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Monday, 31 December 2012

This is the end of the year (not the world)...

Hello everybody!

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working at something a little different in the last days...

Thinking about a nice way to wish a happy happy new beginning to all of you, but also looking back at this year's events as I always do at this time of the year, I discovered myself going through all the pictures I've been taking since last January.

They are so many, but they make me incredibly happy as they give me the chance to look at my best memories whenever I want.
Looking at them I found out that most of them have a really important meaning for me, so that I thought: why not put the most significant ones all together in order to make a visual resume of this fantastic year?

That's how this Special Edition of the Snapshots was born...

I hope you'll like it!
I wish to all of you a brilliant 2013, at least as brilliant as this 2012 has been for me.
One of the most memorable years of my life, indeed.

I also take this chance to say thank you to all the marvellous people who have became a part of my life, either for a very short or a long time, in this year.
I feel so lucky for everything i got to learn this year and for all the beautiful places I got to see.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! My beloved readers, let's make this 2013 our year...

The year's beginning in Ireland:

Super Bowl

The trip to Dingle Peninsula and the South of the country

London in January with the roomies and Chiara

Rodrigo y Gabriela's concert at Olympia Teathre

Museums in Dublin with the Irish History class

My very first St. Paddy's day

In Dublin with my gorgeous sister Arianna

The fashion show where Chiara and I met the Lord Major

The masquerade bash

The last weeks spent in the park under the sun

Trip to Wicklow Mountain

Donabate with Chiara, Ciara, Sean and Cristiano

Avicii's concert at O2  

Of course, the crazy Dublin nights we will never ever forget...

...and the friends who made my days and became such an important part of my life.

An then, an amazing summer:

Italian parties

The night we won the football match against Germany

Cooking with my sister Arianna

My beloved kids, Antonio <3

Still playing with the swords in my family's house as when I was a kid...

Krk (Croatia) with Arianna

Michi's 50th bday, what a day...


Barcelona with Alice and Cami,

the Basque Country and Madrid just Chiara and me,

meeting crazy people and finding each other in the most random situations it was one of the most memorable trips ever...

And of course, my birthday which was an unforgettable day in Milan with my brothers and my sis Chiara,

and an amazing night with my Italian friends all together

And then traveling around Italy, going to Tuscany to Chiara's beautiful place and rediscovering how beautiful my country is, which made me so proud...

And finally, 

the beginning of a new semester in Dublin,

and the prosecution of my life in this city which I love more and more everyday and which has given and it's still giving me so much I would never expect...

And of course,

the trip to London with Fran and my Spanish friends which closed the year in the exact same place where it had started and which I'll always remember as three incredible days...



Sunday, 30 December 2012

Last week of 2012... snapshots!

Taking Christmas pictures

Christmas dinner "everyone brings something" (as usual.. :) )

Christmas ladies!

Ma tante la belle et le petit chat Checo...


The gorgeous women around me

Going RED thanks to Fabrizio!

And then, as I always say: Paris, je t'aime!

I am working at something pretty special for the end of this brilliant year so it's not wishes time yet...

once again, stay tuned!


Friday, 28 December 2012

Having a ball around Dublin...

Ciao a tutti! 

After surviving the Christmas madness I am not officially starting the study marathon...

For now it's not really happening, as I'm happening to be distracted by pretty much everything around me, not only because I am back in the little but beautiful library of my town after so much time, with all the memories of the high school evening we spent here coming up...

But also because my study buddy, my friend Anna, is now preparing some exams for her Arabic language class, which is so cool I cannot stop looking at her book and copying little phrases to use... just in case! ;)

But anyway, before diving into my Media Marketing readings, I wanted to catch up with you posting about a photo shoot we did quite long ago with Sami, which I haven't had the time to post about yet because of all the various things which have been going on recently.

I'm talking about the second shoot we did of Caitriona, the gorgeous ballet dancer that Sami had already been taking pictures of in the Studio, earlier during the semester.
Well, after shooting Caitriona indoor, he wanted to bring this project to another level, and that's why we have been going around town on a very crowded (and very cold!) Sunday, taking pictures of her.

First of all, we went to Trinity College, 

where Caitriona herself has been guiding us around the beautiful campus as she she has been living there during her college career in Trinity.

The location happened to be absolutely stunning,

(Muhammad Sami, All Rights Reserved)

Not only because of the great massive architecture which surrounded our delicate ballet dancer, making her look even softer, almost as if she was some kind of supernatural creature able to jump and find her way among these enormous buildings,

spreading around her this magical feeling which made everyone who passed by stop and stare even just for a moment.

Another thing which made it all were the colours.
Dublin in a city which has beautiful colours in general, I think: the red stone of the typical houses, the bright green of the parks, the deep grey of the biggest buildings, the blue skies where the clouds temporarily leave space to the sun.
In the campus of Trinity College it seems like all these things are joined together, which makes it such a perfect location.

(Muhammad Sami, All Rights Reserved)

We went around campus a lot, but the best spot happened to be the big arch right in the middle of it, under which apparently Trinity students are discouraged to pass by a legend following which that would bring them bad luck and delay their graduation.
But Caitiona didn't mind about it at all, surely because she is already graduated...

Anyway, despite the legend, being a Sunday, the place was quite crowded, which made Sami a little disappointed, even is he managed to do a great job, avoiding the crowd which seemed to be everywhere under, close and around the arch, mostly to check out what was going on with these guys taking pictures of a very cold ballet dancer...

The kids for example went crazy about the shooting, looking at Caitriona with their big blue eyes fully open as they didn't want to loose a single photograph of her.

(Caitriona and Sami during the shoot in Trinity College)

After shooting in the campus, and after warming up with a nice Starbucks coffee, we moved to the only place which has better colours and a more magical atmosphere than Trinity college, if you are in Dublin city: St. Stephen's Green.

The Autumn was absolutely taking over the place, painting it with its shades of orange, red, yellow, without getting rid of that bright green which always stands up despite the season, reminding us that yes, we are still in Ireland.

(Muhammad Sami, All Rights Reserved)

I really like Sami's pictures of Caitiona in the campus, but if you asked my opinion, I'd say I absolutely LOVE the ones he got while in St. Stephen's.

(Muhammad Sami, All Rights Reserved)

They remind me so much of a fairy tale that I almost feel like writing one inspired by these shoots.

 For example, the pictures under the gazebo made me think about the Nut Cracker,

while some other ones he took on the path, close to the side entrance made me feel like I was inside of the Hansel & Gretel story, except that there wasn't bread on the floor...

(Muhammad Sami, All Rights Reserved)

As I said, there was something surreal about the situation, maybe also because of the great ability that Caitriona showed us, jumping and moving in a beautiful way despite the very uneven path and the wholes in it...

As you all know the park is not too big, but it has a lot of hidden places and small angles which happen to be ideal for a shooting, as it seems like you are always in a different place.
As the last spot, when we ended up right before the sun started to go down, the colours simply exploded, and the trees full of orange leaves seemed to be the blushes Mother Nature had used to paint all over the place.

The swans were not very easy to catch, I must say: they played hard, but after we started throwing bread to them they immediately came over, giving Sami the chance to get some pretty amazing shots:

which became even better after his brilliant editing, which reinforced my feeling of a magical and surreal atmosphere.

I must say that I am very grateful to Sami, who allowed me to follow him not only in this shoot, but in the entire project he has done with Caitriona.
It hasn't been easy, even because he is a lot of a perfectionist, and because of that when he gets an idea he literally digs into it and wants so bad to bring it to attend it in the best possible way.

This was my very first outdoor shoot and I couldn't ask for something better.
I didn't mind the cold, I didn't even realised we have been out for hours and hours:
it was just so much fun and a great experience which made me learn so much.
Thank you both: Sami who surprises me for his step forward every time,
and Caitriona, who rocks even with her ballet shoes on!

I'll talk to you all very soon so...stay tuned! :)


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas snapshots!

Sorry for being late with this my dearest ones! 

But here again... enjoy! 

Revealing our secret santas with the girls in flat 407

Flying back home #mammaarrivo!

The reunion of the three idiots :)

Rocking around the Christmas tree

Nacer the Lion 

Don't worry, next we'll keep up with more snapshots of these days... 

So, stay tuned! 


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Let the feelings flow...

I always happen to get a little emotional at Christmas...

Maybe because I get to see my family and my oldest friends after months...

Maybe because of the traditional lunch where my thousands of lovely little cousins spend the day running around crazy for presents and the table where we all sit down is longer than the Route of Santiago...

Maybe because of all the food we eat, that gives you the kind of coma where you can do anything but sit down and think about what has been going on in your life since last Christmas...

Maybe because, whenever I am, there is always someone I love far from me, someone who I'd love to be with me instead...

Anyway, the only thing I can do when all these feelings comes to me is let them flow and spread.
It's somehow a kind of tradition, after all...

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you my beloved readers! 

(Mami and I rocking around the Christmas three)

(Chiara, Aaron and I as Christmas Elves)

(Christmas in London at Covent Garden)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Working the TOOLS...

Here I am again!

As I told you when I posted about my design for the Video Game cover, that was one of my assignments for college this semester.
Today I'd like to share with you another one of them, also because it gives me the chance to go back to something we talked about at the very beginning, when my blog was not even a baby but a proper new born: PHOTOSHOP!

Do you remember when I told you about the millions things you could do with this amazing program for pictures editing?
Well, I now realise that I was a total beginner at the time, but after a semester spent studying Advanced Photography I can now say that I'm pretty aware of some of the incredible things that can be used for editing...

For our assignment, we were asked to produce three composite images: one outdoor, on indoor and a portrait.
If the portrait was meant to be simply retouched using some of the apposite tools, the other two images were much more challenging, as we had to take the background shot and then cut and paste on it a person whose picture should have been taken in the studio.
Sounds easy overall?
Well, it's so not trust me!

You cannot imagine how unnatural it looks when you cut someone and paste him into another background...
First of all the light is CRUCIAL, if you have a total different light in the two pictures, there is no way you'll be able to match them...
But also the settings of the camera when you take the shots, because you are supposed to match the settings used in the background pic with the one you take in the studio and it's everything but obvious and requires again a great effort while setting the lights in the studio.

Anyway, thinking about my assignment, I wanted at first to use some pictures I've taken in London, but I soon realised that the light it's just TOO BAD in that city and impossible to reproduce because of that foggy feeling and that grey-ish reflection all over the place that would have required ages of editing on the indoor shot just to match the exposure and brightness.
Much better to use a picture of my favourite wall in Dublin, up north close to the Docks, which I've taken in a bright marvellous day:

I decided to Photoshop on it a picture of Chiara, taken while having a laugh in the studio during our last photo shoot...
Because I was in the picture as well, at first I cropped it and cut myself out, in order to make it easier to then select Chiara and paste her in the background.

Even if I should have I didn't chose this one because of its light, but just because I like it.
But that made it way harder to make it look believable, not only because I had to flip it to direct it in the right was depending on where the sun light was coming, but also because of the shadow which was so difficult to create as her figure was in such a strange angle.
The final result could have been better, of course, but I must say I was pretty happy with it:

After the struggles I had with the light in this one, which obliged me to go around with the brush tool trying to make some areas brighter, some others darker, for the second shot I've been much more careful...
I took my indoor image in a lovely tea room on the Liffey, which is also a library and which I absolutely LOVE.

Isn't it so pretty?
The fact that my subject was suppose to be sited in the arm chair behind the table happened to be more challenging, because I had to cut and paste on it that bit of the table which had to be in front of her.
But it was totally fine, even because as I said I've been very careful in reproducing the same light while shooting Chiara in the studio.

It's so crazy how, if the light is generally good and you don't need to work a lot on it, you get the chance to correct much tinier details and change every bit of light, every bit of shadow, every wrong spots, everything which doesn't sound good, until the picture looks almost perfect.
Every time you look at it after a while, you'll find something else to add, a little detail to change.
I think it's thrilling and I loved to work on my picture taking my time in order to persuade myself that it was not a composite image but a great shot of Chiara browsing books in the library-tea room.

What do you reckon?

Anyway, even if I enjoyed a lot working on my composite images, my very true love was the portrait.
I LOVED finding ways to change the connotations of Chiara's portrait I had chosen, 

still making it look like her but with something else different.
I wanted to give her a movie star/princess/fashion model look.
I know...someone might think it's way too edited, because it actually is!
Even if I didn't actually change a lot her shapes, but I focused on the texture of her skin and I had a bit of fun changing the color of her eyes, which I managed to keep pretty believable...
I also made her mouth more definite and darker, as she was wearing a deep red lipstick which I think suits her so much! 

But at the same time I can really see this picture of her being on an interview on a magazine, in a fashion photo shoot or in an advertising campaign for a perfume...

When I finished, I couldn't stop looking at it!
She is absolutely gorgeous, even more than usual...
Maybe the most difficult thing and the only one which ended up being a little annoying was getting rid of all the tiny bits of her around her head and her forehead. It's so hard to keep it natural when you do it!
What do you think of the final result?

While doing the assignment pictures, I've also been experimenting in other ways, with some pictures of mine in order to become more skilled in some of the tools I wanted to use for my assignment, such as changing the eye colours, which didn't look that good when I first tried it...
For example this shot of me taken in the same photo shoot for the assignment pictures:

gave me the chance to experiment with the Clone Tool on the skin and the Magnetic Lasso I used again to refine eye colour and "apply some lipstick" on me...

All soft and smooth... :)

But Photoshop is not only about retouch.
You can really be creative with it as much as you want, as I already showed you with my design cover.
For example, because in this photo shoot we had cigarettes with us, I had the idea of making up something about smoke:

"They thought it was bad, she did not. They told her not to do it, but she kept doing it. They said it was a mistake, she didn't care at all. They told it might have killed her, but she answered she'd rather die because of a choice she had made than because of something which had been chosen for her. She was like that: she never listened. She just lived, and she didn't give a sh..."

What do you think?
This is do demonstrate how Photoshop is not easy, but neither too difficult to use, and can reveal a lot a great surprises and inspire you a lot...
You never know what could come out from a picture, until you challenge it a bit...

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Hola my dear readers! 

I don't know if it's because of the end of the world or because Christmas is now VERY close, but people in this city are going crazy!

It's almost impossible now to make a walk in Grafton Street without being packed between a huge crowd of buyers with their multiples whopping bags which seems to be bigger and bigger every time I go out.
This is the only case in which I've thanked college for making me so busy these days, so that I could keep myself from falling into the devil circle of Christmas craziness...even because as I have already experienced, when I start is then almost impossible to stop and I end up buying Christmas presents for every single person I know (included the butcher and my granny's card-games friends...)

But this time no, I just focused on my Secret Santa (which is going to be revealed tonight with the girls, I can't wait!) and on actually keeping it SECRET which is not one of the things I'm better at,
and on some other little presents for my closest ones.
Anyway, I wouldn't have time to do anything else because as I said college has been entertaining me a lot recently...

But I must say I've been enjoying most of my assignment, and there are a couple of them which I would like to share with you.
One of them is my work for Layout&Design, which also allows me to introduce a new topic in my not-so-baby-anymore blog: DESIGN.
It's an absolute beautiful field, which includes a lot of various aspects and whose creators could be either architects or designers or advertisers but in each cases they should all be called artist because of the beautiful things they make.

For my second assignment of Layout&Design we were asked to create the cover of either a DVD or a Video Game.
At first, as I love cinema so much and I am myself one of the last exemplars of DVD buyers, I was almost sure I would have done a DVD cover.
But after the week end I spent in London with my friend Francesca (I told you about it already and I showed you my pictures...) I changed my mind.

In fact, during one of the nights we spent together in London, we were in her flat after dinner, chatting, putting nail polish on us and talking about how many things have happened since we used to hang out in our small (VERY small) town in Italy when we were kids...
At a certain point, Francesca said: "One day they are going to make a Video Game out of us, for sure!"

How can I put this...
Illumination! Bells of inspiration! 
Since that moment I started thinking about it and I've been falling in love with that idea more and more, until I decided that I was going to do a Video Game on us...
...after all, why wait for someone else to do it? :)

So that, back in Dublin I started to think more carefully about the concept and the story which would have been the base of my Video Game.
In fact, if when we look at a design work we think it's just about sitting down and drawing or editing pictures etc, what we don't know it that there is MUCH MORE work before that!
All the concept creation and the various papers filled with brain storming to gather ideas and end up with something homogeneous, not too complicate and still interesting is what really makes the design.

I finally decided that my two heroines based on Francesca and me were going to be something in between Jessica Rabbit, because she is super glamorous and gorgeous, and Carmen San Diego, who I absolutely love and whose character has that extra something, strong and male which I wanted my heroines to have.
Also, they were going to be experts in martial arts, because what is a Video Game without ninjas?!

After making a huge board on Pinterest (you'll find it @, I also thought about the look that my two protagonists should have had, also because it was my change to represent Francesca and I in them.
Picking some pieces from our own wardrobes and making them wear them.
That's why I've taken pictures of my red hat, 

Francesca's red high heels, my red Spanish fan (a present from my lovely Spanish friends which for pure coincidence they gave me when we met in London that very week end in November!) 

and edited them on Photoshop to make them look a little bit more cartoon-ish not to contrast too much with the front of the cover where I've put my drawings of the two heroines.

Because I wanted them to be some kind of mythical Greek-ish goddesses, I've given them Greek names: Dynamis (which in Ancient Greek language means Strength) and Andreya (which means Courage).
I've decided that the Video Game was going to be about their journey from Japan to Spain, where they had to bring this mysterious alphabet which had been used to write the secrets of humanity and which some evil forces were trying to steal.
I've decided to call the alphabet Skepsys (which is Greek means Doubt).
The two heroines would have had to bring it safe to an impenetrable castle in Spain where their mentor was hiding, waiting fore them; but they would have had to overcome various obstacles and defeat various enemies on their way.

I've called the Video Game with a Spanish name, GUERRERAS, and I've made it end up in Spain because I wanted to recall Francesca's passion for Spanish, which she has been studying for so long, but also my passion for Spain as well, originally due to other reasons but which has been growing after my travel around that beautiful country this summer.

This is the final result:

I must say, it has been so much work!
Not only because of the technical aspects such as editing the pictures of downloading a Greek inspired font which I couldn't find among the ones I already had on my laptop, 
but because this Design ended up being something very personal for me...
The representation of some aspects of my personality and of the one of one of my best friends...
But also a celebration of what we are now, and what we have done, not forgetting what we haven't done already...
When we were kids, we had big dreams, but we would never guess about the way our lives were going to take...
And it's still the beginning!
But yet, I cannot tell how proud I am of her...
She really is a GUERRERA.


Sunday, 16 December 2012


Craziness post 48 hours of non-stop work for the assignment

Getting inspiration for my Video Game Cover

Dinner in Boulevard Cafe with our New York girl

The Christmas Ball, such a great night...

Random nail art (polish by Chiara ;) ) 

Scarlet 4 Fashion & Miss Ethnic Ireland Christmas Party

Cosy Christmas @Scarlet 4Fashion...

Buongiorno to all of you!

Another week is coming to its end and I'm hardly able to realise that is the last one before Christmas.
Isn't it unbelievable?
For many reasons, this year I'm not feeling the Christmas craziness that much, maybe because I've been so busy with a million of things, maybe because I haven't really been thinking about presents, or maybe just because every year that goes by my childish love for this holiday is fading a little bit more...

...which is too bad!
That's why I promised to myself that this week I'll do my best to get into the Christmas mood, starting from the Christmas market where some friends and I will go today,
let's see if lights all around, lovely songs and the smell of hot chocolate will do their job or simply give me a headache!

By the way, talking about busyness, there are still a lot of things I want to share with you before going to Italy for Christmas, but today I'll just give you a short chronicle of a lovely party I've been earlier this week.

Do you remember when I told you about Zainab and her company some weeks ago?

(Zainab and I on one of the Budda Bags)

I met her at Lou's launch and we started speaking about her company, Scarlet 4 Fashion, which created contacts between people in the fashion industry.

(Chiara, Zainab and I)

After our lovely chat, we added each other on FB and some days ago she invited me to the Christmas party she organised for her company.

It was very cool, most of all because of the location: in fact the vernissage was inside of the Budda Bag shop in Dublin, which is close to the Jervis shopping centre, in the North side of the city.
I know that shop very well, because is just beside one of my favourite lunch places, Lemon Jelly, and it's so typical for Chiara and I to crash on a Budda Bag after a long morning of shopping and a great lunch.

(Chiara, me and our glasses of wine.. ;) )

So we did the night of the party, with the only difference that we didn't have to feel guilty about how long we stayed on it this time...

Aaron was with us and for the first part of the party we just listened to music and chatted, waiting for some more people to come, even if we couldn't stay as long as we would have liked to...
Then the atmpopshere got warmer and some of the guests started to gather, looking at the displays with exclusive furnitures and shoes sponsored by Scarlet 4 Fashion, as the party was also an occasion for them to make people acknowledged about these brands.

(The display of one of S4F clients...)

The location as I said was great and the guests who were dressed following the 1920s feeling, perfectly embodied by Zainab with her gorgeous dress and head band.
The party was also an occasion for Scarlet 4 Fashion to celebrate the great success of their participation to Miss Ethnic Ireland, which was a great success and contributed to rise awareness against FGM.

What can I say, another very nice night, also because of my two lovely mates who came with me.

(Chiara, Aaron and me)

It was a great way to distress after a long day of study...
Thanks Zainab for the great party and congratulation Scarlet 4 Fashion!
Maybe it didn't put me in the mood so much, but that was for sure the cosiest Christmas party ever...

Stay tuned ;)