Elemental | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Northern California skies are hardly an interesting elemental nature, they are always flat blue, rarely have any clouds, it doesn’t rain for years, in fact we suffer severe drought, nature is mostly yellow-brown even though colorful flowers embroider it. Palm trees and odorous eucalyptus compete with the blue skies.
I love California weather, it is always Spring-like, windy and mild, the perfect weather for work days and now, I am spoiled.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).


It isn’t all perfect, however. There isn’t much change of seasons. We wear the same clothes all year around and often I see people in short pants in the middle of December and January, when the temperature goes down a little. They look awkward and confused in their perception that, here, in California is always summer.

On the other hand, summer is a real surprise for tourists. They expect to find a summer warmth, instead July and August cold and grayness greet them. As Mark Twain said: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”Blue skies, sunny days and palms are deceiving when summer temperature ranges around mid 50 to low 60 F.

The land is rugged, ideal element for hiking and discovering driftwood sculptures.


The fog is the characteristic elemental nature of this area. People seem to think fog is magic and mystical. In the early afternoon, it rolls in like a huge cotton ball, even thought it might be still sunny.


Although, I am used to this mild weather, I must say, not having a change of seasons and having the same weather elements just about all year around it is a bit boring to me, thus I tend to distort or manipulate the nature I see, with my vision of colors and textures.


At time, a regular pine tree, might seem to grow under a vanilla sky.


Other times a path might look like a fall path, when in reality it isn’t.

And other times, camelias take electrifying colors of its own.

If something doesn’t excite you, free your fantasy and find ways to see it differently. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual, as much as she likes to restyle people’s images. She is a story teller and finds inspirations everywhere to write her stories. She needs your story to design your dream. She is a public speaker, a mentor and author. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w  

August Textures | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

My Zen garden is such a paradise on earth! In the morning, I salute the sun there, have breakfast, I read a book in my private corner, sometimes I like to stay still, watching the birds chasing each other and all the textures I created. During the week, I hang laundry to dry in the sun, the old fashion way. That’s right, I don’t own a dryer, never wanted one. Call me old fashion, some people call me a Martian in fact, but my way is simpler, saves electricity, saves the environment, the clothes smell like nature and not like chemicals, but then I can enjoy the textures in the wind hung laundry creates.

I am in love with my garden and not only because I designed it to transcend the ordinary look of a traditional garden. I made it mystical and playful for an intimate union of my soul and Mother Earth. (Click on each photo to view it larger).

My Zen garden it’s a working garden as well, it keeps me healthy with a great production of fruit and vegetables. The oranges abound most of the year, when the orange trees stop producing, the apricots come out and then apples. These fruits produce many textures for my table, from tarts, pies, muffins, ice-cream, vinegars and marmalades. The rest I can create with fruit and vegetables is all still in my fantasy.

Of course, it takes two to tango, the garden alone wouldn’t produce anything if I didn’t put any work into it. And what a work it is….!

In the month of August, the garden gives me a lot to do. Zucchini plants blossom with beautiful yellow flowers so big and open that the only thing I want to do is to stuff them with various ingredients every time. I make them ready for the winter, cook and pack them for the freezer.


I stuffed the zucchini flowers in the photo below with brown rice, gorgonzola cheese, arugula, olives, onion, ginger and Parmigiano cheese. Filling is low in calories, texture and taste are delicate. They bring freshness to the table and are perfect for a warm day.

 

With the potatoes I grow, I made potato bread, super delicious with a rough texture outside and soft inside. It’s ideal to eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven.

This blue plant was once a red cabbage forgotten in the veggie drawer of my refrigerator, when I noticed it was growing in the bag, I planted it in a pot and now I have a beautiful ornamental blue plant with great textures and shades of blue purple.

 

Ultimately the textures of my august garden, satisfy my subconscious body, my emotions, my physical body and give me the pleasure of the table in every season. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is the designer who cooks. She has a deep interest in food that led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition, well-being and learning food of the world. She wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and one book on color theory, in which she included one recipe for each color. Robert Taitano, a friend and business associate of http://www.wine-fi.com says: “Valentina – an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”. Get your copy of Valentina’s books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

I was in the old far West | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

On the way to my friend in Woodside, California, I got lost in the hills, went around and around to find my way out, instead I stumbled in this little gem hidden among the sequoia redwood trees. Being the curious person I am,  I took the time to browse around and found a pleasant surprise. This is the general store of rich Woodside area, where many American wealthy entrepreneurs of the late 1800 and the roaring ’20s lived.
Woodside was originally home to native Ohlone tribe. In 1769 Spanish explorers led by Gaspar de Portolá spotted the site while searching for an area where to camp the troupes.

Going to the General Store in Woodside, now a museum since 1947, one has the impression of stepping back in the old far West of the gold rush. Redwood trees surround the rugged area, the same wood which in the 1800 supplied the booming construction industry in San Francisco.

Dr. R. O. Tripp and M. A. Parkhurst built the General Store in 1854 and soon became the center of the town where notable families of the era attended their daily businesses. It operated as a general store, United States post office, dentist office, a stagecoach stop, a bank with the only armored safe in the area, a lending library and a community gathering spot. Today, visitors can see artifacts on display that reflect the varied activities of the people living in Woodside in the 1800.

Notable people of modern era living in Woodside have been George Whittell, Jr. who had an odd collection of exotic pets kept on his 500 acres, Steve Jobs, Willie McCovey player in the San Francisco Giant, Michelle Pfeiffer actress and Shirley Temple Black, the cute and clever girl actress who charmed the world over. The General Store is very secluded among the sequoia redwood trees, there is no public transport, visitors must have a car and drive through winding roads where at times it is possible to see some famous homes with horse stables, well hidden away from public reach.


The area is beautiful, it smells like a clean earth, silent, no city noises, every so often the gate or the top of a wealthy home appears, one feels in another stratosphere, the one of riches and powerful.
I have been living in California a long while now and I am still considering myself the tourist in my life. Summertime is made also for discovery and taking time to do things I normally wouldn’t do. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


As an Italian designer and true to my origins, I am well-known to bring originality to people’s homes, but that’s not where I stop. Being a curious person, any situation is a perfect opportunity to design something out of the ordinary. I draw my inspiration from anywhere. Check out my three books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Unusual | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

I planned to go to a vintage wine bar with a group of friends and asked them to meet me at the corner of….across from…. ,we will walk there together.
We got closer to the wine bar and someone surprisingly though I was taking the group to a church. The unusual façade, is in fact an architectural salvage from a gothic chapel. Inside, it is a very modern wine tasting room and hopefully we will pray to the best wines and best fun.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Not too far from there, if one needs to breathe some fresh air after the wines, can take a seat in the unusual  street living room fitted with a real functioning fireplace. In the winter days, when it doesn’t rain, sitting there soaking the feeble sun rays is cozy and warm.


(Below: Street fireplace in the street living room)

The lizard is an unusual fountain shooting a thin stream of water down instead of up.


Sitting at the round benches, surrounded by a nice vegetation, one can watch the exotic lizards playing with water in another unusual fountain.

The unusual large shells spout water in clay basins. What do they do on a white mosaic, kitchen counter like square box? They should have been on a beach vignette spouting water on a mermaid.


I would love to know why the Left Bank, a French restaurant chose a fat chef riding a pig for their sign. Such an unusual choice, but very fun. Somehow, when I see this sign, I think of their food as homey, traditionally French and country good.

The usual flat blue, clear sky of Northern California has nothing unusual. Hardly, we have clouds or colors in the sky, it’s a bit boring to photograph, but at least we have a spectacular weather.


This is Santana Row, South of San Francisco, designed as a European fashionable street with shopping-dining at the street, expensive lofts and apartments up above. It has been designed with nature in mind, that’s the reason of so much lush vegetation and symbols of nature.



During the day, leisure women do their best to spend free time there. Night crawler people and single women looking for exiting adventures crawl the streets and drinking joints in the evenings. The first few years of its existence, the place was quite deserted and stores could not make it. In fact, I decorated a beautiful shoe store, carrying European stylish shoes and closed in six months’ time due to lack of customer traffic. Now, Santana Row it’s an unusual busy place, very different from any American shopping centers, people seem to enjoy every bit of this European street feel, away from Europe. Life is good. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 


As a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. I am always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces I design. Color is the focus of my business today, changing people’s energy and life force just by introducing them to colors they would have never imagined. Vogue Italia magazine, Gentry and many prominent magazines in California featured my work, I appeared on RAI, National Italian T.V. and nonetheless my story continues. Find copies of my book on colors ©RED – A Voyage Into Colors  and  the rest of my  books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Order | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Recently I was in Seattle for a couple of speaking engagements. I had a few days for me to be a tourist and enjoy a city I had never seen before. My first impression of the city was the same as San Francisco, the roads go up and down, some are very steep to climb on foot or in the car and at times stop signs are placed at the very top of the hill, leaving the car in a vertical position. Weather was cold, gray, windy and the sun peeped into the clouds on and off during the day.

I have always loved the order of classical architecture, but I have discovered order in the cement jungle of the modern cities as well. (Click on each photo to view it larger).

The geometric cluster of buildings propped on the hill overlooking the Bay create a very playful skyline order.


The classical pediments at the top of this corner building, caryatides of native Indian framing windows, balustrades and dentelle work disguise the boxy modern building behind it.

The verticality of these two towers orderly lead in a downtown street of business and shops.

Modern cities must have color contrast for interest, but the order is in the windows, all the same size, where even the reflection in the glass has an order.

Light and dark in order.


Tall and short order. A very tall building shields this classical elegant building in which Banana Republic store resides. Cheap merchandise sold in a classical architecture…..

In this photo geometric order steals the scene. Glass building, brick stairs, horizontal and vertical windows, dark and light buildings, this corner has an appeal thanks for the greenery. This is the view from the rowdy Irish pub I ate. Beer and food were delicious.

Seattle is a very modern city, bustling with people, amateur musicians cheers the streets, traffic is congested, young people eat in rowdy pubs, and buildings are vertical, just like all the new cities of the Middle Age, when churches and cathedrals were built to reach God and the competition between the patrons who could pay to build the tallest church was high.

For me it’s always a good thing when I can combine work and pleasure. The trip was profitable, lovely people came to hear me speaking on the subject of Colors and sold a lot of my book: RED-A Voyage Into Colors was a hit. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual, as much as she likes to restyle people’s images. She needs your story to design your dream. She is a public speaker, a mentor and author. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Reflecting | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Taking photos is a sort of amusement we all do. Professional and non professionals photographers, we all want to lock time in place and remember those moments years later. I remember when photos came out of a film and printed on paper. In the back of all my paper photos there is a note and a date. Without those notes attached to each photo, I would completely miss a piece of my life. A photo reflects and records fashion, customs, or manners of an era. It records a landmark that might be no longer there. It reflects people expressions, emotions, good and bad times. Often, we can hear words spoken in a particular situation captured in the photo.

In the London tube, looking at this picture, I can still hear the stranger coming down on the other side, fervently inciting with a “ravish her!” the man who was kissing me on the neck as we were climbing. That man later became my husband. The reflection of that passionate moment, leaves on in this picture. (Click on each photo to view it larger).

London Tube

 

Carnaby Street was the reflection of a changing society, pop art and fashion reflected the rejection of anything traditional, old ideas and conventionalism.  Objects of consumerism started to show up on the market. I saw my first wood hand massagers and didn’t know what to think of it.

Massagers

Wood Massagers

I saw hanging legs moving like can-can dancers showing a new style of pantyhose in a store resembling a sleazy theatre backstage. Pantyhose was the reflection of a changing fashion.

Hanging Legs

 

Covent Garden reflected British life, traditional looking stores with wood trims, café with windowpanes, tea time English style. I recall one tourist, an Italian woman, saying to her man the espresso coffee she ordered was not even good enough to wash her feet in it. She had no idea I was listening and understood everything she said. If I didn’t have this picture of Covent Garden reflecting that moment, I would have forgotten that funny episode.

Covent Garden

 

Street fashion

 

Wigs

This  is really strange, but this reflecting theme took a different meaning for me. Now, so many years later, I am reflecting on the reason I was attracted since a young age to an Anglo-Saxon country, me, a Mediterranean girl, full of life, who loved to improvise and organize things on the spur of the moment. Leaving Italy, family and friends behind to go live in a speaking English country was difficult and the hardest thing I have ever done. In am reflecting on what attracted me to people so different from me, in background, culture, language, beliefs and customs. What attracted me to people saluting with “I see you later, or I call you later” if it doesn’t mean anything? It could mean next year just as well. I am reflecting on the reason, I get to be on my friends’ schedules when I want to have their company for a casual cup of coffee, lucky me! Was it supposed to be my destiny?


I am still reflecting why on mother’s day I have no longer a mother to celebrate….Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends fashion and interior well in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual, as much as she likes to restyle people’s images. She needs your story to design your dream. Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

 

It’s Easy Being Green | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

It’s easy being green in my kitchen. Vegetables abound even though no one in my family is vegetarian or vegan. Every meal is composed of various food, complemented with vegetables prepared in all possible ways. We eat everything, nothing goes to waste. There are no enemies at my table the “infamous calories”, we don’t believe in counting calories. We enjoy our food. Simple as that.

People who have eaten in my house, ask me why my food is simple and full of flavor. The answer is equally simple: I don’t need to produce complicated food every day, but I want to eat savory food, with layers of flavor easy recognizable one by one, inside of which every spice comes through vibrantly fresh. The secret is the freshness of every ingredient. In my kitchen, there is nothing pre-packaged, pre-made, nor pre-organized by the food industry. I go to market to get fresh food and I return every two-three days. My vegetable and spice garden produces a small quantity of food, if the season goes well,  and I take full advantage of that too. (Click on the photo to view it larger).


What was green on my table today? Fusilli pasta with spinach pesto. When basil is not available, use spinach, arugula, or parsley.
It takes almost 15 minutes to make it, all the ingredients are raw except for the cooked pasta.
Before starting the preparation, very briefly toast a hand full of pine nuts in an iron skillet over the stove, or in the oven for 5 minutes. Be careful, they burn easily.
Now, wash all the spinach. Drain the water, but leave them a bit wet.
In the food processor, put all the spinach, 3-4 cloves of garlic and grated Parmigiano cheese (I used pecorino for a stronger flavor).
Turn on the machine and from the top hole, add olive oil a little at a time, until spinach have become a cream.
Drop the green mixture in a skillet, add pine nuts, season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Cook pasta al dente for no longer than 8 minutes. Drain the water, add it to the skillet with the pesto mixture.
Toss and turn, let it marry well. Serve this delicious green pasta with more cheese to add at the table.

This is a green dish to cook and eat at once, good for summer or winter. It will surprise you how easy it is being green and to eat green food.

Oops, I goofed, I should have used a yellow plate with this green dish.  Food photography should be equally appetizing. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2017 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is the designer who cooks. She has a deep interest in food that led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition, well-being and learning food of the world. She wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and one book on color theory, in which she included one recipe for each color. Robert Taitano, a friend and business associate of http://www.wine-fi.com says: “Valentina – an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”. Get your copy of Valentina’s books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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