50 Faves

He writes the songs you love to hate, hate to know, and make you run for a barf bag. He’s the king of schmaltz and over-orchestrated key changes. His Velveeta factor is off the charts. He’s a rather — ummm — shall we say “ironic” choice for a sex god. But uncool as it may be, he makes me smile big. He brings me back to the happy, simple place of life as a 12-year-old girl. He was my first — and as of this moment my most recent — concert.

Ladies and gentlemen: Mr. Barry Manilow!

C’mon, be honest. You have a guilty musical pleasure too. A weak spot for some dork whose songs and voice give people hives, but…


One of my favorite quotes is by the wonderful Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Nothing captures more aptly what I think of Ken Clauser, my high school Spanish teacher for three years. When I think back to Wheeler School, what I remember most dearly is Señor Clauser. From the classroom to the stage (he brilliantly portrayed the King of Siam in our school production of The King & I), his passion and compassion was genuinely inspiring and memorable. 

In a testament to his superb teaching, I never studied Spanish beyond high school, yet I can speak the language with my kids as they have learned it,…


Nothing signals summer in Rhode Island quite like that first cup of Del’s. And while the rest of you are wondering what the heck Del’s is, I ask my fellow Rhode Islanders: Is there really any other choice for my favorite summer drink?

Del’s is slushy frozen lemonade that was first sold from a small seasonal stand in my hometown, Cranston, Rhode Island, way before I was around. Growing up, there was nothing so exciting as the beeber-beep! of an approaching Del’s truck on a hot summer night, winding its way through the streets of Garden City, the driver scooping the sweet, snowy treat into little cups for a whole neighborhood at a time. At the faintest indication of a nearby truck, we’d toss our…


My name is Andrea and I am a sitcom junkie. Give me a playlist of I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Cheers, Taxi, The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Frasier, The King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Still Standing, Mad About You, Yes Dear, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Big Bang Theory, The Jeffersons, 30 Rock, M*A*S*H, Happy Days, NewsRadio — I could go on and on — and I’m one happy camper.

But when I’m up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep or I throw on the TV while I’m ironing or folding clothes, my go-to is Friends. When the series debuted in 1994, I was the same age…


To kick off my #50FavesTo50 project, I’m remembering one of my favorite books from childhood. Like so many girls growing up in the 70s, I adored Judy Blume’s young adult novels. She created relatable and likable characters, explored relevant themes, and her writing was thoughtful and fun. As you can see, I’ve never been able to part with my well-loved, tattered collection!

While I truly enjoyed each one, my favorite has always been my first: “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.” As a firstborn myself, I recognized in Peter Hatcher so many innate oldest child qualities, and I got a kick out of his impish little brother, Fudge, in all his mischievous charm. And as a suburban girl, I thought it was so cool that they lived…