“ When did we become so small and so apologetic? Why do we apologize for our humanity? Love what you love, and make no apologies. This is your identity. The most horrendous suspensions of freedom are self-imposed. We imprison ourselves daily, hourly. We have one life, one shot at all the glorious things of life, and we walk about constricted, apologetic, afraid. We have so little time; we have so little space upon which to spread our love and our talents and our kindness. Run toward life fulsomely and freely. It runs from us so quickly, like a frightened dog or youth or daylight. Chase it and care for it. ”

— Tennessee Williams: We Have One Life

quotes, tennessee williams, love, gay love, romance, living life, make no appologies I’ve really nothing to add. My husband snapped this gorgeous picture, and I thought this quote rather lovely to go along with it.

 

xo

 

One the second anniversary of Bradbury’s passing, I thought this quite the perfect poem to share on this day.

 

This morning, Ray Bradbury is dead
and there is only soy milk at my coffee shop.
I do not know which to be more sad about,
that my body and I are suddenly uncomfortable
or that a man I have never met, far away,
has stopped breathing.

My heartbeat
will end one day.
It is a miracle it’s lasted this long,
not because I have wished it otherwise,
but because my car keeps overheating.

My car is huge
compared to my heart.

A writing prompt,
given to me on a bicycle ride last week:
“What is the most dangerous thing you’ve done lately,
and why?”

I climbed the Pillsbury building,
because I wanted to, because I could,
or because I was bored, or because I know how,
because I know that wearing dark blue at night
makes you look like a cloud.

Ray Bradbury’s heart is not beating anymore.

The Pillsbury building is so big
compared to his heart,

but this morning he is dead
and there is only soy milk at my coffee shop.

— Lewis Mundt, “Ray Bradbury is Dead”

About the Book:

Still at Your Door: A Fictional Memoir by Emma Eden Ramos
Genre: YA/Contemporary

Sabrina “Bri” Gibbons has only a few short minutes to pack her things and help her sisters pack theirs before running with their mother to the bus that will whisk them away from Butler, Pennsylvania, an abusive relationship, and a secret that none of them wish to acknowledge. She was not prepared, though, for her mother to drop them on the streets of New York with the promise that she would be right back. Haunted by the sight of her mother running back to the cab, Bri, with Missy and Grace in tow, settles in with their grandparents. Thoughts of her present and her future collide with memories of her past, her dead father, and her mother’s bizarre episodes. She watches her sisters struggle with school and acceptance, all the while knowing the lack of any sense of security will make it impossible for them to carry on as ‘normal’ children. She finally lets her guard down enough to allow someone else in and sees a faint glimmer that her dreams might be attainable. Disaster strikes again, this time targeting her sister. Is it possible for Bri to find that balance between her dreams and her family’s realities?

About the Author:
Emma Eden Ramos is a writer and student from New York City. Her middle grade novella, The Realm of the Lost, was recently published by MuseItUp Publishing. Her short stories have appeared in Stories for Children Magazine, The Storyteller Tymes, BlazeVOX Journal, and other journals. Ramos’ novelette, Where the Children Play, is included in Resilience: Stories, Poems, Essays, Words for LGBT Teens, edited by Eric Nguyen. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems (Heavy Hands Ink, 2011), Ramos’ first poetry chapbook, was shortlisted for the 2011 Independent Literary Award in Poetry. Emma studies psychology at Marymount Manhattan College. When she isn’t writing or studying, Emma can usually be found drinking green tea and reading on her kindle.

Excerpt:
I hold tight to my memories of the solid years. Each one is a crystal vase filled to the brim with brightly colored petals. Summer, ‘99: Missy is five, I’m six. We’re vacationing at Virginia Beach with Mom and Dad. Mom wears a black one-piece, a white sun hat and no sunscreen. Her lanky, bronzed legs shimmer under the fiery rays, but it’s all well and good. “Gypsy skin,” she explains, lathering up my little sister. “You and I have it.” She winks at me. “Missy here’s more like Daddy.” In front of us, Dad talks to a blonde boy with a surfboard. He turns to us and beckons. I jump to my feet, eager to hit the waves. “Sabrina.” Mom presses her leathery palms against my cheeks. “Bri-bear.” She kisses my nose. “Go on.” I grab Missy’s hand and we scamper toward the giant salt pond, ready for Dad to scoop us up and wade us through.
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Emma’s Top Ten Favorite Movies

1. My Life as a Dog
2. The Squid and the Whale
3. Walking and Talking
4. Being John Malkovich
5. Vertigo
6. The Science of Sleep
7. Pan’s Labyrinth
8. Frida
9. Bringing Up Baby
10. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since my family and I got off the plane that brought us to our new home. Living in Italy has been whirlwind of wonderful, crazy, confusing, frustrating, and at times very magical moments. It took us about six months to really feel settled and at home. Home…My home is in Italy... There are still moments when I pinch myself to make sure it’s not a dream.

There are many things I love about living here and a few I could do with out. So I of course, I made a list.

Why I love Italy

  1. It’s Italy. Need I say more? The blessing to have this experience is one I’m not taking for granted.
  2. I am surrounded by antiquity. When you stroll though towns on cobblestone roads you can’t help but think about all the people that have gone before you. In short, the history.
  3. I’ve had to put myself out there and it’s totally been worth it.
  4. The wine. Ohmygosh…the wine!
  5. “Domani”. Italians are very laid back. I love how they enjoy and appreciate living and aren’t afraid to put things off till “domani” (tomorrow). They don’t rush to drink that cup of coffee on the run. In fact I think they only time they do rush is when they’re on the road. It’s made me appreciate the simple things even more than I already did.
  6. Market day. Antique Market Day. Artisan market day. Festivals. etc. etc.
  7. They take serious steps to conserve and preserve. From the recycling to the infrequent use of paper cups and utensils (I’ve yet to see them in a cafe).
  8. Scarves. One of my favorite accessories is also considered one necessary piece of clothing for Italian women. Yay!
  9. Pizza with mushrooms from my favorite Pizza place = heaven.
  10. I’m actually getting to use the Italian I studied: four years in high school & 3 semesters in college. Over the last year it’s vastly improved.
  11. Gelato. Gelato. Gelato.

What I could live with out or miss the most about the States

  1. The toilets. I absolutely dislike the toilets here. They’re designed in such a way that one constantly has to take a toilet brush to them if you know what I mean. Oh and then there’s the squatty potty.
  2. Getting used to things closing in the middle of the day for “riposo” was really challenging at first and it still can be at times.
  3. The lack of big box stores like Target. Oh how I miss Target and their cute home decor items and way affordable t-shirts I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention the CLEARANCE items. The Italian sense of decorating style tends to either lean toward the ultra modern or somewhere in the 70′s or 80′s and there is no “clearance” section. There are two major times of year when the stores have major sales. January and July.
  4. I know I’m surrounded by cafes that serve excellent coffee and I am a bit of a coffee snob…Yet as much as I’m embarrassed to say it, I miss Starbucks. Sometimes you just want a cafe latte to go. NO such thing here. [Except for the coffee vending machines which, by the way, make excellent coffee. (See number 5 above).]
  5. Converting the Dollar to Euro. I hate that right now we get only about $.71 to every €1,00. Needless to say, I shop online a lot.
  6. Closets. I miss closets.
  7. Cellular telephone service. It’s “no buono”.

 

 

Last Fall I threw a baby shower for my friend Yana. I met her when we were newly arrived in Italy and living in temporary lodging. She was in her first few weeks of her pregnancy when she shared her good news with me and another new friend (Carmen and I coincidentally were on the same plane and were hotel rooms neighbors). I gave her a hug clapped my hands in joy and asked if she’d let me throw her a baby shower. I’m sure she must of thought me and my other friend completely batty but she obliged and to her good credit showed no signs of how crazy she must of thought us. Little did she know one of my favorite things to do is throw a baby shower. On an afternoon in the early autumn when she’d grown much rounder, and our friendship had lasted more than a few days a little mustache themed party happened in my home. Here are a few photos from that day…Mustache Baby Shower wordFood:

Carmen and I decided on a very simple, yet delectable menu.

Mustache Baby Shower 1Beautiful croissants were center stage ready to be filled with either a Waldorf chicken salad, Italian Salami, cheeses, or a simple seasoned butter.

For sides we offered: crackers, olives, cold cuts, fruit that could be dunked into a pumpkin pie dip, fresh made salsa and chips. Desert came in the form of mustache topped cupcakes, and carrot cake.

I made a little beverage bar (somehow I neglected to photograph) where guests could choose from my red sangria, natural and sparkling water as well as fruit infused water, and a white grape juice infused with mint.

Mustache Baby Shower 3Decor:

This was actually my second mustache themed baby shower I planned, so it was a snap to put together, as I’d already thought up most of the decor. I made a simple diaper cake using jute twine as ribbon and topped with a few of the cupcake toppers. I made a “Keep Calm” sign by printing it out and decoupaging it onto a canvas. [There's a link at the bottom of this post where you can download a free printable of it.]

Mustache Baby Shower 6To make the onesies I simply printed out the graphic on iron on transferable paper and followed the instructions the paper came with. The banner I cut the shape out by hand and used a mustache shaped hole punch and glued them on following the color pattern you see here, which was a mixture of neutral earth tones, grey, and yellow.

Mustache Baby Shower 9Games:

We played a few fun action games and other games guests could play as the wanted to. In a jar I placed a ton of those hole punched mustaches and asked guests to guess how many. On 4×6 cards I printed up a few different mustache types and asked guests to guess the name of the ‘stache. I also drew a tree on a canvas and had some yellow paint ready for guests to thumbprint in the leaves with yellow paint that would match the baby’s nursery.

Mustache Baby Shower 13A fun game was Pin The ‘Stache On The Baby. I drew the baby face based on an image I Googled and cut out these larger mustaches from a template I made.

As far as the invitations went, I put them together myself in Photoshop but, I’m really wishing I’d seen the ones on minted.com. They have some adorable baby shower and kid themed invitations that make me want to throw another baby shower.

As a little present to you, I’d like to give you a mustache theme game I used and the “Keep Calm And Grown On” sign I made as a free printable. They’re in PDF form.

Enjoy!

NameThatStacheGame    —   NameThatStacheGameANSWERKEY

KEEP CALM AND GROW ON MUSTACHE BABY DECOR

If you use these printables for your party please come back and share with me!

*This post contains sponsored links from minted.com

Last week I told you about buying some blood oranges from the market. They were amazing!  Over the the weekend I was slicing some up for my son when I got to thinking that a blood orange mimosa would be perfect for an Easter brunch or when ever really. So I made myself one…

But these oranges were so pretty, I couldn’t stop photographing the fruit. Gosh, I’m so weird.

Blood Orange 2

To prepare a blood orange mimosa you’ll need

Prosecco or other sparkling white wine (or champagne) well chilled.
Juice from fresh blood oranges. I like mine with the pulp but if you don’t then use a strainer.
Sugar. If your oranges are on the tart side mix in a bit of sugar to taste. (optional)
Orange liquer (optional)

Combine fresh blood orange juice with sugar and orange liqueur  if you’re using these ingredients. in a large measuring cup and stir to combine.  To serve, pour the blood orange juice into the bottom of Champagne glasses until about half full, top off with Prosecco.

Enjoy!

Blood Orange 2

It’s nearly been a year since I arrived in Italy and shopping at the open air markets has become one of my favorite things to do. Each town or “commune” has their own market and they’re usually held on a different day of a week. You can find everything from: fresh produce, cheese, fish, clothing, shoes, housewares, fabric, and flowers.

The Sacile market is one of the bigger markets held in the Aviano area and it takes place on Thursday mornings from about 8 a.m. – 12:30. It is held near the city center and winds around various streets and is very picturesque as parts of it is on the Livensa River.

The produce is all farm fresh and the fish, cheese and other food products generally come from the local region. The markets are also a great place to purchase Italian made products from handbags, shoes (leather), clothing (I love the scarves), and some of the household goods. You will find items made in other places like the PRC but you can generally tell the quality apart.

Today I purchased some delicious blood oranges and a few novelty “carnevale” toy items I’ll use as props for my son’s upcoming birthday party. I had to fight the urge to purchase yet another scarf (even though I really liked it.)

When you need a break from shopping I highly recommend stopping at one of the many local cafes and enjoying a latte or cappuccino or even a Spritz.

Things to remember when shopping at the markets:

  • Bring Euros (if possible in small denominations). Some vendors may accept credit cards, but I’ve never seen one.
  • When purchasing produce: It is considered uncouth to handle the fruits and vegetables. Don’t be surprised if you’re chastised by an old lady if you touch it with your bare hands.  Many of the vendors will offer samples of their products esp for in season fruit or cheese. If you’re unsure you’ll like an item, don’t be shy to ask for a small taste.
  • It generally is a good idea to ask for assistance when you wish to purchase an item.
  • The number one on hand written signs to an American will sort of resemble an upside down V. Decimal points are not used in it’s place you’ll find a comma.
  • ALWAYS get your receipt as you can be stopped by an Italian Guard of Finance and asked to furnish a receipt. I’ve never seen it happen at an open air market, but I’ve seen them at other commercial stores. So it’s better to be safe than sorry.

From Wikipedia:

Sacile is a town and comune in the province of Pordenone, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of north-east Italy. It is known as the “Garden of the Serenissima” after the many palaces that were constructed along the river Livenza for the nobility of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.


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