Category Archives: Italy

Meritalia coziness…

This afternoon as I was out and about on a potential labor inducing power stroll, I passed Meritalia’s showroom that was displaying an extensive collection of pieces I had seen previously exhibited more as prototypes in last spring’s furniture fair. While I usually prefer simple shapes and subdued colors, I am a total sucker for one or two more quirky pieces– particularly if they perfectly meld comfort with design. These 2 groups are so fresh, versatile and playful and I love the size options and soft edges. After visiting the website, and viewing the pieces myself I must say that they are even more cozy and nap-inviting in person:

La Michetta is a system of modular components coming in all sizes and colors, meant to be constantly changing and rearranged. Ultra soft and beautiful available in a neutral palette as well (not shown here):


Shadow chairs are unique in their construction to allow for constant flux and adaptation to the sitter. They are big and cozy without being sloppy and even come in a “mini-shadow” size for the piccolo design enthusiast:




Milano humor

I pass this little hair dressing outfit nearly everyday, and everyday it makes me smile.



Green laundry can get it white????


So, as I await the coming babe and look at all of his adorable bite-sized garments and precious, pudgy cloth diapers I try to prep myself for the day when these items become functional and in need of a good washing, instead of loitering an empty nursery like a well organized doll wardrobe. Well over a month ago, I made it my mission to hit the health food stores nearby to outfit my baby laundry routine with the most sensitive and eco-friendly products I could find.

I looked in 3 different stores and while I found a couple of brands boasting bio (organic) ingredients, or formulas for sensitive skin, I was disappointed not to find a single one that was unscented (the Italians– even the ones that shop at the health food store, from my experience are big on smelling good). I looked around for the usual brands I know from the US, and other places I have lived abroad ie, Seventh Generation and EcoVer and still nothing. I found dissinfecting dirty-diaper soak, but nothing just for the baby’s wash. Ultimately I resigned to take a huge thing of Bio Presto Sensitivo, which has a milder but still synthetic perfumy smell, little info on what makes it bio, and comes with a promise from an Italian university that it is delicate for even the most sensitive of skins.

I washed everything with the detergent, and then again with just water to remove some of the fragrance, but now as I am getting closer to actually putting these little items against my baby’s delicate skin I am feeling like there has got to be a better way. I don’t know how Italians do it, but I am not interested in putting everything through the wash twice so that baby doesn’t get a rash.

One of my favorite preparing for baby books (it is a beautiful book full of great tips and ideas and available at, Organic Baby by Kimberly Rider, has a brief section on laundry where she suggests using castille soap instead of regular detergent, combined with different amounts baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and essential oil drops to keep things soft, bright, and fresh . Has anyone tried this, or any other DIY baby laundering techniques?? I am going to scout out some castille soap and get started, but I would love to hear how others are keeping their green laundry white. And Italians, too… let me know how you do it!

Rant: No, this is not a teen pregnancy…


I have never understood it, but even before I was pregnant I frequently received comments here in Italy about “not looking my age”…insinuating that I looked like I was 18, not 28. But now that I have spent 7 months of looking 18 and pregnant (in a country where most people don’t even marry until 35) I have had the hilarious pleasure of offending every one of my neighbor’s bourgeois sensibilities. Now, not only is the 18 year-old shacking up with some man in the building (they can’t imagine that we could possibly be married) but she is very pregnant!! Let the gossip begin!

I have grown accustomed to the wide eyes and double takes as I walk down the street. When speaking to me, those unfamiliar to me often hesitate to ask me about the father (though I understand, of course that this complaint could easily go in the opposite direction). It’s ludicrous! The best part is when I am doing my pre-baby shopping by my lonesome (usually because my mature, successful husband is working). Despite being well dressed, groomed, and attractive, I have been on multiple occasions blatantly ignored at a baby store in favor of some frumpy, OLD (sorry to sound so bitter) mother to be, when I have clearly stated my intent to purchase something expensive. WTF???

Anyway, I guess this is just the product of living in such a mono-culture where the mold is strictly not meant to be broken. I am sure that my outsiderness leads me to be more sensitive to such behavior, but while there are certainly those who have showered me with compliments and wishes of good luck, I can’t help but feel annoyed by the others. I mean, come on…

Italy is certainly a country obsessed with the icon of motherhood, I am just learning that the icon only holds if she has gray hair. And it also appears that this cult of elderly momhood is upheld and promoted by the same old guard that keep their 35 yr old children living at home.

Oddly, a lot of men hit on me here– way more than I would expect anywhere as a huge, preggy babe . I think maybe I have touched on some psychological nerve here in Italia that will probably take more than 9 months to fully understand. For now though , I would like to state to all my neighbors that no, this is not a teen pregnancy.