Sunday, March 25, 2012

Style Sunday: Window Curtains

I've had a couple of curtain panels for my bedroom window for months now. Although, I probably need two more to be right for my big bedroom window! Anyway, last weekend I finally worked a silver curtain rod into my budget. Hopefully one of the maintenance guys on property can install it for me. I've already asked once last weekend.

I can hardly wait to have them up! The panels are thermal, which will be nice to keep the sun's warmth out during the upcoming summer (and spring!). Lined twice, they will also block more light than my blinds do. Almost floor to ceiling, they are faux-silk and the deep red that is my pop color in the bedroom. Not only will they complete the room, I hope that they add a touch of luxury.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Style Sunday: Recent Purchases from JCPenney

My mom and I hit JCPenney on the third Friday of the month, for the better prices. I picked up the Liz Claiborne jean skirt and the pair of Levi's uncuffed jean capris listed on my Amazon Wishlist and they both look fantastic! I also snagged a fine scarf in my favorite color, dark pink (for only $9). Here they are:

Solid Pashmina-Style Wrap
in "Red" but it's actually the rich dark pink I love.

Following my "one in, one out" decluttering method, I donated two jean skirts and a scarf (and a long-sleeve shirt I never wore, one more for good luck!) yesterday.

I am happy it's spring and I can wear all of these!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I know I am the italiagal and lover of all things Italian, but I've never actually made lasagna myself. Hopefully with my next paycheck, I can purchase the ingredients (along with a bottle of cheap Chianti) and change that. I'm looking forward to giving it a try! Of the meat, cheese and vegetable variations, even though I am very tempted by the vegetable version recently posted on the blog An American in Italy, I have decided to make meat lasagna first. It feels more classic. I need to decide on one of the gazillion recipes out there, an easy one. Any suggestions?

I'd love for a lasagna to become one of my specialties. To make it my own. To be known for such a dish (move over, Dad and Uncle Rich!). Plus, what dish could be better to effortlessly entertain? When I prepare it in my large red lasagna pan ahead of time, I could easily serve plenty to half a dozen people and actually socialize with my guests at a dinner party while it bakes until the top is bubbling.

Stay tuned for my first try!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Style Sunday: Pretty Peony

I want to purchase a white peony and put it in a short, small clear glass vase.

I am just so ready for spring!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

28 Recommendations for a Life Lived Well

I had posted Michelle's 27 Things I Know for Sure back in May after being inspired by Shannon's 26 at The Simply Luxurious Life. She recently updated this list and published 33 Lessons Learned on her 33rd birthday. I thought I would redraft my own as well, but couldn't wait to post on my own birthday even though it is coming up pretty soon! 28 things this time because I turn 28 on April 15th.

Michelle's 28 Recommendations on How to Live Life Well:

1. Travel. May I recommend Italy? Personally, I want to be a traveler in my life. I want to constantly learn something new and indulge in the excitement of "discovering" a new place and its culture. And then I get to talk about it as an expert afterwards. I also know that exposure to places other than your hometown broadens your mindset. Instead of thinking something is "weird" abroad, is it really simply "foreign?" A well-rounded individual accepts that there are many ways to live and appreciates that the world is wonderfully diverse. ...and endlessly interesting to a curious observer like me. Get out there!

This is actually a hidden treasure in Venice that was shown to me by a local.
Personal Photo.

2. Do not accrue credit card debt. Live within your means. Lots of debt can be a huge obstacle in getting what you want out of life. It really sucks, trust me; don't do it. Or pay it off as soon as possible! A budget helps you afford the (fewer) things you want and need so that you can get through the tough times. I adore Suzy Orman; do whatever she says.

3. Be open to learn and improve yourself everyday. Every second of every day is an opportunity to take a chance and make a major change. Also, knowledge is power.

4. Do not follow trends, instead cultivate your own personal style. Not only on your person, but also in your home. Have fun with it. Plus, trends tend not to flatter everyone, and I want everyone to look their best!

5. Have goals and the gumption to work towards them.

6. Be courageous and confident enough to say who you are and what you want ...and be it. I am most attracted to people who are truly comfortable as themselves. Confidence is an extremely attractive quality. Be the person you want to be, now. Life is too short not to. I understand that it is difficult to be/ not be/ want/ not want something mainstream. Who cares what other people think? Being true to yourself is such a reward in life.

7. Indulge every once in awhile ...and savor it. In whatever you love, but do it sporadically. You truly appreciate it more when it's an occasional treat. Focus on that indulgence; don't let distractions dull your sensual experience.

8. Do a fantastic job. Work hard. Even if no one else is. Hold yourself to your own high standard. Show 'em how it's done.

9. Be nice. Always treat others respectfully, the way you would like to be treated. Nice matters.

10. Purchase items of the highest quality you can afford and then take care of them.

11. Declutter and treat the remaining items respectfully. Live life simply. Life can be lived more fully, in more space, less stuff cramping your style and occupying your time. When you only own things you love, you elevate them, see them more in a cleaner space. Take care of treasured possessions and use them often or display them appropriately. Once a space or wardrobe is decluttered, I find that making decisions quickly about incoming items helps to not get yourself back into a mountain of trouble. You may also employ the decluttering "one in, one out" method to keep your free space.

12. Nurture your relationships with others. I'm the friend who calls/ keeps in touch with 98% of my friendships. I am happy to do it and I'm good at it, but since I'm the one who makes the effort in nearly all my relationships, I advise you to give your friend like me a break and call/ text/ email/ mail/ visit. How about now? This list will be here when you get back. Life gets in the way, I know, but make time, put it on a "to do" list if you have to! Life is richer with others (and variety) and those relationships take work. This also applies to your relationships with a significant other, family, coworkers, roommates and even pets.

13. Get out of any relationship you need to. Some people simply do not make your life happier/better. I am the ultimate friend and find it very difficult to consciously choose not to continue or formally end a friendship, but have for the sake of my own happiness. Life is also too short to stay with a significant other you do not see a future with, even if you are terrified by being alone. If it's abusive in any way or measure, you definitely deserve better, the best, in fact.

14. Eat good food. Savor good food. It's so worth it. I love to eat. Don't waste much time on cheap junk, you know it's unsatisfying. A specific junk food that is your occasional indulgence is okay.

15. Attend college. Not exclusively online either. I had such a great time in college and wish it for everyone. And while you're at it, study abroad. May I recommend Italy?

16. Love yourself.

17. Dress up.
Personally, I highly recommend a little black dress with rich red peeptoe pumps, jewelry and a clutch. Dress up at any and every occasion ...or a totally random day just because you feel like it; elevate the everyday to an experience, a true experience in living well. Ladies, are you ever stumped about what to wear to a particular event? I love Nina Garcia's Look Book: What To Wear For Every Occasion for a recommendation that is just right.

18. Always bring something to a party, including a dinner party however casual, and even if it's just for the host. I mean in addition to any obligatory gift for the occasion. My recommendations are: a homemade dessert, a bottle of wine or a bouquet of fresh flowers. A considerate contribution or gift is truly the best. I know attending a party with a busy schedule is hard enough, but put some thought and/or effort into it.

19. Fare la bella figura. Always put your best foot forward. Look nice everyday. Behave yourself too.

20. Celebrate ...the little things, the big things, life. Elevate the everyday. Have fun.

21. Be optimistic.

22. Recognize your inner strength and potential to overcome obstacles.
You can do it. You deserve to live well following hardships.

23. Cultivate such a full life that you do not have interest, time or energy for unnecessary drama.

24. Read.

25. Take care of your health.
If generally healthy, when was your last physical? Make an appointment as soon as possible if it's been years.

26. Consciously choose to be happy and make it happen for yourself. Depend on no one else for this. For the healthy individual, I do really believe that happiness is your choice, your attitude, your actions. Life is what you make it. Do things that make you happy everyday. They can be little moments lasting just a few minutes too, like going slightly out of your way to walk in the sunshine, listening to a good song, or reading a few pages while your morning coffee (hopefully a cappuccino or espresso!) is cooling down.

27. Making something a habit is helpful in making a permanent change and sticking with it. Even if it's a habit like depriving yourself of spending money on a certain thing in order to save money, it becomes less painful with practice and time. Cultivate good habits. Practice makes perfect. Showing up is often half the battle; show up once and then repeat, repeat, repeat.

28. Be passionate.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Style Sunday: My Love for Chandeliers

(and my chic desktop background)

I find a chandelier in the home to be sophisticated, refined, elegant, glamorous and old-world. 

My love for chandeliers started in Italy with the amazing Murano blown glass ones, like this:

...but then my taste has become more refined recently and I now favor classic crystal chandeliers:

Over a bed:


Over a table:

I really want a chandelier in my future home!