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Friday, July 29, 2011

We Made It!

LaVerna - my husband's hometown in the region of  Emiglia Romagna
Siamo Arrivati! (We arrived!) Twenty-seven hours from door to door - it's a haul but after 19 years, we are used to it!

With two flights into Rome and then a six hour drive to LaVerna, there is a lot of room for something to go wrong, but all flights departed on schedule and there were no glitches with the car rental.

As soon as my husband, Fabrizio, arrives in his homeland, his Italian-ness comes out in full force - especially when he is behind the wheel of a car on the autostrada.

When he drives, I am in the passenger seat instinctively pressing down my imaginary brake while gripping tightly onto the arm rest as he drives over 90 mph and comes within inches of the vehicle (such as the semi in this picture) in front of us until they move over!

Unlike our freeways that have at least four lanes if not six or seven, the autostrada has only two or three lanes going each way. In America that would be a problem beyond measure. But here, if you follow the rules of the road, the system works quite well. I was going to try to explain these rules, but I found this post that sums it up perfectly:
"For most cars on most of the Autostrade, the speed limit is 100 km/h (61 m.p.h.). This is as widely ignored as our speed limits are. Above what we would consider 'reasonable speeding', Mercedes, BMW's and Alfa Romeo's go as fast as their engines will allow. To deal with this there is a four-step protocol for passing and being passed. 
1) If being passed, you should put the right set of tires on the shoulder, if at all practical. This makes two lanes three. I have been able to pass on two lane roads in Italy with traffic approaching because the approaching car put their right wheel on the shoulder, too. This action is not for the unfamiliar or the faint of heart. 
2) If you are passing, but intend to maintain speed, and return to the right (most of us), you should leave your left turn signal on until you are ready to return to the right when you change to your right turn signal. 
3) If you are traveling in the left lane, and intend to go as fast as your car allows, do not put on your turn signal. 
4) If you are in the left lane, approaching someone from behind who is going slower and you have no turn signal on, flash your lights at them. It is their responsibility to get out of your way. If you are on the receiving end of one of these 'light horns', act quickly or you will get run over."
Needless to say, we made it to his village in one piece (as we have the last 19 years). After saying our hellos to the relatives and friends in town we sat down at the table of his mother's house for fresh, homemade tortellini. This is Fabrizio's favorite dish and he has made it a tradition to have this as his first meal when he arrives in Italy. This has also become our kids' favorite Italian meal and truly is to die for.
In two days we leave for my most favorite place in the world - Venice! We'll meet up with some friends that are there and we'll devour the sites, the culture and the food.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vado In Italia ! (I'm going to Italy!)

Summer...just the sound of that word puts a smile on my face and a skip in my step. Each summer I travel with my 2 sons, Gianluca and Massimo, and my husband, Fabrizio, to his hometown village in northern Italy. Three glorious weeks in the land of food, wine, laughter, and family!

We leave today at 6am. We land in Rome at about midnight PST then rent a car and drive 6 white-knuckled hours on the autostrada to the very small village of LaVerna. Luckily there is an AutoGrill (which deserves a blog post entirely of its own) about every 25 km where drivers pull off for pastries, panini, bathroom stops, etc., but mainly for shots of espresso. We stop there for the latter at least once an hour to try to trick our bodies into thinking they're supposed to be awake.

My husband was born in LaVerna which is where my mother-in-law, Caterina lives half of the year (the other half she lives with us). LaVerna, located in the Appenine Mountains at about 3,000 ft. elevation, is in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy which is known for Pavorotti, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmigiano cheese, Ferrari, and some of the best food in the country.
The region of Emiglia Romagna - where LaVerna is located
Everyone knows everyone's business in LaVerna (well there are only 100 residents during the summer and about half that during the other months). The village even boasts it's own bar and ristorante as well as a tiny church on the corner where the priest does a quick 40 minute mass so he has time to drive to the next village to say the next one.

A glimpse of part of mother-in-law's house is on the left
There's a lot to say about this little village, and you'll get bits and pieces of it and it's surrounding villages during the next 3 weeks. But suffice it to say, it's a little slice of heaven. Or, as my husband claims, "E Paradiso!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wine D'Vine

Do you like wine? I do!

If you can help a child in need, will you? Cocoon will be donating jewelry for a silent auction taking place during the Walden signature event, Wine D'Vine.

Walden Family Services provides services to more than 255 children daily in over 180

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Design

A jacket made from a cellulose that is formed in vats of fermenting green tea, bacteria and yeast. Running shoes that will bio-degrade in 20 years as opposed to 100 years. Socks made from coffee grounds. Fiber made from 100% cow's milk. A dress made from the material that FedEx envelopes are made of. Sound crazy? It's happening!

As one of the largest contributors to pollution in the world, the fashion industry is experimenting with all kinds of ways to design in a more environmentally responsible way. I love fashion and I love design, so when I got the invitation to the FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) Materials Conference,

Get Your Party ON!

We had a blast Saturday at our Summer Open House Party here! It's always so good to see friends and introduce new people to Cocoon and to each other. The "Groove Lounge" music station (and probably the wine and margaritas) helped set that mellow, relaxed mood that makes you so grateful it's Summer! The Liquid Platinum Collection was a hit among the guests, as well as the clearance table. The ladies were amazed at the deals - we're talking

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Open House

Did someone say party? COCOON will be hosting our annual Summer Open House for all of our local friends, fans and customers! It's this Saturday, July 16th from 4-7:30pm.

This is one of the only times where you can see the largest selection of Cocoon merchandise in one place. Try it on, learn how it's made, see what works together while sipping a margarita and nibbling on some yummy hors d'oeuvres!