Lifestyle

Packing for Paris

Paris is my second favorite city (surpassed only by London), and I’m heading there now. Goodbye Palombara Sabina. Thank you Nonna Angela and Mariana for my incredible stay. Let my virtual trip around the world continue! Here’s my itinerary of Airbnb Online Experiences:

My virtual suitcase is packed. Allons-y!

Works Sighted

J.Crew Factory schoolboy blazer; J.Crew 2011 icon coat; Italic Annie mini trunk bag; Cuyana alpaca scarf (heather light grey)

Everlane modern Breton tee; J.Crew Martie pant (navy); Veja Campo

J.Crew striped boatneck tee; J.Crew Martie pant (black); Margaux Demi flats (cerulean)

Eric Bompard classic V-neck pullover; Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (black); Margaux Demi flats (black)

Hinson Wu Isabella White Stretch Cotton Tunic; Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (navy); Repetto Lou ballerinas (lux patent leather beige)

Pasta with the Grandmas: An Airbnb Online Experience

“Making Pasta with the Grandmas” offers virtual cooking classes for various types of pasta. Each Zoom meeting is hosted by one of five Italian grandma/granddaughter duos. My lasagna class began with lively Italian music and was lead by Nonna Angela and her granddaughter Mariana. The event started at 5:00 PM Philadelphia time. Palombara Sabina was six hours ahead, but the time difference didn’t show on the presenters’ faces. Nonna Angela was an attentive instructor, and Mariana translated the directions for the nine guests in an upbeat manner.

In an effort to bring Italy to their students, the hosts played a video montage containing footage from the in-person version of the experience and scenes from the town. I imagined that the stunning Lazio landscape was right outside my window. We rolled dough by hand, made sauce from scratch, and, an hour and a half later, finally put our creations in the oven. The guests thanked Nonna Angela and Mariana for the delightful evening, releasing them from their teaching duties. My husband and I enjoyed our lasagna with salad, Chianti Classico, and S.Pellegrino. Dinner was straight from Italy.

I’ve spent a bit of time researching Palombara Sabina. Here are a few sights that piqued my interest:

Works Sighted: Antimo Caputo 00 flour; eggs; Corelle bowl; Anchor Hocking measuring cup; Trader Joe’s Tunisian fouta towel

An Introduction to dōTERRA Essential Oils

I was first introduced to essential oils in March 2018 at a dōTERRA demonstration. My friend K., a natural party planner, hosted the event at her house. Guests were greeted by lemon-infused water and a rather pleasant scent emanating from the diffuser. An abundance of snacks, such as lavender muffins, soon followed. My friends and I spent the night on K.’s comfy sofa sampling the thoughtfully-prepared assortment and passing around bottles of wine. J., the product consultant, shared her testament with the group; the oils had helped her recover from numerous medical complications.

Twenty days after attending the demonstration, I purchased the family essentials kit along with individual bottles of lemongrass, thyme, cypress, and fractionated coconut oil. I hadn’t planned on making a purchase so soon, but I encountered a minor health hurdle that needed to be addressed. The oils contributed to the resolution of my issue. Initially, I’d spent a generous amount of time deciding which kit to buy, but the one I selected has proven itself quite essential over the years.

You may be wondering if there is a difference between dōTERRA essential oils and less-expensive ones manufactured by other companies. Allow me to clarify; you get what you pay for. dōTERRA essential oils are pure, which is why they are so versatile. I only use a few drops at a time due to their high potency. Although they have an expiration date, you probably won’t have to worry about that for a few years after placing your order. In this post, I’ll discuss my five most-used essential oils, all of which are included in the aforementioned kit, which, by the way, comes with a useful guide detailing all of the brand’s products.

Lemon / As I write this, I’m making a plan to replace my almost-depleted supply of lemon. I enjoy at least one can of chilled sparkling water every day, and I’ve been flavoring my cans of plain water with a drop of lemon essential oil. It’s cheaper than buying an excessive amount of Spindrift (which I still love but can’t afford to drink like champagne at the club).

Peppermint / When a family member gets a headache, I’ll break out the peppermint, dilute a drop with fractionated coconut oil, and rub it on their forehead. The pain dissipates with a tingling sensation. In the olden days of commuting to work, I’d pass out peppermint beadlets to my friends when they weren’t feeling their best.

Lavender / On nights when I can’t sleep, I fill my diffuser with water and add a few drops of lavender. The calming scent puts me to sleep.

DigestZen / This product is a blend of the following essential oils: anise seed, peppermint plant, ginger rhizome/root, caraway seed, coriander seed, tarragon plant, and fennel seed. When my stomach is upset, I diluted a drop or two of DigestZen in a cup of cool water. This concoction is best consumed at a sipping pace.

On Guard / This product is a blend of these essential oils: wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon leaf, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus leaf, and rosemary leaf/flower. It smells like autumn in a bottle. I diffuse this in the air during the day. The idea of boosting my immune system with minimal effort makes me very happy.

Packing for Palombara Sabina

I’ll be making lasagne with Italian nonnas next month. Yes, I’m leaving Lisbon and heading (by virtual means) to Palombara Sabina, a commune located in the Metropolitan City of Rome (about a 60-minute drive from the capital city of Rome). Pasta with the Grandmas was started by Nonna Nerina and her granddaughter Chiara. As I’ve previously mentioned, prior to the current situation, Airbnb Experiences were only conducted in person.

Although I bypass many formalities of traditional travel during my virtual ventures, I like to pretend that I’ll be boarding a flight. This means packing my virtual suitcase, listening to music by artists from my destination country, and establishing a list of places that interest me. (Lately, I’ve been expanding my Italian playlist beyond Pavarotti.) Although I’ve been to the capital city of Rome before, I haven’t visited other areas within the Metropolitan City of Rome. Visiting Nonna seemed like the perfect place to start.

Here are a few online sources that helped me visualize this medieval town and the people I’ll soon be meeting:

  • This stunning visual compilation.
  • An aerial view of the hilltop town. (The older part of town is located on the top of the hill, and the newer part of town is situated farther down the hill.)
  • The municipality’s history as stated on its official website.
  • A video by travel vlogger Christine Kaaloa documenting her visit to Palombara Sabina and her experience cooking with Nonna Nerina.
  • An American mom’s commentary on her family’s experience cooking with Nonna Nerina (2:06; previously aired on TV2000).
  • An Italian talk show segment featuring Nonna Nerina and Chiara (previously aired on TV2000).

Works Sighted

J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen (white); 3.1 Phillip Lim + Space for Giants belted asymmetric pleated cotton-twill skirt; Margaux Demi flats (black)

J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen (French blue); Officine Générale Kendall belted pleated wool skirt; Superga 2750 Cotu Classic Navy

J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen (navy); Gucci houndstooth wool-blend tweed wrap skirt; Gucci Marmont logo-embellished leather loafers

J.Crew 2011 icon coat; Cuyana alpaca scarf (heather light grey); Italic Annie mini trunk bag; Longchamp le pliage shoulder bag L (black)

Italic boxy cropped cashmere sweater (ivory); Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (navy); Margaux Demi flats (platinum)

J.Crew slim perfect shirt in Baird McNutt Irish linen (French blue); Loewe pleated linen and cotton-blend midi skirt; Margaux Demi flats (cerulean)

My Fitbit Alta HR

I bought my Fitbit Alta HR in September 2018. I have to say, our two years together have been quite productive. First and foremost, it helped me get the most out of my gym membership. I joined my current fitness center (now temporarily closed) in July 2017. Prior to wearing my Fitbit, I felt obligated to visit the gym every day and to maximize every workout to its fullest potential. That was too much pressure, so I hardly went at all.

After I started tracking my physical activity, I realized that every step I took improved my overall fitness. I initially set my goal to 10,000 steps (~4.25 miles) a day but raised it to 15,000 (~6.25 miles) one month later. The walks to and from the gym and on the treadmill were opportunities to get more steps. The thrill of meeting my daily goal incentivized me to take walks at every opportunity. Determined to see the victory rocket fly across the screen before midnight, I’d pace in my kitchen or hallway in the evening. (In fact, I’m pacing in my kitchen as I draft this post on my phone.)

My steps serve as the base of my daily physical activity. Unfortunately, I stopped using my Fitbit for about four months whilst getting acclimated to working from home. I’ve since recommitted. Oh, how I’ve missed its benefits: lower resting heart rate, pounds easily lost, and toning in unexpected places. I’ve started back up with a goal of 10,000 but anticipate aiming higher when the time is right.

7 Wonders of Lisbon: An Airbnb Online Experience

I signed up for “7 Wonders of Lisbon” and spent the week preparing for my virtual journey to Portugal. After visiting Fine Wine & Good Spirits, placing an order on Amazon, and swinging by Trader Joe’s, I declared myself officially ready with a bottle of vinho verde, a can of sardines, and the ingredients to make pastéis de nata. I followed this recipe for Portugal’s famous custard tart but had to convert the measurements from metric to USCS. It took me two days to bring the tart to fruition, but the effort was worthwhile. The description of the experience instructed participants to bring a bottle of their favorite wine, a tin of fish, and something sweet to eat, but I took this a step further by acquiring authentic Portuguese products. I wanted to get as close to Lisbon as possible.

When the time came (5:00 PM EDT / 10:00 PM GMT+1) to join the virtual session, I picked out an outfit (long navy skirt, white button-up shirt, and sandals) that would have been suitable for Lisbon’s temperature (66 °F) that night. As the Zoom session loaded on my computer’s screen, I imagined my husband and I leaving our nonexistent Lisbon accommodation to meet up with the group in person. Maybe I’d bring my pashmina, I thought.

The group was composed of six participants and an engaging host named Andrea, who waisted no time getting the session started. We began with a round of introductions and briefly discussed our personal experiences as they related to the current state of things. Then, we traveled virtually to the spot where the in-person version of the tour begins, Estação de Rossio. Andrea led us through the history, culture, and cuisine of the city she calls home in the seven segments of her presentation. Her personal stories and recommendations made me look forward to visiting Lisbon even more. Here’s a list of fifteen places that have piqued my interest during the course of my online exploration of Portugal’s capital city.

Shopping Destinations

  • LX Factory / An artsy village of sorts with shops and eateries. I’d especially like to browse the books at Livraria Ler Devagar. Here’s some footage of the complex.
  • Embaixada / A gallery of shops located in the architectural gem Palacete Ribeiro da Cunha. Take it all in (00:35).
  • Charcutaria Moy / A provisions store selling a wide variety of tea. They also carry chocolate, sauces, spices, coffee, and more. Have a look around.
  • Conserveira de Lisboa / I’ll be buying canned sardines from this shop that was founded in 1930 as a grocery store. Although canned fish was at the core of the company’s business from its inception, today it specializes solely in this type of product. It has three in-house brands: Tricana, Minor, and Prato do Mar. Here’s an interview with Tiago Ferreira, one of the shop’s partners.
  • Bettina & Niccolo Corallo / This family-run coffee and chocolate cafe doesn’t seem to have a website beyond its Facebook page. As you can see (11.16), the establishment is small…not somewhere you’d sit for an extended period of time. I’ve heard the chocolate here is the best in Lisbon.

Restaurants

Museums

Works Sighted: Nuri Portuguese Sardines in Olive Oil; Arca Nova Rose Vinho Verde; Pastel de Nata (made by me); Trader Joe’s Tunisian fouta towel