Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season enjoying family and friends! I will be back in Florence next week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

La Dolce Vita - Michelangelo my Cat

Yes, that's right, my cat makes for one Dolce Vita.  Unless you own a cat, you may not understand why I would say that he enriches my life, but its so very true that he does. Now I know some of you are not 'cat people' (whatever that means) but there really is something to be said about having a pet. I love animals of all kinds, I don't really understand that whole debate over cats and dogs, personally I love them both and can't wait until I can have a dog too. The thing is, they are different animals and it seems like those that say they don't like cats expect them to be like dogs, but that's like saying you expect men to be like women. Two different species entirely. The Truth about Cats and Dogs anyone?

I grew up with dogs. My C.J and Bear were truly my two best friends, they made me happy when I was sad they were always ready to play and our golden retriever actually unlocked the back door to let me in once when my big brother tried to lock me out. True story, I'll never forget it, she jumped up and slide the latch down with her paw. Such a smart dog!

I have always had animals in my life and cannot imagine life without them. Michelangelo came along a little over 5 years ago (he was so tiny he could fit in the palm of my hand) and he has truly enriched our lives everyday since.  He too knows when I'm sad or sick and comes to comfort me, he cuddles up on the couch with me when its cold outside and keeps me warm, he faithfully sleeps at my feet every night and greets me with a meow and then throws himself on the floor with his belly in the air waiting for a tummy rub every time I come home.  I know he will always be there and he doesn't care if I didn't put make-up on or if I gained a little weight. I am not exaggerating when I say that everyone I know who has ever met my Michelangelo falls in love with him.  Even my father who was always an openly anti-cat person.  When I brought Michelangelo home to California for a visit a few years ago, by the end of the trip my Dad was actually trying to convince me to leave him there with him! No way! He loved his company so much that now, my dad has a cat of his own.  Michelangelo loves when people come over and will come and say hello and maybe even crawl into your lap for a little cuddle.

And aside from just being sweet and cuddly,  did you know that it is scientifically proven that cats improve our health?  They reduce stress and cholesterol as well as our risk of heart attack. Don't believe me?  I didn't make it up, check out this article that will give you all the details.  Need more convincing? Do a simple Google search on the health benefits of owning a cat.

So there it is, my Dolce Vita entry for this week. Michelangelo my cat truly enriches not just my life but Luigi's too. (Trust me he's just as smitten as I am, don't let the macho exterior fool you!)

For stories about La Dolce Vita click here. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

For One Day

Saturday 17  and Sunday  December 18 from 10:00-19:00 
Vecchio Conventino/ Spazio Sam, Via Giano della Bella 20/1
[a 50 mt da Piazza Tasso]

Head on over and check out the work of local artists in this great space dedicated to being creative! For this weekend only, the artists and artisans will have a show and market. I'll be heading over this afternoon. There is lots of great work to see so don't miss it! Here you can find some photos and a post about last years event.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Art & Clothes

A few days ago as I was walking home I came across a store window that caught my attention.  Anytime I see contemporary art or unusual clothes I am always intrigued.  But in this case I was even more interested by the idea of both in one space. Art and clothes are essentially my two favorite things in life, so what could be better than a boutique with an art studio or an art studio that also shows clothes? Not much for me.   So I went in and introduced myself to Sheila the owner who is from Denmark to find out a little more about her fantastic shop.  From the moment I met her the passion and professionalism for what she does was obvious. She was very welcoming and eager to share her concept with me and show me around the store.  She talked in great detail about each artist and designer and why she chose their work for the store.
Absolutely adore this look!

The name itself is very straightforward, Art & Clothes is exactly that, but it could easily be called Art Clothes as well. As soon as you walk through the door you can sense not only the quality of the work but also the creativity of the designs at the same time. These are not pieces that will be found on every corner and are for those that see fashion as a form of artistic expression not merely something to wear.  These are pieces that are made with a fashion forward confidant woman in mind who wants something unique and even custom made.

Everything is made by hand by local designers or designers who have once lived in Florence.  The space is both a showroom and a ready to wear boutique.  The work of both Anne-Mari Pahkala and Veronica Spadaro are on display to see and feel but can be made to order in as little as 3 fittings.  And what that means is not only the size can be changed but also the color, the length or possibly even a detail or two.

There is also a ready-to-wear line by Paola Pucci who specializes in recycled and re-used materials to create an incredibly sophisticated style which is casual yet glamorous at the same time. 
There is also a unique jewelry collection on display and again there is an obvious artistic flair to each piece.  Some which appear to be miniature sculptures only to find out that they are actually quite wearable and quite extraordinary, but again, always handmade. Local jewelry designer Sabrina Bovani As well as Indian sisters Preetika and Pika who have combined their formal jewelry design education with their Fashion design education to create this beautiful line of bone and marble jewelry called Pretty Stoned.

The work of a local artist Sabrina Bovani working in metal and found objects is also happy to make adjustments or moderations or even custom pieces made to order. The concept is that even though the artists are creating the designs; you as the wearer are able to make it your own unique, one-of-a-kind piece.

And then there is the other half of the store, which becomes a contemporary art gallery and studio. The paintings on the walls compliment the contemporary clothing on display and at the back of the shop there is a painters studio where you can find Raffaello Mastroberardino working on his own paintings or giving private art lessons to students from all over the world.

As Shelia knows there are not many outlets for contemporary artists in the midst of the Renaissance masters of Florence so her idea is to give them a space where they can show their work. She definitely has an eye for talent and quality, as well as a great sense of style. 
If you are in Florence it is definitely worth checking out. You can find the store on Via dell'Agnolo 50/r or head over to their fabebook page and follow the rabbit! 
The mannequin in the window is always wearing a rabbit head so it will be easy to spot!  As Shelia explained she has become quite obsessed with changing the Rabbits clothes, you can see all of her outfits by 'liking' her facebook page.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

La Dolce Vita - You've come a long way baby

Photo courtesy of Happy Deliveries
Yesterday I was feeling rather sorry for myself. For five years now I have been trying to make a living as a jewelry artist with nothing more than a few minimal sales here and there. Nothing that anyone could call a living. I have been hearing a lot of 'no thank you's' lately and sales seem to be at a stand still. So as you can imagine, it left me feeling a bit discouraged.  I wanted sympathy. So after unloading on my very patient husband, I went out with my two best girlfriends and told them all about it. But what I got wasn't sympathy at all but rather a little encouragement mixed with a big reminder of how lucky I am. Not only do I have amazing people in my life that help me put things in perspective but who also remind me of how fortunate I am to actually have the option to pursue my dreams and to have made the choice to leave a job that was making me less then happy. Not everyone gets to do that. I am not being forced to work just to maintain a certain lifestyle. We don't have much, but we have what we need.  So yes, Louie Viutton handbags are out of the question, hell, even H&M handbags are out of the question right now, I am doing something that I love to do every single day. I don't have to commute for 3 hours a day, I don't worry about keeping up with the Jones'.  I get to do what I love and give it all of my time and I am not living my life according to anyone else' standards or ideals. I'm sure there are some who may think this is absurd, but thankfully, I don't have to answer to them  I am happy and I am healthy and I live in a place that revers the arts and allows me to be myself.  And just in case that wasn't enough, I also read this article today posted by the same friend.

For more about La Dolce Vita, click here!

Friday, December 9, 2011

In Your Opinion

photo courtesy of Food Tours
Its almost Christmas and then it will be New Year's eve.  2012 is almost here. I know, hard to believe isn't it?  Especially since that means that the end of the world is coming.  Or is it the end of the world as we know it? Do you feel fine?

Things are definitely changing that's for sure.  While the last 10 years have absolutely changed how we communicate with each other, even more specifically the last 5 years have been incredible in terms of technology and social networking. Now we are dealing with an economy that is enough to scare even those of us who know nothing about the economy. Not to mention an increasing number of natural disasters and melting ice caps.  So I say hey, what's going on?

I really try hard not to be negative and always try to look at the bright side of things. I try to understand the lesson or the reason for everything that happens and to be grateful for that what I do have and not what I don't. But I want to know what others think of the current state of our world.  Why are we so scared? Have we come to expect too much and now we are faced with the possibility that we may longer be able to 'have' everything that we feel like we should?  Life has been moving incredibly fast in recent years, are we afraid it will suddenly slow down and we may have to reexamine how we live and what is really important.

Here in Italy, most people I know were not happy with the Berlusconi administration so there is now a  new leader in his place but from what I hear in giro, no one seems to be happy with his new ideas or policies for trying to fix the ever failing economy of the country. Of course we all have our ideas as to how things should be done, but are we considering all the factors? Do we really understand what it means to fix these difficult problems? Will we EVER be happy? Will it ever be enough?  What do we really want in the end of it all?

I will be the first to admit that I am ignorant when it comes to politics and economics and my reasons for it is simply because I don't understand how it all works and it bores me to death! And if this is all really so bad should we really be wasting our time worrying and complaining about it or try to focus on the things in life that actually bring us joy and happiness? When do we trust that it will all work out and focus on being happy and appreciating life for what it is? Is ignorance really bliss?

I want to know what you think?  How do you feel about it all?  How can we fix it? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Running Late, I'll be there in 15.....

....that's the story of my life. Although I do have half of an excuse. I'm half Italian.  Or maybe more like 75% by now right? (After all I've been living here for almost 11 years.)  The German side of me however, really doesn't agree with this running late business. But I can't help it. I don't know why.  I try and I try but for some reason it just doesn't work.  The Italians are notorious for being late in fact their idea of being on time is at least 15 minutes late. And that's just really how it goes. So don't expect that just because the store hours indicate that they will be there at 15:30 that they actually will be, it's more like 15:30ish.  But that's beside the point. This past weekend, the internet was out in the house and not only is it  amazing how much we depend on it, but how much not having it has put me behind. I was already running about 10 days behind 'schedule' and the to do list keeps getting longer and longer, but then without connection for 5 days, (even though they told me it would only be a few hours) I am now about 15 days behind, but, I suppose in Italian time, I'm right on schedule.  So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I'm sorry to be boring but I will have something more exciting to tell you soon. Promise.  A presto!

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