Monday, October 15, 2012

Anxiety, and Danielle Jonas

After watching "Married to Jonas" on E! tonight, I was moved to write this post. If you haven't seen the most recent episode, while in Italy, Danielle Jonas shares that she has major anxiety, misses being home (though she is with her entire family), and has even resorted to going (back) on medication to deal with it. She responds and speaks honestly about how she feels.  See a teaser for this episode here.

Danielle, thank you for sharing your experience.

Those close to me know that I have major anxiety. I've had both anxiety and panic attacks. I've even gone so far, in years past, to have driven myself to the ER while in the midst of an attack. Anytime I hear anyone share their personal experience with anxiety, it helps me to feel better about my own experiences. Sometimes they aren't obviously anxiety attacks, and the physical symptoms can present as another issue. Racing heart, dizziness, sweating, nausea. And for Danielle Jonas to share what she is experiences, by way of a reality show, is truly commendable. She's definitely helping lots of people who feel what she does, but may be too ashamed to share their experience or wonder if it's even normal.

Danielle Jonas, on tonight's episode.

Anxiety can be frightening and isolating. I know the feeling of wanting to be home, even when everyone you love is with you. Every single time I travel, I get this feeling. Sometimes it's a momentary feeling, other times it comes and goes throughout the trip. When we used to drive to Rhode Island, I'd start to panic the minute we crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge. I cannot explain why. I wanted to go away. I was happy. But the anxiety takes over. Last summer, while in an unfamiliar hotel in Providence, I was feeling unsure and unsafe. My travel companion was parking the car, and my son vacationing in California. (My son being on another coast, that alone, had me completely unnerved.) The feeling started to overwhelm me. I felt uneasy and untethered. My heart was racing; the floor felt unsteady. At that moment, I saw a family (a girl who was checking out the place for her wedding, along with her sister and her parents) and I knew that talking to them might distract me enough to prevent a full blown panic attack. That is how desperate it becomes. You search for anyone that seems concrete, just so that you have a place to anchor, and a point of distraction.

While I am not able to help people with anxiety (I am not a therapist), I am here to say that it happens to the best of us, it's not as uncommon as you think, and you can get help. And to Danielle Jonas, once again, thank you for your bravery. We love you, exactly as you are.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fabulous Female Profile: Cindy Blanco of Saplings

I remember when I found Cindy on the Internet. I was looking for cool, independently owned stores in the area and saw a page for her shop, Saplings. On it was a video of Cindy giving a tour of her store. She has the greatest stuff. When I first visited last year at this time, she had huge sock monkeys, cool felt peace sign ornaments, fun vintage candy and all sorts of fabulous kids furniture, bedding and decor. But her shop isn't just for kids, although it is the focus. I love her extras, home decor, books, doggie items, frames, and she carries Domestic Goddess candles! I want to live in her shop. Her energy was similar to mine and I could tell that not only is she good at what she does, but she loves doing it. Go meet her at Saplings. You will love her, too. Tell her the Domestic Goddess sent ya!

name: Cindy Blanco

company name: Saplings est. 2003

favorite quote: "Just get it done."

what i do:  Create amazing rooms for kids and teens that do not look like something from a catalog! Got started 27 years ago in visual merchandising for every major specialty retailer.

i sell: In my shop, located at 74 Church Street in Montclair, NJ

contact: Cindy Blanco 973-337-6652. Visit the Saplings Montclair facebook page, or the website

A section of Cindy's fabulous shop, Saplings, on Church Street in Montclair (taken from her facebook page). Don't you just want to sit and enjoy an afternoon snack at this table?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Limoncello & Arancello -- the recipes!

After posting photos of my new liquor lounge line (out in December), one of the comments under my Limoncello candle was in regards to a recipe for the drink. The woman who commented happens to make an amazing Limoncello. I asked her for the recipe, and she kindly allowed me to share it with all of you here on the blog, along with a couple of other similarly fabulous cocktails.

A big thank you to the beautiful, talented Dawn Jones Migliore for sharing with us! 

Dawn Jones Migliore knows how to make a Limoncello!

Limoncello & Arancello
A divine creation from the Amalfi Coast In Italy

It is made with 95% pure grain alcohol, lemons, and simple syrup. That is it! The same is true for Arancello. the beauty of this Italian original recipe is it only takes 8 days to make and is an authentic recipe tweaked from recipes I have gathered through the years as well as secrets from an Italian male friend whom I cannot mention who shared his secrets that have perfected my recipe.

Sorrento lemons are best, but since we're in Jersey, we will have to settle for good old Florida oranges and lemons (or you can use blood oranges when in season). When you sip Limoncello, it should be smooth with a little kick in the middle. You should never pour over ice, but drink chilled. Italians would cringe if you did it and they knew. Italians never use vodka; it is always made with Everclear. Yup, you heard me. Grain alcohol, the stuff that we were told in college would make us go blind. But it's crucial since during the fermenting process the sugar and lemons marry to a very lemony silky finish, leaving you with a jolt when sipped. Also, during the fermentation, it weakens the strength of the alcohol.

Authentic Italian Limoncello

Prep time 20 minutes
Fermenting 8 days

  • 1 liter (1000 ml) Everclear alcohol
  • 10 medium to large lemons*
  • 1 1/2 liters water (6 1/3 cups)
  • 3 pounds granulated sugar (6 1/2 cups)

* Choose thick-skinned lemons because they are easier to zest. The lemons must be yellow and not tinted with green.

Wash the lemons with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any chemicals or pesticides. Pat the lemons dry. Using a potato peeler, take all the lemon rinds off of the lemons so there is no white pith on the peel. Place the rind-peelings in a large container with the Everclear alcohol. Cover the container and let it sit for seven days. You can also use a lemon zester; I find that brings the flavor out more if you zest, but it takes a lot more time.

On day 8, strain the peels from the alcohol and discard them.

In a large saucepan, make a simple syrup by combining the water and sugar; let it simmer fast for 15 minutes. Let simple syrup cool to room temperature. Add to alcohol.

It is now completed and ready to drink!

NOTE: This same recipe works for Arancello. Use 10 large oranges or blood oranges.

Makes about 2 1/2 liters.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fabulous Female Profile: Erika Domanico of Culture Cabin

As promised, you will be meeting -- on this blog -- some fabulous females who are in business for themselves. Today, meet Erika Domanico. I first met Erika close to ten years ago when she had a shop called Rustic Roots. We met once again, a little over a month ago, when she invited me to teach a candle making class in her lodge. I agreed, and the minute I walked into the space, I fell in love. It has handmade furniture (made by both Domanico and her husband), a faux fireplace with a hearth, carved wood art on the walls, and other heartfelt touches. It's cozy and inviting, just like Domanico.

name: Erika Domanico, designer/artist/teacher/trendsetter
company: Culture Cabin, founded March, 2011

favorite quote:  "Unnecessary failures are the ones where an artist tries to second guess an audience's taste, and little comes out of that situation except a kind of inward humiliation."  David Bowie, music icon

philosophy: Here in this quaint, intimate, enchanted cabin is taught some of the most unique classes at affordable prices for those who love to create! Creative Learning in a Classy Lodge, which also contains women's handmade accessories! 

Outdoor terrace at the Cabin reminds class participants that they are creative bound.
Leather holiday stocking class to be held 12/01. You can make your very own!

located at: 1017 Main Street, Boonton, NJ 07005 
contact information: visit us anytime at for a look at future classes, browse our accessories, or simply to get inspired. call 201-274-6859 or Erika's email,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sisters Doin' It for Themselves

Over the past six months, I have met a slew of really amazing women who are in business for themselves. Most of them are here in America (though I found a few fabulous cuties who are living large in Canada), and they have all started their own companies, or opened shops, online stores, or created a space that offers really amazing services.

The thing about beauty is that it's relative and it fades. Real beauty comes from strength, smarts, confidence, and philanthropy. But still, what a beautiful cover.

As a woman in business myself, I realized that speaking to these women empowered me to focus, get inspired, and grow my business with confidence. When we help one another, we help ourselves. Supporting small business truly is the way to grow a solid country.

While I can tell you how I got started, and will do so soon, I wanted to take time to feature women who have personally inspired me. (Now, I am off to go make candles)

Our first profile will run tomorrow, so look for it, tell friends, and let me know if you'd like to be included in our fabulous female profiles. 

And for today, feel free to peek at what I do via my etsy shop: