Meet BJ Massa
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How did you start creating?
I loved to draw as a child and loved art class through middle school. I took dance classes from the time I was three all the way through college so that was my main form of creative expression. In high school I thrifted most of my clothes, almost always carried a vintage purse and amassed quite the collection of vintage jewelry; a lot of which I would take apart to create new pieces. It wasn't until I was a young adult living and working in NYC that I found my voice through furniture and home decor. I trash picked and surfed the curb looking for furniture I could salvage and thrifted almost all of my apartment decor. Through several houses in a couple states and one stint living abroad I have continued to thrift, rescue furniture and create art and home decor for our needs.
Favorite thing you have ever created?
That's like asking me which of my children is my favorite! I couldn't pick a project. I would have to say my favorite thing I have created is the sense of community I feel with my local artisans, within online spaces and with my followers. It is amazing to me when I share personal struggles or frustrations with my online community, people really do care. Not everyone, of course, but a good amount of people are interested in me as a person and not just the pretty pictures of stuff I've created. I'm also proud of the sense of space I have created. I'm not afraid to put myself out there, be outwardly proud of my accomplishments and let people know I'm here! I created my business and I'm proud of it and nobody can take that away from me.
Favorite Paint and Color to work with?
My fall back is always blues and greens. I never had a problem "seeing" those colors and always found warm colors such as reds and yellows to be difficult. As I challenged myself to use colors and materials I'm not proficient with I've gained the ability to "see" a wide range of color and I no longer feel limited. I LOVE color!I'm a big believer that if you cultivate an understanding of your process and work through the process with an understanding of the medium or paint you are working with you can do anything.Even though I retail a particular paint line which I use for both furniture and canvas, I use a variety of brands and mediums. It just depends on the effect or outcome I am looking for.
Something most do not know about you
I am a language buff. At one time in college I was simultaneously studying three languages- French, German and Russian. I graduated with a degree in French.
Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Probably a veterinarian. Then I wanted to be a flight attendant (which I accomplished!)
If you could choose anywhere in the world to live, where would it be and why?
In a city! I love city living where I can walk and have culture at my fingertips. Stateside I'd pick NYC (I'd want to live in Brooklyn) and abroad I'd pick Copenhagen. We just returned from living in Copenhagen for a few years and I absolutely love that city.
Finish this sentence. On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
On the couch reading The Weekender from the New York Times
How do you want people to remember you?
I want to be remembered as interesting, fun and free; a creative soul who could handle whatever life threw at me. I want people, especially my children, to remember my confidence and my determination. I move through life thinking there's little I cant do, it just requires learning and practice. I don't say that from a place of arrogance but to be an inspiration, especially to other women. I'm nothing special. So if I can take up space and make things happen, anyone can.
Recipe for Junk Pasta
I make “junk pasta” all the time because it is fast, easy, one pan and uses leftovers.
Pasta (whatever kind you like) I generally use penne or orecchiette if I have it
Any leftover vegetables
Any leftover meat (pork, chicken, sausage all works)
Parmesan or other cheese
Salt and pepper
Boil water and add pasta until cooked. Make sure to retain some of the cooking water (about 1 cup) before draining the pasta.
Saute garlic and onion in oil.
Once cooked add any leftover veggies or whatever you have on hand. You could even use frozen veggies.
Next add any leftover meat. (We usually have chicken breast or pork chop in the fridge from a previous meal.) The meat should be relatively plain and not sauced up. Sometimes I will cook a couple slices of bacon and throw that in.
Once everything is heated through I add the cooking water from the pasta and sometimes I add chicken or vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper.
For serving I add grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese to taste.
There really is no right or wrong way to make “Junk Pasta”. It's a great way to use leftovers!