Friday, October 13, 2017

Yoga - Namastay In Shape.

I have started practicing Yoga recently and getting more into meditation and relaxation of the mind.  I just feel like this is what my body needs right now to get rid of pent up frustration and stress. I've always been fascinated by meditation and "mindfulness" but it's always been something that I have observed from afar. I guess I just never really knew where to start.  People would talk to me about meditating and I tried it but never really "got" it. 


I spoke briefly in another post about our issues with trying to conceive (TTC) which is cause for much grief and frustration for me. Mr. A and I have been actively TTC for years now and this journey has both brought us closer together as a couple but it has also put a lot of emotional strain on myself in particular. I'm not going to get into details about all the feels because if you've ever struggled with fertility you know exactly what I'm talking about and if you have not...well, you will most likely never understand. 

Until recently I was doing pretty well, or at least I thought, at hiding my frustration but lately things have changed and I find myself avoiding certain social situations which involve other pregnant couples or small children as I usually just break down and it's extremely hard for me to control those emotions so I would rather avoid them all together. 

I've talked to other women struggling and many have spoken very highly about meditation and yoga for relaxing the mind so I decided to try it out.  I don't have a lot of time on my hands with work and life in general and there aren't any good yoga studios near my house so I was considering buying dvds for beginners to start out with at home since I know practically nothing about yoga. I then happened to read an article by a woman that introduced me to YogaGlo. YogaGlo is an online yoga class membership site that offers unlimited access to classes of all styles from beginners to experts.  It costs $18 a month to join and you get a 15 day free trial. I'm still trying it out and not sure whether or not to invest in it yet (even though I already bought a yoga mat, two yoga blocks and a strap...LOL) but I do feel different since I started...."better different" that is. I've been doing a 5 minute session in the morning and a 30 minute one when I get home from work. I'm learning as I go but the instructors are great and talk you through it.  There are SO MANY classes to choose from so I know I won't get bored with it.  I've always been a cardio girl and have always gotten a rush from jogging and aerobics but right now I feel like I need something soothing and invigorating at the same time and I think this is it, at least for the time being. 


What I notice the most is that during the various yoga poses or "asanas" (that was the first time I used an actual yoga term y'all!), I acknowledge different areas of my body that I never really paid attention to before during my regular exercise routine. In the first class I followed for example, the instructor had us sitting in a normal lotus position (cross legged on the mat) and while bending the torso to the side, she had us run our thumbs along the side of the rib cage sort of massaging between the ribs on either side. That felt amazing! I would have never thought about that area of my body but I felt as though I could breathe deeper after that...it was a wonderful feeling. I'm happy because it's been a long time since I've felt passionate about starting something new. I laugh at myself because I REALLY set the mood when I start my class by turning the lights down and I even bought an essential oil diffuser that I absolutely LOVE and I create my own little yoga studio in my living room.  


I've been feeling less rushed during the day.  While driving to and from work I'm calmer for example. I just feel all around more serene in a sense. Again, I just started but I'm curious to see where this new journey takes me. 

Also, I think I need this t-shirt in my life. 

Via
I would love to hear your yoga stories. Have you tried it and what has it done for you? 
I'll update soon and see how things go. 
I hope you all have an amazing weekend! 

xoxo, 

Silvana





Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fall Decorations and Scented Candles

Hello friends! I hope everyone is well and that my American friends are safe and sound from the bad weather that has hit the South. I have been getting news from my father down in Florida and I know there was a lot of damage but thankfully everyone is OK now and the worst seems to be behind us.  

I have been fully back to the grind since I last posted. I am also trying to recover from a nasty flu bug that is still lingering unfortunately... I was on antibiotics and still have a bad cough that I'm trying to get over...it sucks. But I am getting better and for this I'm thankful. 

All the beautiful blogs I follow are filled with fall decorations, pumpkin spice and everything nice. So obviously I was itching for some fall decorations  in my own home.  In Italy unfortunately fall decorating isn't that popular so there aren't many decorations available in stores as much as there are in the States so I have to make the best of what I have. 


I love scented candles and when fall comes around, I go nuts over pumpkin spice scented candles.  I bought a little pumpkin spice scented candle when I was in Pennsylvania last year when I visited the Amish village. I would light that little candle every day when I got home from work and when the wick was completely consumed my heart wouldn't let me throw it away. I know...dumb right?


So I set it aside in a drawer and today I decided to remove the wax left in the candle and heat it in a ceramic incense burner. I just scooped it out with a fork and let it melt in an incense burner.  

The house smelled amazing! I love scented candles and now I know what to do with the wax that remains when the candle wick ends. 


 I also finally got around to finishing the slipcovers for my dining room chairs...it only took me about four months... but I think they look great and that's all that matters!  


I actually found a really pretty fabric on sale that had more of a fall/winter look.  The fabric I had before was too summery I thought so I decided to switch things up a bit. 
I also added this cute ceramic garden stool that I found online and I love it! 


A little update on my baby girl Gigia... I took her to a veterinary dermatology specialist this past week. She has been diagnosed with Eosinophilic granuloma complex and the only thing that has helped her thus far were cortisone shots.  Obviously she can't go on with cortisone shots for the rest of her life since she's only 4 years old so he has put her on Atopica (cyclosporine) which is an immunosuppresent but with fewer side effects than cortisone therapy. 


Her upper lip is still a bit swollen but she is doing much better.  He also prescribed a prescription anallergenic diet so we will see if she does better with the diet so that maybe we can ween her off the Atopica. 

She eats and plays normally thank goodness so I'm not that worried.


I don't know about you guys but I spoil my pets so much... I'm experimenting on a homemade healthy dog treat made with turmeric and carrots.  The recipe still isn't perfect yet but it's getting there and I'll hopefully be able to share the recipe with you soon. 

These two are my rescue babies and I'll do all that I can to make them feel better and live a better life. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and thanks for reading!

xoxo, 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Cottage in the Country

I've been having a great summer and am so sad to see it coming to an end. I am extremely grateful for the time my mother and I have been able to spend together. She will be leaving next week and I will miss her dearly but I am already looking forward to my next trip to the States this winter.


We spent the first half of august in southern Italy with family and friends and everyone was so happy to see her as it was over two years since she had been back in Italy. 


We had a big family dinner but unfortunately not everyone could be present.  We have a huge family in Brindisi.  It was nice to see everyone again.  Even though I live in Italy I don't get to see them all very often because I live further away so it was a treat for me as well to see everyone. 


The last week of vacation we did something different and rented a villa in Umbria close to Assisi through an agency called Emma Villas. They rent luxurious private villas all throughout Italy but are mainly based out of Tuscany and Umbria. 


There are hundreds of villas to choose from. All of the villas have private pools and offer all kinds of services and amenities that suit your needs. It was a dream come true for me as this cottage pretty much sums up my dream home... 


Some of the pictures here I took myself but others are from the website since they did such a wonderful job capturing the beauty of the property. 


Since there were originally 6 of us (we ended up being 4 since two of our guests couldn't make it) plus our pup, we decided on a 4 bed 4 bath 3 story villa. The property was entirely enclosed which was perfect for the the dog who could roam around freely and I wouldn't have to worry about him running onto busy streets.





I absolutely fell in love with the home and it was such a peaceful and relaxing week that I needed to take my mind off of things and just recharge my batteries. 


This was where we had dinner most nights and I loved waking up early and just taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery with my morning coffee.  It was so peaceful.


There were olive and fruit trees all throughout the property which were illuminated at night. 


Here are some more pictures of the cottage of my dreams... swoon...


The pool was located at a lower level with respect to the cottage and was surrounded by secular old olive groves. 




The villa had everything we needed including a barbecue which we used almost every night. Mom was the one who knew how to start the fire! Neither Mr. Amore or I had ever used one before (I know...) and she was seriously a pro! 


Everything was amazing! One night we made grilled fish, calamari and prawns on the grill and they were outstanding!


The house we stayed in was filled with beautiful artwork.  Each room had a special piece that you could tell was original and probably pretty expensive. 




One of the paintings really stood out to me for some reason and there is quite a story we found out about the woman in the painting below. 


I found out that the lady is mother to the owner of the cottage. Her name is Madame Suzanne and she was from Auvergne, France. I found out that she was a talented decorator and lover of antiques, gourmet food and an excellent swimmer. She was mother to three boys and unfortunately died in a tragic car accident in Italy, most likely in Umbria in 1964, 10 years after this painting was made and was probably in her early forties. Her three boys were all very young when they lost their mother. 


Here is a picture of her with one of her sons. I don't know why this particular painting stood out to me so much.  She seemed like a very sweet and loving lady as well as beautiful indeed. May she rest in peace. 

While we were in Umbria we visited Assisi which I've visited before but my mother was never there and really wanted to visit the Basilica of St. Francis. 


It is astoundingly beautiful inside and I'm not going to lie I got pretty emotional.  It touches me to see so many people praying together and when you're in a place like this you can't help but pray for more peace in our world. 

Assisi is a medieval town and it shows through its architecture. 


We stopped at a cute little restaurant before heading back home and had some great food. 


Umbria is famous for it's prosciutto and wild boar so many of the typical entrees include these ingredients.  


Above is a typical Umbrian first course dish of egg pasta or pappardelle with a ragu sauce made with sausage and wild boar meat. Below are two different types of flat bread pizza one with squash blossoms and one with prosciutto.  


I think I'm going to end this post here with my favorite things...you know, food :-) 

Now that august is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to all things fall and am glad to be getting back into the routine of things. 

Hope all is well with you dear friends. 

xoxo, 

Silvana


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Monday, July 31, 2017

Ikea Hemnes Buffet Makeover

Hello friends! Hope you all had a great weekend. I will be going on vacation in just one week and I am so ready! I did some major reorganizing and cleaning around the house getting things ready in the guest bedroom for my mom and some relatives that will be staying with us next week.  While I was at it, I decided to give my buffet a little lovin' because it was looking kind of sad...  
This bad boy was jam packed with crap that I absolutely did not need anymore and it was starting to overflow... So I said enough is enough you are getting a makeover! 


This was my inspiration photo and I fell in love with it! Marissa from Lilly and Cedar did such an amazing job transforming this piece. 
Via

I found these pulls from a local hardware store but wasn't really feeling the gold finish.


So I  gave them a coat of oil rubbed metallic spray paint and it was perfect. 



All I did was clean the buffet thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, sanded and directly applied the water based paint taping off the top. 


I initially wanted to spray paint it as I have seen many DIY bloggers use this approach but it just didn't turn out right. It started dripping and it looked uneven...I'm sure I wasn't applying it correctly but I just preferred switching to the good old fashioned paint and paintbrush technique ;-)


That TV is ridiculously heavy so I left it on there and when I went to stain the top I just moved it to the side and waited for it to dry and stained the other side.  It worked fine for me. I used a water based stain that dried very rapidly. 

Ready for the after pic??


I added those two baskets from Ikea in which I stored extra wires, chargers et cetera in the middle basket and magazines in the lower basket. I cleaned out all the drawers and cabinets organizing everything and throwing unnecessary things away. It feels sooo good to get rid of crap you don't need. 


Here is the view from the family room now. I think the space looks so much brighter now. I love it. 


I'll leave you with another before and after 'cause we all love those..I know I do!


I would love to do a post soon sharing a complete tour of the house. I'm doing some redecorating in the bathrooms and changing things up in the kitchen as well so when I get that done I'll share it here. I like to document the changes I make around the house.  It's funny how taste in home decor changes throughout the years don't you think? 

On Instragram I shared a peak at my upstairs gallery wall.  I have been adding beach themed wall art for a while now.  It's very different than my downstairs living/dining room area. This space is right above the stairs and it connects the three bedrooms and bathroom. I guess you could call it a little reading nook. I'm on the hunt for a cozy arm chair to put in that corner where the lamp is.  I still am quite unsure of what to do here. It's kind of a strange area and I feel like I never know what to do with that that little window for a window treatment.  Any suggestions are more than welcome! 


I know I haven't been sharing any good recipes lately and that's mostly because I haven't been cooking anything particularly share worthy. Hopefully I'll be more inspired soon... 

Until then, I wish you all a fantastic week ahead!

xoxo,