Home > Film, Mangia! Mangia!, Style > On my nightstand/in my DVD player-July 6

On my nightstand/in my DVD player-July 6

July 6th, 2009

On my nightstand this week:onmynightstand-003


I whipped through fellow blogger (www.fortyisthenew20.com) Phyllis Bourne Williams’ book “A Moment on the Lips”  — a very readable sweet love story.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much luck with the other books on my nightstand. I don’t know if it is my mood and I’m not in the mood for nonfiction, but I will be returning “Bella Lingua” and “The Audacity of Hope” to the library. I really, really want to read Obama’s book, but every time I picked it up, it didn’t hold my interest. It was even worse with Bella Lingua. To me,  it seemed like a text book you would read in a crash course before you moved to Italy. I just couldn’t get into it. Why can’t someone write a book about the Italians along the lines of all the fun books about the French (Entre Nous, French Women Don’t Get Fat, Two Lipsticks and a Lover)?

Happiness Sold Separately – I’m still enjoying this book. As I mentioned before, I pick it up whenever I don’t have a library book to read because I don’t have to return it to my SIL anytime soon.

The Historian — I haven’t even picked this up yet. A SIL loaned it to me. It looks too heavy to bring on the airplane when I go on vacation in a few days.


This week was not a big movie week. I watched “My House in Umbria” and that was it.


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  1. July 7th, 2009 at 04:36 | #1

    K, after reading this post I did some research on amazon.com and discovered “Living La Dolce Vita: Bring the Passion, Laughter and Serenity of Italy into Your Daily Life” by Raeleen D’Agostino Mautner. There’s also “Mediterranean Women Stay Slim, Too” which appears to be an Italian response to “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”

    Anyway, I typed in “italian women” as the keywords and those books–and several others–came up.

    • Kristi
      July 7th, 2009 at 07:27 | #2

      You just mentioned one of my all-time favorite books, Living La Dolce Vita. I adore D’Agostino. You can see her book peeking out by my bible in my June 27 post. I have probably emailed her so many times she thinks I’m a stalker! : ) she also has a blog with weekly or semi-weekly tips. I just love the simplicity of her philosophy. I highly recommend her book. Also I did read Mediterranena Women Stay Slim, but it didn’t make as big an impression on me. And the book “La Bella Figura” was a huge disappointment to me. I should just do another search like you did and see if there is anything new out there … thanks for reminding me to do this.

  2. July 7th, 2009 at 07:06 | #3

    I usually read your blog first thing in the morning. Today, I sleepily stared at the photo and knew the book on top looked familiar, but it took me a minute to figure out it was mine. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Sigh. I also wish there were more Italian style books like Susan Sommers, Italian Chic, which was much better than her French Chic book.

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your daily posts. My dh has that brainy, effortless Obama-like cool. I always feel so un-put-together in comparison and thought the solution was in more (clothes, make-up, blah, blah, blah), but it’s actually in less.

    Your blog demonstrates a work-at-home woman’s version of the same kind of cool and has helped me tremendously.

  3. Marsi
    July 7th, 2009 at 10:54 | #4

    I’m glad you mentioned sunscreen, as I’ve been meaning to ask you how your trials were going. I’m still happy with my Neutrogena 55 SPF. What did you buy?

    Obama’s book is great, but summer is perhaps too lazy a time for it? I am reading Colette’s “Cheri” and “Le Fin de Cheri,” and am finding them just right.

    I think I mentioned “View from the Top” as a movie I’d recently put in my queue for its French connection? Watched it this past weekend. It was sort of a stinker. My husband said, “It’s so funny what you’re willing to sit through just for six minutes of Paris or Provence!” (I will always watch the episode of Brenda and Donna going to Paris on “90210” as well — and we all know what high art that show was!) Anyway, I wouldn’t really recommend “View from the Top” now that I’ve seen it.

    I saw “Cheri” a couple of weeks ago and loved it though. I can definitely recommend that.

    How old is your copy of “Elegance”? I wonder how it differs from the re-issues?

    I saw a cute book about Italian mamas at the bookstore about a week ago and thought of you, but just now when I searched for what I thought the title was on Amazon, I couldn’t find it. I will take a picture of the cover next time I go and let you know what it is. I thumbed through it and thought it seemed, at first blush, along the lines of “Entre Nous.”

    I bought “Living La Dolce Vita” on your recommendation, but haven’t read it yet.

Comments are closed.

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.