Friday, February 20, 2015


The Slow Food Movement originated in Italy.  It is no surprise then that Italians rank one of the highest countries in terms of longevity. Italians live to be a whopping 83 years old!

This longevity can be attributed to many factors but one of these factors certainly is Italian food and meals.  You can acquire more information by visiting my website at
Here are five easy ways to eat simple and healthy Italian food and maybe just maybe increase your longevity:

1. USE HIGH QUALITY EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. Italians use high quality extra virgin olive oil in almost everything they eat.  I say high quality because on the market there is everything and anything with the high quality label. This type of olive oil is not cheap. If you are getting a 5$ bottle (1 liter)  of oil, chances are it is not high quality. If it is Italian, make sure it is actually made in Italy and not just bottled there.  Also make sure you keep your olive oil  away from heat. Olive oil needs to be stored in dark bottles and in cool places in order for it to keep its healthy antioxidants.  It is better to buy small quanties at at time.

2. EAT RAW VEGETABLES.  The more the vegetables are cooked, the more they lose their  important nutrients and vitamins. In fact, it is best to opt for fresh and eat them as soon as you can. The more they are in your refrigerator the more they lose their nutrients. Yes, I know who has time for this? Well, make it a habit of purchasing lots of vegetables at one time and then making sure you eat veggies with every meal. Some favorites of my Italian friends: cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes.

3. CONSUME AND USE GARLIC IN MEALS FREQUENTLY.  I  was told by my older Italian friends that eating 2 cloves of raw garlic in the evening is a sure way of keeping away colds and illnesses. But I said "It will keep away everyone around me too." The answer they say is chewing 2 coffee beans afterward. It's worth a try.

4. EAT LEGUMES. Italians consume many legumes of all types. Lentils, peas, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, soybeans. These can be cooked in even 15 minutes time. Strain, add some salt and a bit of that extra virgin olive oil. Instant healthy meal.

5. AVOID PROCESSED FOODS, CONDIMENTS, FAST FROZEN MEALS.  These are huge no no's for Italians. 




For more easy to follow recipes and how to simplify your life through the Italian lifestyle get my ebook with resources and audio:
Premium Package Ebook with resources and audio
Basic Package Ebook with resources

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Ways To Know You Need To Slow Down

I did not realize I was living a fast paced life until I received certain signals from others around me in Italy. When I began to look around me, I realized I was multi tasking, stressed and definitely not living the Tuscan lifestyle I had envisioned. In fact I was even more restless in Italy then I had been in Los Angeles. After many years of observing and researching the Italian lifestyle, I learned and am learning the steps to live slower and simpler. 

I would say the first step to slowing down is knowing it is time to make some changes. The following are the five ways to know you need to slow down:

1. You speak fast.  Often times you do not let others finish speaking and you interrupt them. While speaking you are thinking about the next thing you have to do.  You are not attentively listening to the other person.

2. You walk fast.  You walk fast even if it is not for exercise purposes.  You don't know how to stroll. You are always in a hurry.

3. You multitask. You are constantly doing more then one activity at a time. You have not finished one thing before you start another. You multitask also in thoughts. You are doing one thing but thinking of another.

4. You eat fast and have poor eating habits.  You don't sit down at a table and slowly consume your meal. You usually do not chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing. You do not eat healthy meals. You don't take the time to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.  You eat or drink standing up, on the go, or at your desk.

5. You cannot just BE. You find it difficult to just sit still and relax. You cannot be without an electronic gadget (computer, television, phone,etc). You become fidgety.

To learn more about taking the steps to living a slower and simpler lifestyle get my ebook 
"Living the Italian Lifestyle: A Self-improvement Program for Living a Slower, Simpler, More Fulfilling Life Anywhere"

Get my ebook with audio and resources Living the Italian Lifestyle...Anywhere

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Top 10 Ways To Dress Like A Minimalist Italian Woman

What  is minimalist dressing? Why do I need to master it? How will this tiny change in my life grant me loads of free time? Minimalist dressing is dressing by removing the superfluous or constitutes a style that uses pared down essentials. The Italians have always used this concept and they not only look impeccabile but probably don't spend hours trying to figure out what to wear. There are only three requirements: the clothes must be clean; the clothes must be in good condition; the clothes must fit properly.

Ok. Here are the top 10 ways to dress like a minimalist Italian woman and free up your time:

1. Use monocolors.  In other words your outfit should be of the same color even with different tones of the same color. For example, in one outfit,  trousers and the blazer can be dark brown, while the blouse can be lighter shade of brown.  Socks and shoes should also be brown. 

2. Wear footwear that has the same style of the outfit. If you are wearing a conservative pantsuit, you should not be wearing athletic shoes.  Instead you should opt for moccasins, loafers, pumps or dressy shoes.

3. Keep accessories down to a minimum. I am not saying you should eliminate the accessories but use good taste. You should not be piling on necklaces or bracelets. Usually one nice accessory is all it takes.

4. Stick with classic colors. Yes it is true that trends call for pastels one season or fluorescent colors the next but minimalist dressing is really pairing down and staying with the classic, yet chic colors of black, brown, grey, red, white, navy blue. 

5. De clutter your closet and leave only a small collection of high quality pieces that you like, fit you well and that you actually wear frequently.  Hint: if you haven't worn a piece in the last year, it's time to let it go.

6. Have your own style. You can dress with the minimalist concept but still have your own style. This may be using form fitting outfits, layers, long skirts, short skirts, jeans, whatever.

7. Build your wardrobe one piece at a time, focusing on quality items that last a long time. 

8. Do not impulse shop.  Buy only pieces that will match or fit in with other pieces you already own and wear.

9. Know what styles flatter your body.  Once you know what is the most flattering, stick with it. 

10. Rotate your outfits. This alone will save you hours of time and stress especially in the morning when you are squeezed for time. If you are dressing with the minimalist style no one is going to notice that you wore that black blazer two days ago if you now put a grey blouse under it and add a different necklace. You can wear the same pants or skirt as long as they are clean and ironed. 

For more information on dressing simply and living simply visit my website at or purchase my ebook with resources :

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Living the Italian Lifestyle ...Anywhere"

It is finally done. After years of wanting to write about how you don't have to live in any particular place to reap the benefits of living an Italian lifestyle, I did it! I just published my first digital product (ebook with resources and audio).  I have been wanting to share this information for years with my friends, family, colleagues so here it is.

It is "Living the Italian Lifestyle: A Self-improvement Program for Living a Slower, Simpler, More Fulfilling Life...Anywhere."

There are two versions available: Premium Package at $49 which includes ebook with resources and 1.5 hours of audio workshops OR Basic Package at $29 which includes ebook with resources. For more information and to order directly with instant download go to: or  

Premium Package 

Basic Package

Please share with others and hope you are interested.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Living Slowly Italian Style

Italians just know how to relax and rest. On my long train ride home in Tuscany  it was evident who the Italians were. They were the ones either chatting away, reading a novel, listening to music or sleeping. 

It was late afternoon and I looked around me to find everyone sleeping except little ol me. There was no multitasking going on, no work getting done, no appointments being made, no nothing.

Laptops were turned off and tucked away. Newspapers were folded and not to read. Assignments and work papers were out of sight. Phones were turned off and the only sounds now were coming from the train itself. It was even too dark outside to take in the scenery.

I did what anyone else would do in my situation. I turned off my phone, tucked it away and closed my eyes. Buon riposo.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


I thought it would be useful to my readers to write about the quality of life and standard of living in Tuscany right now. Much has changed in the last few years and there is a lot of confusion out there about what is really going on in Italy. Since I do live here in Tuscany full time and I am an American expat, here goes:

The economic situation is as bad as you probably have read about. The unemployment rate is extremely high and for the first time since I have been living in Italy (15 years), I have had acquaintances and friends confess that they are desperately hanging on financially. Most of the unemployment rate is directly related to the closure of many many companies, both small and large.

Having said this, can expats find jobs in Tuscany? Here one has to be creative, think out of the box and really research how he/she can utilize his/her skills which are not readily available among Italians. Do you have teaching experience? Are you willing and able  to teach English either to adults or to children? Here there is a strong need since English is being taught less and less in the public schools? What degrees do you have? Are you willing to work in the larger cities say Florence or Siena? There are many American companies in Florence and in the outskirts.

The tourism industry is still bustling mostly because the exchange rate is to the favor of the tourists. So any sub industries related to tourism are doing well. For instance, restaurants, hotels, cafes, farm holiday apartments, spas, airline, travel internet industries, tour guides etc. Of course here again you are more apt to find something in the larger cities in Tuscany. The competition is fierce so really dig into the skills that you have and put those forward to the best of your ability.

Food and wine are other industries that are still thriving. There are many many small and large companies that still need mother tongue English employees. Research the ones in the area you want to go to and cold call. Then follow up with an in person visit.

Remember you can still live in a small rural village and commute to the bigger cities if you need to.

Questions or comments??

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Grass is Always Greener: Living In Italy vs Living in the USA

Hello! I am back in Los Angeles just for vacation and as in previous times when I come back "home" from Italy I  notice so many things that I used to take for granted.

I do view things differently, with a positive attitude for sure and appreciate some things that just don't happen in Italy. Let's take a look at a few:

1. I love that stores are open all day in the United States. In Italy you have to rush to get errands done before everything closes down for lunch and then reopens in the wee hours of the afternoon.

2. On the same note, I love that everything is open in August. In Italy, don't look for your accountant, attorney, teachers, neighbors in August. Actually you can probably find them all at the closest beach where they will park themselves on month.

3. I love that there are few mosquitoes!!

4. I love that you can sit in a book store (the ones that are left) and literally read a book from cover to cover. Although I have never done this, I love that it is possible. In Italy the thought of even touching a book before paying for it can get you kicked out or at least be given the evil eye!!

5. I love that you can return almost anything in the USA and get a full refund! You better not even try this in Italy!!

6. I love Target and Costco!!

7. I love that I can buy medicine, get my eyes checked, buy clothes, buy food, buy gasoline, get my car washed  and eat at the same place in the USA. Talk about convenience!

8. It's not that I love the American post offices but it is that I despise with a passion the Italian ones!

9. I love the weather in the summer in Los Angeles. It does not get better then this no where in the world!

10. I love being able to get something done virtually in the USA within minutes! Wifi in Italy?? What a joke.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Every time I come back to visit Los Angeles I realize that service is just as bad in the USA as it is in Italy. It really has taken a nose dive.  I mean what has happened to mutual respect, greeting customers, getting an order correctly, giving change correctly, apologizing for making a mistake, etc etc.? The same goes for the customers. Many are impatient, rude, or just downright unpleasant.

As I pondered these issues, I was dealing with starting Star Charts for my children. These Star Charts are where you give your child a star for good behavior. You can also take stars away for bad behavior. The Charts have been successful on the most part.

I thought why can't we give start charts to adults?

Wouldn't it be great if we could take away a star from Mary, the rude flight attendant? Or take away a star from Joe, the bank teller, for messing up my account? Wouldn't it be soothing if I could take away a star from Betty, who keeps calling with a survey during my dinnertime?

Wouldn't it be fantastic if I could give a star to Mrs. Olsen, a teacher, for her big smile every morning as she greets her students? Or wouldn't it be fantastic if I could give a star to the customer who is pleasant, polite and thankful for our help?

The Star Chart would be awesome and everyone would be on his/her best behavior all the time.

Yeah, I know there is Yelp and Trip Advisor and all those websites where you can give reviews. But I need instant gratification and I would want Mr. X to know he has just lost 3 stars for his rude behavior!!  We could extend the Star Chart to our bosses, colleagues, family members and even our mates!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Small Things We Take For Granted!

Visiting Los Angeles after a year in Italy is always an eye-opener for me. I realize how many things are in the USA that just are not readily available in Italy. Sometimes you don't realize how good you have it until you don't have it anymore.

Target, Staples, Costco & convenience stores- Oh how I do miss these stores when I am in Italy. How awesome is it that you can find just about anything at these stores and pay the fraction of what it would cost in Italy, even if you were lucky enough to find the product!  Sometimes I dream of what it would be to have one of these stores near my small town in Tuscany. Too good to be true.

Drive thru anything- How many times I wish I could just get a ready-made anything instead of having to make fresh meals with fresh bread everyday. I long for being able to eat out of a bag and to feed my family American junk food!

Lemonade stands- Everytime we come to LA to visit we bring out the lemonade stand and its success has kept us coming back for more. In the first five minutes my children were featured on the Facebook page of our neighborhood restaurant. You cannot have any kind of business activity in Italy without being ticketed, taxed and harassed. The same goes for garage and yard sales. You just cannot do it.

Salad spinner-Seems like a nothing thing but they are really impossible to find in my small town.

Air conditioning! How I long for air conditioning in stores in Italy. Very few establishments use air conditioning. It is just too expensive.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Visiting Siena: San Giovanni D'Asso

I had the pleasure to visit this weekend a darling little town with an amazing surrounding landscape: San Giovanni D'Asso. This town is within the Crete Senese area and very close to Trequanda, which is much more publicized for tourists. Both towns merit a visit.

This past weekend (March 10 & 11) was the annual Festa del Tartufo (truffles). Apparently this town is famous for its surrounding truffles. From my point of view, San Giovanni D'Asso gives tourists that visit Tuscany what they are craving for: unbelievable views of rolling pristine green hills from every angle of the town.  Don't miss a visit to its castle.

Please be careful if you visit the Church San Pietro in Villore, outside the town center. It has an underground crypt inside the Church with an open door in the pavement of the Church and steps leading you down to the crypt. There are no signs warning you of this open door and you can fall. Definitely not child safe!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 2012 Snow Storm - Tuscany Italy

I have been in Italy for over thirteen years now and this is the worst snow storm I have ever encountered.  We had snow for five straight days and now even though it is no longer snowing, we are dealing with the aftermath and the roads. Temperatures are below zero and roads are icy and dangerous. Trees have fallen everywhere and our little town of Chiusi seems like a war zone. We are lucky, very lucky. We were without electricity and heat for four days but took shelter at relative's house after one day and one night without heat nor light. I have to say it was scary. We had no phones and I had only my mobile phone that had very little recharge left on it. I used it sparingly to send out messages. The only thing that worked was water, cold water and our stove range.

Here in Chiusi, our "comune" did a great job in clearing the major streets and keeping them cleared.  Peope without heat, the elderly, the sick were taken to shelters, schools, gymnasiums and to the hospital for food and beds. Our area of Valdichiana seems to be back to almost normalcy but a new snow storm is supposed to be on its way this Friday.

The rest of Italy is not so lucky. There are thousands and thousands of people without heat, without water, without food, without light. Many of these live in rural areas where they cannot get help and help cannot get to them. These people have been like this for a week.

While I  love Italy, I just cannot understand why things here are so disorganized and why it is so difficult to change.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Visiting Siena: San Galgano, Monteriggioni, Chiusdino

Tuscany can be overwhelming. If you plan on staying in Tuscany and have only a few days of time to see as much as you can, I suggest you visit only a few places and really absorb yourself in those few places. Do not make the mistake of trying to see it all in one trip.

If you plan to visit the area of Siena, try to visit the following places:

 Abbazia of San Galgano & La Spada Nella Roccia

These are two places right next to eachother. You will walk from the monastery up to the place of hermitage of San Galgano (Church with the sword in the rock)

Next go visit Chiusdino, a neighboring darling town and the birth place of Saint Galgano.

After Chiusdino, go to Monteriggioni, which is about 45 minutes away from Chiusdino. It is a charming town within the completely intact walls of the city. It is definitely worth a visit. There are numerous small shops with hand made articles that range from wooden items to ceramics to wool clothing to wine and honey. Bring plenty of cash as I found the prices in Monteriggioni to be quite high.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Basic Factors That Keep Italy Sweet!

Although life in Italy may be difficult these days because of the economic situation, there are still some very basic factors that keep this sunny country sweet.

In Italy.....

1. You can still get the best espresso coffee and croissant for total Euro 1.80 or $ 2.45. No Starbucks or Peets or Coffee Bean can compare to those offered by my neighborhood caffè bar and at that price!!

2. In my small town, parking is never a problem.

3. Total strangers still greet you.

4. You don't honk at anyone. It could be your neighbor and anyhow, chances are you know the person.

5. Italian food in Italy is still and always will be the best.

6. Italian wine!

7. What is left of Made in Italy by Italian craftsmen  is  top in quality and design.

8. Italian language is sweet.

9. Italians know how to argue especially through body language.

10. Italian landscape is unbelievably beautiful.

11. Italian weather is lovely.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Italians Feel About the Economic & Political Crises 2011

I am often amazed on how resilient Italians are. While I am glued to the Internet, TV and to every new story on the current economic and political crises in Italy, the average Italian person relates to everything as business as usual. I have asked many people how they feel about what is going on, and their answer is always the same. They say that they are accustomed to changing leadership, to economic problems, to a high unemployment rate, to a system that is broken. They are also very skeptical about changes. In their hearts, of course, they would like things to be better but they are very wary of how changes are going to be implemented. Change has to begin from the very core.

When word was out last week of the stepping down of Berlusconi, I imagined that people would be on corners talking, listening to the radio, glued to their television screens. Instead what I found was quite the opposite. It was business as usual. People were at the bars talking but not about the crises. Italians were dropping off children at schools, picking olives for the olive harvest, delivering  products, manufacturing, shopping, dining out, etc etc. A huge historical event I thought. Wrong.

Italians are accustomed to leaders that come and go. One Italian told me, "Really how is this going to affect my life and the life of my family tomorrow? I will still be in the same weak financial situation tomorrow as I am today."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ahh L'Olio Nuovo - New Olive Oil Harvest Tuscany

This is one of the perks of living in Tuscany. You not only get to try new olive oil almost immediately after olives are picked but you get a chance to see olive oil made...from Harvest to Hand.

This morning I was extremely fortunate enough to visit my friend's olive mill in Cetona Siena. The Frantoio Fattoria del Biancheto is one of the only olive mills that uses the latest technology to produce the highest quality olive oil. From start to finish I was able to see and SMELL this glorious emerald green olive oil being made.

The farmers present and the owner, Fanny Nigi, explained to me why this olive oil is so good. Olives are picked early and are immediately processed on site. The olive oil I was looking at this morning was from olives picked the evening prior. This is rare but makes for an extremely high quality olive oil with the highest amount of polyphenols (antioxidants). Olive oil is pure and nothing is added to it.

Here are the steps.  Olives are hand picked night prior to making oil and placed in bins.

Next the olives are cleaned of leaves and any external substance and washed.

The now clean olives are sent into a machine where the grinding takes place and the nuts are expelled along with any other residual material. At this stage, the olives become an olive paste and resemble olive patè.

After this step, finally the paste is further worked and the outcome is the fabulous emerald green extra virgin olive oil we all know and love.

Oil is then stored in special stainless steel vats which are temperature controlled and oxygen controlled. The oil is bottled directly from the stainless steel containers.

The taste? This year's Harvest is robust and flavorful.  The color is bright green.  I was advised today to try it on rice, potatoes and of course on bruschetta. I just did and it was wonderful. Amazing and wonderful:  I just tasted olive oil from olives picked yesterday. Ahhh grazie!!!

Note:pictures courtesy of Frantoio Fattoria del Biancheto - Cetona -Siena