Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  John F. Kennedy

I'm very thankful for all of you and I'm thankful for being able to share a little bit of me through this blog.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends specially the ones who find themselves far  from home during the holidays.  "#Friendsgiving" is also great, that's what we are celebrating today as we are far away from our families.  I'm very thankful for the friends I've made along my travels, that have become part of my new holiday traditions


Friday, November 21, 2014

A Light One Before the Food Coma: Veggie Pancakes Recipe

"To lengthen your life, shorten your meals."  Proverb

The holiday season is coming and with it, all the overeating of the get togethers, cookie exchanges and holiday meals.  Yesterday I decided to make some veggie pancakes to lighten up a little before the food-coma of the holidays

This veggie pancake recipe is perfect for those days when you want to use up leftover veggies that have remained in your fridge at the end of the week.  An alternative to making soup with whatever you find in your fridge.  And a great vegetarian alternative to serve with a side of lentils.

Separate your egg whites and yolks,
 and beat the egg whites until they are fluffy and full of air.
  Add the yolks one by one and incorporate to the whites. 
 In a frying pan with a little bit of oil,
 sauté your onions and add your cooked veggies,
 season to taste.  
I used fresh zucchini, added a cup of frozen veggie mix and ended with swiss chard.
  All the veggies will get softer after 5 minutes and the greens (spinach or any fresh greens) will whittle. 

Sprinkle the flour and baking powder to your beaten eggs.
Add your cooked veggies to the mixture and incorporate them gently.
Cook on a griddle like if you were making pancakes,
 make small sizes for parties or regular sizes to eat with a meal.  

If you make them, let me know how they came out.  Do you have a good vegetarian recipe to share with me?


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Preparing for the Holidays: The Stains on my Tablecloths

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

Today I hosted a lunch at my house, one of those fun moments when we get to know our friends a little better, share a meal and learn from our different perspectives.  As I was preparing for this event I browsed through my tablecloths and in the pile I saw one that my mother had given me, a beautiful one, embroidered, delicate.  You could have guessed it was brand new if it wasn't for the yellowish tint it had gotten over the years.  As I decided on another tablecloth, a more simple and modern one, I recalled my mom's was probably used only a couple of times and had spent its life tucked away afraid of being stained.

At that moment, I decided not to worry about the stains on my tablecloths, all of them are completely worth it (ok, almost all of them).  Each little stain I cannot wash away will remind me of a loved one, who sat at my table and is no longer with us.  I'll be reminded of a friend who came with a wonderful exotic dish to share.  I will think of the family who came for a #Thanksgiving dinner on a short notice and made our day as it gave us the reason to cook a proper holiday meal.   I even have a tiny hole in one of my tablecloth from my boys trying to start a sparkle with my centerpiece candle, and every time I see it I remember their faces when they were little.  All those moments are what life is all about.  And the friends I've made along this #expat #life have my full permission to mess up any of my tablecloths.  I welcome all future stains that will remind me of my time in Italy.

I use my nice dishes for my family and all my guests, because there is no sense of waiting for special occasions.  Life is only lived once, and it is full of messy moments, the moments that make one's memories.

As the holiday season approaches I wish you many many stains on your tablecloths.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Rome on a Budget: Amazing Statues

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”  Emile Zola

People visit Rome for many, many reasons, the food, the architecture, the magic, and of course the art.  But what if you are a big art aficionado who wants to keep the traveling budget under control?  Well, there are several ways to enjoy art around Rome and most of them are free.

Art is everywhere in Rome, in its fountains, piazzas (city squares), religious statues; all you have to do is walk around and you'll bump into art; basically, you can't avoid it even if you tried.  Here are a few of the most notorious sculptures and some of my personal favorites:

#1 La Pietà by Michelangelo
Of course, coming at number one is Michelangelo's La Pietà.  This master piece is housed in St. Peter's Basilica, as soon as you come in it will be on your right hand side.  This statue of the Virgin Mary holding the body of Jesus after crucifixion is simply spectacular.  There is no entrance fee to St. Peters, but you do have to make long lines to enter St. Peter's square and the basilica, so plan to go there early, especially during the summer months.  

#2 Moses by Michelangelo
The statue of Moses is another master piece by Michelangelo Buonarroti.  It is housed in the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli), which is an easy walk from the Colosseum.  If you are planning a tour to the Colosseum, don't forget to detour a little bit to marvel at this amazing statue.  No entrance fee.  Closest metro stop: Cavour

#3 Triton's Fountain by Bernini

The "Fontana del Tritone" sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini is located in the middle of the Barberini square (and steps from the Barberini metro stop).  It is one of my personal favorites, especially during the Christmas season as the building behind it gets illuminated with Christmas lights, creating an amazing background for photographs.  Since you are already there, take a look at the Bee's fountain by the same sculptor, which sits right outside the metro exit.

#4 The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by Bernini
Art students and art lovers can't miss this Bernini's masterpiece.  The statue of the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa is located in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria (very close to Piazza della Repubblica).  This magnificent statue represents an episode described by the saint herself where an angel with a fire-tipped spear pierces her heart sparking a religious ecstasy.  A must see!  The church is closed during lunch hours (reopening at 3:3o pm) and if you go later in the day you have to make an offering for the statue to be illuminated.

#5 The Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini
This fountain is located in the middle of Piazza Navona and its vast size is enough to astonish you!  There are four marble giants, the River Gods, representing the four main rivers of the world: the Nile in Africa the Ganges in Asia, the Danube in Europe and the Rio de la Plata in America.

There are many sculptures by not so renown artists that are just as amazing.  Like the Fountain of the Turtles in the Jewish Ghetto; in reality this list could be never ending, but I will end it here.  Hope you get a chance to marvel at these amazing statues!

Arrivederci for now,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dressing Like an Italian: Fall Fashion

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” Coco Chanel

This week I was out and about with my camera at hand, marveling at Italian women's fashion sense.  Actually, I always marvel at their fashion sense but I'm not always equipped to capture it in a photograph.  I've chosen the pictures of some fashionistas out there to help me illustrate some rules of the well-dressed Roman ladies; I'm not talking about Gucci and Prada outfits, I'm talking about tips that you can follow on any budget so you too can dress like an Italian fashionista.  

Fashion Inspiration#1: The color splash
To recreate this outfit dress all in a neutral color and add a bold accessory.   In the photo below, this fabulous lady is wearing black and gray and carries a big red purse.  This color splash fashion style landed her in my #1 position.  Brava!

Fashion Inspiration#2: The military green jacket
Military green is big during the fall, if you pair it with chunky boots and a messenger bag, the outfit is casual, chic and fantastic.  These two ladies know what they're doing!

Fashion Inspiration #3: Color Coordinate, Always!
Roman ladies take fashion very seriously, they plan their outfits and know what goes with what.  They love color coordinating.  At least two of your pieces have to match, shoes and belt, pants and purse, scarf and shoes.  If you want to dress like an Italian you have to color coordinate!

Fashion Inspiration #4: The tailored Jacket

The tailored jacket is a must here in Rome.  Italians are known for their slim fitting outfits, so drop the baggy sweatshirt and replace it with a well-fitted jacket and you'll do wonders for your look. Even if you are wearing a t-shirt underneath.  

Men are as big fashionistas as the ladies here, just look at this gentleman rocking the color splash rule!!! Neon green sneakers to brighten up your look, why not!  You can now find the European cut on mens clothing in the U.S. too. 

Fashion Inspiration #5: Break All the Rules
We all have learned the fashion rules, well, look at the outfit this lady put together: faux leather leggings,  light-colored coat, animal print booties.  I'm not sure how, but she pulled it off, all these different trends in one outfit.  You rock lady #5!

Fashion Inspiration #6: Tourists can Be Fabulous Too
Just because you are traveling and don't have your entire closet with you it doesn't mean you can't look amazing.  Plan your outfits ahead of time and you'll be a fashionista like the well dressed tourist who became my fashion inspiration #6 and the last one of the day.  See how she's mixed several colors, is wearing comfy but cool shoes and is rocking an outfit that will look great on her pictures.  "Complimenti" (my compliments).  And if Italy is part of your  upcoming travel plans, please read "10 things you should know before traveling to Italy".

I hope you enjoyed my fashion tips and that they help you be fashionable like the Roman ladies out there.  Arrivederci for now,