Castellina in Chianti
fashion, Italy, Lifestyle, Motherhood

Bellissimamma Style: The Floral Headwrap

Bellissimamma Style: The Floral Headwrap

Castellina in Chianti

The Floral Headwrap. Last Saturday I went took a bus from Siena to Castellina in Chianti for some “mom-me time”. I wanted to feel inspired and refreshed so I took the “day off” from taking care of my two toddler boys. When I got off the bus, I was excited to see a flower stand selling sunflowers! I bought the flowers, had them cut and wrapped, and went on with my day.

Italian summers can be extremely hot and dry, so my hair was not looking its best. It was all limp and sweaty and sad. So when I found this very lovely headwrap on display in one of the open market stalls, I was excited to try it on! I was very happy to see how much of a difference it made to my look. It is handmade with love by a stylish Italian lady who loves to make headwraps, scarves, jewelry, and pillows. I found her stall in front of a house with a window that looks like this:

Castellina in Chianti
The House With A Lady Peeking Out The Window

My Style Inspiration:

Castellina in Chianti

Just like the statue of the woman gazing out the window, I paired my headwrap with a white off-shoulder top.

Summer Sunflowers

Sunflowers in Tuscany

To complete my Under the Tuscan Sun look, I bought a pair of sunflower earrings from one of the jewelry stands in the mercato:

Sunflower Earrings

Archaeological Museum of the Chianti Area

A Day Well Spent

Castellina in Chianti is a beautiful hill town that is only thirty minutes away from Siena, Italy! I enjoyed a delicious lunch at Ristorante Sotto le Volte, checked out the Etruscan exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of the Chianti Area, visited the chapel, had coffee gelato in the gelateria, and bought my husband a bottle of Chianti wine as my pasalubong (Filipino word for “travel gift”/ souvenir). I went home feeling refreshed and happy and excited to see my kids!

This post is part of the Main Line Life Linky! Check out these other stylish and wearable outfits for moms and or/ women over 30:

Girls’ Night at 30 Main

Our Trip To The Farmer’s Market

How To Wear Denim on Denim


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Literacy, Little Kids

Bili Si Mama: My Kuya and I/ My Ate and I

Bili Si Mama Ng Aklat Pambata

Filipino Children’s Book. Ngayong buwan ng Agosto ay ipinagdiriwang ng maraming Pilipino ang Buwan ng Wika! Dahil ako ay isang bibong blogger, naisip kong magsulat tungkol sa mga aklat pambata na gawang Pilipino. Siyempre tayong mga magulang ay mahilig  bumili ng mga aklat na dekalidad para sa ating mga anak. (Sa totoo lang, hindi ko talaga binili ang mga aklat na ito dahil pasalubong talaga ito ng mga kapatid ko galing Manila. Pagbigyan niyo na ang pun para pasok naman sa pangalan ng blog ko. )

My Kuya and I/ My Ate and I

Matutuwa kayo sa board book na ito na gawa ng Adarna House! Nakakatuwa dahil ito ay 2-in-1 na magkabalikaran. Isinulat ito ni Ani Rosa Almario at iginuhit ni Kay Aranzanso.

Bilang nanay at guro, mairerekomenda ko ang aklat na ito para sa mga batang Pilipino. Nagustuhan ito ng mga anak kong sina Leon (2 taon) at Lucas (1 taon), lalo na ang “My Kuya and I”. Nakaka-relate ang panganay ko dahil alam niya na siya ang “kuya” at ang “big boy”. Kaya para sa kanya ay exciting ang kwento nito. Si Bunso naman ay nakikinig rin kagaya ng kanyang kuya!

Ang Disenyo

Tuwang tuwa ako sa kalidad ng aklat- matibay, makulay, maganda ang disenyo at maganda ang pagkaimprenta. Hindi rin nakakatusok ang mga sulok kung mapapansin ninyo, kaya pwedeng pwede itong hawakan ng maliliit na mga kamay.

Ang Wika

Isinulat ang My Kuya and I/ My Ate and I sa wikang Ingles, ngunit ginagamit ang ngalan ng nakatatandang mga kapatid na “kuya” at “ate”.Kahit hindi isinulat sa wikang Filipino ang aklat na ito, karamihan naman ng mga batang Pilipino ay nagaaral ng Ingles, Filipino, at mother tongue. Para sa akin, may legit na rason kung bakit hindi ginawang bilingual ang aklat. Piling-pili ang mga salitang Ingles na ginamit sa kwento para mabasa independently ng mga batang Kinder to Grade 1. Kung ito naman ay gagawing read-aloud, kayang kaya na itong maintindihan ng mga batang 2 gulang pataas. Punong puno ang libro ng mga sight words kagaya ng “we”, “have”, “same”, “like”, at “different”. Maganda ang dalot ng mga salita kung binasa nang malakas. Hindi tunog “robotic” o “corny” pakinggan. Malapit siya sa natural na paguusap sa wikang Ingles ng mga bilingual (o trilingual) na batang Pilipino.

Ang Mensahe

Maganda rin ang mensahe ng aklat na ito sapagkat ipinapakita dito ang magandang pakikitungo ng magkakapatid. Bukod pa dito ay natuturuan ang mga bata ng konsepto ng pagkakatulad at pagkakaiba.

Ang Kulturang Pinoy

Tuwang tuwa ako sa mga guhit sapagkat mga batang Pilipino ang makikita ninyo dito! Mga batang itim ang buhok, kutis kayumanggi, naka-shorts, naka-sando at tsinelas…hindi bat napakahalagang maka-identify ang mga batang Pilipino sa mga tauhan ng kanilang mga binabasa? Talagang nakakakilig at nakakatuwa mga magulang ang aklat na ito. Damang dama ko ang Pinoy childhood sa aklat na ito.

My Kuya and I/ My Ate and I
(c) 2015 Ani Rosa Almario at Kay Aranzanso


Anong mga aklat pambatang gawa ng Pilipino ang marerekomenda ninyo at bakit? Huwag mahiyang magsulat ng comment!


Sa uulitin!


Orto Botanico dell"Universita Di Siena
Dolce Vita Bloggers Linky, Italy

Culture Shock in Italy

Culture Shock in Italy

Experiencing Culture Shock

Culture shock is a phenomenon that you experience when you move to a cultural environment different from your own. I experienced my culture shock when I moved to the United States for work, reverse culture shock when I went back to my home country, the Philippines, and another culture shock when my family moved to Italy.

In this blog post, I will talk about my personal experience of culture shock. It is not my intention to make platitudes or to promote cultural stereotypes. Culture shock is real, and if you are in a similar situation (especially if you are a Filipino immigrant)- I want to tell you that you will overcome! Lakas lang ng loob (Strength of the will)!

Before Moving To Italy

Making the decision to move to Italy was not an easy one. Life in Manila, Philippines was okay for the most part. “Everything we needed” was right there. We had household help, which was very important because I just had a baby. Also, my immediate family was there to support us. Life was good…but not great. My husband and I both felt that we were meant to be planted somewhere else…like Italy.

Are we willing to let go of the conveniences of living in the city to move to a medieval town? It’s nice to travel around Europe if you have enough funds… but to actually live there? 

Can I be an effective manager of the home without any household help? 

Are we willing to learn the Italian language? 

Should we move back to the U.S.? After all, we already know how life is like in America and we have friends and family over there. Is it better to move to Italy instead of going back to the U.S.?

Is this God’s will for our lives?

Call us crazy, but after a lot of thinking and praying…we chose the Italian adventure.

I tried to search online for advice on living in Italy. Good thing I found Dolce Vita Bloggers, a monthly linkup for “lovers of Italy” hosted by expats Questa Dolce Vita, Mammaprada, and Italian at Heart.


The Stages of Culture Shock

The Honeymoon Stage

This is the first stage of culture shock. During the Honeymoon Stage, you can only see the positive things in the new country. It is an exciting, exhilarating stage, and everything seems to be perfect!

Wow, Siena is paradise!

The air smells so fresh… like olives and rosemary!

The wine is delicious and cheap!

The food tastes amazing! 

The Italian language is so easy to learn, it’s a Romance language like Spanish…Filipino has many Spanish words… I got this!

They drive so fast…super cool! La Dolce Vita!

Italian coffee tastes amazing! I’ll never order take-out coffee ever again!

Traveling by train is so convenient- hello Florence, PisaVenice, Milan!

I.T.A.L.Y.= I Trust And Love You!

This stage is the best stage, but short-lived. You enter your new country with expectations, and then reality hits you in the face.

The Frustration Stage

After a few months of living in Italy, homesickness started creeping in. Also, I felt like I have not been making a lot of progress in my language learning journey. Well-meaning friends kept asking me, “are you already fluent in Italian?” What exactly is “fluent”? Yeah, I get by. But can I engage in intellectual conversations in Italian? Can I ever reach that level- or if is it even necessary? Do you know how frustrating it is when you don’t know enough words in the foreign language to say what you want to say?

When my family moved outside the main city of Siena, it became more obvious that we were not tourists, but immigrants. That was when I began to feel the tension… that crazy feeling where you feel different and you are not 100% welcome!

Being A “Straniero” (A Foreigner)

Before moving to Italy, I lived in the United States as a cultural exchange teacher. Generally, in my experience living in the Washington D.C. area, it is awkward to ask “where someone is from” because you don’t want to sound racist. In Italy, on the other hand, I’ve been asked many times by complete strangers where I am from. Are they asking because I’m not welcome here? Or are they asking because they’re simply curious? How will it make their lives better (or worse) if they know where I’m from?

I asked an Italian friend what Italians really feel about immigrants. She said that sadly, some Italians classify immigrants into two groups: immigrants from “rich countries” and immigrants from “poor countries”. Guess which group is unwelcome?

There was a time when a man asked me where I was from. When I told him I’m a Filipina, he was surprised because he thought I was Chinese! Then he said in broken English, “Philippines is better than Chinese.” I wonder what he meant by that?

One time when I was at a party and I was talking about how difficult it is for us to find a babysitter/ nanny, an Italian woman said, “Why don’t you find someone from your own kind?” Okay, so that shocked me a lot and she probably noticed that I gave her a look. “What do you mean?” I asked. She looked slightly uncomfortable and said, “Maybe it’s easier for you to find someone from your own culture.” I will never know what she means by that, whether or not it was an innocent suggestion, or if there was something lost in translation… who knows?


The Adjustment Stage

In this stage of adjustment, I learned to accept the reality that I am a straniero, a foreigner. Language Trivia: The Filipino word “estranghero” means “strangers” or “foreigners” in English! No matter how long I live in Italy, even if I become fluent in Italian, even if I dress like an Italian, I will never be an Italian. And that is okay! I’m a proud Filipina living in Italy.

Some people will not like that we are living in “their territory” because they think that we’re taking away their jobs! That’s not true at all! My husband is doing work that requires specialized training. His job helps save many lives not just in Italy but all around the world.

The only time it is not okay if I am treated with disrespect because I am a “brown-skinned straniera” or a “second-class immigrant”. It is not okay when my family’s life is threatened because we are stranieri. I can be a Filipino and live in peace with the Italian community. If for any reason we are not welcome in Italy anymore, that’s also fine. We will go where God leads us, and we stand by His promise that He will never forsake us nor leave us. If God is with us, who can be against us? I am not defined by the color of my skin, but by my life in Christ.

My husband and I will continue to practice speaking in Italian. We respect the Italian language and we want to be integrated into society. We try not to complain about the cultural differences; instead, we adjust our lives accordingly.  For example, because we know that most stores are closed on a Sunday, we stock up on supplies before the new week begins. We also learned how to appreciate the value of rest and recreation just like the Italians. Instead of complaining about how most stores are closed after lunch to 4:00 PM, we learned to adjust by getting our supplies outside those hours. We learned to adjust to how time is relative in Italy, that there is no “black and white”, and that nothing is ever final. (If you have lived in North America, you will understand how extremely frustrating this can be.)

Is it easy to live in Italy? No. Is this a unique and special experience at this point in our lives? Yes. Is it worth leaving the Philippines to live abroad? I would still say yes, not because I don’t love my home country, but because in my heart I have always longed to see the rest of the world.

The Acceptance Stage

I guess this is the part where you learn to accept the reality of your situation. Every country has positive and negative aspects. I really think that you have to learn to adjust and to be flexible if you want to live a happy life in your new environment. While my kids and I were taking a nature walk in Siena’s Botanical Garden, I saw a very familiar-looking flower. It was a hibiscus or a “gumamela”. This flower is endemic to the tropical islands of the Philippines, yet it blooms in the Tuscan hills of Italy! I believe it is God’s way of saying that He will make sure that I will not just survive… I will thrive!

Orto Botanico dell"Universita Di Siena


Have you experienced culture shock in Italy or in a different country? Are you experiencing trials or setbacks as an immigrant? How do you survive loneliness or homesickness? I would love to know your story! Please leave me a comment. 



Dolce Vita Bloggers

This post is part of #DolceVitaBloggers Linkup- Culture Shock

Hardships of a Non-White Expat in Italy

From India To Italy: Culture Shocks 

Dolce Vita Bloggers: Culture Shock 

Culture Shock!

Italy is Patriarchal AF




Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Lucy At Home