Vainity is Nothing New….Just Ask the Romans!

You think that modern society is superficial? Wait until you get a glimpse of life in Pompeii.

Yesterday, I visited the “A Day in Pompeii” exhibit at the Museum of Science in the beautiful city of Boston (which is my favorite place in the world, by the way). This exhibit features artifacts from ancient Roman life circa 79 AD in Pompeii – amazingly, the volcanic eruption that year preserved a plethora of frescoes, furniture, and other items from daily ancient life.

Some of the artifacts on display are what may be considered beauty items of the ancient world. For example, these mirrors, perfume/oil jars, combs, and jewelry show us that being obsessed with one’s outer appearance in not a new concept!

Some (very worn) mirrors from Pompeii

Perfume and Oil Jars


An itty bitty comb, probably the size of my pinky finger!

My favorites - snake armbands! They were found on the skeletons of some young women (Okay, so that's a tad creepy)

Conclusion? Blame the Romans for vanity! (Oh, and they did something else that was really important too….what was it? Oh yeah, the republic. That too 🙂

Dream House #1….Old Fashioned and Just the Way I Like It!

I like old stuff.  Old clothes (“vintage”), old furniture (“antiques”), old houses (“historic buildings”), old music (“classic rock”) – you didn’t realize that there are that many euphemisms for old things, did you?

But let’s focus on old houses and antiques, shall we? I took a trip out to the Augustus Saint Gaudens Historic Site the other day. For those of you who don’t know, Augustus Saint Gaudens was an American sculptor, famous for creating the Shaw Memorial in Boston, a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Chicago, and the $10 and $20 gold coins. STOP STOP I KNOW YOU JUST GOT BORED BUT KEEP READING!  The site features his house with the first floor still intact with the original furniture. Due to the fact that the house was furnished 19th-century style…..I almost died!!!

A parlor from Heaven!

I adore the old piano!

I adore the old piano!

Old Couches+ Pianos+ Fireplaces= a mental breakdown.

The outside of the house was simply marvelous too – except for that giant tree that obscures a good 20% of the house from view. The patio on the side of the house was a nice touch too! There were a ton of beautiful gardens in the backyard that I am tempted to post pictures of…but something about the random statue of a naked man in the middle of the garden stops me.

Augustus Saint Gaudens' home

I Love the Jersey Boys….. and I don’t mean the Situation (or Vinny, or DJ Pauly D)

No, when I say that I love Jersey Boys, I have no intention of referencing the popular MTV show Jersey Shore.  I’m talking about the Tony-award-winning musical – those Jersey boys. Last month, while I was vacationing in Cleveland (mainly to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) I saw Jersey Boys on a Thursday night. And for a weekday, the house was pretty full. If that isn’t a good reflection of the musical, I’m not sure what is.

I saw Jersey Boys at the State Theater in Cleveland (1519 Euclid Ave). The theater was absolutely gorgeous, with architecture that would make any art aficionado drool. The old-fashioned look of the interior calls to mind images of the Boston Opera House at home, where I’ve seen Wicked. I got the tickets kind of last-minute, so I was up in balcony, which might have been a problem if there hadn’t been such a marvelous view of the entire theater. Sadly, I couldn’t tae pictures inside the actual theater, but I did manage to take a few pics of the foyer.

The State Theatre In Cleveland, Ohio

Anyway, back to the actual musical. It was fabulous. A  throwback story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, it rings out the ups and downs of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees that blossomed as rock was taking its shape.  Covering hits from “Sherry” to “My Eyes Adored You” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, the cast  not only keeps the songs true to their original version, but they actually sound just like the original band. It’s a little freaky – but in a good way. A very good way. The play even goes as far as using (as their website puts it) “authentic Jersey language.” Trust me, there’s no shortage of cuss words in the production, but at least they have a good excuse. 🙂

Cleveland is Better Than You Think….

Yeah, that’s right. I went to Cleveland for vacation this year. And yes, I went there on purpose.

The main attraction of my trip was to see the incredible ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME! Oh, the thrill of being inches away from shirts worn by Elvis, stage costumes worn by Mick Jagger, and hand-painted pictures created by a young Jimi Hendrix. I spent a good five hours pressing my face up against the glass that separated me from incredible remains of rock and roll history. However, they don’t allow pictures inside the Rock Hall! It was a tradgedy…here I am, inches away from Steven Tyler’s hand-written lyrics for “Walk This Way”, and you’re telling me I can’t take a picture, even without flash? The horror! So, in place of taking pictures, I had to buy a $30 book instead.


The Rock Hall

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from a Distance


Of course, about 15 minutes of those 5 hours was me standing in awe  in front of the stage outfits worn by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Just standing there…jumping in excitement occasionally…..but mostly me staring in amazement. But seeing Aerosmith memorabilia is nothing new to me. Why, I’ve gazed upon Steven Tyler’s gorgeous striped jumpsuit many times at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, not to mention all the pictures I’ve taken next to it. I am, after all, one of the world’s biggest Aerosmith fans. Anyway, my point is that I’ve seen tons of Aerosmith stuff…so the real show-stopper was the section about Jim Morrison of the Doors.

If you know anything about the Doors, you know that their lead singer, Jim Morrison, was quite the dark person. Who else could come up with the morose lyrics and creepy tune to a song like “Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)?” He was a real, walking, work of art until he died at age 27 in 1971. The section of the Rock Hall about him had more than clothes he wore…it contained some pictures he drew as a child, his old report cards, and even cards he had written to his parents. One of the items was a Christmas card that said “Have a Cool Yule,” which I previously considered to be the lamest phrase ever (now I can’t wait to use it all December long).  It was incredible to see his work as young child…before he had turned into the dark, twisted person he was known as (RIP Jim, I love your work forever)….

Another cool part of the museum was the “Women Who Rock” exhibit. This temporary part of the museum had stage costumes from almost every famous woman in music history, from Janis Joplin to Lady Gaga. A few must-see parts of this exhibit were outfits worn by Grace Slick (of Jefferson Airplane),  Madonna, Nancy and Ann Williams (of Heart) and of course my favorite, Lady Gaga’s outfits from the 2010 Grammy Awards and a re-creation of her meat dress.

What can I say? I was an incredible five hours of rock and roll history. The next evening, I went to free concert outside the Rock Hall to see Fitz and the Tantrums…a band my mom and I love. I got there two hours early…and it paid off! I was at the very base of the stage, within touching distance of the band’s handsome lead singer Fitz. I spent the next two hours jamming to their unique retro-soul vibe, and afterwards I even got to meet all of the band members and take pictures with them (including gorgeous Fitz :-). The best part, however, was receiving one a set list for that evening’s show – and they only gave out two. I had every band member sign it…maybe it will hang in the Rock Hall someday!

Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and the Tantrums at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

More to come about Cleveland…..what do you say?