Well, Hello There.

August 31, 2010

OK, so it's a bit overwhelming trying to figure out where to start and how to catch up on everything and all that. Let me just say it was a wonderful trip, it was A LOT of work with three youngsters, still totally worth it, and we are already planning our trip back next summer. (Who else is in??)

When I told B I didn't know what I should blog about, he (in total B fashion) made an outline of topics and stories. With references to photos. Uh, yeah, I don't work like that when it comes to this blog. Sorry.

Maybe I will just start with a spontaneous list of highlights from the trip.

sitting quietly in the Piazza San Franceso with the family on a warm afternoon early in the trip devouring what would be the first of many, many watermelons

stumbling upon (OK, crashing) a party at a sweet little wine bar one evening...beautiful guitar music as well

sharing a four hour lunch prepared by our new friend Aurora at her parents' home in the hills of Northern Tuscany

eating risotto ai gamberi and drinking crisp local white wine with B in the Cinque Terre

showing up in Siena on the eve of Il Palio....everyone was out for the festivities

looking for, almost giving up, and then finding the home of a friend in Florence

watching the baby take her first licks of gelato

taking the kids to old, favorite places in Florence

due cappucini, every. single. morning.

starting to feel, just little, like a local in Lucca

cocktails at Pult with the husband

sitting on our terrace listening to a concert of Ennio Morricone's music (conducted by him!)

sharing bisteca fiorentina with B for dinner

meandering through the wine shop in Lucca

picking C-Man and JuJu up from their Italian lessons (and eavesdropping just a little)

watching C-Man get a haircut at a real Italian barber shop

being treated like regulars at a new favorite restaurant

waking up the first morning to an old man playing the accordion on the street below (and hearing C-Man in the next room say "huh??")

fragolini di bosco gelato (made from the tiny, wild strawberries)

watching all three babes swim in the Mediterranean

little e reaching out for the barrista at "our bar" to hold her each morning

There is much, much more, but this will have to do for now. :-) It is so good to be back.

I'm Back and Whip 'Em Out!

August 27, 2010

I'm beginning to come up for air and promise an update sometime in the (hopefully) near future. In the meantime, a cute video about breastfeeding from Ann!

home goodies

August 23, 2010

Hi my name is Kayce and I am so excited that Jora has asked me to guest post on her blog. I thought that I would pick a few of my favorite things from a new catalogue viva terra. They are all things that I thought Jora would like.

What do you think?
Are you loving this furniture as much as I am?
I really want a pair of these tall book cases.
I would love to have you come say hi to me on my blog or visit my web site www.kaycehughes.com.

Autumn Beckons

August 18, 2010

Hello, this is Leigh from Marvelous Kiddo, and I'm so honored to be here!

When I got to thinking about a theme for this post, I couldn't get my mind off the winding-down of Summer. I love this bridge season we're in here in the North East United States, when I'm trying my best to relish the muggy, numbered days of August, yet I just can't help getting a little excited about the crisper time that will soon arrive.

With this in mind, I've assembled a series of images and things that inspire and excite me by evoking a sense of the delicious last days of Summer and the beckoning of Autumn.

I want to buy them, make them, be there right now.

This gorgeous line of sustainably-made children's clothing

This deliciously cluttered loft

This versatile, reversible ring sling

This breathtaking setting for a meal

These perfect little Minnetonkas

These magical votive lanterns made of orange peels

This adorable handmade costume

This vision of a fun weekend retreat

What are you feeling these days?

A click away

August 17, 2010

Buon giorno! I am 180|360 and I blog here.

One of my very favorite things about blogging is that chance connection you might make with someone.

I "met" Jora in a comment section over 3 years ago. (Doesn't that sound funny?) And through this lovely blog, I've been introduced to so many wonderful and inspiring people!

There is no lack of amazing food to eat or places to go. Daily, I force myself to not buy each beautiful, new discovery or completely redecorate my house! Some amaze me with their incredible creativity. Others motivate me to be a better gardener or they graciously share their homeschooling knowledge with me.

But in true full circle fashion, I believe it was Alice that first wrote about the delectable Pizzeria Mozza, which I promptly placed on my mental list of "Things to do in Los Angeles." By March, we were finally able to go, and there I had one of the best pizzas (outside of Italy) that I'd ever tasted. Just after we returned from LA, I discovered Blake (here) and her pizza dough recipe! In no time, I was back to making homemade pizza -- something I had done with much passion a few years ago but had sadly abandoned.

In honor of these lovely ladies and everyone that inspires me, I would like to share with you my version of the pizza I ate at Mozza.

Fennel and Sausage Pizza

1 pizza dough
1/2 lb of Italian sausage (casings removed)
1 bulb of chopped fennel (reserving some of the fronds)
4 oz. of creme fraiche
1/2 - 2/3 cup of grated mozzarella
3 TBL of thinly sliced red onion
2 scallion greens, thinly sliced
Curry powder
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven (and baking stone, if using) as high as it will go (mine is 550º F).
In a medium pan, sautée the chopped fennel in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the sausage, season with salt and plenty of pepper, then cook until sausage is lightly browned, about 4-5 mins. Roll out pizza dough (as thin as possible) on a lightly floured surface. Place onto hot pizza stone or other pan. Cover the dough with a layer of crème frâiche. Using a slotted spoon, try to remove as much oil from the sausage and fennel mixture as possible, then place on top of the creme fraiche. Top with mozzarella, 1/2 the red onion and 1/2 the scallions. Bake on lowest rack in oven until crust is golden brown. Timing will vary depending upon how big or thick the pizza is, as well as what temperature you are using. Before serving, top with remaining onions, a few fennel fronds and sprinkle curry powder lightly over the entire pizza.

Buon Appetito!

Five Years!

August 16, 2010

{five years and feeling it}

Ciao tutti!  Just checking in to share the fact that five years ago this moment I was in labor for the first time and beginning one of the longest (and best) days of my life.  Can you believe my sweet, funny, smart, charming little boy is five years old?!

Some Serious Baggage.

August 14, 2010

Hello - Alice here again! Filling in for Jora while shes' on her Italian adventure.

Speaking of traveling, I'm hoping to do some myself soon, and I sure would love to have one of these suitcases to take along. I'm one of those people who travels with the non-descript black bag - so much like everyone else's that I had to tie a string on it to tell it's mine at the baggage claim.

That's not going to happen with one of these, but I'm venturing to guess you probably won't be checking one anyway - especially the J. Crew bags, pictured above. These require a bit of a shall we say... investment? When I saw the prices, that song from Fiddler on the Roof literally started going through my head... you know the one - "If I were a rich man... dee da dee da dee da doo da de da deedadeeda dooooo..."

Still, they are lovely, and (with the possible exception of the snow white one) relatively practical. I've also had that black bag for what, twelve years now? If I were to amortize the cost over the life of the bag (assuming no one runs off with it) I'd probably get my money's worth, am I right? I'll have to try that argument out on my husband. In the meantime, you can find the yellow bag, orange bag and my personal favorite, the white one on J. Crew's website, in that In Good Company section I like so much.
steamline 2
These Steamline Luggage cases are a bit more practical. Still expensive, but they won't break the bank. These pink and yellow trimmed beauties are from the Editor's Series - which is sold out online, but it looks like they're about to come out with their new looks for the season, so head on over to their site and sign up to be notified if you're interested. These are covered with linen but they have some lovely leather options as well:
SteamLine Luggage  Designer luggage - inspired by travel & exploration  Tel. +353-1-4295 - Windows Internet Explorer 8132010 90047 AM.bmp
Here are a couple more gratuitous shots of the Editor's Series...
SteamLine Luggage  Designer luggage - inspired by travel & exploration  Tel. +353-1-4295 - Windows Internet Explorer 8132010 85843 AM.bmp
SteamLine Luggage  Designer luggage - inspired by travel & exploration  Tel. +353-1-4295 - Windows Internet Explorer 8132010 85925 AM.bmp

Ahh.... If only I were a rich (wo)man...

I'd get some good use out of these babies, let me tell you!

Poolside Fantasy.

August 13, 2010

poolside 1
Hello! This is Alice from Alice Q. Foodie again, filling in for Jora while she and the family are traveling in Italy. Isn't that a beautiful pool up there? Yes, it's Jora's.

Lately I've been fantasizing about hanging out by that pool in some lounge wear from Lemlem. Have you heard about this company? It was started by supermodel Liya Kebede, who wanted to preserve the artisan weaving of her native culture in Ethiopia. She discovered that traditional weavers in her native country were losing their jobs due to a decline in local demand for their goods and decided to start the company in an effort to create a demand.

It seems to have worked. Today, Lemlem, which means to flourish or bloom in Amharic, is thriving. The goods are sold both on the company's own website, and here on J. Crew's In Good Company section, (which is awesome, by the way - if you have not checked it out!)
lemlem dress
Not only is the story behind them incredible, but the goods are absolutely beautiful. They sell out quickly too, so don't hesitate if you see something you like.
lemlem dress 3
This dress and the top below are available from J. Crew.
lemlem tunic
The dress up top and this tunic for a little one are available on the Lemlem website. This top just slays me. I can imagine how soft that fabric must feel.
lemlem kids hoodie
In a perfect world, on a hot day - after a dip in the pool, I'd slip one of the dresses pictured above - and sip a watermelon agua fresca!
watermelon agua fresca
Watermelon Agua Fresca

flesh of 1/2 large (or whole small) chilled watermelon, cubed
1/4 -1/2 cup water (just enough to get it to blend)
2 Tablespoons light agave nectar
2 Tablespoons superfine sugar
juice of one lemon or two limes
fresh mint leaves

Puree the watermelon and water in a blender until smooth (I use a handblender in a pitcher.) Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Add agave nectar, sugar and lemon juice to taste.

Serve over ice, garnished with fresh mint leaves.

Ahhh... doesn't that sound good?

photos from J Crew, Lemlem and Eating Out Loud

Some lovelies for the kiddos.

August 10, 2010

Hello, hello... It's Bridget again.

Jora has such great taste and such cute kids. If you've been here before, you know this. So why not a post on some things that I think are lovely and that I think Jora would approve of. Kid related too.

This mobile. It is a DIY and requires sewing (which always scares me a bit) but for this beauty, I might break out the Bernina.

Wouldn't your child just be the envy of his or her craft hour with this adorable bunting crayon roll? Me thinks so.

This has seriously made the rounds in the blogosphere so chances are you've seen it. Either way, it deserves a 100th shout-out because it's so darn cute. I want a gigantic one in a nursery some day. I am talking fill-the-wall-humongous.

This indoor fort for kids has modern and simple design written all over it. I'd like one too.

That's all for now. What fabulous kid things do you have to share?

You don't have to go to Italy for an Italian experience.

August 9, 2010

I'm Bridget from Tales of Me and the Husband. Upon rereading my blog post title, I chuckle a bit as, for a totally legit Italian experience, naturally Italy is where it's at. However, just 30 quick minutes from my front door, the North End of Boston has some delicious Italian fare: limoncello, antipasta, pastries, and pizza. I'm not making any guarantees here, but if a $1000+ plane ticket is not delighting your pocketbook at the moment (but why wouldn't it really? Money does grow on trees! Especially in this economy!) than perhaps Boston's North End will be your little Italy. And while we don't have the Medicis and the Michelangelos (who needs them, anyway!?), we do have Paul Revere and his midnight ride... oh my!

(But really, North End doesn't stack up to Italy if Italy is what you're really hoping for... so disregard everything I said and go join Jora on her holiday in heaven.)

Crazy fact having nothing to do with Italy and everything to do with the North End: Some North Enders claim that on a very hot day they can smell molasses because in January 1919 a molasses tank burst containing nearly 2,300,000 gallons of molasses. Waves of molasses, between 8 and 15 feet tall, went spilling through the streets, cracks, and crevices of the North End.

Now has THAT happened in Italy?

Alice Waters Loves Jora Too.

August 7, 2010

Alice Waters.

Hello! This is Alice, over at Alice Q. Foodie, doing a little guest post for Jora while she and the rest of the family are on their big adventure in Italy. Her sister tells me their flight went off without a hitch and they're having a great time, which is of course terrific news.

When Jora asked me to do a guest post for her, I just knew I had to take the opportunity to share the picture above. That's me on the left, Jora is in the middle, and on the right is Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame - the mother of California Cuisine and creator of the Food Revolution. We met her a couple of years ago at a book signing or the Art of Simple Food at the Pannikin Bookworks in Del Mar. Alice was of course gracious and charming to all, but she was absolutely besotted with Jora - who was 8 months pregnant with Juju at the time. She gazed at her beatifically, not even able (or willing) to tear her eyes away long enough to look at the camera.

Usually it's the other way around, right?   The fans gaze adoringly at the celebrity?

Not this time.

I thought it was quite remarkable, and I thought you all would like to know you're in good company as fans of our friend Jora!

Go on, make believe

August 5, 2010

Hi, it's Khali from little. lovely. dropping in to say hello again before my weekend begins.

One of my favourite parts of parenthood is playing make believe with my children. Today, we built a house in the woods together.

To the untrained eye, it may have simply looked like blankets, sheets and quilts piled over our dining table and chairs but I'm sure you'll agree it was something far more special.

We're planning a weekend getaway here eating nothing but pancakes, icecream and cake covered in frosting.

We also built guest accommodation nearby for some of our favourite friends including a knitted monkey, doll and little animals who looked a lot like my children.

You're all welcome to come stay with us, although I'm pretty sure the knitted monkey called dibs on the bed in the tree.

I hope you have a lovely weekend full of make believe.

[Image credits: 1-3, 4-5]

A serious case of wanderlust.

August 4, 2010

Photos: Top Row, from left to right: 1. 2. 3. Bottom Row: 4. 5. 6.

Hey everyone, it's Casey from K.I.D Collective again. All this travel talk has me wanting to jump on the next plane to Italy and crash Jora and fam's vacation. Jora, you wouldn't mind, would you? Since an Italian getaway isn't in the cards for me at the moment, I really should be packing boxes, I put together a visual journey through Italy to satisfy my wanderlust. The only problem? I think I made my need to travel that much stronger.

Photos: Top Row, left to right: 1. 2. 3. Bottom Row: 4. 5. 6.

Photos, from left to right: Top Row: 1. 2. 3. Bottom Row: 4. 5. 6.

My imaginary party

I'm Khali from little. lovely. and am so thrilled to be guest posting on Domestic Reflections.

As I started thinking about the topic of my post for Jora, I couldn't help but wish we were all meeting in person. (Any friend of Jora's would surely be a friend of mine.) So humour me for a moment while I imagine we are.

Instead of holidaying in Italy, Jora invites you all to visit with me in Australia. You graciously accept and I throw a huge party to celebrate.

I hire this house so you can enjoy your stay overlooking the ocean.

We spend our days at the beach.

Our children enjoy the sand and surf dressed in adorable outfits from Flora & Henri.

Cockatoos and kookaburras occasionally drop in to say hello.

I invite the incredibly talented Katie Quinn Davies and she graciously cooks wonderful feasts for us all to share.

We stay up talking late into the night (while our children sleep soundly) and when you leave to return home, agree to stay friends despite the distance between us.

And we do.

[Image credits: 1, 2, 3-4, 5, 6-9, 10]

scouting : italian getaway

August 2, 2010

Photos: Vespa: a 49cc model to get you anywhere around the city. Helmet: not required in Colorado but a necessity in most states. Couple on Scooter: a romantic way to travel together. Italian Men: Life Magazine Archives. Tote Bag: Scooters don't offer much storage so it's a must to have a bag big enough for all your stuff and one that you can wear across your body is also key.

Good morning. I'm Casey over at K.I.D Collective. Jora asked me to put together a couple of posts this week while she's off enjoying some quality time with her family in Italy. I won't lie, I am a wee bit jealous she's traipsing around the country eating gelato and drinking wine for almost a month but that gives me a chance to get to know some of you and I'm excited for that.

Photos: Vespa Girl - source unknown. Sunglasses. Bustier. Shorts. Sandals. Vintage Vespa Ad.

In the spirit of living vicariously through Jora and her Italian getaway, I thought, what's more quintessential Italian than cruising through the city or countryside on a Vespa? Three summers ago, I took the plunge and bought my own scooter, a red Vespa ET2. It's probably my most favorite purchase and definitely my best Craigslist find. Not only is it fun to drive, I get great gas mileage and spend a little more time outside.

Photos: Vintage Vespa Ad. Dress. Messenger Bag. Belt. Wedges. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday.

I love that women wearing skirts ride side saddle. Something I have yet to attempt myself. But I will say, I have worn tons of skirts, dresses and inappropriate footwear and loved every second of the ride. It wouldn't feel right any other way. Thanks for stopping by and Jora, thanks for having me.
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