Books

January 7th, 2017

BUY IT HERE: LA DOLCE VITA

BUY IT HERE: LA BELLA FIGURA

La Bella Figura

By Fiona Ferris
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.

I absolutely loved this book
By stephanie h.
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!

And here are what some people said about the original book when it was published in 2010

I’ve had my copy of La Bella Figura a week, and it’s already dog-eared and thoroughly highlighted. Primarily a volume on obtaining the elusive chic European women are known for, this book is so much more. La Bella Figura is a primer for women seeking more quality over quantity in all areas of their life. Author Kristi Belle offers priceless tips on ensuring everything – from your style to how your time and money are spent – contributes to the life you truly desire.

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I loved this book! Since I adore almost everything about Italy so much, I have come to desire a European-inspired lifestyle for years now. The author defines creating la bella figura by not only putting one’s best foot forward in every situation, but also consciously choosing to live a personal value-driven life. I love this expanded definition; it makes sense to me. She also illustrates it so well with personal experiences, book recommendations, even her own recipes. All of that make this little book an absolute pleasure to read. I have read shelves full of travel narratives based in Italy, and books about the Italians as well, and I have tried to emulate the author’s lifestyle or adopt… More >lessons into my own life. But I still have found tips in Kristi’s book I have yet to come across, it definitely offers something new. 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. Her tips will certainly help me in my style evolution.

I am drawn to this book as well as her blog because the author is so herself and is not afraid to let everyone know who she is. While reading the book, I almost felt like I was having a face-to-face conversation with a kindred spirit. I found myself repeatedly thinking “I’ve read that book!” or simply “I know, right?!” She inspires me.

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I loved this book! It is a great resource for all things chic. What I really found inspiring is the focus that it does not take a lot of money to achieve this lifestyle. The message of simplifying and enjoying your life makes you feel more rich than any latest and greatest must have trendy item at the mall. I highly recommend this book. It’s one I will always keep in my library.

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Just finished reading La Bella Figura! Lots of great ideas I plan to start incorporating into my daily life immediately. I have three closets full of clothes in my house. I guess it’s time to downsize and only keep what I really love! I’ve found that having such a large collection of clothing is more of a burden than a joy. Can’t wait to use Kristi’s method to de-clutter my closets and my life! A great book!

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Fantastic Book! Even if you read Kristi’s blog regularly, there are still more gems in this book. Her writing style is very accessible and conversational. With what’s been happening with our nation’s economy…this book should be required reading!! Learn to live better with less, and start by reading this wonderful book. I hope there will be many more to follow.

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If you are new to the idea of living an Italian and French Inspired lifestyle La Bella Figura is stocked full of ideas on how to get started from cleaning your closets to restocking the kitchen. But even if you are not new to the idea this book is a fresh inspiration on refining and simplifying your lifestyle. Thanks to La Bella Figura, after holding onto it for several years and hating to use it I finally tossed my garlic press!! Kristi’s writing style is down to earth and honest. When reading this book your feel as though you are not so much being instructed by the author but instead are on the journey with her. Unlike many self-improvement books she does not tout her methods as being the only “right” way to live simply and beautifully and in fact doesn’t hesitate to discuss aspects where she herself is still experimenting and growing.

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I read this book cover to cover before bed last night and all I can say is I am completely and totally inspired – I’ve already done 3 things to simplify my life – all in the last 12 hours!

1. I shut off my alarm clock after I finished the book (at midnight). I originally had it set for 5:00 am to get up and get to a spinning class this AM – knowing I already had a swim class later in the evening. Why do I need to sacrifice sleep to get in 2 workouts today? I don’t! I took the extra 2 hours sleep instead.
2. Getting dressed this AM I grabbed a pair of pants that I wore earlier this week. I never would have done that before. But they fit me well and they are a classic black that go with… More >lack that go with everything. I LOVE them.
3. I am taking a vacation day tomorrow. I just had some work done at my house, it’s a mess, and I am having a baby shower for a dear friend on Saturday that I need to get ready for. I have tons of vacation time so I’m going to use it to clean, grocery shop and be ready for it instead of also working a full day and stressing myself out late into the evening on Friday – and sacrificing sleep in order to get stuff done.

Thank you Kristi Belle!

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I loved this book. I am a big fan of Anne Barone’s Chic & Slim series and La Bella Figura struck me as a younger, Italian version. As a regular reader of Kristi’s La Bella Figura blog this book has a lot of new information and she has expanded on ideas she has touched on in her blog. I felt very inspired just browsing the index – I really should have started from the beginning but I dipped into chapters just to get a taste first (couldn’t help myself).

This book has many great ideas on living ‘la bella figura’ and they are all attainable on a small budget and in small chunks of time. Kristi has such a conversational style of writing that I felt inspired to try out some of her… More >her ideas straight away.

An example of this is in her closet/wardrobe chapter. I jumped up from reading this chapter straight away and instinctively knew what was getting weeded out of my main wardrobe. I know in my heart that I have too many clothes and want to find that perfect and mythical wardrobe of a small number of pieces in which everything goes together to make many outfits.

Kristi suggested paring down the wardrobe and not getting rid of the overflow straight away. That way you can cast items out more freely without having to worry about where they were going to go. I removed everything I didn’t like, was ambivalent about or even just didn’t enjoy wearing (too scratchy, funny shape etc) into another wardrobe.

That way I could have a taste test of the European style wardrobe straight away without fully committing to giving away half of my clothing. And like everyone else, I love instant gratification (not very European of me, but still). What a pleasure it was to get dressed the next day. I still haven’t put any of the weeded out clothes back but they are still there if I want them. In six months or so I plan to donate what I haven’t gone looking for.

Another favourite part of this book is Kristi’s food/kitchen chapter and recipes. Her menus always look so appetising on her blog and I love that I can make some of the same dishes which taste so authentic because they come from someone of Italian descent!

Actually, I loved the whole book. I am so impressed that Kristi has distilled everything she has learned on the art of living well into this enticing book. All of the chapters are topics I am interested in very much and I know I will refer to La Bella Figura over and over again. This book is such a worthwhile investment of your money and time.

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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.