Monday, April 28, 2014

About Age

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of person do you wanna be once you're ... "old" (or elderly or whatever you wanna call it)? What kind of life you'll have at ... say ... 80?
I know, it's a tricky question, as it depends on your health (mentally and physically) and on an unknown future. But let's just play a game for instance, let's assume that you will be good in your head and your body at 80. What kind of life (do you hope) you'll gonna have?

I was walking back home from my Saturday voluntary commitment at the computer corner of the city's nursing home (remember the post?). I was feeling good because I had spent some pleasant time with a lady that needed help with downloading books on her e-book reader.
So, walking the street I noticed an elderly lady just in front of me ... because of her style. Black leather trousers (!!) and a white short Chanel kind of jacket. Just while passing her, she murmured something about the new restaurant that had just openend at the street's corner. I overheard her mumbling and on impulse agreed with her. We started talking and I complimented her on her outfit. It was so very totally cool. Black leather trousers and beneath the white jacket she wore a 80ies style white blouse. She said that she found it in her closet this morning and as the 80ies were fashionable again (wow, the lady knows fashion!), she thought about wearing it. What a lady! I immediately noticed her pendant as well. An amazing piece of jewelry! As I told her so, she went on about a story about when she was living in Panama with her boyfriend a couple of years ago. She moved back to Europe because she suffered Panama's humid and hot weather. It was implied that the boyfriend stayed where he was (i.e. in Panama). SMILE
The lady just turned 82  - in case you wondered.
She left me speechless!
We continued talking for a while and then we said goodbye, it was my pleasure (me, meaning it with my whole heart!).

That is exaclty how I want to be when I'll be older! I want to be stylish and I want to continue telling stories :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014

I wish I could go to London just (oh well, not really just) to visit the actual special exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum about Italian Fashion:

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-the-glamour-of-italian-fashion-1945-2014/

If only London were just around the corner :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Instagram

I love Instagram! I just loooovvvveeee it! I am sooo glad that with my new phone I am finally able to use this app. I had been thinking about this for so long and now that I have it?
It's wonderful.
I haven't uploaded many pictures yet as I have to get into the Instagram mood first.
Looking at the pictures of others though ... has been very much inspiring. Very much so! There are guys and girls out there that are wonderful photographers!
It's just ... wow!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Art

I am now a very proud owner of a collage done by a friend of mine who is a teacher during the day but an artist at heart :-) I asked her for a piece which would "include" the World (stands for my travels) and Fashion. She made me keep all my fashion magazines for a couple of months and with all that paper she "made" this:


detail of collage
She is a true artist. And I am so happy to look at it each time I walk by it in my corridor :-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

My New Smartphone ... or ... about Being Online

A couple of weeks ago the screen of my (several years old) mobile phone simply went black. That was it. I tried to convince the guy at the mobile phone shop to send it back to the manufacturer to get it fixed but the guy just smiled at me and said: Miss, to fix it would be way more expensive than to buy a new one! (Isn't our economy crazy?).

So time had come for me to decide if I wanted to own a smartphone and with it enter the 21st century telephone-wise or to stick with an "old" version of a mobile phone.
The whole issue was worth a couple of thoughts, not only because these phones are rather costly and I usually (besides for trips and shopping) don't spend my money easily. There were also the pros and cons to consider.
One fundamental question arised first. How online did I want my life to be?

How online is yours, BTW?

Well, mine is pretty online. I am on Facebook, on Pinterest, I own three different e-mail accounts, do my payments via e-banking, have this blog and follow many others. I read the papers online. Google is my daily companion. And last but not least, I work in an office and spend hours sitting in front of a computer checking/responding to e-mails etc. What I missed so far was being on Instagram.

The next question was: would owning a smartphone mean being online ALL the time? Not only during office hours or when I am at home in front of my computer? REALLY ALL THE TIME? Like while waiting for the train, tram or bus? Like waiting for a friend to arrive? Like while walking the streets (as many people do, I noticed, I promptly bump into everyone!). Like during train rides?
The answer to these questions was a NO. A definite no. A heartfelt no. My daily dosis of being online is sufficient. I don't want more of it. Also because I love the moments where I simply am (waiting for someone or while going somewhere). During these instants, my mind is free and floats around ... and gives me my best ideas!
I should never ever forget that.
My best ideas come to me when I either do nothing or do repetitive things like in the gym or driving my car. Checking my various accounts all the time (and I know myself well enough to be sure that I would be checking them ALL THE TIME) would take away these instants from me.
Not only.
Today's world of endless communication is about choosing. That's my opinion.
So I choose to own a smartphone which would allow me to be online when I want to be (thanks to WLAN) but I opted for a contract with no mobile internet access.
I make calls.
I write SMS.
And when I am at home or in any other place that has WLAN, I can (if I feel like it) update/check my Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest accounts on my mobile.

I now own a (very stylish looking) smartphone and am pretty happy about it. And I am on Instagram now #simonettasworld!

Welcome to the 21st century!

Friday, April 18, 2014

My New Bag: La Postina

Ever since I read about the first men's bag of designer Benedetta Bruzziches (www.benedettabruzziches.com) - the bag is called "Massimo" in honor of the 1994 movie "The Postman" and its main actor late Massimo Troisi - in an article
(www.tusciaweb.eu/2014/02/arriva-massimo-la-borsa-del-postino), I wanted to own one. Even though it's sold as a men's bag, I immediately thought that it would be perfect for me. Unfortunately, "Massimo" was way too expensive for me and I therefore kind of forgot about it.
Until ... well, until I walked into a no brand shop in Genova and just saw it: the perfect "La Postina" in a kind of light gray / white. At an affordable price (for me). Fate is wonderful! Not five minutes later was I a proud owner of a "La Postina". It's soo stylish and matches soo very well with who I am and what I wear :-)

I never buy brands - not because I don't want to and because I have something against them. No, it's simply because I can't afford them. In addition, fashion has always been more than brands to me. Brands give me dreams. Very nice dreams! And brands inspire me - very much so! The reality though is what I love and I love to go hunting for pieces here and there (that I can afford) and that look stylish. This is fashion to me. It's like a puzzle. One piece here, another there (different shops, different countries) that become one image.



from the side

from another angle
Funny enough I found out just today the Zanellato sells "Postino" bags. Check out their home page: www.zanellato.com. I read this in a fashion blog I follow: www.guerreisms.com (scroll down to the middle of the first page).

Have I already mentioned that I love my new bag? SMILE

Monday, April 14, 2014

Customer Service

I believe that being friendly and smiling is a vital trait for a person. I know, it's not easy to live every day but one should at least try or at the worst not let your black mood out on everybody. This is especially important if you work for the public like in a shop, a restaurant, a store, etc. (that is why I could never do such a job - my face tells it all!) Listening closely (!) to what the customers ask you is ranked third in my opinion.

Last week, I have been treated very poorly by some staff at my optometrist. While leaving the shop, I thought about how unfriendly and cranky the lady just had been. I was furiuos but at the same time I doubted myself.
Why did this happen to me? Had I been unfriendly myself (you can't pretend to be treated friendly when you are unfriendly yourself) or too shortspoken?
I question bad situations because I believe in growing thanks also to negative experiences. This time though, no growing implied. It was just about a cranky lady that had a bad day.
At home, a couple of hours later, I read an article in the April issue of MarieClaire Italia (sorry, it was D - la Reppublica). It was an interview with Arianna Huffington about her new book "Thrieve". At some point she said something that felt like an answer to my questions:

"Ancora più importante però è quello che accade dentro di te. E essenziale non interiorizzare tutta la pressione esterna. In questo ci aiuta la filosofia antica degli stoici: io non posso comandare al mondo esterno, ma posso imparare a padroneggiare le mie reazioni agli eventi. Se ho il potere di scegliere i miei pensieri, di comandare i miei sentimenti, acquisto una grande liberta."

"Even more important is what happens inside you. It is essential not to interiorize all the external pressure. For that we are helped by the ancient philosophy of the Stoics: I can't command the external world but I can learn to master my reactions to the events. If I have the power of choosing my thoughts, to master my feelings, I gain a huge freedom."

Wonderful words. Sometimes "Other's Words" say it best :-) 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Volunteering

I did my first volunteering at the Internet Corner of one of the city's nursing homes. I wasn't quite sure what to expect and I kind of doubted there would be many people coming and asking questions.
Well, I was wrong.
Quite a few people came and I was astonished by how distinct their requests were.
I took care of a lady with gray hair and who was moving around with a walking frame. She had questions about ... her e-reader (imagine!). She was very happy to actually own one. Apparently, it's easier for her to read books on the e-reader as she can not only adjust the font size but also read with an illuminated screen (during her sleepless nights).
You see?
Technology can be helpful!
Anyway.
She asked about how to find new reading material (she is into Norway and Finland these days, she told me, and wants to read about these countries). We found some interesting books but after an hour she got tired and said that she would come back in three weeks (when I'm volunteering again) in order for me to help her download the books. Up until now she always walked to the store where she bought the e-reader and the guys downloaded the books for her. She was happy that now she could only come to see me :-)
I was worried about her not having enough reading material in the meantime. She reassured me. She had just started re-reading Tolstoy's "War and Peace" and that would last!
What a lady!

PS: the lady told me that she had moved 27 (!!) times in her life. She has lived all over, speaks several languages. She stressed the fact that the 28th time she would be moving "the details of the move will be up to others" (her words). Obviously she was talking about moving to the ... cemetery. Talking about death is part of being over 80, I suppose.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

White Pants

This morning, waiting for the train to arrive, I felt pretty stylish wearing my new white pants. Yes! I've bought white pants. I have wanted to re-buy some for a while now. I say re-buy because I had actually bought some last autumn but they weren't perfect. Not perfect at all.
This is a mistake I make sometimes.
Let me tell you a story:
I decide that I want white pants (it could be any clothing item BTW, white pants are just the latest example).
I go shopping looking for white pants.
I absolutely want white pants.
I try on white pants but none is really fitting.
Finally I decide on the most fitting ones (even though I know, looking in the mirror of the dressing room of the shop, that they don't fit well) because I ABSOLUTELY NEED WHITE PANTS. I know that it's not OK what I am doing but I decide to ignore my inner voice telling me to go home and go looking for white pants another time and buy them anyway.
I wear my new white pants the next day. They don't fit well (obviously!). After half a day sitting in my office chair, the knees were like huge and I am not even mentioning how they made my derriere look. Awful!
The white pants remained (unworn - obviously again!) in my closet until three days ago when I decided to put them into the clothing recycling bin and go look for fitting white pants (because I still want white pants!).
I made a promise to myself that I would only buy white pants that fit perfectly. PER...FECT...LY

I did and they still are perfect - even after sitting in my office chair the whole morning. Ergo my looking stylish today SMILE.

PS: I should have known better, last autumn, and NOT buy white pants that didn't convince me immediately. But sometimes my desire to own this or that clothing item is simply stronger than my reason. Luckily for me (and my budget) it doesn't happen often :-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Genova: Palazzi

I was quite impressed by Genoa's Palazzis. I have mentioned several times already how space is scarce in Genoa. The city is like a sandwich: on the one side you have the sea, on the other side the Apennine Mountains. I supposed that was the reason why I saw so many high buildings. I counted the name plaques at one of the doors and I stopped at 20 :-) The may be huge, the buildings, but they are nevertheless classy and modern buildings (fortunately) are rare.
Via Garibaldi has some wonderful old palazzi - all of them renovated. Palazzo Bianco. Palazzo Rosso. With beautiful inner courtyards. I tried to capture the grandeur of the buildings but a picture is simply not enough. It's always the same question: how to capture a feeling?
You'll have to visit the place to get a real impression :-)


Palazzo Rosso

In a city where place is scarce, parking spaces are even more so ... therefore scooters are a very good way to move around. I've seen many of these parking spaces for scooters,



This palm tree grew in one of the inner courtyards - imagine how grand they must be!


Genova: Eataly



The harbor hold another surprise: Eataly. Have you heard of Eataly? I had read about it; the opening in Milano or the one in New York. I always wanted to visit. I don't know how to call "it": Shop? Supermarket? Restaurant?
I guess it's all of the above. Judge for yourself: www.eataly.com or the Italian website: www.eataly.it

We spent almost an hour strolling along the shelves and went back the day after to do some serious food shopping (our suitcase weighted a ton once we had packed all the stuff we bought - not only food though. Have I mentioned shoes, bags, clothes? And my many favorite magazines? The April editions of Elle and MarieClaire alone weighted at least 2 kilos. SMILE).
We also thought about eating our dinner there but then we found another restaurant that evening. In any case the place was packed which means that the food must have been delicious. Italians are picky when it comes to food and walking along the tables I didn't hear many other languages besides Italian :-)

If you ever happen to be in one of the cities where they have such a place - go visit! It's worth it. Totally worth it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Genova: The Harbor

I do love harbors (as I do love train stations and airports - guess why??). I loved Genova's harbor - here some impressions:
as I already mentioned in other posts: not much space in Genoa - even the harbor reflects this fact

my nephews would have loved this corsair (Piratenschiff)






the alleyways all around the harbor were ... murky, filthy and had this aftertaste of danger. Not real danger just imagined one SMILE. My imagination went wild! These are streets were you can set up thrillers or romantic rendezvous between pirates and the bourgeois damsel in love! I told you - my imagination went wild! Fact is, the streets of the harbor are inhabited by people of all cultures and languages. It was quite an experience and it got even somehow scary (again, not for real but just because I am not used to small and murky streets!). We walked alleyways were the sun NEVER shines. I tried to take pictures but there are no good because a) no light no pictures (at least not with my camera) and b) how do you picture a feeling?




I am no fan of aquariums but I would have loved to visit this ... "bubble" (which is part of the Acquario di Genova). What kind of fish do they show here I wonder?

view from the harbor up the hill

PS: after visiting Genoa I have this urge to visit Marseille - the biggest port of Europe (Genoa being second).


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Genova: Photo Exhibition

I am a huge fan of National Geographic. Whenever I can, I buy their magazines (the Italian and the English versions are my favorite) and read the articles, look at the pictures they post on Facebook.
In Genova, last weekend, while admiring the Palazzo Ducale I noticed the signboard informing about a photo exhibition called "I Colori del Mondo". 50 photos of 32 different National Geographic photographers ... I couldn't miss it!
The exhibition was divided in different rooms (very nice ones, actually - a restaurated cellar with high ceilings, wonderful!) and each room was dedicated to one color: red, green, blue and white.

See this article for more infos: http://www.ilsecoloxix.it/p/cultura/2014/01/30/AQMvDweB-colori_mostra_palazzo.shtml

I usually don't take pictures in museums but I had to take one of this photo - my favorite of the whole exhibition:

shades of white and gray and black - I just love it!

Our World .. is Bubbly


Friday, April 4, 2014

Genova: Some Impressions

unfortunately, it wasn't a clear day when we took the "funiculare" up the a view point of Righi... This is the port of Genova


Last day ... for a couple of minutes we thought that it was gonna rain ... false alarm fortunately!
 
I love this gray and white geometry



view of the hill through the glass of Eataly




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Genova ... Street Art

EN: I recommend a heavy dose of life





Genova ... I'm Back!

I am back... with a head full of stories and stuff to tell about Genova. First things first though. It was a very nice short trip in a city that I perceived as different from the other Italian cities I know.
Different because of the port.
Different because of the many strangers (South Americans!).
Different because of the lack of space (all buildings are close and are higher i.e. with more floors than in other Italian cities).
Different because it's squeezed between the ocean and the Apennine Mountains (see lack of space!).

Some very nice surprises: the splendor/grandeur of the (renovated or not) palazzis, the what I call "New York Feeling" because you hardly could see the sky in some allies, the friendly residents, Eataly (will tell you about it), the excellent food (but this isn't a real surprise in Italy where the food is good wherever you go!).