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Tag Archives: La Dolce Vita

Yesterday the UN, and people all over the world, celebrated International Day of Happiness.

Given all the horrible things happening here on planet Earth, it would be very easy to shrug and think there’s nothing to be happy about.

Sometimes when I’m in a very good mood, I get a little freaked out.  Why am I in a good mood?  I should be cynical, depressed, and anxious.   It’s as if I have no right to be happy.   I meet a lot of expats in Rome.  Many are not happy and are suspicious of those who are.  Being happy is not “keeping it real.”  We end up fueling each others’ fire.

One of my dear friends said I should avoid miserable people.  Why get sucked into their constant negativity and pessimism?   True, we all have bad days, weeks, even months, but as I get older I find I have less patience for people who complain ALL the time but never do anything to change/improve their situation.

I tend to worry a lot, mostly about my future.  How will I pay my bills?  Will my business continue to grow?  Will I ever be fluent in Italian? Why is Drake so popular?   I lie awake at night and dwell on things I have no control over.  This is not healthy and I’m working on it.

When I’m happy it’s not because anything has really changed.  I still have the same bills, worries, and issues.  However, sometimes I do remember that I am extremely fortunate in ways that cannot be measured in dollars or euros.

It won’t be easy but I’m going to try my best to do the opposite of what I normally do, which is to worry and complain.

Another friend proclaimed that this was going to be a great year.  Based on what?  Nothing.  She believes it and therefore is going to do everything in her power to make it so.

I like the why she thinks.

Buon weekend!

(I adore this video.  I have to restrain myself from dancing when I hear this song while jogging.)

Before my first trip to Italy, nine years ago, I had to cut my vacation short.  The production company I worked for decided to shut down, permanently, two weeks before Christmas.  Happy Holidays everyone!

I was going to scrap the entire trip but my family was very worried about my mental state and insisted I go.

I decided to travel to only one city for just one week.  I narrowed down my choices to Rome or Florence.  One of my good friends in L.A. is a hardcore Italophile.  She proclaimed that I was a Rome person and should save Florence for another trip.

I’ve been to Florence twice. The art is stupendous and the city is beautiful.  Yet each time I felt anxious and couldn’t wait to return to Rome.  It’s not as if Rome is a laid back place.  However, Florence is a much smaller city and cannot handle the hordes of tourists and study aboard students.

Well, I need to get over it because I must see the new Portrait Firenze.  The architect/interior designer is Michele Bonan.  I’ve written about how much I LOVE his work, especially, the newish J.K. Place in Rome.

The hotel is owned by the Ferragamo family (the Lungarno Collection) and is located in the heart of the Historic Center. It has only thirty-six rooms and killer views of the Ponte Vecchio. It’s scheduled to open this spring.

I could think of worse places to have an aperitivo.

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This bathroom! The double shower heads, the warm marble, the tub, everything.

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Sigh. No words.

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Yes, please.

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Photos: Lungarno Collection

This week, LONNY wrote about the new J.K. Place Hotel.   Believe the hype.   It’s gorgeous.

Months ago, one of my vendors told me I had to see the chartreuse DEDAR fabric architect/interior designer Michele Bonan used in the cafe. I finally had a chance to see it when my friend Erica and I went to meet a colleague of hers and his wife who were staying at the hotel.

I told Erica we must add J.K. to our list.  We are very hard on places when it comes to cocktails. It’s not enough to have an excellent bartender, the décor must be on point.

Erica’s colleague showed us their room.  I almost cried when I saw the bathroom.   This one is a little larger.  Look at that shower.  The floors.  The marble.  Sigh.

This bathroom. No words.

This bathroom. No words.

Bonan is one of my favorite designers and what he did with the space is stunning.   The building used to be the architecture school for La Sapienza (the largest university in Rome).

My kind of bar.

My kind of bar.

Inspired by Tom Ford’s film, A SINGLE MAN, the atmosphere is what folks back in the States call “grown and sexy.”

It’s a very unique space in Rome and I think the bar/lobby will appeal to people who are, well, grown and sexy.  I don’t see Flip-Flop Girlshanging out here.  Grazie dio!

I could spend hours in the library.

The library.

The library.

For more pictures of J.K. Place Roma, you can click on their gallery HERE.

Photos: J.K. Place Roma

I do not like having my photo taken.  Correction, I’m game when I’m in a group shot.

It’s not just because the camera adds ten to fifteen pounds.  It’s because I feel like a big dork standing there while the photographer snaps.

Thanks to social media, I had to get over my discomfort.  That said, I still get salty when unflattering photos are tagged on Facebook.  What the what?  Does the tagger need new glasses?  Good friends don’t let folks tag bad photos.

Gina wanted to take a few head shots during our terrace photo shoot.  I was sweaty and wiped out. So even though Gina is a talented photographer I thought, “no good can come of this.”

She convinced me to at least try a few.   I did and this is what happened:

terrace_062I  did a brief interview with Gina and she has posted more photos from the shoot on her blog.

To see more of Gina’s gorgeous work, please visit her website here.

Roman cat enjoying the peace and quiet.

A Roman cat enjoying the peace and quiet. Those days are over.

I’m still not used to the rientro effect, even after five summers here.  It’s as if a giant light switch was turned on and BAM, the locals have returned.

There is traffic again on Lungotevere and Corso Vittorio Emanuele.  The woman who owns my local newsstand is very tan, relaxed, and tells us all about her vacation.

I’m excited that my butcher and my favorite baker at the Trionfale farmers’ market are back.  I’ve missed them.

There’s an electric energy in the air despite the fact that our government could collapse (again) at any moment.

Suddenly, my phone is ringing off the hook with vendors letting me know when furniture will be delivered, appointments to see clients, and friends wanting to meet up for post-rientro aperitivi.

I’m glad the rientro has begun.

I know people love to talk smack about Gwyneth Paltrow’s webiste, GOOP.   I don’t understand why someone would subscribe to a website they hated.   It’s not as if anyone is forcing them to read Ms. Paltrow’s musings.

Yes, some of her suggestions are bananas.  However, posts like The French Pharmacy are fantastic.

One great about living in Europe are the pharmacies.  Finally, some of the skin care products can be found in the States but usually at much higher prices.

Klorane is one of my favorite brands.  I will be working this weekend, including a very early Saturday meeting with one of my clients.  I ran into my local farmacia to pick up one thing and ended up also buying the Energia shower gel and some conditioner.

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Photo: Allure.com

I wish I could go to a spa this weekend.  Instead, I will do a janky home version.  Now, I need to run out to the market to get some cucumbers and limes.

Buon weekend!

It took me forever to get to Salina.

I took a car (at 5:00 a.m.) to the airport to fly to Palermo, a taxi from the Palermo airport to the central train station, the train from Palermo to Milazzo, a ferry from Milazzo to Lipari, a ferry from Lipari to Salina.

Once I arrived, I understood why so many of my Italian friends schlep from Rome, Milan, etc. to visit the Aeolian islands.  Stunning.

Salina is surprisingly green for a volcanic island, tiny (population 2,000), and there was a constant breeze.  The food was delicious and folks knew how to make a very good cocktail.

It was my first trip to any island in Italy.  That’s bananas.  I’m an island person.  I was born on the island of Manhattan and my parents are from St. Martin.

I cannot wait to return.

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Just as I predicted, only a few weeks after everyone and their mother was complaining about the cold wet weather, summer arrived with a vengeance.

It’s outrageously hot in Rome thanks to winds blowing in from Africa.   It’s no joke people, and it’s only mid-June. Oh Dio.

Last weekend I finally made it to Sicily.   I went to the tiny island of Salina.  The island is gorgeous and the weather was perfect.

I spent at lot of time here:

Infinity pool at the Ravesi Hotel, Salina

Infinity pool at the Ravesi Hotel, Salina

This weekend instead of looking out at Stromboli and Panarea poolside, I will be sticking my head in the freezer and thinking cool thoughts.

Buon weekend!

Great news here at AGD.

The house in Tuscany is almost done and I’ve signed two new clients.

For one project, I’m helping my client redo his terrace.

The other project also includes working on a terrace and collaborating with my client to furnish her new apartment.

Both apartments are in Trastevere.

One thing I love about this type of work is that each project is unique.  My other Rome project is understated glamour.

The apartment I’m working on in Trastevere is contemporary with a very streamlined palette, white, black, gray, and some pops of red.   A few pieces came with the apartment and most of the additional furniture will be custom-made.

My client would like a home that is minimal, light, and yet cozy.   Minimal decors can be cold so I’m all about texture and natural materials.

I have an inspiration board for the apartment on PInterest.

For the terrace project, we are going to redo the plants, buy new furniture, and make the space flow better.  My client entertains often and it’s important that his guests feel comfortable.

My landscaper is amazing and I cannot wait to see how the terrace will look once the plants grow in a little.

I real enjoy working with my clients.  I know this something not every decorator can say!

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