Ciao Bella

August 3rd, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments








Thanks for stopping in.

Years ago I maintained this blog on a daily basis and at one point, some readers said that if I wrote a book, they’d buy it. Thus, La Bella Figura, was born.

Recently, I’ve revisited the book and republished it.

Here are what some reviewers have to say about it:

Why do I love this book and the way author Kristi approaches life so much? I’ve been thinking about it, and I think it is because she is genuine and authentic. She expresses her point of view well, which is that she chooses to live a Italian-style life, on a trim budget, in the US. I have learned many great tips from this book and loved peeking into Kristi’s life. She comes across measured and sensible, but her ideas always produce a frisson of excitement inside me, because they are fun and easy. I always think ‘I could do that!’ and then ‘I think I’ll do it now!’ Kristi’s message of living La Bella Figura on a budget is so important now when many of us are looking for ways to live well without spending a lot of money. Thank you Kristi for sharing your wisdom and passion with us. – Fiona Ferris of Thirty Chic Days.


I absolutely loved this book! It inspires me to elevate my everyday life into an art form and cultivate a chic, simple and European lifestyle right here at home. Most importantly, the author explains how to do this without spending more, but instead spending less, owning less and as a result, having less stress. I really enjoyed topics like presenting your best in all areas and slowing down to enjoy life while appreciating simple pleasures. This book is an inspiring read! – Stephanie H.
This book you can read very quickly. She writes very honestly and with a great sense of humor. I’ve read many books along the lines of what she’s trying to say but her approach seems doable. I even adapted her meal ideas and plan! I think you will find her ideas easy to adapt. – Gabriella


  1. Darlene
    May 21st, 2010 at 10:11 | #1

    Kristi, I received your book Wednesday and finished it last night. It was wonderful! I am also in the French Chic Group and couldn’t wait to read it since I always enjoy your posts. You did not disappoint.

    Thank you,
    Darelene Renee

    • May 21st, 2010 at 11:12 | #2

      Darlene! I went right from responding to you on FC to seeing you here! I’m so glad you liked the book — look forward to hearing more from you in the future on FC, etc! K

  2. Pamela Walsh
    May 25th, 2010 at 16:28 | #3


    I’m a long time member of the French Chic group. I bought your book as I wanted to read about someone who had actually implemented changes in their lives to live a more european lifestyle. Your book was very good; more like talking to a good friend over coffee than just boring text. I will recommend it to my friends.

    Pamela Walsh

    • May 25th, 2010 at 16:39 | #4

      Thanks so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to write me and let me know. Thank you so much also for buying it and recommending it. I am so flattered by all the positive responses to it. : )

  3. Michelle
    June 9th, 2010 at 21:17 | #5


    I loved your book as well! Since I adore almost everything about Italy so much, I have come to desire a European-inspired lifestyle for years now. I see what you mean when you define fare la bella figura by not only putting your best foot forward in every situation, but also consciously choosing to live a personal value-driven life. You also illustrate it so well as this little book was an absolute pleasure to read. I have read shelves full of travel narratives based in Italy, and books about the Italians, and still have found tips in your book I have yet to come across. I can hardly wait to try some of them out! Right now, I am particularly interested in cultivating a wardrobe primarily consisting of classic, timeless staples, which I can still make my very own. Your tips will certainly help me in my style evolution.

    Grazie mille!

    • June 10th, 2010 at 07:39 | #6

      Thank you so much. If you have time, would you mind putting something like this on the Lulu site if it is not too much trouble? I’m so glad you were inspired!
      I have the same issue — giving myself permission to wear my nice things. I have a velvet blazer I need to make myself wear more instead of saving it. Thanks for reading!

    • June 11th, 2010 at 07:12 | #7

      Grazie Mille to you Michelle,
      Thank you so much for the review. I really appreciate it. Please keep me updated on your wardrobe and style evolution. I feel like mine is constantly evolving and ongoing. I think it helps a lot ot have this blog and see outfits as others might.
      Again, thank you so much!

  4. September 19th, 2010 at 05:36 | #8

    I’m going to order your book! Thanks!

  5. September 28th, 2010 at 14:42 | #9

    Thanks Renee!

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What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.