Teatime | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

At the end of last month, I organized a teatime chez moi, it was about time to see some humans after a year of distancing. It seems I have put my body on an energy-savings mode. In fact, I just got around to post this short video on my YouTube channel after the teatime event two weeks ago.

Teatime is a precious time to spend with a few chosen friends. Setting a nice table to go with tea and small morsels is a way to show your friends you care for them and want to catch up with life or their latest news, help them with their challenges if any, or just want to spend some quiet relaxing time with them.

For a successful teatime, only a few things are needed. Good food all made in small bite-size and an exciting conversation with lively people are a must, the rest is all that frills that help to make a nice teatime experience, such as a theme for the table setting, the right colors to go with a selected theme, background music, and a pleasant atmosphere from good lighting.

You can choose any theme for your teatime table. The idea is to group items in the same theme without being too much of a matchy-matchy. I selected a botanical theme, thus some of my teacups are floral and some have some nature elements (ladybugs). My plates have grapes embossed in the glass, and some plates are shaped like shells. The wood napkin rings are carved as shellfish and courtyard animals. The runner is designed with birds propped on branches. I added the fresh flowers and mixed them with the dry flower composition.

This is a small example of a theme, they can be selected from any subject once likes. Go ahead, invite someone you have not seen in ages. It’s still February, in most places in the world is very cold, a warm delicious tea and morsels at teatime will make you feel like a human again. Ciao,
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Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

My Mask

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer established in 1990. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. Currently, she consults on colors based on clients’ personalities and lifestyles, she creates atmospheres using the proper lighting that is going to add harmony and peace to the homes and she helps clients creating fantasy rooms instead of typical rooms looking like furniture showrooms. She is the author of six published books, two of which are on design subjects. Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Winter and Tea | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

As the cold weather approaches my relaxation drinks change from very chilled white wines to warm teas in the afternoon and red wines at night with dinners. Prosecco remains my most favorite bubbles throughout the year. Although tea is my winter drink, tea is the most popular drink in the world and every country has its own way to prepare it.

tea time treats
Tea room at Teatime, Palo Alto, CA

In England, King Charles II popularized tea in the 17th century. It was in England where I learned about “the agony of the tea leaves”. I didn’t know much about making tea, I didn’t know tasty, natural tea doesn’t come into those little bags sold by the box in the supermarket. I had never been to a high tea accompanied with a display of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, There is a certain quality in loose tea leaves, they are agonized (the proper words) with care or steeped, if you will, at 100º for 3 minutes, then poured in individual cups. The aroma of tea leaves swirling in hot water is inebriating, all the flavors of tea leaves are released for pure enjoyment. Most British drink tea with a small shot of milk or sugar, rarely they take it with a lemon slice. Milk goes in the cup before tea only when the vessel is a cheaply made brand, otherwise, with expensive teacups, the milk goes after the tea. Teatime is always an occasion in England, all the bite-size morsels sure make a pleasant moment of the day. Once I tried loose tea leaves, I didn’t go back to tea bags and the bite size treats are always there.

Teatime, Palo Alto, CA

In the souks of Tunisia and Morocco, I learned that tea is a traditional drink handed down from generations of men from grandfathers to sons and their sons. The male of the house prepares tea and serves it. I was there in the Summer, their delicious tea was made of mint and loose black tea leaves served with sugar and always warm, no matter what the temperature was outside. There is nothing more refreshing than a warm drink in warm weather! The water and the tea leaves boiled together in a vessel over the charcoals, then the golden color drink was served in glasses decorated with golden designs.

Souk in Hammamet, Tunisia

In Japan, my experience with tea was totally different. I was fortunate one of my friends took me to a tea ceremony and experienced something I had heard about it for so long. The tea room is considered a sacred place. To enter the area for the tea ceremony, I had to bend down and pass through a small door opening.
I was told the opening is made so low to make the guests feel humble and respectful towards the master. Sitting on my knees as the local Japanese do was impossible, westerners’ legs don’t bend backward. The tea ceremony happens in silence, it is a moment of body/mind relaxation and concentration on enjoying tea only. The tea master is always a graceful woman dressed in a kimono, who, with slow movements of the hands, prepares matcha tea for her clients in silence, other than saying the very few courtesy words, she speaks nothing else. Matcha tea is definitely an acquired taste. It’s very earthy, salty, and foamy on top. Many people rever this tea, I must be sincere, didn’t have enough time to appreciate it. The tea ceremony was exceptional, the master made me feel very special.

Arima, Japan – Tea ceremony room
Arima, Japan – Tea ceremony Zen garden

The tea ceremony room in Arima, Japan, was surrounded by a calming Zen garden, well maintained and very beautiful. My long time friend Chieko was so happy I wanted to experience her culture, I did the same when she went Italy to visit the country.

My friend Chieko and I after the tea ceremony

Tea is a social drink, it brings hearts and people together, everyone feels freer to talk about even intimate businesses when in front of a cup of tea, but that’s true about food in general. People become convivial and loosen up around food. It’s easy to forget hard moments in front of a carefully made cup of tea. Ciao,
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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, 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. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

It Was This Way | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

How many times have I seen this in my youth? This bucolic view is about slow cooking, cooking the natural way on the fire with natural vessels made of clay or iron. The aroma of slow-burning wood filled the air inside and outside the home. We had to wait fairly a long time for the food to be cooked, we sat by the crackling fire, with a glass of wine, roasted chestnut,s and warm nuts to snack on, we talked about life matters or told jokes and waited. Nothing was rushed. The Autumn and Winter were like this. In the Summertime cooking took a different style, it was often in the open space, and grills were arranged on a stack of stones under a canopy surrounded by green cultivation.

Potatoes cooking in a clay pot – Photo by Domenico Cafarchia

Many of my friends, thinking I miss the life I had in the past in Europe, keep in touch through pictures of food they eat daily. They know when they send me these pictures the thread to my roots doesn’t break and I love it.

Potatoes cooked in a clay pot – Photo by Domenico Cafarchia

These in the photos are common potatoes cooked in a clay pot, covered with water and some spices to flavor the potatoes during the cooking. The spices can be rosemary, thyme, and sage. The lid goes on and the pot is placed in the hot fire pit, not directly on the fire. At the same time, other food can cook in various clay pots all together in the same fire pit.

This wasn’t really my daily life in Europe, I lived in bustling cities, the same hectic lives everywhere in the world, but I had plenty of people who had homes in the country, including my grandparents and some relatives. Visiting them was like stepping back 100 years, but it was familiar, so peaceful and restoring. I searched endlessly for that atmosphere once I moved away.
Today, I have a fireplace in my home, it’s not fitted for cooking, the city has so many rules and regulations, they even regulate how many bites we must eat 🙈. However, sometimes I go off track and I allow myself some of the ancient pleasure. Cooking potatoes in a clay pot full of water and spices is one of the few innocent things I can do. The kitchen smells heavenly.

This is a time to give thanks for everything we have and for our lives. Some people did not make it this year to see Thanksgiving. Let’s appreciate our family, friends, and supporters. Thanks to everyone around the globe who is a part of my community. I send you love and peace. If you are in the United States and celebrating, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. My table and food will be spectacular. Ciao,
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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

I Had A Dream | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Ah… figs…red inside, dark on the outside, that sweet, round and comforting taste I remember so well. Around this time of the year, that sweet taste takes me far away in time, in the company of people who are no longer in this world.

My father and his friends got all the kids up early in the morning, prepared our breakfast, got us all dressed cozy and warm for the woods, and out we went to pick fresh figs. The life span of figs is very short, thus we went often to pick figs until they lasted. Hundreds of fig trees filled the vast land cultivated with olive trees, walnut trees, and other fruit trees. We got closer to the figs and embraced the tree first. It was fun and lovely, I felt the earth vibrating, my young friends told me they felt the same vibrations, so, I was not imagining.
The adults picked the figs up high in the tree, us kids harvested those close to us. In the morning, figs were very cold and had drops of dew on it. We grabbed the baskets, covered the bottom with the large fig leaves, and gently aligned the delicate figs.

(Click on each photo to view it larger)



After we filled our baskets, we sat down on the grass, leaned on the fig tree, and started to peel the figs, cut cheese, added prosciutto slices, cracked almonds, and ate them until our heart was content. We lost our bearings for a few hours, we were in heaven. It was life’s greatest pleasure! We listened to the adults talking adults matters, it was fascinating, and kept eating in silence.




We spent a few hours eating and drinking warm stuff until the sun started to get too warm for the figs.
We had to remember to take home at least a basket full per person, otherwise, our moms would have not let us in the house.

The tastiest fruit of Summer is also one of the agriculture erotism, I think! After the figs I ate in Puglia, I have never found a similar experience anywhere else.

I woke up, it was a dream, I was there, in Puglia, under our usual large fig tree with my father. Ciao.

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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is a designer, author, TV producer, and a storyteller by nature. Stories told through shapes, lines, forms, and colors are very important to her design career to convey ideas that contribute to the making of a personalized home, reflecting the life’s experiences of people living there. As an author, she writes non-fictional books, about practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, travel, and cooking. Find her books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble


A Day Painted In Dull Colors | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

I woke as usual at 6:00 am, actually, a strange yellowish-greyish light in my bedroom woke me up, I thought the lights were left on somewhere in the house during the night, or some UFO had landed. The yellowish light came from outside, the garden was infused with darkness I have never known before, like a noir film. It wasn’t the usual spunky daylight of a day just starting at 6:00 am, and neither was the light of a falling day. It was just dark, grey, and flat, like a winter day, but it felt oppressive as if something was about to happen. As the day progressed, the sky became more yellow and surreal. My flowers have lost their colors, my lemons don’t look yellow, the birds are sensing something is going on and are not singing. I thought this is the way it would be if the sun leaves this earth. No, wait, it would be totally dark. My 5+ mile walk in the park by a lake was full of questions of the day, what if this, and what if that? I was in a total silent nature almost the whole time I was walking. A hand full of people were walking, biking, or exercising, they all had their heads down carrying who knows what kind of weight. It was a strange feeling.

This playboat is usually full of small children, it was deserted today.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Boat at Shoreline

Playboat at Shoreline

The ducks usually make noises, fly around, and play in the water. Today, they were still on the quay and bunched up together in silence.



This is no filter effect, the pathway today looked just like this.



Some people are saying things like “it feels like Mars”, or “something will happen”. No human has gone to Mars yet, how would they know what it feels like? We still have vegetation and we will still eat real food today. The waters of lakes and seas are still there. The succession of day and night will still happen today. Nothing is going to happen, no Armageddon is in the plans of some divinity. Maybe someone will flip the wig today, but someone flips every day regardless of the strange light, the smokey air, and the effect of the cosmos on our psyche.
This is the result of all the wildfires here in California, even though I strongly believe most of these fires are arson, that’s another story.
Perhaps it is a good time for me to make yellow muffins from my lemons and brighten my day. Ciao,
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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved



Valentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, classicism, stylish and timeless designs have influenced Valentina’s design work. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away your comfort. She loves to restore old homes, historic dwellings, she focuses on remodeling including nature as a harmonious expression of her designs. Check out her books, one of which is on the subject of colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition.
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One Day On A Titanic | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

A few of the astrologers I follow say this year is a time for morphing into something new. Dictionary.com defines morphing as “undergo or cause to undergo a gradual process of transformation”. I am sorry, this sounds too contrived and forced on all of us. Perhaps it is happening, but for right now I like to think of a transformation that needs a little adjusting.

Part of my transformation has been to eliminate all things no longer serve a purpose. Every day, I take an area of my studio and my house and edit it heavily. Today I was into photos, the types we used to print on paper, that filled up either boxes or albums. I have mine in albums very neatly categorized and dated. Many will be copied and put on my computer, and many will be burned this winter in my fireplace.

I found a peculiar ticket, a Boarding Pass to board the famous Titanic. This was a nice story I lived in first person.
One day the exhibition of the Titanic came to San Francisco, I decided to go with a friend.


Titanic Boarding Pass

Titanic Boarding Pass


As soon as we boarded the ship, we were given a pass each with the name of a real passenger on the back and a short story of why that person was on the ship.
The back of my boarding pass said it was for Mrs. Elisabeth Hocking (Eliza Neads) age 54 from Cornwall, England. She sailed from Southampton on April 10, 1912, to reach her son George who emigrated to Akron, Ohio, where he found a nice job and wanted his family to emigrate there as well. After the death of her husband, Eliza decided to make a change in her life, and at the time she was traveling with a few members of her family. She was in the second class of the Titanic.

Titanic Boarding Pass Back Side

Titanic Boarding Pass Back Side


Everything was recreated as if we were boarding the famous ship.
We saw the real luggage people took on board, the real dresses of survivors, the dining room was recreated to perfection, the grand stair, the rooms in various classes, the sounds, voices, and music on board of the Titanic were spread all over the exhibition and felt real.

The atmosphere was pleasant, especially hearing over speakers, people eating at dining tables and some of their conversations acted out by actors. It was pleasant to hear the rustle of beautiful women’s dresses walking or dancing at the tune of Waltzer.

We read many stories published at that time about the “unsinkable ship”. Apparently, the builders saved money by using less expansive steel.

The narrator told stories of some of the passengers, what they did in real life, and how they spent their last hours, some of them bickered the whole time, some fell in love.

I admired the décor of the salons, the woods, the stained glasses, the chandeliers, the silver tableware, and the entire style of the turning of the century. Well decorated and high style surrounded people in that era.
We even had a taste of a few foods prepared for the voyage, but something in the air was not quite right, we went to visit a tragedy… It was hard to enjoy it without thinking of the fate that awaited those passengers.

I had the boarding pass of Eliza, she survived and made it to Ohio.
The person named on my friend’s boarding pass did not make it.

Exiting the exhibition I had an odd thought. I came to America as an immigrant too, and even in a fantasy exhibition like this one, I was given a ticket for a survival female. To these days I am thinking of that. Ciao, Valentina
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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina in RED

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 5 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion. Her books are on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Dinner In The Renaissance Style | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Finally, I have reunited with some friends again! Months of lockdown will be a memory soon. Some of my friends missed my theme dinner parties and I did too. I called some of them to ask if they were up to a Florentine Renaissance dinner and they were almost at my doorsteps the moment I hung up the telephone. If it was winter, I would have asked to come dressed in a period costumes. Theme dinners are things for tourists, some would argue. Well, I am a tourist in my life. I was a native only once in the city I was born, all of the other places I have lived, I have been a tourist, trying to absorb the culture and learning as much as possible of what is offered to me. People who are invited to my theme dinners, get a plot in advance or a subject I want to base the evening conversation, and plenty of time to research or to get prepared, just in case they are not familiar with the topic.

For the Florentine Renaissance evening, I prepared on the subject of table manners of that time period. I wanted a light and fun subject that everyone could follow and maybe add their own interpretation. The theme dinners turn into an evening of culture.

Today we set dinner tables more or less all the same way, a charger plate at the very bottom of the stacked plates that will be used during dinner, then a series of glasses situated according to the progression of wines/water served, tableware on both sides of the plate, the napkin can be a floating item, meaning it can be placed at the left side of the plate, on the plate, or in a glass, depending on how creative the host is. The center of the table usually is decorated with a centerpiece and the addition of bread/crackers, wines, and water. Some people display these items on a side cart and not on the table. Some people go to the extreme of setting a table with paper plates and plastic glasses, just to have a simpler cleaning up time afterward.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).



                                                       Renaissance Table

In the Renaissance, a dinner table looked much different than what we are used today. In the most affluent homes, the table was covered with a fabric that diners used as napkins to clean food oils from their hands. The plates called the “trenches” were pieces of levigate wood on to which food was served. The men took out the knives concealed in their britches, cut pieces of meat, and nibble at it from the tip of the knives. They also cut pieces of meat for the woman sitting next to him as a good table manner. The hands were the best tools, diners used them to eat and touch food until Catherine de Medici invented the fork. Pewter goblets were largely used for drinking vessels, for both water and wines.

The food of the entire dinner was propped on the table at one time, for people to choose what they wanted without following a progression of food as we would do today. Dogs and animals circulating around the dinner table received bones and leftovers from the diners. As far as the body needs after drinking and eating, it was acceptable to use the corners of any room away from the dining area. Wow, at least they had a bit of decency!

The stories of my Renaissance evening went on pleasantly, corroborated by the original de Medici House’s music played in their courts. I have an infinite music collection to satisfy the ears of any music lover.

To stay in tune with the background music, I set out appetizer dishes printed with musical notes. I did not want matchy glasses, but I wanted large wine glass goblets. In the center of the table, I put a set of three antique spice containers for the aromatic salts I make and I encouraged the guests to use it. They tried all the salts and were very impressed. On my table, there is always a bread basket, sometimes filled with different types of bread. The textured cover was a rough Shantung fabric I often use as a tablecloth.

The food in the gallery sums up the dinner, some were in the preparation mode, some were already made.


At the end of the dinner, guests left with a small gift of my aromatic salts.

Aromatic Salts

Aromatic Salts

I hope we can all pick up the social life we had before the lockdown and I hope to inspire others in designing a beautiful life, made of moments to remember and talk about. It is so very important, now more than ever, to add whimsy in our life, laughs, good food, wear colorful clothes, and read books made from the heart. We are here now, life exists, let’s make something extraordinary. Ciao.
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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved



It’s my hope that through my writing and my stories I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style, and inspiring you to live in beauty. I love to encourage my clients to show their personality through their home décor, or the clothes they wear. I have loved my profession as an interior-fashion designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need it. Check out one of my books on the subject of colors, ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition.
Amazon  and Barnes&Noble 



At The Café des Poètes | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

It is so uncharacteristic of me to write a post like this, but I want to continue on the idea from James Cudney’s Blast From The Past – Inoffensive (read him here) with my own experience, a memory of the past as well.

In my Italian native town, there was the Café des Poètes, owned by a Francophile, a boisterous painter, who attracted a lot of similar people to his coffee shop, artists, writers, university students, philosophers, literature professors, free thinkers, penniless people, but full of ideas and beautiful words. The place was not too big, decorated in the shabby French style with many vintage articles from Provence. The air was smoky (everyone smokes in Europe even today), dark, lit by candlelight and some table lamps, the fireplace was always on, the sofas and comfy chairs came from people’s home who discarded them for better quality, more modern furniture, and a lot of unknown paintings covered the textured walls, purposely maintained decrepit.

Too bad I don’t have a photo of the Cafe’. At the time we didn’t go around with expensive phones taking pictures of every little thing we saw, only photographers captured any moments. There was always a bike or two parked outside the Café des Poètes, this photo of an anonymous French cafe’ reminds me of that.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).


Bike-Veuve Clicot.jpg

Bike with a Veuve Clicot bottle.jpg

The Café des Poètes was very friendly, everyone knew everyone and when one of the habitual customers didn’t show up for a week, we started to question the whereabouts of that person. This was not just a cafe’, it was a meeting point of tight net friends, a hub where to create and develop new/old ideas while eating beans and sausage cooked in a clay pot in the brick oven, it was a poor dish served with a lot of toasted bread and a winner dish on the house menu. The menu didn’t exist, the man behind the counter asked us what we wanted and he brought instead what he had, beans and sausage dish was always available.

The Bohemian environment of the Café des Poètes was one of the attractions of the place, however, the heated up discussions we had in there were epic and how we were so very vocal with our opinions was almost at the verge of legality. That freedom to say what we wanted was the real attraction of the place, we did not know how to be politically correct, that phrase had not been coined yet. We didn’t destroy, we built. Our thoughts became actions for the next generation. It didn’t matter how much we disagreed on certain issues, it didn’t matter how much we screamed at each other, at the end of the evening we were still friends.

Years later, when I watched the film with Robin Williams “Dead Poet Society” I relived those same moments I had known so well at the Café des Poètes. In the film, students of a prestigious university snuck out of the school every night and secretly met in a cave to contemplate life from a different perspective. Their goal was to rebel against the conventionalism of society and to encourage everyone to think outside the box as individuals.


Dead Poet Society

Members of the Dead Poets Society gather. Photograph: Touchstone/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock


Fast forward many years later, here I am commenting on a post from James Cudney, telling the story about how difficult it has been to keep everything bottled up inside for an unbridled outspoken person like me. When I moved to the States, I found it difficult to keep the same tones I was accustomed to in my native land. Here speaking my mind created a desert around me and it would have made me a lonely wolf if I had continued. I was in disbelief, all those discussions in the Café des Poètes never compared to the indifference I found here or maybe the lack of passion for conversation (everyone is on the computer and phone), or even worse the unwillingness to make waves. Yes, it is easy to make friends when agreeing with everyone, it’s also the best way to fall in the trap of brain unification, in my opinion.

In the film Dead Poet Society, the teacher Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) shows Tom, one of the students, how to share what was closed inside of him starting with the sound of a loud “Barbaric Yawp”. What a scene!
I learned to yawp loud and clear to the walls of my home and then I talk to them. They don’t react and don’t attack me, as people would do, I am still my own individual, and I can keep close to those few people who call themselves “friends”.

Do you want to Yawp on my blog and tell your open opinion, go right ahead, you are welcome to speak out here. Ciao.
Amazon Author’s Page 

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved



Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 5 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Be Inspired In My Design Universe | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Watching people getting marriage proposals, getting serenaded, playing neighborly bingo, and singing from balconies in Europe has been my latest divertissement. Me, I am OK being quiet on all fronts, blogging, on social platforms and with my design work. It’s even hard to write when there is no life around us. I am keeping in touch through video calls and messages with people who had disappeared from my life and I am happy to know they are all alive and kicking.

As the world turns, days have become all the same, Sundays, Mondays or Friday are all mixed in as if making a cake. I am allowing myself to feel what I feel in this strange situation, instead of beating myself up for not being a superhuman and not producing as I did a few months ago. Some days, I do see a glimmer of light and I think rebirth is approaching, it will be better than ever before when it will happen, I am excited already.

Due to the closing of many businesses, I can’t even produce TV shows in the studio with cameramen and the whole crew of technicians, we are still on the social distancing mode for a little while longer ☹️🥺.  I miss being in the TV studio, preparing the stage and the shows. I thought why not bringing online the same shows? I started a mini-series called “Inspiration From…” My guests are varied and speak about their trades, specialties or quirks.

Click on each photo to view the show or click on each name to visit their web homes.

The first guest was a young Ballerina, Paola. She catapulted me and the audience in her fascinating world of classical dance and the glamour of theatre performances. She is very disciplined in how she spends her days and pursuing her dancing career goals. With her will, she can inspire the stones, if that is possible.


Paola Show 2

Paola Ballerina

Author James J. Cudney IV talked about his art of writing. Is it challenging being an author of contemporary and mystery fiction? I believe it is. To produce these kinds of novels, one must include good drama and a good dose of suspense without giving out all the secrets until the very last page. Two of his books have been translated into the Portuguese language, how lovely. 😀


Author James J Cudney IV

Author James J Cudney IV

How can the day not be delightful with a chef on board? 
Chef Rosa Mariotti makes extravagant fancy food look so easy and maybe they are to those who cook for passion or for work. Her food is spiced up with the right salts. Who knew so many salts from all over the world are available to us !!!!
Her food and her food photography are a huge inspiration, if you like to eat well like I do.

Rosa Mariotti

Chef Rosa Mariotti

A musician specialized in Renaissance music, Gabriella Perugini, performed on the show with a lute. She says a sound is a form of energy produced by vibrations, which in turn are caused by the movement of particles. The sounds she produces with Medieval and Renaissance instruments are multisensory, as she involves all the senses of the audience using scents, chocolate, flowers, poetry, paintings to amplify the experience.

Gabriella Perugini

Musician Gabriella Perugini

Next week, my guest will be a sweet woman from London, England, Sandra Phillips, who is not in the fashion business but loves being in fashion her own way. She uses pre-loved clothes to make her own interpretation and then she produces a daily drawing of every outfit she wears. A fun way to see her style combination though each day. Instagram as DressIntoArt . She will inspire people to reuse and upcycle clothes while saving the environment and limiting child exploitation. I will post the link to her show next week.z

Sandra Phillips

Dress Into Art


Would you like to be in my Design Universe and be an inspiration to other people? The series “Inspiration From…” will continue only for a short while, please contact me if you like to participate. Ciao,


Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved



Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 5 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. A few years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire and inform, while she is living her passion.
Get a copy of her books here:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Surreal Moments | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

It looks so familiar, so Italian, clothes hanging on the balconies and food in the streets, it looks colorful and lively, doesn’t it? That’s the way it is usually in the alleyways of Italy. This time something changed all of that. I was in Italy before the coronavirus broke out. The virus was contained and isolated to China, people were traveling without restrictions, I thought it was safe to go to Italy, but after three days I was in the country, the virus broke out in the North region of Lombardy, then in only a week, it spiraled down to the South where I was. What I saw is exactly what you see in my photos: solitude, closed shutters, silence, no people, no tourists, shops closed, and merchandise unsold. Of course, shop owners are desperate. The North of Italy has been hit really hard with the coronavirus, a little less the South, but the government ordered the entire country to stay home in quarantine and avoid all contacts possible until finally, the virus will not have anyone to hit anymore.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).


Balcony with shutters

The atmosphere is unreal and surreal, it seems as if something terrible has just happened and humans have left for another planet. I hear no noise, no music, no voices, no laughs, no one arguing. Kids proliferate in these alleyways but they are not there. Italian streets without rascals are lifeless. The mailman is going through the alleyways with a mask on his mouth leaving mail under the doors. In this old part of my hometown, there are no mailboxes, if someone is not home, the neighbors will take the mail, but at this time, the mailman is not getting closer to anyone and that’s the reason he is leaving the mail under people’s doors.



Italian balcony with hanging clothes

Even though the sun is shining and the February weather is not particularly cold, the atmosphere is somber. I am walking with my head up in the air trying to spot a person with whom I can talk to. I cling to my coat and go on towards the fashionable downtown thinking perhaps it will be a tad different there.


Old Bari Balconies

Old Bari Balconies

Nobody will buy all these handmade typical food of the region, at least for a while. I bought some of it to take back with me to the US. My small contribution makes the shopowner smile, the limitation of weight in my luggage doesn’t allow me to take a lot more.

Typical Puglia Food

Typical Puglia Food


Puglia Food

Handmade Puglia Food

The coronavirus will pass, just like the bubonic plague of the 1600s and the Spanish flu of 1920s passed without medications and medical knowledge. The only thing that made those pestilences go away was social distancing, just as we are ordered to do today. Stay home, my friends, find something interesting to do, take this forced break to do something you have been wanted to do and had no time to do it. Read more books, perhaps write one of your own, it’s an exciting experience. Find a hobby, learn a new language with DuoLingo, sleep or make love, get your friends and family on video calls and catch up with them.  Spring is near, plant some new seeds and watch them grow. At this time, we can only plan our future and come back stronger after the virus is defeated.
Stay positive and healthy. Ciao,


Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved



Valentina in RED

Valentina Cirasola is a storyteller by nature. Stories are very important to her design career to convey ideas because making someone’s home or personal images is not only about building around shapes, lines, forms, and colors. It is about the story one can create around their spaces and how they want to appear to others. It’s about life experiences and how Valentina can incorporate them in her clients’ homes. She is the author of five books, all available on
Amazon and  Barnes&Nobles 





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