The Evening Of Seven Fish | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

It was a long shopping the day before Christmas eve, from one fish market to the other to find the freshest fish, and then it was the longest day cooking the seven fish dinner on Christmas eve. The search was about finding langoustine, mussels, clams with a red tongue, razor clams, sea urchin, sea truffles, octopus, baby cattle fish, any bluefish for grilling, lobster, oysters and any fauna the Mediterranean Sea produces.
The sitting down dinner started at 6:00 pm and lasted close to midnight when we finished with a champagne toast, then church at midnight.
That was such a long ago in Italy in my parents’ home and it was the same in most of the homes in Italy. The celebration on Christmas eve was an incredible custom, we ate until our hearts were content and welcome the new spiritual Christmas light in our homes.
As it happens in all families, at one point kids leave the nest, when my turn came, I moved as well to build my life and all of that ended. My new-found friends could never eat a large amount of food and never had the time to be sitting at the table for so many hours. The Christmas celebrations took a different turn.

Somehow I maintained my tradition on a smaller scale. On Christmas eve, I prepare a few fish specialties and Christmas day is about meat. On the eve, caviar opened the dinner experience, followed by shrimps with fregola and dandelion cooked in a clay pot, cod and potato cakes, blue crabs, Christmas cookies, coffee, and Belgium chocolate with sea salt.

Caviar Crostini

Caviar and prosecco

 

Shrimps with Fregola and Dandelion

Shrimps with Fregola and Dandelion cooked in a play pot

 

CodPotatoCakes

Cod Potato Cakes

 

Blue Crabs

Blue Crabs

 

 

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

This was sufficient for Christmas eve, Christmas day was a different experience, oh my! Everything was delicious and even though I feel like a blimp today, I am very happy. 😀
The end of the year requires courage, the Italian rule is to have 13 courses dinner, one for each month of the year and one extra to honor the new year 😱. This one is no longer my habit.
I hope your Christmas was good and serene. Ciao,
Valentina 

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaRedHat

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

 

Christmas Reflection | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Receiving gifts is an exciting moment, someone is thinking of you and wants to please you or make you happy with a simple gesture. You go through the process of tearing the beautiful wrap covering the box and reading the card attached to the gift. You think “I am so lucky someone took the time to do this for me on this occasion”. Finally, the gift presents itself to your eyes and suddenly you feel sad, your jaw drops as if you have seen a ghost and you are in disbelieve of what you just saw in the box. It is the same present you gave a year ago to that same person giving you the present, the gift returned to you recycled.

Yes, this is true, it has happened to me, I received a year later, the same gift I gave to that very person standing before me, telling me how much she cared for my friendship. My surprise was so big, I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry. I exclaimed: “I wanted to buy me this gift last year, I loved it so much…, instead I bought it for you because you like everything I wear, I thought you would have worn it with pleasure, instead I am so fortunate it returned to me, it must have been really made for me.” End of discussion and friendship. She could have simply written my name on the gift to remember who gave it to her and recycle it to a different person. That year, I decided not to give Christmas presents anymore to no one. To most people, Christmas is only the time to overspend carelessly, the holiday itself doesn’t mean much else.

In this period of the year, I spend time with friends I have not seen much during the year, I call people in need of comfort and company, I cook special food, and sweets to share with others, I make simple things to give away, such as decorative balls for the tree and give thanks to many people who helped me in my life and business. I enjoy attending many Christmas shows and parties. This time of the year for me is all about the new light coming into my life, realizing new dreams, and thinking of new opportunities.

I want to give you some suggestions if you are into giving a lot of gifts. All factory items already come sealed in a lot of plastic boxes, often very hard to open. We must be conscious of the environment, let’s eliminate all the possible waste we can. This year wrap your gift in brown paper, better if it comes from grocery shopping, cut away the name of the store and use the rest of the shopping bag. I saw this picture on Pinterest with the photo of the person the gift is intended for, I thought it’s a great idea.

OurSuburbanFarm

Our Suburban Farm

Jane Lee on Instagram has another great idea, she attaches parts of a newspaper over the brown paper, a fern branch with a wax seal and a handwritten message.

Jane Lee Instagram

Jane Lee Instagram

Sometimes, I have wrapped gifts in my own architectural drawings for home remodeling I did for clients. It was another way to show people what I do and recycle the drawings. Also, I have wrapped gifts in fabrics to use as napkins or kitchen towels later.

Shopping_Package

Fabric as gift wrap

Please don’t stress out over Christmas, this is the time to enjoy a renewal of your spirit and collect the strength to start a new fabulous year. Ciao,
Valentina 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

ValentinaRedHat

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

Amazon – Barnes&Nobles

Amazon Author’s Page

 

Letter To The Parents | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Certain gestures are like fleeting moments to which we pay little attention, but the memory of them is sculpted forever in our mind.
I was enjoying a tasteful Christmas dinner when in a small moment I had a vision of a custom of my childhood, which repeated every year until I was 10 years old: the Christmas letter to the parents.
It was a letter all the pupils in elementary schools wrote for their parents in class with the aid of the teacher. Everyone wrote his/her thoughts, just one-page or a paragraph that expresses all the gratitude to the parents for raising us the best they could. Some letters were funny and comics and some others were very serious, they followed the kid’s character and personality. The teacher only corrected each letter and had no part in composing it, basically, we forced ourselves to find something good to write that made us look good with our parents.
In this letter addressed to both parents, we promised not to do the bad things we did during the year (often it was an empty promise, we forgot it as soon as the holidays passed), we promised to bring home good grades and keep the parents happy with good behavior. Mainly we praised them for all the good things they did for us, and we thanked them every five words.

Both parents knew about the letter but acted as if it was a surprise. Here, I recreated the table in the simplicity of the era: two plates, two glasses, and the necessary dinnerware, no Christmas decorations on the table, nothing spectacular, not even close to how we decorate holiday tables today. It was an essential table, real food and conversation took all our attention.


Letterina

The letter was hidden under the father’s set of plates. After the first course, generally, a pasta dish, one of the women in the family removed that plate and pushed the letter out to make it more visible. The father accidentally pretended to see the letter and with a surprised voice exclaimed: “It’s Christmas and the postman came!” Then, he checked whose signature was and invited the author of the letter to come closer to him to read the letter out loud. Followed applauses and compliments from the members of the family sitting at the dinner table. In richer families, the kid who wrote the letter received some sort of gift or money, in less rich families, the kid received lots of kisses and hugs.

I have not had this vision in my life before this past Christmas. The scene was so vivid, real and all the people in it, now gone from this world, appeared the same, immortalized to the time I was ten years old.
It was my film, nobody saw it, I had slid through time, it felt like I had stopped there for a long time, but it was a brief moment and I was happy. A voice in my house brought me back to reality: “Can I take your plate and are you ready for the second course?”
Has this ever happened to you? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2018 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
Amazon – http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The latest book just published is The Road To Top Of The World – https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

Christmas My Way | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

This week, business coach Georgia Lee London interviewed me on BeLiveTV, an online TV feature of Facebook I use also for my business. The topic was Decorating Christmas. We spent the first few minutes talking about my business and personal life just as an introduction to her audience, then we moved on to Christmas and how to decorate it.

I like to admire all the joyous display of lights around the towns, highly decorated stores and homes illuminated over the top, just like everybody else, to me this huge display of lights is another form of art expression. The bigger the better is what most people think Christmas should be and that is fine. I can’t imagine Christmas not being so lit up anymore. There was a time in my life when my native country went through an austerity period of many years.

Now, I am here in the wealthiest country in the world, where people don’t mind spending $5,000 for Christmas decorations, I want to soak it in as much as I can, taking tours through neighbors and enjoy their labor to put up such a spectacle for the public. I saw a program on the Italian TV dedicated to the transformation of homes in Brooklyn N.Y. every year at Christmas and this is a photo I found of one of the Italian homes. Stunning, it looks like Disneyland. Their electric bill, I imagine, is huge for a couple of months.

(Click on the photo to view it larger).

 

BrooklynNewYorkDykerHeightsChristmasLights

BrooklynNewYorkDykerHeights-Vincent Giulizio Photography

 

Deep down inside I have remained a person who likes “conservation”,  moderation and classy décor. I would never have such a display of power even if I had servants, labor, chauffeurs, and butlers.
To me, Christmas is about lighting up a way to our new self, welcoming a new year of opportunities to realize our dreams; it’s about resting, renewing our family and friends’ ties; share food and allow our “Supreme Being” (whomever or whatever it might be) to enter our life.  Everything else is just consumerism.

Here, in this video, one can see my ideas of decorating Christmas the easy way, easy on the pocket, easy to put up and take down. I care to create pleasant atmospheres around the home by displaying interesting vignettes in different corners of each room. The most important thing is to find a theme, choose the colors, sculpt with various light levels and never leave corners in the dark.

 

Your Christmas can be anything you like and if this event is not in your belief, celebrate your life. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

It’s my hope that through my writing and my suggestions I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspiring you to live in beauty. I love to encourage my clients to show their personality through various expressions of décor, or the clothes they wear. I have loved my profession as an interior-fashion designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need. Check out one of my books on the subject of colors, the third in line of my collection, ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The Road To Top Of The World, fourth book recently published is also available.
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

December – Grace and Thankfulness |Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Ah, December is here with the rain to clean up the air, the spiders off the plants and the nuisance illnesses of the winter. Outside is grey and cold, inside my house is warm, the fireplace has been on since the start of the morning making my house nice and cozy all day. I am so thankful to have found an older home with charm and a fireplace.

This morning I was thinking of the special food to cook today. After all it is Sunday, a special day for resting and enjoying food with those who like to eat. My friends forget to leave when  invited to my home. At times I wonder if they come for me or for my food. I am thankful for my friends and for having food to offer.

I am a bit behind reading blogs of my followers; while food was cooking I read many to ketch up. Everyone is so talented and write attractive stories or subjects, which makes it really hard to choose. “Everyone is a star and needs to shine”. ~ Marilyn Monroe. I am so thankful for my friend bloggers following me.

December is the month to celebrate a new light coming to the world, a new winter solstice, religious events and it is the month for giving. Cities looks so beautiful with the building tops crowned with lights, colorful displays make designed stores very inviting and front yards of every home are decorated to perfection. I am grateful and thankful to have eyes to see the colors that illuminate my world.

Blog of the Year Award 2 star thumbnail

I am very honored, thankful and grateful to two people who nominated me with the Blog Of The Year 2012 Award:

Stefan of http://hillsofherchastity.wordpress.com who writes beautiful poems and
Jamie of http://grandmothermusings.com who writes slices of life with humor and knowledge.

* * *The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Unlike other awards, which you can only add to your blog once, this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!
There are a total of 6 stars to collect. Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs – and even if someone else has already given them the award – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!
Blog of the Year Award banner 600
This award goes to the following bloggers:
Amy – experience the world as book – http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com

Sindy – spiritual growth and healing – http://bluebutterfliesandme.wordpress.com

TBM – 50 years project of reading and traveling – http://50yearproject.wordpress.com

Mary – a renaissance woman – http://leblogdemarie.com

Marianne – a British woman living in Andalusia – http://eastofmalaga.net

Judy – with some sweets of her own – http://petit4chocolatier.wordpress.com

Marianne – inspires people to live happier – http://marianne365days.wordpress.com    

Create a great week and thank you all. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Print

Valentina Cirasola is an interior designer and a former fashion designer in business since 1990. She helps people realizing their dream spaces in homes, offices, interiors, exteriors, restaurants and more. She needs your story to design your dream.

Check out her books on:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Christmas Markets Under The Stars | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Today December 8th the Catholic world celebrates the Virgin Mary Immaculate Conception marking the official opening of the Christmas holidays. The Catholic dogma believes the name Immaculate (pure, the purest of the angels, innocent) was given to Mary when the angels announced to her that she to had been chosen to become the mother of Jesus through the Holy Spirit without any human contact. Up to that moment, Mary lived a life without any original sin, nor mortal or venial sins, thus she had that special privilege to become the mother of Jesus.
The celebration of Mary Immaculate Conception was introduced in the Roman calendar in 1476  and since then Christmas holidays start with this celebration in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. On this day Catholics are expected to fasten for the entire day until the evening. Around 7:00 pm they can sit down and have a really scrumptious meal with different kinds of meats, panzerotti, some stuffed pasta like tortellini or ravioli, fried or cooked vegetables, but mostly rich filling food, good wines and typical Christmas sweets.

On this day, most of all the cities in Italy and Catholic Europe will have an area of the city designated to Christmas street markets. The market will be open for business all day and all night until midnight or 1:00 am, every day until Christmas Eve and in some cities the market will reopen after the first of January for a few days until the Epiphany. Giving Christmas gift to kids is a fairly new custom. Up until twenty years ago, more or less, kids received their gifts the night of Epiphany, January sixth. For Christmas they would get some new clothes and special home-made sweets. The adults celebrated with special food, special wines consumed with family and friends. Christmas was for kids only.

At the street markets, especially at night with all the flickering lights, the atmosphere is very Christmassy and sweet. It is December after all, the air is fizzy and cold, perfect for hot cocoa or warm brandy. Women are bundled up in fur coats and boots, kids are wrapped in woolly scarves, hats and heavy clothes looking like petit Michelin men. Some vendors’ kiosks are filled with curious arts and craft, some have specialties food and some sell Christmas delicacy or sweets. There are music and street musicians playing their favorite instrument, but what will catch your eyes is the willingness of people to leave computers and TV’s at home and come out in the streets to enjoy the evening with their kids, kids’ friends, families, to  meet people they have never seen before and to shop at small artisans, where they can find unique gifts. I also noticed the gentleness of people in this time of the year. It is kind of puzzling to me why some people are only nice at Christmas time.

Here in the States, I have seen and experienced many different kinds of Christmas celebrations, but I have never seen a nighttime Christmas market. The closest I got to this idea last week was the market organized in the courtyard of the International German School in my area. I was the only author in a kiosk with books for sale, all others kiosks displayed hand-made art and craft items, jewelry, pottery, ceramics and German food. It was an enjoyable evening, despite of the cold wing and my frozen feet. Kids gathered on stage to sing so graciously Christmas carols in German language, the adults instead played modern rock and roll music.

Both of my books sold well that evening, my easy and healthy recipes from Puglia, my home land of Italy, will delight people’s tables this holiday season and will make a nice addition to their Christmas specialties. Both books are available here in this site on the Books page and on Amazon.
Just in case you are in a bind and need my help in decorating your holiday table, just leave your name in the box, I will answer in 24 hours time and I will be delighted to help you. Ciao,
Valentina

www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Red Fascinator copyValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She especially loves to design all those rooms with a “make me feel good” tag attached, such as kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is a public speaker and a mentor. She is also the author of two Italian regional cuisine books and she the author of the forthcoming book ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of Colors, due to be published very soon. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnq8baaAq0M

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

Graffiti Lux Art & More

Luxuriating in the Arts

It's all about Inspiration

Inspiration is our vision as it is the key to success. This Blog is about Personality Development, SEO, Amazon Affiliate Marketing, Blog ideas, and photography.

Electric Eclectic's Blog

All Things Bookish and more...

Before Sundown

remember what made you smile

James J. Cudney

Author of contemporary & mystery fiction: where family drama meets suspense

Robbie's inspiration

Ideas on writing and baking

The Write Stuff

"Writers Helping Writers" with Marcia Meara & Friends

Electric Press

Literary Insights magazine

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Read. Write. Love. 💕💕💕

Banter Republic

It's just banter

No Facilities

Random thoughts, life lessons, hopes and dreams

Watching the Daisies

Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

This Is My Truth Now

Author, Inspirational Blogger, Book Reviewer & Promoter

Warning:Curves Ahead

reasonably photogenic and relatively stylish

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Echoes of Life, Love and Laughter

London Life With Liz

A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.

Inspired Motivation

Get your daily motivation fix right here!

Janaline's world journey

My Strange, Wonderful Experiences and Adventures as I Travel through the World

From my guardaviñas

Sharing ideas. Photos, travels, music, History, stories, feelings...

Dancer Attitude

"Shoot for the top"

Modern Tropical

Art + Decor by Kristian Gallagher

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

Jean's Writing

Jean M. Cogdell, Author-Writing something worth reading, one word at a time in easy to swallow bite size portions.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

READER - WRITER - CURATED RESOURCES - & MORE

%d bloggers like this: