Viva Italia!

I've been back from Italy for about ten days, but my heart is still there. The Italians keep the same schedule as me. They drink espresso like water -- even after a late dinner approaching midnight. Here in Silicon Valley, I make no sense. I don't seem to have much purpose. But in Italy? I get it. I'm a mom/caretaker and that has value. Like a bus driver has value, like a waiter has value. It's not like Silicon Valley where we judge everyone by what their position is, and which model Tesla they have.

Wake up = espresso

Then, they eat prosciutto and cheese for breakfast. As a hater of breakfast food/cereal, I get this. Just give me the protein and nobody gets hurt.
0[1] (2)

There's incredible fresh melon under that Prosciutto -- delicious.

Everything is a social occasion. You don't order espresso to go. That's for savages. You order it from a bar (where you can later buy alcohol) and you stand at the bar and drink it while you talk with people. Like a human. Meals should be social occasions and that seems like a lost art where I live.

Even shopping is a social occasion. You don't walk into someone's shop without greeting them and chatting it up a bit. That would be rude. Oh, and you don't say "ciao" as that is reserved for a friend or someone you know well. You say "Buongiorno."


0[1]

The people are not friendly on the street. They let you know that you're not one of them. Which is fine with me. I get the whole, "You can't sit with us!" mentality in Italy. If I lived there, I wouldn't want anyone finding out my secret either.

This is a villa where we stayed. The woman who ran it with her husband, was my heroine. Rumor has it she's a countess. She also cooks, takes care of her mother and trains young people in the ways of hospitality.

0[3]

Her cousin owns a winery. So I got schooled in the great art of wine, and I think I finally get it. That's another thing. Italians have alcohol for every occasion. Good wine flows like sparkling water on the table. I never really appreciated good wine, but I think I got the hang of it. Can I pick out an undertone or note? No, but I can tell you what I like now, which is more than I could do before I got there.


0[3] (2)


We took a cooking class in Lucca and this was the result -- not of our cooking, but our teacher, Antoinella. She was married to an Italian cowboy and their place was incredible. A little ranch near town where the cowboy trains his dog to call his horse and our heroine cooks up a meal trading fresh ingredients with neighbors. Not a bad life.


0[3]

Obviously, I saw all the Italian sites as well, but that isn't what will pull me back to Italy. It's the people. The warmth. The love and most importantly, the quality time they make for what matters in life. It made me long for the days when I was a great hostess and I vow that this time will come again.


0[6]


RIP #KateSpade -- Icon, Patron Saint of Girly Girls Everywhere...

I'm crushed to hear of the passing of legendary designer Kate Spade. From my first iconic cherry Sam bag to this latest desire, I love everything she designs. I just ordered a new phone case that couldn't be more me. A city girl walking her dog with telltale sparkle. (Swarovski crystals.) Never has a designer understood me like Kate Spade and I am just so gutted to hear of her tragic suicide. Her poor family left behind...
9832073_fpx

Depression takes another soul. Insidious bastard. People can look so happy on the outside. They can design cute happy clothes that make us happy to be alive, but the liar that is depression tells them something different inside. Yes, Kate Spade's death will leave a huge hole, but it's like that for any soul who suffers from depression and thinks the world is better off without them. It isn't.

While I'm surprised, I'm not. So many comedians who make our lives so much happier suffer from dark nights of the soul. It isn't easy to overcome and my heart goes out to Kate's family. She will be deeply missed. She made the world a brighter, more sparkly place and what could be better than that? A true legacy that changed store shelves forever.


My first Amish read #WritteninLove

So while I was at the Romantic Times Booksellers' Convention this weekend in Reno, I met Kathleen Freeman. Oh my goodness, I just loved her. And I thought, how does this cool chick write Amish books? Aren't they all bonnets and sans cell phones? Okay, so I'm a little judgy. What can I say? You read the blog. This shouldn't surprise you.


33312896_10155333247716625_187020803261333504_n

Anyway, I bought her book, "Written in Love." First off, I'm not an Amish fan. Secondly, I hate "letter" books -- which is why I couldn't finish "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" a book which everyone seems to love, except me. So this book is not only an Amish tale, but it's a letter book. It starts out with the best "meet cute" I've read in a long time and continues in letters.

I LOVED this book. Kathleen is an amazing writer and her grasp of characters is bar none. They are so real, you want to give them a big kiss on the cheek. (Chaste, you know?) . Anyway, there it is folks. My first Amish read and I loved it. Now I'm going to read a ghost story to clear my palette. ("This Heart of Mine" by C.C. Hunter) I also met and loved her. She's such an authentic person. I have a thing for authentic people.


#SplitEnds, a sleeper favorite of my readers is on sale for $0.99 https://amzn.to/2s3WDNkn #HarperCollins #ThomasNelson


41uHSVFRcLL

If you haven't read "Split Ends" -- it's one of my readers' favorites even though it's a stand-alone and doesn't have accompanying "friends" book. Either way, it's only 99 cents, so for less than a latte, you can get my book. (Way less than my latte this morning. I got a Venti with soy today.

By the way, you know you spend too much time at Starbucks when the man whose dog you pet every day, says, "Hey, you're late today."

Thanks to Harper Collins Christian for putting this sleeper Chick Lit on sale!


RIP #MargotKidder

Superman with Christopher Reeve was probably the last superhero movie I saw. I'm not a big superhero fan, but oh how I loved these two together. Their chemistry sizzled. I just watched it about two weeks ago and sadly, I knew the dialogue by heart. My kids were making fun of the special effects, but one thing that holds up is the great characterization and actors in that movie.


AAxgFZI

Margot was such a great Lois Lane. She even overcame all the bad fashion choices they made for her in those movies. That's not easy. I know she struggled with bipolar though I'm not sure what her cause of death was. I hope she's flying with the angels for real about now.


#SouthernCharm is getting painful to watch...

Southern Charm used to be my favorite show, but it's like watching a "Mad Men" parody. The men on this show are useless. We see none of them work (except maybe Whitney who disappears from the show and makes random appearances when his producer duties kick in and he needs to make an effort.)

T-Rav is disgusting. He really makes me sick to my stomach with his lecherous behavior. I can't imagine what poor Ashley's mother and father feel watching this show. The way Thomas looks at Kathryn is like a cartoon character salivating over an imaginary meal. It just comes off as predatory. Honestly, when he was flirting with Kathryn and ignoring his supposed girlfriend, it was like he was having an out-of-body experience and didn't even know where he was. These poor young girls. I'm so glad Kathryn is waking up, but how he ever got full custody of those kids with his history, I will never understand. I used to enjoy hating on Thomas, but there's a sinister feeling to him this season that does NOT feel enjoyable whatsoever.


Giphy

Source: Giphy

What's worse? Shep and Austen sound like 13-year old boys in men's bodies. Please tell me that "Southern Charm" does not represent Charleston because I can't believe this is the best they have to offer.

My girl Naomie apologized. I knew she would. She had a moment -- but I'm still behind her on standing up to JD. Peyton didn't deserve the great "unleashing" but I appreciated that Peyton understood it had nothing to do with her. I love Craig too, but he's got some abusive tendencies too in his words. We have to keep in mind, we're only seeing a small fraction of who these people are. I don't know if Craig and Naomie are just toxic together or if both of them have that latent demon waiting to come out.


Screen-Shot-2016-04-05-at-7.58.04-PM-960x848

Source: Instagram

I'm hoping it's the former because I love Naomie. I want her to find love. I want Craig to get his act together. I love him too, but I think he might be in need of some Adderall. And Craig, honey, I say that as a fellow ADDer. #NoJudgment

Anyway, I watched this week's episode fast. I had to fast-forward through T-Rav and Ashley making out at the table across from Kathryn. Who the heck does that? Such uncivilized behavior and I know it must be even worse in the South. Truly gag-worthy. And again, is there ANY sentence that comes out of Thomas's mouth that doesn't have a sexual connotation? Dude, get it together. You're getting old. We get it. You think you've still got it. But seriously, gross. Mid-fifties and making out at a table full of people? Okay then.

I love Chelsea, but if she sees a future with Shep or Austen, she nees to rethink life. If those two marry, it will be a long time from now, and I guarantee with someone at least 10 years their junior. Sorry I'm so surly, but I feel like my favorite show got taken over by the anti #MeToo movement. Blech!


It's Finally Release Day! #TheTheoryofHappilyEverAfter

I think I signed the contract for this book at the end of 2015. It feels like an eternity passed until this day is finally here. It's just in time for summer and your frothy beach read. I'm celebrating with a trip to Barnes & Noble. And maybe a new pair of sandals for Italy. (A girl's gotta walk.)

Jenny B. Jones is giving away a copy on Instagram. Follow her here:
https://www.instagram.com/jennybjonesauthor/

You can also follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/chicklitkristin/
307371_SU18PreOrderAvailableNow_Graphics

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Jvplgs
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Christianbook.com


Has #SouthernCharm Jumped the Shark for Me?

It's no secret that I love me some "Southern Charm" -- but the last two episodes have left me with this icky, annoying feeling. First, there was last week opening with that bed scene with Thomas and his new child bride -- ahem, I mean girlfriend. Then, there was this week with "guy's night out" at the local bar where we got to see the pick-up styles of old-school Thomas, which harkens back to a time when bosses slapped their secretaries on the behinds and told them to run along now.

First off, as someone near Thomas's age, I find it really creepy that he hangs out in bars with twenty and thirty-year-olds. Since I have CHILDREN this age and don't date people this age, I keep thinking of myself hanging out in a bar with my boys and trying to pick up their friends. It's disgusting! I understand that it's a TV show and the old dudes came up with the concept, so they get to be in on the "fun." But it's just not so enjoyable to me to watch lecherous old dudes hitting on young women. I was a young woman once, and I remember those creeps.

On that note, Ashley, honey. Why do you allow a man to disrespect you so badly? Your ancient boyfriend stands behind you at a party and frames your bum with his hands to his friends and tells them, "I like a tiny hiney." It is VOMIT inducing. Didn't your daddy tell you how precious and beautiful you are? You're better than this. No woman should be treated like that, but in these times of the #MeToo movement, even more so.


When I was 24, I began dating my husband. He looked really young for his age, but when he told me he was 33, I was like, "HE'S SOOOOO OLD!" I can't even imagine what someone in their 50's would feel like to a woman that age. I shudder at the thought. When Thomas talks about the moon landing, that event would probably be before Ashley's parents even met and married. Does she know we landed on the moon?

My kids were raised on a steady diet of '80's trivia and classic rock from the 70's, so I'd like to think they're more well-rounded than the average 20-year olds -- but still, what does a person in their 50's have in common with someone in their 20's? Besides the obvious, I mean.

And what about Thomas Ravenel giving dating advice to JD? Dude, he's not divorced yet and he's the father of four young kids. He's not exactly prime dating material BECAUSE HE IS STILL ACTUALLY MARRIED. The way Thomas just thinks JD needs to go to the gym and leave behind the life he created with Liz is weird. Most men take care of their families. Even if they leave them. Unlike Thomas, who pays for Ashley's apartment after a week of knowing her, but lets the mother of his two kids walk around with a busted iPhone. That says a lot about character. Even if Kathryn was an egg donor and surrogate, she would have fared better than falling in love with Thomas and having his children. Think about that. It's like what, $30k an egg now?

Last night just left me grossed out. Why is Bravo allowing this gold ol' boys mentality on their supposedly forward-thinking network?

Well, maybe it's just a have/have-not way of thinking. I mean, poor Michael had to massage Cameron's feet last night. I did love this video with her explaining that she felt no pain or remorse. LOL




Kristin, Domestic Goddess

My grandmother was truly a domestic goddess. She cooked. She baked. She sewed. And to her credit, she tried to teach me, her only granddaughter to do all of these things. I am without excuse. I learned, but I never took to it. I cook like an Italian, throwing everything in and taste-testing. She measured things -- this is why I can't bake to save my life.

So my daughter bought a prom dress that I adore, but it had this sheath of lace that allowed for cleavage. Um, I'm against cleavage, especially on a teenage girl, so this meant, I had to sew. Let me be clear, I took it to the seamstress first, but she said I had to pick out the fabric and bring it back to them. Seriously? If I have to do all that, I will sew it myself.

So I went to the fabric store and waited in line with all the crafty people. Then, I took out the trusty sewing box that my grandmother bought me as a child.

IMG_2205

And I sewed a little piece of flesh-colored fabric behind the flesh-colored lace. Voila! We had a dress ready for primetime at the Christian Senior Prom. However, this is my daughter, so that wasn't good enough. The waistline is itchy. "Can you sew in something to make it not itchy?"

Can I? We shall see. You know what I can do? I can write a book, paint and quote Austen. Why are we never appreciated for what we CAN do as parents? I'll grant you, those are pretty useless skills as a parent, but I think there is ONE meal that all my kids will eat anyway -- roast chicken or Thanksgiving dinner. Everything else, they complain about. One likes this, the other likes that. Cooking for six picky people for two decades will put anyone off cooking.

My dad is taking a cooking class in Italy. You know what I love about my dad? He didn't even ask me to join them. He knows. Cooking is not fun for me. Eating, that's another story. Anyway, today I'm making a satin sash to go inside my daughter's dress so she doesn't itch. Normal moms probably wouldn't need to brag on this. But I do, because I am fulfilling my grandmother's dream for me. Perhaps one day, I'll pull out the unused cookie gun she bought me for my 40th birthday and really prove my worth. Anything can happen.


IMG_2082


One of these things just doesn't belong here...

Remember that old "Sesame Street" song? My friend sent me this today. I guess my book (The Theory of Happily Ever After) is out early in some Christian stores. Anyway, I do love how all the OTHER covers are serious and elegant. And there's mine -- cartoons and 80's neon colors. If that doesn't describe me to a "T" and how I fit in, well, I don't know what does.


31184667_10213908882850006_4611430266009812992_n

#TheTheoryOfHappilyEverAfter