The Hotel Alexis
It’s always nice to support local bands; it’s even better when your local bands are as brilliant as The Hotel Alexis.

Lazy lilts, dripping strums, and lyrics so intimate they ache, their newest release is like the kind of secret that’s been accidentally revealed to you on on a sun-drenched summer day.

Random acts of loveliness
Lately I’ve seen these vibrant plastic poppies appearing everywhere around my neighborhood.

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I don’t know who’s been leaving them there, but I assume it’s someone who looks forward to the sprouting flowers of spring as much as I do. I don’t know if it’s the bright burst of color or the romantic effort; either way it leaves me with a smile every time I see them.

My filigree earrings
They go with everything and are as light and as delicate as a leaf. 100 percent pure pretty.

White birch trees

I love that, when the entire world around us has been left barren and grey by the cruelty of winter, the white birch stands bright, strong and regal, like it refuses to give in.

POM Lychee Green Tea
As we’re rounding the bend towards springtime, it feels like every drop of moisture has been wrung out of the northeast, just hanging in the cloudy sky, taunting us parched New Englanders.

Around this time of year, I sometimes feel like if you were to carve me open my vital organs would look just like a dry, cracked, asphalt driveway. I have a terrible problem with drinking enough water; I need something with a little flavor if I’m to chug it down in the quantities expected, but I also shy away from anything too sweet. I guess you’d say that when it comes to beverages I’m as picky as a three-year-old at dinnertime. This stuff is the perfect balance of flavorful without having a cloying sweetness to it: it’s effortlessly refreshing, like a weekend getaway to a lake house.

Mason Pearson hairbrush
Okay ladies, listen closely: I’ve found a beauty miracle.

For years I’ve read about the wonders of the Mason Pearson boar bristle hairbrush but, since I’ve long maintained the philosophy that beauty should never cost more than $20, I could never bring myself to buy one. All that changed, however, when my trip to Palermo caused my hair to turn so brittle that it felt like a ragged floor mop. After months of relentless searching for something that would help my haggard hair, I rediscovered this iconic beauty staple and now I kick myself for not having bought one sooner. Not only did it heal my damaged hair, it also cured my longstanding problem of having oily roots and brittle ends. My hair is softer, shinier and it can go longer between washings.

If Mr. Mason Pearson were alive today I would totally make out with him.

Kristin
Sometimes solidarity is born out of adversity. Kristin and I met about five years ago at a pretty thankless job. While the company is the kind I’d rather forget, many of the friends I made there are the life-long kind: each of them are amazing, intelligent, beautiful and creative people.

Kristin and I bonded when she realized that, if got me to laugh hard enough, my hysterics would reach such great heights I would literally knock over cubicle walls. Since she did this regularly, I can only think she found it to be a great way to piss-off upper management.

Nowadays she works from home and, luckily, my new company is only a ten-minute drive from her condo. Hanging out with Kristin continues to be a great time and she’s been generous enough to open her home to me for impromptu lunches and occasional mid-day naps on her couch.

She is one of the great ones; I’m so lucky to have her as such a prominent part of my life. Her loyalty is humbling. Her humor is beguiling. And her intelligence is inspiring.

She can also fit an entire bag of Circus Peanuts in her mouth at once. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard stories.

Method hard wood floor cleaner
This stuff smells so good I want to make a cocktail with it.

From what the label says, the cocktail wouldn’t taste nearly as good as it would smell, but I certainly wouldn’t die from it; I like that in a cleaning product.

Daylight Savings

I love it when my after work walk can be done in the the last golden beams of daylight.

PLT sandwiches
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what’s called a provolone, lettuce and tomato sandwich: a much beloved comfort food I’ve enjoyed since childhood. Never heard of it? That’s okay, you probably haven’t heard of most of the things I grew up eating.

My mother was mortified when, last month, she saw that I’ve come to adore something so suggestive of a latchkey childhood as Tater Tots. So, in defense of the nearly 18 years my mother dedicated to ensuring that I was a well-reared child, I should note that I was never ever allowed to eat Tater Tots at home. Instead, provolone, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, or PLTs, were what she cooked up whenever my little Sicilian body craved something good and greasy. Thanks Mom!

Frying the provolone is a delicate art; as the final product must be both crispy and have just the slightest amount of give, just like a finely fried piece of bacon. The key is to fry the sliced cheese on medium-low and wait until the edges are just slightly golden, which will indicate that it is just stiff enough to flip easily.

Flip it, turn off the heat, and let it sit in the pan while you assemble the rest of the sandwich. Voila! Nothing bears the hyphenated title of “Italian-American cuisine” like a PLT, and few lunches bring me back to the warmth of childhood the way this one does.

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