Un giorno molto Italiano

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“A very Italian day”

Today was a very Italian day, which is to say, I was in my element.

After going on weeks of eating out for every meal due to a gas leak in our old-fashioned oven (ah, the charming joys of old home ownership), I enjoyed a fresh lunch thrown together from cucumbers and basil from my mother’s garden, olive oil and a pinch (or two) of salt. Heaven in my mouth, I tell you.

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The offending appliance.

I followed my summer lunch with a glass of “just got home from work during a stressfully short week” wine and what I’ll just call a ‘highly passionate’ conversation. My roommate and I ended the night with a long walk in our new tree-lined neighborhood (dare I say…passeggiata?) and gelato before dinner – also known as sorbet for my dairy-free self. It was literally all I could do to keep from telling the generous sample-giving high schooler behind the counter, “Posso avere un piccolo con limone e anguria, per favore.”

I don’t know if it’s all the Under the Tuscan Sun I’ve been reading lately, nostalgia or just my genes taking over (one can only hope), but I am always up for incorporating a little more Italiano in daily life. In my experience, the Italians are all about appreciating the little things, pacing themselves through life, loving on those around them and of course, doing it all with good food, wine and friends.

While Italy is a place that I miss often, days like this remind me it is also a mindset. Despite all odds, I can look back on my day now and see the good, which makes me breathe just a little easier and makes me feel like “Tiffany’s” might not be so out of reach after all.

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Giving myself a break bisquits

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This weekend I was determined to rest.

Like all good intentions, this idea started out so well, with a slow morning spent sleeping in then getting creative in the kitchen…but after celebrating two friends’ engagement, making a couple drives across the Dallas metroplex and one unhappy head/stomach later, it was clear that I had not exactly been the image of peace and stillness I’d envisioned all week leading up to that point.

Since I was not one of those lucky enough to have this President’s Day off and wishing it was still the weekend isn’t making my weekend any magically longer, I’ve been thinking of little ways I can treat myself to some relaxation throughout the week rather than just keep putting all my hopes into the weekend to recharge.

This week I plan to…

Wake up earlier. I know what you’re thinking…didn’t she just say she was needing more time relax not less? The thing is, I’ve found that even though I absolutely love my hibernation, er…sleep, I love my peace of mind more. Waking up with enough time to journal, do some yoga or run, shower and get myself looking how I’d actually prefer people to see me goes so much farther in getting me ready to tackle each day. The holidays completely threw off all the progress I’d been making, but I suppose with the passing of Valentine’s Day I can’t exactly pretend that now still counts as ‘the holidays’ anymore, can I?

Cook real food. Confession. My laziness knows no bounds…I’ve been eating out a LOT this past week or so. Even when I had the good sense to actually be in a grocery store I ended up getting frozen Asian food (never a good idea) and blue box mac and cheese (always a good idea, except when you end up making and eating two boxes in one sitting. But hey, it was Valentine’s Day…). How can I expect my body to feel good (and look good) if I don’t put good things in it? I really enjoyed taking the time to make myself something fun and good this weekend. I think adding time for that into my week is just what I need to force myself to slow down, make the most of my time with food I truly enjoy/can be proud of and oh yeah, take care of myself.

Light candles. This one’s just plain fun. They look pretty, smell pretty and make me feel like life is just a tad more on the luxurious side. Plus I have quite a few that even though I love everything about them, I’ve never actually ever lit. And if there’s one thing Finding Tiffany’s is all about it’s that life is not for hoarding and hoping, it’s for actually experiencing and enjoying. Now this goal, I can accomplish.

Update – Last week’s goals to read more and be nicer to myself have been going so well, I’ve decided to continue them…I will finish that book…one day…

{Vanilla Biscuit Recipe: Gluten-free Bisquick, Vanilla, a tiny bit of sugar, milk, eggs and butter. Plus fresh fruit and whip cream. I wish I could tell you measurements, but I had way less than the recipe called for so I had to eyeball it. Basically my rule of thumb for pretty much everything is to start with the recipe on the back of the box, then add way more vanilla than it calls for. Voila.}

A Nickel For Your Thoughts

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The most magical thing about writing (and reading) is that moment of perfect synchronicity, when the reader goes “YES, me too!” I have this moment of understanding and connectivity with books and other bloggers (unbeknownst to them) often, and it is exactly that which has always motivated me to write as well. I can only hope that somebody stumbles across something I write and is encouraged, excited or if nothing else, left with a little more feeling of belonging than they had before. So it is with this hope that I broach a topic that has been weighing on me a lot lately.

I think I can speak on Lydia’s behalf when I say that healthiness is an important part in Finding Tiffany’s for us. When you feel 100% you’re better equipped to go out in the world and live life to the fullest. Whether through yoga, running, eating less sugar or finally making it to some doctor appointments, we’re always looking for ways to incorporate more of a healthy lifestyle.

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So…what happens when everything you thought was eating healthily turns out to be actually slowly diminishing your immune system?

I found out this week I’m allergic to nickel, among other things. I’m afraid I’ve grown pretty boring since then, since all I’ve done ever since is research what this means and what I can do about it (Did you now 15% of the population have some sort of nickel allergy?? See, full of fun facts). You see, nickel is in basically everything. Keys, jewelry, zippers, buckles, metal buttons, pens, paper clips, cooking utensils and pans, door knobs, hangers…It’s also in food: wheat, ALL vegetables (including my favorites, spinach and mushrooms), nuts, soy, oatmeal, tuna and beans. And of course my favorites: wine (only red, thank God), chocolate and beer.

I can’t tell you how confusing it has been to retrain my brain these past couple of days. Everything I eat (and enjoy) on a daily basis that filled me with pride for taking care of my body (minus the chocolate and alcohol) was actually building up against my immune system the whole time. Huh.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I do firmly believe that having a healthy body is paramount to living a happy, fulfilled life. Because I believe that there ARE answers out there, no matter how many times you have to visit doctors who make you feel like a crazy hypochondriac. Because I want you to know that other people know whatever it is you’re going through, whether it’s people on our blog, another blog or a random message board. And hopefully, knowing that gives you some comfort. Helps you feel understood and accepted. Makes you feel at home, wherever you are, however you are.

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As my friend told me this week, after I kinda thought I was going to be murdered while using the sketchiest bathroom of my life in an otherwise fun, quirky place (Lee Harvey’s) only to look up and see someone else had already hit my feelings spot on with the words scrawled on the bathroom wall, “This bathroom is f****** creepy as s***”…..

….Life is all about the shared human experience.