Sunday, January 27, 2013

Style Sunday: Metal Bed

I've always wanted a metal bed. ...and actually haven't found the perfect one yet! I want something simple ...but with just a bit of scrollwork. I've been leaning towards the ones in silver.

I recently came across this one with its Roman arches...

I wonder if this is the one... It's a budget-friendly option, at least $100-200 cheaper than so many of the others out there! Anything would be better than my warm oak bed, which I've had for the past 18 years and is no longer my taste. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

One Clean Casa

It's traditionally Italian to keep a very clean home, meticulously so. Also, traditionally, the Italian mamma tends to keep her fairly simple home well-maintained so it can be passed down to family for generations and that items inside do not go to waste. Things are not so plentiful nor disposable as they are in so many American households. The casa is significant because it's the backdrop for the all-important family life and thus should be treated with respect. Plus, there's the value of putting one's best foot forward in everything, fare la bella figura (literally "to make a good figure").

I grew up in a messy house, full of collections of things, ...with marathon cleaning sessions right before welcoming visitors, but as an adult, became neat as a pin! In college, my roommate happened to be neat and she was an influence. Living in a dorm and a very social atmosphere, we also didn't live in a pig sty because friends would often stop by, even if just to collect us for the next meal in the caf. We needed our small room to be presentable enough for company. A made bed served as seating, for example. Wherever I've lived since, I've always made my bed and kept my space straightened.

I like to live in a nice and neat environment, plus I prefer to incorporate a little cleaning as part of a routine, not a monumental chore that bogs down an entire afternoon, which is not so much fun! My co-workers tease me because my home can be ready for show at nearly any time and stands out on property for its cleanliness. (As a Leasing Consultant, I show apartments for a living.) I actually keep it very straightened at all times, but not so clean it sparkles all the time, with my busy work and social schedules. Every single item has a home and I exercise discipline to return everything to its appropriate place when not in use. I try my best to keep everything clean as in disinfected, washed, dust-free, stain-free, hair-free, vacuumed, freshly laundered and smelling pleasant on a regular basis. I do keep it pretty clean, if I do say so myself. This way, I don't knock myself out cleaning immediately before I entertain. Furthermore, I am more likely to spontaneously invite someone over to a clean space. I love my apartment and it shows. It's nice to enjoy such a nice place while currently snowed in (instead of being out and about as usual on this Friday evening).

I also only own things I love and actually use. Since I don't have so much stuff, that makes straightening and cleaning easier and helps keep everything in check. It's not very Italian of me to use so many disposable cleaning products, as well as some paper napkins and plates and plastic cups. Maybe I'll use my cloth napkins more...

a recent picture
My living room nearly always looks this good!

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Love Pinterest

This is my 700th pin...

I own a red geranium which I love. It blooms so much!

I really love Pinterest. Having studied art (history), I love to collect inspiration and things I find beautiful. I am particularly inspired by home decor and travel as they are my busiest boards. This collection doesn't add clutter to my home! I used to fill up sketchbooks with photos out of magazines. I also enjoy repinning images on the website itself as a way to relax. It's a mindless activity I can partake in for just a bit after a hectic shift at work, adding some balance to life. ...a better use of my time than watching some reality TV show!

I invite you to...

Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, January 21, 2013

To Rome With Love Review

Personal Photo of Piazza Navona in Rome
Edited by my friend C

Back in this post, I wrote that I was looking forward to seeing the Woody Allen film To Rome With Love. I watched it today and it was hilarious. There are so many quirky characters who are followed while in Rome. I laughed at its absurdity the whole way through. It is also very sexually charged, fitting for its setting though! It comments on celebrity and love, but overall, it's just plain crazy. It's no Midnight in Paris which I can watch over and over again, but it's worth it to see once.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Style Sunday: For the Kitchen...

I picked up this wire basket on a pedestal from HomeGoods several weeks ago and set it on my kitchen countertop...

Usually it looks like this, holding a loaf of good bread, a staple of any household living with European values.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Style Sunday: Living Room Rug

Check out my new living room rug...

This tile or trellis print is also on my duvet and shams. I love it. I highly recommend this rug mainly because it was only $79.99, when similar ones of this size are usually $279.99 or $299.99 or something like that. Such an amazing value! This bold print really adds to the room.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Buon Appetito!

Tonight, I prepared spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. (This combination is actually Italian-American, as pasta is a first course or primo and meatballs are enjoyed separately as a secondo in Italy.) As you can imagine, I eat pasta all the time, but I hardly ever make meatballs. They were delicious! Squisito! My sister, well known for her's, gave me a small piece of tupperware full of her ingredients while I was at my parents doing laundry this morning. Finishing off my glass of Chianti now...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Style Sunday: Another Skirt for Winter

I love to wear my brown wool skirt with a brown sweater and heeled boots when I want to dress up during the winter. I wanted to add a classic tweed skirt to my winter wardrobe. I picked up the following black and white tweed pencil skirt from Ann Taylor. Very Coco Chanel (although not as iconic as the tweed jacket).

I don't think I would have bought it if I saw it in store because I've grown so picky. Tweed just isn't a nice and neat texture. Not that this particular skirt was available in a nearby location anyway. I took a chance and bought it online and since it's such a classic and fits me (hello, curves!) and simply isn't bad, I've decided to keep it. It's different, so a nice addition to my wardrobe. I feel good branching out a bit.

I hope to buy sleek knee-high black boots with a skinny low to medium heel to go with this skirt soon. Then, next fall, I can pair it with heels, pairs I already own. I have to try on tops with it as well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflections on 2012 and Resolutions for 2013

I had such a great time in 2012, with my birthday trip to Boston, the reunion of college friends I hosted in July, my Philadelphia daytrip in November, meeting new people throughout the year, as well as numerous other times well spent with the ones I love. I spent the entire calendar year in my apartment that makes me happy everyday. 

Still, I hope that 2013 is my year. I am ready for more. For big changes. Particularly, for developing closer relationships. 

...but, I can only change myself, so here's what I had resolved for the past year and what I do for the upcoming one. I'm a big fan of resolutions. Even though I feel that any day, or any minute, is the right time to start to change your life, I still do like to make resolutions for January 1st.

My resolutions for 2012 were:

1. To diligently work towards the life I want. With this one, I resolved to do little things everyday that would lead me to the life I've always wanted to live. I have had both successes and failures in this pretty broad resolution, too broad really. I actually didn't pay down my credit card debt significantly or relearn Italian. I truly try to live in the right way and am pretty productive every single day. I did, however, save money for my little birthday trip to Boston, a city I've really wanted to visit for years and a highlight of my year. I also took part-time employment in August to help pay bills. And worked like whoa since! The job is in retail, something I was very proud to escape in March 2011. ...oh well, I do what I need to do. In addition to increasing my income, I have decreased my spending. As a result, I have grown very picky in what I purchase. It must be perfect, which I found to be very frustrating when I need something or someone very generous wants to treat me to anything I want and nothing reaches my high standards. As documented on this blog, I thoroughly enjoyed my summer checking items off a fun seasonal to do list. 

2. To live a more chic life. I accomplished this goal. I really took care of myself and my home on a regular basis throughout 2012. For example, I apply a conditioning treatment on my hair and a mud mask on my face once a week. My apartment could be ready to show at nearly any point on any day. I respect my beloved home and keep it neat and clean. I also constantly declutter. I even developed what can be called a capsule wardrobe, for the fall/winter anyway. With fewer things, I can care for the remaining precious few even more. 2012 was the year I finally kicked the habit of sleeping in. 7:00 AM is sleeping in now; in fact, that's the time I climbed out of bed on New Year's Eve, my day off. I can truly live each day when I am not hiding under the covers for hours. I do not stay in my pajamas all day, or even half of it. I wear clothes I love, apply makeup and straighten my hair every morning. Furthermore, I enjoy dressing up when I go out. On days I work, rising early also means I have enough time to enjoy breakfast. Instead of possessing a lot of cheap stuff, I try to buy a few items of quality, even for everyday experiences. I often enjoy a glass of red wine in its appropriate glass with a homemade dinner, along with good bread and flavorful olive oil for dipping. 

3. To blog more frequently. I didn't actually succeed in this one. I posted the exact number of times in 2012 that I did in 2011, 99. Luckily, I make myself post on the subject of style every Sunday, which did start in 2012. I will try harder this year! I can post on my progress of the following resolutions...

My resolutions for 2013 are:

1. To lose weight. I hope to drop 12 pounds. I figure that's doable since it's one pound for each month of 2013. I really like feeling thin and am looking forward to a slimmer silhouette. Plus, it's pretty important to me to take care of myself and be healthy. In addition to incorporating more exercise into my life and drinking more water on a daily basis, my major plan of attack leads me to my next resolution...

2. To master portion control. I love to eat. I also love to eat a lot. Coming from a family of big eaters, I have learned to consume until I feel full (...or absolutely stuffed!) or everything is gone on my plate whenever I eat. I have to break this habit in order to have a much healthier relationship with food. I can accomplish this in a number of ways. I can savor my food even more than I do now. I can use smaller plates than I already do. I can reward myself in order ways other than with food. I actually don't dine out much anymore, due to budget constraints, but, my boss at my full time job and I order Chinese about once a week. Instead of eating nearly every bit of the huge lunch special, washing it down with a can of Coke, and a fortune cookie on top, and feel so stuffed that I am lethargic for a bit, I can divide my usual beef and broccoli with rice into half and save the other remaining portion for dinner that evening or lunch the following day. 

3. To escape my hometown. I haven't revealed the town I live in on this blog partly because I'd like to remain anonymous, but mainly because I don't like living here anymore. I also don't relish telling new people I meet where I currently reside. As a traveler, I deeply love places, so it's important to me to love where I live. I loved it growing up here, but it simply doesn't fit me anymore. This suburb is family-oriented and I am not. I want to give up driving in favor of walking and public transportation and trade a boring, commercial suburb for an exciting, cultural city. I want to walk everywhere, to pick up a loaf of good bread at a local independent bakery or to meet friends for happy hour at a charming bar. I hope that this change allows me to make new friends. I figured that entering my career field of choice would give me the opportunity to move, but unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet. I plan to start seriously investigating other options to move. Maybe another job as a Leasing Consultant in a city? I'm here because I'm so poor that I depend upon my parents nearby. (I do all of my laundry at their place, for instance.) If I landed a job with better compensation, I am ready to move. Maybe I'll move in with a boyfriend sometime in 2013! I'm pretty open to any big city.

4. To break into the international education field. My dream is to work in a study abroad office on a college campus and had been since November 2008. Traveling to Italy changed my life and I want to encourage others to participate in an international experience for a living. I will continue to apply for jobs in this field, even if it's at a provider of international internships like I interviewed for this past year.

5. To plan my 30th birthday trip in 2014. I really want to go to at least Paris and an Italian city during the spring or even early on in 2014, so I need to plan and save money throughout 2013. I already renewed my passport in 2012.

That's kind of a lot! But, hey, you should always dream big.

Dear readers, I hope that you enjoy bringing in the new year, first of all! Secondly, I hope that you have the best year ever, that your dreams come true.

To 2013!