Tag Archives: Italy

Style-Diet Shot: patented dress?!

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
– Thomas Jefferson

You know how I feel about patented seeds… But how about a patented dress?! I just happened across this pop-up shop while going from yoga to the Pantheon with my friend Cath. Inspecting the tags, I came across la designer. Her name is Barbara Annunziata – an architect go figure – and the first person I ever met to patent a dress!!! I didn’t know you could even patent a dress until I experienced this one. You can wear it a gazillion ways and it is called La Ruota (translated to “wheel of fortune”Check it out at http://www.wearever.it/santarella-ruota.  

Below, hanging with Barbara and her cutie 10 month old (wearing a teeny La Ruota.) I’m wearing a brown-on-brown version (as some of you might be able to surmise, the darker brown is a stretchy material). 

  

I confess that I feel more inclined to don La Ruota as a light summer coat but happy to experiment with the nth number of ways to wear this superlative garment. It’s really like getting 20 for 1- howz that for a Style-Diet?? Repurposing galore… My gladiator sandals made and bought in Italy. Sure going to miss this place.  

Until the next post, baci a tutti!

The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Style-Diet Shot – Antonio

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

I hit a Style-Diet jackpot yesterday, bumping into Antonio in Rome yesterday. In a mecca of style and fashion, Antonio stood out on so many levels.  His suit is an original Valentino made in 1975.  Two years before I was born and well before being bought by Qatar. His mom and I think one of his aunts used to be tailors for Valentino.  Shoes from Tuscany.  Glasses made by a friend, the inside have a small houndstooth design.  Note the matching tie and shoes.  Antonio is a fabulous cross-cultural character in every sense of the word.  He said to tell you that he’s related to Jack Nicolson (a younger brother).  That is a joke.  I’m pretty sure – but the resemblance is uncanny.  He works in the world of art and music.  Currently looking for a museum in Canada to launch an exhibition….

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The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Style-Diet Shot – Andra

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Spending time around and about Rome these days, I’m continually surrounded by architectural, historical, cultural and sartorial beauty. Mamma Mia! I’m so overwhelmed, I hardly know where to start.  I post photos on instagram, I gush continually over the food and yesterday, I ran into charming Andra not too far from the Colloseum.

I told Andra about my blog and asked if I could take her photo.  I wanted to share her style of the day with you all.  Andra layered her greens delightfully: malachite earrings, sparklies in her necklace, the avocado handbag and the muddy forest of her dress. Like me, she strongly feels that clothes should be made without human sufferance. She is passionate about eating fruits and vegetables in season.  When I asked her about where her clothes came from she replied that she “was wearing boots made in Italy, from a roman producer. My handbag is made in Rome, in the small Sirni studio in via della Stelletta. My coat is an Italian brand of a guy in Veneto and it’s called Seventy and made in Italy.”

Andra colors changed

The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Chef Survival Challenge

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

– JRR Tolkien

Today is Victoria’s Chef Survival Challenge! Billed as a cross between Iron Chef and Tough Mudder, it promises to be a downright hoot.  http://chefsurvivalchallenge.com/index.html

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The ties that draw back to community, that revolve around locally grown food are amazingly ritualistic and atavistic.  Like dancing around a fire, it’s primal to delight in the offerings nature provides. We lived in Italy for 6 years in the hills of Tuscany and Florence. When we first arrived, we were curious about several signs regularly posted throughout the year like “Sagra del Chianina” “Sagra del porchetta”, “Sagra del vino chianti.”  What on Earth were these Sagra all about?  Sagra comes from the religious connotation of feast or celebration. It has been diluted to mean festival, feast. Sagra di Fungi Porcini was a common one. The Sagra brings community together in an informal celebration of local food.

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We attended several of the Italian Sagra over the years.  Sometimes a band would play, but mostly they are a stuff-your-face event.  (In case you were wondering- No pie or porcini-eating contests – the Italians are much too elegant for that)

Chef Survival Challenge in Victoria is a tradition similar to the Sagra but more entertaining.  There will be obstacle courses, a cooking competition by local top chefs, food foraging by said local top chefs who pick food that they cook.  Local celebrities will attended.  Andrew Weaver is scheduled to speak.  I have been asked to sing This Earth is Mine!  The vegetables fruits, berries and mushrooms from Madrona farm are sustainably grown; Nathalie is a passionate advocate for Bees and Biodiversity.  This event is to support Nathalie’s Chamber’s Big Dream Farm Fund and Farmland Conservation.  I can’t think of a worthier cause to support – whilst having fun – I’ve been looking forward to this for months!

I will report back after the next Style-Diet Shot.

Pear shaped

“A pear tree cannot bear an apple”

– proverb

Interestingly enough, apple trees through grafting can bear different varieties of apples on the same trunk.  Was that too much for you?  I didn’t believe it until dad showed me his espaliered apple trees.  One trunk: different apples. I’ve seen that in viticulture, same deal – one hearty variety is for the stem and root while another varietal is grafted on for the grapes.  These are not GMOs but methods passed down from farmers and agriculturalists.  GMOs do not occur in nature.  They happen in laboratories where scientists mix genes from unrelated species.  Such as a bacterium gene into a corn plant.  Making the corn we are to eat, a technical pesticide.

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On the ferry the other day I bumped into an Italian couple on summer holiday.  We spoke about what every Italian can speak volumes about….   Can you guess where this is heading?  Si Mamma mia! We spoke abouta foodah.  They were complaining about the food here.  I couldn’t blame them, there were chronically hungry or gastrically dissatisfied.  They had just scarfed down a sandwich with GMO wheat and eggs from chickens raised eating GMOs, pumped with antibiotics, and treated inhumanely.  Their  coffee was so bad they had to put milk and lots of sugar in it.  This is food that cannot be found in Italy.  They brandished 5 packs of sugar to make their Canadian coffee palatable reinforcing their point.  Italy requires mandatory labelling of GMOs.  Recently Italy decided to ban GMO corn, citing loss of biodiversity by GMOs.  Each region has its speciality; you cannot go 20 kilometers in any direction without encountering a different regional speciality.

The Italian tourists were weirded out by the vegetables in N. American supermarkets.  They said, “It is not real this fruit and these vegetables.  They just look so perfect.  It’s not normal.  Non e naturale.”

Later munching on a slice of (organic) pear from my uncle’s tree in Vancouver, I thought about this.  If diversity is the spice of life, supermarkets in N. America are dull indeed.  Bland.  Blah.  Even though they are vibrantly coloured, squeaky clean and blemish free, the vast majority of fruits are not natural.  Even if not GMO, they are grown with toxic pesticides and herbicides and fungicides which leave residues in and on the food we are to it.  Natural is the most misused label out there in the supermarkets today.  A food can be called “Natural” and have GMOs and toxins.  I’ve heard tell of a class-action lawsuit going after these corporations looking to unduly profit from the word Natural.  Good. This deception must end.

Natural is the pear I was eating.  It was a little grainy, had a bunch of discolouration and dark remnants of some kind of pest that had burrowed into the core partway.  I just cut that all off and enjoyed the unique flavour.  It wasn’t the most exciting pear I’d ever eaten.  Nor the most delicious.  But it was sweet.  And it was different.  I can only eat a pear like this every year or when this tree bears fruit.

It’s special.  The ordinary miracle of real food.  Grown without toxins.  It made my day.

Style-Diet Shot – Manuela

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

 – Thomas Jefferson

Manuela, from Italy and in Italy is wearing a beautiful blue dress with yellow accents.  The dress is Moschino (Made in Italy) which Manuela has had ‘da anni’  for years. Doesn’t look like it! I forgot to ask her about her bag, and shoes….  Maybe if she comes across this post, she can let us know?

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The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Sbigoline Terracotte

The feeling of connection to tangible history makes Europe a treasure trove to the the wistful. Webs layering past to present might not immediately be apparent. But you can feel it, smell it, and taste it in the air.

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I have been shopping at Sbigoline Terracotte for years.http://www.sbigoliterrecotte.it/ It’s a small pottery studio that lies a couple blocks from the Duomo.  Only on my last visit did I discover that this shop has been in existence since the 1850s. That’s wild.  The present owner is below.  In the past, they sold more plaster objects.  Now they made decorative and functional pottery, all in the back of the store.    The 1850s.

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I’m stuck right now in the 1850s, wondering what was the gestalt of Florence in the 1850s.  It was the time of the unification of Italy.  Sbigoline survived several wars, in the 1800s, not to mention WWI, WW2.  Musically I’m thinking Puccini and Verdi and Romantic composers.  How many times was O Mio Babbino Caro was hummed along the street in front of the the store?  Although a fictitious character, I bet Lucy Honeychurch from E.M.Forester’s A Room With a View would have bought some quality souvenirs at Sbigoli.

Maybe she would have sent her mamma a couple of these terracotta roosters?

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What does it say about a city that is able to sustain a store in the same place for over 150 years?  I think it gives people a sense of the secure.  Buildings that stand the test of time by virtue of still standing tall and proud deserve to be there.  I was dismayed to learn yesterday about a historical building in Victoria (that has stood for over a hundred years) that will be demolished to make way for a climbing gym.  Why take a building that could be renovated and restored to glory and destroy it?  Why not destroy a crappy building that wasn’t built to last?  Buildings made a hundred years ago were built to last…..

We must learn from the Europeans.  They have been city-making and city-dwelling for thousands of years.  We must honour our collective architectural heritage.  We must realize that by honouring the beauty and craftsmanship of the past, we honour ourselves.  In the present.