Monday, 16 July 2018

MUSIC MONDAY ~ N.31

Un'estate italiana (an Italian summer), is filled with many amazing things: gelato, beautiful fashion, days and nights by the sea, evening strolls to the piazza, the list goes on and on. 
However, nothing is quite as special as the music during the summer season in Italy.

Maybe it's the catchy beats, the lyrics that almost always reference "amore" (love) or "il mare" (the sea/beach), or the experiences to which the music is shared; whatever it is, Italian summer hits have a way of mesmerizing the listener and delivering a slice of "la dolce vita."

One such song that's tearing up the charts this summer is "Amore e Capoeira," by Takagi & Ketra feat. Giusy Ferreri and Sean Kingston.  Check out the video below - I assure you, the beat will have you dancing in no time!





Thursday, 5 July 2018

Dolce To-Do ~ July List


School is out and it's time to enjoy the long, lazy days of summer! With so much to see and do throughout the month of July, you'll be surprised how fast the days fly by!
Make the most of your summer with some great "dolce to-do" ideas below!

*  *  *  *  * 
1. Dip your feet in the water: Whether you have a fancy pool, or just a little one for the kiddies, there's nothing like swaying your feet in some cool, refreshing water on a hot summer day.  Don't be afraid to kick and make a splash for some extra old-school fun ;)

2. Create ice cream creations: If you're a whiz in the kitchen, try whipping up a batch of homemade ice cream! If you prefer the store-bought kind, make it unique by creating your own version of ice cream sandwiches, or set up a toppings bar and create some deluxe ice cream sundaes.

3. Go strawberry picking: This was always one of my absolute favourite activities growing up!  I loved gathering fresh berries to take home, and of course, munching on some as we picked! What's more, you can make fresh batches of jam to last the whole year through!

4. Go for walks after dinner: You may feel sluggish in the evening, and just want to relax on the couch, but don't get stuck in that rut. Remember how cooped up you were in the winter? Right! So get out there and enjoy these warm summer evenings!

5. Have a water fight! Bring out your inner child and participate in a water balloon fight!  Go ahead and run through the sprinkler while you're at it! ;)

6. Sip sangria on a patio: Whether relaxing at home, the cottage or at one of your favourite spots in the city, be sure to take that drink outdoors.  If it's late enough, you can star-gaze as you sip away!

7. Take a road trip:  Want to get away but have limited funds?  A road trip is a great way to travel for less.  The best part is, the drive is half the fun!  You can create great memories while getting to your destination with all the car karaoke, food stops and story swapping!  

8. Play some outdoor games:  Bocce season is upon us! If the Italian lawn-bowling game is not your thing, perhaps you can have some fun playing mini-put, croquet, or horseshoes.

9.Read a great book: There is nothing like curling up on the hammock, or on the beach with a great summer read.  The longer summer days and vacation time, offer the chance to breeze through the chapters and get lost in another world.

10.  Dine al fresco: Organize a dinner party at one of your favourite restaurants - but be sure to book your table outside!  The atmosphere of a full patio on a summer night, with laughter, drinks and great food, is simply magical!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Italian Contemporary Film Festival


Yesterday was the kickoff to the Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF) in Toronto!  It was an evening filled with great food, great fun, and of course great film!

The evening began with the opening film, "Like a Cat on a Highway," or "Come un gatto in tangenziale." As the stars walked the red carpet, guests arrived, and soon all were ushered into the theatre where they heard a few opening words from ICFF executive members, Cristiano De Florentiis and Maurizio Magnifico. Then the film began; a comedic story which depicts two individuals from completely different worlds, who are forced to rethink their preconceived notions of each other.  Leading actors, Antonio Albanese and Paola Cortellesi, offer a tremendous performance in the movie, that truly makes one question the world's we live in, and our judgement of individuals. As Albanese stated yesterday before the film commenced (he was one of the guest stars of the festival!), "That which has captured the audience [with this film] is the relationship between these two people who are completely different - the fact that there is a need to truly listen to people, to understand them and spend time with them."


After the opening film, it was time to celebrate! Guests headed over to Ricarda's Restaurant, where we were presented with Italian food and drink from a variety of sponsors, live music, and an interesting light show which depicted movie stars and films from past and present.  There were also guest appearances from some of Italy's biggest stars, including Italian singer and actor, Ravazzi (whose music was featured just a few months ago in VLD's Music Mondays!). It was a lovely evening, full of celebration and promotion of Italian culture; something that is at the heart of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival.


This festival which started initially as a grassroots non-profit film festival in 2012, is now one of the largest Italian film festivals outside of Italy!  Each year, the festival presents some of Italy's top films (this year there are 109 films total!), dialogues with visiting actors, and informational events on the films and the film industry. The festival, which runs from June 14th-22nd, offers a great way to learn about Italian culture and language, and is one event you will definitely not want to miss! Be sure to visit www.icff.ca for information on how to get your tickets! 

Buon divertimento!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Dolce To-Do ~ June List!



It's June! Pretty soon school will be out, and summer vacation will begin - a time for fun-filled days in the sun and late nights under the stars. For ideas on how to pass the time before summer vacation officially starts, check out the list below!

1. Enjoy some ice cream outdoors: There is something special about enjoying fresh, cold ice cream under the blistering, hot sun. Let's not forget the best part - racing to lick the melting ice cream before it drips!

2. Organize a backyard BBQ: Eating "al fresco" (outdoors) on a nice summer day is always a treat!  Call up friends and family and invite them over for some delicious eats off the grill, or have them bring along some dishes of their own to share, potluck style!

3. Celebrate dad: This month the spotlight is on dad. Set aside some time to show the dad in your life just how much you care and appreciate him.

4. Take up an outdoor activity: Whether it's a new exercise routine or a new sport you want to try, take it outdoors!  Now is the time to take advantage of the good weather and soak in some vitamin D. 

5. Visit an outdoor fair: You don't have to be a kid, or have kids, to enjoy a good ol'fashioned outdoor fair. Enjoy all the fair classics like the Ferris wheel ride, the games and of course, the treats (did someone say funnel cake?)!

6. Refresh your car: With the winter long gone, and spring showers safely behind us, it is time to get your car summer ready!  Whether you like to do the dirty work yourself, or hand the job off to an auto cleaning service, now is the time to get your car squeaky clean and sparkling for some summer fun! 

7. Make some freezer treats: Nothing is better than a cold, refreshing snack on a blistering, hot day!  Prepare for those days now by arranging a variety of yummy snacks and freezing them.  Some ideas include: frozen grapes, fruit slush freezes, and frozen banana pops.  Check out this list for more ideas!

8. Organize and file: With the school year coming to a close, there are sure to be lots of notes and assignments that risk being left in a corner somewhere until September.  Invest in some great organizers (for example: file folders, filing cabinets, bins, etc.) to help ease this problem and to also preserve some of your children's favourite school memories. 
Don't have kids in school?  Make this a time to review and refresh your own paper chaos.  Shred old bills, newsletters, etc. that you don't need anymore, and only keep the notes that are most important.  If you can, switch to paperless billing and/or newsletters to rid the issue altogether! :)

9. Make some time for you: June is one of those months that can sometimes feel a little frazzled. Whether you have kids finishing up their school year, or you are preparing to leave for summer vacation,  you probably feel like there is a quicksand timer on your shoulder, while you are trying to get all the last minute things done before the month's end.  Try and carve out some down-time between all the "to-dos" to avoid burnout, before the summer months arrive! 

10. Watch a foreign film:  During the month of June, the annual Italian Contemporary Film Festival in Toronto brings you authentic Italian cinema at it's finest!  With a variety of fun events, star guest appearances, and an array of Italian films, you're sure to be entertained, and learn a thing or two about Italian culture!

Monday, 4 June 2018

MUSIC MONDAY ~ N.30

Happy June!

In Canada, June is officially recognized as National Italian Heritage Month.  Officially declared in 2017 by the federal government of Canada, this recognition helps to celebrate the richness of Italian culture and heritage, as well as the wonderful contributions Italians have made to the country.

Canada is home to over 1.5 million Canadians of Italian descent, which is one of the largest Italian diasporas in the world.  Those who immigrated from Italy, mainly from the southern regions, brought with them an abundance of cultural gems, including delicious recipes, skilled craftsmanship, and a variety of rich Italian dialects.

In honour of National Italian Heritage Month, I decided to select a song for the first Music Monday of June, that reflects and celebrates the wonderful Napoleon dialect of Italy. The artist of the song, Liberato, has become known for representing "the rebirth of Naples."  Often singing about the culture and identity of his southern city of Naples, Liberato chooses to do so in the traditional dialect, but modernizes it, by pairing it to a hip hop sound.  Many can feel nostalgic at the sound of his Napoleon lyrics, as they are a throw back to the classical "Canzone Napoleantane," that are so widely popular throughout Italy and the world.

Check out his video below for "Je Te Voglio Bene Assaje," or in standard Italian, "Io Ti Voglio Bene Assai.




Italian translation by lyricstranslation.com, English translation by Viva la Dolce

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

TREND ALERT : THE STRAW BAG

Straw bags are synonymous with the warmer weather - think beach time, light and airy attire, and it becomes clear as to why. 
This year the trend seems to be even more popular, with a huge variety of styles to choose from! From classic tote, to cute and circular, to boxy with pompoms, it seems there is a design for everyone.  Check out some of my favourites for this summer, below!


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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Dolce To-Do ~ May List!



It's May and the warm weather has finally arrived!  Hopefully the warm sunshine and soft summer-like breeze is inspiring you to get out and have fun!  If you're looking for ideas on what to do this month, search no further.  I have 10 suggestions to help you enjoy the month of May!


1. Talk a walk through a park/around your neighbourhood: With all the beautiful fresh blooms and green grass, it is definitely a nice idea to take a walk and admire nature's beauty at this time of year.


2. Dust off the camping gear: Start prepping for summer nights outdoors by cleaning off your camping gear.  Take inventory and see what new pieces you may want or need to add to the collection for this year's adventures!


3. Celebrate mom: Although Mother's Day falls on one day of the year, try to be extra nice to your momma and stretch it out over the entire month.  She will surely appreciate the extra special treatment, and God knows she deserves it! :)


4. Host a happy hour:  Gather a few friends and invite them for some drinks on the patio or porch.  Prosecco and sunshine are a wonderful combination!


5. Visit a Farmers Market: With produce just starting in it's abundance, be sure to get in on the goods.  Search your nearest farmer's market and bask in the fresh eats!


6. Fill your home with florals:  While there is much beauty outdoors during this time of year, indoors can sometimes need a little refresher.  Grab some pretty flowers from the garden, or buy a beautiful bouquet, then place the arrangement in a welcoming spot in your home! 


7. Mani-Pedi Time: Get those fingers and toes season ready!  Be sure to select a beautiful pastel shade to mix with the current trends of spring.


8. Find your green-thumb:  A great way to enjoy the outdoors is through gardening. Not only will you be beautifying your landscaping, but you can also experience some great exercise, and soak in some beneficial vitamin D!


9. Visit the zoo:  A great time of year to see the cute animals at the zoo is during spring.  It's a great way to enjoy the sights, while beating the summer tourist lines and heat!


10. Brush up on your language skills:  Thinking about a summer vacation?  Now is the perfect time to brush up on some language skills you may need for travelling.  With summer a few weeks away, you have plenty of time to learn the essentials! :)





 

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