Buoni Regalo per Natale – Christmas Gift Certificates

1IT: Cercate un regalo speciale ed originale da mettere sotto l’albero quest’anno? Donate un buono per un servizio fotografico ed i ricordi dei vostri cari dureranno per sempre!

EN: Are you looking for a special and original gift to put under the tree this Christmas? Give the gift of a photo shoot and your loved ones’ memories will last for a lifetime.

*Effettuo servizi a Torino e nelle zone limitrofe. / I offer photo shoot in Torino and surrounding areas.

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Posted in Baby Photography, Battesimi - Baptism Photography, Dolce Attesa - Maternity Photography, Photography, Prematrimoniale - Engagement Photography | Leave a comment

Baby Photography: Alessandro

IT: Ecco alcune foto di Alessandro, un bimbo carino e attivo di sedici mesi, scattate al Parco Valentino a Torino. Gli piaceva giocare con mamma e papà e il suo sorriso illuminava la giornata coperta.

EN: Here are a few photos of Alessandro, a cute and active sixteen-month old baby, taken in the Valentino Park in Torino. He had fun playing with Mom and Dad, and his smile brightened up the cloudy day.

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A Walk in the Mountains – Good for the Body and Soul

01 Yesterday I went hiking in the southern part of the Orsiera-Rocciavrè park which stretches over a vast area of the Alps in Piemonte. It was a beautiful hike with spectacular scenery at every turn. We covered about twenty kilometers on foot (about twelve and a half miles), most of which was steep and some of which was very steep. It was a great workout. Some of the ascents and descents had to be scrambled up/down using feet and hands.

We were out there for about nine hours, and the gps thingy said we were in motion for 5 hours and 13 minutes and still for about 3 hours and 50 minutes! So obviously we also spent a good amount of time taking pictures, admiring the scenery, eating lunch and even having a little nap in the warm sunlight at the top. The highest altitude we reached was 2381 meters (7,812 feet), but it was warm and sunny until we started descending and it started getting late and chilly.

The air was crisp and clean and breathing it, along with the physical exercise, reinvigorated me and made me feel better than I have in a while. Moving my body and observing the beautiful surroundings lifted my spirits and relaxed me.

When we were heading back down the mountain, the sun started to set and I watched an extraordinarily beautiful sunset. At this point the birds came out and I saw groups of large black birds soaring through the sky and little brown birds flitting from tree to tree.

Right at the beginning of the sunset, my point and shoot camera’s battery died and I couldn’t take any more photos. Believe me, there was a lot to photograph and the colors were extraordinary, but I didn’t care. I just watched it with my eyes and heart, and that was nice.

Here are some photos of the day:

02 The very beginning, amidst the pines

03  04  05  06  07  08  09  10  11 Abandoned stone houses

12  13The white square building is the mountain refuge/lodge, called the Rifugio Selleries, at 2023 meters (6,637 feet). People can eat and sleep there. There was a fountain outside with very cold refreshing mountain water.

IMG_3636  14  15  16 The highest peak in the distance, which is visible in several photos in this post, is called Monviso.

IMG_3710Here’s a more close up view.

17 We climbed up to Lago del Laus, a mountain lake formed by glacial action. It had a little island in the middle.

18  19  20 This was the “trail” we had to follow (climb) at the steepest part of the ascent.

21  22 This was the trail we had to climb down on the way back to the refuge.

23 Lago del Laus was an arresting sight from above. I took this photo after climbing to another lake, Lago La Manica.

IMG_3690Lago La Manica

24 After that rocky descent, though, the trail got easier on the way back.

25 Another view of Lago del Laus

26 I took this picture because that pile of stones looked like a person meditating on the top of the mountain.

27  28  29  30  31  32The sunset begins.

_MG_8980-2  _MG_8998-3If you look closely, you can see one of those black birds on the top of a tree.

Posted in Outdoors, Photography, Slowing Down | 4 Comments

Tasty Halloween Spirit

IMG_3433-2Yikes, look at these cakes. This bakery has definitely gotten into the spirit of Halloween, which is starting to get more popular here in Italy. I think the funny thing is how the signs just say “Chocolate and Chantilly cake” and “Hazelnut cake”, without any mention of, say, “Giant Bloodshot Eyeball”, “Bloody Brain”, and “Freaky Undead Fingers Emerging from the Grave”. How appetizing.

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Italian Seasonal Cooking, Roasted Beets, and Red Beet Pie

beets-1Red Beet Pie

It’s fall! The weather has been really nice here in Torino. Sometimes I dread the arrival of fall because I like the summer so much, but I am enjoying the beginning of the season this year. We’ve had some chilly rainy days, but we are also enjoying many warm sunny days and generally pleasant weather.

I’ve been feeling a strong urge to cook traditional Italian seasonal dishes this fall. I’ll tell you something about myself: I like to cook but even though I live in Italy I don’t always cook Italian food. Many of my staple dishes are international ones like Pad Thai, spicy Moroccan fava beans, and squash curry. I also like to make American vegan dishes like black bean burgers, and when I don’t feel like cooking I’ll eat french fries and salad or frozen minestrone soup.

That said, I love going to the market and buying what’s local and in season and what looks interesting. Torino has a famous and very large outdoor market called Porta Palazzo and when I go there, I want to buy everything I see. There is a section in one corner of the market where the local Piemontese farmers sell their produce, and that is my favorite part. The prices are slightly higher than the regular part of the market, but I like to buy from the local farmers and the selection is vast and changes with the season.

IMG_3278A random shot from the Piemontese farmers’ section at Porta Palazzo. The cavolo nero you see is dinosaur kale which is in season now.

So, with the fall weather, the scrumptious local ingredients available, and my desire to cook seasonal foods, I have decided to get to work making some classic Italian dishes. I started today.

Around this time of year you can find roasted beets and onions in the markets. I didn’t know what they were at first and I must say they aren’t that attractive, so I stayed away from them initially. Curiosity eventually got the best of me and I brought some home.

The first time I bought them, I peeled the beets with a knife and made beet salad, which is made with the beets cut into strips, olive oil, salt, and oregano. It was pretty good.

beets-2Roasted Beets and Onions
 
beets-4What they look like peeled
 
beets-7
 
beets-5Beet Salad with olive oil, salt, and oregano

The beets have a subtle roasted flavor which is very good, and I prefer it over the taste of canned or vacuum packed beets.

I didn’t really know what to do with the onions. I baked them with oil, salt, breadcrumbs, and capers, but they weren’t fantastic since they are already cooked and take on a unique flavor from their original roasting. If anyone knows how these onions are usually prepared, I’d love to hear about it!

A couple days ago, I bought some more roasted beets and onions. I just so happened to have all of the ingredients at home that are used to make a Northern Italian mountain recipe, Red Beet Pie, so I went for it.

I love recipes like this, local fare made with just a few simple ingredients. There’s nothing fancy about potatoes and beets, but the end result gives surprising satisfaction. It’s also a vegan recipe in it’s original form, so I didn’t make any changes.

The pie was pretty easy to make. Boiling the potatoes took the most time. I used a store bought puff pastry pie crust (the soft rolled kind), but if you feel up to it you can make your own.

Here is the recipe (photos after recipe):

Red Beet Pie

Ingredients:

1 medium sized cooked beet, preferably roasted
3 medium potatoes
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic
salt and pepper
1 puff pastry pie crust

Method:

1. Peel the beet if you’re using the roasted kind.
2. Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Let cool and peel the skins off.
3. Finely chop the celery and garlic.
4. Mash the potatoes and beets together, then add the celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Taste the mixture to make sure you’ve added the right amount.
5. Prepare a round pie pan with oil and flour, or use the oven paper that comes with a store bought pie crust. Lay the crust down in the pan. Spread the beet mixture evenly over the crust, and fold down the edges all around the pie.
6. Bake at 350°F/180°C for twenty minutes.
7. Let cool and enjoy at room temperature.

beets-6Ingredients: a beet, potatoes, celery, and garlic, plus salt and pepper and pie crust
 
beets-8Mashed potato and beet mixture
 
beets-9Add the chopped celery and garlic.
 
beets-10Spread the mixture in the pie crust.
 
beets-11Voilà!

beets-12

beets-13

beets-14Mmmm this is really good. I can taste every ingredient that went into it. It has a subtle flavor enhanced by the celery, with the salt, pepper and garlic providing “oomph”. The potatoes give it a creamy consistency while the beet deepens the flavor and gives it an attractive rose color. Success! (Yes, I just tasted it after writing this whole post.)

Goodbye for now. I’m going to have another slice. Buon appetito!

beets-15

Posted in Food, Photography, Recipes | Leave a comment

The Creeps

Months ago my boyfriend was joking around and said (in Italian), “Nothing you say makes sense.”

I rose up in my seat to contradict that and exclaimed, “Faccio sempre senso!

He froze, then burst out laughing.

Outcome not good. I figured I messed up somewhere and said something other than “I always make sense”, which is what I was going for.

He said fare senso means something like fare schifo (to be gross or disgusting) but with a slightly different meaning.

Well, I looked it up. I had proudly proclaimed to anyone who would listen that “I always give people the creeps!”

N.B.: We say ‘make sense’ and Italians say ‘have sense’, so ‘to make sense’ is avere senso (not fare senso).

Posted in Italian Language | Leave a comment

Teddy Bears and Dancing Men Teach Us Metro Safety

IMG_3211-2  IMG_3212-2If you have ever ridden the metro in Torino, you will probably recognize these signs. They are posted on all of the metro car doors.

For some reason they use a teddy bear to tell people to keep their arms clear of the closing doors. The unfortunate (yet still smiling) bear, arm stuck in door, is shouting “Ahiii!” which means “Owww!” in Italian. It’s not pronounced “Ah-heee!” like it looks, though. It’s more like a long drawn-out “I”, or “Eye-yeee” pronounced in one smooth syllable.

That’s how Italians vocalize when they are in pain, and they laugh when I say “Ouch!”

The second sign warns us not to lean on the doors, lest we risk losing our balance (or breaking into dance, it’s hard to say from the picture). This sign appears not just on the doors of the metro, but on the doors of every bus in the city. What I can’t wrap my head around is how, given the number of buses and the number of years they have been in circulation, no one has corrected the basic grammar mistake on the English translation, which is the case because the same sign appears on brand new buses and trams in Torino. (It should say “Do not lean on the doors”, rather than “to the doors”. “To the doors” is a literal translation from the Italian.)

However, apart from the entertaining signs, I think Torino’s public transportation system is really great. I don’t have a car, and I take the trams and buses often (other times I use my bike). The network goes almost everywhere, and each stop is clearly marked with a big yellow sign listing all of the stops on the line and the name of the streets on which those stops are located. The current stop is highlighted so you know where you are.

Sometimes the buses are really crowded, and sometimes you have them practically to yourself, but hey, it’s a big city.

The metro is fairly new and completed automated. Since there are no drivers, the ends of the first and last cars are made of clear glass, so you can see the tracks and watch your progress down the tunnel. The tires are made of rubber which means the metro is very quiet, which is my favorite thing about it. Also, no one can fall onto the tracks because they are closed off at every stop by glass doors, which open directly into the open doors of trains once they arrive. The only drawback is that there is only one line, so it doesn’t help the people who don’t live or have business near it.

What I’d really like to see, though, are more bike paths in the city. There are already a lot of people who use bikes in Torino, but safety and bike trails are an issue. If you speak Italian, check out the website of Bike Pride, which works to promote urban cycling, bike culture, cleaner air, and safety on the roads.

Posted in Signs, Torino | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation

Hello World,

I know I haven’t posted in a while. Please forgive me. I was on vacation! I’m back in Torino now and I’ll be posting more about Italian life soon. For now, here are some photos from this August in the U S of A. I took them all with my amazing point and shoot camera, which was all I felt like carrying around with me, since I was there to relax. All of the photos I took of Philadelphia, I took with film, so maybe I will post them later after I scan the negatives.

Ciao!

usa-1 One of my favorite places to be: the Ocean City, NJ beach at sunrise. You can see Atlantic City in the distance.

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usa-5  usa-6 The Ocean City boardwalk early in the morning.

usa-7 Part of the seven-mile long beach. I worked in that big pink hotel one summer.

usa-8  usa-9 A welcome change of scenery. These photos were taken on a camping trip in the Delaware Water Gap State Park, on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border. It was beautiful. I didn’t even care that it rained most of the time.

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   The park contained hundreds of waterfalls.  usa-13A house on the main (and only) street of Walpack, NJ, which is inside the state park. It looked like a ghost town with about five or six houses, a post office, two churches, and the ruins of a gas station on a single street.

usa-35Need gas?

usa-14OK, I do have just one digital photo from Philadelphia… and the most important one! Nothing beats a genuine Philadelphia soft pretzel bought from a food cart on the streets of the city. Price: 50 cents. Mustard on top is a must, in my opinion.

usa-12Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. You can see Brooklyn in the distance.

usa-15 I liked the contrast between these older buildings in Chinatown and the skyscrapers in the distance.

usa-16 Brooklyn as seen from the piers.

usa-32 Took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, which is completely free, and saw these views.

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usa-18  usa-19 Coney Island

usa-34The original Nathan’s famous hot dogs, Coney Island

usa-20 Central Park

usa-21 Authentic bones in the American Museum of Natural History

usa-22 My favorite animal

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High Line Park, a park built on the tracks of an old elevated railway that passed high up in the city, really close to buildings and sometimes going right through them.

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Barnegat Lighthouse, on Long Beach Island, New Jersey

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Walkway to the beach at Cape May Point, New Jersey

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An old World War II bunker built on the beach at Cape May Point, NJ

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usa-30Lighthouse, Cape May Point, NJ

usa-28 Humans

usa-29Seagulls :)

Posted in Photography, Travel | 2 Comments