Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fairytale Fashion

Did you really think I wasn’t going to write about it? A fairytale wedding with real royalty and a real-life Cinderella story? All the hats and the fashion? Come on, you have to know me a little better than that.

As you all know, yesterday was the Royal Wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine “Kate” Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. The women in my family all got together for a viewing party at 1 am. We sipped on tea and ate scones and crumpets while we waited for the moment at 3 am when THE DRESS would be revealed. I was definitely not disappointed. Kate looked breathtaking. Absolutely exquisite. Her dress was of-the-moment, yet extremely classy and beautiful. I loved that Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen was the designer—a perfect choice. Kate looked simply stunning. She definitely inspired my current obsession with lace sleeves.

There were many others who walked into Westminster Abbey yesterday who I think need to be mentioned for their choice of attire. Some because they looked incredible and others because they looked disgraceful. I know it’s not exactly the red carpet, but technically there was a red carpet, so here are my picks for best and worst dressed:

The entire Middleton family looked magnificent! I think they out-dressed the royal family by a long shot. Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, wore a powder blue design by Catherine Walker. I think it’s safe to say she was the most gorgeous mother of the bride I have ever seen! The same praise goes to Pippa Middleton, Kate’s sister and maid of honor, who also wore a dress by Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton. Kate’s second dress of the day was another creation done by Sarah Burton and Pippa’s was a dress by Alice Temperley. Again, both of them were looking unbelievable. Simply all-around excellent taste.

There were a few other guests who also caught my eye. The first were the Beckhams. David just looks yummy. I mean, honestly, the man is just too beautiful. Then there was Victoria, who normally I’m not a fan of, but I thought she looked extremely elegant and her hat was so fun! The dress was her own design and the pillbox titfer was by Philip Treacy. Her sky-high heels, that I was drooling over, were custom-made by Christian Louboutin. Another beauty to mention was Princess Letizia of Asturias. I thought her look was just so feminine and pretty. Love it!



As far as worst dressed goes, I’m going to have to call a tie between Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. Beatrice was in a blue Vivienne Westwood dress and Eugenie was in Valentino. Both wore Philip Treacy fascinators. I’ll cut Eugenie a little slack because I do like her coat, but for the most part, as I watched the two sisters arrive, I was thinking WTF?! They look like the stepsisters from Cinderella!

Last, but not least, dishonorable mention goes to Camilla Parker Bowles in Anna Valentine and Chelsy Davy in Alberta Ferretti. Camilla just looked frumpy, as usual, and Chelsy looked matronly. I felt like no special effort was put in on either of their parts. I assume as much from Camilla, but I was really expecting more from Chelsy.Very disappointed by her choice for the occasion.

Well, there you have it. I’m done with my critiquing that I enjoy oh, so much. The wedding was incredible to watch and totally worth staying up for.

Oh! By the way, Prince Harry was looking pretty fantastic himself. Definitely better looking than William nowadays. I’m pretty sure he and Chelsy Davy are “off” at the moment…Hmm… 😉

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Food Revolution

I don’t know if you’ve watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution yet, but I urge you to tune in and check it out if you haven’t. I started watching last season and was so inspired that I signed his petition and have followed the progress of his initiative ever since. I was super excited when I learned that Season Two was going to be taking place in Los Angeles and I haven’t missed an episode since it started back up a couple weeks ago.

Jamie’s Food Revolution is basically an attempt to reform the school lunch programs and attitudes about food throughout the United States. It’s so nice to have someone who is finally taking charge with this problem. It’s unbelievable how unhealthy we are as a society when you compare us to the rest of the world. And what makes it even worse is that essentially the government is saying, “As long as it can be made cheaply, who cares what people put in their mouths.” Jamie is calling them out on this and trying to make the country more aware of the things we’re putting in our bodies. I think he does it in this incredibly smart way by making it about the children. It’s one thing to eat crap yourself, but are you going to feed your children crap? It gets people’s attention.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my junk food. I love fast food, fries, grease – all that fantastic stuff. But I’ll be honest, I’m not thinking about what’s in it when I’m eating it. I think what Jamie is trying to do is make everyone more conscious of what they’re really eating. What I like is that he’s not an extremist. He’s saying you can eat food that tastes wonderful and that you shouldn’t deprive yourself, but you need to do it in a healthy way AND you need to do it in moderation. Does it take more time and a little more money? Yes. But we’re talking about your health. We’re talking about your children’s health.

I think Jamie is brilliant. As a person, he has such a presence and force about him. He exudes this positive energy that I really think is contagious, and it makes the show what it is. Even if you don’t agree with him, I think it’s worth hearing him out. I think he’s doing a great thing and I sincerely hope it makes a difference.

You can catch up on Season Two episodes here:

http://abc.go.com/shows/jamie-olivers-food-revolution

You can also click on the link below to sign Jamie’s petition:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/sign-petition

P.S. In going with the Food Revolution theme, I would also recommend reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It took me a while to finish, but it’s an amazingly interesting and eye-opening book that sends a very similar message as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Again, it’s making you more aware of what you’re putting into your body without turning you off by being so extreme. Definitely worth picking up.

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Tatalucce

The best thing about holidays in my family has always been the tradition surrounding them all. My grandmother (aka Nonna) is really big on tradition. Most of them are Italian customs that have been passed down over the years and a majority of them are centered around food (we are Italian, after all). I always enjoyed the traditions as a little kid, but as I’ve gotten older I really appreciate the importance of them.

Christmas and Easter are the huge events. Christmas Eve takes the cake and requires the most prep, but they’re all full-day extravaganzas. Cooking begins a week before with my nonna, mom and aunts baking like crazy. Usually there are kids running around and cousins stopping by. Everyone is frantically cleaning, decorating, shopping, etc. It’s chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

With tomorrow being Easter Sunday, my mom has been over at my grandparents’ house since early this morning finishing up the Easter “Pizza.” Yesterday the whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) all went to mass and then we decorated eggs. All week the Easter cookies, or Tatalucce, have been being prepared. With there being so many of us, I swear they make hundreds!

One day this week I stopped by to see my mom, nonna and zizi (auntie in Italian) who were finishing up a batch of the Tatalucce at 10:30 at night. I was watching these three women who have so many other things to be doing, but they’re making these cookies for their family because of love and because of tradition. It’s in these moments that I recognize how blessed I really am to have this big family that I do and to have these wonderful people in my life. We’re loud, we’re unbelievably nosy, we fight, we’re together A LOT, and there really aren’t many of us that have a filter when we speak, but we have one another for always and we love each other like crazy. If you ask me, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I thought I’d depart by leaving you with some pictures of the Tatalucce baking. My nonna wouldn’t let me post the recipe, but she said if anyone asked for it we could give it to them on an individual basis. 🙂

Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter!

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Dreaming of Wallpaper and Curtains…

Interior design is one of my many obsessions. It was a career route I was interested in exploring, but after a summer spent interning with a designer I decided I liked decorating my own space more than other people’s. I loved every time I’d move into a new apartment in Chicago and got to redecorate my room. Getting to start from scratch and creating any type of look I can imagine—that’s the best part! It was the first thing I did when I moved back home as well. I needed something new and fresh that didn’t feel like high school and felt like it was mine.

Personally, my favorite part of redecorating is all the research that goes into it. I forget who said it, but I once remember reading that you need to learn to love research. The more you see, the more your eye and taste evolves. Though I’m still a ways away from it, I like to dream about my very own apartment I’ll have when I finally leave Mom and Dad. Everything from paint colors, to bedding, to couches, to picture frames, to wine glasses and colorful spatulas—these are the things awaiting me if I can just get that wonderful salary paying job! I know it’s a little ridiculous, but it’s fun. Your home is just another place for you to express your style. It’s an extension of who you are.

The following is a list of my top 10 favorite interior design blogs, online magazines and websites. They’re my go-to’s when I’m looking for ideas and inspiration. I may not have the apartment of my own quite yet, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Lonny & TRADhome Magazine:

http://www.lonnymag.com/

Remodelista:

http://remodelista.com/

Decorno:

http://decorno.blogspot.com/

design*sponge:

http://www.designspongeonline.com/

Apartment Therapy:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/

Anthropologie at Home:

http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/catalog/category.jsp?navAction=jump&navCount=0&id=HOME

Tiny-ass Apartment:

http://tinyassapartment.blogspot.com/

Decorology:

http://www.decorology.blogspot.com/

Apartment 132:

http://apartment132.blogspot.com/

Young House Love:

http://www.younghouselove.com/

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Samantha & Michael

My family recently made a trip to New York to see my brother who is going to school on Long Island. Because he’s there on a baseball scholarship, he’s pretty much signed his life away and there’s a good chance he won’t be back home until next Christmas, so we’ve all been frequenting the  East Coast to visit and watch him play. New York (particularly Manhattan) is absolutely fabulous and Long Island is great as well. You could tell there was usually a lot of greenery, but Spring had yet to arrive, so it all looked pretty dead. It reminded me a lot of Wisconsin or Michigan though. And if you’ve never been to Port Jefferson, you must make a trip (preferably during the summer) because it is adorable!

Enough sidetracking, what I really wanted to write about today are my sister and brother. Amidst our time visiting Michael it occurred to me how lucky the three of us are. I’ve thought about it on other occasions, but for whatever reason, it really sunk in on this trip. Having Michael home this past Christmas was so much fun and it made me realize how much we genuinely miss having him at home. When I moved back to California last May, I had a lot of mixed emotions on moving back into my parents’ home, but one of the upsides was that it was probably the one last time Samantha, Michael and I would all be living there together. Don’t get me wrong, we fight like crazy. Sam steals my clothes and I have an extremely hard time sharing, Michael is one of the messiest people you will ever meet in your life and I have the annoying oldest child habit of acting like the mom. But despite all that, we had the best summer together. It’s funny because when I left for college I thought I would come home and it would never be quite the same, but I’ve come to learn that there are some things in life that never really change.

On the whole, we enjoy each other. We really, truly enjoy each other. We just all kind of “click.” We were all so excited to see each other in NY. Even Michael, who likes to pretend like he doesn’t care, was excited to see us. And I think that’s a really special and rare thing. I know that I have these two best friends that will have my back, no matter what, for the rest of my life. I love the people that they are, I love my time with them and I love the relationship the three of us have.

I was talking to someone about this recently and they said that it is really a compliment to my parents. Siblings share something exceptional because they have the same past and upbringing. They know every single thing about you (including what buttons to push), but they love you anyway. If you’re lucky enough, they love you unconditionally. They’re the people that have been there from the beginning and they’re the ones that are going to be there in the end. We share stories, traditions, memories, our childhood, good times, bad times, hard times – important things that you don’t have with anyone else. My parents always reinforced the importance of family and each other, but to be honest, I don’t know exactly why we’re all so close. What I do know is that I am so grateful we are.

I am really enjoying the age we’re all at right now. I like that we all want to spend time together and with each other’s friends. I can only hope that this stays the same as we get older. I love the people that Samantha and Michael have become as young adults. They’re good people. And I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the two of them.

“To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.”  -Clara Ortega

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A Monster Named Failure

Today I began a new adventure along my career path. I have to tell you that as excited as I was about it, I was also super nervous. It wasn’t even something I should have been freaking out about, but of course I start having all this self-doubt whenever I start something I’ve never tried before. No matter how confident I am, whenever I begin a job, I have this fear of not being good at it. I don’t know where this anxiety about failure comes from…I know I’m somewhat of an intelligent person, but all of the sudden I’m worried that everyone is going to realize Christina isn’t really that smart. I know it’s absolutely ridiculous, but acknowledging that still doesn’t stop me from panicking.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I want to be great at everything I do. This is actually a horrible quality because people with this trait don’t normally like to take risks and generally stick to what they’re good at, which is simply BORING. Push beyond your comfort zone. You’ll never know all the things you’re capable of excelling at until you actually try them. The key word there is try.

I ended today feeling energized about life and the potential career options that lie ahead. I haven’t felt that way in a long time and it really was uplifting. It all goes back to taking chances. Make sure you grab a hold and take advantage of all opportunities that may come your way. The “what-if’s” and regrets are the real monsters we should be afraid of.

“If you’re not scared shitless by your new job, you haven’t reached high enough.” –Leslee Dart

“If you’re never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances.” –Julia Sorel

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The Interview

“We would like you to come in for an interview.” It’s amazing how this one sentence can evoke so many conflicting emotions. My heart starts to race because I’m ecstatic that I was chosen for the next step in the hiring process, but at the same time I’m terrified because I was chosen for the next step in the hiring process.

Interviewing is just pretty awful in general. You willingly go into it knowing you are going to be judged and critiqued. It’s competitive, nerve-wracking and you have to dress up. Really, it’s masochistic.

The dressing up is, by far, one of the most irritating aspects of the interview. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about getting dressed up, but having to put on a suit and heels to head into an anxiety-filled situation is only making matters worse. I just pray my interview is on a cooler day, so I’m not dying of heat, and I can only hope there isn’t too much walking so that my feet aren’t killing me. And one of my favorite moments is when you walk into an office and everyone else is in jeans. That always makes me feel even more at ease. If you can get away with it, I recommend wearing something professional, but comfortable and ladies, opt for nice flats. It’s incredible how much less stressed out I get in a pair of flats.

I always tend to dread the preparation or “homework” as well. Looking up all you can on the company website, studying the job description and thinking up intelligent questions to ask your potential future employer is never really enjoyable. And I usually end up spending way more time on this than I ever should. My advice is to have a good grasp on the company and some basic knowledge, but you don’t need to spend time studying for it like you would for your finals. I feel like I always go into student mode when I start researching and almost always way overdue it.

The morning of an interview I try to stay as calm as possible, but this almost never works. I try to always give myself enough time and to schedule the interview around times when there won’t be too much traffic (which is never if you live in LA) because running late isn’t going to do anything favorable for my emotional state. Always leave room for the chance of getting lost (which I can almost always count on).

It sounds cliché, but once you get there, the best thing to do is relax and be yourself. I once had someone tell me to please just take a deep breath because I was making him nervous just looking at me. The calmer you are, the better you’ll be able to think and the better your answers will sound. Even if the interview goes horrifically, you’ll never have to see that person again, so stop stressing. It’s maybe an hour or two of your life. Remind yourself that this is a really great thing that you were even asked to come in and speak with them. You obviously already have a lot of the qualities the employer is looking for.

The interviews that I feel I’ve done the best at are the ones where I am the most comfortable and honest. They’re the ones where I go in with the least amount of rehearsed answers. The ones where I can be my confident self. I think this has to do with how passionate I am about the job. When I was doing a lot of my soul-searching and trying to figure out what direction I wanted to head in on my career path this was actually a really helpful exercise. I was able to talk sincerely and self-assuredly about the jobs I was excited about, which made me realize I was heading down the right path.

Speaking of my confident self, I have this great little tendency of always thinking the interview has gone really well. But here I am, almost a year later, still looking for the dream job, so apparently they haven’t all gone as well as I have thought…Nothing like good self-esteem. I guess I should get credit for being positive?

The next fun part in the processing is waiting to hear from the company. I either never hear back from them, have gotten called back in for second interviews weeks later or I receive a rejection letter months down the road. Personally, I think this is SO tacky. If I ever have my own company, this is one of the first things I will be on top of. People deserve some sort of response, whether they got the job or not. A simple email takes two minutes. Come on, people! And if you are waiting for that call or email, please try not to think about it too much. Just move on and keep searching as soon as the interview is over. Actually, as soon as the interview is over go eat some chocolate ice cream, then continue the job hunt. Try not to be upset because you really are no better or worse off than you were before the interview.

If you do hear from the company and you get the job then that’s fantastic! Congrats! However, if you get the rejection letter or never hear from them, try not to beat yourself up. You just weren’t a good match and that’s okay. It makes me feel a little better to think that things happen for a reason and the right job will come along at some point.

DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!  Keep going, keep searching, keep applying. Take risks. Go on all the interviews you can. Just look at it like it’s practicing. The more you go on, the better you get and the better prepared you’ll be to rock the interview for the company that loves you just as much as you love them. (And if anything, the most awful interviews you go on make for great stories). It WILL happen, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. 🙂 Until then, I’ll continue having mornings like today where I leave the house full of anxiety because  I put on my suit pants and convince myself I’ve shrunk an inch because they’re dragging on the floor, even with my heels on. Lovely. Thank God for the five-inch heels I’ve got in the back of my closet (which will make me cry out in pain as I walk down the driveway to my car).

“The brick walls that are in our way are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out, but to see how much we want it.” -Randy Pausch

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