Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

My poem “Voyage Dream”  (page 10) was recently published in the online literary magazine ExPatLit.Com. I am particularly happy to have placed a poem here since it is a literary magazine after my own heart – a collection of pieces by or about expats. While I no longer live abroad, sometimes I still feel “abroad” in many ways. It is hard to describe where, with whom or what language contains “home.”

This poem, along with the image my mother, Melabee Miller, created for it, comes from our manuscript Cent’Anni. Cent’Anni contains poems paired with images that recount the story of our family emmigrating from southern Italy to New Jersey. It includes the story of our family history research and connection with Italian relatives a few years ago.

The poem “Voyage Dream” narrates the experience of Carmela, the daughter of my great grandmother’s sister. It is mostly based on research I’ve done about the boat rides to America, stories I’ve heard and what I imagine the experience might have been like for a young woman at the time.

If you are interested in reading other published poems, you are welcome to see my website ChloeYelenaMiller.com, which links to the online publications.

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When I first moved to Michigan, I wanted to find the Italian / Italian-American community. We had dinner at Paesano’s , bought the Italian Tribune and even drove around Clinton Township looking for restaurants and specialty shops. I wanted to know where to celebrate the Festa Della Donna (International Women’s Day on March 8), buy San Giuseppe pastries in March, eat good pizza, etc. I had trouble finding a local place that felt like home.


My friend KC, a poet and UM MFA alum, told me to try Silvio’s Pizzeria. She said Silvio was great and the pizza incredible.


Incredible pizza out here in the Midwest? Hmmm. Even though I was searching, I didn’t really expect to find it.


My fiancé and I finally went in one evening. The small restaurant, whose back wall is covered with children’s drawings, is in a small mall complex near UM. There are no windows, but there are framed pictures from Italy. The pizzas are listed as organic and the pastries in the refrigerated display case look fresh and sweet. We shared a wonderful pizza with a crisp and thin crust. For someone who is overly critical, even I was immediately taken by the pizza.


I asked to speak with Silvio. He came out, probably curious about an American stranger coming in speaking in Italian. I told him that I was searching for the Italian community. He thought for a minute and then scribbled down the email address of his friend Silvia. Silvia and I started emailing and the rest, as they say, is history.


Last night I celebrated Festa della Donna with a roomful of women and Silvio at his pizzeria.  Festa della Donna is an international holiday. In Italy, the men traditionally give women (friends, family and even strangers on the street) stems of mimosa, a yellow flower. The women are honored on this day and tend to go out to celebrate in the evenings.


At Silvio’s, we sat around in a circle – Italians, Italian Americans and American alike. We brought our own wine and Silvio brought out trays of food for two hours. We started with trays of bruschette, followed by an enormous bowl of two kinds of pasta, followed by pizza, followed by two cakes, including a traditional yellow cake made to look like the yellow flower, mimosa.


No one was able to find mimosa in town and Silvia bought yellow daffodils to put on the cake.


Silvia with the mimosa cake


My favorite dish was the pizza with scamorza cheese and truffle oil. Scamorza is my favorite cheese (it is a smokey, medium hard cheese.) I have to find out where to buy it. I should have eaten less of the bruschette with Silvio’s homemade prosciutto on it so I could have tried more pizzas. I brought home more than half of my pasta since I couldn’t finish it. Knowing how much food there was, the waitress brought everyone plastic take-away containers.


At the end of the evening, I was happy to have not only found the Italian community, but to have shared laughs with new friends.


Silvio himself


The highlight of my Italian Festa della Donna came at home. My fiancé opened the door for me and there on the dining room table was a vase with a picture of mimosa. As there was no mimosa to be found in the town, he found a way to still celebrate.


Home is home.



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by Angela LiguriThank you to Angela Liguori for taking some time during the busy holiday season to share her expertise and advice about wedding invitations. Don’t miss her website with more gorgeous images. Find out what she’s been up to recently on her blog.



The language on an invitation can be a tricky thing. Do you have suggestions about how to choose the right words?


For the wording I always refer to an excellent book by Julie Holcomb entitled Wedding Invitations Handbook . So much meaning can be read between the lines! I strongly recommend this book, before even starting to design the invitations. It is beautifully written, with a lot of details.



What percentage of a wedding budget does a couple usually spend on invitations?


The wedding invitation is the first impression of the event your guests will receive by opening the envelope. From every detail it reflects the style of the wedding, if it is modern or traditional, formal or more casual. So much it can be seen from the use of paper, typefaces and wording. Couples who decide to have a personal designer for their wedding invitation are giving much importance to this first impression. Anyway, it is still a marginal cost compare to the wedding gown, the reception or the honeymoon.



What can couples do to make your design work easier for you? How much input do you expect from them?


I usually show the couple my portfolio of samples during the first meeting. It is very helpful when they can give me an idea of what they like or they have a sense of style that will reflect their wedding. Sometimes they have a theme color already, or the location and time of the wedding can give the first input to the wedding invitations. For example, if it is a fall wedding, we try to keep in mind some deep fall colors for the paper, maybe an ornament to be included in the design or the color of printing for the text. Every detail can contribute to design.


What makes your service unique?


I work closely with the couple, and I like to design something unique for each of them, that reflects their sense of style, the flavor of the event, but that remains personal.


Do couples usually order save the dates, thank you cards, invitations all from the same source? What is the advantage of doing that?


Sometimes couples do order all the pieces of the wedding invitations from the same designer, sometimes they like to make or chose something on their own. I think it is important to work on the same style from the beginning to the end, but I understand when the couple is also trying to save some of the costs and buy thank you notes or save the dates from other sources.


This blog is primarily for the “unbride.” What invitation advice would you offer her?


Try to enjoy the event fully, without too many worries. It is your day and you will remember it forever!


How have Italian paper and traditions influenced your work?


I think I developed my sense of aesthetic, colors, and design mainly from growing up in Italy. It is something that became part of me early on in my work. I also always like to include Italian paper or other materials in my designs. Personally, I believe it adds quality to the final piece.


by Angela Liguri

by Angela Liguriby Angela Liguri 

For more information:


Carta, Inc., originally from Rome, Italy, now located in Boston, is a graphic design studio specializing in custom made stationery, invitations, business cards and hand-bound books. The most recent addition to their products is a line of cotton ribbons directly imported from Rome.


Owner Angela Liguori also collaborates with graphic designer Silvana Amato on some limited edition books, under the imprint of Edizioni Almenodue, which translates as “Press of at Least two.” Since 1998, they’ve collaborated with several illustrators, calligraphers, papermakers, type designers and translators for their editions.


Books and calendars by Edizioni Almenodue can be found in several Special Collection Libraries throughout the United States and Europe.

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