Welcome to sockii's world

by sockii

Who is sockii? If you're asking yourself that question, let me introduce myself a little better in my "Wizzography".

Hello and welcome to my little corner of the wizzley world. I'm relatively new here at wizzley, but in fact I've been creating websites and writing online for a very, very long time. In fact, I launched my very first website all the way back in 1995, while I was still in graduate school. However, since that time my life has certainly taken me in very different and unexpected directions.

What follows is a bit more about me, presented in the format of 10 hopefully interesting facts about my life and my interests. You'll also find links to my articles here on wizzley and elsewhere on the web.

10 (Hopefully?) Interesting Facts about sockii

Things you might find interesting to know about me, by way of introduction.

1. I was born in Ancona, Italy

...but never returned to Italy until I was 34 years old.

sockii at the Forum in Rome, ItalyIt's a long, complicated and personal story. Suffice to say that my mother is American (of mixed Polish-Dutch heritage), my father is Italian (from the Tuscany region), and although I was born in Italy I grew up in rural New York State with my mother's family. I did not end up visiting Italy until I was 34 and took my first trip to Florence with my sweetie, David.

Since then we have been back almost every year and Italy has become a country I love with a passion. I've written a lot about my travels to various regions of the country and cities including Venice (my favorite), Rome, Milan, Florence, Naples, Salerno, Siena and elsewhere.

General Italy Travel Guides

Information and Tips on Traveling All Around Italy
Visiting Italy is a dream of many...but is it too expensive to turn into a reality? Not necessary. Read on for my tips to enjoying an Italian vacation on a budget.
Italy has some of the most delicious food in the entire world. However, travelers to Italy often find themselves victims of restaurants out to scam tourists with bad food and infla
The churches of Italy are some of the most beautiful artistic and architectural treasures in the country. But be mindful of proper etiquette and decorum!
Is speaking English in Italy acceptable? Or do you need to be proficient in Italian before planning a vacation to the country?

Rome: The Eternal City

An overview on how to make the most of a planned trip to Rome, Italy
Helpful Hints for Maximizing Your Experience as a Tourist in the Eternal City
The Eternal City is Home to Some of the Greatest Sculptural Artwork in the Western World
The Christmas season is one of the best times of the year to visit Rome, Italy.
The ancient city of Rome is home to some of the world's most recognizable landmarks...and many Christmas ornaments commemorate them!

Naples and Southern Italy

Exploring Calabria and Beyond
Naples is a wonderful Italian city rich with culture, history, and delicious food! Consider visiting Napoli when you are planning your vacation to Italy. Here's why.
Learn about the history of pizza and why it is so associated with this city in Campania.
Salerno is an often overlooked tourist destination when visitors are planning a trip to the Campania region of Southern Italy and the Amalfi Coast.
Visiting the Italian city of Salerno is especially a treat in the Winter holiday season, as the streets are lit up in a dazzling display of Christmas lights.
A day in Capri can be beautiful any time of the year. Learn what you can see on a day trip to this lovely island off the coast of Naples, Italy.

Venice and the Veneto: My favorite place in the world...

Venice, Italy is one of the most recognizable and unique places in the entire world. Let me share some of my tips for how to enjoy your visit.
Venice is a popular tourist destination, but it can also be an extremely expensive one. Learn some tips on how to enjoy the best of Venice without spending a fortune.
If you're planning a trip to Venice, Italy, you should definitely do your research first to get the most from your vacation. These 5 books will certainly help!
The vaporetto water bus system is the main way to get around Venice, Italy - besides walking! Learn how to use the system as a great way to explore the entire Venetian lagoon.
Venice, Italy is heaven for seafood lovers. Here you'll find some of the specialties of Venice described as well as restaurants where you can sample them for yourself.
Venice, Italy: one of the most beautiful and unique places in all of the world. Here you can see some delightful Christmas ornaments which celebrate the unique sites of Venice.
Visiting Venice, and want to bring home a beautiful piece of Venetian glass? Then read my experience of buying a unique chandelier handmade on the island of Murano.
Il Burchiello offers a day-long river excursion between Venice and Padua, stopping at several noteworthy Venetian villas along the way.
This small, quiet island in the Northern lagoon is a delight for the eyes and well worth a visit when spending time in Venice.

Other Italian Destinations

Siena is a beautiful and unique medieval city in Tuscany, well worth a visit while in the region - or at least a day trip from Florence!
Isola Bella is a magical place to visit, if exploring the Lake District of Northern Italy. Learn about getting there, what to see, and enjoy my photographic tour of the island.
Why visit Bologna? Because the city is rich in academic, artistic and culinary history. Spend a few days in Bologna to get a taste of Italy you can't find elsewhere.
Once a Roman seaport, Ravenna is worth visiting today for its stunning Byzantine mosaics and historic churches.
This Adriatic Seaport in Le Marche is often overlooked by tourists. But Ancona and the surrounding area can be worth a visit for its history, natural beauty, and delicious cuisine.
Milan, Italy is a sometimes overlooked travel destination. But the city offers many attractions and reasons to visit, some of which I'll explore here.
Italian Cocktails and Spirits
Limoncello is a delicious Italian specialty drink made with only the best ingredients - traditionally lemons from the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
Grappa is an Italian specialty, often enjoyed after meals, or with a shot of espresso! Learn more about the history of this unique wine-based product.
Cynar is a popular Italian bitter liquer, enjoyed both straight and in delicious cocktails.
Amaretto is one of the world's favorite liquers. Learn more about the history of this delicious spirit and shop for related merchandise and memorabilia.
Cinzano is a classic Italian beverage company, loved by many around the world.
The Italian beverage company Martini & Rossi is well-known for their spirits - as well as their glamorous image.
Learn more about Campari and check out cool related merchandise celebrating the Italian aperitif.
Peroni is an Italian brand of beer popular around the world. Here you'll find great Peroni collectibles just perfect for any fan or serious collector.

2. I have a Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering

Education pays off - even if not in the planned ways...

Making a return visit to MIT several years agoI have a Bachelors of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and I then attended the University of Pennsylvania to complete my doctoral studies in the same field. (My thesis? "Asymmetric miscibility in random copolymer/homopolymer blends". Yes, I know that's quite the mouthful...) Many people look at me funny when I tell them about my background, based on what I've done since in my life: How could I "waste" all of that higher education in the sciences and go into the arts and writing instead?

Well, that's a story I've written about already. I don't believe any education is wasted as it's the experience that matters in the long run, not the textbooks nor classroom learning. The experiences I had in undergraduate and graduate school played a huge part in shaping who I am today, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

My artwork
A traditional subject for oil paintings and watercolors, the still life is a beautiful way to capture the fleeting nature of beauty and life.
"Space Art" is a genre of painting centered around creating fantastical landscapes, worlds, and visions of the future. Enjoy these images of space art created by the author.
One of my favorite subjects in drawing and painting is doing pet portraiture. Here are some examples of my favorite cat portraits.

Art Tutorials

Recommended Materials and Resources for Beginning Oil Painters
Other artists whose work I enjoy
Yves Tanguy was an important artist of the surrealist movement. Learn more about his background, his work, and his legacy.
Giorgio de Chirico was an incredibly important artist in the development of the 20th century surrealist movement.
Gift items featuring Leonardo da Vinci: the ultimate Renaissance man! Books, posters, games, toys and more related to the artist and thinker.

3. I created my first website in 1995

"Sockii's A-Team Homepage"...and it's still out there today!

Me at a media convention in 1997I've been on the internet a long, long time. I remember the early days of Usenet while I was at M.I.T., and by the mid-90s I was active in many different on-line communities and mailing lists - most of them fannish in nature. All students at U. Penn were given a certain amount of web storage space on the university network, so using that I created Sockii's A-Team Homepage (now archived on my personal hosting instead.) I was running a newsletter/email list for A-Team fans and also would publish several fanzines based around the series and fandom.

At the time, fannish websites were still a bit of a novelty and so I actually got a fair amount of attention for the site. It was mentioned in several national newspapers and magazines, shown on the FX network when they were airing The A-Team in syndication, and I even was contacted directly by several former writers and actors on the show because of it! Marla Heasley participated in an exclusive interview for me, for the website/newsletter in 1997.

The photo here was me "in costume" as Murdock from The A-Team back around that time.

Posing with my two "action heroes" from The A-Team, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz
Posing with my two "action heroes" from The A-Team, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz

Web tips, tricks and how-tos

My articles related to writing online
What is Like Farming? And how can it affect you as a writer or blogger? Learn more about this shady marketing technique and why you shouldn't encourage it.
Are you just getting started in content writing online? Wondering whether it's still worth it? Check out my tips and thoughts for beginners here.
Have you recently completed a challenge to create a lot of new content in a short amount of time? Great! Now here's what you should do next to make your work even better.
Are you looking for a new content platform to try? Then consider Spacial Anomaly, a niche site for topics related to the arts, crafts, entertainment and fandom.
Is it time to quit Facebook for good? That's the question many people find themselves wondering, and whether the social network is good or bad for our relationships.
We've all heard about "Catfishing" - pretending to be someone other than yourself online. But there are other dangers in getting close to people we only know on-line.

4. I am proud to be called a "Fan Girl"

I've done some crazy things in the name of fandom...and I don't regret it!

Me caught on camera at the Police Reunion Tour performanceI think I was born with fangirl blood running through my veins.

I remember being obsessed with The Beatles since I was only a few years old; I loved listening to my mother's old Beatles LPs and their photos were already up on my bedroom wall before I was even out of kindergarten. From there it was a long line of fannish loves: musically Duran Duran, then The Police, then Pink Floyd... While in graduate school I discovered media fandom online and fell into several TV and film fandoms. I was running websites, publishing fanzines, creating fan art and going to (and vending at) conventions within a few years time.

Fandom has brought a lot of joy to my life and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I've met some of my best friends through fandom and done some crazy things through the years thanks to it. Some of my greatest fannish memories to date are tied to The Police Reunion Tour in 2007 and 2008, where I spent most of two years getting into insane adventures with friends new and old, being there from the band's announcement performance in Los Angeles to their final farewell in New York City. I've also had the opportunity to get to know one of my favorite actors, John Glover, and run his official website all thanks to being part of fandom.

(The photo here is me "caught on camera" in 2007 at the Police Reunion Tour announcement at the Whiskey A Go Go.)

Wizzles about The Police

My favorite band of all time
All about the rock band The Police: Sting, Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers. A basic introduction to the band's history, links around the internet, and an overview of their music.
Each member of the rock band The Police--Sting, Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers and yes, Henry Padovani--have now released their autobiographies.
An overview of some of the best photography books published about the pop-rock band The Police. Great photos within each of Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.
In 2014, Circa Zero released their first album, "Circus Hero". But will it be their only release? What has happened to this promising rock duo?
Andy Summers is one of the most influential guitarists of the 1970s, 1980s and beyond! Learn more about this incredible musician beyond his work with The Police.
Stewart Copeland is best known for his work as drummer for The Police, but Stewart is an accomplished and active composer and performer of music ranging from opera to cinema scores
Musician Stewart Copeland is mostly known as the drummer for the rock band The Police. However, Stewart has also composed the soundtracks to many films and tv series as well.
Other media and "fan" topics
Actor Dwight Schultz is best known for his role as "Howling Mad" Murdock on the 80s cult classic The A-Team. Learn more about this versatile actor's work and career.
John Glover is an incredibly talented actor, known for his roles on television, in film and on stage. Learn more about his work and career.

5. I "Heart" Drummers

There's just something about a guy who really knows how to bang things...

Stewart CopelandIt's true. I've always loved drums, drumming and drummers since I was a little kid. My childhood crush was Ringo Starr, and then there was Roger Taylor of Duran Duran...but it was really when I discovered Stewart Copeland of The Police that my love and appreciation for talented drummers really went into full effect. When I listen to music, I always have an ear on the drums and rhythms - and when I go to a concert, I always want to find a seat or place by the stage where I can really watch the drummer at work.

Besides the above mentioned drummers I'm also a huge fan of Neil Peart (who isn't?), the late Keith Moon, Roger Taylor of Queen, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters. I even have taught myself to play the drums (very badly), which has given me even more admiration for the playing skills and abilities of these great drummers.

(Image above: One of my photos of Stewart Copeland in performance, Denver 2008.)

sockii with...Taylor Hawkins!
sockii with...Taylor Hawkins!
All about Taylor Hawkins, the incredibly talented drummer of the Foo Fighters. Learn more about his background, his solo projects, and enjoy videos of some of his best performances

6. I'll eat just about anything...except raw garlic

Bizarre foods don't freak me out - but garlic will do a number on my stomach

sockii in RomeAs a self-proclaimed "foodie", I'll try eating just about anything at least once. There are very few foods I outright dislike the taste of (namely cucumbers and melons, unless very heavily disguised or used in complex dishes), but I just cannot abide by raw garlic. Mostly because I've discovered I suffer from an actual garlic intolerance, which is a real pain literally and figuratively! I'm fortunate that garlic which is well-cooked at high temperatures does not bother me, but there is something in the oils of uncooked garlic that will leave me in terrible distress for days.

It's a shame and frustrating to deal with because so many chefs think nothing of using raw garlic in sauces, dips, salad dressings and it's not always easy to spot (or taste). I also hear it from people who go, "You're Italian, how can you not love garlic?" But then, you don't want to get me started on the difference between how native Italians judiciously use garlic in cooking vs. how Italian-American chefs seem to think the more garlic, the better...

Most people know about common food allergies and intolerances like nuts and shellfish. But did you know that some people have severe reactions to garlic as well?

My Food Blog, South Jersey Foodie

Check out my latest posts there for recipes, restaurant reviews, food-related travelogs and much more
Probably no one was more surprised than I could be when my mother recently called to extol the praises of a new Chinese restaurant in Middletown, New York. The area is...
Make an elegant version of stuffed peppers with this delicious recipe featuring roasted tomatoes and eggplant. It’s vegetarian, too! Stuffed Peppers are a tradit...
Two summers ago, the sweetie and I checked out the Bay Shore Crab House (known at the time as the “Bull on the Barn” because of its easy-to-spot outdoor mu...
My food and cooking articles at wizzley
The Lillo Due Pasta Extruder by Bottene in review. This professional quality machine will allow anyone to make artisinal extruded pasta in their home kitchen.
Review of the Emeril by All-Clad Cast-Iron Reversible Grill / Griddle. This pan is great for getting an outdoor grill flavor and cook on your indoor stove top.
Start with a taco dinner kit in a box, and turn it into something fancier - and tastier - with a few simple tricks and recipe ideas.
All about gelato: the Italian frozen dessert delight that's like ice cream: but with a twist!
Salt is one of the most basic and also most important seasoning elements in many cuisines around the world. But how good are your "salt skills"?
Cicchetti is the Italian version of small plates or "tapas"-style food. It's perfect for a cocktail party or other gathering. Let me share some great cicchetti ideas and recipes!
Salsa: it goes great with more than just chips! Salsa can be used to dress up steaks, seafood and poultry dishes and it's easy to make from a variety of different fresh ingredients
Sriracha, also known as the "Rooster Sauce". People are putting it on everything these days, but do you know the sauce's origins?
Where and how to order Philly's most famous food specialty. No visitor to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania should miss trying out a real Philly cheesesteak.
Sushi normally is traditionally with raw fish, vegetables and vinegar rice. But you can make fun "dessert sushi" with all kinds of ingredients!
Want To Prepare Real Italian Food At Home? Follow These Important Rules and "Secrets" of truly authentic Italian cooking.
What are the secrets to making perfect pasta dishes - everytime? Find out some simple tricks, tips and rules to follow here.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a traditional Italian American meal served on Christmas Eve. Learn more about the meal and how you could prepare it at home for your own family.
Whether it's a Sunday or a weekday you spend at home, you can do a lot of your meal planning - and cooking! - in advance to enjoy better family dinners every night of the week.
Lard was the secret ingredient in our grandma's perfect pies but today cooks shun this traditional fat, thinking it "unhealthy". But that's not the case if you make your own...
Most of us enthusiastic chefs have one piece of cookware we absolutely adore and love. For me, it's my Tramontina "every day" pan.
Small plates are one of the hottest trends in recent years for restaurants. But is it always a good choice for restaurant diners?
The cooking principle of "Mise en place" is important in helping to organize both restaurant and home kitchen environments.
Easy recipes and ideas for using this aromatic herb. Fennel has many health benefits and can be used to enhance numerous meals and side dishes.
Cooking for a big holiday party or dinner can be a daunting task. But if you plan well in advance you can save money and prepare lots of tasty food for your guests.
Sous vide techniques are becoming increasingly common in restaurant kitchens...but what about for the home chef? Here is what you need to know about cooking under vacuum.
Cicchetti is a type of "small plates" food served in the bars and osterias of Venice, Italy. Learn more about this traditional regional cuisine.
There are lots of ways to enjoy this popular superfood. Here I'll share a few of my favorite kale recipes.
Do you love sushi? This page is for all lovers of sushi who want to learn more about its history and styles of preparation.
Homemade pizza is an easy and delicious treat. It's also healthier than takeout pizza, so why not start making your own at home?
Got too many tomatoes from your garden and don't know what to do with them all? Try some of the recipes and ideas I've listed below!
What are some simple ways to save money at the grocery store, while not sacrificing good eating? Here are some of my tips and tricks.
Are you a cookbook addict? I am. Sure you can look up recipes online these days, but what makes cookbooks still so special? Let me tell you my reasons why.
Do you love cookbooks, or do you prefer to search for recipes on-line? Do you think cookbooks are "dead", or here to stay for the long run?
Luca Manfe was the winner of Season 4 of MasterChef US. Find out more here about his 2014 cookbook: does he prove he truly is a "Master Chef"?
Intimidated by the idea of trying to cook Indian food at home? Don't be! This cookbook provides an excellent introduction to techniques and traditional Indian recipes.
Marcella Hazan was loved worldwide for her Italian cookbooks, and all that she did for bringing authentic Italian food to our home kitchens.
"Foodie" Gift Guides
Do you know someone who loves to cook - but they seem to have every kitchen gadget under the sun? Then check out this gift guide for some unique "foodie" gift ideas.
Do you know someone who loves Indian food, and is interested in learning to prepare it at home? This gift guide will share a variety of ideas related to Indian cooking and cuisine.
Gift giving ideas for people who absolutely love pasta. Gourmet gift packages, cookbooks, pasta-making equipment and much more!
Great gifts for those who love Italian food and drink: preparing it, or simply enjoying it!
Do you know someone who loves Japanese food? Here you'll find recommended cookbooks, cookware, serving sets and more that would make for great gift items.
Know someone who loves Mexican food? Then check out this gift guide, featuring Mexican cookbooks, utensils, dinnerware and more.

7. I've auditioned to be a contestant on a reality TV show

Could sockii be the next "MasterChef"?

Me at the New York MasterChef Casting CallI confess, I love watching cooking competition shows on TV - everything from Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen to Top Chef and The Taste. My absolute favorite cooking competition series, however, is MasterChef. I always enjoy playing along at home, trying to figure out what I would prepare for each of the different challenges the home chefs are faced with on the series. So in November 2012, just for kicks I went to the MasterChef Season 4 auditions/casting call in New York City, an experience I've written about elsewhere. The next year I also went to the Season 5 tryouts in Philadelphia, which was another fun adventure.

Will I make it on the show at some point in the future? Who knows...but in the meantime I enjoy writing episode recaps and reviews, as well as other articles related to the show, most of which you can find under the MasterChef tag at Spacial Anomaly.

MasterChef is back for its sixth season in 2015. Are you ready for another round in this competition of talented home chefs?

8. I was terrified of driving until I was nearly 40 years old

Then I moved to New Jersey, where only the strong survive

I've regretted for most of my life not getting my driver's license when I was in high school, like almost all of my friends did. I didn't get my license until I was 25 and needed it in graduate school, but living in a big city and not having a car of my own? I never had much chance to practice driving and never got comfortable doing so.

That all changed out of necessity when I moved out of Philadelphia to Southern New Jersey. There's simply no way to survive in a rural area without a car, so in 2011 I got my beloved Honda CR-V (perfect for hauling merch to craftshows and conventions). At first I had to suck it up and get over my fear, but after a couple long hauls on the road to Michigan and Georgia - and having to deal with the New Jersey Turnpike on a regular basis - I've turned into quite the road warrior. I now actually look forward to going on road trips, although I'll confess that I still haven't mastered the mysterious art of parallel parking...

Travels on the road with sockii

New York City area attractions
The New York Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to visit throughout the year. Get away from the city for the day and enjoy natural beauty, right in the heart of the Bronx!
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to visit in the springtime, when you can enjoy beautiful blooming flowers, check out the greenhouses, or simply wander about.
The Cloisters are a wonderful place to visit when in New York City. Explore a large collection of medieval European art in a wonderful garden setting.
The Circle Line is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. Is it worth the price if you're visiting the area?
Eataly New York opened in 2010 to serious foodie buzz. But is the Italian-themed market all that it's hyped up to be?
New Jersey: My home state!
Visit this unique flower garden in Northern New Jersey in the Springtime to experience a "Rainbow on the Hill" as thousands of iris flowers are on colorful display.
Philadelphia area attractions
Whether you live in Philly or are visiting on vacation, there are plenty of reasons to get out of the city for the day and explore the surrounding area.
One of the most unique places to visit while in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the Magic Gardens created by Isaiah Zagar on South Street.
Looking for a great day trip from Philadelphia? Then consider the Tyler Arboretum, a beautiful place just outside of the city to explore, hike, and enjoy nature.
All about the BYO ("Bring Your Own") restaurant scene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This large metropolitan city is unique in the number and variety of BYO restaurants in town.
Explore Naturalistic Gardens and a Vast Collection of Americana and Antiques
Other unique places
There's so much to see and do in London that it can be hard to know where to start. Here's how I maximized my time to get to some of the top attractions in one week's time.
One of the most unique attractions to visit in St. Petersburg is the enchanting Sunken Gardens. Learn more about the gardens and their history here.
St. Petersburg is a great destination for beach lovers. There's something for everyone whether you enjoy peace and quiet or a busy scene with lots of activities for kids & adults.
My windsurfing instructor had given lessons to many celebrated musicians. But could he teach an uncoordinated 16-year-old how to stay upright for more than a few seconds?
General travel tips
Most people think of the Caribbean as a winter getaway destination. But are there benefits to traveling there in the summertime?
Thinking about getting away from it all this Christmas time? Then consider these three great destinations which will allow you to celebrate the season in a very special way.
Be an Adventurous Traveler and Consider This Unique Style of Accommodation.
Tips for preparing your house--and catsitter--before taking a long trip. Making these advance arrangements will ensure your cats are comfortable and well cared for in your absence.
Having some fun in the London "underground"...
Having some fun in the London "underground"...

9. I'll never stop being a "tomboy"

You can save the make-up and high heel shoes for someone else...

I've never been a "girly girl", nor do I have any desire to become one. At 40+, I'm still perfectly happy to live in my jeans, sneakers and rock 'n roll t-shirts. I'll dress up when I have to, for a special occasion or dinner at a fancy restaurant, but that's about the only time you'll see me in a dress or make-up (and no, I won't wear heels no matter what!)

As a child my Barbie dolls all had their long hair cut short and went into battle with my GI Joe's. I'd rather be out working in my garden than shopping. I prefer Jackie Chan movies to chick flicks and have never been able to make it through an entire episode of "Sex and the City" (those characters all seem like alien beings to me!) It's not that I think there's anything wrong with liking those kinds of things, they've just never done anything for me personally. So it's very, very rare that you'll find me writing about subjects like fashion, make-up or other stereotyped "female" interests. (The only exception to that is jewelry, which I love to make, even if I wear very little of it myself...)

Spotlighting some of my favorite gemstones and jewelry

Charoite is a wonderfully unique and beautiful semiprecious stone in gorgeous shades of purple, lavender and grey. Learn more about charoite and its properties here.
Rainbow fluorite is a gorgeous material to use in jewelry designs, from the delicate to the bold and beautiful. Explore a variety of rainbow fluorite jewelry available today on thi
Labradorite is a truly unique gemstone which can be used to make stunning pieces of jewelry. Learn more about labradorite and shop for beautiful pieces for your collection.
Seraphinite is a beautiful and unusual semiprecious stone, one that is only being more commonly found in jewelry designs today. Learn more about Seraphinite and shop for beautiful
Pietersite is a beautiful and unique semi-precious stone, increasingly popular in jewelry designs and beadwork. Learn more about it here.
Moss agate is a beautiful semi-precious stone that makes for incredibly beautiful jewelry designs.

On Jewelry-Making and Crafting

Here I'll present some of the basics of making your own beaded jewelry: tools, materials and where to learn simple techniques to get started.

10. I'm not - and may never be - "Married with Children"

Partly by choice, partly otherwise

sockii and DaveMy sweetie and I recently celebrated 7 years together, and have a wonderful home we share now for the past almost three of those years. Yet neither of us are in any particular rush to "tie the knot"...things have gone so well so far, why risk messing with success? I've never been one of those girls who dreamed or planned out her "fantasy wedding". Perhaps a simple ceremony in Italy with very close family is all we'd ever choose to do.

As for the children part, it's not from lack of desire nor trying. That's part of why I'm a strong advocate today for infertility awareness and write about the subject a great deal. Infertility is a tough disease to deal with, whether you are actively pursuing treatment or trying to come to terms with a likely childless future. It also makes me feel sometimes like the "odd girl out" in the content writing field, as so many of the other writers I know are stay-at-home-moms. Then again, I suppose it gives me a different perspective on life, which is often a good thing, too.

Articles on infertility and being childless or childfree

There's no reason to struggle in silence when dealing with infertility. Learn more about the infertility awareness movement and why it is so important today.
What is the common thread that links all of those suffering from infertility? The realization that you are not alone. Learn more about the "Common Thread" project here.
If you are struggling with infertility, there are a number of great communities and organizations online where you can find support and acceptance.
Is today's society unduly prejudiced against the childless and childfree? Author Laura Carroll examines why so much emphasis is put on having children.
National Infertility Awareness Week is a time when those affected by infertility try to reach out and raise awareness about this important medical condition.
For a woman dealing with infertility, an invitation to attend a baby shower can present a challenging situation.
Those who are openly childfree are often forced to defend their choice not to have children.
Why Are We Ignored by the Infertility Support and Awareness Community?
When you're a non-mom, sometimes it can be tricky to be in a social situation with a room full of parents.
If your adult child is struggling with infertility, you may be struggling yourself knowing how to help him or her best.
"Do you have kids?" is one of the first questions I often seem to be asked when meeting new people. But it's not always an easy question for some to answer...
Infertility can be difficult to deal with any time of the year, but the holidays can be especially challenging.
For those affected by infertility, Halloween is another holiday that can be difficult to cope with due to its emphasis on children and trick-or-treating.
Does it matter which term you use: childless or childfree? While many may not understand the distinction, there is a very strong one for some and it's important to understand why.
Which is more selfish: choosing to be a parent or choosing to live childfree? And what of those who have that choice taken away from them due to infertility?
When infertility or circumstances have kept you from having children, you may find it difficult moving forward and finding purpose in your life.
Medical treatments for infertility have made great progress in recent years, but they are still not for every couple or individual struggling with fertility problems.
Couples are starting to turn to crowdsourcing websites to raise money for their infertility treatments or adoption costs. Good or bad idea?
Is it easier to live happily childless or childfree in a big city? What are some of the drawbacks of NOT being a parent if you move to a rural or suburban area?
Mother's Day can be one of the hardest days of the year for women dealing with infertility.

My other articles here at Wizzley

Other topics I've enjoyed writing about
Social and Family Issues
The Personhood movement threatens the reproductive rights of women by declaring unborn the unborn fetus a "person".
Beyond reenforcing today's culture of oversharing, the increasingly popular Gender Reveal Party gets it wrong even in its name. It's not about a baby's gender but that child's sex.
Are you a genuine activist or just a "slacktivist"? What do you do to encourage real change versus just promoting feel-good internet memes?
Flowers and Gardening at Home
After a long cold winter there's just something special about the first blooming flowers that greet us in the springtime.
The foxglove plant is one of the most striking flowers you can add to your garden. Learn more about the history of the plant as well as how to grow it for yourself.
You can grow a truly Italian garden in your own backyard with these wonderful vegetable, herb and flower seeds - direct from Italy.
Diet, Exercise and Health
Could diet soda actually be making you gain weight? Before you grab another can of "zero calorie" soda, consider the conflicting evidence and potential hazards.
The Insanity Workout Program is popular with home exercise enthusiasts looking to increase the intensity of their routines. But does it deliver everything that it promises?
Get a gym membership, or work out at home? If you're trying to decide what's best for you, here are 10 reasons why home workouts can be preferable to the gym.
Looking to get a good workout at home? There are only a few things you need to do all kinds of exercises and programs, and save money over a gym membership in the long run.
Christmas Holidays and Decorations
Celebrate the Garden State with this fun collection of New Jersey-themed Christmas ornaments. Whether you love the Shore or our Jersey sports teams, there's something for everyone!
Do you know someone who is an avid home cook - or maybe you are yourself? If so, check out this collection of fun Christmas ornaments all about home cooking.
Fun and colorful Christmas ornaments celebrating Mexican favorites like tacos, nachos, and more!
Bring a taste of Italy to your Christmas tree this year with some of these fun and unique pizza Christmas ornaments.
Decorate your Christmas tree with these delightful ornaments celebrating Italian food: one of the most popular cuisines in the world!
Love sushi? Then add some sushi-themed ornaments to your Christmas tree this year. These ornaments are unique and fun, and will definitely add some personality to your Xmas tree.
Celebrate your artistic side this Christmas, or give a memorable ornament to a friend who loves to create art!
Celebrate the 2018 Super Bowl Champions with cool Christmas ornaments and tree decorations.
Celebrate the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection!) with these fun and unique Christmas ornaments.
Now you can jazz up your Christmas tree with this fun collection of polka dot-themed ornaments available from Amazon and other retailers.
Fontanini has been producing beautiful, collectible nativity figurines and set pieces for many years.
Are you a child of the 80s? Want to get nostalgic this holiday season? Then check out this blast from the past including toys, movies and music of the era.
Celebrate the historic city of Boston, Massachusetts with this collection of cool Boston-themed Christmas ornaments!
Does the Christmas season get you down? Tired of all of the commercialism and madness? Then you'll probably appreciate my list of top pet peeves about the holidays.
Will you shop 'till you drop looking for Black Friday deals? Or will you support Buy Nothing Day instead to protest over-consumerism?
Every holiday season it seems the controversy comes back: should religious nativity scenes be displayed in public spaces? Read more about the issues and share your opinion.
There are many delicious sweet treats associated with the holiday season in Italy. Learn about traditional cakes, cookies and pastries you can make at home or buy to celebrate.
Everything Else...
In today's difficult housing market, sellers must do what they can to make their home look as attractive as possible. These house cleaning tips will help.
Adam Ant: One of the most recognizable characters of the 80s punk/new wave music scene. Learn how to create an awesome Adam Ant costume for Halloween!
What are some great gift ideas for women who are NOT mothers? There are lots of great items for women who are childless or childfree.
Do you know someone who is an avid "Backyard Chicken" enthusiast? Then here are some great gift ideas for that person, for Christmas, birthdays, and other happy holidays.
More than 18,000 Americans die every year from injuries that take place in the home, according to statistics. Are you aware of potential safety risks in your house?
While it can be hard enough to buy gifts for your own family, getting them for your in-laws can be even more difficult! Here are some ideas for making gift-giving easier.
Can you read 50 books in one year? That's what the "50 Book Challenge" is about - encouraging us all to discover learning, entertainment and enlightenment through reading.
Keep these suggestions in mind when planning the soundtrack for your next big party or social event.

Where else to find me online

A link list of my other websites and writer profiles

I'm an active contributor to a number of different writing platforms, as well as running my own websites as mentioned above.


  • Spacial Anomaly: This is my own multi-author blog/article site which focuses on entertainment, culture and topics related to fan culture. We are a growing site with several great authors, and new contributors are currently welcome! I invite you to check it out if you're looking for a new way to earn via advertising revenue and affiliate sales/links.
  • Nicole Pellegrini at HubPages: This is my original HubPages account
  • sockii at HubPages: Here you'll find what used to be my Squidoo account - at least for the moment. Many of those articles I've now taken down and republished elsewhere, or plan to do so in the future.
  • sockii at Whyrll: I have only recently joined Whyrll and am looking to primarily post cookbook reviews and other random product reviews in the future.
  • sockii at Bubblews: Again, I am no longer actively writing here and moving some of my longer pieces to other sites.

Other Websites and Projects:

Updated: 12/12/2018, sockii
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sockii on 10/27/2018

Heh, thanks! I need to get back to posting new articles, actually...first job has been updating my old ones.

MBC on 09/02/2018

Wow you are a prolific writer!

Serenia from Squidoo on 11/20/2015

I remember you from Squidoo!!! I was Serenia. TeacherSerenia at Hubpages bought my account from me. Since leaving Squidoo, (in 2013) I find myself no longer wanting to be restricted again so now I don't for any writing community. Instead I found my own free (or low cost at least) webspace and now I can write whatever I want on any topic of my choice, with NO restrictions.

Mira on 04/18/2015

Very nice wizzography :). Nice to read about you and your interests on Wizzley!

sockii on 03/24/2015

Thank you for the comments! And yes, some day I'd love to make it onto some kind of cooking competition on TV...we shall just have to wait and see ;)

dustytoes on 03/24/2015

You went to MIT... impressive! What an interesting page. I read it all, and loved the pictures. I too love drummers. My son drums, but not in a band. He's had drums since middle school, so I had to listen, and didn't mind at all.
I will be looking for you to show up on a cooking show at some time in the future.

sockii on 03/10/2015

Thank you whitemoss! It's great to hear you felt inspired!

whitemoss on 03/10/2015

This is a really good read- what an excellent way to put together your Wizzles. You may have inspired me to get going on Wizzley again!

sockii on 03/04/2015

Thank you for reading & for the comment!

cazort on 03/04/2015

This was super fun to read!

I would have a tough time with intolerance to raw garlic; I love garlic. I just finished eating an eggplant salad with raw garlic in it. I also started my first website around when you did, maybe even a little earlier. Mine isn't up any more though.

Thank you for sharing all this!

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