Friday, October 28, 2011

Evoluzione Spirituali with Patricia Nicholls

Poster design with my favorite of her paintings
A recent show by a dear friend Patricia features her work from over 10 years ago. These were inspired by the design of the ancient ruins in Malta and its many spirals and reveals parts of her own spiritual awakening. Now she is a practicing Vedic astrologer and yogi. I wonder how this must mean to her to have these fragments from that period in her life come back together in this show. She is one of the few good friends I have made here in Italy and one of those who have helped me adapt and embrace this new life I'm leading now. An expat herself, born and raised in the US, shes had her own share of adventures and misadventures - all of which have colored her life and made her the awesomeness that she is today. I got excited when she asked me if I could design her invites and even happier to celebrate this show and the new opportunities opening up for her.

Her husband Roberto, friend of Fra from whom I met Pat, also an artist, ex-professor, and photographer (and more recently organic farmer) just had his birthday recently. Tanti Auguri!! may you have bountiful harvests for many years! :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Geek Fall/Winter Fashion (Homeless Cat Series)

OR ideas for what to wear when you can't really afford or care to buy new stuff. The keyword is UPCYCLE. Last year's pieces involved a lot of thrifted and gifted and adopted (from my dear husband) stuff. I'm not saying people should dress like me, I'm not even sure thats OK or even visually appealing as I tend to go on the technicolor side (maybe tag this post Psychidelic Geek?) and homeless (I don't give a crap) style. The good thing about reusing and getting creative with old stuff is that you can authentically look retro vintage without having to buy new sweatshop-made vintage look-alikes! The only real investments I made involved shoes. A good walking/running pair and bootstrap bill's good ole boots. Hey wait, I wrote something about doing the boogaloo last year. Anyway, whats your fall/winter style?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Semplicemente Famiglia (Simply Family)

Its not everyday we meet big families especially in this age when its more practical and convenient to be childless (as is the case for many Italians), or have just one child and work - OR stay single for a veerry long time and live with your parents while at it. Gone are the days of the stay-at-home mama hen, cooking something rustic and special for her army of children. Or perhaps not? In Cagliari, Sardegna we meet up with a mom of 5 children. During our short stay she talks to us about raising her kids, what its like and some of the challenges of trying to be more self-sustaining.

View the video here:

To learn more about their association Semplicemente Famiglia, look into their website here:

It was such a pleasure meeting Daniela and her family.. As a new mom, meeting her was like seeing a beacon of hope - that I wasn't alone and that being bestowed the responsibility of a parent may be scary yet priceless. I'm so thankful for her and her family's openess and generosity. Hope to see them again when we come back ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Potato Cakes, Guacamole and Salsa

Its getting cold here. Got the sniffles already. Drinking lots of fresh juice, stocking up on this season's best fruit and veg, mmm.. Anyhoo here is a nice veg dinner for any kind of season.

Potato Cakes
  • 3 large potatos
  • some extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese or leave out and increase salt by a tsp
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk or leave out
  • 1 egg whiskedù
  • 1 tsp powdered garlic or omit
  • handful of parsley chopped
  1. peel and chop potatoes. boil in pot of water for about 20 minutes or until soft/mushy.
  2. drain, transfer in a bowl and mash.
  3. mix in milk, pecorino, salt, chopped parsley and whisked egg. mix well.
  4. fry a spoonful of the mix (carefully flattening it out as you scoop it on) on a non-stick pan with some olive oil in medium heat. 
  5. wait 2-4 minutes or until it browns a bit before flipping on the other side. pronto!

There are so many ways to make guacamole. Its super easy what I did here. OR check out an old guac experiment here.
  1. Halve 2 medium avocados, remove seed
  2. trace a grid with a knife and scoop out layer by layer on a bowl (so you get nice even cubes)
  3. add juice of half a big lemon, grate some skin off the lemon (zest), salt to taste, dash of hot pepper powder, and some chopped fresh red onion. mix
Another popular condiment and again, so many ways to make it. Here, my simple version
  1. 8-10 of those ripe small salad tomatoes. chopped finely or pulsed in a blender/processor.
  2. stick of celery minced
  3. half a medium red onion minced
  4. mix all together and serve

Plating the whole thing is easy with so much color and texture, its fun to see and even better to EAT. heeee
btw, used some of the free labels from PuglyPixel. ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wrapping up summer / Fra turns 30

The cool winds have hit, summer is over. Yes folks, that was it. Time to dig out those sweaters from that dark forgettable spot in the cabinet seemingly not too long ago. Naturally melancholy kicks in, but not this instance. Summer 2011 marked a big change in our lives from the birth of Adamo, the realization that we have reached that "grown up" stage in our lives (marked also by Fra's 30th birthday today) and knowing all this is just a prelude of things to come.

Happy Birthday! featuring DIY French Toast "cake" with banana strawberry cream "frosting"
Thank you Fra. I/we never thought we'd be here celebrating this day with all that has changed/happened in  our lives. You've surprised me constantly with your big heart, patience and unique perspective - I'm so proud of you! Bravo amore, I look forward to more adventures with you. :)

Also Adamo says Ciao!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Segreti di Fiaba (Secrets of Fairytales)

It was a lucky chance for us to stop by Cagliari and meet Fra's friend Francesca Amat, here setting up her art for the biggest children's book festival in Italy. What a brilliant idea she came up with -- other than revealing the secrets behind some of the old fairytales of the world, she created these "books" with a hole cut in the middle, revealing part of the image inside - deceptively resembling something completely different from the image inside. I love it! I think kids will totally love it! and what a way to get kids to read a bit more eh? remember all those books back in gradeschool and the characters that would frequent your dreams? ahh good times..

the secret of the language of animals
the secret, the key and the prohibition of the dragon king
the secret of the birth of elves
the secret of the firebird
Francesca Amat

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Medieval August

Its been a month (ok, way more than a month! damn time-space continuum) since the star-studded medieval parade in Fermo with SeanConnery, Helen Mirren, Juliet and a load of handsome knaves, capricious knights, peasants, cobblers, nobles, damsels, shepherds and the band/s! and such faces, oozing with medieval fervor. FERVOR. Over 450 locals garbed in authentic medieval fashion - in character, HECK what else can set you in the mood for some serious hot and crazy LARPING? No seriously, thats a lot of dressed-up people in a variety of age groups. and best of all, they really like it. Not just the knights with their gauntlets and chain mail, also the tax collector looked pretty happy. And just like real life, you have the unhappily married wife, the miser, the archnemesis, gay peasants?

It was such fun that I thought I’d take the mood even one step further with photoshop. Maybe next year I can be a rogue archer?

PS. All photos from the event can be accessed here. Consider them stock material! If you find them useful, Id love to see what you do. Leave a message. :)