Category Archives: Raise Your Teacup!

The Brattle Book Shop (read: Heaven)

Last Spring I had a studyless day during study period of finals season and decided to mosey my way downtown to delight in the sunshine of Boston and potential adventures of a free afternoon in the city with a fresh paycheck in my bank account. Options seemed limitless. I was venturing without a plan, with no agenda, and was expecting to resort to picking up leggings at the Downtown Crossing H&M to validate my trek to Park Street, when the heavens parted and I found Mecca.

I turned on to West Street, and discovered the parking lot I’d passed many times with random murals of bookshelves actually served a purpose during business hours. $1, $3, and $5 signs were taped to shelves of antique and shabby chic books upon books, with copyright dates from 1835 to 1987. It smelled like mildew and water damage and I hadn’t smelled pages so sweet in forever.

The Brattle Book Shop was apparently founded in 1825 and is the most phenomenal escapist spot ever. There are shelves galore inside the shop, but the outside bargain racks are the most fun.

shelves on shelves on shelves

My inner hoarder was instantly released in the outside shelving lot, and during my first time at the shop, I scavenged the shelves like it was the last time books were to be available for purchase. Nevermind that I was tripping over old men’s golden retrievers and hipsters’ headphones while I collected “The Handbook of Every-day French” circa 1925, and 3 volumes of deep brown leather-bound German history books, I had 8 books in my stack and hadn’t even totaled $15 yet! I saw visions of birthday gifts for everyone I knew and bookshelves in my home lined with egregious quantities of gold-striped, deep maroon spines.

“Selections from Emerson’s Prose Works” 1926, private library donation. “Sterling’s Gold” 1965 (not 2010), gift from Don. “Dinner at Antoine’s” 1948, Harvard Square stand. “Woman and Love” 1943, Harvard Square stand.              “Shakspeare’s Complete Works” 1855, Brattle Book Shop.

In the Eastern-most corner of the lot, I spotted a thick, apple-red spine on the $5 shelf. It was painted with glimmering gold embellishment that glistened in the ray of sunlight creeping into the space, and I reached up as I said aloud, “MINE,” and thought mutely, “HASHTAG MINE.”

I made my final purchase decisions, and the clerk advised that I “throw the books in the freezer overnight, just to get rid of any of those critters that might be in there.”

After thawing my purchase, I can happily say to “Shakspeare’s Complete Works,” thank you very much for being the perfect addition to my bookshelf, to my antique book collection, and to my goldleaf-gilded-loving life.

Have I read any of the books I’ve gathered? Well, I haven’t gotten around to blogging in about 6 years, so no, but it’s certainly on my to-do list with the best of intentions.

I also must note that while I can never stop the verbal hashtaggery and love Padrick my iPad and digital media eternally, there can and will be no replacement for the delight in holding a book. (Especially holding ones published in the 19th century.) #KatherinaMinolaisthegreatestcharacterofalltime

that BA monologue from the final scene of Taming of the Shrew


Smart smartwater

I love smartwater more than Jenn. I always love having a water bottle on me, and the size of the larger smartwater bottles are just big enough without being monstrous, and they’re just small enough that I can tote them around and feel like a cool post-gym celeb.

Best of all, smartwater bottles allow for the SMARTWATER GAME!!

Did you know that all the bottles of smartwater have a little animal on the inside of the packaging? As an advertising major, things like this excite me far more than they should. The bottles are so sleek and sexy and minimalist and then OOP! SURPRISE CUTE WIDDLE BITTY GOLDFISHY ON THE INSIDE! It’s the MOST delightful treat.

But the animals don’t stop at the goldfish. There’s environmentally conscious whimsical messaging with each animal, from an otter, to a duck, or a frog or crab! When buying a new bottle, I never peek and the game is to try to guess the animal you may get, and hope for a good one. The goldfish used to be the most aggressively ubiquitous and you’d ALWAYS get the goldfish, so you’d hope for the more elusive duck or crab. My latest snag was the otter, who reminds us that we should always drink responsibly and recycle, “you know you otter!”

The sheer delight in my day that is the smartwater bottles are a small treat that make purchasing the water well worth it. Oh, yeah, and I guess the actual water tastes great too. #likethatmatters.

Soupe D’Oreo

I think it is finally time to share with the world my twist on America’s Favorite Cookie. Behold! My own recipe for HOMEMADE OREO SOUP (Soupe D’Oreo). A long-time favorite of myself and my converted peers, Soupe D’Oreo is a classic favorite, and the only proper way to eat an Oreo Cookie.

STEP 1: Place 6 Nabisco Oreo Cookies in a bowl.

STEP 2: Pour milk into the bowl.

STEP 3: Take spoon, mush 6 Oreos.

STEP 4: Eat.

STEP 5: Feel no shame, for what you have just made is DELICIOUS.

Naveen in the Bean!

It is no secret that I am a BIT of a foursquaddict. I have an unhealthy obsession with using foursquare, and have since I first became a foursqerson. I’ve had the honor of meeting Dens himself, one of the greatest co-founders of anything of all time, and though many label me an extremist (read: stalker), this is only because my respect and adoration runs deeper than Pee Wee’s love for fruit salad. (hehe. see what i did there? a little foursquare-PeeWee integrational humor there for all you fellow foursquare fans.)

@dens & @ValentinaMonte. ignore blurry orange ShoelessSeth #ugh

Yesterday, I was laboriously hostessing at Scoozi,  tweeting away about @ScooziBoston, when I noticed a tweet from foursquare co-founder I had yet to meet, @Naveen, which I NATURALLY emphatically responded to immediately.

the glistening booth glowed up at me from my phone, and immediately I regretted not properly stalking adequately, for if I had been, I would’ve seen that Naveen HAD checked into the Hyatt Regency Cambridge mere HOURS before. How could I have slipped up on my obsession so?


And then. something AMAZING HAPPENED. and this was the moment that I now refer to as “when Valentina peaked.” for no greater twitter experience has happened in recent days. and i was in social media-induced HEAVEN #perusual

No stranger to Naveenium, i knew JUST how to contact the innovative genius that is Naveen Selvadurai, and began composing this absurdity:

This is Valentina Monte, official Boston University foursquare ambassador, and unofficial biggest foursquare fan. (Note: fan. NOT stalker of the founding geniusi, as many attempt to label me). I’d BE HONORED to meet up. Let me know what time/ place is convenient for you this evening? Your tweet alone just made my night/year. Thank you!!


*healthy, reasonable obsession

and yes. yes it IS sad that this email was me toning-it-down, and that this final draft is really rather composed and pretty contained in comparison to my original message of “#HOLYHASHTAG YES WHERE ARE YOU!? I WILL FLY THERE! CHECK IN QUICKLY SO I MAY IMMEDIATELY BE NEAR YOUR GAP-MODELING SELF!!” But i’m not insane, CLEARLY.

So Naveen, presumably assuming that I am an adult, Boston University employee, responds to my email with an invitation for a meet up at Green Street in Cambridge, AND HOMEBOY GAVE ME HIS DIGITS. THAT’S RIGHT. THE CO-FOUNDER OF FOURSQUARE EMAILED ME HIS NUMBER TO CONTACT HIM. (now is probably when Naveen contacts authorities to notify me of a restraining order… #woops #sorryimnotsorry)

Naturally, I drag fellow Boston tweep & social media enthusiast @RSprung along with me so I’ll have some one there to tone down my crazy, and we both hop the Red Line to Central Square. Though I am having serious regrets about not anticipating this meeting and won’t be able to don my foursquare shwag (tee, pins, tattoos), fortunately the sticker is eternally stuck to my phone case. PHEW.

As I am in the middle of all my fantasies coming to life, we are honored to be introduced to the brilliantly wonderful Susan Loh & Neil Sanchala, and also be part of the following tweet:

and NO, “online” is not a euphemism for psychotic stalkers, thank you.

Green Street is actually a really cool spot, and it was Naveen’s birthday a few days ago– so yea, I technically crashed a techy’s bday bonanza. #WIN

I was able to get in my suggestion for alphabetized friend listings, and essentially practice the art of containing indescribable gleeful delight. Many, many thanks to the wonderfully welcoming and phenomenal foursquarers, Naveen, and their ability to pardon my insanity. What a perfect perfect Monday night! 🙂 AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY NAVEEN. (or me. cause GOD it felt like it must have been my own birthday) #heavenlymondaynight #holyhashtag


this is not a BLOG ENTRY type blog entry. #sorryimnotsorry


just remembered this BOMB bret moment 🙂


New Twitter started rolling out on 9/14. (Hence the alarm clock, 9:14… very clever.) I got it on 9/15, honored to have it bestowed upon me so soon and to be welcomed so early into the most elite and glorious of all socially medial clubs. I fell instantly more in love with the beauty of #newtwitter.

The beautiful homepages, the sleek lines and fade outs, the @___ that immediately pops up all the potential followings you could intend to tweet, the movable new tweet box, the pictures that link into the right side- #newtwitter is the #worldsgreatesttwitter!

My only main complaint: I like the OLD RT! I don’t always wish to RT exactly as the original tweep tweeted. Sometimes, and most often, a RT is to add personal commentary. The current and recent RT functions force a user to copy and paste if he or she would like to add his or her own insights. #thingsthatshouldberemedied

Nonetheless, #newtwitter I love you more than the old twitter, and this is a feat many thought not possible. Two wings way up for the new twitter!


Bryant Park Summer Film Festival

Bryant Park, one of my favorite New York time-killing spots (when I have time to kill) offers the (HBO) Summer Film Festival every Monday night June-August.

It’s a GREAT and magical time, where movies start at sundown on the lawn, and people line up, blankets and picnics in hand, by 4pm. Suggestions so you’re not jealous of others’ perfect picnics: wine. brie. hummus. grapes.

I went to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail with my boyfauxriend Greggy, and subsequently made a quick run to snag food, so as to not be overcome with jealousy at the look of everyone’s bags of Trader Joe’s organic glory.

The movie started with a Looney Tunes Pepe Le Peu short, which was probably my favorite thing of all time, and of course I loved watching Python with a crowd of people all anxiously waiting the same epic lines. “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”

The whole experience is delightfully “summer in Manhattan,” and there’s always a cultured selection of films playing week-to-week. I highly recommend.