Ferragosto – The Great August Return

rientro [ri-én-tro] s.m. 1 Ritorno: il r. dalle vacanze; r. in squadra dopo una lunga assenza; restituzione, in campo monetario: favorire il r. dei capitali dall’estero “A return from vacation, or to your team, following a long absence…” Italians are once again feeling that peculiar pang of “reentry” from summer vacation. For most of us,…

Your morning routine

I used to commute by train in between Spoleto and Rome. Some of the track’s twists and turns were through ivy-covered ancient walls, punctuated with stone towers. They said that medieval communities could relay messages in just minutes, passing signals from tower to tower. On those bends in the tracks, there were no billboards, no buildings….

You can wear booties to clean hardwood

No, not those booties…these ones: As featured on Amazon.it (left – yes, you can buy them!), and on DonnaClick.it (right, with a stylish peep-toe, bow-bedecked version for the ladies). This is a thing. A cleaning product that blends Italian love of fashion, hygiene, and … efficiency? I remember going to visit friends on a Saturday,…

Skin

Italian women have perfected the art of revealing the right amount of skin, just enough to be both alluring and elegant. It’s not as much a question of how much skin you reveal – though surface area certainly plays a part – as how and what you reveal. Knowing the tradition your style trend comes…

Heels heels heels

Italian women do love their heels. They wear them to the store, to the park, on their motorinos, and to work, undaunted, across cobblestone. Luckily, the ballet-flat trend appears to be holding strong, even in Italy, so we can get a free pass as we pack for a weekend getaway. I think the foldable flat…

Traveling lite

Packing the right clothing is essential to being able to travel lite. Italians can make fashion statements out of the simplest of clothes – a plain t-shirt and some elegant silver jewelry or a scarf. I’m taking my cue from them in suggesting key garments to pack for a summer weekend getaway, or if you’ve…

Taking the bridge

  To kick off our summer posts, let’s talk travel. Years of budget mini-breaks in Italy have taught me what you need, and what you don’t need, to pack for a fun weekend getaway.First, though, some advice. Travel wherever you like, with whomever you please, but I’d be remiss – if we’re wanting to be truly…

Washing your hair come si deve

Isn’t it great you can save time and make your hair look better? Buying SLS-free shampoo means buying shampoo less often, and washing your hair once a week frees up a ton of time in the morning. It also is a blessing for any hair type, length, or texture. Only if you do it properly,…

Italian girls don’t wash their hair

We’ll switch from home cleaning to personal health & beauty for this post. And yes, this title is a teensy bit provocative. Italian girls do wash their hair, but they wash it much more thoroughly, much less frequently. The key is avoiding one simple ingredient: sodium laureth sulfate (“SLS”) If you search for it on Italian…

Bone dry

The only way to keep a kitchen counter. That is the reward for keeping counters bare – getting to clean them 😉 The Italian panno in lattice, a latex-rubber reusable slim sponge, is just the ticket for the final wipe down of your kitchen counter. It practically vacuums up the remaining moisture, meaning your kitchen is…

Your car is not a closet

Might be a little strange to talk about car decluttering in the home-organization series, but here’s my thought. A reader commented in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine that she thought of her car as another room in her house. That’s the root of the problem. Car is car and house is house. (And moped is moped…

Have (clean) car, will travel…

Ah, the Fiat. Holding the honors as tiniest car in the world, until lo Smart came along. Tiny enough to park by placing it nose-out between two parallel-parked cars.  Now that’s small.On a side note, I remember Steve Urkel’s gag on Family Matters where he built a ridiculous tiny car, which once the smoke cleared looked exactly like a Fiat 500*…