Tag Archives: Inspirational

Home is where the heart is

Heart-shaped patriotic cheesecake with raspberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows

Heart-shaped patriotic cheesecake with raspberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows

Today’s post is not about food or recipes. It is not about one of my silly stories either. Today’s post is about something important that recently happened to me.

You see that little blue book with the golden eagle on the cover? Yup, it is mine and the big news is… I’m proud to say that I’ve recently become an American citizen!

We have called the East Coast of the United States home for many years now and it has been a wonderful, caring and nurturing home to all of us. I’m very excited that I can now fully take part in the country’s political life by exercising my right to vote and give my contribution, no matter how small.

My family and most of my friends are very excited for me. A handful of friends who have never lived here asked me what all the fuss is about since there are so many other beautiful countries (including my native one) where one can live in.

Oh well, let me tell you in a few words what all the fuss is about.

I think that every country is beautiful in its own, unique way.  Every country has wonderful things to offer and each one has its own, peculiar problems and issues that need to be fixed. Italy is not an exception and neither is the US.

Patriotic cheesecake with raspberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows

Patriotic cheesecake with raspberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows

However, speaking of the US, the following are two of the most important reasons that, in my view, make this such a great country.

Firstly, this is a country where you feel and are truly free to be whoever and whatever you want to be without being judged or categorized. This is a country where freedom in terms of religious beliefs, sexual orientations and race are not just beautiful words on an historical piece of paper preserved behind a sheet of glass! Of course, this is a generalization because for starters the US is a huge country and your mileage may vary depending on where in the US you live. Also, there is no country on earth that is immune to intolerance and ignorance. Those are vicious diseases that afflict the entire humanity and it is up to any decent human being to give their contribution to contain them as much as possible. Let’s just say that, since we moved to the Eastern Coast of the US, we have been lucky enough to live in places and communities where human beings peacefully coexist and respect one another no matter where they come from, what they do for a living, what their religion or shade of skin is and regardless of whether they are straight or gay and – this – my friends, is a true blessing.

Secondly, the US is known as a land of opportunity. This is not just a promotional catchphrase. It is the sacrosanct truth. This is a country that values and fosters talent and skills above all and whose educational system and work environment are based on meritocracy and reward intelligent, honest and hard working individuals. If you are smart and willing to work hard and with integrity, the Star-Spangled Banner’s land will give you an opportunity and then it is up to you to seize it and make the best of it. Of course, this is once again a generalization, but I can talk only from experience and so far ours hasn’t proved me wrong.

Patriotic cheesecake with raspberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows

Patriotic cheesecake with raspberries, blueberries and mini marshmallows

Now, bear with me a little longer, if you will, and let me give you a brief account of the oath ceremony, which is the last step in the process to become a United States citizen at the end of which a judge of the competent local court hands you your certificate of naturalization. It is a very beautiful and touching ceremony.

That morning Stefano, Her Majesty and I along with 55 other people and their respective families showed up in court in a state of excitement mixed with mild apprehension since we didn’t know exactly what to expect.

The court staff was professional and courteous and the “check-in” formalities were carried out in an organized way. Once we were all accounted for, the judge showed up and gave us a beautiful speech about this country which made me feel proud to be about to become one of its citizens. After reciting the pledge of allegiance and being sworn in, each of us was called and delivered their certificate of naturalization. The judge was cheerful and patient and at the end of the ceremony he took the time to pose with each family for multiple photographs.

During the ceremony, I kept looking around me and I saw people of I don’t even know how many nationalities. At the beginning, I thought I had absolutely nothing in common with most of them. However, by the end of the ceremony, I realized I was wrong. All the people in that court room had something in common with one another. Not just something, but a dream that was about to come true for all of us and our families at the very same time.

Later that morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee with a friend. She is relatively new to my life (even though letting new people into my world is not exactly my forte) and she had been supportive all the way – she is the one who gave me the beautiful white, red and blue flower bouquet to celebrate the outcome of my English/History interview that I previously published photographs of.

That morning she surprised me with the work of art that you see in the last photograph of this post. It’s a heart-shaped map representing the three places on earth that I love the most: Rome, my hometown, New York, where it all began, and Fairfield, the place I now call home. It was so unexpected. And so thoughtful that it left me speechless and, believe me, it doesn’t happen often. I love this present more than I can say and I will always treasure it – along with the heartwarming thought of the friend who gave it to me.

I wish you and your families a wonderful and happy holiday season.

Francesca Xx

Home is where the heart is

Home is where the heart is

Lately… Inside Chanel

Assortment of Chanel items

When I really like something, I tend to get obsessed with it. One of my latest obsessions? The latest CHANEL N°5 commercial – The One That I Want.

It’s a short film once again directed by the super-talented Baz Luhrmaan, starring Gisele Bundchen and Michiel Huisman. Needless to say, Gisele is insanely gorgeous and looks like a goddess even without any make-up on. However, the one who really struck me was Michiel Huisman. Beside being too handsome to be true (have you seen him in season 4 of Game of Thrones? No? You don’t know what you have missed – check out this YouTube clip!), he is very expressive and can really act! Kind of important for an actor, don’t you think? 😜

Coco Chanel perfume bottle

I adore everything about this film: the cast, the clothing (including his light blue suit – of course only someone that beautiful can wear a light blue suit and look divine. Any other man would look ridiculous! Sorry guys!), the soundtrack (the extraordinary adaptation of the Grease song, You’re The One That I Want, so brilliantly interpreted by Lo-Fang), the locations (Fiji, Montauk and New York) and the story of the powerful and independent Chanel N°5 woman that in the end chooses love, including the utterly unrealistic detail that she opens the letter that the love of her life left for her before walking out on her only after the photo shoot. There is no woman on earth that would have waited that long!

Anyway, I read every article and watched every video that I could find about the making of this precious film and, following my little obsession, I stumbled upon Inside Chanel, 12 online chapters that tell the story of Mademoiselle Chanel and her iconic creations in a way that simply blew me away.

Chanel tag

The charming and unbelievably chic voice of Madame Hélène Famin brings you on a wonderful fairy tale journey through the House of Chanel, from the creation of her magical perfume and its hidden symbolism to her revolutionary and one-of-a-kind 1932 Bijoux de Diamantscollection, from the creation of her timeless and iconic jacket inspired by mensware to the meaning behind the recurrent presence of the king of the animal kingdom (it was her zodiac sign and constellation) and the use of five emblematic colors.

The Chanel log

Chapters 5, 6 and 7 focus on Mademoiselle Chanel’s life, from her humble origins and childhood to the encouter of Boy Capel, the love of her life, who inspired her but tragically died in a car accident, from the way she revolutionized the fashion world and became one of the most famous couturière of her times to her stay in Venice and the meeting of friends and lovers whose different styles and cultures influenced her sense of fashion. The chapters go on to tell about her temporary retirement to Switzerland during WWII and her return to fashion when she was in her early seventies, to be first humiliated and then praised as a genius by the whole world for creating the legendary Chanel suit. The series then comes to an end focusing on her latest creations until her death that happened at the Ritz in Paris on a Sunday of 1971, the only day of the week when Mademoiselle Chanel never worked.

I enjoyed these short films immensely. There is no other way to describe it. I truly hope you will love them as much as I did because after all… “Once upon a time, there was Chanel”.

F. Xx

Assortment of Chanel items

What happened to fairy tales? A review of "The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm"

The Fairy Tales of the Brothers GrimmReading has been one of my greatest passions my entire life. I love everything about books. To be completely honest, I do have a sort of fetish obsession with books as objects. I love their shapes and the shivering feeling that certain covers can give me. I look forward to starting a new book waiting, with trepidation, to find out what kind of world that particular book is going to unveil to me. If I see a damaged book or whose pages have been torn or dogeared, I feel a physical pain and I end up wondering what kind of human being is capable to “treat” a book like that. 😉 I have the utmost respect for books and I think they should be treated as very precious items.

As a parent, I think it is my duty and my privilege to teach my daughter the importance and the beauty of reading and how books make you learn and understand many things and, therefore, ultimately make you a better person. Fortunately, my daughter loves reading and reading has become an integral part of our daily routine – plus, I do not recall a time when I said no to my daughter asking me to buy her a book.

Having said that, you can now understand my happiness when I came across “The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm”. The purple cover along with the lovely illustration of Sleeping Beauty can by themselves give you a taste of the magic and the beauty that the book contains: it is an amazing collection of twenty-seven of the most enchanting Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales brought together to celebrate their 200th anniversary. There are the most famous fairy tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, all “restored” to their original version, as well as lesser-known but, certainly, not less magical tales such as The Golden Goose and The Fisherman and His Wife.

The tales are accompanied by superb vintage illustrations made by important visual artists from the 1820s all the way up to the 1950s. They are so beautiful and unique – the kind of artwork that any mother dreams to decorate her daughter’s bedroom with.

From The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: Snow WhiteDuring the last few years, we have been watching adaptations of The Prince Frog and Rapunzel that went so far from the original version that I’m pretty sure the poor Brothers Grimm could not help but turn in their graves. The female heroines are pictured as some sort of warriors who want to be always in control and believe they know everything but have nothing of the grace and the magic of the original princesses. They are so strong-willed and stubborn that they would emasculate the strongest of the princes!

Do not get me wrong: I do think that women should be strong, independent and self-sufficient, but I am a firm believer that, at least in fairy tales, it is the prince that should fight the dragon and the princess the one who must be rescued. After all, deep inside, isn’t that what every woman dreams of when she is a little girl and, maybe, even afterwards? I really thought it was time to find the flavor of the ancient tales once again and that’s exactly what this book will do for a little girl: open the door to a lost yet enchanting world whose memories will accompany her during the life journey.

Stuff We Like!This is a perfect book for your daughter, niece, granddaughter, your best friend’s child and for any other girl who is willing to dream. However, be mindful that the fairy tales in the book are the original version that was written by the Brothers Grimm, which departs from the milder “Disney-format” adaptations that we are all used to and may therefore make them more suitable for older children who have the maturity to elaborate their contents and put them into context.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as my daughter and I are!

Have a wonderful week.

Ladurée: a world of beauty beyond macarons

Stuff We Like!

This is my first post of our new column so I decided to start in style.

Ladurée… the echo of this brand is called luxury. Of course, I’m talking about the worldwide known French pâtisserie maison founded by the miller, Louis Ernest Ladurée, in Paris at the end of the 19th century. I’m sure all of you are more than familiar with les macarons, Ladurée’s most famous creation: those small, round mini cakes, crisp on the outside, with a smooth filling in the middle, that can satisfy even the more sophisticated palate. When you buy a box of those sweet masterpieces, you are buying much more than dessert. You are buying an icon. Let me tell you a story to prove my point.

As Sophia from the Golden Girls (the famous American sitcom of the ’80s) would say, picture it: London, a few years ago. I was with one of my clients. He was the perfect incarnation of the type of clients I was dealing with back then: highly educated, rich (which didn’t necessarily mean sophisticated), exclusively capable of talking about money and dreaming about more money and totally used to getting whatever he wanted whenever he wanted to. He had been invited to a dinner party by the wife of a gentleman he was anxious to make a deal with and he was determined to impress the hostess. Sure, he could have brought an expensive bottle of wine or champagne but, let’s be honest, this is a gift that would be more appropriate for a host rather than a hostess and he was a huge believer in the saying that “behind every successful man there is always a woman”. Can you prove him wrong? 😉

Anyway, he dragged me into one of the Ladurée stores in London where we waited for quite a while (it was Friday late afternoon and the store was very busy) before reaching the most beautiful and chic pastry counter I have ever seen. Obviously, my client knew exactly what he wanted (those kind of men always know what they want!) He picked a huge green box, gorgeously decorated, and selected the macarons that would determine his destiny, flavor by flavor. As we were leaving the store, I noticed that the people with the unmistakable Ladurée green bag were as thrilled as those people who carry the equally unmistakable Tiffany’s blue bag. Their face was saying “I bought something very, very special and I feel great about it”. Needless to say, a few days later my client called me to tell me that he had made the deal and it was time to get to work.

Display of Ladurée books

What I didn’t know back then is that Ladurée is much more than macarons. Beside the legendary sweets (cakes, pastries and chocolates), they have the cutest shopping bags, one of the most elegant beauty collections, a candle collection to die for, a home fragrance collection I can’t wait to try and… books. Well, Ladurée books are really the subject matter of this post. I know it took me quite a while to get to the point, but here we are.

Ladurée books are not regular books. When you see the marvelous powder pastel boxes these books come in, you know that you are in for something special. You stand there in astonishment and just the boxes can send shivers down your spine. 🙂 Then you open the boxes and, through the tissue paper that wraps all Ladurée books, you sense the luxury and the richness of the covers. When you finally pull yourself together, get the books in your hands and start flipping through them, you are instantly in heaven.

The two must-have Ladurée recipe books are Sucré (Dolce in the Italian version) and Salé (Savory in the English version).

Ladurée's Sucré and Salé

Sucré unveils the pastry secrets of Ladurée Chef Pâtissier, Philippe Andrieu, from the financiers to the rose cream bigné, the crème brûlée, the éclairs and… les macaronsbien sûr, in all their flavors: incredible recipes presented with an impeccable food styling and exquisite photography. The book also contains the indispensable basic pastry recipes, i.e., those recipes that any baker or pastry chef should perfectly master before daring call themselves as such.

Salé is the cooking gem of Ladurée Chef de Cuisine Michel Lerouet and the natural evolution of Sucré because most of the recipes represent the perfect marriage of sweet and savory in the French gastronomy. The book is divided by occasion: brunch, picnic, lunch, formal and informal dinner. Every occasion is an apotheosis of colors and flavors, from sandwiches to salads, soups, eggs, as well as meat, fish and seafood appetizers and main courses, all immortalized by lovely photographs. Not to mention that lots of the recipes are accompanied by tips of Monsieur le Chef, which is something that makes those recipes even more precious.

If Sucré and Salé are books that I think every cook on the planet should own ;-), l’Art de recevoir is a book that anyone, I repeat, anyone should have unless, of course, they live on a deserted island! Once again the book is divided by occasion: ten moments of the day (from breakfasts to family lunches, picnics, afternoon teas, buffet dinners and formal dinners) for which la Maison offers menu ideas and stylish recipes (with the essential chef’s tips), advice and suggestions on how to create elegant table settings and decorations as well as flower arrangements and, last but certainly not least, mini-lessons of savoir-faire. Every page of this book exudes French elegance and style. The china, the glassware, the silverware, the tablecloths, every decorative object used in the settings are stunning and captured by gorgeous photographs. As the book says, “Très chic, Très Ladurée“.

Ladurée's L'Art de recevoir

I suggest you put l’Art de recevoir on your wish list keeping also in mind that this book is the perfect gift for anyone, including those not so crazy about cooking, because everyone aspires to be the perfect host or the perfect hostess and I think no one can resist Ladurée’s allure.

Unfortunately for my American friends, the one and only Ladurée store in the United States is in New York – where else could it be? 😉 However, if you do not live in the city that never sleeps or close by, do not despair: you can still buy these wonders online on amazon. On the other hand, if you live in the City or you happen to be there, make sure to make time to stop by their store on Madison Avenue (again, where else could Ladurée’s store be but the most chic of Manhattan’s Avenues?) because when you push the door it’s like teleportation: in an instant you’ll find yourself in Paris! Is there anything better than that?

À bientôt, mes amis!

PS: do you like my new flower glasses icon for this column? Isn’t that gorgeous? This new icon as well as all the illustrations on Flora’s Table are the artwork of our super talented friend, Alexandra Dichne. Alexandra is in the process of finalizing her soon-to-be launched blog. Of course, I will write a post about it as soon as her blog goes live, so stay tuned!

Clicks & Corks: the blogosphere keeps growing…

FrancescaHi Everyone!
Hope everyone on the East Coast is safe and warm. As far as we are concerned, Stefano has been shoveling a lot of snow yesterday…
Let me immediately say that this is not a proper post, but rather sort of an announcement. It will be very short and totally harmless, though 😉
Stefano has decided to also “fly solo” and has opened another blog! The name of his blog is Clicks & Corks. Any idea what his blog is all about? Anyone?… 😉
Well, it’s a blog about light and shadow and the obsession which any photographer has to live with: capturing the right moment.
His blog is also about his other passion. No, it’s not me because it is something that gets better with aging 😉
Yeah, you got it: wine, that magic, delicious liquid that seems to cure it all. 🙂
Just to be clear: this does not mean that Flora’s Table will lose its wine section. All the wine pairing recommendation will keep being published on Flora’s Table only and all the other wine-related posts (wine education, wine reviews and wine-related events) will be published both on Flora’s Table and Clicks & Corks.
Now, I won’t keep rambling on listing all the wonderful reasons why you should go check his blog out. In light of the”nature” of our relationship, it would not be appropriate and, if you know me, you would think that an alien took control of myself…
Well, whenever you have some time to spare, please go check it out and if you like what you see, do whatever you feel like doing (follow, like,  leave a comment or… none of the above!)
Have a wonderful Sunday!

The Super Sweet Blogging Award

Super Sweet Blogging AwardLast Christmas Eve, Fae of Fae’s Twist & Tango decided to play Santa and put something super sweet under our Christmas tree. 🙂 We want to thank Fae for passing on to us this lovely award. Fae is a very special lady of exotic origin who has been travelling the world since… forever! Her blog is much more than extraordinary recipes. She opens the door to new worlds taking her readers on a fascinating journey through amazing different cultures. You may want to check her blog out when you got a chance. I promise you won’t regret it! 🙂

The rules of the award are:

1 Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2 Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3 Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.
4 Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (12) blogs for the award, add a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5 Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

The Super Sweet Questions are:

1. Cookies or Cake? Cookies

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Hazelnut dark chocolate

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? In the morning

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? If someone would give me a sweet nickname, I would suggest that he or she sign up for therapy sessions! 😉

My nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Sweet Precision because Heather was born with the baking gene.
2. lovely buns because temptation must be rewarded.
3, 4, 5 & 6. Tortore, The Greedy Frog, Dans Ta Kitchenette and Ma Cuisine et Vous because everybody talks about Italians but when it comes to baking, let’s be honest, French do it better 😉
7. Bam’s Kitchen because of that unique exotic twist Bobbi always manages to put in.
8. piesandeyes because he believes that food should look good in addition to taste good.
9. Maria Dernikos because her baking skills are amazing.
10. at350degrees because of Carissa’s “bake-ology”.
11. The pancake princess and the protein prince because Erika makes me crave sweets even if I do not have a sweet tooth.
12. apuginthekitchen because of her extraordinary creativity.

Congratulations to all the nominees – you are all very well deserving!

It’s been raining awards!

Is there any better way to celebrate the holidays than spending them with the people you love, giggling about an award under the tree? I don’t think so! 😉  Before going crazy with grocery shopping, finalizing my holiday menu and setting the table, I want to be sure to put an award under the trees of some blogger friends – some recently met, some following us from the beginning, everyone amazing in his/her own way.

Before I get to the nomination business, I want to apologize in advance for not giving a brief description of each nominee blog. As you know, my parents are visiting and the time I have left to blog is really, really limited – they are pretty demanding guests, you know 😉

Let me just say that the nominees are a bunch of fantastic people which includes talented artists, crafty masters, gifted cooks, fashion experts and world travelers. Each of them will open you a door to a new world. They will tell you about their cultures, they will make you laugh, they will touch your heart with their artwork or their life experiences, they will make you think about the world which surrounds you, they will share tips about how to realize wonderful crafty projects, they will teach you how to cook pretty much anything that is edible. The holiday break is around the corner so I suggest you find some time to check each of the nominee blogs out. You’ll find plenty to fall in love with.

A. Blog of the Year 2012

Blog of the Year Award 1 star thumbnailThank you to Fae of Fae’s Twist & Tango for nominating Flora’s Table for this great award. Fae has Persian origins, was raised in Japan, moved to the United States in the Seventies, traveled the world ever since. Her international background is unique, her travel posts are informative and extremely interesting and her food so eclectically delicious. I recommend you check her blog out. You won’t regret it!

The rules of the award are:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ award, a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.

2. Write a blog post and tell nominate blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3. Please include a link back to this page ’Blog of the Year 2012 Award’ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.

5. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar… and start collecting stars…

Well, my nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Laura of the cook to love project

2. Dina of The World according to Dina

3. Sarah of diary of a house elf

4. Kimberly of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 4

5. Bobbi of Bam’s Kitchen

6. The gracious frog of The Greedy Frog

7. Anatoli of Talk-A-Vino

8. Violet of Violet Gallery

9. Genie of A Place Called Love

10. Daisy and the Fox

11. Jeanette of Global Grazers

B. Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

wonderful-team-awardI’m particularly happy that Flora’s Table has received this amazing award. During the last three months, I have learned that blogging is much more than publishing my posts and receiving likes. Blogging is about meeting other people and reading about their knowledge and life experiences. There is so much to read and learn! So, a huge thank you goes to Daisy and the Fox for this extraordinary award. Her recipes are fresh, creative and delicious. Go check her blog out as soon as you can. You’ll thank me later 😉

The rules for this award are pretty simple (thank goodness!): pass on the award to 14 nominees!

And my nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Stephane of My French Heaven

2. Sofia of Mamsell Proust

3. Chiara of Kiara Style

4. Zanzana of Zanzanaglob

5. A Twist of Couture

6. Jeanette of Global Grazers

7. Fae of Fae’s Twist & Tango

8. Candy of lovely buns

9. Rebecca of Lady or Not… Here I Come

10. Allison of spontaneous tomato

11. Sarah of diary of a house elf

12. Kimberly of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 4

13. The gracious frog of The Greedy Frog

14. Jill of afternoon artist

C. The Very Inspiring Blog Award

Very Inspiring Blog AwardThank you to Candy of lovely buns for this wonderful award. Candy is a Scot living in Alsace (France) and, judging by the perfection of her recipes, I can tell she has been there for a long time 😉  Her dishes are simply mouth-watering and her food pictures are great. I guess I do not have to tell you: just go and check her out. Yup, this is my extra Christmas gift to you! 🙂

The rules for this award are the following:

– Display the award logo on your blog.

– Link back to the person who nominated you.

– State 7 things about yourself.

– Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them.

– Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about myself

1. I love old movies

2. One of my favorite activities is… sleeping 😉

3. I’m a perfectionist

4. Everything for me is either black or white: I struggle to see the grey

5. I get speechless in front of acts of rudeness. My tongue seems to freeze and when I’m ready to react, it’s always too late.

6. I think either you are born with a sense of style or you are not. There is no way you can acquire it later on.

7. I’m the worst driver ever.

My nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Carissa of at350degrees

2. The guys of The London Flower Lover

3. Jill of afternoon artist

4. Heather of Sweet Precision

5. Zanzana of Zanzanaglob

D. Liebster Award

Liebster AwardThank you to Carissa of at350degrees and Zanzana of Zanzanaglob for giving Flora’s Table this lovely award. Carissa was born with the baking gene and she thinks that baking is the cure to all. Consequently, her baking “medicines” are amazing and her sweet treats to die for. Zanzana in an Italian living in Milan. Her blog is more than just great, delicious food (do you know that she makes her own butter?). She tells her readers about life in Milan, all the events happening in Italy and Europe in general and, last but not least, her dream of growing vegetables in a rented garden in Milan. Yup, pretty cool, huh?

The rules for this award are the following:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.

3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs.

Eleven facts about me:

1. I love reading the classics

2. I’m taking French classes

3. I’m obsessed with cleanliness

4. I’m a Law&Order addict: I can watch even ten episodes in a row

5. I enjoy reading gossip magazines

6. I treasure the time spent with… myself 😉

7. I do not drink red wine (ouch!)

8. I do not watch horror movies. What’s the point of getting scared to death?

9. I loathe vulgarity

10. If I could, I would go to the movie theater pretty much every night (and yes, I would eat the nasty nachos with cheese!)

11. I have been waiting with trepidation for the beginning of the new season of my favorite shows: Downton Abbey and Smash.

Questions from Zanzana:

Q1. How would you define yourself?
A1. Not easy to live with.

Q2. Which languages do you speak?
A2. Italian and English

Q3. What is your favorite mean of transportation?
A3. Subway

Q4. What do you feel when you cook?
A4. Well, it depends… happy, focused, busy

Q5. What is your favorite animal?
A5. I’m not an animal person but if I have to pick one I would say… the leopard

Q6. What do you normally read?
A6. Novels, biographies, classics

Q7. Where would you like to live?
A7. Exactly where I am now 🙂

Q8. Is there a city you feel you really belong to?
A8: New York City

Q9. Do you grow any vegetables at home?
A9. No

Q10. How would you define Fashion?
A10. Coco Chanel used to say: ” Fashion fades, only style remains the same”. I think it is very true.

Q11. What would be your first wish for your letter to Santa Claus?
A.11 To keep my family healthy and happy

Questions from Carissa

1. Day or night? Night

2. Birthday or Christmas? This is a tough one… can I pick both?

3. Dogs or cats? Neither

4. Breakfast or supper? Breakfast

5. Pancakes or waffles? Neither

6. History or math? History

7. Movies or television? Movies

8. Superheroes or Vampires? Superheroes

9. Coffee or tea? Coffee

10. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

11. Heels or flats? Flats

Questions for the nominees:

1. What’s your dream job?

2. Would you like to live somewhere else? If yes, where?

3. You would never…

4. What’s your next project?

5. Do you read before falling asleep?

6. What’s your favorite form of art?

7. You are obsessed with…

8. What’s on your list for Santa?

9. Do you play any musical instruments?

10. What’s the best gift you have ever received?

11. What’s your biggest regret?

My nominees are (in no particular order):

1. Raphaelle of Fait Maison

2. Heather of Sweet Precision

3. Lydie of Le Blog des Surprises

4. Justine of Rondo Takes Brooklyn

5. Scott of Greenhorn Photos

6. Misty of hayride to heaven

7. Christina of Small Kitchen Chronicles

8. Robin of Making Rainbows

9. Axel of Freshipe

10. Tim of The Forester Artist

11. Tortore

My warmest congratulations to all the nominees – you are all very well deserving!

One last note: I wanted to pass on an award to B of Just Add Attitude. However, when she started blogging, she decided not to take part in the “award process”. Obviously, her decision must be respected. I just suggest you pay her blog a visit because it is simply amazing.

May you and your families have a very happy holiday season!

Francesca

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Very Inspiring Blog AwardAnd this is crazy… so call me, maybe? Nah, just kidding! What is crazy and absolutely marvelous at the same time is that, on Thanksgiving day, Flora’s Table was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! We are thankful (of course!), honored and immensely happy for this award.

Well, let’s talk a bit about the amazing blogger who gave us the award. Her blog is all about shooting the light and capturing the perfect moment. Do you need any more hints? Yup, we are talking gorgeous photography here but…there is more. Kimberly combines the eye and sensibility of a great artist with a unique sense of humor. She is sweet and super funny and reading her posts is a real pleasure. Thank you so much Kimberly of WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot4 (chuckle) for this award. So, you guys do yourselves a big favor and check her blog out: I promise you will not regret it, although (consider yourselves warned!) you will get addicted to it 🙂

Before we get down to business, let me just thank Nicole and Stefano for their amazing work. Flora’s Table wouldn’t be what it is without their wonderful talent and commitment.

The Rules

1. Display the award logo on your blog
2. Link back to the person who nominated you
3. State 5 things about yourself
4. Pass the award on to 6 other bloggers and link to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back

Five things about me:

– I prefer giving gifts rather than receiving them: I’m not very good at showing happiness and excitement to the giver, especially if I do not quite like the gift 😉

– I’m a fashion addict. After all, I’m Italian: I was born with the fashion gene 😉

– I’m not romantic…at all!

– I have a wicked fascination about women who seemingly had everything to be happy (beauty, money and talent) and yet whose lives were miserable and died tragically – yeah, kind of weird, I know…

– I love the night and its magical silence. After 10pm is when I get the most creative. All of my posts are written at night.

And now, our six nominations to pass the award on, in no particular order:

  • My French Haeven, because Monsieur Stéphane est très chic et charmant, his recipes are unique and mouth-watering and his food photography is gorgeous.
  • Kiarastyle, because Chiara has an impeccable fashion taste and, by following her blog, I keep abreast of the latest fashion trends. Did I mention she is Italian? 😉
  • The Greedy Frog, because it is one of the most gracious… blogging frogs and the recipes are a true temptation for the palate.
  • gabicoatsworth, because Gabi is a kind, cheerful and supporting friend as well as a fantastic writer. Reading her essays and poems is such a pleasure!
  • the drunken cyclist, because his wine blog is sleek, informational and fun to read and… it’s about wine! 😉
  • Talk-A-Vino, because his wine blog is wonderful, chock-full of useful information and wine reviews and the host is a very gracious one.

Congratulations to all the nominees: your blogs are amazing and you sure deserve this award.

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Dawn of My Italian Cooking Blog

Flowers have been one of my passions my whole life. I was so into them that one July of a few years ago I took off from the gray Milan skies to attend a flower arrangement course in London (where the sky by the way wasn’t unfortunately any bluer!) When my teacher asked me what my goals were attending the course, I answered that I was there to learn any imaginable flower arrangement. She looked at me and said: “I can only teach you the basics… the rest is up to your creativity”. I treasured the concept and found it was so very true in many industries, including food. So, when I decided that I wanted to hone my cooking skills, I started from the bottom: I signed up for a basic Italian cooking course in Milan, and then I worked my way up from there, all the way to a restaurant management course.

I don’t have pretensions to teach anyone anything: I would just like to pass on some of the knowledge and skills that I have gained in my learning process. The real “secret ingredient”, creativity, is totally up to you to discover!

Since you got to start somewhere, the first recipe is that of the béchamel sauce, a French mother sauce which is the basis of many Italian recipes (such as lasagne!)  By learning how to make béchamel, you will master one of the building blocks that going forward you will need, or want, to incorporate into many delicious dishes of the Italian cuisine repertoire.

Now, quoting the great Elvis: “a little less conversation, a little more action please!” Let’s get to it, shall we?  🙂