Hi! I'm Anita




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Friday, April 7, 2017

More iPhones More Problems

More iPhones More Problems

The evolution of my personal cell phones is pretty impressive. From the beginning of my cellular days with the classic flip phone (that was prepaid I might add) to the newest iPhone, I've basically had it all. The phones from back in the day could withstand anything. I beat those things, literally, and they never broke. I wish I could say the same for the iPhone. For a better interface you get a more fragile phone. I guess you have to take the good with the bad. It's the price we pay for new technology.

I always wanted the latest phone trend, and once the iPhone hit the streets in 2007, I never looked back. Nowadays, when you see someone without an iPhone, there is that person who says "how do you live life without the simple and convenient layout of the iPhone plus all of its compatibility characteristics which makes a lazy person like me very, very happy? I mean, who can afford wasting their time syncing things these days?" While I love my iPhone for many reasons, lately I've been losing my patience and an exorbitant amount of money on the newest and latest phone. Which brings me to this post.

I have the iPhone 6s (I think) and over the last six months, it has been so glitchy. I'm accustomed to the fast interface and when Facebook crashes while I'm trying to watch that cute dog sing to Whitney Houston songs on Belgium's Got Talent, and the phone shuts off, it ruins my day. Yes, because dogs howling to Whitney makes my day. It's the little things in life. 

Jacob and I have the iPhone forever plan through Sprint. Do I really need it? Probably not but Jake signed us up and I haven't really put must thought into changing it. My current phone won't let me update, it barely holds a charge, the apps always crash and I can barely hear anyone. I would like to blame it on water damage or something that was my doing but that isn't the case. I haven't spilled anything on it so why is it crashing more than Tarzan crashes into trees? 

"Anita, just get the iPhone 7. You have the expensive and unnecessary iPhone forever plan so just trade it in and upgrade. Plus you have insurance on that phone so you should be good."

You're right. I do have all of those things but what gets me is the new size of the iPhone 7. Although it looks great, I'd have to get a new phone case, according to a Sprint employee, which is robbery these days, and the $80 rose gold one I was convinced to buy will just get thrown with my collection of antique, obsolete phones and accessories. Plus, losing the phone jack is ridiculous. Does the 3.5mm reduction in width really matter? Now I'm going to have to buy a new adapter for my car and I won't be able to use my headphones Santa got me. What happens when the iPhone 8 comes out (this year, I assume)? The size, I'm sure will change and I'll have to buy another damn phone case and who knows what else. It's never ending and surprisingly, Apple gets away with it because people can't live without iPhone's in this century. They sure are taking advantage of our crazy addiction. Oh, don't get me on the storage issue. 

I'm sure many are familiar with the "Storage Low" push notification that pops up at the most inconvenient time. The part that really grinds my gears is the damn iOS software that takes up most of the storage, right behind photos. So you are telling me that I have to update my phone, but I must delete the dozens of pictures of my sisters adorable dog so I can get the new emojis? I can't handle making adult decisions. 

So now when I go to Sprint this week, I plan on just getting a new iPhone 6s because I'm not ready to drop $150 on accessories for my phone when what I have is fine. Plus, I heard the iPhone 7 was very glitchy. But aren't all new iPhones these days? Sure seems like it. 

Out of curiosity: when did you get your first cell phone? I was mid way into my freshman in high school but I also had a job so I was responsible for the bill. When I see elementary school kids have cell phones, it enrages me. I get that times have changed but COME ON...the internet can be a scary, dangerous place. Best believe my children won't be getting a cell phone until high school. 

Side note: my apologies for the long hiatis. I recently had a big career change and getting settled into my new role as a communications director for a Rhode Island congressman has taken all of my attention.

I'm glad to be back :)
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Food Rhode Map

If you could eat every meal of the day in your home state, where would you go? In Rhode Island, there is an abundance of amazing food. From the many farms to the seafood (Rhode Island isn't called the Ocean State for nothing) there are plenty of great choices to dine. Considering I'm on the infinite wedding diet for the next 10 months, I want to talk about my choices for where I would go if I had to eat out for every meal of the day. This was more difficult than I anticipated to have to pick these places because I enjoy so many. But I based my choices on what I've been craving most recently since Jake and I haven't gone out much since we need to save as much money as we can for the wedding. 

Diet and money aside, here is what I picked. 

Breakfast: Nick's on Broadway, Providence

It's no surprise that a Baffoni would choose Nick's on Broadway for their top pick for breakfast/brunch. The contemporary American restaurant specializes in seasonal and local food, including all of their poultry and eggs coming from my family's farm, Baffoni's Poultry Farm. Each plate that chef and owner Derek Wagner puts up is carefully crafted and beautifully plated and I've never disliked anything I ordered there. He opened this Providence hot spot in 2002 and quickly became a staple in the breakfast food scene. They also do lunch and dinner and it never disappoints.

My favorite dish I've had there was their take on bangers and mash that they usually run on St. Patrick's Day. Obviously, Jake being Irish and all, we love to go each year and get this brunch special. Their bar drinks are also on point. Their bloody mary's are just as I like— spicy. I also tend to judge restaurants by the olives they use in their bloodies and martini's and Nick's uses the real deal. If you are looking for a great place for breakfast and brunch, I would go to Nick's and get there early because the small restaurant on Providence's West End fills up quickly. 

Did I mention Jake and I are lucky enough to have Nick's on Broadway cater our wedding? #blessed

Snack: PVD Donuts, Providence

PVD Donuts is the first specialty donut shop in Providence. It blew up so quickly and there is now a wait just to get in the door. Located near Wickenden Street, this donut shop is sinfully good. I'm not embarrassed to say I waited 40 minutes by myself to get some amazing donuts and Nitro Coffee on a Saturday morning. They have so many varieties that typically change daily. My personal fav, the Dave's coffee milk donut. I'm a sucker for anything coffee flavored. Other fan favorites include the cereal milk donut topped with fruity pebbles, maple monkey bread and this month's new flavor, chai orange pistachio. I prefer the brioche donuts over the old fashioned. They are more fluffy and less dense. Now, other specialty donut shops are taking the PVD Donut lead and coming to Providence. They might rival the Rhody classic, Allies Donuts (who is making our donut tower wedding cake) which I would still encourage if you're craving the classics. Can you tell that I like donuts? For something different a little bit more money, try PVD Donuts. 

Lunch: Mission, Newport

My ideal lunch brings me to Newport. Hands down, this spot has the best burger in Rhode Island. Mission is tucked away on a side street, away from the tourist traps in the city. They makes each burger with care. They grind all burgers and hot dogs in house and use slab bacon, pea greens, raw red onion and aged cheddar cheese. The hot dog pictured below is made with kraut-chi, a take on a kimchi sauerkraut by Lost Art Cultured Foods, a local company that makes fermented veggies and also a good friend of ours. Over the weekend, I had my work holiday party and it was also a big snow storm, but we didn't let the snow stop us. We trekked through the snow and wind just to get our hands on their burger, dog and fries. If you haven't had a Mission burger, you haven't lived. 

Snack: Matunuck Oyster Bar, South Kingstown

You can't have a day of eating in Rhode Island without stopping at the Matunuck Oyster Bar. They grow, harvest and serve some of the best seafood in the state, especially their oysters. Considering they are harvested in the waters directly next to the restaurant, you can't get a fresher oyster. If you get there for a late lunch and snag a table on the outside patio, there is no better way to spend the day with a dozen of fresh oysters and shrimp cocktail, which are THE BEST. The shrimp are plump and juicy and with a ton of cocktail sauce, you have the perfect snack. The accouterments that come along with items from the raw bar are perfectly paired. They also have a great food menu that will satisfy even non-seafood eaters. As far as I'm concerned, if you are a Rhode Islander, you can't dislike seafood. It runs in our veins, dammit.

Dinner: Bacaro, Providence

Choosing a restaurant for dinner out of all the great choices in Rhode Island was very hard. There are the usual suspects that I thought of like Persimmon, North, Gracie's and Alforno (which is where I had a terrible server experience and why I didn't pick Alforno as my top choice). Bacaro is an upscale Italian restaurant that offers farm to table, seasonal and local ingredients. Their show stopper in my opinion are their tasting boards— a variety of cured meats and cheese from all over Italy. Italian food is everywhere in Rhode Island considering we are a hub of Italian immigrants, including my grandmother, so it's natural I chose a restaurant that shows off my heritage extremely well. My best friend worked here so when I went for the first time, I got great recommendations for what to try. I had a tasting board, pizza and amazing filet mignon that I can't stop thinking about. For a nice, fancy dinner, Bacaro is my top pick, for sure. 

Photo from Bacaro's website

Dessert: Pastiche, Providence

Dessert keeps me in the capital city for some of my favorite sweets I could never go without. If you ask any Rhode Islander where to go for dessert, there is a good probability Pastiche will be their answer. It is on Federal Hill, our take on a "Little Italy" and they have set the bar for desserts really high. Anytime Jake and I get dinner in the city, it's without question where we will go for a late night cup of coffee and slice of cake, or tart. Their fruit tart is UNREAL. They use perfectly ripe fruit with an irresistible custard and flaky, buttery crust. Whenever there is a birthday or celebration in my family, we get the cake from Pastiche. Everything they make will satisfy any sweet tooth. Their tiramisu cake is to die for, chocolate mouse cake, coconut cake, their holiday cranberry raspberry tart...need I say more? For anyone who visits lil' Rhody, you must make a pit stop at Pastiche. 

Photo from Pastiche's website

Where do you like to eat in Rhode Island or your home state for that matter?

P.S: I couldn't help myself with the title of this post. See what I did there? But for everyone else's purposes, use the hashtag #myfoodroadmap to share your ideal picks!  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year's Resolutions For Engaged Couples

New Year's Resolutions for Engaged Couples

So now for my obligatory New Year's resolution post that I should have written four days ago.

2017 is our year. Our two year engagement is flying by and now that we rang in the New Year, wedding planning will completely consume our life. It's hard to make a resolution going into the year of your wedding without it being all about the big day. While this year will be a life changing, exciting and special time in our lives, I anticipate it to be quite stressful. Deadlines are approaching quicker than I would like and our wedding fund isn't where I'd like it to be. So cheers to the New Year and hopefully these wedding resolutions will help us not lose our minds. 

1. Write everything down
I've yet to buy a 2017 pocket calendar but it's on my mental list for the week. I've always liked the idea of having a calendar to add to the growing shit in my big purse, but I want to actually use it this year. It's tough to remember what deposit is due when so I need to actually follow through with something I set out to do and write down all of my future appointments with vendors and deadlines. Plus, all the fancy bloggers have cute calendars so that means I have to get one, too.  

2. Take it one day at a time
When you think about the big picture during wedding planning, it can lead to an anxiety attack in my opinion. I think about how much we have to pay a month or so before our wedding and it puts a lump in my throat. My 95-year-old grandmother said to me, "Take it one day at a time, Anita. Everything will work itself out." So instead of thinking about the total number we will owe, our resolution is to focus on the next deposit due and once that is paid, worry about the next. I want to enjoy this wedding planning process and to do so, I'm going to listen to my Grandma Soprano. 

3. Focus on the wedding binder
I started a wedding binder shortly after our engagement. I would encourage all brides to make one because it is a hard copy of all the ideas you have. Although it is helping me plan, I've found I have fell off the wagon and haven't done much with it recently. Now that we are in our wedding year, it's time to add all of our contracts, vendor contacts and pictures to the binder to help us organize our thoughts for each detail of the wedding. 

4. Be budget-minded
There are so many cute ideas for weddings, especially if you have a Pinterest account. Sure, cute chair covers will make the venue space that much better, but is it worth the $1,000 when the chairs are fine to begin with? Boy, do I love a good party favor, but will all my guests really want another chachkie to add to their pile at home? The budget you have (hopefully already) set should be in your mind at all times because it is so easy to go over overboard. Track your spending, save receipts, and keep your eye on the bottom line. 

5. Make sacrifices
I have officially cancelled cable today. At least until after the wedding. For anyone who can't go a day without their reality television shows, this is big. Jake and I bought an Amazon Fire Stick which helps make up for lost channels. Saving the $80/month will help us in the long run. It's tough making sacrifices because I know what you're thinking. "You work hard, (insert your name here). You deserve a fancy dinner with your future husband to reward you both for busting your ass, working six days a week." But by making necessary sacrifices that will help budget a wedding— one of the biggest expenses a couple will pay in their lifetime— it will ease the burden and in return, allow you to enjoy being engaged. Which leads me to my next resolution...

6. Enjoy your engagement
A couples' engagement isn't just about focusing on wedding plans. It's about basking in the excitement the future bride and groom will have preparing for a new life together. Yes, it is stressful making sure you don't break budget but remember to step back and enjoy this time you have together, while family and friends surround you with meaningful thoughts and positive vibes that will be sent your way. 

I recently booked our honeymoon which has taken my attention off wedding planning for the time being. It's pretty cold here in Rhode Island so I am loving day dreaming about sitting on a beach in Antigua for eight days in October. But once I snap back to reality, hopefully these resolutions will come to fruition and help me...because I can use all the help I can get planning a 200 person wedding.

Cheers to the New Year and enjoy wedding planning for my fellow engaged couples. Let's hope I don't lose my sanity by 2018. 
Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Traditional vs. Modern Christmas

Which direction do you go for your Christmas decor?

I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the holidays. The many colors. The variety. The random ornaments that you question how it gets on your tree every year. The new glitzy, modern decorations aren't for me. So why do I find myself comparing my Christmas decor to others? 

I've followed a ridiculous amount of interior decor Instagram accounts which has me questioning my traditional Christmas decor but when I'm home in my cozy robe with a mug filled with hot chocolate gazing at my illuminated tree, I know that the traditional route is right for me. The only stipulation is the tree lights. Jake is all about the clear lights but I personally love the multi-colored. But since I choose 99.9% of the decor, I'll let Jake have his stupid lights. 

I'll always be on #TeamRealChristmasTree. There's something about the pine scent coming from a real Fraser Fir that really puts me in the holiday spirit. It's the pièce de résistance of your Christmas decor, might as well have the real thing, am I right? And what better way to decorate the tree with ornaments from all parts of your life. Like the cotton ball snowman that you made in 1st grade, or the picture frame ornament with the worst picture of yourself from middle school, or even the ornament of what looks like a teen boy proposing to the closest thing I could buy that looks like me to represent our proposal.  As cheesy as they look, it's my favorite part of holiday decor. It also allows me to continue to get ornaments from milestones in my life that will remind me each time I whip out the boxes upon boxes of them come December 1st. I've also started a new tradition with Jake to get each other an unique ornament each year because I love them that much.  

My friends and sister are taking the more modern approach. I'm talking about the silver and gold look, with no multi-colored anything in site. Or the reindeer and nutcrackers that fit perfectly on the fireplace overlooking the matching tree. Although it's beautiful, it's just not for me. I've thought about changing my holiday style... ridding of all mix matched decor in my apartment. I don't have the heart to do that. I don't have the heart to throw out age old decorations that I have from when my dad was a baby. Instead, I've streamlined my decorations. (I've said I'm going to streamline my decor so much, I can feel Jake's eye roll while he reads this.)

I've thrown out some of the cheap decorations I bought when I first got my apartment, not knowing the direction I wanted to go. We have lived in a different apartment for the last three Christmas's so each year the decor comes out differently. Now another Christmas is upon us and I think I've finally found my niche. I'm headed to more of a gold and red color direction with accents of multi colors. At last, a holiday-decorated apartment I can be proud of. 

I'm so pathetic that the site of my new faux fur stocking brings me so much joy, I sound like a toddler meeting Santa for the first time at a mall for pictures. Jake makes fun of me each time I make him admire it. I think it's the cutest thing everrrrr. And it feels like my stocking. Not just a stocking I found at Christmas Tree Shoppe because I needed to hang one in my first apartment. I've been waiting for Jake's faux fur stocking is in the mail and now that it's here, I can finally publish this post. I've had this post practically written for a week, but I was waiting to post it so I can add a picture of my finished product, including our two new stockings. 

As for next year, I'm planning on tinsel, garland and lights...more lights. I figure I'll take advantage of the post-holiday sales at Target to prepare me for our first Christmas as a married couple. 

Traditional or modern Christmas decorations, there isn't a right or wrong way to do it. As long as it represents you and not a replica of a holiday display you saw in the Christmas edition of Good Housekeeping. It may take years, like me, to find what works for you but once you do, it will make wherever you call home a more cozy, warm and festive representation of YOU. 

Happy decorating!

Now, I need to stop shopping in the abandoned aisles of Michael's for left over Christmas decor and start my Christmas shopping. We all know how good I am at procrastinating that. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Letter To My College Self

University of Rhode Island

Dear college Anita,

Soak up every second you are on the University of Rhode Island's Kingston campus. It seems far now, but in a short five years, you will have earned your Bachelor's degree and be wishing you could go back and do it all over again. Your time at URI will go by quicker than you can say Rhody, Rhody, Rhody. 

The terrible experience you had at the Community College of Rhode Island will soon be a distant memory because you will fall in love with URI and forget about any other college institution you went to. 

Your first year at URI will be exciting, nerve-racking, and hard. Really hard. You don't realize you want to become a journalist until your second year in college so all of those B.S general ed classes will bore you to death. Soon enough, you will have decided the journalism program is right for you and you will soon be taking classes that you actually enjoy. 

Stay  focused. Going to the library sucks but it will be worth it when you walk across the stage and get your diploma. Be sure to make friends within your college because they will come in handy as study buddies during those long hours in the 24-hour room. Build relationships with your professors too, Anita. This will be crucial because a relationship you built with one of your journalism professors will help you land a job as a broadcast journalist and jump-start your career that you will love just two years after you graduate. 

As for student loans, PAY THE INTEREST. Once you graduate in 2013 with five years of student debt behind you, you're going to owe a mere $32,000. I know, I know, working as a waitress on the weekends doesn't pay you much, especially since you can't work during the week. The interest isn't much. A company like Earnest is another option to help out with refinancing your loan if you need a little help down the road. Here's a helpful tip: party with caution. Going to Bonvue every Thursday isn't worth it. You're going to regret spending all of the small amounts of money you have on overpriced, water-downed drinks. Oh, do not, I repeat, do not buy Burnett's Vodka just because it is cheap. The hangover isn't worth saving a few bucks. 

Speaking of money, you will be broke. I'm taking about ordering white rice from New Dragon for $3 and adding packets of soy sauce for dinner, broke. Left overs from mom's house is worth getting. Freeze it! It will come in handy when you have nothing left in your fridge. And stop spending your student refund check on clothes from Forever 21. You won't wear them for more than a year because your style will change drastically. 

Living off campus will be a blast. Whenever you can, go to the beach and do your homework there. And you won't be alone. Basically every URI student will go to the beach to get some reading done or play hookie and spend that beautiful 80 degree day on Narragansett beach. Yes, the winters are brutal in Southern Rhode Island but living less than a mile from the beach will be one of the best college decisions of your life. Your scenic commute to campus along the mile long coast will be well worth getting caught in traffic to get there in time for class. 

Parking is a bitch on campus. Now this will sound very creepy but DO IT. While students are walking to their cars, roll down your window and kindly say "Hey! I can take you to your car. I know how much the walk with heavy books can be." It works every time. Fighting off drivers for a parking spot can get tricky, but you have to play the game the best you can and this is the best method to do so. You won't pick up any serial killers. Trust me, I'm still alive. 

Never doubt yourself. The hours of studying, the ridiculous amount of papers you'll write and miles and miles you will walk around campus for class will be worth it. Work hard and you will soon have a blooming career in something you love doing. Pretty soon, the journalism college will ask you to speak to students in your shoes right now about your success as a news reporter in the Rhode Island press corp, specifically on Nov. 15, 2016. 

College is a crazy adventure. You be sculpted into a better and smarter you. Follow your heart and trust your gut, and above all, chase your dreams. You will visit URI to cover stories as a working journalist and envy students living the life you are living now. Appreciate every second.

Wishing you the best of luck on your college journey.

An older, wiser, more mature, college graduate you. 

A letter to my college self

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