In Company Of Port | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Don’t you love this month of parties, celebrations, tasting unusual food and fun drinks? I love it and the people who know me, also know I don’t need an excuse to eat and drink. Life is for living, not deprivations. After dinner drinks seems to be one of my favorite part of a dinner. Especially in this cold time of the year ending a dinner with a port warms up the hands and revives the soul.

Port Sippers

Port aged in oak barrels is a kind of sweet wine, with lot of body and high alcohol content.
Port originated in Oporto, Portugal is a fortified wine made from grapes grown in the Douro valley. Portuguese law allows only this wine to be called Port, just like the French keep strict laws on Champagne and Cognac producers, or Italians are very protective of their Grappa, Parmigiano and many products that took years to perfect.

The new age of Port now includes a dry white specialty and the medium body Port, both can be served before dinner as an apéritif and chilled. The Vintage Port in my opinion is the best. It takes anywhere from ten to twenty years to be ready for drinking. It is intensely fruity, rich of alcohol and contains a lot of deposits, therefore it needs to be decanted before drinking. It goes well with cheeses and nuts at the end of dinner, as all European style dinners end with cheeses, I find it perfect with blue cheeses. Chocolate desserts with berries, or dark chocolates with coarse salt on top are just luscious.

After a bottle of Port has been opened and how is kept will determine the good status, spoilage or the shelf life of the elixir. The most temperamental is the Vintage Port, it only lasts a couple of days after the opening of the bottle. So, drink up with friends and empty the bottle at once!


Know the rule of serving Port and you will look expert like a connoisseur. The host will first pour Port in the glass of his/her guest sitting on the right, then will pass the bottle to the guest on the left, who will pour its own and pass the bottle to the next guest down and around the table up until it reaches again the guest on the right of the host. The pleasure of holding a  Port sipper glass is immense and I love it (top photo), but simple tumblers or regular wine glasses will work well.

(Glass found on:

The English writer of novels and travel books once said: “Port is not for the very young, the vain and the active. It is the comfort of age and the companion of the scholar and the philosopher.

A clipping from The Times of London, circa 1798: “To which University, said a woman to the late sagacious Dr. Warren, shall I send my son? Madam, replied he, I believe, near the same quantity of Port in each of them.”

Port is for fine palates, getting a hangover from it will lower that person a few steps. Ciao,

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola
has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. Vogue Italy featured her as the guru of staging a home in the theatrical way. Among designing and remodeling homes, designing custom-made furniture and writing books, Valentina is now teaching etiquette, table manners, table setting and life style.

Check out her latest books Red-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of colors, available on


Sunday Gratitude | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


Twice this month I have received an award from bloggers following and reading me.
This Sunday I am thanking Marianne’s from Stockholm for nominating me with the “Beautiful Blogger Award”. I feel so excited about receiving the award and humbly accept it.
Marianne’s blog is about 365 Days Mental Coaching and is very inspiring. Look forward to receive it every day.

My two blog columns are about design, style, architecture, food and Italian culture.
By receiving awards from other bloggers, I have increased my readership and I am so very grateful for that. Through my blogs I was also able to get hired as a designer from distant clients in various parts of the world, such as France, Florida, England, Italy and even got a client locally at 20 minutes by car from my office.

I will tell you three things about me and what I am grateful for:
1. I am not a chef, I am Italian and because of that I wrote two Italian regional cuisine books based on simplicity, healthy and colorful food. “Eating in the rainbow” will keep us healthy, young and will give us a beautiful skin through older age. I like to cook every day, design my food, delight people with my food and talk about food as all the Italians do. I am very grateful I have learned to cook and to have a deep knowledge of food. This knowledge saves me money because I know what to cook that is good for my health and how to put a weekly menu together.

2. I am a trained designer and love my work. If we choose a “work we like, we will never work one day in our life!” Totally agree with this quote and I am very grateful I did find my passion work to carry me through life. I was a fashion designer for 15 years and I have been an interior designer for 22 years giving no signs of wanting to quit. I am grateful to have work and beautiful clients in this not so friendly economy and I am also grateful my new book on colors is just about ready to be published:
©RED – A Voyage Into Colors.

3. I am grateful for one new friend I met in person last summer and for so many virtual friends I met through various social sites and blogs. Actually, my virtual friends are also becoming a reality, as I try to meet them through Skype, Facebook video, or Google+ hangout. What fun time we live in! I am super grateful for the technology that can put my family closer, allows me to meet new friends and exposes me to new work. Please, let’s not forget the friends closer to us that we can reach easily and have fun together.

It is my pleasure this Sunday to nominate three bloggers of my liking for the Beautiful Blogger Award: – She is from Denver, Colorado and writes about beneficial and healthy food, gardening and more. – A British living in New York reporting on everything British. – Her nom de plume is TBM, her blog is about the challenge to herself to visit 192 countries, read 1001 books, and watch the top 100 movies before she dies. It has been fun following TBM.

Now, it would be nice if you visit each blog and get to know them. What are your gratitudes for this Sunday? Ciao,

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola, is the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interiors & Designs. She works on consultation and produces drawings for remodeling, upgrading, new home construction, décor restyling and home fashion.  “Vogue Italy” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Check out her books on



The Power Of An Idea | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


(Concept Spatiale 1959 – painting by Lucio Fontana)

Not too long ago, I was 14 years young, and I found myself with a bunch of middle school kids going to visit the Pinacoteca, a large museum of my hometown in Bari, Italy. We were somewhat well-mannered kids, but the yearly school trip in a bus, guided by a couple of teachers was more an excuse to be silly for one day and an escape from everyday routine sitting at a school desk than a time to learn something in the fields of life.

The Pinacoteca is a large neo-classical building with large open spaces and so much art on the walls we had never seen before, of course we were only thirteen and fourteen years of age. Each art piece amused us in some ways or another while teachers were making efforts in keeping us attentive to their explanations and comments on the beautiful art pieces. We arrived in front of Lucio Fontana’s paintings and we were abruptly silenced at the view of sliced up canvases, at least that’s what we thought they were.

Concetto_Spaziale-waterpaint_and_oil_on_canvas_by_Lucio_Fontana_1964-55x46cmThe Argentine-Italian artist was well-known in Europe for his series of slashed monochrome paintings. Sometimes he embellished the slashed canvases with costume jewelry and glitters. Lucio Fontana, lived between 1899–1968. His art was seen a mixture of avant-garde art under Italian fascism and kitsch painting of the postwar economic miracle. “Fontana attacked the idealism of twentieth-century art by marrying modernist aesthetics to industrialized mass culture” said art critic Anthony White. His art was a reflection of his time and it was perhaps the beginning of pop art.

Lucio Fontana started developing the idea of space-oriented art, renouncing the usage of traditional materials and painting objects with fluorescent colors in dark rooms illuminated by ultraviolet light.

The perforated canvasses marked the starting of a new “Concetto Spaziale” Spatial Concept and did not come until the beginning of 1950. It was this idea that really left a mark in the art world.
Today Fontana’s works can be found in the permanent collections of more than one hundred museums around the world.

(Right: photography of Lucio Fontana by Ugo Mulas).


Why did I tell this story? I recalled asking one of my teachers on that field trip to the Pinacoteca, if Fontana’s art was really to be considered art. With all my disbelief, I thought anybody could have taken the knife and slash the canvasses. I thought art was supposed to be an extension of what is in our mind, not just an act of a “crazy moment”.
I said to my teacher that I could have done just the same and make a ton of money like him. She responded by saying: “Yes, you could have done the same, but he had the idea first!”

My teacher’s answer was simple, but powerful and stayed with me my entire life. Never underestimate the power of your idea, regardless of how big or small it might be. Ciao,

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive art. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She is the forthcoming author of her book on colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors, which will be released very soon. Check out her books on


What’s Under Your Feet? | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


I have been incredibly busy creating and preparing new products for the Internet and the launch of my third book on the subject of colors. Yippee!
©RED-A Voyage Into Colors will be released in the next month. In 2009, when I said I will be writing 5 books in the next 5 years was absolutely true. This third book is on time with the realization of my goals. Goals without actions are just daydreams, as we all know. Aside from this I am designing and remodeling a home in France through Skype line without moving an inch from my desk in California. Technology is my second name.

This is in brief what I am doing, but behind the scene, there is a lot more going on, so much so that sometimes things go unobserved. Yesterday, I was exercising in the park and saw the kids’ playground flooring made with soft tiles (photo above). I have seen that area for ages, but I really never paid attention. Designers give it for granted that people know what we know and it is not true. It gave me the idea to write about it.

In Italy, some times ago, I designed a wine cellar in the Renaissance style. My Client went to the island of Murano, near Venice and had the glass master reproducing historic Renaissance wine glasses from a photograph.
I hate to tell you how much he paid for a set of 12 glasses, but that was exactly the reason I used soft tiles on the floor of his wine cellar to protect those absurdly expensive wine glasses from hitting the ground and breaking.

Play Area

Soft tiles are a good application for kids’ room and kids’ playground. They are perfect for study and library rooms, basements, or if you need to make an area in your home silent, even bedrooms. They are relaxing for the knees, inexpensive, come in many colors, even in wood texture and they are “green”.

What are they made of? They are made from a non-toxic EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam. There you have it. Soft tiles are wonderful.

Let me know if you have an interest in saving your glasses, you knees, or you kids’ face. I am here at your service and nothing is ever a difficult job for me, not even from here to across the pond.

As I mentioned above I offer design consultations on-line, as a new feature of my business since two years ago. Tell your customers, friends and people in your circle that now they can hire me, see me though a computer screen, they will still receive architectural drawings from me if they need to get the house designed and remodeled, without Valentina being there, resulting in a huge savings for them. The traditional face-to-face consultations are still available. Ciao,

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs. She is a designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian designer and true to her origins, she provides only the best workmanship and design solutions.
She is the author of three books available on



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