Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Prosciutto e Melone

Too hot to cook? It is here. This is one of my Italian summer favorites. Simple, refreshing, light and perfect with a glass of Prosecco. Simply slice a canteloupe and drape with paper thin slices of prosciutto crudo. Here prosciutto is sold everywhere (a prosciutto sandwich is common even at gas stations) but in the States, I'm guessing you would find it at a specialty grocery store like Whole Foods. Buon appetito!

(top image from wikipedia)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fiori di Austria

I saw this planter at a restaurant in Austria. Love this idea and plan to copy it someday. It is just three planters stacked on top of each other with petunias cascading out but it makes quite a statement. Thought you might like to steal the idea as well :-)

This is pretty too... if you happen to have boulders sitting around your yard. It was at the same restaurant.

A Fairy Tale

On our first day in Germany we visited the castle that Walt Disney used for the inspiration for the Disney castle. The weather was horrible-- cold and rainy but it made the castle quite breathtaking. Because of the fog and the clouds, it looked like it was floating on a cloud just like the end of the movie Snow White. Since I spent at most of my childhood wanting to grow up to be Cinderella I was impressed, but it might have been a bit more magical with girls instead of boys. My boys aren't terribly impressed with princesses (although they did keep asking when we would see Snow White). Oh well, the rest of the week was spent hiking the Alps and that was more their thing.


Here is the photo I promised of our antique chandelier. ("My Electrician has a Nicer Purse than Me" and "Ecco la Qua")

Friday, June 25, 2010

A domani

It was difficult to sign in to write this update. Instead of clicking "Entra" it said Anmdelen or something like that. Anyway, it looks like I guessed right.
As you may have guessed, I'm in Germany. Everything is so organized (even with nice pretty bathrooms!) but I am looking forward to returning to the complicated chaos of home... Italy.
More updates soon. In the meantime, have you heard of the Sartorialist? I love his blog. He simply travels the world and photographs interesting outfits. I so enjoy the blog because I see these types of people daily but he seems to pick the best of the best. My husband is always pointing out people saying "hey, that guy could be on that blog you read"
A domani (until tomorrow)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Le Cinq

We ended our Paris trip with a wonderful dinner at a beautiful restaurant. I can't do the story justice, so my husband is "guest-blogging". This is what happens when we try to be fabulous. . .

It was definitely the nicest restaurant I have ever eaten in, in a landslide. There we sat; enjoying the last few hours of our amazing Paris anniversary trip, in a gorgeous dining room between a table with two CNN reporters and a guy who looked like he could have been a Saudi Prince. We had already been greeted by our waiter, who was the Disney character Lumiere in the flesh, and served a starting glass of champagne and an amuse-bouche (I didn’t even know what that was prior to this experience), and it was looking like it was going to be the picture perfect, nay idyllic, finish to the trip. Then you could say it almost came unstrung.

As I gazed at my bride, looking oh so fetching in her very nice, hopefully she got it on sale because she said Madonna had it on in the latest issue of US, little black dress. Then something shot off of her and disappeared up and out of my field of view. My confusion was met with a stiff and panicked look on Lauren’s face, still trying to hold the elegance of our surroundings while she quietly said: “I just lost the strap off my dress!” Ah, that’s what just flew towards low earth orbit with a cartoon SPROOIOIOIOING sound. I started to say “No big deal…” Then it dawned on me, there is a better than average chance that the Saudi Prince is about to eat it with his rack of lamb. Now we both sat stiff and upright and grinning like we were in pain but acting like we weren’t while we investigated the surrounding area.

No shouts of terror or looks of disgust came from either of the adjacent tables, as I scanned the room “casually”, but also no signs of the recently departed garment. “Everything seems OK, can you just take of the other one?” I asked quietly.

Lauren discreetly removed her other strap, as we both still looked like we had steel poles strapped to our backs, but a new problem arose as we tried to relax back into the evening. Lauren’s dress was now headed south, and we soon ran the risk of not only flinging dress straps onto someone’s table but also giving them a burlesque show to boot.

Fortunately I was able to locate the missing strap next to our table by carefully moving the floor length tablecloth aside with my foot, to get a better view of the floor. The last obstacle was for Lauren, who had forgotten her evening bag, to first find the restroom, make it there without flashing everyone like it was Mardi Gras and then manage to get her dress back together so it would stay. Fortunately, everything was reassembled and no further incidents were had and the very attentive staff seemed to not even notice the problems, even while someone escorted right to the door of the ladies room.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener

I usually like to write about pretty things but I just want to share this experience I had in Paris. A good lesson for all of us...

As we were sitting at dinner one night in Paris we had an interesting experience that I think is such a great example of people always thinking others have it better than them.

We were having dinner at Chez Andre (totally recommend this restaurant). It is a casual, very tiny restaurant where in typical French style the tables are right next to each other. When I say right next to each other, I mean they had to pull the table out for me to sit down. There is not even room to scoot around it. This took a while to get used to and the first few nights, my husband and I spoke in Italian to maintain some sort of private conversation but by this night we were used to someone else sitting right at our elbow.

Anyway, this night we happened to sit next to another American couple about our age and we happened to be discussing our summer plans. Our conversation went like this:

Matt: So, do you want to go to the States in July after we get back from Germany?

Lauren: I guess, but then when do we do Normandy?

Matt: Let's move Normandy to November or so.

Lauren: Okay, then what are we going to do in August?

Matt: Let's spend August in Austria or we could do that lake near Slovenia

Lauren: Oh, I've heard the place in Slovenia is nice for kids

and so on and so on

So as we continued to talk we realized they were listening. They stopped their own conversation and their eyes got bigger andd bigger and we realized that to them we sounded like some independently wealthy Americans who just jet-set all year. We are soooo far from that. They just didn't have the full story and that is why the grass always seems greener.

The actual truth is that we live in Italy for work and these trips are easy. Like living in Dallas and spending the weekend in Austin. No big deal.

And get this... we HAVE to spend August away because we have no air conditioning and it is 90 degrees in our house. It is so hot that no one will even come visit us after June. How's that grass looking now?

Monday, June 14, 2010


I think I could write about our Paris trip every day, but I won't. I promise. It was a wonderful five days. Paris is a busy, bustling, fashionable city but at the same time it is beautiful and romantic. The perfect place to sit for hours in a sidewalk cafe, sip wine (senza bambini) and watch the world go by. We did a lot of sitting and sipping, and sitting and sipping and sitting and sipping. . .

Before my first trip to France, I knew I would enjoy it but I didn't think I would love it because I am so in love with Italy. Turns out I was wrong. I love France too. I love the culture, the language, and even the people with their snooty reputation have been nothing but gracious to me. On that note, here are my top things to do in Paris. . .

Walk next to the river from the Eiffel tower to the Museum D'Orsay. Everywhere you look there is something gorgeous. Possibly my favorite place in all of Europe.

Museum D'Orsay. Great museum with several rooms (yes ROOMS) filled with all the impressionists. It is amazing to go from a whole room filled with Monet to a whole room filled with Van Gough and on and on. Less crowded than the Louvre.

Appreciate the Louvre for the building itself. It is as great a work of art as the art inside it. Beautiful on the outside as well as inside.

Enjoy loooong French dinners. French food is divine.

Start each day with a cafe crème. Almost as good as an Italian cappuccino.

Go to the bar in George V. The overpriced drink is worth it for the gorgeous atmosphere in the historic hotel and fabulous people watching. Also gives you an excuse to see the famous flowers.

Sit under the Eiffel tower and share a bottle of wine. Be there when the lights come on at night. There is something about the Eiffel Tower that I just can't describe. It is so alluring... I don't know if it is the size or the style but it is so captivating.

Au revoir. . . I hope to go back soon

What They're Wearing. . .

I occasionally like to give an update on what the Italians are wearing. Usually, the styles hit here then make it to the States a few months later so here's your heads up to be ahead of the crowd.

The colors this season are white, khaki and olive. Wear them together-- the look is fresh and clean and summery. The new pant shape is loose and flowy-- almost like MC Hammer in the 80s. Italians don't wear a lot of shorts but the few shorts I've seen are loose with pleats. White jeans and white pants are everywhere.

Another big trend is sheer tops. The Italians wear them with just a bra. Not sure if that will ever make it to the States but summer is so hot here, I think I'll end up wearing it.

Despite the heat, I'm still seeing heavy jewelry. Chain necklaces, etc. are still big and pearls (lots and lots of pearls) are really hot this season.

Jeans are mostly still skinny or straight leg but I occasionally see bootcut.

I found this website when planning my trip to Paris last fall. It is a perfect insight into European style. It changes each season and both seasons I've read have been exactly what people are wearing here Check it out to see more pictures.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ecco la qua (It is here)!

Remember that post waaay back in early May about my new chandelier? (My Electrician has a Nicer Purse than Me)

Well, I am happy to announce that after several weeks, and the help of 2 Italians, 1 Serbian, 2 electricians, the Italian antique dealer, and my very patient husband who made many phone calls in Italian, the chandelier is now hanging in our living room.

It took over 12 hours of electrical work, 3 trips to the antique store and 2 hours of standing on a chair replacing crystals (done by my also very patient father in-law)

In Eeetaly, nothing is seeemple. Next time, I'm buying a side table.

I'll post a picture soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


We had an amazing, amazing trip to Paris to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Everything was perfect and I don't even know where to begin writing about it so I'm just going to start with the flowers in the hotel.

Flowers in the hotel... seems a bit boring I know, but not when the hotel spends over a million a year on flowers and employs Jeff Leatham, one of the top floral designers in the world. Take a look at the pictures... truly breathtaking. I'm totally copying this someday (on a much smaller scale of course).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Okay seriously, this city is amazing.

Siena Italy is famous for its Palio. The city is packed with tourists and hotels in overlooking the race have rates of $1,000 per night.

However, the oldest Palio in the world is here in Ferrara and is exactly the same as Siena, just not marketed as well (thank goodness). We arrived at the event about 15 minutes before it started, found FREE front row seats and had a fabulous time. The costumes were amazing in the parade and the actual events were quite entertaining.

Everything was done just as it has been for 800 years, the riders rode bareback and all participants were in medieval costumes. The donkey races were hilarious. Evidently you can't make a donkey go anywhere it does not want to go.
The horse races were breathtaking. Wish you could have been here!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Week Away

Just got back from a fabulous trip to Paris. I hope to write about it soon. In the meantime, check FB for pictures!