Monday, December 31, 2012

Rome Creatives 1st Meet

Not too long ago I opened up a group within the InterNations community called Rome Creatives. The concept was to "Learn. Share. Create." - which became a kind of advocacy over the years of collaborating with creatives: artists, designers, musicians, philosophers, scientists, meditators, and their kin. They say "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Eat, drink and be merry? Perhaps that and a bit more substance.

By chance I found this sweet spot not too far from my son's first ever asilo/school. Its called Officina Dolce (more photos + article here), and immediately I thought - CUPCAKES! and also, brilliant location for a meet! One baby step led to another. I talked to the owner and created this little video portrait, put up my online flyer and had four people show up.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Affordable Art Fair

Welcome to the Affordable Art Fair in Rome. I didn't expect to be so enthralled by this affair but as I was approaching the entrance with this gigantic bamboo installation, I knew I was about to be - well, wowed.

A short video I took of the event here:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Libya 2006

That is a picture of the ancient Greek and Roman ruins of Libya, from a distance. It is hard to imagine that once upon a time here in this dry desert was a thriving enterprise and an empire teeming with activity, drama, and culture just a few thousand years ago. Perhaps now it is all left completely to our imagination especially after the recent civil war and bombings. Without these landmarks, these fossils, who will remember? Unless one bothers to pick up a book, or look through some photographs, it is as if nothing happened. All turned into dust.

These film photographs were taken in 2006 by my husband Francesco. Back then he had the lucky opportunity to visit (it was never so easy for foreigners to visit Libya under Geddafi). At the time he was so inspired by his experience that he immediately wrote a book, very personal and he was about to publish it but unfortunately one of the real-life characters involved in the book did not approve of it and it had to go hidden until the recent war broke out and a sudden desire to release this work made him rewrite the whole book and publish it this year. I used some of his pictures from the actual trip to create the cover for Libya 2006: Viaggio a tre voci (A Trip in 3 Voices). Here is the design I came up with, my imagination of what Libya feels like.

The publisher has a fixed format for their books so I didn't have to design the title and text but here is how it looks printed.

It is in Italian and Francesco has some copies if anyone is interested in purchasing. Do you think its a good idea to try and make it available for purchase online?

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Not too long ago I thought I'd finally attend one of the gatherings of InterNations here in Italy. We happened to be in Bologna for the 5th anniversary party and so I contacted Neima Sitawi, an expat fashion designer who was the host of the event, and asked if I could do a short video/photo coverage. So I did and went and met some interesting people. One of them a bag designer for Prada in Florence who seemed too nice and friendly to be working for a haute couture brand. Tamsin, a certified expat and traveller, led me to this site and network and I thought, brilliant! People out of their countries all in one place! Have you connected with your local InterNations community yet?

Thursday, November 8, 2012


This is a chapter worth skipping as I am about to tread past blogging SOP and move back to how I once wrote online, back when nobody read my rambles and I was much more intense/intimate with life. It has been almost three years that I/we have been moving about and around Italy. Rome is treating us well, fairest weather, vibrant and crazy. It reminds me a little bit of another crazy capital - Manila, ten times more wacky where I last spent my days before I made this big move.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rome our new Home

We recently got back from a trip up north covering this awesome Tarot tour and other interesting encounters. More on that soon. Of course we brought all our stuff with us (pots, pans, underwear, the necessities) throughout the trip until our final stop to our new home in Rome. We are undoubtedly lucky: first, to have found this apartment at the last minute. Second, to be alive to experience this life and meet such amazing people. Third - well, just thank you universe and whoever's out there winking. We are winking back and giggling! ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

One last.. Summer Jamboree!

Just one more summer fling before we turn the page and let the leaves fall. Come swing by Senigallia around august for Summer Jamboree, the hottest rockin' holiday on earth! I had been wanting to go for two years and finally came this time around - what a blast! Here are some of the photos from the big event with bands flying from everywhere in the world and lots and lots of dancing. :) better late than never!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Muse: La Tela

So I've finally completed the video for La Tela, our next door neighbor while we were living in Macerata for about a year (sometime last May). It is also a museum on artisan weaving and a handicrafts workshop! I know, I know.. It was one of the most amazing discoveries literally right outside our doorstep. I also wrote an article on them over at Poppytalk.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Learning Curve

Once again we are at the crossroads with just a few week/s left before we leave Pesaro *tear*. Moving is an art and maybe it takes a lifetime to master because honestly, I've still got boxes to unpack and damn I should've taken Tamsin's word for it.

Always and always the same two words in my head, "Pack light."
Two days ago I saw a crate-full of magazines (travel, interior design) at the trash and seriously stood there and reflected... and let go..

Summer has been a seriously busy month. Can't say it was unpleasant or super BUT, and I mean this in all ways, full of learning. And much more learning awaits! While I've been busily finishing projects and freelancing I've also made a point to get back into study and learning. Not quite knowing where to invest my full energy on with the many passions I have and buffering the frustration of not being able to fulfill them, I must learn, I must expose myself to the elements and hope that over time some form of mastery will come of it.

Thankfully there are things like Coursera and Skillshare to fuel the curious learner in you. I've signed up for several classes come September and October (my official "vacation" period. I do think learning is FUN). and I would so love to organize google hangouts with you or anyone who plan on taking some of the free online courses to discuss and exchange notes/homework. :) geek out with me?

Oh, and to all new readers - welcome, Welcome!
To those who've been following for a while now, sorry for the lack of presence lately. I assure you I haven't gone off-the-grid (although I like the idea). I'm still passionate about sharing my love for people, art, travel - making things happen with others. SO you bet I'll be around and hopefully more often soon.

Stay in touch.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Muse: Stella Cerioni

 Stella is one of the first people we met when we moved to Pesaro. Through her, a whole different side of Italy opened up for me. She and her folk musician friends played at Gradara that beautiful night - a testament to the spiritedness of Italians (lucky that I get to see it intimately, ashamed I used to think that this heightened sense of communion and community was exclusive to where I am from).

Compared to most Italian women I've met, Stella holds conversations looking at you in the eye. Warm, open, a bit shy, curious, starry-eyed (Stella means star in Italian), I can tell her life is full of interesting stories and adventures waiting ahead of her. Here she spends some time sharing her music. I've only managed to capture some of our conversations because shes camera-shy but the little I took (with a baby in one arm. haha) tells the story of how she started playing the Organetto. Take a look at the video below.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Circus Mechanicus, Street Artists and Buskers

Have a look into the tiny world of Circus Mechanicus! One of the the many attractions of the recent Pennabilli Street Artists and Busker's Festival, perhaps my favorite because of the whimsy, the lovely details and work put into it (the Hungarian lady, one of two who made this, told me it took 3 years to complete. Afterall, its a tiny circus - mechanicus! The characters inside MOVE.) Their group is called Tintalo. They do such wonderful projects and are completely inspired by the circus.

Its the first time I witness an event in the interior of central Italy (as countryside as it can get!) that was so big with crowds and performers from all over the world. There were performances ever hour, everywhere, until 2am for days and many quirky little shops and food stands, fun games for both young and young at heart like stilts (Claire was damn good at it!), wooden balancing things and objects that made me nostalgic about growing up before technological inventions like gameboy or pc gaming. Nothing beats 3d real-time interactive games!

She was so nice and happy to be taken a shot of. Looking out into rolling hills and greens, you too can imagine how anything is possible.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Parcels and Kitchen Offices

 Settling in quite nicely in this new space. The kitchen is now my other "office" with the new addition to our family, Claire, and the new friends and guests that come by that enjoy my asian fusion experiments. Of the many surprises I've had this first month, one of them is this package from Jillian, another blogger from north of Italy, another expat, a new friend I still have to meet. I love receiving mail and though I haven't been sending much out there since the move, I was more than happy to see this blue paper washi-taped parcel.

There were some funny treats from their recent trip to Japan, the coolest jacket for Adamo (thankfully still big enough for him to grow into. that boy is BIG!), and most surprising of all, one of her vintage aprons. Wow, I wasn't expecting that and YAY my first apron! Take a look at the full set here.

I really liked the tape she used with this saying, "Become who you are" or "Diventa quello che sei" from Nietsche. I think I've been doing that, surprising myself with what I find to be me.

Thank you for this Jill. un abbraccio :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Clandestine Mazurka at Gradara

One word: home. That night outside the castle walls of Gradara, we met with a mix of folk musicians, creatives, friends of a friend we made recently when we moved to Pesaro. I know its been eons since I last wrote on this blog and hardly mentioned anything at all about, well, anything at all. Its been a great big move and a hell of a month. But something about it, something about all this just feels a lot like home.

Some bits:
  1. Pesaro is awesome. In a month's time I've made more friends and connections than the two years I spent everywhere else (mostly between Ancona and Macerata - which I thought seemed worlds apart. I guess Pesaro is a whole leap outside the galaxy)
  2. Earthquakes. The first big earthquake hit the area of Ferrara and made quite a mess. That area has never been considered a "seismic" zone but then just around the same day the first solar eclipse of year occured, there was the earthquake and a big nightmare woke me in the middle of the night only to be followed by another disturbing dream. An energy dive that came rising back up in the following days. Oh, and two more earthquakes followed. One early this morning near Rimini.
  3. Claire. An English woman traveller is spending the summer with us to learn Italian and help watch over the little one - such luck and wow, big thank you Claire for coming to join our family even for just a short time.
  4. Travelling alone with Adamo. I did it! It can be done! I've had some hesitation before due to the language and the sheer difficulty of Italian public transportation but will-power and shamelessness can really get the work done.
  5. Growing pile of things to do. Slowly getting back my rhythm.

Thats all for now. Home and family - two things that go hand in hand. Both tracing its roots all the way back in time and space, finding at the very core that we're all deeply connected.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Manual for Moving

a guest post by Tamsin Hickson

Most people hate moving. I adore it with a passion, one passed down to me by my mother. Her love of
moving manifested itself freely throughout my childhood, ensuring that by the time I turned eighteen I’d "loved" in twenty houses. She felt that settling meant death and when I told her, shortly after buying my first house with a garden in London, that I didn’t ever want to move again she reacted as though I’d confessed to a passion for torturing small animals.

From my years of experience I have some practical suggestions for Katrina. Only two: a long list would only add to the proliferation of lists swirling around her and Francesco as they settle into their new home.

Number one: messy doesn’t matter. Everything is in chaos and confusion, all your things are packed in the wrong boxes and there’s no bedding for the first night. Relax. Open a bottle of wine, use a towel as a sheet when you go to bed. You’ve years ahead to live tidily, with things packed neatly into cupboards and onto shelves. For now enjoy the chaos of the moment.

Number two: start hanging pictures on the second day. This comes from my mother, who always had all their pictures up by day three. It may take months, years even, to unpack boxes, but pictures make a home.

My mother said something else: people who move a lot move easily. This goes both ways: even though I've lived in my house for nine years, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere, I still get worrying tendrils of desire to up roots once again. When that happens I take myself off to sit in my kitchen and stare at the blank walls. I fell in love with my house because of the way the sunlight fell on the soft hand-moulded plaster and having protected it from Italian builders and the tide of human possessions I need only stare at the walls, contrasted against the grey green of olive trees glowing through the window, to remember why I live here. In minutes the fantasy house, with its unimaginably exciting new life, becomes ghostly and pale before disappearing altogether.


Tamsin lives in Le Marche with her loves, her family and friends who come to visit, nestled in a sweet spot surrounded by olive trees, rolling fields, sheep, shepherd, sun! I wrote about one of her great outdoor dinners sometime last year here. She writes like she is in real life, such a joy to read and be with. Find more at her blog here:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sunken Church

Over a month ago, a friend of Francesco asked me to bring to life his vision for this graphic inspired by the story of the sunken church in Ancona (read about it by scrolling down his blog here). I met Jason, a missionary unlike any other, and his family only a few times and felt sad they had to leave just when I was starting to settle in Italy. Anyway, we had an interesting conversation over tandoori chicken one time. Shared some thoughts on books. Malcolm Gladwell came up and a brief chat over The Black Swan (not the movie). I thought he was amazingly open and curious (hearing about the time Fra brought an anarchist to one of their dinners to discuss creation makes me want to bonk Fra's head but still, Jason is so chill. That was probably even fun for him - my guess.)

So here is Jason's vision of the sunken church - under the Adriatic sea! Thats the Duomo of Ancona, by the way still on top of a hill and can be viewed today should you pass by this port city. What a fun project to work on, this one. Thanks again Jason!

Hear more about him and his adventures over at

On other life news, we just recently moved to Pesaro and I'm loving it. Still need to move in a few more stuff and working on finishing projects like Project Greece, which you can now subscribe to for launch updates and news as fresh as lemonade on a hot sunny day like today OH YES.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Project Greece Trailer

They say strike while the iron is hot. This is not the case with Project Greece. We embarked on this journey more than one year ago with lots of big ideas and bold risks but nothing came out as expected. In fact, a whole lot of other things happened instead. I got pregnant, changed plans (Fra decided to take his masters in political science and mananged to finish in one year - cum laude. such wondrous things happen when you have a child) therefore this project has been on hold for quite some time but now, more than year and new direction after, its finally coming towards its completion.

And you know, it was not easy. Its always easier and faster to complete work when you get at it immediately until its done. Prolonged waiting and the long passage of time only makes it more laborious. An unfinished project is like an open wound. Any creative feels this. Like an unfinished song, a poem written halfway, a half-painted canvas collecting dust, a dream half-realized. Of course, nobody has to feel obligated towards their creations (unless the creation is a living being - thats your little buddha with a whip. haha). I don't believe in having things/projects "own" me but I do believe in completion and its completely natural. In nature - everything in a cycle, in flow. Sometimes its best to let things remain incomplete (like things that you don't believe in anymore) but other things, other things that keep calling and calling - those big scary things we feel we're too small to do, thats part of what we're here for.

So, anyway. Without further BLAH, Here is the trailer. The website will be up soon, stay tuned! The music is by a very talented friend of mine, Pedja Milosavljevic, the most awesome Serbian-Balkan-RawChef I've ever known. Seriouslly, thanks for this track (I wish I recorded my vocals with it but perhaps another time. heee).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Theater collaboration

Fra with Monica's Vagina (art).
Some scenes here from last week's theater/film collaboration. Its called "The Three Worst Hours of my Life" translated from Italian, written and performed by Fra. It was fun, tiring but happy to spend a few days with these guys, made connections and saw everything spark. We had a theater all to ourselves with lights to manipulate, the whole shebang - big thanks to Simone who helped us find this space.

Tutorial: Pink Splash + free Wallpaper

Adamo sitting beside the onions.
Jan asked me if I could share the Pink Splash effect on my photos lately so I thought I'd do a quick tutorial. This is so easy (I managed to squeeze it into a few steps) with so many ways you can modify and play. View the screencast below for the spiel and pause anytime to follow.

Free wallpaper in these sizes (right-click and save as): 1280x800, 1440x900, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, iPhone, iPad