A morning in Rome, part 2 – June 17, 2016

This is obviously the second part of this post and, like I mentioned in that post, it is less full of content, since the second church I visited was much more simple and less similar to what I usually like in art.

The main thing I noticed and liked in this church was the use of gold, but unlike in the one I visited beforehand, it is not darkened by the dark background it is on, but highlighted by the white base beneath it.

The main nave is monumental and very decorated, unlike the more simple lateral naves.

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The other attraction, so to speak, was the tomb of Cardinal Cesare Baronio, who besides being a man of faith was also a historian. The ceiling of the chapel is ornate with gold an white and the subjects represented are putti.

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This is all for my trip in Rome. I hope you enjoyed it and do not forget to check out part one.

Thank you for reading.

xx

Book Review : The Appeal

I am finally back with another book review and this, unfortunately, will not be pretty; not because the book is not nice, but simply because I found out what the genre I least like actually is.

This book was gifted to me by my friend’s mother, since she had it laying around and never read it. It was not in its best condition, but I never turn my back on any book. I finally got to read it a month ago and it took me much longer than with any other book, mainly because of the lack of action throughout.

The plot consists in a web of legal (or should I say “illegal”) relationships between business magnates, judges, lawyers, and private organisations. The whole ordeal starts four years prior to the beginning of the book, when Krane Chemical, a pharmaceutical company that had a factory in the fictional Cary County (later nicknamed “Cancer County”), got accused of creating more toxic waste than what it declared and burying it underground, illegally. This action contaminated the water of the county and led to many cases of cancer, 15 times superior than in any other USA county.

The lawyers which accused the company on behalf of a woman who lost both her husband and son, won the case and got $41 million in damages. Of course, had it been this simple the book would have ended within 20 pages. The defence attorneys then brought the case to the Supreme Court and this is where the whole mess gets created. Part-owner of Krane Chemical, Carl Trudeau decides to contact an organisation that puts certain individuals on the Supreme Court, by removing others which would have sided with the underdog. The narration gets frustrating at times because it deals with important social issues such as homosexual marriage and civil liability, issues that get dismissed or refused by the chosen candidate, an oh-so-perfect Christian with a perfect family whose only hobby is reading the Bible and misinterpreting it. It gets frustrating seeing how many people can suffer from ignorance and this book is a portrait of what happens today in the world. Having been written in 2008, the law making same-sex marriage legal had not been emanated yet, so it is sickening to read of how homosexuals were treated in southern states.

The whole book is full of technical terms, but it is not too difficult to read. The one thing that upset me the most was the lack of action. The most action-filled scene is the one at the beginning, where the good lawyers win the case, but that is about it. There is also very little dialogue and the time of the book seems stale, even if it narrates a whole year.

On a good note, it did open my eyes on corruption and bribery, but had I wanted that I would have read an essay.

Score : 4.5/10

Thank you for reading.

 

A morning in Rome, part 1 – June 17, 2016

As you may have read in a previous post, I decided to visit Rome in its entirety this summer. This is the one goal I already started working on, since on Friday I indeed went to the capital. I woke up quite early to take the train at about 8:30am and I got to Termini (the main train station in Rome) at about 9:15am.

I then took the bus number 64 and let me tell you : never again. Yes, it is the one that takes you to the main sights in Rome, but it is also always full of people. I had to get off halfway to my destination because a creep was pretty much grinding himself behind me and I wanted to vomit. So if you are ever going to visit Rome, either go on foot or take some less trafficked buses. The underground works too, but there are a lot more people who pickpocket there.

I got off near Palazzo delle Esposizioni on Via Nazionale and walked all the way down. Fortunately, the weather was not too hot so I could walk slowly and not melt. I then reached Trajan’s Column.

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You can see the column on the left.

After that, I went to Piazza Venezia, from where, if you go straight ahead you go on Via del Corso, the most famous street in Rome, but if you go to the left you reach Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, which is the street I went on. I had in mind visiting four churches, simply because of the art. I went to the first one, phone in hand for directions and taking pictures, Chiesa del Gesù, but it was closed. I did take a couple of pictures of the façade though.

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I then went to another church, called Sant’Andrea della Valle. I, of course, forgot to take a picture of the façade, but the wikipedia page linked above should help you. It is massive inside. Literally huge and golden. The nave is immense and very imposing.

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The one thing that amazed me the most was how much the outside noise was blocked. Blame it on the marble, but it felt like being in a different time, and as soon as you exited the church you got thrown back into reality.

On the left there is the Barberini Chapel, which had a gate in front of it. It also has a beautifully ornate dome.

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Further down you can see the Rucellai Chapel, where the lighting was not as good, but the different marbles used are phenomenal.

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Right next to it you can find the Chapel of Saint Sebastian, which is way more simple than the two before, with a very nice and delicate dome.

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Still on the left side, there is the Chapel of Saint Cajetan. This does not have a dome, being an arm of the transept, but the marble used, pink in colour, is beautiful and despite not having a central window, the lighting was perfect.

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Then we have the apse, where the main focus is on the Crucifixion of Sant’Andrea.

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On the right we have the Chapel of the Madonna della Purità and I must say that the dome on this one is spectacular, I even posted the photo on Instagram.

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Skipping a couple of chapels which did not astonish me as much, we have the Strozzi Chapel, which houses an imitation of Michelangelo’s Pietà and the dome is very similar to that of the Pantheon’s.

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Next, we have the Ginnetti Chapel, which is made mostly of green marble, that was also included in the dome and gave the whole a sense of continuity. The main light does not come for the dome, but from a window below it.

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Now, finally the Dome. This is the main dome of the church and it is wonderful. It mainly has warm tones and the design reminds me of a spiral. I love how you can barely see each and every painting, and if you really pay attention (and consult wikipedia) you can understand the story narrated.

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And with this we see the end of part one of my morning in Rome. Part two will be slightly shorter, mainly because the second church I visited is much smaller and simpler than this one.

Thank you for reading.

xx

Outfit of the Day – June 15, 2016

On the 15th I went to Anzio, a maritime city very famous for its harbour and its role during the Second World War. The city itself is not incredibly big but it is very quiet, even in the summer months, when the city gets filled with tourists.

I decided to stroll around the harbour and along a very long street, which got more and more quiet the more I distanced myself from the harbour. It was beautiful and I regret not taking any pictures. The street itself got higher and higher the more I walked and the sight of the sea from up top was gorgeous.

I decided to dress quite simply for that day and I finally got the opportunity to put on the long shirt I got a while back, in sales. It is from H&M, but from the men’s collection. I got it for €5 and I simply love the colour. The fit is quite baggy and I would not wear it without anything around my waist or my hips even if I were to be wearing heels. I will try and find more ways to dress it up. They still have it here, but it is only available in other colours.

Next, around my waist I tied up a jean shirt, which I got from Asos, from a brand called pimkie. I really like the way it gives dimension to the outfit and I must say it does make my backside look good.

The final piece are my Reebok Classic Sneakers, which I talked about here. They are very comfortable, but they still make me sweat more than any sneakers I have ever owned.

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Thank you for reading.

xx

My tattoo experience

I had the most specific dream last night and I decided to finally make this post. I dreamt that I was getting a tattoo on my arm of Medusa (you know, the Gorgon) and it felt so real! I probably dreamt it because I have been thinking about getting another tattoo and I have been struggling on taking a decision.

I already have one tattoo and it is on the back of my neck. It says “Let it be” and it does not refer to the famous song, I should add. Although I do like that song, it has some sort of religious background and that is not for me. I thought I would share my experience on here so that people thinking about inking their skin will have a concrete example to reach to.

I got my tattoo done when I was 16, as a birthday gift from my parents. My dad was not very keen on the idea, but I used the fact that he had one done when he was in the army while drunk, along with his mates, to my advantage and he gave in. My mum was on board since the first time I told her, but she does not agree with me getting other tattoos, out of fear that I will not find a job (stupid, I know, but mothers worry).

I looked through many designs on Pinterest and settled on two : the one that I got and another one which consisted of small birds flying on the front of my shoulder. I was really keen on both of those and deciding to make my decision once I got to the tattoo shop.

We went to a shop about 30 minutes away from us, where about 3 artists worked and a lot of people guaranteed that they were very good. As soon as an artist finished with his client, he came up to us and we talked about what I wanted done. Turns out he was also Romanian and he helped me pick my tattoo and I must say I am very glad we picked this one. He made a very good point, saying that as it is my first tattoo, I should get used to having permanent art on my skin, and having it on my back instead of on my shoulder would have helped with the transition a bit more.

He was very, very right. Thinking about it, I probably would have gotten tired of the other one. I am barely aware of even having my tattoo, since I can only see it if I turn around in a mirror or if someone takes a picture of it. It is part of me, but it is not always on show.

I got the tattoo right then and there. He drew it right on my back and it took quite a long time to make sure that everything was symmetrical, but he took some pictures and showed me to make sure I liked it. Initially, I did not think that it would have been this big, but I am happy with the way it turned out. He then started tattooing and I was so relieved! It did not hurt.

Honestly, he did the first line and I said “Is that it?”. It was not painful at all. The outline was the least painful part, so for the first half an hour I was set. Then he had to make the shadows and that felt like cat scratches, so not very pleasant. The “L” was the most painful one, since it had the most shadows, but I think it was a cathartic experience : the pain was, somehow, very therapeutic and I felt great after leaving the shop. It took about an hour to finish and my friend, who also came with me, was disappointed since I did not shed one tear. It cost us €150 and it was worth it.

Price is very important since real artists know how much their work is worth and they are not scared of losing a client because the price is too high, since they know they have other clients. Tattoos cost because they are art.

Aftercare was very annoying, since it was hard cleaning that part of my back with care, and someone else had to put the aftercare lotion on my back, but it did not hurt. Was it uncomfortable to sleep on? Yes, but I generally sleep on my stomach, so that made it easier. It took about a week for it to fully heal and the final result is great. It has been 2 years and there is not fading. Below you have the freshly healed tattoo.

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One piece of advice I can give you is to get your tattoo done in either early spring or late autumn. Why? Because sun rays should never be in contact with the tattoo, since it would make it fade faster. I got mine done in early spring and everything went great.

If you think about getting a tattoo, think it through. Pick some designs or guidelines and put them in a folder and look at them in 3 months, to make sure that you still like them. If it is so, then go ahead and book an appointment with an established tattoo artist and get it done.

That is all the advice that I can give you and if you have questions, ask below.

Thank you for reading.

xx

Goals for Summer 2016

I am finally done with this school year and I could not be happier. This last year has been a drag and it has turned out to be more difficult than expected. Could I go back, I would probably study a little more certain subjects, since I know I will need to be better at them in the future, but all in all I did good. The final grades will be displayed at my school in a couple of weeks, I believe, or less, and we will see then.

Anyways, today is my first day of my three-month summer break and it is raining. I do not really mind it, since it is the perfect weather for reading, and I do have quite a lot to read this summer. Let’s get started with my list of goals, which may differ a bit from the picture above, but it was way too nice and posh not to use :

  1. Read : and by this I mean read a lot. I have four books to read this summer as part of my school programme and I would also like to read some of the books I own. I tend to be quite inconsistent with my reading during the school year, since the work load is massive, but I have no excuses this summer, not even having a job (being talentless and all of that);
  2. Train harder : when I go to the gym, I do not exercise, I train, which I think puts things into perspective. I tend to think about how athletes train and eat for their professional needs and I want to do the same. I am, of course, not an athlete, but I want to train as hard as I can and as hard as my body allows it : no more half-assing exercises and no more settling for an average weight when I know I could lift heavier;
  3. Eat better : I have recently started to follow a nutrition plan which consists in eating healthily following a charge/discharge diet. This basically means that I switch between high-carb days and low-carb ones and that is supposed to wake up my metabolism. That being said, I also have to eat very healthily and drink plenty water and I have started to notice some differences, even if they are very small;
  4. Blog better : this basically means that I need to be more consistent and more focused on this blog, although I already am. I do post every Wednesday and Sunday, but sometimes, because of life getting in the way, I skip a day and that makes me feel extremely annoyed; it is time to change that.
  5. Relax : this is a very hard thing to accomplish for me, since I do not know how to relax. Instead of just laying in bed, I would do anything to keep me on my feet, even if that means listening to music while walking around the house. I only associate my bed with sleeping, so even when I read I have to be seated on a chair. I need to take things more lightly and stop focusing so much on the bad aspects of life. I need to be a bit more stoic;
  6. Curate my social media : as you may know, I have both Instagram and Tumblr accounts, which I am quite active on. I also have a Twitter account, but I have never really loved it as much, although I do tweet sometimes. Despite being quite consistent, I feel like I need to curate them more, which means finding my own style and giving my pages a theme. I think I am quite close to reaching this goal on Instagram, but not quite on Tumblr, so that is something I have to work on;
  7. Visit Rome more often : I have made it my summer mission to go to Rome at least once a week or once every two weeks so I can visit all the places I have never visited and all the museums and churches I have never entered. I am obsessed with art and history, and since I probably will not be here next year, I want to take advantage of my surroundings and breathe in as much Roman art and history I can.

I am pretty sure this is about it, as far as big goals are concerned. I hope you liked reading this and make sure you stay tuned for my book reviews and posts about Rome, which will be present in these summer months. Thank you.

xx

 

 

Basic Wardrobe – Dresses

It has been a long time since I made a post like this, but it is about time I continue with this series. This is the third post of this type, after the one about tops and the one about bottoms.

So let’s get started :

Mini Dresses

I do like mini dresses, unlike mini skirts, but only if they are tight around the bum area, since floaty materials are a no-no for when you go out. I would also only buy mini dresses if the 1)have long sleeves and show some cleavage or 2)have short or no sleeves, but show no cleavage. Also, they are not extremely short and they are only slightly shorter than the midi ones.

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The pink one is from Lavish Alice , the army green one is from We Are All , and they have many more colours, almost all of which are great neutral; finally, the black one is from River Island .

Midi Dresses

This length is my favourite for dresses. I think it is so flattering and feminine, especially since I only like body con dresses. You can pair them with flats or converse for a casual look or with heels for work or a party. They are probably my favourite item.

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The first one is from Wolf&Badger, and it is a bit more expensive. The grey one is from Glamorous, the black one is from Topshop, at Nordstrom, while the green one is also from Topshop, but it is sold out.

Maxi Dresses

By maxi, I mean any dress that goes from the knees to the floor. I love these dresses and I do not find them too dressy : I would absolutely wear them for a day around town, especially in the summertime, since it is too hot for words, here in Rome.

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The black one is from John Lewis, but it is sold out, while the second one is from JluxLabel. The pink one is from Nelly, just like the white one, right here.

Thank you for reading and stay posted for the next ones form this series.

xx