She Will Keep Dancing With Your Helping Hand | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

During my years of traveling through Europe, I met a cute girl who had a dream of becoming a ballerina. I visited her every time I was in her hometown. She was six years old then. Through the years she took the ballerina matter very seriously, she put all her passion into it, and she became a real pro. She is 17 now, she studies at a regular high school in the morning and at the ballet school in the afternoon every day. She makes the best grades of the whole school, she reads and writes in 3 languages, she writes blogs in English, she is disciplined in her dancing training, always focused on her goals and sustains healthy nutrition to suit her ballerina regimen.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

She received a few accolades and recognitions for her dancing art, among which she is the recipient of a second place in the international dancing contest at Baridanza and she passed the audition for the Alvin Ailey New York.

Her goal is to study at the School of America Ballet in a New York and be part of the Summer Intensive at the San Francisco Ballet School. To get the qualifications she needs to make a successful dancing career, she needs to enroll in a prestigious school, and she needs funds. Ballet is the art of harmony, graciousness, and spectacular movements. She needs to study with the masters to be recognized in the world of ballet, that’s just the way it is in this special industry, but it puts a lot of stress on the parents’ finance. She lives in a family of five and only the father provides for their living needs and the kids’ school needs.

Paola Dream Board

Paola Dream Board

As her promoter and a woman without kids, I want to help her as her Godmother. In my life, I became the aunt of all my clients and friends’ kids.
I want to be part of this deserving kid’s life, watch her grow professionally and finally see her in the famous theaters of the world in a very near future. She needs all the financial help she can get, any amount will work. Her name is Paola, she is 17 and she thanks all you for contributing to the making of her future. Without your help, she cannot continue her path, her dream, and her life’s work will go wasted. Youth is our heritage, let’s help to realize her dream.

Visit her donation page here – https://www.gofundme.com/f/continuation-of-my-dance-studies
and if you like, please visit her website where you can watch her dancing in a few video clips – https://dancerattitude.wordpress.com
Her dancing career must not stop here. 

Please help Paola out, any amount will work. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 😀❤️🌹
Paola is forever grateful to you and all you can do for her. ❤️❤️❤️
Valentina

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina with short hairValentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer of interiors and fashion since 1990. She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors, and exteriors. Furthermore, she has helped various charitable communities raising funds for different causes. Valentina’s life is a continuous evolvement of colorful events. Being Italian born and raised, classicism, style, and timeless designs influenced her design work. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. She is a blogger, an author of 5 books and a public speaker. Get a copy of one of her books here:
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
Visit: http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

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A Life With A View | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

I went to street markets and discussed food with the vendors, I tasted the food I will never see again (unfortunately) unless I return soon, I got drenched in colors, breathed the salty air of the Adriatic Sea and soaked the local traditions. I heard the patois I am so familiar with and amused myself listening to people speaking it. I made new friends, and I wrote a lot of travel notes. That was my travel to the South Riviera of Italy.

Remembering those days, feelings of rage and happiness run together now, I don’t even know if I belong there even though that is my native land, but on the other hand, I don’t feel I belong somewhere else either!

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Lungomare Bari

Lungomare Bari

Along the wall of the military fort, it felt as if I was on the balcony of the Adriatic Sea. The Fort of Sant’Antonio Abate, a lookout tower since the first half of the twentieth century is the highest point of the old city. From there the gaze follows the entire layout of the medieval walls and the outline of the waterfront. People living up here enjoy the sound of the waves every day. The air was cool and fizzy, we kept climbing to the top, dusk was coming, maybe the wind was going to pick up speed, the Sea and the sky were going to be dark in unison.

 

Fortino Colors

Fortino Colors

I heard the passerby saying they would love to live here in these picture-perfect places. Of course, who wouldn’t? This small house sits on valuable land,  the circular entrance takes to the upstairs loggia and inside the house through small steps, it faces the Sea and has the best exposure to natural sunlight. People living here have a life with a view. It feels harmonious, it feels healthy. The sun’s energy welcomes them in the morning where the horizon meets the Sea and salutes them falling into the Sea at dusk. Magic!

Balconcino-Bari

Balconcino-Bari

Dusk caught up with us and suddenly we had a desire of the local focaccia, the top filled with fresh tomatoes, olives, oregano, course marine salt, the best olive oil and nothing else. It goes with a super chilled Peroni beer, which the local people prefer to drink out of sweating glass bottle. At that moment, everyone was quiet, and I heard a total silence speaking in the beautiful rosey sunset background. The food here is so good that silence people!

Sei a Casa Sei a Bari

Photo: Sei a Casa Sei a Bari

Like all the good vacations, they must be short, intense with emotions and all must stop when everything is still pleasurable.

Focaccia Barese in Preparation

Focaccia Barese in Preparation

I returned to my California home and made the focaccia I ate on the Souther Italian Riviera. It was very good but not as good as the one I ate that evening at dusk on the Fort Sant’Antonio Abate. Here, the water, the soil and the ingredients are so different, nothing will ever come the same as in Puglia, at least I am happy I can do it.

Geez, a month of vacation is never enough!
My European genes are calling. See you soon, Europe!
Valentina
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2/

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

 

Valentina with short hairAs a writer and cultural promoter of Puglia, her native land, Valentina’s intention is to let readers feel and experience a new ”wheel of emotions”. She wants to encourage them to visit areas of Italy not beaten by massive tourism. Through stories of local customs, art, architecture, fashion, food-wines, shopping, she wants them to create their special adventures and live it up in Puglia! Check out her books on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The latest published book ©The Road To Top Of The World is a travel narrative on short stories of Puglia  – https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

 

 

 

Naked Lemons | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Hear, hear, ©Naked Lemons, a short ebook was just born yesterday.
This 26-page booklet was born from the Limoncello making class I teach two seasons out of the year when oranges and lemons are in a fragrant full production. It is something I like to do to get away from my design business. Many times, the participants to my Limoncello classes asked me if the material now written in this booklet was included in my previous published cookery books featuring the cuisine of the Italian southern region of Puglia.
Their question always caught me off guard. I never thought the ancient practice of making simple food out of scraps that generally are thrown away, would have become such a great hit but it did and finally, I decided to collect all of those traditions in one short pamphlet. With this information, no food will go to waste, it will create a new awareness that all parts of foods are good to use for consumption.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

The Naked Lemons

Naked Lemons

Limoncello is a yellow drink, traditional of the Italian Amalfi Coast. It is a cordial fragrant drink, sweet to the right point, spirited but not too much, extracted from lemons. It brings people together and makes them happy, it’s all about that yellow energy exuding from the lemons.

Limoncello

Limoncello

Limoncello has a dual function, it can be served with appetizers as an aperitif or a spritz, and it can be served as a digestive after-dinner drink. That’s the reason Limoncello is a popular drink among party-goers and especially during the holidays. I have a lot of pleasure making Limoncello during the summer and give it as a gift for Christmas in a basket full of other goodie produced from the lemons I grow. I make candied lemon peels, lemon cookies, and roasted lemons to mix in baked chickens, salads, sandwiches, and meat rosts. “Giving the gift of food is like giving the gift of love”.

Making Limoncello leaves 10 lemons without the skin. In this booklet, I give suggestions on how to turn all the “naked” lemons into different products for cooking, for daily beauty, products, and daily house cleaning. No chemicals, no harmful agents. That chapter is called: “My food is not only for cooking”.
©Naked Lemons ebook is available on Amazon all over the world – https://amzn.to/32x6pZ5
Get that great yellow, juicy energy. Ciao,
Valentina
http://valentinaexpressions.com

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina with short hairValentina Cirasola has been in business as an interior designer since 1990 improving people’s life by changing their spaces. Most often she designs kitchens and wine grottos; outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms; great rooms and entertainment rooms. Her deep interest in food led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition, and well-being. Finally, she wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and one book on color theory, in which she included one recipe for each color. Her latest book, a travel narrative contains many stories of food and entertainment.
©The Road To Top Of The World – paperback and kindle –
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8
Get your copy of Valentina’s books on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

 

 

Awakening Cosmic Energy | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Yesterday, June 24th, I forgot it was St. John’s’ Day. In Italy, this saint celebration “greets” the arrival of summer, awakening the cosmic energies. Some traditional customs are still alive and well in Puglia as in most regions in Italy.

Saint John the Baptist, the first apostle of Christ, is the only saint whose birth is celebrated instead of his death.

On June 23rd, the longest night of the year, people gather to celebrate a midsummer eve, with a bonfire, music, parades in period costumes, special street markets, craft, fireworks, drinking and eating. In the Marche region in central Italy, the feast culminates in the “Infiorata” a carpet of flowers all over the towns, and in Florence, St. John feast continues to be observed since the medieval time with a 3-day celebration of various street expressions.
According to an ancient belief, on Saint John’s night evil spirits and witches fly around, thus herbs must be hung on entry doors.
In Puglia, on this evening, women collect herbs besides making a Nocino liqueur and prepare a special pasta dish.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Hypericum_perforatum_Carl Axel Magnus Lindman_Wikipedia

Hypericum_perforatum_Carl Axel Magnus Lindman_Wikipedia

In the darkness of this evening, new herbs are gathered to compose the bunch of St. John’s herbs, which drives away the evil eye, brings good luck and, if put under the pillow before going to sleep, calms the person down, bringing sweet premonitory dreams. Many different herbs compose the St. John’s bunch for good humor, prosperity, the removal of the evil and negativity and medicinal benefits: hypericum, also called “cast out devils herb”, artemisia for fertility, rue, mint, rosemary, parsley, garlic, lavender, fennel, lemon verbena, mallows, laburnum, foxgloves, and elderflowers. Crusaders treated their wounds with St. John’s herbs, considered beneficial, so history says.

Propitiatory water is made with these herbs, one can wash and refresh the face, or make a bouquet to gift the special friends who have a deeper relationship with us.

Green Almond - Game Widow - Wikipedia

Green Almond – Game Widow – Wikipedia

The preparation of the Nocino liqueur considered the witches’ liqueur is one of the many traditional customs on the night of St.John’s celebration. My father made it every year, it was very strong, didn’t much like it, but I drank it anyway just to be a good sport. Green walnuts are the main ingredients, they are picked green because it is easy to pierce them with a pin from side to side to allow the alcohol to penetrate the almonds during maceration time, until the night of San Lawrence, on August 10th.
On this date, walnuts are filtered, sweetened, flavored with spices, such as cinnamon and cloves.

Of course, there is a special dish for this celebration, Spaghetti St. John’s style. During my recent visit to Puglia, I tasted spaghetti made with old grain and brought a bunch with me to California, My spaghetti St.John are seasoned with anchovies, capers, chili peppers, cherry tomatoes, and basil. It’s a simple, fast and very tasty sauce. It takes only 10 minutes of preparation and cooking.

Spaghetti San Giovanni

Spaghetti San Giovanni in my California garden

Celebrating my Puglia holidays in America is a thing I do with myself or with very close people who have the same desire to celebrate something different than Americans do. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2/

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina with short hairAs a writer and cultural promoter of Puglia, her native land, Valentina’s intention is to let readers feel and experience a new ”wheel of emotions”. She wants to encourage them to visit areas of Puglia not beaten by massive tourism. Through stories of local customs, art, architecture, fashion, food-wines, shopping, she wants them to create their special adventures and live it up in Puglia! Check out her books on Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The latest published book ©The Road To Top Of The World is a travel narrative on short stories of Puglia.
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

A Month in Europe | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Ah, it was so good to have been off the Internet for a month, I detoxed of some of the electromagnetism and it feels so good.
I was in Europe the entire month of May and what a month has been! On the return flight back to the USA, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. I assure you it was painful, however, when I was finally up in the air acting as if I was enjoying the flight, I recollected the precious moments I lived in May, it was like images scrolled in a film and I relived the beautiful moments.
Life is much better as a comedy, I saw the funny side in every situation.

My hotel was a 16th-century building. I enjoyed my room in the mansard, the exposed wood beams in the room, the small windows on the roof, the stone stairs and the whole antiquity feel of it. The nights were so peaceful and warm up there, it was enveloping after being in the cold weather all day. The chirping of birds and the sound of a church bells wake me up in the morning at 6:00 am punctual.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Prague - 16th Century Hotel

Prague – 16th Century Hotel

The weather was inclement, it was cold and rainy the entire month, I even experienced the “bomb rain” as people call it there. In Prague, one day, I was walking to the Alfonse Mucha’s Museum, the day was cold and sunny, it was a good day for a brisque walk. Right before I arrived at the Museum, rain poured down abruptly without warning, the sky turned dark grey and water came down like a furious hurricane, it got me totally soaked head to toes!
That was fun. 😱

Every day, I walked on cobblestone streets and enjoyed the changing of design from block to block. I also enjoyed the kind manners of some men when the sidewalk was narrow, stopping and yielding for me to pass first. In a world of rude people, that’s so precious!

Designed Cobblestones

Designed cobblestones

All stores had an antique feel to it, caryatids held the building gracefully. Antique, blackout wood doors, closed the stores at night, the same doors I had seen in my childhood in Italy. I am so in love with rich classic architecture and Prague is full of it!

Jewelry Store

Jewelry Store

 

Caryatid

Caryatid

I climbed many steps, visited many artists and folk art places.

Castle Stairs

Castle Stairs

 

Figurines

Figurines

 

Marionettes Shop

Marionettes Shop

 

Leather Money/Telephone Cases

Leather Money/Telephone Cases

I ate in the most characteristic places and not necessarily restaurants. Murals in this bistro resemble the style of Dutch Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Restaurant-Mural

Restaurant-Murals

 

Murals in a Restaurant

Murals in a Restaurant

 

Mural in a restaurant

Mural in a restaurant

I admired beautiful panoramas, visited castles and cathedrals, took a boat ride, saw the change of the guards in the castle, and studied the character of some militaries on a post (humans are the same everywhere, there is always the leader in every crowd).

Tourists Boat on Charles Bridge

Tourists Boat on Charles Bridge

 

Militaries

Militaries

Prague, the city of 1000 spires is a beautiful walkable city, its red roofs nestled in a lot of greenery convey traditions, people are very kind and the bad weather didn’t stop me from having a nice vacation. Food is based on meat, potatoes, starch, and divine beers. 

Prague - Red Roofs

Prague – Red Roofs

The art I saw here will be a new inspiration for my design. My European genes are calling. See you soon, Europe. Ciao,
Valentina
Trotting the world one country at a time
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2/

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive arts. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She trots the world and loves writing travel notes, from which she draws inspiration to design her interiors. She is the author of four books, one of which is on the subject of colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors available on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
She also wrote a travel narrative: ©The Road To Top Of The World
available in paper and Kindle version:  https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

Always On The Right | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

There is always something good to learn on “Tendance” the French show I watch on my TV almost every day.
In one of the shows, I learned about buttons and how they evolved during the centuries.

Buttons photo by Valentina

Buttons photo by Valentina

There was a time when buttons were almost more important than the dress or at least complimented the dress in the same splendor. The first buttons appeared in the XII century Europe and soon became very popular among rich and nobles, who competed with each other in extravagance and opulent fashion. Buttons became so luxurious, often made with precious stones, even painted as miniature art on canvas, and became status symbols only nobles and the rich could wear. Under King Louis XIV high society demanded crazy luxurious buttons and buttons with royal images, thus the King limited the fabrications.

Men, military or not, wore swords on the left, it became a custom in the XVII Century to sew buttons on men’s clothing on the right and buttonholes on the left to allow sabers or swords to be easily removed and not interfering with buttons. I thought men’s buttons are on the right to distinguish from the female garments. Women, in fact, had their buttons sewn on the left and buttonholes on the right to allow servants to dress them easily. Nothing has changed since then, except servants don’t dress us anymore.

 

Osprey, Men-At-Arms #016 Frederick the Great's Army

Osprey, Men-At-Arms-Frederick the Great’s Army

 

By the 1950s, the Golden Age of buttons ended, giving the way to leucite and plastic buttons. With the youth revolution of the ’60s, buttons became very colorful, often displayed political, love and peace messages.

Source: https://etsy.me/2IMU0ti

Nowadays, nobody gives great importance to buttons, the main function is to fasten a piece of garment, rarely made to embellish. Zipper, Velcro, and metal fasteners substitute buttons. This black redingote with lucite buttons suits me and defines me perfectly in my bold character. Those clear buttons give visually a high value to the garment.

Redingote

Redingote

 

Find my buttons on Etsy: https://tinyurl.com/y6swdu5v 

Button Covers

Button Covers by Valentina

 

Always on the right is not only about buttons. In the civilized world, where good manners still make a difference, women wear hats tilted to the right side of the head, a sassy way to say “I look good”. However, wearing a hat tilted to the right means she can talk and show her face to the man accompanying her. He must walk on her left to give her his right arm in a sign of respect. I don’t feel offended being feminine and allow men to be attentive to me. If a man wants to respect and protect me, I let him and welcome him with open arms.

Always on the right. Again, a woman walking with a man must walk along the side of buildings, not along the sidewalk where there might be dusty cars parked or traffic going by. Who makes up these rules? The bon ton does.
In America, people drive more than they walk, I realize these customs might sound absurd.

Always on the right. In elementary school, we are taught to write with the right hand. In business, it is customary to attach a name tag on the right side of the clothes and as we shake hands with the right hand, the eyes go directly to the name tag. We greet a familiar person with a kiss on the right cheek and the military salute is always done with the right hand.
Don’t we give the right of way when we drive? It’s the rule of driving laws, and if we don’t respect it, we are in for big accidents, huge fines, and hard consequences.

I don’t know why this curious Sunday digression took place in my mind, I guess I wanted to rattle off my thoughts.
Happy Sunday. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2019 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 storyteller and finds inspirations everywhere to write her stories. She needs your story to design your dream home or your dream look. She is a public speaker, a mentor, and author.  Check out her books on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
Her latest books: ©The Road To Top Of The World is on Amazon
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

 

 

 

Hanging It In The Sun | Valentina Cirasola | Author & Designer

Growing up in Italy in my Italian family, I had to learn to do things in a certain way. We were respectful of the environment due to lack of space and lack of technology, hence we reused and recycled many items, other than using our hands to do the work of appliances and machines we didn’t have. We also learned to use our hands to make things, clothes, food, and items for the house. Depleting the environment was not a common notion back then and I am not talking about the Dark Ages either, it was just the way of life.

The building I lived as a child was a circular shape, with an atrium open to the sky as the main entrance to the building, closed with a heavy iron door that needed 2 people to close it and a terrace on the top of the building. People leaving there used the atrium to socialize, eat together especially on Sundays, gossip, playing cards, help each other in case of necessity, kids played safely indoor and breathed fresh air. It felt almost like the film “Rear Window” with James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The terrace was the place for hanging laundry, for drying food or making preserved food and sauces to keep for the winter.

 

Laundry

Laundry

Laundry time was really fun for the kids, a lot less for women doing the laundry. Did you know that in the ’60s when in America women already used the washing machine in the comfort of their laundry room, in Italy part of the country was still washing clothes with the ashes from burned wood? The process of ashes filtration happened through a simple white cloth with the aid of boiling water to extract the sodium carbonates present in the ash. This operation was practiced up to the ’60s to wash and whiten the laundry, also to peel legumes. It was hard work for the women who did it at least once a week.

Kids didn’t have the chore of the laundry, we watched the juicy romance that was taking place between the sheets hanging in the sun. In Italy love is everywhere, it’s just the air of the country that makes anyone fall in love. We played kids’ game on the terrace, but when the laundry was up drying, we mostly enjoyed watching grown-up lovers and teenagers at their first love experience making out between the sheets hanging in the sun. They used them as a shield to hide, smooch, kiss and talk romance. Sometimes we received a few cents to keep an eye at the door of the terrace and prevent anyone unwanted from coming in. The memory of the terrace is still grant. Some of us girls got the first kiss between the sheets on the terrace.

Laundry

Laundry

Today, I have a washing machine, I always had one, and no, I have not washed my laundry with ashes, but I never had a dryer in my entire life. I like my laundry to smell fresh as nature without the chemical of softener. Drying laundry in the air is bucolic and saves electricity. I keep it away from direct sunlight to avoid discoloration and not to get it as dry as Norwegian stockfish. However, I am a big believer in recycling or reusing and I teach others to do the same. One cannot possibly understand how much I recycle. Yes, I do have time to do manual things, it’s all about priority and how one organizes life.

Picture the plastic bags we get free at a grocery shop to put our vegetables in. I wash and reuse them.
I use soap and loofah for bath and shower, no bubble bath in plastic bottles.
To clean bath and kitchen fixtures, I use a lot of lemons from my tree, vinegar and newspaper to clean windows.
In my studio, I reuse the other side of the paper already written on one side.
I use a limited amount of home cleaning agents, one for the floor, one for the dishes and one for the clothes.
Never buy food in cardboard boxes or canned, nor drinks in plastic bottles.
I don’t eat or drink in plastic vessels. I use ceramic and glass, when they break, I use them as decorative items in the garden.
This list is only the beginning of things I don’t do. It is part of my cultural heritage and beliefs I grew up with that followed me everywhere I went in the world.
Being environmentally clean is my goal in my life and in my designs.

If you want to become an environmentally conscious person start in your home, there are a lot of opportunities to start a clean life. I can help as well if you need it. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

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. She is the author of four books, all available on

Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The latest book just published is The Road To Top Of The World – https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

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