If you follow me on Facebook, you’re probably eye-rolling pretty hard right about now. I jump-started the week with big promises of an update on the DIY table, and here we are on Wednesday with nothing to show for it. It’s been one of those crazy work weeks where your project completely shits the bed the night before it’s due and your 8 am meeting ends up lasting for a coma-inducing five hours. Needless to say, blogging took the back burner. Sean is home today though, and just texted me this lovely little pic:


The table has been sanded and is ready for stain. Woo – hoo! Now if we could only do something about those pesky little snow piles clinging on for dear life. (Where the eff is spring, New England?!)

I have to take a moment and completely brag about my husband. He rocked this project’s socks off. Not only did he build an amazing table for us, but he felt ambitious on Sunday and decided to build the matching bench as well.

photo 4

It’s a little hard to explain the layout of our dining area, but the bench will be on one side of the table while the chairs will be at the head and along the other side. Sean also staggered the bench legs so that it can completely tuck under the table, since most nights it’s just the two of us.

The table ended up being 7″ wider than we originally planned for, which sent me into a slight tailspin Saturday night. I felt myself pulling into Crazytown, so I chalked it up as a #FirstWorldProblem and let it go. Besides, look how fantastic our place settings look – really adds new meaning to “four square meals a day”. Boom! (See what I did there?)

photo 2

I can’t wait to share the final pics later this week. I’d do it tonight, but I actually have a social life for once. After work today, I’ll be making my pilgrimage to meet the guru of cooking, baking, and entertaining: Ms. Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa! *Insert girlish squeals of delight here*

An-Evening-With-Ina-Garten-I was too lazy to straighten my hair for tonight, but I did manage to wear a white oxford…so I’m sure she’ll still want us to be besties.

P.S. Apologies for the crappy iPhone pics. We still can’t find the camera charger, so these are pics Sean snapped while he worked this weekend. 

P.P.S. Double apologies for our unsightly basement. No judging allowed. 


My husband can be crafty.

I emphasize the can, because it’s not an always. Drywall? Ehhhhhhh. Handwriting? Woof. No.  (Love you anyway though, dear). Carpentry? He’s great at it. Since we moved into our new house last year, I’ve fully taken advantage of him this fact for some DIY projects.

Like any good Type-A homeowner, I have a list of things I’d love to get done around our townhouse to give it some more charm and character including wainscoting, crown molding, and building our own farmhouse table. This week, we’re finally tackling the table. I cannot. freaking. wait. Right now, we have a tiny round table with four lovely chairs that are entirely too big for it. The chairs won’t push in and dwarf the table completely. It drives me bonkers every time I walk past it.

These are our chairs. I heart them and their adorable nail head piping.


I’ve known what type of table I wanted for a while now, but couldn’t face the price tag it came with…until I found this guy on Pinterest via Shanty 2 Chic Blog.


A quick click through (try saying that five times fast) and the ideal DIY project was born. We are following her step by step directions as a guide for our starting point. S2C’s table is a 10ft long with three pedestals, but we’re building ours to be roughly six feet with two pedestals. (And by “we”, I mean Sean, of course)


“We” picked out the wood yesterday at Lowe’s and spent $125 on all the supplies. Pretty sweet little bargain compared to the tables I was eyeing online. Take that, Pottery Barn.


At the moment, the wood is tucked away in the corner of our living/dining room so it can acclimate to the house for a few days. This is important so that the pieces doesn’t swell or shrink once the table is built, causing structural problems down the line.


“We” are hopefully going to start work on the legs this weekend and if…

I can push it

whine enough

coherce him 

Sean wants to keep going, “we” will have some of the table top done too.

Shanty 2 Chic also has a DIY template for a matching bench that I’ve got my eye on…but don’t tell Sean.

Can’t wait to share progress pics this weekend!

I had big plans to blog all about the Boston Garden and Flower Show today.

Until I didn’t actually go.

Sometimes you make grand plans and sometimes your puppy is up all night puking. Life is fun.

I don’t feel too guilty over it though. I did have a fantastic day laying on my couch watching old episodes of LOST.  (I had to. For the dog, I mean.) Sean had to work on St. Patrick’s Day so my holiday festivities included making Guinness stew and homemade Guinness oatmeal bread. They were both delicious. Since I lost my camera charger amid the puppy-puke chaos, you’ll just have to believe me. God, I’m blogger-failing all over the place today.

Let’s just look at pretty pictures I found on Pinterest instead. My dear friend, Kym, alerted me to an exhibit that recently opened at the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston.

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 3.39.26 PM

After reading about it, I’ve got ginger jar fever and my Pinterest boards are afflicted with a blue-and-white pandemic.  There are worse things in life, I suppose.



I have that white ceramic garden stool in the bottom photo. Too bad it’s currently buried under a stack of mail and tinged with a coffee stain…that’s funny, my reality doesn’t quite look like the photos I’ve pinned. But hey, that’s what dreams are for, right?

This is the first installment in a weekly series on every girl’s favorite thing (besides diamonds, chocolate and wine, of course): flowers…because you don’t always need a guy to buy them for you.


March is a funny month. And by funny, I mean cruel. As New Englanders, we rely on March to bring us a renewed sense of optimism that we won’t be living with this slushy, brown snow forever…but it doesn’t always happen that way. Okay sure, the clocks change and the first “official” day of spring is on the books, but that doesn’t mean Mother Nature doesn’t have one last trick up her sleeve.

So last week, I staged a coup. As a snow storm dumped over a foot of fresh snow on us and my sad tulip buds were being buried alive, I decided it would be spring inside despite March’s misery outside. Luckily, I had an ally in Whole Foods, who was hosting a one-day-only sale on tulips (30 stems for $10! score!). I battled the elements and arrived victorious with daffodils to boot:


Now the question became: what the heck do I do with them? If a green thumb means you’re skilled at gardening, then mine is definitely the faintest tint of the lightest shade of mint green. I’m certainly a newbie, but we all start somewhere, right?

Here’s my first attempt at DIY floral arrangements: tulips two ways

My first step was to pick which vases I’d use. I’m a big fan of short, squat vases stuffed to the brim with fresh flowers. They dress up smaller surfaces without becoming a nuisance – coffee table, nightstand, bathroom counter, etc. I also repurposed a white milk pitcher to use as a centerpiece for brunch.


Using the vases as my guide, it was time to start trimming the flowers. (Even if you’re not cutting them down, it’s always good to give them a fresh snip at the end before putting them in the vase.) The brilliant Dr Google instructed me to make a diagonal cut at the tips of the flower under cool running water.


Focusing on the shorter vase first, I knew I’d be taking most of the stem and leaves off the tulips. (Faint shade of mint thumb tip: I never knew you’re supposed to take any leaves that fall below the water line in a vase off the stem. Oops!)  Those poor tulips didn’t know what  hit ‘em.


I’ve always admired flower arrangements that use leaves to disguise the stems inside the glass. The most preferred leaf for this is a banana leaf due to its size and sheen. I didn’t want to make a separate trip for one though and decided to get creative with a couple of the larger tulip leaves instead. I wrapped the leaves in the vase so they curled into each other, holding them in place. At this point, they weren’t flat against the vase, but I figured once I added all the stems and water, they’d flush out on their own.


I had previously divided the 30 stems and planned to use 15 for each vase. I started adding flowers in one-by-one in a criss-cross pattern until I had a full circle. Then it was time to add these bad boys:


I found these filler flowers in the clearance section of the grocery store for $1.99 and couldn’t resist getting them. I tucked the buds into any sparse spots and with some last-minute OCD adjustments (heaven forbid two bright pink tulips are next to each other), I was done. The final result was just the pop of spring I was looking for.


(Another tip: When I bought the tulips, I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t bloom in time for the brunch since most of them were still closed. The florist at Whole Foods recommended filling the vase with warm water for 2 hours to encourage them to open up. The verdict? It totally worked! Just compare these photos to the one at the very top to see the difference)

Moving on to my second project, I trimmed the tips of the daffodils. Flower question for folks: Should the brown leaves/petals on these be discarded or left on? I took most of them off, but wonder if it affects their lifespan?


This arrangement was much easier to do. A quick trim of the stems, removed some of the lower leaves, and criss-crossed the tulips in the pitcher. After seeing the tulips in the vase by themselves, I almost left them as is because I liked the simplicity of it. I eventually added the daffodils for an extra pop of color. The photo below doesn’t do it justice, but I’m glad I ended up putting them in.


All in all, I’d consider my first foray into floral arranging a success. I didn’t lose any fingers, my extremities are intact, and I scored two arrangements for less than $20! (30 tulips – $10, 2 bunches of daffodils – $4, mystery filler flowers – $2)

Confession: I’m headed to the Boston Flower and Garden Expo tomorrow for the first time. I’m going alone because none of my hip city friends seem to think a garden show is a fun way to spend a Saturday (weird, right?). I don’t usually do things alone, but I’m kind of looking forward to it. Worst case scenario, I’ll hitch onto a suburban garden club’s tour and pretend I’m one of the gang:

Hey Marge! Wait up! I love the sticker family on the back of your mini-van!

It’s true. You do. If you haven’t jumped aboard the strata express yet, you will after this recipe. Trust me.

After stumbling upon Smitten Kitchen’s Spinach Strata, I knew it’d be perfect for the brunch. Since I could make it the night before, it meant once less thing to do the morning-of giving me more time to taste-test the mimosa bar  vacuum the rugs.

Don’t let the fancy name dissuade you – I love this dish for its simplicity. The freshly torn French bread and wedges of cheese make you feel like you should be eating it al fresco at a farmhouse table in Tuscany instead of a too-small dining table in your “up-and-coming” neighborhood of Boston. Sigh. A girl can dream.

Please do yourself a favor this weekend and get the ingredients to make this strata. Heck, even add stuff to it. Like mushrooms. Or peppers. Oh! Or artichokes! Too weird? Maybe. Just go wild. You won’t regret it.

Spinach and Cheese Strata
Adapted from Epicurious and Smitten Kitchen. My changes are italicized below.

Serves 6 to 8

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, squeeze of all excess liquid, and chopped (I used fresh organic, baby spinach instead)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread in 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb)
6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups) (Does anyone else scoff at how expensive Gruyère is? I used Fontina as a substitute)
2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I thought the mustard overpowered it a bit – next time I’ll use less) 

Sauté onion in butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside. (Didn’t read to divide the salt and pepper for now vs later and added the whole 1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Oops.)

Spread one-third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Top with one-third of bread cubes,one-third of spinach mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, spinach and cheese.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata.


Cover with plastic wrap and chill strata for eat least 8 hours or up to a day. The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F.


Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. (That’s odd, both recipe versions forgot to add “stuff yourself silly” as the final step)


Okay, so my strata doesn’t look quite as rustic chic as Smitten Kitchen’s version…I can admit that. It still tasted pretty darn good though. We’ll consider this one for the win column.

This one’s for you, folks.

Dear Reader,

Lurker. Commenter. Real Life Friend. Cyber Stalker. Whoever (whomever?) you are, whatever your reason for being here – I thank you. I know we’re only three entries in, a drop in the well of the blogosphere, but the outpouring of support I’ve received from you has been both humbling and touching.

In our living room, we have a framed postcard that reads, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. I purposefully displayed it in there so that I’d be forced to look at it on a daily basis. My comfort zone? Watching endless amounts of Bravo TV and creating extensive lists of “Coulda, shoulda, wouldas”. So here we are now with The Finer Points of Life, a fitting moniker for this undertaking if you ask me. This blog isn’t my typical writing style, which is simultaneously terrifying and exciting. As I step outside my standard blog formula (tequila jokes + Snooki + dropping off the face of the Internet for 6 months at a time), I hope you’ll stick with me. It might be a little bumpy for the next couple posts, but we’ll find our stride. With every entry, I’m finding my balance and authentic writing voice.

In the meantime, I just wanted to say,  ”thanks”. Two days before I posted my first entry, I created the blog’s Facebook page. Without those first several “likes” from you, I can’t guarantee I would’ve had the cojones to move forward with this. Basically, you rock.

With love,
your neighborhood neurotic blogger.

P.S. I’d also like to extend the very biggest of THANK YOUs to the lovely Sarah of Dodeline Designs. She did the legwork on this fabulous new blog design and answered all 2930810398132 of my emails in a timely manner. I’d highly recommend her for any of your blog or stationary needs. Looking at her stuff makes me want to get married all over again. Sigh.


On Sunday, I had the pleasure of hosting a small brunch for my in-laws at our house. My mother-in-law is one of five sisters and I absolutely adore them, but I don’t see them nearly enough, so I was looking for an opportunity to get everyone together. I invited my mom and sister-in-law to join in on the fun and a brunch was born.

Easter Wreath

I wasn’t originally planning this as an Easter brunch, but with daffodil buds sprouting and Daylight Savings Time giving us the first glimmer of sunshine, it only seemed natural to celebrate Spring.



Everyone generously offered to contribute a dish or drink, so the menu was a collaboration of sorts.

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 10.17.38 AM

Needless to say, my mouth was watering for weeks in anticipation. Bacon and cheese and chocolate, oh my! Luckily, I’m training for a half marathon at the moment and obviously sticky buns count as carbo-loading…right?

Having a brunch without mimosas is like breathing without air. It just can’t happen. I didn’t want to be chained to the kitchen the entire morning, so I opted for a “Make Your Own Mimosa” bar instead.


Last week, I quickly put together some hang tag labels for the juices and a step by step “guide” for the best mimosa possible. (As if there could ever be a bad one)


Step #5 is the key to any successful party with your in-laws: Sneak back for seconds when no one is looking. Or thirds. Or fourths….hey, no judgements here.

Blackberries and grapefruit juice, orange slices with pineapple juice, the ever classic OJ and strawberries. The options were endless.


Side note: how gorgeous is this linen and lace tablecloth? Sean’s aunt gave it to us along with napkins as a housewarming gift. The light pink linen and hand-stitched embroidery make my heart flutter.


They didn’t stay pristine for long. Due to the confines of city dwelling, a sit down meal isn’t usually in the cards for us, but a buffet-style brunch worked perfectly.


(Pssssst! There’s a recipe for this bad boy coming later this week)



After all that food, I seriously debated my ability to eat dessert until I checked out the cakes someone brought. Hello, lovers.

blogbrunch8Note to self: recreate those bees wings made from toasted almonds!

After we were sufficiently stuffed, the chit-chatting and gossiping commenced.


A huge pet peeve of mine is when I’m over someone’s house for an event and they start doing the dishes while I’m still there. I think it puts your guests in the most awkward position – should I be loading their dishwasher right now? Do I follow them into the kitchen to continue the conversation? Ahhh, I feel so bad I made such a mess for them, I need to help.  It’s uncomfortable. I make it a rule to wait until everyone has left before scouring pots and pans, even if there is a sink full of buffet plates longing to be cleaned. It happens to coincide perfectly with another good rule I strictly adhere to: the cook doesn’t clean. (Dear Husband, those dishes are allllllll yours. Wink, wink.)

By the time everyone said their goodbyes, I was ready for another cocktail. The sun was out in full effect, so I grabbed my jacket and a glass of champagne and headed for the front porch to bask in the extra hour of daylight.


So what if there is snow still on the ground? I’ve got my booze to keep me warm.

As I lay comatose on the couch last night from a combination of chocolate cake and too much champagne, I couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy about the day’s events. As an only child who is close with my parents, I always hoped I’d marry into another family I could fall in love with and I definitely did, which makes every dirty dish and extra detail totally worth it.

Stay tuned later this week for the Spinach and Cheese Strata recipe and some tips from a first time flower arranger (i.e., me and my very light, light, almost non-existent, green thumb) 

This is a blog about home. This is not a blog about a house though. There’s a difference.

A house is where you live: four walls, a roof, and floor.

A home is how you live: flowers on the nightstand, dog-eared books on the coffee table, secret stash of chocolate in the freezer, a dinner table decorated in laughter (and god willing, plenty of alcohol). It’s the million little minutiae that make up your day. It’s true what they say, we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff; we should celebrate them instead.

I spent a lot of time in my life refusing to celebrate anything at home for fear it’d be a complete disaster. What if no one came? What if they made fun of our house? What if I drank all the wine before people even showed up? (The most likely scenario). Then I married the world’s most social man. My days of hiding out were over. I decided it was time to put my control freak tendencies and overzealous shopping habits to good use and so began my love affair with our home, with our life.

In many social circles, it’s considered fairly gauche to profess love for your own life; humble-bragging and self-depreciation often have a better effect. That seems a little silly to me. We only get one chance at it, so why not cultivate the best experience possible?

Enter The Finer Points, my virtual memory box: a collection of the recipes, occasions, experiences, and relationships that make my house a home.  Life is in the details and I plan to remember every one of them. I hope you’ll join me.


Sometimes it’s okay to drink too much champagne and laugh hysterically during a slow song.
That’s what weddings are for, right?

Note: This is my first time using WordPress, so there’s definitely a learning curve. If you have any issues reading, commenting or sharing, please let me know. Any insider tips or advice would be greatly appreciated as well! Thanks for stopping by!