Friday, December 31, 2010

GG's New Year's Eve

That's right - the party girl is asleep. Happy New Year to our friends around the world! You can leave a message for Giulia's editor here, if you like. xoxo

Faces of January 12

Some very much unfinished 2010 business. It's days before the first anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. Things are really bad. Everyone can do something. If you can do a little more, there are Haitian artists ready to sell you some fabulous paintings & drawings. (photograph of Patricia Brintle charcoal Faces of January 12 - #2 via MedaliaArt. More Haitian art for sale, here.)

ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

Running Out

The year is ending (& the new one has started in Australia & New Zealand, hi guys!). Giulia's editor must run out to the market (among other places). Back tonight, EST. You can read about & watch video of 2011's arrival in the Antipodes, here. (photograph via here) Cheers!

ciao-rush-meow/GG Holiday Central

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Party Like It's 1959

What if some of the most famous online services were launched in 1959? You would have "Everything Ages Fast" Faux Vintage Ads. From Apartment Therapy Unplggd via Teya Rutherford's Little Chuckles on Pinterest). Back to supervising Giulia--she wants to tweet...not sure if this is a good idea. Back tomorrow for New Year's Eve. xo

ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

Meatless Monday 2011 - Hop On!

We know it's not Monday but making New Year's resolutions is happening now. If you haven't done so before, consider hopping onto the Meatless Monday bandwagon. If that makes you nervous, check out the Meatless Monday website & commit to a few weeks, see how it goes. Though Mark Bittman is not a vegetarian, he is at the forefront of the less-meat movement; here are some of his most popular recipes, many are veggie. Also Liberty London Girl has many wonderful vegetarian recipes & tips on scraping the bottom of the pantry/vegetable bin (with panache).

ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

(photograph by Carl Monus)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Byrne on Burton

Studiously ignoring the baking of cookies, the cleaning of the apartment, the taming of a certain feline (a lost cause). More fun to read things like Gabriel Byrne's review of Furious Love & his remembrance of Richard Burton on the Irish Times website. GG's editor feels the need for a full-length hooded cloak--now. (Last summer bricolage post on Richard & Elizabeth)

(photograph is via The Burtons tumblr. There's an amusing entry about the meeting of a bellhop & Burton, here.)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Write a Letter

Don't you love getting letters through the mail? It is one of the most personal and meaningful means of communication. Revive the art of letter writing—write a letter to a friend! Begin by creating your own personal stationery, here at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum's site. (The Activity Zone has many other fun ideas, too.) Do we have to remind you that, ahem, you probably owe some thank-you cards? (photograph by the ghost factory on flickr via The Benevolent Postcard Society)

Happy Third Day of Christmas!

ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Almonds

So you're stuck in the house because of the blizzards? You might have ingredients on hand for this super fast, easy snack. If you don't usually make this sort of thing, reconsider. Bulk nuts are best so that they're fresh & you don't have to spend a fortune. (This works well with less expensive raw peanuts, too. The whole point is the sweet/spice.) We made these by the bucket last year on a whim. Big hit & they make a good gift--you haven't seen everyone on your list yet, right? Especially in this weather. Oof. (Photograph of Hannah Berman's kitchen via Design*Sponge. We may paint ours similarly in the spring.)

Sweet & Spicy Almonds
(via Martha Stewart)

2 1/2 cups unblanched almonds (or raw peanuts)
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook honey and water with olive oil, stirring, until combined, 1 minute. Add almonds; toss to coat.

3. Transfer nuts to sugar mixture (do not scrape extra glaze into bowl); toss to coat. Cool in a single layer.

Bon appétit!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Very best Christmas wishes to all our friends around the world!

ciao-merry-meow/GG & her editor

(image via Vintage Holiday Crafts)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Official Santa Tracker

It's sort of cheating but if you need to get your children (or cat & dog) to bed...see NORAD's Official Santa Tracker. Threaten no Santa if they remain sleepless, then pour yourself a beverage & watch It's A Wonderful Life (on in the States on NBC at 8pm or if you're near us, it's at AFI Silver Theatre at 9:00pm & way worth it on the large screen).

As Giulia's editor types this, Santa is in
Tarrafal, Cape Verde & his next stop:
Grytviken, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

GG's Beau Sapin

Giulia is very busy inspecting the tree, rearranging ornaments, generally causing no end of trouble. Why should today be any different than the other 364 days a year? Back later tonight. Cheers to Australians who are already celebrating Christmas. Merry Christmas, Julie & Simon & Wee Birdy!

merry-ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Italian Holiday Notebook

Have you visited Italian Notebook yet? It's written by an amusing bunch of expats in Italy. These photographs are by GB (in Rome). The modern LED fairy lights are rather a clash of modernity & the ancient but Rome is trying to find a way. Here is a message from Caesar Santa Claus (!) via the website.


Shoot Your Sandwich

You're sitting around eating anyway. (Yes you are.) Play food stylist, snap your sandwich, & upload it to Why ever not? You might win & be in the April 2011 issue. (photographs via

ciao-slurp-excusez-moi-meow/GG's Lunch Lady

PS: Remember Toys For Tots & the IKEA Soft Toy Campaign!

What is The Giving Effect ?

A national movement getting food, gently-used items & more to people in need. From people like you! Donate your things. Change lives.

Genius idea. We bet you have stuff you can give in your local area.

ciao-merry-meow/GG Central

Anthropologie photograph via Rebecca Schley via Pinterest)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Faux Bo

Bo, the Obama family dog, sits by a larger-than-life holiday decoration of himself in the East Garden Room of the White House. Some 80 volunteers helped create the 4 foot statue, which is made of 40,000 pipe cleaners. (40,000!)

If you want to keep some people busy with pipe cleaner creatures, see here. More things are done with pipe cleaners than ever -- apparently. GG wants a tiara. Of course she does.
(photograph courtesy White House flickr stream)

ciao-woof-meow/GG Central

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Funny Christmas Cookies

"I'm melting....ahhhhh." Here's an amusing idea if you happen to have some sugar cookie dough around (if not, it takes 5-7 minutes to whip some up--that's a scientific fact, by the way.). This is Meaghan Mountford's Decorated Cookie blog version. (Found via the Best of Pinterest & Crazy Domestic blogs. Thanks!)

ciao-cheeky-meow/GG's Holiday Kitchen

Monday, December 20, 2010

Moony Monday

Are you staying up to see the total lunar eclipse tonight? We are told that the moon will be a beautiful coppery-red, just like GG. Here is NASA's link to all things lunar. Cheers. (photograph via Popular Science(dot)com)

ciao-meow/the Mgmt.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sparkly Sunday Night with GG

Regular visitors here know that Giulia rarely makes an appearance. She's rather demanding when it comes to grooming (in addition to suggested remuneration fees--which we are ignoring, thank you). Here is a rare moment of calm between fairy lights & GG. She alternates between suspicions that fairy lights suddenly coalesce into a monster to yum, these sparkly lights must be tasty. Otherwise, why would her editor shriek the moment a snaggletooth makes contact with a light tip? Oof.

Here's a new Simon's Cat video, Santa Claws. Even if you don't have a cat, it's funny. Have a good Sunday evening!

ciao-sparkle-meow/GG Holiday Central

Saturday, December 18, 2010

'Twas the Saturday Before Christmas

...& you're going to IKEA. (Yes, you are. Admit it.) Why don't you pick up at least one soft toy & help UNICEF & Save the Children? Please remember the Soft Toy Aid campaign. The need is great, the prices on the IKEA soft toys is very low. (Their cuteness is indisputable, just like Giulia's.) As we've suggested before, even if you don't need any little-person toys this year, Toys for Tots (& gift collection campaigns in other countries) is in great need. (image via


Friday, December 17, 2010

Free Holiday Ornaments & Gift Wrap - Bird Edition

The generous Top Bird at Wee Birdy has a gift for you, here. Have fun catching up with her move from London to Sydney. We're so glad that she's back online. On the theme of birds (get down, cat!), this pretty & free download is from talented Lisa Rupp at That's Happy. These birds (shown above) could be ornaments or more gift tags. (Here is Lisa's Etsy shop.)

We hope to pick up the posting pace but Giulia is eager (anxious, really) for the Christmas tree to be decorated. How can she dismantle the tree if it's not up first? Right.

ciao-meow/GG's Holiday Coordinator

PS: The Clever Pup has a tasty
Sugar & Spice cookie recipe today. Yum.

(photographs via That's Happy)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Photos for a Cause - Collectdotgive

A gift from the online art gallery Collect.give includes more than just a pretty picture—sales of each of the affordable limited edition prints benefit a charity of the artist’s choice. Contemporary photographers from across the country sell 10 to 40 prints of one of their images and 100 percent of the profit goes to a charitable organization—including Doctors Without Borders, the UN World Food Programme, and World Hunger Relief. Since its inception in December 2009, the site has raised over $19,000. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! (by Elizabeth Stamp, Elle Decor)

Very clever idea via
Elle Decor.

(photograph by
instax via audrey hepburn complex)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Lights

A little overnight prettiness from us to you (via
Vintage Rose Garden via Pinterest). And a song & near the end, fireworks over London. Cheers!

Make A Snow Globe (Yes, Really)

We have everything we need but the glycerin. It's $US3-4 at the within-walking distance hardware store. When the howling winds abate (oh please), Giulia's editor will pick some up along with important items (GG's cat food). What else do you need? A jar, glitter, distilled water (don't you iron?! No we don't either, so it's on the list), glue. You can even make teeny ones from baby food jars. How difficult can this be anyway? We'll let you know soon. (photographs & instructions via Martha Stewart)

ciao-glittery-meow/GG's toy maker

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Strasbourg Christmas Scenes

For some free Christmas cheer, some Strasbourg scenes. Visit the Noël à Strasbourg website (it has English & German language options). This year there's even a little streaming Christmas market-cam. If you're feeling a bit low, this will cheer you up. Don't worry about the countdown & how many days are left until Christmas. GG's editor figures getting the tree up, doing a little dusting is most important. (Giulia helps with this by sliding across the wooden floor. It really works.)

There are 12 days of Christmas, so don't worry about getting everything (whatever that means) done for one day. It seems silly. Breathe!

ciao-om-meow/GG Holiday Central

(photographs via Noël à Strasbourg & the Alsace Tourist Board)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snowflake Curtain

Bugs and Fishes now-classic snowflake curtain is very pretty & we will be trying it out here next week, GG behavior permitting. (Ahem.) Photographs to follow. See a whole list of Christmas craft tutorials here. (photograph via Bugs and Fishes)


Friday, December 10, 2010

Made4Aid Monday on Friday - Chic Scarves

The days are going quickly. To wait for a few days means you might miss out on an excellent purchase for the holidays. Hence Friday-for-Monday.

Made4Aid's Etsy shop has lovely handmade/hand-loomed cashmere, wool/silk, & wool scarves for winter. The very reasonable price (from $USD 18-30) includes shipping anywhere in the world. They are long, soft, & can be wrapped in the French manner, but of course. GG's editor bought one last year for a friend's winter birthday & it was a big hit. Of course, there are other items at Made4Aid, too, & you really should check it out. (photograph by the fab Garance Doré)

ciao-chic-meow/GG's gift coordinator

Write for Rights - Amnesty International

Two days remain in Amnesty International's Annual Write-a-thon. If you are in the States, click here. If outside, click here to find your country section. The text below is from the resources page; you will find everything you need to know.

"Thank you for joining Write for Rights, the world's largest letter-writing event. You are part of a global initiative that will generate a massive outpouring of letters and cards to protect the human rights of people at risk. We are happy to provide you with these materials to ensure your participation in Write for Rights is a success."

ciao-meow/GG Central

(photograph by Alexandra Grablewski)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony

Tomorrow is International Human Rights Day. It is also the day of the Nobel Peace Price ceremony to honor courageous Liu Xiaobo. Sadly, he will not be there to accept his prize; contact with his wife has gone silent. Visit the Nobel website to leave a message for Liu Xiaobo & to watch the ceremony live. Visit the PEN American Center to learn more about helping Liu. (photograph of Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia courtesy of Nobelprize(dot)org. Photo taken in Beijing, China, 2008)

Le Chocolat Chaud

If you can't make it to Angelina in Paris for some chocolat chaud, you might like David Lebovitz's Parisian Hot Chocolate. (He does live there, after all.) Also check out Alison Highberger's article with a classic recipe--she even makes marshmallows. And for a recent first-person, highly delicious account of a day eating only sweets in Paris (including a trip to Angelina), visit The Clever Pup's Paris Notebook. (You won't gain an ounce.)

Today is a busy one here. Christmas decorating. Whether it is completed by this evening depends on how long it takes to untangle Giulia from the fairy light monster. We're pretty sure that National Christmas Tree decorating elves don't have to put up with this nonsense. (The annual lighting is tonight & while all tickets are gone by now, you can watch on television or online. Three syllables: B.B. King!)

ciao-meow/GG Holiday Central

(image via Tamra Irons on Pinterest)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Toys for Tots

Please remember the Marine Toys for Tots Campaign when you are shopping or making your gifts this year. Click here to find a toy drop-off near you. You can also donate online, here. If you know someone in need of toys, please see here.

Isn't this the cutest poster? It's the original design. We're feeling retro this evening.


Ms. Smith Goes to Washington

Patti Smith will be reading from her award-winning book Just Kids at the National Portrait Gallery this Saturday, 11 December 2010 at 2pm. She is so much fun to meet--you should go if you possibly can. It will be very crowded, guaranteed. But hanging out early at the Portrait Gallery is no punishment! (There are nearby cafés for some good hot chocolate.) Sadly, Giulia's editor has an ironclad obligation at the very same time (mimph).

Here's Patti's website to sign up for announcements.

ciao-meow/GG Central

Monday, December 6, 2010

Made4Aid Monday - Street Art Photography

These wonderful photographs would make a great gift for anyone (including you). Three art prints, original street art photography from Brick Lane in East London, UK - ready for framing. The photographs are printed in high resolution on archival quality matte fine art paper, 5 inches (126.5mm) square, and can be provided with or without an additional white border depending on your needs for framing. You can make your own choice of street art photos to be printed as a set from the collection here.

Almost any of these photos could be ordered as a custom set - or, as a set of blank greeting cards. Message us if you'd like to order a set or have a query.
The price of this item includes shipping worldwide.
Please visit the Made4Aid Etsy shop for more items. Made4Aid items are sold to support the work of Médicin sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders. (image courtesy of Made4Aid)

If you are not in the buying mood, please pass this along &/or favorite the shop on Etsy. Thanks!

ciao-cheeky-meow/GG Central

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Shopping - Back Where You Belong

GG's editor received this beautiful brooch from super-generous artist Tina Tarnoff in early summer. We'd hoped to have a camera by now to show how great it looks on Giulia's organic cotton collar. (Kidding. Her editor wore it all summer to hold together the top of two linen tunics. Currently the pin takes turns on two winter jackets.)

Tina is busier by the minute with holiday orders & so we can't wait for a camera. If you would like this lovely pendant on bow pin (based on an antique pin watch), you still have a chance to order it. Remember that Tina has stunning large paper-cuts, lots more elegant & romantic jewelry (see her Marie Antoinette necklaces & chokers), & 18 sets of cards based on her original paper-cuts.

Make sure you check out Tina's always-inspiring blog, Thought Patterns & also her novelist husband Terry Tarnoff's site. Here's a recent English Muse Polaroid Profile: Artist Tina Tarnoff in San Francisco.

We're off to a cookie bake today; we hope you have nice plans. Giulia is only interested in listening to Christmas music so she will stay home. (image via Thought Patterns/Tina Tarnoff/all rights reserved)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ice Skating Lessons from the English Ballet - Week's End

A little overnight distraction from the crazy world. James Streeter of the English Ballet (formerly a speed skater) gives an excellent how-to basic lesson at London's Somerset House. Then a chic video statement by Tiffany (sponsors of the ice rink). Have a great evening & tomorrow morning (in Australia)! Giulia still has her little feline heart set on a spin around the rink at the Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. (image of Mainzer cats from personal collection/website here)


Thursday, December 2, 2010

War Is Over! (If You Want It) - Free Downloads

Download copies (five different sizes) of the original poster by John Lennon & Yoko Ono at Imagine Peace. There are 100 versions in languages other than English. We bet your family & friends would love to have one (they don't know it yet, that's all). As a bonus, Happy Xmas plays in the background. Pretty nice deal, eh? (images via Imagine Peace)

ciao-peace-meow/GG Holiday Central

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12 Days, 12 Ways to Feed - FEED Projects

FEED Projects is one of GG Central's very favorite organizations. Check in to see how you can help. GG still loves a good drag around the floor in our Feed Project Bag. We hope this year to adopt a bear. How about you? (GG collage/FEED Project website images)

Happy first day of December!

ciao-meow/GG's personal shopper