Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Make it a December to Remember

I cannot believe that December is already here! Time seems to have flown by these past few months.  The weather is also just getting colder in these parts so maybe that's why it seems like we jumped directly from summer to winter.  I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed because I'm leaving for the States in a couple of weeks (ahhh!!) and I have SO MUCH STUFF TO DO before I leave!! 

Via
Since we'll be away for the holidays, I didn't go all out with the Christmas decorations this year. I did of course put up my tree in mid-November because I had guests over for Thanksgiving and I just really wanted the tree up. 


We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at our house and I had some family from Brindisi stay over that weekend.  It was really nice and I'm so grateful for them.  They know I get homesick especially during American holidays and such so it meant a lot that they made the trip up to see me. I guess it was more of a Christmas tablescape  rather than a Thanksgiving table setting but I had already put the tree up so it would have been hard for it not to be "Christmassy" I guess.


I'm so excited about spending the Holidays in the States this year. It's been a while since I've celebrated Christmas in the US.  This year I'll be spending Christmas with my mother and sister in Pennsylvania and New Years in Florida with my father.  I am also SUPER excited about seeing my beautiful niece Lydia who has grown so much since the last time I saw her. She probably won't recognize me when I see her but we do Face Time every so often so I'm hoping she remembers me <3.  

I'm going to miss my little fur babies while I'm gone but I know they'll be in good hands. Billy will be staying with my Aunt in Brindisi and I've decided to leave Gigia at home and have my next door neighbor check up on her everyday that way she doesn't get stressed out about changing houses. 

I am also SO ready to see some snow this year!! It's been way to long. It doesn't snow where I live in Italy and that is one thing that I miss so much come winter. It just doesn't seem like Christmas without a little snow, right?

I've still been practicing yoga regularly in the evenings after work and have really been finding it very therapeutic.  I did end up subscribing to YogaGlo and am happy that I can access it wherever I go so I know I'll be practicing in the States as well. It really helps with my anxiety and I've also found that I have become more flexible and have been in a better mood since doing it. Whenever I skip a few days I find that I'm more tense and irritable. So I have to say that I am very pleased with the App and for me it's money well spent.  I actually cancelled my subscription after the free 15 day trial and decided that maybe I could just use videos on YouTube for free but I found that they were night and day compared to the videos available on YogaGlo so I ended up renewing my subscription and am so happy I did. 

In other news... I changed my hair color...again. I don't know how long this color will last but I have to say I do like it so far! I feel very festive  LOL. I've been getting lots of compliments so I'll keep it like this for now. 


Hope all is well with you my friends and that your December is fabulous!!! 

xoxo, 

Silvana




 

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, July 2, 2017

Life Lately with a Side of Italian Roasted Peppers

I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog of mine and it seems like I have so much to say I don't know where to start. Things have been hectic around these parts and my anxiety level is slowly creeping back up. I had a terrible day this past Friday and needed to blow off some steam. The day just started out bad from the moment I woke up until I left work because it seemed that everything I did was wrong, there was way too much to do and I just couldn't take the pressure anymore. I haven't been sleeping well at night as the dog wakes up at all hours of the morning barking up a storm because it's too damn hot here and so I have to leave the window open.  He hears cats outside rummaging through the trash and goes bonkers... When I wake up in the middle of the night I start thinking about a million things...my mind starts racing and I can't go back to sleep.  The anxiety has gotten to me.. 

There are few things that calm my anxiety and one of them is shopping... The only shopping that relaxes me is home furnishing and decor stores...so that is where I went. I found this pillow that lightened my mood and took it home with me. I think it looks good and it makes me smile so it's staying on my couch for the time being.


Another thing that calms my anxiety is painting...anything... Just put a paint brush in my hand and I'm good. So my balcony needed painting as it was pretty chippy (not good chippy either). 


So I also picked up some paint and went to town. It looks so much better now and I'm glad I took care of that cause it was bugging me for some time now. 


I don't think I showed you my front door that I painted a couple weeks ago. I know I posted it on Instagram.  My dog scratched the crap out of that door and it too needed some lovin'. It looks so much better now and I am no longer embarrassed when people come over! 


I added some new accessories to my kitchen  and organized some spices and things in cute little glass jars. I just think they look more organized now as I had most in their original store bought baggies. 


Gigia has had this rodent ulcer thing on her lip for almost a year now. Her lip swells up and nothing seems to help her expect for a cortisone injection (depomedrol). It apparently is an allergic reaction but I have absolutely no idea to what...The shot lasts for about 20 days...the swelling goes down but now her lip has swollen back up and I'm nervous about giving her another shot because of the side effects.  I've changed her to a hypoallergenic diet, tried a bunch of things but nothing seems to work. She's not in pain or anything and she's acting normally but I just hate seeing her like this. She also got diarrhea after the depomedrol shot and that was great... I had to switch up the diet again...anyways...it was a mess.  Now that the diarrhea is gone the lip swells back up...my poor baby.


On a more positive note we went to my cousins First Holy Communion in Rome last week and that was fun. It reminded me of my Holy Communion and got me thinking about how my faith stayed with me and has gotten stronger over the years. I pray that these children don't take for granted this blessed Sacrament and that their faith accompanies them throughout their lives. My faith has gotten me through many hardships and I wouldn't be anything if it wasn't for God's strength in me. 


He's our little guy Antonio :-) He's a cutie.


This is part of the family at the restaurant and a picture of the beautiful cake. 


It was SUPER hot that day so little guy had to go and change because he was itching to go play outside with his buddies. 


That's pretty much what's been going down lately in these parts. 

Oh yes! I almost forgot about the roasted peppers! This is another typical Italian dish that is very healthy and is served as a side dish or antipasto.  It goes super well on top of bruschettas or crostini and is so easy to make. Let me guide you through the process.

Wash your bell peppers and place on a baking sheet.  Preheat the oven to 180° C (350°F).  


Roast for about 35 minutes turning the peppers over after 15 minutes. 


Place the peppers as they are in a plastic container covering them and leaving them to cool for no less than one hour. 


The steam from the peppers will facilitate the removal the skin later on. 


Once the time is up remove the stem.  You should find that seeds are mostly attached to the stem. 


The skin comes off super easy.  The peppers will release a good amount of juice.  Make sure to keep that and set aside. Place the peppers in a dish and just peel off the skin as shown below. The secret here is the time left in the container.  The longer you leave them sitting the easier it is to remove the skin. 


In a small dish combine a couple garlic cloves, a small jalapeno pepper, the juice that you set aside from the peppers and a tablespoon or so of olive oil, some salt to taste and chopped parsley. 


Mix well and add to the peppers. 


That's all there is to it.  I love this antipasto.  It's easy enough to make at home and it's healthy!

I hope you all are doing well.  Now I'm going to get back to my day finish my coffee and get ready for church. 

Counting down the days 'til my mamma gets here!  We're going to have a blast.  I know Cathy is going to miss her but she has some wonderful ladies that take excellent care of her while Mom's away so I know she's in good hands. 

I don't know about you guys but I am slightly obsessed with selfie filters and so is my mother apparently ! Cathy doesn't seem very amused though LOL! 


Have a wonderful week ahead! 

xoxo, 

Silvana



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Traditional Sicilian Easter Cookies - Cuddura

Happy Easter!!! I would like to wish you and all your loved ones a Blessed and Peaceful Easter. Yesterday we made these Sicilian Easter Cookies which originated in Sicily but are made all throughout the south of Italy and are called Cuddura even though the name changes slightly with the different dialects of the southern regions.  

In the olden days, no meat, eggs or dairy were consumed during lent therefore when Easter came around all of the traditional desserts and dishes were very rich.  These cookies were made on the Saturday before Easter and brought to church to be blessed before giving them away to loved ones as an Easter offering.  Young ladies typically gifted their sweetheart with a cuddura in the shape of a heart as a sign of affection. How cute is that? I feel like everything is so different now a days and so much more complicated.  I guess I'm just too old fashioned... Now it's like you never know what to buy someone because everything is so accessible through online shopping and malls etc. Back in the day all it took was a cookie made with love to  let your sweetheart know that you were interested in him or her. 



Ingredients for the dough:

 - 600 grams of all purpose flour
 - 200 grams of butter
 - zest from one fresh lemon
 - 4 large eggs
 - 200 grams of sugar
 - 1 teaspoon of baking powder
 - pinch of vanilla extract

Mix all of the ingredients,  cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prepare your hard boiled eggs ahead of time and let them cool. You can color them if you want or leave them as they are. I colored mine but since they were brown eggs the colors weren't as bright as I wanted them but they turned out fine all the same. 

The technique is pretty self explanatory so I'll leave you with the pictures so you can see what I did. 




After you roll your braid in a circle to place the egg on, you proceed to make a cross on top of the egg to hold it in place. 


Now brush a little egg white on top and add your favorite topping, sprinkles, chocolate chips, confetti, whatever you like. 




Now you're ready to bake in a preheated oven at 200°c for 35 - 40 minutes. 

This is my Easter offering to You :-)

Happy Easter my friends!



When our faith 

stands at the grave,
grieving
for a stone that's rolled away,
forgive us.

When our faith
is short of
understanding
though the truth is there to see,
forgive us.

When our faith,
beset by doubt, sees
no further
than an empty tomb today,
forgive us.

Bring to mind 
the cry of Mary,
‘I have seen the Lord!'
and grant us faith to believe!


God Bless, 

Silvana


Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Year of Hope.

Hello my friends and Happy New Year!  I hope you are well and that you had a pleasant holiday. The holidays are way past us now and in the beginning of every new year, as most of us do, I find myself thinking about the future...thinking about what's going to happen this year. For starters I will be turning 35.... ugh. 

When I was younger, I imagined I would be a mother to three beautiful children by now (my perfect number...3).  That's all I ever wanted. I'm not career savvy, I'm not one of those women who do all that they can to climb the ladder and have a wildly successful career...that's just not who I am. Things don't always go as planned so instead of my three children I have a job that I enjoy and am thankful for and two fur babies that mean everything to me. I have a man by my side that loves me like no other man has ever loved me and I have a house that embraces me with a feeling of warmth and comfort every night when I come home from work. I have friends and relatives that I laugh with until my belly hurts...but I am missing something important. 

I know there are many options out there for couples like us but my faith comes from God and only Him. "Unexplained infertility" is what we were told...which is worse in some ways because if we knew what was wrong we might actually be able to fix it but there IS nothing wrong....

Sometimes I get very frustrated and upset because I feel like my prayers are ignored but I continue praying and that small light of hope dims somewhat as time goes by but never burns out. Right before New Years, I was in my car stuck in traffic and the radio station I was listening to aired the final General Audience speech that Pope Francis gave of 2016. 

The Pope focused on the story of Abraham from the Book of Genesis.  Here's a summary:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.”  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
This is a translation of the Pope's speech in regards to this passage: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises.  Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land.  Although the fulfillment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope.  Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God.  Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment.  It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants.  Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.

These words touched my heart and were the words that I NEEDED to hear in that exact moment to nourish that dimming light inside me. 

I wanted to share this with you just because I know how it feels to be frustrated and discouraged. I want this year to be my year of hope. As Pope Francis said...if all we have left is to look up at the stars, it's time to put your trust in God. There is nothing better than gathering up all your worries and putting them in God's arms. Hope never disappoints. 



Speaking of bringing hope to others... did you hear about what Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay (band that I absolutely adore) did on Christmas Eve? He showed up at a crisis center in West London on the night of Christmas Eve and surprised a huge crowd of homeless, volunteers and staff by playing all his songs and rocking out with everyone there without any publicity at all.  Someone that worked at the crisis center posted a picture with Chris Martin on Instagram writing "That moment when Coldplay's Chris Martin drops into the Crisis at Christmas shelter, with no fuss, no fanfare and no press, to help make tea and coffee and also play guitar so the guests can have a sing song. Thank you for coming down and getting stuck in."

via 


I loved this story.... This is what we need more of in this world. These are the things that give people Hope. 


Thanks for reading and God Bless. 

xoxo,

Silvana

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quick Malm Dresser Makeover & Sunday Thoughts

Hello dear ones, it's been a while since I've written because until recently I haven't had much inspiration honestly.  I've been keeping myself busy with work and have had lots on my mind.  The Holidays are VERY QUICKLY (like wayyyy too quickly) approaching and it's a stressful time of year for me as I'm sure it is for many. Christmas is my favorite Holiday by far but unfortunately it's been a while since I had a pleasant Christmas holiday. Sure, there's Christmas cheer everywhere and I'm never not in the mood to decorate even before Thanksgiving comes around (I know...) but there is always some sadness in the background that lingers. I pray that this year will be different than the past and that the good Lord will bless all those in need of Him and answer the prayers of  those that are in need of His Grace. I went to Mass this morning and today's Gospel was very deep:

Luke 21:5-19
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be powerful 
earthquakes,famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty 
signs will come from the sky. Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led 
before kings and governors because of my name.  It will lead to your giving testimony.  
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a 
wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.  You will 
even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,they will put some of you to death.You will be hated by all because of my name,but not a hair on your head will be 
destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

So since there were many children attending the mass, it was a hard Gospel to explain but I think the priest did an excellent job. During the homily he asked the children, where were you before you were born? And the children shouted "In mommy's belly!" and the priest explained that mommy's belly was a comfortable place and that you didn't have to brush your teeth, or get dressed for school, you could just sleep all the time and be safe because mother did everything for you. But then there came the day where you had to leave mommy's belly and now that you are on earth, you feel safe and secure here because you have your routine, your friends, etc. and you know that Mother Earth will protect you, therefore you shouldn't be afraid of what the Gospel said today because when you're in Heaven you will be protected there as well by God and His Mother. It was such a simple explanation for a difficult topic that is life and death.  A lot is going on in the world right now and as scary as it all is, I think that with Faith in our hearts we can overcome even the biggest obstacles if only we could learn to treat others with respect and help those that are in need even with the smallest of gestures.  I think you can never love too much and you can never give too much.  



Ok, ok I'm done...Moving on!

I've been on the hunt for a new dresser for a while now but I haven't found anything that I really liked. The dresser I currently have in the Master Bedroom was in bad condition...I mean BAD people! It's a malm dresser that we've had for 5 years now and although it's very spacious it's not of the best quality as we all know and also.....saggy drawers.....

So the drawers were really bad...like I couldn't get them open anymore because they kept getting stuck. I really just wanted to throw the piece of S&%$£ out the window and never see it again... 


But I couldn't find what I was looking for.  All the dressers I found that I kind of liked were smaller, fewer drawers , etc so I just didn't want to compromise. I also didn't want to buy something just because...I want to be sure I love it. 

Come in DIY...

The first thing to fix was the saggy drawer situation... Bad, huh? I know..


I went to the hardware store and found these little guys. Do not ask me what they're called, I have no idea...


Screwed them in and voila! Saggy drawers no more!



I added these to all six drawers and it really didn't take long at all. Next I got rid of the ugly hardware and decided to spruce up the front of the drawers a bit.  I had some textured wallpaper that I had bought a while ago but never used so I watched some tutorials and decided to give it a try.  It was so easy!

I bought some permanent adhesive spray. This stuff....make sure it's the permanent kind. 


I laid the drawers on the paper and cut around leaving some space along the sides. 


Now take that sucker outside and spray the top of the drawer making sure to get the sides and cover the whole area with adhesive. Next place the wallpaper on top.  You really don't have time to move the paper  around once its on there because the stuff dries like super quick. 


Now flip the drawer over and cut the extra paper off with a paper cutter. 


Next you want to take a nail or something similar to poke through the back of the drawer where your hardware is going to go. Obviously drill the holes before putting the wallpaper on. 


It was such an easy project and it took me seriously half a day to do between fixing the saggy drawers and adding the wallpaper. It was one of those "why didn't I think of this sooner" moments lol. 

Here's how it turned out.


I ordered the hardware online and I love them. I think they go well with the wallpaper. 



It has sort of a shimmer to it which I really like.  

I did the bedside tables while I was at it as well....I wanted to wallpaper ALL THE THINGS... hahaha


And then OF COURSE I had to change bedding, curtains, wall art, throw pillows etc.....  so since I was at it I figured I would go with the blue and white theme because I love it so much 

I found this beautiful bedding set with matching curtains here. 








Isn't this little turquoise tray cute? I thought it would be a nice place to put my perfumes. 

I'm very happy with the end result and this will last at least until I find the dresser of my dreams. The thing I'm happiest about is that I don' have saggy drawers any more!!




Have a wonderful week ahead everyone and God Bless. 

xoxo