Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Party – Just One Wish – Guests, Food, Music and laughter

We all have unfulfilled dreams and keep trying to achieve them. If I look at my dream boards of the past years, I must say proudly that everything I wished for me I got it. I call it hard work, perseverance, and discipline, sure didn’t happen by chance or luck. However, one dream is still out there, floating in the universe, and I am still asking myself what would take to make it, until one day last month, Sally Cronin of the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine announced she needed only one wish from her followers to organize a Christmas party. I participated, “you never know, more times you put it out there, more chances you have for someone to see it” I said to myself. The Dream I Am Still Dreaming is mentioned here in Sally Cronin’s Christmas Party One Wish. https://valentinaexpressions.com/2019/01/16/the-dream-i-am-still-dreaming-valentina-cirasola-author-and-designer/

Thank you Sally, for showing me part of the solution to realizing my dreams, a Coop might be the way to go, just like in the video. You are a very special person. I hope your Christmas is special and the New Year splendid all the way through.
Valentina

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The theme for this year’s party is ‘Just One Wish’. We are all familiar with the story of Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, who was pretty liberal with that magic wand of hers and managed to turn a pumpkin into a golden carriage.

Unfortunately, she has long since retired and hung up her wand, but because I asked nicely (and she would like me to promote her memoir –The Prince Charmings I have Known!) she has agreed to allow my guests, just one wish…

My thanks to everyone who sent in their special wish and with a great deal of positive thought from us all, and of course a little assistance from the magic wand of the Fairy Godmother, they might just come true…

Please help yourself to food and drink and if you would like to dance on the tables… that is great. You will…

View original post 2,833 more words

One Day In Geneva | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

It’s midnight, dark, winter and cold, I want to take a walk on a long straight street and smoke a cigarette. Geneva is very cold this time of the year, I am not used to it, and now it’s raining too. Illuminated stores across the street invite me to look at their merchandise, perhaps in the morning, I will be in the mood to buy something I can’t buy tonight. Their lights will go off at a programmed time, but now are still shining on beautiful objects for the nightcrawlers people like me. I want to go across the street, a red light tells me to halt. As far as my eyes can see, no cars are coming from any direction and the need to get under a protected portico in a hurry is stronger than getting wet waiting for the street light to change color.

 

Jack Ward Unsplash - Switzerland

Jack Ward Unsplash – Switzerland

 

As I cross the street, I hear the sound of a whistle as if a policeman is whistling. It couldn’t be whistling at me, I am thinking, but he is. Where did he come from? A minute ago I was the only one in the street. He really dropped out of the blue. He is gracious at first, his voice is soft while he is giving a 10 Francs ticket for walking on the pedestrian zone with a red light. I am so surprised a small act like mine can cause a pedestrian to have a ticket, I tell him but he doesn’t listen. I also tell him that in Italy, no one gets a ticket for walking on a pedestrian zone with a red light, not even for J walking dodging cars in the moving traffic. I soon realized it is the wrong thing to say in this circumstance. The policeman hands me the ticket accusing me of not observing the law. I protest, argue with him as much as I can and he begins his intellectual speech of anarchy. In his opinion, my disobedience for crossing the road with the red light is a libertarian act, a rejection of society based on the order. My theoretical flexibility and individual action in deciding which laws to obey and which to ignore could result in a revolution against regimentation and consequently in terrorist acts, he says. Mind you at that time, the world didn’t know terrorism as we know it today.

By now, I have unleashed my persuasion arts. I am trying to tell him I am not a terrorist or an anarchist, that I have no intention of starting a revolution and that I have only crossed the road on the pedestrian zone with a red light. What harm my action could cause to others since I am the only one in the street in the deep night? He doesn’t want to listen and gives me another ticket for disturbance of the night peace.

I better shut my mouth and pay for my ticket. Walking away I am thinking some people are made in blocks on the assembly line, no creativity, no compassion, no flexibility and are not even equipped with a vision to see two inches away from their nose.

My hotel room overlooks Lake Geneva, and it has the cutest balcony. it’s an old building with stone stairs, decorative cast iron gated elevator with glass doors, the type we see in films of a different era, vaulted ceiling, and the bathroom in the corridor. I should have stayed on that cute balcony to smoke my cigarette in peace and enjoy the rain hitting the waters of the lake.

Bern - Clock Tower

Bern – Clock Tower

 

Since then, I have returned to Switzerland and had great experiences. That episode had gone unnoticed in the maze of my memories until today. I don’t know why it has returned….., I guess my traveling experiences always leave an impression on me. BTW, I have stopped smoking since then, that was many, many moons ago. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina with short hairValentina 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 Barnes&Nobles
The latest published books are ©The Road To Top Of The World
and ©Naled Lemons

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

 

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 a sweating glass bottle. At that moment, everyone was quiet, and I heard a total silence speaking in the beautiful rosy 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 Southern Italian Riviera. It was very good but not as good as the one I ate that evening at dusk on the Fort of 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

 

 

 

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

An Organized Life Starts With Food | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Sunday is a day for rest and self-care, dedicated to the family if there is one, and seeing or call friends. My Sunday starts with video calls with my family in Italy and friends in the world. In the midst of my Sunday relaxation practice, I include exercise and food planning for the entire week. Although it is pleasant at times to go out to eat, be served and get to know international food, I hardly eat in restaurants for a variety of reasons, the most important one is that I cannot control my fat, salt, and sugar intake. Some restaurants totally corrupt ethnic food to cater to the American palate, e.g. making pasta soft and not “al dente” as Italian would eat it, just to give you a small example. Ethnic restaurants only make food that is commercially well-known. In the case of Italian food, restaurants make the usual lasagna, veal parmigiana, spaghetti meatballs and leave out an entire selection of interesting food in the Italian cuisine repertoire. I eat so much better in my home, I see no point going out to eat and this is the same for any type of restaurants, not just Italian. I have noticed the same trend in other ethnic restaurants, the food is never as good as it would be in the original homeland country.

Weekly menu – On Sunday, I make the list of the weekly menu and I stick to it. I buy fresh food once or twice a week and never have frozen food to rely on. On Sunday, I cook a few specialties for the week that can stay in the fridge for two-three days, the rest will be cooked as the week progresses. Some Sundays are devoting to making bread and pasta varieties, the only type of food I keep in my freezer.

(Click on each photo to view it larger)

Pens-Book-Lemons

Pens-Book-Lemons by ©Valentina Cirasola

Make cooking a fun moment – Cooking is not beneath me, it’s not a chore and I consider it a relaxing activity. I put my favorite music on, or my favorite TV program, pour me a glass of wine or prosecco and fly around food like a dragonfly, happy to extract the best out of raw food, just like a dragonfly sucks the sweetness out of the flowers. In the kitchen, I am the orchestra maestro composing “allegro” food and making sure the “alti e bassi” chromatic colors mix well with all the flavors. Leaving this beautiful creativity to restaurants and prepackaged food is like giving up the power of being healthy and allow someone else to decide for you. Cooking simple, colorful and satisfying meals daily is not that hard. Use a lot of colorful food, the eyes thrive on colors.
Clean up the kitchen as you go along, make it a new clean canvas for the next day.

Eating In the Rainbow Board by ©Valentina Cirasola

Eating In the Rainbow Board by ©Valentina Cirasola

 

Organized shopping – As a designer, I create people’s spaces, by doing that their lives get organized and the quality improves. However, my abilities go beyond designing. Just like everybody else, I have a hectic life, but the food is my first priority. Knowing how to organize our life is important to eliminate stress. Between my appointments, I run errands and shop for food wherever I am. I look for small grocery shops, family-owned stores or street markets near or around my client’s places and shop for food in the hole of time I have on my agenda. We cannot manage time, time will run no matter what we do, but we can manage activities, that is exactly what I do and teach others. If something in the list was forgotten, it was not important for that day, don’t stress.

Don’t skip meals – At dinner time, I have always something ready, that feeling of coming home with hunger in my eyes and raid the refrigerator is not a feeling I know. Never skip meals due to lack of time. If there is no time to take care of your food and health, what is there time for? Our stomach requires attention, it is the center of all happenings in the brain and heart. Most people think cooking is a waste of time, I can assure you, often, I make a four-course meal in forty-five minutes. It all depends on what kind of nutrition one wants to follow, mine is simple, nothing I eat requires a lot of ingredients, an army of cooks, nor a great expenditure of time.

Organize your eating – I knew a person who ate every second of the day, she never ate a real dinner, only raw food, vegetable, fruit, nuts, and chocolate. She drank a ton of water daily, went to the bathroom and ruminated constantly.
Good digestion needs peace and quiet to process the food we ingest. Eating in the car while driving, eating in the street while walking, eating at the computer while working, eating at all hours of the day even in the middle of the night will not do anything good for the digestive tract, only will add stress to it, hence burning, reflux, bloating and more stomach ailments will happen.
I don’t care if you eat at a well-decorated table, or on the floor, decide where your eating will happen and do it in a relaxing way. Eating is a fun necessity, make it a pleasurable and colorful moment, even if it is for a short thirty minutes.

This photo below shows an easy specialty I eat often: boiled potatoes filled with baked mushrooms and raw cabbage strips as a salad.
It takes about 30 minutes to make it.
Bake at 375° F the mushrooms chopped in small pieces and seasoned with olive oil, S&P, parsley, and 2-3 cloves of garlic.
Boil the potatoes with the skin. Peel as soon as they become manageable. Scoop the center out. The center of the potatoes will be used for a frittata.
Fill the center with the baked mushrooms, add grated cheese, if you like.
For color and extra fibers, add strips of red cabbage, raw, seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, S&P.

Boiled potatoes filled with mushroom and cabbage salad

Boiled potatoes filled with mushroom and cabbage salad

 

An organized life starts with food, all your organs will thank you, your family will be healthy and energy will be high. Eat food for pleasure, indulge in a glass of wine, go ahead, have a chocolate bonbon if you have the desire, one, not the entire box, be moderate all the time and snack on nuts if you must. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2019 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
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
Valentina’s fourth book is a travel narrative, in which she mentioned food in her travel experience
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8  

 

 

Tackling Life At Tea Time | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

“This year has started so fast and so busy and nothing is coming through” ~ she told me in front of a cup of tea and morsels at Tea Time. I know my friend very well, she skips and jumps from one activity to another, one life mess to another, from one toxic situation to another. She is not happy about some of her friends, her work, some of the things her grown-up kids do and who knows what else. She doesn’t keep her promises, makes appointments, then cancels them, often a few hours before when the other person can’t do anything about it and the worst thing…she doesn’t learn from her mistakes. They say that true friends never hold back when helping one another trying to resolve personal issues. Well, when I have done that, my friends have taken it the wrong way, got offended and even stopped seeing me. This time, at Tea Time, I wanted to lay it out as I felt it.  After all, outside was grey and rainy, inside the tea atmosphere was cozy and conducive to confessions.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Tea Time

Tea Time

I can’t help referring to my interior design profession when I give tips on life management. Life to me is exactly like decorating a house, it’s all about rearranging, organizing, editing, refurbishing, prioritizing and spice it up. Giving my friend examples of how to beautify a house, didn’t feel I was preaching to her. I don’t have a perfect life, nobody does, but to get my life to the point it feels comfortable to me, took many years of studying people, eliminating toxic situations and old beliefs, reaching goals and driving my thinking toward positivity.

My suggestion was to view her life as a home decorating. If we don’t clean the house, things keep accumulating, the clutter grows, the mirrors don’t shine, the cabinets are sticky, the bed is not made, the dishes are dirty in the sink, we allow the house to take over our life, we allow the house to confuse us, and at that point we might even feel not to return home anymore. Unfortunately, some people life is just like this description, they don’t even want to be in it. The only thing to do to save a disorderly life is to tackle one problem at a time, just as a decorator would tackle one room at the time.

First, we focus on eliminating all the useless items, then clean the space to make it livable and finally organize it. Once we see a place that breathes again, we feel encouraged to go to the next room and repeat the process. Little by little, the house returns to shine releasing that pleasure of claiming each room as our space that was long denied.
Do you see the analogy of a life that is not satisfying with a disorderly house?

Inspiration by Valentina

Inspiration by Valentina

My friend needs exactly this. She needs to rearrange her thoughts, clean up her beliefs, make plans with a calendar in her hands, eliminate all the people and situations that are longer serving a purpose and pursue whatever strikes her fancy. Those who will want to be in her life will follow, the rest will get lost in the editing process.
At one point during our conversation, I had the feeling she got offended. Next day, she sent me a message saying I am a Goddess. Yeah, right!

Living a satisfying life takes a lot of commitment, structure, and diligence. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com 

In my 29th years of design business, I am having more fun than ever, experience eliminates stress and dictates the pace of work. I am evolving in different directions while still helping people realizing their dream spaces in homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. Colors are the main focus of my business today, changing people’s energy and life force just by introducing them to colors they would have never imagined. I am on TV once a month, that is my own TV show produced under my label Valentina Design Universe, bringing fun topics to my audience. https://valentinadesignuniverse.com
Check out my books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

My latest book is ©The Road To Top Of The World

 

 

 

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