Dear blogger friends,
I'd like to invite you to participate in my first ever Dolce Vita linkup!
I was going to write a monthly favorites/recap post, and then I realized, it would be way more fun if others joined me too. Blogging is my hobby because I enjoy writing and recording memories, but most of all, I love blogging for the sense of community. I truly appreciate every comment on my blog or Instagram, and I love getting to know all of you through your blogs or comments as well.
The goal of this linkup is to create your own version of La Dolce Vita by responding at the end of each month to these seven simple prompts meant to encourage inspiration, reflection, and connection. This can also be a language learning exercise - I plan to eventually write this in Italian!
The following seven prompts are meant to make life a little sweeter by focusing on the good, and to make the months a lot more memorable. Over the years, photographs and journals have helped me keep memories alive that I otherwise would have forgotten. I want to look back on this year and taste the sweetness of life.
Seven simple prompts: Taste the sweet life
1. An epiphany (about life, love, language, or anything else)
I believe in my dreams.
I know, I know, this is not a novel concept, but the is the first time I really believe. You can know something intellectually, but sometimes it takes awhile to sink into your bones.
The thing is, I thought I believed in my dreams...but my actions did not reflect that belief. I have not honored the child within me that knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would be a novelist. In a lot of ways, children are smarter than adults because they are closer to their intuition. Over the years I started to believe society's doubts: "writers don't make much money" or "only 1% of people get published" (I actually read that gem in a book about getting published). Because of this, I always believed that I needed a "normal" job, and I would have to write on the side.
While there is nothing wrong with having a "normal" job, especially as an aspiring author, the problem was I didn't believe that I could just write for a living (which is what I ultimately want). Something in me finally clicked. I am a writer, I am a writer, I AM A WRITER. I can do this. I meant to do this.
Now, that doesn't mean I'm going to quit my day job right now. I means that I am going to make writing a priority and my main focus. I'll start editing my novel that I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2015 (yes, that's how long I've been putting this off!) and continue blogging regularly. I need a quiet space where I can just focus on writing.
And just as I was writing this (WHILE scrolling through Instagram ROFL) this beautiful message from Doreen Virtue popped up about the self-fulfilling rewards of faith, especially regarding a major career change: "You may be leaving a situation that is secure, but that is not meaningful or aligned with your beliefs. Trust that if you follow your heart and your beliefs, that you will be successful and supported."
2. Someone who inspired you
When YouTube suggested an Italy travel vlog about the "Dolce Vita," in Positano, I was super skeptical. Not another one of those people showing themselves off all over the world ... showing only the clichés of Italy...I thought. I clicked it anyway, and it was the opposite of what I had expected. Here was this bubbly, enthusiastic girl interviewing locals about how they defined the dolce vita and if they thought it still existed. It was so refreshing to see someone focusing on the heart and soul of a place - the people who live there.
Her name is Kylie Flavell, and she's an independent filmmaker. She doesn't just host her travel series, she films, edits, and produces her videos by herself (a mind boggling feat to me). The way the she presents herself is not to brag, but in such a way that inspires. She inspires me that I am capable of doing more than I think I am. She inspires me that there is so much goodness in the world.
Through Kylie's videos I have met people I never knew existed, like the nomads of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, or people who live high in the Andes mountains in Peru. Kylie has this amazing gift of connecting with people, and consequently, I feel connected to these people, too. The world feels less like it's full of strangers, and more like people I long to know.
Kylie's films were that catalyst that changed my beliefs about my dreams. My epiphany that I can make a living doing what I love was triggered by the way she has unrelentingly followed her dreams despite the challenges and the inspiring dreamers featured in her videos. In one particular episode called "What if...In Barcelona," this Spaniard talks his passion for art and not believing he could make a living from it. And then one day, he just decided to leave his job as a lawyer and become an artist. The older I get, the more my immortality sinks in. Why am I wasting a single day not doing what I love?
Not only are Kylie's films incredibly beautiful and inspirational, but she also lives in Italy and speaks Italian (she's from Australia originally)! Thank you Kylie for doing what you love, which in turn inspires and uplifts others. It's proof that doing what you love not only benefits yourself, but also the whole world.
3. An act of kindness (given or received)
Making the decision to get active on Instagram last September has completely changed my life. It has allowed me to find my "people," those who are also language learners, passionate about Italy & Italian cuisine, passionate creatives following their dreams, authentic genuine people. The kindness of these virtual friends is proof of the goodness of humanity. There are so many kind and wonderful people in this world.
I've shared my dreams & my struggles on Instagram, and I have received so many kind and encouraging comments that have just filled my heart with hope. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so grateful. Whether you realize it or not, your messages are a very appreciated act of kindness.
Another surprise came when I least expected it and when I needed a little pick me up the most - my very first Nonna Box (which you'll hear more about in a minute).
4. A good read (or movie, podcast, song, etc.)
I've started reading again as part of my evening routine, and I find that I fall asleep easier because it relaxes my mind. It's a cozy ritual that I look forward to, getting all snuggled up in bed with a good book.
Right now I'm reading Carissima by Rosana Chiofalo, a lighthearted read about an aspiring journalist who hopes to get her big break by interviewing a famous Italian movie star. When I finish it, I'll write a full review, but so far I am enjoying it!
There's one quote that I want to share now because it was exactly what I needed to hear. Pia, the main character has a love interest named Gregory who's an artist. Pia says that "she's not a journalist yet," and Gregory responds,
"In order to become what you want, you have to already think of yourself as being what you want to be...you need to start introducing yourself as a journalist or reporter or whatever it is you want to be" (page 120).
5. An unforgettable memory
I have fond memories of playing DOS games while waiting for my dad at school (he used to teach computers). Do any of you remember Commander Keen, Duke Nukem or Oregon Trail? I lived for those games as a kid.
Well, one night this month my brother brought home a card game version of Oregon Trail from Target. We all sat around the table and played for hours, a rare moment of togetherness to be cherished.
(Sidenote: If you're not familiar with the Oregon Trail game, the objective is to get your wagon party across the US and arrive in Oregon without dying of some god awful illness like dysentery. Sounds pretty morbid, now that I think about it. But growing up in Nevada, pioneer history was a big deal because they all crossed through here, and some didn't make it. We even have a lake and memorial named after the ill-fated Donner party in nearby Truckee, CA. It's both a tragic and fascinating story of pioneers chasing their California dreams.)
I was desperate to find my beloved DOS games, and look what I found: play DOS games online! Just search for your favorite game, and voila! I feel younger already.
6. Something delicious
I am fierce supporter of anyone and anything that honors Italian traditions, especially regarding family & food, so you can imagine I was over the moon to receive a complimentary Nonna Box from the region of Piedmont. I studied abroad in Torino, so this was especially meaningful to me.
If you haven't heard of Nonna Box yet, it's a gourmet culinary box that features artisan products from a different Italian region each month, along with stories and recipes from a nonna. I love this concept SO much because it allows me to bring a taste of Italy to my American kitchen and keep up the Italian tradition of family bonding over a delicious meal.
You can take a peek inside the Piedmont Nonna Box and get a delicious and easy recipe for porcini risotto on my cooking blog, Goldilocks & Bear. Fun fact: I tried to film a video of making the risotto, BUT rookie mistake...I forgot to charge my camera battery completely! So the risotto photos are actually from Alberto aka Bear in Italy. 🙂
7. Something you're looking forward to
Editing my novel. Finally! Update: I spent last month editing my novel, and I am not done yet! It surprised me, but my first draft is actually a Siamese twin! The beginning needs a different ending and the ending needs a different beginning...so back to outlining my plot I go! I feel like I need to hurry up and write because I have like 4 novels swimming in my head at the moment...but I am loving every minute of this process!
I would love to know how you lived la dolce vita this month! If you feel inspired to, answer any or all of these prompts in the comments or in a blog post of your own (make sure that you leave a link you your blog in the comments so we can go spread some love on your page).
Also, if you share your post on Instagram, be sure to use the tag #dolcevitabloggers so we can create a dolce vita community!