Emily M. DeArdo



Seven Quick Takes No. 89

7 Quick Takes, travelEmily DeArdo1 Comment


So, a few more pieces of Boston ephemera for you. 

Did you know they have a state and city children's book? It's Make Way for Ducklings, and the book is everywhere in Boston--in every shop, for sure.

My Duckling sketch. 

My Duckling sketch. 


Also, the Boston Tea Party ships have names. I know, right, why don't we learn this stuff in school? They're the Beaver, the Dartmouth, and the Eleanor. And yes, that was a million dollar question on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? --so now you know the answer! The Beaver and Dartmouth were whalers, and the Eleanor was a "full rigged" ship, whatever that means. I don't speak boat. 


In the Jeopardy! try out, one of the big things you learn is how to use the buzzer, or the "Signaling Device", as it's officially known. This is hard to get used to, because you want to buzz in right away. But you have to wait for the yellow lights on the side of the game board (these aren't visible to the TV audience) to light up--then you can buzz in. If you buzz in before this, you're locked out for a few seconds, which isn't that long in most places, but it's a long time on the show.  


You're also supposed to keep pressing the button once the lights are on, in case the first person misses the question. So there's a lot of frantic pushing. 


There are five episodes of the show taped a day--so basically, a week's worth, in one day. Your brain has to be tired by the end of that, right? But it's probably the most efficient way to do it. 


This--and theater--are the two places where I don't need to be told to be loud. Some people SHOUT, and that's really annoying. Don't shout, guys. You're going to kill your voice. Project! as Eleanor says in Brave. But DO NOT SHOUT. Geezy pete. There is a difference between projecting and shouting. I know, it's a fine distinction. :) But it's there. (Ask Italians. "We're not arguing! We're talking!")


I'm going on a retreat this weekend--got any prayer requests? Leave 'em in the combox! 

{P,F,H,R} 6: Boston

PFHR, travelEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter. 


The view of Boston Harbor from our hotel room. 


Our Lady of Fatima in the North End. 

The lights in Cantina Italiana, where we had Sunday lunch. Love them!



Les Miserables for babies? Why not? 

Downton Abbey Tea.....above Boston Tea Party Tea. 


Dinner at Legal Sea Foods Long Wharf on Saturday night. 


Heading home with my trusty Vera carryons. :) 

Postcard: Boston

travelEmily DeArdo2 Comments

Boston wasn't just my first trip to Massachusetts; it was my first trip to New England proper (New York City so does not count as New England). I've heard a lot of good things about it--history, great food, and fantastic fall colors--and I was excited to see if the stories were true. 

So, first up--where we stayed. We stayed at the Seaport Boston and had an amazing stay there.  The hotel is "service inclusive", meaning you don't leave tips. This took a while for us to get used to, but in the end, I think it was a really great system. The walls had great soundproofing (so says my dad--I can't really tell!), and each room had a doorbell. If you wanted privacy, you pushed the "privacy" button by the door, and the light around the doorbell turned red, so housekeeping knew not to knock. How ingenious is that? 

The hotel had a library, DVD and Xboxes you could borrow, a gym, three eating options, and a pillow library. 

nd there were five more options.....

We had a great view of Boston Harbor, too. The hotel has a concierge and a cab stand out front, so it was really easy for us to get into Boston proper, but there was also a T station nearby, if you wanted to try that option. It's really close to Logan airport--about a five minute ride. 

Our main reason for picking the Seaport was that it was close to the Westin, where the auditions were being held, but it turned out to be a great decision. I highly recommend it. 


Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall

Boston is an incredibly historic city, as everyone knows, and about 7 hours of daylight wasn't enough to see all of it, sadly. But we did enjoy visiting the Old North Church, the Revere Mall (where one can take the shot that opens this entry--that's the Old North Church behind a statue of Paul Revere), Faneuil Hall, and Quincy Marketplace The Old North Church is actually still a working church, and donations are required to tour it. 

Revere Mall was actually my favorite place in the city. It's really a beautiful place to stop and hear the city bustle around you, and the fountain near the Old North Church is beautiful. There's also a St. Francis Garden (at an Episcopal church? Whatever), a chocolate and tea shop (historic chocolate and regular chocolate. YUM), a printing shop (Colonial printing demonstrations are held there), and a regular gift shop. 


The Freedom trail is sort of easy to follow. I say "sort of", because it's also kind of easy to lose in big places, and it's convoluted. Basically, following the red bricks and you'll be OK--or not. Like I said, it's confusing, especially if you're picking it up mid trail. But there are apps and maps for it, that I just didn't use. 

Faneuil Hall is also open for tours, and the marketplace is insanely popular for just about everyone. There are places to eat and places to shop. My favorite was the Make Way for Ducklings Storeprobably THE cutest kids/middle readers/ YA readers store I've ever seen. 

Food: Yes, we have to talk about food. Food in Boston is really good, folks. On Saturday, we ate at Legal Seafood Long Wharf, and it met our expectations, and then surpassed them. 

Can we talk about Boston Creme Pie for a second, guys? Whatever you've had before, trust me. It's not the real deal. The real deal is found only in Boston. And it is Magically Delicious. 

On Sunday, we had lunch at Cantina Italiana, on Hanover Street in the North End, where we were seduced by lamb shank, risotto, and gnocchi and seafood platters (and a waiter who looked like Stanley Tucci in Big Night.) 

We had a great, restorative cup of hot chocolate at the Ghirardelli's Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop.  The cafe style seating, with wrought-iron chairs and marble topped tables and counters on the second floor was a great place to take a break, sketch, and people watch via the windows that overlooked the marketplace. 

Cheers in Faneuil Hall was our stop for dinner. I know. You're probably thinking, TOURIST MUCH? But we really enjoyed it, and the food was good!

And no, no one knew our names....but that's OK! 

We had Breakfast on Monday (our last day) at the hotel, and it was enjoyable. I mean, it wasn't the BEST BREAKFAST EVER, but it was good and we liked it. Breakfast at hotels is basically....breakfast at hotels. For lunch, we ate at the Legal Test Kitchen location at Logan, where you could get lobsters packaged to go....which sort of unnerved me. Live lobsters in the cargo hold? That can't be fun for them. And how long are they good for, anyway? Is there a live lobster expiration date?

The city is walkable, but beware the uneven pavement and cobblestones--I tripped a few times. We never had a problem finding cabs, which was good. Neither Dad or I wanted to try the T, so I can't report back on that. 

It was a quick trip, but a good one--the food alone made it worth it! If I went back I'd probably want to explore Beacon Hill and the Back Bay, and visit the art museums, which we didn't get to do (I'm a museum nut). But this was a good introduction to the city. 


Daybook No. 107: Back from Boston

books, Daybook, drawing, memoir, Tidying Up, travelEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

Sunny, a few clouds. It's going to be beautiful today--in the low 70s. Yay!


jeans and a dark cherry colored elbow length t-shirt. Keeping it casual today. 


The Story of a New NameDaring Greatly, and the new Rick Riordan book, Magnus Chase--which takes place in Boston. :) If we'd stayed a few more hours I could've gone to the author's book signing! Drat! Since I did so much walking in Boston, my shins are not pleased with me--I get shin splints really easily. So today I'll be reading and putting some ice on the cranky body parts. But it's totally worth it. 

In Boston, I read Bird by Bird and Big Magic--both of which were excellent. I might have to re-read them both before NaNo kicks off. I especially enjoyed the parts that talk about publishing--and how getting rejection letters doesn't mean your work sucks! That's helpful, as I look at the following....


The Manuscript is being delivered TODAY!!!!! Eekkk! Then the three month counter kicks off. (That's about how long they say it takes for them to evaluate a manuscript.) NaNo starts next month, so I'm thinking about what I want this year's novel to be about. So far, nothing is hitting me yet, except last year's NaNo novel, that I had to abandon, because it wasn't working. I think this year I might have a way of making it work, but it may require starting from scratch, which would work for NaNo15! 



OK, so I don't want to do all Boston Palooza on you here--I'm going to spread it out over the week. So we can have Pretty Funny Happy Real Boston Edition, and then some Seven Quick Takes, Boston edition. However, I will talk about Jeopardy, here, because that's what we all care about right? :) 

Boston harbor, as seen from our hotel room 

Boston harbor, as seen from our hotel room 


The audition works like this: You go in, you get a polaroid taken, and then you are called into the audition room. In Boston, they divided us up into two groups--in NYC, we all went in as one group. You are instructed in the ways of the contestant pool--how you got picked, what's going to happen today, and what's going to happen after. We're in the contestant pool for 18 months, so until April 4, 2017. About 100,000 people take the online test, and from that, about 1000-3000 are selected for the second round of auditions. From there, 400 people are called to be contestants on the show. We were reminded many times to be loud and enthusiastic--two things I never have trouble with, ever. 

From there, we had a 50 question test--50 questions flashed on a screen, and you had eight seconds to answer each question (you wrote the answer down on a lined answer sheet). On the online test, you have 30 seconds to answer each question. After that, the tests are collected and graded, and then three people are called up at a time to play a practice round and be interviewed. The practice rounds and interviews are videotaped. 

I was in the first group called up. So we played a "round"--the game board was on a screen and we got to pick categories and everything, just like on the show, and we used the buzzers (more about those later this week, and How Crazy They Are). After that, you are interviewed, and I was interviewed second. Yes, you are interviewed in front of everyone. We were asked what we would use the money we won for, what we did, etc. Nothing really difficult--it was mostly for personality purposes. 

No, you do not find out how you did on the audition. But you just might get a random call summoning you to LA for taping. 


For today::

Happy Feast Day, St. Bruno! And since she's the Gospel reading for today: St. Martha and the Dragons.  Let's give Martha some love, guys!


Tidying Up::

The paper will be finished this week--my insurance stuff and tax materials are stored downstairs, and those have been sorted already, and are good to go. In the office are my other sorts of papers that I probably don't need and can toss. 

After paper comes the category of "Komodo", which is a Japanese term for miscellany, and in Kondo's book, it means: 

  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Toiletries
  • makeup
  • accessories (non clothes)
  • valuables
  • electronics and appliances
  • household items and supplies 
  • kitchen goods/food
  • and Other: hobbies and such, so for me that's knitting, my music books, board games etc. 

You can see this is a BIG category and will probably take awhile. But after this there are only three more categories: Small change, sentimental items, and photos. 

I've already done the CDs, because those went with the Books to Half-Price, and I've done a lot of the DVDs, for the same reason, but I'm sure there are still some I can put in the sell/donate pile. 

This week::

Like I said, here on the blog we'll have several Boston reports, so you can look forward to that. In other news, I have a dentist appointment, the first BalletMet performance of the season (yay!), the Pirates Wild Card game against the Cubs  tomorrow, and a Lay Dominican retreat all weekend! Whew! 


Daybook No. 106--the day the manuscript is mailed!

behind the scenes, current projects, Daybook, writing, books, memoir, travel, Tidying UpEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

(Well, it's really Starbucks' window. It's 9:30 AM as I'm writing this and I'm being very sterotypically "writerly" by doing this at a Starbucks.)

Cloudy and windy. Only going to be in the 50s today. Well, hi, Fall.....


Jeans, pink flats with flowers on them, a long-sleeved gray t-shirt, fake diamond studs. (Big ones. Ha!)

Listening to::

Outlander Vol. 2 is in the CD player, but in here it's low talking and coffee machines humming and frothing. This Tanzania reserve I'm drinking is pretty awesome, btw. 


Guys. Today the book is getting ailed to a  publisher

Yeah. Squeal a little with me. :) 

No, they haven't already accepted it. This is my submission. It will take about three months to hear back. But it's getting mailed to a real, live publishing house. I can't even, people. 

(Actually, by the time you read this, it might already be out and on its merry way!)

How can you help me get this published? , you may be asking. 

Well, I'll tell you!

First, if you already subscribe to this site, five thousand thank you. That's a huge help. If you could follow me on other social media (the buttons are over on the right sidebar), that would also be enormously helpful. Social media follows are a huge part of my "platform", as it were, and very helpful because it indicates people who might actually, you know, read this thing when it comes out--and buy it! Not just read it. Spend money on it.  

If you do not subscribe to the site, and you followed this link from somewhere else--please subscribe? I promise I won't do anything untoward with your information, and you won't get five thousand emails from me. You'll just get notices when blog posts go up, and maybe, occasionally, newsy things. (I haven't done that yet. But I could.)

Second, send prayers/good thoughts out about it. If you pray, please pray for its success! If you don't, then just send happy thoughts out into the universe, please? 

If this publishing house doesn't take the manuscript, then there are many other places I can try. This is by no means the only place. It's just the first place. 

And thank you to everyone who supports my writing on a daily basis. I am thankful for you! (That means you, readers.) 

Also: My Second September Real Housekeeping Piece is up now! 


The books I have packed for Boston are all about creativity and writing. Noticing a theme? Right now, though, I'm reading The Book of SHEFinding God's Will For You, and The Throne of Fire. I've also got arly Warning in my pile, but it is so not speaking to me....but I don't want to give up on it, yet. I'm also reading Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series. I finished My Brilliant Friend, which I really liked, so I'm on to book two, The Story of a New Name. There are four books, total, in the series, and the last one was just published. Thanks to Richelle for letting me know about these! 


Thinking Ahead::

After Boston, I have our Third Order Retreat the following weekend, and then  blessed weekend at home. :) The weekend after that, I have a wedding of a good friend in Indiana. Then another weekend off, then I'm going to Pittsburgh to be my cousin's confirmation sponsor. So I'm thinking about ways to enjoy all of the awesome that's coming, but also stay sane with the things that have to be done--health, fitness,keeping the house clean, eating well, all those things. So it's going to be a balancing act, but I think a useful one. I'll have to use my weekdays to recharge and focus on the "here" things. 

In other news, my Boston bag is almost packed, and I think I've decided what to wear for the audition!

Tidying Up::

So the clothes are done, done, done! The last bag of donated items went out the door today. The books are a work in progress. I keep weeding out, a bit at a time, but so far 11 bags of books, CDs and DVDs have gone to Half Price books, and a few have been donates. 

The third step is paper, and I've got the paper on the first floor corralled and dealt with. Yay! Now the goal is to hit the office, where paper just lives. It's the Paper Capital of my house. So that's on tomorrow's agenda, I think. 

After the paper, that's when Marie K. suggests hitting the DVDs and CDs, but I've already done those, since they go with the books in the "to be sold" pile. I weeded out a lot of CDs, which made me happy, so now it's down to CDs that I actually listen to. What an idea, right? 

Looking Ahead::

I leave for Boston on Saturday, and I come back on Monday. So Friday is the mania that is finishing packing and making sure all the logistics are in place. It might rain, now, when we're in Boston, so I have to come up with a Rain Sight Seeing Plan. This might involve....museums. I don't think Dad likes museums. But I do? We'll figure something out. The Freedom Trail does have some inside sights, and we can always hang out in the North End and drink coffee with our Italian brethren all day. Nothing wrong with that!




Daybook No. 105

Daybook, books, fiction, Real Housekeeping, writing, Catholicism, current events, travelEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window::

Partly cloudy and warm. I'm ready for fall.....I've got a candle burning to helpfully spur my "fall feelings" inside. :) I am, however, wearing jeans! 


Early Warning, Middlemarch, The Mark of Athena, A Year of Pleasures

In the CD player::

Sarah McLachlan's Shine On


A dear colleague/friend of mine, Cheri Mitchell. She was the former director of BalletMet, who had just retired, and I met her during my work with the Young Professionals board. She was so dedicated to her work and the arts in Columbus, but she was also incredibly supportive in my own writing and theatrical endeavors, often leaving kind notes or comments on my Facebook page whenever I wrote about theater project or writing updates. I will miss her. 

She was hit by a car when she was out running this morning. It's so crazy to think that she woke up this morning and was fine....and now she's gone. 

I will be keeping her soul and her family in my prayers. Can I ask y'all to do the same thing? 

However, Cheri would've been pleased with this next bit....

The book, as we know, is done. And it will be mailed out tomorrow! I have to scribble out a cover letter tonight, but soon it will be on its way to San Francisco....and then I wait!

My newest Real Housekeeping piece is up, as well! It's a little different but I think you'll like it.

And I also think I've solved the problem of my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. Basically, I started writing this novel, and it just didn't want to write--I was missing something. But I think, with some thinking on it, I have a new idea an possibly a new format for it (multiple narrators). Now that THE BOOK is done, I have time to go back to some of my fiction projects that are in various stages of completion. 


I had a clinic appointment yesterday, and everything is stable, so that's good, and I got my flu shot. Oh joy! I had a dentist appointment today, and I've got my first cavity in like, 20 years, so I guess that's something....going back to have that fixed after the Boston trip. It's super tiny so it's not a huge deal but I was sad to break the streak of Awesome Teeth. :-P 


The Pope's visit and the Synod on the Family. Both of these things sort of give me the heebie jeebies. I miss John Paul and Benedict. I know we've had "average" popes before, but the majority of my life was spent under two amazing popes, one of whom is a saint. 

Pope Francis makes my head hurt. When I read Laudatio Si', I spent a lot of time going "what? What does that mean?" I know he's Argentinian, so he's coming to things from that perspective. I know he's South American. I know he doesn't speak English. But I just can't get a good read on him, or really understand what's important to him. He just seems so all over the place. I don't really like it when the pope is all over the place. 

I'm listening to Fr. Robert Barron talk at the World Meeting of Families right now, which is the precursor to the Synod, I think. The Synod also makes me nervous. I don't like changing things to be "modern" or "hip." I like things that are true. I'm a Dominican. I don't like to see things change that are contravene truth and what we believe. I'm hoping that doesn't happen. I'm also hoping the pope doesn't say something inexplicably crazy in front of the UN or Congress. 

Maybe I'm worrying too much, and maybe I just need to "let go and let God." But I still worry. And it's not that I feel "challenged" by him--it's that a lot of the stuff he says is so dang confusing!

Around the house::

Took five more bags to Half Price books today--CDs and books, mostly. Yes, I skipped ahead a bit and did my CDs today. The CDs are supposed to be done after paper. I did the downstairs paper, which is stuff like my lease, tax returns, etc. and tossed the stuff I didn't need anymore, and managed to combine what I do need into one vertical file. There are also the papers in the office, which will probably just be summarily trashed, because it's stuff that Kondo calls "seminar notes"--things I printed out, meaning to read them.....and then never did. Out they'll go. 

From the kitchen: 

I loved Jamie Oliver's chicken fajitas so much when I made them a few weeks ago that I'm making them again. I serve them with his really easy homemade salsa and some cheddar cheese, and no tortilla, to reduce the carb load. And let me tell you, it's amazing. I think next week we're going to have another Food Stories post up about Mexican Food. I'm also thinking about making my first kedgeree this week, which excites me greatly, because it's fish and cheese and other awesome things. :) 

Planning for Boston::

We've made two reservations--one at La Summa, in Boston's North End, and one at Legal Seafood by the New England Aquarium. The Jeopardy test is at 9:00 on Sunday morning, and let me tell you, I'm going to be HUNGRY after that test, so we'll be heading to the Faneuil Hall area of downtown first, so we can eat!

Yarn Along No. 35

yarn alongEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I've started another bookmark in the Atlantis yarn. I really love this color way, especially on my Sunstruck needles. Sunstruck needles are actually my first love, in a way, because they're what I first started knitting with, and I've never had any problems with them. 

Since I've never been to Boston, I obviously must read up on the city before I get there! 


Daybook No. 104: A pleasant surprise!

Daybook, travel, booksEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Outside my window::

Sunny and blue skies; definitely a nice thing to wake up to.


I'm going to the gym shortly, so Athleta relay capris in a  bright orange red, and one of Athleta's tops--a gray t-shirt. 

In the CD player::

Audrey Assad's Fortunate Fall


MiddlemarchA Right to be Merry (about cloistered Poor Clares), and I'm picking up the latest Michael Vey installment today, because I love Richard Paul Evans. I've also got A Spool of Blue Thread in my Library Book Pile. 

Kondo update: 

(I call it "Kondo" update, because the book I'm using, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, was written by Marie Kondo. You can read about it here, if you're new to the whole thing.) 

So, the clothes are gone. Well, I mean I'm done with sorting my clothes. Ten bags, including one full of shoes. For my old job, I needed lots of "work clothes", including heels, pants, etc.--things I hate to wear in general. Well now, they are off to be used by someone else! 

The second group of items Marie has you work on are books. As one of my friends said, "You are getting rid of books?!" Yes, I am. I generally do this fairly regularly, but this is a big purge. I'm getting rid of all the books I don't love. That means there's probably about 75 books in several small piles in my main room. There are more books to be sorted in the book room, but I'm already thinking there will be four or five bags (Not trash bags, but like tote bags) of books taken to Half Price Books. That doesn't count the DVDs and CDs that are going to be sorted later, and that I'll also take there. 

So this week, I'll be finishing the books, and maybe moving on to the papers (her third category). 

The big surprise!::

Yes, I sort of hid it down here. I'm crafty like that!

So in 2013, I was invited to the second round of Jeopardy! auditions.  Basically--and you can read more about it at the link--the way it works is you take the test, and then you can't take the online test (the first part of getting on the show) for about two years. 

In January, I could take the test again, and so I did. I didn't think I did that well, and I promptly forgot about it. So I was pretty surprised when I found an email in my inbox Friday night saying that I'd been invited to the second round of auditions in Boston!

The audition is October 4 at 9:00 A.M. It takes about two hours. So dad and I will be spending a few days in Boston! I've never been to Massachusetts, so it'll be my second new state this year, and Boston will feed a lot of my history geek urges. I wish we could get to Concord to se Orchard House, but that's not going to happen. Oh well!

October is just crazy. There's Jeopardy!, then my Third Order retreat, then  a friend who's getting married in Indiana. So at least I'll be really good at packing, if I'm not already, by the end of that month! 


Last week I had two really great workouts back to back, and that excited me. It also re-ignited my desire to reach new milestones in what my body can do. I might not ever like working out, but I do love the way I feel after a great workout. So today I'm hitting the gym (the last two were outside workouts, because the weather was perfect--upper 60s/low 70s. When it's in the 80s, like it will be today, working out outside isn't such a great thing for me.). I've also been paying more attention to strength training.  I have a doctor's appointment on Monday, so, yes, that's also part of the motivation. 

From the kitchen::

More Jamie Oliver recipes this week. I've got a steak today, and then a chicken recipe where the chicken is wrapped in proscuitto. YUM, right?