Monday, July 22, 2013

Things To Do: Summer 2013 Edition: Update + Announcements

Today, I accomplished another item on my summer bucket list...

9. purchase fresh produce at the farmer's market

I only picked up a few things because I'm on a budget. At a long-running farm stand about five stoplights from my place, I purchased a pint of tomatoes, a red pepper and a zucchini/green squash. It was a pleasant buying experience. I am disappointed that I haven't had a red red tomato yet this season. The red pepper has wonderful color though. Last week, I had to buy two zucchini at the grocery store because they were so small; this one is huge. I'm sure this produce will be delicious! I suppose I'll sauté the pepper and squash to go with pasta. Tomatoes are designated for bruschetta

I wrote that I am ready for a big life change in this post. Since, I have applied to three more jobs, all of them in Philadelphia. I also tendered my resignation to my part-time job first thing this morning. My last day is Sunday, August 11th. I am so done working seven days a week; a year of that is enough. I don't believe it's sunk in that I get Sunday and Monday off each week, two days off a week instead of a month! I can do whatever I want! I hope this further commits me in trying to return to Philadelphia. I can now schedule in-person interviews. Come on, Philly, show me some brotherly love! 

Like an Italian, I am going to take a break during August. A blogging break, in fact. This post will be my last until my 300th post on italiagal's 3rd anniversary which is August 16th. I hope you will come back for that special post which will feature an amazing giveaway!

Enjoy your summer!

Style Sunday: New Wallet

I recently purchased this new wallet from the Wilson's Leather outlet...

You can see a place for cards. In the middle, there's file storage...

The second the salesperson showed me the labels, I was sold!
I love organization.

This is not my primary wallet where I store my cash, ID, debit card, two coffeehouse loyalty program cards, two insurance cards and stamps. I have a black leather one from Florence for all that. This new purchase organizes my coupons, receipts, loyalty program cards, gift cards, business cards, dental appointment reminder card, voter registration card, library card and change. On the back, there's a pocket with zipper closure for easy access to coins. My previous one was a quarter of the size of this one and I am pleased that I replaced it with something that actually works for me! The old one had a really cute owl on the front, cute but novelty, not really me. It bulged with stuff and as a result, the seams were ripping. The replacement was $20 which is a pretty decent price. I'll probably get my money's worth out of it!

Sorry this post is fashionably late!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's about time for a change.

I want to overhaul my life and I feel like the universe is sending me signs that I should change.

My car keeps conking out over the past month or so, even though I only received the car as a gift in October and have since put $1500 into it just to make it go, not even to make me comfortable. ..and it still doesn't go. I refuse to put any more money into it. It's so bad that I haven't even been driving it lately. I've driven my dad's Ford Escape on and off for the past week and a half. It feels so huge to me, but it's nice to have A/C and a passenger side door that opens from the outside. Anyway, I want to give my car up and move to a city, where I can walk more and take advantage of mass transit. I would love to never drive, walk to a cafe for a cappuccino or to a bar for happy hour, always have something to do.

I have a particular city in mind. The idea of living in Philadelphia again thrills me. I loved living there for nine months four and a half years ago. It's odd that I am a traveler and fall in love with places, but dislike my current town, which happens to be my hometown. Its character simply does not match mine. It is very family-oriented and I am not. I also follow bloggers daily, including expats who love their new home and relish sharing all about it. I want something like what they have. I'd probably be a better blogger. Additionally, post-breakup, I am not tied to the area by anyone. While I do have family and friends I love here, I do not have a significant other securing me here.

Rodin's The Thinker
@ The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia

Since my recent car repairs have wiped out my savings for my 30th birthday trip to Paris, I am unsure if I save all the money I make from working every Sunday and perhaps another night of the week at my part-time job from July up until next April, it would still get me there... I want to land a (full-time) job with a greater income or have cheaper rent and living expenses, even if that means sharing a two bedroom with a roommate, to save some real money. I am still set on toasting a new decade in the City of Light.

Working two jobs seven days a week so often is tiring. Frequently, you just go through the motions. ...even me, who tries so hard to truly experience life, appreciating the little things and living life consciously. When asked how I am, (when not in my bubbly small talk) I hate answering "busy" or "same old, same old." I want to make the most of my life. I want to revel in the fact that I just savored gelato while strolling through Rittenhouse Square [in Philadelphia] in the sunshine for example. Living in my hometown isn't living my best life.

I've been trying to land an entry-level study abroad job for the past four and a half years and haven't succeeded yet. I always figured I'd turn my life upside down when I landed that dream job. ...but I can change my life without that particular plan. Since Plan A isn't working out, I need a Plan B, to change my tactics. I want to be very happy.

With my car trouble, not even liking my town, breakup, frustration with my temporary life seeming permanent, jeopardizing my Paris trip and my life seeming blah over the last few days all make me ready for big change. This propels me into action.

So very action-oriented, I am back to my old tricks, I applied to three jobs out-of-state yesterday. One was one of my study abroad jobs I apply for regularly. This one was in Arlington, VA. Conversely, the other two were leasing jobs in Philly. Those applications are out of the ordinary for me. One of the two I am excited about- a leasing manager position which is a promotion for me in a very nice high-rise right in the middle of downtown (which is called Center City) Philadelphia. I probably cannot even afford to live there, but it's a nice idea. My current company does have its headquarters just outside Philadelphia but they lack a property within the city limits. If they buy a property there, I will be first in line to transfer.

Please wish me luck in making this change actually happen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Style Sunday: Minor yet Refreshing Style Updates

I've done some minor style updates and beauty treatments recently.

Since one of my extras in my summer capsule wardrobe, a black scoop neck tee had a hole in it, I tossed it and replaced it with an older black v-neck tee from Ann Taylor Loft Outlet I had in my reserves. I also added two scoop neck tees, one in white and the other in a summery blue, both were recent purchases from Ann Taylor Factory Store. Now that I have six tees, I feel that that's a good number based on my laundry schedule. You live and you learn. In addition, picking one up from Target, I replaced my everyday belt.

I got a haircut last night, a pretty good one. It was simply a trim off my ends and long layers. Since it had been ten weeks since my last cut and while the stylist commented that my ends looked good, it was longer than usual, so now, I feel more polished and more like me. This morning, I applied my hair mask (from Pantene), so it's soft and my fingers can run through my hair easily. I also treated myself to a professional pedicure last night. I brought my own color in, my favorite, California Raspberry by OPI. 

With these updates and treatments and services, I feel pulled together.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Things To Do: Summer 2013 Edition: Update

I would like to check another item off my summer bucket list (that can be found in its entirety here)...

2. date as much as possible

Skeeball on the Boardwalk in Ocean City

I know the summer isn't over and I have over six weeks prior to Labor Day to date even more, but I recently experienced a break-up and need some time. Anyway, I did date a gentleman named Chris often. We dated for about a month and saw each other every few days. Our date activities included dining out, bowling, dining al fresco on my balcony, watching a movie, going on a picnic, having breakfast out, and traveling. Our trip was celebrating his 30th birthday in Ocean City, Maryland. The quantity of these dates was just as beautiful as the quality. All these dates were really fun. I have amazing memories of our time together. Plus, he gave me the attention I've desired for awhile. He was simply wonderful to me.

Following the break-up, I would like to genuinely thank my mom, my boss, and most of all, my friend E who helped me through the first 24 hours or so when I was sad. E was truly there for me, in person. I know I thanked you profusely already, E, but, again, grazie. Plus, thanks to the grocery store Giant for having Edy's delicious Cookie Dough ice cream on such a sale. This is excellent break-up food! With this help, along with my own strength and optimism, I woke up this morning feeling okay. I truly have the most amazing people in my life, who I can lean on when needed. I am so very grateful.

Bringing it back to my actual post topic, I am also very grateful for dating so often. And having dates with such a nice guy who treated me well and I liked and had fun with. This particular experience made my summer.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: Ooh La La! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day

I highly recommend Ooh La La! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day by Jamie Cat Callan, who also wrote French Women Don't Sleep Alone and Bonjour, Happiness!  I read it last month and I wanted to promote this important book with a review.

This is the account of the author's personal journey to achieve the French women's je ne sais quoi on a trip to France. Reminding me of Bonjour, Happiness!, she interviews French women. Her mission for the sake of beauty truly inspires the reader to discover her own ooh la la. I am happy to learn that beauty comes from within, from an expression of and paying regular attention to a deep connection with your body and soul. Cultivate being your true self and you can be stunningly beautiful. There are so many lessons to learn from Ooh La La! Quite enjoyable, reading the book feels like conversing with a quirky girlfriend.  
Since I am part of the European lifestyle blogging community, it takes a good book to offer something different, something new, and I feel that Ooh La La! does. She discusses many topics that get me thinking. For example, she suggests you select a perfume based on your personality and reflecting the specific phase of your life. I actually have a signature scent and was pleased to find I thought about it in a smart way! My signature scent is Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere. Not really wearing perfume nor even wanting to before, on my 27th birthday, I had a change of heart and suddenly had to have my own fragrance I was known/remembered for. I was in Philadelphia on this special day, so I marched into the Macy's and asked for Chanel No.5, the ultimate classic scent, crafted by a strong woman I adore. Even though it smelled like perfume, a womanly scent to me rather than a girly floral or fruity one, it smelled very heavy to me and I was a bit disappointed. Fortunately, the sales lady recommended the Eau Premiere version, which she explained used the same ingredients but in different amounts and resulted in a lighter scent. She went on to say that many use Chanel No. 5 during the fall and winter but switch to this formula in the spring and summer. When I spritzed it on my wrists, I liked it and immediately thought I would wear it year-round. After leaving it on my skin for awhile and saw how it reacted to my body chemistry, I returned to the store the same day and made the purchase. I wear it daily and am on my second bottle now. I appreciate that this perfume is a modern twist on a iconic classic. I like to think that this reflects my life... full of classic and sophisticated conscious choices enlivened with passion and all things Italian.
If you haven't already, go and read this book!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Style Sunday: New Charm for My Charm Bracelet

While in Ocean City, Maryland last Monday and Tuesday, I purchased a new charm for my charm bracelet in order to commemorate the wonderful little trip...

Starfish and Seahorse Charm

This option was my favorite and we actually did see seahorses in a tank inside the Life-Saving Museum (at the Inlet/end of the boardwalk) that Chris wanted to visit.

Check out  my charm bracelet now...

You can learn about the other charms from this post.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Things To Do: Summer 2013 Edition: Update

I checked the following item off my summer bucket list (that can be found in its entirety here)...

7. have a picnic

Back on June 20th, the guy I'm dating Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed a picnic for dinner at Lake Waterford Park in Pasadena, Maryland. We decided on a spot in a wooded area near the playground, pavilions and picnic tables. I wished it was alittle more green. Only arriving an hour before the park closed, I didn't have a chance to show him the lake. Here's a picture before we dove in...

Dinner: baguette, cheddar and provolone cheeses, proscuitto, grape tomatoes, pasta salad and pretzels
Drink: Caffeine-Free Coke, water and my favorite Italian beverage inside the thermos
Dessert: chocolate chip cookies I baked and strawberries
All on top of my twin-sized comforter from college
The food was delicious; the setting was nice and the experience was fun. We really enjoyed ourselves. I highly recommend having a picnic this summer. In fact, I might have to do this once more this season myself!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ocean City, MD

This is a roaming gnome named Seamus in Ocean City
during my spring break 2006.
(Seamus is a shared roaming gnome among my college friends and I.)

As locals say around here about vacationing in Ocean City, Maryland, I'm "goin' down the ocean." The guy that I'm dating Chris and I are going today and tomorrow and are about to depart! We are celebrating this 30th birthday. We are excited for the beach and boardwalk, mini golf and our hotel's beach bar. Oh and all the food! We have a checklist of Dolle's caramel popcorn, a Bull on the Beach or Boog's pit beef sandwich, Dumser's ice cream, Candy Kitchen fudge,... I think we might have to do Thrasher's french fries too! Photos to come!