Monday, February 16, 2015

when the fog rolls in

About a week ago, I was taking pictures of a gorgeous sunset from my balcony (again!!) and was amazed when I realized that my camera's lens wasn't fogging up... but the fog was truly rolling in. I have never seen fog move across the sky and land like this. It was incredible. I continued taking pictures until the fog pretty much took over... and then in about 5 or 10 minutes... it cleared up again!

...about 5 or 10 minutes later...

I've really enjoyed living in a small town in Italy for the past year and a half. It's pretty cool to live surrounded by rice and cornfields. I often feel as if I'm wading through thick fog to get to school in the morning.

I've enjoyed it... but am ready to move into the city. This summer I plan to make the move! I hope to find a lovely apartment in a lovely area of the city... and hope to enjoy the change for the rest of my time in Italy - however long that ends up being. I have one more year on my contract... and then we'll see! (Until I make the move... there are still about 4 or 5 months... I'll continue enjoying these amazing sunsets... and, I suppose, the fog!)

The pictures above show the snow. The snow is gone now. It rained all weekend but, thankfully, seems to have cleared up now. Snow gone -- rain gone -- here's to hoping the sun makes an appearance and decides to stay!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lunch at Le Proposte in Piacenza

I was invited to go to lunch last Sunday with a group of ladies from school. They had all been to this place before and raved about it... now I see why! It is about an hour's drive to Piacenza from Milan. The drive is gorgeous... especially once you get to the area and there are rolling hills of vineyards.

Panoramic of the area:

We had lunch at Le Proposte - a cozy little place with amaaaaaazing food!

We started with the antipasti dishes, which they bring (and seem to never stop bringing!) and we shared. Then we each ordered a primi (pasta) - I had the pumpkin ravioli. We skipped over the secondi and went straight to dessert from there! And, of course, finished up with un caffe.

The drive to and from Piacenza was almost as delicious as the food!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

brunch at my place!

I hosted a get-together last weekend. This is one of the first times I have hosted friends at my place... and it was a good time! ...Nice to get together with some of the other ladies in Opera for laughter and good food.

I made banana walnut muffins with Nutella swirled on top : )

Here's the start of the spread... plus coffee and tea... 

and once the others showed up... the spread grew and there wasn't enough room for all of the delicious foods! Awesome  : )

Sunday, February 8, 2015

more fun in the ASM Library

We've been busy in the ASM Library!  (...always...)     : )

Angela and I started taking pictures of various teachers and students with "Book Face"... and we are loving it! A fun side project that we're still working on but here are some of the results so far...

Friday, February 6, 2015

email to students and staff at ASM yesterday...

Subject: BLIND DATE...

[begin email]


Fall in love with a good book -- just in time for Valentine's Day... 

Come by the Library anytime next week to mysteriously choose a book based on only a few clues. ...You might end up falling in love!

Good reasons to do so:
  • Blind dates usually aren't fun... but this kind is!
  • Have a date with a good book! (...whether you have a real date for Valentine's Day or not).
  • Who doesn't enjoy unwrapping a present?? (...but remember to return it to the Library in a couple of weeks!)
  • Reading is relaxing, fun, and beneficial for you in so many ways!
  • Your real Valentine won't be upset if you also date a book.
When you begin to date someone, you should give the person a chance, right?! ...Go on a couple dates with him/her before possibly deciding you don't want to spend more time with that person. ...Same with a book! -- when you check a book out, please give it a chance; read at least a few chapters! You might be surprised : )

Love a book lover,
Ms. Stacia

[end email]

Wow. So... first of all - I crack myself up! Hahaha. I thought this was so cute and tried to make the email a bit funny (hopefully the students were able to read the email with my 'voice' and get what I was going for). I wasn't really sure how this was going to work out but figured I'd go for it.

I read about this idea last year but it was a bit late to implement in time for Valentine's Day. Then... I remembered mid-week this past week and thought, I still have time!

The email was sent just before upper school's two lunch periods... and when I returned from my lunch, Angela (elementary librarian) said that it was a MOB SCENE! (YESSSS!) I found a group of middle school girls in the elementary reading corner  each holding a book or two, exclaiming which book they got, which books of their friends' that they already love, and discarded wrapping paper was all over. SUCCESS!

One of the coolest parts is that, most of the books that each girl ended up choosing from just a few clues on the front, I would have personally chosen for them myself! Very cool. The girls were actually excited to begin reading their books... and are already asking if they can come back next week for more (Ummm... YES!).

So... middle school girls were won over by the Blind Date with a Book initiative. Perrrrrfect.

THEN... as I'm rapidly trying to wrap more books and restock the display... HIGH SCHOOL girls begin coming in. They love the idea, love the display, and each want to choose a book! WIN!

Some boys (middle AND high school) came by as well. They were all about the "Horror... not love" hinted books. A few went for other genres and all walked away happy. 

This. Feels. Awesome.   : )

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Today is the first day in Milan that I've really seen it SNOW!!

Last year there was one day with some flakes fluttering down... and apparently it recently snowed one day over the winter break while I was in New York... but today it's been snowing since mid-morning and hasn't stopped : )

Many people at school are talking about (and hoping for) a snow day tomorrow... I'm not sure that's going to happen... but we can hope! A three-day weekend would be lovely.

For now - it was great to have after school activities canceled (as that meant I left school at 4:00pm instead the usual 5:30pm) - so nice to be home while it's still light out! Below are a couple photos that I took from my apartment this afternoon:

ALSO... I went into school early this morning to play badminton with the high school kids. So fun!!!

I haven't played badminton since PE class in high school... I had to be reminded of how the game / rules / points work... but I did pretty well! I played a total of 6 games, actually won the majority of them, was done by 8:30am, ...and rewarded myself with a marmellata brioche. Mmmmhmmmm.   : )

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dad Decked the Deck

Every time we pulled into the driveway of the house, Dad would say one of two things... either, "Wow! Look at that house! They have a SANTA on the roof!!" ...OR... "I decked the deck." Hahaha...

Dad decked the deck:

Dad and Dominic going into New Yorker's... daily routine...

Breakfast cuteness at New Yorker's, East Rochester

At Savoia's on Christmas Eve to pick up the cannolis...
We walked in on #19 and pulled #71. Yikes!

Group shot while hanging out at Grandma's in Buffalo:

A rare photo of all of us together!

Home for the holidays

More from my time home in Upstate New York : )

Making Christmas cookies with Mom!

You DON'T make a Christmas pretzel cookie?    : P

I got to spend two weeks with this lady  : )

Grandma made some of her family-famous Tollhouse cookies!
Looking at this photo on my camera after taking it, Grandma couldn't find herself between all of our hair! Haha. She didn't think it was the photo that we could have just taken and she had been in... 

Home  : )