Baby Feet & Heart Beats


Baby Feet & Heart Beats

Below are a list of my favorite baby names…Reasons/Meanings, etc. I’m not a mom…yet…I someday hope to be. When my sister became pregnant we started bouncing around baby names…She said she had had never really thought about it and asked me if I had any names that I had thought about…Of course I had…So whether your a mom or not…What are your favorite baby names? What middle names would you use? Why? Would you go classic? Or Celebrity Crazy? Do you prefer vintage names or a more trending name? Comment below I’d love to hear from you. 

My nieces prayer feet

Nicholas *Nico* Giuseppe

  • I always knew even before he passed away that if I ever had a boy I would name him after my grandpa Nicholas. Nicholas is a popular name in my family. I had my Grandpa Nick, my uncle Nick, my cousin Nick; a Dominic Nicholas and a Logan Nicholas…(It kind of feels like that scene in my Big Fat Greek Wedding where Gus is introducing the members of his family to Ian’s parents… “Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick”) lol; but in all honesty, I love the name Nicholas or Nikolas. My grandfathers middle name was Joseph but I also wanted to incorporate my paternal great grandfathers especially when I saw a photo of him for the first time while visiting my family’s home in Italy…His portrait was hanging on the wall and it was a beautiful portrait of a man that I didn’t even know existed…I remember asking my cousin who is that guy…My cousin laughed and said…That’s your great grandfather Giuseppe (Joseph) 

Janelle Rosalie 

  • I don’t remember how I fell in love with the name Janelle. It’s always been in my head as if I felt like she was already a part of me.
  • Rosalie came to me when I was talking to my grandma about our family history. I learned that my grandmas sister (who passed away as an infant) was called Rosella. And that I also had a great aunt on my grandfathers side called Rose. I felt like I wanted to honor both Rose and Rosella as they are such beautiful names but without picking one or the other I chose one all in it’s own beauty. Rosalie…(Before it became popular with the Twilight Saga) Rosalie is a French Variation of Latin Rosalia. 

GianLuca (Vincenzo/Vito)

  • Not to get all Italian or anything but I have a cousin here in America called Giancarlo and I have a cousin in Italy called GianLuca. I’ve always loved the name Jon, normally the spelling is either Jon or John. Seeing it spelled Gian is different all together and I love that it’s different. As I weighed between Giancarlo and Gianluca. I went with Luca…As the name Luca means Bringer of Light and I find that very spiritual. 
  • Vincenzo or Vito–I remember back in the day some girlfriends and I talked about baby names and the first thing that came to mind was Vincenzo…I didn’t know why I liked it…but over the years it’s always a name I’ve had in the back of my mind. I really love the shortened version of Enzo…And I even played around with Lorenzo as well but Vincenzo (Conqueror) stuck…As for Vito (Full of Life), it is my great grandfathers name and I really like that one as well…

Ostia *Tia* Aurora

  • I fell in love with the name Ostia when I was coming up with a name for a character I was writing as a young girl. I based the name off my family’s home town of Asti…Just adding a few extra syllables. I thought the name was beautiful and a shortened version would be Tia. As I tried to find out the meaning of the name Ostia I was surprised to learn that it was actually a place in Italy…(Ironic) I did some research on Ostia, it’s a beautifully preserved harbor city in Ancient Rome. I tried to find out if anyone was actually named Ostia and I couldn’t find anything but I did find out that it’s a rare name, derived from Italian origins. It means from the ancient city. And it’s pronounced Aastiyah. 
  • As for a middle name, I wanted to do something just as rare as Ostia…I picked out Aurora (Having nothing to do with the Disney Princess) Aurora is a Latin Baby name, she was the mythical Roman goddess of sunrise whose tears turned to morning dew...How beautiful is that? 

Other names:

  • Cadyn Logan
  • Tristan Levi
  • Anthony Dominic
  • Isabella Alexia/Sofia
  • Joshua Benjamin


Every face has a name. And every name has a story…

What’s yours? 




What’s Cookin’ in Js Kitchen?

What’s Cookin’ in Js Kitchen?

My family has owned and operated a local restaurant for four generations. I order dinner there nearly every night and as any person who eats at the same place over and over again sometimes one gets bored of chicken, fish, burgers and pasta…I try to eat healthy too so chicken and fish get rather boring. It’s nice to spice things up every now and then which is why I’m so lucky we have a chef there who is imaginative, creative and so nice that he always cooks meals special for me. All I have to say is “can you please make me something”…His response “sure, what do you want”…My response “Surprise me” and I have never once been disappointed by any surprises. His cooking is phenomenal and I always crave his cooking….Below are some of the special dishes he has created for me which are not on our menu. 

Grilled Rosemary Chicken cutlets stuffed with fresh baby spinach and lemon butter sauce. 
Fresh broiled haddock with a steamed broccoli center in a lemon butter sauce
Homemade Sesame Chicken and steamed broccoli
Tuna Steak with Thai Chili Sauce (This item is on the menu, but typically not served in this fashion)
Amazing! Stuffed Bell Pepper topped with melted cheese and marinara sauce


My favorite! Tuna Steak Flatbread (Rare, no seeds) drizzled with balsamic dressing
Creamy Parmesan Chicken with Sun dried tomatoes

J makes some fantastic dishes, but there are other exceptional chefs there as well; check out some of our menu items

Shrimp Scampi~ 8 Jumbo Fantail Shrimp sauteed in lemon butter, wine and garlic on a bed of rice. 
Tuna Steak Selections
Tuna Steak with Asparagus 


Baked Stuffed Haddock
Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Mango and Pineapple Sauce
Surf n’ Turf



Easter Peep Centerpiece

Easter Peep Centerpiece

First, I planned on making this Easter Peep Topiary that I saw on Pinterest…for my nieces’ first birthday  (Easter themed)

Two words for you…


The problem was those things are top heavy so it didn’t matter the kind of base I had, how much hot glue I used to what size styrofoam ball I used I had the same result. 

The other problem was the peeps refused to stay on the toothpicks. 


Since I had several boxes of Peeps I needed to do something with them so I made something much easier and I was pleased with the results and the kiddos loved it.



I feel like there may be an easier way to figuring out Peep Trees and I’ll probably try again. Considering my niece’s birthday falls just a few days before Easter I feel like we’ll have plenty more opportunities. 



DIY Christmas Centerpiece

Quick and Easy DIY Christmas Centerpiece

What You’ll Need:

  • Hurricane Vase
  • Decorative Snow
  • Christmas Ornaments (Color of Choice)
  • 6 Pack of Christmas Snowflake Ornaments (Color of Choice)
  • Christmas Pine Cone Ornament (Color of Choice)
  • Empty toilet paper roll
  • Five minutes of your time. 

This project is literally so simple and inexpensive and makes a beautiful decoration in your home. Whether it be for a table center piece, a decoration at the base of your tree or as I placed mine in my snow village it will be the perfect addition to your home. 


Step 1

  • Carefully open the bag of decorative snow over your vase. Sometimes these bags have little holes in them or are partially opened and this can be the most frustrating part of your project if you spill it everywhere. You won’t need the whole bag. Just a little will do. If you add the whole bag you will cover your ornaments. 

Step 2:

  • Insert the empty toilet paper roll into the middle of the jar. 

Step 3:

  • Add the ornaments around the outside of the roll to fill up the vase. I alternated the ornaments by shape and texture. 
  • Add your snowflakes in between rows of ornaments. 
  • Place your pine cone ornament in the middle at the top. 

Step 4:

  • Find a place to put your beautifully decorated vase. 



Cheese Board

How to make a kick ass cheese board for any occasion. 

Let’s face it, it’s not a party unless there is a cheese board involved. Now there are simple cheese trays that one may put an the end of a buffet line that is easily forgotten or you can create a kick ass cheese board that can be so creative, imaginative and fun that it will have all your guests talking. A perfect centerpiece for your party. A conversation starter. Great with wine and dark chocolates!



Say Cheese!

Creating your kick ass cheese board can be simple but also expensive so Ask Yourself This before you go out to the store and empty your wallet. 

Ask Yourself This:

  • How many people are you serving?
  • What is your budget?
  • What are you going to incorporate on your cheese board?
    • Examples:
      • Simple: Cheese & Crackers
        • What kind of cheese? How many wedges? How many sliced?
      • Adding fruit? 
        • Dried or Fresh? Both? How many?
          • Be sure you don’t add fruit that will brown easily or leak juice all over your beautifully arranged selection of cheeses. 
      • Adding Italian Meats? 
      • Nuts anyone?

If you are stumped on how to put a cheese board together look for ideas on Pinterest. If you want to use the one I made then go for it. Whatever works best for you. 

I decided to do a cheese board for Thanksgiving this year and I am very pleased with the turnout. I was serving approximately twenty people so I knew my tray had to be relatively large especially when serving a group of Italians and the cheese board being the main appetizer.

I wanted this cheese board to have three qualities

  1. Presentable
  2. Tasty
  3. Wide Selection


Since this was the only dish I was bringing to the table I decided not to worry too much about a budget but still I knew I wouldn’t be spending more than a hundred dollars. Yes, I said a hundred dollars and I know some of you might have your eyes bulging from your head at this point. Keep in mind when you go into a grocery store some of the most expensive items you will find are gourmet cheeses, fresh fruit, and quality nuts. If you add Italian meats to the mix a hundred dollars is easily spent. 

Types of Cheese

  • If you don’t like what I’ve chosen and you don’t know what you want to put on the tray I would suggest speaking to a Cheesemonger (Yes, that is really what they are called) and they will point you in the right direction. 

Cabot Cheese

  • These cheeses are relatively cheaper in the stores compared to the Gourmet Cheese which is nice because you can get a couple of bricks to slice up and use as fillers. 
    • Cabot Hot Habanero
      • This cheese is extremely intense and fiery hot so if you don’t plan on labeling your cheese make sure you point out to your guests a friendly fair warning for this particular cheese. It’s one of my favorites but you don’t want your grandma biting into this cheese without knowing how hot it actually is. 
    • Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese
      • This cheese is less intense as the Hot Habanero but it still contains jalapeno picante peppers so it is spicy and a good idea to let your guests know that it is one of the hotter cheeses so they are prepared with a glass of ice water on hand.

Gourmet World Cheese

  • These cheeses are relatively more expensive, whether you buy them in a market or grocery store the price will be about the same and can range anywhere between $5-$12 plus. 
    • American
      • Muenster (Semi-Soft)
    • Denmark
      • Havarti (Semi-Soft & Creamy)
    • France
      • Blue Cheese (Strong)
      • Brie (Soft, Mild & Creamy)
      • Goat Cheese (Creamy & Mild)
    • Italy
      • Gorgonzola (Blue & Creamy)
      • Mozzarella (Soft, Creamy & Delicious)2016-11-24-05-16-30
      • Provolone (Semi-Hard & Sharp) 
    • Netherlands 
      • Gouda (Smoky)

Italian Meats

  • Hard Salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Prosciutto
  • Sopressata Salami

Once you’ve got your cheese & meats the rest is easy. Finding fruits and nuts for fillers. 

Adding fruit both fresh and dried

  • Clementines
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dried Turkish Apricots
  • Pomegranates 
    • Purchase 2, slice in half and you can easily serve 20 people
  • Purple Grapes 

Adding Nuts

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios

The nice thing about this platter is that it was perfect for a dessert board as well. 

Wine and Cheese


a match made in Heaven

Add Dark Chocolate 

and you’ve got a Winning Trio!


  • Dark Chocolate
    • A variety of dark chocolate goes perfect with cheese and wine. I added three types. 
      • Dark Chocolate with Almonds & Sea Salt
      • Dark Chocolate Raspberry
      • Dark Chocolate Twilight Delight


  • Coluccio Fig & Acacia Honey Jam
  • Coluccio Pear & Acacia Honey Jam
  • Breadsticks
  • Crackers (at least 3-4 types)
  • Rosemary to garnish your board

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff and I know it can seem a bit overwhelming but if you already know how you are going to design your board then putting it together will be a piece of cake. The hardest part may be finding the perfect board to fit all of your items. I had a large beautiful chocolate brown tray that was perfect in size. Below are a few Helpful Hints in putting your final masterpiece together.

Helpful Hints:

  • First, I washed the tray that I was planning on using. Then, I placed linen napkins down on the tray so that the food did not come in contact with the tray. 
  • Decide which cheese you want to slice an which cheese you want to keep in wedges. 
  • Place the wedged cheese down first, but not all in the same direction or in a straight line. 
  • Place your large fruits such as pomegranate and grapes down on the tray. (One pomegranate should be sliced and scooped so you can use the shell as a holder for your loose seeds while the other is only sliced)
  • Next, add your sliced cheeses and nuts into small open areas. 
  • Then, add your meats (rolling your meats will add height to your board)
  • Now, add your smaller fruits (Apricots, Clementines, Cranberries) into open areas.
  • Lastly, garnish with Rosemary. 


  • As far as your jams go, keep them in their containers, take off the top and put out on a separate tray. 
  • Same goes for crackers, keep them on a tray separate from your board. 
  • Bread sticks will go in a vase to give height. 
  • The chocolate can be placed in bowls, separate by kind of chocolate. 

At this point your tray should be full and finished.


If you have leftovers make an extra small tray and put it out. Trust me, people will eat it.


Other similar and smaller trays I’ve done. 


Craft Me If You Dare!

Craft Me If You Dare!




I knew even before I moved into my new house that I needed some space for all the arts and crafts that I had literally been hoarding into laundry baskets, drawers, and into tote bins. Nothing was organized; and when I went to look for something I could never find it; therefore I would have to buy new stuff. So when I found out that with our new house I would have a spare bedroom all the ideas started spinning in my head. 
The first thing I needed to do was get organized and I think that this was the hardest part of the entire renovation. Luckily, as I said I was moving so I had reason to go through things, unpack, and put my crafts in their proper place. Crayons with crayons, colored pencils with colored pencils, glue with glue, well you get the picture. As I was unpacking I realized I had so much more stuff than I realized…Colored pencils and crayons by the dozens!
So the next thing I needed to do was get ideas so I hit the Pinterest Boards and after scrolling through tons and tons of boards I finally found the one that stuck out to me the most. It was simple yet everything I wanted in my room. I messaged her immediately so I could get information on where she purchased her shelves and rails. She got back to me right away and led me straight to IKEA. Now, I don’t have an IKEA store anywhere near me but I had been in one a couple times in Florida and was familiar with their merchandise. I was able to go right online and order what I needed for a very affordable price. It was shipped to me within days. 

I’ve never planned out a room before of how I wanted it to look from a single photo and making it actually come to life. It’s not completely finished but it’s really getting there. If it wasn’t for the website I crossed I would have never fallen in love with the room I have now. I love organizing this room, changing things up and switching things around. Finding out what was going to work and what wouldn’t. I love the color blue, anything blue reels me in hook, line and sinker. So in my room you will see a lot of blue, but I tried to do a balance of baby blue and white on one wall and cadet blue and white on the other wall. 

I went to Target and purchased from the dollar section SPRITZ Metal Pails and I love them. I use them for almost everything in my house. (Side Note: They are perfect in the laundry room for spare change.) 
The Starfish bottle is from A.C Moore Arts & Crafts on sale for $1.00


Wall Shelf

I love the blue tote of vintage letters and photo albums from my relatives in Italy.



Wall Decor


Cork Board Decor


Art Decor

My nonna is 87 years old and she absolutely loves the art therapy. She colors dozens of pictures a day and I think its just so sweet when she shows them to me or colors me a few pictures. I had been looking through the booklet one day as we were talking; I didn’t really think she was paying attention when I said I would like for her to color this particular picture for me because I thought it would  look great in my room. Sure enough, she was listening and went out of her way to frame it for me, along with some others; and of course used my favorite color...Blue! (Now I just have to hang them up) 

Budget Breakdown

  • 900IKEA EKBY VALTER Birch Bracket (4)…$20.00 ($5.00 a piece)
  • 9000IKEA EKBY VALTER White Wall Shelf (1)…$14.99 (Short)
  • 908IKEA EKBY Valter White Wall Shelf (1)…$17.99 (Long)
  • IKEA Steel Wire Basket (1)…$8.75
  • ShelfIKEA BYGEL RAIL (3)…$35.25 ($11.75 a piece)
  • IKEA BYGEL S-Hook (1 pack)…$3.99
  • 9088SPRITZ Metal Pails..(8) $8.00 ($1.00 a piece)


I hope you enjoy my craft room and design one too! 
Craft Me If You Dare!