I also write for / Scriu si pentru

I also write for / Scriu si pentru

Revista Tango Romania

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Christopher Bates: Introducing the Ultimate Weekender Bag

Canadian menswear designer Christopher Bates has launched a series of limited edition, hand-made weekender bags inspired by the heritage and design of classic sports cars. The bag is designed in Canada and handmade in a small, highly specialized factory in Northern Italy. The initial run of 100 bags has some very special characteristics.
Each bag features an embossed production number 001 to 100 as each edition will be limited.
Military grade RFID fabric lines the outside pocket for an added level of security, while two-tone deviated stitching inspired by sports car steering wheels adorns the leather handles.
With this edition, the custom tartan exterior fabric is the designer's nod to the classic interiors from the ‘80’s from a special car maker.
Characteristics of the Weekender bag by Christopher Bates: 
-Proudly handmade in Italy; 
-Limited edition, each bag is numbered from 001-100; 
-Shell is made from a durable, water-repellant cotton blend (68% cotton, 32% polyamide); 
-Genuine leather trim; 
-Fully lined with water-repellant jacquard (90% polyamide, 10% polyurethane); 
-Internal zip pocket and straps; 
-Gunmetal feet and hardware; 
-Shoulder strap, luggage tag and protective bag included; 
-The Weekender bag is now available at ChristopherBates.com

Photo credit: Courtesy of Christopher Bates.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

“Un Amico Italiano” by Luca Spaghetti – A Book Review

I read the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert in 2010. Prior reading the book, I remember seeing it on displays in my favorite Indigo bookstore in Toronto every time I went book shopping. The hype at the time was all about Eat, Pray, Love, I was seeing this book and hearing about it everywhere on blogs and social media, but for some reason I delayed getting a copy of it for months. Then in August 2010 I found out there would be a movie based on the book, starring Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert, and I saw the trailer of the new movie. This is when I finally got curious enough about the book, so I bought a copy and read it. 

I loved the book, and next I was looking forward to watching the movie. When the movie was in theaters, I was on maternity leave, my son Alex was a few months old, and I didn’t get the chance to go to the theater to see it. While everyone else was already enjoying the movie on the big screen, I was just reading the book, the late reader that I was. Finally, toward the end of 2010, the movie was released on DVD/Blue Ray, and I got it in Blue-Ray format as a birthday gift in December that year, and this is when I finally watched it. 

I loved the movie just as much as I loved the book, while Julia Roberts is one of my favorite actresses. I have always been charmed by her big ear to ear smile, ever since the days of Pretty Woman, and we get to see her signature smile in this movie as well. I loved the scene when she meets David for the first time when we see her big gorgeous smile. 

Then in April 2011 Elizabeth Gilbert came to Toronto for a speaking event, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet her. I attended the evening with Elizabeth Gilbert that took place at Roy Thomson Hall downtown Toronto. It was a beautiful evening – she talked about some of her life experiences, her books, her writing, her relationship with Felipe whom she had met in Indonesia during her one-year long trip around the world that she wrote about in Eat, Pray, Love. I enjoyed every single minute of that event. The book Committed was also available to purchase at the event, guests could buy a copy of the book signed by the author. Without hesitating, I bought a copy of Committed before leaving there that night. You may remember Committed – it’s another memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, released in 2010, and it is a sequel to Eat, Pray, Love, in which Elizabeth writes about her relationship with Felipe and the institution of marriage. 

A few month later while book shopping at my favorite Indigo bookstore downtown Toronto, I saw this book on the shelves – Un Amico Italiano ~ Eat, Pray, Love in Rome by Luca Spaghetti.

Photo credit: Amazon

The name of the author was unfamiliar to me at the time, but the title of the book definitely rang some bells. I took the book from the shelf, I browsed it a bit, read the back cover to figure out what the book was about, and decided that I would like to read it. In a way, Un Amico Italiano was another version of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, because it described the events that happened in Rome when Elizabeth Gilbert was there on her trip to Italy, and the story is now told from Elizabeth’s friend’s perspective, while he was showing her around his beloved city of Rome. I bought the book with the intention to read it in the near future. 

I came home with the new book in my purse that day, and I put in on the shelf, thinking that I would read it soon. But weeks passed, and I didn’t get to it, and then I all forgot about it. And then another number of years passed, the book got stuck in the back of the shelf in my home library, and it never saw the light of the day again, until this year. 

Fast forward to 2020 – Corona times. I have worked entirely from home during the pandemic, and just like many other people around me, I stayed home, reduced any social activities to zero, spent no more time in traffic, and suddenly I had much more time on my hands to spend for myself and with my family. And like many other people, I turned to books during this pandemic to catch up with my reading. I read more than 20 books in the last 6 months since the pandemic started and I can’t get enough of my reading. Everybody tried to make the most of this time when we had to stay home, and everybody turned to their hobbies, myself included – reading, writing, journaling, watching TV, crafting, painting, gardening, you name it. Reading has been one of my hobbies that I spent my time with during the pandemic. Lots and lots of good books. Shopping for new books has been another pleasure of mine that I indulged in since businesses started reopening and I could go to bookstores again. 

While on the waves on my recent reading enthusiasm, I reorganized my personal library which had gotten into an unkept state, too unkept for my taste. My usual home library organization is in alphabetical order, per authors; but lately my books were all over the place and they had lost their pristine order that I used to have for them before. One afternoon a couple of weeks ago I spent some time with my beloved books and reorganized them, but this time in two alphabetical orders – the read books and the unread ones. My shelves are wide enough to accommodate two rows of paperback and hardcover books, or three rows of pocketbooks. So my first alphabetical order, the order of books that I have read, found their new spot in the back rows of my library, while the books that I am yet to read are now organized in the front rows of my shelf. This exercise put my books into a new perspective and suddenly I had all of them in front of me, in the front rows of my bookshelf, and I could see all of them, all of my unread books. This also gave me a great opportunity to count how many books in my personal library I am yet to read, and it’s about 100 of them. The total number of the books that I own should be around 400 (I didn’t count the exact number of all my books though). For a while I thought that the number of books in my personal library that I have already read, versus those that I am yet to read, are about 50%-50%. But once I reorganized my library and I counted them, turns out it’s about 75%-25%, which is great, right? Suddenly I felt less guilty for owning so many books that I am yet to read. 

Now that I had all of my unread books in front of me, I got even more excited about the books that I would like to read next, but I also realized that there were so many books in my library that I had completely forgotten about, and that’s because all these years they stayed in the back of my bookshelf and I haven’t touched them ever since I bought them and placed them there according to their alphabetical order. Out of my sight – out of my mind, this is what happened to many of my books. But now things are about to change, and now I’m really excited to read my forgotten and newly found friends – because my books are my friends and I love them just as much as I love my friends. 

One of the books that stayed in the back of my shelf and I had completely forgotten about its existence in my personal library is Un Amico Italiano by Luca Spaghetti. And now that I rediscovered it, I read it this summer; it was a great read and I loved it. While reading about Luca and Elizabeth’s exploits in Rome back in 2003 when Elizabeth made her notorious trip around the world, I couldn’t help but think about her book Eat, Pray, Love that I had read back in 2010. And because it’s been such a long time since I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, I had forgotten that Luca Spaghetti was one of the characters in her book. I had the physical proof in my hands alright, but I didn’t quite make the fully cognitive connection between the book by Luca Spaghetti that I was reading now and the book by Elizabeth Gilbert that I read 10 years ago. So in order to refresh my memory, I pulled out Eat, Pray, Love from my library (which was now in the back row of my shelf, the “read” row), and started browsing it – and yep, there he was, Luca Spaghetti, in Part One about Italy. And then I pulled out Committed, another favorite of mine from Elizabeth Gilbert, to browse it a bit and to bring back some beautiful memories – reading the two books all those years ago, watching the movie, going to that event and meeting Elizabeth Gilbert in Toronto in 2011, writing about all these experiences way back when. Reading Luca Spaghetti’s book almost made me want to reread Elizabeth Gilbert’s two books, Eat, Pray, Love and Committed, and I still have them on my desk as I write this, and maybe I will reread them soon! Shortly after I read Un Amico Italiano I looked up Luca Spaghetti on social media and I connected with him on Facebook and Instagram, we had a nice message exchange about his book. I also started following Elizabeth Gilbert on social media – I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! The two of them are close friends, and now with their books on my desk and my connecting with them on social media, it feels like I befriended them as well, even if only from great distance. 

I just spent the long weekend for Labour Day at my cottage, and I took the movie Eat, Pray, Love with me to watch it at the cottage – I loved seeing it again after all these years since I first watched it, and it was great to refresh my memory on this beautiful story. And I loved seeing Julia Roberts’ big smile again – she’s such a sweetheart, I love her! 

If you loved Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, you will definitely love Un Amico Italiano by Luca Spaghetti. It’s a beautiful book, a charming read, and I heartily recommend it. Now that I have learned more about Luca Spaghetti as an author, I also found out about his other book, Anything Is Possible, which I hope to be able to read soon.

Photo credit: Amazon