Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inspiration. 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




 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Healthy Homemade Dog Treats with Carrots and Turmeric

This little guy has my heart.  He's been with me for 6 years now and ever since I've had him, my life has never been the same. He's been with me through ups and downs and to me he is literally my baby.  Obviously I want the best for him and I know how important nutrition is for these little fur babies, even though sometimes I must confess that I give in to those sweet eyes and table feed him every once in a while (I know, I know..), I just can't help it.


When I got him he was a small puppy and was sick with distemper, a terrible even fatal viral disease with no known cure. My little guy got better thank God with the help of a great veterinarian in Naples.  


Because he was a puppy when he had this disease, I wasn't able to train him as puppies should be trained because I was afraid he would get sick again, so I kept him indoors most of the time and I never let him socialize with other dogs because distemper is a very contagious disease and even a recovered dog can shed the virus for up to 2 to 3 months in the environment. 


He also didn't eat much so I gave him all the things that he liked the most just so he would eat and get better so I pretty much spoiled him rotten.  As I said, he eventually got better and today, 6 years later, he's become a very picky eater, he'll bite if he's on my lap and someone gets too close and he's a barker... I had him neutered when he was 2 and he's calmed down a bit since then but not completely. Nevertheless, in my eyes he's perfect as he is and I wouldn't want him any other way :-) He gets along great with our cat, Gigia and I'm glad they have each other when they are left home during the day since they keep each other company. Gigia absolutely adores Billy and follows him wherever he goes.


So now you can better understand why I want to give my little guy the best nutrition possible and some of the store bought treats aren't the best health wise. Billy's vet told me to try to incorporate some turmeric in his diet and by giving him one of these dog biscuits a day, I am able to do that. 

Turmeric is great for dogs and helps by boosting the immune system, it promotes heart, liver and digestive health as well as help with allergies, epilepsy and liver disease.  

I had to test the recipe out a couple times to get it right so I'm happy to share it with you today and hope that your dog can enjoy it as a treat as much as mine does. 

Ingredients: 
 - 300 grams rice flour
 - 3 grated medium sized carrots
 - 2 tablespoons of turmeric
 - 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
 - 1 egg
 - approximately 1 cup of water 
 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil



It's really quite simple. Incorporate all of the ingredients mixing well the dry ingredients first and then add the water, egg and oil until you reach the right dough consistency. Add more water if you find the dough to be too dry.



Bake for about 25 minutes in a  200° preheated oven until dried. 


The treats will keep for about 3 weeks stored in a closed container. 


When he really likes something, whether it's a toy or a treat (or something bad that he steals...) he'll take it under the dining room table LOL. I don't know why he does this. So when I gave him the treat and he took it under the dining room table I knew it was a winner! 

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!

xoxo, 

Silvana


Shared on: 
Foodie Friday & Everything Else

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, September 24, 2017

Fall Decorations and Scented Candles

Hello friends! I hope everyone is well and that my American friends are safe and sound from the bad weather that has hit the South. I have been getting news from my father down in Florida and I know there was a lot of damage but thankfully everyone is OK now and the worst seems to be behind us.  

I have been fully back to the grind since I last posted. I am also trying to recover from a nasty flu bug that is still lingering unfortunately... I was on antibiotics and still have a bad cough that I'm trying to get over...it sucks. But I am getting better and for this I'm thankful. 

All the beautiful blogs I follow are filled with fall decorations, pumpkin spice and everything nice. So obviously I was itching for some fall decorations  in my own home.  In Italy unfortunately fall decorating isn't that popular so there aren't many decorations available in stores as much as there are in the States so I have to make the best of what I have. 


I love scented candles and when fall comes around, I go nuts over pumpkin spice scented candles.  I bought a little pumpkin spice scented candle when I was in Pennsylvania last year when I visited the Amish village. I would light that little candle every day when I got home from work and when the wick was completely consumed my heart wouldn't let me throw it away. I know...dumb right?


So I set it aside in a drawer and today I decided to remove the wax left in the candle and heat it in a ceramic incense burner. I just scooped it out with a fork and let it melt in an incense burner.  

The house smelled amazing! I love scented candles and now I know what to do with the wax that remains when the candle wick ends. 


 I also finally got around to finishing the slipcovers for my dining room chairs...it only took me about four months... but I think they look great and that's all that matters!  


I actually found a really pretty fabric on sale that had more of a fall/winter look.  The fabric I had before was too summery I thought so I decided to switch things up a bit. 
I also added this cute ceramic garden stool that I found online and I love it! 


A little update on my baby girl Gigia... I took her to a veterinary dermatology specialist this past week. She has been diagnosed with Eosinophilic granuloma complex and the only thing that has helped her thus far were cortisone shots.  Obviously she can't go on with cortisone shots for the rest of her life since she's only 4 years old so he has put her on Atopica (cyclosporine) which is an immunosuppresent but with fewer side effects than cortisone therapy. 


Her upper lip is still a bit swollen but she is doing much better.  He also prescribed a prescription anallergenic diet so we will see if she does better with the diet so that maybe we can ween her off the Atopica. 

She eats and plays normally thank goodness so I'm not that worried.


I don't know about you guys but I spoil my pets so much... I'm experimenting on a homemade healthy dog treat made with turmeric and carrots.  The recipe still isn't perfect yet but it's getting there and I'll hopefully be able to share the recipe with you soon. 

These two are my rescue babies and I'll do all that I can to make them feel better and live a better life. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and thanks for reading!

xoxo, 


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


Shared on: