Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 48 - My Favourite Viral Video Ever....Baby Monkey!

A friend of mine just wrote me and remind me of this video. I love it. It's so funny and the music is real genius.
So, I wanna share it with you guys!
Enjoy the Baby Monkey (Riding Backwards on a Pig)

Thanks Mister Winner for reminding me of this!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 47 - MD (MovieDay) Caramel

I already mentioned that I'm feeling quite mediterranean lately, and I've to say also quite close to middle east. Don't ask me why. I just feel inspired.
So, the movie of today is Caramel.
Why I liked it:

Lifestyle: the story is in Beirut and is about 4 girlfriends who meet/work in a beauty saloon. The beauty saloon is not western style at all and this is something I really liked. Something curious, I hadn't any idea that caramel was used instead of wax. I found it interesting.
Friendship: the movie is about the relationship and the daybyday life of these women. It's about both big choices in life or small everyday things. But, at the end of the day it's all about sharing and feeling part of something. And friendship is really important for the characters (like it is for me :).
Kindness: the movie is really kind and not extreme. Compared with western movies, it is really livable without excess. Sometimes it might remind you of "sex and the city", for the friendship among the characters, but in a much lighter and real life way.

I wouldn't call the movie a masterpiece, but it's surely a good movie for a easy going night.

Well, let me know what you think!

As usual, here's the trailer

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 46 - High heels for kids??!!!???

I was in the train station today and I saw 3 kids (probably 4 and 6 yo) wearing shoes with hills.

Yes, hills!

Since this is not the first time I see kids to wear heels, I started wondering why people would do this to their children. Do we really want kids to mock adults? Do we treat them as peers? Why do you do this to your kids?

From the Vips, we also see Suri Cruise wearing heels, she has also been appointed as one of the most influential female in fashion. Right....yeah...

Personally I find it extremely bad. Kids are kids and don't have to mock adults. They will have their adulthood to be adult.

What do you think? Have you seen also kids wearing heels?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 45 - FH (Food&Happiness): Cous Cous Stuffed Peppers & Vegetables

I feel really mediterranean lately. So, I wanna share with you a recipe with Cous Cous and mediterranean vegetables that I prepared yesterday with some good old friends of mine.

Ingredients for 4 people:
1 aubergine
2 courgettes
4 peppers (different colors, it's nicer :)
4 carrots
4 potatoes
250g cherry tomatoes
1 pack of precooked cous cous
Herbs: oregano, rosemary, chilli, capers
Olive oil
Optional: natural yogurt

Wash, peel & cut the vegetables in medium-small cubes, just save 4 half peppers. Put all the chopped vegetables together in a bowl and add a bit of olive oil, the herbs, the salt. Mix it all with a spoon.
On a pan, put some of this vegetables (3/4 spoons) to pan fry. After 10 minutes, add the cous cous and the hot water (follow the instructions in the packaging of the cous cous). Leave it dry.
Get the whole cous cous mix and stuff the peppers.
Put the vegetable in the bowl for the oven, on the top of them, put the stuffed peppers.
Cook them for 60 minutes at 180 degrees in the oven.
When serving, you can put also natural yogurt. It's really good!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 44 - What If....

Life is full of options and most of the time we've to decide what's the best option for us at a certain moment and situation.
Some people choose with rationality,others with the feeling or a mix of those. Some people don't choose at all.
Personally I never regretted taking strong decisions in life. For me it always paid off. So probably I'll keep doing it.
But, there's always a but. Do you ever look back and ask yourselves....What If.....?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 43 - Quotes Of The Day for The Gap Year

I love quotes. Especially Winston Churchill's ones. When I need inspiration I always look for his quotes.
Here are a few of them that I've been thinking of lately:

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
"I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else."
"Difficulties mastered are opportunities won."
"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."

Well, it looks to me that they are all linked and I totally believe they are right.
Being on My Gap Year I can say that optimism helps, together with attitude. Pessimism wouldn't help going anywhere outside the main road.
Taking time off for you and being able to be just You in the world needs quite a bit of courage and I guess deserves great results. The big thing is that you don't know what the results will be, but I'm sure they'll be a great surprise :)

Credits for the quotes goes to: www.brainyquote.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 42 - Where Is Home?

After being away from my hometown many years. I always have this question in mind, now more than ever: where is home?

Is it where you are now?
Is it your hometown, although you won't come back?
Is it you're next destination?

This question might come to the mind of anybody who changed cities. I've been living in 6 cities in 5 different countries and I can't find an answer. Can you?

Please share your experience :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 41 - F&H (Food&Happiness) Chocolate and Pears Cake

Not too many words have to be added to this recipe. Just Food & Happiness. Believe me :)
This cake reminds me of Milan, where they do it quite often and is delicious.
Don't miss it!
Credits for the recipes goes to this YouTube Channel: youtube.com/yellowsaffron

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 40 - MD (MovieDay) Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)

As I've already spoken about Ricardo Darin for Son of the Bride, I think that Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens) is a total must.
Here's why I'm reccomending it:

The plot: it's a thriller that includes thieves, cops, common people and it's really human. It keeps you asking yourself what's happening next and trying to understand the end. It does remind me another great movie like The Usual Suspects, but with a Latin American touch (and without special effects)
Buenos Aires: while watching the movie you totally feel you are in Buenos Aires. You can totally get the feeling of it and it's amazing.
The Italianity of the Porteños: you'll see how much Italian blood runs in the Argentinian people. Why? If you know a bit of how Italians are, you'll get why :)

Check the movie out and let me know what you think. I totally loved it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 39 - F&H (Food&Happiness): Chicken & Vegetable Cartoccio

An easy, healthy, tasty and recipe for you!
My Grandma was really happy with it (what a result!)

Ingredients for 4 people:
1 medium or 2 small chickens
2 small courgettes
10/15 cherry tomatoes
2/3 big potatoes
1 lemon
Any other Mediterranean spices you like :)

How to do it?
Wash, peal and cut all the vegetables in small/medium pieces and mix all of them with the herbs and some salt.
Wash the chicken, put some rosemary and salt in its belly. Put the chicken in a pan for a few minutes, when it gets some color, you can stop. While the chicken is in the pan, prepare a layer of foil and lay down all the vegetables. Then you'll put the chicken(s) on the top. Put some (I said some...do not exaggerate!) extra virgin olive oil and half a lemon on the top of it.
Close the foil carefully.
Put everything in the preheated oven at 230/240° for 1h.
Once you open the foil, see if it's ready. If not, leave it open, put it back in the oven with the grill on. Leave it there 5/10 minutes. It will add some crispy and color.

It will be DELICIOUS! :)
Enjoy it and tell me what you think of it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 38 - The Greatest Marriage Proposal Ever!!!! (not mine, no worries! :)

Working at YouTube for a while, makes me keep a close eye on videos :). Some of them are just amazing. What I like is that people use their own creativity to use the video for different purposes. Like this one. Would you ever think about proposing like the guy did?
It is really the greatest Marriage Proposal EVER!!!
Enjoy it and tell me what you think!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 37 - Do You Live in a Broadbrand Developed Country?

Thanks to a twitter account I'm following, I discovered that Google launched a cool tool: http://www.google.com/publicdata/home. There are many things I like of it. First of all the title: ​Data visualizations for a changing world.
The second one, is how I actually read the title in the first instance: "Data visualizations for changing the world". Probably I'm biased :). Anyway. Have a look at it.
The first data set I had a look at is broadband penetration rate overtime in Europe. If you click the play button you'll see it. It's cool. I've chosen 3 countries to stress in it: the best ranked, Italy and the worst ranked. Bulgaria is quite different from Italy and Denmark, so I won't discuss this. But, the difference between the 2 is huge and overtime keeps growing.
This is BAD!
Because Internet is a development engine. Business wise, service wise and could improve the quality of the life of the people. Of everyone everywhere. Governments that are not supporting it are basically shutting down huge opportunities of development for the countries and for all generations. And yes, it's said to see Italy so badly ranked and thatnot only is bad, but is getting worse. Unbelievable

What do you think? Do you like the tool?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 36 - Bovine Bingo? Play this Game!

Have you ever playied Bovine Bingo?
I just love it :)
Watch the video and keep playing! It's a YouTube interactive video :)

Did you like it?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 35 - Countryside Vs City

I see many people from the city saying they would love to have some decent and relaxed life in the countryside. I always wondered if they really meant it. I actually guessed they just meant they wanna go on holidays. I also found out this website with tips and tips for who this people, really funny.
On the other side, I see people from the countryside who says they would never ever live in the city. And they really mean it!

How do you see yourselves?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 34 - Women Leaders?

This is a never ending debate and discussion. The reality is that there are not enough woman leaders in the world. For sure not in Italy where I am from. While working in Ireland/Brazil/Argentina, I never thought of myself as a gender minority but as a professional, not even a young professional. Just a professional. That was a good feeling, just was I was doing was going to be judged, nothing else.
I guess that to keep getting a better working environment and opportunities both the society and the women have to evolve. Here's a great talk by Sheryl Sandberg. Worth it!

What do you think?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 33 - F&H (Food&Happiness): Focaccia Bread. How To Win Friends Forever

Do you wanna win friends? This is the recipe for you. It works (and it's proved!) :)
Focaccia Bread is easy and amazingly good. The only thing you relly need is time. Do it on a Saturday or Sunday, not in a hurry. It's great for occasions in which you're with many friends, not in a formal occasion. Think about inviting friends at home to watch a movie, play boardgames or poker. This is perfect and a sure success.
Also, note that you can personalize the basic recipe with what you want and like the most. I do focaccia with cherry tomatoes, olives, tomatoes & ricotta cheese, plain, with basil, with rosemary.

Credits to this recipe (which I always follow!) goes to GialloZafferano. Subscribe to theirEnglish , Spanish or Italian channel, it's highly recommended!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 32 - MD (MovieDay:) Son Of The Bride

Do you know Ricardo Darin? If you don't, I think it's good. Because it means there's something good you're gonna discover.
I discovered the Argentinian movies of Ricardo Darin while watching "Nine Queens" which I totally loved, then I started watching all of his movies. Outside Argentina you can find them. Not that easy, but still you can find some. I haven't watched all of them yet, but I keep an eye on him :).
Well, let's get back on the topic. The movie Son of the Bride. I totally recomend it!

- Ricardo Darin: alone he could do a movie. He's really a good actor. It's like with Toni Servillo, himself alone makes the movie.
- Questions about life: that's what the son of the bride does. Sometimes we need life to wake us up and asking ourselves what is really worth it and where we are in life.
- Growing up: it is showing what growing up means. Either you want it or not.
- Love: in a really nice and light way it's a movie about love in life. All the kind of love we do feel.

Let me know your feedback on it!

Here comes the trailer (ENG subtitles)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 31 - First Month of My Gap Year is Gone! First Impression

Yes, it has been already one month since I started my Gap Year and this adventure of the Gap Year Blog. So, I think it's good to look back and write down some first impressions and thoughts.

1. Relax: I finally started to relax. It does take a lot of time until we do start relaxing properly. Think about your holidays. You start feeling better when it's time to go back to work. And yes, after 2/3 weeks I had the same feeling. But the good news was that I still have time in front of me, so I won't stop the cycle of relaxation :)
2. Work: I do not miss work at all. For a kinda workaholic, this is a great result. Really. I thought I was going to miss it somehow. I don't. Nothing at all. I liked what I did before, the job, the place, the people. But now, I just feel good in what I am and what I'm doing. I guess that's the result of a lot of thinking behind it.
3. Thinking: I did a lot of thinking. That's really good and interesting. I kept reading a lot, questioning myself, started learning a lot of things about Internet that I didn't know. Basically my curiosity is leading me and not the other way around :)
4. What's next: I'm still not asking myself this question. it's too early heeh

Well, happy to see what you felt if you did the Gap Year too...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 30 - TT (TravelTips): Redentore Feast in Venice (July)

You wanna feel a real venetian? without tourists around? Well, the Redentore is the festivity you're looking for. It's every year on the third weekend of July. Even if you ask to most Italians, they don't know it. So, it's truly for real venetian and people living in that region.
In this weekend, get ready to drink like hell, because they are masters in this :). Don't miss to go to the "Giudecca" the former popular island in front of Venice. People put tables all around the walkspaths and have dinner there. People are extremely friendly and will offer you wine. In the canal in front of the Giudecca, you'll see so many boats that won't make you see the water. They also do incredible fireworks that will really surprise you!
More infos in here (in English): http://www.veniceconnected.com/node/1597

When: 3rd weekend of July
Where: Venice, mainly in the Giudecca
Why: for the feeling, the real people, the wine, the fireworks.
Who: eveyone! Young & old, and babies (but don't make the babies drink :)

Totally reccomended. Let me know if you've experienced it and your feedback.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 29 - Kicking off Food&Happiness Column: Risotto with Saffron

Today I'm kicking off a new weekly column: Food&Happiness
It's obviously about food and it will include recipes from all around the world.
This time, I'll start with an Italian recipe that truly represents me: Risotto with Saffron.
Why it represents me? Because I grew up in risottoland and because this recipe is from Milan where I lived 8 years. So it's just me :)
Well, here it is. Special thanks to GialloZafferano channel on YouTube (in English!). Subscribe their channel, it's great!

Let me know what you think as soon as you try it out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 28 - Is Time Shrinkable & Expandable?

This questions always kept coming back to my mind. It did, everytime I change my routine (if I ever had a proper one :).
Time is supposed to be fixed, objective, not changing. But, there's a but, in these days that I'm taking it easy, I feel like time is changing its weight. I look back and I see myself multitasking among various projects, meetings, work travels, trips for leisure, movies, calls, social life and so on.
Now, for this first month, my first objective is to rest and take back some good energy and vibes. While taking it easy, I realized how the concept of time differs so much from its own objective run time. Time doesn't change, but we do change our view on it.
It seemed to me that time is expandable (meaning we can do more things in a certain timeframe) or shrinkable (if we're more relaxed). Weird.
What do you think?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 27 - Is it True that after the 2nd foreign language they become easier?

I've always heard this rumour, but I'm really wondering if this is true.
Is it easier to learn a language after you already learnt 2 others?
I'm going to approach my 4th one now, but 2 of them where Latin languages, so they are easier for me, and the other one is English. But I've been living 5 years in an English speaking country.
So, what's your experience here?
And...will I ever learn German? Would you bet on it? :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 26 - TT (TravelTips): Santo Antonio Lisboa - for true party & real popular tradition lovers

Today I'm kicking off the weekly TT - Travel Tips column.
Unmissable corners of the world that give you great feelings and that you'll love. 100% guaranteed!
I'll start with something I really love and I hope to get back soon to it (maybe really soon :).
Santo Antonio's party in Lisbon (Portugal)
Where: Lisbon, Alfama district
When: night between 12/13th June for the big party, but the whole June for the atmosphere and smaller parties
Why: The party during the night is just crazy everywhere in Lisbon in Alfama (as well in Bairro Alto but it's more for youngsters). People would go there for dinner, having grilled sardines (sardinhas), you can get them anywhere in the streets. Then it's party in the streets and it's damn crowded with people willing to party hard! Go to the Alfama for a walk in the afternoon and you'll see people preparing for the party, it's a nice spot for taking great pictures. Also enjoy the whole month of June in Lisbon and Alfama, there are a lot of small squares having smaller parties and obviously grilled sardines and live music. Please note: if you're passionate about weddings, you can go to the cathedral (Se' Patriarcal) in Alfama in the day of Santo Antonio and you'll see the "Brides of Santo Antonio". A huge wedding with 10 or 20 brides, it's another good spot for pictures and to see the people on the street (but go there early enough!)
Who: everyone, but if you're not a party person, get there during the whole month of June and avoid the crowd. If you've children, avoid the crowd for sure, everyday but the 12/13th is great, the feeling is good anyway but it's calmer. If you love partying hard, get all the energy you need, you'll use all of it! Start in Alfama, get dinner there than start walking around, there'll be music and drinks everywhere. Go to Bairro Alto and again go on all streets, but decide before where to meet with friends. It's so crowded that it's tough to walk and find people!

Here's are some local info and pics

Guys, Lisbon in June is just great, don't miss it and please tell me what you felt!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 25 - MD (Movie Day) reccomends Dog Day Afternoon

Hi Guys,

I'm trying to have a weekly post on movies not to miss and calling it "MD - Movie Day". This will probably not mention any new realises at all. There are so many great movies we've never seen that were shot in the past. Some of them are really famous and I just discovered them, some other won't be so famous and will be from around the world ;). I'm not a professional journalist about cinema, but I do love movies, so I'll put all my understanding and passion in talking about them. And most of all, I love to discuss about movies, so please keep sending your opinions!
I start with Dog Day Afternoon by Sydney Lumet. I actually bought a few of his movies recently, never seen any of them and I am totally impressed.

What impressed me?
1. The faces: the characters have really expressive faces that talk on their own. Great choice!
2. The TV impact. Like in the Network, TV is everywhere, and obviously in front of the bank just robbed. It's extremely interesting how the robbers and their family members are proud and happy of being on TV while everything was happening. Scaring.
3.(ATTN SPOILER!) Al Pacino is in my imaginary always an Italian/American gangster or something similar. Having him acting as a gay was totally a brilliant idea. You would not expect that at all. Genius.
4. The wife of Al Pacino is amazing. I mean, anybody would try to escape somebody like her :)
5. The mother of Al Pacino: wow, it seems that women did a lot wrong with him! But, the women inside the bank, instead, are strong and totally human. Strange contrast.
5. Desperation & Humanity: Sonny (Al Pacino) is a good guy, a desperate good guy that did something extremely wrong. While doing something so wrong he's actually keeping his human touch. That's because he's not a bad guy. Nice.

Here comes the trailer:

What's your opinion on this movie?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 24 - Being on a Gap Year Means Being Unemployed?

When somebody asks me what I do, I do answer I'm on a Gap Year. Most people don't know what I mean. So I explain I got a sabbatical. Then they tend to understand somehow and answer to me: "so you are unemployed". I try to explain that it's not exactly the same thing...so here's the definition of unemploied from a economic dictionary:

Unemployed definition

Being involuntarily out of work. The government defines unemployed as people who are jobless, looking for jobs, and available for work.

A person on a Gap Year is voluntarily out of work. This means, it's not unemployed :)

Do you agree?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 23 - Why is Food = Happiness? Part 2

Well, my easy answer is: look at my favourite food channel on YouTube (in English): http://www.youtube.com/yellowsaffron#g/u

Just looking at the pictures I would start smiling. Looking at the video would make me curious, cooking it and eating it would make me happy.

Would this have the same effect to you?

An example? Just try to look at the Fresh Strawberry Tart and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 22 - Being Wrong? A great talk from Ted Talks

Do you always think you're always right? Well, somehow we kinda do it. Myself included. But we all might be wrong from time to time. A perfect life is soooo boring (and impossible :).
What do you think of the talk?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 21 - The "Freaks the Series" Effect: Does Young Mean Resourceful or inexperienced?

Following another post on the young generation, here's a new post :).
While working at YouTube for the last 2 years, I was honored to meet a lot of talented, joyful and resourceful young filmakers.
In particular, there's a group of YouTubers that created the first Italian webseries ever. They did it low budget but high quality, whit a really good script and with powerful ideas and a strong commitment, not mentioning the hard work.
So, based on the point of view of the older generation, my question is: does young means resourceful or inexperienced?

Enjoy the series freakstheseries (in Italian only, sorry!) and the first episode down here!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 20 - The Network and "Appearing on TV means existing?"

I watched for the first time "The Network" by Sidney Lumet, which I totally loved and made me think a lot. I'm not a TV lover at all. I watch some TV series online and use the TV set just for DVDs, that's it.
When I was watching the movie I admired how it showed how important it is to appear somewhere to actually being considered as existing or successful.
There's the extreme political commando that agrees on having own shows on TV and the manager (great caracter btw) deciding to end a program in an "original" way (I won't spoil the movie, no worries :).
The movie is obviously exagerated, but it's truly representing what happens in TV everyday. Showing off tragedies, useless shows, boobs everywhere anything to capture audience and sell it to advertisers at a premium price.
I don't have anything against any medium, but I guess that most of the people watching TV are not aware of this and therefore they are passively believing that the reality shown on TV is real life. My bet is that it is not.
What do you think?

Here's the trailer of the movie, in case you haven't seen it before (like me! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day 19 - Who is the Young Generation?

I'm Italian. I came back to Italy after 5 years abroad. I did a lecture in an event in Rome a few weeks ago and said "we are young, we can do it" or something like that. The young crowd looked at me with big open eyes. I realized there was something wrong in my sentence and joked "Right, right, YOU are young, you get to do it!".
This was weird. Not because I felt older then them, that was actually right! I'm in my thirties and they were in their twenties or the and of their teenagerhood.
This surprised me because in Italy people think of themselves as young until they are maybe 50 when they are considered adults and responsible. This is wrong. Not the look of the guys in the crowd. The problem is with the old generation, not with the young one. I'm in my thirties and I am an adult, that's it. Then, I looked at the TV (something I never do, I don't like TV). They always talk in a negative way about the young generation: protests, unemployement rate (which by the way in Italy is around 30% for young people!), not flexible, not willing to start a family, not interested in commitments and so on.
I started thinking that it's not just the youngster's fault, it's the parent's generation fault as well. If the young people don't have space, resources, responsibility is their own problem but they are not the only cause. Ok, I stop here, this is a longer post than usual, but I thought it was worth it.
How's the situation in your own country? Would you agree that responsibilities should be shared between youngsters and older generations?
The discussion is open...