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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
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

5 Stages a Bride Experiences While Making a Wedding Registry

Wedding registry
Of everything an engaged couple needs to do while planning a wedding, the registry should be the easiest. You get to make an inventory of what you would like to have to start your new life together. I loved making our wedding registry. Who doesn't want to pick out a bunch of expensive household necessities you've needed for a while but couldn't afford? Who doesn't want to pick out corny Mr. & Mrs. things that are just too cute to resist? But I'm taking a bit of a different approach. 

We are registered at Macy's, however it is a smaller registry. Instead, I signed us up for Honeyfund.com, a "honeymoon fund" that wedding guests can donate to instead of purchasing something on our registry. Either way, Jake and I are grateful for any gifts we get. 

During the process of registering, a bride goes through 5 stages which I personally experienced. 

STAGE 1. Excitement 
For the first time, you can make a list of things that you need but never got around to purchasing and you will most likely get them. It's like a kid getting everything they asked for from Santa. Who wouldn't be excited? It's a lot of pressure to get things that are "required." In fact, Macy's offers a "recommended registry" that includes traditional things that a newly married couple must have. Do I really need this stuff? 

This brings me to the next stage...

STAGE 2: Confusion
I'm the type of person that gets everyone's input on things when I am making a big decision, or decisions in this case. After speaking with my co-worker, I inadvertently walked into the world of fine china. I had no idea about china and what name brands there are. Apparently it was a must have on registry lists for years but millennials aren't really following this tradition, which poses the question: Do I or do I not register for china, which is typically pretty expensive. I caved and registered for a set of 8, but I find myself everyday adding and removing things from our registry so who the hell knows if it will last on there. There is SO much to choose from so where do you start? I got a headache choosing the items, real quick. 

STAGE 3: Greed
Everything. I want everything. Wedding registries put the bride and groom (mostly the bride because they typically put together the registry) in a sticky spot because here you are given the opportunity to make a list of everything you want, usually household items, but you don't want to come off as greedy. Where do you draw the line? A television? A mattress? An overpriced wall clock? If marriage norms are telling couples to pick out everything you and your future husband will need, how do you stop? I think naturally, it is easy to get borderline greedy in this particular case.

STAGE 4: Guilt
Adding a $500 vacuum on our registry makes me feel guilty. Is someone really going to buy me that? What about a $250 down comforter? It isn't my fault though. These things are really expensive which is the whole reason wedding registries came about, right? I know Jake and I wouldn't be buying a Dyson Vacuum anytime soon because we don't have that kind of $$$ laying around. To make up for my guilt and to balance the list, I added some inexpensive items, like a cold brew coffee pitcher for $20. Although putting a wish list together is fun and gives you the chance to daydream about how better your life will be with the household essentials, it is after all a lot to ask. But hey, it's a wish list for a reason. Not everything will be purchased on the list but having those items there will give the chance for the 200-plus guests to kindly buy us something to celebrate our marriage so it doesn't hurt to have them there. 

STAGE 5: Gratitude 
Any gift we will receive, Jake and I will be very grateful for, regardless if I don't get the Dyson Vacuum which was the first item to go on my list. Either way, whatever we receive will go towards the purchase of our new home (hopefully within the next year or so) and all of the necessities we need to take are of it. We have very caring and generous people in our life and Jake and I are thankful for you all! 

My wedding is less than a year away and we just had our one year kick off party which was a blast. Since we got engaged a year and a half ago, we figured a kick off party would work better for us. And of course, we got our first round of Mr. & Mrs. things, like stemless wine glasses, and I'm loving every second of it. It's one less thing I can put on our registry.

Wedding registry

This year will go by very quickly and am excited to see all of our hard work planning this thing come together on October 8th.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Have Wicked Bad Theater Etiquette

There are two sides to every story and here is mine. And for those who don't know, not only is Wicked a popular Broadway show, wicked is a word Rhode Islanders use to describe something that is in excess of. See what I did there? 

I was told I have bad theater etiquette while I was seeing Wicked in Providence last weekend. In case you can't tell, it struck a nerve with me so here I am venting about it.  

I've seen Wicked about six times and when I get asked to go with a friend of mine, of course I will take up the offer. The songs, the script, the story line... I love it all and know basically all the words because I'm a freak. 

The show starts and instantly, the same feeling comes over me and it's like your favorite song of all time is playing for two hours straight. There were two women sitting in front of my friends (who have never seen Wicked before) and I and turned around while Glinda and Elphaba were singing Popular and said with the snarkiest voice possible, "can you NOT." 

Excuse me? Did you really just say that. It's not like I'm acting like the theater is my living room. I'm civilized. I can act accordingly at a show so pump the breaks, lady. It's not nearly as bad as she was making it seem. 

Then once the intermission hits, she leans over me while she was walking up the isle and says with the most condescending tone, "you have bad theater etiquette." Seriouslyyyy.

Now I get it...you're seeing a show and if someone is singing along, it can get annoying. But lets be clear— I was humming along to two, maybe three songs, quieter than a whisper. Even humming is an over-statement. I highly doubt it was as annoying as she made it seem. I paid just as much for the seats and I am enjoying myself. I've seen the show a half a dozen times, dammit. Do you blame me? 

But that wasn't all.

Wicked Broadway

About 20 minutes later, a woman behind me taps me on the shoulder and says, "you are distracting me because you keep moving your head." Jesus, can I not do anything right? Good thing my friend had my back because I needed to keep my composure. Maybe my large head with big curl hair and the fact I'm 5'9 pissed her off. 

If you frequent the theater you are probably reading this and saying, "she is that person." But I'm not...at least I don't think. The people I was with even said both women were being over dramatic. There were kids rows behind me that I could hear but do you see me freaking out? NO, because they clearly have seen the show and are enjoying themselves because they paid for those seats to be amused for two hours. These women made it seem like I was belting each word, dancing in the isle and thrusting back and forth every time there was a beat. You want to snap at me? I'll show you loud...I'll show you distracting. 

Clearly I don't take criticism well, in this case. And while I am writing this I can kinda understand their frustration. I didn't just piss off one person, I pissed off two. So clearly I won't see Wicked again because I like it too much. So if you like a play and have seen it an obscene amount of times, I would discourage going for the thousandth time because people might get pissed. 

I'm mind blown by all of this. I take the intermission to vent to my friends to try and wrap my head around this. Was I that bad?  

In the second half of the show, I try to stay as still as possible. Reaching over for my wine made me nervous because I didn't want the woman behind me to throw a fit. I just tapped my foot instead. 

The show ends. The theater is piling out and while I'm standing in the isle letting people go before me because I'm a well mannered patron. The woman sitting in front of me who was behind me in the isle says, "just push her" to her friend. Lady, you've pushed the wrong person's buttons. But instead of going Johnston on their ass, I kindly let the entire row exit before me and I said in a very sweet voice, "OK folks, no pushing." 

In short, I have wicked bad theater etiquette and if you have an extra ticket, don't take me. Has anyone dealt with this before? Am I just a terrible person for liking Wicked so much? You learn from your experiences so next time, if there is a next time, I'll wear a straight jacket and put duct-tape on my mouth.

Am I sorry I distracted those women, yes. But am I sorry for enjoying myself, not at all.

Clearly, it's days later and I'm not over it, but I'll own my indiscretion.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Things They Don't Teach You In Journalism School

Maybe it's because I graduated with a print journalism degree, but I've experienced many things in my days as a broadcast reporter that I would have never anticipated I would be faced with. Granted, if I landed a job at a reputable newspaper, I suppose I'd be put in similar situations. I'm lucky enough to have found what I'm good at. I'm inquisitive, curious, a wee bit nosy and compelled to share with the public what is going on in the world around them. 

I've read somewhere that moments in your past guide you to your future and this couldn't be more true in my case. When I was in 6th grade, I decided to anchor the "Morning Announcements" at my middle school, basically just a newscast that was first thing in the morning while all the students were in homeroom. I would say the latest news, any after school meetings and sometimes what was on the cafeteria's lunch menu. U2's "Beautiful Day" was dubbed over a montage of video clips of a regular day at N.A Ferri Middle School. Little did I know those days I anchored the morning announcements will be the start of my path into journalism. Who knows, maybe I'll anchor the news for real some day. 

Back to the point of this post. I've learned a lot in the journalism program at the University of Rhode Island but here are some things I wish I had (or just forgot about)

News Reporter POTUS

1. You may meet the former President of the United States
I learned that you will come in contact with many people but I would have never thought I would be shaking the hand of Bill Clinton. He has come to the Rhode Island area so frequently while his wife is running for president, that it didn't phase me that he once was the POTUS. I've even been in the same room as Hillary and it is pretty bad ass being with people so powerful. If you work your way up to a bigger media outlet, you may even meet the current POTUS but for now, being new in the world of reporting in the smallest state in the country, I'm more than happy meeting anyone who ran this country. 

2. You will get criticized by so many people...just because. 
It is expected to get critics by people who read or listen my stories because not everyone is going to like the facts. I've gotten hateful emails saying how terrible of a reporter I am, calls threatening to sue me because they were mad I put public information in my piece. I've gotten calls (now that I switched from print to broadcast reporting) by some guy who told me he doesn't like how I say my last name. He continued with saying he and his 5-year-old daughter make fun of my name every time I say it. A lot of people have no time on their hands and want to criticize reporters' every move, why? I'll never know or understand. I was once told by my editor, "your feathers will get ruffled and if they don't, then you are not doing your job."

3. You will have to grow a pair
If you want to disappear in the crowd and have no attention drawn to you, then news reporting isn't the job for you. I've had to interrupt many speeches by moving my microphone, walk into corporate meetings while they have already started, asked very difficult questions to a very important person, and walk up to the podium while someone is speaking to change my batteries. Throw that awkwardness out of the window. I have felt so uncomfortable doing these many reporter tasks but it needs to be done. You have to have some big cajones to do some of these everyday things  and it's part of the job, so get used to it. 

WPRO News Talk Radio

4. Be over prepared
Extra batteries, umbrella, raincoat, blankets, mints, extra hair elastics, a phone charger and a second pair of shoes...the more you have the better. You will never know where a workday will take you and being under-prepared is the worst feeling in the world as a reporter. It happens to frequently but learn from my mistakes, always be prepared for any possible situation. 

5. Twitter is your best friend
There was very little I was taught about the wonders of Twitter while I was in college because times have changed since the pen and pad days. Most of my professors briefly touched upon social media in the industry but not many of them use it as a main source of news or breaking it. It is a rather new tool used by journalists to break news and gather information from a variety of sources. Nowadays, that is how a media outlet will break news and determine who was the first to do so, which is something every reporter wants to do. It's comical to see all reporters with their heads in their phones while a news conference is going on because live tweeting is what you do now then the full story comes later. It is a very useful tool so get yourself a work Twitter like I have (found here and please follow me!) and establish yourself in your state's press corp. Don't get me started on being verified. Believe it or not, that little blue check-mark next to your name means you are the real deal and I am dying to get it. Come on Twitter, verify me already! 

6. The amount of satisfaction there is after reporting news, especially of high importance
Any news story will affect someone in some way. The feeling I get when spreading word to the public on a story, especially a big one, is something I have come to love. Knowing I am the source of information to so many is what fuels my fire. Whether it be a recall on food products, sharing an amber alert for a missing child, telling the story of a 100 year-old in time for their birthday, any of these things will help someone in some way and I am more than happy to do so. If it weren't for news reporters, the hard questions wouldn't get asked and answers wouldn't be given for those who, in turn, can make their own judgement. I like to think that journalism is essential to democracy. 

Do what you love and love what you do. That's my motto for a happy life and successful career.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Average Girl's Guide to Getting Pumped for Pumpkin

Hello September

There are still a few weeks left of summer but with the start of September and back to school, it's basically fall already so it is time to prep for all of the fall goodness. I've already seen countless one-liners reminding me fall is approaching and pictures on my Facebook feed of pumpkin spice everything so it is officially time to start hibernation. 

Coffee shops have already launched their pumpkin flavored coffee and although I haven't gotten my hands on one yet, it is only a matter of time. The temperature has dropped a few degrees and I'm ready to trade in my maxi dresses for chunky knit sweaters. Nobody loves fall like basic bitches...I would know because I'm as basic as one gets. Here is a guide to getting pumped for all things pumpkin.

1. Wardrobe change
It'ssss sweater weather! No more worrying about looking bloated in that tight summer dress. Bring out the leggings and chunky sweaters, and you mustn't forget the leather boots. You won't miss those hot summer days as much as you think. Once you swap your clothes, you are already half way there to basic bitch-dom for the fall season. Did I mention blanket scarfs?! I basically live in mine from September to May. 

I've ordered these new booties because I can't get enough of nude booties for fall. You can find them here.
Nude Booties
2. PSL
Pumpkin. Spice. Latte. 

Fall hasn't officially begun unless you've gotten your hands on a pumpkin spice HOT coffee. There is something about a hot coffee on a chilly morning so trade in your iced coffee for hot, and don't forget the pumpkin! Might as well grab yourself a pumpkin muffin because you can never have enough pumpkin shit, plus you won't have to worry about your figure as much because your handy dandy chunky sweater will hide all of those extra calories. Personally, I can only handle one pumpkin spice coffee because it gets nauseating. I'll settle for pumpkin spice banana bread, or pumpkin spice granola.  

Yankee Candle Crisp Fall Night
3. Whip out the fall decor
I know it is still technically summer but now that it is September, I think it is totally justified taking out the fall decor and buying a new candle. This one I just got is perfect (check out Yankee Candle's new fall collection!) Soon I'll be able to put my fleece robe on, spark the candle and binge watch all my favorite shows because when fall comes, so does your favorite series! Now that the weather is colder, I won't feel like a P.O.S for staying on the couch all day because in the summer you have to be outside to soak up the sunshine or you're an asshole.

Oh! Bring on the blankets. The one above I crocheted myself. And yes I know, I should have dusted my side table before taking that pic. 

4. Crock pot meals
Light your fall candle and wipe the dust off your crock pot because the season hasn't begun until your first soup/stew is on the dinner table. And Jake loves short ribs but I can't make them in the summer because it will make our apartment way too hot. What better way to warm your place with the heat of short ribs braising for hours and the smell of the deliciousness. Maybe this weekend I'll make my first crock pot meal to celebrate the season.  

Fall pumpkin spice starbucks

5. Step up your Instagram skills
Fall wouldn't be complete without Instagram pictures of foliage and pumpkin patches. All of the orange. All of the hashtags. All of the pictures of your feet in leaves with a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. I love the Photoshop Express app. I don't usually put a crazy amount of filters on my photos but it has the best options to edit photos and especially brighten colors for that perfect fall pic. I've started to use the app over the last month because I want my Instagram game on point in time for pumpkin patch picking #aheadofthecurve

Alright guys and gals. Go out there are get prepared for fall because it is practically here! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pros & Cons of a Two Year Engagement

Two year engagement
Now that I'm back from a two month hiatus, lets talk weddings because what bride-to-be doesn't want to talk about weddings.

I'm at that age where many of my high school pals are getting engaged so why not write a blog post to maybe help them out in the crazy, overwhelming process.

Jake and I are doing a two year engagement. Well, technically it's over two years but for this post's sake, lets just round down. There are many strong opinions about not doing the traditional one year timeline. Personally, I cringe at the thought of planning a 200-plus person wedding in 12 months. I could never.  Two years was ideal and I don't think it's ridiculously long, but that's just me. 

Anita, why would you ever take that long of engagement? Get it over with already.

We have to way THAT long for your wedding?

Your sister will get engaged and married before you if you don't do it quicker.

I've gotten it all but you have to block it out. It is what's best for Jake and I and that's all that matters, so screw. After all, the long engagement allows me to build a life while preparing for marriage. Which gets me into the point of this post...

The pros:

* You're able to build a life while preparing for marriage. I got a new job shortly after the proposal and the best part of having a two year engagement, I don't have to put my career aside, which is something that is very important to me.

*It gives you time to change your mind a million times before the big day. The more you change your mind, the more sure you will be with the final outcome. For example, I changed my mind on my centerpieces three times already and my latest focus, my honeymoon which I change every damn day. There is a ton of pressure to plan the perfect honeymoon, full of honeymoon-ish things like champagne, rose petals, and towels folded into a swan on the bed upon arrival. SO. MANY. DECISIONS. On top of it, the many weddings that I've been following did a two week honeymoon and I can barely afford a seven day. I want to throw a temper tantrum... but, I want a two week honeymoon. Shit isn't cheap. Anyone with all-inclusive honeymoon suggests in a tropical location, holla atchya girl. 

*The most obvious pro— it gives you time to save money. Maybe with the money I'm about to save I can afford a $5,000 honeymoon. Probably not. But at least the money saved allows me to splurge on some items like a videographer. You can also save money by booking vendors early and  it gives you more time to pay off the hefty price tag. You're going to want all the help you can get. 

*DIY overload. With all of the time I have until the wedding, I can Pinterest my heart out and have ample time to make stuff, like cute escort cards and party favors for a two-for-one package. My current idea, using these mini succulents for them. And I save money doing a two-for-one.  

Wedding escort cards

*You have time to enjoy being engaged. Don't let anyone make you feel selfish for having a long engagement, this is you and your fiance's time to enjoy the wedding process. It can get super stressful, but with a longer timeline, it lessens the burden financially and emotionally. And yes, a long engagement lets you drag it out because it goes by in the blink of an eye so it's more time to savor the moment and build up excitement for the big day. Plus, who doesn't want more time to talk about their wedding?! This girl right here. 

The cons:

*Envying the couples who get married in under six months. Believe or not, it's a thing— pulling off a wedding in a few months and under $3,000. Their logic, "to get it over with." Personally, I like the anticipation of an engagement but it's just not for some brides. But once contracts are signed and deposits are getting sent out depleting your wedding fund, pulling off a cheap and quick wedding sounds really tempting.

*The guest list can constantly change and in some cases, increase. I already have a 200-plus guest list, I can't afford any more! But while making friends, meeting new co-workers and family members' new boyfriend/girlfriend, you feel obligated to invite them. My advice: set boundaries. Mine, for example, is if you are with the same person for over a year than you can get a plus one. Anyone who has planned a wedding can understand this.

*Second guessing every decision you make. I am the WORST at this. I see other brides get a venue that I love, or come up with the cutest ideas for decor, or are spending three times less than you with the same size wedding, but turn those blinders on ladies and trust your judgement. It's about what works for YOU, not what others are doing. Now if only I can take my own advice.

*You start to get annoying from all of the wedding talk. I'm already getting it....Anita, are you still talking about your wedding that is light-years away? Dammit, yes I am! Just because I took a long engagement doesn't mean I shouldn't share my wedding plans with anyone who is willing to listen. The best thing I've realized— find another bride-to-be because they will be more than willing to chat about wedding stuff.

*Following a timeline. It's difficult to start wedding planning for a two year engagement because you never know when the right time is to start. When do you send out save-the-dates? Is it too early start my wedding registry? How come flight fares won't be released sooner than a year before the desired date? You can Google long engagement timelines but I didn't find them super helpful. I set a goal to have all of the big items checked off my list before the one year mark and I'm pretty much on target. Another issue, the engagement party. It's been a year since we got engaged and it's way too late for an engagement party so what do I do? Have a "one year kickoff party." Problem solved. 

A pro & con: time to get in shape for the wedding
This can get tricky because you can take your time to get in shape and eat healthy and once you start, you find yourself reaching for the left over chocolate cake because I have plenty of time to shed the weight. It can be a double edged sword but stay focused and again, set a timeline. After the New Year, I'll buckle-down and keep my eye on the prize...and scale.

That's enough wedding talk for now, but of course there will be plenty of wedding stuff to talk about because I still have a year and a half to write about it. Are you guys on board? GREAT!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Working On Your Birthday

Working on your Birthday

I almost dodged a bullet this year. With less than 24 hours until my birthday, I got hit. Of course I did. 

Unfortunately, I'm still working at the radio station on my birthday this year but there was a 90 percent chance that I would have had to go at the state house until the wee-hours in the morning, possibly 3am like in years past, for the budget to be heard and voted in the full House. This probably means nothing to you nor do you care but basically I don't have to cover a super long hearing, instead it got pushed back to Wednesday. For once, politicians talking a long time to do something worked in my favor. But I got a glorious text on this fine Monday morning saying I have an event at 6pm on my birthday that I must cover and in that instant, my birthday bubble burst.

I got this lump in my throat, like every time I have to work on my birthday, and I want to moan, groan and whine my way to having my birthday off but none of that will help. I guess my birthday dinner will have to wait until Thursday. UGHHHHH

There comes a point where you have to grow up because stopping life to celebrate the day you were gifted to the world has to stop at some point. Is 26 that age? 

My twin and I turn 26 on June 14 and it's going to be a big, big year for us. Wanna know why? We are off our parents health insurance. This is a day I've been dreading and I am in the grueling process of applying for benefits which I don't know how I can possibly afford. I'm an epileptic so medication is super expensive but I'll make it work, I have too. I have no choice. So I'm hoping working on my birthday Tuesday will distract me from the coming expense that will deplete my paycheck that is small to begin with. 

Your birthday is the one day you feel extra special because it's a day all about you— in my case, about my sister and I. So when we spend the day separately, I have an amplified desire for everyone I make eye contact with to jump for joy and start singing the happy birthday song, because everyone on the planet knows its my birthday, right? That's what I'd like to think on my day. 

I interact with more people as a news reporter than other jobs. Tuesday's are usually busy days at the state house so there was a good possibility I would have had to be there, mingling with people who have no clue it's my birthday. Is it totally bat shit crazy if I say, "Hey Governor! Governor! How are you? It's my birthday, FYI." Yes Anita, that is insane. 

You shouldn't feel selfish for wanting everyone to know it's your birthday. I sure don't. Maybe it's because I share everything with my twin that I feel the need to wear a birthday sash to work just to remind everyone that June 14 isn't just Flag Day or the day after the Olsen twins' birthday. So naturally, I was so exited for our separate donut cakes we got on our birthday last year (pictured below). Side note: look how little Lou Dog was! Now he is a ham, tipping the scale at 100 pounds.

Working on your Birthday

So how do you make the best of working on your birthday?

Keep your Facebook open at your desk to see all your birthday posts because we all know how social media birthday's work.

Suggest going out for drinks after work because it will feel more special.

Lower your expectations because people are going to continue their workday without caring it's your birthday.

Spread your holiday cheer! Who doesn't like working with someone in a good mood, spreading good vibes to everyone in the office. All you need is one person to realize it's your birthday, probably by Facebook, and say happy birthday, hopefully loud enough for the whole office to hear. The happy birthday's will start rolling in, in no time.

Or, you can write a blog post and ask for all who read this post to share it, or at least the meme, because it will be your generous (and free) birthday gift to me :) kthanks

Goodbye 25, you've treated me well. May my "late 20's" mark new and exciting adventures.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What I Learned While Staying In Hostels

Hostel life

When you think about staying in a hostel, I bet the first thing that comes to mind is the movie and the promise you made to yourself to never stay in one. Throw that promise out the window. My recent trip to Amsterdam and Paris taught me a lot about myself and a lot about traveling on a budget. Although I'm broke AF right now, I was able to get the entire trip for way less than what I spent in Italy last July and I think I deserve a pat on the back. It wouldn't have been possible if I didn't stay in hostels.

Cocomoma Generator
Hostels & rooms I stayed in.  Amsterdam (left) Paris (right)

Here is what I learned. 

1. Hostels aren't what you'd initially think
Hostels are not as grungy as you might have imagined. I believe it's an up-in-coming industry because I stayed at some swanky hostels, especially in Paris. But first, the hostel I stayed in Amsterdam, Cocomama, is a "boutique" hostel that is a converted brothel. Oh, the City of Freedom. It was renovated with themed rooms that had super comfortable mattresses. I traveled with four others, all my family and Jake, so we were able to stay in one room. Yes, it was tight quarters, yes there was tension at times (naturally) but it was totally worth spending $50 bucks a night. Yes, you read that correctly. Only $50 bucks. 

There is a sense of community when you stay at hostels because the travelers there all there for the same reason. Why pay a ton for a room you don't plan on spending much time in, am I right? Workers are super friendly, there are nightly events like a tour of the Red Light District we did with a native to Amsterdam and it was way cooler than any boring, follow the leader tour. It was kick ass. We saw lots of naked bodies, learned so much about how prostitution is regulated and showed us the wonders and mystical beauties of the city that we wouldn't have known otherwise. 

Red Light District

2. Picking up after yourself is a bigger pain than expected  
From the toiletry bag to shoes to even your bobby bins on the sink, proper hostel etiquette is to be neat and tidy because after all, you are staying with complete strangers. Even being quiet is easier said than done. Fidgeting with my lock for my locker sounded, what I thought, like a fog horn that wouldn't stop going off. You learn to master stealth mode. Navigating through the crowded dorm room in the middle of the night to get a glass of tap water after having a few too many drink takes some serious skills. And after a few nights, you are stealthy enough to be the next James Bond. 

3. Paranoia? What's that?
I've slept with complete strangers. You'd think that would trigger some paranoia with me but nope, it didn't even phase me. Maybe it's because my older brother and fiance were in the same six bed dorm with me and the eerily similar bed to my childhood bed that made me feel like I was home. At our Paris hostel, The Generator, the two other randoms in the room was one guy from Argentina who greeted me with a kiss on the cheek, which I oddly didn't find threatening. The one other traveler was this Japanese girl who was super quiet and didn't understand a lick of English. Asking if she wanted the light on or off turned into a game of charades. There was no way she was shanking me in the middle of the night. Even the people in the common room were super friendly. Shit, there was even a legit bar and mini-club in the basement of our Paris hostel. It was awesome partying with strangers. 

Quick story: While the five of us are at the downstairs bar, some random kid approaches us and is on his phone, taps Jake on the shoulder and is like, "are you Shamus' brother?!" What are the effing chances that Jake's younger brother's buddy from high school was at this very same hostel across the world, with Shamus on the phone? It's the Rhode Island curse. We are so damn small that no matter where you are, apparently even around the globe, you will know someone from home. I couldn't make this shit up.

Back to my point. With hostels, you have to have an open mind to others and put that paranoia a side. And if you can't, then hostel life isn't for you. In case you didn't realize, I survived staying in hostels. So will you. 

Paris France

This might not pertain to staying at a hostel much, but still, make sure you eat as much food as possible when traveling. Maybe it is my Italian coming out but one of the main reasons I travel is to try the food true to that culture. When I was in France, I ate a hella lot of cheese, and a fair amount in Amsterdam too. When I didn't finish the cheese, I brought it back to my hostel and secretly ate it in my bunk. The good thing about staying in the top bunk, it is like a little cave so no one can see your shameless self, grubbing on cheese and the end of the baguette that you didn't finish earlier. Did I mention the chocolate?!? I couldn't get enough, but it didn't hold as well as the cheese. I still licked the wrapper clean. 

Paris Cheese

5. Always travel with flip flops
Bringing easy slip-on shoes is a must while staying in hostels. You don't know what you are walking into as far as showers go, so be sure to have something on your feet while getting clean. I've heard some gnarly shower horror stories and I wasn't ready to rewrite that one. I've also learned that I'm not as agile as I used to be. Getting into the top bunk of the bunk beds was not as easy as I remembered. My twin sister and I always slept on one growing up, but I always got the bottom. Boy, does that ladder hurt your feet! This is where I wish I brought my flip flops with me in bed because I'm sure I sounded like a bat out of hell, groaning while trying to get out of bed. And if Jake wasn't there to help me down, I basically just fell out of it and hoped I didn't wake anyone up. Lesson learned— sleep with flip flops in your bunk. 

My brother told me that once you stay in a hostel, you will never stay anywhere else. He's right. Before you guys book another hotel while traveling, do some research into hostels. There are big chains, like the Generator, that are just as clean and have as many amenities as fancy hotels, just more relaxed and chill. Who doesn't want that? It's mostly millennials who stay at them so you are bound to meet some cool people and enjoy that country's culture for much less. If there is one thing to take away from wasting your time reading this blog post is to consider staying in hostels. You won't regret it.

Happy travels! 
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Shade Queens, Please Take Your Seats

The drama. The glamour. The shade. Everything about reality TV reunions are pure gold. The season built us reality TV suckers up for the last few months for a three part episode that requires the utmost attention. Since there are two shows having their reunion (Vanderpump Rules and Atlanta Housewives) I needed to take the time to appreciate the greatness that is a reunion.

What's better than a reunion is the beginning of a new season and as it pans out, when drama packed moments happen, you can't wait to see Andy Cohen rip them a new one and readddd these bitches. Like when Joe Giudice has a scandalous phone call with some random mistress and had his mic on and Andy gave it to him, good. These are the moments I live for. And Andy isn't as innocent as he looks. He is very strategic in seating arrangements on the couches. It gets the cast heated up because they know for damn sure that if they are placed on opposite couches, some shit is about to pop off. Andy, you're a genius. 

Vanderpump Rules part three reunion is ready to play on the DVR, alas the TV is mine! You know damn well that I have the ultimate set up as I do every reunion: a blanket, slippers, wine, phone, prescription glasses and dimmed lighting. I have a full bowl of Frosted Flakes with freshly poured milk and Jake is playing his guitar in the basement...it's about to go down. 

Once the ladies sit on the couch with the oh-so-glamorous ball gowns, weaves and caked on makeup, it's the happiest I will be since the season started. Each reunion, there is always that one who is having a really bad hair day or wearing something that they shouldn't. Like Countess Luann from New York housewives who always ends up wearing a terrible metallic dress that should have never been made. Makes for good tabloid headlines. 

Even Luann agrees. 

Nothing beats the amount of shade that is dished out on reunions. It's why they exist. Let's face it, people aren't watching this shit to see them sing Kumbaya. 

Katie's face says it all. She wants nothing to do with Stassi and someone doesn't need to watch the entire season to figure that out. That's one of the beauties of a reunion. Just watch the it, you'll get all the highlights, plus the reaction of these bitches on drama they squashed months prior. You can almost feel the sting from the band-aid getting ripped off their wounds. Now, that's what I call good television. 

I get much fulfillment from watching senseless, trashy, reality television because it's a time that I don't have to think...at all. It's garbage for the mind. It's nice to be in someone else's drama without the repercussions, is that bad? 

Speaking of trashy, this is the Average Girl Chronicles top pick for reality TV reunion moments. I sure hope post jail Teresa Giudice will be just as crazy as OG Teresa. 

It's funny that reunions are painted to be a time of reflection for the cast, a time to explain their bad behavior and shit talking in the confessional. But in reality (pun intended), it just creates a hostile environment where they dig DEEP into their secrets...the ones you want to know but they are too juicy to air on national television. But when the heat is under popcorn kernels, it's only a matter a time they will pop and the skeletons will come out of their closet. 

Watching reality TV is a series commitment. You have to bargain time to occupy the living room in order to watch arguments and fights for hours. Jake will not let me even scroll over the show in the DVR without saying "no" before I even ask. So while I just finished Pump Rules reunion, I'm going to sneak in part three of the Atlanta Housewives reunion before Jake notices. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Tale Of Two Zeppole

st. joseph's day

To make my Irish fiance happy and to prevent the never ending argument of which holiday is better, St Patrick's Day or St. Joseph's Day, I made corned beef and cabbage for dinner and woofed down a dozen freshly made zeppole for dessert. 

Rhode Island is chuck full with Italian's so the traditional fried pastry pops up in every bakery along Federal Hill, aka Rhody's Little Italy. I grew up with zeppole and look forward to them each year, but not the cream filled, cherry-topped one, I'm talking about the light, fried goodness of a pastry drenched in honey. THAT is a real zeppole to me. I've done some research to set the story straight because I don't see enough of zeppole around town, the way that I've always ate it. 

Food for thought: if you google zeppole, the kind I'm bragging about is one of the first pictures to pop up. #truth 

Zeppole, according to my research, came about in southern Italy and there are variations from region to region. In Itri where my family is from, it was a peasant-filled town so dairy and sugar were not common and considered a luxury. The beauty of this kind of zeppole is its simplicity. With just flour, yeast, water and honey, my ancestors were able to come up with a delicious treat in honor of St. Joseph's Day. 


The labor-intensive treat takes hours to make because you can't just make a dozen that's nonsense. To this day, my 94-year-old grandmother makes sure we make zeppole  and use specific ingredients because according to her, it isn't the same without King Arthur's flour and Mazola corn oil. She's like the conductor of the operation now-a-days.  

I'm not fond of the custard/cream filled zeppole, it's not really my thing. I'm very particular about sticking true to the Italian traditions of my family and yes, it may be snobby of me but I'm just a girl who knows what kind of dessert she likes. I know, I'm terrible. 

st. joseph's day
^^^I don't think they are as good as they look

Us Italians take our traditions very seriously and whatever my Grandma Soprano tells me, I do without question. So much so, I wanted to share her recipe with all of Rhode Island and anyone tuning in by going on a talk radio show to discuss all things zeppole and St. Joseph's Day. The morning radio host at the station I work at wanted me as a co-anchor (more like commentator) and started calling me on air, Anita Baffoni the Zeppole Queen. Well if the crown fits. 

I'm going to stop writing this post now because I can't stop eating these damn zeppole and there is too much honey all over my laptop for me to continue. That's what I call a good Friday night. The quicker I eat them, the sooner they won't be in my damn apartment anymore because I'm supposed to be getting fit for my wedding...

So much for that.


Buona festa di San Giuseppe, and happy weekend. 
Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Million Dollar Wedding


Anytime the word "wedding" is attached to any price quote, it will double, especially in Providence. The smallest state was just ranked by Thumbtack, the fifth most expensive city to throw a wedding and I'm really feeling the effects. We opted to a two year engagement and we are nearing the year and a half mark and the pressure is slowly building. Surprisingly I'm keeping calm.

I've made a promise to myself that we would book the major wedding services before the one year mark and now that I'm calling countless amounts of vendors, I am getting very discouraged because there is no way I'm spending $5,000 on flowers. Just flowers. Are you high? Do I look like a millionaire? 

The study shows that for Providence, brides will spend an average of nearly $14,000 on just wedding services, such as the caterer, music, limo and cake. It doesn't include the rings, dress or venue. I can remember getting engaged and someone asked me what my budget was going to be and my naive self said, $10,000. HA. I was sadly mistaken. Another study found that an entire cost of a Rhode Island wedding is $45,000. Mind you, the national average is just under $30,000, to put it into perspective how expensive Rhode Island weddings are. 

I am fortunate enough to have my parents chipping in to the majority of the cost but regardless, I want to and I want my parents to spend the least amount possible. So when I call three florists and get a quote for $5,000 each time, I just can't deal. This is also thousands more than what the study averaged flowers to be in Providence, quoting roughly $1,400. 

Here are the breakdown's, according to Thumbtack, which are oddly low then what I'm being quoted. 

Providence Wedding

Where in the world did they get $3,300 for catering?! That must be a 10 person guest list because I'm looking at triple that...well I am having a 200 person wedding. 

Fellow Rhode Islanders know how to get things done for cheap in this state. Since the state is so damn small, everyone knows someone in some business that you can use to your advantage. For me, I am channeling all of those favors and gestures from people who offered to help out with my wedding. My advice for future brides: cash in all of those favors and don't be afraid to ask family and friends for help. 

Working with family can be tricky, but just make sure you are sensitive to their feelings, however, don't feel like you can't say your true opinion because this is supposed to be the day of your dreams. Don't let anything take that away from you. It's YOUR day. 

I'm channeling my inner Martha Stewart and thinking of ways to turn expensive wedding services into DIY projects, like centerpieces. It may be more work but not only will it be fun to get the girls together, you will also be able to save that money for a kick ass honeymoon. Speaking of, another study I found said an average honeymoon is $5,000. I have no clue how I'm going to pull this off but my grandmother keeps telling me, don't stress too much about the money because you will find a way to make it happen. Australia, here the Anderson's come! 

Every wedding decision feels like an expensive one. Unfortunately for me, it's even more expensive in Providence. And I'm not even getting married in Providence but all of my vendors are around these parts so it looks like I'm working three jobs until Oct. 8, 2017. 

So the point of this post? I'm using it as an opportunity to bitch about how I need to come up with $1 million to pay for my wedding. I'll be setting up a GoFundMe account later this week. 

***this post gave me a reason to share some more of my engagement photos. Aren't they amazeballs? I'm thinking the three shown may be contenders for save-the-dates, which also cost way too much. But it's totally worth it, right? I'm accepting inexpensive wedding tips! The more, the merrier. 

As a side note, I literally got poison ivy basically on my butt from rolling around in the woods for our engagement photos. That's what I get for dragging Jake into doing them. 

Fall engagement photos
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dear Pimple

Break outs

Dear Pimple,

I am writing to you in regards to your recent outburst in the middle of my face. 

You and your pesky friends should know by now that I am constantly interviewing people, close up, and your unsightly being is not appreciated, nor do I appreciate your persistence. It is taking away from my work, so thanks, you jerk. 

We know each other all too well and I'd like to think you would have a shred of consideration, but no. You've created what looks like a planet on my face and there isn't enough concealer in my arsenal of makeup to cover you up. I don't need this drama in my life right now. 

Yes, maybe I picked at you, a tiny blackhead, too prematurely but the lighting in my bathroom is just too good to not pick at my face. For that, I am not sorry. Pimple, I take all the right precautions every night by washing and exfoliating my face, using refining toner and putting on an all natural moisturizer to ensure this wont happen. Can you give me a break? What's your obsession with my face anyway? You are the only one on my face at the moment which makes it even worse because you stand out more. You always have to be the center of attention.

I will continue to try and pop you every day until you go away for good, although my efforts will just get you more irritated, but you've left me no choice. Now I have to carry around concealer because who knows when you will act up. Stop throwing temper tantrums and grow the eff up. I can't take having lead state officials stare at you on my face. It's embarrassing! Plus, that means they aren't paying attention to me so now you are taking away from me time, after all it is MY FACE. Jeez, selfish much. 

I am a 25-year-old working professional, it's not okay to have you on my face. By the looks of it, I have a feeling you are going to continue your childish ways but don't worry, I'm calling in reinforcements. You are forcing me to whip out the toothpaste and rubbing alcohol. I would rather feel the burn then continue to see you on my face. Plus, I just bought new, expensive makeup and you are distracting from my contouring skills. 

I can tell you are having a good time on my face considering the amount of time you've been there but to be clear, you are NOT welcome. Go ahead, have fun while you can because it is not going to last. I warn you, if you plan to continue your stay, I expect you pay rent because the amount of money I spend on facial beauty products is very expensive. 

Oh, and please spread the word to your homies, I'm making an appointment for a facial next week. 


Anita Baffoni
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

50 Thoughts Girls Have While Getting Their Eyebrows Threaded

threading eyebrows
Threading is the best thing to come to female grooming since razors. Eyebrows are a huge focus nowadays, in fact there are a million Instagram accounts just on perfecting the craft. No more plucking and messing up your own brows. Get those bad boys threaded! Not only is it better than waxing (because your skin isn't being yanked in every which way) the overall shape is better. Fellow Italians may have to get their brows and upper-lip done frequently, which is why I found an eyebrow salon in Providence that has a $10 per month, unlimited package which saves me $30 each month. I end up going twice a month and each time, I dread it because it hurts like a bitch but in the end, totally worth it. Beyonce says it best; pretty hurts.

Here are 50 thoughts girls have while getting their eyebrows threaded.

1. Where is my normal lady?

2. She's going to eff them up royally

3. She better not, or my selfie game will NOT be on fleek 

4. Shit, I should have taken my blanket scarf off because it is way too hot in here

5. Why did she not use a breath mint before threading my brows?

6. This doesn't hurt that bad this time

7. Nope, still hurts

8. It's not like an "I just got shot hurt" more like an annoying hurt

9. Boy, my hands are getting clammy

10. I don't know why I'm squeezing my hands so much, it isn't helping the pain at all

11. Why did the string break? Are my brows that bad?!

12. I'm glad it broke to give me a minute to itch my nose

13. I can feel your stomach resting on my head and I don't like it, but by the gurgles, you should eat

14. Why are you taking so long on one eyebrow?

15. Something went wrong!

16. I hope they aren't too thin

17. Please stop telling me I should come once a week, this shit hurts too much

18. Why can't I ever seem to stretch my eyebrow correctly

19. Wow, your hands are cold

20. Thanks for showing me for the hundredth time how to correctly hold my eyebrow

21. Shit, I hope I don't rip my jacket because it is really not helping me lift my arms to stretch

22. Why do I have to stretch my skin, anyway?

23. Get through this and you won't have to come back for another two weeks

24. Can you please blow out all of the incense, I'm getting a headache

25. Is there that much hair on my forehead?

26. Why are you threading my forehead?

27. Boy this is taking a long time

28. I can feel everyone watching me

29. I'm sorry I keep fidgeting, this REALLY HURTS

30. Is my upper lip that bad that you need to make a comment about it? It's not my fault!

31. Do you have to thread that close to my nose?

32. Can the thread get nose hairs?

33. This feels like popping a pimple under my nose which is the worst pain ever

34. I think I'm getting string burn because you keep going over the same spot and, yes, IT HURTS

35. I would rather my eyebrows get done multiple times then endure my lip getting done

36. No, I don't want the "soothing gel" because its probably just hand sanitizer and I don't want to break out.

37. Please move so I can see myself in the mirror

38. THANK GOD they aren't effed up

39. She could have gotten that one hair but I'll just do it with my tweezers when I get home because there is no way in hell I'm getting back in that chair

40. Jeez, there is so much hair on my face. Did she really just pull that much hair off my face?

41. Can I have a tissue to dry my eyes?

42. Wow, my face is so red and irritated

43. Thanks for not effing up my face

44. Even if you did, there's nothing a little brow pencil can't fix

45. I'm so glad this is over

47. I can't wait to get in my car to really inspect her threading job

47. Wow, my eyebrows are on fleek

48. I hope they don't grow in too quickly because I can't handle this again

49. Ugh...two weeks will come too quickly

50. Now I know why Peaches Monroe made that vine

Peaches Monroe

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