Thursday, 30 May 2013

manicure without the wait!

I love to have manicured nails but I hate going for manicures. I hate all the wasted time waiting for all the filing and cleaning up of cuticles to get done while I listen to the nail artist(?) chit chat with everyone else in the salon. I don't like chitchatting myself and so normally just keep quiet. I hate waiting for nail polish to dry and not having access to my hands for 10-20-30 minutes (somehow every time I go nail polish dries slower and slower). Mostly, I hate having to fork out anywhere from 10 to 35 euros for something I consider generally a DIY project.

But in order to give myself a manicure at home I have some obstacles as well... firstly, nail polish still needs time to dry which means I need time to apply and dry which I can't guarantee during Sera's naps and and generally too tired to think about come evening bedtime.  Then, there's always annoying possibility of smudging, chipping and generally ruining the job within the first 3 hours of application. That means, no tidying, cleaning, typing, or playing for ages and ages.... Boo.

Nail decals seem to solve this problem as they go on dry, don't have any wait time and if you're interrupted while applying nail #7 you can always pick up where you left off when you get back (hopefully the same day and hopefully before you go out for dinner with your husband's colleagues). The other advantage is that you can get that fresh, modern nail-art look, quickly and easily and have no dry-time. Sephora does some nice nail patches and I pick them up when I get a chance, but of course at €9.50, they are much more expensive than the traditional brush in bottle wet-application nail polish.

I decided to try making my own homemade nail patches, similar to the ones I normally buy with the nail polish I already have in the house.  Follow the steps I did for similar results.

What you'll need:

  • tweezers
  • nail polish
  • wax/oven paper
  • pen or pencil
  • quickdry topcoat

Step 1

clean your nails as perfectly as possible. Remove all residues of nail polish and scrape away any overgrown cuticles.

Step 2

Draw the rough shape of each of your nails on a piece of wax paper with a pen or pencil.


Paint the wax paper nails as if you were giving them a manicure with or without whatever style of nail art you want on your own final manicure.... make sure to paint the nails slightly larger than your drawn outlines and to coat the nails well.

Step 4

Go away.  Go do something else... shopping, go to the office, little league, on a picnic. I don't care as long as you leave the manicured wax paper alone for at least the next hour or two... when you get back to this project the polish must be DRY DRY DRY.... not half dry like when you put your hand in your purse to get your wallet to pay for your manicure dry... really dry.... go to sleep if you have to.

Step 5

When the wax paper manicure is dry, really dry, put a base coat of clear polish (or the same base colour as your design) onto your actual nails and let that set for 5 minutes.

Step 6

Very carefully, with your tweezers, peel each manicured wax paper nail patch off the paper and place gently over the corresponding nail. Press down with your finger. There will be nail colour overlapping onto your cuticles and off the tip of the nail if you followed step 3 correctly and made the patch larger than your nail.  Don't worry! Leave it alone for now. Do this for all your nails until you have a patch on each. They should naturally stick to your base coat underneath.

Step 7

With a cuticle pusher, gently smooth the nail patch onto each nail and push into your cuticles and along the edge, underneath the nails. The patch will tear at these points and you will be able to easily remove the overlap.

Step 8

Continue to smooth down all the patches until they adhere properly to the nail underneath and you are satisfied with the details

Step 9

Apply a quickdry transparent top coat and let dry.

Have fun and be creative! With this method you can really play around with colors, layering and styles!

Monday, 27 May 2013

wonderful FREE apps for toddlers 2

As a followup to my previous posts on Apps for Toddlers I thought I'd direct your attention to some more fabulous apps for toddlers, all free free free!! at the app store:

Here's are a few more of our favourite free apps:

  • Elmo Loves ABCs Lite - Though this is a lite version of a full app it's a great place to start with your ABCs and offers everything you've come to expect in terms of quality from the Sesame Street workshop.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

what to do with used clothing

Though for some reason spring is refusing to raise it's sleepy head this year and here in Milan we continue to be soaked with rain I, nonetheless have a  bit of spring fever and have been itching to do the 'cambio stagione'* so I can pack off and away all my winter stuff and pull out more summery wears.

I have a pain in my heart every time the seasons change and I pull out Sera's old clothes that I put away six months earlier in the hopes that they would still fit. Maybe only 10% ever do.

What do you do with kids clothes that don't fit anymore?  I'm not talking about that cute sweater your aunt made or that dress that she wore to her first birthday, but dingy socks, plain white t-shirts, corduroy trousers which you aren't attached to emotionally?

Here in Milan there are 340 yellow bins scattered around the city that accept used clothes.  The clothes are then passed onto Caritas Ambrosiana e Compagnia delle Opere, who take care of their reuse and recycling.  I take a bag or 2 of clothes there every year and it's a wonderful service for clearing out your closets and making sure your clothes help someone who needs it.
Another possibility I can across the other day was while I was at H&M, the clothing store. They're currently running an initiative to collect used clothes in exchange for coupons on your next purchase. For each bag of clothing you bring them you get a 5€ coupon for your next purchase over €40.  They then take the clothes and make sure that they're used by people in need as well. If that isn't incentive to do the right thing, I don't know what is!  

Thursday, 23 May 2013

well dressed for 30 days challenge part 3 - Days 8 - 15

This is part 3 of the Well Dressed for 30 Days Challenge in which I'm forcing myself to see if I can wear all the dresses in my wardrobe that I don't normaly wear, without compromise, for 30 days. To see part one please click here.

may 9th notes:
 I'm getting tired of the challenge, but then if it were easy why would it be a challenge?  I'm off to Grenoble in France for 7 days on Saturday and packing has been difficult keeping the challenge in mind. I'm not sure if the weather there will be warm or cool and it means layering dresses and sweaters for cold days and stripping off when its warm. I'm having feelings of forboding.

Day 8

royal blue dress: rinascente

Day 9

aqua & red top: Anthropologie
white summer dress (worn under): Mango
red flats: Aldo
belt: Accessorize Outlet Shop

Day 10

chocolate and cream striped dress: 
camel coloured cardigan: 

Day 11

grey wool dress: Uniqlo
heather grey short sleeved cardigan: Stradivarius
grey flowers necklace: Mariella

Day 12

royal blue dress: rinascente (same as day 8)
black boots: Samsonite

Day 13

red wrap dress: Oyosho

Day 14

black dress: H&M
black lace cradigan: H&M

Day 15

flowers & stripes long sleeved t: Anthropologie
royal blue dress (worn under): rinascente (same as day 8)
black boots: Samsonite

Observations days8-15:

-This challenge is suprizingly hard to keep up. Every morning I've been waking with a longing to just 'put on whatever' and then I've remembered the challenge and have really had to think about what I'm going to wear. The initial fun has worn off and now it really is a challenge not to repeat looks.

-I was away for a week during the challenge and therefore have some really ugly photos like on day 12 and 14 to show for it. The great thing about taking the challenge on holiday way that packing was a snap... I had 4 dresses I could rotate with accessories.  However, it was also tough when suddenly the temperature dropped in France in the last few days and I was left without appropriate leg coverings.

-Dresses are more comfortable when you don't have to wear anything under them. This is an official decision of mine. Dresses are great for the summer, but when you have to start layering them they can be a pain.

-I kind of feel like a fool that I've gotten myself into this!

-I miss jeans

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The 3rd week of May

Sorry about the blackout for the past week or so with posts.... here's what I've been up to:

-a week-long trip to Grenoble, France with Sera to visit some good friends.  Spent a lot of time wandering the cobbled pedestrian streets, wandering through the fresh market stalls and playing in the park.  Sera had a wonderful time and it was nice to have a city break alone with her, though we both really missed daddy.

-a visit to the emergency room for tummy troubles... (don't worry... nothing serious and I'm back eating grilled cheese and potato soup today!)

- reading 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn on a friends' suggestion and really enjoying it... a new style of mystery!

-still keeping up with the 'Well Dressed' challenge, though I haven't been able to update you all on it until I get my photos sorted out... I'll try to do that later in the week.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mums out there. What an amazing day. What are we really celebrating? The love? The sacrifice? The dedication? All the fun we have with our mums?

I'm spending my Mother's Day on a mummy-daughter city break in Grenoble France, and after a fun packed morning with friends (and another mum) we're back in the room for a cuddly nap. Just spending today with Sera is the best Mother's Day gift I could have....

Which makes me sad I can't gift the same back to my mum in Canada.

Hey mum, wish I could be there with you and we could do a tri-generational festival! Happy Mother's Day! Sorry I couldn't make you French toast for breakfast in bed or pick wildflowers or anything for you, but know that I would have wanted to.

And to all of you other mums: congrats on having the best job in the world! Give yourselves a pat on the back today, you're awesome!

Some advice I'm trying to follow this coming year as a mum:
- Be kind to yourself first so you can teach your children kindness and how to have high self-esteem... a super important characteristic that we are born with but may lose over time.
-Your kids will grow up faster than you think... Try to be there mentally, when you're there physically, for every moment.
-dont be so hard on yourself. None of us know what we're doing! Even if someone else seems to have all the answers, there is no such thing as a professional when it comes to motherhood and you are the only one who can know your children the way you do.

Have a wonderful day with your mums and little'uns!


Friday, 10 May 2013


Before Sera was born I read a lot of parenting books just to make sure that I was adequately prepared (I could have read a whole library full and in the end it didn't make a difference cause I wasn't and still aren't).  Each one had a different take on the topic of co-sleeping, that is, sleeping with the baby in your adult sized bed.

Europeans and North Americans seem to differ on the topic with Europeans leaning more towards a yes verdict, based on some studies that it helps with child development and bonding with both mother and father.  I suspect tat part of it has to do with the tight living quarters European households enjoy...  by the time baby is born, most Italian families are still either in their first studio or luxurious 1-bedroom apartments or are in the midst of trying to sell it to get a more logical 2-bedroom apartment. planning ahead for a space suitable for bunk beds if ever a sibling should arrive.

In North-America, most psychologists and baby experts lean towards the idea that a child should definitely have its own bed and certainly it's own room, preferably down the hall with a video surveillance baby monitoring system.  Luckily, North-American families tend to have hallways, so this is a possibility well worth considering.

I've always been of the mind that each child and each family is different.  I thought that it might be nice to share a special sleepy bond with Sera and I think we tried co-sleeping a few times in the early days only to find out that although our little sweety was still and immobile during the day she could perform mad acrobatics at will during the night.  This illustration from explains Sera's sleep habits pretty well.  I wake up with bruises every time we share the bed.

Sera and I will be spending all of next week in France, first at a hotel and then at friends'.  You'd think a queen sized bed would be big enough for just the two of us, but you'd be wrong.

What do you think about co-sleeping? Did you, do you, will you do it or won't you? Why or why not? What's your little one's favourite pose from those illustrated above?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

well dressed for 30 days challenge - part 2

This is part 2 of the Well Dressed for 30 Days Challenge in which I'm forcing myself to see if I can wear all the dresses in my wardrobe that I don't normaly wear, without compromise, for 30 days. To see part one please click here.

Day 3

tartan black and wine dress: Oasis
jacket: H&M
leggings: Woolrich
shoes: Freemood

Day 4

black lacey cardigan: H&M

Day 5

aqua cropped cardigan: H&M

Day 6

camel knit minidress: Stradivarius
sweatshirt: side stance PSC Japan
brown knee-high boots: Nadine

Day 7

dress: Mango
cardigan: Boggi
shoes: Conbipel

Observations days3-7:

-I officially hate tights (I tried wearing a pair on day 4 and ended up changing to the leggings 10 seconds before I left the house)

-the challenge is forcing me to really 'plan out' what to wear the night before which makes mornings smoother and faster.

-on day 7 I am a bit depressed I ahve to wear heels again but then when I put them on and look in the mirror I feel ok about it.

-if you're wearing a dress and rainboots the rain isn't so much of a problem as when your trousers are dragging along a muddy parkinglot

-it's hard to fit in a photo-shoot everyday

-I miss jeans

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Is gelato ice cream?

Sera is enjoying 'pink & purple' gelato a.k.a. strawberry & blackberry-cream flavors
I've never really been a fan of ice cream. It's sticky, cold and generally overly-sweet for my taste buds but, living in Italy sooner or later someone is going to propose the afternoon or after-dinner tradition of 'going for a gelato' and I am sure glad that in my case it came sooner rather than later.

So while I don't quite like ice cream, I do enjoy gelato!  What's the deal? What could be so different between the two?

Firstly you have to talk about the fat content. Ice Cream cannot officially/legally be called 'ice cream' in the US and Canada without having 10% fat. I guess that makes sense because milk cannot be called cream until it is at 10% fat either. So a lower fat content ice cream is really just ice milk.

Gelato is served slightly warmer than ice cream is. You shouldn't have a nice balanced scoop on the top of the cone with gelato but rather a carefully-crafted, spread on with a spatula and eat it soon structure.  Ice cream will melt slower, which is a plus, but eat it too fast and you'll get one of those frozen headaches.

Ice cream is also made more quickly than gelato which is rotated very very slowly until it reaches the right consistency. Therefore gelato has less air in it, officialy none added, than ice cream and should not suffer as heavily from freezer burn if stored (but generally, it's all eaten before it goes back in the freezer anyhow).

Do you like creamy or fruity flavors?  Gelato has them both. My first year in Italy I would venture to Piazza Oberdan to a gelateria with green-apple flavour. Tangy and sweet and yum!  In terms of the creamier versions there are dark chocolate (with or without added flavors such as pepperoncino, orange, coffee etc) or various creams, vanillas and hazelnuts. Most gelateria have on offer at least 10-15 flavors at any one time, most of which are of the creamy variety with seasonal fruits flavors mixed in the lot.  One warning about gelato however (for those of you with allergies or mums-to-be) quite a lot of the cream flavors contain egg yolks which, due to the nature of gelato, obviously haven't been cooked.
The verdict is that gelato simply isn't ice cream at all and my mouth knew it all along.

One universal and terribly annoying common factor that both Gelateria and Ice cream shops have in common is those strange plastic napkins they offer on the counter. Is it just me, or do the people who work there love seeing you wipe the drips all over yourself as you struggle with the napkins and end up with a puddle on your dress?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

layout done on Hick!

why do old ladies always want to touch pregnant bellies?
Creating an animated short film isn't easy, especially when you're as easily distracted and yet ridiculously over-ambitious as I am.  Not only does it take hours and hours of creating, imagining and then setting up the characters, files and situations, but then you have to animate easy and every shot, frame by frame (even if it does seem 'easier' than the olden-days of hand-drawn animation).  I'm lucky enough o have been able to work with some fantastic new artists on my own short-film project and it takes a bit of the edge off but it's still a molassesly-slow process.

I'm thrilled to announce however that we have reached a milestone this week with Hick!! Both Scene1 and Scene2 (there are only two scenes thank goodness) are out of the 'storyboard' phase in production and we have completed layout for all 94 shots.  In other words, we'll soon be ready to push through an intensive animation-only phase of the project.

I'm in the midst of finishing up some work on the 'new' rigs and when that's done will start recruiting new animators for the workload, as well as taking on a lot of the shots myself. It's a huge relief to watch the animatic without any more storyboard illustrations as well, even if they were beautifully done.

Baby steps my friends, baby steps. Working on Hick! one frame at a time.

For more info about Hick! or to sign up to be part of the team visit  We're looking for maya animators, riggers, texture artists, sfx specialists, premier editiors and technical fx specialists.

Monday, 6 May 2013

yoga monday

I have a membership at the local gym and they offer a yoga class on Monday evenings which I go to when I get the chance.  I'll probably go tonight.

I'm interested in yoga but can't say I'm 'into' it as such or that I practise it daily in the same way I practise meditation, but I do dabble. I have to say that I can see the draw and the benefits when I manage to stick to it for more than a few times in a row.  But, being a busy mum and my gym only offering it twice a week (the other slot is during the afternoon when I'm home with Sera) I don't get around to practising as much as I'd like to.

If you also can't get to a course or a class there are a few ways of practising yoga at home that I've found helpful. I sometimes follow along with a DVD by Antonia Kidman.  It's a bit fast paced for me at times and she does a lot of sun salutes which can be quite cardiovascular so I'm not always feeling up to it.

Another option, though much more technical and clinical in nature is a free app offered by women's health magazine Hot Body Yoga. There are set programs which 'talk you into and out of' poses and asanas. There are a few very brief sequences which are nice to follow.

I also have a copy of Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Meditation Practise  CDs. There are 4 CDs in totla, two of which are 45minute long yoga sessions that you're meant to follow at home as a compliment to the guided meditation study on the other 2 CDs. These CDs are meant for people who are trying to attain a higher level of mindfulness and stress management in their daily lives whether they are facing physical challenges or not, but the practise does stem from a medical background.

When I practise at home sometimes Sera joins along with me. She can do pretty much any of the poses that I can and often much more successfully. I think as soon as she turns 3 we'll look for a course we can go to together as Mummy - Kid Yoga is becoming popular here as well.

Just for fun check out this video: Yoga for Wine Lovers and you'll be touching on a few of my favorite subjects

Saturday, 4 May 2013

light & easy mint and garlic meatballs

I had a helper for peeling the garlic
 Here's what you'll need:

500g minced beef
large bunch of fresh mint (stems removed)
2 cloves of garlic
1 egg
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
large pinch of sea salt
30g of Parmesan cheese (the real kind really is much better than the powder... for all of you not living in Italy)
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
splash of milk


Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor.

Form little meatballs or meat logs and place them on a oven-paper covered cookie sheet.  The smaller the forms you make the faster they will cook.

Pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes... turning once halfway

Slice and serve - here I've paired it with a garden-fresh salad and boiled seasoned potatoes.

Buon Appetito!

Friday, 3 May 2013

off to Friuli - part 2

this is part 2 of our Friuliano wine trip... for part 1 click here

Sera woke us on Friday morning and we all went downstairs for breakfast in our cottage's kitchen. Our friends soon joined us and we enjoyed bread, coffee, tea, fruit and cookies before heading out.

Our first stop was the cantina comunale in Cormons

Later on we went to the Cantina and had a break in their courtyard.

At Mulin Vecio in Gradisca d'Isonzo I had, sadly to say, the worst dining experience I've ever had while living in Italy.  We initially chose the restaurant because it was recommended by the Slow Food guide, which is normally spot on with reagrds to restaurants and good eating. In this case they couldn't have been more wrong, however and I'm planning to write them to warn them that their reputation is on the line if they keep promoting this establishment.  We had booked a table outside and so when we weren't greeted at the entrance, made our way to the courtyard, where the table was set up for our party. Everyone was hungry and eager to eat and the kids needed to be fed first. When we finally found someone who seemed to be popping in and out of the kitchen (not a waitress exactly) and asked her to heat the baby food, we didn't get a response, just the jar snatched from my friend's hands.

Now, we're lucky that in Italy little kids are accomodated for at all but after our experience with the crayons and the dominoes from the night before you can imagine our surprise at the contrast. Another friend at the table tried to explain the gesture saying that the Friuliani are just brusk like that, but as I suspected, there was more to the story.

The baby food arrived warmed to satisfaction 15 minutes later and we still hadn't seen any wait staff. It seemed as if no one worked there. When we finally did find the waiter and asked for the menu he said there was none (not uncommon for a small restaurant in italy) and began to list the dishes. Pasta and Fagioli, BaccalĂ  con Polenta or Hot Dogs and Crauti.... and that's it. That's all they had!

Well, now having wasted 30 minutes of our lives and the baby eating we couldn't walk out and were stuck with the selection, none of which suitable for either Sera or I.  In the end we ordered 4 pasta fagioli, a salumi plate and a baccala.  After another 30 minutes only teo of the pasta fagioli turned up at the table and the salumi on a styrofoam platter. After having cancelled the others which never arrived we went inside to pay the bill only to discover that the whole debaucle cost 30 euros per person!!  It was infuriating. Not having a written menu meant they could charge whatever they wanted and we'd have to pay it.
Avoid this restaurant!

It was 26 degrees outside and sunny when wre got back to La Subida so Sera and I changed into bathing suits and head down to the pool to check things out.  The main part of the pool was sectioned off as closed but the shallow area was open so we dangled our feet in the very cold water for a while before Sera jumped in for a quick dip. I couldn't handle the temperature and decided that for me up to the knees was fine. Afterwards we played in their garden and playground and then went back tot he room to rest up for dinner.

Photos of gustobase, Cividale del Friuli
This photo of gustobase is courtesy of TripAdvisor
We ended up wandering around the town of Cividale del Friuli in search for somewhere to eat. Settling upon Gustobase, an adorable tiny cafe located in Piazza Paolo Diacono, we grabbed a corner boot in the back and proceeded to order pretty much every starter and pasta dish on the menu (afteral, we didn't really have lunch).  The food and service was gorgeous from start to finish, the atmosphere delightful with retro digital clocks and wood panelling, as well as a healthy wine cellar.  This meal entirely made up for lunch!!

Piazza Paolo Diacono, 24
33043 Cividale del Friuli, Italy
tel: 0039432731383


To come in part 3: Trieste, a long walk, Pordenone

Thursday, 2 May 2013

well dressed for 30 days challenge - part 1

I'm always throwing on the same old pair of jeans in the morning and some t-shirt and rushing out the door. Then when I go shopping I see all the lovely new clothes each season and beat myself up about not wearing the stuff I already own. I wish I could be glamorous or stylish or even just relatively 'put-together' in the morning before I face the world but I always feel like it takes so much effort.

It's not that I don't have nice clothes, its just a habit I have that I don't think to wear them. I looked through my closet just to get an idea of what I'm not wearing daily and found out I have over 25 lovely dresses that I barely ever get any use out of.

So, I've taken a vow to wear those dresses this month. Rain or shine, good mood or foul, formal or casual occasions I promise that for the month of May 2013 I will make every effort to 'dress' myself each day. My jeans, trousers, t-shirts and blouses are all under lock and key and you will be my witnesses on this experiment.

Some ground rules if you want to join in with me on this adventure:

  • dresses can be work over or under other clothes.
  • any of the dresses can be worn more than once
  • dresses do not need to be worn at the gym, pool (obviously) or to bed but do need to be worn at all other times.
  • you may not look like a bag lady or crazy person (within the limits of fashion... A lot of celebrities look like crazy people to me), so accessorise and combine with other items of clothing as required.

Day 1

black twirly wrap convertible dress: Tristan, cardigan: Furla, glasses: Prada, boots: shoemaker on Via Ripamonti, necklace:Accessorize Outlet

Day 2

grey merino wool dress: Uniqlo, blacksheep sweater: Oyosho, boots: shoemaker on via Ripamonti, doll: Kewpie, necklace: H&M

Observations so far:
-changing at the gym is faster
-I've gotten 3 compliments on how I'm dressed
-wearing dresses out shopping forces you to shop for more dresses (or to take full outfits into the changing room... tops and bottoms)

Check back in with me for updates on how it's going! 

my own pineapple experiment

I recently pinned a really intriguing post from ModernParentsMessyKids (a blog I LOVE by the way) about regrowing your food from food scraps.  I love how the article is set up and the tips it gives (with other info on regrowing spring onions and avocadoes), as well as the chart she's made for her daughter to 'observe the changes'. I think Sera's a bit too little still for something like that, but if your kids are a bit older it can be a super fun project to do together.

I have to admit that the only pineapple I can ever remember eating came from a jar so buying it at the supermarket wasn't easy. What kind to choose?!? All this keeping in mind that before you have food scraps you have to actually eat the food.

I wasn't really sure what to do with the fruit part when I got home. I ate some but it didn't taste at all like the kind in the jar or anything like what I was expecting. I suspect I chose a fruit that wasn't quite ripe yet. I suppose I should ahve read the article on how to choose a pineapple.

I did find a nicely illustrated article on wikihow which helped out quite a bit with the cleaning and preparing of the 'leaves' and can help you through the process as well.

It's only early days and I don't expect to see any growth yet, but I wondered if I could get some of you onboard and we could all grow our pineappe tops together? Or maybe you've experimented yourself in thepast and can give more tips?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

nominated for a Liebster award!

I've been blogging for just under a month now and am thrilled to have been nominated for the Liebster award by lovely Vicky over at A Lovely Little Addiction

The Liebster Award, ("lovely" in German) is an award given to new bloggers by fellow bloggers. It's a way to get a bit more exposure and to answer a few questions about yourself.

Here are the questions and my answers:

1) Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging publicly after many years of keeping a private blog/diary. It's a format for discussing ideas, showcasing crafts and connecting with readers... also I hope it will help with my rusty writing skills. Whenever I'm at a newstand I get frustrated because there isn't a magazine thart's perfect for me... so I decided to write one myself.

2) If you could eat lunch anywhere in the world, where and what would you eat?
I would have a poutine in Montreal, possibly on a Styrofoam plate in the cafeteria of Dawson college... I know it seems crazy, but with access here in Italy to fantastic food all the time whenever I get wantful about food it's nostalgia for something from 'home' which certainly isn't good for me.

3) Whom, what, where does your blogging inspiration come from?
I'm very inspired by Melissa over at So About What I Said with regards to blogging in general in a magazine format. Oprah Winfrey and her enthusiasm for entertainment and information. Matha Stewart when it comes to crafts and my daughter for everything else.

4) How do you handle a stressful day?
I've been practising meditation daily for almost a year now so my stressful days are happily becomming less and less frequent. In the case of a crisis, or when I'm losing my cool, I take refuge in water... a shower, a bath or swimming. I think it's my natural element and generally does the trick.

5) What do you hope that your children remember about you?
I want my children to remember that I was present, supportive and smiling. I'm not always the happiest or sunniest of people, but it's a characteristic I'm trying to grow and develop.

6) What is your favorite recipe?
To cook it's got to be a stove top slow cook shoulder with veg in red wine. To eat, it's old fashioned chicken soup.

7. What is your favorite quote?
"The purpose of our lives is to be happy" Dalai Lama
(now, go out and start studying what that means!)
8. What projects are you working on right now?
I am still working on my animated short film Hick! daily and am trying to grow a pineapple from the top of an old pineapple. 

9. What is the best thing about you?
Can someone really be objective about this question? I suppose I have a great capacity for adaptation, change and growth... but is that the best thing? 

10. Will you follow the bloggers that you nominate?
Sure will!

11. What makes you giggle?
Unusual or strange comedy - think Kids in The Hall or Alan Partridge

11 facts about myself..
- I collect paper dolls
- I used to act
- I'm on a 'journey of self discovery' (now THAT makes me giggle!!)
- I'm fluent in Italian
- I live in an ex-ceramics factory
- most of the toys I buy for my daughter I really just want for myself
- my blood type is 0-
- I love animation
- I remember the lyrics to songs really easily
- I'm a tidy person stuck in a messy person's body
- I'm 'winging' it with this whole blogging thing.... 

Here are some more Bloggers I nominated for the Liebster Award…Check them out!!

Silvia - Born In '82
Elizabeth - Letters From Florence
Michelle - Maple Leaf Mamma
Rosa -  Bella Avventura

** I honestly found it very hard to find new blogs as I'm only just established myself... These 6 will have to do for now but I promise to post and nominate 5 more as soon as I find suitable candidates! Another new project!**

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1. Thank the Leibster Award Nominator on their blog & link back to their blog.
2. Answer 11 questions from the nominator
3. List 11 random facts about yourself
4. Present the award to 11 other blogs that have 200 followers or less that you feel deserve the award. 
Leave a comment on their blog that you did so.
5. Copy & POST the award on your blog

Disney princesses

the gorgeous Disney princess designer addition

I tend to get really irritated when people talk negatively about Disney. I feel quite protective both of the cooperation and the memory of the man himself. I grew up with Walt introducing 'The Wonderful world of Disney' on the TV and remember my own passion for animation being sparked during one such episode when it was revealed to me that animation is all just moving drawings ("Whaaaaaattt? So you're saying I could bring something to LIFE?" Childhood Jess screamed.)

My own experience with the Disney princesses begins with Cinderella breaking into song and telling me about dreaming and wishing and I haven't stopped since. Then, when I was at the perfect age for absorbing the maximum Disney influence The Little Mermaid came out on the big screen. Those two have remained my favourite princesses to date.

Recently Sera has gotten her own form of the princess bug. Disney Junior has recently released 'Sofia the First - once upon a princess' (Sofia la principessa - C'era una Volta una principessa) and I'm currently being subjected to watch it 2 or 3 times a day.

sweet Sofia is new to being a princess
She is also carrying around 3 princess dolls (Cinderella, Aurora and Belle) from a playdough set where forms squeeze the dolls and create new dresses for them. She sleeps with them, eats with them and even bathes with them. The only place they don't join here is at nursery where I'm sure they'd disappear into the realm of lost toys.... They do however wait in the car for the end of the day.

In re watching the movies as a parent I've found that I'm noticing completely different things than I did while studying animation or in my own childhood.

Cinderella seems to be an eternal optimist, and kind in every way but a bit of a pushover for today's standards. It's easy for us to criticise her saying she shouldn't put up with her step-mother's bossing her around, but presuming she doesn't have a choice (the narrator at the beginning of the film clearly states that she has been abused before arriving at the stage of being a house maid), hasn't she dealt with adversity in the best of ways? Making friends where she can find them (in the pests that share the chateau) and treating her adversaries only with kindness, Cinderella wakes every day to a cloud of hope that her dreams may come true. Wow... My daughter can learn that!

And the new kid on the scene, Sofia, is pretty great as well. She's honest about her short-comings and naive but is able to find ways to fix her problems and mistakes, and hopefully to learn from them (time will tell as the actual series starts mid-may here). Her family, and royal lineage comes from two presumably widowed or divorced people coming together to form a new family, and though Disney and fairy tales in general have always dealt with similar situations, never in such a positive light. Have they realised how many little kids were terrified of the possibility of new step-parents being cruel?

What do you think of Disney princesses? Who are your favourites and why? What can we learn from them?