An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What a Baby Brother Does at His Older Brother's Graduation

It's funny how you can look through photos and realize how people can experience the same event in totally different ways. Take, for example, Nicholas' graduation as seen through the eyes of Timothy.

Allow me to introduce Exhibits 1-4.

1- Plays his Nintendo DS while waiting for commencement ceremonies to begin.

2- Tries to pronounce the foreign names in the program.

3- Takes ONE photo with his shirt tucked in, untucks it for every photo thereafter.

4- Follows everyone blindly. Doesn't have a say-so in anything. He's basically ignored all day long.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reading for Pleasure

I recently spent the afternoon packing Nicholas' books. Boxes and boxes of them. Here is a stack of books he read not because it was required reading in college, but simply because he had never read them before.  #lightreading

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How do you do Mother's Day?

Here's my opinion on Mother's Day: I enjoy the attention.

Let's face it. I can be a mom martyr for 363 days of the year -- running here, driving there, being at everyone's beck and call -- but on Mother's Day BRING IT ON.

The attention, I mean. I don't need gifts (although that's a nice perk) and I don't need to be taken to a restaurant (I actually prefer pizza and a movie), but what I do like is the same love and attention that I get throughout the year but ... more of it. Pile it on. The thicker, the better.

Shameless, I know.

So this year Mother's Day began with Cinnamon Crunch Bagels from Panera because, really, is there a better bagel out there? I know, I know. Carbs. Calories. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But that's why I only have them on SPECIAL occasions (the last time was New Year's Day). So in my world Mother's Day is most definitely and emphatically a bagel occasion.

Served with a cappuccino. Can't have one without the other.

After breakfast we took a mid-morning hike/stroll through the woods and along the Savannah River. To be sure, it's a route I take often, sometime alone or sometimes with Joe, but on this day EVERYONE came. No one complained and no one was in a hurry to get home, so for the time we were climbing up hills and over tree logs they were mine, mine, MINE!

And I don't mean that in a heart-two-sizes-too-small Grinch way, but in a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "in the round-tower of my heart" kind of way.

After the hike my heart was full (well, the bagels helped, too) and I was perfectly content to spend the rest of the day curled up with a good book. But after lunch Joe had a very Mother's Day-ish idea.

"Let's go walk around the Morris Museum of Art," he suggested.


Now, I could have insisted that the boys come, too, and they would have, but the whole idea of Mother's Day is to highlight the fact that Moms are pretty great. And understanding. So I kissed the boys goodbye and left them waging some battle on the PlayStation while I went to the museum with Joe.

At the museum we lingered in the two rooms featuring art by James Michalopoulos whose painting are so rich with color and texture that they blew me a way. I loved his work, and I would highly recommend going to see the exhibit except this past Sunday -- Mother's Day -- was the very last day. Sorry. But I did take lots of photos . . .

So there you have it. Mother's Day was all about bagels, a walk in the woods, and an art museum. Nothing complicated, but pretty darn nice.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Five Minutes at the Mall

It's not often you find the words Jonathan, shopping, and mall in the same sentence; however, with an internship that begins Monday, and with a closet that has way too many graphic t-shirts, I found myself in the unusual situation in which Jonathan and I went shopping at the Augusta Mall.

Stop. The. Presses.

Now, I'm a good Mom. Kind. Understanding. So to minimize the torture I promised two things: 1/ that we would stick to the list (which meant no Sephora for me) and  2/ that afterwards I would take him out to lunch.

(In hindsight, I should have just promised the food and kept the Sephora visit.)

Anyway, we arrived to the mall and walked into JC Penney. Within four minutes we were done.


Two golf shirts, two dress shirts ... just like that. He said he didn't need to try anything on. In the shoe department he took one minute to find a pair of shoes.

Jonathan is very decisive.

You think?!?!?!?!?

At the register a nice young man named Bruce took my Mother's Day coupon ($10 off!) and divided our items into THREE separate purchases so I could use my coupon THREE TIMES!

I love Bruce.

I also love Jonathan, and with the shopping done we then went and had a very nice lunch together.

Tomorrow, though, I'm going back to Sephora. I have another Mother's Day coupon to use.

Mall with Jonathan = No Sephora for Me

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Embracing the Chaos

Remember our newly updated rec room? Allow me to refresh your memory . . .

Here's what it looks like now. It's become an apartment-furniture-depository for our soon-to-be Clemson grad who will be moving to Arkansas for his new job.

And this is me, channeling my inner .  . .  whatever.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Last Exam

"Mom, I'm calling to tell you that I just took my last exam ... EVER!" Nicholas to me, with joy in his voice.

photo: Timothy's first letter to Nicholas while he was at Clemson.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Merry (and very busy) Month of May

So I've realized today
In utter dismay
that everything happens
in the month of May.

Graduation, field day
banquets, Mother's Day,
And in my sister's fam'ly ...
EVERYONE'S birthday.

There's Mass on first Friday,
exams, and last days.
Yes, everything happens
in the month of May.

*from the files of very bad poetry by bia

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Funny, Not So Funny

So I don't know what is more funny about the text below:

1- That Siri misunderstood my dictated text "carefully" and wrote "careful he"

or that ...

2- In his haste to get home for the summer, he-who-shall-not-be-named did, in fact, get a speeding ticket.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Rec Room Reveal

Shortly after moving into our house we decided to build a separate, two car garage at the end of our driveway and convert our old garage into a rec room. The old garage door was replaced by french doors; the industrial gray walls were painted a sunny yellow; the concrete floor was carpeted; and benches were added around one wall. We purchased a beautiful farm table, and accessorized with inspiration from all things Italian Countryside (think Tuscan farmhouse).

EVERYTHING happened in our rec room: dinner parties, slumber parties, gaming marathons, scrapbooking, RC racing, Lego tournaments, school projects, and billiard tournaments.

Our rec room used to be the garage.
(before photo)

But after 13 years it was in desperate need of a makeover. Here's what I wanted to do:

  • paint walls, window frames, and doors
  • replace lighting over table and add lighting over pool table
  • create focal wall
  • change the felt color on the pool table
  • add seating for gaming and television
  • replace café curtains
  • replace existing farm table with a trestle farm table 

It was a lot to take on, so after I consulted a friend who gave me some ideas, I created an inspiration board. This really helped me stay on task; however, after I picked the pool table cover I added a robin's egg blue (not pictured) to the color palette.

rec room inspiration board: neutral colors, contrasted with dark woods,
and accents of red and robin's egg blue.

And so I got to work, starting with the walls. Arrivederci yellow, ciao Carrington beige.

Yes, I did all the painting and, yes, I rigged that ladder.
paint: Benjamin Moore's Carrington Beige

Our rec room has 12-foot ceilings, so I got a workout climbing
up and down a ladder for almost a week.

Then we (or rather, my husband) hung two lighting fixtures (purchased at Lowe's) -- one over the farm table and one over the pool table -- and created a focal wall by hanging an antique mantel (which I sanded and stained) and a giant clock from Hobby Lobby.

Two lighting fixtures in a weekend.
My husband is a saint.

Mantel purchased at an antique store; corbels purchased
at Lowe's and stained to match.

I finally found a place for my Piero della Francesca plaques.

After looking at café curtains at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Pier 1 Imports, Ikea, World Market, and Amazon, I finally found what I was looking for (quite by accident) at The Christmas Tree Shop.

café curtains from The Christmas Tree Shop

I also decided to remove the top half of our hutch to create a bar/serving area for entertaining. But don't worry, I moved the top half upstairs to my work area and repurposed it as a bookcase.

Where did the top half of our hutch go?

Repurposed as a bookcase

Slowly but surely, our rec room came together. Here are some "after" photos ...

Ready for entertaining ... or board games ...
or Lego projects

The bottom half of our hutch can now be used as a bar,
sideboard, or serving area for when we entertain.

antique armoire repurposed as a television cabinet

robin's egg blue for a pop of color

Chairs from Costco
(deeply discounted since they were the floor models);
pool table pad changed to a Cape Cod blue
(arrivederci billiards green!);
artwork (w/ added shutters) to hide the fuse box.

So there you have it. I'm still on the quest for a trestle farm table, some artwork to hang between the windows, and a throw rug to bring out my accent colors, but all in good time.