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Neal and I at his studio in Pietrasanta, Italy

Did you wonder where I have been? I took a much needed break from the internet and from the daily grind and self inflicted craziness of the American way of life.

Every summer I come to Italy for 6 weeks, to re~energize. recharge my creative battery. To SEE things, style things, food things... I need this time to get my creative groove back~
This year,I came to Italy to bury the last six months in this slouching economy where clients are folding and photographers and art directors and editors are generally freaked out.

Coming to Italy would surely clear my mind, and reset my priorities.
So I desperately needed the break from all the crazy!

and I am back!!!! by the grace of God, 3 weeks later, by the following these daily routines:

walking, running,swimming,reading,traveling,napping,trying to speak Italian(properly in full sentences mind you),and cooking
, and living in the moment just like the Italians do + drinking endless amounts of espresso + a couple glasses of vino. Today as I was running through the streets of our town, it occurred to me that I finally felt like sharing and writing about my summer here.

I spend lots of time here in our small beach town. We are on the coast of Liguria. Our town is a tiny beach town, not jet~setty at all. Just a simple place where Italian families come to spend time together on the mare.(the sea)I have a beautiful sea view from our flat (in an old renovated monastery set on a hillside garden), and take time every night to just sit on my window seat, sip wine and take in the sunset.

I run every morning and experience the typical morning life here in our little town. People doing daily chores and chatting and visiting in the streets. Running here is not a standard practice. In fact I have to do my share of weaving in and out of the Italians young and old, all oblivious to me as I run down the cobbled narrow streets.

I usually run on the boardwalk along the beach, but today I ran along the back streets shaded from the stifiling heat that hangs over our town in July. These are the streets only known and discovered if one lives here. Sheilded from tourists, a guarded secret by the thousands that live here, they pass through these alleys and have for generations. Small and winding paths that cut through then behind and sometimes over the hussle and bussle of the tourists journeys to the beach.

Today I took this different route bypassing the beach for today , and enjoyed all the sounds, and relished smells of the vendors. Even the smell of the fish monger made me smile. The fresh baked foccocia bread, and brioche and cheese, perfumed the doorways of these tiny shops. The intoxicating smell of espresso wafting from a coffee bar, with the patrons sitting outside chatting and taking in the view of daily Italian life.
People just going about daily routines. Routines much different than the ones I witness at home in the U.S. Here people focus on the things at hand like family lunch, the menu, what to cook, what looks good to buy TODAY.

It is just slower here. I needed to slow down.

This year has been a very stressful one for me. So stressful that I did not even realize it until I took time to turn off my blackberry and shut down my email for a couple weeks and then I could think and breathe and reflect.

Last week, I visited a sculptor friend in Pietrasanta , and when I went to his studio I realized that there are other ways to live and that the thing I loved about being an artist had slowly ebbed away this year.

The studio, the stone , the sculptures, reminded me to get in touch with the things that always made me tick,and made my creative juices flow.

So I am here now, present in my creative mind. Not thinking about the next project, if my business will make it in this economy, if the next step in my career will pay off.

I am just here in our small simple town running cooking, writing and living!
La bella vita! Ciao for now ~ next time we get our party on in Mykonos, always an essential part of getting my creative groove back.