Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beauty. Show all posts

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





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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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hair Care Tips for Bayalage

I've always loved changing hair styles and color since I was in my teens. I am naturally a pretty dark brunette but with very fair skin. I never really liked my natural hair color on me because I always thought it washed me out...kind of like Morticia Addams...I don't know. I have always preferred going lighter...like a lot lighter... and anyone who knows a thing or two about color can tell you that the darker your hair is, the longer it takes to process and therefore the more damage it does during the bleaching process.




For many many years I highlighted my hair at professional salons using foils and I remember it taking four hours from the time they started to the time I was finally done. It took me half a day to do my hair simply because it took forever to process.

I would have to go about every three months because my roots would be so dark and the contrast with the blonde was super evident and I hated seeing those dark roots. Needless to say my hair never grew past my shoulders because the tips were so fried that they would break off and I would have to trim it.


This was the lightest I have ever been. 

I loved my blonde hair but it was just taking a toll on my ends and it was way too much maintenance. Since I work during the week the only time I could go get it done would be on Saturday mornings and my whole morning was shot because it took FOREVER. 

At one point I wanted to grow my hair out longer and my hairdresser told me that until I kept bleaching my hair, I woud not be able to keep it long.


This was at my brother's wedding. My ends were pretty bad at this point and you can see the strong contrast with my roots underneath. 

I decided I wanted healthier longer hair so I went dark. And it was... meh... but I wanted it to grow so I just dealt with it.

At a certain point the color started fading and my hair became a mousy ugly greenish color and I dyed it again...brown...and it was fine in the beginning because it was a change but as time went on I started to hate it.


I did this a few times.  I would alternate periods of brown and then go back slowly to blonde by highlighting often. One time I decided to go completely blonde from root to tip and my hair turned bright orange. Yeah... that was a disaster...


So last year I went dark again after a long period with highlights. I took care of it, trimmed it often, deep conditioned and my hair became healthy again.


And as always I liked it for a while but then wanted to go lighter and  at that point I decided to get on the Bayalage band wagon.  Bayalage is all the rage now and I think it is absolutely gorgeous. It's natural and at the same time lightens giving you this stunning sun-kissed look that many brunette celebs have opted for and I think it's fabulous.
Via
After watching 10,000 YouTube videos on the technique I found that many beauty gurus have been DIYing it and you can see for yourself that the method that they use is really pretty simple. So I decided to try it out for myself and I love how it turned out. I also saved a crap ton of money by doing it myself. I have been getting so many compliments so that's why I decided to write a post on it.  I'm not a beauty expert whatsoever so I'm not going to explain the process in detail.  Just look up "DIY bayalage" on YouTube and there are bunch of great tutorials available. There are a few tips to getting it right that I'll share here if you want to try this out.

Via
The photo above is not of me by the way but it shows the technique well I think.  Basically what I did was divide the hair in strands and saturate the ends well while "feathering" upwards either with a brush or your fingers and in this way you don't get a harsh line where the bleach ends but rather it's a gradient transition.  I did use foils to process better but you can opt not to.



This is my hair now. 

 There is an important step that I found out about later because it wasn't really stated in many of the videos and that's the toning process following the bleaching.

If your hair is very dark like mine is, you will most likely turn brassy the first time you do this.  This is not a great look (i.e. my orange hair pictured above).



You need a blue or purple color to tone the orange because the opposite of yellow on the color chart is purple and the opposite of orange is blue. 

Many people use a DIY toner that I tried and it worked pretty well and that's mixing a deep conditioner with a drop of semi-permanent purple or blue hair dye.  This will not turn your hair purple it will just tone it getting rid of the brassiness. It also conditions your hair so win-win. I left that on for an hour and then rinsed it out.

You should also use a purple shampoo and conditioner and this will help with the brassiness as well.

This is what I use. It's pretty inexpensive, it works well and smells like grapes. :-)

The bayalage technique lets me keep my roots dark while giving me a lighter more natural look.  Unfortunately I do have some grays so I just touch up the roots and keep the ends blonde. I don't have to redo the blonde as I did with the highlights every three months frying my hair so I can just keep deep condition and my hair grows longer and is healthier. 



In order to grow my hair longer I have been taking a Hair, Skin and Nails supplement and I really think it has been helping a lot. 
Found here
Once a week I'll use this coconut oil based nourishing hair mask and it leaves my hair feeling great. 
Found here

Another thing I have been careful about is protecting my ends when I go to the beach because salt water, chlorine  and the sun can also greatly damage your hair especially if it has already been bleached. 

This stuff is a little expensive but it's worth every penny in my opinion. I think Kerastase is an amazing brand for hair products. 

Found here

I hope I was able to share some helpful tips if you are thinking about doing this.  I have really found it beneficial for me and I feel like I can grow my hair longer while keeping a lighter color. 

I hope you are all having a great weekend and enjoying summer so far.  It has been super hot here lately! I will be on vacation in just a couple weeks and I am sooo looking forward to that!  God Bless <3

Annnd I think I'll end this with a selfie filter...cause why not?



xoxo,


Monday, April 10, 2017

Birthday Weekend Recap

Last week I turned 35... I was dreading this day because as of April 5th 2017 I am in an entirely new age range...Let me explain: I am a huge fan of Sex and the City and I own the entire dvd collection and never get sick of the show even after all these years.  I also know for a fact that Carrie's actual house is not really where they say it is and I know this because I dragged my mother and my boyfriend all over the Upper East Side looking for it last summer thus eventually finding out that the actual brownstone is located in Greenwich Village on the complete opposite side of the city...  Needless to say they were pretty mad at me by the end of the day and I had to listen to my mother say over and over again that I was trying to kill her by making her walk so much... ANYWAYS, I distinctly remember the episode (Season 4 - episode 1) in which Carrie turns 35 and she talks about checking the age box when filling out forms.... and that was all I could think about for the entire week... Yeah so, I switched boxes. Not cool. 

Anyways... aside from some temporary tears and depression... my sweetheart made a real effort in trying to lift my spirits and for this I will be forever grateful and he booked a one night stay in a Relais & Chateaux Luxury Hotel. :-)  It was truly magical! We had a spa session when we arrived and a three course candlelit dinner for two.  The Resort is located in the province of Perugia in the Umbria region.  Borgo dei Conti Resort is an estate that originated as a fortress in the twelfth century and was later inherited by Count Bernardino Rossi and his wife Countess Angelina Scotti of Perugia in the second half of the 19th century. It includes a 50 acre park with trails for hiking, a gourmet restaurant, outdoor and indoor pools and a wellness center. 

   This is the entrance to the hotel. 
Below is a picture of the entrance to the park/forest and some other pictures I took of the external grounds. 




This is the fitness area with huge windows overlooking the park. 

Inside it was a mix of modern and classic.  I personally thought that they should have stuck with the classic decor but that's my humble opinion.  I'm not too into mixing modern with baroque. However it was beautiful nonetheless. 


I absolutely fell in love with this mirror. There were so many beautiful antique mirrors. 


We stayed in the Countess suite.  At the time the Count and the Countess slept in separate rooms. The room had a gorgeous fireplace and original fresco's all around the room. 


There is also an adjoining library which was connected to the Countess and Count suites. The door pictured below is the entrance to the Counts orginal bedroom while ours was on the other side. 


The library had Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy transcribed on elephant folios which you can see pictured above. Each book contains one of the three canticas: The Inferno, The Paradiso and The Purgatory. 







This is the fireplace in the library...swoon!!

Pictured above is the restaurant which was originally the ballroom in the 800's. I had a squash risotto with truffle and pistachios. It was seriously exquisite...like I literally have no words to describe it other than amazing.


Then as a second course I got grilled lamb chops with an olive tapenade over sauteed zucchini...also amazing and cooked to perfection. 


I had a magical time and while I was there I forgot about all my problems and of becoming older and just enjoyed my time with my sweetheart.  We really needed a nice romantic getaway both as a couple and for each of us individually. A little TLC is necessary at times.

...And for one day I truly felt like a princess in an enchanted castle...
(no matter what age box I'm in)


Have a great week friends!

xoxo, 

Silvana