Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Truth Next Exit

by Michele M. Paiva came to my door via Pump Up Your Book and I'm very glad it did. As the title suggests, truth is the main focus of the book. But it also has elements of focusing on health and well being.

The thing I really liked about this devotional is that it didn't string you along for answers. I'm not sure if that's clear but what I mean is there weren't the stock questions with the stock answers. The questions are really thought provoking and caused me to explore them further in my journal and in prayer.

Now as a special treat Michele M. Paiva took the time to answer a few questions for me:

What does your writing space look like?

I had a room built into my large den. I had collected an old door from a lawyers office that looks to be at least from the 40's. I have old windows that were meant to be outside door/windows.. so when you go into the den, it looks like you are looking at an old store front! I have windows on the other wall, so I get a ton of light. I have an old kitchen table as my desk, book shelves and antique pieces surrounding me. I like to feel like I've stepped back in time. It also offers me seclusion which I so need when I write!

Is there anything you know now, as a published writer, that you wish that you knew when you were just starting?

That no one's opinion really matters but yours, the editor and publisher. No external editor, no book group critiques, not your great aunt or best friend. Write from the heart and let it go from there. It's a business not a self esteem pat on the back; treat it as such. Luckily I only toyed with other's opinions for a very short time, and had confidence not to concern myself about what others thought. I think once you learn to stop looking outside of yourself THEN you are ready to jump in with two feet.

Has writing a devotional always been on your heart or did you find yourself writing it more out of necessity? (Meaning you wanted a devotion like the one you wrote but couldn't find it anywhere.)

Hmmm that is hard. I think it is a bit of both. I couldn't find anything like it through the years and, I always had it in my heart to help people from a more spiritual place.

Who did you dedicate this book to and why?

To my friend Denise, because she is someone who puts emphasis on truth.

Thank you so much Michele!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sugar Free Journey

I'm giving up sugar for lent. No soda. No cake. No chocolate. No peanut butter M&M's.

I didn't have a fat Tuesday and I'm glad. I think it'd be harder to quit if I'd had an all out sugar coma the day before going cold turkey. In the past I never observed lent, but ever since marrying my catholic husband I've stopped eating meat certain Fridays. I love the concept of fasting. Praying when you feel a craving. A public declaration of faith. The world has too few of those now-a-days. This is a huge one for me.

I'm pretty sure I'm addicted to sugar. I know that's a big word, addiction. Everyday after lunch I get the itch. The sugar itch. Must. Have. Something. Sweet. Not no more. I'm not going to let a substance control me. It's going to be hard. I'm no fool. But that's why God gave us prayer. (Also, distractions. Thank you Google Reader.) So, I'll let you know how it's going. How I'm feeling (watch out for a few whining posts). The improvements in my health since giving it up. I'm looking forward to being a healthier, stronger Nikki.

Thanks for sharing this with me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This guy...

Posts had just gotten back to a regular rhythm, but they are about to be interrupted by this guy. My husband is coming home for R&R today!

Let me show you my level of excitement by the amount of things I couldn't focus on:

  • missed a meeting with housing
  • my boss had to repeat everything to me 3 times
  • I left the groceries in the car overnight
  • this is the end of my list
Have a wonderful Valentine's day. Mine is going to be my best Valentine's ever because my Valentine will actually be here for Valentine's day.

(For the record amount of times the word "Valentine" has been used in a sentence see above.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

True Color?

Take the True Value Paint Color quiz to find out what color you are.

I'm yellow:

You are quite the powerful thinker. It’s this talent that allows you to overcome a plethora of great obstacles. Luckily, this doesn’t affect your ego and you give off a pretty easy-going appearance. You enjoy the finer things in life and also have an attraction to art. If you can help it, you try not to rock the boat. But you also can’t stop yourself from searching for new ideas, methods or styles.

A little fun for your long weekend (if you're American).

I have some big, big, BIG! news tomorrow. See ya then.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just a quick blog tonight. I wanted to send a thank you out to Corey Marie for giving me her "I LOVE YOU" printable mini album kit. I just downloaded it and it's super cute. I can't wait to print it out tomorrow.


Lately I've been trying to observe more textures and patterns in every day life. I took this picture when I went to Venice last weekend in a church. It's a section of the floor there. Maybe good inspiration for an art journal page? Goodnight my loves.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Corey Marie Give-away

Corey Marie is having a snow day give-away on her blog! She's giving away 10 "I LOVE YOU" mini album kits. I'm pretty sure on this give-away, everyone's a winner.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Carnevale Dolce

The nice thing about Carnevale is that it's a feste. With feste there comes, what I call, the "State Fair" food. Near the Accademia, at the end of a large bridge, there's a crepe stand.


I know crepes are french, but these Italian ones were just as good as the ones I've had in France. I got a cinnamon sugar one. I do not regret it.


A famous feste food in Italy is the frittella. It's fried dough coated in sugar. The same idea as the American funnel cake.


Usually at the small local festivals the dough is molded into a flat disk, fried and coated in sugar. The ones we found in Venice were spherical and filled with... just about whatever you like.


Naturally, I chose chocolate. Another decision I do not regret. It was moist, sweet but not too rich. The sugar coating was flavored with lemon to make a sharp tartness followed by sweet, chocolately goodness.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Il mio primo Carnevale


Can you believe that this was my first Carnevale?

3.5 years in Italy and never ever been.


I caught this lady in the act of making a mask. I was just trying to take a picture of the mask she just made. She posed for me instead.


Cecilia loves Carnevale.


Check out this cool Elvis mask we found. Too bad it was like 200 euros. I would have bought it for the hubs.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Over 3 years I've lived about 45 minutes from Venice. In all that time I've never been to Carnevale.

That changes today my friends. Today.

My camera battery is charging as we speak. My jeans are drying as we speak. My tummy is growling as we speak. My dreams are dreaming about coffee as we speak. My weather checker is weather checking... in just a minute when I'm done with this post.


Hope you have a magical Sunday

Friday, February 5, 2010

Water, water everywhere and not a drop for me


My other landlord came today. My landlord, landlord. Not to be confused with his son, who came Monday to tell me about the ticket on my door which never came by the way. He told me they aren't able to connect my water today because it's raining. They did fiddle with my gas though.

While waiting for the fiddling to be done he told me that he has a chiwawa for me. He breeds dogs and about 2 years ago, the last time my husband deployed, we were going to get a Yorkie from him. It ending up falling through and we were pretty glad about it. But ever since, he's been trying to get us to buy a chiwawa. He said he's going to pick me up Monday to check them out. If only he was so adamate about getting my water hooked up.

Buona settimana fine!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oh the jackhammers!


Today is the day of jackhammer alarm clocks. And regular hammers. And these two in my yard. When I came home from Paris I found the hole this man is standing in in my yard. It just sat there, open for about 3 weeks. Why didn't I call and ask someone about it? Because I've lived in Italy over three years and adapted their come-what-may attitude. If fate or God or the virgin Mary wanted me to know what the hole was about, then I'd find out. Three short weeks after the hole these Italian work men came (yes, in the winter almost all workmen wear bright, orange, reflective jumpsuits) and started banging about.

Let me back up. We have well water here at the house. In the middle of December a notice was posted that the water in my town was no longer potable. It seems that some chemicals have leaked into the water supply. It is ok to wash in and is ok to drink if it has been boiled because the chemicals will boil off. So we had a town meeting a week after the notices were posted. The landlords of the Americans living here and the command decided that the best way to remedy this is to connect us to the city water supply. We Americans living in this town got an email from the housing office that said that we should have drinking water by the end of January. Normally it would take about two weeks for the water to be fixed, but because of the Christmas season it would take a month and a half.

Oh, Italy.

My landlords son stopped by this evening telling me that they were going to connect the water tomorrow morning. He's going to post to make sure that everything is ok with us being billed by the city and that housing knows what's up. He said that if I come home from work and there's a ticket on my door, everything is ok. Just have to run my water for 10 minutes from every faucet and I'm good to go.

It seems like everything is happening so fast now. Jackhammers. Landlord's son. Water connect. Maybe the hole will be filled tomorrow, too.