Shōji – Shadow and Light

A few years ago, I was working on the computer, the day was sunny and warm and I started wondering what I was doing sitting there, closed between four walls of a room. I turned the page to a travel site questioning what country I would have liked to visit, just in case. The answer came without thinking: Japan. I knew some friends there I could visit, I had never been to Japan, it was a good reason to go. I immediately booked a trip and went to surprise my friends. Finally, got to see and experience everything I had studied in books about the Japanese style, home décor, art, colors, and life.
(click on each picture to see it larger)

At the Nijo-jo Castle – Kyoto

I was intrigued by their uses of shadow and light for aesthetic purposes. In the western world, we are used to closing our homes with metal or wood doors, multiple locks, and security cameras. In japan is sufficient a shōji screen made of washi traditional Japanese paper (I am sure in large cities might be different).

At the tea ceremony house

I sat on a lot of tatamis, an art only Japanese people can do. The beauty of a tatami room comes from the enigma of shadow and the suffused light passing from the garden through a shōji screen. Indirect light is the key element that defines a tatami room whose walls are painted in muted neutral colors that don’t distract from the peaceful feeling created.

Home of a Samurai

Japanese highest aesthetic sense comes from living in nature and emotionally responding to its beauty.
They accept nature as it is, they work with what they have and embrace it. If there is a scarcity of natural light, the Japanese create intimacy in their interiors and mystery in corners. The ceilings are not particularly high to allow a resting place for the heart and have no central lights, only one or two lamps. There is a cosmic emptiness in Japanese homes, the silence of the emptiness is disarming for us westerners used as we are to noises.

Tea Ceremony House

What is the beauty of shadow and light in traditional Japanese homes? Homes in Japan are made of wood, the frequent showers of rain create a need to build large heaves to protect the wood and to keep the rain out. The light, therefore, enters the home horizontally and not from the top, it gets diffused through the shōji screen and shadows become prominent.

The entry to a Samurai House
A private home – Kyoto

Temple in Kyoto

“Beauty arises from our daily life”. I learned so much in the two weeks I was in Japan, their culture was an adjustment for me.

Contributing to the Thursday Door Challenge, organized by Dan Antion has enabled me to go down memory lane and relive those moments. Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Historic Doors

How many times do I get to see a historic building in the US? Hardly ever. The country is so new that has not yet had the time to grow old, make history and memories. In fact, I heard that when a building reaches 50 years of age, it goes down like dust. This past weekend I went to an art festival on the streets of Redwood City, a quaint town in Northern California and while walking around I noticed a few buildings designed in a classical style architecture. The Fitzpatrick building got my attention for its round shape over one of the entries, I thought it was a loggia above, but in reality, it is a turret with windows and a dome on top.

Redwood City, CA

Fitzpatrick is certainly not an American name. It seems it is a surname of a native Gaelic-Irish origin person with the Norman French Fitz as a prefix.

Redwood City in 1868 was a shipping port for all the industries present in the area. During the great earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco, the Fitzpatrick Building survived with minimal damage and for safety reasons, the dome was temporarily removed.

I love to see a plaque with a date.

The second entry of the Fitzpatrick’s building

Beautiful Ionic columns and decorated pilasters visually support a secondary entry. It must be pleasant working in this business building and be part of history, even if I think that the daily routine of those who work there, does not give much space to the imagination or to the realization of spending most of their days in a beautiful building that still stands after 112 years and that perhaps was part of many vicissitudes. I know that feeling, I studied fashion in a building 400 years old.

I hope you enjoy my findings and my participation in the Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Spring, Beauty and Books Series Has Ended

This Spring flew by, between winds of war, fake news, new diseases, corrupted politicians, investigations, and protests around the world to gain the lost freedom, we have arrived almost at Summer. What will it bring us? My hope is always that humanity will mend itself and be infused with so much love, compassion and empathy, as without these elements, life cannot be called life.

With the arrival of Spring, my goal was to instill beauty. Beauty multiplies as it is an entity that everyone wants and everyone recognizes for their wellbeing. I also wanted to spread kind thoughts. Who better than authors can do that? Authors are good with words, they know how to craft them to let the readers live a fantasy, see places and experience new emotions.

Spring is the perfect season for renewal. The authors I have invited to participate in this new series called “Spring, Beauty and Books” each have their own sensibility about Spring and I hope they have inspired the readers. I want to thank them for spreading beauty with their books and thoughts. I had a great pleasure hosting them. Enjoy the video I made with their words on Spring and their books.


Sharon Marchisiello – https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK
Colleen Chesebro – mybook.to/WordCraftProsePoetry
Anne Goodwin – https://linktr.ee/matildawindsor
Effrosyni Moschoudi –  https://bit.ly/3pAP3rf
Ann Chiappetta – www.Annchiappetta.com
Liesbet Collaert – https://amzn.to/3jZRrpm
Yvette Calleiro – https://www.amazon.com/HYPE-Yvette-M-Calleiro-ebook/dp/B09L7BFNXG/
Christine Robinson –  cerobinsonauthor.com 
Debby Gies – www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
Valentina Cirasola – https://www.amazon.com/Valentina-Cirasola/e/B0031A02H2

“Nature is the source of all true knowledge. She has her own logic, her own laws, she has no effect without cause nor invention without necessity” – Leonardo da Vinci.

Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Mediterranean Door

It’s one o’clock, businesses are closed, schools are closed, and everybody goes home for lunch. In the Mediterranean basin, life stops from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm every day. The main purpose of those four hours of pause is to have lunch with the family. After lunch, people have different activities, take a nap, read, talk on the phone, do house chores, help kids with homework, go out to exercise and many others. At 4:00 pm, all the businesses start again until the evening at 8:00 pm. This is the Mediterranean life, summer and winter.

The balcony above a business, as in my photo, often says the owner of the business lives above. In the Middle Age, it was a custom to live above the business to care for the family easier without having to walk or take the carriage to go home. Today, in Europe, the same work/living arrangement is still valid, unfortunately, there are only a few examples left.

Gioia del Colle, Puglia, Italy

The shutters of the French door on the balcony are real, meaning they have a real function, versus the decorative types I often see on houses in America. In the Summertime, the shutters are kept closed to let the fresh air in through the slats and keep out the ferocious sun. Behind the shutters, inside, the glass panels are always open.
If you are visiting Italy, make sure you eat during the hours Italians eat. Restaurants are closed for a good part of the day, as Italians love to eat under the moon and not under the sun. Lunch in restaurants is served between 12:00 and 2:00 pm, and dinner doesn’t start until 8:00 in the evening until the smallest hours of the night. In some areas on the coasts, restaurants have a full house even at 3:00-4:00 am.

I am happy to participate in the Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion, I am learning so much about doors in the world.

Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Spring, Beauty and Books: Debby Gies

Author Debby Gies

After two years of hibernation, taking care of my sick husband, and then ultimately, grieving the loss of my beloved husband, I escaped to a long winter vacation. My grief traveled with me, but the warmth of the Mexican sunshine and being around old friends and new was like a welcomed spring to my soul.

Mexican sunset

I came home dodging the brunt of our harsh Canadian winter here in Ontario as our city too, began to awake from what felt a long slumber. The freezing temperatures had transformed into crisp fresh air, and I once again began taking walks out in our beautiful walking trails as a wonderful escape into nature, and from the dark doldrums of my interior four walls. A vacation after two years of heaviness was like a new bud of spring opening for my sanity. I am slowly crawling back into life.

 Bright colors with the promise of spring cheer me up, as does anything shiny and blingy. It’s the sunshine that has the power to lift me out of the dark abyss within, that sometimes grabs a hold of me. On those days without enough sun? This is where my huge floor lamp with large, white daylight bulbs can fool my darkness. No substitute for the sun, but a satisfactory backup plan.

My life now is just only coming into spring after two years of my internal harsh winter.

Mexican sunset

Bio

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, sharing the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor.

In the Autumn of My Life

In the autumn of my life
I find myself looking back
On the springs and summers
Of glory days gone past.
As the winter of life approaches,
We often reminisce and look to reconnect
With things and people that brightened our springs and summers,
People who knew us and understood the times
And circumstances of our lives.
It’s a kinship of time that only those who’ve lived then can know.
A time when glancing back brings a dollop of comfort
As we march through the seasons of life
Before winter’s approach.

©DGKaye2022

Books by Debby Gies

Connect with D.G.:

www.dgkayewriter.com
www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
www.twitter.com/@pokercubster 
www.linkedin.com/in/DGKaye7
www.facebook.com/dgkaye


Debby, your poem is very meaningful. I am happy to know you are coming back to life, the good memories of your lost husband will give you the strength to face new life challenges. Are you planning new books in the near future?

*******

Please, allow me to add a small promotion of my books.

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Tapas, Wines and Doors

Often, when I walk, I feel curious about things I see in the streets and if I am allowed I push myself inside to explore. I saw these colors through the large windows of this place, they draw me in like a magnet. Warm, vibrant, bold, sunny, these colors spoke to me a Mediterranean language and feelings of savory epicurean delights paired with rare wines. I didn’t know it was a Spanish tapas bar and restaurant with the exotic twist of culture from Latin America.

“Old World taste meets New World appeal at Cascal”, says the advertisement. This is a place where friends could linger over exotic cocktails, music, the bold personality of the architecture and daring food. flavors.

Inside, rather than having a great dining open space, the arcade function as divider of spaces, providing privacy between diners without totally obstructing the lights while mixing the colors into each space.

In the Mediterranean culture, arches embellished with columns, capitels and stones usually surround beautiful doors, also enclose kitchens’ cooking areas and wine storage, but often many arches divide spaces that would be otherwise too open, too cold and too unmanageable.

Colors create cozy interior atmospheres. Painted doors are inviting and show the personality of the people living there. For the Thursday Door Challenge organized by Dan Antion, this is my contribution. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Spring, Beauty and Books: Christine Robinson

Author Christine Robinson

Winter, Beauty: During Thanksgiving time, our two older dogs crossed the rainbow bridge into God’s new Garden of Eden. A few weeks later, we miraculously met and fell in love with two five-month-old Border Aussie siblings. Maddie and Max were bred on a horse ranch in Ramona, CA. It wasn’t Spring, Beauty, but it was a happy, December winter day. The two pups were in an outdoor pen at the ranch. As soon as we stepped into the pen, Maddie (black & white, more Border Collie) jumped into my partner, Robert’s arms. Max (golden and white, more Australian Shepard) jumped up and kissed my face. At that moment, we were happily chosen for their forever home. 

Spring, Beauty: Maddie and Max, now 9 months old, are energetic, smart, and loving pups. Showstoppers, they are magnets for animal lovers, who smile and pat them. Best of all, they share, in depth, their own incredible doggie stories. What better way to spread Spring, Beauty.  

Spring, Beauty and Books: May Flowers and a Debut book coming: Three Years of Her Life: A Novel. To be published on Amazon, May 3, 2022.


Author’s Bio
Christine E. Robinson spent years as a nurse practitioner before venturing into the world of fiction writing. Three Years of Her life is her first novel. A background as a published poet, experience in writing fiction/non-fiction books and screenplays, helped craft this story. Robinson lives in Southern California. Watch for a Women’s Fiction novel, available later this year.

Website: cerobinsonauthor.com 

Before Sundown
http://cerobinsonauthor.com 

Author Christine Robinson

Three Years of Her Life: A Novel

This debut novel is an indelible portrait of family love, trust, commitment, and unrelenting prejudice. A stirring tale that rides the line between historical fiction and romance, inspired by a famous musician’s hidden secret in Germany.

Three Years of Her Life, set in New England and Central Europe, is similar in concern and significant issues to bestselling American Epic books of the Great Depression, The Great War and the U.S. South. People and places focused, the novel’s heartwarming and heart-wrenching themes mark history in unsettled times.

A mystery woman’s photo, in question, is in the famous grandfather’s gold pocket watch for over fifty years. It devastates Elizabeth’s estranged grandmother, and she convinces Elizabeth to find the link. At a loss how, Elizabeth’s on track to be a nurse not a detective, she gets help from Erik, the doctor who captures her heart. He becomes obsessed with uncovering her grandfather’s secret and discovers more in Germany than the family can take. Now he shares a family heritage. When Elizabeth tries to stand up for Erik and her grandfather, it backfires.

Complicating her own life, Elizabeth falls into an entanglement with her guitar teacher. It’s only a longed-for connection to musicians, her absent father and dead grandfather, but it causes uncertainty. She’s now torn between two very different men. And what happens if and when she lets one of them go? Erik tips the balance for Elizabeth’s decision. He proves his character by risking his life transporting East Berlin hospital patients to the West through the Berlin Wall. But, what if border guards trap him in East Berlin? Unbeknown to Elizabeth, before Erik leaves on the mission, he sets up her future. And, he’s dead serious about his plan.

Elizabeth’s estranged grandmother convinces her to find the link to a mystery woman. Her photo is in Grandfather’s gold pocket watch. At a loss how, Elizabeth, a nurse, gets help from Erik, a doctor who captures her heart.”

Christine, I love the story of your two puppies, you saved them and they made your Spring.
Your novel “Three Years Of Her Life” sounds romantic and intriguing and the cover design is evocative of an era gone by. Is it by any chance some of your life story in there? I wish you great success with this new publication.

*****

Allow me to add a timid advertisement for my books.

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Doors To Wildlife

A friend invited me to this American place, she was sure I was going to like to see the wildlife. Wildlife lives outdoor, I thought, why are we going to a place with a door? Why didn’t she call it a zoo?
We approached an impressive sturdy wood door with antlers as the door pulls, the building didn’t show as the structure was surrounded by large rocks. I remember the cement floor had amusing imprints of bear paws and fish stenciled on the cement as directions for people. A small bridge with cascading water and real birds bathing in the water gave a pleasant feeling to the shopping centre, as if I was somewhere in the mountain for real. Well, I thought if the outside looks so natural, the inside of this place will be just as attractive.

Entrance door

Vestibule

The vestibule that divided the outer door to the street and the interior door to the store made me smile: “Welcome fishermen, hunters and other liars”.

Inside, the animals on display seemed to be real and embalmed. My impression of this place? It seemed like a taxidermy museum with clothes for sale, quite interesting and amusing.
The entire shopping centre is dedicated to natural activities, organic products, outdoor sports equipment, organic or fusion food, fish restaurants and it has been designed with symbols of nature.

Fish restaurant

I think by now, most of you living in the States have recognized this place is the Bass Store, of which some major states have at least one branch, I am sure.
Dan Antion is the organizer of the Thursday Door Challenge.
Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon’s Author Page


Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Spring, Beauty and Books: Yvette Calleiro

Author Yvette Calleiro

South Florida doesn’t really experience the seasons, so Spring doesn’t show itself as it does in the northern states. Sure, we have some frigid days (by South Floridian standards), but we mostly enjoy pleasant weather with bright blue skies and swaying palm trees. Despite the lack of visual representation, the energy of Spring is ours for the embracing. Spring is about renewal and growth. It encompasses dreaming and setting new goals. During this season, I enjoy spending more time outdoors. Whether it’s bike riding, walking, visiting the beach, or camping, nature rejuvenates my soul. This season also excites me because my son and I plan our summer road trip, a journey that creates long-lasting beautiful memories. Our steps are lighter, our vision is brighter, and our hearts begin soaring in Spring.

Photo: JPlenio on Pixabay – license free for commercial use

Harmony

step away from life’s hustle and bustle
let go of the need to do – just be
enter lush, magical forests
exhale your envy and angst
inhale earth’s energy
be one with nature
embrace jade’s gift
joyfulness
calming
peace

My novel:

My newest novel is called HYPE. Here is the book blurb:

“Cici’s junior year in high school is going to be the best year ever. Popular co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, she’s dating the starting quarterback. Even her jealous co-captain’s attempts to steal her boyfriend can’t curb her enthusiasm.
When her mom moves in with her fiancé, a handsome, wealthy man, only one small detail threatens Cici’s perfect life. The school’s social pariah is about to become her stepsister, and Cici wants nothing to do with her.
Everything changes when someone Cici cares about throws her life into a tailspin, and the one person Cici couldn’t stand becomes her only ally.”

Warning: This story contains scenes of sexual assault.

Link for purchase: 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/HYPE-Yvette-M-Calleiro-ebook/dp/B09L7BFNXG/

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1114232

Yvette M Calleiro

Author of HYPE – November 2021

Author of Breathless: A Short Story – July 2020

Author of The Chronicles of the Diasodz Series:

The One Discovered – January 2014

The One Enlightened – December 2014

The One Betrayed – December 2015

The One Revealed – December 2016

The One Awakened – December 2017

The One Chosen: A Diasodz Short Story- June 2021 

Yvette, you are blessed to live in Florida, with pleasant weather all year round. I remember going to the beach one year when I was there for Christmas. Your poem is inspiring. I wish you great success with your book “Hype”.

********

Allow me, please to add a small advertisement for my books.


Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Gossiping By Ancient Doors in Polignano

Across the pond, on this side of the world, we network in offices, pubs, and various social places to talk about business. In Italy, networking is about neighbors and families coming together, to sit at the doorsteps of someone’s home to enjoy a bit of time out from daily chores, not to engage in talks of business.

People meet outside their homes, in the street, or in a courtyard to talk about their problems, challenges, kids, life in general and gossip about someone they know is the practice of the day. Each person brings a chair, no need for an appointment, no need for a schedule, nothing is planned, and whoever shows up will be the support or the leader of the conversation at that moment.

Men, women and often kids show up at these daily meetings with the neighbors. Kids play with kids the usual soccer in the streets, chasing a ball from corner to corner, men talk to other men or play cards and women stay with the women. There is always an exchange of food and drinks, nothing complicated to prepare, local snacks, homemade focaccia bread, pretzels, olives, cheese, fruits and nuts, accompanied with wines or beer, just to keep the conversation going.
This is an ancestral society where everyone knows the rules and their own roles.

Women in Polignano a Mare, Italy

Doors in this part of the Mediterranean seem to be built the same way, they follow the orderly classic style of architecture, travertine arches, usually with a keystone in the center, pillars on both sides and heavy metal or wood doors with a horseshoe or lion head doorknocker.

Polignano a Mare, Italy
Private courtyard in Polignano a Mare, Italy

When doors are not that great, courtyards, exterior stairs and balconies are made up cute and cozy. Courtyards attract tourists and visitors for their simple beauty. These are private little areas, where the locals living there meet to be social and of course help each other in case of need.

I am participating in the Thursday Door Challenge hosted by Dan Antion

Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2022 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

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