About Dolce & Masala



A Jersey girl at heart, I get to indulge in La Dolce Vita for a few years.

Even as a child, I enjoyed exploring new places and bright city lights.  Then wanderlust truly struck during a study abroad program on the European Union.  I fell instantly in love with Paris and Prague.  Can you blame a girl when these historic cities have so much to offer in terms of lifestyle and culture?  I couldn’t resist going to grad school twice just to return to Paris (and perhaps also to escape the reality of 9-5 work schedules).

Fast forward several years and at least half a dozen international moves — including a summer when I dragged my worldly possessions across three continents — and I landed a dream job that allows me to live in a different country every few years.

Although a lifetime wouldn’t be enough to discover all of the secrets of Rome, I hope to take advantage of the endless options for great food, art, and shopping in the Eternal City.



Gondola ride during first trip to Italy

When I am not obsessing over policy papers or spreadsheets at work, I love to explore local markets, experiment in the kitchen, and in true Sagittarius style start many projects (sometimes abandoned prematurely).  Despite lacking the family bargaining skills, I can’t resist an interesting market.

The only time I can recall not purchasing anything on a trip was during a stay in a remote island off of the coast in Madagascar.  It was an all-inclusive resort and the only things for sale in the local markets on the island were plastic bowls (the kind your see at dollar or pound stores).  I resisted.

Sanctuary in Botswana that rescues orphaned elephants 


Elephant Sanctuary in Botswana

I moved to Bella Roma in the summer of 2015 for my current assignment, which includes engagement with the food and agriculture related international organizations in Rome.

It only seemed fitting that for this assignment, I should start a blog to document my adventures (often involving food) and latest creations. Luckily, Rome is a treasure trove for fashion and dolce lovers like me.


Payal Jain Fashion Show in New Delhi

I’m so excited to finally get the blog up online, especially after some technical challenges.  Any expat who has tried setting up and maintaining home internet access in Rome will know what I am talking about.  Italian lessons haven’t quite reached the fluency levels required to cope with Telcom Italia.  Though I have made valiant (and embarrassing) efforts with the aid of google translate.

Hopefully, this blog will keep me focused on completing projects — like learning to make authentic Italian food or finally documenting some Bangladeshi family recipes — or adding some new destinations to my bucket list.  Thanks to the Esquilino Market, spices are readily available to complement both types of cuisine.   

Street artist in Florence re-creating Girl with the Pearl Earing 

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My goal is to pursue the activities that made me choose an international career.  I plan on exploring Rome and “romeing” the globe.  I will try to share some tips along the way.  Occasionally, my attention may stray to home decor.  I’m in the middle of purchasing a new home in Austin, Texas with a very plain vanilla interior that really isn’t my style.  Unfortunately, my budget was busted on exterior upgrades.  Some hard work and creativity will be in order – especially as I have never taken on such a large project. But, I’m prepared (at least in my mind) and armed with tons of Pinterest inspiration kitchens.  I will also need to resist the urge to paint every wall in different shades of blue.

Come join me on my adventure to add a touch of spice to La Dolce Vita!


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