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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Amazing snapshots!

Having fun with Sinead styling the swing dress at work

Helping Chiara with her documentary and assisting a very interesting chat with an expert on a controversial topic: abortion.

The incredibly cold weather in Dublin and the snow which kept falling every day 

The exhibition in the City Hall

Filming my documentary in the Liffey Trust Dance Studios with my beloved crew!

Monday, 25 March 2013

A touch of silk...

Hello everybody!

Today I am writing from Starbucks in Grafton Street as I am waiting for my friend's Sophie musical performance to start.
I must confess, I cannot wait to see her and hear her singing and at the same time I am scared of my reaction as I know I will probably be screaming and covering her in pictures so I might look like a crazy Italian mother at her daughter performance... I promise I will try to maintain some kind of control, even if of course I am super excited.

Anyway, you might wonder why am I in Starbucks at this point if the performance won't start before eight...
Well, the reason is that I am basically crashing here after spending the whole day in town.
First I met Alex, the protagonist of my documentary (more about it coming up soon...) to watch the first series of visuals I filmed in Monkstown last week, 

then, and that's why I decided to pop up this very unexpected post, I went to see this exhibition now ongoing in the City Hall, about the various cultures which were populating the places around the very famous Silk Road.

Quite random for an exhibition taking place in the City Hall of the Irish capital?

You'd be surprised to know how meaningful this topic actually is, at this time of the year.
In fact, the exhibition comes as a part of many other events hosted by the City Hall such as Music, Poetry and Dancing, all in order to take part for the first time to the celebration for Nowruz.

Nowruz, meaning "New Day" in Persian, is a traditional New Year celebration which in most of the Silk Roads countries announces the joyful awakening of nature after winter and the beginning of Spring.
All right,  I know what you all are thinking about: what spring we live in Dublin...
Very true! But that doesn't mean that in some parts of the world this period is the one in which the nature rebirth and everything becomes more colourful and warm.

For sure, this is happening now in the countries where these communities united to build up the exhibition come from. Among them are: Afghan, Azerbaijani, Baha'l, Iran, Kazakh, Kurdish and Turkish.
It is a mixture of typical features of the Middle East countries which most of others would recognise pretty easily such as the carpets, 

the Sitar, 

maybe the most famous musical instrument which symbolises somehow the Middle Eastern mythology and history,

(no, it's not an Italian Mandolino...).
But also many other not-so-well-known things such as typical costumes and jewels,

 but also ornaments of various type.

The most interesting thing for me, when I approach an exhibition of this genre, featuring art from a culture so different from my one, is to actually see what is art for these countries, 

which can come as something very different from what is art for me, 

born and raised surrounded by frescoes, exquisite paintings and sculptures and classical Architecture.

But also, I always try to let these objects speak to me, in order to see how I react to them, if they say something to me, or not.
In this case I really liked the jewels and the musical instruments, but I must say that I happened to get distracted by the surroundings...literally.

In fact, believe it or not, it was the first time for me inside of the City Hall.

I don't know why it has never came into my mind to take a look inside, probably because I know I have still quite a lot of time to spend in Dublin, which is the worst feeling to have when you have to choose if to do something now or later: the dear old procrastination.

But also probably because I do feel at home here yet, so that it makes me feel strange to think about sight seeing in my city.

Oh well, this time I did it so let's just stop thinking about it for now and take a look at the pictures I took inside of the building.

Quite stunning indeed...

Cool thing: when I was about to go out, one of the guardians told me they had already locked the side door (seriously, 5pm?!) so that I could use the main door.

It was a nice feeling to go down the stairs with the city in front of me from that very tall angle...

Nice productive day!
I wanted to do one thing and I happened to find out much more...
Also, I liked the fact that I was by my self.
I don't know why, but every time I start wondering around I find something new that I wouldn't expect but which really makes my day.
I should really start finding some time to get lost around, because there is nothing that makes you feel more at home.
It's like getting close to the city, getting to know it, until it decides to show you her deeper sides, bite by bite.
Maybe, I already found my own way to sight see, without even knowing...

Stay tuned! 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A+ to the BB!

Hello my dearest ones!

Here we are on Assignment week and despite writing my assignments and going out to film a lot I managed to sneak in for a mid week post.

Some of you might be surprised by this one and this it's a so-not me post, because I do not usually write about "stuff" for stuff's sake, but it's also true that I do believe in sharing with you everything that I think deserves to be shared and that's the purpose of what I'm going to tell you about today...

For all of you who live in Dublin or in Ireland in general, you already know how much of a nightmare the weather has recently been...
The cold, the wind and the snow is making us all feel like we were living in some kind of perpetual winter and even if some brave ones are trying to convince themselves that the goos season is started by swapping their big warm coats with leather jackets and jumpers, we all eventually have to admit it: the spring it's just not happening.

This has bad effect not only on our mood, with a depressive tendency approaching because of the lack of sun, but also on our hair who are so damaged by all the stress and the wind, our health as colds and flues are spreading around and ultimately on our skin which is dry and scratchy.

Personally, I have experienced all of these bad effects (how not...) but one thing that really bothers me is having issues with my skin, especially on my face.
That's why, when the flash started to actually come off my cheeks any my fore head last week, I decided that my night and day creams and my masks were not enough and I needed to do something about it before starting to look like a old bad painted wall with pieces coming out of it...

Yes, generally I do take care a lot of my skin and I'm usually very well equipped to keep it hydrated and healthy, but because I finished my Sephora primer and I didn't have the time to wait for another one to come with the box my mum had sent me, I decided to try a new one: I went for the N.7 one which you can easily find in every Boots in town, as the lady in the shop warmly recommended it to me as she said it has nice hydrating properties.

I must say, she was right: it's actually a very good one, despite being just the basic one and not the top product of the line.
But my skin happened to be way too damaged at that time when I started using it, which obliged me to put cream over it while doing my make up to compensate in the driest areas of my face and make it look as nice as possible.
Which was not nice at all anyway...

I really didn't know what to do, and I was almost about to buy a foundation which I usually don't use as I hate the "mask" effect it gives to the skin, but which I thought could have been a way to temporarily protect the skin a little more (sounds a bit like a paradox I know... that's why I probably didn't go for it int he end).
Then, while reading Glamour magazine of this month on my lunch brake from work, I found this little article celebrating this product called BB Cream: an apparently revolutionary one which has the function of a very light foundation/corrector if used just in the critical spots, and cream at the same time.
I decided to give it a go and I came back to Boots where the same lady who recommended the primer to me sold me a basic BB Cream from Garnier.

I must say, I was quite skeptical as I happen not to be a super Garnier fan, but I trusted the lady and started to apply the BB.

Believe it or not,  after less than a week using it I am already sure I won't go back to any corrector again.
It is absolutely fantastic!
If applied after the primer it spreads so well on the skin, it makes it feel so hydrated and nice (for all the day) and it has a very good very natural covering feeling, which hides the redness of the critical areas or even eventual spots and imperfections without giving the "mask" effect of an actual foundation.

One of the best things is maybe the price, as I paid less than 14 euros for this tube of BB and because you don't need to use a lot of it I think it's going to last quite long, which makes it a very good investment!

Also, paying not so much for it gives you the chance to invest on a very good powder 

which combined with the primer and the BB Cream (even not the best one you could get!) is going to give you a very very nice final result.
Most of all, very natural looking, which is in my opinion the most important thing about make up for the face.

So, the final purpose of this post is basically give you an advice which comes from the bottom of my heart and is directed to all my female followers, but also the male ones as there's no point to be sexist when it comes to the health of our skin and looking and feeling good in general.

I hope it will come to help all of you who are finding yourself in the same situation I was last week (very un-confortable indeed) or that it will be a nice way to try something new which you may haven't expected to like but which might also become something you happen to love!

Let me know your opinions and feed backs on it, or even if you know something better than the BB Cream which you might want to recommend me, I will try and share it as well...

Anyway, BB Creamed or not... stay tuned (and hydrated)!


Monday, 18 March 2013

The green day in the green Island...

Hello everybody!

Another week comes to its end and this was a very special one indeed...

Not only because of something really shocking which happened to me while working on Friday, from which it took a while to recover but after a skype call with my sister Arianna and a flight to Rome booked for the week end of Easter it felt so much better...

But of course because of St. Paddy's week, especially the end of it with St. Paddy's day which was yesterday, that brought to Ireland a massive amount of tourists and habitues who came to our small green island to celebrate its patron and saint.

Of course, every one who was even remotely Irish tried his best to escape from the annoying invasion which crowded the streets of the city with people wearing ridiculous hats and carrying Carrols' bags.
Of course, pretending not to look like tourists at all, despite the big winter jackets and cameras which they probably don't even know how to work out hanging at their neck.

Sadly, because of work and college, even if I was invited to join a trip to Cork and stay at a friend's house for a couple of days, I had to stay in Dublin and manage my best to survive St. Paddy's day.
I went for the house-party strategy, which is embraced by all the remaining Dubliners in town, and some students like me who love this city too much to enjoy it in that state...

That's basically what I did, after joining the parade just for a meaning of tradition and standing in the cold for a ridiculous amount of time, I went from a house party to another, which happened to be very fun, even if not super crazy as this day had been for me last year.

I suspect that at least half of the craziness was missing because my besties Marcelo and Nico were not here, but eventually I had a great time and this morning I didn't felt like dying when I woke up and did the usual walk of shame home...

Anyway, this post had to happened first of all because as you might have noticed, I feel kind of bound to traditions and celebrations.

I do not like them, but I leaned how to handle the pressure they seem to put on everyone's shoulders and work them out in my own way, without ignoring them because deep inside of myself I still respect them.
There must be a reason why these kind of feasts have been going on for so much time, and also they are a way to gather people together with a meaning, which could be surprisingly important.
All right, I am casually skipping the part when every body gets way too drunk and fights start happening around town but as you know I am too much of an aesthete not to see just the beautiful aspects of St. Paddy.

Because of that, I am showing you some pictures that I took yesterday morning at the parade.
They are not spectacular, but some of them happen to represent the real essence of St. Paddy: loads of cameras pointing at the parade, 

a forest of green hats 

which I was able to over come thanks to a strong man who carried me on his shoulders for a while (the parade must not have been lots of fun for him I guess!), and the usual stuff you see walking around Dublin such as lovely little faces...
...just with a bit more magic on them...

...and tracksuits, just a bit more green... everything else in this day.

HAPPY ST. PADDY again to all my beloved readers, in Ireland and all over the world!

And of course, even if you are still trying to win the incredible hangover which is pulsing in your head...

Stay tuned! 


Paddy shots!

The "spring snow" in Dublin 

Going to Monkstown with the lovely Teresa to film my documentary at The College of Dance

The fun park in Marrion Sq. and the Festival all around the city

The sweetest tea and coziest couches at Cafe en Seine with Soph

St Paddy week end!

And even if late late... happy St. Paddy every one!
Now I canot wait for Dublin to go back to its normal loveliness...


Monday, 11 March 2013

Powerful hearts, powerful minds, powerful souls

Hello everybody!

Maybe it's a little too late to wish you a happy Sunday, but I won't miss wishing a wonderful Mother's day!
I hope you all have spoiled your mums enough today and that you had yourself a wonderful time...

Sadly, I couldn't spend the day with my mum because she is in italy atm,
 but I've sent her a nice card and I've managed to fill its envelope with loads of love... 
do you think she is going to receive it? ;)
I must say I missed her a lot today, but maybe even more yesterday when I went to an amazing event organized by the lovely Zainab I've already been telling you about.

We all gathered in the Parliament offices

 to attend a conference about Women Empowering, which I thought was such a good idea to celebrate the International Women day which was actually on Friday.

When I got the invitation from Zainab on facebook I immediately confirmed my presence, but to be honest I really didn't have enough time to find out more about the event I was attending, due to the crazy business which has never left me for a minute in the past weeks.
But still, trusting Zainab's ability to put together a great event and being very interested in the topic, I just went there without knowing what to expect.

(Chiara, Lou and I sitting in the audience) 

Well, as it often happen when you don't really know which kind of thing you are about to be a part of, it surprised me in such a positive way.

First of all, the location was great, as the offices of the Parliament are in the heart of the city, very close to Grafton Street, which would have been very easy to reach even if Lou didn't come to pick Chiara and me up in college with her car.

But what really shocked me was the amount of great personalities and hosts who took part to this event.
Not only as audience, who eventually took the chance to spend a word about themselves as we were waiting for the actual speakers to come up, such as Tina Williams who just won the award as African Designer of the Year and is now editor of "African New World";

but also an impressive singer who has taken part to the Voice of Ireland and was there as a good friend of one of the panel speakers, and of course Lou who introduced her brand, Raw Art Chic, that you very well know about and encouraged everybody to stay afterword when she was going to showcase some of her best pieces.

Wissam, Zainab's partner and of course organizer of the event welcomed the audience and introduced the speakers, also mentioning Campo Marzio, the Italian leather brand I've showed you the photo shoot on and which they were taking the chance to promote on that day as well...

The actual speakers, as I said, were incredibly good:
First of all, Ifrah Ahmed, who has lived in Ireland since 2006 and has been involved in various projects involving UNICEF, Amnesty International and Integration of African Children in Ireland. In 2010 she set up a non profit organization, United Youth of Ireland, 

with the aim to support young people from migrant communities in the artistic and creative business, and who was the mediator of the conference.

(Ifrah Ahmed introducing the conference)

After her, Mary Lawlor took the word.
She is Executive Director of Frontline, organization which internationally supports human rights and whose speech I found very interesting, as she did not talk a lot about the org itself, but focused much more on the true stories that she herself has seen since she started working with Frontline.
Stories of women who have been menaced in despicable ways just because they raised their hands and expressed their opinion, or because they tried to defend other women and help them in a cultural environment guilty of rape, violence and murder.
For example Mexican lawyer Luce Castro, who has been threatened to death after trying to improve women rights in her country and who said: "If a doctor was working in Africa and an epidemy was spreading, should the doctor leave and set his practice in Switzerland? That's the same here, the epidemy is spreading and that's why I have to stay".
But she also told us other stories which have taken parts at the opposite corners of the world, in Nicaragua, Congo where is the capital of rape and Afghanistan, which made me really realize how us women have some kind of proud and strength about us that doesn't change despite different cultures and backgrounds and that makes us all what we really are: fighters, able to stand up for ourselves and the ones we think should be defended.

The third speaker was a very different woman, the beautifully put together Maureen O'Halloran, Entrepreneur and founder of, retailing online company which has just been taken up on a franchise from Spain, which Maureen proudly announced before to start her speech.
She looked very classy and sophisticated, and that's why I was very surprised when she started telling us about her rough childhood, marked by the abuses of an alcoholic father and her teachers who didn't understand her difficulty as a dislessic child also affected by ADD.
Despite all this struggle, she remembered about the important role if another strong woman in her life: her grandma, who helped her to find herself and her way into life by following her one big passion: design.
That's how she became the youngest student in her college in Galaway and completed a 3 years course in 6 months.

Then, she decided to get into Internet, which was a complete unknown world for her: "If Google was a man, I would have been jailed for stalking" she said, telling us about how she learned everything by researching on her own and find out all the informations she needed, without caring about the ones who tried to bring her down and who sometimes, believe it or not, were women.
"Women can be the worst to themselves" said Maureen "and they should stop!".
Instead, they should start appreciating each others' ideas much more, because they are probably the most powerful thing someone could have.
"You are a multi tasker, but do it with clear mind and clear heart, if not karma is going to come back and bite your butt".

(The speakers, from the left: Maureen O'Halloran, Emma English, Cathy O'Connor and Mary Lawlord)

Useless to say: I absolutely loved her.
She was inspiring in a way that only someone who has been going through a lot in life can be.

After her, the authority and host of the conference appeared and took the microphone: Emer Costello, ex Lord Major of Dublin and member of the EU Commission, who was of course very significant.

(Emer Costello answering some questions from the audience)

But another speech I absolutely loved was the one made by another woman whose past in not only eventful but very complicated and, sometimes, definitely unlucky: Emma English (or Emma Kevin as she was before to get married to the love of her life and business partner), founder of Couleur Production, one of the leader Fashion Show&Event Management companies in Ireland.
She told about her past for the first time, telling us how did she go on even after finding out to be affected by serious illnesses, getting pregnant at a very young age, working and studying and finally finding her luck and her love in her husband James.
Her speech really made me think how even if you don't come out of a particularly hard situation like Maureen's one, life can be sometimes very mean and challenge you more that you would have expected.

In both cases, the strength you need is a lot, but really, a lot.
Not everybody could manage to keep going in these kind of situations, but these women did and they did not just survive, they became extremely successful, which is why they absolutely are an example not only for us young women who are finding our way to express ourselves and realize our dreams, but for everybody, men included, if they'll recognize how great these personas are.

(women from all over the world gathered together for the event)

Last but not least to talk in front of the audience was the super cool stylist Cathy O'Connor, who has recently spotted Lou's creations and made them hers, and who despite the very short and funny speech I found absolutely fantastic.
"There's no point in being anyone else" she said at some point "anyone else is taken so why not just trying to be the best possible version of yourself?"
Very inspiring, but most of all: absolutely true!

(Sami, Karen and me)

Also, she made us all reflect on the fact that sometimes is us who represents our worst enemy and the person who criticizes us the most. Because of that, we should just focus on who we really are and follow our heart and our dreams with no regrets.
Which I definitely agree with, as it's exactly what I try to do every day, be not too hard with my own self.

After the conference we had lunch and part of the room was closed because while the audience was being delighted eating and sipping refreshing drinks, behind the separe' they pulled up the organizers were setting the showcases of Campo Marzio 

and Lou's collection.

(Lou and I with her beautiful model during the showcase)

But also, the table the speakers had bee sitting at was removed to let Dilan Walsh and Aidan Clancy play their music.

(Dilan Walsh and Aidan Clancy being presented by the organizers Kamila and Zainab)

They were so lovely, and so good despite their very young age.
With that, the afternoon went on, and the Woman Empowering went from a conference to a 360degrees event, with belly dancers and initiatives being promoted all over the room, while the audience and the hosts all together were enjoying their time and having a blast, even if the weather outside was particularly awful.

 (The ladies: Zainab, Karen, Chiara and me)

A whole sun was shining in the room, thanks to the personalities who made the day and to the sparkle they lit up in the audience's souls.

That was really the best way to celebrate our identities as women, our hearts, our minds, our powerful souls.

And you, both men and women, kinds, people,
stay tuned!