Goodbye: I have shut down my personal facebook page. It will remain in place to run The Domestic Goddess Files page, but I will not be reading posts or messages from it anymore. That's the Goodbye. The Hello is both for the added DG page, and the DG Twitter account called read the DG files (I have no idea how to use it, except to post blog links on there, so don't expect too much). Have a love filled, heARTfelt weekend!

(Saturday's Update: Didn't get to the die cutting center last night and couldn't wait, so I hand cut the parts for the mobile myself. The lettering could be better; as I've said, it isn't perfect, but LOVE never is. Here's how I woke up to the mobile this morning...)

Now I just need prettier blinds. Waking up to LOVE was really nice.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Privacy, Real Life, and Old-Fashioned Living

I love the Internet. I love that I can write a blog post, publish it, and minutes later have people reading it all across the country. I love that I have gotten back in touch with old friends, like Lori Kauf and that I get to hear about their lives. I love that minutes after my favorite show, Parenthood, is over, I get to read what other people thought about the show, and I can thank the powers that be for yet another brilliant show.

I have had facebook accounts in the past, and inevitably there comes a point where I feel that I have to shut them down. I have said that quitting facebook is like quitting smoking: it takes a few tries before you finally get it right. Facebook is a wonderful tool if you use it as such. I love it mostly because of (again) the Parenthood fan page. Can you tell that I am obsessed with this show? I don't want to give that up. I also love that when I am home sick, or in the dumps, there is always someone there to talk to. Even in a snowstorm.

Recently, though, I've had a couple of facebook events that have caused some drama. Creepy followers, weird messages, virtual break-ins. Yes, I can block these people, but blocking inevitably leads to more drama. My phone number is available publicly, since I use it for work to promote events. Unfortunately, I am easily contacted. So blocking on facebook and causing hurt feelings will be followed with a phone call, at least from the crazies. I know this to be true. In an attempt to increase privacy, I am closing my personal facebook page. I have created a Domestic Goddess Files page, to post my blog and receive blog comments. Somehow, comments on my writing doesn't phase me.

I am happy to say that my real life is in the best place it's ever been. Everything feels so right, and I am enjoying being exactly where I am. When the only stress in my life is facebook drama, there are two lessons. 1) life is good, and 2) close the personal facebook account.

My friends know how to get in touch with me by email, and by telephone. Dinner and drinks are always a nice way to connect, too. You know, the way we used to do it before we became addicts of social networking. I guess I am an addict in recovery. Readers, I appreciate you more than I could ever explain, I hope you will continue to read, follow me, LIKE my facebook page (you can click here on my page (left side) to LIKE it -- so easy, that facebook ;)

Tomorrow, I will be making my St. Patrick's Day decorations, and a music notes mobile for my bedroom. I will be blogging about it with pictures and instructions. Oh, and a Mardi Gras King Baby cake recipe will also be posted next week.  And finally, I will be going to the MoMA with my son, to see the Warhol exhibit. Something I cannot wait to do. Lots to share so keep posted.

And most of all, thanks for reading the Domestic Goddess Files.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Parenthood (the t.v. show) and Sex

The message boards are going crazy. The feedback from last night’s episode of Parenthood is overwhelming. As you all know, I am a huge fan of Parenthood. It’s rare that I look forward to watching anything on television (with the exception of Seinfeld reruns) but Parenthood has my heart. It’s a honest, gripping show that has had me from the very first episode. Last night’s show was no exception.

The show has characters who are alcoholics in recovery, who are homeless, a family who’s child has Aspberger’s syndrome, a marriage of over 40 years that is hanging on despite past infidelity. Last night, one of the main couples, married with one child, are shown struggling with trying to conceive. It begins with them in bed, in the morning, passionately kissing. He is shirtless, but under covers, and she is dressed. He wants to have sex, and she keeps telling him “two more days” and something to the effect of saving the good stuff for making a baby. In the end she sort of pushes him off her, playfully, telling him that they have to wait two more day for when she is ovulating. This story is common to couples who are trying to conceive. Two days later, she finds out that she is ovulating (while at her brother’s son’s birthday party) and they decide to take it upstairs to have sex in the bathroom. Also, not uncommon in a relationship. Her brother’s wife walks in on them and, for a split second, you see the woman’s bare legs (just from the knees-ish down) wrapped around her husband. That’s it.

A the end of the show, one of the characters, Crosby, is shown kissing a girl, and it’s very dark, but you can see she is taking his shirt off, and then he’s taking hers off. It’s very dark and the scene is barely visible. You do see their legs in the mirror as they lay down, feet intertwined. It is sexy, for sure.

Well, this has people going crazy, wondering why all the sex in this episode. Are you serious?

First off, this all happens after 10 p.m. during adult t.v. viewing time. Second, we live in a society where violence is everywhere, on television, in video games, on the news. And sex? Sex is all over marketing and television shows, way more than the teensy clips shown on Parenthood last night. The Victoria’s Secret runway show, kids’ shows like Degrassi, teen shows like Skins. And what about The Bachelor? My God! One man, and what, 20 women vying for his affection? What kind of message is that sending, America? One man, kissing, touching, dating a slew of women, then eliminating them one by one? That’s a problem to me, not the few seconds of implied sex on Parenthood.

Sex happens. It’s how we all got here in the first place. In today’s society, I am floored that people took issue with the sex in this show. Sex is a fact of life, and it’s also a very important part of relationships. Should we just completely ignore it in television shows like Parenthood that depict every other aspect of life, relationships and the ins and outs of it all?

I applaud Parenthood for keeping it real. And frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more sex on the show, either.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And Now That It's Over...

Valentine's Day is over!    

So, my house is cream colored with black shutters and red accents. Given this fact, my hearts and cupids look really pretty against the backdrop of my home, and I am kind of sad to take them down. Plus, this weekend I am organizing a homemade and hand spun winter shop to benefit the Denville K - 8 school system, so the concept of love is still sort of on the brain. The shop is called LOVE ART, and sellers are bringing homemade jewelry, accessories, baked goods, hand bound journals, vintage items, crocheted pieces, and more. (Join us!) W and I will be there, too, selling our town happy note cards. If nothing else, I am feeling the love of this sale. Technically, love is a feeling so I can sort of justify leaving the decorations up, right? I mean, for me, Valentine's Day is more about the decorating and the baking than it is about the actual holiday.

But the thing, too, is that I like the house to have a break in between holidays, and St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching. This weekend, I will be a the gallery most of the time, hanging the group art show that opens on the 26th, and setting up the tables for the winter shop, so I don't see having lots of free time to take down my decorations this weekend. Maybe this sounds trite, but for someone who needs a strong visual appeal, decorating matters.

This Friday, it is supposed to be 63* and all I am thinking about is spring. Yesterday was a teaser, at 60*, and when it gets warm like this, I want to throw open the windows, clear out the house, and dance. February's cupids don't play well with warm weather.

Until I decide, I will be thinking of the new trees that Bill LaFlesh will be planting in my backyard soon, planning outdoor workouts (yes, I am back in the swing of working out!), and getting elbow deep in spring cleaning. And now, I am off to blast Ludacris's "Stand Up" and load the dishwasher. Hehe.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Show and Tell Monday - Love Is A Chip Clip

In honor of Valentine's Day, and in the spirit of love, I made these chip clips. Hand-stamped wooden clothespins.

(Me) T + W kissing in the gazebo on the lake, chip clip attached.
Actually, I originally made them for W's sister, who is getting married soon, but thought that they were so cute that I made a bunch for myself. (And now, selling them on etsy. Spreading the love.)

I hand-stamped them, then sprayed them with an acrylic glaze so that the ink won't smudge. I love them, but not as much as T loves W.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Text, Emails, and What Matters Most

Today I read an interview of Jonathan Safran Foer, interviewer not named but on Daily Candy. This post is because of that interview. Let me explain.

I had planned on not writing today. I have tons to do. I woke up to a cold house (ran out of oil), and have to plan for and throw a class party today. In one hour, by the way. I have to also get Valentine's for my son to give to his class, since he doesn't want homemade ones anymore. And I'd like to go to the gym, and there are other things too. I won't be meeting my friend Deb for coffee after all, won't be getting my nails done. Endless morning.

I talk to my boyfriend every morning when the day begins, but when I called today, he was unavailable. 

I called my mother next, to ask if the offer still stands for me to take my grandfather's old sheet music, but once she heard that I was going to die cut it into hearts to make a year-round mobile for my bedroom (I thought it would be a nice way to honor his music, and make something pretty), she said no. She doesn't want it cut up. I'm sure it's getting far more respect sitting in a closet's corner, in a pile, collecting dust.

With all this, one of the messages in the aforementioned interview just sang. Jonathan Safran Foer says that when his Blackberry contract is up, he's getting rid of it. When the interviewer told him that it seemed really tough thing for anyone to do, he responded, "We have to do it, or else we’re totally f- - -ed. We’re going to be on our deathbeds looking back, being like, “How much time did I spend on e-mail looking up stuff I didn’t care about?” We don’t need them. We totally don’t. We only believe we do."

I get it.  I like to say that I keep my phone on me in the event that my son needs me. However, I admit that I do use it to check emails and surf the web. I find, too, that in social situations, sometimes those around me will be on their Blackberry/iPhone/Droid instead of being present in the conversation. Thus, what Foer said really struck a chord.

I know that I will not be the person trading in my Blackberry when the contract ends (do I even have a contract?) but I do like the idea of shutting down (not off, just down) when it's not necessary, and on the weekends. I still see people texting while driving, and holding their phones (so they are on speaker). Do they think that's okay? And what is so important it can't wait?

There's this mom that comes to pick her kids up at school everyday in her ginormous SUV, the biggest one they make. I'm not sure the brand, and my town is so small that identifying the vehicle might call her out, something I'm not comfortable doing. Anyhow, I get there early and read, so I get a good parking spot. She comes about 10 minutes before pick up, cannot get a spot, and just circles the front of the school. She's done this since September, and every single time she passes me, she is talking on her phone, on speaker, holding it in front of her face. We are at school. Kids are everywhere, and it is so dangerous, not to mention illegal. I see her and wonder, is she so bored that she cannot stand a minute of silence? Who does she need to talk to so badly, that she must do so while circling the school?

I guess my whole point is to slow down. Stop living through technology and start living in the world. We don't need these phones to get through the day. As an attempt to start living life more fully, and less virtually, I will not be checking my email after 3 p.m. today, and will return to the plastic tabletop box on Sunday night, to write my blog. No social networking, no emails, no online ordering, no blogs. (p.s. My spell check doesn't recognize the word "texting" -- how cool is that?)

No one needs to muddle through life via text alerts and useless emails about nothing. Ask yourself, can you spend a whole weekend free of emails and web surfing? I dare you to try.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Come On Now

It's nearly Valentine's Day. I am so excited because not only is it a day that celebrates love, but it means we are that much closer to spring.

Despite the mile high snow mounds, my dreams of fresh grass and budding tulips abound. Unfortunately, everywhere I look, I still see Christmas wreaths. Christmas! Can you believe it?

Most of the homes in my town are still decorated for Christmas. Um, Christmas is over. Long over. Let's put it this way. Christmas happened over six weeks ago. 

Someone get me a megaphone, "People, take down your Christmas decorations already."

Don't blame it on the snow. I took down my wreaths, and the endless swags of garland roped with lights all over the outside of my house, and the archway to the garden. I am a single mom who did it all myself, despite the cold. If I could do it, anyone could. There is no excuse for Christmas in February.

My windows have cupids of varying sizes floating on them, the door has glittery hearts, and there are celebratory banners in my house. It is festive, in celebration of Valentine's Day. I have seen about five or so homes in town that have put up hearts, and for those I am thankful. 

I don't know that I am urging people to put up Valentine's Day decorations, because my thought is that if you still have your Christmas decorations up, chances are that even if you do swap them for hearts, you won't be taking those down anytime soon. It's just that, when I see them in February, the Christmas decorations depress me. It's like living in the past.

After Valentine's Day is St. Patrick's Day, and then Easter. Let's give them their time in the sun, and not allow the spirit of Christmas past to outshine them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cheap Chip Clips (and fun, too)

I have one chip clip, a freebie from my bank. I rarely use them, so never thought to buy them and only kept this one because I thought it was a good idea. But yesterday my son needed two, and since I only had one, I decided to go get some. But the idea of buying anything that cannot be recycled or that will not biodegrade, that will end up in a pile of waste, is just something I cannot do anymore.

Bill Maher mentioned that all this snow may have something to do with global warming, and I have to agree. It can't hurt to buy sparingly and with some degree of thought.

Thinking about chip clips made me realize that they could easily (and cheaply) be purchased for under $4, for like, 40 of them. Use wooden clothespins as chip clips. Voila!

They clip the bags shut, can be decorated by painting or drawing with markers. Easy, fun, and made of wood!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spaghetti Spoon (melted)

If only you could have been here last week. I learned a very valuable lesson the old fashioned way. While no one wants to have to touch a hot stove top in order to learn about burns, some lessons just don't sink in unless you learn them firsthand.

I was boiling pasta for my son last week, an easy enough task. The water was taking forever to get to a rolling boil, and so while I was waiting, I got started on a cleaning project. The water boiled, I added some olive oil, and then the dry pasta. I tended to it as needed, but my mind was elsewhere. Twice the water boiled over a bit (not uncommon in my kitchen), and twice I lowered the heat. In between the boiling over and the heat being lowered, I stirred the pasta with my plastic spaghetti fork. Each time, I laid the fork next to the pot.

The last time, I must have moved the pot just a tad off the heat, because the spoon somehow made it's way onto the red coils of the stove top. Not that I noticed; not at first anyway. I was just working in the kitchen when I got smacked with a sickening smell. It was so immediate and so strong that it caught me off guard. I thought I might pass out. I followed the scent to the stove, and there I found the plastic fork, melting. There was minimal, almost unnoticeable damage done to the fork, yet the smell was outstanding.

My son yelled, "Uck. Oh God Mom, what is that smell? It's so horrible. Oh Mom."

He was unable to eat. Breathing wasn't even easy. We opened all the windows in the house, despite the fact that it was about 10*F outside. The smell continued. It seemed to be getting stronger. I'd put the fork in cold water immediately and cleaned the stove top off entirely, so how could the smell still be so potent? We couldn't escape it. Finally, we both ended up in my bedroom with the door closed, as it was the least stinky space. Still, we had to open the windows and cover our noses with our sweaters. It took over an hour to rid the house of the smell, and that was with the windows open.

It was then that I knew that I would never have that experience again, at least not in my house. (I am embarrassed to say that I tend to lay my cooking utensils very close to the stove top's heat source, often causing them to burn or melt, thus my cause for concern.)  I decided to give away all of my plastic spatulas and spaghetti forks and swap them out for either metal or wood. I always prefer wood over everything else, but haven't ever seen a wooden spatula. That smell was so violent, that I just didn't want anything that could create such air pollution in my kitchen anymore. I've even replaced both my 1-cup and 2-cup plastic measuring cups. (For every type of storage, and lots of bakeware that's glass, visit

I remember hearing about the bird that died from inhaling overheated Teflon, and I've since limited my Teflon to one grill pan and one small frying pan, both of which will be replaced when my budget allows. And about ten years ago, after reading about the way that microwaves change the molecular structure of food, I got rid of mine. I am a former smoker, and there were times after I quit that I'd buy cigarettes for friends, and I felt mortified. That's exactly how I feel about buying plastic water bottles (on the occasion that I forget my Sigg). I feel embarrassed.

With each change, my cooking (and cleaning, and overall living) has gotten stronger, and I feel better about the foods that I make. Perhaps that horrible smell from my burning spaghetti fork is harmless, but I figure that if it's going to happen again, I'd rather smell burning wood.

(If I've gotten you in the mood for some spaghetti, try this mac and cheese recipe by Alton Brown.

baked macaroni and cheese

recipe by alton brown

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.
Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.