January, 2008

Valentine’s Day Preparations

val_tree.jpgWhile I was home over Christmas, our one and only plant died. 

I know what you’re saying (“surprise, surprise…”), but when I discovered the crunchy leaves, I was shocked.  It seemed like such a hardy plant (afterall it lasted in the Crane/Badellino household for over a year).  Luca is always the first to remember that it’s time to water the plants.  Apparently he was so overwrought by my extended absence that he completely lost his mind.

Well, I planted a single giant zinnia today to try and make up for our loss (I’ve got garden fever this week).  Then I decided to turn our dead plant into a Valentine’s Day Party invites.jpgcenterpiece.  Ding!

 I must admit that I was a little worried at first because I only had watercolors on hand and I didn’t think they would cover the woody stem of my dead plant.  But they worked like a charm!  (And are way cheaper than those expensive acrylic paints out there).  As you can see, I painted it pink and then cut coordinatingly-colored hearts out of construction paper.  After poking the hearts with a needle and stringing them with red or pink thread, my dead tree is now a diva V-day tree!  (I got a little carried away with the watercolors and planted the plate as well…).

I plan on doing a sexy/erotic theme at the Valentine’s day party this year.  (Reminiscent of the Un-Valentine’s Day party of yester year).  While I was in my creative mode, I whipped out a few invitations as well (most people will receive a verbal invite).  I used Martha’s idea for folded heart-shaped Valentines and added my own little touch (pasted lips cut out of various magazines onto the outside of the envelopes instead of using expensive, hard-to-find double-sided paper).  Her “close the envelope with a heart sticker” idea seems clever, but the sticker totally did not hold the cards closed, so I wrapped them in festive ribbon instead.  The insides read something like, “You’re invited to the party of the year!  An erotic celebration in honor of Saint Valentine.  Dress sexy and prepare yourself for a night full of pleasure…”

Perfectly Pleasurable Products

I’m a bargain shopper, always have been.  That’s why I am so excited about a few products I recently discovered that are both cheap and fabulous:

Dove Pro Age Day Moisturizer (spf 15) –  My Mom introduced me to this find, $4.99 at Ollie’s.  It’s the best moisturizer I’ve used in years – light but intensive and a great bonus is that you can use it as sunscreen too!  It smells great–watermelony but not too strong and there’s a tiny tiny bit of neutral sparkle.

Oil of Olaz Skin Adapt Latte Detergente (Isn’t it interesting that Oil of Olay changed their name to Oil of Olaz for the Italian market?  There’s no “y” in the Italian alphabet…).  I think this might be a product made only for the European market, as I didn’t find it on the Olay site, but I’m not sure.  It’s a milky face wash that you can wipe off with a tissue or wash off with water.  It has a great fresh scent and makes your face feel totally clean and moisturized after use.  Score.  Cost circa €4,00.

My third favorite product is less bargain basement than the others, but seeing as how you only need to use a few drops (and therfor it lasts a really long time), it really doesn’t cost that much.  It’s Rusk’s Sheer Brilliance Polisher.  A four ounce bottle cost $11–but I use it on all special occasions (once a week) and have had it for three years!  (There’s still a quarter of a bottle left too).  This product is for hair–and if you have hair with the tendency to frizz, this product is for you.  My hair doesn’t even frizz that much, but when I use the two magical drops of this, it stays nice and shiny for days.  I can even get away with not washing my hair everyday when I use this polisher.

And finally, Burt’s Bees chapstick.  If you like tingly, minty lips–get it.



Thanksgiving 2007

turkey.jpgthanksgiving07.jpgHere are some snaps from Thanksgiving 2007.  I made stuffing (that was way too salty, but still scrumpscious with plenty of crumbled sausage in it), smashed potatoes, an untraditional turkey (just two gigantic pieces  of turkey bird) with bell peppers and olives, and apple crisp for dessert.

I attempted a festive harvest centerpiece with some mini pumpkins…okay so I put some mini pumpkins on the table and called it a harvest centerpiece.

Isn’t this tablecloth hot?  I love it.  It’s my favorite tablecloth at the moment.  I found it at the market–already made and the right size too–for only €7!  Score.

Skiing in the Alps

Here are the pictures from last weekend’s ski trip to Soux d’Oulx! My first time skiing in eight years, and of course it had to be on the biggest freaking mountain range in Europe too… Can we say “professional Olympic skiiers competed on these slopes last year”?!  The town was great–tons of pubs and stone houses–apparently there’s a big English population in this area.  Lucky for us, Claudia bought a condo right in the center of the town when she was in college–so that’s where we stayed.  An extremely fun time was had by all–as evidenced in the photos below:


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Claudia & Fabrizio browse some architecture journals before dinner.

 On our way to the cafe downstairs for the best doughnut I’ve had in three years!

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Getting dressed for skiing.

Claudia is big into fur–she has hats, scarves, coats, keychains you name it–all made out of fur! She calls them her ‘cats’. Here’s Luca with the white cat on his head.

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Because I was the one with the camera, this is the only picture I’m in. Lovely. And we’re off!

This picture pretty much sums up our ski lift experience. There was only one time when we all managed to get on the same seat together!

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The weather couldn’t have been nicer. Enjoying the day…

The Alps

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We stop to meet some friends for lunch at a little lodge on the slopes.

It’s nice to sit in the sun for a while.

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Bunny & Piero stayed at the lodge last night–it’s totally cute!

Bon Appetit!  Waiting for our polenta to arrive.

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“I hope I get tan today”

Heading down the mountain at the end of the day.


I love Luca’s ducky-yellow ski jacket. I can always find him!

Favorite CD of the Moment

t2_vivere_cover_.jpgFor Christmas, our old neighbors, The Bennetts, gave me Andrea Bocelli’s CD Vivere.  It’s fantastic.  My favorite CD of the moment.  My parents liked it so much that they burned a copy of it before I left.  There’s really something for everyone in this compilation of Bocelli’s best works–it’s opera-y but not too opera-ish, most of the songs are in Italian, but lots of them are duets with the woman singing in English (but these duets are well done.  Often times when artists start mixing languages, it’s a big mess, but this is not the case here).  Some of the songs are modern, some more romantic…if you like going to the theater, you’ll like this cd because it’s full of drama and passion: providing plenty of new material for your private operatic auditions.  Kenny G, Sarah Brightman and Celine Dion are a few of the artists that collaborate.  Listen to clips here

Pepedoro (The Golden Pepper)

disco.jpgI went out by myself on Tuesday night.  It was the first time in…2 1/2 years that I’ve gone to a discoteca without Luca!  And the second time that I’ve gone out by myself–hello, Shira, can we say “Need to get out more”.

I met a couple of colleagues at Pepedoro for a drink and an evening of 70’s & 80’s music.  It was pretty fun.  Though how the whole Italian club thing is still confusing for me.  In the states you pretty much always have to show your id at the door and pay.  There were a couple of security-guard looking types at the door, so I whipped out my ID and they were like, “uuhh…you don’t have to show that to me…”  Yeah, I guess they were just there for the music…

Then at the second door there were more security-guard looking types, but I decided to play it cool and not show them my id.  I knew that the entrance fee was €5 so I got my money out, but they guy just gave me a gold credit card type dealy and shoed me into the door.  I was like, “Sweet!,” I don’t even have to pay the entrance fee.  Then, you go in and there are like a maze of corridors (so, of course I had no idea which one to take).  Eventually I found the coat check, which was extremely complicated.   They give you a number, which you take to the bar and pay €1,50.  The bar gives you a bunch of receipts, one for a free drink (score!), one for coat check validation, and one to get out of the club with.  All I have to say is, it’s a good thing I didn’t start drinking before I went to the club, because I definitely would have had even more difficulty getting through the whole entrance process!

The music was okay, though there were a lot of songs that I think were big in Europe in the 70s-80s that never made it in the states.  I had a good mojito and danced to the songs I knew.  They just passed a new law in Italy that clubs have to stop serving liquor at 2am.  I think this is going to change Italian nightlife quite a bit.  Usually people go out at 11:30/midnight and stay out until 5 or 6 in the morning; then they go to a cafè for an espresso and a croissant.  But with no liquor after 2am, I imagine things will get started earlier and finish earlier.  Or else people will just bring booze from home and hide it in their purses…

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