Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.172

Hello gorgeous,

it’s Sunday again. And that means it’s time for some random ramblings again. Here we go:

Should Bloggers Edit Their Photos?

should bloggers edit photos

Ah, photo retouching. Magazines have abused it so much (seriously, who is that thin and flawless?!) that this practice now has a very negative connotation. Purists believe that every picture should remain untouched, especially on blogs. After all, didn’t we bloggers emerge and prosper because we filled a very real need, to tell the truth and keep it real?

Yep, and that’s why there are some things bloggers should never retouch. People want to see how a product really performs, how much that mascara can really lengthen and voluminze lashes, or how well that concealer covers blemishes. Most importantly, they want to know that they can have flaws and still look amazing.

We know that photoshop in a bottle doesn’t exist. No product can completely erase your wrinkles, shrink your nose, or turn your teeth a pure white shade. So, when a blogger digitally removes imperfections to make readers believe a product performs better than it really does, she instantly loses her readers’ trust. No amount of money is worth that.

Having said that, there are good reasons to edit your photos. If you’re a skilled photographer with a fancy camera taking pictures in perfect lighting conditions, your shots will probably turn out perfectly. But most of us can’t always count on a bright, sunny day or don’t have a DSLR camera at hand. That means that often, pictures don’t turn out as sharp and their colours aren’t as accurate.

And colours, when you show swatches, must be accurate. Otherwise your readers may end up purchasing what looks like the perfect shade of red for their skintone, only to end up with something that’s too dark or cool-toned, and completely different from the swatch you showed them. In that case, editing the picture to get the colour right is a must.

Same for clarity. Some pictures are too blurry to be saved, but others can look great with a bit of sharpening. Dark pictures can be improved by brightening them. I prefer to use the curve tool in Gimp for this, but others like to play around with “brighten and contrast” settings. I also remove shadows from white backgrounds by using the levels setting in Gimp. What about FOTDs? I sometimes remove a stray hair in front of my eyes (that’s just distracting), but that’s it.

These little tips really help make pictures look brighter, shaper, and more accurate. If Gimp or Photoshop scare you because they have too many options to master, you can use an online picture editing tool like Picmonkey. That’s what I use to add text and overlays to images but, when I work from my laptop, I’ll use it to crop them or adjust their brightness. The free version is pretty good and allows you to do a lot of things, but if you need more features, you can upgrade to the paid plan. It’s only $5 a month.

Do you think bloggers should edit their photos? If you are a blogger, do you? If so, what software do you use?

What I’m Reading Now

uncovering happiness
Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion by Elisha Goldstein
I’ve suffered from depression on and off for most of my life. Although I’m well now, I always thought I will suffer from more bouts in the future. Dr Elisha Goldstein gave me hope that won’t happen. According to him, it is possible to live depression-free. You just have to become more resilient to adversities by helping the brain release its natural antidepressants (who even knew the brain had its own antidepressants?!). How? Mindfulness and compassion.
Goldstein first helps you figure out what triggers your depression, and only then introduces the five antidepressants, which includes mindfulness (the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment), self-compassion (a state of mind in which you understand your own suffering with an inclination to support yourself), and play (all those activities that don’t seem to have a practical purpose but are fun and makes us feel good). He explains how they work and how to harness their power. He writes in a clear and compassionate way that makes the book a pleasure to read. While none of the tips are new, this is still one of the best, most informative and insightful books that I’ve read about depression. I highly recommend it to all those who are suffering from it, their families, and their therapists too. Available on Amazon.

The Links

A Guerlain Dupe For £15: Kiko Cosmetics NEW Mosaic Highlighter - London Beauty Queen

Why Wearing Makeup ISN’T False Advertising – Pucker Mob

It’s Okay to Not Be Perfect – Skincare Addiction

Why the U.S. Won’t Ban Cosmetics Animal Testing Anytime Soon – Fashionista

Our 3 Issues with the Swimsuit Issue: Sports, Sexualization and Side-Effects – Beauty Redefined

Sunday Survey, Vol.238

1. Have you accidentally revealed a secret you had promised to keep?
Nope, but I’ve always been good at keeping my mouth shut.

2. Do you have a signature makeup look?
Not really. I rarely wear the same look twice. But usually, I opt for bright eyeshadows and pink lips.

3. Something you’d like to accomplish this month?
Improve my photography skills. And start saving for a new camera too.

4. Is your desk messy or neat?
At the moment, neat. But I’m sure it’ll get messy again pretty soon. :)

5. Are you a fan of ripped jeans?
Nope, but when my favourite pair ripped after I fell down the stairs, I kept wearing them.

It’s your turn now!
1. Have you accidentally revealed a secret you had promised to keep?
2. Do you have a signature makeup look?
3. Something you’d like to accomplish this month?
4. Is your desk messy or neat?
5. Are you a fan of ripped jeans?

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.171

Happy Sunday gorgeous!

Ready for another round of random ramblings? We’re talking food again today:

Italian Food & Table Customs

Italian restaurant

I mentioned before how food is a religion in Italy. We don’t only have strict rules about how to cook certain foods, but also lots of unwritten customs about how to order, consume, and pay for your meal when you eat out at a restaurant or have a snack at a bar.

Friends will not make you pay for your food, obviously, when they invite you to dinner, but they still expect you to follow certain customs. Disregard them at your own risk. Food is not a joke here. But you’ll be the butt of one if you don’t follow them. Here are the most common ones:

1. The words fast and food don’t go together that well in Italy. Yes, we sadly have McDonalds too, but we still take our time eating our meal, even if it is just a hamburger with French fries. Eating is a pleasure that should be enjoyed comfortably, not something to be rushed. That’s why you rarely see Italians eat in the streets (the only exception is ice cream) or public transportation. And that applies to drinks too. That’s why we don’t have Starbucks yet (booh!). Italians prefer to drink coffee at a bar, not while walking down the street.

2. A lot of restaurants, bars, and café don’t have an internet connection yet. So, if you want to upload pictures of your food to Instagram or just surf the web while you wait for your friends, sorry, no can do. Sooo frustrating!

3. Don’t ask for olive oil for your bread or parmisan for your pizza or seafood dish. If something is not offered, it’s not needed.

4. Do NOT cut spaghetti. Never, unless you want to be sneered and laughed at. Instead, learn how to twirl. I know it’s weird at first, but it is so much easier to eat spaghetti this way. And it’s not that hard to learn. If 4 year olds can do it, so can you.

5. You must eat pizza with your own hands. Use cutlery to slice it, then pick up a slice with your hands and eat it. It’s the only way to really appreciate a good pizza.

6. Wine, beer, and alcoholic drinks are usually consumed as part of a meal. Getting drunk at a restaurant is considered very rude. For that, go to a club or a pub, late at night.

7. If you need to call the waiter, don’t shout across the room. It’s rude. Either raise your hand to attract his attention, or wait until he’s somewhere close to your table and quietly call him over.

8. Don’t be afraid to say when you’re full. Italians will keep offering you food until you’re about to burst, so if you can’t really have another morsel, say so, strongly and repeatedly. Otherwise we won’t believe you and keep filling up your plate again.

9. When you’re finished your meal, call the waiter and ask for the check (il conto).  Don’t just sit and wait for someone to bring it to you at the end of the meal. If you don’t ask, no one will (at least not till closure time). After the waiter has brought it to you, you can go to the till and pay. But unless the place is full and people are waiting for a table, feel free to take your time and linger as long as you want. There’s no rush.

10. Tipping is not mandatory. A lot of online guides about eating in Italy will tell you it is, but here, I very rarely see people do it. If the service is particularly good, and the waiter goes out of his way to serve you, leave a small tip. Otherwise, it’s not necessary.

11. Most restaurants include a coperto charge (you’re basically paying for the privilege of sitting down and eating with a plate, fork, knife etc), which is usually about €2, sometimes less. It is illegal, but most people pay it anyway because they don’t think it’s worth it to make a scene or call the police for such a small amount of money. Some restaurateurs now say that coperto is charged for the quality of the service (basically, a tip, although I’m pretty sure it doesn’t end up in waiters’ pockets), but that’s crap. It’s still illegal and, if you don’t want to make a scene, you still have to pay it.

If you’ve ever been to Italy, which unwritten food and table manners have driven you crazy? What customs do you have in your country?

What I’m Reading Now

the like switchThe Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer, Marvin Karlins
As a Special Agent for the FBI, Dr. Jack Schafer profiled and interrogated terrorists and created strategies to detect deception. A big part of his job was to study human behaviour to figure out how to get criminals to trust him so they would confess their crimes and how to tell when they weren’t completely honest with him. A lot of the things he learned can be applied to daily life to make friends, ace job interviews, and just start conversations with strangers without being awkward. The book starts with the friendship formula, which explains what factors create and cement friendships. Then, Schafer focuses on body language and tone of voice, showing us how important it is to be able to read the non-verbal cues in a conversation so that, if something is wrong, we can fix it. But he also focuses on text messages and online communications when you can’t see the other person’s face. Communication then is trickier, but there are ways to make it work smoothly, and also to figure out if the other person is not being honest with us, even without reading his/her body language. Written in an engaging, simple way, The Like Switch is an interesting and fascinating read that will help you better communicate and become friends with anyone. Available at Amazon.

The Links

Objectification, leggings, and who’s really to blame – Beauty Redefined

Why is Tea Tree Oil Still the Underdog of Acne Treatments? – Acne Einstein

What products are good for sensitive skin? – Lab Muffin

This Year, #LoveTheMirror – Adios Barbie

Benjabelle Brush Tree: a better way to dry brushes? – My Women Stuff

Sunday Survey, Vol.237

1. Have you ever travelled abroad for work?
Nope, only for pleasure so far.

2. What’s your favourite eyeliner colour?
It used to be black, but these days I prefer brown. Much less harsh, yet it still defines the eyes beautifully.

3. Three things you’re thankful for today?
The internet, amazing friends, concealer.

4. Would you rather be trapped in a broken elevator or on a broken ski lift chair?
Elevator, definitely! I hate heights!

5. Do you like late-night talk shows?
Not really. They make me fall asleep! Lol.

It’s your turn now!
1. Have you ever travelled abroad for work?
2. What’s your favourite eyeliner colour?
3. Three things you’re thankful for today?
4. Would you rather be trapped in a broken elevator or on a broken ski lift chair?
5. Do you like late-night talk shows?

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.170

Hello everyone,

another week has quickly flown by, and that means it’s again time for some random ramblings. So, let’s get started:

My Favourite UK Designers

fave uk designers

With London Fashion Weeks starting soon, I thought it’d be appropriate to share my favourite UK designers with you. Usually, I tend to favour those designers that take inspiration from history and create modern clothes with a vintage vibe, but I also like people who take risks and have a distinct aesthetic. Curious? Read on:

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen was an absolute genius. He took inspiration from literature, theatre, dance, cinema, and music, to create radical and innovative designs that embodied a darker strain of Romanticism, and presented them in lavish and outrageous runway shows. He was never afraid to take risks and push the boundaries. Since his tragic death, the brand has sadly lost some of his edge, imo. Sarah Burton’s creations are more feminine and commercial, which makes the brand more consumer-friendly.

Vivienne Westwood

Dame Vivienne Westwood brought modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream. Her designs, which are instantly recognisable, combine unconformity with a sense of tradition, and are surprisingly wearable. I love the corsets and petticoats, which embody a new and modern Victoria renaissance, and her knack for putting together pieces that at first sight seem to clash but actually work very well together.

Jenny Packham

Jenny Packham’s designs are perfect for the modern fairytale princess.They embody a modern vintage aesthetic, with silhouettes and bead work that reminds us of the glamour and luxury of a bygone era, but with a modern, sometimes minimalistic twist. The attention to the tiniest details is impeccable.

Alice Temperley

Alice Temperley takes inspirations from the past. Her feminine designs channel a romantic vintage aesthetic with a slightly boho vibe for effortlessly chic looks. Classic and playful, her designs often feature bead work and colourful embroidery that make them easily recognizable.

Suzannah Crabb

Suzannah Crabb creates unique tailored dresses, from ready-to-wear to couture wedding dresses, with a distinct vintage charm but a modern edge. Made with the finest materials, the dresses feature flattering silhouettes and playful details. Minimalist without ever being boring, her designs are perfect for modern girls looking for a timeless look for any occasion, be it the office, a casual date with friends, or a wedding.

What I’m Reading Now

rewire your anxious brain
Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry by Catherine M. Pittman, Elizabeth M. Karle
I’ve been suffering with anxiety issues since I was a little girl, and I have read a lot of books on this topic in the past few years, hoping to learn new techniques to help me cope with anxiety every time it rears its ugly head. This is by far the best one I’ve come across so far. As the authors explain, there are two pathways to anxiety. The first is through the amygdala, which acts as a primal response. If you are scared or anxious but don’t know why exactly, that’s the culprit. The amygdala takes over the part of the brain that makes conscious decisions, so telling someone to get a grip just doesn’t work. The other pathway is through the cortex, the center of “worry”, which creates anxiety but thinking about all the things that may go wrong in the future. These types of anxieties are different and need to be treated with different techniques. Here, you’ll find quite a few. They include meditation, exercise, mindfulness, and planning. It’s true none of these are new and can easily be found in most books about anxiety. But most books don’t help you figure out what type of anxiety you have, and explain which techniques will work best for you and which ones won’t at all. This one does. That’s its strength. If you suffer from anxiety or know someone who does, I highly recommend you pick up a copy. It has the potential to change your life. Available at Amazon.

The Links

How to Know Which Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Is Right for You – Dr Cynthia Bailey Skincare

Hourglass Ambient Blush dupe - Lily Pebbles

A guide to sunscreen for people of color - Skincare Addiction

What are the best all-natural products? – Future Derm

Lessons from porn: women are objects to be used, abused, and dismissed - Beauty Redefined

Sunday Survey, Vol.236

1. What’s your favourite animal print or pattern?
I’m not a big fan of animal prints, but I love snake for accessories (shows, belts, bags etc). It’s so elegant, and not so daring as other animal prints are.

2. What was the last skincare product you finished down to the last drop?
Olay Total Effects Day Cream SPF 15. It’s one of my favourite moisturizers.

3. Something you have to remember to do today?
Take a few photos for the blog. Finally a sunny day after so much rain!

4. Guerlain or Givenchy?
Guerlain. Everything about the brand, from the texture of the shades to the packaging, is so luxurious! The only thing I dislike is the price. *sighs*

5. Do you like travelling alone?
I used to be scared of it, but after spending a week in London alone last year, I really enjoy it. It’s so liberating and eye-opening. You can do whatever you want, but at the same time you can only rely on yourself, which makes you discover strengths you didn’t know you had.

It’s your turn now!
1. What’s your favourite animal print or pattern?
2. What was the last skincare product you finished down to the last drop?
3. Something you have to remember to do today?
4. Guerlain or Givenchy?
5. Do you like travelling alone?

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.169

Hello gorgeous,

and welcome to another round of random ramblings. Ready to get started? Here we go:

Literary crushes

literary crushes

If, like me, you’re an avid reader, you’ve fallen in love with your fair share of literary heroes (and wondering where you can find similar men in real life *sighs*). Some of these crushes don’t stand the test of time and we outgrow them as we get older and wiser, while other heroes will always have a special place in our hearts. Here are five fictional characters I’m still in love with:

1. Mr Darcy (Pride And Prejudice)

Is there a woman who hasn’t a crush on Mr Darcy? He may be insufferably snobbish and quite rude at times, but he also has a heart of gold. He is unflinchingly loyal to those he loves, and willing to help them without demanding recognition and praise in return. He’s also willing to change his mind, admit when he is wrong, and always tries to do what’s right. Oh, and being rich and handsome doesn’t hurt, either. ;)

2. Mr Rochester (Jane Eyre)

Mr Rochester may have tried to commit bigamy, but I can hardly blame him for trying to grab his chance at happiness after all he’d been through in the past. He knew his wife was never going to get better and, at least, he took good care of her rather than locking her up in an asylum for the rest of her days. And the woman he falls for, Jane Eyre, is pretty awesome. Neither beautiful nor rich, she is strong, determined, true to herself, unwilling to compromise her values, and often challenges him. Not every man appreciates a woman like that now, let alone then.

3. Eric Northman (The Southern Vampire Mysteries)

I’m usually not into vampires, but when they are this sexy, how can you resist? Eric is cold, arrogant, cunning, and ruthless yet, for the few people/vampires he loves, he is willing to do absolutely everything. Rather than evil, he has his own code of honour and doesn’t break it for any reason. He also has a zest for life and a great sense of humour.

4. Noah Calhoun (The Notebook)

Noah Calhoun is so romantic. A hard worker, he’s been in love with the same woman for all his life and raised a family with her. They had their ups and downs, but he always found the time for romance, to dance with her in the kitchen or write her poetry. And when she becomes ill with Alzheimer’s disease and starts to forget everything, he stands by her side, telling her their story over and over and over again. Awww.

5. Mr. George Knightley (Emma)

Mr Knightly is the practical friend you can always count on. He’s cute, honourable, always willing to help others or tell them the truth, even when they don’t want to hear it. In his gentle, quiet manner, he encourages Emma to be the best person she can be. And that’s what true love is all about.

Who are your literary crushes?

What I’m Reading Now

the magician's lie
The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister
US, turn of the century. The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day. Her most famous trick is sawing a man in half on stage. One night, she uses a fire axe rather than her trademark sword. A few hours later, the corpse of her husband is discovered back stage. The Amazing Arden is nowhere to be found. Police officer Virgil Holt accidentally stumbles into her as she’s leaving the town. Her guilt now seems certain. But has she committed the murderous deed? She has one night to convince Holt of her innocence and regain her freedom. To do so, she tells her story. It’s a fascinating but chilling story full of twists and turns, and a dark secret she’s ready to lie for. Although a bit slow at first, it soon captivates you and then you are unable to put the book down until you know what happened to Arden’s husband and what fate will befall her. Although there are lots of flashbacks, the book is easy to follow. My only problem is that, unlike the other characters, the psychopathic villain is a bit too one-dimensional. But if you love a good historical mystery novel with a magical element, you’ll greatly enjoy this. It’s available at Amazon.

The Links

I was interviewed by Bonjour Blogger – Bonjour Blogger

Pros reveal how to spot the photoshop tricks that defy reality - Take Part

Looking for a foundation that keeps your skin oil-free for hours? Try Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation – My Women Stuff

How to Build Your Courage for Crimson Lips - Makeup And Beauty Blog

An affordable NARS Multiple dupe – Tales Of A Pale Face

Sunday Survey, Vol.235

1. Do you keep the light on at night?
Nope. Unless I’m exhausted, I can’t sleep with even a faint light on. The bedroom must be pitch black.

2. What’s a mascara you find yourself buying over and over again?
Pupa Vamp! Mascara in either brown or black. It provides lots of length and volume, lasts long, and is reasonably priced.

3. The last person you’ve taken a selfie with?
Mm, I don’t think I have ever taken a selfie. I’m not really into taking photos. I prefer to enjoy the moment with the person I’m with rather than take photos. Even because, let’s face it, those photos are forgotten the second they are taken (or shared on social media).

4. Body glitter in the daytime: yay or nay?
It depends on the occasion. For a fun date with friends in the summer, it’s ok. But I rarely use glitter. I’m not a big fan of it (unless it’s in nail polish).

5. What do you think of grey clothes?
Frankly, they just depress me. A grey sweater or pants may be nice, but they must be paired with something colourful otherwise the outfit’s so sad!

It’s your turn now!
1. Do you keep the light on at night?
2. What’s a mascara you find yourself buying over and over again?
3. The last person you’ve taken a selfie with?
4. Body glitter in the daytime: yay or nay?
5. What do you think of grey clothes?

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.168

Hello gorgeous,

another Sunday, another round of random ramblings. Here we go:

Follow Me On Social Media

social-media
Recently, I’ve been debating whether I should join Instagram. I know it’s a great social media channel for bloggers and can drive lots of traffic to your site, but I’m really struggling to keep up with the platforms I’m already on. Not sure it’s a good idea to add more to my plate at the moment. Mmm… While I keep debating, you can find me on:

Pinterest: this is my favourite social media channel. That’s because I am a highly visual person. Pinterest is a great resource to find ispiration about pretty much anything. I pin a lot of makeup looks, hair tutorials, and fashion outfits on there. If you like this kind of thing, check it out.

Twitter: I love how easy Twitter makes it to chat with people all over the world, interact with brands, and stay up to date with all the lastest news. I also twit quotes, skincare tips, and more.

Facebook: I’m not sure I got the hang of facebook yet. They keep changing the rules all the time, which is very frustrating. But I still use it to share about new product launches that don’t make it on the blog, articles about body image and confidence, makeup looks I like, and more.

Google Plus: I haven’t figured out how to make the most of google plus yet, so for now I’m using it to share the latest, most technical, news in the beauty industry. If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and skincare research, follow me on there.

Bloglovin': if you want to make sure you never miss one of my posts, follow me on Bloglovin’.

Thank you! I can’t wait to interact with you on social media too. :)

What I’m Reading Now

the kennedy wives
The Kennedy Wives: Triumph and Tragedy in America’s Most Public Family by Amber Hunt and David Batcher
The Kennedys are one of the most fascinating families in the world. Blessed with power, charm, and money, they have been struck by a series of tragedies that shocked the world. The women who married into the family led privileged lives, but they also had to put up with a lot, such as their husbands’ infidelities and media intrusion. This book briefly tells their stories. Rose, married to Joe, was the matriarch. Ethel, Bobby’s wife, a tomboy who loved to party but was also devoted to her 11 children. Jackie, the icon who forged the myth of Camelot. Joan, the most beautiful and fragile of the Kennedy wives, was unable to cope with her husband Ted’s infidelity without reaching for the bottle. And Vicki, Ted’s second wife, a smart young woman who took care of her husband during his last years. The authors skilfully capture their essences, strengths and weaknesses, and highlight the influence they had on the history of their country. Because it is short, these who are already familiar with those women won’t find anything new here. But for everyone else, it is an informative and insightful introduction to the Kennedy wives. It is available on Amazon.

The Links

Does petrolatum really dry out your lips? – Future Derm

Ignore mascara ads. Embrace your eyelashes – Beauty Redefined

Natural vs synthetic: which is better? – Skincare Addiction

Save time, look fabulous: the twenty best beauty hacks you’ll ever need - London Beauty Queen

Interpretations of 17th century makeup
- Madame Isis’ Toilette

Sunday Survey, Vol.234

1. How did you get your name?
My parents wanted to give me a normal, but not very common name. In 1982, there were very few Giorgias around. Of course, a few years later, it became very popular, so I got stuck with an awful name for nothing! I even have a namesake (same name and same surname), a distant cousin I have never met.

2. A beauty habit you’d like to break?
I really need to stop neglecting my body, especially my feet. It’s one of my resolution for 2015. I’m still struggling with it, but, hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll have broken this bad habit for good.

3. A goal for next week?
Work out at least 6 times. I haven’t been well lately, so I neglected exercising, but I am really eager to get back into it. I think light but frequent workouts are a great way for me to do that.

4. Body butter or body lotion?
Body butter. My skin is very dry and most lotions just aren’t moisturizing enough for me.

5. How do you feel about fortune tellers?
I’m open to the possibility that some people may have psychic abilities. But it is something so difficult to prove, and there are just so many charlatans around that I prefer to stay away from them. I have never been to one and don’t think I ever will.

It’s your turn now!
1. How did you get your name?
2. A beauty habit you’d like to break?
3. A goal for next week?
4. Body butter or body lotion?
5. How do you feel about fortune tellers?

Sunday Random Ramblings, Vol.167

Hello and happy Sunday gorgeous!

Are you ready for some random ramblings? This week, we’re talking about food:

6 Unforgivable Food Crimes

Food is a religion in Italy. It has its rites and its sins. There are certain things that you just don’t do. Ever. If you dare break these laws, you will receive some odd, horrified looks, and risk ostracism, so beware.

Most of these food crimes are committed against poor pasta and pizza, two sacred recipes that need to be prepared following certain rules. If you want to escape the food police, here’s what you should never do:

1. Pasta is not a side dish (and neither is rice)

When I travel abroad, I often see people put pasta, rice, salad, meat, and whatever else they can think of in one plate. This is just wrong. Pasta is a main dish. You add sauce and eat it, on its own, for lunch. Same with rice. Meat (or fish) is eaten with vegs at dinner. Some people eat a dish of pasta (or rice) followed by a second course which can be a salad, omelette, meat or fish with vegs, and maybe a piece of cheese too.

But under no circumstances should all these things ever be together in the same plate. It’s a sacrilege, and a very unpalatable one too. Serve such a hodgepodge to an Italian, and she may eat it out of politeness, but all the while she’ll silently curse you for ruining good foods.

2. Spaghetti with meatballs (or hot dogs)

If I hear say one more time that spaghetti with meatballs is an Italian dish, I’ll scream. It so isn’t. Although this recipe has worryingly started to pop up on some Italian food blogs, most Italians, me included, still like to eat pasta and meatballs separately. We may sometimes add tiny pieces of meat to pasta sauce, but that’s it. And eating hot dogs with pasta is just a no-no.

3. Ketchup on pasta

Ketchup is not a suitable sauce for pasta. Do the pasta justice and buy some tomato sauce. It’s not expensive, and tastes much, much better.

4. Pasta sandwich

There is absolutely no good reason to ever put pasta in a sandwich. So, please, don’t.

5. Overcooked pasta

This will horrify every Italian but my grannie, who has always, always, always, overcooked pasta. As a child, I hated going to lunch at her place cos I knew I would be served some awful, uneatable pasta. The rest of my family politely ate a little of it, but I always refused.

I was labelled difficult, but I know they were jealous cos I had the guts to stand up for my right to a decent meal while they were stuck with something I wouldn’t have given to my pet, had I had one. Yeah, it was that nasty. My grannie’s bad cooking is legendary.

But it is true that overcooked pasta isn’t good for you. It doesn’t just tastes awful, but it is less healthy. We know that carbs cause a quick rise in blood sugar. Well, pasta cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index (GI), and is digested and absorbed more slowly than overcooked pasta. That means it doesn’t raise your sugar levels too high. Unless you eat too much of it, of course.

6. Unidentified cheese on pizza

If I could, I’d eat pizza every day. But, abroad, it’s usually my last choice. That’s because of the cheese. Rather than mozzarella, they use a weird mix of cheeses that tastes bland, if not bad. I know that mozzarella is a bit more expensive, but it just tastes that much better on pizza!

Bottom line: if you invite an Italian to dinner, don’t serve her pasta or pizza. Give her the chance to try some of your traditional dishes. She’ll appreciate it a lot more.

What food crimes horrify you?

What I’m Reading Now

the art of social media
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
If you are a blogger, or someone who uses social media for work, then you need to pick up this book. It is packed with useful and powerful tips to make the most of all your social media channels, create campaigns and adopt strategies that work, and resources to make the job easier. It is short and go straight to the point, wasting none of your time with pointless chit-chat, but still very engaging and readable. Make sure you get the kindle copy, though. The authors sometimes mention external online resources but never mention the urls of these pages. To access them, you simply have to click on the link, and that’s something you can do only if you buy the ebook. Those who purchase the physical book will have no access whatever to these extra resources. A very weird and unfair choice, but then the kindle copy is the cheapest, so it would make sense to get that one anyway. It’s available at Amazon.

The Links

The price of beauty in the 17th century – Hoydens And Firebrands

Are cult products popular because they work, or because we are told they’re cult? – London Beauty Queen

Workout approved cosmetics for the busy professional – Clumps Of Mascara

5 of my go-to brightening eyeliners – Temptalia

3 steps to fuller, natural-looking brows - Makeup And Beauty Blog

Sunday Survey, Vol. 233

1. What do you love to shop for?
Makeup and skincare products, obviously! Also, dresses, shoes, accessories, and books.

2. How do you organize your blushes?
I don’t. I keep them all in a drawer, but it’s a mess in there. I really need to organize them by shade or something soon.

3. The first thing you saw when you opened your eyes this morning?
My desk. It’s just right next to my bed.

4. Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?
Fly! That way I could go anywhere even without a car!

5. Socks with heels?
Not a fan!

It’s your turn now!
1. What do you love to shop for?
2. How do you organize your blushes?
3. The first thing you saw when you opened your eyes this morning?
4. Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?
5. Socks with heels?